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I should have said just “Stephen”, not Stephen Gilbert. Sorry!
I suffered post-partum psychosis. My case was complex, as Stephen Gilbert suggests. It was a combination of exhaustion and unresolved childhood issues, and a spiritual crisis.
But as Altostrata rightly suggests, the remedy can be as simple as a caring support community rallying around, as happened in my case.My church functioned in a very nurturing way. My best friend took the other children(not the infant) and I had a week of bedrest and journalling. My husband was also a wonderful support. This combination of prayer and rest was the only prescription I needed, and served to heal me completely, both body and soul. A program of cognitive therapy was able to help me in follow-up, to eliminate the “stinking thinking” and deal well with the unresolved issues from childhood traumas that had pushed me over the edge.
I am very thankful that I was not forced on meds, as my psychosis was very florid, and it happened just before the Andrea Yates tragedy.
Thank you, cannotsay2013, for thinking my piece was worth hearing. I thought in your reaction– saying that your parents had lost a son– that you were angry at me for the 5150, as well. When I read your comment to my daughter, she said “yes, you nearly lost me too!”
She was able to stay in the process, was able to recognize our motives, however misguided, were from love and concern, and we all benefited as she educated us about psychiatry. I think that is one of the great damages of forced commitment, that it can rupture already strained relationships.
And that is one of the great benefits of Open Dialog — that it sees the family as a whole, and is not just carting off the ‘identified patient’.
Thank you for the heads-up. Here was my go at it.
To mandate psychiatric care in a system so manifestly broken seems a cruel and inhumane treatment for those suffering mental disorders. Those who argue that the system is not in crisis should be ignored, as they are not paying attention, or they are likely the ones who broke the system in the first place. The symptoms of Psychiatry’s dysfunction are overwhelming, and space constrains me to name only a few.
The APA has a failing language– the new DSM-V offends everybody equally, and its diagnostic changes will be ignored by most practitioners.
It has a broken disciplinary system — the government recently settled against GlaxoSmithKline for 3 billion for their criminal marketing behavior, but the ghost writing authors of “Study 329” had no similar correction from the JAACP, and the Key Opinion Leaders who sought to make the whole world “happy, horny and skinny” with Wellbutrin are still writing prescriptions.
Perhaps its worst injury is that Psychiatry does its greatest harm to those who are most weak — to those who are young and those who are minorities. Dr. Frances in his scathing critique of the DSM-V above, rightly rebukes Child Psychiatry for expanding its diagnostic dragnet with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder rather than repenting of its “sorry track record” and calls the field to “engage itself now in the crucial task of educating practitioners and the public about the difficulty of accurately diagnosing children and the risks of over- medicating them.” And when persons of color are given a stigmatizing diagnosis like schizophrenia at a higher rate, and given harsher treatments for their mental disorders –it is what this author calls Psychiatry’s “darker side of cultural variance, as not only does it affect the diagnosis, but it can also negatively effect the patient’s treatment.” There is a reason it is people of color who are largely the ones housed in the nations largest mental health facilities, that is, our county jails.
I am a daughter and mother of those who have been treated by the psychiatric system. Twice I have had to place involuntary psychiatric holds on loved ones, so I know intimately the anguish of this decision, and the helplessness one feels when it feels little can be done to help a dear one spinning out of control. But I know equally well the futility of such mandated care — the bureaucratic nightmare Psychiatry’s inapt answers and broken delivery system forces upon the already suffering extended family. The crisis is especially acute in the care of adolescents at risk.
When my own daughters began showing symptoms, we went through psychiatrist after psychiatrist. I found out again that the system is so, so broken. The meds prescribed off-label made things so much worse, adding paranoia, weight gain and tardive dyskinesia into the volatile mix of symptoms . My brave daughters have defied the system and their psychiatric labels. They did the research, cheeked the meds and tapered themselves off psychotropics completely, and in the process they educated me. Their days are not without struggle, but they hold a narrative of hope and recovery now that emboldens them to persevere in the fight for a dignified life. They refuse the psychiatric establishment’s story that they have a crippling chemical imbalance in their brains that dooms them to a lifetime of substandard living.
I wish I had never bankrupted our family with that first 5150 years ago, depleting our resources , financially and emotionally. I found out too late that forcing treatment does more harm than good.