Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Comments by Alex

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  • I’d still distinguish between having predominantly positive self-beliefs vs. negative self-beliefs, and these do make a difference in how we create and experience our lives. These are also malleable and possible to shift, which to me is a transformational process. But personal prejudice is something only a person themselves can change, when they are ready to face their own self-judgments.

    And like I said, what actions anyone chooses to take or not take will depend on what they believe about themselves, what they are capable of, how supported they feel, how vulnerable one is willing to make themselves while challenging the status quo, how to navigate the anxieties of speaking one’s truth in opposition to “power,” etc. I think inspired actions comes from a commitment to one’s personal sense of truth above and beyond the prejudice which may surround them.

  • Given that self-stigma translates into low self-esteem and low self-worth, then healing self-stigma would indicate shifting to positive and validating self-beliefs, despite outside messages, judgments, opinions, projections and prejudices. That’s an entirely different consciousness, and in turn, would create an entirely new reality for a person.

    I believe that is *the* journey to take, from self-condemnation to self-compassion and even self-love. When we feel good about ourselves, our feelings, words, thoughts, beliefs, and actions are quite different than from when we feel negatively about ourselves, producing different responses and results.

    We have the power to change only ourselves, not others. And, I believe, that is enough to bring significant change to the world. One person’s transformation affects everyone around that person.

  • I also wanted to express that whatever spiritual awareness a person can own for themselves, one thing I learned along the way of my healing and personal growth is that what is really challenging is being human, regardless of anything. I believe it is set up this way, by nature, so that we can know our power of self.

    I believe “psychosis” (which I would say some people call a such–i.e., they project–when a person embodies a personal reality which well outside the norm and, somehow, threatening to it) is what occurs during transitional states, where we are growing, changing, and transforming, as per the nature of life and being human. We’re not static beings, and change is inherently challenging and uncomfortable, but it becomes more so toward suffering when change tries to happen in a society where it is so stubbornly resisted due to personal competing self-interests.

    Transitional states of being are natural and change is happening all the time; but judgment, shame, fear, and worry are human traits which are malleable. When we work internally, we shift what is external to us, goes hand in hand. Permission to be is a powerful healing tool and perspective.

  • I love this article, Ekaterina, for many reasons. In fact, I believe you illustrate perfectly the oppression which psychiatry practices, especially oppression of personal thoughts and beliefs while completely invalidating, negating, and unequivocally dismissing what one feels and experiences on their own terms. So add oppression of a person’s emotions and spirit, too. How is this anything good?

    Past lives, parallel realities, and embracing one’s God-self (Buddha-self, Christ-consciousness, inner being, etc.) is reality for a lot of people on the planet, and it’s completely reasonable, and I’d say even desirable. For me and sooo many others I know, this is the case at least.

    I’d love for everyone to know their higher self and be able to embody that wisdom and live their truth outright, rather than all of this pretense in order to “fit in” and “be acceptable” and “approved of.” I think the world would improve a great deal if we were to all know how to embrace our spiritual selves as well as our physical selves, because I think we would not live so much by our judgments and fears, but more so by what makes us feel satisifed and personally fulfilled, and not at the expense of others. That’s my personal opinion and perspective.

    So much to learn, experience, and explore above and beyond the extreme limitations of “psychiatric thinking.” And by this I mean teeny tiny little boxes which amount to chronic suffering and cutting one’s self off from their own soul if one tries to fit in. This struck me specifically when you tell how the psychiatrist looked serious rather than laughed when you were joking with her. Embracing our soul path and growth is a lot more fun, interesting, creative, and freeing than is facing such a closed mind and heart.

    Thank you so much for writing this! I think it’s a powerful message and very clear. We do have a choice in what we believe, and what I believe is that our personal beliefs affect how our reality unfolds from day to day. Let’s not allow our choices and faith to be bullied out of being by this blatant oppression. I believe we have this power right now, to live our authentic truth, especially given all the oppressed voices speaking up and out these days.

  • Healing from whatever trauma one may have experienced is what leads to greater understanding of how things work as well as personal enlightenment.

    Also, what we observe in others is merely a projection of our inner world. A person’s reality is what they feel, not what others observe about them. That would be the reality of the observer.

  • Yes, very good distinction.

    And I would add here what I feel makes activism particularly unique in this arena, and ironically, I feel compelled to use the word “triggered,” because to me, this is exactly what I experience, so I’m speaking for myself with this word, it totally matches my intention–

    I know when I first started posting on MIA not long after its inception years ago, I was not prepared to feel as triggered as I was– not because of the issues being discussed, that I’ve been used to for years and that’s what I enjoy on here, the ability to be open about things where in most places I know it’s not so welcome, understood or even perceived as relevant.

    But I did feel a general lack of sensitivity, and even a bit more severe, kind of an “abusive energy,” and admittedly, I would unconsciously match it–not abusive, I don’t think, but insensitive and ranting. That’s what happens when I get triggered from a total lack of sensitivity in the air.

    I’ve been called “thin-skinned” on here which I cannot take seriously, as that would be impossible after all I’ve gone through, survived, and even from which I have thrived–from hospitalization to withdrawal from 9 drugs to legal mediation to being on stage (with anxiety issues no less!), and now doing very cutting edge work with people, so I do not take anything personally. I do know my truth, and I know who I am.

    But I am most definitely sensitive to energy, and I believe that is one thing that many survivors share. Not all, as I do not believe that this is a homogenous population, we are as diverse as anything. But I do know from knowing myself and tons of folks with whom I’ve spoken over the years, that being extremely sensitive to hostile negative and invalidating energies is quite a common trait among us. We each have to know ourselves in this regard, and then we can make wiser choices in life. Like HH says, to know how to best expend our energy. That is brilliant self-care and self-awareness.

    This brand of sensitivity is actually called “clairsentience,” meaning that we pick up energy from the environment on a physical level. It’s common, and something one needs to learn to work with so it is a gift rather than a crippling curse.

    So yes, it’s a delicate balance, and one I believe we can always be working to refine, if only for the sake of moving forward with all of this. In my work, there is something called “raising the energy,” which, when that occurs, a group can make great strides in accomplishing its goals. And the more one raises the energy, the more ease comes. That involves the values of mutual respect, sensitive listening and responding, from the heart, all that good stuff. I know I know–Kumbaya, as I’ve been called so often on here. But I’ll not bend here, either, because I know it to be truthful.

    One last thing, as long as we’re on the topic of communication–

    I guess it’s long overdue, but I do apologize for how I came on here and sent you a good blast of my anger in the way past, I did not handle myself well there. I’d been dialoguing with Mr. Whitaker just prior to this, and was super triggered by the article you had written. Not an excuse, but that’s the reason. I hope that in the meantime, I have grown in my ability to communicate with clarity and reason. That’s certainly been my intention. Takes trial and error. Your work is brilliant, no doubt about that.

  • In this case, “involuntary medication” is a silly euphemism which way waters down the spirit and intention of what we are communicating. Forced drugging is what it is, and the energy of this is accurate.

    There is a “violence” to it, or at the very least, intimidation, overpowering, and bullying. It is violating to a person. When we say “forced drugging,” we are saying exactly what we mean, and that’s where the power is.

    Here, I don’t believe it is an issue of language, it’s an issue of…I don’t know…power? Needing to be right? Needing to control? Other? Take your pick. Either way, the system never comes from a place of truth. It’s a rabbit hole.

  • Winning an EEOC mediation against a voc rehab agency took clarity, directness, and persistence. No word or mind games, and no attacking. Plain, simple, honest truth spoken from the heart. It all synched up.

    Of course the “powers that be” responded with retaliation when I accused them of blatant discrimination. And I proved it easily and without a doubt. It took its toll, but I recovered from the extreme stress of this and moved on.

    Standing up to them bolstered my self-respect, which, considering that this was my farewell to being vulnerable in “the system”– where I had given up my power to them by accepting a position with this agency after having been a client initially–this was profoundly healing for me in multiple ways.

  • That’s hard to answer out of context because situations, intentions, and relationships vary, and I do believe in a certain amount of sensitivity even when we are being totally honest in our emotions. Whereas clarity and whitewashing do not go hand in hand, I do believe that clarity and sensitivity can harmonize. I think it takes intention, practice, and trust in the process.

    I do know what you mean, in general, and I do agree, thinking of an example from years ago in San Francisco, when I was at a local activist roundtable, and I was directed specifically to not use “the D word” (Discrimination) because it is inflammatory. Of course that is bullshit and I said so, but I was alone in this. When I was doing this work in San Francisco, there was a caution about language that was over the top, and indeed, like you say, easily counterproductive. I’m sure it had all to do with appeasing power and not losing “status” in the community. Fakes.

    What I feel is most productive is that our words match our inention, and that we mean what we say and say what we mean–to be honest and straightforward. I believe that is the best we can do, to be authentic, while also being mindful that our words are matching our intention with clarity and purpose.

    That can still make people uncomfortable for one of two reasons–they are either hearing it in a way different than intended, projecting something onto what is being communicating, or there is a truth in what has been spoken to which people can be very resistant to hearing. I think this is where dialogue can help bring clarity, but like I said above, only if a neutral focus can be maintained. That’s generally the big challenge, from my experience, yet to be surmounted. People can get attached to a false belief and simply not want to let go, from all kinds of fears. That’s a problem when trying to resolve issues and create new clarity.

    In activism, however, how can one expect to not be uncomfortable? Seeking change will inherently make us feel our discomforts. Otherwise, nothing gets at all accomplished, status quo.

  • Having faced oppression in various forms, and then addressing what I had internalized in a healing manner by shifting my self-beliefs back to something more positive and encouraging to me, I agree wholeheartedly that language can be a powerful tool of oppression and is often used as such. It’s the essence of gaslighting.

    I also agree with HH that beyond words are energy and ways of thinking, which are inherently relevant to the subject of what words we use to communicate a specific intention.

    What exactly is our intention when we communicate a personal truth? To be heard? To make an impact? To create change? Or is it to hurt someone? Retaliate? Demonstrate power? Project our shadow so we don’t have to see or feel it ourselves?

    The last one I list here is how I most feel about what happens in the mh industry. And perhaps creating change will hurt some people. Is that a reason to not use our power of language in truth-speaking? These are conundrums I consider constantly as an activist. Who am I most responsible to, if not myself? Like anyone, I don’t appreciate at all being censored or silenced, but at the same time, I want to know how what I am saying is being heard.

    Sometimes, these are not in synch, and I find that always to be a most powerful space for new potential of clarity and understanding, if a relatively neutral focus can be maintained. If the intention of our words is to bring clarity to an issue or situation, then the outcome will naturally reflect either the power of that intention, or at the very least, it will highlight where the resistance to clarity is, which to me, is an obstacle to, both, healing and change.

  • Roles are assigned to children without their conscious awareness of how this occurs, but adults can choose to not play that role and dis-identify from a toxic system. That is transformational healing. Be the example of change rather than to continue playing the role of “victim,” and others will eventually follow suit. That is true groundbreaking and systems-busting courage.

  • “Authoritarian religious groups are [sub-CULT-ures] where conformity is required in order to belong. Thus if you dare to leave the religion, you risk losing your entire support system as well.”

    This goes beyond “religious groups.” This is cult mentality, and it is a norm in our society–corporate, poltical, academic–which translates into: 1) fear-mongering, 2) conditional acceptance, 3) shaming, 4) marginalization, 5) discrimination, 6) oppression (sound familiar?), and I’m sure much, much more–all designed to empower an “authority figure” and their chosen “elite group,” as per some made up dogma which serves the top echilon at the expense of the community at large, even though this is not seen clearly through all the smoke and mirrors. Playing on people’s fears and need for belonging is the most common way to amass “followers.” That’s generally the problem which can seem insurmountable to change.

    These extremely dysfunctional communities can be ruthless in their need to maintain power and control over others. The author calls it “toxic,” with which I would agree. It does require healing once one separates from this, which to me would signal a courageous and empowering awakening to one’s true self, separate and apart from this kind of brainwashing.

    Best way I can think of to disempower toxic, abusive, and traumatizing social dysfunction is to separate from it and heal to a new sense of self, which is natural evolution, and which is also a challenging journey which requires a lot of internal shifting and deep self-discovery–aka humility. But it does eventually lead to freedom once we can claim it and own it. That is profound change happening in the moment.

  • So many of us have said it so often. The stigma associated with marginalization is created and supported by the “mental health industrial complex,” (which includes associated entities and so-called “non-profit” social services). In fact, this field/culture promotes and causes marginalization in the first place. The stigma happens automatically, goes hand in hand with othering and marginalizing. All based on deceit, misrepresentation, mind games and gaslighting, and in general, an extreme lack of integrity–which is the antithesis of truth. That is crazy-making.

