Sunday, August 1, 2021

Comments by KateL

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  • rebel,
    I think you’re right about that. Whatever the diagnosis, the psychiatrists just drug, drug and drug some more. It’s so sad that you had to go through what you went through. It’s also inspiring though. It shows your body’s innate wisdom and your will to survive. I too wish that more people would listen to your story and the many stories on this website of people who have gone through harrowing experiences in the name of help. Since I discovered this website two or three years ago, I talk to anyone who will listen about it and I am always sending them links to the personal stories and the articles that back up what I’m always telling them about psychiatry and the mental health system. A lot of times I get replies suggesting that maybe I should start thinking about other things, start thinking happy thoughts, get over it, etc. Or sometimes I just get silence, and when I’m speaking to a person face to face telling them about the latest article or story I read on MIA, I get this sense that they wish I would just stop talking about it.
    You’re right, too, that if the stigma keeps people away from psychiatry it keeps them safe from psychiatry. Also, who created this stigma? I think Psychiatry and the mental health system in general plays a big part in perpetuating stigma. They need to convince the general public that there are people with a thing called mental illness and that those people need treatment although they probably don’t know it because they’re too mentally ill to realize they need treatment so it’s everyone’s job to make sure these people get treatment and get the help they need. It’s all part of their big gaslighting money making evil plot.
    I did overhear one time, while I was still in treatment, another person who had a borderline diagnosis, who had used the statement, “there is no drug that treats borderline” to convince doctors not to drug her. I remember thinking, I wish I had done that. I wish I’d done more to protect myself. But, lessons learned.

  • Marianne Williamson was running for president at the time, so when she was attacked and when she was told that she was stigmatizing mental illness and thereby preventing people from seeking help blah blah blah, she said the following:

    “My point is that over the last few decades, there has been a medicalization of normal human despair.
    I have never weighed in on anything like bipolar, schizophrenia, obvious mental illnesses, for which psychotherapeutic drugs have what seem to me to be clear benefits and lifesaving effects. I’m not getting in anyone else’s lane. But the pharmaceuticalization of normal human despair is other people getting into my lane.”

    I’m not surprised she reframed the argument in this way., but I do find it disgusting.

  • I agree, Sam. It is considered a kind of treason to say anything negative about psychiatry, in this land of free speech. I think of the way Marianne Williamson was attacked, including by the liberal media (Rolling Stone, the New York Times) when she expressed the opinion that antidepressants are over prescribed. People on Twitter, journalists…the reaction was so over the top, as if she had condoned murder. It was frankly ridiculous. Critical thinking skills fly out the window when it comes to this topic.

  • PH, thank you for your reply. I’m really disappointed, as well, in the NY Times. I used to worship that paper when I was younger. Maybe I was naive. They did have several articles on the Alzheimer’s drug that was just approved by the FDA. I commented that the FDA has been doing this for years with psychiatric drugs.
    I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of having respect for people who state that they have been helped, a little or a lot, by psych drugs or other psychiatric treatment. I think I have respect for anyone’s reporting on their own experience, and I would never suggest to anyone that they either should or shouldn’t take a drug. I wish I had been afforded the same respect and the same autonomy. I went for years of being told by practical strangers, as well as people closer to me, that I needed to stay on medication, or go back on medication, or get more ECT, or do TMS. Because I wasn’t successful in preserving my own bodily autonomy, and I wound up taking drugs that I didn’t want to be taking and doing treatments I didn’t think would help, either through coercion or outright force, for so long, I’m forceful now in expressing my views. I think everyone should have the right to decide for themselves. But I also think that true informed consent is a must, and that the drugs should not be given to children. I think that argument, that some people have been helped by the drugs, is kind of a non sequitur. As you say, it doesn’t change the fact that many people have been seriously harmed or even killed by the same drugs and procedures. I saw a meme that said, “ECT saved my life. Therefore your brain damage is irrelevant.”
    I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a rheumatologist. I was telling her how I had stopped taking Cymbalta because I felt strange on it, and that I went through a very hard time withdrawing from it. I also mentioned to her that there were several class action lawsuits against Eli Lilly for their failure to disclose the Cymbalta “discontinuation syndrome.” The rheumatologist said that Cymbalta is safe and effective and that she has prescribed it to many patients who have done well on it. She said she had never gotten a negative report about it. In my head, I was like, well, now you have. She didn’t seem particularly interested in hearing more about the class action lawsuits. I doubt she even gave it a thought after the appointment ended. (Sorry if this is a bit rambling).

  • Very clever, these pharma marketing people. I mean, evil, but clever! Except that the pattern, the m.o., the con, is becoming strikingly obvious from all of the repetition.
    Name the problem, get the media on board to convince everyone that they actually have the problem, advertise and get doctors (who, as it turns out, are ridiculously willing to participate) to write the script to treat the problem. ( It doesn’t fix the problem? It makes it worse? It causes brain bleeding? No worries we’ll deal with that later.)
    How many times have they gotten away with this so far?
    Prozac was great for people who were only mildly depressed and really aren’t you mildly depressed? Wouldn’t you like to feel better? Oxycontin is safe and effective to treat pain because don’t you know that having untreated physical pain leads to death and our drug is not addictive (but if you do happen to get addicted we’ll stigmatize you as a drug addict… But then we’ll have a drug for your addiction so no worries)?
    We also have a drug for tardive dyskinesia, that condition that we refuse to acknowledge until we had a drug for it but now that we do, you can take the drug that you really need, your important antipsychotic drug, and our new drug that helps with tardive dyskinesia but like it’s not going to go away or anything but you really need your antipsychotic so just take both and be grateful.
    The FDA is useless. They’re spending God knows how much money trying to get kratom banned internationally. Because it’s so dangerous. After years of combing through records they’ve actually managed to come up with 41 cases of people dying where it might have had something to do with kratom although the people also had fentanyl and a bunch of other crap in their system. But the message: kratom is dangerous and should be illegal. Everywhere. But the new Alzheimer’s drug, oh yeah we’re going to just rubber stamp that.
    Does the fact that this article is published in the Baltimore Sun mean that mainstream media is seeing through the ruse? Or only in regards to this Alzheimer’s drug, and all the other bullsh*t is a-okay. The decades of rubber stamping antidepressants antipsychotics mood stabilizers ADHD drugs (amphetamines. for children.) opiates benzos sedative hypnotics…they’re still cool with that?

