Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Comments by Rasx

Showing 21 of 21 comments.

  • Such a profound narrative. I so admire your courage and capacity to trust yourself going forward in the face of these soul crushing and life destroying institutions. I have a story that has some similarities to yours, but my grandmother passed away 3 years ago and left me a hefty inheritance. As a result I’ve been able to completely extricate myself from all systems of control, from my abusive family to the psychiatric institution. I also see a holistic trauma therapist and functional md to deal with years of abuse, iatrogenic damage, ongoing withdrawal, and untreated health conditions like sleep apnea that were ‘psychiatrized.’ Your story really hammers home something to me that is actually unbelievably devastating and unjust: I think it’s all but impossible to recover an take back your power after being debilitated by these kinds of systems UNLESS you have an enormous financial resource and complete autonomy over it, along with a LOT of luck in finding needle-in-a-haystack practitioners. I have SO MUCH respect for people like you who don’t have the benefit of my luck in this regard. I can’t imagine how you do it. You’re a beautiful courageous soul.

  • Then again I’m not completely on board with reducing religion to a social function either. What if the truth of existence is only realizable through a direct experience or disclosure of existence itself through one’s OWN existence, and any attempt to capture it in a linguistic proposition and articulate it would be to vitiate it in some way? What if the truth is both too infinitely complex, too qualitative in nature, and also too vague and shifting to be captured in a linguistic proposition and reduce to an argument? Wouldn’t image-making then be closer to the truth about existence, or at least as close to it in some way, as analytic reasoning? Wouldn’t poetry and literature and religion and metaphor generally be valid means of expressing truth then? I guess that doesn’t directly debunk what this article is saying…

  • Yea it’s just a really crass form of reductive materialism. It’s the teleological project of ‘brains’ (of psychiatrists) hard at work creating and purposively espousing constructs to convince ‘patients’ that their OWN brains are organized without meaning and purpose: in other words, it is the organic process of reducing other organisms to machines, a process which also defeats itself since the ‘brain’ state of believing you’re a machine would be a meaning-making response to a meaning-laden gestalt of the psychiatrist reducing you. So err a kind of mindfuck of epic proportions.

  • Don’t mean to be arguing with you, Birdsong. I’m not an expert on temperament either. Also thanks for all the positive feedback earlier I really appreciate it. Always enjoy your posts.

    In other news I will probably be signing off of here for a while, MIA has been a great, validating hopeful resource for me for awhile now and I’ve enjoyed reading all your comments for some time even though I only started participating recently. On the other hand I’ve gotten a little compulsive with reading up on these things to combat my conditioning — the self doubt from years of gaslighting is massive for me: as Sam says I am one of those brainwashed survivors trying to make my way out the other side. But I don’t think just encountering the information is enough for me to do so, to believe myself down to the cellular level.

    Sam also have really enjoyed your posts and your website: it’s a damn shame your book didn’t get published and I felt a lot of sadness that I didn’t have someone like you in my life when I was younger while reading through your stuff. Thankfully now I have a great attachment based therapist.

  • ‘Born with’ doesn’t mean unaffected by experience. The baby in the womb has an experience of their environment, insofar as they interact with and are changed by their interaction with their environment. And their primary environment IS their caregiver, literally. The varying states of the caregiver’s body — and by extension the nature of the caregiver’s own environment — throughout pregnancy will therefore have an influence on the temperament of the baby after the umbilical cord is cut.

  • Not entirely inherited. For instance as I mentioned above in the prenatal period maternal levels of cortisol affect what we eventually call infant temperament. And attachment trauma can lead to what you might call ‘sensitivity,’ for instance sensory integration issues are a common outcome of attachment trauma and lead to infants who are much more sensitive to environmental input. Insecure attachment also leads to relational hypervigilance which is a kind of emotional sensitivity. Jerome Kagan is the ‘temperament guy’ and he warned against reducing temperament to genetics due to its inherent complexity. Jerome Kagan also tried to reduce attachment to temperament and couldn’t, ultimately concluding that different temperaments will express their attachment styles differently but attachment style is nonetheless entirely determined by parental behavior. Furthermore as my trauma therapist told me it’s ludicrous to think that there would be such a thing as a ‘low reactive newborn.’ A newborn can’t regulate itself and is entirely dependent on the parent to do so. ‘High reactivity’ would therefore be a complex developmental outcome. Finally, ‘high reactivity’ or sensitivity isn’t a risk factor for ‘mental illness’ later in life in isolation. What does constitute a risk factor is high reactivity AND a misattuned caregiver that cannot provide regulation for a sensitive child. It’s the same with temperaments: what some people might call a ‘difficult temperament’ turns out only to be predisposing to a ‘mentally ill’ presentation in the presence of a specific suite of parental responses to such a temperament. That is why early interventions that focus on improving parental attunement and responsiveness (it wouldn’t really make sense for an early intervention to be different from this, as infants inherently can’t regulate their own systems and so expecting them to change on their own is absurd — though I really feel this way about childhood interventions in general), if the parent is willing to engage, are successful in ameliorating the child’s difficulties.