    What we call “mental illness” is often the end result of being othered by one’s primary group affiliation (e.g. family)–not always, but the family/community dynamic is a major player, given that othering does need a source from which to be projected initially, by definition–and that is repeated in the mh world perspective of what it means to be a human being, which is extremely limited at best, and overall terribly misguided. I believe that, by now, this is obvious. Eventually, this is internalized, and that becomes a profound internal split and struggle which can make one swing from despondence to rage, due to feelings of utter powerlessness.

    Once othering and marginalizing cease to be, then this will come into perspective and we can beging to heal as a society. But how to stop divisiveness is a head-scratcher. Perhaps to not play the game, on either team, would be a step in the right direction–maybe even a quantum leap.

  • I’d put quotation marks around “stepping out of line,” because of course we’re talking about people being themselves and following their own truth. We all have the capacity to live our truth, if we dare to be different and unique.

    The only “line” one steps out of is some arbitrary “line” drawn by the “APA clinical mindset,” which is, in reality, completely meaningless, unless one buys into it. Then, it is dangerous because it is inherently dehumanizing.

    I’d say having a moral compass would keep anyone more in line, in a universal sense, although I guess that can be relative as well. And whether that is innate or learned–or some combo of both–is something on which I’m not totally clear.

    In general, though, any sense of this seems to be missing in action among our leaders, and I could not locate it anywhere within the mh industry for years and years.

    Unfortunately, this has been the example as of late, to demean those who are different, rather than to value uniqueness. I think this is where the mh industry falls way, way short, to say the least, making it a strong arm of oppression and discrimination, if not the epitome of it.

    Apparently, this field and its many affiliations have no plans to stop hurting people, despite the overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what is happening, and has been for a long time. To me, that is a flagrant lack of human values.

  • So how does one teach respect? Other than by modeling it from the practice of it, as a general rule of living. It also helps to practice self-respect and radical self-care. These tend to guide a person in the right direction, and away from systemic abuse, bullying, and marginalizing–aka blatant stigma aka textbook discrimination. Then, wounds and post traumatic stress caused by chronic othering can heal, once out of the marginalizing community. That’s when good wisdom kicks in, from having lived the experience of it, and then healing from it with a lot of processing and shifting perspectives. That’s useful to the world right about now.

    Facing chronic blatant social and professional discrimination is treacherous, but it can heal in time, in a sound and just environment. And if that doesn’t exist, we have to create it. It has to start somewhere.

    For me, the irony has been that only in the mh world have I faced overt and chronic discrimination from the negative projections of stigma. I believe it originates in the “mental health” field of study. “Discrimination” is woven into the fabric of the education and training program and fully supported by the DSM. Without stigma, discrimination, and all-out othering, the entire field of “mental health” would totally fall apart. It relies on this for its own self-identity, and for business.

  • Rachel, were we to have the option, I’d click “like” on your comment. I did the same thing to get away from that “stigma energy,” as I’d call it. I never took this on in my self-beliefs because I knew myself better than this, but regardless, fighting it is a rabbit hole, and it sure does get under one’s skin to be “othered” continuously, causes all sorts of problems and life/health/financial disturbances. As long as I get anywhere near “mental health” anything and I disclose anything about my history, despite all I’ve done since I abandoned anything having to do with diagnoses and drugs (which is quite a bit in all areas healing and creative), then wham here it comes, and boy do I feel it.

    What really fuels the “stigma” fire is when I own my truth based on my personal life experience, despite it not quite jiving with their reality. Horrors! Well, that’s usually what sets it all off quite aggressively, and there is simply no turning back. The fuse is lit.

    Moral of the story, of course, is to stay away from communities which exist solely on scapegoating, which is energy-sucking to the one identified as such. The more we DO NOT ALLOW ourselves to play that role and move on from it, the less they have to feed on. I say starve the vampires, and, in addition, we do better with our fellow humans. I think that will get the ball rolling in the direction of positive social change.

  • “That is a timeline that belies the claim that Gøtzsche’s expulsion was simply because of his behavior; instead, it shows that his “behavior” came to be perceived as a problem once he became a sharp critic of psychiatry.”

    That’s typical.

    All this backstabbing, betrayal, and “ousting,” this reads like a chapter from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Good for Dr. Gotzsche for being irritating to his colleagues. The truth always irritates unenlightened groups, like a signal that there is awakening to happen, should one choose to do so. Keyword: choose.

  • I was raised on guilt, big weapon of control in my family. Created a lot of double binds and a feeling of emotional imprisonment. I had to practice a lot of forgiveness and detachment in order to heal this and free myself of it.

    It’s why I always talk about aligning with our personal truth and walking our talk. If we practice this daily, our neurons will shift so that those old childhood programs become a thing of the past, where they belong. Still can creep up, of course, given that we’re human and all. But like you say, it’s a matter of identifying it as past time, rendering it powerless so that we do not operate and create our experience from these self-judgments. Being able to discern past time from present time is where we experience and feel freedom.

    Striving to be kind, loving, fair-minded and humble in my emotions as much as possible certainly eases any old pangs of guilt, in general.

  • And just to be clear, by “enablers,” I’m referring to other professionals in the system–and mh industry on the whole–who know all too well about what is going on here and could make an impact by calling this out (to someone’s face, not just in writing), but who do not, for whatever reason (job security, perhaps?). There’s a lot of fear that comes up when faced with confronting abuse, because it is generally systemic and that can be a rough go for the one calling it out. It’s why they call it courageous. It truly is, because it is nerve wracking, any way you slice it. Still, someone’s gotta do it or it simply will not get done, and nothing will change.

    Over the years, I’ve been direct in my grievances, had countless “dialogues” with clinicians, directors, etc. where I spoke my truth directly, and while it did not please them, I made enough waves which led to changes around me.

    And it was definitely not without consequences. I sacrificed my entire career to do it on this level. No regrets, I am fully satisfied and fulfilled with my choice. It’s turned out well for me because I was following my heart the entire time. I went by what I knew to be true, regardless of what others might think or project onto me. I had to let go of that altogether to get through this.

    But I was not allowed near any of this once they got that I was deeply critical of the system, and that I was, in fact, calling it all out as I went along. Once this became apparent to them, the gatekeepers came out in droves to keep me at arm’s length from their system. I must have been making my point well, considering how all they wanted to do was keep me out of their midst after a while!

  • “If you wanted to declare psychiatry malpractice by definition I’d go along with that.”

    That is exactly my position. And this wasn’t an overnight revelation simply because psychiatry had harmed me, personally, in so many ways. This was a gradual awakening, to throw it all into that category, as I continued to work in advocacy and activism after having ditched “mental health” services altogether.

    I left behind psychiatry 14 years ago but since then I have learned and processed more and more while healing very deeply from all that I had experienced from “mental health care/treatment” as physical and emotional trauma, and have now heard countless stories and have spoken to so many people about this, including on here. The sum total of my experience to date puts me at this conclusion right now. From Miriam-Webster:

    Definition of malpractice

    1 : a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one (such as a physician) **rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage**

    2 **an INJURIOUS, negligent, or improper practice**

    At the same time, to be sure, I would not accuse all psychiatrists necessarily of harming people directly, but more so by enabling the situation, as is necessary in a system like this. Otherwise, it would be so fragile it would never stand up to being called out as it has been. But it is well-protected by tons of enablers, and to me, that is like being an accomplice to systemic abuse and malpractice, as I’d continue to call it.

    Although I do believe that so many psychiatrists do quite a bit of harm to clients, and what makes it especially sinister is that negative or critical feedback from the client is met with defensiveness and even blatant gaslighting. I know that this is largely what “DSM diagnosing” is about, to undermine the credibility of the client, which, in essence, is marginalizing, which is what I call “social abuse.”

    That entire system of diagnosing I would already put on the table as systemic malpractice. It may be the “standard,” but it’s sub-par and causes calamity for people and society, while not at all addressing relevant issues. So I would challenge that entire process as systemic malpractice because it is, both, injurious AND negligent.

    I don’t know how any of this would stand up legally, but that’s where I am with it at this point in time, as per my personal perspective and belief.

  • Setting personal boundaries is something I learned later in life, as part of my healing. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries. My folks felt entitled to be invasive, and it was aggressive. Repeated in the “mental health” industry.

    Whereas they (parents/system) had/have very strict boundaries which are not only not communicated with any clarity, if at all, but also they are terribly inconsistent. Yet, one is expected to know and honor them, even though they are vague and fuzzy. That’s the double-whammy of narcissistic abuse, to my mind.

    Healing from abuse requires learning that we do have personal boundaries–and are entitled to them, it is our birthright–and learning how to communicate them with clarity, and it can certainly help to set them with compassion. I think it’s an art, and it comes from self-respect as well as self-care. Setting boundaries WITHOUT feeling guilt is emotional freedom.

    What words and tone we use comes from practice and, I believe, they are determined by our intention. Are we truly setting boundaries or are we angry and hurt ourselves so we project it outward, like punishment or retaliation, in the guise of boundary-setting? That can border on power abuse, if there is a power dynamic to consider in the situation.

    I think this a valuable and powerful exploration and self-reflection, so that we may know our truth, own it, embody it, and live it. That would be great self-awareness and expanded consciousness in action.

  • “It’s how psychologically mature people strive to balance honesty with kindness, truth with tact. To be “brutally honest,” as the saying goes, is still to be brutal, to render social feedback that might be useful, useless.”

    Not sure I agree with this, seems more like a judgment than truth. Sometimes it is necessary to be blunt, when one is not heard and not heard and not heard, where truth is avoided at all cost. Clarity and authenticity are what make the impact, not tip-toing.

    Although I do feel we can start out by speaking kindly even in our grievance, still direct and clear but with the intention of reaching mutual understanding, not punishing. But so often one is dismissed or demeaned in trying to get across their pain caused by another, and then I feel it is appropriate to be as direct as it takes, and emotion can be part of it. And it should be, why not? That is our truth, we are abundantly human.

    Dismissing grievances for any reason is negligent. But when it is due to strong emotional expression, this is a HUGE “mistake” often made in the “mental health” industry which can be extremely costly and harmful to a client. That is denying a person their heart, spirit, and human truth of the matter. In this particular arena, it is tragic irony, and the epitome of abusive incompetence.

    I don’t believe anyone has the authority to call out what is psychologically mature vs. regressed, or some such distinction. That is a matter of individual personality, communication style, and most importantly, cultural influence.

    To the point of the article, ownership of one’s mistakes and foibles leads to personal growth, this I do know. Apologies are empty if the dynamic continues, but meaningful if they signify change. Forgiveness of self and others is healing and allows us to practice present time living, which is where our power to create change exists.

    But when the issues are institutional and systemic, then it is important to see what is causing all the guilt and need for apologies. Something is not right here on a grand scale. I believe we know this by now.

  • Beautifully told story of personal growth, healing, and spiritual resonance. Very heartfelt, thank you.

    “My doctor told me after the second time that I would have to take them for the rest of my life. I believed him.”

    Yes, we believe them when they look into their crystal ball and say we’re going to need something “for the rest of our lives,” without any foundation for that kind of negative prognosis of “this will be chronic and forever.” We have been so programmed/brainwashed to believe “doctors” without question, in what has been the age of authoritarianism. Good for you for waking up!

    I also ditched a lot of psych drugs (I can’t bring myself to use the word “meds/medication” any longer, nothing medicinal about these, at least for me that was most definitely the case) in order to heal naturally. Learning what “inner guidance” meant and then learning to trust and follow it was my healing path, too.

    What I love most about that is that it becomes our most powerful and reliable tool for life. For me, my inner guidance is my teacher, healer, guide, guru, and constant companion. I believe it is our God-self.

    And what I found most enlightening from the more present time oriented teachers, from whom I have learned and continue to learn a great deal, is that our guidance is based on our body/spirit connection, which is perceived PRECISELY through our emotions. One of my favorite and most resonant teachers, Esther Hicks, calls it our “emotional guidance system.” Our truth is based on how we feel, that is our spiritual resonance. Certain things/thoughts/beliefs/people agitate us while other things/thoughts/beliefs/people bring us feelings of love, joy, and peace. It is up to us to discern and choose which of these feelings we prefer to experience and that is to where we gravitate. That is our inner guidance, and feeling our emotions is vital in that process.

    I find it so interesting–and 100% reliable–and it’s the best case against psych drugs I know. At least for me, it speaks volumes.

    Now *that* I do believe is a viable prediction, that once we connect with our inner guidance, we have this for life. And I also believe it has plenty of foundation in personal histories; unlike the physician’s prediction of “chronic disorder” requiring neurotoxins “for the rest of your life.” Working with inner guidance is comforting whereas a lifetime of psych drugs is condemning. Please.

    Great to read about your healing work, keep it up!

  • To bring this particular thread full circle to date–the judge has been approved to the US Supreme Court, so still plenty of waking up to do here, to my mind. Not terribly surprised. We have mid-term elections coming up in a month, so the heat is up and that will be the next tell of how awake people are by then and what they want to do about it. My way of seeing it, in any event.