  • When I was first diagnosed with borderline personality disorder following ECT treatments — about 15 years ago — the prevailing “wisdom” among mental health treatment providers was that there is no drug to treat borderline. However, the argument went on: There *are* drugs to treat the symptoms. So, an antidepressant for the depression, an antipsychotic for the I don’t know what…in my case it was the rage. A mood stabilizer, to stabilize the mood. Depending on the prescriber, the following could be added to the mix: a benzodiazepine, an ADHD drug, a drug for sleep (Ambien or the like).
    In my case over the course of over a decade with this diagnosis and probably 20 different prescribers, at least, I was put on and taken off of drugs in all of these categories. Drugs started, drugs stopped, drugs changed (switching from generic to non generic, as when Latuda came out I was put on that at the insistence of the prescriber, and taken off Abilify).
    To realize the truth behind all this drugging, and in fact the truth behind the diagnosis itself, after all this time and all this loss is definitely, well, a hard pill to swallow.

  • Fiachra, this is scary. I think all we can do — “we” meaning the small segment of the population who actually know what akathisia is, what it looks like, what it feels like, what causes it — is keep educating people about it. It’s so frustrating but what else can we do, since it’s not something that will show up on blood tests or MRIs. It’s hard, maybe impossible, to prove, so people who are invested in the idea that psychiatry is basically good and psychiatric drugs are basically good and needed…these people are going to reach for other explanations for the violence happening. Of course, many people seem to love the explanation:. “The person had (undiagnosed) mental illness. That made them violent.” It’s definitely an uphill battle.
    I recently had an email conversation with an acquaintance who has had a bipolar diagnosis for at least 20 years. I mentioned akathisia to her, and she said she had never heard of it. After I described it to her and sent her a couple of links with information about it, she quickly realized that she had suffered from it when she was taking risperdal. This is a very smart, well-educated woman. I guess she trusted her doctors to let her know about the risks of the drugs they were prescribing and didn’t research them on her own. That’s a mistake that I made for a long time also.
    I’m glad for the MISSD organization. They have some very informative, though heartbreaking, videos. I just wish the mainstream media would pick up on this, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • I agree. The reporting on the conservatorship, and Britney Spears’ efforts to free herself, often skims over psychiatry’s central role in all of this. The focus of coverage is often on the media’s role and the role of the Spears family and other celebrities who wronged Ms Spears. While these criticisms are all valid (certainly there were plenty of people and plenty of forces at play that put incredible stress on Britney, and, as has been said, most people would have buckled under all of that stress, harassment etc), the conservatorship could not have happened and could not have gone on for this long without psychiatry.
    I’ve noticed that the New York Times sways very pro-psychiatry. I see this in the articles and in readers comments. It’s a bit sickening. What happened to questioning things. They are supposed to be the paper of record.

  • “the psych lifestyle comes more from the left side of the spectrum”
    I’ve noticed this, too, rebel. And that belief in Psychiatry is faith-based or cultish even among very intelligent people, people who understand all about logical fallacies and rhetoric and seem to have high level critical thinking skills…all of that goes out the window when it comes to their belief in psychiatry, in the goodness of psychiatry.

  • “When we are confronted with a person who does things we think of as morally wrong and seems responsible for doing them, we are incredibly inclined to blame them and become critical, judgmental, and write them off as a person to punish.”
    …describes how I feel about the psychiatrists and therapists who hurt me and all of the people who blamed me when I got sick as a result of being brain shocked and drugged and otherwise harmed by the helping people. I would like to see them punished but I know I never will. I’ve been told I have to let it go.

  • I agree, Steve. I also think the ubiquitousness of the term “non compliant” to describe psych patients who dare to think they have a say in the matter of what they ingest is a “tell” — it shows that these things are not in reality up for discussion.

    Interesting post here:
    https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/Managing-the-Noncompliant-Person

    It contains this pearl of wisdom:

    “The individual who is noncompliant feels more powerful. He or she begins to feel in control of the verbal interaction and in fact, is manipulating your reactions.’

    Some synonyms for non compliant:

    balky, contrary, contumacious,
    defiant, disobedient, froward,
    incompliant, insubordinate.

    Is froward a word? Is that supposed to be forward?
    This is what happens when I can’t fall asleep and start thinking about all the stuff that happened when I was “getting help”.

  • Rebel,
    I agree that when therapy and Psychiatry are combined, the danger *can* increase exponentially for the patient. I’ve been double-teamed by therapist/psychiatrists on many occasions. The most disturbing of which was a situation that, while I was experiencing multiple traumas (during that period of time I lost every single member of my family either through death or estrangement), the DBT therapist I was seeing came to the appointment I had with the psychiatrist (a psychiatrist that the DBT therapist had referred me to and that I paid out of pocket). The DBT therapist said to the psychiatrist, “do something!” And the psychiatrist, who already had me on multiple drugs including antipsychotics, proposed that I should go into the psych ward for an ECT consultation. I stated very clearly (I remember feeling desperate but also knowing that I had to sound sane, rational, composed to even have a chance of being heard, so I modulated my tone) that I had already had ECT years before and that I became disabled after the ECT due to short-term memory loss. I explained that the doctor who had performed the ECT and who was a close colleague of this psychiatrist (so he could have easily picked up the phone to check on my story) had stated afterward “you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. I explained about the memory loss and the disability (prior to the ECT I worked full-time in a high stress position that included a lot of overtime hours). None of this mattered. The psychiatrist, who refused to even look at me, mumbled something about ECT being done differently nowadays and that I shouldn’t have the memory loss (which of course wasn’t true. To this day ECT presents a huge risk of memory loss and other cognitive impairments). Neither one of them would listen to a word I said and they both stood firm in their position that I needed to check myself into the psych ward for an ECT consultation, which, because back then I was still brainwashed that I needed to be compliant and willing and a good little DBT patient, the next day I walked into the hospital ER and said that I was there too admit myself to the psych ward per my doctor’s orders for an ECT consultation. It was only luck that when I met with the inpatient doctor and I told him the same story that I had told the psychiatrist who made me go there, he immediately said no to more ECT.
    I think I was inpatient that time for a week or a week and a half. One day the DBT therapist came to visit me and brought me a newspaper. I sat across from her in the visitor’s room and when she saw that I was angry, she just said “why are you mad at me? I’m visiting you and I brought you the newspaper.”. She couldn’t even comprehend why I would be angry that she worked with the psychiatrist — two people who were both getting paid good money to help me — to set me up for more brain damage. A few months later, both the DBT therapist and the psychiatrist dropped me without any notice.

