Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Comments by Tim Wilson

Showing 21 of 21 comments.

  • Hi Moyu,
    Thank you for your story,
    It echoes my own in many ways and in particular my numerous failed attempts and finally successful one at quitting anti-psychotic medication. I am now completely medication free (touch wood) but it has been a long and difficult journey. A lot of that journey has in my opinion been made unnecessarily difficult by lack of accurate and honest information. In particular I was told for many years by so called experts that people such as myself with schizophrenia had an incurable brain disease that requires life long medication. Fortunately the situation seems to be slowly changing due to the efforts of people like Robert Whitaker and many others.

    I live in Australia where mental health services are pretty basic. There appears to be very little treatment available in the public sector other than diagnosis and medication. The use of legally binding Involuntary Treatment Orders (ITO’s), mainly used to authorize the enforced use of Long Term Injectable(LTI) anti-psychotic medication, has reached almost epidemic proportions here. This makes it even more difficult for anyone who wants to reduce their dependency on anti-psychotic medication, even when the side affects are quite horrendous. If you go to a mental health medical practitioner and ask for help to reduce your medication there is a very good chance that they will have you placed on an ITO on the basis that your intentions pose a risk to the community.

    A small group of friends with lived experience of the Australian mental health system have recently started up a peer-to-peer not for profit mental health advocacy group for fellow Australians. We have called ourselves THE PINK PANTHER MOVEMENT and we identify with the global MAD pride movement. We have just set up a website.

    I am just working on a front page article for the website which includes information about the challenges of getting off or reducing anti-psychotic medication. I was wondering if you would mind me using a few pieces of your story in my article as a real life example of someone who has achieved it. My own experience and example is incredibly messy and probably a better example of how not to go about doing it (LOL).

    If you wish, I could submit the final article to you for your approval prior to publishing it on our web site.

    I don’t think I legally have to seek your permission to do this as my understanding is that it would come under the copyright fair use rule but I prefer to ask your permission anyway.

    Tim Wilson

  • Hi Beata,
    I watched your video. I am amazed at the hostile reaction you received from professional medical practitioners.
    The information in your video is readily available knowledge backed by credible research from a number of well known sources.
    These people who are criticising you are just fools determined to demonstrate their professional arrogance and ignorance.
    Unless the courts in your country are completely corrupt you should have no trouble winning your case and the eyes of the world will be watching.
    This whole rotten story of biomedical mental health has been based on years of deception, lies, corruption and greed. While some seem to have been helped by these psychiatric medications they have probably also damaged millions of others one way or another.
    At least the truth now appears to be coming out so that people will at last be properly informed and hopefully able to make up their own minds instead of being lied to and manipulated.
    Thank you for having the courage to speak out. I hope that many others will follow suite and do likewise.

  • My adult step son has level 3 (severe) autism and is exceptionally generous even to strangers as the article suggests. I had never heard before that this was a usual or common characteristic of autistic people.
    In my step son’s case this generosity can be a problem because his intentions, which I believe are only to try and be kind and friendly are often misunderstood.

  • Thanks Steve,

    Your quite right about the “Nice” forums. I seem to be in more or less constant trouble with one of the largest, government funded MH forums in Australia for saying things about the MH industry that are common knowledge. When I post something there these days I have to add a bunch of references and even then they don’t like it. I am forever walking the line of being kicked out.

    What I am trying to do on this and a number of other forums is to get a balanced view of the situation. I am retired and have the time to try and “do something” about this huge and almost unbelievable world wide problem.

    Even though I am considered a survivor with over 50 years of so called “lived experience”, it wasn’t until a year ago when the “thought police” came banging on my front door. They had an agenda to drag me off to a geriatric hospital for the insane because I refused their generous offer of depot antipsychotic injections. That was the point in time when I started to realise the magnitude of the problem and its horrific consequences.

    I have just read Australian psychiatrist Niall McLaren’s article on MIA “Why Do We Lock People Up”. For someone in my position this is obviously a thought provoking article. I am in the process of establishing contact with people like McLaren and others like him in Australia.

    I am still trying to figure out where to take aim so as not to waste my very limited supply of ammunition. To my mind, it needs more than just ranting or pleading with psychiatry, big pharma or the government although I have no doubt that each of these entities play a significant part in the problem. It just seems a lot more complex than that and probably boils down to the innate characteristics and limitations of our human nature.

    Anyway, I’m grateful for MIA. Thank you.

  • I too have had a number of bad experiences with both psychiatrist and psychologists over a period of more than 50 years.