    At this point, I consider Dr. Ford to be a true hero in the fight against power abuse and oppression, and a major catalyst of change–a big push in that direction, at least–through her courageous truth-speaking and literally stepping up to the podium. I’ve done my own version of public sharing over the years, but what she did was mammoth, and I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like to testify in front of that group and the world as she did. Makes my heart pound just to even write about it. I remember thinking the same thing about Anita Hill, back when that was happening. There is power in trusting your heart that way, to speak hard truth, with a worldwide audience, no less.

    And thanks to Dr. Ford’s gutsy act, the world got a good view of what is behind the curtain and underneath the masks, to mix metaphors. I think it all applies. Brava to her! It was an awakening, first steps at least. Great example of what it takes, imo. I wish her the very best and I imagine she is doing good healing from this. I hope so at least.

    Oh, and I just realized I answered my own question about leadership with integrity. This is what I would call leadership, and it’s by example. Now that’s integrity!

    Interesting how things can be not as they seem nor as we might have always thought of them or imagined them, yet it there it is–leading by example, rather than by control, manipulation, and deceit. What a concept.

    Then there’s Rosa Parks, another groundbreaker and beautiful example of kicking off social change with a civil act of disobedience. I guess now that I’m thinking about it, leadership with integrity exists all throughout history. Just not (or hardly, maybe) in public office!

  • They claim to be “healers” and are “board certified” so that it’s legally recognized as such, and instead of providing healing, the institution of psychiatry, via its standard “practice” or “service”–however that is judged and perceived–makes people all kinds of unwell. To me, that’s malpractice.

    For the sake of activism against psychiatry, I’d rather have a reasonable argument FOR malpractice than to undermine it with the perspective which you are offering. In fact, I’m still waiting for a class action citing widespread institutional malpractice. To me, that’s exactly what psychiatry is.

  • That’s interesting, oldhead, and my first reaction to what you wrote here is that the way I have experienced incompetent treatment (aka malpractice), it actually felt assaultive. I’d call it both, in fact.

    I’ve experienced out and out bullying and shrinks snapping at me, becoming impatient and rude, eye-rolling, even yelling on two occasion, etc., which is both assaultive and highly incompetent service from an incompetent professional.

    And, I’ve experienced naïve questions, poor insights, and a lot of involuntary projections (counter-transference), which I’d put more under the category of incompetence, but it does feel assaultive, as well, due to the vulnerability of the client (me, in this case) at that moment. That’s the alleged understanding and contract of service, which, in the end, is not honored. That can cause damage.

    When it comes to psychiatry, and psychotherapy in general I believe, when it is incompetent it is assaultive and vice versa.

  • Wasn’t sure where I wanted to post this but I’m choosing to keep it in this thread, since I used the word “survivor” often and directly here, after reading the above comments in another thread about that particular word, fwiw–

    When I use the word “survivor” in these contexts of surviving rape, the system, psychiatry, and systemic abuse–from whatever system, family, social services, etc.–I am implying that I experienced extremely powerless-making events–emotionally and physically–which in the short and long run were traumatic, in that they caused prolonged feelings of fear and anxiety, as well as oppressive and often truly crippling and disabling feelings of powerlessness, which easily made life way more challenging than it already is just naturally. Even when I was doing things to prove otherwise to myself and others, there would always be this undercurrent of extreme self-doubt, and all the stories that came with that. That is a feeling which is hard to shake, that post-traumatic stress. It is a filter that affects everything in your reality, including self-image, self-beliefs, and self-worth. For these reasons, it can wind up being rather self-sabotaging.

    When I say I “survived” this or that, I am saying that I never gave up my power, even though I was not aware of this. I learned about this later, as I went along seeking relief and healing. I am saying that one can live through these events and find their power again. That is a process, a healing and truth journey to take. It is self-enlightening and transformative. That’s what I, personally, mean by “survivorship.”

    And I never heard the term “psychiatric survivor” until I came to MIA 6+ years ago. I adopted it because it felt true to me. That was a big step to what has since been good shifting and healing continuing to occur for me, recognizing that I had SURVIVED something, and that it is a so-called “legitimate” arm of mainstream society! That spoke volumes to me, like an awakening. It is what now fuels my reality, and my work in the world. Beyond that, I’m still me the creative being I’ve always been. This, however, has been my life path, for whatever reason. At times fulfilling and interesting and other times just plain frustrating. Par for the course in life.

    Recognizing that I had *survived* psychiatry helped me to connect the dots of my story in a way where the big picture became very clear. This is a phrase which I am teaching to others all the time, “psychiatric survivor.” That totally gets their attention!

  • Poison Ivy, I agree with you. I’m not only a sexual abuse survivor but I am also a survivor of many kinds of relentless and chronic power abuse, and it all felt like rape to me, mind, body and spirit. I’ve also stood up to “power” often (even in a legal mediation) and I continue to. I am consulting with attorneys once again, and I’m getting pretty far, we are in a good dialogue so far.

    What Dr. Ford is doing is what is necessary for change to occur, and it is not an easy task, not even remotely in the slightest! Standing up to power takes its toll, which is why I bring up the lack of integrity in leadership. I believe that’s where it begins. Abuse of all kinds have not only occurred, they’ve been ALLOWED to continue, despite all the calling out in myriad ways.

    Power abusers have gatekeepers, protectors, and enablers around them. It is a *system* of abuse. I believe this is what we’re looking to break down, to have this come to light, acknowledged (somehow), and then find a way for justice to be served. Naturally, this will not be easy, but it’s doable and necessary, to my mind.

    The mystery to me is not who is lying, but more so, how this will play out. Masks were coming off at the hearing, but still, the political elite is struggling to maintain power and control, regardless of anything. This is why I say “we, the people” are paying for it, as long as they resist the truth and keep operating from defensiveness/attacking mode.

    I’m just wondering how long the truth can be suppressed, avoided, and downright denied. This is how society becomes such a powder keg. Truth is the healer here.

  • Whether it is an esteemed psychology professor and researcher or a US judge who is lying about sexual assault, it’s an oppressive situation for the country. Kind of a lose/lose situation. I imagine the truth will prevail at some point, and then we’ll have more clarity about which way the winds of justice are blowing.

    Although given the way people in these positions of power try to obstruct truth and justice in favor of their own self-interest, I believe it is the process of how the truth will come to light which will be most interesting to discover as this continues to unfold. The tension is at fever pitch, with public protests going on at this moment in Washington DC, following the release of an FBI report which has yet to be made public.

    I believe what is being most sacrificed at this moment is the well-being of the country. So indeed, things are hardly equal. “We, the people” are the ones who get sacrificed, thanks to this graceless battle for “power” among the “elites.”

    At the same time, I believe we all deserve transparency, so if this leads to change, then that’s why it is occurring, so we can all witness in unison what is underneath these masks.

    I’d like to see integrity in leadership, however. Is that even possible in today’s political world? Has it ever been?

  • Bonnie, I can’t contribute much here regarding the history of political movements, etc., but I’m learning many interesting things here, so thank you. I also appreciate the global aspects of these issues.

    Although, FWIW, I wanted to point out that right now here in the USA, we have a glaring in-your-face convergence of identity politics, gender politics, sexual politics, etc., happening front and center in a legislative and media circus kind of way. To me, it’s somewhat like a Rubik’s cube of politics, in general, although disturbing, too, so it’s scary and fascinating at the same time, I think.

    We have a professor of psychology and researcher at Stanford Univ testifying before the Senate that a now Appellate Judge and nominee for the US Supreme Court sexually assaulted her many years ago, and all this stuff about sex and drinking and assault and power has come to light. The hearing spoke for itself–rage, defensiveness, total disrespect for EVERYTHING, the people and the process. I saw craziness there. Folks are coming out of the woodwork on all sides mostly accusing others of lying, all that good stuff. The President completed the triangle by publically ridiculing the accuser. These are our “leaders.”

    A lot of people are seriously triggered right now, this is opening a lot of wounds for people. I see it as healing to happen, most hopefully, but it’s a tense time in our country right now, and it seems to involve all the institutions of power in deep struggle with each other, with gender power issues at the forefront. And in this case, a psychologist is directly involved, which I find interesting, given what MIA is about.

    It’s all oppressive, in and of itself. I can’t imagine anyone not feeling that way about something like this. What I’m wondering is, can the center hold at this point?

  • “I find it interesting and sad that very few people on the MIA website EVER want to discuss *Identity Politics*”

    Why is this “interesting and sad?” What conclusion are you drawing from this? Why is this such a vital topic and what is it you are objecting to?

    We’re talking about groups of people who have been politically, economically, socially, and professionally marginalized. Empowering ourselves as individuals is exactly what we’re after, why not? That would be the antidote for oppression.

    Personally, I find it frustrating that the mechanics of social healing are not discussed more on MIA. Although I’m not sad about it, nor perplexed at this point. I think it’s because people have forgotten how to achieve harmony in community, and there is relatively no power in disharmony, other than the power of chaos to keep things diluted and vague, which is exactly the strategy used to maintain the status quo. It also tends to make people feel kinda crazy to be in chronic disharmony. There is no stability nor grounding in this. We learn as we grow…

  • A big challenge to being human is creating harmonious relationships with others. It’s hard work and takes humility on both sides.

    To me, self-care is needing to ground, replenish my energy, come back to center. Then I can be supportive to others when I am asked for assistance. Otherwise, I’m just no good to anyone, not until I ground, center, and replenish. And if I don’t take the time to do this, then I risk becoming sick and energy-depleted. For me it’s like eating–replenishing energy with rest, connecting to nature, quieting the mind, doing something which brings joy, etc., is self-nourishing, and we need it daily (or at least semi-daily, in order to live with well-being).

    To me, a toxic person would be one who judges and shames my need to self-care (because it takes my attention off of them), will not respect personal boundaries (which to me, is hostile and intrusive), and attempts to sabotage my energy by fear-mongering, projecting stigma, and/or gaslighting. No space for this in my life any longer, I’ve had my fill.

    In fact, too much of this in my early years is what led me to seek psychotherapy in the first place, and I had no idea that this is what was causing my crippling anxiety and self-destructive thinking. To repeat this in the “mental health” industry was insane-making, and that’s all it was.

    For me, now, this is the rule of thumb to stay clear, grounded, and healthy–stay away from the latter group. My life, sense of self, and well-being depend on it. Walking away from and leaving behind all aspects of the mh industry and culture is the most powerful and effective self-care I’ve ever practiced–transformative, in fact.

  • “Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you.
    And though they are with you, they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
    And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

    Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    So He loves the bow that is stable.”

    Khalil Gibran

  • “Most of the people in the sell out “peer” “alternatives” etc., movement are not antipsychiatry at all. They are exploitative “mental health” treatment hucksters. This is our reality, and the place I think we need to be starting from.”

    I agree, good place to start, in this one direction at least.

    While I am not a “peer” and haven’t been for a good long while, and I also agree that these are specious programs at best and really amount to only more of the same systemic issues, and while I no longer call my work “alternative” nor have I ever been actively part of any “movement” of the kind, my personal healing, and what allowed me to move past all the drugs, shrinks, social services, and injustices thereof, was, precisely, thanks to all I learned and applied in the particular healing work I did, which had nothing to do with “mental health” anything. It was outside of this physically and philosophically.

    In the process, I trained extensively to do healing work with others, it was one of my plans for doing work in the world for income, to be providing this kind of service in the world.

    This is a common path to healing, and many people get trained, certified, and licensed in a variety of healing arts that can help all kinds of people in all sorts of ways. When they want it, and many do and benefit greatly from it, have for centuries, it is available to them.

    Some of us even have integrity, and aside from doing individual healing work with others in trade for something like money, based on what is fair, reasonable, and doable to all concerned (I do trades of all kinds of goods and services, as well), we focus on social healing, as well, doing what we can to be an example of fair trade and no one gets rooked. What a concept!

    So while anyone can be a fraud in any category, at least those who practice true and authentic healing arts (I exclude most “mental health” system and industry related practices) can build a practice outside the norm and the systems which hold that grid in place. So why assume automatically–or put out that negative generalization–that it is a hukster selling some kind of snake oil?

    There is such a thing as “authentic healing,” and there are practitioners who responsibly practice these arts. To judge before experiencing is coming from a place of ignorance, and that is neutral, by definition.This would be one instance where I’d say let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    People do need reliable healing in the world, and we all discover what works or doesn’t work for us as we go. We certainly look to not get cheated or harmed in the process! That’s what we’re trying to get away from.