  • I wish someone would do a documentary about people who have gotten off psych drugs or people who had ECT or TMS and they were disabled and they’re off the drugs and they’re not seeing a psychiatrist anymore AND they’re not okay. And there’s no one to go to. There are no resources. You can’t in my experience go to a doctor and say, well I would like some palliative care or I would like some help to improve the quality of my life but I am not up to jumping through hoops or going on endless referral appointments, I’m not up to getting a colonoscopy pap smear or mammogram or whatever else is on the agenda. And I definitely don’t want to talk about seeing a psychiatrist or getting on some medication. I am slowly being driven over the edge because there is nowhere to go and no one who works in the system believe me. I have already had it suggested to me once this week that I belong in a psych ward. I was also sent an email with the link to NAMI, the message, “here’s a great resource that you should look into.”. They just want to put more labels on me like say that I have complex needs because it’s not enough that they call me permanently disabled and severely mentally ill. I don’t see what’s so complex about my needs. I need someone to believe me and help me figure out how to survive the rest of my life.

  • Rebel,
    I love the Get Smart story. It really illuminates the difficulty, the confusion and self doubt that these drugs engender. If only we all had a 99 in our lives, someone who sees what’s going on and says something. It’s unfortunate that, in my case and probably many other people’s, we’re surrounded by KAOS. The people who say:. “did you take your medication today? Maybe you need a higher dose.”

    You raise a good point too about getting off the pills. Once a person is educated that the drug they’ve been put on is most likely harming them and they make a decision to get off that drug… I will speak for myself here:. It was very difficult for me to consider a long drawn-out taper of cymbalta once I realized how harmful this drug really is. Even people who are adamantly against psych drugs for the most part advise a slow taper, but the difficulty of that — of taking smaller and smaller amounts over a period of months or years of something that you know to be poisonous — should not be discounted. It’s a really tough situation that patients get put in once they’ve been on these drugs. All the conventional wisdom like doing a slow taper, and getting the support of your prescriber or another physician…these pieces of advice don’t reflect the reality for a lot of people. Maybe I have been particularly unlucky in my interactions with doctors and other medical professionals, but I don’t remember ever having a conversation with a doctor, prescriber or therapist in which they acknowledged the dangers/harm of the drugs I’ve been prescribed and the difficulty of stopping them. I’ve also I’ve had many conversations with these people where they basically told me I was an idiot for wanting to stop the drug or that if I did stop the drug there wouldn’t be any kind of withdrawal, but also that I shouldn’t stop the drug because I needed it. They know I needed it because it had been prescribed to me, and it wouldn’t have been prescribed to me if I didn’t need it.
    I heard Kevin Federline’s lawyer make this argument the other day about Britney Spears and the conservatorship. It was so grotesque. The lawyer basically said, “well, we heard in the court testimony that Britney had been prescribed lithium, and lithium is only prescribed to people with serious mental problems, so the fact that she was prescribed lithium proves that she has serious mental problems, so maybe she should still have a conservatorship because of course she has serious mental problems because she took lithium.” This is a *lawyer* making the most ridiculously circular argument that makes no sense and is so transparently about Kevin Federline’s greed, and yet I bet plenty of people who saw that quote in the news didn’t even question the logic.

  • I agree, there are many cult-like things about some of these therapies, particularly DBT. I believe that there are many DBT therapists who actually mean well, but the problem is that they are blind to all the highly problematic aspects of the treatment they’re peddling. Charismatic leader? Check. Its own little language with a bunch of acronyms? Check. And just like in cults, if anyone questions the hierarchy or tries to call them out for not following their own precious rules, it is turned into a problem with the person posing the question.
    I watch the documentary on that NXIVM cult and it did very much remind me of DBT.

  • “…too frightening to be acknowledged”

    I agree, they can’t admit the truth because the truth is so horrible and implicates the drug manufacturers, the drug prescribers, and the FDA as well as all the other parties that go along with it and don’t speak up (like DBT therapist who make you mark on your diary card skipping meds as a problem behavior. Like family members and assorted ‘concerned and well meaning people’ who don’t have anything better to say than, “did you take your medication today?”)
    When everyone who could be sued or charged with criminal behavior or have their license or professional status threatened…when all of those parties have retired or died, maybe then the truth will come out.

  • Wow, the kamikaze metaphor is so apt. And, yes, the fact that it gets blamed on a pre-existing mental illness makes it that much worse. The drugs are doing all this damage that no one can see and somehow it’s the patient’s job to prove what the drug is doing while the patient is severely compromised from the drug with everyone standing around them telling them it’s their mental illness…it’s enough to drive anyone crazy.

  • Yes, complete hypocrites. Unless they’re just also brainwashed and bathed in their confirmation bias that they don’t even understand that what they’re saying is pure b*******.
    I remember when they would teach those interpersonal effectiveness skills which were all about, what is your goal? What are you trying to achieve from this interaction? And every time I tried this with treatment providers and try to get them to hear me, believe me, give me credit that I wasn’t a complete idiot… I can’t remember a single time that it worked except for one instance where a DBT clinician said he would consider agreeing to something if I would do a ‘dear man” to him about it. So I did the stupid dear man and then he did the thing I was asking for but it was all staged. It was completely artificial. That was the only time it ever worked. And then their built-in answer is, if you did the dear man exactly as you were supposed to and you still didn’t achieve your goal, even if it was in an instance of dire need, they would shrug and say “oh well. The environment was too strong.”. Which basically means that whoever you had the interaction with had more power than you (and they had probably made up their mind before the interaction even started), which was the case of every interaction I ever had with a treatment provider.

  • Steve,
    Right, exactly. But I think in her mind, she still hadn’t ever heard anything like that…from a credible source. Only from a crazy, disgruntled malcontent of a patient. So it didn’t count. I would put $100 on that after that conversation she didn’t bother to Google it to see if maybe I actually knew what the hell I was talking about.

    These conversations with treatment providers and representatives of the system have always left me with feelings of profound shame even when I know that I’m correct and that I have a right to speak up for myself. I know that what I am saying is experienced as transgressive by them, as an affront, an accusation…no matter how much I apply my DBT-taught “interpersonal effectiveness skills.”. (I was always being pushed in DBT to use my GIVE skills, which is an acronym for be Gentle, act Interested, Validate the other person, and use an Easy Manner. I’m starting to see DBT more and more as a cult that presents itself as a therapy).
    I think the attitude is, who am I to try to educate them? Who am I to think I know more about these medications they’re prescribing then they do? Even though I am the one that’s been ingesting them, I’m the one that went through the withdrawal. That kind of education and first-hand experience doesn’t count in their minds.
    At this point I’m pretty much cut off from the option of seeking medical Care unless it’s some dire life or death situation. I’m never going to get anything but more of the same from doctors in the system. They will continue to call me crazy, paranoid, non-compliant, lacking judgment etc etc. The fact that I am 55 now and I’m already in extremely bad shape physically makes it a terrifying situation.

