Friday, September 24, 2021

Comments by mariamangicaro

Showing 50 of 50 comments.

  • Hi Ted,

    I hope that you are well.

    Thank you for speaking out and thank you for your many years of sacrifice and dedication to advocacy. I hold a lot of respect for your efforts as you are a true role model.

    Both my father and my brother experienced the worst of psychiatry. They went through hell. I also had bad experiences myself and witnessed first hand psychiatric ignorance and abuse. Despite personal experiences, I always maintain respect for those who claim psychiatric drugs, ECT and psychiatry helped them or a loved one. I don’t think it is my place to judge what others feel is successful treatment. I’ve also met psychiatrists who use medications judiciously in their practice, as well as holistic treatments such as acupuncture or vitamin/nutritional therapy.

    Absolutely, the allegations Ms. Spears makes involves psychiatric labels and the publicity her case is receiving makes for a prime opportunity to call attention to the unregulated power-base of authority psychiatry maintains when labeling people “mentally ill”.

    The pop culture mentality and lifestyle of Ms. Spears indeed creates a unique and complex situation. The widely publicized #FreeBritney movement is quickly expanding her already enormous fanbase.

    I recognize Ms. Spears is very talented and works extremely hard at her career, but personally I question the decline of moral standards and lack of integrity expressed in her work. Especially considering she is a “kid influencer”. I am from a different generation and it is important to me to maintain the values instilled by my parents and grandparents.

    Many of the statements Ms. Spears made during the hearing sounded somewhat arrogant to me, especially when she seemed jealous that her maids had their nails done but she was not allowed to go to a salon to have her nails done. Perhaps her maids did their own manicure or have a family member who did them. COVID restrictions probably played a role in some of what she is complaining about.

    Ms. Spears claims she was charged $60k per month for four months of individualized treatment, two months in a private home and two months at Bridges to Recovery. I was charged up to $1000 per day for forced treatment at facilities reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that provided limited cafeteria style meals and prepackaged snacks. Patients entertained themselves for hours on end with worn decks of cards and old puzzles. My brother was at a facility that deprived patients of water and for a week straight would feed patients hotdogs and macaroni and cheese for lunch. My family advocated not only for my brother but for all of the patients being deprived water. The facility made changes and purchased very nice water coolers.

    Bridges to Recovery provides holistic mental health care in luxurious resort-like, pet-friendly environments featuring gourmet meals. According to their website, clients participate in a minimum of five individual psychotherapy sessions per week along with daily therapy groups and holistic therapies. Bridges sounds like a Soteria Ritz-Carlton House. Yes, forced treatment sucks but if I had to choose, I’d gladly stay at Bridges for two months without a complaint.

    Once again Ms. Spears sounded jealous claiming the Bridges facility treated her unfairly and forced her to sit in a chair for 70 hours a week while allowing the other “kids” in the program to do whatever they wanted to. She also stated she gave 8 gallons of blood and it sounded like she was saying “ID” instead of “IUD”.

    It also sucks not having privacy but that is something that usually happens to psych patients who have expressed suicidal ideation. Her 2004 Official Video for the song “Everytime” eerily portrays her committing suicide.

    I guess her case demonstrates the long arms of psychiatry, impacting rich, middle class and poor alike, but her fight is in a world much different than the one that took my father and brother’s lives.

  • Hi Sam,

    My family is the needle in the haystack, and true, there is no FREE, especially legal guardianship.

    My views are different from most and many times because of apparently not being able to express myself in a way that does not offend others, my words easily get misinterpreted and my concerns are shut out.

    For advocates, I believe the #FREEBRITNEY movement has red flag warnings that may have a negative impact on psychiatric patients

    Just for background, I have been a psych patient under forced treatment, have experienced cognitive impairment and also been a caregiver to both adults and children who experienced altered states of minds and cognitive impairment.

    I have no children of my own but between my family and my husband’s we have 15 nieces and nephews. I have been asking my nieces, nephews, siblings and in-laws to listen the full hearing of Ms. Spears and having discussions on what is below the surface of this case.

    My brother was in a situation of being under forced psychiatric care in a NYS psych ward for close to two full years. The only way to get him out was to obtain legal guardianship. Because I live in Florida, I helped my sister become his legal guardian. Our family had to scrap together $3000 upfront costs to pay a private attorney who I believe does not have experience in guardianship cases and should not have taken this case. In other words, he sucked and his lack of knowledge delayed the process. The process included taking an online course and getting a certificate. My sister and I both took the course so that I could help her along the way. The state attorney who was assigned to my brother’s case and the state facility where my brother was at only gave us 3 days notice they were going to file to extend his stay another 6 months. It was the only opportunity we would have to get him out. I dropped everything, took a month leave from work and drove three days from Tampa to Syracuse to get in town just one hour before the hearing. My sister had to go to family court and was grilled by the judge and attorney for the facility to advocate on his behalf. We were not prepared to take him home because he needed 24 hour care, but we did our best using credit cards to pay for homecare. This is a long story, but my family went above and beyond to help my brother the best we could. The total cost of permanent guardianship was close to $10,000. $7000 of which came out of my brother’s pension of $75,000 before taxes. The judge ordered my sister to pay these bills as soon as his pension money came. I believe all of the attorneys involved in my brother’s guardianship made a decent profit off of him. We spent every penny of his pension on homecare, supplies, vitamins and healthy food, and then unfortunately, his funeral.

    Because I have been a psych patient myself and understand what it is like to experience forced psychiatry, the stigma of being labeled “mentally ill” and how family, no matter how much they love you, will treat you differently, I certainly understand how Ms. Spears feels. Despite my recover and achieving stability in my life, to this day, I have family members who have a lack of respect for me because I have a “history of mental illness”. The labels of mental illness have a negative impact on a person’s perceived intelligence by others.

    I also understand how family members dealing with a member who experiences altered states and out of the ordinary behavior have to make tough choices, like listening to what is believed to be the expert advice of medical professionals.

    After listening carefully to what Ms. Spears said in her recorded telephone conversation with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny, I feel it is critical to keep an open mind in putting context into what Ms. Spears states.

    For example:

    I was told — I had to then after I got a phone call from my dad saying after I did the psych test with this lady, basically saying I had failed the test or whatever — whatever. “I’m sorry, Britney, you have to listen to your doctors. They are planning to send you to a small home in Beverly Hills to do a small rehab program that we’re going to make up for you. You’re gonna pay $60,000 a month for this.”

    This does not sound like a drug rehab program.

    The British documentary reveals her father checked off that she had precocious dementia. Could this have been an intensive cognitive remediation program?

    She then states:

    I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week, no days off — which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking, making anyone work — work against their will. Taking all their possessions away — credit card, cash, phone, passport card — and placing them in a home where they — they work with the people who live with them. They offer — they all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24/7 security. There — there was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. They watched me change every day, naked. Morning, noon and night. My body — I had no privacy door for my — for my room. I gave eight gallons of blood a week. If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from 8 to 6 at night — which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off — I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend. I never had a say in my schedule. They always told me I had to do this. And ma’am, I will tell you, sitting in a chair 10 hours a day, seven days a week, it ain’t fun. And especially when you can’t walk out the front door.

    What type of boring work is she doing for 70 hours a week in a chair?

    She gave eight gallons of blood a week?

    Nurses watched her change, was she on suicide watch?

    She also complains about being at the Bridges Facility

    “Also, the Bridges Facility they sent me to none of the kids — I was doing this program for four months. So the last two months I went to a Bridges Facility. None of the kids there did the — did the program. They never showed up for any of them. You didn’t have to do anything if you didn’t want to. How come they always made me go? How come I was always threatened by my dad and anybody that persisted in this conservatorship? If I don’t do this, what they tell me — enslave me to do, they’re going to punish me.”

    Check out the website for this place

    Seriously??? To me this place is a freaking luxury resort.

    I paid $1000/day to stay in places that looked straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    My brother was being starved to death as a ward of the state and the judge was ready to let the state take care of him for another 6 months. It was court-ordered grievous bodily harm.