    Not all of them however have been bad news. On this forum, few people seem to report good experiences. I think this is unfortunate because it gives a very biased point of view.

    I have just finished 20 sessions over about 10 months with a therapist experienced in working with psychosis. It took me about three years of searching to find someone suitable. The sort of therapy that I was looking for doesn’t seem to be available at all in the public sector in Australia and is extremely limited from private practitioners.

    I located a number of people who claimed to have these skills and experience but didn’t meet my requirements when checked out

    During this search I did an on-line Udemy course in the type of therapy I was interested in (CBT-p). It gave me some valuable insights and understanding about what I was to eventually embark on. The course was run by a guy called Ron Ungar who has written articles on this forum. It turned out that he is considered to be something of an expert in this area.

    The first therapist I found who appeared to have all the right credentials and experience lasted for about 15 minutes into the first session. She got triggered, apparently by something I said and probably, quite wisely, terminated the session. This was a somewhat traumatic experience for me as I was left feeling that it was “all my fault again”.

    Shortly after, I found another therapist who works in the public sector and sees a few private clients one day a week. After some discussion on the phone we agreed to “give it a go”. This relationship has fortunately been successful.

    I know that therapy doesn’t work for everybody in fact from what I read, it is apparently not much more effective than medication. Why this seemed to work for me this time is hard to say. Perhaps it was because I went into it well prepared and with my eyes wide open about what I wanted to achieve. I did have a couple of altercations with this therapist when I confronted and challenged her on a couple of issues but we were able to resolve our differences quickly.

    Perhaps I just got lucky this time.

  • Brain injuries and illnesses such as alzheimer’s, tumors and damage from strokes etc that cause lesions, i.e actual tissue damage to the brain, account for a small but significant percentage of “behavioural” problems that get misdiagnosed as psychiatric disorders.
    The most common way to detect brain lesions is with diagnostic imaging scans.

    Psychiatrists are first and foremost trained doctors so they should be well versed in these techniques and have the ability to use their skills to determine these sorts of problems. Unfortunately some appear to be incompetent or simply too lazy to do their job properly resulting in these sorts of mistakes.

    As for misdiagnosis of complex PTSD and bipolar disorder, that would only be the tip of the iceberg. As said in my recent post, my conclusion, shared by many and backed by a lot of credible research indicates that psychiatric diagnosis has, at best, very limited use or validity.

    There seems to be growing evidence that the underlying cause of PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia and many other so called “mental illnesses” is trauma which just manifests in different ways.

  • Dear Rachel,

    I understand and appreciate your dilemma.

    I am a person who may even be a little like the family member that you write about. I have spent virtually all my adult life trying to resolve my own mental health problems which were originally diagnosed as schizophrenia.

    You mention that communication with your family member is often difficult.
    From my own experiences, I can say that there have been times when people such as family, friends or professionals have made suggestions that simply seemed wrong or threatening. We are typically told that rejecting help is a symptom of our so called “illness”. Maybe that is sometimes the case but certainly not always. Sometimes, in the middle of even my most intense madness there was an innate wisdom that guided me as to what would and wouldn’t be helpful. A lot of what was offered such as ECT, drug induced coma therapy, intense psychotherapy etc not only didn’t help but made my situation significantly worse. Sometimes I resisted with extreme violence which inevitably had traumatic consequences. Other times I agreed to things because in an exhausted, drug induced stupor it was just too hard to resist. As time went on I have become increasingly frightened by what seems to me to be the blatant abuse and misuse of authority without any repercussion. People with mental health problems, at least in the country where I live, have far less rights than criminals. Consequently I have developed an evasive way of trying to survive in this world by blending withdrawal and avoidance with aggression when backed into a corner.

    You mention the problems with diagnosis.

    My original diagnosis and treatment was based almost entirely on my experiences of auditory hallucinations or “hearing voices”. The voices were never really a problem but the treatment for them certainly was. At the time I just wanted to understand what they meant but those inquiries led to months of involuntary hospitalization. Only a few years ago I discovered from a TV panel discussion that lots of normal people experience voices.

    Further reading led me to the convincing conclusion that psychiatric diagnosis has, at best, very limited use or validity but it is still widely used. Why?

    The state mental health authorities still appear to use my original diagnosis to track and follow me around making absurd demands for compliance with their equally absurd treatment schedules.