  • I watched the video and, of course, agree completely with with the premise and I recognize the dire need to get this information to reach the general public in any way possible. I also understand the legal necessity for a disclaimer, but it’s very painful to hear the suggestion over and over again not to stop prescription psychiatric drugs without the support of a prescriber. I have never had a prescriber in my 35 years I spent as a psych patient who either acknowledged that I had good reason to want to get off the drugs or acknowledged that I would probably go through a withdrawal syndrome. The last drug that I got off, cymbalta… The withdrawal was a living hell. Worse than any of the other drugs that I got off of and I have been on dozens of antidepressants, antipsychotics mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. The last contact I had with the medical profession was a video appointment with a rheumatologist. When I told her that I had taken myself off cymbalta and gave her the reasons for it, she told me that I had made a mistake:. That cymbalta is a safe and effective drug, that she’s never had a patient who had problems with cymbalta as I described. I pointed out to her that there have been class action lawsuits against the makers of cymbalta because there is no warning when doctors prescribe this drug of what patients will go through if and when they tried to get off of it. She told me she never heard of a class action lawsuit against the makers of cymbalta. She didn’t say that she would look into it. She just said she had never heard of anything like that. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where you could go to your prescriber and be honest with them about why you want to get off the drug they prescribed and then get support from them around it. As far as any experience I have ever had with this healthcare System, that’s just a fairy tale.

  • I’m already seeing the backlash against Britney Spears over this. Apparently there are many people who don’t like the fact that now she’s being heard and supported.
    People defending the conservatorship, calling her immature because she wrote an Instagram caption about how she felt, people saying that the “mentally ill” are very manipulative and that unless someone has a “mentally ill” person in their family they don’t understand what a horrible situation that is… for the family.
    I’m very happy for Britney and anyone else who may ultimately be helped by this — by the new attention being given to how abusive conservatorships can be. Maybe conservatorship laws will change. As far as psychiatry and the mental health system, which are really at the root of this, I’ve lost hope for anything changing. I’ve lost hope of being heard by anyone who is actually in a position to provide help or support to me. I’m sick of it.

  • According to this — the conservatee gets reported by her conservators to the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist is the person who inflicts the punishment for her “lack of compliance” (like say refusing to do a dance move). That makes the psychiatrist the abuser in chief. And this is okay with people. The doctor who took an oath to do no harm is the person in this system who gets paid to inflict the punishment. In that case the people who receive the abuse from the psychiatrist should not be called patients. Come up with another word, like inmate or convict (convicted of what? Convicted of needing help). What a disgusting system.

  • “People have gone to great lengths to escape psychiatry and obliterate it from their lives. They have fled from places, lived in anonymity and isolation…”

    Yes, I think it’s important to make that clear, to state it and re-state it, especially to the many people who are completely clueless about why it might be necessary for an ex-psych patient to move or go into hiding. And they may need to do this without any social support and when their bodies and minds have been badly compromised by drugging and other forms of psychiatric torture.
    I think that deserves a bit of respect.
    And, as O.O. pointed out, the experience of being a psych patient is an education and what we have learned in that “schooling” should be respected as well. Instead it’s not even acknowledged by most people.

  • There was a New York Times article a while back on the topic of privilege. For reasons I can’t remember now, I posted a comment under the article saying that I believed that being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and everything that followed from that, erased a lot of the privilege I had as a white, middle class, college educated woman.
    Someone replied to my comment, saying that I did have white privilege and that I should recognize that if were a person of color, I would be “dead or in prison”.
    I found it really interesting that this commenter assumed that because I had a diagnosis of borderline that I must be some type of criminal, and assumed that because I was white and middle class, instead of being convicted of that criminal behavior and sent to prison, I was “gifted” with psychiatric treatment instead.
    It’s true that there are some crimes that are closely associated with borderline personality. The ones that come immediately to mind are stalking, illicit drug use, property damage, and, of course, home invasion and boiling other people’s pet rabbits.
    Of course, these, and all, crimes are committed by a wide range of people with and without a borderline diagnosis. A fan of true crime, I’ve also seen several cases where a person is diagnosed with borderline personality or some other mental illness *after* they have committed a violent crime. Sometimes the diagnosis is put forth by the defense, other times by the prosecution. What does it all mean? It’s all pretty silly and irrational.
    I think a better approach would be to leave psychiatric diagnoses out of it (since it’s true that they are fuzzy), to put people who commit crimes through the judicial system, and leave people who don’t commit crimes alone — let them keep their rights, even if you don’t like their personalities.

  • “…FDA cannot ban the use of electric shock on intellectually disabled people because federal law restricts the agency from interfering with the practice of medicine, which is regulated by states.”

    Does the court really see use of the shock device as “the practice of medicine”? This is terrifying, especially considering that the FDA banned the device…the same FDA that sees no need to regulate ECT machines.

  • Psychiatry and psychology have not been in a state of civil war. In fact they’ve been in bed together for decades. If I had a dollar for every time I was told, well you need therapy but you need to be medicated so that the medication will get you in enough shape to be able to do the therapy. The psychiatrist would send me to the therapist and the therapist would send me back to the psychiatrist and they all made a good bit of money off of me and then tossed me away. Borderline personality disorder, a diagnosis made up by psychiatrists. The treatment for borderline personality, DBT, a treatment made up by psychologists. Oh yeah you need to be mindful but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking the antipsychotics antidepressants and mood stabilizers your doctor is prescribing. Use your wise mind! It’s nothing but a good cop bad cop routine at best.

  • I agree, it’s not feasible or practical and I don’t really expect any form of reparations or justice. What I do want and also need is palliative care, but I don’t think I’ll get that either. My life would be bearable if there was some acknowledgment that the damage I have suffered has left me with severe disability and chronic pain. It sure would be nice if there were a doctor anywhere who would believe me about all the harm that I suffered and the degree of my disability and pain and then provide medical treatment based on that. Based on the idea that I have suffered severe damage and need help now for the rest of my life. I don’t believe I can recover from the damage certainly not with out a great deal of help and it doesn’t seem there is any help. What I would like is some of treatment and support that acknowledges the damage so that I can survive and not live in fear every day of what is going to happen to me. But I guess I won’t even get that and if it comes to it that I am afraid of winding up in a nursing home or some kind of residential care for the rest of my life I’ll definitely think about killing myself.