    What about people who are being court ordered to receive ECT? The court is ordering torture.

    It’s very sad the rest of us have to wait for a celebrity to experience wrong doing because we idolize them and don’t really care about the average Joe.

    In the case of Ms. Spears, I also question the lack of integrity and messages of her videos as she is a “kid influencer”. Very disturbing, especially the one suggesting she is going to commit suicide. And because of the power of pop culture, a movement is being created that may have a negative impact on decent families gaining access to help their family members through guardianship. I believe the biggest problem is lack of knowledge on the part of those who advocate for family members who become labeled and tossed into the system. This was the situation in my brother’s case. My sisters made the choice to listen to doctor’s advice over my opinions of NO ECT and help him taper off of psych drugs.

    The #FreeBritney fans should consider, do they really believe they love and respect Britney more than her own family? Are doctor’s opinions guiding her father’s decisions? Should her father not listen to her doctors? Perhaps if Mr. Spears is being told his daughter is showing signs of severe cognitive impairment, he may be considering how will she be able to manage having more children, maybe there are considerations of endangering the welfare of a child? What will be the costs of long-term care?

    There were times when I had manic episodes my spending was out of control and I was so impaired I could not balance a check book. Just because an individual has physical abilities, does not mean they have basic skills.

    I know I am going to get criticized for making these statements but I don’t like being judged myself, so I try to not to judge others so quickly. In seeking truth, there needs to be a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

    In any situation of someone so young becoming a celebrity, they must have had tremendous support from parents or guardians. The Spears family has issues, they need to be heard in full. In being siletn, they may actually be trying to protect her.

  • Congratulations to Ms. Spears on successfully advocating for herself with a first step in the court agreeing she has the right to hire her own attorney.

    Interesting to note the #FreeBritney movement will be the focus of an upcoming New York State Bar Association event.

    “The forum, led by Elizabeth A. Adinolfi of the Manhattan-based firm of Phillips Nizer is intended to educate attorneys on New York’s “move away from restrictive conservatorships to a more autonomous system for those who are impaired,” the bar association said in a news advisory.

    “Lawyers will learn how to calm clients’ fears about the guardianship system and how to help protect an incapacitated person from harm while safeguarding their liberties. It also will look at how New York’s system differs from other states.”

  • Thank you for your kind words of sympathy Rosalee and for the link. I am a longtime member of the International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) and our members were involved in creating the document. Glad to see it reached you 🙂

    My brother and I were blessed to come from a privileged family, one in which our grandparents were hardworking WWI veterans/immigrants, dads and uncles hardworking WWII veterans, moms/aunts were loving stay-at-home caregivers, we grew up in a typical Main Street USA village community and we learned from a Christian perspective the importance of respect, integrity, forgiveness and providing for those less fortunate within our community. We were extremely rich in family values and I only wish there were a way to make a donation to Britney as sadly it seems like that is what is lacking the most in her life.

    Take care, Maria

  • That’s a great title Rosalee!

    I am sure you are not alone. Creating an awareness could help others.

    I also lost my father and most recently my brother to psychiatry’s insane use of polypsychophramacology, both were prescribed psych drugs from their primary care physicians, who ignored underlying medical conditions.

    As well, I had my own experiences with psychiatry and the system.

    I always advise others to get copies of all of their medical records.

    The best investment I ever made as a psych patient was signing up for a college course in Abnormal Psychology so I could better understand the DSM labeling process and my medical records.

    Unbelievable how psychiatrists and other professionals can spin words into supporting a diagnosis of mental illness. What appears to be the case for Britney Spears too.

  • Thanks for the response Armadillo!

    I appreciate the continued conversation as it is this type of exchange that really helps along the path of discovery by fleshing out different concepts from varied perspectives. Like the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant, it helps to understand things from every angle.

    Again, apologies for electronic communication as sometimes difficult to interpret.

    Just for some additional background to a long story, on March 24, 1996 I suffered an acute manic episode from toxic encephalopathy and was misdiagnosed as having “manic-depression with psychotic features”.

    Literally, spontaneous mental illness.

    On March 23rd, I was a 33-year-old, competent, independent individual with no history of mental illness.

    On March 24th, because of a very quick psychiatric evaluation in a hospital ER setting, I instantly became a person with a history of mental illness and that label altered the trajectory of my life.

    My family made the ER doctors aware of the fact I worked in an environment with strong chemical fumes and to please check me for chemical toxicity. The doctors refused to listen.

    Along the way, I chose to take classes that would hopefully lead to a new career and also give me a better understand of my own mental illness. The first course I took was Abnormal Psychology and information from that course was instrumental in helping me better understand the DSM rubberstamp labeling process.

    My “spontaneous mental illness” ended up involving a workers’ comp case and the medical library became my second home researching the possible connection of chemical exposure and what I thought was bipolar disorder. I was successful in establishing a workers’ comp case and gained medical opinion supporting the diagnosis of toxic encephalopathy. I have since helped other individuals labeled with bipolar disorder make the connection to an occupational disease.

    I posted this article:

    Hemochromatosis-induced bipolar disorder: a case report

    as just one of many cases involving a medical condition inducing a manic state leading to a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder.

    Susannah Cahalan at TEDxAmsterdamWomen 2013 explains how she was also misdiagnosed with a psychiatric disorder before a neurologist determined the underlying cause of Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a condition in which the immune system essentially attacks the brain. Her doctor said the majority of other people with this condition are wasting away in psych wards or homeless.

    Here is a link to her TEDxTalk:

    Very interested in your thoughts on listening to Britney Spears FULL Conservatorship Hearing (Leaked HQ Audio) Opening Testimony, it’s 23 minutes long

    From a psychiatric patient perspective, it seems like she is not aware of the impact a psychiatric diagnosis can have on a person’s life, nor does she seem aware of the role different mental health professionals have,. It sounds as if she underwent
    neuropsych tests and she was unaware of why theses tests are given.

    Compared to my experiences of “mania”, she sounds quite normal, and just needs coaching on how to speak to a judge.

    Take care, Maria

  • Someone Else,

    Thank you for sharing as yours is a great testimony of how just the concept of “mental illness” itself can constitute a powerplay between patient/client and psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist/counselor/social worker/caregivers/enablers.

    As the professional assigning the DSM label of “mental illness” is considered the expert on what are normal behaviors, moods, feeling, emotions, etc. and the “mentally ill” person is the abnormal person completely dependent on their expertise.

    Who determines the need for treatment and who profits?

    Absolutely unbelievable the control, abuse and thievery that can go on in these settings.

    Listening to Ms. Spears describe her “team” it may seem confusing to the general public as to why so many people are tasked with trying to maintain the mental health
    of just one person. She seems confused herself as to why she is going to so many different professionals. And sadly, excluded from genuine friendships.

    For those who are not familiar with the system, assumptions may be made that it is because of her celebrity status she has a treatment team but that certainly is not the case. Most people in the system end up believing they need the services of multiple professionals.

    I think many in the general public envision a psychiatrist also providing talk therapy, while most only provide a short session for medication management and work with other professionals providing different levels of treatment, along with understanding the different branches of psychology.

    Ms. Spears testimony is powerful in that she is exposing psychiatry as an unregulated powerbase of authority, along with questioning who determines the need for “treatment” and just how many profit.

    In her own words, it sounds like what Ms. Spears wants to be free of is all psychological services that have empowered others to become the Britney Spears experts while profiting off of her success.

  • Armadillo,

    My apologies, I did not pick up on the tongue-and-cheek and I appreciate the exchange as it’s great to get clarification and expand this topic.

    Electronic communication has it’s downfalls with misinterpretation but it’s also so effective with speed, timeliness and reaching across barriers.

    Just as some background, I am not a mental health professional. My interest in this case stems from my passion to advocate on behalf of those less fortunate, who continue to be trapped in a broken, authoritative and unregulated system. I include Ms. Spears in that category. My passion developed out of my own experiences navigating what may seem like a complex system and seeking answers to many questions from many different perspectives.