  • I read an article on here once about how narcissistic folks and bullies in indigenous societies would’ve been the ones pathologized for not gearing into society in a compassionate way, whereas in our society it is their victims who bear this burden. The narcissists and bullies are more likely to be elected president.

    Reminds me of the shot down suggestion that men who beat their significant others should be given a diagnostic criteria in the DSM instead of the women who stick up for them, which is what our culture encourages. Really goes to show how socially constructed these things are. All you have to do is put some words together to construct a diagnostic criterion for something you observe, put it in print and all of a sudden it is reified, causa sui, incoherent and bad. The best example of this I think is drapetomania. The slave owners are normal; the slaves who seek freedom are diseased. And then maybe if we find some physiological element common to freedom-seeking slaves, then the conclusion is freedom-seeking is a contextually incoherent disease! Would the same logic hold for the slave owners I wonder? As a person who ‘got out’ of a disfunctional family system and a psychiatrized life I sometimes I think drapetomania is my true diagnosis. Probably a lot of us on these forums are the same.

  • Wish my family could’ve engaged with me like this. I myself have been given 9 different labels and 30 different drugs since pre-school. The labels and the drugs only hurt and never helped. I had to emancipate myself and cut off contact because I realized it would go on like that forever if I didn’t get out. I get a lot of shaming for that, but people don’t understand that if you’re in a system of people more powerful than you that are constructing your experience in a certain way it’s almost impossible to believe yourself that they’re wrong. Glad to hear you’re showing up relationally for your loved one in this way.

  • My childhood psychiatrist got into the business because of his ‘bipolar’ daughter and trying to ‘fix’ her with drugs. Meanwhile the guy doesn’t have an empathetic bone in his body, the stories he tells of his wife are of a dysregulated and highly critical and controlling woman, and the dog in his office literally bites his patients if they try to touch him — he’s that traumatized from being in that house.

    And all the parents are ‘well’ and ‘just human beings’ when they come in and say ‘I got pissed and hurt my kid and I feel bad: my mother threw our game system out a second story window when she was pissed and came in to talk to him about it and he said ‘you’re just human;’ and he medicated her for the express purpose of ‘helping her deal with her difficult children;’ wonder what kind of crazy diagnosis I would have gotten if I’d done the same, and what kind of vitriolic backlash I would’ve gotten if I’d have suggested I was being medicated for ‘dealing with difficult parents!’

    He literally drugged an entire generation of children in order to play out his denial about his own disfunctional family and his role in his child’s distress on a grand scale.

  • Adding to this to make the ‘in the context of one’s life’ point more evident, the original ACES study was begun because of a doctor working at an obesity clinic looking to find why so many of his clients who lost weight ended up dropping out and gaining it back. He began to find to his overwhelming surprise that many of them had been sexually abused, usually BY a family member, usually BY a parent. They would encounter a man or woman who looked like their abuser and made an advance, and would plunge back into binge eating and leave the program. Why? Because ‘overweight is invisible,’ as the first woman the doctor interviewed famously said. So you could look at that and say ‘oh most people don’t respond to sexual advances that way, therefore there’s something inherently wrong with people that do.’ And you would be totally wrong in saying that, because the REASON they responded that way is because they were traumatized IN THE PAST. The history of relational trauma makes the present ‘disfunction’ into a coherent response at the developmental level: this was the premise that inspired the ACES study and the results speak for themselves: 1,222% more likely to commit suicide if you have 4 or more severe adverse experiences before 18.

