Comments by Katarina Lundgren

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  • Yes. I agree. This is hard for me to understand. Why the institutions and people who intend to help people heal trauma – engage in the same kind of power imbalances that exist in abuse. Leave very little agency, do not promote choice, do not work transparently, do not hold themselves accountable etc.

    Trauma and neglect and its consequences + differences in our genetic makeup in how we cope with hardships like that – is what they work with in “mental health care” – and none of it has to do with being sick, ill or disordered.

    But the more “treatments” you get – the more you think it is all your own fault. And you are stuck with your “treaters” interpretations of you. Their picture(s) of you becomes the truth. I was lucky to be able to dissociate and keep parts of me that did not buy into their picture(s) of me. But it has been a heck of a lot of work to get rid of those pictures of me they created in me – as deficient, defected, sick, disordered, lacking insight, mentally ill etc. Pictures of me that just built on what abusers already had given me. It is insidious – this continuation of something you are already familiar with, discrediting you, manipulating you, brainwashing you, confusing you, having you less and less trust yourself. This betrayal is huge. It is not help, it is back-stabbing.

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  • Hi David, I am yet not a counselor (but under training), right now I help people through equine and nature assisted interventions, mindfulness, grounding, stabilization – but not processing trauma. I hope to do that when I have come further in my training. But feel I do a lot of good work “only” with resourcing, helping people with self-awareness, self-compassion, listen to themselves etc. My relation to therapy is also complicated – I hope my training and the therapy I will (again) do for my own sake, will help me get clearer on some aspects, like the power imbalance also in therapy, e.g. I am familiar with EMDR. I will take a look at your program and have it in mind further on.

    In regard to diagnoses and categorizing people – that is part of the power imbalance I mention above. I find that even if people do not want to use it – it is still present, permeating any kind of help offered, unless no clear dialogue is had around it and clear work is done around it. I don’t think, in general, that therapists understand this power imbalance and what it brings into the therapy room. Especially when it comes to trauma/abuse.

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  • Hi Bradford, no, I am not sure I do know what you mean? Can you elaborate for me?

    In my country there are (at least not when this took place) any private psychiatric hospitals, they were all state hospitals, with no need to make a profit. I don’t think that what happened to me was driven by money greedy people, but by people who were 100% sure they knew more about me and what I needed than what I did. I thought “treatment” and “help” would mean someone would finally hear and see me, help me come to terms with my past, support me in finding a more stable ground in life. I thought I was going to be safe, protected and that they would care about who I am (that is how naive I was). Even at 22 – I had experienced psychiatric care also at the age of 13 + the foster care system, I still believed them when they said they could help me.

    In some sense I was “lucky” – as the abuse I had gone through had taught me to keep parts of me closed off and a secret. It protected me from being totally grinded down by the “care” I got in the psychiatric hospitals. I knew how to dissociate. It helped me survive this “help” as well. But it cemented my dissociative defenses :-/ – quite naturally.

    What do you mean by genocide? What population are Psychiatry out to hurt? Women? People of color? Poor people? People just different to themselves? People who are not “normal” (that is – as they are – with themselves as templates).

    It was not my intention to write a text saying – look how strong I am – I survived this. If I came through like that – I did fail a bit. I wanted to point out exactly what they did (and what they called treatment) – what effect it had on me (it made me worse, much worse). It is hard to write about this stuff and not sound like a pity party. I don’t feel sorry for myself – I am trying to find ways to have these discussions. To open up debate, so we can find new ways of supporting people with trauma and diversity. How do I tell this story (and all the other ones I carry) without sounding like an old record on repeat that no one have the energy to listen to? Help me out with tips if you have any!

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  • Thank you! Yes – we need to start asking the ones experiencing trauma and its consequences (that are often more harmful in the long run than the actual trauma(s)) – what we need, what kind of support we want and find beneficial. Now we have a system where the ones who are “treaters” always know more than the ones that went through the traumatic experiences. Even if there are places that ask for the opinion from the ones with “lived experience” – we still do not impact much.

    There should be no shame attached to having been traumatized and lived through hell – using whatever strategies you needed. To then end up being re-traumatized by the ones that says they are going to help you – is very damaging – and be made to carry the stigma of being mentally ill and giving up your agency to comply to doctors, therapists, social workers etc – who all probably mean well, but can’t take a step back and look at what they are actually doing – is just a repeat of what you already have gone through (but is often called a projection). People do not in general recognize power imbalances, in my opinion, at least not in the systems they are self a part of upholding (but also schooled/trained into).

    I refuse to carry any shame anymore. It is not mine. I am not a perfect human being – but I am not mentally ill either. There is nothing wrong with me – know my context – and I am not that hard to understand. (Stopping here, before I write a novel – as I have A LOT to say about this!)

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  • Hi Rebel, I do not think you are lazy or stupid. I live in a small country where knowing more languages than one is almost a necessity. We learn English from we are small kids. I also work internationally – and English is in that way for me – a universal language (at least in the western part of the world). My English is not perfect – but it works for communicating what I want to say!

    I am sorry you feel damaged by the drugs you have been taking. I am lucky in that way – my brain still functions relatively well.

    I agree with you that individual stories are important. That is why I sent mine in – to contribute with my experiences – so we all can work towards changing a system that is not working. Towards changing mindsets that have decided that there are mentally sick people and then the other ones – the mentally healthy ones, when the truth is we can all experience times in our lives where we struggle and need support.

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  • Thank you! And you are welcome 🙂 Writing in English is not that of an effort to me, it is my “work language”. So in order to reach out, I use English. Mental health (or just being a human with emotions) – and how we have viewed people with “too much” or “too little” emotions from having met with life’s hardships, as being sick, disordered or mentally ill – is pretty much a global problem.

    I do a lot of photography too – it is another way of expressing myself and connecting to nature and the world. As it is a reminder that what we see is only a selected viewpoint, through a lens (of ourselves).

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