    I found this part of your comment especially interesting:

    “For this, tidy up your flat, put on a nice dress and tell them everything about being “the girl next door”, best with proof for job, sport club, social life and so on. Britney has not done any of these, therefore it is logical, that the courts can not lift the conservatorship. I am wondering, if this is all about an aging pop-star being back in the news, or if she should sue her own lawyer for incompetence, for not telling her this. ”

    I think what you are saying is that it is obvious the attorney for Ms. Spears did not spend the time needed to prep her for a successful outcome?

    Could you expand on that?

    In listening to the full Hearing, it’s hard to believe Ms. Spears even has the assistance of an attorney. It definitely seems like a show of incompetence that she was not better prepared to articulate her statements to the judge. She was speaking so fast the judge repeatedly asked her to slow down so the court stenographer could keep up but her pace only changed slightly and then sped up again.

    While her attitude and language may seem like a normal, well-justified response to her circumstances and lifestyle as a pop-star to most of us, a psychiatric spin-doctor could easily conclude otherwise.

    Under the DSM rubberstamp labeling process, her pressured speech that didn’t stop at appropriate intervals, as well as, use of slang/curse words/unprofessional language when speaking to a judge, expressing inappropriate joy over the death of a medical doctor and the nature of her postings on Instagram, could be considered a state of mania and substantiate the continued need for court-ordered psychiatric and psychological services, along with conservatorship.

    Likewise, most of her allegations could easily be explained away by putting the “in the best interest” spin on things, especially considering finances and protecting one from manic spending sprees. It seems like this is what her attorney may have been trying to warn her of but neither seems to fully comprehend how the system works in partnership with psychiatric evaluation as it is a very confusing system to navigate. I feel a knowledgeable attorney (or paralegal) could have worked with her to better prepare a more professional, coherent, clear and convincing statement.

    I agree, without “the girl next-door” image, it does seem more likely the court would favor conservatorship under the framework of best interest principles in decision-making.

    It is courageous for anyone labeled with a “mental illness” to share their story with the public as there is so much stigma attached as well as it opens the door for unwarranted criticism, gossip and malicious rumors.

    Although the Hearing provided just a brief glimpse into her experiences, I think Britney Spears’ circumstances on becoming a psychiatric patient in a more privileged lifestyle might somewhat echo that of Laura Delano’s, with academic achievements at Laura’s advantage in being able to break away from the system.

    Thanks for the conversation!


  • Sam,

    Great points!

    Years ago I went through IV Chelation treatments to help detox from past exposure to lead and other toxins.

    Most of the other patients were older and receiving Chelation as a complementary treatment with the belief it would benefit coronary heart disease or macular degeneration. The treatments took about four hours and there were always 10-15 other patients getting treatments at the same time, so everyone got to know each other and we had wonderful conversation on different topics involving many health issues and treatment options.

    A gentleman in his eighties made the observation when he was a kid, students were given cod liver oil in school and how now in his grandchildren’s school, the kids are lined up for doses of Ritalin.

    At the time, each child on Ritalin was worth approximately $1200 to stockholders. 🙁

  • Dear kindredspirit

    Wow! there is a definitely a bigger discussion needed in this arena and you obviously are incredibly well-versed. Thanks for sharing and I hope more comes forward out of your comment.

    Have you ever seen the documentary Three Identical Strangers?

    “Three strangers are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families. Their jaw-dropping, feel-good story instantly becomes a global sensation complete with fame and celebrity, however, the fairy-tale reunion sets in motion a series of events that unearth an unimaginable secret – a secret with radical repercussions for us all.”

    “it was revealed that the infants had been intentionally separated and placed with families having different parenting styles and economic levels – one blue-collar, one middle-class, and one affluent – as an experiment on human subjects.”


  • Rosalee,

    My goodness!

    Thank you for sharing your traumatic ordeal (which could probably be made into a Lifetime Movie)

    “revealed in her case should be a huge wake-up call to the media and general public as to how easily psychiatric labelling leads to violations of human rights and grave harm.”


  • Hi Rebel,

    I first read Pete’s book Crazy shortly after it was published, was shocked by so many different aspects, have written to him numerous times, have had minimal response and unfortunately, believe he clearly shows a deliberate indifference as to the harmful side effects of psych drugs.

    One issue I brought up to him involved Deidra Sanbourne,

    Sanbourne v. Chiles is the 1988 landmark civil rights case that challenged the conditions of Florida’s mental health institutions. Deidra Sanbourne, named as the plaintiff in the case, spent nearly twenty years being treated in Florida’s state mental hospitals.

    A Google search on Deidra’s name will result in dozens of sites listing this statement under a review for author Pete Earley’s book Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness:

    “He learns that Deidra Sanbourne, whose 1988 deinstitutionalization was a landmark civil rights case, died after being neglected in a boarding house.”

    A 2007 document created by the state of Florida has a similar statement and cites the book Crazy as its source:

    Transforming Florida’s Mental Health System; CONSTRUCTING A COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPETENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE/MENTAL HEALTH/SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT SYSTEM: Strategies for Planning, Leadership, Financing, and Service Development

    “While Deidra Sanbourne was released from the confines of the state hospital after 20 years of institutionalization, she later died at the age of 57 after being neglected in a boarding home (Earley, 2006).”

    Diedra Sanbourne’s death, as reported in Pete’s book Crazy, occurred from a bowel obstruction while being treated in a psychiatric unit at Westchester General Hospital and NOT from neglect in a boarding home.

    Deidra’s symptoms were diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder and she spent over 20 years being treated unsuccessfully in psychiatric wards.

    When I read in Pete’s book her cause of death was from a bowel obstruction, I immediately considered the possibility that a psychiatric medication prescribed to Deidra could have caused the bowel obstruction that led to her death.

    A quick search on Medline revealed the medication Clozapine is used to treat severe cases of schizophrenia. Clinical research suggests Clozapine has caused bowel obstructions leading to death in individuals being treated for symptoms described as schizophrenia.

    Deidra Sanbourne could very well have died from the psychiatric medication she was administered while being treated for her symptoms of schizophrenia under the care of medical professionals, and not the result of neglect while living in an assisted living facility.

    Pete is aware of this and much more, but chooses to turn a blind eye.

  • Great points Armadillo!

    Considering the general public typically shows more concern for problems experienced by those of celebrity status than the general public, it’s nice to look at all issues from different perspectives and keep the conversation moving as a grassroots effort.

    The use of lithium itself is a great topic and there are many factors to consider.

    In therapeutic doses, lithium carbonate is poisonous and has many debilitating side effects.

    However, “In low doses, lithium acts as a nutrient required for B12 and folate transport and uptake, neuromodulation, and the function of many biochemical processes in both humans and animals.”

    Lithium has been added to the World Health Organization’s list of nutritionally essential trace elements.

    Whereas a psychiatrist, whose goal it is to normalize a woman’s moods/behaviors, may consider the toxic effects of prescription lithium carbonate a low risk, an OBGYN, who has a different set of goals involving more responsibility and may have had a negative experience with a patient on lithium carbonate, would be shocked by the psychiatrist’s indifference.

    The risk management process can help provide alternative strategies.

    One might consider the possibility of switching to lithium orotate, an over-the-counter nutraceutical, considered to be less toxic for therapeutic benefits or investigating into the possibility of an existing underlying condition contributing to a perceived “mood disorder”.

    Cases like the one below may be rare but indicate the need to consider underlying conditions.

    Take care, Maria

    Hemochromatosis-induced bipolar disorder: a case report

    Daniele Serata 1, Antonio Del Casale, Chiara Rapinesi, Iginia Mancinelli, Pieritalo Pompili, Giorgio D Kotzalidis, Laura Aimati, Valeria Savoja, Gabriele Sani, Maurizio Simmaco, Roberto Tatarelli, Paolo Girardi
    Affiliations expand
    PMID: 21749841 DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.04.013
    Objective: A patient presenting with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, bipolar disorder was found to be affected by high iron hemochromatosis. This prompted us to explore the relation between bipolar disorder and iron overload.

