Thursday, June 4, 2020

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Showing 222 of 222 comments.

  • I so agree re: pharma’s control of media and funding of advocacy groups. There needs to be many, many more support groups and communities that are completely unaffiliated with pharma in any way, including donations. It really is criminal. But it all boils down to money, everything needs money to stay alive it seems. I’ve been to support groups where a large percentage of the time was spent discussing problems with medications and psychiatrists, but sometimes you keep going back because there’s nowhere else to go.

  • Richard, I have no problem with you criticizing NAMI, which is almost entirely funded by pharmaceutical company donations. I would like to suggest that you consider criticizing NAMI and not specific people who work for NAMI, many of whom are good people and many whom provide an enormous amount of good work for free. I know there is at least one writer here who worked for NAMI. Would you use it to discredit her too? If you have problems with a particular form of advocacy you might want to consider that the people who are performing that form of advocacy made an educated, informed decision you don’t agree with and don’t support. Suggesting people didn’t make an educated, informed decision about how they choose to own their own activism and that they are nothing but a company’s propaganda is insulting, and yes, it’s especially insulting because they’re POC. Maybe you should talk to them about how they feel about it first. Yes, for better or worse the world has changed and what would have happened in the 60s wouldn’t happen now and a lot of people have never even heard of anti psychiatry. Do you seriously want to invalidate these people and their own advocacy work? NAMI’s fingerprints are all over the place, even here.

  • Replying here to Richard’s comment below. What advocacy group promoting it? The people who photographed themselves are the advocacy group! It’s hosted on the website of Dior Vargas. Are you criticizing her? Am I missing something?
    “You must know that this language is a major issue of contention at MIA and among those critical of Biological Psychiatry’s disease model.” So what? Not sure what you want me to say here. Boo hoo? I guess I’ll contact the moderator (again, sorry Emmeline) to clarify that as a person who identifies as having psychiatric labels I’m “allowed” to be on MIA? I guess I will accept that your comments of “backwards” and “very sad” were not intended as ridicule.

  • Obviously your criticism is directed towards the young people who chose to have themselves photographed with signs they themselves created. As far as I could tell, the premise of the project was very simple. “If you’re interested in being part of this project, please submit a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “I’m [your name] and I have a mental illness (or the exact type).” Whatever you feel comfortable doing.” What is “our movement?” If “our movement” involves ridiculing, questioning the judgement of, or endlessly critically evaluating the progressive value of people who choose to identify as having psychiatric labels then I’m out, because that’s me.

  • I just posted this on the forums. Is it okay to share here?

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-set-up-your-home-and-routines-to-help-yourself-if-youre-a-highly-sensitive-person-215636

    I am also a highly sensitive person and have difficulty functioning in certain situations. Institutional buildings, bright florescents, irritating sounds or smells. A trip to the DMV feels like near unendurable torture. I haven’t been to a concert in years because if this music is too loud or I feel a physical dislike of it for some reason I have to leave. (Why in the world do they turn the huge speakers so incredibly loud at some concerts?) Thanks for sharing, Sera!

  • “… minority youth proudly holding up signs identifying their supposed “mental illnesses” and the labels that go with them, such as “I am Bi-polar” and “I am Borderline Personality Disorder …”

    I have to wonder, who in the hell are you to tell other people how they should or should not choose to identify themselves? Isn’t this another form of force, anti-psychiatry taken to the extreme? What if these persons don’t want your help, don’t want you to think of them as “backwards” and “very sad?”

    I get it Richard, you really don’t agree with Timothy Kelly. Seeing you speak to a fellow survivor in this manner, at great length, is not okay with me. I feel this whole conversation and even the original article went way past the point of a personal attack on Timothy Kelly. Can a moderator chime in here?

  • (from the Medscape article) “There are rigorous principles that govern the process of establishing a diagnosis or refining the criteria by which it is identified.” This may be true, but unfortunately doctors aren’t required to adhere to them and most of the time they simply don’t. See, giving someone a diagnosis for the purpose of obtaining insurance coverage. See, giving someone a diagnosis after talking to them for ten minutes or less. See, lump diagnosing an enormous percentage of your patients with bipolar disorder/schizoaffective disorder. Other fields of medicine absolutely are subjected to criticism, including in NYT articles. Psychiatry is not an oppressed people.

  • Something I see over and over in parents and relatives who are vocal forced treatment advocates is a blatant disregard of basic human respect for their diagnosed family members. They will go to any length to violate their privacy, publicly humiliate them, or blow their behavior totally out of context if they think it will advance the cause. Ie., they couldn’t care less if they rip both their family member and their relationship to shreds. I can think of a few great examples I could post links to right now, right off the top of my head, but I guess I’ll refrain in the interest of civility. Treating someone like that is unnecessary and it is not love; it is the worst sort of hatred.

  • I also appreciate this article and a lot of the points it made. Thank you, Mr Kelly. I don’t think I have anything to add that hasn’t already been said. This discussion is also interesting. It’s funny how some people don’t really care where you’re trying to go, they just get mad when you won’t get on their train and shovel coal. (On another note I was absolutely taken aback by your picture. The pain in your face is striking. Whoever took that picture did great work.)

  • I have to wonder if she even read the article about Hymes? Did she fail to comprehend that Hymes has and still is receiving an absolute ton of evidence based care, including medication and therapy? The article even pointed to Hymes’ lithium induced kidney failure and subsequent transplant as the initial cause of her current problems.

    I wonder if Hymes’ nurses ever stopped yelling at her for not cleaning up after herself long enough to check if she was actually too sick or too drugged to do so? Yelling at a hospitalized woman who’s undergone a kidney transplant and is on 17 different medications for not cleaning up after herself. How in the world would she? Welcome to the world of behavioral health.

  • I would love to see a new term and concept replace “anti-psychiatry.” Personally I have seen many people who identify as such say it means many completely different things. One of my favorite definitions was by someone who said that a) psychiatry had saved her life and she was incredibly grateful, but b) she was just so tired of all the bullshit. It does turn a whole lot of people off, people who choose to accept psychiatric treatment and find it helpful or lifesaving, and really don’t appreciate being “antied.” Really love this article, it has a lot to say about a very complex, complicated issue.

  • “4. “Mr. Bad Weekend.” (Alan Hanson, Matter, January 2015)
    In the midst of a depressive episode and a tumultuous breakup, Alan Hanson is suicidal. To save his life, his friends coerce him into visiting a hospital. He wastes time, makes friends and receives tools to survive outside the ward’s walls.”

