Comments by Krista Hartmann

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  • A huge step forward…I hope.

    I carry articles like this in my phone…as I age (& female), I’m aware of my increasing vulnerability for cavalier/sloppy/’defacto’ prescribing of these drugs to seniors…. who insist on autonomy & informed consent, & are instead infantilized and/or characterized as ‘oppositional, defiant’ or irrational (dementia, loss of capacity)…

    Already seen that movie.

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  • Good article.
    Others like it create little interest in the general public. They seem to continue to think that if SO many people are ‘on’ these drugs, they must be good….and interpret sedation, simple & complex, as victory.
    Comfortably numb indeed.

    I don’t know how to pierce that deflector shield because “addiction” doesn’t affect their rationale…as many INSIST on ‘clean’ food and products for themselves, their families, their PETS.
    No sugar, sodium, PFAS, red dyes, etc….but changing your brain on a cellular level…No guarantees! Is all good.

    I wanna give up on them sometimes.

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  • Aspie63-famliar with that scenario as I also carried ‘Unspecified & NOS’…
    If you’ve never read DR. Leonard Sax on the topic (WSJ-2013), you might enjoy this.
    Funny, pithy, scalding critique in human terms.

    A sample….
    “Over the past two decades, American culture has made almost any deviation from a continual smiley face into a psychopathology, especially for children.”

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  • I believe that this article clearly explains the paradox regarding people’s access & exposure to rhetoric labeled by authors/sources as “evidence-based, scientific, & clinical”, & how it offers an easy conclusion/”remedy”…giving our culturally groomed trust to anyone (especially) writing a prescription for….psych drugs.

    I was one of those people in 2004 (the bipolar gold-rush) & paid a terrible price, finally clawing back my identity & health-body & soul- developing an expanded warrior-like perspective of the world, that has protected me from other forms of gaslighting & auto-pilot trust.

    No paranoia here-I KNOW there are entities that don’t have my well-being as a priority…& have learned to ACT against them…& sometimes I still lose.

    Without enormous resources for healthcare, folks will often turn to what is seemingly expedient, as getting back to ‘work’ is paramount in global culture.

    Grooming/marketing by the psych-industry, catastrophizing life forward…without THEM (OhNo!)…is the cynical double-speak that simultaneously encourages a trusting bond (WE understand you) & strips you of sober, independent assessment of the relationship…& yourself. It encourages an approval & brand of self-pity that makes the industry’s ‘rescue’ all the more emotionally appealing. It is, after all, what they do-spin it.

    Sanctified/approved-by-‘experts’ addiction is OK now.

    ALL drug addiction turns people into permanent victims….the industry sponsors the faux ‘fight’ against stigma, positioning itself as the client’s champion (THEY don’t understand you; WE do).

    The client is told over & over they will fail (or suicide) without this ‘relationship’ (drugs).
    And THAT is the definition of a self-fullfilling prophecy, as withdrawal CAN kill.

    Psychiatry’s business model is genius; defining their customers (everybody, per the DSM), AND supplying the culturally-accepted ‘fix’ FOR LIFE (drugs)…..& positioning themselves as the ONLY authority accepted by the courts.


    All this for alot of transitional distress AND profound human suffering.

    Defining EVERTHING as profound, acute, chronic, LIFE-LONG illness has reaped trillion$.

    I believe a ‘seige mentality’ has been successfully adopted/marketed to generations post WW II…Yeah, life was difficult AND different for every generation…it’s not a contest.

    But if you lack perspective-HISTORY-you think it’s worse for you. And schools don’t teach history anymore. Some are prohibited.

    Double Yikes, Florida!

    Perspective…..Ask Ukranians stuck in Kiev, or Ugandans, or women in Iran, or……

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  • Ms. Mangicaro, I thought your article was very well presented.
    I would like to learn more about your work.

    I also wrote for MIA-2019 (“Full Moral Status”, Part 1 & 2) and Dr. Healy’s RxISK website-2018 (“A Unicorn: Changing a Medical Record”, Part 1-4) regarding my forcing [blackmailing=”It’s in EVERYBODY’S best interest…considering the unfortunate anaphylaxis (!)…”] a rare vacation of a “lifelong” bipolar diagnosis & “forever” SMI certification…without an attorney (on MY side)…and in writing; 2.5 years of a tortuous, medically-guided withdrawal (CMO/VP of the state MH contractor, as his only client) followed by ‘good luck, good bye, go away’.

    The ACTUAL recovery and re-entry back into life was my own, personal science experiment that took 5 additional years. I could only find 1 other person who shared my path. They did not want contact-Understood.

    Medical folks (outside of Psych) kept a nervous, BIG distance…. or pointed me back to my former assailants.

    The aftermath left me with a subcortical focal lesion (brain damage) including 3 years of reported, documented seizures…among other ‘scars’. It’s been a long road of research & education regarding the industry, self-tailored support & applied recovery process-body & soul- but I’m there.

    I was connected with some individuals by the late, great Paula Caplan, PhD (& MIA contributor among so many other accomplishments) to help navigate aspects of the psychiatric bureaucracy with tactics & strategies that could possibly help them towards effective self-advocacy, SAFETY & possible self-extraction.

    I admire your hard work & advocacy for others. I would like to learn & contribute. Thank you.
    [email protected]

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  • This was a near-perfect assessment of the history, moving parts, motivations, & repeated failures of psychiatry…underscored by their untroubled eagerness to sacrifice real people with no acknowledgement of…& no legal accountability regarding, the massive scope of damages as a result of their behaviors.

    The lack of apparent insight by the self-appointed ‘experts’ in human behavior is perfect, bitter irony.

    The development of a solid, perpetual business model and ‘standing’ as a medical entity remains the primary driver & goal. Put simply, money and respect from the medical community….

    I’ve never felt so re-assured….that this view, this concise, valid view (as a targeted, exploited, damaged former ‘client’) is relentlessly moving towards the front of the line…
    I remain fearful of the authority/hall pass that our social culture, medical community, & most importantly, the judiciary give them to continue to fail….knowing changes that prioritize safety & compassion are not on the table.

    I carry my documents vacating the ‘life-long’ diagnosis dropped on me by the DSM-IV, in my phone, should the unthinkable occur….like a Jew in occupied Poland, trying to safely go about my business…and terrified of a situational, subjective judgement….sharply going left, into a ‘life-long’ ditch.
    I want them to know I’m (with Sun Tzu’s support) prepared to effectively counter, protecting myself from what I know they will bring…
    What a world.

    Excellent interview.

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  • Have to disagree about Frances.

    Please read Dr. Paula Caplan’s excellent article first published in Aporia (2014) exposing Frances’ FCOI (financial conflict of interest) regarding leading the DSM IV task force (and on the DSM III team. Then read Frances’ rebuttal in the oh-so-scientific HuffPost. The 2nd-grade name-calling by him reveals Frances’ degree of ‘butt-hurt’. Duke University still embraces this guy…a proud stance.

    The irony massively bypasses Allen in his own 1st paragraph…..claiming Paula’s ostensible proposal for a ‘Delusional Dominating Personality Disorder’ to be included….look in the mirror, chief….& there you are! (It’s science!!!) was the origin of her ‘hit piece’ of facts, not opinion or conjecture.

    THEN he was snubbed by the equally petty, dangerous DSM 5 gods. He attacked THEM in his transparently vindictive and more importantly, successfully monetized “Saving Normal”, saying he WAS a LITTLE sorry for the devastation brought by the IV….but-‘look over THERE, not my fault!!’
    A review in Psychology Today (2014) by Helene Guldberg states “He is keenly aware of the risks of diagnostic inflation ‘because of painful first-hand experience”(!!!)…describing the explosion of adult bipolar diagnoses tripling and X 40 for children (Time magazine cover story 2002 “Young & Bipolar”), ONLY in the U.S., not western Europe…or anywhere else.

    I was slam-dunked into a lifetime bipolar diagnosis in 2004, during the cresting Bipolar Gold Rush. I was drugged immediately & aggressively for 9 years, my complaint was insomnia caused by pending financial worries. I was employed, bills current, with great new insurance. Uh oh. Bankruptcy & homelessness followed, driven by side-effects, body & soul.

    (My diagnosing doc was receiving $65,000+ in the 1st year of ACA OPEN DATA-& PROPUBLICA “Dollars for Docs” reporting.)

    After critical health damages & a sloppy anaphylaxis ‘event’, I blackmailed (quietly, politely) for my guided withdrawal-2.5 years- & the vacation of the “lifetime” diagnosis…IN WRITING….It was followed by 3 years/19 seizures/subcortical focal lesion, only caused by….wait for it….MS or antipsychotics.
    I am MS-free.

    I wrote for & MIA about this self-rescue.
    Paula Caplan contacted me & encouraged me. We stayed in contact until….and now she’s gone.
    I ALSO contacted ALLEN FRANCES, ensuring that he would read it by stating it’s publication “describing his impact on my life”.
    He responded, THANKING ME for what he perceived as gratitude & a compliment.
    I’m still waiting for his comparative notes describing his “painful first-hand experience”. I want to commiserate.

    Paula, I rest my (your) case…and God Bless.

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  • Dr. Sherman, good article.
    Paula Caplan, PhD was also a brilliant & compassionate advocate for women when they are targeted & exploited by false diagnoses generated by a patriarchy relentlessly seeking control & credibility-nullification of females…by any means necessary…but usually gaslighting & drugs.
    She kindly reached out to me personally when I started to report my experience. The validation & gentleness fueled my road to well-being & re-establishing my power & dignity.

    I’m also a ‘senior’ woman-who self-rescued from a decade of the bipolar-gold-rush ‘effect’ on the culture & population in the U.S, post Allen Frances’ DSM IV leadership. You know….the guy who monetized his corruption with the best-seller “Saving Normal…”, his oh-so-sincere mea culpa. Paula quit his (DSM) task force, excoriated & exposed him…He claimed he did nothing wrong (documented financial conflict of interest) pointing to others for the IV tragedy. He was hurt the APA wouldn’t ask him back to ruin the DSM 5. They accomplished that without him….it’s called a deep bench. He’s firmly ensconced at Duke. Eeeuw- Now Duke lacks credibility. He taints by association.

    It took me 2.5 years of doctor guided withdrawal by the CMO/VP of Arizona’s Behavioral Health Mgmt contractor (2014-2016). I still had to contend with 3 more years of seizures with no effective medical assistance-a subcortical focal lesion courtesy of anti-psychotic use. Doctors wouldn’t even discuss PNES-stress induced-with me…they just wanted me to go away quietly, age faster, and die.

    Cost & liability containment Uber Alles.

    I am thriving in the 3rd chapter of my life; moving back to Florida after 16 years, living on the water, surrounded by healing nature, and opening my new business. My health has returned robustly, body and soul, with ALOT of strategic care…& I am full of joy & vitality for my spectacular 3rd act in life. My resilience has astonished me…

    If u want to compare notes or validation, please consider my essays on MIA “Full Moral Status” Parts 1 & 2-Feb 2019…and, “Changing a Medical Record” Parts 1-4, July 2018, Dr. David Healy’s website-

    Senior females (especially) can support each other pro-actively.
    I wish you very well indeed.

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  • I was withdrawn off 9 years of drugs by the community Clinic Director (soon-to-be CMO) of Arizona’s Medicaid behavioral health system following a second Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, Risperdal nerve damage to my eyes (!), followed by anaphylaxis, just 2 weeks later, caused by a prescriber.

    I was severely effed up (again), body & soul.

    One of my then on-board drugs was “the least harmful drug”, Lithium, as I fought to stabilize the damages, INCLUDING a subcortical brain lesion. I had reported THAT earlier to an NP, describing the idiosyncratic symptoms that even after 9 years of drug pollution, was new, scary,…. & ignored. Those symptoms clearly pointed to MS or a lesion…caused by antipsychotics. I don’t have MS.

    I had taken Lithium twice, both times I had toxic reactions to what ‘they’ said were low range doses…so it was “impossible” to blame lithium. I was angrily told to stop saying “toxic”…as I drooled, staggering down the hall, trailing my hand on the wall for guidance. My head lolled to
    the left side, & I gulped for breath like a goldfish….yet the prescriber ‘wasn’t quite sure’ and called an observer for a second opinion.

    Later, thru the immediate chaos & ‘fog of war’ in my poor brain & body, the CMO was firm & insistent that I stop the Lithium ASAP. He told me about a client who stayed on it, requiring dialysis. Ironically, I was reluctant to do it, so afraid of additional, immediate bad reactions piling on & speeding up my inevitable, pending death…in an adult diaper.
    I mean, at that point I only had 2 hours of upright function a day…for 5 months. I wasn’t looking for additional challenges…just what was in front of me.

    This was 2013, ten years ago. I was deep in damage control, heard him, put it on my long priority list. When I finally titrated & stopped, I was relieved but I never stopped worrying.

    After completely withdrawing off of everything…..& having their lifetime sentence removed (bipolar-for-life) in writing…..
    I watch my GFR numbers & kidney/liver functions like a hawk. I have my heart inspected annually, as lithium caused morning palpitations…& Geodon=bradycardia and hospitalization.. My current GFR (at 71 yo is 80-85)…it’s hard to stop worrying…as I plan to live decades more.
    After all, the amount of Depakote poured down my throat also delivered terrifying kidney labs.

    I have sympathy-for-the-Devil/OOPS,…industry….burdened with this depressing science and damning facts.

    It must be hard for you.

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  • Dr. Levine’s byline always gets me excited for ‘numbers-don’t-lie’ + humanity-centric, quality pushback.
    Let me add my gratitude to yet another concise, powerful, & accurate smackdown of psychiatry’s apologists, lobbyists, and parasites.

    I read PsychTimes to stay informed regarding their constant, mewling, petulant, ultimately dangerous pushback against de-legitimazation…by science & damaged customers. I am familiar with the 2 writers & their difficulty hitting just-the-right-tone in their pushback to J. Moncrieff and her associates.

    As Levine states, sometimes these guys act as if they ‘accept’ tiny admonishments (to illustrate their ‘open mind’), often they flail hysterically at critics.

    Ironically, as a female, I am profoundly familiar with THEIR definition of ‘hysteria’.

    Once again Dr. Levine nails the landing.

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  • This is a terrific article, so well articulated. Thanks for sharing it.
    You’re not alone.
    NEVER ever ‘accept’ the usual responses: ‘your reaction is uncommon, rare, emotional, treatment-resistant…and ‘are u sure?’ (My fave)
    The bias can be universal…especially if you’re female.

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  • Excellent article, Dr. Holzman.
    The language surrounding psychiatry & psychology has become an assimilation and marketing exercise that blurs & softens experiences into a large, more palatable blob.

    ‘Bipolar’ was transformed during aggressive marketing following the publication of the infamous DSM-IV from a diagnosis to a verb to a slur, used with specious ‘authority’ by medical folks and the rest of the culture, at will.

    ‘Amazing’, in a more minor sense, is a parallel; if everything is ‘amazing’, nothing is.

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  • Thx for this important article.

    Allow me to respectfully disagree regarding “medical reversals”.

    These guys couldn’t throw their ‘evidence-based’ principles’ and ‘lifelong diagnosis’ overboard fast enough, in my case.
    I wrote the APA, wondering why they weren’t trumpeting the medical breakthru!!…ANAPHYLAXIS CURED BIPOLAR DISORDER!!!
    They seemed un-amused.

    I received a “medical reversal” because the clinic director was ultimately responsible for his NP plunging me into anaphylaxis…after my documented report of a first ADR. He continued the drug, leaving me in a terrible position; stop it myself and deal with the ALREADY frightening side effect(s), or continue, knowing exactly what anaphylaxis could bring.

    I stopped for a few days, still suffering from the FIRST ADR. I was ‘decomp-ing’ dramatically. I took one for relief and woke up with my head the size of a basketball & my eyes protruding from their sockets.

    Uh oh. ER run. Mega Cortisone injected, oral for weeks…AND my hospital records.

    Ultimately, a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting resulted in the director’s (& CEO’s approved) capitulation to my quiet terms (after 9 years of horror)…doctor-guided withdrawal of all drugs (took 2.5 harrowing years) AND vacation, IN WRITING of the B.S. bipolar label.

    There was a ‘more important’ event in the works ‘offstage’…the director was poised to ascend to the CMO/VP downtown office (and DID). He/they needed me to be quiet, no lawyers, no exposure….it was the smart play.

    Anaphylaxis could not be dismissed in the usual way…as a ‘worsening of ‘my’ mental illness’….
    A problem for the recipients of the second largest MH management budget in the U.S. at the time. Lotsa money.

    And his career arc. Mo’ money.

    I got everything I requested…(AND 19 seizures for the following three years…a subcortical focal lesion.)

    I worked hard to recover, with no help; It’s done & life is terrific. But I carry my paperwork in my phone…just in case.

    I keep telling this story as I want folks to know how fragile the industry’s own commitment to their ‘science’ ideology really is…I never threatened a lawsuit (it was implied, in their minds) but if it had happened, it would have been a minor settlement with non-disclosure clauses, in a secondary demographic market.

    ‘Just don’t rock the boat, Ms. Hartmann, we’ll get you out…..CAREERS are at stake!’

    I walked behind the curtain, saw who they really were, took back my life….& believe in a certain kind of ‘justice’.
    I’ve been patient.
    It’s coming quickly now….with a modest but documented shove in the back by me.

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  • Ms. Byron, Please see….
    “A Unicorn: Changing a Medical Record” Parts 1-4
    By Krista Hartmann. July 30, 2018 |
    This is a detailed narrative of how events transpired. It includes more granularity of my personal path thru the quicksand to the ‘Exit’ sign.
    “Full Moral Status’ for Psychiatric Clients: How I Fought Back”
    Parts 1 & 2
    By Krista Hartmann -February 1, 2019
    This is a similar, but much more edited version. It includes a more detailed outline for safer involvement in the industry, should you find yourself stuck there.

    Neither article included my seizure information, following withdrawal. It was occurring as I was engaged in writing & waaay too much for me to comment on…while scrambling for help.

    It was massively heavy lifting trying to ‘educated’ my primary, neuro’s,, and bigger specialists (!) regarding studies (primarily Ho/Andreason) regarding measurable brain-changes from the drugs…AND…the microraphy I had reported to prescribers & the only 2 causes, according to Mayo, John’s Hopkins, & NIH….Muscular Sclerosis OR antipsychotic/psychotropic drug exposure. I didn”t/don’t have MS.

    Once they hear ‘bipolar disorder’ REGARDLESS of my changed paperwork, the ‘mentally ill’ goggles went on. They couldn’t separate that label from my detailed, relevant reporting…even though I had gotten to an ER during the FIRST one & was documented.
    ALSO, as most folks know, doctors tend to wander off when presented with an unknown…rather than say “I don’t know…”.
    Depending on how good your insurance is, testing will stop (& their interest) if they have to advocate for 2nd or 3rd tier tests. By then, I was on Medicaid.
    I was so so relieved they saw no TUMOR, but weren’t looking for a subcortical focal lesion….which is what causes micrography.

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  • Mr. Manry, I was struck by your remarks regarding bitterness. I had a very pointed convo with myself in the throes of 3 years of 19 seizures FOLLOWING guided titration/withdrawal that took 2.5 years…after 9 years of drugging.

    I feared bitterness becoming the constant of the days I had left.
    I declared I wouldn’t give them 1 more minute of my time left…unless it was carefully compartmentalized and purposeful….Outrage…different for me than anger. And a side-event. But it’s productive and feels good-controlled. It doesn’t run the rest of my life.
    It took awhile.

    I also explored legal rep…. as psychiatry had ‘officially’ restored my credibility IN WRITING…they vacated my ‘lifelong’ bipolar diagnosis AND withdrew me off their drugs-kinda rare. I have found most folks haven’t had ‘the’ convo with an attorney’s office or attorney themselves, on this topic. I have. And heavily researched another like me who filed suit …with similar documents.
    Hard evidence is NOT the only criteria.
    I wish you good luck.

    I am not a Christian, but THIS helped me…

    “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting”. 

    I got there and know I’m lucky.
    But I certainly haven’t forgotten…or have any intention of forgiving. They earned my enmity and a reckoning is coming.
    “Revenge is a dish best served cold”…is something I see sooner, rather than later, for MY former tormentors.

    Shining a clear, cold, factual light on them will be a fine day..and then, back to the beach & a great lunch.

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  • Cults…an agenda, proselytizing, recruitment, control-with fear.
    Yup, no question.

    The irony surrounding psychiatry’s hatred of Scientology is hilarious. Hubbard’s folks do it without the drugs…they get their money more directly…with no business partner (pharma).

    The agenda, ‘pitch’, recruitment-(‘something wrong with u, we alone can fix’), fear campaign (NEVER LEAVE US-bad things will happen) illustrates they are twins separated-at-birth.

    I’m shocked (!! Oh yes indeed) that the psychiatric industry has not ‘developed’ insight regarding these parallel business models…considering how much import regarding MY ‘appropriate’ insight (sedated compliance) was underscored for 11 years.

    Thanks to behavioral health professional’s troubling behaviors, I got a Master’s degree in insight, thanks. And paid my tab in full.

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  • Excellent article….I believe now is the time to flood media with facts (again) regarding the specious messaging, self-defined expertise & presumed legitimacy of the dangerous Pharma/Psych industry.

    This is the first, thrilling time I have felt seismic movement in the fight…there’s a palpable ripple in the force field of conventional marketing, social, & the confluence of post-covid Gen Z curiosity towards options to addressing mental distress.

    Michael Jeffrey Jordan said “You either win or you learn”.
    Mr. Whitaker and so many other fighters are on the edge of winning.
    The industry’s startling “We never said ‘chemical-imbalance’ pushback is a pure gift.

    I didn’t think I’d live to see this. I wish Paula Caplan was here for it.
    Carpe omnia.

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  • Mr. Whitaker,
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart & soul.

    Humbly, I would be honored to join/help the suit, give a deposition, bring my 10 years of medical records, including hospitalizations & ER’s, correspondence, 9 months of texts with my ‘exit doctor’,..including his text request for a date (before I left his service) that I preserved, (he’s still the CMO/VP in a major SW city), and medical history of micrography & 19 seizures post 2 1/2 years of guided withdrawal. All those records given to me (my request) as I ran for my life out the door.