    Method: We report the case and review the peer-reviewed literature focusing on mood symptoms in patients with hemochromatosis or iron overload. Animal studies of brain effects of iron overload are summarized. High iron hemochromatosis was confirmed by genetic testing, and treatment was instituted to address iron overload.

    Results: Patient’s bipolar symptoms completely subsided after phlebotomic reduction of iron overload.

    Conclusion: Clinicians should explore the possibility of iron overload and seek genetic confirmation of hemochromatosis in resistant bipolar disorder to avoid unnecessary medication.

  • Hi Sam and thank you for your response.

    My apologies, I did not catch how that would sound without explaining the hospital my brother was at had very strict COVID restrictions on visitation and what could be brought into the hospital. Because of my brother’s circumstances, the doctor received authorization from administration for my sister and family to have extra visiting hours and allowed us to bring homemade food and food from restaurants. Hospitals can be very strict on their policies because of possible outside contamination and lawsuits. They also put him on a surgical floor so he would have 24 hour supervision but not in a psychiatric ward. The psychiatrist who took on his case was consulting from a different hospital, my brother was her only patient she was seeing and she came every day, seven days a week. She treated my brother and my sisters with the utmost respect and dignity. She really did go above and beyond. I do understand how the word “allow” does sound negative, it was only in reference to COVID restrictions. Good catch, I should have clarified.

    It is good to note that some psychiatric wards can deny patients the right to receive healthy food/drinks from family members during visits as they have experienced cases of family/friends bringing in items like marijuana-laced brownies. And also, unlike medical hospitals, most psychiatric facilities have very limited visiting hours. Sometimes it is impossible for family members to visit loved ones in psych wards unless they take time off from work. Many psych patients who could benefit from family support, miss out because of limited visiting hours.

    A NYS facility my brother was a patient did not allow patients to have bottles or glasses of water. They only got a Dixie cup of water with their medication and could only drink from a drinking fountain throughout the day. My brother complained of being thirsty and would try to drink from the fountain. My sister and I noticed hardly any water would come out of the fountain and we complained to the administration who was unaware. They eventually brought in a water cooler for patients but the lack of awareness and harm to patients being given toxic meds without water to help dilute was sickening. In addition, the meals at the facility were poor quality and lacked fresh fruits and vegetables. As a psychiatric patient myself, I met other patients who came in with only the clothes on their backs, or in some cases, no clothes at all and were given medical gowns to wear. There were times when I gave patients clothing of my own or asked a family member to stop at a thrift store and pick up some items in their size as they had no visitors and no way of obtaining clothing during their psych hospitalization. As a volunteer and community business partner, I was able to help secure donations from retailers for psych wards to purchase items like new decks of cards/puzzles/DVDs/water color paints/socks or other items that patients could use. During my own psych hospitalizations, there were facilities that had nothing for patients to do except for a stack of worn out puzzles, old water color sets and worn out decks of cards. Extremely sad what goes on at these facilities, especially considering no advocacy organizations are working to advance improvements.

  • Awesome!

    Definitely a sensitive issue that deserves thoughtful consideration.

    Guardians/conservators take on an important role acting as the strongest advocate for another and should protect their rights without prejudice, equal to the care and treatment they would want for themselves.

    Unfortunately, the labels of “mental illness” create prejudice and impact decision making.

    Not to pick on author Pete Earley or take his remarks out of context, but just to demonstrate the train of thought that probably many parents/guardians/judges/lawmakers develop and permeate societal beliefs when dealing with a dependent labeled “mentally ill”

    Consider quotes from Pete’s blog:

    1. “So why do persons with mental illnesses refuse to take their medication or stop taking them as soon as they become stable?…Let’s skip the obvious reasons –that some anti-psychotic medications can dull a person, make them feel physically lousy, kill their sex drive, cause them to gain weight or send them to bed exhausted even though they are already sleeping for 16 hours a day.” ~Pete Earley

    – how can a parent/guardian ignore the OBVIOUS reasons?

    – is there a lack of compassion for those suffering “mental illness” v physical, even when the treatment can cause physical illness, or death?

    2. “I received emails last week from two readers who were angry that the Senate Judiciary Committee had asked me to testify but had not asked anyone with a mental illness to speak during a recent congressional hearing.” ~Pete Earley

    – do the labels of “mentally illness” create a devalued social status for the consumer?

    3. “The psychiatrist told me that my son either was using hallucinatory drugs or he had a mental illness. He added that we would be better off if he were taking drugs. Bipolar Disorder was described to me as an incurable mental illness. My son would have to take medication for the rest of his life. Medication that would make him constantly hungry, prevent him from a long list of activities that others his age would be participating in, possibly keep him from ever working and limit his chances of marrying, having children and living a productive life. Oh yeah, people with mental illnesses die 25 years sooner than everyone else.” ~ Pete Earley

    – are parents/guardians misguided by professional opinions?

    4. “Would you want your son or daughter marrying someone who had been diagnosed with a mental illness?” ~Pete Earley

    5. “My dad was tearing up when he spoke about the time he felt like he wished I had ‘never been born’ because he didn’t want to see me suffer and how it made him feel like a bad father for feeling that way.” ~Kevin Earley

    6. “My brother came to me in 2008. He was about to have his first child, making me a first time uncle. He told me that if I wanted to be a part of his child’s life, I would have to take my medicine.” ~Kevin Earley

    – are individuals labeled “mentally ill” made to feel abnormal/rejected?

    Again, I do not mean to take these quotes out of context, I am just seeking examples of how the labels of “mental illness” can impact societal beliefs and the rights of the “mentally ill” to procreate.

  • Many interesting aspects to consider especially given the opportunity this case has to assist the “average person” in understanding the special circumstances many individuals who become labeled “mentally ill” are forced to live under.

    “Forcing someone to be on birth control against their will is a violation of basic human rights”

    While that may be true for the “average person”, is it true for the average “mentally ill” person?

    In 2012, a Massachusetts court overturned a ruling by a judge who ordered a mentally ill woman to undergo an abortion against her wishes and be sterilized.

    Although the decision was overruled

    “The judge reasoned that if the woman were competent, she would opt for an abortion to benefit from medication that otherwise could not be given to her because of its effects on the fetus.”

    If Ms. Spears is being forced to take the prescription medication lithium carbonate, there are risk factors to consider with pregnancy .

    Are the risk factors being used by her treatment team to justify forcing her to remain on birth control?

    Are other women who are forced to take lithium carbonate also being forced to remain on birth control?

    In his book Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, author Pete Earley gives an in-depth look inside the mental health care system.

    This book portrays the very dark side of a treatment approach based solely on pharmaceuticals and the author uses selective story-telling to support the belief patients benefit from life-long medication management. One of the stories he uses is of a young woman who is stable on medications, gets pregnant, tries to go off medications by using supplements, relapses, goes back on medications and chooses to abort her child rather than risk side effects to her unborn child.

    Many “mentally ill” individuals are forced to take drugs that drastically reduce their chances of having children and it is not considered a violation of basic human rights.

  • Dear Kindredspirits,

    Once again, I agree wholeheartedly on all accounts, and then some!

    1. Regarding online communication, my husband and I do not have any children but we do have 15 nieces/nephews so I hear ya on that one and LOL

    2. Regarding Lyme disease/fibromyalgia, etc. have met many people under same situation, my heart goes out to you and the many who are probably misdiagnosed with a psych dx

    3. Regarding your nephew with Down Syndrome and on meds, he is in my heart and in prayers, very deep issue and part of a long story, along the way I was blessed with the opportunity to finish a bachelor’s in legal studies at the University at Buffalo, as a non-traditional student (20 years older than most other students) you just see things in a different light, I chose courses carefully, selected Medical Ethics as an elective which reviewed the 1983 film “Who Shall Survive?”

    Doctors and nurses at John Hopkins were allowed to reenact the actual starvation death of a baby born with Down, the film “was produced by the Kennedy Foundation to demonstrate how such decisions, decisions which are being made today around the country, impact on all those involved.”