    And aside from all that, I hate the institution of psychiatry nor do I support the mh field in any respect. Nor do I duplicate these, at least not that I’m aware. The healing work I do is about overall health & well-being, including simply grounding in one’s own life in a more comfortable way. But none of this is broken down into categories of mental and physical (and spiritual, for that matter). To my mind, it’s all connected. It’s just life going in and out of balance. We could all use support and adjustment from time to time. I have a healer I go to about yearly, like a check up, an energy read. No MD needed.

    I also do not strive to make a client dependent on me. I try to help a client make a core shift (which THEY identify they need and desire to make) in 3 sessions or fewer, and often I just go ahead and offer a brief class where I teach self-healing perspective and tools, then people can go off on their own and use them.

    My practice is to empower and integrate, not create dependence and lifetime “customers” from chronic anything. Big difference from psychiatry et al…

  • Richard,

    “OR are you merely articulating and emphasizing the intrinsic value of direct experience in coming to know truth?”

    Mostly this, yes. Not just living through an adverse experience, but getting to the other side, reflecting on the experience, putting into the context of our lives, healing from whatever trauma may have occurred from the experience, shifting and transforming from it, learning a deeper layer of ourselves.

    This is how we trigger our innate wisdom–including radical self-resourcefulness–for the purpose of integrating this into our lives in order to expand our own consciousness and grow in our feeling of self-worth, so that we can move forward and perhaps use this experience to help society become better, more sound, just, fair, and equitable.

    I do agree with you that our elitist money-based class system is a big problem here and only serves to feed injustice. After all, elitism and class-based needs are what created this damn system in the first place. I would definitely place psychiatry–and the entire mh system–in a subset of that category because it is a product of elitism and classism.

    That IS the problem here because it is in direct contradiction to individual and social well-being, I believe. An elitist society/community is inherently unsound, unjust, and out of balance, what Krishnamurti called “a sick society.” Can’t have elitism and social well-being at the same time, imo; that’s an impossibility because it is a direct contradiction.

  • As insightful and empathic as someone on the outside of an experience might be, there is no way that a non-psychiatric survivor can have the same “deep understanding” as someone who lived through this, especially once that person has processed it over a period of time, connecting the dots of their own experience to arrive at the truth of the matter. Observation and absorbing the stories of others could never trump direct experience.

    My partner not only witnessed my journey every step of the way, he also worked in social services for a brief stint, and would come home saying how he was finally starting to get what I went through, based on what he was seeing happen in that “social service” world, especially how the “funders” dictated everything, without any regard for client services. Clients were simply a commodity, to justify this “non-profit” business. He was horrified to discover what was coming to light, up close and personal, as he worked through his tenure there.

    And still, he’d say to me that he could not imagine what it would feel like to be on the wrong end of that hierarchy, the way I and so many others have, and he saw why I’d been saying that you have to go through it to really get the full impact of it. He finally got that, and stopped arguing with me, and started instead to listen to me, with some serious respect for my experience. We’ve both grown a lot since he began to understand this. To me, it was totally freeing.

    There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom comes from living through an experience, not learning about it second hand–through books, witnessing, etc. The direct impact of what the experience feels like in the body and how the mind processes these intense feelings are missing in the latter case, and that’s vital to knowing the truth.

  • Most thankfully, I found it. Or better said, it found me, once I got not only psychiatry but all things “mental health” industry out of my way, including myself.

    I left psychiatry behind over 15 years ago after a 20-year relationship with it, got very dysfunctional toward the end there, and it almost killed me. But layer by layer, over a period of years, I got out of that weird web and put myself back together again with new life tools and perspectives, and found what I wanted in life and from life. That was quite a trek, and not without battle scars, as you are knowing now; definitely not for the faint of heart and spirit.

    What I learned in my journey was that when we heal to the point of feeling predominantly our own light channeling through us, and appreciating that to the nth degree, then we automatically have an abundance of it to share with others. It’s pretty cool! Win/win :).

  • Very inspiring, Catherine. I agree with you that the most fruitful path to change is to create new things which render obsolete these old ways which have caused and continue to cause such extreme dysfunction in our society. The light you bring from rebirthing into the new is refreshing and of tremendous value in the world today, the way I see it. Healing ourselves is really hard work, and also it is what uplifts us and those around us, including the world. Gratitude and respect for taking the journey.

  • Ah, ok, I think I can connect some dots for you, been sitting in meditation with this for a few and I’m realizing why this feeling is. However, it’s going to have to wait until later this evening because I have been engaging here on breaks I’ve been taking from a project on which I’m working and I’m trying to meet a deadline this evening. I also have a few other things to do, so I’m quite far behind at this point, need to focus and detach from this right now.

    I had not expected to get into a dialogue like this today, but your first reply to my response to your comment is what initially threw me and why I said something about it, and I think that’s why this dialogue took the path it took. Which is fine, I’m glad, I think it’s interesting, truly, and will hopefully bring some clarity to what these blocks are in communication between people with divergent perspectives and roles in this particular community.

    And I appreciate your emotional transparency, and your desire to know clarity around what I am saying. I just needed to start out by saying I was having this very strong feeling because that was my experience in the moment I read your post, it was totally authentic.

    This feeling was triggered by “I hope you are well,” followed by a smiley face, which is what confused me here, in this instance. I wasn’t sure how this was a response to my post. Was their non-verbal communication taking place here? If so, you’d have to be more direct for me to get it because if that’s the case, then I definitely know why I’m confused. Especially online, clarity is contingent upon using mindful language and saying what you mean. Once you start with innuendo and undercurrents of meaning, then you are creating confusion, that’s inevitable.

    But I have a bigger picture, too, because I’d felt this before, and this was the opportunity I took to say something about it, because the feeling in me was flagrant after reading that response. That’s where I was scratching my head, as I have before with a few things you’ve said. I’ll bbl to paint you a clear picture of where I’m coming from here, see if we can reach some point of truth, or at the very least, mutual understanding and clarity.

  • I don’t have this problem in general. I communicate with a lot of people over the internet and about complex issues and also feelings, and I don’t generally feel confused. Just to be clear about that.

    It’s no big deal, Shaun, I was simply expressing a FEELING. Just my subjective truth of our communication. Seems to trigger you, so maybe there’s some good information for you there, I don’t know.

    You’re a therapist, process the feedback neutrally. I certainly do, but I process it through my feelings (not analyzing it from observation and defensiveness), so that I am in ownership of my experience. That’s the only way I know how to learn, grow, and evolve.

    In any case, thanks as always for the dialogue.

  • I am the example. I’m being an example in present time of someone who is confused by you. I can’t help but to wonder if others have this experience of you, or is it just me? I’m just following the thread of my emotional response to you, which is how I know my truth.

    And no, we should no longer dialogue about the system. Our positions are clear, and clearly incompatible. You take your path, I take mine, and that’s all he wrote.

  • I’m talking about a *feeling.* Something about how you communicate in your responses causes me to feel confusion. That’s what I’m noticing, and I’m wondering from where this feeling is coming.

    “I don’t know what you are talking about” is a good start. I can see that you don’t. Does this make it any clearer, the way I am explaining this to you? I’m wondering if there is an open line of communication here without the confusion. If not, so be it. That’s exactly what we are discussing in this thread, so it’s helpful to see it in action, as an example of what many of us are talking about.

  • Yes, I’m fine. Although I find this to be an odd response, and ironically, rather aligned with what we’re discussing here.

    I have to say, Shaun, after all the dialoguing we’ve done on and offline over the last few weeks, I honestly don’t know in the slightest from where you are coming. You confuse me, and I do wonder why it is I’m feeling this from you?

  • Thanks for expressing this, Shaun. I can see how therapists and social workers could feel extremely powerless. The system (and its funders/supporters) renders everyone powerless, which is why it is rife with anger and ever-present conflict. “The system” is the ultimate “sick society.” Adjusting to it undermines everyone’s health and well-being, clinician and client alike. There’s way better stuff out here in the world, away from all that.

  • Wow, Fred, this is a fantastic post. I’d like to flash neon red arrows all around it and pointing to it. It is truth to perfection, in my estimation, and potentially transformative in and of itself. The discussion does need to transform in this direction to be fruitful from here forward, I agree hardily with that.

    In how many ways can one coldly and distantly analyze away, “I’m just trying to make what I feel is a very important point based on my experience” in order to avoid the truth! Facing hard truths is, indeed, where change and transformation occur. We’re human, it happens.

    Stop analyzing, start feeling, create empathy, tell the truth. At least that’s a start. And from there, there is *a lot* of work to do to see that change through to completion. There’s your transformation.

    Thank you, Fred, for the inspiration.

  • “I tried to question the psychoanalytic belief system, but it was not possible to argue with believers. Their argumentation didn’t follow any logic known to me.”

    Yes, I agree that there is no logic in the responses (or non-responses) when questioning the beliefs within this field, despite overwhelming evidence of the failure of it. Which, to me, indicates perfectly how dangerous it can be to sit 1 on 1 with a clinician whose logic and reasonability go flying out the window when questioned in any capacity. That’s where all the negative projections, stigmatizing, and gaslighting begin.

    If you are a clinician and experience deep frustration with other clinicians for this reason, attempting to have an open and fruitful dialogue, imagine how clients feels while vulnerable to this dynamic, and who are expected to be open in their emotions while trying to talk about their issues. That is a recipe for disaster, and it quite often has resulted in just that, for this very reason.

    “Let’s start making the world a better place by helping our children to overcome their problems not with drugs but with support and help from their peers and parents.”

    We can also make the world a better place by supporting parents in how to best guide and nurture their own kids, regardless of any issue they may have. Kids follow the example of their parents in how they deal with the inevitable stressors in life. Sometimes it’s even the parents causing the kids undo stress, and it remains in the shadows due to denial and scapegoating. What then? This is not in the slightest uncommon, and I believe it should be brought to light. There are tons of kids suffering in silence from this.

  • Michael, I do not mean to belabor this and stray from the topic, but you have opened a door for me to talk about something very relevant and important when you say, “Until they are almost against all odds able to escape the trap.” I’ll post a thumbnail response here and were you to feel inclined to discuss this further, please do feel free to contact me. This is exactly my life work.

    Yes, it is a trap and yes again, it is almost against all odds. I cannot even begin to tell you all that I did in order to beat these odds. Being on a disability income in San Francisco leaves hardly any options because we are so focused on barely surviving, while carrying intense fear of not being able to pull even that off. But I went around town very humbly volunteering and bartering for healing and training to finally get the info I needed that would allow for the escape path to open up, which was really about learning to manifest. It’s why I’m always talking about energy and working with the light of the universe. That was a very specific perspective and skill which I happily fostered as I went along.

    This did work for me unequivocally but it took great humility, while at the same time I had to reclaim my power. It was a long and uncertain process for me, but I was told by a teacher I had at that time that I was breaking ground, so I kept going wondering to where it would lead.

    Getting out of SF in order to clear my head and ground in nature was a feat in and of itself. I had neither the means nor a destination, but as I experienced more and more healing and set a deliberate intention to break through the glass ceiling, the doors opened and I followed the path which unfolded from this, which was nothing short of miraculous.

    All I did though, was to apply Law of Attraction to what I was already doing to heal based on the energy work I learned. This is where the turnaround occurred. These are powerful teachings.

    I teach this now, to anyone–how to manifest our way forward, regardless of ANYTHING. Most everyone I know feels oppressed on some level, trapped by whatever circumstances are double-binding them.

    Just last night, I gave a class where we talked about the pitfalls of money in our society, where I remind people of something called “innate abundance.” This concept served me more than I can express. It is greater than money and everyone has it, if they can access it within themselves. From this innate abundance, money will manifest when we need it, as well as anything else.

    But in this mindset, we do not give power to money over anything else. The power is in knowing our innate abundance, and that takes deep healing if we’ve experienced the kind of trauma we’re talking about here. Still, this is where we can beat those odds, every time. So far, I know of no other way.

  • Beautiful, Michael, letter perfect, imo.

    “The same unacknowledged unconscious inner fear that prompts a politician to induce fear in others via projective identification, also prompts the diagnosing “mental health” clinician to need to have the emotionally suffering person in front of them to embody the clinician’s fear of their own emotional suffering, so the clinician can safely go on telling themselves that they are beyond ever feeling the emotional pain that they diagnose in others.”

    Yes! And so the client gets a double dose. They then have not only their fear and whatever else they are bringing to address within themselves, but now also, on top of that, they are vulnerable to carrying whatever is not owned by the clinician and projected onto the client. That is exactly what the current paradigm allows and has become the practiced norm, and which I feel is THE vital core issue which is in need of shifting. From this stems everything–the drugging, the marginalizing, the re-traumatization, etc., and especially the notion that these are lifelong chronic issues, which I do not believe this at all needs to be the case.

    But if a client is faced with these projections week after week and year after year without realizing it (and often it is so subtle that it’s hard to catch if one is feeling dependence, and also if it is the familiar), then, indeed, this can create a chronic lifelong issue. That is trauma upon trauma upon trauma, which is what eats away at people until they get out of that situation and make necessary changes to their beliefs about themselves.