    I’m the one who got them to remove my lifetime diagnosis-they had no problem jettisoning the 11 years of dogma to avoid a possible (minor settlement) lawsuit regarding anaphylaxis they had caused. I never mentioned one, but…. I ‘negotiated’ for myself. So they called me ‘cured’ (!) of lifetime bipolar 1 and an Arizona SMI certification plus permanent disability.

    Who knew anaphylaxis was apparently ‘a cure’ for a bipolar disorder? A miracle!!…they kept it quiet, but it’s ‘on-the-record’ as I have ALL the paperwork.
    I sent an email to the APA asking why this wasn’t ground breaking news?

    The other person I found that paralleled my timeline and diagnosis removal sued for $35 million (K.C & Chicago) but reportedly was thwarted by statute of limitations. If your disabled/drugged by the defendant during those years, it seems inequitable…

    Anything I can do. Anything at all. Or nothing, I’m just a grateful past target.
    (I wrote for MIA 2019-“Full Moral Status”, 2 parts. 2018 “The Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis”, 4-parts)

    So stoked.

    To the APA & Pharma…..

    Suck it.

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  • I was diagnosed bipolar 1 in 2004/Florida with great, private insurance. Was told ‘it’ was an SMI. Became bankrupt & homeless from side effects.

    Relocated to Arizona (2006] where indifferent family lived. Was reduced to Medicaid/State behavioral health management contractors.

    Drugs were changed 13 times in first 9 months. Landed in ER, admitted to medical floor with bradycardia (heart slowing to fail), doc told my brother (RN) I would not survive. I also had acute akathisia & malnutrition (anorexia).
    When released 10 days later, I expressed outrage to prescribers as I had called to report for help. The guy laughed, said I didn’t say “urgent”.
    A marraige counselor then designated me ‘SMI’, said better quality of care, different clinic.

    Below is ARIZONA’S statutory definition of SMI certification, ostensibly client reviewed every 3 months. BH management gets additional federal revenue for your head count.

    This is not complete…but you’ll get the picture….
    “Inability to live in an independent or family setting without supervision-neglect or disruption of ability to attend to basic needs…
    housing, food, and clothing must be provided by others…
    …unable to attend to basic needs of hygiene, grooming, nutrition, medical and dental”.

    “DTS/DTO, seriously disruptive to community…regularly engages in assaultive behavior…has been arrested, incarcerated, hospitalized…because of dangerous behavior…

    …severe disruption of daily life due to frequent thoughts of death, suicide, or self-harm…”

    “Frequently in trouble at work…unable to work…or meet appropriate responsibilities”.

    “Co-morbidities…like mental retardation, substance dependence…Chronic factors such as social isolation…poverty.

    I was never reviewed in 7 years.
    And here are the FACTS….

    I worked as part of a management team at a large, successful animal rescue…for almost 8 years during this time…running systems, programs, intakes, & donations.
    I PAID OFF my condo & wrote a TOTAL check for a new, modest car.
    I lived alone with a pet, managing my own finances…and everything else.
    No smoking, drinking. Completely med compliant, appointment present.

    SMI, my a**.
    Bottom line, I was a revenue stream and no matter how I behaved and lived…it would never be enough.

    I’m the girl who made them rescind my diagnosis AND @ certification in writing.

    The case workers would have gladly traded for my life…without the drugs, of course.

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  • I strongly believe that NOW is the moment in time to bear down on the treacherous ideology of Pharma and the APA. I trust Mr. Whitaker, et al to continue his impressive efforts.

    In addition, pressuring the AMA’ s ‘only-as-convenient’, slightly nervous, slightly distancing, often awkward embrace of psychiatry is necessary. They don’t have to divorce, they have to pressure psychiatry to reform…finally.
    Saying the quiet part out loud.

    As a scarred, 11 year ‘veteran’ of the psychiatric ‘conflict’, I’ve been present at too many cringe-y Primary (or specialist) appointments and (of course) ER’s with doctors who dance around or flatly disparage the results of my psych ‘care’ and the clear, quantifiable damages that have resulted.

    They have looked around, lowered their voices, leaned in and whispered criticism of them & encouragement & sympathy to me.

    They have called me at home after ER discharge, to help me get better services.

    They have made eye-rolling, sour faces when I report my reasons for the akathisia, bradycardia, Parkinson symptoms, stutter, drooling, ocular nerve damages, alarming liver & kidney labs, severe thyroid fluctuations, enormous hair loss, gulping for air, stress eczema, 90 lb weight-gain, panic attacks, and the ever-present stagger.

    Oh, and the seizures.

    NOW is the time to Stand & Deliver…ON THE RECORD…for the next client.

    Moving the needle with the AMA will take some doing but the financial & credibility blowback could erode faster now….& sooner-rather-than-later accelerate their ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment…I pray.

    Their acceptance of this segment of their ‘membership’ requires accountability…finally.
    Get on board NOW.

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  • Mr. & Mrs. Stence, I was gutted reading your story. Your despair & love is bottomless.

    I want you to be aware that it went very badly for me for 11 years & then I found a crack in the prison wall.
    I capitalized on a gross medical error (that severly debilitated me-yet again), made quiet demands, 2 ¹/² years of guided withdrawal followed by 3 years of seizures (no ‘guidance’ this time) and I’m free-IN WRITING-of the diagnosis, drugs, & them.
    My point is their shattering depths of willful venality.
    I never mentioned attornies or a lawsuit….YET…they capitulated to everything I wanted…guided withdrawal and vacation of the ‘lifetime’ label in writing. What happened to ‘evidence-based’ (their fave) science?

    They quietly directed their BH Management company’s CMO to take me as his only client until I was ‘safe’….jettisoning their absolutes of a ‘lifetime’ diagnosis, ‘forever’ state SMI certification, drugged to the grave, and delivering my ‘freedom’ paperwork.
    Final words from them…”Don’t dwell on this, be in the moment! Good luck & goodbye”.

    MY response was a sweaty, crumpled copy of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”….
    “…..I am the master of my fate
    I am the captain of my soul”.
    The moment overwhelmed me. I had no words of my own

    In 2018-2019 I wrote about it in an attempt to give some hope to people with ‘lifetime’ sentences. The message was/is that these mf’s will negotiate their ‘absolute scientific principles’……when they’re facing even minor cost & liability containment ‘i$$ues’.
    My essays are heavy with facts/research, verbs & irony.

    If your interested…a sliver of light in the future perhaps… 4-Part. 2018 2-Part

    …with respect & peace.

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  • Re: The period following the Allen Frances-led DSM-IV publication (1995) intentionally expanding bipolar ‘symptoms’ at pharma’s direction, and begat the explosion of false (“over”) diagnoses in the U.S that has gone un-abated……David Healy’s ( article for PLoS One in 2006 nailed this topic. “Selling Bipolar Disorder: The Latest Mania” made me weep when I found it during my fight out of the psychiatric industry in 2013. And yes, David Healy is controversial. He was absolutely correct on this topic.
    THIS article was my ‘gateway’ to the truth. I was energized, comforted, & validated when I found the community of professionals pushing back hard on the calamity I had escaped…Paula Caplan, Gary Greenberg, James Davies, Robert Whitaker, Marcia Angell, et al.

    It is discouraging to find this (& other) genteel, carefully worded, mild rebuke(s) to psychiatric corruption pop up here and there, over the years…from folks who are in a position to instigate meaningful change.
    And by ‘change’ I mean to purposefully eliminate targeted, exploitive, for-profit misery & death in psychiatry and the growing acceptance for daily, infinite ‘sedation’.

    The American public has never been more aware of, and inve$ted in, good-health practices, yet drop a ‘zanny-bar’ at the first twinge of anxiety. The definition of ‘anxiety’ has been expanded much like ‘bipolar’ was at the early 2000’s….normalized and easily smothered by drugs…oops, sorry…medication..

    This is yet another of pharma’s ‘long-game’ tactics in action: billions of tax-payer dollars being thrown at ‘mental health services’ to ‘fix’ gun violence is another…
    Uber-profitable & effective.

    Meanwhile THESE articles are wispy, thought-balloons…that could have, should have been a loud, insistent call for specific action by authors with an established platform & megaphone (Insel redux)….targeting legislators & bigger media-influencers.
    But no.

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  • As a former client for 11 years with the “lifetime” diagnosis of bipolar (Dr. was on Seroquel/AstraZeneca payroll, my 1st scrip-ACA/ProPublica reporting) the ‘borderline’ tag came into the convo in my 2nd year of CMO-guided titration/withdrawal of the antipsychotic/benzo/’mood stabilizer’ (hahahaha) ‘treatment’.
    This rare, momentous process was driven by the threat of a lawsuit (unspoken) for yet another (9 years of ER’s) life-threatening ADR-Anaphylaxis (!) as it could NOT be ‘attributed’ to my “worsening mental illness”…and I was alarmingly (!) organized & credible regarding the history of drug damages & specious origin of diagnosis..My health was rapidly failing & I knew I was close to institutionalization. I had nothing to lose, everything (health, freedom, joy) to gain.
    It was my last, best shot & I took it, knowing “If u come for the King, u best not miss”. “Denial” of ‘my’ diagnosis would only energize my keepers to characterize me as ‘decompensating’…as MIA readers know what that would bring.

    It went like this 2 years into withdrawal….”Well Dr., do u think I’m bipolar?”
    THE question asked out loud.

    Loooong pause, tenting of fingers, frowning at the floor, imaginary line drawn on desk, short ‘continuum’ speech…”You’re slightly depressed.”
    Pause, pause…then he said…”What about ‘borderline’, Krista?”
    I abruptly stopped my internal celebration…then came the shock, realizing he was asking if I would accept ANOTHER, murkier mental illness…. please.
    I actually had to turn him down, ‘No, no thanks’….never to be spoken of again. Onward & OUT.
    It was surreal, pitiful & frightening….

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  • As appealing as it is to pile on ANY article describing benzos as the extremely dangerous & ubiquitous class of drugs they are, I gotta agree with another Commenter who views this ‘study’ with suspicion.
    Over 90 million users and a 1207 sample of self-responding reporters (THEIR descriptor) from social….nah, there are more legitimate studies that underscore the horrors of these pills.

    My battle-tested radar was pricked. I completely trust my ‘gut’; a decade of carefully documented (mine AND their’s) records, memories of the body & soul hell that activate when tapped, & the relentless Trojan horse messaging by the enemy-psychiatry…& their owners-pharma.

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  • As always, Dr. Moncrieff’s constant, persistent, clear voice gives me something that supports/parallels my experience…& gives me hope.

    Over a decade of being deftly ‘removed’ from my life by the diagnosis, smothering, damaging prison of drugs, & instant, permanent loss of credibility on any topic…I was able to blackmail my way to ‘safe’ withdrawal and removal of the ‘lifelong’ slander & SMI forehead tattoo…as a result of the prescriber’s mechanical error that couldn’t be placed at my ‘diseased’ feet.

    I was a deviant…
    A single, childless female (who wasn’t in desperate pursuit of a ‘remedy’) in my 50’s, living a creative, diverse path. I had all the ‘appropriately’ coveted stuff; beach house, nice car, good credit, great insurance…until I had a patch of insomnia regarding a business closure.
    HERE was an apparent ‘opportunity’ to ‘fix’ me which dovetailed beautifully with the Allen France$-led DSM-IV’s expansion of bipolar symptoms/diagnoses.
    The ‘professionals’ were convinced that my lack of a husband, children, career-in-a-cubicle, & substance-abusing parents = me being inevitably doomed-by my OWN hand, of course. THEY would ‘save’ me….How could I possibly be REALLY happy? I must be in denial.

    Of course I became a revenue & job creator for THEIR industry (Good girl!) AND successfully tranquillized/culled from the mainstream, so as not to infect others (women).
    The idea of being content and single was unfathomable to EVERY psych, psychologist, case-social worker and other industry parasites. Most were women.
    I was quietly deemed aberrant, delusional because I wasn’t lonely & enjoyed my own company…endlessly. So sad & clearly fatal without forced stupification.

    I am free now, but I carry my ‘change of diagnoses’ paperwork in my phone (NOS Anxiety…hahahahaha)…in case of a records leak or worse…my ‘papers’…like a Jew in 1940’s Nazi-land.
    As one new, ‘modern’ primary doctor responded when I ‘shared’….”That’s impossible”.

    Uh oh.

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  • After 9 tortuous years of being buried by psychotropic drugs and all the quantifiable (and invisible) misery it brought, I developed micrography.
    I was left to research this myself and discovered that the cause was either 1) muscular sclerosis or 2) antipsychotics….that begat BRAIN LESIONS (yes, I’m shouting this).
    The prescriber couldn’t have dismissed it fast enough…as I described my handwriting at my mgmt job of 7 years….becoming so infinitessimally small…I could not tell you what I had written.
    I soon developed TD in BOTH eyes-the specialist said he could either cut my eyelid nerves, rendering me unable to open my eyes….BUT NOT TO DESPAIR…I could duct tape them open!!!
    To my FOREHEAD. I was astonished that they thought this was a ‘good’ solution.

    This was followed by a Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADR (my second) and anaphylaxis caused by Lamictal being thrown in the stew.

    My brain was passed the saturation point…it was done with ALL of it.

    I blackmailed my way to 2 1/2 years of guided (the CMO of the managed care BH company) titration & withdrawal with a written change of ‘my’ LIFETIME BD diagnoses. It seemed NOW I was merely NOS Anxious.
    Well no sh*t.

    It was astounding how quickly they abandoned the most fundamental psychiatric principles of 1) Evidence-based, bio caused mental illness AND 2) BD is LIFETIME.
    Just get her OUT of here.
    Cost & liability containment trumps everything.

    AFTER withdrawal I had 3 years of 29 seizures ending up at Barrow Neurological Institite in Phoenix (there’s a ‘clue’ to my location/treatment here) where they delicately side-stepped implicating their ‘bretheren’ from med school.

    “Good luck and call us if they continue!”
    What for?

    If you withdraw, buckle up.
    But it’s worth every horrifying second.

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  • Nailed it Ms. Spencer.
    Psychiatry is relentless regarding proof of their ‘legitimacy’, especially to other medical professionals. Their use of ‘evidence- based’ a minimum of 3 times in every sentence tells us so….like Fredo in the boathouse declaring “Im smart!…not dumb like everybody says!”.

    Cringe-y …..& desperate to prove something at client’s expense.
    Step away from the prescription pad & the DSM & we’ll talk about the rest.

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  • I.e.cox: My initial comment agrees with your points.
    My modest conclusion was addressing the grassroots, organizational, long-game regarding pushback against the power of culturally supported Big Corporate $ that historically has protection from Congress…auto industry safety-THANKS Ralph Nader, Jeffrey Wigand-tobacco, alcohol/hospitality industry lobby-MADD mother’s legislation & settlements…. the gun lobby & legal action regarding Alex Jones AND Remington settlements-Sandyhook parents…recognition of post-partum behaviors in women, disability access laws, Title 9 equality, rape laws/husband’s ‘rights’, child-marraige (U.S.), etc, etc. Oh yeah…& sexual-predator clergy & medical professionals everywhere who are protected by virtue of assumptive character traits AND powerful lobbies…slow change.

    My point is these legislative changes, however modest and s-l-o-w in some cases, are effective because organizer’s goals were 2-pronged….1) carefully crafted (consistent & relentless) messaging effects voter’s donations & votes, eventually. 2) THAT gets politicians attention most effectively. And change CAN result.

    NONE of this came quick & easy. Reforming psychiatry so far has been alot of ‘cathartic’ howling among the converted…who are characterized EFFECTIVELY by the industry as irrational, dangerous, & incompetent. ‘How sad’.

    Public messaging is a complex strategy requiring (a) unified goals.
    Mine is safety in the system that EXISTS NOW…and then carefully carving out the tumors that created/sustain the dangers & misinformation.
    And appearances count alot to the public. When shooters in suburban white schools are frequent headlines, there was the horrible, unfortunate awareness of danger in real-time, ‘ordinary’ lives. Galvanizing and holding that potential threat awareness is what motivates campaign donations….and, ‘magically’, politicians responsiveness.

    Yeah, a flawed system…but it’s worked for other righteous causes against cultural resistance, massive corporate $, & ignorance on a topic that most don’t think applies to them & theirs.

    We know differently.
    Changing how a culture thinks about ‘mental health & mental illness’ is as hard as 2nd Amendment ‘feelings’.
    Pharma has owned the topic, owned the ‘authority’, owns the messaging, & owns the current politicians.

    It can change.

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  • (#1)-“One explanation is that the prescribers, too, are unaware of adverse effects, how to distinguish between withdrawal and relapse, and how psychiatric medications work.”

    This statement is insulting and obscene.
    How did they qualify for a prescription pad? All they have to do is read the side of the box.
    That’s like saying a radiologist isn’t aware of the dangers of radiation exposure….
    I sat in waiting rooms and ‘group’ for 10 years and ‘adverse effects’ were the main event…nobody was spared. By year 9, I was a staggering, drooling, head lolling, air gulping, glassy-eyed, balding wreck dragging 85 extra pounds around and trailing my hand along hallways to stay upright. At my 10 minute med-checks, Stevie Wonder would have noticed.
    If Pharma told/paid them to prescribing cat urine, they wouldn’t think twice.
    #2-Justifying oneself to a ‘mentally ill’ patient is NOT what psychiatry does. They don’t have to. I was NEVER more stigmatized than in those offices. My cat’s vet had more compassion & concern.

    But technically speaking……
    Not knowing how psych meds ‘work’ or concern about thei client’s welfare speaks to the continuing, decades long, official, evidence-based, APA policy of….
    ‘So f*cking what?’

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  • Most everyone knows this. And nobody uses it as a criteria to choose an elected official that might change this….but count researching the best large-screen-tv value as time well-spent.

    I was a Democrat. I assumed they would ‘more likely than not’ champion some pushback or reform for Pharma $. Then I found Schumer’s name at the top.
    The best candidate for reform was Warren.
    On the purity scale, she had the highest marks and best messaging loudly & consistently against Pharma in committee…& the other ‘GE’s of the country.

    Unless & until we organize effectively, vote with this agenda front-of-mind, and come armed with facts (easy)…these articles overstating the obvious to special interest groups (us) is an exercise in futility.

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  • (#1)-“One explanation is that the prescribers, too, are unaware of adverse effects, how to distinguish between withdrawal and relapse, and how psychiatric medications work. However, another explanation (#2)-is that prescribers may feel that sharing psychiatric medication risks may deter patients from taking it or negatively affect outcomes.”

    Gosh, those well-meaning, befuddled prescribers….

    This article is the apex of cynicism regarding the industry’s possible ‘reasons’ why they don’t practice fundamental informed consent when drenching clients in dangerous drugs, knowingly placing clients in harm’s way & chemically co-ercing compliance.
    This topic has been exposed, examined, & condemned by ETHICAL medical professionals for decades…as CLIENTS (stripped of credibility by diagnoses) have shouted it from the rooftops.

    Here’s the ‘answer’ to the disingenuous “Gee, how could this be occurring…?”

    Full Moral Status is canceled by ANY mental health diagnoses. FULL STOP.
    It creates an unobstructed ‘lifetime’ revenue stream with a reduction of cost & liability…(“we know what’s best for u”) from clients who have had credibility nullified by the culture & the with the court’s (!) blessings…an All-Access pass for psychiatry, no apologies necessary.

    All this wide-eyed ‘questioning’ is easily answered by the AMA’s UN-willingness to clean it’s own house….and the APA will NEVER bite the ‘hand’-Pharma’s-that feeds them.

    I thought we learned how this kind of cultural & financial power works with the Catholic church, enabling sexual predators…rarely charged or punished by the legal system…and continues.

    Our culture sweeps the “mentally ill” off the table, into a white noise bin while sanctimoniously parroting pharma’s mkting…”No stigma, get help” The “help” is drugs, of course. It turns internet, PRESCRIBING ‘therapists’ into friends with ‘likes’.
    Pharma’s business model is brilliant and playing the long game. Only downside is not killing the ‘host’, as all effective parasites instinctively know. It’s a tricky balance as we saw with Oxycontin. And barely moved the population’s awareness meter. But the TV series was good!

    Psychiatry won’t protect the ‘marks’….the powerful, overarching medical paradigm won’t censor their own.
    And states continue to block public access to complaints & charges regarding malpractice & ‘mistakes’…the latter #3 in U.S. cause-of-death.

    Nothing new here. Just more suffering & damage & death.

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  • I went to a shrink with great insurance, insomnia caused by impending financial problems.
    I was diagnosed with lifelong bipolar 1, convinced I needed immediate, immersive ‘counseling’, checked into a hospital, dosed with Seroquel (& more) before sundown.
    I had a Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADR-monitered all nite, told in the morning “We caught you just in time, that was your mental illness careening into a ditch. We saved your life”.
    Dr. was receiving $65,000 a year from Astra Zeneca/Seroquel.
    9 years later I am free..with a changed diagnosis in writing, healed brain lesion, and a new life.
    And compartmentalized, undying, justifiable outrage.
    My patience will be rewarded soon… as I publish. Can’t wait.
    Forget forgiveness.

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  • Hey there Dr. Levine, I liked your article very much. I’m a simple girl.
    I’m someone who blackmailed my captors to withdraw me ‘safely’ & change their ‘lifelong (9 years & counting), acute, chronic’ bipolar 1 diagnoses…and their nasty little SMI certification.
    They had carelessly plunged me into anaphylaxis and knew that I knew…THIS TIME a lethal side-effect couldn’t be blamed as a symptom of MY “worsening mental illness”.

    Quietly, privately they offered their CMO (BH managed care) to guide me thru 2 years of withdrawal as his only client, a brain lesion, & 3 additional years of 29 seizures.
    All that to avoid a possible, relatively minor lawsuit…that I never had to mention. They also had to agree to change the ‘lifelong’ diagnoses..I am now officially NOS Anxious…no sh*t.

    So here it is…they were willing to jettison all the absolutes of their industry…diagnoses & damaging ‘treatment’…with no apology or ‘WTF just happened here?’ convo…if I would quietly go age (gratefully) somewhere far away from them.
    My book is almost finished…I began writing about this in 2018 on another site, published here as “Full Moral Status” in 2019. Paula Caplan encouraged me long-distance.
    I have joyously reclaimed, rebuilt, & relocated my life at 71…with an abundance of purpose…primarily to laugh.
    Oh, & I reached out to Allen Frances & invited him to read the effect he had had on my life-(the 2004 diagnosis spawned by his DSM-IV.) He replied “You’re welcome and I look forward to reading it”.
    Bless his disgraceful heart.
    Keep writing…it’s encouraging and interesting for many.