    How odd, I read the actual story and it simply doesn’t fit this description. Excellent personal account, tho, I recommend it. Tells it like it is (in my experience) about psych wards.

    https://medium.com/matter/mr-bad-weekend-a9f275e216ce?src=longreads

  • I simply don’t believe most psychiatrists really care when their patients suicide. They might worry about being sued, or be sorry in a very detached way, but that’s probably about it. How utterly rare is it for a psychiatrist to actually go to a patient’s funeral? As a psychiatrist said to me once after I told her she obviously just didn’t care, “It’s not our job to care!” I’ve also seen psychiatrists verbally abuse patients who expressed suicidality in hospital. The article does highlight the limitations of treatment pretty well, tho. Those who need help the most are often denied it, or professionals aren’t able to help them, that’s just the reality of it.

  • I read the bill (quickly.) It seems like it is going to legally require an enormous amount of work from a disputed “designated mental health professional” within a very short amount of time for no payment. Meanwhile people who are waiting for their “designated mental health professional” will go without treatment. Joel Reuter had a gun and was shooting at everything in sight, including the police who killed him. Gun control, anyone? Anyone, anyone? Why not make a f**king judge to run around town and sit in on all commitment decisions in the first place, it would cost less and save time.

  • “No sleep for one night, pills at maximum dosage.” What the heck, that is dangerous! He says he worked out their plan with the help of a psychiatrist, but it doesn’t say what it is. I hope it doesn’t include giving someone who isn’t taking antipsychotics regularly an unsafe initial dose! I overdosed this way, and my in-hospital psychiatrists were responsible.

  • “Psycho Pass” in Japan. This is for entertainment purposes only to promote a movie. But how long until this is for real? It says the system operates on Microsoft “Kinetic,” but they must mean “Kinect.” I have a Kinect for Xbox in my living room. I don’t think the possibility that someone, somewhere (like the NSA) is spying on me or even monitoring my mood with it is so farfetched anymore.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/check-your-psycho-pass-levels-at-shinjuku-station

  • “Considering the children that we were treating, I don’t think what was being tried was appropriate,” she said. “There were kids at Lincoln that if they were not on meds, I don’t even want to think about what things would have been like.” “It’s important to say that Ed Levin was a bit of an extremist,” said psychologist Lesleigh Franklin, who led the therapy team at Lincoln.

    What a rotten thing to say, and what is that even supposed to mean? Would the kids have been able as opposed to unable to speak, like Yolanda, able to read and write at age 12? Able to be exponentially less aggressive? “Considering the children we were treating.” A bunch of abused foster kids who needed love and care?!?!

  • An important study. Can you share if the deaths were natural, as opposed to due to suicide or accident for example? Two other questions I thought of: Did you track how long or how many years people had been taking neuroleptics before the study? What diagnoses were included besides schizophrenia? Thanks for reporting on your work.

  • Thank for this, very interesting! I was lucky enough to attend a yoga dance class recently and it was an incredible, therapeutic experience. At one point toward the end I was absolutely mortified because I started crying, but several other people did too.

  • James – Throughout the course of my life, my sexuality has been all over the map. I have beloved neighbors, friends, relatives, teachers, mechanics, ministers etc. who also identify as LGBTQ. The only thing threatening the health and well-being of us, our families, and our communities is ignorance like yours. (I have little respect for the DSM, but they did one thing right when they left homophobia in there.)

  • Really horrified to see comments expressing this level of hatred and homophobia on MIA. I truly hope they will not be tolerated. At the end of the day, this type of attack is targeting all of us.

    “The removal of homosexuality from the psychiatric canon has undoubtedly facilitated the rights of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.” Completely, completely agree. Something to think about for all of us. Excellent article, Dr. Datta.

  • Great article, Dr. Datta. It seems like a more sensible concept of the “schizophrenogenic parents” is coming back into favor. That is, that abusive or dysfunctional parenting styles exacerbate mental illnesses, or possible even lead to the development of them. It seems to me that this is a positive, common sense shift. Have you noticed this or could you comment?

  • “I am sure some people are wrongfully accused of making things up.” Well thanks for that at least. 😛
    There is a movie available on Youtube called The Trouble with Evan. Very demonstrative of what’s truly going on in the life of a “troubled” person (in this case a child.) How I wish I had had a “Trouble with Evan” camera of my own. The camera catches the unbelievably abusive reality of his publicly-appearing sweet, loving family. And the kicker is neither his father or mother have a sliver of realization of how abusive they’re constantly being. They have just decided Evan is crazy, bad, evil. If there had been no camera, Evan’s horrific abuse would have remained his own personal mental disorder.

  • I agree with Corinna. The term “anti-psychiatry” is too widely misunderstood and it alienates people who choose to use the system. A new term for “the view that many psychiatric treatments are ultimately more damaging than helpful to patients” (definition per Wikipedia) is needed. Not sure what it should be though. (Sorry about this, but I’m not too crazy about “medical harm aware advocate,” even though I can’t come up with anything better.) I’ve seen people use the terms “pro-choice” and “iatrogenic awareness.” I do like both of these.

  • Whoops, I meant to add the whole thing is crazy! >8-P

    I have found the concept / label of BPD to be helpful as to my problems getting along with people / getting through the day, to an extent. I was also able to get some books on DBT that were written for practitioners, which I also found somewhat helpful.

    Something else to add is that I’ve seen people develop the symptoms of BPD from being mis-medicated.

  • “tenuous stability, adaptive inflexibility and fostering vicious cycles” Oh, so that’s what BPD is. Wait what? Lol. Seriously, how is the average person off the street supposed to know what that means? How is that a helpful summary for someone like me?
    There can be similar symptoms between almost all the different diagnoses, two people with the same diagnosis can be vastly different, and it’s completely possible that someone with Asperger’s could also have BPD. It’s also completely possible someone with Asperger’s could present as having BPD, and vice versa.

  • I think it’s great that there’s a Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies; not funny or sad! I just looked at it on Amazon and it looks like a great book. It’s almost impossible to get any clear, understandable information about what the disorder is, what the diagnostic criteria is, what might cause it, what the treatment is, or how to access treatment. The vast majority of the information available to the public about Borderline Personality Disorder is of the Glenn Close / Faye Dunaway variety. What’s incredibly sad is that it’s become such a throwaway, laughable term within the very institution that is supposed to be treating it, if not curing it. A personal example, a psychiatrist I saw for a very hellish, short term “treatment” in 2010 wrote “she appears to have borderline personality disorder” in my records, and that’s… it. No list of symptoms meeting diagnostic criteria, no treatment plan, and he also never said a word about it to me. Perhaps he had a good laugh with colleagues about it over drinks?

  • I’ve only looked at the article briefly, but I’m confused as to how an experiment in which people are burned on their arms is translatable to people receiving care (or poor “care”) in a healthcare setting? I get the whole initial positive / negative experience affects future experiences, that’s common sense. I just don’t see how such a particular experiment can claim to come to a conclusion about a healthcare environment.