    I think Freud maybe serves as the best example of where denying the effect of developmental and relational trauma
    In the family gets us: this moral and cultural outrage against ‘parent blaming.’ Freud found that the majority of his hysteria patients reported childhood sexual abuse when they opened up to him. His original theories had to do with dissociating from these painful experiences as a source of pathology. But he suffered so much backlash because people didn’t want to believe so many women were being sexually abused by their parents. So he completely changed his theory, now operating on the premise that they had made up the abuse as an infantile fantasy! Gaslight the patient to save the parent. Now so many years later with attachment science, trauma science and the massive literature on ACES were finding that his original theories were more accurate.

  • Yeah, I’m just going to come out and say I’m very sick of this societal knee-jerk aversion to ‘parent blaming.’ Something like 95% of people in inpatient psychiatric wards have disorganized attachment, which is entirely due to misattuned, neglectful, overwhelming or abusive behavior towards infants by primary caregivers. The early studies on complex trauma revealed that of the countless people who came together to report they’d been abused by a few notorious pedophiles in the catholic priesthood, only a fraction developed the symptoms we call ‘cptsd’ now, and all of them had disorganized attachment. Secure attachment is probably THE number one protective feature against everything we label ‘mental illness,’ and developmental psychopathology as a field uses the paradigm of insecure attachment as the bedrock for explaining later pathology. So if you have a psychiatric presentation, it’s EXTREMELY likely that your parents fucked your up, that they did so young, and that they did so repeatedly. ‘Blame’ is a moral term and we shrink away from ‘parent blaming’ because it puts a bad taste in our mouth, but that’s because of a moral and cultural prejudice and nothing more, and it’s a prejudice that prevents most victims of familial abuse — and we are many — from ever coming forward. The data from the ‘hard’ sciences like neuroscience to the ‘soft’ sciences like psychology overwhelmingly supports that we SHOULD ‘blame’ the parents in many if not most cases; that is, their behavior almost invariably factors into the etiology of the ‘mental illness.’ Almost ALL of the ACES relate to the parent child dynamic. But this doesn’t have to mean that parents are evil or bad: trauma is inter-generational; disorganized attachment is transferred behaviorally from parent to child and so on because of unprocessed trauma that the parent suffered at the hands of THEIR parents, until someone breaks the cycle. So hurt parents hurt kids unless they heal themselves. A moral prejudice against ‘blame’ for parents changes nothing about these facts, no matter how people may want to thrash about and think moral admonitions against ‘parent blaming’ somehow serve as a compelling argument against a massive body of evidence from attachment science and beyond. Parents factor prominently into their children distress and that is that.

    Honestly, I think we have to start asking ourselves, who is it we’re trying to help here? Because the medical model that de-contextualizes kids from their families and adults from their childhoods serves very nicely as a way to avoid ‘parent blaming.’ In fact, I know of many parents — mine included— that were DESPERATELY searching for a diagnosis for the express purpose of putting to rest their own feelings of failure and the pressures from the outside to change their behavior and the family environment. I get it, I do, no parent wants to feel like they failed their kids. But I will tell you that when I put together that I was an abused kid and that my distress was coherent with my current context IN THE CONTEXT of my overall development, that was the catalyst for my own healing and liberation, and other people who I began to tell that I had been abused and traumatized by my family began to express respectful compassion instead of fear and confusion around my previous ‘broken brain’ explanations. But my parents HATED this paradigm shift. And if you look at the evidence, self-stigma and stigma from the outside decreases proportionately with how much of the narrative around the ‘pathology’ is psychosocial and developmental. So, will we protect parents to the death with a biomedical paradigm that gets everyone off the hook, EXCEPT the patient, in denial and defiance of the evidence, and to the detriment of the patient themselves? Will we keep telling them they’re incoherent and broken to protect anyone and everyone from ‘blame?’ Or will we change and look at people as coherent responses to their context and development including their usually disfunctional families, who they had no control over as infants and young children? But I will tell you for sure parents of ‘patients’ will continue to fight against this paradigm shift no matter HOW helpful it would ultimately be to the people we are supposed to be trying to help.

    So if our goal as a society is to keep parents free from feelings of guilt, shame and the responsibility to change, then yeah let’s go for biopsychiatry and genetic reductionism. But let’s not pretend that this is a move meant to ‘help’ the patient or tell the truth about the evidence.