    All I can say is that film shocked me to my very core and still makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it

    1983 just does not seem that long ago, how was this shocking practice encouraged by doctors?

    4. On regarding motives behind conservatorship, absolutely agree and believe the privatization of jails/prisons/psych wards/assisted programs/group homes, along with research and MANY other factors all have also played a role in making and keeping the “mentally ill” as meal tickets v applying common sense solutions.

    The Delancey Street Foundation is an interesting nonprofit using a “teach a man to fish” approach and started with the mission of taking “ex-convicts and ex-addicts and teach them to be teachers, general contractors, and truck drivers.”

    5. Nonconsensual human photography legislation as explained is brilliant, seems like perfect common sense and is slowly making its way along.

    As with all legislation, me must consider we do live in a sue-happy society, there may be slippery slopes/loopholes and the internet is the Wild, Wild West of lawsuits complicated by jurisdiction.

    For example, news outlets share information and typically earn income from advertisements. Sadly, credible news outlets love dirty laundry just as much as tabloids.

    With advent of the internet, anyone can set up a website/social network account, share information with the world, earn income from advertisements, have a photo/video go viral and become featured on all major news outlets.

    It would be important to consider, would a criminal law against nonconsensual human photography:

    1. apply to only paparazzi taking nonconsensual pictures of celebrities or to all people taking nonconsensual pictures of celebrities?

    2. apply to only photographic/digital reproductions in magazines/websites of tabloids, or all print media/websites?

    3. protect the rights of individuals who are not of celebrity status equal to those who are celebrities?

    Have you ever seen the website

    There are probably a lot of people on that site who would like their picture taken down but how?

    It’s sad to know how people, both celebrity and non-celebrity are treated in everyday life.

    Best we can do is try and make a positive difference where we are able to and keep speaking out when possible.

    Thank you for your advocacy and your conversation 🙂

    “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”

  • Dear Kindredspirit,

    Yes, I agree with you absolutely, unequivocally 100 percent, and then some!

    I am a very friendly person, I am nonjudgmental and not a person who is argumentative. My sincere apologies for poorly framing my comments.

    The behavior of Paparazzi should be illegal, but it may be difficult to figure out how to criminalize. Perhaps people against their behavior could just boycott tabloids?

    I understand COMPLETELY the issues surrounding forced psychiatric treatment, have experienced it first hand and on a number of occasions have successfully advocated for myself and others.

    The legal system is fascinating and psychology along with fact finding play essential roles in legal arguments.

    It’s not MY opinion that a “mentally ill” person should be forcibly treated by psychiatrists because they pose a threat, it is the reasoning behind state involuntary treatment law.

    Legal historian Paul Lombardo stated “Buck [v. Bell] earns a place in the legal hall of shame not only because Holmes’ opinion was unnecessarily callous but also because it was based on deceit and betrayal,” and, in my opinion, is the ultimate in sexism and psychiatric abuse/empowerment.

    True, those labeled “mentally ill” are made vulnerable, marginalized, and discriminated against. And, they have also been made our most hated class of people in society.

    The “mentally ill” are our society’s throwaways.

    The Wyatt v. Stickney decision is important because

    1. it supports the right to refuse medication management as the only form of treatment, and should open the door for other options

    2. many medical conditions can be misdiagnosed as a “mental illness”

    There are no medical tests to determine an individual has a mental disorder but there are MANY tests that can determine a person does NOT have a mental disorder, but instead has a medical condition but doctors fail to run those tests.

    In some of Robert Whitaker’s talks he mentions psychosis has “flu-like characteristics” of coming and going on its own. And, in Mad in America, he mentions documented cases of “insanity” (what would probably now be considered psychosis) that were cured by extracting infected back molars.

    I have experienced medical conditions, including an infected back molar, that have caused “psycho-flu”. I have experienced forced hospitalization for up to 30 days (doctors love to suck every dime out of insurance). I have seen elderly abused in psych wards. I have had family members suffer terribly because of psych drugs and a family member commit suicide while on 5 psych meds and 3 days after ECT.

    I could write on and on but my point is, we are on the same side, we have just had different experiences getting here.

    I look forward to more discussions.

    Thanks, Maria

  • Dear Kindredspirit,

    I agree, criticism of women shaving their heads is mean-spirited, unkind and uncalled for.

    The behavior of the paparazzi motivated by greed is disgusting, inhumane and disrespectful.

    The unconstitutional mistreatment of individuals labeled “mentally ill”, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender or socioeconomic class is sanctioned by the highest court in the US.

    While coercive treatment is considered to be in the best interest to protect our society, a patient’s rights must still be preserved.

    The Court’s decision in Wyatt v. Stickney 325 F.Supp. 781 (M.D.Ala. 1971), a key issue was that patients have a “constitutional right to receive such individual treatment as will give each of them a realistic opportunity to be cured or to improve his or her mental condition.”

    Individuals labeled “mentally ill” are among our society’s most vulnerable, marginalized, stigmatized and discriminated against class of people.

    They are in need of ethical advocates who are well-educated and will act in their best interest.

    I believe most individuals involved in advancing mainstream advocacy agendas are not well-educated and in fact are just spoon-fed information from psychiatrists.

    Yes, what is happening to Britney is outrageous and seems to be a direct result of being labeled with a “mental illness”, but we also should question, does our society care more about the mistreatment of celebrities v non-celebrities who are far worse off?

    It will be interesting to see what impact the #FreeBritney movement has on advancing agendas.

    Take care, Maria

  • Sadly, it seems like there are so many other cases that 911 operators immediately suspect just by the apathetic tone of a parent calling to report slaying their child, they are taking a “mental health medication”….there was just a commercial on TV for a drug for tardive dyskinesia caused by a “mental health medication”

  • And isn’t just one single slaying of a child by a parent enough?

    Good Lord!

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued recalls on spiral notebooks, tricycles and bean bag chairs but continues to allow the sale of a product that can cause a parent to kill their own child???

    After Dr. David Healy wrote an interesting analogy on If Pharma Made Cars, I wrote this up for Unite for Life on If Pharma Made Trikes

    No other product could be EVER be sold like these drugs are, the manufacturers willingly admit their products suck and are dangerous

    The FDA hearings on prozac took place 30 years ago…why is this drug still on the market???

    Where is our consumer protection???

    Where is our common sense???

  • Spirit is one of my favorite topics!

    Many times I have had people question my quick decisions and my response is always, when Spirit says move, I MOVE!

    Throughout the journey we had dealing with my brother’s situation, my sisters and I relied heavily on Spirit.

    Have you ever read the book Grow a New Body by Dr. Alberto Villoldo?

    The diet from his book was recommended by a friend as they thought it would help my brother.

    I followed it partially along with the Rainbow Diet and I have some training in massage therapy and other therapies, that I used to help aid my brother’s recovery.

    The results were amazing to witness. His circulation improved, veins started popping out like crazy, his muscle tone came back instantly like Popeye and he went from being immobile to literally running. The results were hard to maintain and an underlying problem was his body was in a state of hypermetabolism which made his condition complicated.

    In my own situation that involved experiencing an acute manic episode in March of 1996 from toxic encephalopathy and being misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder, Spirit led me on a journey that was an experience I would not trade for anything.

    I think the main problem with Spirit, is Spirit works so quickly, efficiently and is so cheap, Spirit is not good for the economy. Whereas, “mental illness” is quite profitable on many levels, not just for psychiatry and keeps our economy strong.

  • Hi, and I greatly appreciate your response as yours is the type of reaction I was hoping for to help open dialogue on activism.

    I always like to give credit where credit is due. This was difficult subject matter to write on and MIA’s staff were right on target with editing and refining my submission. I could not be more pleased with how well it reads.

    And trust me, I understand your feelings on not being able to maintain a calm state of being. I have seen and experienced first hand enough of what you are referring to that I have been in many states of total outrage and do not understand why as a society we are not screaming to the high heavens to make change happen immediately.