  • The Australian Mental Health Review Tribunal

    http://www.mhrt.nsw.gov.au/the-tribunal/

    “In its civil hearings, the Tribunal may: …

    approve the use of ECT for involuntary patients;

    approve surgery on a patient detained in a mental health facility;

    approve special medical treatment (sterilisation); …”

    They are a “quasi-judicial body,” protecting the quasi-civil rights of quasi-people. I’ll be following this story too, but I bet we don’t hear another damn thing. The kangaroo court got its rubber stamps mixed up. Oops!

  • I also practice yoga. I’ve tried several kinds, I really like Kripalu. I’ve had body memory or flashbacks, but never while doing yoga. I remember hearing a Sean Corn interview and she talked about them. Very touching story, you are a great teacher.

  • The best therapeutic relationship I ever had was when I took mandolin lessons. I was in a horrible place mentally and emotionally, and going through appointments and checklists with professionals was nothing but an exacerbating ordeal. The lessons gave me something to focus on other than my misery and problems. I went once a week, but had something to do and focus on every day, practice. I could practice as much or as little as I liked. I could cancel whenever I liked, but rarely did out of courtesy, and never did without notice. My teacher always asked me how I was and how my week had been. Sometimes we spent ten minutes or so talking about my week or my problems, and they might mention their own. They always remembered what we had talked about the week before, and sometimes asked me about something I had mentioned the week before. The lesson was half an hour, which was not too much time for me to handle. Going to the office of a professional and sitting in the crowded chaotic waiting room for up to three hours was too much for me to handle. I think the most important thing was that my teacher was a good, affable person and also had the freedom to do as they liked and felt best for the lesson. A few lessons in they mentioned I looked nervous, and I admitted the fact that their office was tiny, up two narrow stairways and down three narrow hallways was causing me to panic. They pointed out the fire escape stairwell was right outside the door and I said, I know, I tried it and it’s locked. They checked and said, You’re right, now I’m going to panic. The funny thing was I did mention my diagnoses and it didn’t change anything. No emotion or problem I ever mentioned was diagnosed or labeled as abnormal. We just spoke about them briefly and they expressed compassion or perhaps a suggestion briefly. My completely reasonable concern about the fire escape wasn’t due to paranoia or delusions of persecution. After talking about something that was a bit off once I mentioned that they must think I was incredibly odd, and they just said, Not at all, you wouldn’t believe some of the things the people who sit in that chair have said to me, especially the teenagers. Also I just enjoyed myself, and enjoyed the practice. I took lessons for about a year, as I had planned. There was an expense involved, but I very much felt I got my money’s worth, which I can’t say for any mental health professional who treated me, ever (not that I would think good mental health care wasn’t worth the money.) I also had a good experience talking to a very kind and helpful local police officer. They gave me a lot of advice about a particular problem I was having, and because what I was doing about this problem wasn’t working I followed that advice, although my instincts were practically screaming against it. It was (so it seemed to me) miraculously helpful, and led to very positive changes in my life. If I had chosen to take it up with a mental health professional I might have spent years wallowing in misery about it. I think I spoke to the officer and a friend of his who also helped for a total of two hours. Then I arduously sucked it up and tried what they suggested. They didn’t ask for my life story (although they listened seriously as I blabbed it at them,) they didn’t pathologize, patronize or laugh at me, and they didn’t believe patching on a simple solution and getting on with my life was somehow a bad move.
    Anyway this is a good article and it got me thinking. I’m not sure what the answer is, but it seems like it would be very, very difficult to make a living as a life coach. I wonder if it is impossible to work as both at once?

  • I don’t have any suggestions about getting more people to take nutritional treatments seriously, but as they have worked for me after extensive medical treatments failed I certainly do and I’m also very glad for the information you share here. What doesn’t work for one person could very well be the magic bullet for another. This is the nature of all types of medicine.
    I cured myself of a year long bout of severe antibiotic induced clostridium difficile (CD) by drinking kefir, after doctors had extensively failed to treat it. I did the same for the CD induced interstitial cystitis (IC,) which doctors also extensively failed to treat, by drinking dandelion tea. In both cases I took “doses” daily over an extended period of time, ultimately resulting in a “cure,” where “doses” were no longer needed.
    I have also extensively experimented with nutritional treatment for mood disorder (however you want to put it, altered and improved my diet in order to feel better) and find much of what people are saying here to be true; you must being with eating a healthy diet and avoiding junk food. This is more easily said than done considering the state of our food economy. I also take a particular type of omega 3 supplement every day, which I swear by. For me, there is something about this particular supplement. I have tried others with no noticeable effect.
    Thanks again for sharing the intel!

  • I’m outraged at the absolute dysfunction of this scenario. Therapist tells client to call not therapist, but suicide hotline for non-suicidal support. Suicide hotline doesn’t answer call. Client becomes reasonably angry, leaves reasonably angry message. Police force client into psych ward, psych ward forces client to pay $2,000 for unneeded, forced, and traumatizing incarceration. Client is hurt, angry, unsupported, and $2,000 poorer. The most expensive path to the most harmful and least helpful form of care has been followed. The psych ward wins again. Everyone else loses. And so it goes…

  • http://www.psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/history-tyranny-dsm/

    Quoting the author Ben Peck below:

    In 1971, gay activist Frank Kameny stormed the American Psychiatric Association’s annual conference, held that year in a Washington ballroom. Pushing his way past shocked elderly psychiatrists, he seized the microphone and shouted: “Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you.”

    Remaining “pleasant” will not facilitate change. “Below the line” comments like Pilgrim’s are what is needed.

    I think we all know what happens when you “assume” something. (Oops, I guess that’s a below the line comment as well.)

  • Love it! This may sound weird and I hope people understand, but the first time I heard of Torrey’s concept of “anosognosia” I thought, “Hmm, anosognosia, works for me.” I’m often driving around in my car reflecting upon how well it’s worked for me and just feeling so damn lucky and glad.

  • Another reason the big hospitals closed was that people were outraged by the horrible conditions in them. Someone who writes here (Mark Ragins?) commented that nobody cares about the horrible conditions in prisons. The money to fund an improvement in conditions is absolutely there, it’s just being sucked up and wasted by a for profit system.

  • It seems like policies regarding this should apply across the board to all employees. There are a hell of a lot of people who work in the system that are in treatment. If peers can’t be treated at the same facility neither can social workers or psychiatrists. I can see why it makes sense for a therapist to not be supervising her patient’s employment, but the idea that peers should be encouraged to move on to the “real world” has me stumped. If that’s a concern why not quit and move on to the “real world” yourself? In the real world a job’s a job.