    That is exactly what I had to do in order to find my clarity again, and as a result, my energy shifted so much that my entire world around me changed because I was attracting new energy into my life– more respect, along with self-responsible and conscientious people. It was amazing to see how the internal shifting changed my reality so drastically.

    I feel very encouraged from the clarity you put forth here. Thank you!

  • I think one of the issues many have had in the mh system is having to deal with a plethora of clinical projections that often occur after speaking one’s personal truth.

    The hard part is that the stigma which is born from these all-too-common prejudices creates social and professional marginalization, regardless of a person’s ability to not identify with the projection on a personal level. Yes, projections are about the projector. And still, this dynamic can ruin innocent lives, and it has. Truth speaking is an act of integrity, and for the reasons I give above, I see it as courage personified.

    While I certainly don’t expect it to always go down well when I speak my truth, I believe it’s the way out of oppression, and I defer to the higher power of the universe for validation by what unfolds for me next.

    The film I made several years ago, Voices That Heal, was intended to create a new dialogue, but instead, it just pissed off the system and alienated me further from it. Ok, lesson learned. I get now what happens when one mirrors the system and speaks one’s truth in that direction. It’s not pretty!

    And at the same time, my path of transformation and freedom was laid out for me unequivocally thanks to having spoken my truth of the matter clearly and directly. Because I made it a point to not identify with the projections which came at me from some when I spoke publically about my journey, and instead, followed the guidance of this higher power, I learned to once again trust the process of life.

  • I agree with ParaPatty, this *is* a good one, Michael. And I think this article is particularly timely and relevant because you are cracking an important code.

    “Understanding that negative projective identifications are happening helps me to keep my balance and perspective. That search for balance and perspective looks to be very necessary while going forward each day into the tumultuous future ahead.”

    Yes, indeed, we need our most powerful tools and inner resourcefulness to navigate the current and upcoming conditions. We are changing, and it’s been a long time coming.

    In addition to perspective and balance, I would add speaking the truth of our heart as one of our most powerful inner resources which can help move things along with clarity and integrity. I value and respect very highly transparency and authenticity because they trump gaslighting.

  • “Don’t take it personally” was a response I ran into repeatedly from tons of people in the “mh” world, from therapists to professional advocates. It’s like a motto or philosophy, in order to avoid. Talk about a cop out!

    And indeed, it is one-way, because they seem to take EVERYTHING so darn personally. Therapists will not take feedback, and they HATE it when you terminate with them. They feel personally rejected, rather than seeing it through a professional lens, like any other business which serves clients would normally do. It’s crazy-making.

    “Don’t take it personally” means there will be no change because nothing will be looked at on a deeper level, which is what is supposed to happen in so-called “therapy. It is a completely inappropriate response because it is a personal judgment which the therapist is attempting to project onto the client, and it has nothing to do with healing. This response serves only to appease the status quo of any system.

    This is how abuse gets enabled and dysfunctional systems remain unchallenged. It is, in fact, a form of gaslighting, so it is abusive, in and of itself, in this context of “therapy.” It’s also incompetent.

    I knew a “professional advocate” who would say this to people complaining about blatant discrimination and double-binding in the mh and social services industry–as in, don’t you dare complain about how you are being treated or there will be consequences. Don’t take it personally??? That’s not even the point of the grievance.

    I guess it’s just too much trouble to make change happen by actually challenging abuse and discrimination head on and calling it out as it occurs. We’ll just stay mad and wounded from it and complain about it forever, together in unison. But please, and this above all–don’t take it personally!

  • Just one thing I wanted to add here that occurred to me as I was thinking about this a bit, and I felt this thought ground and relax me about this issue–

    We do go through initiation as we grow along our healer path, and facing an onslaught of aggressive invalidation is the best way I can think of to truly face our shadow and be strong and clear in our sense of self; not take it on, but instead, it further illuminates our path. Our inner voice and knowingness are way more powerful than outside opinion and judgments, and I believe the universe mirrors that back to us unmistakably.

    As an activist and truth-speaker (and when I say this, I don’t mean THE truth, who knows about that? I mean MY truth, I am transparent with this more than most, it’s how I walk my talk), I’ve had this happen repeatedly, where I am challenged by harsh judgment, yet something really good and expansive happens in my life and I end up getting what I want in the most unusual ways, because I am in my truth with integrity, regardless of anything. Doesn’t matter what others think and project onto me, this is between me and my higher self. This is how I know the correct path to follow for myself, which voice to trust.

    Who can trust outside voices in an ocean of illusion, deceit, and resistance, through all of those filters, projections, and programs? This is smoke and mirrors corruption, all avoidance of truth. I know that I certainly carried these programs at one time, it is how I grew up, this was the belief system in my family and culture, and it dictated the relationship and group dynamics in my family–which is how I got into that mess to begin with. But my experience with “the system” woke me up and I had to deprogram, pure and simple. That was the big healing, where I became totally and completely free.

    Social brainwashing is similar to cult thinking, mob mentality, etc. It’s hard to break those old thought and belief habits, all based on seeking approval and a sense of belonging (not to mention fear of consequences for breaking away from this). But that is true change and transformation to individuate from this and stand one’s ground in the midst of resistance. That was the best option I had along my path, and thankfully it paid off. I didn’t know what to expect when I was in the middle of all that and following this path of new information and perspective. I just had to trust with each step forward, gaining clarity as I went along. Radical change was inevitable, it had to be, for the sake of living the life I wanted to live.

    That’s why we’re here, at least to me this is what activism is about, and especially so in this particular arena–to challenge those programs of social invalidation and bust them up inside and out, taking back our power and calling out their shit. That’s great healing! Lots of far-reaching rippling change occurs in that scenario, like dominoes in many directions.

  • “Gaslighting, or manipulating people into questioning their own sanity, applies here as people are often ridiculed, put down, ostracized or abandoned for trying alternative treatments. This is usually after psychiatric drugs made them too sick to engage with life.”

    Thank you, Chaya, I’d never seen it put so directly like this and it totally reflects my experience.

    I was on the psych drugs for 20 years, functioning ok in life yet of course dependent on them and on psychotherapy with chronic side effects, which came and went and for which more drugs would be added, as is the way. Eventually my system broke down completely from the toxic build-up and compromised all my major organs, including my brain, of course.

    Then I did my big shift and went from the drugs and “mental health” anything to herbs, grounding, natural healing, energy work, etc., the whole paradigm shift. After getting off the drugs I was able to do theater, a new skill I had no idea I had in me, then built my practice, then made a couple of films, and then moved to the woods, started a band, live peaceably now and in good health, doing good work in the world with partners, all thanks to God and some wonderfully supportive people in my life who witnessed my healing journey. I went from night to day within a few years and am thriving now, entirely due to this blatant shift I made away from psych drugs and “therapy” after years and years of these.

    And you would not believe the way my healing, work, path, and truth have been invalidated as I very visibly healed and transformed my life. Or maybe you would, I guess, it seems you know what I’m talking about, from what you write here. Not only gaslighting, and very cruel and sabotaging, but I also feel it is delusional, about as far away from truth as one can get because it completely lacks reason and foundation, as well as heart–a rabbit hole of negative projections. Par for the course, which is why I condemn the field.

    The fact that I healed as I did and manifested a new life with tools other than what “mental health, inc.” had to offer–which for me was both medically and socially very profoundly toxic and from which I had to heal, specifically–challenged the beliefs of those around me, and apparently, it is too much truth for some to handle. That’s how I’m seeing it at this point. It is vampiristic, as well as relentless resistance to change. Thank you for calling it out.

  • Of course no offense taken, LavenderSage, we are different spirits and we have different experiences of emotion and how we channel them. I believe that is the diversity of the human experience, on the whole. It’s why, when it comes to healing, one size doesn’t fit all in any respect.

    I do agree that destruction is a step to transformation. My personal preference is to bring light in order to create, and when shadow lights up along the path of creation, it only serves to keep lighting up the path to the new while the old caves in on itself from its own sabotage energy and renders itself obsolete. For me, personally, that is more fulfilling and it’s kind of a catch-all, takes care of everything at once. But I do believe that to allow for the new, the old must be released, or at the very least, transmuted.

    When it comes to social transformation, the way we talk about in here, I believe we each have a role in this, and we end up playing the roles which we are most naturally inclined to play, based on who we are and what we believe, and to where our life path has taken us so far.

    I also believe this is flexible, we can change roles if we want to. Our perspectives can shift drastically during a transformational process.

  • For the record, I am going to disagree with the notion that rage is, BY DEFINITION, blinding. I do see, LavenderSage, that you wrote that for you this is the case, and I know you are not alone in this, but I do not feel this is universal, and I think that’s important to say, for reasons of permission.

    I believe rage can be channeled in a way that is creative only, and neither destructive nor hurtful. Although sometimes the truth might feel painful, initially, but that is not the same as someone deliberately hurting another, in order to avoid their own feelings. When we smart from the truth, healing opportunities are before us.

    I’m not talking about just anger or righteous indignation. I know what rage feels like. The system relentlessly attempted to render me powerless and they were damn stubborn about it. Reason never, ever worked, so I fought and healed my way out of that, but they did not make it easy.

    However, it did lead to my true soul path, so I have gratitude for my experience and see it for what it is. But there is residue from all that crap, as we know. I’ve turned it into my life’s work.

    I’ve also had a process of waking up to sabotage from my own family, which they never got that this was wrong, on their part, they would first, deny, and then, justify it. And even my partner caused me energy-draining grief in many ways. We’ve since worked it out, that took years of deep healing work separately and together, and now we work together in our creative business, in service.

    But these awakenings and the absolute stubborn refusal on the part of abusive vampires to change, even when it is SO OBVIOUS what is going on and clearly what these relationship dynamics are all about, all of that together piled up as a huge fireball of rage in me, and it was under my skin for years, causing minor health issues here and there which were easy to address naturally. But I knew it indicated I still had some leftover energy from all this running around my body, this is insidious energy.

    But my mind was clearing up and my heart was healing, so I never, ever took it out on someone else randomly nor did I ever destroy anything. I was crazy with rage, but never blind. Letting out a scream in a neutral and safe direction feels good to me, but I know what I’m feeling and why, and what I’m wanting to say about it, once I find the words and relax my nervous system a bit.

    I usually know exactly what I want to say that is truthful, but the challenge is finding words that others are willing to hear in a tone of voice which will not intimidate them, and then they have to be willing to look at themselves in the mirror but I don’t have control over that. My job is done once I’ve spoken my truth.

    That can be a helluva challenge, and often quite impossible to be heard, for a lot of reasons. But if I were to get enraged every time this happens, then I am giving away my power. I’ve learned to see it from a different perspective now, as the guides doing their work. There is light on every situation, if you can find it, feel it, and follow that thread. I imagine you know what I mean here, I’ve seen you talk about energy and shields, etc. I work with the guides, part of my process.

  • Yes, it is super easy and by law they cannot refuse. You do have to sign a release, however.

    I called this case manager and said I wanted a copy of my notes, and then went to the front desk where a release had been prepared for me to sign, and they gave me a manila envelope marked “confidential,” with my entire history of case notes.

    When I read them, I realized they showed not only an extreme distortion of me, but also, a whole host of projections coming from this case manager, which explained why I had been feeling so increasingly uncomfortable with him in this weird and murky way, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I just knew he was saying off-base things, and wouldn’t seem to budge when I reflected this back. It was more than merely aggravating, it was rather disorienting.

    When I read the notes, it became clear to me why I was feeling what I was feeling. Those notes were like the scarlet letter “A” of stigma, and only that. I did not see myself in them, but instead, saw the dark heart of this clinician, as well as his delusional version of reality. Unmistakable.

    If someone perceives me inaccurately based on projections (and this is easy to tell, I know myself well enough to tell when I’m being projected onto), then I would say that their entire perceptions of reality and of humanity are distorted. They’re not seeing me, they’re not seeing themselves, so through what filters are these clinicians perceiving people? I believe we all know the answer to that question.

    What garbage. Although it is dangerous and seriously damaging for people–and a rampant practice–which is why I’m talking about this.

  • I don’t know any activists who do not experience rage, and in fact, I believe that when we can focus, that rage is what fuels activism, in general. Activism begins with feelings of powerlessness, which is where I believe the rage originates. This is why we fight back, to regain our power.

    There’s always the option of communicating the rage, using our voice to speak our truth. I think when we are focused and know exactly what is causing us to feel the rage, and when we can take a moment to find the words to express exactly what we’d want to say, opportunities open up for expressing ourselves in a way that feels relieving.

    For example, I’ve used Yelp on several occasions to communicate in hindsight to clinicians and agencies who caused me to feel enraged. The trauma caused by these places and the fact that we’re talking about a closed system makes it tricky, which is why the rage builds up. And more than likely, there is no response to expect.