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  • I applaud Ms. Sonntag’s dedicated work to expose the grift that is the psychiatric industry. ANY form it takes to effectively reach more eyes & ears should be applauded.
    This article was powerful in it’s concise articulation of the complexity of this topic and the muffled cries for help from the targeted individuals being snuffed out by simple, hideous greed.
    As someone who was drugged into the system for 11 years and was able to mount a chaotic/careful/successful repudiation of my “lifelong diagnosis & drugs-for-life” fate (with on-the-record, exit documentation), I have just re-started my life at 70 years old…clear-headed, re-formed, & holding tightly to my seemingly restored good health-body & soul-that I have re-crafted step-by-step for 6 years.
    Last week I landed (back) in my former home state (scene of the original ‘crime’), eager to begin an exciting 3rd act.
    Those 2 diagnosticians have so far ignored my emailed invitations for a ‘Come-to-Jesus’ dialogue with a former client, the result of their “lifelong” condemnation…& my ‘exonerating’ documentation from much bigger MD ‘fish’ (Titles, education, APA recognition-things that matter in their ‘pond’) that underscores the terrible, damaging, nearly fatal result of their & their industry’s hubris and greed.

    Why wouldn’t a professional in behavioral health take this rare opportunity to develop some personal & professional insight & humility that could have the effect of delivering improved, SAFER ‘treatment’?
    Perhaps it’s the $-including the psychiatrist’s $65,000+/annually from pharma-publicly reported by the federal Sunshine Law-or legal liability issues?
    I’m aware-as are their attornies-any statute of limitations has long expired.

    And yet they avoid a rare opportunity to learn and develop improved behaviors…a popular CBT raison d’etre…the emptiest of rhetoric applied relentlessly to clients entombed in all those drugs.

    “First do no harm” is the acid poured into the gaping, oozing wound they created…I bequeath it to them both…a deep, permanent scar, visible to me when I view them in my carefully managed memory files.
    It’s no longer mine. It’s all their’s…my gift…& I know they can’t bear to look at what it says about them.

    They fear my living truth, my victory over evil…their professional legacy & personal tragedy.

    Keep writing Ms. Sonntag.

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  • This won’t reach an audience that can effect change. It must be sent to the mailboxes of politicians on the ‘pharma favored’ donors list (almost everyone) & brought up in live town halls for the media to report….over & over & over again.
    See how many anti-vaxxers & their families who take other drugs part of THIS scandal object on ‘safety’ and ‘freedom’ grounds.

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  • I am gobsmacked by Stewart-Johnson’s strength & stamina during this psychiatric onslaught.

    On a much, much smaller scale, I made a stand that was all-or-nothing and succeeded in purging my life and disintegrating brain & body from an 11-year assault by psychiatry. No children were chips in that poker game, thank god.

    In my small way, I exposed how lightening-quick the industry was prepared to jettison their ‘evidence-based’, absolutist diagnoses & profitable treatments-for-life….if challenged by a (minor but possibly noisy) legal action…in my case-anaphylaxis.

    My veiled threat citing ER documented dangerous care (over my objections during prescribing, noting a recent, REPORTED initial severe drug reaction) by behavioral management contractors of the state of Arizona was a problem for them. It couldn’t be blamed on ‘my worsening mental illness’ as damage from drugs had been characterized in the past 11 years.
    Anaphylaxis was their kryptonite; observed, documented, & treated by objective professionals…AFTER ALERTING THE PRESCRIBING CLINIC-receiving instructions FROM THEM to rush to an ER.

    The observable fact that my head swelled to twice it’s size, eyes bugging out wasn’t ANYWHERE in the DSM IV (or 5) as symptomatic of Bipolar 1 Disorder…or ANY mental illness…of course.


    While my brain & body were incapacitated for 22 hours a day for the following months (and already suffering from measurable brain lesions), I struggled to present a compelling timeline of damages of over a decade, offering the clinic director MY terms…a guided withdrawal by a DOCTOR (NOT a PA or MA carousel) for the entire journey, removal of THEIR BD diagnosis AND state certification of SMI-another revenue stream from the feds to the BH contractor…a contract so large (#2 in the U.S) that it was viewed as PROOF that Arizona was effective & enlightened in it’s approach to mental health!!

    It took over 2 excruciating years to ‘withdraw, (& addressing the statute of limitations for a lawsuit) followed by three terrifying years of seizures…and now it’s over.

    I’m free to flourish in my third act of life. I’m changed & grateful for the astonishing survival force that drove my messy, loud, outraged ‘self-rescue’.

    I am ALWAYS vigilant, ready to (hopefully) anticipate & effectively repel any incoming nibbles, red-flags, or assaults by the psychiatric industry. As I age, the cultural biases quickly multiply.

    They have no credibility other than as a massively profitable addiction/death machine, like Exxon. The biggest danger is their poisonous, symbiotic relationship with the U.S. judiciary.

    BTW-the Sony PX-333 is a terrific little recorder..Arizona being a ‘single consent state.

    Take care out there.

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  • Paula Caplan was an astonishing woman who embraced my fledgling attempts at writing about my self-rescue from a diagnostic entombment courtesy of the DSM-IV task force she had renounced. When she famously eviscerated Task Force leader Allen Frances, I swooned, pledging my love. She was ridiculously modest and down to earth.

    I shamelessly fan-girled. She not only took me seriously but connected me with folks she thought I could assist maneuver thru the system. I wanted so much to be the person she thought I was.

    It meant the world to me at a time I was working hard to rebuild & redefine myself after my battle… my late 60’s.

    She was a dynamo, always involved with her important work. I think it will please her to know I built a little swagger and boldness back as a consequence of her acknowledgement. I desperately needed to find it again.

    I’m weeping…her warmth & generosity to a stranger changed me, enriched me, healed me.
    I’m so grateful.

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  • THIS guy…

    He was directly responsible for me losing 15 years of my life to a false diagnosis of bipolar 1 in 2004, becoming bankrupt & homeless, with quantifiable, documented iatrogenic damages…body & soul…that included 19 seizures POST a guided psychotropic drug withdrawal (for 2+ years). I achieved rare vacation of the ‘LIFELONG, chronic, acute’ mental illness label he had crafted so effectively vis a vis his leadership of DSM-IV. Oh, & the nerve damages in both eyes from Rispedal finally left me 3 years after dosing.

    I contacted him thru social media as my MIA 2-part essay “Full Moral Status…” was published, alerting him to his ‘profound effect’ he had on my life.

    He perceived that carefully worded sentence as a compliment (!)…responding with a ‘you’re welcome’ and pledging to read it.

    Any reader who is uncertain of France’s participation-trophy contributions to the welfare of mankind should read another more credible & distinguished MIA contributor’s essay, the scathing takedown of Allen by Paula Caplan, PhD entitled “Diagnosisgate: Conflict of Interest at the Top of Psychiatry”.

    Nailed it …and then some.

    And Allen (I know you are reading these comments)…I’ll never forgive you.

    “Saving Normal” didn’t ‘save’ you & your forever stained legacy….it just expanded (once again) your bank account…you know…the usual result of your involvement in the psychiatric industry.

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  • “At its extreme limit, financial conflicts of interest may result in inappropriate prescribing of medications and the creation of diagnostic constructs to develop markets for new drugs”.

    No, not ‘…extreme limit(s)’….it’s SOP.

    Following the DSM-IV’s wide expansion of symptoms for bipolar disorder that tripled the number of adult diagnoses in the U.S. and X40 for pediatric diagnoses (!) conveniently coinciding with new drug approval and ‘rebranding’ of old ones….I made an appointment with a psychiatrist during this ‘gold rush’ for the industry.

    I had just closed a business, had a new job (with good insurance), my bills were current but teetering….causing stress & insomnia.

    15 minutes into my appointment I was pronounced bipolar 1 and drugged with Astra Zeneca’s Seroquel, an antipsychotic (+ other drugs, of course) resulting in a Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADR requiring an all-night monitoring of my vital signs in hospital.

    And there she was in 2014… listed in Pro Publica’s ” Dollars for Docs” user-friendly tool to identify graft. Her largest donor…Astra Zeneca, makers of Seroquel who contributed towards her $65,000 annual haul from pharma….a nice, new E-class Benz every year.

    I became bankrupt and homeless as a result of the ongoing side effects of a relentless cascade of drugs, from private to state-funded prescribers, coast to coast, for 11 harrowing years…a compliant revenue stream & job creator.

    The inscription over the gates to this psychiatric netherworld, paid for by pharmacy & their field-reps, the APA….

    “Once drugged, always drugged”.

    The periodic hand-wringing articles and lip-service that pop up from members lamenting the continuing APPEARANCE of corruption are an exercise in disingenuous cynicism and fool no one.

    Ms. Logan’s article isn’t nearly angry enough.

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  • I was drugged for 9 years (2004-2013) resulting in measurable mid-cortex brain lesions (antipsychotics) among the usual laundry list of quantifiable & visually observed damages. I had 2.5 years of doctor (psychiatrist) guided withdrawal & full vacation of ‘my’ bipolar 1 false diagnosis in writing (‘clean’ 1/2016), followed by 3 years (2016-2019) of 19 seizures…the first documented by the ER. I thought it was a stroke.

    My PCP suggested I could ‘see someone’, a THERAPIST, as if I was still, really mentally ill. Walk back into the propeller. Just great.

    I bullied him until producing cardio, neuro, & bigger brain specialist referrals.
    I KNEW what it was. Me dragging all the clinical data (primarily Ho/Andreason) that would get them up to speed. The neuro & bigger brain guys (Barrow Neurological, Phoenix) were polite but sooo uncomfortable with this topic (psychiatry & neuroleptics) and what was happening to me. They suggested without witnessing one, it would be impossible to comment further. Cowards.

    Specialists are upset when they are stumped but suspicious. They were NOT going to put a toe over the bright white line among all medical specialists…poor form among docs…and possible liability issues. Cover your own ass.

    I was on my own. The seizures finally stopped with a careful plan of health, CBD, patience, acceptance, a little despair (I thought I was done with despair). Or just dumb luck.
    The acceptance of my (then) reality with ZERO support from ALL medicine and ‘friends’ was f*cked up but necessary at the time to maintain what I COULD still do & enjoy. ‘Resisting’ or ‘fighting’ seizures is a non-starter.

    And now I’m OK. But I’m hypervigilant regarding ANY affect on my poor brain & my new doctors all must convince me if anything might interfere. And I give zero f*cks if they view me as ‘crazy’. Walk (stagger) in my shoes. Your professional peers left me like this.

    I’m exhausted on this topic with the medical community…while some shake their heads sympathetically & murmer condolences. F*ck them too.

    As I age, I still monitor my labs & periodic test results, holding on tight to the now spectacular good health I currently enjoy.
    But it was 15 years of horror, fear, and despair…and it brought changes.

    I’m tremendously strong & effective and also vulnerable as a baby…like most.
    But real good to KNOW what I endured…it makes my 3rd act very busy & full of purpose.

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, & loudly proclaiming “WOW! What a ride!”

    Hunter Thompson

    Yeah, THAT.

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  • Ms. Honig, I am gobsmacked by your profound & complete understanding of this issue.
    As someone who survived 2.5 years of doctor (psych) guided titration & withdrawal following 9 years of aggressive dosing with the full spectrum of bipolar ‘treatment’, you nailed every tiny, nuanced detail…including the terrible challenges I faced alone after I was officially ‘finished’ with withdrawal.

    It was clearly not finished with ME as I experienced a terrible sequence of 19 seizures over the ensuing 3.5 years, among other ‘effects’ that made ‘re-entry’ into life almost impossible.

    I was open & fully documented when informing the ensuing doctors (primary, cardio, neurologist, specialist-Barrows Institute), bringing all relevant studies addressing the damages they should look for (including Ho-Andreason). The discomfort & at times thinly-veiled resentment mixed with bias regarding my credibility (the VACATED bipolar diagnosis-in writing) was heavy in the air. My ‘complaints’ were discredited as probably ‘imagined’ or Munchausens.
    And then there’s the difficulty of ANY doctor uttering “I don’t know”….followed by “let’s find out”…especially with insurance restraints. Wasn’t their specialty. They all lost interest.

    Mercifully, the seizures just stopped one day.

    I’m thriving now. I trust myself for protection going forward into my third act in life. The heartbreak of those 15 years is over. My outrage is compartmentalized, never forgotten. Rather than an impediment, I see it as armor against the cavalier medical industry that is saturated by FCOI-financial conflict of interest.
    My diagnosing doctor was listed by ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs”- the ACA Sunshine Law listing-as a happy recipient of $65,000 + annually from pharma for many years…a nice E-class Benz.

    Thank you so much for championing this awful subject. I desperately hope these essays will give clients trapped by psychiatry some hope in the dungeon of despair carefully constructed around them.

    Outrage saved me…and a physical will that wouldn’t die….despite psychiatry’s very best efforts.

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  • Miranda, My ‘lived’ experience & subsequent research informed me that pharma rep relationships (grooming) include generous samples, helping prime the pump for prescribing. I experienced it first-hand.

    Pharma in-house sychological assessments of what particular doctor’s are most likely to be influenced by, i.e…theatre or sporting event tickets, fine dining, travel, or cash (characterized as ‘consulting’ or ‘research’ fees)..are done with trained input from field reps.

    Also, sub-contracting data collectors who purchase (legally!) pharmacy prescribing metrics, measuring the efficacy of inducements…high prescription writers are rewarded, low output offices are targeted with different strategies….or pressured.

    No detail is overlooked and resulted in the massive boom in psych-drug sales (#1) since the late 90’s/early aughts following the infamous DSM-IV.

    They ‘create’ a demand using prescribers as willing customer ‘influencers.
    The fact that ‘trust’ is inherent in the sensitive patient/doctor relationship is, of course, massively beneficial to all but the client.
    Oh well.

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  • Mr. Sears,
    I have found advising clients to simply research their prescribers on ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” can shine a light when attempting to understand the questions that begin with “Why THAT (debilitating, ineffective, damaging, inappropriate, etc) drug?”

    It provides crystal-clear clarity & can help arm a client or advocates with fundamental tools when dealing with the DTO- dangerous behaviors to others-of ‘behavioral specialists’.

    The ‘influence’ (open greed) is real…& despite the occasional tepid ‘acknowledgements’ by the APA posing as insight…the industry has NO plans to curb it.

    Why should they?

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  • Mr. Sears,
    I have found advising clients to simply research their prescribers on ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” can shine a light when attempting to understand the questions that begin with “Why THAT (debilitating, ineffective, damaging, inappropriate, etc) drug?”

    It provides crystal-clear clarity & can help arm a client or advocates with fundamental tools when dealing with the dangerous behaviors of behavioral specialists.

    The ‘influence’ is real…& despite the occasional tepid ‘acknowledgements’ by the APA…the industry has NO plans to curb it.

    Why should they? (Duplicate)

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  • After 11 years of the usual toxic combo-platter that always included an antipsychotic…& a massive screwup involving anaphylaxis that they made believe didn’t happen…. (ER says otherwise)…
    I blackmailed-sorry…negotiated doctor-guided withdrawal that took 2.5 years fraught with anxiety spikes that were compounded by my real paranoia regarding ‘our’ deal. I had his word he would deliver paperwork nullifying my ‘lifelong’ bipolar diagnosis & SMI certification. He did…after asking me out for a date by text (!) that I still have. Dumb & additionally damning.

    He had never withdrawn anybody before. He tried to keep me on a tiny bit of TOPAMAX at the end for HIS need of ‘reassurance’.
    Are u kidding me?

    I had 1 seizure the first year, 3 the second, 15 the third, & then it was over.
    And lesions that cleared up.
    Quality CBD might have helped.

    My brain had taken a sustained beating. It had to work s&#t out. We’re O.K. now.

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  • At the 8 year mark, being saturated in the toxic sludge that was bipolar treatment, I developed spasms in my left eye. I couldn’t keep it open to see effectively. It was the Risperdal & they abruptly ended it, substituting another terrible drug…..y’all know-the usual.
    See…all fixed!!

    With the ensuing withdrawals, rebound, & adjustment to the NEW drug’s side effects…(y’all know-the usual)…I went to an eye specialist who was unfamiliar with & frightened by any convo about psyche drugs, the usual medical reaction from outside the cult. (Liability issues)
    I went home outraged and terrified for my future independence.

    Not long afterwards, I was sloppily put into anaphylaxis, resulting in the OTHER eye spasm-ing. In desperation, I went to another specialist. THAT guy said the only remedy to my ‘nerve damage’ was to surgically sever the nerves, shutting my eyes permanently, just say the word.

    He hurriedly added “Don’t worry, you can tape them open to your forehead”. I started to panic.

    I knew when I relayed this terrible result from the drugs to the genius prescribing-PA, he would simply offer another drug…the only response to everything discussed with him.

    After 7 months it resolved, but I continue 8 years later, to use eyedrops as the left eye always feels as if there are shards of floating glass under the lid.

    It’s going well, don’t you think?

    The antipsychotics also begat micrography, the tiniest writing imaginable, completly illegible-caused by brain lesions. That finally resolved also, after I was ‘clean’ for 6 months.

    No big deal, right?

    PS. I just LOVE these academic discussions regarding the client’s suffering caused by their fellow prescriber’s.
    ‘Lets investigate who’s profiting & proclaim our shock…let’s acknowledge the ‘problems’ we cause and dither about metrics & data…..lets scold Pharma about those effective marketing ads!’

    And the statements regarding the ‘tapering’ by prescribers when the drugs go bad. NO ONE does that…Yet they preach constantly to NEVER stop the drugs because of the terrible consequences.
    Ummm, we notice the contradiction & hypocrisy…..Jesus, pick a side.

    I watched an ad on TD last week. Two women figures appear and one talks about TD as if it’s no big deal because “It has a name!” as the voice-over lists awful side-effects. The figure cheerfully states there is a drug for that now!

    The other, silent figure is her ‘afflicted’ sister, perched on the couch like a Labrador….apparently the ‘mentally ill’ subject AND struck mute regarding HER suffering.

    It is seriously f*<#ked up. What's new? Report comment

  • Hello Dr. Caplan,
    Your essays are full of tenderness towards suffering that is the alpha & omega in an ideal response. It feels like the proverbial ‘safe place’ where honesty will NOT produce the recoil, fear, & smothering of a reaction to calamity and exhaustion that the culture supports as ‘best practices’.

    I considered suicide once. It was a logical option to the last, worst assault by psychiatry. I wasn’t alarmed when I added it to my ‘options’ list….it had a calming effect. If I didn’t make it out…..MY choice. I knew institutionalization awaited; a diaper, wheelchair, & staring out a barred window…and waiting for the drugs to finish what they had started.
    You’re the only person I would ever admit that to…knowing what it signals to the industry.

    As I am still a big fan of irony, the thing that was supposed to help me ‘fix’ my financial stress & resultant insomnia with a damning label and drugs, led me in the most direct way to the brink…but not before they sucked every dollar from my private insurance, then Medicaid & Medicare-state & federal….& on to the next carcass.

    Sometimes a parasite fails at keeping the ‘host’ viable.
    Well done, APA.

    Paula, you are a rare and valued treasure. Thanks.

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  • Following 11 years of being labeled (“oft-contested”), 2 years of titration & withdrawal, & 4 of concerted self-care & self-rehab…my brain is firing on all twelve cylinders with what feels like a turbo-boost as if making up for lost time.
    I am relieved, delighted, & amazed.

    Were it not for the ‘pesky’ 19 seizures that littered the path to this moment…it would have been a perfect recovery.

    Apparently my price for a ticket out. Paid in full.

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  • During most of my unfortunate 11 years inside the beast, I was careful not to say “I’m not mentally ill, there’s been a mistake”.

    The “Bring out your dead” scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” (1979) would flash in my drug-addled head…as a cart made the morning rounds in the ancient village collecting bodies from huts, an old man is thrown on the pile, loudly objecting, “But I’m not dead yet!” to no avail…and the cart moves on, the attendants hearing but ignoring & doing nothing.
    Funny then, funny now….but not if you’re ‘the guy’.

    Not until my keepers made several serious medication errors (again), rendering me quantifiably brain-damaged (lesions), with an NMS ADR & in anaphylaxis (independant ER records=Uh-oh) was I able to get the cart to slow down…the operators responding to a carefully phrased “I don’t belong here”…sans histrionics, a concisely prepared ‘presentation’ of ALL my ER visits to address physical, grotesque, side-effects while (fully) owning a home & car, employed for 7 years on a management team, & being their ‘compliancy’ poster child. What a good girl.
    I totally seized my moment… a real, credible threat to their local kingdom.

    Had I agitated for my ’cause’ earlier, it would have only strengthened their resolve to keep me chained to them forever…’denial’ psychosis being added to my file.

    After quietly blackmailing them successfully, achieving guided withdrawal and a vacated “lifelong” bipolar diagnosis, I asked a supervisor to find the SMI certification (seperate & eternally damning in my state) that had been their response 8 years earlier after a week of hospitalization (regular hospital, major heart, nervous system problems-antipsychotic +++ cocktail)…They declared it meant ‘my mental illness’ (!) was worsening so the SMI (more, heavier drugs) ensured an even quieter client & additional federal funds for them…an easy ‘medical’ conclusion..

    The supervisor’s reply after finally unearthing the file……..”Um (cough, pause), er….We don’t do things like that anymore”.

    It was both a rare & massivly uncomfortable acknowledgement…and a horrible validation….a moment I’ll never forget.

    The ‘exit’ psychiatrist advised me to “Live in the present, don’t dwell on the past”. Translation; Don’t sue us.

    I gave him a copy of the poem “Invictus”…and peeled out of the car park.

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  • Due to my unfortunate, past ‘relationship’ with the industry (Bipolar 1/SMI) and the 6 years of subsequent research while recovering following my self-rescue, here is what I can offer…

    “Overdiagnoses” are a result of financial manipulation by Pharma, the trickle down of billions to the APA ($30 million { , _} annually), publishers of the DSM-molding criteria to new and ‘rebranded’ {off-label} product, ‘research and consulting’ graft to psychiatrists to diagnose appropriate to the new drugs hitting the market (ProPublica “Dollars for Docs”).