    You say that you wonder whether you have made things worse for your family member by suggesting that they connect with various networks. At one stage my very concerned mother suggested a peer-to-peer self help group that she had heard about. I decided on my own volition to give it a go. It turned my life around but there was no way of knowing that at the time. Also of course what worked for me may not work for someone else. Overall I have found support and community groups of one sort or another to be of benefit but some significantly more so than others. We can all be very wise in hindsight.

    To be sent home from hospital with the stern message that you are damaged goods beyond repair and that the rest of your life will be limited and dominated by strong medications was a devastating experience for me.

    I responded to this verdict with extreme anger which of course just landed me back in hospital on multiple occasions. Other people I know just sank into a fog of hopeless complacency that was possibly even more difficult to escape from.

    For me, the weird and aberrant behavior typically associated with psychosis appears to be driven by deep seated trauma and the inability to resolve it. It is not something that I was ever able to control voluntarily. It was far too powerful and suggestions by some that I just needed to ‘get my act together’ are pathetically naive. I first had to discover and then master the skills that would eventually enable me to resolve at least some of the underlying trauma. Discovering these skills was also no easy task because of the vast amount of ignorance, misinformation and even outright hostility that seems to surround this subject. I found these skills easy enough to learn but they required a lot of work over a long period of time to master. A lot of the time I was flying blind.

    These days my mental health is “good enough”, I no longer use medication. I still keep some handy ‘just in case’ but if I was ever to find myself back in that situation, the things that I would like to happen differently would be –

    1. To be listened to.
    I understand that many people including professionals are easily triggered by someone else’s psychotic behavior but the inability to relate to another person’s unusual experience, particularly by someone supposedly trained to do so, does not seem to me to be a reasonable excuse for dismissing that experience as irrelevant or insane or just pumping a person full of drugs to shut them up. In the case of professionals, it does in my view, seriously call into question their lack of training. In my experience those psychotic experiences provide a window of opportunity to help the person resolve some of the underlying trauma. In my experience it is also an opportunity frequently missed.

    2. To be treated kindly as a valid worthwhile human being.
    My psychotic experiences represent only a tiny fraction of my life. If handled in a kind and empathetic way, these episodes can be managed so that they not only avoid creating additional trauma but also help me move forward in my journey of learning how to manage these experiences by myself. This is something that we all should ideally learn as young children but for some reason or other I didn’t. Blaming, condemning, punishing, mistreating or otherwise abusing a person who is experiencing psychosis only makes the situation worse both for the person affected and for others around them. It serves no functional purpose for anybody.

    As I see it, it is ultimately up to your family member to find their own way out of this unfortunate situation. As far as I can see, there is no simple one-solution-fits-all answer. I have certainly looked hard to try and find one. Support, kindness, acceptance and empathy, that is the ability to walk in the shoes of someone, particularly when they are having a psychotic experience may not be the answer but I am pretty certain that it will not add to the problem.

  • Hi boans,
    The mental health malpractices that have gone on and are still going on in Australia are mind boggling. These malpractices are usually repeated many times over for many different people.

    As I said previously, in order to challenge these issues in the courts we need hard evidence. This typically involves collecting pieces of collaborating evidence from many different people.

    You said
    “If you know of someone who has an hour to spare I would be more than happy to provide them with the documents and leave them to ‘speak for themselves”

    We would be most interested in looking at these.

    We are in the process of setting up an online registry (web page) where any Australian resident can lodge documents and details about mental health malpractices in Australia. Hopefully this will be up and running sometime in Feb 2023. I will let you know the details as soon as they are available.

    Thank you for your help and interest.
    Hopefully in time we will see a better and fairer system for all of us.

    Tim Wilson

  • Hi boans,
    Mounting a high court legal challenge to state mental health legislation as we are attempting to do in Australia is a difficult and complex business.

    It requires a substantial amount of credible, provable, evidence that will stand up to intense scrutiny by the court.

    We have at hand documented evidence from sources such as government publications and records that support some of the issues we are concerned about. These include practices such as the overuse of involuntary treatment and involuntary confinement and the negative impact that these practices have on peoples’ lives.

    You mention that there are no mechanisms for complaint about inappropriate or abusive treatment under the various state mental health systems. Our view would be that such mechanisms do exist but that they are frequently ineffective.

    Some of the other things you mention no doubt relate to your own experiences but it is difficult to see how any of these contentions could be proven in a way that would lend additional weight to our proposed action.

    Thank you anyway for taking the time to respond.

  • Hi Boans,
    I’m responding to one of your rather old posts (Oct 13 2022). I’m from Melbourne, Australia and from a few things you have said on this and other posts I was wondering if you are also from Australia.
    If so, I thought you may be interested in a small group of mostly Melbourne based MH activists who are currently looking very seriously at ways of aggressively challenging state governments in Australia where mental health atrocities appear to be as bad if not worse than anywhere else in the world.

