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Personal story: When I was in early recovery from a long term addiction and in my 20s, I went to a therapist for the very first time in my life. I was trying to rebuild a life, was young and impressionable, and was confused and needed a little help and direction. Most everyone I loved suggested getting a little therapy could help me as I navigated this new terrain. So I went to a person who was recommended, a woman, since I was also a woman, I thought this was probably a better choice for my needs. I went only once and never returned (I am thankful that my spidey senses were still intact, though I was in a very vulnerable position). We had a first session, the therapist asked all of the screening type questions they ask, you know, tell me about your family situation, are you suicidal, why are you here etc type of questions. They were broad questions and were in no way deep yet. At the end of this session, the therapist suggested that she thought I was probably highly sexualized as a child and we would be looking at this possibility in future sessions. I was confused by this comment, but left the office and got into my car and began to cry. I began to think about the “highly sexualized” comment this professional made at the end of our time together and wonder to myself if in fact I was. It was a terrifying thing to consider and not in keeping with my ideas of myself or my life up until this point. After crying in my car for a while, I then became angry. How in the world did this stranger get to “highly sexualized” from an initial interview with a first time client? How easy was it for her to suggest this potential cause of my distress that we would be investigating in future sessions? I wanted some help, thought a therapist could assist and now this professional was suggesting a cause of my distress for which she had NO evidence.
I felt and still do feel that she exploited me and my distress and I could have very easily become a victim of recovered memories through professional priming of distress to meet the conditions of her training. I very well could have become a long term source of her income, while my life could have become something utterly foreign to my lived experience to meet the conditions of her therapeutic approach. I assume this person “meant well”, but her training failed her and she thereby failed her patients following this approach.
This was a time, where a host of my women friends were also attending therapy (many, again in early recovery from an addiction), my experience was not unusual. Though I escaped from this situation, many others did not and have become “disabled” and under the control of mental health services promoting medications, and narratives that are not consonant with the realities of these women’s lives up until the point of “treatment” initiation. They are perpetual victims of the MH industry that changes their diagnoses and medications with regularity as their lives fail to improve. According to the providers, it is not the industry that has failed them, it is the “wrong meds” or “diagnosis” and with each new definition of their personhood as authored by the constantly changing treatment methods and trends, they remain its captives.
another reputable FM resource with practitioner search : https://www.ifm.org/
Please make note of the discrepancy “Antidepressant Use Linked to 150% Increase in Suicide Attempts
A new study found that those taking antidepressants were 2.5 times (250%) more likely to attempt suicide than those taking placebo.”
Thank you for the fine article in all other respects
Scientific studies should be careful about suggesting CAUSATION given obvious limitations and confounding criteria (including bias). Unless there has been a plethora of replication (which is largely absent) the best a scientific study can do is suggest a relationship of variable strength depending on the study design and participant characteristics. Science, at its core must continue to be open to scrutiny and given the current SCIENCE as MARKETING approach, it behooves us all to be very wary of studies of any kind that suggest an “answer” to a “question” . The definition of the “question” or the “answer” are products of ……FILL in the Blank here….
Thank you for this beautifully written and thoroughly human review of the various circumstances that both contributed to the person that Robin Williams was as well as those that may have contributed to his decision to take his life.
My mother has Parkinson’s and it is heartbreaking to see her decline as a result of the disease and the medications she takes to help with her symptoms. Sadly, the medical industrial complex that governs neurology (and Psychiatry) continually shames and blames her for the emotional responses and high levels of anxiety she suffers as a part of the side effects of the drugs she must take. She has been labeled uncooperative for her refusal to take anti-anxiety medications (which they dole out to this population heavily), they refuse to acknowledge the severe symptoms she has when there are any medication changes, and the effects can be so severe that she has prayed for death to come.
Your article delves deeply into a person, rather than a diagnosis or a victim of some supposed imbalance. How wonderful it would be, if in my Mother’s final years, she could be met with this human kindness rather than the shame and blame game that is de rigueur in all her interactions with health professionals, and sadly, many who have adopted this stance as their own in the community.
Thank you again.
Dr. Tamimi- Thank you for the critical review of the various elements that have help manipulate and sell the BIG PhrMA poison to the developing bodies of our children with the acquiesce of parents and other caregivers. You speak of the “McDonaldisation” of growing up and the “expert” opinions we have become so reliant on. That part of the equation is where we must focus to change this sad and frequently desperate situation.
I am a parent, a former patient, someone who has worked in this field and has also been harmed by it. As a parent, I am struck by the way my daughter and her friends now describe themselves as variously disordered- Having panic attacks, anxiety disorders etc.- they own and define themselves using these terms without any real understanding of what the labels mean or subject them to in terms of their own choices and experience of agency as they deal with the very real challenges and changes experienced while growing and becoming.
At various points in my own relationships with the “experts” I have had to make a choice about whether I thought their opinion was worthy of consideration or simply bullshit. On most occasions, the latter was the case and I escaped their intervention and the prison that would have placed me in. I continue this pattern with my child and am truthful with her about the reasons and skeptical approach I have towards those attempting to define and confine with diagnostic labels. These practices, and the narrative that drives them has become so ubiquitous and difficult to escape. It requires constant challenge and education about alternative approaches that broaden and normalize the experience of growing up. It requires parents to be informed, curious and skeptical. It requires us all to be able and willing to call – bullshit and educate our kids to do the same.
It seems there are quite a number of folks commenting here that have been seriously hurt by “experts” and are willing to criticize the continuing ed MIA has coordinated. It is sad to see the vitriolic expressions of the harms done. What is not acknowledged is that MIA and VERY few others, are talking about the methods and strategies individuals can use to exit the enslavement of the “expert” advice they have been given and return to themselves. The number of individuals under the “care” of psychiatry is a monumental figure. And many among them know there is something wrong, but are wed to the idea of chemical imbalance so thoroughly sold.
Central to the mission of MIA is to get this information to the uninformed and help those who have not yet come into contact with the counter narrative (READ: the truth). Those that already have the information are hopefully in the process of some healing, those that are not and are seeking alternatives for the distress they live with daily – often a product of the medications they are taking and have been taking for decades AND the idea that they are somehow broken- REQUIRE the opportunity to learn about another way. I applaud the work MIA is doing and hope we can continue serve both those aware of the harms they have experienced as well as those who are beginning to explore the truth of their “treatment” and methods to extricate themselves from the “experts”.
Thank you Bob, for a wonderfully argued and well cited review of the “effectiveness” of “antidepressants”. This is an example of the type of information that could make a difference, if more thoroughly disseminated in the wider medical industrial complex. Since I have little faith that it will be read by those folks, I hope it can at least be spread more widely among those who have been or are contemplating psychiatric “treatment”. The societal impacts are profound, and too often the individual harms are ignored or minimized to keep the popular “mental” health narrative going. Wonderful work!
Oy, already! Does anyone else see this back and forth argument about a topic where there is quite a bit of agreement- with regard to the Mental Health counter narrative – as more than a little ridiculous? Is it necessary for each of us individually to speak using the exact same terms- sort of like the promotion and adoption of the lock step mythology of the “chemical” imbalance? Why so shrill and strident? If we cannot listen in this forum and be open to multiple perspectives, variation in expression and experience- why bother? Thank you, Sam for contributing this good and relevant article.