Thursday, August 18, 2022

Comments by Susan Kingsley-Smith

Showing 11 of 11 comments.

  • upanddown – I totally hear you and I think, have a good understanding of what you are expressing. Having experienced a full range of what psychiatry said was a “disease” what I have discovered personally is that 1. their problem focus and blaming my biology and genetics served only to keep me hopeless and helpless to change any of it. And 2. that there ARE solutions to the issues said to be a “disease” that must be managed with toxic chemicals “for the rest of my life”.

    At first – I appreciated the diagnosis. It gave me hope that if they could “find what was wrong” with me that they could offer me a solution. Yet after 15 years of this I was in worse shape than when I first asked for their help. And – I totally believed that this was my “illness”.

    I reached a point where I decided that if I could not find a way to “get better” that I no longer wanted to live that life that I called “the life of the living dead”. Yet – what I also discovered, quite accidentally, after an uninformed psychiatrist experimented on me by forcing me into a complete cold turkey withdrawal from multiple (polypharmacy) drugs including benzodiazapenes, mood stabilizers and anti depressants in 2007 – is that as I started going through the forced wd process is that it was the DRUGS that were making me sick. (I am NOT endorsing just “going off” psych drugs to ANYONE. For info on safe wd please visit I slowly started to reclaim my brain, my health and my life.

    Even after going off the drugs though I realized there was more I could do to improve my “mental status”. The thing was – it was no “quick fix”. This process of healing the physical issues that influence my emotional well being and energy levels has taken quite some time and a lot of effort but – today I live drug free, I feel happy, have consistent good energy and I know that when I am not feeling well that by listening to my body and inner wisdom that I can right myself without chemical intervention. I also understand that life will have ups and downs, light and dark and have I learned how to “ride it out” vs thinking it would be “forever”.

    I am so sorry to hear that you still suffer and most compassionately hope that you find your way to what might set things right for you.

  • Hi Sera; thanks for taking the time to post a reply to my (and others) comments. I can see how it would feel frustrating to have the discussion take a direction that you had not intended. I think that speaks to the depth of the issues being discussed here. Personally I was viewing the direction of this discussion as separate yet a distant part of the idea of the videos. My intention was never to be off topic but to respond to the discussion being had already. I missed the post above where you were trying to get the topic redirected and apologize for adding to this thread being off topic.

    As I stated earlier – I see this project as a huge step forward in sharing the message of the drugs being harmful and that we can find our way beyond them and “diagnosis”. I have complete respect and admiration for what you, Laura and Sean are doing with this project and can only imagine the application and impact it will have. With that – I have to thank you (all of you) for putting in the time, energy and effort to create this project. I know it will be amazing and even perhaps help to reach some of those who in the past had no hope for full “recovery” to find hope for something better.

    In peace and hope for all of us.


  • First – I totally appreciate this film project. I think it will be invaluable to all sides of the debate about these drugs and their impact on individuals. Anytime we can put a face to an issue it becomes more personal and relatable.

    On the deeper topic of “informed consent” and the idea that by taking a firm position on these drugs and psychiatry….by not taking a position we are indeed taking a position that enables the use of these neurotoxins to continue to be a social norm.

    Granted – it will take many more years to even put a dent in the “chemical imbalance” lies that have convinced us as a society that we “need” these drugs. And – “informed consent” is a noble goal; one that is perhaps a first step to the awareness of the impact of the use of these drugs over the long term and the idea that we need them “for life” might be a misnomer.

    As for the idea that by taking a strong position against the use of these drugs is akin to being as the original oppressors who require that one take them – I’m not seeing it.

    What I am seeing is that by taking this neutral position we are enabling the misinformation and denial of the impact of these drugs to continue and even continue to flourish.

    Somewhere in this very wonderful thread of discussion, I believe Sera was comparing this to the idea of others who choose to use things to “cope” like processed/fast food that leads to obesity, overuse of alcohol that leads to health problems and addiction, cigarettes that lead to loss of health and life etc etc.