    One of the legal challenges currently being considered is based on the concept that Australia, as party to a number of international human rights treaties, has signed and ratified –

    * The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (CAT)

    * The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

    These treaties, which Australia has voluntarily entered into, sets out Australia’s international human rights obligations. Our understanding is that under international law, Australia, including all the states and territories are bound to comply with these provisions and to implement them. Furthermore these obligations suggest that the states and territories may be criminally and/or civilly liable for engaging in torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or practices.

    I’d be interested in any constructive thoughts or input you might like to offer.

  • Hi Kate,
    A quite common practice on many MH forums is for people to mark any distressing comment with a trigger warning, typically something like “TW//”. On some forums this actually blacks out the content and you have to re-enable it if you want to read it.
    As I previously pointed out, many, including myself, believe these sorts of practices help develop self awareness which is considered an important life skill these days for good mental health.
    As Nikhto pointed out, people participating in a supportive MH environment need to learn how to be considerate towards others who may be participating or looking at becoming involved in the group and could be easily put off or triggered by aggressive behaviour or “shouting”. With this community, perhaps a simple “//Venting” warning as well as a trigger warning for potentially distressing content might suffice. Then as you say Kate, people simple chose whether or not they want to read it.

  • Hi Nikhto,
    I agree in principle with what you are saying.
    What you refer to as a “one-sided shouting match” is, in my online mental health experience, often referred to as venting. Venting is typically emotional and often quite irrational. There seems to be mixed opinions as to the longer term value of venting but many feel that it at least allows people to express pent up emotions.
    I think it can be useful for people to learn the difference between venting and reasoned discussion but unfortunately many are not able to do this and instead tend to rationalise or justify their emotional outburst. Since many here, myself included have a history of mental health problems, it is not surprising that this rationalised venting occurs from time to time.
    On some other forums that I am familiar with, there are separate areas used for venting and discussion etc and people are encouraged to use the correct areas. This seems to work quite well, with a minimum amount of involvement from moderators. It also possibly helps people to develop better awareness and self regulation which in turn, many of us believe, leads to better mental health.
    In my experience, online spaces like this one which use a “one space fits all” approach inevitably suffer from the sort of problems experienced here where people are attempting to communicate on all sorts of different levels in a single space or context.
    It is being increasingly recognized that community is a very big part of mental wellness and online spaces are inevitably going to be part of future community spaces. I think we still have quite a bit to learn about how to best organise and manage these spaces.

  • Hi Tmason,
    You said “And rather than sit around talking trash about The System, craft a strategy for change.”

    I and I expect many others are probably trying to figure how to do just that. It is by no means an easy task. The more I go into this the harder and more complex it seems to become.

    My observation is that even with those who experience significant mental health problems there is significant dissent. The end result, at least in the country and state that I live in (Victoria, Australia), is that there seems to be a lot of people running around in circles talking about reform but achieving nothing.

    A Royal Commission report into mental health in Victoria was released in 2021. The chairman of the Commission Penny Armytage said the system largely operated in crisis mode, had “catastrophically failed” to live up to expectations and was “woefully unprepared” for current and future challenges. “Despite the goodwill and hard work of many people, Victoria’s mental health system has deteriorated for a multitude of reasons over the course of many years,”

    A recent survey suggested that the system has gotten worse since the release of this report.

    The little mental health activist group that I am involved in have more or less chosen the World Health Organisation (WHO) Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 as our “manifesto”.
    Another document that we think is worth looking at is the WHO world mental health report 2022.

    The WHO is considered by many to be a left wing organisation and in many ways it is. They typically advocate radical reforms that are unpopular with conservative interests. For example they acknowledge that social issues like poverty, housing and racial discrimination play a significant role in mental health. For me personally, this document is a fair and reasonable statement of reform objectives but I imagine that many people would dismiss it as a load of “trash”.

    At this stage, it looks to me like all that any of us can do who are troubled and affected by existing mental health systems is to bite off a small chunk of the problem that we believe we can handle and run with it.