  • I think it’s also worth googling your psychiatrist or therapist to see what they are saying online. A lot of them blog about their patients unabashedly on sites like Psychology Today, and a lot of their posts are mortifying breaches of confidentiality. One of the gravest examples I ever saw was the doctor who blogged about how his patient came into his care because he was haunted by the memory of how his aunt had sexually humiliated him in front of his entire complicit family when he was a child. Names were not given, but specific details were. Imagine reading a blog like that about yourself, by your deeply trusted doctor, on Psychology Today. I would absolutely die.

  • I think that is great that she was able to express her opinion and get the company to make a change.

    http://www.theasylumwv.com/ <— Scary. Watch the movie. Skip to 4:30 for advertisement.

    The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (historically accurate name) is a former mental hospital that is now a tourist attraction. It even has the stamp of approval from the state of West Virginia.

    http://trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com/

    Anyone who has publicly expressed offense at The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has been unequivocally shouted down. The state wants money to "preserve her," lol.

    Honestly I am unable to decide if I find this stuff offensive.

  • Would it somehow be less accurate to say that psychiatry famously and simply sucks at treating those diagnosed as having antisocial behaviors, rather than that these patients are untreatable? (“The mental health system is just another source of disappointment for the sociopath…” Well that explains my problem! Apparently I’m a sociopath.) I cry foul on this article – and the headline. Considering the facts here, “Psychiatrist Shoots Patient” is misleading.

  • Very informative and timely. Thank you for sharing your “cocktail party” story. 🙂 I am also drug free and have experienced cold turkey withdrawal.

    Strangely I just noticed this local news article about a judge who dismissed charges against a man who was involved in a shootout with the police, on the grounds of Unisom intoxication. Unisom is a common over the counter sleeping pill. (Or possibly it had something to do with him being a local attorney, but anyway…) http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140722/GZ01/140729759

  • Also, I am not seeing anything about Britian’s NHS implementing the BONDI program. The article states they are implementing something called MOTs, which are described as payments to psych service providers for doing physical health screenings (as in, questions asked only screenings, no physical exam,) and possibly providing referrals to various physical health agencies. It is never explained what MOT stands for, apparently it is some sort of financial “trust.” Can anyone explain this further? I have seen articles about US studies online that state diet and exercise programs prevent neuroleptic induced weight gain, but it’s always in INPATIENTS. I suspect that this is because their food is restricted, they are given 1,000 calorie a day diets or something. Anyway if anyone could help me out and explain further I’d appreciate it. Thanks –

  • This is an excellent point! I have found interest and comfort in something called Flying Star feng shui, which is based on Chinese numerology and astrology. I even rearranged my bedroom to counteract an area that read for “insanity,” lol. Who knows, maybe that was my problem…

  • Oh yeah! Reforming psychiatry would require so many abolitions. Abolishing drugs reps and advertising, abolishing misleading clinical trials, abolishing institutional abuse and forced drugging, abolishing profit driven practice, etc. etc. etc. There are so many things both reformers and abolitionists want to abolish.

  • I remember watching the movie American Psycho (or perhaps reading the book,) and being genuinely (or perhaps foolishly) moved when Pat Bateman said, “But I just want to fit in.” Most of these kids are just doing what everyone else is doing, terrified of falling outside their social networks, of ending up under the steamroller instead of in the driver’s seat. It’s the modern conundrum, how to get off the steamroller without ending up underneath it. Two great articles, thanks Laura.

  • Hi Peter – Thank you for this interesting article. Could you explain more about what a case manager does? I guess my question is, what is a case manager, exactly? (Also, I am confused. Are you still working as a case manager?) Good luck with your studies and career.

  • Hey cannotsay2013 – The Tony story did make for a gripping read in Ronson’s book, however Tony did not kill the person he attacked, he beat them very badly. Also, the striking thing about Tony’s diagnosed “psychopathy” was that almost everything he told his initial diagnosing psychiatrist was copied verbatim from a popular movie (ironically I forget which one,) as reflected in his medical records.

  • Don’t know what to say. Cried as I read this. The product information itself proves that forcing someone to take this and suffer the effects is torture, (not to mention having an injection painfully forced into your muscle tissue, nor the humiliation of having your pants and underwear pulled off you, your face planted into the linoleum.) The problems with the injections are well documented. It’s not unheard of for an injector to miss a muscle, for the target simply to have too little muscle, for the target to metabolize the drug in an unexpected way and hopefully end up in the ICU, as opposed to being left in bed to die. Then there are the problems with stopping the injections should a horrible enough effect necessitate it, which include withdrawal psychosis, and the potential for overdose when starting another medication with one already coursing the system. People drop dead and the system shrugs. I wish your friend good luck, and you. I remember how it felt when I rolled just to get out, to save my own life. Agreed with everything the sadist who repeatedly overdosed me said, told him everything he was panting over about my sex life and sexual abuse, and put the cherry on top by thanking him for helping me. I was discharged almost immediately. I survived, or did I. And people wonder why I can’t force a sunny outlook.

  • I was a member of a UU church for over a decade, not anymore. When I was unable to care for myself due to psych drugs, filthy and starving, it was some conservative Christian friends who helped me clean and feed myself. A few UUs did sit at my bedside, sitting there and waiting for me to die apparently. They were just like the system, and if I had to choose between Scientology and the system, I’d choose the former. UUs, promoting religious tolerance and advocating for the mentally ill, as long as you’re not affiliated with Scientologists and your depot is UTD.

  • That also reflects my own experience with suicidality. I’ve experienced a lifetime of people not supporting me. I’m completely used to it. I would imagine this is the case with a lot of people with lived experiences of “psychosis.” The lack of support might bother me a lot, but I can live with it. It’s the unbearable physical and mental effects of the drugs that make me want to kill myself.
    Also, I have to wonder if talking to someone about their psychosis should trump just talking to them, the same way you would talk to anyone else? It’s not like people with psychosis don’t have “high functioning” aka regular, everyday problems. Ignoring someone and hoping they go away is a pretty crap way to treat anyone, much less someone who it’s your job to help.

  • I have absolutely no idea how to relate to people who are happy or even somewhat satisfied with their psychiatric care and have never been abused. All I feel is a seething jealousy.

    This is a very good article Andrew, thanks for writing it and explaining where you are coming from so eloquently. “the primary source of my recovery was the genuine empathy” Love this.

  • The back and forth between Rudy’s court-appointed evaluator and his attorney reveal a good example of a powerful, professional opinion having absolutely nothing to do with reality. What was the psychologist thinking? To decide if this person is capable of functioning independently I’ll spend 10 hours not asking him about how he’s actually functioning independently?