    The calmness comes only from weathering many storms, the simple optimism comes from trusting higher powers truly are at work and the article itself is an expression of gratitude to honor not only my brother but many others.

    “All change must start with the recognition for the need of change.”


    Now how can we make that happen?

    One important case I think advocates from all organizations should consider is that of Ryan Ehlis, who in 1999 began taking Adderall, slipped into a psychotic fog, shot and killed his infant daughter, then shot himself in the stomach.

    The criminal court found Ryan innocent after testimony by a psychiatrist and by Shire US, Inc., stated that the “psychotic state” was a very rare side effect of Adderall use.

    The manufacturer of Adderall, commented that “despite the slaying, Adderall remains a safe and effective drug for controlling AD/HD.”

    “despite the slaying”????

    “remains safe and effective”????

    How can we help others recognize this is an unacceptable statement?

  • Yikes!

    Among the many issues, we must consider is Ms. Spears (along with countless others under forced psychiatric treatment) being treated as a modern-day Carrie Buck?

    The 1927 U.S. Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell decided the fate of Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old patient at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded who was sentenced to forced sterilization under a law enacted to promote the “health of the patient and the welfare of society.”

    The Court’s decision sanctioned the state’s use of medical procedures on select individuals without their consent. Unlike other infamous decisions, the ruling in Buck has never been directly overruled and there are some reasons to believe that Buck is still good law today.

    The decision in Buck v Bell set a dangerous precedent as medical doctors in the United States were allowed to pick citizens they felt were of a lesser mental capacity and label them as members of a class of people who were no longer afforded equal protection, informed consent and could be denied the fundamental right to procreate.

    “I want to get married and have a baby,” Spears told the judge in her emotional 40-minute testimony. “I want [the IUD] taken out so I can start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have any more children.”

    These are very strong allegations and her case should be of heightened concern for anyone who has ever been labeled “mentally ill”.

  • Yikes!

    What Ms. Spears revealed at her June 23, 2021 court hearing is shocking:

    The New York Times reports:
    Britney Spears said on Wednesday that the people who control her affairs had refused to allow her to get her IUD removed so that she could try to have a third child. “I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” Spears said at a court hearing.

    Among many other issues, a concern must be is Ms. Spears (along with countless others under forced psychiatric treatment) being treated as a modern-day Carrie Buck?

    The 1927 U.S. Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell decided the fate of Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old patient at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded who was sentenced to compulsory sterilization because she represented a “genetic threat to society”.

    The Court’s decision sanctioned the state’s use of medical procedures on select individuals without their consent “for the protection and health of the state”. Unlike other infamous decisions, the ruling in Buck has never been directly overruled and there are some reasons to believe that Buck is still good law today.

    The decision in Buck v Bell set a dangerous precedent as the states were allowed to employ medical opinion to create a class of people who were no longer afforded equal protection. The medical opinion that certain individuals and their offspring posed a “threat to society” empowered professionals to practice coercive medicine in what became a prejudiced and culturally accepted, non-participatory model of mental health care.

    This model does not honor the patient’s perspective and places the physician in an authoritative role.

    Because of her past, Ms. Spears is forced to live under the authority of psychiatrists.

  • Hi Richard,

    For over a decade I have been a member of the nonprofit International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP, formerly ICSPP. that was originally founded by Dr. Peter Breggin and his wife Ginger. ) While many ISEPP members are mental health professionals, the organization also welcomes individuals like myself who are interested in advocacy. As an advocate, I have benefitted greatly from my membership in ISEPP.

    As I am sure you are aware, the Church of Scientology co-founded with Dr. Thomas Szasz (who was not a member of the Church and at times stated he was an ashiest) the nonprofit organization the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)

    It was only after moving near Clearwater, FL, the “Scientology Capital of the World”, that I came across CCHR. Information on their website led me to find out about PsychRights and then ICSPP, and so on. Before that, I was only familiar with NAMI and was extremely disturbed by the information presented at the NAMI conferences I had attended.

    CCHR Florida used to be run on a shoestring budget. It was only during recent years the Church in Clearwater invested in the local CCHR and added the museum, Psychiatry: an Industry of Death. Actually, the Church has invested heavily in the entire City of Clearwater and has beautified areas of abandoned buildings that were becoming very run down.

    During my first visit to the museum I spent four hours going through every detail looking for possible inaccuracies or misleading information. I only found one item that I feel misrepresents the truth.

    I realize many individuals feel CCHR is a front for the Church but over the years I have attended many CCHR events and have never had anyone approach me on joining the Church. The events were all very informative and shared valuable information.

    I respect the accomplishments of CCHR as they are outstanding. Members of this organization work tirelessly to educate the public, investigate claims and advance legislation to protect human rights. As far as I am aware, CCHR is the only independent organization that will investigate claims of mental health patients.

    I grew up a devout Catholic and during my lifetime I have had friends who were members of many different churches/organizations, or devotees/followers of gurus/teachers and have had the opportunity to learn about/experience many different religious beliefs.

    At a health fair I even participated in a free auditing session offered by Scientology. The auditing seemed similar to biofeedback. The auditor was impressed with my results and said I didn’t need their services.

    Personally, I have no fear of the Church of Scientology, I respect my friends who are members of the Church of Scientology equal to any other friend and greatly appreciate CCHR as a “mental health watchdog”

  • Steve, I agree with your statements and in the past have engaged in many different modalities that helped facilitate healing from what was originally diagnosed as a “mental illness”. Different terms were used to describe the modalities including: orthomolecular psychiatry, complimentary therapies, nutritional/vitamin/IV therapy, functional medicine, integrative therapies and precision medicine.

    Unlike many other psych patients, I was blessed to have access to and be able to financially afford a multimodal approach.

    I am sure you are familiar with the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant and it is one that I think has an important message to consider on different perspectives and problem solving.

    As an individual with experience as a psychiatric patient under forced treatment, a self-advocate and an advocate for others, although not always easy, I feel it is important to maintain respect for all.

    And as hard as it may be, respect must be maintainted for those who claim they or their loved one have benefitted from psychiatry, psych drugs and even ECT.

    Unfortunately, psychiatry is a very powerful and unregulated authority that can legally force whatever treatment, no matter how harmful, they want to on their patients.

    For consumers under court-ordered treatment, psychiatry is what they must purchase and they have no access or rights to any other modality.

    Psychiatric consumers under coercive treatment are at a disadvantage and are in need of strong, educated advocates who will work in their best interest. This is why educating advocates on the value of options different from psychiatric drugging/ECT is critically needed.

  • Kerry,

    Thank you for such a comprehensive explanation of EMDR.

    For over twenty years I have been involved in advocacy taking a best practice standards approach.

    Influences from psychiatry and Big Pharma are probably a large part of the reason why so many main stream advocates (NAMI) work to advance the benefits of drug therapy.

    There also seems to be a lack of awareness of alternatives among advocates and consumers. Explanations like yours are greatly needed to help expand awareness of alternatives to medication management.

  • Miranda,

    I really appreciated reading “My Letter to an Advocate for Involuntary Treatment” by Emily Hochman, published June 1 on MIA.

    In it she writes: “there are a lot of things that I want to say but feel I can’t because there would be big consequences for me…You have to be careful whom you tell what and which words and mannerisms you use. With time and experience, I’ve learned, especially at the doctor’s, to speak with utmost calm, using measured speech without interjections and minimal hand gestures, my face relaxed, the intensity of my gaze on low”

    Emily words are very meaningful as being labeled with a psychiatric disorder creates a special class in our society. Unlike others, individuals with a “history of mental illness” are especially vulnerable to unfair judgment, gossip and criticism. Very easily the rights of a “mentally ill” person can be taken away by anyone who feels the “mentally ill” person is not acting “normal”.

    All it takes is an anonymous call and the “mentally ill” person can be removed from their home and will then have to prove they are “normal” do not need forced treatment. They do not have the right to know who placed the call.