    Psych comprises #1 or #2 (fluctuation over a decade) positions of receiving sheer amount of $ compared to any med specialty), and Big Insurance who happily, successfully herd any client towards ‘pit stop’ psychiatry (drugs), effectively nullifying qualified therapy as an option for most.

    All of this is easily achieved as Pharma is the #3 contributor to The Hill, following ‘Energy’ and Wall Street. Big insurance is happy to collude. And EVERYBODY sucks the teat of government programs, Medicaid and Medicare.

    The poor and the old are especially targeted and drowned in psychotropics-sedation-increased mortality as a result of under representation. Clean-up on aisle 1…or the non-voting constituency. Who cares?

    The judiciary requires ‘definitive’, ‘authoritative’ language to deal with DTS/DTO…and folks who are just different. Never mind that psychiatry is a self-annointed authority. Courts do not like ‘loose threads’ and, like medicine, loathes the sentence “I don’t know”.
    Psychiatry is grateful for the ‘legitimacy’ bestowed by the ultimate authority, the courts.
    Perfect symbiosis.

    Life goes on and it is good for these guys.

    Commerce, retail, marketing. Define your market, label (legally!) as ‘lifelong’, rule with a gloved fist. (“Isn’t stigma awful? Fight Stigma!”).. with fear of death-suicide-for non-compliance.

    The definition of a cult is… agenda, proselytize, recruit….and rule with fear. Done and done.

    The falsely generated (thanks Allen France$!) bipolar ‘epidemic’ following the 1995 DSM IV is textbook Harvard biz school 101.
    See Time magazine’s cover story (2002) “Young and Bipolar” detailing the U.S. pediatric bipolar explosion of bipolar diagnoses from 40,000 to 800,000!!! following publication. Adult diagnoses tripled…only in the U.S., not Western Europe. And people wanted the pills as they weren’t informed about the probable consequences. Hell, the INDUSTRY wasn’t sure about short-term, long-term prognosis…too busy counting cash. The FDA also has a $ymbiotic relationship with them.

    My diagnosing doctor gave me a 20-minute assessment before labeling and drugging me-for-life (presenting with insomnia from financial stress..and GREAT insurance). She gave me a combo-platter of drugs that day featuring Seroquel, off-label (at that time-schizophrenia scrip).
    I was in the hospital by nightfall with Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, paralyzed for 8 hours. When I was told to ‘shake it off’…she. gave. me. more.

    She was taking $65,000 a year from Pharma (“Dollars for Docs” listing), her biggest donor was Astra Zeneca, makers of…wait for it…Seroquel. Chemo for a cold.

    IWhelp, it went down from there…. for 11 years, passed around the industry, ending up in state/Medicaid clinics. No Bueno for me.

    Check it out…..

    “Bipolar Disorder: The Shift to Overdiagnosis” U.S. National Library of Medicine 2012

    “Some Conditions Misdiagnosed a Bipolar Disorder” Amy Norton Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2016

    “Overdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder: A Critical Analysis of the Literature” U.S. National Library of Medicine 2013

    “The Increasing Frequency of Mania and Bipolar Disorder ;Causes and Potential Negative Impact” NIH 2012

    My 2 faves…

    “The Latest Mania: Selling Bipolar Disorder” David Healy PLoS Med 2006 **** CRYSTAL CLARITY of the hustle***

    ….and for some alarming, black humor that speaks to the industry as a whole…


    BTW…my ‘exit’ diagnosis was.’.UNSPECIFIED ANXIETY’…I am a huge fan of irony.

    Bruce McEwen, PhD, “The Hostage Brain” introducing me to the term/concept ALLOSTATIC LOAD.
    It is important in this discussion. I hope you check it out..

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  • pkolpin, Thank you for your thoughtful response.
    I reference ‘lizard brain’ as fight, flee, or freeze which is not entirely, biologically accurate…but you get the idea.

    I don’t know if you are aware of the work of Bruce McEwen (“The Hostage Brain”)and associates on the “allostatic load” that all people carry and the manifestations that result.
    I find it a simple, clear explanation of how life affects the brain and body which may result in changes in it’s ability to maintain homeostasis.
    I am very comfortable with this narrative regarding physiological response to stress and trauma…we all have some or a lot.

    Allostatic load nullifies the APA, their DSM, and pharma marketing for relentless sedation (psychotropics). It’s a big problem for them.

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  • pkolpin, Actiivism is great, all for it…BUT…please know without credibility (stripped at diagnosis) you don’t have an effective voice with anyone-ANYONE…and your drugged (“Once drugged, always drugged”). My leverage was cold-blooded…economics…the industry recognized it as the blackmail/business move that it was.

    I am one of two known clients who were diagnosed (2004) following the bipolar gold-rush following Allen Frances’ piloted DSM IV (1995) expansion of criteria for bipolar. (see the cover of Time mag 2002 “Young and Bipolar” and everywhere else in the lexicon and media) AND reversed, changed, vacated the LIFELONG DIAGNOSIS. A Navy jet pilot, United pilot, Harvard grad. He sued for 35 million, so far No Bueno. (Dr. David Healy) 4/26/2020 “Starship Corona: Captain’s Log” also addresses some of the topics you have mentioned vis a vis psychotropic drug use, with an alarming connection to what’s occurring right now.

    Dr. Healy also wrote MY gateway essay ” The Latest Mania; Selling Bipolar Disorder” PLOS Med 2006 …. I was both shattered and massively relieved when I read it in 2013. This guy had nailed the simple line from A to B and the horrific results…in 2006. Sigh.

    It was all business, not personal. That turned out to be the key for my negotiation out.

    I also recommend Gary Greenberg’s scorching, sarcastic, and factual “The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmasking of Psychiatry” 2013.

    I will also point you to my 4-part essay in 2018 “A Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis”, explaining with minimum editorializing and personal drama (just the timeline of some major events) and ironic humor (I hope), the oh-so-easy-and quick-entrapment; one day I was living the dream in my custom beach house, employed, bills current, great insurance, no DTS/DTO…the next day I was bipolar 1 for life and in a hospital, drugged to the floor (on a plastic sheet) and paralyzed…soon to be homeless and bankrupt, couch surfing at 54 years old…not pretty. I was in shock for years.

    There’s a Kubler-Ross arc, not necessarily in the order that most equate with it. Acceptance often comes first as your terrorized, physically crippled immediately, and whispered soothing reassurances (‘We’ve got this’) are relentless. Your brain is alien to you. In that state, you’ll accept a hand from the Devil himself. And they’re already aware of your pliability with the drugs,..your neurotransmissions are deliberately re-routed and blunted.

    I avoid the emotional blow-by-blow of each poison pill for 11 yeas and it’s damage, and emphasize the philosophy and politics that I stumbled against, drugged to my eyeballs…resulting in quantifiable brain damage but somehow absorbing and questioning more and more frantically as I spiraled down every year.

    My outrage, sturdy DNA and ‘I won’t die in this dump’ mentality drove me to listen to my lizard brain and Sun Tzu “The Art of War”, MY bible, my salvation. Channeling an attorney’s dispassionate frame of mind was key. Facts, THEIR handbooks, statutes, contemporaneous notes (a parallel file)…and legal (in my state) tape recordings. Whoops.

    It was business, not personal.

    I also contributed a 2-part essay here-MIA, 2019 “”Full Moral Status; part 2 addresses SAFETY and strategy to achieve it while your in there. pinballing on the drugs.

    Moral outrage isn’t effective for me; it simmers way back in my head. I am an alpha predator to their soft underbelly, I figured out the code. Cold, calculated EFFECTIVE ACTION plans interests me. VERBS.

    I have my clinical records for 10 years and TEXTS with my exit doctor (3 years, now the VP/CMO). He asked me out for a date…in a text…a month before I was to be ‘released’ with the papers….talk about blackmail.
    And I reported it to my old therapist at the time.

    It will be the ‘big finish’ to the narrative…starting the little book (with names) after I move. Already have a publisher. Delicious.

    I am patient, THEY taught me that.

    Revenge is a dish best served cold, indeed.

    All the rest of the dialogue about how amoral, evil, destructive, greedy they all are is…. ‘yeah, I know’.

    Sorry, I DO go on.

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  • Willoweed, been where your at. You might want to read these as they might more fully inform what you’re experiencing from a ‘fellow traveler’ who needed a bigger picture and more informed Iintel on the entombment that lasted 14 years …or ‘How did that happen to ME’?

    I’m out, with guided withdrawal (with ‘aftershocks’), an official, DOCUMENTED VACATED “lifelong SMI diagnosis”, and am doing really, really well. (“A Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis” 2018 and “Full Moral Status” MIA 2019).

    I’ve done some peer counseling regarding how to effectively ‘fight the power’ with SAFETY within the industry, the first principle.

    After 5 years of research and healing, these are some enlightening, supportive, and validating writing….

    “The Latest Mania: Selling Bipolar Disorder” David Healy PLOS Med, 2006… also NIH.
    Nailed it and made my weep…my story.

    “The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry” Gary Greenberg 2013.
    Nailed it with snarky black humor.

    “Cracked: The Unhappy Truth About Psychiatry” James Davies 2013.
    A UK version of nailing it.

    BTW, I found it very tricky to ‘assess’ other’s emotional challenges. I listened to what they wanted, contrasted with the ‘listeners’ in the industry. I found that sharing my strategy and tactics to assert my rights and insistence on TRANSPARENCY and SAFETY per THE INDUSTRY’S OWN RULES, STATUTES, AND LANGUAGE was paramount…and possibly first steps to regain their confidence and ultimately, they’re power.

    I found not everybody can or wants to get out, but they’re aware of the danger and their lack of a voice. They need some coaching (I certainly did)…as they’re drugged and their ‘caretakers’ ostensibly are not. Big handicap when you’re negotiating safe care for your brain.

    If they were ‘game’ to make a calculated run for it, I gave them resources and tactics that worked for me to achieve my freedom, a changed ‘diagnosis’ (Anxiety!) and the fantastic rest of my life…Their choice to use, modify, or discard.

    Good luck

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  • Pkolpin, I am touched by your comments, but my experience in private and especially public (Medicaid) funded ‘care’ has been that variations of my core story are ubiquitous, not at all rare. The WTF awareness-creep is slightly different, often slower to manifest in private care. The heavy-handed crudeness of the ‘brain-care’ in community clinics is immediately alarming.
    Medicaid is eyeball-deep in these clients, AKA revenue-streams, who have no voice, no way out.

    My biggest detour in that path was my poor cognitive function following a 2nd NMS/paralysis, the anaphylaxis followed. My fear & outrage fueled a strategy out that targeted their Achilles Heel…cost and liability containment. I was able to parlay it into a safe exit.

    Corporate was completly untroubled to instantly jettison their Absolute, Inviolate, Principles of “life-long” SMI along with every other ‘evidence-based’, biomedical pronouncements of a decade…no problem…to keep the anaphylaxis event and me quiet…defining cynicism and venality for all time.

    I gave zero f*%cks about retribution in that moment… as long as I got out safe & alive…and documented.
    I did and am moving quickly towards a fantastic third act in my life.
    Thx for your well-wishes…the future is bright.

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  • Aerial Ballet, Gosh, I don’t know about a “deeper response”, but…
    “It seems a little convoluted to keep going back there for help and then bitching about what you get there” stopped me cold.

    I made an appointment with my great insurance for insomnia caused by money stress. No DTS/DTO. Current in my bills. In 20 minutes I was told I was SMI for-life and given 3 drugs to take that evening, one being Seroquel. I my first Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADR and hospitalized with paralysis for 8 hours.

    They told my freaked-out, terrified self that “…we caught you just in time, your mental illness caused that reaction, never stop the meds”…remember, I’m drugged to my eyeballs-my thoughts are not my own now, heavily sedated, and terrified and ashamed…in a hospital.
    I thought that appointment was going to be a 30-minute version of “You’re fine, just sleep-deprived, here’s some temazepam”…WTF.

    For the next eleven years, peering through the blunting, sedation, and a cacophony of dangerous side effects (A to Z with attendant hospitalizations-NEVER for behaviors) and realizing through the fog I’ve been gamed,..your “….can’t a person just get up and walk out of the institution (of psychiatry)” seems strikingly uninformed.

    “It seems a little convoluted to keep going back there for help and then bitching about what you get there” informs me you know nothing about the industry; manipulating drugged, addicted, folks is easy. And FEAR begins day one; fear of them, fear of losing support from loved ones, fear of losing yourself.

    And they LEGALLY owned my identity in the U.S. court system. Anything negative that I bumped up against for the rest of my life would be viewed through SMI goggles. Disastrous.
    With a diagnosis, your credibility instantly flies out the window notwithstanding the industry’s “We support a patient’s ability to self-advocate”…yeah, until you start.

    Knowing the tremendous damages that stopping these drugs do…, rebound, withdrawal, seizure, coma, death…and the very real prospect that withdrawal can send you into behaviors that WILL NOT help your case, only make you look ‘worse’…it’s dead if you continue, dead if you stop…and REALLY DEAD if you fail cause you’ll be bombed so hard with more, bigger, stronger drugs, institutionalization in a diaper will be your final destination…’for your own good’, of course.
    Plato’s Noble Lie runs throughout this universal narrative…and cash, of course.

    One more thing…when you’ve been poisoned that long, that hard for years, with a relentless narrative insisting that it’s YOU…Well, the secret terror I held inside was, after all that brain damage (I had lesions), swimming in a cesspool of drugs…was there any ‘THERE” left of my mind, personality, or intellect…without the drugs. As existential as that sounds, I have met others who talk about that private, profound fear also.

    I am the one that got away…my “lifelong diagnosis” was changed in 2016 to…wait for it…NOS Anxiety (no sh*t) following a sloppy psychotropic prescribing causing anaphylaxis (yikes).
    I blackmailed my way out, getting a doctor’s guidance for titration and withdrawal. It took almost 3 years, but I have the Mf*%ing paperwork-part of the deal…followed by 19 seizures that finally stopped in 2019.

    Yeah…just get up and walk out…thanks for that nugget.

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  • Dr. Caplan’s “Diagnosisgate…” stands as the definitive disembowelment of Frances.
    The reverance (still!) that publishers continue to display towards his every utterance informs me they are specious amateurs doing no homework on psychiatry & the murderous malignancy he unleashed.

    His desperate attempts to erase his black history with ‘academic’ musings that strain to keep him in the public (& industry’s) eye, positioning himself as a ‘chastened-but-proud’ public servant, is simply the thinly-disguised plea to whitewash his unforgivable history….
    a pathetic, old f*#k-up.

    Hubris won’t allow him to go quietly & stop compounding the tragedies that define his career.

    Allen, you’ve helped no one and left a legacy of unspeakable pain, suffering, & death.
    It was your gift to me vis a` vis DSM IV. You owe me 15 years of my life with the excellent health that was taken from me…per your directives.

    Just shut up. Let THAT be your legacy.

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  • “Although the researchers don’t mention it, iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatric medications could also be an explanation, as the drugs lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and cardiac problems, among other adverse effects.”
    This is tacked on at the end of the article, almost as an afterthought.
    Alcohol, tobacco, poor diet, and drug abuse mortality stats are very high.
    When the industry adds them to an individual’s allostatic load after psychiatric dosing, it’s a combo-platter that can be ‘interpreted’ in an infinite variety of self-serving ways. It’s too easy and nobody’s asking us.

    My favorite writer, David Mamet: “People may or may not say what they mean but they always say something designed to get what they want.” Psychiatric ‘studies’ 101.

    For every reader of this website, his 1987 “House of Games” film is essential. I saw it before I was labeled.
    A psychiatrist enmeshed with a professional con-artist…(I know). The ‘attraction’ is mutual (for very different reasons), and disturbing as boundaries are crossed and blurred, with an astonishing (yet not) ending.
    Things aren’t what they seem, it’s all sleight-of-hand, some hidden, some obvious (no).
    A perfect metaphor for my experience with psychiatrists, the industry, and their diminishing, desperate fist holding power and ruining lives.

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  • Oh Ms. Uhler…this made me so uncomfortable in it’s familiarity & bleak recitation of the facts. This is familiar to me…X 1000…and with children involved…..

    I too was ‘discovered’ to be mentally-ill-for-life in my 50’s, presenting with insomnia as a result of financial anxiety….and great insurance. You clearly know the next 11 years.
    I achieved a freak, uber-rare self-rescue after a Lamictal-caused anaphylaxis ‘event’, able to marshall my coherence the 2 hours it took to (carefully) blackmail them into doctor-guided titration/withdrawal and changed/removed diagnosis (paperwork!)..taking over 2 years.

    It wasn’t over.
    I’ve had 19 seizures in the 4 years since…but they have been absent for the past 11 months., 4-part series-2018, ‘The Unicorn”.

    You have broken my heart….you have accomplished such scorching honesty regarding being passed around & comprehensively exploited….and you have given me valuable perspective, something I cling to when it sometimes gets dark.

    Thank you and I wish you peace & strength…..the best I can do.

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  • I applied to the Carter Center in 2018 with an essay of my lived experience sans emotion, precisely presented with a timeline, bibliography, and documentation from my medical files.
    As I am one of two known individuals who have forced rescension of the “lifelong” bipolar diagnosis and 2 years of guided withdrawal, I thought it would be a rare & unique story.

    They could not have been more dismissive, focusing on my lack of established writing credentials….not my actual presentation & content. I had carefully read and followed their guidelines & made phone contact with the department reviewing submissions.

    I followed up with questions by email and was ignored.
    My opinion is that they are more focused on a ‘white-glove’, sanitized ‘Ladies Home Journal’ approach to a tremendously messy & profane issue.
    Meh…and such a waste of a possible platform for information and change.

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  • Dr. Breggin, there is a tenderness your writing conveys that is so alien to the industry…thx.

    My 4 years of challenging, painful, frightening…and successful recovery (19 seizures, broken body) has left me in a spectacular place at 69 and I’ve seized control for the rest of my life.

    I carry my rare, ‘exonerating’, removed bipolar diagnosis-paperwork in my phone, like a citizen in Nazi Germany….just in case……. aware it’s not a silver bullet for a possible ‘next-time’, but DOES alert ‘them’ that I am fully informed of their intent… know how to beat them….and more trouble than it’s worth.

    I’m forever changed, smarter about the dangers and suffering in the world….. and grabbing as much joy as I can in my third act. They don’t get to win.

    MIA 2019, “Full Moral Status” Parts 1-2. 2018, “The Unicorn; Changing a Diagnosis” Parts 1-4.

    Please never stop writing about this topic, Dr. Breggin.

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  • The Medicaid/state clinic PA gave me a second scrip for Lamictal after I reported a Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) reaction (historically my 2nd)-paralysis (and more) for 8 hours. I objected 3 times. He stood up and said ‘we’re done’. Still reeling from the ADR & withdrawal, I waited 3 more days & suffering…took it hoping for ANY relief.
    I woke up with crawling skin, ran to a mirror & my head was twice it’s size with bugging-out eyes. It was coming down my face. I made it to the ER with my RN brother. The doc wrote…..”POSSIBLE anaphylaxis'”(!)….but most importantly prescribed a Z-pac of Cort.
    As dismissive as he was when he knew my diagnosis of Bipolar & the drug that caused it, THAT vague description coupled with his ACTION, THE CORT…was proof of his deduction…& the beginning of my ‘negotiations’/blackmail of my psych handlers to get me out on my terms.

    2.5 years later I was off the drugs…a guided withdrawal… and OUT with the ‘changed’ diagnosis paperwork…Anxiety….to which I always reply-in my head or out loud…NO SHIT.
    I had to almost die (not the 1st time w/these guys) to craft a new life.
    The ‘luck’ and ensuing ‘Come to Jesus’ discussions that followed under withdrawal, rebound, and brain damage were the heaviest lift I would ever make, but…..
    Carpe Diem turned into Carpe Omnia.

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  • “…dancing around the…names” and “‘refusing to speak…” is prudent if you don’t have hard evidence, not opinion, anger, or ‘everybody knows’ arguments. Libel and slander laws differ from state to state but all mandate evidence that ‘proves’ differing/subjective (court interpreted) measurements of harm, not outrage. The law seems solid/slam-dunk; just not true. Even with solid evidence, if the offender has a large bank account and you are in front of the wrong judge, you can go bankrupt…and be charged with a plethora of lawsuits involving defamation, loss of income, and more. They will drain you slowly like a medieval blood-letting with leeches…all legal in the system.
    I have been Pro Se twice (winning both) but it consumed my attention and physical health… and was still expensive as I purchased legal advice by-the-hour/ala carte, on specific issues, motions, and case law (the worst).
    Speaking for myself, I totally reject “reconciliation” and-if published (again) including names-will have the luxury of vetting/review by the new publisher’s legal department.

    While I have acted on my “values” many times, losing everything AGAIN-after my 13 years of comprehensive loss to psychiatry (and a revered ‘reformer’)-WOULD be the worst thing…I will not sacrifice one. more. happy. day. to them.
    Self immolation is not noble or effective for me.

    BTW, I email a link (no commentary-protecting myself from harassment charges) to my offender every time I am published (or a relevant article), picking my outlets, building my credibility. I want him to be a little nervous and uncomfortable as I move closer with details over the years and hopefully, full disclosure…the ‘other shoe’ waiting to drop. He knows that I have his texts. I’ve learned patience and choosing my time.

    And….I’ll always be in HIS head…a little or a lot.

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  • This article is directly adjacent to my experience achieving freedom from my bipolar diagnosis and dangerous drugs by the most powerful doctor, CMO, and VP of behavioral health contractors in the state of Arizona, #2 in spending on mental health in the U.S., with the public illusion that it was supplying great $ervices. Today he is revered as an ethical, gentle, humane, forward-thinking leader in his field.

    I suffered from many internal and external wounds during my long exit; not the least was Stockholm Syndrome, so relieved to have the promise of a healthy life back under my control, possibly achieving the UNTHINKABLE, while tiptoeing on broken trust like shards of glass.
    When I first wrote about this awfulness, I praised his integrity and devotion to my truth. Facts an evidence of sexual harassment would have seemed hyperbolic…too much. I was also conflicted about what I knew had happened, what it meant, and the overwhelming relief of having another chance at life. LIFE won…at the time. Priorities.
    Now that I’m assured of my safety and distance (4 years later)…and the cellular-level effects of the drugs have FINALLY left me, I know it was only cost and liability protection…and his career arc.