    Still, it has definitely made me feel better in the long run, because once I say what I wanted to say to the person I wanted to say it to (or I do the best I can in this regard), I definitely feel a release of this, it’s not so intense any longer. I get a lot of clarity after this, and a bit of peace.

    This is the review I left for my last and final “case manager/therapist” before totally leaving the system behind. This was a few years after the fact, given that this kind of post-traumatic stress does take a while to heal so we can find the clarity we need to finally get the picture, the truth of what happened–

    “My experience with “Mission Mental Health” was abysmal and only created further trauma for me, out of sheer frustration with a dishonest, betraying, and backstabbing “case manager/therapist.” Basically, emotionally abusive. I found this out when I requested my case notes, which is everyone’s legal right to do. I highly recommend checking out what your “therapist” is writing down about you, and NOT discussing with you.”

    My intention was for this to ripple and awaken people to their power of having the option to request their case notes, and to hopefully recognize when they are being gaslighted and betrayed, so they can save themselves from all that. I have gotten 1 “useful” vote so far on this review, so at least I know I was heard. My hope is that everyone requests a copy of their notes as one way to take charge of these power-imbalanced clinical relationships.

  • This is a superb article, rings true in every way to me. Thank you for posting this, disequilibrium1. A couple of passages that especially stood out for me:

    “The worst, most damaging bout was group therapy led by a disdainful psychologist and a syrupy psychiatric nurse. Clients were encouraged to bring-your-own-whine, though often answered with bruising dismissals. The nurse announced ‘something about you makes me want to kick you.'”

    So similar to my experience in a group once, many years ago, where a psychotherapist said to a 60-year-old-man (a gentle and wise old soul who identified as “disabled”) complaining about bully abuse and rampant theft in his public housing situation, “Take your meds and don’t make waves.”

    And this–

    “So I’m left to untangle this large knot left by so-called treatments. I feel hoodwinked. I combed professional literature and was dismayed by the denigration of unsuccessful clients and the limited discussion about harmful therapy. We’re labeled resistant, and our dissatisfaction is labeled as transference. Or we’re conflating our internal pain with an external relationship. Or we’re difficult cases who don’t want to change or too unstable to be redeemed. There’s scarce conjecture I reacted sanely to my therapists’ distortions. As I read how therapists are trained to think, attitudes toward difficult cases, and the defensiveness toward official complaints, it’s clear why therapy left me feeling worse.”

    Absolutely correct.

  • Read this satirical yet truthful (in its message) article, which makes a very clear point about gas-lighting from the White House, and you’ll see why lack of trust in others is justified in this day and age.

    Here is a picture of the emperor with no clothes, all his cronies, gatekeepers and minions around him (that he is using only to throw away when they are no longer useful) speaking from their well-practiced scripts. Indeed, it is fiction, but I believe it is based on a powerful and evident truth we are experiencing right now, as so many of us see it.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-shot-michael-cohen-broad-080038116.html

    The good news about all of this, imo, is that it seems the codes have been cracked. We see it, are calling it out, and not taking it anymore. This is the Great Awakening from the ever-illusory “American Dream.” Now we can get real, once and for all.

  • Trauma can compromise our feeling of safety in the world because it creates neural pathways that signal “terror” to the body, based on past time events. Healing trauma means not only coming fully into present time and discovering long suppressed aspects of ourselves, but it also means re-routing neural pathways so that we can discern what is internal vs. that which is external.

    “Is the fear justified or am I reliving trauma?” That is very powerful in depth inner work to be done, and in doing so, the body and mind come to work in synchronicity, rather than split and in conflict with each other. That is where we can feel our power, and where we will know our wisdom, without a doubt. Takes time, patience, and integrity.

    We can know whether or not we are on our path with each step, if we tune into our intuition, above and beyond fear. That is where we find our path to healing and relief, following our emotional signals along the way. Discern as you go, see what happens.

    The only thing I know to trust inherently is my own process and that which is greater than myself, which is where I find my peace and inner guidance. Call it The Universe, God, Source energy, whatever you wish.

    That energy speaks through everyone, we are all aspects of this one collective consciousness. It is up to us to discern when we are being tricked vs. when truth is being revealed. Often, it is the same thing and when this clicks, we are on our power.

    I agree with you. It is hard to trust people. Although I have learned to refrain from judging because one thing I know with certainty is that our society is filled with the walking wounded, and that can make people all sorts of crazy, especially right now, when our country is covered in a haze of toxic smoke–literally and figuratively. This is the time to heal, for one’s own salvation. Our society is crumbling big time. Watch the news lately?

    But I do trust my own sense of truth, that is my intuition. And I can feel this in my body with clarity when I am in synch with myself, following my own truth and no one else’s. Trusting my process.

  • I believe that in the human experience, regardless of who we are or what is our cultural or social identity, accessing our own innate wisdom and making moment to moment choices is how we (in the world) can move forward in any respect. Relying on others for their information creates dependence. Relying on others to do the work on our behalf is equal to giving away one’s power.

    Self-empowerment comes from trusting our own unique path guided by our own unique inner voice. Life brings people together as it does. Trying to manipulate or control others via deceit and misrepresentation (fraud) is how the system was created.

    We access our own wisdom by healing ourselves. I believe everyone has this capacity. It’s just a matter of discovering it. That is what I would call taking the journey of life, growth, and evolution. I can’t think of a single exception to this. I believe it applies to everyone.

  • “I believe there is a certain journey or life mission that we each have. Sometimes it can be hard to even put into words. It can be a complicated mission. If there is any way to access or remember what that soul mission is, and articulate it in some form, even if it is not in words, it can help get some perspective on psychiatric drug withdrawal.”

    Truth! Soul growth, soul mission, soul family–the entire purpose of going through the dark night of the soul, to have our deepest, most creative and fulfilling experience of life. Quite the journey, and not for the faint of heart. This all speaks to me unequivocally. You’ve articulated it beautifully, Chaya, as usual.

    “Having a witness to the soul path can also be hugely beneficial, especially in breaking out of the identified patient role”

    Fwiw, I love following your journey, and this article in particular moved me to tears. Brilliant work, inspiring all the way. Perfect way to start my day, thank you.

    Keep shining your healing light of truth, Chaya. I see it and feel it, truly. What a gift to the world you are, and I mean that most sincerely. You are bringing such healing to the planet. I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg. Really awesome!

  • P.S. This is all I can offer on a limited venue like this. If you really want to learn more in depth about energy and how to apply these principles to healing, either post your contact info (do you have a website?) or feel free to contact me through Steve. He can forward your email to me and I’ll write you back. I do have Skype, if you want to talk face to face. I imagine that would cut through the static we experience in online written communication.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Shaun. Indeed, we are all having our journeys. I’m going to once again cut to the chase here.

    I don’t know if any of this will resonate with you at this point, but it’s the best I can do right now, as far as offering you what I feel might be new information. If it’s not, then I apologize ahead of time for wasting your time. Hopefully, this will be something new for you to chew on, and also hopefully it will ripple to your clients.

    There’s always more, but for starters, this is the core of what I learned in my healing journey–

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the idea of light vs. density, as energy concepts. Light is free flowing and a spectrum of colors, like the rainbow; whereas density is thick and dark, like tar. These are contrasting frequencies of energy, and can even be measured in Hz.

    On a feeling level, it is quite apparent the difference. Light feels good, buoyant, and clear in the body. It is expansive and creative, and translates into feelings of joy and optimism, and our bodies and minds feel unburdened in the light, and our energy flows freely and unencumbered.

    Whereas density feels like worry, fear, doubt, shame, guilt, and intense anxiety in the body. It is constrictive, inhibiting and even undermining to energy flow. The only thing created by this is frustration, chaos, conflict, and self-sabotage.

    There’s really no gray area here, when speaking of energy, it is either one or the other. There is a continuum of frequency, the way there is a continuum of emotion, but it is either in one category or another: light or dense.

    When we talk about healing either individuals or society on the whole (one individual at a time), we are talking about healing density, of transforming it into light. That’s the idea—transformation. This is accomplished by transmuting energy, which is how frequency is raised, and this is what brings relief to our minds and bodies.

    Emotionally speaking, we look to transmute despair into hope, the relief of which is where we feel healing (change) occurring. This is exactly how we alleviate suffering. That is a process, taken one step at a time. Quantum leaps are possible, but they can be rugged. Best to find ease in the flow of healing, which would mean radical self-care and practicing great patience and trust. That, alone, is healing.

    Truth-speaking sheds light on the dark, because truth is light energy. Deception, duplicity, fraud, and corruption are pure density. And think about it—wouldn’t anyone lying, somewhere in their consciousness, feel ‘worried’ about being caught? And wouldn’t their fear be that they would feel shame and humiliation? That is why density is now on the run, people are no longer taking on these projections. The entire country is truth-speaking at this point. Everyone who is aware of it now (and that’s a lot of people during this time of mass awakening) is sick and tired of the lies, deceit and corruption–the density which has been running our world.

    Awakening is not a one-time event. We awaken repeatedly, in layers and over time, because what we’ve absorbed from living and operating in such density as our society has become, is in our cells, and that can take a while to work its way out, depending on one’s healing process.

    Density is what blocks healing (energy flow), so there is paradox here to ascend, which is wonderful consciousness expansion. Not always easy, but highly invaluable to our personal growth and evolution.

    But to feel our own light, aka self-healing power, it is vital we walk our talk. That is synchronicity in the body, and that is what ripples most powerfully and clearly, like a stream of light. Integrity is pure light, in human form.

    Ok, that’s the best I’ve got right now. I hope at least some of it rings true. Take good care of yourself, and all the best to you. And I sincerely mean that.

  • Nancy, I really love your exploration about the diverse advantages and applications of meditation. I’ve had a daily meditation practice for over 15 years now, and it is what helped me most to heal from the various injuries I incurred from the mh system, including temporary brain damage (and other organs) after I withdrew from psych drugs after 20 years. Not to mention, the chronic ruminations caused by too much psychotherapy. I could not shut off my brain, and that is an energy drainer.

    I’ve learned different kinds of meditation over the years, and am trained in chakra meditation, which I learned in a psychic healing program years ago, to see our own energy and work with it in a way that is supportive to our holistic well-being. I believe we are our own healers.

    I have also found it valuable in the process of creating and manifesting. Learning to quiet the mind allows us to hear our higher self/inner guidance/inner healer, so we are not dependent on others and we know our resources at all times.

    I find that daily meditation aligns me in such a way that what I need manifests on my path when I need it. No more feelings of lack or deprivation, but only abundance when we integrate with our spirit energy and higher self awareness. It is a robust feeling like no other I know, and with practice, it can become a constant, no matter what is occurring around us. True serenity, the calm in the storm.

    Although, of course, being human and all, I still most definitely feel and express my emotions, which I value highly, it is the core of our truth. But thanks to meditation, I’ve learned to enjoy my emotions, as creative and guiding tools, rather than to feel overwhelmed by them or self-conscious for expressing them. Much in opposition to what I feel the system doles out, there is absolutely no shame in having emotions! In fact, we would not be human without them.

    Thank you for your beautiful testimonial, which I’ll repost here because I believe it bears repeating–

    “Meditation it is not merely about watching your breath. There is so much depth to it than that – for example, meditation enables you to get to know your own mind (i.e., to develop self-knowledge), and to cultivate wisdom. Also, when we practice meditation, we are able to understand how we are attempting to find happiness through mere autopilot striving and reacting to stimuli, as well as the difference between hedonic happiness (which involves short term happiness that come from fulfilling sensory pleasures) and eudemonic happiness (which is about cultivating contentment and wisdom).
    Also, in contrast to what you say, meditation is not about ‘instant nirvana’ – it is a slow process of gradually cultivating understanding.”

  • “Seems to me you might feel this way because I haven’t concluded like you have that the system needs to be abolished” is yet another projection because I’m not trying to convince you of anything, but more so, to hear what I am saying in the moment and to treat my perspective and information with respect rather than saying things like “you obviously don’t understand…” yadayada, which implies I don’t know what I’m talking about, when in fact, I most certainly do! Otherwise, my journey was completely meaningless and useless, which is neither truth, nor acceptable to me. In this venue of all venues, the voice of experience should most definitely be respected, and not dismissed. This is exactly what we’re trying to reverse, right here.

    Yes, I am saying the system is getting worse, because it is increasingly apparent that it cannot take the feedback it needs to hear. It has been a failure for a long time, people have been saying this and with plenty of evidence and powerful testimonials, and it keeps trying to chug along, draining us all along the way.

    Money for this research and that research and all this stuff that we already know, all for grant money. I think it’s a bad investment because it does not serve those who it needs to serve–the clients. It only serves to make academics richer, which is what drives the system.

    ALL about money, at everyone else’s expense. Because most of this research is meaningless and trickles down to nowhere. Fat cats getting fatter.