  • One news outlet after another is now reporting that Rodger was never formally diagnosed with any mental illness, specifically ASD or Asperger’s as previously reported. I have watched a few of his Youtube videos and obviously something is very wrong. As presented in the videos, “malignant narcissism” seems obvious, but it is a record of him frozen in time at his very worst. Also, a lot of men (with the goal of changing things for the better) are publishing articles admitting, I could have ended up like Elliot Rodger, I thought much like that at his age. It really does make you wonder, is mental illness the problem here, or is the heart of it really this “entitlement rage?”

  • Thank you for sharing your story Dorothy and for using your records and art to make a positive difference. I am also very sorry for what you were put through and for what you have had to endure. Perhaps one day this abuse and torture of human beings will be recognized for what it is and made to end.

    Trigger warning, psychiatric abuse and sexual abuse

    I was able to get my medical records from a 2010 hospitalization. I assume it is a very partial record. There was no mention of an incident where my blood pressure dropped and I stopped breathing due to a prescribed overdose, and a person I assume was a doctor slipped his hands into my bra and painfully crushed and twisted my breasts and nipples as a method of reviving me. Although I have nightmarish memories of this event (I wish I did not) the only reason I know for sure that it happened was because my parents have both discussed it with me and given me a copy of a letter of complaint that they wrote. The complaint was mostly against my discharge, (true to form, “Mom and Dad,”) but it did detail this incident. As far as the official record is concerned, this didn’t happen and I specifically had no side effects from medication. I was also able to get an itemized hospital bill, which provided me with much more practical information about what was actually done to me and what medications I was given and injected with. It clearly indicated an outrageously inconsistent and dangerous medication regimen, collectively mishandled by four attending psychiatrists, only one of whom was to my knowledge my doctor. I believe I was only given a copy because the records employee did not make the connection that they were psychiatric records. It was a large private medical hospital with a psychiatric ward and I did not fill out the request form properly to indicate they were psychiatric records.
    I have never been able to get copies of my psychiatric records from when I was underage. I have tried a few times over almost two decades. One psychiatrist sent me a summary that was a poor lie. It mentioned my diagnosis and one drug he had prescribed me, one drug out of many cocktails over many years. I have contacted a few likely attorneys very specifically about getting my childhood psychiatric medical records. They have all wasted a lot of time asking me personal questions, and completely failed to pursue anything that had to do with getting my medical records. I have also left voice mails for two local advocacy agencies who have never returned my calls, which isn’t surprising as they never answer the phone. I have come to accept that I will never have my childhood medical records. They have likely been destroyed or lost in dead storage. The facilities I was in no longer exist. They have moved and changed or been rebuilt. This is mostly difficult as I believe I was sexually assaulted several times at one facility in particular, but can’t know for sure as I was too drugged. I feel like seeing my records would at least provide something resembling closure about this. Either incidents were recorded or not and I can simply never know for sure. It is also upsetting because I want to know how abusively I was drugged and how much medical damage is likely. I do have multiple physical problems with no clear medical diagnoses and they are getting worse as I get older.
    The state of West Virginia has effectively stripped psychiatric patients and their representatives of rights to medical records. New legislation is effective next month making it clear that psychiatric patients and their representatives have a right to nothing more than a summary. There is no description of what a summary must include or contain, and it is not be supplied until the treatment program is terminated. In the event that someone did experience even blatant abuse or malpractice, it is extremely unlikely they could prove it or do anything about it. The endless and ridiculous labeling, hyper diagnosing, lying, and omitting will doubtlessly continue indefinitely to the great detriment of actual care.
    16-29-1-(a) http://www.legis.state.wv.us/wvcode/code.cfm?chap=16&art=29

  • Perfect examples of people “dying with their rights off.” Inhumane incarceration and abuse of people diagnosed as mentally ill is absolutely not a thing of the past. It is prolific. It is happening right now, today, at an institution near you. Legislators need to focus on fixing THIS, the fact that people are being incarcerated and abused until they die!

  • I think this “anti-pill-shaming” campaign is designed to silence not only criticism, but information about non-pill treatments. Pharmaceutical company funding goes into public education campaigns firmly declaring that depression is a medical disorder, that it must be treated with medication, that this is an indisputable scientific fact, and that to even suggest this isn’t the case for everyone diagnosed with depression is ignorant and dangerous. One example of this is NAMI’s Depression Is Real campaign. Unless you believe depression is a brain chemical imbalance and this imbalance must be treated by a pill for everyone in all scenarios barring disaster, you don’t believe depression is real. There was a lovely feature on CNN.com by Gayathri Ramprasad, who writes about how years of pills, psychotherapy, hospitalization, and ECT made her worse, but she found healing through transcendental meditation, yoga, and CBT. The first and most well liked comment began “I hate how some people think that mental illness like depression isn’t “real”.” Do people such as this commenter really think that we somehow believe depression isn’t real, that anyone suffering from it or other mental illnesses are a bunch of lazy fakers? Or are they just using scare tactics and campaign strategies to shut us up and invalidate our experiences? I also think a lot of these people are people for whom the pills worked, and they just can’t accept that the treatment that they feel saved their life simply doesn’t work for everyone. Perhaps they’re afraid their pills will be debunked, their treatments will be taken away, and everyone will expect them to meditate and eat bean sprouts until they get better, I don’t know. I think this is an important topic and conversation to have. How do we make peace with the anti-pill-shamers without allowing them to control what we talk about and how we talk about it? Thank you for this.

  • I just read Torrey’s sister Rhoda’s obituary and it mentions absolutely nothing about her adult life but that she suffered from schizophrenia and spent long periods hospitalized. And donations made to the Treatment Advocacy Center! An article and a video about her state that Torrey was so devastated by the idea that his family was being “blamed” for her illness that he dedicated his life to debunking psychoanalytic explanations for mental illness. So unbearably sad… In the article he says that after 50 years, she is “anything but well.” But he travels around preaching that the drugs work so well we should force people to take them?!

  • The alternatives conference is a thorn in the side of people who have bigoted attitudes against the diagnosed. We aren’t supposed to be dancing, discussing our experiences, or having fun in a way that promotes the health of our bodies and minds. We’re supposed to be sitting completely still in plastic chairs listening to lectures on medication compliance, answering a punch list of questions read off a list by a licensed professional, or alternatively, making collages with Elmer’s glue and pictures ripped out of donated magazines. Thank you for your article.

  • Yes, this reminds me of Patty (or Anna) Duke’s story. She’s written and spoken extensively about her unimaginably abusive childhood and early alcohol and drug addictions, but always held her bipolar disorder as something completely separate, unrelated to her trauma, a medical disorder. I think my own mother is still heart broken that I didn’t turn into Patty Duke. (I don’t mean to knock her as a person, obviously she reclaimed her life in a major way, but she’s also had access to the best therapy available.)
    Anyway, it is a major step in the right direction that schools are switching to PBIS and other positive intervention approaches, basically instead of punishing a “bad kid” over and over, taking a real look at their life situation and trying to figure out what they can do to make a positive difference. I have noticed this at my own daughter’s school.
    But nevertheless, we have to continue to find new ways to relate to and help people with traumatic life situations and experiences. Giving them a diagnosis and drugs isn’t treating the real issue. Thanks again Sera.