  • I wonder, will the information about psychiatry, psych drugs and iatrogenic harm lead to offers of palliative care for those who have been severely harmed? My timing was bad. I was in high school when Reagan was president (my suicide attempts were chalked up to my being a spoiled brat looking for attention), then came Prozac, the atypical antipsychotics, the ADD drugs and all the other “miracle” drugs. When I didn’t respond to those I got ECT then more drugs than TMS then more drugs as I was consistently blamed for not getting better after all the “help”/spit out of the system/denied treatment for my increasingly severe physical problems. Psychiatric treatment was like a tsunami over my life… It left nothing untouched, nothing unharmed. At 55, I wonder how much longer I will live, and how bad things will get before the end. I want and believe I deserve palliative care. But so far no doctor or treatment provider has taken me seriously when I say that. When I dared voice my desire for euthanasia I was told to stop being ridiculous and provocative. I live in fear of what will happen. I have no one in my life, no friends or family, no emergency contact. I often think that the silent message is that I should actually kill myself rather than become a bigger burden on the system and spend the rest of my life warehoused somewhere, from the moment I can’t take care of myself. People who have been harmed by the system deserve to be heard, believed and offered whatever help they need so that they might have some quality of life and not have to live in fear. I won’t hold my breath but that is what should happen if there were any justice.

  • Thanks rebel, yes I have done that I have renounced psychiatry. In doing so I lost what was left of my family and friends because they all support psychiatry and were completely invested in the “fact” of my mental illness. 3 months ago I cut off contact with my 84-year-old mother, who I haven’t seen in 10 years anyway, because she wouldn’t stop saying “you’re mentally ill”. I’m going to be 55 and I suffer from severe damage from ECT TMS decades of polypharmacy the trauma of psych hospitalizations (I added it up in my head once and it comes out that I’ve spent close to 5 years of my life in one locked psych ward or another). I go to a non-clinical peer support center the 3 days a week that they are open and the rest of the time I’m alone. I get what little joy is still available to me and part of that comes from news that in fact the whole world is nuts.

  • I have to admit it cheers me up in a perverse way hearing about how messed up the world is. All my life, it was drummed into my head by my entire family and by the mental health system what a failure I was, what a crazy stupid hopelessly mentally ill borderline loser of a person who got tons and tons of help and despite that just kept getting worse. The world was never the problem. I was the problem. If I had just grown up and gotten with the program and used my coping skills and was mindful and listened to my doctors and was compliant with my medication and took some responsibility and lowered my expectations and worked harder and stuck my face in ice water and basically just STFU then everything would be rosy. And when I failed at that it was look who needs more ECT. Because I was human and had a reaction to family members dying and having breakdowns. Human when I shouldn’t have been. The fact that I’m fully disabled and alone is my fault according to the powers that be. Ha ha guess it’s not just me after all.

  • The idea that psychiatry has advanced, become legitimate, or science-based, or more compassionate/humane,… That it’s goals and procedures are any different than they were at any point in the past…an idea which seems to be widely accepted in the public sphere: this idea makes psychiatry that much more dangerous.

    Whenever I hear or see the messaging, “if you feel suicidal, depressed, anxious, blah blah blah…don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is help available” I want to shout, “Do be afraid to ask for help. Be very afraid.”

  • [email protected], everything you said is spot on. Maybe a person has to directly experience this level of abuse to believe that 1) it’s really that bad and 2) it’s not uncommon for patients with psych diagnoses to be victims of this type of treatment from the “health care system”. I’ve been accused of playing the victim in numerous similar scenarios and told to “get over it” in one way or another by many people (“but you’re off the meds now so you’re fine”). To me it’s just another element of the gaslighting.

    I’ve moved twice to escape my medical “rap sheet” that included all the classic words like borderline, drug addiction, non-compliance, lack of insight, etc. And I do, also, avoid the medical system like a plague because I don’t want anything on my records here in the event that I break a bone or have some type of accident that that requires immediate medical attention. If I show up in the ER at any point, I don’t want them to know who I am. I don’t want them to know anything about me. That’s the best chance I’ll have to get whatever medical treatment I require.
    That statement, “don’t go running to the ER every time…” is so classic. There’s so much wrong with that statement…I’m glad you fired her. So many doctors are very practiced and very skilled at blaming everything on the patient, to the point that any move the patient makes is “wrong”.

  • Thanks, Sam. Yes, it was more about the Dr.
    The comment has stayed with me because it was a Dr that I thought, at one point, really cared about me and had made time for me, talked to me about writing, given me a couple of books. In that conversation, which was the last conversation I ever had with her, as she was leaving that clinic and I was also being discharged. I felt like she had given up on me.
    But I also thought, how unscientific… To think that the amount of time we’ve actually spent together where she was able to observe my behavior that she could form a conclusion about what I am like on and off Abilify. And she had some way of course to exclude all other variables. If I had ever made a blanket generalized statement like that, I would have been prodded to use my skills, check the facts, stop judging, not succumb to black and white thinking etc. But the doctor could get away with it and not be challenged.

  • Rebel, I’ve also seen how other doctors in healthcare systems — say, rheumatologists or primary care doctors — seem to not only accept psychiatry as a legitimate field of medicine, but will often bring it up in situations that they don’t have an answer for, which is a lot of situations. All of the autoimmune diseases and many other illnesses of course have effects on a person’s mental state. That’s common sense. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a physical basis to the illness that needs to be addressed. Having both a borderline diagnosis and a fibromyalgia diagnosis, I was always being pushed back towards psychiatry in interactions with these other doctors.

    I hope I’m making some sense. I’m having a lot of trouble anymore just putting a sentence together.
    Anyway, I agree that it does not bode well for healthcare that other fields of medicine accept psychiatry as valid. It makes me lose respect for all doctors. If they don’t know that psychiatry is based on junk science, what else don’t they know?

  • Agreed…the question being asked, without any offer of help if the answer is yes, leads to more harm.

    The last time I was in a hospital CIU, and I hope the last time ever I am in any hospital CIU, I’d been brought there by the police after making some statements regarding suicide and euthanasia in an email to a clinician who ran a trauma/DBT program I’d been trying to get into for 2 years. The last thing I had heard from anyone in the program was, in a call they made to me, they said that they were preparing a letter to send to me that would outline the steps I would need to take to gain entry to the program. Several weeks went by. I never received a letter and my calls and emails were ignored. But the email I eventually sent in which I asked for euthanasia was not ignored

    That night two police arrived at my door and put me in an ambulance to the CIU. I was kept there for approximately one day during which time I didn’t eat, listened to a lot of screaming and did some screaming myself, was called an animal by a psych tech, and was told by a nurse that the things I had said in in the email to the clinician were “very provocative” and that I must be “possessed” to say those things.

    When I started screaming after being there overnight, they sent four male security guards into the room. The guards all watched while a nurse made me lie on the bed and shot me in the ass with a needle full of something.

    At some point during that horrific stay, a student nurse came in and asked me if I’d been sexually abused as a child. I just stared at her.

    They discharged me without so much as a taxi ride home. I walked home alone in the dark.