  • This whole nature nurture ‘genetics or environment’ debate is such a crock of shit. There is no such thing as an infant with schizophrenia, so obviously it’s developmental. Maybe there are infant tempermants that are more predisposed to psychosis developing down the line idk, but temperament is not ‘genetic’ in the reductive sense either: maternal levels of cortisol influence temperament; the womb is an ENVIRONMENT.

    Development, which is what is proper to us humans, is nature via nurture all the way down, which means there is no possibility of the environment not being involved. The other day I told a friend of mine I had sleep apnea and she said ‘oh is that environmental or genetic?’ I had to roll my eyes. The airway is developed THRU the attachment dynamic, I.e. breastfeeding. behaviors that the infant engages in with the caregivers are the catalysts for genes to become active in the development of the airway.

    There is not a single gene that spontaneously manifests without an environmental stimulus and context, and so you simply cannot say that anything at all is purely genetic. Epigenetics should put the nature nurture debate to bed as an oversimplified, overly reduced way of thinking about an organism. But then again psychiatry loves nothing more than to be overly simplified, reduced, and rigidly mechanistic with no concept of organic development.

  • Really interesting stuff! I admire your ability to trust yourself within such a crushing system; your clearly profound, informative and insight-producing relationship to your body; and your ability to weave together your independent and collaborative research with your lived experience.

    For my part I am just now learning about the blood/brain barrier compromise that these drugs and others cause. I have been almost unbelievably sensitive to all drugs and susceptible to all kinds of withdrawal symptoms in a way that doctors tended to dismiss or discount. But intense early exposures to antibiotics, traumatic abuse and psychiatric drugs would explain this I gather.

  • So somatic, attachment trauma therapy has helped me where years of medication and cognitive therapies failed (failed is putting it mildly, better to say made me exponentially sicker, I’m now on a liquid micro-taper from the last piece of poison in my system because even going down 1mg off the lowest dose is hell). I’ve also found out various underlying physical issues, some of which are downstream of attachment trauma and ACES. It helped to have a therapist in the know about these things. Turns out I have: hashimotos, hypoglycemia, a severe vestibular imbalance from being socked in the head too many times, and liver undermethylation. But with respect to physical stuff I’m posting to you because there’s one stone that remained unturned that helped me the most (unturned because of a myopic and misguided focus on finding the right neurotoxins for Imaginary ‘chemical imbalances’ at the expense of a real search for underlying causes including trauma), and they is a look at my sleep. Turns out I have severe sleep apnea, probably since I was a young child. You might want to get yourself sleep tested by a sleep md, usually insurance will cover it. You may have respiratory/airway issues that are turning up the dial on your stress making you less resilient to what is obviously some pretty heavy shit you’ve endured. I would go thru a sleep md or airway specialist because even if you don’t have clinical sleep apnea you might have sub-clinical issues that can also have a substantial effect. Once I got on a cpap I was finally able to start recovering from the other shit, beforehand that was a non-starter because I was dissociated and fried the whole day. How fitting that the drugs they gave me for my ‘brain disease’ were largely dissociative and sedating! Anyway hope this helps, bottom line what really has helped me is somatic attachment based trauma therapy focusing on my lived embodied experience; and getting a sleep test and learning I had obstructive sleep apnea which was a quick fix with massive results. That and staying the hell away from psychiatrists and any therapist practicing a modality with a ‘b’ in it that was going to ignore the trauma and say it was all in my head and instruct me to think my way out of rumination — such a double bind since it makes it so much worse. Hope this is helpful.

  • I don’t like that in this framework I am not allowed to identify my family members as abusers. I was emotionally, verbally, and physically abused by every member of my family. If identifying directions or histories of abuse within a relational system that ‘symptoms’ (like my chronic hypervigilance, awaiting the next explosion) are expressing is labeled as ‘blame’ when it is within a family, why is it any different in systems larger than the family? Why not say I am a ‘blame/shame-r’ for identifying mental health professionals who coerced and labeled me; bullies at school who tormented me; or the babysitter who molested me as agents who traumatized and continually re-traumatized me, which traumas — with oppressive dynamics directed towards me — my ‘symptoms’ were expressing? Now my trauma can only be extra-familial? I cut my family off not because I was advised to but because they were abusive and coercive towards me, but now if I label them toxic I am a blamer? This is my problem with approaches like this: you cannot identify symptoms as coherent expressions of oppressive dynamics and then be morally indignant when oppressed people identify oppressors.