    My ‘exit’ doctor was the Clinic Director (soon to be CMO/VP) when I was carelessly put into anaphylaxis by staff…and then intentionally ignored (they knew they had REALLY f#*@-ed up) as I went into a nose-dive with rebound, withdrawal, and brain lesions. They were waiting for me to be sufficiently frightened, with no alternative resources available, to come back ‘home’…begging for help from my torturers, with any fight or resistance thoroughly scared out of me. THEY were my only hope of relief. No one else would grant me ANY credibility because of the damning diagnosis.
    But you can’t fake anaphylaxis symptoms like head-swelling, eye-bugging, breathing problems, etc.

    During my post-debilitation, I had 2 productive hours a day which I used during my 1st appointment with him to ‘discuss’ the situation. HIS 15 minutes turned into MY 1.5 hours. I used it to delicately blackmail him and the state behavioral management providers; my safe guided exit, withdrawal AND a changed, removed, ‘disappeared’ MH diagnosis…and I wouldn’t sue. I knew a simple, ER documented, and possible deadly anaphylaxis trumped any ‘she’s crazy’ excuse by them. No ‘symptoms’ BS. And I had reported a FIRST ADR AND objected at the 2nd prescribing appointment. It wasn’t about $. I was capable of loud and messy. Uh-Oh.
    He was rocked (barely perceptable), locked on my every word and polite demand. Bottom line…a tentative, unspoken “yes”.

    After 2.5 additional years of a unique (for both of us) journey, I achieved EVERYTHING….but not without additional costs that included sabotage from jealous staff (his description) and a fundamental betrayal by him.
    AND HERE IT IS….30 days before our ‘scheduled’ completion, my ‘savior’ asked me… in a text… for a date.
    IN A TEXT…AFTER 2.5 YEARS AS HIS ONLY PATIENT. JUST BEFORE MY FINAL PAPERWORK/RELEASE. Either supremely confident of his power…OR…. painfully naïve regarding medical ethics, sexual harassment, and his own risk. After all, he was from another country….yeah, a socially naïve PSYCHIATRIST, CMO/VP and Fellow of the APA, his advanced education and residency in New York City.
    He often spoke about better care, less drug damage, and returning credibility to his patients. He said he desperately wanted to do No Harm. His company painted him as a saint, as did his staff…as did I. He remarked many times that my research, facts, and articulation made me an expert on psychiatry.
    He groomed me like the behavioral expert HE was.
    The turmoil, anger, shock, and abject fear it placed me in was as damaging as any other head-space I had experienced in the entire ‘sentence’ (now 13 years). The end was awkward and anxiety-ridden for both of us, not joyous as I had long-imagined. I couldn’t get to my car fast enough, holding my breath.
    I spent the next 3.5 years repairing, soothing, and “McGuyver-ing” my damages. I’m now onto the wonderful third-act of my life.
    As a feminist since 1967, I was haunted by my knowledge and urge to protect others who would never get out. But I also had a tremendous amount of ‘clean-up’ of my own to do, including the ensuing 19 seizures (pre-frontal lobe shrinkage/Andreason) that made my future less secure and bright.

    I have also carefully researched libel and slander laws, both state and federal. The Arizona Republic had no stomach for this kind of expose’. I had submitted to the writer who initiated the national VA expose’. He said carefully “This is a big story’. Yeah, but too controversial…not for them.

    This doctor gained (some of) my trust and then spit on it. Yet, one of the ‘good’ ones.
    And I have kept the last year of his texts (before and after), establishing our unique but professional relationship…until that day.

    As I get healthier and stronger, I am closer to fully exposing this “wonderful doctor”, he DID save my life…and I was depleted, exhausted, and damaged for years. I just couldn’t take on another fight.
    My safety…. emotionally, physically, and financially, is paramount.

    I’m moving back home to Florida soon and re-start my life. This is where I was first diagnosed (presenting $ anxiety and insomnia) by a psychiatrist receiving $65,000 annually from Pharma (“Dollars for Docs”, ProPublica).
    Once I settle, I am ready to calmly, precisely, with damning EVIDENCE-not emotion, expose ALL of them…including one of the ‘really good guys’…and hopefully protect others… from all the above.

    The Miami Herald awaits with their legendary reputation of muck-raking. I will work hard to be worthy of publication there.

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  • After a decade of imprisonment from psychotropics, a response to a ‘lifetime’ bipolar diagnosis, I negotiated-lied-‘mirrored’-and implied (blackmailed) prosecution of an anaphlaxis ADR….shining a loud, messy legal light under their secret, sloppy rock….a trade for my cleansed body, soul, records…and freedom in writing. THIS was the ultimate psychiatric quid-pro-quo.

    It worked; guided titration, withrawal AND a F49.1 UNPECIFIED ANXIETY sticker on my forehead as I ran out the door 2.5 years later.
    ANXIETY? No shit. But certainly not UNSPECIFIED.

    PAY ATTENTION….Bipolar is apparently ‘CURED’ by anaphylaxis!!
    Alert the scientists & global media!!
    They had discovered the cure!!..and now so modest.

    They were eager to barter their absolute principles & ‘Bible’ without a second thought, to avoid cost & liability & exposure….on a 2nd-tier city’s community clinic level. What happened to their evidence-based science?

    The APA ignored my email asking this question…suggesting…wait for it….’if I was in crisis, not to hesitate to call 911′. Oooof. Irony on that level is a gift.

    Any acknowledgement or (gasp) apology suggested liability.

    But it happened nonetheless.

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  • Mindfulness is the new synonym for the ever-popular psych hammer ‘insight’.
    “You have good insight” is the doggy treat they toss when you agree/comply with them….about yourself.
    I think we all know this; no need for a ‘study’.

    Once again, the behavioral ‘experts’ miss the paradoxical point; it is THEY who lack insight and ‘mindfulness’…as service providers to clients…NOT sales reps and disciples of Pharma, proselytizing and recruiting innocents into the cult….enforcing allegiance with fear of catastrophe If you disobey. Dogs and psych clients know this well.

    “Mindfulness-based interventions are theorized to “rescue excessive emotional reactivity” as individuals learn to observe experiences non-judgmentally. These interventions aim to “produce cognitive changes,” so participants learn that thoughts are not facts, “improved self-management,” that promotes skills for maladaptive cognitions and emotional responses, and the ability of non-judgmental noting of arousal, muscle tension/other reactions in the body. Mindfulness is thought to result in a fundamental shift that facilitates acceptance of experiences.”

    Exactly the goals that psychiatric workers should strive for when dealing with a human being seated in front of them.
    Don’t get it twisted.
    It’s THEY who (desperately) need “intervention” and “mindfulness” in the moment.

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  • Mr. Mather, One more thing…
    My exit doctor had been the Clinic Director during the ‘anaphylaxis event’ and had much to lose If I ‘made a fuss’. He was the one who walked me out for 2.5 years, part altruism, part cover-his-butt. At the time he was quietly ascending to the VP/CMO position ‘downtown’. I was his only client.
    On our last day I had very powerful, conflicted feelings; grateful yet cynical about what he represented and the staff, the company (and himself) he had protected at my expense….for barter.

    This was in the envelope I handed to him as I walked out of that place (with wobbly knees) for the last time.
    Forgive me If you find it tired or trite. It checked all the boxes for me.

    INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit rom pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

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  • Mr. Mather, In 2004 I was employed with mortgage and bills current, but worried about a recent business failure and not sleeping as a consequence. I thought getting a sleep-aid & emotional ‘tune-up’ was a good use of my excellent insurance.

    Following the expanded criteria in the DSM IV & a psychiatrist who was collecting $65,000 annually from pharma (her listing in Dollars for Docs-ProPublica), I immediately received a lifetime bipolar 1 diagnosis and was drugged with multiple anti-psychotics + the kitchen sink…..immediately & for the next 11 years.

    I lost everything a person can lose in life, including of course, my previous excellent health.

    Within 24 hours I had my 1st Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADR, described to me after the paralysis left, as proof of my perilously diseased mind. It went downhill from there. Physical damages put me in hospitals regularly….never behavioral.

    It (began to) end in 2013 with ANAPHYLAXIS (unknown to me then, but my LUCKIEST day ever) from a psych prescriber….. rebound & withdrawal…complete physical collapse and brain lesions (micrographia, etc)….. that I used as leverage (anaphylaxis =inarguable medical liability, NOT “symptoms”=lawsuit) to negotiate complete written capitulation & change of my ‘lifelong’ diagnosis…AND guided titration & withdrawal of all drugs. It took 2.5 additional years…AND I lost 55 of the 85 lbs. I had gained from ‘treatment’.

    When THAT was ‘over’ I had to begin dealing with the damages, body & soul, the rage, and the ensuing 4 ADDITIONAL years of seizures….see the Andreason results-pre-frontal shrinkage.
    Barrow Neurological was ‘interested’ but couldn’t help. “We’re seeing a lot of this lately. Good luck”.

    My family had passed away. My friends left ‘it’ seemed never-ending. I was not welcome at PTSD support groups where veterans & domestic violence victims were running TOWARDS any psychiatric ‘help’ they could find. I was clearly running away. They didn’t/couldn’t understand….and I risked being viewed AGAIN (by facilitators) as mentally imbalanced, irrational, someone in need of sedation. DANGER.

    In 2020, the seizures have stopped, Tai Chi & diet have helped, & I’m finally full of life again, making future plans and welcoming my ‘muse’ back in. I used to be a professional artist.

    16 years.
    But I’m back, changed, and better than I was.
    I never thought I’d get here.

    As you know, it’s a delicate, perilous road.
    I wish you the best.

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  • Dr. Breggin, This essay was a crisp, clear, wave of sparkling water going into the new year.
    I am finally healed from my decade buried in the industry following a false ‘lifelong’ bipolar diagnosis (2004)…courtesy of the DSM IV tidal wave.
    After 11 years of side effect horrors, I roused what was left of my lizard-brain and successfully, ‘officially’ reversed the ‘lifelong’ diagnosis & had professional (albeit 1st-time for the doc) guidance off the drugs for 2+ years (2016).
    I have worked thru the 3 subsequent years of 18 seizures (they stopped early 2019)…rebuilding my brain & body, deciding who I was going to be for what was left of my life at 69…and chose joy, not bitterness. It wasn’t a clear & obvious choice during that time.

    My 3rd act begins this year-moving back ‘home’ cross-country (I never thought I would/could return), re-starting my business-a modestly successful artist…. & buying a beautiful new nest.

    Your essay captures so much of what I learned about myself & life BECAUSE of this terrible thing that happened. Who knew?

    I’m SO happy to be alive….& know I’m NOT helpless….i can count on myself.
    Perspective is everything…my anger & outrage are compartmentalized…& under control. They’re part of me like battle scars…. I let them out occasionally & let them stretch their legs. Feels right & good.

    In the end, I got lucky and I know it. Most don’t get 2nd chances in that terrible place. I still fear REAL illness & definitely know evil is always present in the world….. I keep my ‘exit’ paperwork on my phone…just in case.

    And now I’m on to ‘Carpe Omnia’.
    Life is short.
    Thx, Doc.

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  • Anomie, Ditto.
    Complaining about being “undervalued”…. how genteel.
    This is a bloody, bruising, often deadly street-fight.
    Psychologists should fight harder for their ‘market-share’ and position in treatment if they feel slighted and unappreciated. Form a better lobby and more aggressive marketing, buddy. Suck it up. THEY are who they are. Push back harder about what you can offer…not how bad they are. .beating a dead horse and preaching to the converted here.

    The ‘undervaluing’ is by in$urance companies and, of course, the APA/Pharma bloc…resulting in being ‘undervalued’ by politicians who hang on every directive from their donors (#3, behind ‘Energy’ and Wall Street). “Drugs are cheaper, better, faster…quality therapy is expensive, indulgent, and slow. The American Psychology Association does NOT ‘support’ your re-election campaign.”
    As the American Psychiatric Association (Pharma’s field reps) dictates, therapy is regulated to LCSW and case managers if you don’t have top-shelf insurance. Few options.
    It sucks….not for you Al….for us.

    And BTW, my top-shelf insurance (before forced Medicaid) provided me with a psychiatrist/psychologist-a ‘DD’-dual doc) in a beautiful high-rise in Fort Lauderdale, gorgeous office, big leather chair, and an impressive ceiling-to-floor library behind him.
    I had lost my house after a bipolar diagnoses (presenting with financial anxiety and insomnia!) from side effects, being unable to work. Homeless, drugged, couch-surfing, and filing bankruptcy at 54 years old…followed by someone running a stop sign and totaling my car. Perfect.
    In the ER on a gurney, my ‘couch-host’ dropped by to tell me to get out THAT DAY.
    I couldn’t even live in my car. I welcomed the quiet, cool room my brain immediately went to. I was thoroughly blunted by the drugs, knowing I should be shrieking in despair. It was REAL madness…and my Trileptal (+++) was telling me to kill myself. Called my doc.

    At my appointment, Dr.P listened with glasses perched on his forehead, rocked in his chair frowning, tented his fingers and asked me…”If you were Jello, what flavor would you be?”
    I. Am. Not. Kidding.

    Yoga, Tai Chi, ‘group’, exercise, dance…and Jello…..yeah, that’s the ticket.
    I needed a safe curb to sleep on that nite.

    I’m a little low on empathy regarding being “undervalued”, Al.
    This fight is not for the delicate. Your part of an established, white-collar profession. Make some bigger noises. Be aggressive.
    Change things.

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  • Dr. T….Know when to stop.
    “…respectful, mutual learning from each other….”…Really?

    Your insistence on having it, not both ways…but ALL ways in this convo is insulting.

    “…shouldn’t we together honour our different experiences and commit to respectful, mutual learning from each other…?” is the equivalent of beseeching the victim of the Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner, to ”understand’ the motivating principles that compelled his attack on her…..AND (as the first judge did) “respect” the negative impact a criminal record would have on his otherwise bright future.

    No. It’s about the victim.

    He did it because he could… and expected to walk away sated and waiting for the next ‘opportunity’, undiminished in any way.
    It was a rare anomoly that he got caught…and ultimately paid a tiny uncomfortable price.

    Nobody talked about the victim’s price. She had to do that heavy lift herself.

    The topic of psychiatry’s exploitation of human suffering is decidedly NOT a “Can’t we all just get along….and respect each other?” moment for the massive number of victims.

    And for all the seemingly drug-supported, ‘happy’ customers…check back in 2, 5, 10 years as their ‘maintenance’ prescription problems permanently outstrip any initial ‘issues’ they once had.
    I defy you to cleanly isolate and address the initial ‘complaint’ at all…now metasticized into a larger, more ‘drug-resistant’, intertwined tumor.

    More to the point….why do you think psychiatry has to find answers to questions regarding the damage it creates and sustains by reading about it on websites or forums?

    Try LISTENING AND BELIEVING the clients sitting right in front of you. They are not algorithims and abstractions.

    Navel-gazing and theorizing (& ultimately excusing) your profession’s history of irrefutable carnage (well-earned hyperbole) souns like specious, self-absolving existential indulgence.

    My decade of assault by psychiatry trumps your “experience” with 25000 clients. I believe your remark “I don’t see myself as an expert…”. Is disengenuious.
    As a resident of the U.S. south, it’s like saying you’re a member of the Klan….. but one of the ‘good’ ones.

    I don’t “honour” predators…of ANY kind.

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  • Whoa…your writing style is so refreshing…. Lacking self pity & extra editorializing.

    I recognized your experiences with ACT, as I was an 11-year vet… nailed it beautifully.

    Your clarity and self-awareness is sharp & strong. You have boatloads to offer on this and I’m guessing alot more.

    Keep writing, Ms. Simpson. You’re a welcome & incisive contribution to this publication.

    There is opportunity amidst chaos.

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  • Dr. Dhar,
    Send Mangin and Garfinkle to Dr. David Healy’s “A Unicorn: Changing a Medical Record” August 2018, 4-part series describing over-diagnoses (adult bipolar-X 3 in U.S., 2004) produced by financial conflict of interest (Dr. listed in “Dollars for Docs” ProPublica), overprescribing (13 drug changes in 9 months=hospital/bradycardia, etc), ‘legacy’ prescriptions and assessments in public and private care (2006 SMI certification by marriage counselor-2013-“We don’t do that anymore”), and 2 NMS-ADR’s (paralysis) that culminated in anaphylaxis, rebound, withdrawal and brain lesions….resulting in 2.5 years of ‘guided’ withdrawal (liability concerns) and a promised vacated ‘lifelong’ bipolar diagnosis……. IF I DIDN’T SUE.

    So much for psychiatric absolutes and integrity. Turns out it’s negotiable.

    Followed by 17 seizures in the ensuing 3 years of ‘clean’, free living and evaluation by Barrows Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Az (“We’re seeing a lot of this…good luck”).

    I think that covers it….Oh, except for the text (I still have ALL of them) from my ‘exit’ doctor asking me out on a date 30 days before my promised release. Ethics, anybody?

    This is the cesspool they are researching.

    Contact me; Emmeline Mead (editor) has my info and this is my release. I’ll name names….. and I have nearly 10 years of records I would love to share for the sake of ‘research’….and according to THEM, I’m rational with a GAF of 75. ‘Normal’ as pie.

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  • Dr. Tampiyappa, While I certainly appreciate your enlightened musings on the state of your chosen profession, I find similar essays pop up on MIA…with no ‘real-world’ solutions.

    As a former ‘client’ and part of the “ballooning” of diagnoses (2004), gifted with a financially compromised (ProPublica “Dollars for Docs”) bipolar diagnosis…AND as a result of the DSM IV… the 11 years of loss (everything) and resultant damage (brain lesions and seizures, +more) I experienced, comprehensively informs me that talk is cheap…especially from someone who could make a bigger noise in your position. I finally won a ‘new’ diagnosis, (F41.9-Unspecified Anxiety-no shit) with a “Good bye, good luck, keep quiet”.

    If you join the ‘party-in-power’, learning of and/or knowing it is characterized by a plethora of systemic fatal (literally) ‘flaws’, I would have hoped you could offer more than “…keep questioning…” as a push-back.

    Full Moral Status is the goal of any legitimate and ethical medical “niche”. Reform will happen within your ranks when this essay is followed by a ‘How-To’ addendum published in industry publications and ostensibly ‘neutral’ journals…and given space on the agenda’s of major association conferences…relentlessly.

    Psychiatry/Pharma’s goal has never been shrouded in mystery: cost and liability containment and a ‘lifelong’ revenue stream. Their absolute support by the U.S. Judiciary is the iron-clad cultural and legal firewall that protects, reinforces, and ensures sustainable power….unique and apart from the “…medical establishment…”. There might be ‘side-eyes’ from other medical professionals, but they know that speaking against psychiatry is fraught with professional liabilities, a nest of legal vipers. I experienced it as a client, in an ER suffering from yet another ADR, with the angry, sympathetic doctor following up the next day with a quiet, surreptitious referral for safer care…that came to nothing. But he ACTED.

    U.S. Psychiatry is a Harvard Business School wet dream…. define your target market unchallenged, label it a ‘lifetime’ condition to be feared by ‘others’, and provide the only ‘treatment’.
    The largest obstacle has been keeping the ‘host’ alive long-term, extracting maximum profits.

    The industry has been adjusting their marketing to accommodate the louder, inescapable accumulation of data (Science!) that is nibbling at their toes with more millennial-friendly language as they see the rise of algorithms, apps, and a chemical/corporate-suspicious population eroding their growth. It’s a tactic that has worked well in the past.

    Safety for clients already drowning in chemicals and GED-level care in public clinics is the cesspool that needs addressing. It’s unpleasant, contentious, and messy, completely unsupported by legislation and the public. And it’s the first step for real reform.
    I found your comment regarding doctors learning about ‘real’ drug effects from Inner Compass, naïve. Most lower income clients get prescriptions from PA’s, MA’s, and NP’s. Bluntly put, they don’t spend their free time researching the harm they may be causing. Most of us know that they will be characterized as ‘symptoms’, not side effects.

    A journey starts with one step. I hope you become more active in the part of the movement that addresses safety. Conquer the battles that will win the war; tactics and strategy…fighting a massive cultural cancer.

    Your heart sounds true. It needs to be louder…. with verbs.
    By definition, former clients have little to no credibility with the industry or the public.
    We’re often left preaching to the converted…or bickering about semantics among ourselves.

    Challenging psychiatry effectively is waaaay past “Keep questioning”. And, respectfully, according to psychiatry ‘..everyone DOES have a disorder’. It’s measured by economics of the client, situationally, and subjectively…what could go wrong? And there is no true collaboration with clinic clients without full disclosure…something that evaded me in 11 years. private and public ‘care’.

    As ‘psychiatry abhors a diagnostic vacuem’, removing the financial rewards for those diagnoses is fundamental.

    It’s huge, messy, contradictory, and ‘pushing back’ against hundreds of top-shelf attorneys and world-class marketing for pharma…not to mention manufactured cultural mores that are regarded as truth.

    Having been a croupier in the cruise industry, I don’t think your ‘the house always wins’ is an apt metaphor.
    It trivializes the consequences of trusting a medical professional to behave ethically, compassionately, with Primum non nocere as their driving principle, not chance and the spin of a wheel or the fall of a card.

    Considering the recent extinguishing of important voices noted in this issue of MIA,,,,lives are at stake.

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  • Ms. Smith, you have such an accurate grasp of the issue(s) & heartbreaking reality.
    My story was somewhat parallel to your daughter’s but lacking an advocate, I ultimately focused on a similar conclusion to your’s; that a diagnosis & ‘treatment’ were lifelong with no way out, which was the industry’s power…and Achilles Heel.

    In the U.S., “Follow the money” is the accepted answer to EVERYTHING minor & profound. It assisted forming my strategy & tactics when I was presented with a (desperate) turning point. I was ‘in’ for 9 years; getting ‘out’ took 2+ additional years of careful, nerve-wracking (guided) withdrawal by a very powerful, educated figure….with ZERO experience in this sphere. He had been the director while a prescriber plunged me into anaphylaxis; messy, loud, legal liability issues loomed….for HIM. He was on-track to ultimately ascend within months to CMO/VP of the large, prosperous BH provider. His involvment was ‘troubling’….my moment to act effectively….3-dimensional chess while drugged and decompensating hard.
    It worked; I was lucky & smart.