  • I was already being called non-compliant at that point, and that entire interaction was a set up for more accusations from my treatment providers, and more notes in my medical record about my non-compliance. My choice at that point was either to take this high dose of a drug that I knew then was making me feel horrible and then I understand now is causing akathisia, and to deal with the horrible feeling completely on my own because no one would believe me that it was coming from the medication. (The same psychiatrist had recently done a presentation at a conference on borderline personality disorder. Her presentation was about how Abilify healed the part of the patient’s brain that was broken and that was making them “behave borderline”. She was fully invested in the safety and effectiveness of this drug.) Or to demonstrate once again that I was a non-compliant patient, which is a loaded term.
    The term non-compliant, and the way it is wielded by treatment providers, shines a light on the fact that there is really no such thing as shared decision making. In my experience, non-compliant means, the patient disagrees and, also in my experience, disagreeing is a treatment interfering behavior.

  • My experience of shared decision making is as follows:

    Psychiatrist:. “I need to renew your abilify prescription. What dose of Abilify do you think helps you the most?”

    Me: “I’ve never seen any benefit from taking Abilify. In fact I think it makes things worse. I feel very agitated when I take it.”

    Psychiatrist: “I’ve seen you off Abilify. I’m prescribing 15 mg a day.”. Psychiatrist then indicates that the conversation is over.

  • LOL. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of anyone “hurling” a bingo chip. Seems to defy the laws of physics. Like hurling a feather.
    Jokes aside, though, this is terrifying and also unsurprising. I was sent to a nursing home/rehab after badly fracturing an ankle and requiring surgery. I was sent from the hospital post surgery to this nursing home and they discharged me to a third floor apartment where I lived alone months before I was allowed to put any weight on the injured foot. If I needed to leave the apartment I would have to crawl down the stairs. After they told me they were discharging me, I was terrified and stressed out because I knew I would be alone and trapped in that apartment and I was already afraid of my neighbors. Then the day before discharge they told me they were stopping my Dilaudid and Ativan which I’d been getting at high doses. They called it a taper but it was clearly not. It was cold turkey. I had an outburst which they said by law required them to call for an ambulance to take me back to the hospital where I had the surgery and where I’d already been abused, for a psych evaluation. I was kept overnight at this Hospital in the CIU. I explained the situation that led to my outburst and the nurse nodded but they didn’t do anything to help. In fact they made it worse. The next day I was discharged from that CIU and sent by ambulance once again back to the rehab / nursing home only for them to discharge me 2 hours later. The whole thing is a s*** show. I live in fear of the day I can’t take care of myself anymore. The day I came back to my apartment from the rehab, my neighbor called the police on me. She called 911 and said she heard arguing and gunshots in my apartment. I was there alone. What a nightmare.

  • I love how this gets so much attention all the sudden when it’s about an Alzheimer’s drug. What about the other desperate and vulnerable populations? Like psych patients. People like me who endured horrible trauma their entire childhood and then got rewarded for surviving that by being laughed at abused labeled drugged incarcerated restrained brain shocked and spit out by the helping system. The FDA has been approving psych drugs for decades and then the patients get blamed when their compliance in taking the drugs leads directly to hell if they’re even given any choice in the matter.
    After decades of poly-drugging and other interference like electric shock I was spit out . Can’t go to a doctor. Can’t get therapy. I just have to survive now. Suddenly the fda’s failures and corruption is front Page News. But nothing about the miracle drugs they approved in the 1990s and forward along with the lie that they cured mental illness because they discovered it was all about a chemical imbalance. Nothing about that and all the lives destroyed in mainstream media.

  • Steve, I agree absolutely. I think there’s something behind the need many people seem to have to attack anyone who talks about psych drugs causing damage. I mostly stick to websites like MIA now. I just happened upon those comments after a YouTube video that was only tangentially related. I have found that sometimes MIA is the only place I can find validation. Maybe my own views have changed to where I now believe that the system cannot be reformed, that its inherent inherently corrupt and engages in practices that violate human rights. I didn’t think that even a couple years ago.

  • Thanks, Steve. I know you’re right. It’s just hard to see it sometimes. I was reading through some comments about a YouTube video. Someone made a comment about psych drugs — just about how dangerous they are, and that she personally knows several people who’ve been really damaged by the drugs. I think the comment mentioned something about school shooters and the correlation between that and being on psych drugs. So many people attacked her. I was surprised by the level of vitriol directed at her just for expressing this opinion. People telling her that she needed to be medicated and that she was not in touch with reality. And then there was a comment from “a professional” (psych nurse I think) saying that the problem is that the drugs “take a few months to work” and that people stop taking them before they kick in and that’s the tragedy…that people go off the drugs too soon, the drugs that would fix their “mental imbalance”. People said that to me for years — that I hadn’t given the drugs enough of a chance.
    There was one comment from a person who said that she had been harmed by the drugs, but there were at least 10 commenters who were ready to fight about how wonderful the drugs are and that anybody who thinks that they’re dangerous must need to be on them. Sometimes it does feel like we’re going in the wrong direction.

  • Steve,
    Yes, the actual ways these drugs are pushed/forced on people gets completely ignored here. I can’t with these articles. They’re so out of touch with reality. I don’t think anything is changing or will change, except to keep getting worse. I held on to the delusion that my voice mattered, that anyone would care about what I experienced or my thoughts on it… I held on to that delusion way too long. My family doesn’t care or believe me. My friends who are all gone didn’t care or believe me. No one in the system cares or believes me. What’s the point.

  • Reading this makes me feel even more hopeless than I already did. There’s so much wrong here. I don’t even have the energy to list everything that’s wrong here and I’m coming to realize that it makes no difference. Whatever an ex-patient has to say about this ridiculousness falls on deaf ears. For starters, though, this article seems to assume that antipsychotics are only prescribed/forced on patients who are currently experiencing psychosis. This is patently untrue. I have personally witnessed many cases of antipsychotics being prescribed by treatment providers who have a problem dealing with patient anger. Not psychosis, anger.
    Why would a patient being treated in (trying to survive) this system be angry? Huge mystery. Huge.

  • To be clear, no one should be diagnosed with any psychiatric “illness”. They’re all made up.
    I did find that after my diagnosis was changed from “depression” to “borderline personality”, the treatment I received both within and outside of treatment settings was much worse. The diagnosis gave my awful family ammunition against me, “friends” started treating me like an alien, and of course the treatment from treatment providers, especially in psych wards, was horrendous. I was treated like a criminal. It was a 15-year-long terrifying experience from which I don’t think I’ll ever recover. I don’t see people or the world the same as before I had that diagnosis, and I grew up in an abusive and dysfunctional household, so I was no stranger to difficulty. I don’t trust people anymore. I have so much PTSD from the treatment. I keep to myself out of fear that the cycle will start all over again. It’s a terrible ordeal to put anyone through, diagnosing them with this so-called disorder. I believe psychiatrists are well aware of what they are doing when they make this diagnosis. Clearly they are well aware of the potential for deleterious outcomes. They seem not to care about anyone in their care.