    So yes, you read me correctly here: it is abysmal, from my perspective, and failing society terribly, on the whole.

    What we are talking about here is so, so, so much bigger than merely introducing a new “treatment option” or “healing modality.” We’re talking about systemic abuse, marginalizing perspectives and practices, and the head-scratching and maddening legality of it all. This involves other entities (all part of the “bigger system,” so to speak), all of which collude against the human heart and spirit, for their own gain and profit.

    I believe by now, this is evident to most people on the planet. Certainly outside of the very small bubble of the mh industry, this is common knowledge.

    Are you aware of how the mh industry is not in the slightest representative of how most people perceive reality? It is in a world unto itself, and most people whom I know realize this already! Even before I tell them my story. They’re not terribly surprised when I express my disdain for the mh and social services systems, and at that same time, they are aghast when they hear my story, go figure.

    And that is a reasonable response, it is a ghastly experience to be subjected to this kind of inhuman treatment!

    The mh industry is, to such a large degree, “horror stories from the mh industrial crypt,” and that can be truly mind-boggling to the everyday person, to hear the details of how this occurs. So we all know to avoid it at all cost.

    As you and I have agreed, healing is available in many forms and fashions. There are myriad ways to *tap* into the unconscious in order to unearth trauma and shift the energy of it, for relief and clarity. But in the context of “the system,” any modality of healing is sorely compromised by the bigger picture of systemic corruption.

    “What information am I missing? You imply that I’m ignorant of something. It seems to me you might feel this way because I haven’t concluded like you have that the system needs to be abolished.”

    You are drawing a false conclusion here, and that is the third blatant projection I am seeing in this dialogue, which is exactly what I’m talking about when I criticize psychotherapy and suggest it needs to be accompanied by a warning–it’s just way too easy and second nature to do this, until we make it a point to see it in ourselves before we unwittingly project it onto others. That can confuse and disorient a client faster and more profoundly than anything, leading to all sorts of chronic rumination and post traumatic stress.

    I do believe, however, that you are missing information, and from my experience, you don’t want to hear that. Ok, go forth, and tomorrow you might see that today, you were, indeed, missing information!

    We’re all ignorant about that which we have yet to learn, you’re not alone. Same applies to me. I do think I have a much broader perspective than you do around these issues. Again, maybe I’m wrong, but that is my feeling, based on these dialogues. You’ve never been on the inside of it, to my knowledge, so you would indeed be missing that information. The information of truth comes from experience, not outside observation.

    No reason to be “offended” if you feel ignorant, that is a neutral quality we all share, until we learn that about which we’ve been ignorant. To me, that is the essence of humility.

    And thank you, as well, I feel complete here, and at peace with it all. Keep going!

  • ” It makes me think you don’t understand EMDR or it’s philosophy.”

    Ok, first of all, let me tag that as a projection. I certainly do understand Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and I also know it’s been around for a long time. I know people who have benefitted from it, starting in the late 90s.

    “you seriously think that changes like offering EMDR is a sign that the system is getting worse? Please, I don’t get that logic at all.”

    What I find illogical here is yet another projection you make. I never said that the EMDR is a sign that the system is getting worse; those “signs” are in society and the overwhelming negative feedback the system gets. EMDR is separate from this issue. Your harping on it the way you do does not equal the power of change.

    “I tend to fall on the side that we’ve done some good but also a lot of harm.”

    If people feel the system has done them good, more power to them. The fact that it’s done “a lot of harm” is the dominant perspective here. So, I’d say “enter at your own risk” would be an appropriate phrase.

    We’d also need official warnings posted in every therapist’s office, too, if we are to offer informed consent: “psychotherapy may cause suicidal feelings and post traumatic stress.” Because that is absolutely true. Maybe not in all cases, but in a lot of cases this has already proven to be accurate, and people have the right to know this.

    Shaun, I sincerely and with my heart applaud your efforts to bring relief and clarity to your clients. Perhaps in your community, you are progressive and conscientious, and so therefore you can help bring about change for the good of everyone concerned. I can’t say one way or another. But I’d cheer you on in that process, while honestly reflecting back where I feel you are missing information. That would be up to you to either take to heart what I say or dismiss it. Your choice, your reality.

    Right now, I’d say keep going and keep an open mind. You’ll discover interesting and perhaps eye-opening things on a daily basis. Life will teach you what you are meant to learn, as it does with us all. I’m sure of it.

  • “I’ll just point out that if the DSM and drugs weren’t in the picture, there is no way we’d be in this mess with iatrogenic effects, dehumanization, and pathologizing human suffering.”

    But they are in the picture at present, and you are talking to someone who experienced all of this first hand. This is from where I am getting my truth about it. That, and having been on your side of things, too. I am familiar with both perspectives, from a first person point of view, and my truth comes from having integrated both perspectives of my experience. I feel this gives me a very broad perspective.

    Not only has this been my direct experience, all that you mention here re DSM and psych drugs, but I got out of all this a while back and have been processing through it for clarity and very deep information for years, and with others, and I call the result of this “my truth.” You can assess it as you wish, and hopefully not project anything further onto my experience, although I have no control over that. Although I do inherently have the power to not take it on. That is my choice, and I am not in any way dependent on you, not even on your opinion. That is simply the truth of the matter.

    I hear you that you feel EMDR is a viable healing tool, and I’m not arguing with that. I’ve said this twice, already, and very clearly and directly. But I seriously doubt it’s going to save the system. Still, if it helps clients, then go for it, is all else I’ll say about that.

    The framework of the DSM and the systemic dependence on psych drugs as a tool for anything are SYMPTOMS of a much deeper issue at hand, a societal issue amounting to oppression and control, and it is not only misleading, it is also downright fraudulent to call this “healing” or “support” of any kind. I believe this begins with specific personalities who are drawn to this field.

    Yes, people want to help others, and that’s fine. But I think they discover something about themselves when they come face to face with clients, and that’s when the denial, projections, and dysfunctional power-imbalanced relationship dynamic begins. The abuse can be subtle and insidious on this level, and it can go on for a while before a client realizes they are being gaslighted and manipulated, to line the pocket book and feed the ego needs of the clinician. That is so common in this field!

    Thousands and thousands of testimonials have corroborated this. Are you going to dismiss them all as merely “subjective?” They still have the power of truth and experience behind them. Put them all together and you get a very clear picture of something terribly amiss here that goes beyond DSM and psych drugs.

    And THAT is where therapy can be extremely dangerous and most harmful to unsuspecting clients.

    “The system in some ways is changing for the better.”

    I totally disagree with this, I believe it is getting worse. I’ve seen “changes” happen that, in reality, amount to more of the same. These are illusions to appease funders. And funding groups change their mind and focus all the time, arbitrarily, and no one is going to stand up to funders and go against their bread & butter. This is why, in reality and despite the pretense of change, nothing ever gets done.

    There are increasingly more and more and more and more socially, financially, and professionally disenfranchised people every day, just look around. I believe this is the product of your “system,” which you defend on some level.

    Again, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, and wait until history tells the story in hindsight. But, at this time, I do wholeheartedly and in my gut completely believe the reality I am putting forth about this. I’m fine with being wrong about it, and I would applaud anyone who actually FIXES this system.

    However, I do believe I am right and speaking truth here, and I honestly do not believe that the system can be fixed, in any way shape or form, because it is already a black hole. It is sabotaging itself bit by bit, day by day, as is the case with toxic systems. They eventually self-destruct, their own shadow turning against them because it is never owned. We’ll see how this unfolds…

  • “We need a paradigm shift…”

    Yes, we do. And I believe it is a much broader and core shift than what you are describing.

    I agree that we are all fragile and vulnerable, and at the same time, we are all resilient and powerful. That is what I call “being abundantly human.” This is how we grow and integrate as we go along in life, exercising all sides of ourselves, hiding from nothing about who we really are. That is the exploration of our spirit, the journey of life, as I see it.

    And I also believe that what we manifest for ourselves along the way is the precise reflection of how we are doing in this regard, where we can validate ourselves and where we can learn and grow. This is how life mirrors us, and we can use that mirroring as our most powerful guidance and tool for growth. Or, we can simply blame life or others for our plight, and see what manifests from that. It is a choice we all make from moment to moment, involving trial and error. Again, that’s life.

    Personally, however, I’d stay far away from any of these systems–mh system, social services, the entire mh industrial complex–for the purpose of achieving healing, personal growth and spirit/body/mind integration, and I know you already know I feel this way. But I’m happy to reiterate it.

    From my experience in the system and also working with social workers in a teaching capacity (I’ve given workshops to social workers et al), I believe wholeheartedly and with certainty that they lack the training and perspective necessary for holding a safe space for growth and healing. Being loyal to the system will simply not allow it, so it is stressful to all concerned.

    I believe the agenda in the system and all that world is entirely different, at the core, has nothing to do with healing and rehabilitation, and it is of course virtually always denied that this is the case. Of course it would, that is the essence of “corruption.” I see it as blatant criminal fraud.

    Again, it’s why I call it “toxic,” most accurate word I can think of to describe such a system so stuck in its own self-aggrandized delusions, and claiming it can help others in their quest for clarity and well-being.

    You are certainly free to disagree with me, based on YOUR experience, if that is what you feel. And from your posts and our previous dialogues, it seems that we are simply not in agreement here, because you seem to insist that the system/field can be reformed, and I’m saying it is beyond repair and doing way more harm than good, in any respect, way beyond the issues of DSM and psych drugs. I believe it is philosophically misguided and vampiring society at large.

    If we are not in agreement here, and I imagine we are not, then we’d just have to agree to disagree, and I’m ok with that.

  • “The larger truth is that -all- of mental health, inc. is often (usually) damaging, sometimes to the point of death.”

    Yes, I agree that this is the larger truth. The mh industry has proven to be extremely dangerous and even fatal for way too many people for it to have any credibility as “well-being support services.” I perceive it to be a colossal failure, and sabotaging to individuals and society on the whole. And we’re paying for it big time.

    There are many paths to true and authentic healing available in the world already that have absolutely nothing to do with the academic study of “psychology,” which, in the end, is merely a thinly veiled exercise in creating nothing more than holograms and illusions to serve a few unenlightened greedy and power-drunk self-proclaimed so-called “elite” groups, at the extreme expense of everyone else.

  • Stephen, what do you do when you witness this peer-to-client abuse? Wouldn’t you be mandated to report this? Or any abuse, for that matter?

    I’m very curious because it would seem that reporting in-house abuse would be a powerful strategy against it. I know that there are all sorts of resistances to abuse claims in the system, and I’m also aware that this kind of reporting could lead to consequences in a toxic system. But that resistance has to be broken down somehow. Otherwise, the abuse perpetuates.

    It’s hard enough for abuse victims to get their voices heard, but when teamed up with a witness, that can make all the difference.

  • This is really beautiful feedback, Mike, thank you for your kind words, and also for writing about the life force power of creativity as you do.

    My belief is that life is creativity and creativity is life. We’re all creative beings; we can’t help it, it is our nature. The only thing created by stifling creativity is suffering.

    Yes, you get my meaning perfectly, talking about Rollo May’s perspective. This is my belief as well.

  • From my perspective it is common anywhere within the bubble of the “mh” industry, and I believe it is a core systemic issue. Has to do with how we communicate in relationship to others.

    The ability to communicate directly, clearly, authentically, sensitively, and universally respectfully–which also includes how we listen to and take in the truth of another–is vital to therapeutic relationships. These are relationship dynamics which are necessary to do the job effectively, if any healing is to occur as the result of this relationship. In my experience, clinicians who have this ability are needles in a haystack, and that concerns me as far as the overall industry goes, where I just don’t see change happening, regardless of anything. Which is why I bring it up. This doesn’t come from education or training or supervision, but more from personal heart instincts, just knowing inherently how to treat others. Some people have a knack for it, others do not. I believe that is fair and neutral to say, like with any skill.

    But a clinician who does not have this kind of communication and relationship skill, and who believes he/she does, can be very dangerous to an unsuspecting client! I believe this goes without saying, it stands to reason. And I believe there are a lot out there who fit this description, we talk all the time on here about this. Not being able to take feedback and getting defensive about it is quite common, I believe we all agree on this from experience, and it is a powerful tell in this regard. That’s a huge problem!

    Regarding what takes place on here, you may not perceive it as I do–as has been my experience with moderators here in the past–so I’ll let you make that judgment call. I’m not an overseer here, that takes a lot of energy and you’d have to pay me to do something like that.

    But instead, I’m merely a volunteer participant, here simply to speak my truth in hopes of inspiring what I’d consider to be positive change, where everyone has the opportunity to know and feel their power, and not just a select few. No other agenda.