  • I am sorry to read that Dr. Ragins is having a family emergency. I hope everything is ok. “In contrast most court ordered treatment orders are stereotyped, cookie cutter, and include an almost magical belief in the power and infallibility of psychiatric medications.” I have seen my own state’s fill-in-the-blank court orders for forced outpatient treatment, and they give complete power to the “Treatment Provider.” They also dictate conditions of payment to the Treatment Provider. While this section is also fill-in-the-blank, I think it is safe to assume that this means unless it is absolutely impossible, you will have to pay or go into debt for your own court ordered forced treatment. If this isn’t a situation rife for abuse, I don’t know what is.

  • Hi Ted – I really get the impression that she gets it. I also loved The Panopticon, her novel.

    “Recently I had a bout of severe depression… I saw a psychiatrist who informed me that I had obsessive-compulsive disorder. A touch of Asperger’s syndrome that possibly just flared through stress. Severe depression. I was told that my lifelong obsession with existentialism was a result of a brain that has never produced enough serotonin. My amygdala is abnormal. My basal ganglia rebellious. My prefrontal cortex would like a vacation in a more gentle place than this world is ever going to allow.”

    I don’t think she’s taking this seriously. I also think she’s very, very aware of what the system has taken from her, including, to a large extent, her mother, and her identity.

    Hate to put words in another person’s mouth, but that’s the impression I got from the article.

  • Murphy bill’s definition of someone eligible for court ordered forced treatment –
    •HR 3717 IH (2) ELIGIBLEPATIENT.—The term ‘‘eligible patient’’ means an adult, mentally ill person who, as determined by the court (A) has a history of violence, incarceration, or medically unnecessary hospitalizations; (B) without supervision and treatment, may be a danger to self or others in the community; (C) is substantially unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment; (D) may be unable, for reasons other than indigence, to provide for any of his or her basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health, or safety; (E) has a history of mental illness or condition that is likely to substantially deteriorate if the patient is not provided with timely treatment; or (F) due to mental illness, lacks capacity to fully understand or lacks judgment to make informed decisions regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.

    Did this come up at the hearing? This could apply to absolutely anyone. (I admit it, Murphy, I didn’t have time to listen to the whole video.)

    Murphy certainly does not present as someone who’s interested in dialogue, cooperation, or working together. Or not contributing to stigma with scare tactics, that’s for sure. He also doesn’t present as anything close to a paragon for mental wellness… did he actually say, at 1:43, “the nature of the mental health community is that they throw around misinformation,” and “sometimes in the mental health system we’re so used to dealing with dysfunction in ourselves we don’t understand when we have an opportunity?” Not exactly out to create working relationships, is he?

    His AOT grant funding has already passed with the Medicare Act. It’s a done deal. If you build it, they will commit.

    Also, was there any testimony at the hearing to the fact that our country is awash with prescribed drugs, to the point that these drugs are detectable in our rivers and the animals that live in our rivers, but our problems with “mental illness” just keep getting huger and huger?

  • I also posted on another forum asking a mom how the Murphy bill would help her family. Her career was in the mental “health” system, she was strongly promoting the Murphy bill, and she had written (paraphrasing) that the bill guaranteed her daughter, who by choice hadn’t spoken to her in years, would have to accept treatment, accept her help and accept her family back into her life. She replied that the bill would not force her daughter to speak to her or accept her help, but it would force her daughter to adhere to a treatment plan. So… helping families. How again?

  • madmom – It’s so horrible that this is happening to you and your daughter. Murphy is presenting his bill as first and foremost helpful to families, but to me it just looks huge and vague – unimplementable overshoot exactly. Are you able to visit your daughter and speak to her providers? Medical POA over her might be helpful with advocating to her providers, if she were willing. I will offer you my prayers, if someone else is able to pull something more hopeful out of the Murphy bill please let us know.

  • I’m also extremely confused. The legislation Kate is advocating for has nothing to do with improving the system her daughter is already being treated by. Obviously, we are all for improving the system. Forcing a vaguely defined and enormous number of people to abide by drugging, whether it is helpful or not, whether it is healthy or not, whether it is abusive or not, is bad for everyone. Why improve a system when you can just force more and more people to use it?

  • Could someone please point out to me where HR4302 or the Murphy Bill guarantees those subjected to forced drugging will be looked after, advocated for, and taken care of by “loving family members?” As someone with a severe mental health diagnosis whom these force drugging laws obviously apply to I feel I should be told immediately where I can pick my “loving family members” up. So that I can feel comfortable that when I am drugged completely disabled I will have someone to feed, diaper, and house me, and make sure I don’t strangle on my own shirt collar. Or perhaps the legislation should be rewritten so that those advocating for it aren’t advocating against me, my family (whom I support,) my livelihood, and my freedom. Thanks!

  • Here is the judge’s order, which was delivered by fax.

    http://c.o0bg.com/rw/Boston/2011-2020/2014/03/25/BostonGlobe.com/HealthScience/G
    raphics/SCAN.pdf

    I am just a lay person, of course, but I have no idea what to make of this order. He is focusing on the issue of which state Justina should be in, which he concludes is CT. Yet he grants permanent custody to MA DCF, writing they should work harder to place Justina in CT. The findings in the order would also seem to suggest that perhaps CT DCF believes there is no case against that parents, as they (CT DCF) “declined to file the case in CT.” And since the allegations of medical abuse (never pursued criminally) are based upon MA Boston Children’s, it would seem to me there is effectively no case in CT, as Tufts was treating for mito.

    He also concludes that in his opinion Justina has Somatic Symptom Disorder, but I see no clear opinions on whether he believes the parents were guilty of any sort of abuse or medical abuse against Justina. (He is very concerned about their alleged verbal abuse against various institutional employees.) Of course, that is the way CPS works – once the case is open, it is no longer about right or wrong or whether the parents are guilty of anything, but whether they fully submit and cooperate. Obviously, the Pelletiers have failed to do that.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/justina-pelletier-lawyer-in-11th-hour-battle-with-
    massachusetts-dcf/

    Recent pictures of Justina, which would seem to support that she is being medically neglected by MA DCF. Remember, she is reported in a facility that is not in any way a medical facility.

    Just me knocking thoughts around. Whole thing makes me sick. It’s like the war between the states or something.