  • Hi Tmason,
    Personally I have had nothing but trouble with medications. By the time the dosage is high enough to suppress the symptoms they render me incapable of working so in effect I become a “zombie”.
    I have come across quite few people like you who have said that psychiatric medication has helped them. My understanding is that about 20% of people who use medication find that it works reasonably well with minimum side affects. By contrast a common statement about various forms of therapy is that it works “at least as well” as medication. That still leaves a lot of people struggling with nothing much to help them.
    I believe that each of us has a right to choose whatever we find works best for us.
    The only proviso to this is that I believe we also have the right to be provided with honest and accurate information. This obviously is often not the case.
    I am particularly troubled by the number of young people on high doses of ap meds that I come across who have been given no information and haven’t a clue about possible long term affects.

  • Hi boans,
    You are lucky that they just met your request to speak to a lawyer with a hand on a pistol and not a bullet in the gut which would of course have been fired in self defence because you were just about to attack them with the nearest sharp object.

    I am also an Australian from Melbourne. I learned a long time ago after nearly being beaten to death that when police and mental health people are involved you just go limp and say nothing or as little as possible and submit to absolutely anything they say or do to you. That is if you want to survive.

    Australia has probably the worst record of any country in the world for involuntary mental health treatment which these days is mostly Long Term Injectable (LTI) anti-psychotics. Here are the figures state by state.
    Vic 5521
    NSW 3377
    Qld 2822
    SA 847
    WA 972
    NT 129
    Tas 154
    Total 13, 822

    These are old figures from 2010/2011. My understanding is that attempts by academics to get more recent figures has been unsuccessful but it is believed that these figures have increased.
    Given the number of people in Australia diagnosed with psychotic mental illnesses it appears that at least in Victoria, every person who comes in contact with the state mental health system is required to agree to LTI’s either by cohesion (voluntarily?) or by force. (Community Treatment Orders)

    If you don’t mind me asking, what state do you live in?

    Edwina Light etc Involuntary psychiatric treatment in the community: general practitioners and the implementation of community treatment orders. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Vol 44 No 7 July 2015

  • I am in no way trying to invalidate your opinion or your experience. As I said, it appears that you have had some quite bad personal experiences in this regard.
    What I said was that in my own experience the idea that all psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists are incompetent, harmful, hustlers, lacks credibility. I have had good experiences with one psychiatrist, a couple of psychologists and a couple of alternative therapists. Only the psychiatrist was free. He was paid for by the state. The others were reasonably expensive but I felt that I got reasonable value for my money.
    I also of course have encountered a number of the other kind who I would regard as incompetent or harmful or overpriced but not necessarily all three of these things at the same time.
    I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say.

  • Birdsong,
    you appear to have had some very bad personal experiences with mental health practitioners and are very angry about it. I can certainly relate to you in this regard.
    If you said that there were many incompetent psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists I would agree with you.
    If you said that some psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists do more harm than good I would agree with you.
    If you said that some and perhaps many people found the costs of psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists beyond their means I would agree with you.
    But your claims that all psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists are incompetent, harmful, hustlers, in my experience, lacks credibility.
    Some of us with serious long term mental health issues are working hard to try and rectify some of the very real world, wide problems with mental health services. It might be more helpful if you were to try to share some of your own actual bad experiences.

  • Hi Kimberly,
    Your findings and reporting echo my own discoveries over the last 12 months. I live in Australia in the state of Victoria. At the end of last year the state mental health authorities forced their way into my home and tried amongst other things to coerce me into agreeing to being injected with Long Term Injectable(LTI) anti-psychotic medication. This is despite that fact that they are strongly contra-indicated for someone of my age with an existing heart condition.

    I was blindsided by what to my mind was a totally unjustified assault. When I started doing some investigation as well as lodging official complaints I discovered that virtually anybody in this state with a so called psychotic illness who comes into contact with the state mental health authorities is subject to this sort of treatment. Anyone who doesn’t comply is subject to a court order and failure to obey can end you up in jail. Judging by the number of Involuntary Treatment Orders (ITO’s) being issued, they must be running a virtual production line.

    Australia in general and the state of Victoria in particular appear to be amongst the worst places in the world for compulsory psychiatric treatment using medication. The reasons, as pointed out in the article appear to be a combination of economics and convenience. Forced medication, delivered through LTI’s seem to be the cheapest and easiest way of keeping so called “crazy, dangerous people” off the streets.

    It is interesting how these sorts of actions are justified by the completely unsubstantiated claim that people who experience psychosis are violent and a danger to themselves and the public.
    As one commenter mentioned, a much better informed public may have a much better chance of advocating from the grassroots for safe and effective treatments

    I am now involved in trying to help organise a class action against the Victorian state government.

    I have been managing my psychosis using therapeutic methods and have been completely medication free for about 10 months.