  • Fred, I don’t think it’s a matter of convincing the so-called “powers that be,” because when it comes to embodying the truth of our experience, WE are the true and real powers that be! We’ve already exercised our right to heal and the power to create change within ourselves and in our lives. These changes are still rippling.

    I think where folks like you, me, and others on here who have taken the journey and managed to beat the system, can make the most difference in the world is to own our power. If there is one thing I’m certain of, we know a very specific kind of truth, one that comes from traversing the shadows of society from a first person point of view, and surviving it to come out on the other side. It is life-changing and it shifts our perspective on just about everything.

    As we know, this very strange through-the-looking-glass trip inside “the madness of the so-called ‘mental health’ system” is a journey like no other. Lots of jewels to mine from that particular excursion through the dark night. We can share these with our own voices. I believe that’s where the power of our truth has maximum impact, because it is heartfelt and authentic. We are walking our talk.

    Everyone has their own brand of madness with which to contend, I believe no one is immune to this. Some have managed to put it off for a while by sloughing it off onto others, but I truly believe that day is coming to an end. I no longer take it on for others, and for me, that is radical change.

  • Yes, Mike and Julie, that is exactly my point. Psychiatry sabotages people–physically, emotionally, spiritually, and creatively. It is not only criminal to the individuals, but it is a crime against humanity because we need artists’ creative light more than ever now!

    I do think you’re right, Mike, a lot of envy and jealousy here for the permission and spiritual freedom which artists can embody.

    But also, I think, an artist who is grounded and who knows their center can create circles around the system, and I believe that is very threatening to the system, which shows absolutely no creativity. I find it to be rather a black hole in this regard, I’ve witnessed this in action repeatedly. It is much too rigid, authoritarian, and hierarchical. “By the book” seems to be the motto, at the very least, and that is no way to help people, but more so, to oppress them.

    I was on the drugs for 20 years and out in the world functioning, although not nearly living up to my potential. I was reasonably happy as a retail clerk-to-manager, earned a living and enjoyed life (albeit with drugs side effects and constant blood draws, dependence on therapy, etc., always paying into the system for “maintenance”) and I got a couple of degrees in the process. But the drugs wore me down over the years until I imploded from them.

    Once I was off of them for a while and healing from all that, far and away from psychiatry, suddenly, thanks to volunteer work I was doing and being in the right place at the right time, I was acting and singing on stage (never had done that before, I was in my mid 40s, getting good reviews and paid work for this), then I made a film, then a piano came into my life and I have a band for which I accompany and musically direct, and then I made another film. All I do now is create, that’s my life.

    It was hard core change for me, in mid-life, simply from coming off all those years of neurotoxins. My life literally became a burst of creativity. That’s my testimonial against neurotoxins, hard and fast.

  • That is a wonderful insight, Julie, and I agree with you in perspective and in feeling.

    Look at Oprah, she’s been completely open about her abusive childhood in a way that has helped so many people. And she’s been highly rewarded for it. Personally, I think it’s just, and I happen to believe that she is probably the one and only person I can think of who I’d consider fit for the office of POTUS, were she to decide to take on that challenge. She has her critics and no one is perfect, but overall, that is what I mean by personal transformation leading to important world change. She’d be my best public example.

    A lot of people have spring-boarded to success thanks to their hard knocks. When we make it a point to go in the other direction, we find our path.

    I just don’t think people have to necessarily suffer in the process of finding their success simply because other people resent or resist it, for whatever reason, competition or otherwise.

    That’s where I would turn the tables because sabotage of others is what I consider to be a “dark and evil” force in humanity. When we sabotage others, we only end up sabotaging ourselves. I truly believe it works that way.

  • Oh yeah–and the main way in which it is preserving the status quo, from my perspective, is by mimicking its systemic bullying practices. I believe I’ve seen other pubic grievances about this, although admittedly, this would be from my personal perspective and experience. I’ve complained about it directly to staff in the past, and in this public forum–not just on my own behalf, but because I believe I’ve witnessed this repeatedly in response to others. Naturally, I get a lot of resistance to this claim, but that is par for the course in activism. I still have the right to use my voice to speak my truth, and I believe I am being reasonable about it.

    Still, how to measure the accuracy of such a statement is not something I’d know how to do, and whether or not others would agree or argue with me about this is up for grabs, although in the past, I have been at odds with this community in regards to this issue . And I think it is kind of a public consensus type thing, because I believe that this kind of measure is often based on cultural norms, and this is a multi-cultural website in many respects.

    But given that this is a website of and for activists, I’d say it is a reasonable issue to at least bring up, and most relevant to “rethinking psychiatry.” And then let the truth, whatever it be, reveal itself. To me, that is sound and fair activism.

  • I am doing just that, vanilla. I do have a group which is exactly about that, and we’re doing it. I’ve been doing this work for a long time, and I’ve been succeeding at it little by little, changing myself, my life, helping others around me make changes within themselves and in their own lives. Not changes *I* think they should make, these are people who have the courage to make change in their own lives, not expect others around them to change on their behalf. I work with people looking to grow, the way I grow and change as I go.

    It all started with healing from what I went through in the system, and it’s rippling outward.

    As far as this not being my website, therefore who am I to have voice here regarding how things are run? Well, MIA put out a survey and then made this post, and I think the idea was for everyone to voice their perspective so that MIA can take the feedback and process it so that they can grow. That seems ok to me.

    My feedback to MIA is that I feel they are, in essence, preserving the status quo, despite the rhetoric. That’s what I think, and I wanted to put it on the table while they’re looking at the direction of MIA.

    My perspective and belief is that the only real and true agents of social change are the individuals who change and transform themselves. That is what healing is all about– change, by example. I agree with you–in what I remember reading in another post by you, I believe–that we needn’t be victims. Instead, we can use our experience to create change.

    I also agree with you that we should tend to our own gardens before throwing manure onto the garden of others. Although I have to say, you seem to be extremely critical of others. I hope you find your peace.

  • I’m referring to the survivor *perspective* which I feel takes a back seat to a “professional’s” point of view. That’s “the psychiatric survivor voice” I’m talking about, which I definitely feel gets overpowered here, the way it does in any session of dialogue with mh professionals and the like. For the most part, dialogue seems to degenerate into projections and defensiveness at best, on the part of the clinician, and at worst, gaslighting and other disorienting and energy-sucking mind games become the modus operandi for keeping truth at bay.

    I don’t see how this is either beneficial or productive in any way, other than, perhaps, for the vampiristic personality (extremely oppressive and double-binding, which is what we’re talking about here), but that can only be in the short term. In the long run, everyone loses in this dynamic–hence, the world dominated by any of these highly oppressive and draining “systems” coming apart at the seams, as it is.

  • Powerful, brilliant, and spot on, Fred. Thanks for expanding clarity here.

    Yes, what is intended as deep personal info to share for the benefit of one’s own healing and clarity, and also to benefit humanity with the clarity of our experience, turns sinister as instead, this info is used against the one generously and trustingly sharing their most challenging experiences and feelings. That is exactly the norm of psychiatry, and it is dangerous for people. To me, that’s the bottom line–in more ways than one!

  • Oh, one last thing for now, this was on my mind when I first read the article, but obviously not my priority focus here. Still, this made me LOL at first, from the ironic choice of words–

    “anything sounding like “Black people do X” or “White people are always Y” or “gay people suck”…”

    And then I did a second take and wondered why you would use X and Y for Black/White people and then a specific word like “suck” as the example for gay people, of ALL possible words! I’m very surprised that no one noticed this, with all those editors. You are all wordsmiths. We discuss so much about language, this one would seem obvious to me.

    The standard false rationale for homophobia, btw, is that we’re “immoral,” or some such projected judgment.

  • Steve, as a survivor, in every sense of the word, of the “mental health” industrial complex, I do want to say that I very much appreciate your discussion of showing sensitivity to the unique kind of trauma which survivors of the system, and of very poor and misguided (often toxic) “treatment,” have experienced–basically amounting to being “treated” badly, in a dehumanized and betraying way, simply from having some kind of diagnosis or because of socio-economic status, whatever. I’ll call it society’s collective prejudice.

    I also want to point out that, for me at least, when I share my very personal experience, it is never to hear anything like “I’m sorry you went through that,” or “that is just your experience.” I know for me, and I’d imagine for others, we are attempting to share information from the perspective of our first hand experience. I often feel these personal perspectives and insights from our own experience are dismissed in favor of some “professional opinion,” which feels dehumanizing all over again–and rather abusive, to be honest, from my perspective. I believe it is part of the systemic problem.

    Plus, I feel our personal stories–however and wherever we share them–are the most powerful and truthful perspectives BECAUSE they are based on our own experience, and not an interpretation created solely from the point of view of observing others. I believe this is where a lot of personal conflict and hard feeling happens, not to mention re-traumatization. Certainly doesn’t lead to clarity. Observation is what leads to projection, and false stigmatizing realities. The power here is in the experience, I truly believe. I also believe that this should be respected more than it is.

    I’ve experienced it on here and I’ve seen it repeatedly in dialogues, where a professional who has never experienced this particular journey of mh system survivorship–e.g., detoxing from heavy doses of neurotoxins, discriminatory oppression and marginalization, or altered states of consciousness which puts one at odds with society–will project in a way that feels demeaning all over again. It’s kind of standard procedure from what I’ve noticed. They may not even intend to, but it’s an automatic response, and I feel it merits mention because I believe people should be aware of this.

    At the same time, I’ve called out what I perceived and felt as abuse, only to be responded with, “I don’t see any abuse happening here,” which I think is pretty dicey, especially in a community like this. Reality check is one thing, but invalidating a person’s experience when they are triggered like that is downright dangerous, I firmly believe. I also believe it is cruel.

    Those of us who have gone through these experiences, and who have sorted and sifted through it all over the years, healing as we go, have information that is extremely valuable to humanity. We’ve walked the underbelly of our society, and we lived to tell about it. I know that I, at least, want to own and deliver it myself, not feed it to “those in power” so “they” can do something about it. That is exactly feeding the system and giving away our power–exactly what we want to reverse.

    I’m sure there is room for dialogue here and I know it’s all a delicate balance. We’re all human beings deserving of respect, regardless of how we identify in life. To me, it seems that even while wanting to be sensitive, there still seems to me to be a general lack of respect for survivorship here–which to me, would make it no different than the system, itself.

    This is where I’m looking for something new in these dialogues, that would really get across the value of having gone through it, rather than all this projection of “what it must feel like.” Some of us know EXACTLY what if feels like, no projections necessary! And we know exactly what we’re talking about.

    More than sensitivity, I’d like to ask for respect for my experiences. That would be positive change!

  • “They always win no matter what.”

    Well stated and to the point. Many of those who work in this field have mastered the art of “intellectual bullying,” which is insidious. It’s also dizzying, draining, quite maddening, and leads to nowhere but discouragement, frustration, and feelings of hopelessness that mutually respectful communication can ever take place here.

    Too much of that is crazy-making, and why I now feel reform of the “mental health industry” is, without a doubt, impossible. Rigid, rigid, rigid–with occasional pretenses of change, which are, in reality, merely thinly disguised infusions of more status quo. That’s its failure.

  • Of course, and I appreciate the vote of confidence. I’m sure I won’t be the only one 🙂 You seem to be fully aware of the process before you, and the challenges therein, so I’d say you’re off to a good start. Plus, you have tons of support, that is obvious.

    You’ve set some strong and well-defined boundaries which will no doubt be challenged. I think that will be the teaching and growth opportunities for all concerned, and from which deeper clarity will come. That’s where I find it most interesting because that is where the most visible energy is, the juice! Where creativity happens–that is, change.

    At this point, I’d say to someone at the stage where you are, “Trust your guidance!” Your well-honed skills will carry you through, I’ve no doubt.

  • Not at all, because I don’t know what I’d be skeptical about in this case. You’re a smart guy and you’ve been around the block, so I would imagine you are a capable moderator.

    Although the new thing here is having someone so vocal in the comments and also moderating. That’s never happened here before, and it’s interesting. As always, time will tell how you and others experience this new shift. As far as predicting anything, I feel neutral right now, overall, like I do any new thing. Wait to see how it goes.

    What is up in the air right now, in general, is the direction of MIA, and that has a lot to do with the changes coming from the survey results, too. It’s all part of the same stew at this point. I’m looking at the general overall trend of MIA right now. It is turning a corner, and we’re all wondering to where it will lead.

    *Fascinated* would be the accurate word to describe my feelings here. I observe the movement of energy. This is a big energy shift and it will cause ripples, always does because that is the nature of energy.

    I LOVE change, I really do. In fact, I live for it and I embody it. I believe it is the one thing that is constant, change is always occurring on an energetic level. So when it manifests physically like this, many “aha’s” come to light, and we see what happens next. It’s so cool! Keeps me in awe.

    I also teach about the process of change and I support that process wholeheartedly and hold a space for it, and always with fascination. It is where creativity is most supremely rich.