  • Thanks for your writing and work Sera. I’ve also found the campaign against “stigma” to be very puzzling. As someone who’s skeptical and critical of DSM labels and the psychiatric system, I often feel it’s a campaign against me. Someone would have to take quite a deep breath indeed if they were going to shout “I love someone with …” and then list all my diagnosed labels. (Not that I would ever hope someone would choose to express their love for me in that way…)

  • Like Mr. Pelletier, I can’t seem to trust this is anything but more of the same three ring circus lip service. They’ve gone from planning to move her to foster care on the north shore, to swearing they were all along actively working to return her to Connecticut and Tufts? They’ve gone from holding Mr. Pelletier in contempt of court to completely dropping the charges? Do even they know what they are doing? Isn’t putting a family through this type of see-saw decision making it’s own form of cruel and unusual punishment? Well let’s hope it sticks this time, I guess. Maybe one year and three months is a charm!

  • Hi Rachel – Thanks very much for sharing your story. The title really made me laugh. I really admire your writing here and your interviews about your experience and work with the HV network. I don’t like to revisit my personal experiences / horror stories with psych drugs much, but this did make me remember a funny story. I tried to think back to the absolute first time I took them. I was in hospital circa 1990 and I was 15. I went to the nurse and complained about “the crazy woman who kept following me around every day telling me I had a chemical imbalance in my brain.” Turned out she worked there.

  • I’m sorry, but what does the quality of his life have to do with the manner of his death? Is the coroner actually admitting he’s lying, because he feels this man was “well looked after?” Perhaps if those who were “looking after” him had considered changing his drugs, so he wouldn’t have to suffer from bowel obstruction for years and apparently ultimately die from it, he’d still be around to enjoy the quality of his life!

  • It seems like so many of these wrongs cycle back to the drug companies’ drive for profit. Sandy, why haven’t you just kicked the Latuda guy to the curb? If more doctors just said no to drug reps and the influence of advertising we’d have fewer of the “me too” patented drugs and the problems that come along with them.

  • Natasha Tracy (a pseudonym) has been blogging about her use of EMP/Truehope.

    http://natashatracy.com/topic/bipolar-blog/

    In the past I never read her blog closely because it was dismissive of the pain of survivors and she was virulently pro medication and pro medical treatment. My understanding is that she recently stopped all medication because it was not relieving her symptoms and started EMP/Truehope. (She also has an implant of some sort in her brain to theoretically help control her symptoms. I don’t know much about the science / terminology regarding this.)

  • This case has been being decided “tomorrow” since the beginning of the month. Has the poor kid even been outside since her commitment? The Boston Globe did an excellent series on this situation. It was available online, but now it’s only available online with a subscription. The series gave the hospital and the state a fair shake, but the collection of facts, including reports regarding Justina’s medical condition, did not fall in favor of their theories and actions.

  • I thought I had posted this, but evidently it did not hit the board? Housing First sounds like an excellent and caring program, and one that actually addresses homelessness. I have friends who work in area shelters. The residents are required to meet specific and often extensive demands, such as performing chores and attending job training. If they are “mentally ill,” they are sometimes unable to meet these demands and can not stay at the shelter. They also can not stay if they are actively addicted to alcohol or street drugs. If we want people to be safe and to not be homeless, first we need to provide them with a safe place to live. If the alternative is an unsafe or abusive environment such as a locked institution, people will “choose” to live on the streets.

  • You know, doctors who share their patients’ private details online (even anonymously, as the details would obviously be recognized by those involved, which would be traumatizing) are a pet peeve of mine, and this is off topic, but… isn’t trying to smother and kill someone a really good reason to never be allowed to live with them again?

  • It is somewhat possible to see how psychiatrists felt about psychiatric medication in the 1960s by googling “psychiatric ads 1960s.” “You can’t set her free, but you can help her feel less anxious. Serax.” “For prompt control of senile agitation. Thorazine.” “Cooperation often begins with Haldol. A first choice for starting therapy.” It was certainly a Brave New World.

  • I think it’s easy to say that, but is it really true? So often people are told they don’t have to take medications, but in practice it is simply false. I’ve often been told this, but sooner or later, I suppose I should say sooner, one way or another I’m full of drugs. I wish I had a dollar for every time a counselor insisted I didn’t have to take any drug I didn’t want to, after I had already been forced to. As you pointed out, Medicaid doesn’t pay for much else, and programs don’t survive without profit.

  • I have a copy of a comic drawn by Sophie Crumb for The Icarus Project on my fridge. It illustrates and encourages the following: “eating well; sleep & rest; exercise; herbs, meds, etc.; having a schedule.” I don’t think the article mentioned exercise as something that helped with sleep, particularly if it’s not before or near bedtime. I often look to that comic as a comforting, common sense reminder, and luckily, it was completely free.

  • I really got the impression that the author was addressing (facetiously) those whose situations were similar to his own. I was unable to tolerate valproate (Depakote) and lithium. I’ll spare you the complete horror story, which involved choking up clots of blood the size of chicken livers. My parents still forced me to take them, after for whatever reason the Thorazine was no longer possible. Perhaps they were annoyed because I couldn’t stay conscious enough to swallow my food or control my bladder. Internally bleeding to death wasn’t as inconvenient. But if I had killed myself, I shouldn’t have blamed them? Who should I have blamed? Some parents are really, really abusing their kids and I wish people would stop getting so gosh darn offended when someone dares to stop pretending like it never happens.

  • Very happy to see FJ’s blog here! Wishing him an awesome and wonderful new life.
    That last sentence and some of his other statements really struck me. I seriously contemplated as a teen in the 90s, forced to take Haldol and later Thorazine cocktails. I even planned and started writing the “blame note,” and as I was writing realized and believed from the bottom of my heart that if I killed myself, my parents would be glad. I’ve been lucky tho, drug free and system free for the vast majority of my adult life despite the diagnosis.

  • This occurs to the extreme on inpatient wards. If you need a doctor for a medical condition, you will get 30 seconds of a staff member insisting you don’t need a doctor, or promising one which never, ever arrives. As far as they’re concerned, if you don’t need to be in the ICU, you don’t need a doctor. Nobody wants a medical doctor showing up and pointing out all the dangerous, painful health problems the psych drugs are causing you. On another note, I don’t want to invalidate this woman’s experiences, but I have to wonder if some of these doctors were acting like this because they weren’t “allowed” to say, There is nothing I can give you that will stop these psych drugs from ruining your stomach. You are on so many psych drugs, I cannot give you painkillers. It does seem strange that her ear infection couldn’t be treated. Can anyone explain if perhaps she is on so many drugs that even antibiotics could be dangerous? I know surgery is not possible for people on certain psych drugs. Could you imagine if your psychiatrist said, By the way, while you are on this drug, emergency surgery will not be possible, so don’t participate in any contact sports, drive very carefully, and don’t develop any fast growing tumors? Can’t help but wonder if the big problem here is that medical doctors aren’t “allowed” to explain to psych patients that their drugs are ruining their health. Leave the side effects to the psychiatrist. So they say nothing except maybe, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

  • I googled. Vince Li was never treated or hospitalized (much less “let out”) before the murder, and by media accounts, after the murder he was relieved to have a diagnosis and completely med compliant. As he is now considered stable, by Susan’s logic he should be released.