    Psychiatric labels automatically create a power-play in all relationships for individuals from all walks of life. Our “mentally ill” population are in need of strong advocates who will act in their best interest. Thank you for calling attention to Britney’s case.

  • According to a April 2019 TMZ and other news reports, the “cocktail of medicines that were designed specifically” for Britney were “increasingly ineffective and doctors needed to create a new cocktail.”

    TMZ reported her psychiatrists explained creating a new cocktail is risky because they just use a “trail and error” method and their errors made Britney unstable and unwilling to cooperate. After being admitted to a facility, Britney’s psychiatrists told TMZ they think they figured out the right mixture of psychiatric drugs to keep her under control.

    As Miranda mentions in the podcast, Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, claims his daughter suffers from dementia.

    In light of the fact psychiatric drugs can cause memory loss, confusion and other side effects similar to dementia symptoms, her alleged symptoms of dementia may be the result of the psychiatric drugs prescribed to control her behavior/moods/personality and other perceived psychiatric disorders.

    It is disheartening to know celebrities who receive so much attention from the public and have financial access to resources/alternative therapies, unavailable to most, are still misinformed and trapped in the same broken system as those who are less fortunate.

  • Hi Ricky,

    You did an amazing job summarizing your story and I have no doubt that you endured a lot. It is only by going through these nightmares that you are able to truly understand and have compassion for others labeled “mentally ill”.

    As I am sure you have experienced, finding good legal representation for situations involving forced treatment is extremely difficult.

    Are you familiar with the CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights)?

    They are an international nonprofit organization founded by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz. CCHR Florida has been making an effort to educate Florida attorneys on ways to help individuals under forced treatment (Florida’s Baker Act) by hosting educational symposiums.

    I don’t think CCHR has a chapter in Georgia but perhaps one of the attorneys who has attended a Baker Act symposiums in Florida has a contact in Georgia. Here is a link to a Florida attorney who is probably involved:

    Were you billed for psychiatric services while under forced treatment?

    In the past I have been billed for forced psychiatric treatment that my insurance did not cover and filed a complaint with the facility that it was an illegal blind contract and they did drop the bill.

    I have also filed complaints with the Office of Attorney General claiming forced consumerism.

    Here is part of a complaint I filed advocating for an individual in New York under forced treatment:

    For more than five year, XXXXX has been prescribed the controlled substance Ativan for anxiety. Ativan is a hypnotic drug. Instructions from the manufacturer of Ativan warn against prescribing their product for more than 2-4 weeks and acknowledge they haven’t ever studied the effectiveness of using Ativan long-term. The manufacturer of this drug also admits their product is defective and can cause paradoxical reactions including but not limited to: anxiety, excitation, agitation, hostility, aggression, rage, sleep disturbances/insomnia and hallucinations. Instructions for use state patients should stop consuming this product if they experience adverse side effects. This product is designed to have a high risk for dependency and the consumer will need to purchase more quantities of this product to try and maintain its effectiveness. When discontinued, Ativan also produces a wide range of unpredictable physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. Like all pharmaceutical products, if a consumer can no longer use Ativan because it is ineffective or defective, the manufacturer and the retailer who sold their product, are not obligated to refund money back to the consumer or their insurance company. Pharmaceutical companies and retail stores profit off of these high risk, defective psychiatric products.

  • For those who have taken the time to read this brilliant young man’s story, I hope you will also take the time to listen to the video recorded conversation he also has posted as it demonstrates his passion.

    Ricky, thank you for sharing your journey and I’m glad that you found MIA. I am so impressed with how you became such a strong advocate for yourself and I hope that you will continue on as an advocate for others. We need people like you.

    Best wishes, Maria

  • Annette,

    I just want you to know how much I enjoyed reading your post as it is so thoughtfully written. I love your positive attitude as I know that is what helped you to overcome the impossible and become one of the “lucky ones”.

    I am soooo happy for you and I know that you will have a positive impact on many others. I will be sharing your post on my Facebook page and email out to others.

    God bless and thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey!

  • Hi Leighgage

    The Benzo Information Coalition is amazing for what they are doing

    Also, the team behind the film Medicating Normal

    Definitely on my list of who I will donate to when my winning lottery ticket finally comes in

    Along with stories of harm, I also believe stories of recovery must come forward

    The argument of pro-psychiatry/pro-medication management advocates lies heavily in not being educated on what other options exist

    Will Hall has put together a lot of information on this and Laura Delano shares a lot

    More exposure is greatly needed

    Along with other members of ISEPP and Quantum Leap Farm (a nationally recognized equine therapy program) I participated in this docuseries Unbroken Minds but the project has been put on hold

    I am hopeful that my sibling, who is currently at a rehab facility for physical therapy and cognitive remediation, will soon be well enough to participate in therapies that are available from some of my friends who are Chiropractors/massage therapists and are eager to assist in recovery strategies

    I am flying up today to help my family and somehow sharing this “testimony” on MIA feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders

    Thank you for your support and I look forward to the day my sibling will share their recovery story on their own

    Maria Mangicaro

  • Hi Steve

    “Despite the slaying” statement was made in the Ryan Ehlis case.

    There are a number of cases, like that of David Crespi, in which the 911 operators who take the phone call of an individual calling to report they murdered their child/children and the 911 operator could tell they just by the sound of thei caller’s voice they were on psych meds.

    How can it be that obvious to a 911 operator but medical doctors can’t figure this out?

    And where are the “advocates”?

    And the few doctors who are experts willing to testify/attorneys willing to defend cost upwards of $100,000 upfront

    Just to obtain guardianship of a loved one will cost over $3000 upfront for attorney fees

    This involves such dark subject matter, I think most who are involved in advocacy do not want to consider, but these are the worst cases of how psychiatric drugs are impacting our society

    I appreciate filmmaker Kevin Miller (Generation Rx and Letters from Generation Rx) and Gwen Olsen for their efforts

    Other cases like Rebecca Riley and Gabriel Myers are ones that just leave me screaming to the high heavens

    So many alarms going off yet the “public” continues to sleep

    Take care
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Hi Sam,

    I appreciate your comment.

    I remember reading a small article in USA Today in 2001 entitled “Despite the Slaying, Adderall is Still a Safe Medication for ADHD”

    That was the response from the manufacturer of Adderall after a college student shot took their drug for ten days, slipped into a psychotic fog, shot and killed his baby girl and then shot himself in the stomach. He was found not guilty because the drug company and psychiatrists admitted this is a side effect of the drug.

    Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person on the planet who read that article.

    The “public” is asleep.

    It’s nice to connect with others who are awake.

    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Dear Anomie,

    Thank you for sharing the article “A Psychiatrist Visits Belgium: The Epicenter of Psychiatric Euthanasia”, I have shared it with others and it is a topic I am very concerned with.

    Did you read Robert Whitaker’s post: Zel Dolinsky: I Have a Right to “Death With Dignity” ?

  • Dear cidrols,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Yes, it’s a tuff battle. Honestly don’t know how my sibling has made it this far. As a family we have really pulled together to help out and as bad as everything has been, we have been truly bless in so many ways and constantly pray for healing.

    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Dear Leighgage,

    There is no greater loss than that of a child, my heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story and yes, genetic tests to see which meds could be effective is so important.

    Have you seen the documentary Dead Wrong?

    It is so well done. I gave copies of it to the doctors at the state hospital my sibling was at.

    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • streetphotobeing,

    Thank you for commenting and sharing.

    “How do we get the general public to understand the true horror and criminality of psychiatry and just how dangerous it is to go to these people?”

    I’m 58 years old. Dr. Thomas Szasz co-founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights 51 years ago. Dr. Peter Breggin Founded ICSPP (now ISEPP) over 40 years ago. Robert Whitaker wrote Mad in America 18 years ago. There are dozens of other organizations, authors, doctors, psychologists, filmmakers, advocates, efforts, etc. trying to get the general public to understand.

    If we add up all of their efforts it is like using eye droppers to take water from the ocean to fill up an Olympic size pool. And congratulations, their combined efforts have paid off and that pool is now full. Now, go back and look at the ocean to see the difference made.