  • Sam,

    Exactly. No one should be given this diagnosis. As the author states, the diagnosis itself is associated with deleterious outcomes. The problem is not that any particular segment of people are getting diagnosed with borderline. The problem is that anyone is getting diagnosed with borderline. This single word has the potential to destroy a life. I know. It happened to me. As you said, Sam, articles like this one implicitly perpetuate the fiction that there is such a thing as borderline personality and that it’s okay to diagnose it in those that actually “deserve it”. It’s not okay to do this to anyone.

  • Oldhead,

    Yes, that’s been my experience.
    After ECT which was followed by a borderline diagnosis (“you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”), I wound up in a DBT program at the Yale IOP building. The whole building was devoted to people getting intensive Outpatient Care for whatever “psychiatric” problems they were having. The building had at one point been a morgue. It was built as a morgue. When Yale made it the home of their intensive outpatient program, there was no major renovation, so it was pretty easy to see how the building had functioned before. In the back parking lot there was a ramp that went down to a large door to the basement. Stuff like that. Most of the groups and the “morning meeting” were held on the ground floor. The DBT program was on the basement level, where the bodies used to come and go from. It was bleaker than the main floor, and windowless.
    I looked at that as a pretty good metaphor for how borderline is seen in mental health settings. Borderline patients are the stigmatized of the stigmatized.

    There’s also the whole deal with the DSM Axis 1 and Axis 2 categories (the personality disorders being classified as Axis 2 diagnoses, whereas things like depression and anxiety are on Axis 1). Of course it’s all made up, but I believed in it for long enough, and “complied with treatment” for long enough that I sustained some pretty severe damage, and caused it as well.

  • Kindred spirit, I agree completely. After three and a half decades of hell, not help, as a patient in the mental health system, I do not see myself and would be delusional to see myself as a victim of cracks in the system. Over dependence on drugs is not a crack in the system, it’s a result of a clear financial benefit for multiple parties (obviously not the patient). I would argue that it is the prescribers, the drug makers and the other players in the system who benefit financially from polypharmacy and chemical imbalance bogus theories, who have an over dependence on drugs and the money it puts in their pockets.

  • Yes. I think borderline is basically when a person is surrounded by people who need to project all their negativity unto someone and a borderline gets chosen, like the hen that the other hands peck to death. Once a person has that diagnosis there is no correct response to anything. There is no correct way to be. You can’t get angry you can’t get sad and depressed and suicidal you can’t give up you can’t defend yourself you can’t disagree. There is no right answer once you have that label. Looking back I see it as a form of psychological torture. The treatment that I got made it impossible for me to have any kind of relationship with another person. Of course any of my former treatment providers would say that’s because I’m so mentally ill and because I didn’t comply with treatment etc but it’s because of the damage the system did to me on top of the damage from my childhood which was never addressed.

  • “Would any empathic professional who disagreed with colleagues on a fundamental level choose the existing side-show being made of another’s life as the arena to air it? How would this be understood by everyone there?”

    I believe that when the patient’s diagnosis is borderline personality disorder and particularly in an inpatient setting where, in my experience, there is more blatant hostility and dismissiveness toward people with this diagnosis, if a staff member/colleague speaks up in defense of the patient/makes an effort to humanize the patient in the eyes of colleagues, this can lead to more harm and be blamed on the patient. In my understanding this is what the term “splitting” is about and how it gets applied in a way that blames the patient for any disagreement among the psychiatric staff. The concept of splitting always bothered me because I used to be told on many occasions that no one could make me behave in any way that I didn’t want to behave and no one can make me feel any way — that my emotions and my behavior were completely up to me. But a “borderline” gets accused of splitting, which in my understanding is a fancy way of saying that the borderline “makes” the staff fight amongst themselves or “makes” staff angry at each other. Looking back, it’s no wonder to me that the more treatment I had the sicker I got.

  • Hi, Bananas,
    There is an organization called The Wildflower Alliance (formerly called the recovery learning Center) in Western Massachusetts that offers community and some support services for people with “lived experience”, which can include experience as a psych patient but could also include other experiences involving trauma, hardship (such as homelessness or addiction) or any kind of discrimination. There are a couple of other agencies in this area that have similar missions — they are all under an umbrella organization called “The Consortium”.
    The Wildflower Alliance has four or five drop-in centers around Western Mass. One is in Springfield. A lot of things they offer have moved online now because of Covid, but during pre-Covid times, I understand, the centers were pretty lively with lots of groups happening and different events.
    I’ve only been in western Mass for a few months and because of my age, my history and how long standing my own issues are and how much damage Psychiatry has done, lately I’ve been feeling like whatever services or community is available it is too late for me to really take advantage of it and turn my life around. However I think that for someone who is younger and maybe not in as dire straits as I am, it could be a really good community to be a part of. Had I known something like this existed decades ago, I definitely would have utilized it. I feel like I grew up in the dark ages and some events that happened very early on in my life when people didn’t talk about trauma and abuse the way they do now and when there was no internet kind of sealed my fate. I have an adult child who hates me and has cut me out of his life and that’s pretty devastating.
    I moved here alone, not knowing anyone . I’m not good at making friends and too sick to work, but I can see how a younger person could really benefit from a community like this because it offers a counter narrative to the medical model and that’s something I never had access to. No one ever questioned what the doctors were telling me about what was wrong with me and why I needed to be on so many drugs and why I needed to be locked up and restrained and how my experience as a child didn’t matter. Everyone around me – friends family treatment providers – agreed that it was my fault I wasn’t getting better. So now that I know the truth about the drugs and the lie of psychiatry that’s a double-edged sword because there’s really nothing I can do about it and there’s still no doctor who would listen to me or believe me about all the damage done to me and my life by psychiatry.
    I am glad though that I got out of Danbury Connecticut because that place is a hell hole and the staff at Danbury Hospital is extremely abusive and the police are pretty awful too. The last year or so that I was in Danbury I lived in fear of ever winding up at Danbury Hospital again for any reason because of the abuse I experienced there. So I’m glad to be away from that.