    And while I can appreciate that we don’t want to be shaming those who are still choosing to use these drugs or – who have been so harmed by them that they cannot get off them – no real societal change started happening in the realm of those others substances or issues until there was a public position taken on them.

    Some examples: that drinking liters of sugar filled soda pop was not healthy, making fast food a way of life was creating the obesity problem, over use and abuse of alcohol and nicotine were causing life problems and becoming a burden to American tax payers who end up footing the bill for peoples abuse of these substances.

    Since there has been a clear cut position taken the rate of obesity has started to decline and awareness campaigns started – just this year.

    Alcoholism went down only when it became less socially acceptable to have martini’s with lunch, wine with dinner and a highball before bed as was common in the past. And the use of tobacco started going down only when there was public education provided on the harm done by the use of these products. Even those who love their caffeine are becoming more conscious of just how much – is too much.

    Yet – these changes have not occurred because there was a movement to not offend those who are still abiding by the former view of these substances and behaviors as not having any consequence. Rather – there has been an acknowledgement that by providing awareness and educating ourselves on the issues that we are empowered to create change for ourselves.

    I do get that we don’t want to be offensive to those who still use the drugs yet are we not enabling the lies of the “chemical imbalance” to continue and that these drugs are harmful vs helpful by NOT taking a strong position? Is it not possible to educate and inform in a way that allows the truth to be told and informed consent to be had without continuing to perpetuate the lies that got us here to begin with? Are we not “lying by omission” when we withhold information that could free someone from the hold of psychiatry with this tempered version of the truth and these drugs on their lives? Doesn’t it seem a bit off that those of us who lost decades of life, families and physical health to this outdated paradigm have to temper our own stories in order to not “offend”?

    Just as we now have those who are obese defending their right to eat the way they want to with no thought for consequence, or the user of alcohol or tobacco to continue to use these substances stating “personal freedoms” – we can allow those who believe they need the drugs “for life” and want to use them to use them. We can even support those who became “accidental addicts” and are finding it difficult to get off the drugs. But by not taking a position of strength on the issues I do believe we are in fact enabling rather than empowering.

  • Thank you, Peter for brining this issue up regarding Advance Directives. It is good to hear that Germany has become so advanced that this is accepted as a way to empower the individual. The USA has APD’s although I don’t believe it is being used much and wonder if these AD’s are respected here and in other countries. It is one thing that they are available – yet are they honored? I would be curious to hear from others experiences with this tool.

  • A great piece on an important issue, Matt. I agree that it is so not helpful to get stuck in the anger and wanting someone to own what they did that caused us such harm. I know because I went down that path – and still can on any given day. It really became a thing of necessity to learn to live outside of the things you describe and find that place of peace regardless of what others said to me or thought about me. It would have been nice to have support when I was going through the worst of it but that was not an option at the time and most often still isn’t. As you point out even in the recovery/survivor movement it is often about “owning up and moving on”. I had to make peace with that in order to get my life back. Thank you for another great essay.

  • Hi Dan – I just found your reply today (6/20/13) and wanted to acknowledge your reply and thank you for taking the time to address my concerns.

    I DO understand the resistance you are describing yet – I want to mention that in the presentations I’ve done at both Alternatives 2011 and Iowa Advocates 2011 (Considering the risks; reducing or withdrawing) and in Iowa 2012 (companion guide to the PACE manual by Dan Fisher) they went over really, really well. Granted – there were those who were more interested in defending the status quo in the upper echelons of state agencies and the “old timers” of the “consumer” organization but in general – the PEOPLE who attended were asking for more. This leads me to believe that it IS possible to carry the message but it first has to be carried to the leadership of the consumer organizations that are under the NEC umbrella in order for them to willingly carry it to their constituents. I believe the NEC is positioned to accomplish this and can do it in a way that is compassionate of all.

  • Sean – thank you for presenting this case with such clarity and reason. It is disconcerting that those who have been labeled by the “professionals” are automatically seen as untrustworthy and lacking credibility. I am so sorry that you experienced this again at the hands of those who say they are “helping”. My hope is that your essay will help some lights go on for those who see fit to treat anyone with such disrespect.