    The inescapable withdrawal set-backs were quietly shattering, possibly affecting his choice to continue assisting my exit with a changed diagnosis….he DID (so much for “Life-long” principles when threatened by a possible lawsuit!) My anxiety was countering any tiny steps forward.

    I have been out/drug-free for 4 years. I was patient & kind to myself as I navigated re-building my physical health, personality & relationship with the world. I ‘experienced’ 17 ‘partial-seizures’ that have abated for 10 months now. I saw experts that included Barrows Neurological. They are uncomfortable with the psych-drug ‘issue’. But I knew what they were.

    I want you to know there is quality of life after a psychiatric hijacking.

    I am moving back to South Florida this year, a notion I never thought I could manage during this ‘test’ in life. I will be 69 years old in December…and refuse to sit around waiting to die of old-age. My health is spectacular.

    I can’t wait to fully engage with life again…better to burn out than fade away.
    I hope I’ll be able to also contribute to a BH community that is more receptive to this way of viewing and re-think participating in the damning, old orthodoxy.
    SEEING and HEARING successful strategies and options towards good mental health is essential…from a veteran of the ‘war’.

    Good luck to you and your daughter. Your support for her is spectacular.

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  • Hey Julie, Phantom Networking is a real ‘thing’; cynical, corrupt, and ‘who gives a sh*t’. My ‘exit’ doctor had no idea and was very uncomfortable with the article(s) I tossed on his desk. I took him by surprise. I didn’t expect him to apologize or ‘whatever’… I knew he didn’t know, he had never SEEN the Provider Directory.
    And we moved on, but I had quietly, politely established my credibility and strength in ‘I’m two steps ahead of you, I know what all this means now…I understand what has happened’. We didn’t waste time talking about it much…I was wholly in the present.
    When I started to research the sordid facts and ‘big picture’ of ‘How Psychiatry Works, Really’ … the lightbulb went on like a nuke.
    My outrage and shock was met by family and friends unable to meet my eyes; they were uncomfortable with what sounded like ‘off-the-rails’ paranoia, tin-foil-hat-conspiracies by someone who was, as my compassionate R.N. brother said, “circling the drain”.
    I abruptly cut them ALL out of MY life as I was now FULLY engaged and had no time for distractions and cheap sentiment, fighting something they couldn’t understand and didn’t love me enough to try. F*%# em’. I wasn’t mad, they were superfluous.

    It was me and my concerned cat. And no one else for 2 years. I made pre-emptory measures for her in case I failed and was institutionalized…very organized, calm, and bizarre…. had this been different circumstances.

    The day I walked out of there with the ‘exonerating’ paperwork, almost finished withdrawing…and alive…I stopped at the Dairy Queen for the LARGE Cookie Dough Blizzard and went home to her. There was no one else to cheer for me on the most significant day of my life. Eh…I was going to be fine cause this was the worst of life and I had won.

    Almost 4 years later, I’m better than I ever was. I was living a charmed life compared to what I didn’t know was coming at 54 years old in 2004. It changed me (how could it not?) and I imagine who I would have been without this pain and salvation… without this ‘test’.

    This is better…and I haven’t had an ‘event’ in 7 months.
    The future is bright. I wish that for you, too.

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  • Hey Rachel, Thx for your kind words on this thread.
    Credibility is the most significant concept in my history; the stripping of it at diagnosis and the deathmatch to restore it. The irony that it still eludes me with some doctors has left me upset AND bemused.

    During an ER-side-effect ‘visit’, a YOUNG doc really believed me and expressed cynical alarm about my condition. It was nice but…then the next day he called me at home with the name of a “good” psychiatrist.
    Bless his heart…really.
    #1) While the psych was listed in my Provider Directory, when I called they were amused and annoyed, as he was a ‘Phantom Network’ listing by Magellan (BH management industry leader), falsifying the number of physician choices to ‘pad’ their bid to the state, ultimately winning the 2 Billion dollar contract AGAIN (#1 or #2 largest at the time). Milo Geyelin/Wall Street Journal uncovered this massively profitable scam and how it harms body and spirit of clients in BH state care/Medicaid.
    In my desperation for options and better services I called 40 offices. Disconnected phones, hospital reception desks, and doctor offices laughing at me were the response for ALL 40.
    Sometimes other states’ legislators fine them lunch money ($250,000 or so) which is just the cost of doing business for them….but they don’t interfere as ‘mentally ill’ citizens aren’t a voting block of influence.

    #2) Another YOUNG ER doc believed me and spent a long time listening to me and my situation, allowing me to dictate to HIM what tiny amount (1 mg) of diazepam would assuage my panic (heart palps) during withdrawal, but not add to my pollution and interfere with my forward progress off EVERYTHING.

    While fighting my way out, I had to McGuyver every appointment while under internal/external siege from the drugs, especially with an unknown doc, sussing them out quickly to determine what approach would PSYCHOLOGICALLY (irony, anybody?) appeal to their sense of professionalism, ethics/ego, and scant knowledge of the psychiatric industry (a given) to achieve what I needed, without ONE STEP backward. I learned to stop trying to ‘recruit’ them to my side and focus on my input to be considered and acted upon. Many were relieved to be ‘absolved’ of responsibility as psychiatry ‘issues’ with meds scares the pants off most of them (liability).

    It was a stress and exhaustion factor of 11..on the ‘Spinal Tap’ scale.
    There was not one second of just unclenching and trusting someone to help me.

    I’ve mentioned it before; I didn’t now where my stamina came from (lizard-brain, ice-cold, ‘controlled’ rage) considering the damages.

    It could have gone the other way…I’d still be in there, in a chair, staring out a window in my adult diaper.

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  • Gee, Mr, Simon..according to the industry’s own ‘experts’, here I am….long-term use by someone who wasn’t ‘mentally ill’….”life’long”.bipolar 1 to “oops, never mind, good bye & good luck”……according to the ‘diagnostic’, party-line, paperwork.

    11 years of chemically-initiated ‘Parkinsonian’ effects AND NMS-created paralysis (twice), glucose spikes, kidney function drops, liver toxicity, hospitalized akathisia and anorexia, brain lesions, 85-lb weight gain=joint erosion=cortisone treatment, irrational fears and GAD, acute depression, suicidal ideation, drooling AND damaged salivary glands, facial tardive dyskenisia, club-footed gait, fingernail-splitting, ‘stress’-eczema, hair loss, anosognosia, gulping for air, vertigo, and hospitalized bradycardia.

    After withdrawing for 2+ years…. I’ve ONLY had 16 ‘partial-seizures’ that have ‘mystified’ my GP, the ER, my cardiologist, my neurologist, and Barrow Neurological Institute/Phoenix…..because no one is ‘comfortable or conversant’ with psych drug effects or prognosis and my insurance won’t cover the ‘2nd-tier’ testing it would take and specialists it requires to interpret them. They don’t read the Andreason report I carry ‘with’ to all appointments. Apparently my credibility is ALSO still damaged by the false diagnosis….forever, indelibly stained by Seroquel, Risperdal, Geodon, et al.

    But I know….

    On the way out the door, I’m invariably told quietly, quasi-conspiratorially… “We’re seeing a lot more of “this””.

    Gee, THAT’S comforting.

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  • My ‘gateway’ drug following a 20 minute diagnosis of bipolar 1 when I came in for $ stress & insomnia.
    Result was my 1st of 2 Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ADRs. Hospital, vitals monitoring all nite, paralysis….and 11 years later escaped with a removed ‘lifetime’ bipolar/SMI following the 2nd NMS, facial tardive dyskenisia, brain lesions, and anaphylaxis for good measure. 2 more years of titration and withdrawals.
    Since I’ve been clean The only problem has been 16 ‘partial’ seizures.
    Thanx, APA.

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

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  • I admire much of what Dr. Moncrief has written in the past, but this ‘study’ seems to be mired in a time-warp of insistent denial, intentional foot-dragging and slow-walking what has been reported, ‘studied’, and proven for a decade or more (See Whitaker’s scathing article this week).

    I was intentionally, falsely diagnosed in 2004, riding the tidal wave of the ‘bipolar goldrush’ following the disgraceful, criminal DSM IV (thx Allen!) and experienced 2 Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ‘events’, bradycardia that required a week of hospitalization (surgical floor), tardive dyskinesia in both eyes, micrographia caused by brain lesions, gulping air like a goldfish, inability to hold my head erect, drooling and palsy (of course), and all the other VISIBLE grotesqueries…with the ‘invisible’ effects far worse.

    My point is that sloppy prescribing resulting in anaphylaxis (documented in the ER) ‘CURED’ my “lifelong” bipolar disorder nearly overnight(!), as the cost and liability algorithms suggested they agree with me to get me out…. and get me out safely…and (hopefully) quietly.
    Of course, I am SHOCKED they aren’t broadcasting this miracle ‘cure’ for bipolar on the front page of the New York Times. Or at the annual APA convention. Or anywhere at all.

    It took 2 1/2 years as the only client of the new VP/CMO (who had been the clinic director during the clusterf*ck) to titrate and withdraw completely and he was available to me 24/7, by phone, text-he traveled a lot, or appointment. That last year was a white-knuckle ordeal WITH his guidance. Things got worse before they got better and it was a challenge to believe that I would emerge resembling ‘myself’.

    I have experienced 16 ‘partial seizures’ (I had no history) in the three years subsequent to the taper and end of drugs. Some have lasted 15 hours. After my GP suggested I should “talk to somebody’ (code for therapist), I insisted on being completely vetted medically; cardio, basic neuro scans for ‘masses’ or bleeds, testing inner ear, finally ending up at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. The knew, they didn’t know, they were uncomfortable with the Andreason proof (SHORT-term antipsychotics) regarding pre-frontal shrinkage. As Barrow is the top of the ‘food chain’ but not specializing in THIS (psychotropic) stuff, they stayed officially ‘non-committal’, but “concerned”. The neurologist mentioned on my way out, ‘We’re seeing more and more of this” and “Stay in touch”. Oh, OK.

    I can ‘sense’ these events coming now (like some epileptics) and can reach a therapist who does 30 minutes of Epley Maneuvers, bilateral, front and back. She finds THAT odd as her experience informs her this is HIGHLY irregular, extremely rare for BPV.
    Yeah, me too.
    I’ll take ANY prevention or relief.

    I won’t live long enough to see this addressed, but I’m (almost) 6 months clear and optimistic.

    My poor brain took a beating. And I watch my kidney and liver function like a hawk.

    This article overstates the re-treaded obvious and never seriously challenges the job security/revenue stream ‘elephant’ in the room….”organizational” pressures.
    The responses lacked insight (oh, the irony!), critical thinking, and sincere evaluation of the status quo. They sound like politicians.

    Describing THEIR “challenges in prescribing” antipsychotics is a bitter read. Damp hand-wringing and mewling about the”importance of communication” and “respecting…patient’s requests” made me throw up in my mouth a little.

    I want Dr. Moncrief to DEMAND a bigger platform and raise an angry voice, using her visibility to help FORCE change….she has all the right intentions, references, studies, credentials…’s not working so far.
    When the likes of a criminal such as Allen Frances can commandeer the NYT, The Atlantic, and the Post, still regarded as some kind of leader and expert in modern psychiatry…despite the trail of tears and shattered lives he has stepped over and profited handsomely from…it’s time for a real scientist to develop some whistleblowing swagger and never stop until things change.

    Exactly when is enough… enough?

    Regarding “….future research on antipsychotic discontinuation”….Well, I’m right here.
    Hit me up, Dr. Moncrief..
    I can answer that for you.

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  • Paula, your contributions on this site are always a breath of fresh air. You thankfully avoid the existential ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’, and talk in real world, common sense, human-based terms….first addressing the client, with the corruption as vehicle to the damage.

    Your consistent, relentless emphasis on gentleness, caution, and fully-informed decisions void of the APA/DSM/PHARMA goggles was the thing I was dying for (literally) inside the danger-zone.

    It breaks my heart a little to think someone was out there during those years & I had no access.
    Readers with ANY skin in ‘the game’ will do well to insist on someone like you if the time comes…as adults are indoctrinated just like children; drugged infantilization is SOP and it works.
    Like water on a stone, too slowly the corruption is being exposed thru indirect ways & adjacent horror stories like opioids…your credibility & voice is mighty in it’s calm, firm clarity.

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  • Mr. Coates,
    Check out MIA’s “Full Moral Staus (Feb. 2019) part 2” .
    It addresses the language topic with an outline for effective push-back regarding navigating the private & public systems and their intentionally obstacle-riddled, smoke-and-mirrors processes that nullify efforts by drugged clients to advocate effectively for themselves.

    Discorse on the outside is important; tools ‘on the inside’ are more so.
    As the client is drugged and offered ‘rules of engagement’ authored by the entity they have issue with (and seemingly ‘independent’ agencies), the playing field is on permanent ’tilt’.

    I include a familiar, abbreviated glossary of industry terms that are ubiquitous in their use by professionals, but comprehensively (private, public-funded ‘care’, coast-to-coast) applied subjectively and situationally to their benefit for sustaining recruitment and when squelching any ‘complaints’ (always a pejorative), side-effect reporting, & SAFETY.

    I’ve offered some ideas towards ASSISTANCE…based on what I learned as somene who was able to ‘MacGuyver’ my way out, with a rare VACATED ‘lifelong, incurable’ bipolar diagnosis (w/paperwork!) and 2+years of guided titrarion and complete withdrawal.

    Like the law, their bedfellows, the psychiatric industry’s language permits fluidity & contradiction for marketing and public opinion advantage at the expense of millions of lives, while insisting that diagnoses are cemented in impermeable absolutism….when it suits them.

    I’m living proof to the ‘outside’ world…most everyone on the ‘inside’ is unfortunately, already fully informed.

    BTW…the ‘miracle’ cure for bipolar disorder is, apparently….anaphylaxis…and the attendant liability and public attention THAT brings to psychiatric ‘medical concerns’.

    This should be front page, ‘above the fold’ headlines GLOBALLY…yet Not. A. Whisper from the august APA & NAMI-a ‘patient’s’ best friend.

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  • Hey Paula,
    Your essay has a beautiful clarity of expression regarding this massively important topic.

    As a prisoner of the diagnosis dropped on me in 2004, the accompanying suffering and stigma (from the industry), and my fight out……well….it’s forever commemorated by oh-so-quietly declaring me miraculously ‘cured’ of ‘lifelong, incurable’ bipolar disorder thru their ‘gift’ of anaphylaxis.

    Tuesday I was bipolar for life with 9 years ‘in’…..sloppy, dangerous prescribing, the ER, and “It’s a miracle!”……Wednesday I was no longer bipolar! (“Who needs intrusive attornies poking around?”)…..with the exit paperwork ‘labeling’ me 2 varieties of ‘Unpecified Anxiety & Mood’ quickly inserted into my files….”Nothing to see here……What bipolar?” Good luck & goodbye.

    Apparently, no further explanation for my ‘Lost Decade’ was necessary to me…or the world. And so modest!

    They’re silence regarding this game-changing ‘scientific breakthru’ for the ages is…umm… ‘baffling’.

    Boy, I do love me some quotation marks.

    Without them, a new reader would think my ‘cure’ was SCIENCE, not simply a cost/benefit decision, effortlessly abandoning their own ‘absolute’ dogma without pause…..Business, not ‘personal’ (OR medical science).

    Bless their hearts…and well done, Paula. You nailed it.

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  • Hey Alex and Grace, re: ..imposing beliefs…”. One would think that if anybody had experienced the absolutist dictates of psychiatry and the attendant damages, they would be particularly sensitive to imposing that ‘method’ on anyone else, ever. Clearly, that’s not the case.
    Everybody experiences life, religion, politics, love….and psychiatry differently. There are some commonalities but always unique, important details.

    Some insistent voices ‘re-interpret’ other’s words, thoughts and meanings, ‘correcting’ them to correspond with their own beliefs…..relentlessly. Many of us have had enough of that outside of MIA ; this should be a safe venue to speak. I somehow believe Mr. Whitaker shares that thought.

    It seems self-sabotaging to offend the people you are attempting to ‘recruit’ to your POV. Browbeating is not an effective tactic for success.

    Having experienced drugged recruitment and enforcement in the psychiatric system, it’s terrible…but as a free-person, RESPECT regarding everyone’s unique lens, yet feeling free and safe to disagree appropriately is rare and so valuable.

    Life’s a buffet; if I don’t like it, I don’t choose it. As an adult, I don’t want anyone telling me EVER AGAIN….what’s best for me to put on my plate.

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  • Dr. Cornwall, There are many opinions about the existential evils of the standards and practices of the psychiatric industry…
    I was part of a business-like ‘quid pro quo’ that involved them immediately jettisoning their own fundamental precepts…if I would just go away quietly…….

    After achieving safe exit from the industry, I twice emailed the APA to engage with the ‘phenomena’ of somehow having their ambassadors rescind a “lifelong” diagnosis ONLY when I presented an IMPLIED cost and liability disruption to their status quo…were they not men and women of good faith, science, and principles?

    As my 2-year journey out plodded along (guided titration, withdrawal), the words “mistaken’ or “false” never came up. I didn’t need to hear an acknowledgement at that time, as the quiet delicacy and danger of my ‘situation’ informed me not to rock the boat unnecessarily. It wasn’t germane to be described as ‘right’, my priority was to get safe and get out.

    But did THEY not believe in one of their own most fundamental and enslaving dictums? How could they as healers withdraw me off the drugs and not be jeopardizing my safety and their own future liability…if “lifelong” was true for bipolar 1?

    DTS/DTO anybody? The implication of ‘suiciding’ was their favorite tool to keep me on the drugs; it suddenly never came up again! That was easy.

    This was never about medicine, it was business…cut a deal and move on. And they did.

    The obvious conclusion was a ‘cost/benefit’ decision. Better to cut me loose than deal with the brief but messy, and possibly loud clamor surrounding the anaphylaxis they had caused…an alarming ‘side effect’ they couldn’t assign to bipolar 1…. and medically and legally super-ceded any psychiatric smoke-screen of mystical mumbo-jumbo that always waved off those entities.

    It exposes their willingness to sacrifice their own credibility and protect their inviolate status among medicine and the public vs.the welfare of a client that they insisted UNTIL THE DAY OF the anaphylaxis, was SERIOUSLY-mentally-ill for life.


    Not exactly an ethical medical assessment of the circumstances; more “give her what she wants, she’s old and poor, she’ll go away quietly and gratefully”.

    The punchline here is that after my second appropriate email to APA hierarchy offering dialogue regarding OUR extraordinary relationship of 96,360 hours of an ‘extreme state’ caused by their treatment, I received the another ‘brush-off’ form letter but THIS time they added…wait for it…”If you are experiencing a medical crisis, please call 911 emergency services”.
    I fell off the sofa laughing, scaring the dog. It’s never THEM, it’s always YOU…like little children or addicts.

    Their lack of insight, humility, and sense of irony is disappointing from the experts on behavioral health….
    and no sense of humor either!

    But it certainly exposes their willingness to quickly abandon their own claimed ‘science’ supported absolutes, justifying all that damage and suffering…and make a deal ‘under the table’ resulting in any possible irritant or threat to Just. Go. Away.

    Their special relationship with the judiciary has taught them to ‘plea deal’ a “lifelong” medical diagnosis vis a’ vis their own legal exposure and ultimate goals…maintaining their death grip on clients.

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  • Dr. Cornwall, Your lack of hubris combined with your apparent humility regarding the fingerprint-like uniqueness of the human experience is startling in it’s rarity.
    As an 11-year veteran of the industry’s psychotropic gladiator-school, I self-rescued and received an equally rare vacated bipolar 1 diagnosis and withdrawn SMI certification for my trouble; a 20-minute “lifelong” diagnosis nullified by an additional, perilous 2.5 year tightrope out the door.

    You represent a mythic, idyllic presentation of the perfect response to emotional expressions that compassionately challenges the APA’s influence on the “…American culture (that) has made almost any deviation from a continual smiley face into a psychopathology…”. (Leonard Sax)

    Good to know your engaged in this noble evolution.
    One of my biggest fears, after escaping-with the paperwork-was waiting to see if bitterness would be part of my embedded ‘make-up’. I feared the idea of a lifetime of bitterness. After 3 years of patience with my brain and body, I was delighted to find it wasn’t. To my surprise, I’m 2.0.

    Appropriate outrage, melancholy mourning for the losses, and a massive distrust of anyone connected with the system will be with me like a tattoo. Yet I find I can trust again, but oh-so-cautiously, and as of now, only from great distances, where I’m safe if I’m wrong.

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  • Ms. Signes, I would like to repeat, I admire your steel when dealing with ‘distractions’ to the TOPIC presented in your essay. Staying ON TOPIC is fundamental to civil discourse. Your TOPIC is clear and easily identified.

    As I have read many ‘regulars’ exchange personal contact info on this forum in the past, check out your mail on your for more TOPICAL information regarding the issues presented here.

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  • Ms. Signes, re: about being a ‘bad girl’…I was an iconoclast and pirate to nth degree when I got lassoed into my lost decade; complex sedation seemed to be the way to make me want a conventional life, a Stepford Wife.
    I wrote with more detail regarding the interior process in my July-August 2018, 4-part essay on, Dr. David Healy’s website- “The Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis”.

    Part 2 & 3 are more detailed about how thoughts leading to a transformation; outrage and a clear assurance I was smarter than them all. All they cared about was the cost and liability issues. I had righteous ideology on my side (and research, legal experience, and preparation). I was dripping disdain…turned out I was right. They completely underestimated me.

    In the end I used that snarly energy to wrangle a massive reversal from the industry, with some luck and never giving up…and I was very ‘side-effect’ sick.

    Some people think expressing pride is unseemly. No one tells a Super Bowl champ they can’t be proud of their performance on the biggest stage… my ‘performance’ was much more significant.

    There are similar passages, as Dr. Healy allowed a much larger word count, etc. Sorry for any repetitions. I have a new essay coming out (somewhere) about how my exit doctor, following 2.5 years of trust, attempted to sexually blackmail me with only 30 days before release. Ugh.
    “Sex and Psychiatry: The Tranquilizing Drug of Trust…A White Knight Turns Dark”.