    On another note, if I am ever hospitalized in Canada anything that is not sealed is going down the drain. How is drugging someone’s juice in any way medically acceptable? How in the world would she get a consistent, therapeutic dose of risperidone that way? What if she drank the whole thing for three days, then decided she didn’t want any juice that morning and went into psychotic withdrawal? That is just messed up.

  • Chaya, I really like this article and the concept of “many ears” and not remaining silent or “secret,” but I have to wonder if it’s a good idea to publicly tell others’ stories, which may shame them? (Particularly your brother being abused, although perhaps you know he doesn’t mind?)

  • Often what is arbitrarily diagnosed as psychosis is extreme emotional distress. (This was the case with me, I have read below that it was not with you. I’m sorry for your horrible experiences.) How is it productive to endlessly search for or treat a physical problem in a case when there is none, often very obviously? It seems to me that Open Dialogue and Soteria programs are trying to fill this enormous hole in the “system,” the need to address emotional needs, not create a precedent that would deny medical needs.

  • Kudos on your work in an excellent advocacy program. After reading this I can’t help but feel that higher education needs to grow up. The modern world needs a new pipeline of educated people with lived experience. This was decades ago, but I was treated similarly in high school. My alternative education “plan” was a negligent joke where I often sat alone in dark, empty classrooms – then they “graduated” me despite not having the credits just to easily get rid of me, playing it like they had done me a wonderful favor. Years later I earned my Bachelor’s cum laude, but the experience was so disillusioning I decided not to pursue a higher degree, (which on a personal level, I don’t regret.) Congrats on soon receiving your degrees!

  • I’d like to see the idea that there’s nothing parents can do to help their kids except give them their meds die already. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that being raised by parents who can’t communicate clearly or nonviolently can literally drive you crazy (or at least contribute.) I’m with you on the walls of crap, Anonymous, calling this “communication deviance” seems to complicate a simple helpful concept into something unfixable.

  • As someone who has spent a good deal of my life as a well-abused mad person, this simply doesn’t reflect my experience. “Good hearted Samaritans” usually stand by and do nothing, and then wonder why we are so angry with them when they try to sidle up to us later, after all, they did nothing. Psychiatric abuse doesn’t take place in a vacuum, there are both staff and patients all around. “Good hearted Samaritans” don’t swarm around to help once we are discharged either. This has been a very triggering series of articles.

  • I really appreciate how you use a “composite” story. I am often horrified by detailed and specific case studies published in popular online psychology articles, where the patients or even their friends and family would undoubtedly recognize their stories, even if the names and physical appearances are changed. It’s nothing but an unnecessary betrayal – imagine the potential harm to the patient, and usually anything learned from the case can be shared through non-exploitative communication. Thanks for another excellent article – this one was especially validating.

  • Sera – I am so sorry you were treated this way by your health care providers. I remember being sick, in pain, terrified, and ignored throughout my own pregnancy. My daughter was treated in a similar manner when her father died, by her doctors and her school. Perhaps someday institutions will grow up and provide simple emotional support to the human beings that they are supposed to care for.

  • They not only didn’t treat you with basic honesty, it didn’t even flash in their pan to flinch about it. Did they ever ask you back to address a larger group, or were they just “screening” you because, well, that’s the only thing they know how to do? Thank you for your work and this article.

  • Thank you for this wonderful article. I wonder if as the culture of body hatred has become less acceptable / successful, the power structures that be have moved on to our minds. Not being impossibly happy, friendly, brilliant, successful, confident has become the new way to “fail.”

  • Thank you for this extensive article. A question occurred to me – How is it that psychiatric diagnosis for the purpose of remuneration is not insurance fraud? If my doctor told me, “This diagnosis is just for insurance coverage,” wouldn’t I technically and legally be required to report that to my insurance co. (or Medicaid, the VA, etc.?)

  • Why does the author refer to her cousin as an untreated schizophrenic, when he was under the care of a psychiatrist and taking prescribed medication? She also notes the (shortened) lifetime of persistently chaotic behavior of her other diagnosed cousin, who was also in “treatment.” When is the public going to start connecting the dots?

  • “Do you think we’re lying around prostrate all the time?” I think this is often expected. For example, it was explained to me by my psychiatrist when I was hospitalized in 2010 that I couldn’t go outside for a break because “if I was well enough to go outside, I was well enough to leave.” I was lying around all the time in my bed, because I was too drugged to get up. Patients who were prostrate were the desired type of patients there. I agree that words matter because the words we use can lead to people being treated with more care and respect. I think removing the term “bed” as if psychiatric patients were bed fillers would be a good idea, or at least recognizing that it’s a trigger for people who have been treated as nothing more than bed fillers. I’ve heard rumors that hospital administrations use “bed” as term for a unit of profit and employees are often pressured to quote “fill the beds.” I’m initially coming up with “a facility to support 16 people.” I looked on the Betty Ford Clinic website (first upscale place that popped into my head) and they call them “residence halls.” Nice article!

  • “Both sets of patients were also remarkably similar in their social and medical outcomes.” Do CTOs also do nothing to prevent violent crime by patients, which the article holds up as their original purpose? Seems the research must’ve tracked this, but there’s no mention. Any info on this?

  • As someone who was diagnosed “psychotic,” and was very easily and legally declared “incompetent” for being “psychotic,” with only two colleague psychiatrists and a parent signing on the dotted line of a single piece of paper, I think of diagnosis as nothing but a weapon that was easily and effectively wielded against me. I am sure my records also say I “benefitted” from treatment, drugs chosen for me that on several occasions caused me to stop breathing. But where’s the harm in that? it’s been pointed out to me. Breathing isn’t more important than not being “psychotic.” So what is someone whose diagnosis is hurting them supposed to do? There is nothing they can do. Nothing at all. Pardon this “psychotic” for remaining anonymous.

  • It strikes me that there is no word for fear, hatred, and systemic abuse of the “mentally ill.” I googled it and actually came across a forum where several people posted that this fear and revulsion was “normal.” (There is psychophobia, but that would seem to be purely an academic term that the mainstream would be likely to find ridiculous.) Racism, antisemitism and homophobia are all terms the general public understands and understands as terrible wrongs, but there simply is no term for what is being described here. Most people aren’t even familiar with ageism or ableism. Do you think coming up with a succinct and understandable term (a better one than psychophobia?) would be helpful for this movement?