    That is the realization we must face. There is just too much money being made by too many for the change to take place anytime in the near future.

    The best we can do is keep speaking up until a tsunami of stories are out there and maybe we will see a paradigm shift in our lifetime.

    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Rosalee,

    Thank you for your comment and you are spot on.

    Because individuals experiencing symptoms of “mental illness” can end up in trouble with the law or end up having other legal issues (divorce, bankruptcy, guardianship), attorneys make a fortune off of “mental illness”.

    I worked as a legal blogger for a criminal defense attorney. This attorney made $7000 profit off of the father of a man who was homeless, labeled with a “mental illness”, probably had a substance abuse problem and committed a crime involving a $300 theft. Charges were dropped and the attorney kept the father’s money.

    Unethical and pathetic.
    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Hi DShanin,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Although the doctors considered my sibling catatonic, their condition was so severe it was like they were paralyzed. It actually looked like rigor mortis was setting in and other people would have to position them like a Barbie Doll. To get my sibling to take some fluids, I would have to pry their mouth open and use an eye dropper. They were so dependent on Ativan that the oral form did nothing. They would only respond to intramuscular injections even that got to the point shots would wear off quickly and the withdrawal between shots were so tormenting it looked like they had demons in their body.

    Right now they are doing somewhat better, back on a low dose of oral Ativan, moved to a rehab facility for physical therapy, but no doctor has attempted to taper them off. I am flying up this week to help out and will continue to advocate for medical assistance with tapering off Ativan.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Sam,

    It is sad to know so many can turn a blind eye.

    Individuals labeled “mentally ill” are in need of strong, ethical, educated advocates.

    I attended my first NAMI conference in 1999 excited to discover there was actually an organization that gave a hoot about people labeled “mentally ill”. I walked out disgusted at the brainwashing this organization does and the pro-psychiatry agenda they promote.

    It is simply time to say NO and also to say there is NO national alliance on “mental illness”, as a matter of fact there is a national disagreement on “mental illness”.

    Take care Sam,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Hi Andrei,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this story.

    Yes, unbelievably heartbreaking and unnecessary suffering because under our current paradigm of care, there is no help available for someone who is suffering from a prescription drug dependency.

    Individuals who have drug addictions can get help, but those who are drug dependent are at a loss in the system.

    Coincidently, Dr. Peter Breggin is from my hometown of Syracuse, NY and I am a long-time member of an organization that he originally founded, ISEPP (formerly ICSPP). I’ve met Dr. Breggin/Robert Whitaker in the past at conferences and being knowledgeable in their work and that of many others definitely helped me be a strong advocate for my sibling.

    Unfortunately, you are absolutely right, psychiatrists are incapable of realizing the harm these drugs do and they can not handle the truth. They are totally clueless on how to help patients taper off of benzodiazepines and there is nothing anyone can do to change things.

    We are stuck in this paradigm of care and the best we can do is continue to speak up to try and enlighten others.

    Most of the time it feels like we are just spitting in the wind, but it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

    Take care,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Dear Rossa,

    It is so nice to hear from you and I apologize for not responding sooner. I looked over your website/blog and read the synopsis of your book, The Scenic Route: A Way through Madness. Truly a labor of love. You have accumulated a wealth of information to help others and your site is beautifully done.

    I especially found meaning in this passage you wrote “If the times are right, a well told story can further a paradigm shift in thinking. I’m hoping that the time is right now. Enjoy the journey.”

    My sibling has certainly endured horrific abuse. Sadly, the film Letters from Generation Rx and stories from so many others like Crespi Family Hope are always good reminders that things could be worse and how important it is that well-told stories are heard.

    I especially admire the effort the team behind the film Medicating Normal are putting in to enlighten others.

    I see you have Light Therapy listed on your website. Have you looked into BEMER therapy yet?

    Best wishes to you and your family,
    Maria Mangicaro

  • Before commenting I’ve read this post over several times along with the comments.

    Although this is just a glimpse into his life and diverse perspectives, Mr. Dolinsky left behind a very powerful testimony, especially on how the use of psychiatric drugs can lead to unbearable internal suffering, the belief of hopelessness and a death wish. Obviously he was a very intelligent and resilient individual who accomplished a lot during his lifetime. It is unfortunate that despite all of his knowledge, access to resources and personal testimonies of recovery, he lost all faith and was unable to find the answers and relief he needed, especially considering he made a drastic career change later in life to provide holistic healthcare to others as a licensed massage therapist in a hospital setting.

    Psychiatric euthanasia is a topic considered in Kevin Dunn’s film Fatal Flaws. The documentary features a young Dutch girl who was euthanized last January because of her “severe psychiatric problems” that psychiatric treatment failed to relieve. Psychiatric euthanasia has steadily increased in the Neatherlands with 83 reported cases in 2017.

    Adam Maier-Clayton, a Canadian psychiatric Death with Dignity activist, committed suicide two years ago because of suffering from what he and his family believed were symptoms of “severe mental illness” that became treatment resistent. Many of his complaints sounded like adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs.

    Euthanizing psychiatric patients is a topic that deserves thoughtful consideration and expanded awareness, especially among pro-psychiatry drug advocates like Pete Earley and DJ Jaffee.

    As Severe Mental Illness advocates, Mr. Earley and Mr. Jaffee work to advance the use of psychiatric drugs and forced drugging. Both men clearly disregard and downplay adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs.

    Supporting Death with Dignity for psychiatric patients seems like it would place professionals in a difficult situation of trying to distinguish between a patient who qualifies for forced treatment because they are suicidal and a patient who qualifies for euthanasia because they have a legitamate reason to be suicidal. For patients who are considered “treatment resistant”, it also seems impossible to define the suffering as being caused by the perceived “mental illness”, or being from an actual adverse reactions to psychiatric drug therapy or withdrawal syndrome.

    Psychiatric drugs are often prescribed by doctors who fail to test for and treat possible underlying medical conditions that can manifest as a “mental illness”. Without treating the underlying cause, there is little hope a patient will ever find relief, thereby increasing the chance psychiatric patients would welcome relief through euthanasia. Sadly, family members of “mentally ill” patients who find it difficult or even impossible to help their loved ones and can easily feel overburdened by their care, also seem to give up hope and welcome relief through assisted suicide for their loved one.

    Historically, individuals with perceived “mental illnesses” have been victims of eugenic movements and treated like the throw-aways in our society.

    For anyone who has experienced adverse reactions of psych drugs, or withdrawal syndrome, it is easy to understand why so many psychiatric patients end up suicidal. The option of Death with Dignity among psychiatric patients would more than likely become a service in high demand and profitable for psychiatry.

    Before Death with Dignity, we should consider psychiatric patients are entitled to a life with dignity, which includes knowing the truth, informed consent and availability to best practice, individualized treatment.

    Like Mr. Dolinsky, I was also bothered by Pete Earley’s post suggesting Robert Whitaker and NAMI “have blood on their hands”. Even before the NAMI convention, Mr. Earley solicited readers to write about their experiences at the event, offering money, stating that he was especially interested in Robert Whitaker’s presentation, referencing Mr. Whitaker beforehand as someone “who has become a darling of the anti-psychiatry movement”. That comment seemed disrespectful and inappropriate.

    Although I have a lot of respect for the fact Mr. Earley’s work helped to expose many problems within the jail system and advanced awareness of Crisis Intervention Training among law enforcement, since reading his book “Crazy” in 2006, I have reached out to Mr. Earley on many occasions to point out what seems like misrepresentation of facts and misinformation in his statements.

    Clearly, Mr. Earley is more interested in protecting his position as a selective-storytelling novelist and self-proclaimed advocate than fact checking and protecting the rights of those he claims to advocate for.

    “A former Washington Post reporter, Mr. Earley writes with authenticity and style — a wonderful blend of fact and fiction in the best tradition of journalists-turned-novelists.” Nelson DeMille, bestselling author