Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Comments by Helen Williams

Showing 10 of 10 comments.

  • Pencilect, many people hear persecutory voices, myself included, although as you say the cause/s are not always immediately apparent. However, this does not mean that we have to believe the messages psychiatrists/the system give us about this, or the messages the voices give us.

    I’m sorry that you, like many others, have had a negative experience with psychiatry. I hope that you have been able to find more compassionate and appropriate kinds of support, such as the Hearing Voices Network, Intervoice, the Maastricht approach, appropriate therapy and other forms of peer support. You might like to look at some of the resources at the end of my article. Sending solidarity and wishing you healing and support!

  • Thank you for your comments Dale and for describing some of the difficulties you have experienced. I understand your frustration with the system and am sorry for what your brother and sister have been through. It is heartbreaking to reflect on the lack of compassion and care people often receive and the impact of this on people’s health and well-being.

    It sounds as though you have done your best to support your brother and sister in the circumstances. It might be helpful to consider that, without your care and concern, they might well have fared much worse. Supportive family and friends can go a long way.

    I wish I could give a clear and hopeful answer to your question as to whether your brother and sister will ever be normal. I can feel your heartfelt concern and love for them both, in asking this question, which must be sustaining and healing for them in itself. Without seeing them, it is impossible for me to comment. What I can suggest is that you continue with your efforts to do all you can to support them, doing your best to avail them of the best and most appropriate support and care. May God assist you in your continued efforts to bring healing and peace to your brother and sister! Thank you for your kind words. I think we must live with the hope that the system will one day be very different.

  • Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for what you went through at the hands of your parents and the system. Nobody should be diagnosed with stigmatising labels and forced to suffer harmful so-called ‘treatments’. However sadly, this has been and continues to be far too common. Such injustices exist in child and adolescent mental health services, as well as adult mental health services.

    Mental health issues tend to occur on a continuum, and to follow a dose-response effect. This means that the more severe the abuse and trauma people suffer, the more likely they are to experience severe distress and associated mental health issues as a result of this. As you say, trauma can also bring about feelings of low self-esteem, low mood and negative self-talk.

    Sadly children within families are often be identified as “the problem”, when the real source of the problem actually lies elsewhere. I’m sorry this happened to you; it also happened to me, and has happened to many other people too. Parents can blame children for their problems, and the system, families and society often collude with such a distorted narrative. Adults and parents hold the power, with professionals often lacking insight in terms of understanding the dynamics and reality of power, control and abuse. As a result, the system tends to collude with abusers, while also acting in an abusive way towards vulnerable children and young people itself, thus adding to and compounding our problems.

    The need to increase awareness about the reality of child abuse, to empower, listen to and learn from survivors and involve us in change, to address power dynamics, victim-blaming, silencing, shaming, deception, manipulation and distorted narratives are important considerations if we are to change things for the better.

    I’m glad you were able to reject the ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ diagnosis and find supportive, compassionate care which helped you to progress. Thank you for sharing details of your memoir, which I have just ordered and look forward to reading. I agree with your final comment:

    “The more survivors of psychiatric abuse speak out, I believe, the more we can help others avoid the trauma of psychiatric abuse, or heal from it.”

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences and expressing that a history of child abuse and trauma is linked to many so-called psychiatric diagnoses and disorders. Sadly, the implications of this are still not understood, taken into account and acted on by the system. Thank you also for emphasising the need for love and justice.

    As you say “child abuse is a crime not a brain disease”. Stigmatisation, victim-blaming and further harm of survivors of abuse should have no place in systems of ‘care’. It is deeply unethical to exploit and add to the suffering of vulnerable people, while claiming to help them. It is also unethical to continue to deny the real source of many people’s distress. Such principles and practices should have no place in systems of care.

    I’m sorry for what you went through, but pleased to hear of your progress and your son’s success in studying psychology. All the best to both of you!

  • By B3 I assume you mean Vitamin B3? Do you find this helpful? Diet and nutrition are important aspects of healing, as well as maintaining good physical and mental health. Unfortunately, these issues are often neglected. I believe it was Hippocrates who said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

    As you imply, nutrition is very important and much could be said about this. We would do well to integrate the science of nutrition, functional and integrative medicine, much more into health care.

    Hippocrates is also linked to the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors to uphold ethical standards in their professional practice. The idea of harming patients is rejected by this oath. It would be helpful for doctors and psychiatrists to consider whether they are living up to these standards, and for society to hold them to account.

  • Thank you Sam for sharing and for your kind words. As you say, it’s important to be cautious, to question and critically evaluate, rather than accepting what we are told at face value. Sadly, misinformation abounds, as well as vested interests and harmful practice. Independent investigation of the truth is essential.

    Sometimes we have to trust our intuition and find our own ways. We can draw on professional research, perspectives and practice, but should not believe this to be the be-all and end-all, that we have arrived at a state of absolute knowledge and truth when it comes to the science of the mind. Although some advances have been made, overall it is still in its infancy, and there is a long way to go. This is still very much a developing field of knowledge.

    There is room for much development and learning, especially from and with those of us who have lived experience. Peer support can be very helpful, supportive and confirming. Support from those around us and the community is also important. At the end of the day, I believe it is people with lived experience, working in collaboration with professionals, including those of us who wear both hats, which will bring about the necessary changes in mental health care, so that the widespread suffering we now see will one day be a thing of the past. New forms of knowledge, approaches and methods of treatment will be introduced and healing will become a reality. I encourage you to continue to share your own experiences and learning, to educate and inform, with these aims in mind.

    Wishing you and your wife all the best in your healing journey! Happy to hear about your son’s success. Blessings to you all too!