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  • Ms. Signes, I applaud you in not only declaring succinctly how YOU feel regarding YOUR experience but ‘brushing back’ folks who attempt to disparage those views.

    My essay “Full Moral Status” Parts 1& 2 MIA/Feb & Comment section-may give u some insight on another perspective regarding this issue you have remarked on when publishing.

    Respecting any ‘veteran’s’ views on THEIR psychiatric experience & conclusions is essential on MIA…and everywhere else.

    Stand firm; your inherent graciousness should never be presumed as weakness or malleability waiting to be formed by another.


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  • While this study gets a very broad view of the effects correct for many, it stops & pats itself on the back when summarizing…..ridiculous considering the ubiquitnous of the data that has been available in any community clinic or private practice for decades.

    Many would prefer to read about ‘the Fix’; stop prescribing any drug unless it’s SAFE.
    As it stands, that would be NEVER for what’s defined as ‘mental illness’….but some folks want that option.

    Overstating the obvious, bloodjessly discussing the need for responsible prescribing & expecting applause from the exploited and damaged is naive.

    As this represents some kind of scientific epiphany and insight is ridiculous and offensive.

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  • Mr. Nikkei, I applaud your willingness to share the slow, often tedious, almost microscopic changes that you’ve observed & have as goals. To be engaged in the psychiatric system, AS IT IS, not how it should be, is daunting & thankless.

    The “perfect paradigm” is individually, idiosyncratically described. Many insist it MUST be ‘all (abolition) or nothing’, some support a reformation of sorts.

    The insistence of one’s own strong feelings as the only TRUE path for everyone else, parallels the absolutism (nothing more than opinions-diagnoses & treatments- by psychiatry) that they’re railing against. Irony squared.

    If nothing else I’ve learned from psychiatry (besides the danger I experienced), Talk is cheap…actions are the credible currency.

    When so much profit, cultural mores, & institutions are the target, change comes one small event at a time. Hard work involving showing up everyday and tackling the status quo is massively difficult.

    T. Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” gives me inspiration. I’m sure you’re familiar.

    Kudos to you & your efforts.

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  • Ms. Signes, I am familiar with the unsettling notion that when the last drug is gone, there may be no ‘there’ left.
    I allowed myself to feel & react to what came next: the PTSD thing was messy. After most of that had worked it’s way out like a splinter, I became open to tenatively feeling happiness. That became a mash-up of old and new memory-muscle and clear new choices.

    I found my brain was finally straining at the leash, rolling in the grass like a puppy.

    It was just waiting, healing, resting, & exuberant in it’s eagerness, firing on long-dormant cylinders.

    The relief was massive.

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  • Hey Rachel777, Couldn’t agree more. Many comments incorporate the terms “we’ and “us”; who are they officially speaking for? If it’s a specific movement or philosophy, I gave no such authority. I got the distinct impression, neither did you.

    As ‘mental health/illness’ and all it’s semantic iterations are defined very personally, I am also confused and offended by these ‘universal truths’ that some pronounce…and in such an angry way.

    Anger at the industry is reasonable-many here probably agree- directing it at people who are being vulnerable and sharing private moments is to what purpose exactly? If it’s recruitment to your ‘side’, I don’t think it’s effective.

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  • Dr. Moss, As I have been exploited and harmed by psychiatry, I often feel I can never trust the industry again…yet, having said that…I know redemption or change is possible in an individual’s heart and mind.
    Not all police will be a threat to people of color, although some are. Not all gang members are ‘down for life’; some work in the community to end the recruitment and terror. Not all priests are pedophiles.
    I have found threads on many sites there is an absolutism, a purist position that is antithetical to how real-life change occurs. Having an ideal world-goal in mind is admirable, but change happens gradually in most cases, regarding social inequities, injustice, and wrestling power from oppressors. And just talking will never take the place of action. It usually takes a lot of both.

    Gandhi, Dr. King, and Lincoln all negotiated their way to changes with the ‘enemy’, not achieving ‘utopia’, but without losing their fundamental way. Some ran out of time.
    Changing an entrenched, powerful institution like psychiatry will happen in increments, negotiations, and compromises; not at all satisfying to former victims. But that’s the world we live in, if history is any road map.

    I commend you for exposing yourself to a ‘tough’ crowd. Not many industry professionals will step off the pedestal or even ‘middle ground’ to deliver the ‘mea culpa’ and seemingly earnest interest in investing words AND action, changed behavior, in this particular convo.
    Choosing to define yourself as flawed or wrong AND changing your perspective publicly is solid. People can judge you as to your actions in the future.

    Throwing stones and spouting an absolutism regarding a topic that millions have varying personal opinions on, is hypocritical. I respect their position and suggestions, but.. It is often used as a cudgel against anyone who disagrees, even slightly.
    I repudiate anyone who attempts to define my experience and my conclusions. I’m able to articulate that for myself….as they do. I don’t think I know what’s best for anyone, absolutely or otherwise. Like everyone else’s, it’s both universal AND idiosyncratic. And finding common ground is validating. There is common ground in abundance. I do know that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    I can choose off of the ala carte menu, of ideas and philosophies, forming my own perspective, noting my own caveats, like my spiritual beliefs.

    Some want to declare “What’s best for everybody, absolutely…”
    which is exactly what psychiatry is guilty, guilty, guilty of doing.

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  • Well, hey there kindredspirit, why you think I was “schooling you” and “rude” for expressing a counterpoint to a remark you made about figuratively (I assume) assaulting someone who chooses not to give help when someone asks… is baffling.
    As you read, I also acknowledged your experience and insight several times on the subject of shelter work and hard choices.

    For you to define what a “very small amount of income” is for the vet in question is impossible unless you’re their bookkeeper. I feel I can say with some certainty that you are not informed If the vet in question had already ‘helped’ 1, 2 or 10 ’emergencies’ that day, week, or month.
    Further, you reference vets intaking a sick animal regardless of payments. Yes, that has been my experience also. I missed that detail in KateL’s narrative. I thought it was because she was out of her home for a time.

    As far as vet’s contracts with vendors, of course, but again, not sure how that is relevant. And let me assure you, I am “so into animals”. But I don’t consider it a contest. You can be ‘more into animals’ than me…no problem.

    One more thing, your “let’s be real” remark indicates you’re upset,…was it my “diplomacy”, your word to describe my earlier Comment…or what exactly?

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  • kindredspirit, you’re absolutely correct regarding many shelter policies. It was incorporated in our adoption contract that the animal would be returned to us should anything prevent the owner from providing. I lived in an area with many seniors who, by definition, had challenges occasionally. I directed a foster program for older animals who were often overlooked, pairing them with their human counterparts, with almost 400 clients..we picked up the tab for ongoing health care, but they had a foster home with an adoring, often isolated senior….a win, win, win.

    I take respectful exception to your somewhat angry comments regarding a vet’s practice providing boarding for an animal without an official arrangement. An emergency intake with no fixed p,u date can disrupt the already scheduled intake system which includes surgeries and accidents of their current client base. There are finite space/cage limitations, questions of liability regarding ongoing health care, and expenses involved. They might not know the animal’s medical history, possibly jeopardizing the other animals in place. The vet’s office is a business (not a dirty word) and just because it’s a medical practice lead by a doctor, does not translate to bushels of cash.

    The shelter I worked for was a destination/solution for hundreds of people a month, wishing to leave an animal with no intake fee (ours was the lowest in a very large county) for hundreds of reasons. Many were heartbreaking. We were emotionally blackmailed on the regular (ex,’ If u don’t take this cat, I’ll kill, drown, shoot it’). Our waiting list was always (for my 7 years there) 3 months long.

    There wasn’t enough cages, volunteers for care, food and medical supplies, or funding/$ to keep the lights on, pay employees, or maintain insurance and rent.

    The times we DID take pets in for health for financial hardship as boarders never ended well; the ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ syndrome with ugly social media posts and zero thanx.

    I’ve been poor and sick with an animal who needs care. It’s gut-wrenching at a time when you’re at your lowest.

    But there are 2 sides and you KNOW, having worked there… people who work in this industry are not indifferent to terrible situations of pet ownership; just the opposite.
    The hard, anguished decisions are every single day. The saying in the business, so you don’t burn out too quickly, is that “You can’t save them all”.
    Unfortunately… I feel sure you know this to be true.
    This is ‘off-topic’ for MH specifically, but there are many threads that wander somewhat…and I expounded on the topic of the benefits of shelter work earlier.

    Perhaps KateL can approach a shelter just to ‘socialize’ the existing population, a little grooming, play, and/or feeding,,no stress, once a week for an hour or so, not taking on too much responsibility and interaction with staff. Small steps. I can’t imagine a shelter turning that valuable contribution away.

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  • The ‘way out’ for me and many I know was to rouse ourselves from the isolating comfort of our bedrooms, homes, keyboards, relentless routine of self-examination, ‘picking a scab’, and help others.

    It’s not deep or original; many will reject it out of hand, it’s tired, it’s trite, it’s blah, blah, blah…I can’t find any interests….I hate people…no one understands MY specific pain….I’m uncomfortable…

    Getting outside my own head was rewarded with PERSPECTIVE…a dry, boring, undramatic term……. that only quietly changes everything. But you’ve got to show up.

    I learned that mine was (very, very) far from the worst circumstances and tragedy that can happen to a human being or living creature. I had been saturated for years by shame, anger, damages, nobody ‘gets’ it-itis, and queen-of-pain syndrome. And apparently comfortable there for awhile. I was not confined to a wheelchair, and despite my interior denials, I still had freedom of choice as to how I was going to spend my time on earth.
    I had to come to terms with ‘it’s not a contest’, ‘get in line’….and some tough self-love.

    Occasionally writing Comments here and there and reading about others had a limited effect after awhile; seemingly cathartic, but to what end? For me, the answer was more of the same, on an endless loop. I had to step off. I was devoting most of my time immersed in the situation and people from the past that I loathed the most. I CHOSE to do this. I was giving away my power and years freely to these old monsters. Eeeuuw.

    Volunteering took awhile (years), but what it delivered in pride of alleviating the suffering of those less fortunate, was tiny compared to the maturity, humility, compassion, and PERSPECTIVE it delivered.

    I did this while I was still in the machine, suffering everyday with side effects that made me legless at times. The beauty of volunteering is that you can bow out during the rough patches; they’re delighted to have you back whenever you can come..guilt free & for me, with an abundance of compassion.
    It was transformational.

    For me, it was easier to relate to animals and like-minded folks. There was less talk and more eyeball-to-eyeball with unwanted, non-judgemental, damaged critters who only saw their position in the world through the lens of kindness vs pain, contentment vs fear, survival vs death. I could relate.

    My heartrate dropped, anxiety diminished, well-being creeped in, and I allowed myself to trust and feel things, even when the outcome wasn’t positive, which happened too often.

    And THAT was a big test; would I careen into sadness? No, there was always more (unfortunately) that needed what I could offer. Staying home and being depressed was self-indulgent when they sat in cages waiting for a small kindness; I could deliver that and STILL be depressed, if I chose. They just wanted a little pat on the head and some fresh water.

    Yeah, I took Tai Chi, Qi Gong, etc., but it just reinforced what I was being schooled in every interaction at the shelter regarding unfairness, cruelty, and pain.

    They don’t care what your past is, they only know NOW…the “Be Here Now”-Eastern philosophy stuff turns out to be true. Take what is valuable from the past, cut away the rest, and keep it moving towards Happy, even if ‘you don’t mean it’. The ACTION is the therapy. It’s not pretentious or deep. I was astonished how simple and clear it became for me.

    I know my Comments are long, but I don’t frequently Comment and have to gather it all up after reading others. I’m also aware of how easy this will be to dismiss and perhaps mock. I’m fine with that.

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  • Hi Dr. Moss, I loved your essay. Having been in the ‘beast’ for 11 years and finally fighting my way out with a vacated diagnosis, I felt uncomfortable and ashamed when people asked why I didn’t get out sooner. I was aware that at diagnosis I felt a kind of relief at the moment of vulnerability that the experts recognized something and had a plan. I didn’t, which was why I was there. Out of my hands, into theirs. Unburdened. EZ-PZ…and that made me responsible or the next decade, my fault. It’s taken years to dig myself out of that self-blaming.

    What was to come was not what I thought I was signing up for.
    Being drugged with the side effects initially felt like a penance of sorts (the industry allowed me to think just that) and others I met shared those incongruous feelings. Over the years as I got more profoundly blunted, sicker, and more damaged from the side effects, I realized that it was sinister and there was nothing wrong with me that warranted this kind of ‘correction’/punishment. Not one damn thing.

    Of course, I had been relieved of any credibility at the moment of diagnosis. Being drugged, I could have fallen back into the stuporous ennui that defined me for a decade. Finding the energy and intellectual organization on the drugs to make an effective push-back was out of my reach.
    Fear and rage finally propelled me out. It was a controlled violence towards my captors and I took back what was salvageable.

    My point is that while I was ‘in’ the system, I was active in groups and had eyes wide open to what was going on around me. I know there were folks very comfortable with the identity of the diagnosed bipolar. I knew that feeling. I have no doubt in my mind they were some also comfortable being described by a doctor instead of tackling the hard bits of life. I also think many people don’t have the skill set to navigate life for all kinds of ‘legitimate’ reasons. And depression in others confounds and frightens me. I only know it as a side effect. Each person’s ‘story’ is as different as fingerprints. My takeaway was that the drugs sooner or later exacerbated any pejoratives, reinforcing more drug ‘treatment’. And that’s some Texas-sized BS there. And it’s not new news.

    I believe the marketing machine of pharma and the APA have successfully convinced many that a bipolar diagnosis is the indicator of a sensitive, good individual dealt a crappy hand and defines them as ‘special’ and cared for. Maybe. No
    I only believe THAT from a non-prescription writing psychologist whose only skin in the game is an expanding client base. Talking good, drugs bad.

    You struck just the right note when explaining what you’ve seen and it takes some big ones to say that in your professional context here on MIA.

    The fear everybody has in criticizing the diagnosed when most know the ‘inside baseball’ game of ambiguous language, false diagnoses, meta-drugs, and retaining conscription, is self-defeating.

    The industry has been correctly defamed for their venal behaviors, yet there are a few ‘good ones’ (doctors); conversely, people have terrible challenges they need help overcoming, but languishing in a diagnosis to wield it as an excuse happens also. We can hold more than one view of an enormously complex model.

    As a feminist, it reminds me of the few bad apples who use false sexual assault claims that poison the well for the many, many more true victims. Or the recent Smollet case where many are conflicted or a wide variety of cultural reasons; it should be “it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove”. But sometimes we just know and that’s still an opinion…. Psychiatry has taught us unintentionally that only works sometimes. Their claim of absolutes is specious and inflicts harm.

    You spoke about a taboo among clients and former clients and good for you. You got it just right. I’m glad you had the boldness to put it out there.

    I apologize for being long-winded. You hit a nerve that I believe, only the diagnosed (& the diagnosers) understand. It’s messy.

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  • My goodness, Ms. Morrill, this self-important, naval-gazing, “studying”, “examining”, & “analyzing” research is darkly hilarious.
    All this verbal mincing around the client’s “lack of opportunity to make explicit requests” is insulting to many in the ‘trenches’.

    With respect…and real-life insight gained from 11 years of private & state-funded psychiatry, coast to coast…may I suggest you apply your study of “the impact of social violence” directly to the topic of this specious little report.

    Were you ‘just sharing’ or do you think this tepid, pearl-clutching is significant somehow to anyone outside of the zone of academia?

    The interaction in most appointments is NOT a dry, polite exchange (as the previous Comments attest), it’s a regular mugging, an assault on client’s rights, health, & short & long-term safety; shrieking, contorting, on-your-knees suffering.

    This article’s attempt at sanitizing this “social violence” (your field) at med checks in the name of mental health care, is mightily offensive. There is no respectful listening to a client, no responsive actions taken, just ‘cost & liability’ considerations.
    Side effects are authoritativly declared trivial or (clients ALL know this by heart)-SYMPTOMS. And that’s a Full Stop.

    There, mystery solved….now ‘study’ how to, psychologically of course, supress the conflict-of-interest gene in psychiatrists; nature or nurture? Talk among yourselves.
    We’ll be waiting right here.

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  • Hi Gina, thank u for your Comments. I hope there was some encouragement for u, knowing it’s possible. The “Art of War” had a calming, clarity for my beseiged existance at the time. I can’t recommend it enough for organizing my strategy & tactics while containing my drugged, hyperbolic emotions.

    For a few more details of my situation; “A Unicorn: Changing a Medical Diagnosis”, July-August 2018, 4-part series. Part 2 may interest u regarding the genesis…it was a pedestrian beginning to the grand guignol that would follow.

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  • KindRegards, your support is humbling.
    Your use of the term ‘fabulous’ is unusual in that not until last October 18′, almost 3 years after the last drug and re-integration into ‘civilian’ life, did ‘fabulousness’ wash over me. I had thought things were going well.

    Before diagnosis (BD), 15 years ago, I had a spectacular garden and koi pond with a built-in, large aquarium in my beach house that I had built and lost to bankruptcy…due to debilitating side effects. It was a bitter, bitter loss.

    All these years I was emotionally blunted to these former interests, as I felt I couldn’t be responsible for curating any delicate life, drugged, sick, and unhappy as I was. I was a failure at taking care of myself, apparently.

    In 06′ I volunteered and was subsequently offered a management team position at the no-kill animal shelter…it was the closest I could allow myself to offer care to another unloved, ‘damaged’ living thing…I identified strongly. It saved me during those years.

    As I write today, I have a new garden and self-built patio and big honkin’ aquarium that I revel in…since October.

    ‘It’ will take as long as it takes, and come when it comes, despite my best efforts to accelerate it. Writing was cathartic, then clarifying, finally satisfying.

    Humility and small grace is not a bad lesson for me to learn. And perspective is everything.

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  • KindRegards, Your remarks are much appreciated, especially as someone who ‘understands’ the landscape, 1st person.

    My steady motion forward with my narrative and this idea, strengthens my resolve towards the goal of establishing an outlet for help. I received affirmation from Dr. David Healy’s website (safety and transparency), Dr. Paula Caplan, and now Robert Whitaker’s MIA site (science, psychiatry, and social justice). These are significant contributors to the principle subject and it’s many tributaries; it’s a BIG subject with many topics and I’m scratching at the door.

    To respond to your “Aha” moment remark; mine was an adrenaline, rage, and fear overload-slap ‘upside the head’ that crystallized my purpose and lifted my damaged body, like a cliched epiphany. It insisted on my full attention to what was going to be my one shot.

    Following that (overnight), I became a particular kind of shark (an ‘obligate ram breather’-I’m from Florida) in the water prowling for information, absorbing details, and never taking my FULL attention off the behavioral expert’s behavior, instinctively knowing there was a singular key or key ring, that would unlock the exit door. They were cooperative in that they underestimated me at every point.

    If I stopped, I was finished. I didn’t and I lived.

    I am so grateful and have mad respect for the sturdiness of my physical being; I was in scary shape. And I was lucky sometimes, tho’ that was often directly related to my preparation and self-discipline while drugged.

    I have secured the necessary domain(s) to continue with a dedicated website in the future. Technology makes this a time-consuming, precision-minded research investment much more than a financial one (but that too).

    I look forward towards assisting clients and their support systems, should they ask. Perhaps others (with additional resources and influence) will find it a worthy project.

    And make no mistake; “Revenge is a dish best served cold” is a delightful thought.

    A healthy, balanced life with a sense of purpose is a wonderful thing to re-establish after having it stolen.

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  • Someone Else, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I agree; having to use battlefield tactics with an ostensible healthcare provider is so wrong, but so necessary in psych-world.
    I also agree, it’s ambitious. I’ve never let that prevent me from living a successful, adventerous life…until I had insomnia & money worries & made that fateful psych appointment. As a woman, I was ‘punished’ severly for being an unconventional, unapologetic individual. But I’m back now and my imagination has built wonderful things in the past.

    I don’t have unlimited funds. Proposals are just that; the germ of an idea based in reality that has had a ‘test flight’ and worked very well….’evidence-based’ (psych joke alert), if you will. The trick is expanding the scope and repeat. Technology today makes so much achievable.
    There are many, many ‘grassroots’ organizations who are thriving that are born from tragedy to assist others.

    All this can do is fail, as a whole or piece by piece. Failure doesn’t bother me one little bit; doing nothing but b*tching & moaning does.

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  • zmenard, This is simply a starting point, suggesting that a shift in perspective and subtle behaviors can affect your options, resulting in possibly safer circumstances within the industry.
    If by “extreme states” you are referencing DTS/DTO crisis (all terms that can be argued about to infinity), paragraph 2 speaks to that.
    These suggestions are not all things to everyone or every situation….but the truncated G. Santayana quote “To ignore history is to repeat it” applies in spades to an industry that can’t be trusted to act in the best interest of clients/patients; a self-interested toddler with a loaded .45, their prescription pad.
    The more awareness by client/patients and/or ‘invested’ eyes on the prescribers, the safer (in theory, of course).
    In addition, age-of-consent, power-of-attorney, and legal guardianships further complicate the issue.

    I work hard to qualify my suggestions with ‘perhaps, possibly, maybe, in theory, etc’ to emphasize my respect for other’s choices, opinions, and verbiage. I don’t know what’s best for other’s; it’s just shared info on what worked for me in a void of information on the subject; breaking their code and reshaping it into a tool for myself.

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  • Mr. Blankenship, “FMS is outside of the “mental health” system entirely”. Exactly.
    The system is definitely not salvageable.
    There are millions still in it. Some need tools for safety while still there and many would like to leave with a guided titration and withdrawal off the drugs, with vacated diagnosis…in writing. These suggestions helped me achieve that. Maybe someone else…
    And life is great away from danger and misery.

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  • Hey Rachel777, viewing the industry as “the BUSINESS” of mental health helped form a strategy out & ‘de-clutter’ my overwhelming, front & center fear & emotions.
    In the most hyper-intense personal situation & relentless decade of attacks (& drugged), I was compelled, for survival, to become a logic ‘bot’. I was up to my eyeballs in a clear legal morass/opportunity, yet speaking directly to that ‘feature’ was “the word that shall not be spoken”…..lawsuit.
    Ironically, my oppressors were the ones that had schooled me well in risk/reward analysis, paradoxes, & internicine warfare…. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
    I was a master-class graduate; their caged, drugged specimen that finally turns on its keeper and rescues itself.

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  • Dr. Caplan’s game-changing article “Diagnosisgate” is an eye-opener. When I discovered it years ago, I was ecstatic.
    Allen Frances embodies the comprehensive ‘sell-out’ of the psychiatric industry. He’s still smarting all these years later and that’s after utilizing a long list of media to whine about being misunderstood and struggle to repair his destroyed reputation and credibility with anyone who will still bother to read about it.

    Phil Hickey, PhD dissects this ‘issue’ in an excellent article in 6/2015 “Behaviorism and Mental Health” and after examining both sides, suggests that Frances, minus a character check and an enormous transfusion of humility, should “exit the stage”. Unfortunately, he can’t bring himself to leave until his ‘restoration tour’ is successful…or, in a word, never.

    This is how his massive, derelict influence directly affected a life……
    beginning with a bipolar 1/SMI ‘lifelong’ diagnosis in 2004, the result of Frances’ expansion of criteria in his DSM-IV causing the tragic ‘bipolar gold-rush’. I was stressing over financials and couldn’t sleep. The psychiatrist ‘diagnosed’ me in 20 minutes, dosed me with Seroquel, and cashed her $65,000 check from pharma, primarily Astra-Zeneca-makers of Seroquel. (ProPublica, “Dollars for Docs”)…. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome #1.

    Frances’ subsequent shilling for Johnson & Johnson influenced Risperdal being prescribed to me from a PA who could barely speak English and understood even less, in the state BH system years later.

    I developed tardive dyskinesia in both eyes. He was annoyed but finally yanked me off of it, causing a ‘spin out’ followed by Lamicatal which caused Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (#2)-hospital, more Lamictal over my objections, ananphylaxis-hospital, and the ensuing withdrawal cacophony and pain, rebound, and 22-hr/day violent dizziness and physical decompensation for 4.5 months.
    As a single person, with no family, I faced certain state institutionalization; losing my sad, ‘rebuilt’ life 9 years after the initial diagnosis had stripped me of a great one, and plunged me into bankruptcy and worse.

    The happy ending was defined by my ferocious fight against this sh*t-show and subsequent 2-year exit from the industry, replete with safely guided withdrawal off of all drugs and paperwork changing my ‘lifelong’ diagnosis.

    I had lost 11 terror and pain-filled years to Dr. France and his diagnostic criteria, drug promotions and payoffs, as the “the world’s most powerful psychiatrist”…and his industry.

    When my first essay was published on Dr. David Healy’s, July-August 2018, in 4-parts…I contacted Dr. Frances to alert him to it, carefully referencing his significant ‘contribution’ to my life.

    He assumed I was complimenting him and quickly responded “Krista, glad to be of help”.
    I’m a big fan of irony.

    My ‘special relationship’ with him over the years has taught me to…. 1) always operate from a defensive crouch in any doctor’s appointment forever….and 2) “Character is destiny”.
    Thanks, Allen.

    But especially… to YOU, Dr. Caplan, for fully exposing him to the light.

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  • Mr. Ruck, you & your son’s response to your wife’s ‘state’ causes me to recall how I wished that for myself…support, a little ‘shelter from the storm’. Oh, well. I’m good now, in THIS moment.

    How did u come to that wisdom? Or was it the obvious…….simply love?

    Family & friends often look to the ostensible authority for the quickest, ‘cleanest’ fix possible…usually some form of sedation.

    YOU def qualify as an anomaly.
    Salute to you all.


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  • Oldhead, Re: your declaration “I’ve been offered the opportunity to write for MIA but turned it down…”

    Of course you have……but what a missed opportunity for us all not to be further informed regarding your “antipsychiatry struggle”. I think beneath the frustration you express in your Comments, you seek validation, as we all do.

    I hope the angst you reveal in every post, on every essay, every day, results in a kind of relief.

    Good luck in the future, my friend.

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  • Oldhead, I’ll take that as a ‘no’, no one has ever helped you. I have enormous compassion for you.

    Regarding your ‘explanation’ of the Comments section…are you an editor or monitor?

    You’re very proprietary regarding this section dedicated to my essay. I’m flattered.
    I would appreciate a link to your essays or articles dedicated to “fighting psychiatry”. Please share.

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  • old head,
    You seemed to understand Rachel777’s examples; allow me to help also.

    EMT’s responding to a hit-and-run auto accident in which you are severly injured. No one is concerned whether you grasp the “socio-political origins” that made them 3 minutes late, lack of appropriate funding, pressure to unionize, lack of sleep because of low staffing…OR…the socio-political causes compelling someone to leave the scene knowing you may die, why they were speeding and jumped the light, the subsequent effort to identify them if the police prioritze it, the possible prosecution processes, the plea deal that may be offered if located, or the lack of evidence that exists, and their possible ‘walk’, leaving you with terrible injuries and expenses….

    You’re lying in the street, with broken bones and your head split open “sucking up support, not expected to understand or help fight the systems which make that support necessary”.

    They’re there to ease your “misery”, not lecture and recruit you to a cause.

    Hasn’t anyone ever helped you, Oldhead?

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  • Old head, I read your statement mis-quoting me yet again. Sigh.

    This is ALL YOU imagining what I wrote; “…with her saying we should avoid saying “anti-psychiatry” for fear of someone saying “Scientology”.

    And this is ME; “The industry easily swats it away with perfunctory dismissals and dog whistles associating the movement with Scientology or ‘anti-psychiatry’…”

    Clear now?

    I’m gonna run clean out of “Bless your hearts'” if you can’t try a little harder.

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  • zmenard, I’m just thinking out loud; I don’t expect an answer to these very personal questions.
    As I am unfortunately familiar with lithium…if your dosage is OTC, does it still qualify as a “therapeutic dose”? I ask because of the (ridiculous) defining language and ‘clinical’, therefore legal, import of that word. Psych language can be manipulated BOTH ways; you’re an educator, you know that.

    Sounds like your psych is reasonable or better. Aren’t her reports to the court influential enough to affect a judge regardless of your ex’s legal representation? Who is actually in charge of your medical care…the judge? Your kidding, I hope. Perhaps your psych could have you ‘assessed’ by another, like-minded but technically ‘independent’ psych to support your stability? Mo’ paper, mo’ better.

    It seems that being off psych meds always speaks volumes (as it should) to ‘outsiders’. Conversely, being on any, no matter how small or benign is damning only situationally. As u know, 1 out of 4 in that courtroom is taking a psychotropic, but do not perceive the irony, the mental disorder code necessary for an insurance-supported prescription, or the dangers.

    You also know way better than me; Life ain’t fair.

    Just spitballing…Do you have your current records?
    And are u (or your doc) concerned about your kidneys? I found that that’s a very important talk to have…finding out if she fully grasps how fast and badly thngs can go…levels be damned. Dialysis happened around me in the clinic…bone chilling.

    As I was being titrated off everything horrible and my lithium dosage was not even close to being ‘therapeutic’ (silly low), I found I was nervous letting it go….I worried if there was any ‘there’ there (me-my brain) after 11 years of vicious polypharmacy. I kept it to myself, but it was a white-knuckle thing. I found a few others who felt the same way in random comments in publications. My exit doctor wanted me off as quickly as possible.
    Perhaps you could incorporate the kidney danger into a request for further titration…until it’s, well…gone.

    Have u ever contacted; their mission may not be a perfect fit but they may nudge u in a helpful direction….when I was in trouble, I was contacting EVERYBODY. All they could say was no…and on to the next.

    Your grasp of the ‘big picture’ regarding your son is beautiful. Your little boy is fortunate to have such a loving mother.

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  • annieblue, Good on you for saving yourself.

    Regarding your initial question; It gets better. Turned out, my psychiatrist (“Dollars for Docs”, (2013)), was taking $65,000 annually from pharma, with her biggest contributor Astra Zeneca, makers of Seroquel. Seroquel was the drug she ‘dropped’ on me…for insomnia-along with her 20 minute assessment of my “lifelong” bipolar disorder. I have described it in other work as “chemo for a cold” and it caused my first Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (hello, hospital bed); my “Welcome to the NFL” moment.

    Using fear to compel clients to “never stop the drugs” is painfully transparent when your paycheck is directly tied to expanding a client base, diagnoses for life, and a lifeong stream of appointments and prescriptions…FCOI-financial conflict-of-interest.

    BTW, Dr. Caplan has been an informal advisor and very supportive to me as I have started to write. Her accomplishments are numerous and I am humbled and grateful for her acknowledgement.
    Her article “Diagnosisgate…” was a complete evisceration of Allen Frances, the task force leader for the DSM-IV. That 1995 edition was the genesis of the “bipolar gold-rush” that engulfed the country and still does. He was why I got diagnosed in 2004. He owes me 11 years.
    Paula’s a Boss.

    I hope you’ll check out Part 2, next week (I think).

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  • zmenard, The anaphylaxis caused by sloppy prescribing represented, to me AND especially THEM, an enormous (legal) liability issue. It was defined and documented by an independent entity, a hospital emergency room. Most importantly, my status as mentally ill played ZERO influence. THIS was essential.

    It was a HUGE factor as anaphylaxis is ‘across-the-board, comprehensive, conventional medicine’ “black box” stuff, 2nd deadly sin (the first, sterility). My other ER ‘visits’ were all psychotropic side-effects, an area ALL doctors avoid or ‘pass-off’ immediately; usually prescribing a sedating benzo…’just be quiet and go home’. They don’t know what to do for you AND your mentally ill…you could be ‘imagining’ this ‘problem’.

    An attorney and the courts would not only clearly understand anaphylaxis but see it as a ‘winnable’ case with documentation from an independent entity, the hospital. Right/wrong, black/white…and NOW I have their full attention and FEAR…the power paradigm shifted in my favor…temporarily.
    My frightening symptoms couldn’t be ‘imagined’ or ‘faked’. You can SEE anaphylaxis…it’s measurable…and it doesn’t end well; you get dead.

    As I was aware of this…and they knew it…it presented me with a window of leverage. Personal Injury suits must be initiated quickly or you lose leverage and credibility with the courts. They were off-guard about ‘my intentions’.

    Anaphylaxis represented putting my foot in the door and ‘working’ it…hard. Cost and liability containment is JOB #1 for the ‘business’ of the psychiatric industry. Knowing that made it clear to me how to proceed.

    *Understand; I didn’t know if I would succeed. I was so ‘sick’ (brain damaged) and physically compromised, I had nothing to lose. This was the second documented, near-death experience caused by these folks. I wasn’t waiting for #3.
    When opportunity knocks, you have to get ready to act. It may be your one, best shot. My ‘degree of difficulty’ was the equivalent of swimming across a pool with a cinder block chained around my neck.

    As I am not a parent, your personal situation is painful to hear about.

    Just on the basis of your Comment; Knowledge is power and mange your expectations. This will take time. Arm yourself with everything to know regarding your old diagnosis and the new one. The DSM is where you start. Get the specific codes.

    DEFINE YOUR GOALS. Always have Plan B, Plan C; flexibility is key.

    Practice, practice, practice dialogues, questions, letters in your head, out loud, and on paper.
    Initiate a sober, thoughtful, informed dialogue (letters) with your psych, when the ‘frantic’ leaves you and you can be calm. Start slow, respecting their position of power in your life. Accusations, pleading, anger …NOT YOUR FRIEND. Act as, BE the adult they want to see…

    You want everything as hard-copy evidence for your new, parallel psychiatric file. Get organized.

    The hardest thing is to compartmentalize and control your emotions. They are your enemy. It takes practice and a lot of internal dialogue…especially if your drugged. I had to learn and it took a long time and many failures. Without calm, self-control, you will have difficulty establishing even the first steps towards credibility and effective change.

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  • Rachel777, What a cogent comment.

    As I sank to the bottom of the pool inside the industry and since I ‘got out’ I was troubled and mystified by the blank space in the resistance’s messaging regarding simple safety issues…and all the rest, for clients RIGHT NOW. From private practice to publicly-funded ‘care’, coast to coast, I couldn’t find the informed, objective, effective support in-real-time, on-the-ground from the ‘resistance’, folks who ostensibly KNEW what terrible things happened on-the-regular.
    I didn’t need commiseration, I needed tools and weapons.

    My safety was the only consideration, if I could reasonable secure that, even temporarily, I had a chance of effectively pushing back the other stuff harming me.
    Arguing with a doctor, caseworker, social worker, et al, regarding how corrupt and harmful their chosen industry was, is ineffective and possibly dangerous…a complete waste of time.

    Your parallels are spot-on.

    If you care to, check out Part 3 of my 4-part essay “A Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis” for David Healy’s website, July-August 2018. I describe some of my challenges to be heard, establish credibility, and formulate a strategy to protect myself AND get the ‘F’ away from those deadly people and circumstances.
    “Full Moral Status” published here is similar but condensed for editorial approval.

    Part 2 of “Full Moral Status…” (next week?) has a detailed ‘working’ outline for achieving safety, parity, and change.
    I hope you’ll check it out.

    As you are aware, it’s easy to throw stones at people ‘acting’, trying to help others by suggesting possible solutions. They’re common as dirt and as inconsequential to the serious issues addressed here.
    They don’t have to agree, but what are they offering in the way of help?

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  • Mr. McCrea, Quotes from “Full Moral Status…” (part 1) “THIS is what the movement should prioritize while still challenging the big-picture, status-quo…”

    “…Prioritize while still challenging the big-picture, status-quo”. Both.

    I hope you will take a look at Part 2.

    I propose an outline for doing just that; a ‘clearinghouse’ or information hub that can supply general and state-specific forms to assist clients on a variety of subjects and situations with appropriate push-back or counter measures in-the-moment/appointment for a parallel casefile, building evidence towards negotiations for safety, parity, and change…or exit. I offer some details, goals, marketing, and restrictions. It’s a first draft and hope to get some instructive or supportive feedback. It is not intended to be everything for everyone.

    I am inspired by the excerpt from T. Roosevelt’s Paris speech at the turn of the century, “The Man in the Arena”. “It is not the critic who counts;…”

    I am proposing something new and bold in the service of others; possible failure does not bother me in the least.

    Doing nothing but complaining and criticizing does.

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  • Oldhead, “We” don’t “need” to distinguish anything of the sort. Speak for yourself, please…never for me, as you insist on doing.

    Allow me to explain something else; “Making (the system) better” in my essay, speaks directly to the real-world status-quo, how things work NOW and tomorrow for the foreseeable future. Not how things SHOULD, COULD, OUGHTA’ BE, hopefully in the future. Valid, important, but different topic altogether. I’m clear on this in my essay.

    FYI, I’m well-informed regarding anti-psychiatry, related movements and organizations, websites, articles, books, ‘reformation’ strategies, and the major ‘players’. Your declarative ‘explaining’ anti-psychiatry’s precepts to me presented yourself as an official spokesman. Please clarify. If it’s your opinion, thanks for sharing.

    One more thing…”No hostility here, I know you’re new”. What hostility? If there is any, don’t be shy, I don’t cry. And how is my first published Blog on MIA defining me (to you) as someone requiring a ‘spot’…by you?

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  • Mr. Wagner, “…the courageous people, like yourself, who have reached to the core of their being and found that which is not broken, and sunk their fingers into it with such vigor that it never very far away”…..
    Gosh, I need to lie down a moment.
    While I feel confident that you meant this as a compliment somehow, I can only request you not characterize me in any way, other than MY words and behaviors. The “broken” remark, edited by MIA for brevity, is just not that ‘deep’, Mr. Wagner.

    If you WOULD like a ‘deeper’ view of who I am, wait for Part 2 of “Full Moral Status”…in the meantime: Dr. David Healey’s 2018 July-August, 4-part “A Unicorn: Changing a Diagnosis”.

    I am not a branding or marketing expert; I AM a veteran of the psychiatric industry, the “belly of the beast”, and well-researched to the “core of my being” in facts, history, and selling techniques steeped in glossy, empty rhetoric.

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  • Old head, My goodness, feel free to reject my opinion, no problem here.
    Some of your statements attributed to my essay are not grounded in printed fact, tho’.

    I don’t identify with the label “survivor”, thanks.
    Nowhere do I suggest a dismissal of the “need to ERADICATE” psychiatry. I respect others choice regarding their health.
    I don’t criticize current efforts to “ERADICATE psychiatry’ as irrelevant or destructive. My opinion based on my experience is they should PRIORITIZE “on-the-ground” assistance to clients. I needed some, there was none. And see Part 2.

    Also “Rather than trying to teach, such people need to learn from their TRUE “peers” who have unmasked and rejected psychiatry entirely”. No “teach(ing)” here, just sharing with a goal to help anyone who can use this perspective. I achieved what many would like to…and I want them to.

    You don’t get to define who my “PEERS” are after 11 years in.

    Your Comment expressing confusion about why an “old diagnosis” matters is answered in the first sentence in my response to Squash. It’s ‘real-world’ stuff.

    My experience informs me that, while some people enjoy engaging vigorously in philosophical debates and ‘proving a point’ based on finely parsed semantics, I met thousands who want tools RIGHT NOW to employ regarding safety in, and distance from, their terrible situations. Mine is not a one-size-fits-all and you’re disagreement is fine. Most people I’ve met vis a’ vis the industry, want to know how I accomplished this; medical professionals, former and current clients, and family and friends of clients.

    You strongly imply that the only valid POV is the entire “reject(ion)” of the concept and industry of psychiatry is …well, in the South the response is….. “Bless your heart”.
    Oldhead, Bless your heart.

    You’re REALLY gonna hate Part 2. I’ll be right here.

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  • Madmom, I am moved by your invitation, but I’m sure you would be disappointed by my lack of ‘wattage’. Tiny joke.
    Unfortunately, I do recognize the despair in your words.
    I fervently hope this essay can deliver the smallest inroad to hope, vis a’ vis Part 2.
    In short, the hardest thing I HAD to do was compartmentalize my (drugged) emotions & become an effective, efficient, quiet shark, patrolling my appointments with a strategy, using smart tactics, building an alternative casefile. Put on an ‘attorney’ hat (no t.v. lawyer drama), do the homework-statutes, laws, mission statements, handbooks (a highlighter was my best friend), and listen more, talk less. Practice ‘calm’, engaged, awareness. I needed ALOT of practice.
    The more I prepared, the ‘luckier’ & more confident I (quietly) became. They never saw it coming; when it did, …too late!

    Part 2 is about this essential part of building & controlling your REAL collaboration (a new concept for them).

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  • Squash, I knew that running with an open diagnosis might affect my self-determination as I aged, any large or small legal issues, & my will after I pass. But it was always Plan B. Even now, HIPAA Privacy rules are ‘leaky’; I’m always vigilant.
    Being tagged as “off my meds” was a potential disaster.
    I carry my ‘exit’ paperwork w/me (phone) always, as if I’m in a police state. Paranoid much?
    I was in a precarious medical state (brain damage) for a long time. Without that ‘exit’ doc, I was losing my independent capacity…and I’m single, no family. Institutionalization awaited.
    He was concerned. Me too.

    Controlled rage & victory transformed into a loud, appropriate, aggressive compulsion to publicly expose the private spanking I delivered (with a little well-earned swagger) hopefully inspiring others to push back…effectively.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 (verbs!)

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  • Well, bless his heart.
    One can’t avoid the omnipresent ‘brand’ that is Allen Frances. He finds it impossible to turn the knob of his own voice to ‘off’. Over the years, since he was ‘un-friended’ by the APA, he has nearly ‘pulled a hammy’ positioning himself as the multi-headed hydra in psychiatry, vigorously crafting and marketing a seemingly independent ‘wisehead’ visage, balancing his ethically corrupted past with his relentless campaign for acceptance, credibility, and legacy-restoration by all branches of the industry; APA, ‘civilian’ readership (NYT, et al), industry associated, government publications, and ‘mindful’ (kind of) ally of the anti-movement.
    Like an idealogical pretzel, he announces, pronounces, and feverishly edits his messaging to be almost all things to all sides; a pure creature of his psychiatric in-breeding, both academic and, most importantly, commercial. He must be exhausted.

    Those of us who have been on the receiving end of Dr. Frances’ contributions to the industry vis a’ vis the DSM-IV, are hard-pressed to fully appreciate his infinite apology tour that has morphed into a third-party candidate status in the convo; not really conventional psych, not really anti-psych, more ‘all-about-Allen’ psych, a message that speaks more to his refusal to put his money and mouth where his lost ethics used to be and spending his senior years endlessly grooming his own professional reflection in the mirror.

    I was a recipient of Allen’s efforts when, in 2004, I was ‘slam-dunked’ into a “lifelong, acute, chronic” bipolar 1 diagnosis with an SMI “forever” chaser. In January 2016, I ran to my car and peeled out of the clinic’s car park clutching paperwork that vacated both (!) and have devoted the past 3 years to restoring my health, body and soul.
    As MIA readership is pretty much an ‘inside baseball’ audience, details of my lost decade misses the point and are painfully familiar; I was introduced to heretofore unknown territory like despair, terror, comprehensive physical decay in brain and body, and exposure to the basest instincts in mankind. My loss of self-determination and credibility was thorough and immobilizing, right on schedule.

    In July 2018, prior to having an essay published on this subject, I invited Dr. Frances to check it out, as he had had an enormous contribution to my current mental health. I purposefully kept the invite ambiguous and ‘swiss’. He promptly tweeted me back with “look forward. glad to be of help. best, al”.
    It was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. He assumed I was thanking him. What an a**hole.

    Join the Resistance, Al. With your big megaphone and massive self-confidence, you might just save your own soul while turning those self-described (but getting fainter) “mea-culpa’s” into hard currency. It might help mitigate the dark, deep damage you delivered to millions who can’t articulate because they’re drugged for the rest of their lives. That’s not me anymore.
    I know what you did, as do so many others. I am YOUR creation; don’t be afraid, fully embrace me. My bona fides on this subject are unimpeachable. I paid the check for your sins.
    You’re welcome….and you owe me and the millions of others, bigtime.

    Al, listen up…..character is destiny.

    Thx Dr. Hickey, for continuing to expose this guy and generously giving him some much needed career counseling. You are far more diplomatic than I could ever be…considering.

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