  • Everything you say here rings so true to me. I have experienced everything you describe and continue to experience it, even in communities that profess to understand and honor people with “lived experience”. I guess I have too much lived experience – more than three and a half decades worth – and I’ve seen the worst that this horrible system has to offer. The labeling the gas lighting the restraints the ridiculous drugging like they’re trying to subdue a wild animal ECT TMS and then threats of more ECT if I can’t paste a smile on my face and “use my skills” while going through absolute hell with no support system at all. I lost everything, my home, my job, my ability to work, any sense I ever had a safety or belonging. Of course I lost my physical health because who can stay physically healthy when they’re being made you take toxic drugs and ridiculous amounts for decades. Everything I had worked so hard to achieve was ripped away from me when they decided I was borderline and that’s why I didn’t get better after ECT. There is no justice for us.
    I saw a Netflix documentary the other day called The Crime of the Century about what Purdue pharma did to create the opiate epidemic and how Purdue and the other drug makers were enabled by the FDA by the medical community by the criminal justice system, they all benefited while people were dying. I wonder when will we get our documentary. Probably never. Is Psychiatry any less of a crime? They do all the same things. And it’s mostly the same players who benefit while patients suffer. And just like Purdue tried to spin this narrative that the problem was not their drug the problem was the people who abused it, that those people were dirt. Psychiatry is no different. Anyone who was harmed by psych drugs gets slandered and defamed and blamed and shamed and discarded. Oh she’s not better after all those druggings after all that help? Well she must be treatment resistant and non-compliant and have lack of insight into how mentally ill she really is and she needs to get with the program and comply and listen to her doctors. I’m alone in this world which is exactly what a DBT therapist predicted. But I am not going to shut up. I kept silent for decades. It got me nowhere just more abuse. Why does the entire medical system stand behind these people who drug and label so carelessly so irresponsibly? They are all complicit.

  • These recommendations put all responsibility for coming off and staying off psych drugs on the patient. If the patient has trouble finding a doctor who is willing to listen to the patient, provide informed consent, and/or support the patient in the often extremely arduous, painful, and sometimes life threatening process of coming off prescribed drugs, then the patient needs to keep looking for a doctor who will do these things which is like finding a needle in a haystack, or the patient needs to find a book or a website for support. Not everyone has a support system in place for something like this. Often people wind up in psychiatric treatment simply because they have no support in their life, because they have been traumatized and are afraid of people. Not everyone has the capacity to carry out these suggestions. When a person is bedridden, as I was during cymbalta withdrawal, it’s very hard to shop for healthy food and prepare healthy meals.
    I can attest that during the 1990s and early 2000s, when many new psych drugs came out and were being touted as miracle cures, there was absolutely no information or indication of how dangerous these drugs could be and there was no suggestion that stopping the drugs could be dangerous. I was prescribed one drug after another for 6 years by a psychiatrist who didn’t keep any records of what he was prescribing to me. It’s all a blur of Prozac Paxil Klonopin Wellbutrin Effexor Zoloft Adderall. And then I was labeled with treatment resistant depression and sent for ECT treatments. Then I was labeled with borderline.
    The best thing a person can do is avoid psychiatry all together and these suggestions prove it. If you never go on the drugs in the first place you don’t have to worry about how you will get off the drugs. Things like eating healthy foods, exercising, spending time outdoors and with animals… these can all be done without the help of psychiatry.

  • Yes, sometimes when I think about the all the ways Psychiatry harms and gets away with it, all the invisible unprovable damage they cause to people they purport to help, it seems like some kind of sick genius to me, committing The perfect crime over and over again and profiting from it over and over again. But I’ve met enough of these people to know that there’s no genius going on here, they’ve just stumbled into something, and they probably realize at the same time how lucrative and how horrible it is and keep doing it because the former is a bigger priority.

  • One psychiatrist I saw for six years, once a week for 50 minutes and who I paid out of pocket (I was a secretary and a single mother), was Yale educated, still Yale affiliated, lived in a rich suburb of New Haven, was the Commodore of the New Haven Yacht Club, prescribed a ridiculous amount of drugs over that six year period, beginning with Prozac and ending with Adderall, everything from Klonopin to Wellbutrin to Paxil in between, kept no records of the treatment, not even of the drugs he had prescribed, then passed me on for “a consultation” with a psychiatrist who recommended ECT (I was already well on my way to hell, this was just the beginning).
    When I found out the psychiatrist had kept no records for 6 years, I spoke up. I contacted the American Psychiatric Association and tried to file a complaint. They claim to you done nothing wrong. The psychiatrist to suggested the ECT claimed that the first psychiatrist and not keeping any records “was trying to protect you”. No one was trying to protect me. No one made any effort to protect me. But plenty of people protected him Mr Commodore of the yacht club who was too busy commodoring the yachts to bother writing down what drugs he was prescribing. And speaking up earned me a new diagnosis:. Borderline personality disorder.
    It’s all political.

  • Exactly, Willoweed, You said it better than I could have.
    Back when I was in the throes of DBT treatment for borderline personality, which got diagnosed after a series of ECT treatments did nothing to help my “treatment resistant depression” and caused memory loss problems to the extent that I could no longer work, I had a neighbor who also had a diagnosis but had managed to keep a full-time job and had a pretty extensive social network and support system. For a long time I thought that she was my friend until I realized that she wasn’t. Over the years she saw me being excluded in all kinds of ways, denied opportunities and left out of social engagements. I spent every holiday alone. After another stint in the psych ward I was always sent home in a cab because there was never anyone to call for a ride. She said to me one day, “I try to pass for normal.”. I believe the subtext was that if I tried harder to “pass for normal” then I would be more welcome in society. It was something I had to earn by being less obviously in pain. I’ve now stopped trying. I’ve been considered an outcast for so long, and even if it was possible for me to “rate” a place in society again, society isn’t worth it.

  • Thank you, rebel, for your earlier response, and this one. Thank you for helping me see a different perspective on moving away. I hope I can come to see it at some point in a more positive light.
    It makes complete sense that you fear any kind of medication. I fear them too. I fear the people working in the medical system just as much. What your neighbor said about the local hospital is so telling. Sometimes I wonder if the problem is that the general public doesn’t know what goes on in psych hospitals or that they don’t care. Now I’m leaning towards the latter. I’ve heard comments like this before from people about different psych hospitals. You’re right it is a kind of prison. The fact that any of it is ever packaged as some kind of help or treatment for an illness makes the situation that much more maddening.
    Thank you again for your perspective and encouragement. I meant to say more but am having trouble putting words together at the moment.

  • The term “refugee” has come to my mind at times when I consider my situation. I understand that using that term may be self-indulgent, victim-y, and disrespectful toward actual refugees. I think of it in terms of the fact that I had to pick up and move twice as a direct result of my being a mental health patient. The first time I had to leave was because there had been too many ambulances, with police of course, and often the fire department at my door to take me to the psych ward. This happened over and over again after the ECT treatments and borderline diagnosis and while I was being drugged with what I now understand to be brain disabling drugs. There was one incident when the police had my apartment number wrong and were preparing to break down my neighbor’s door. My neighbor did not take kindly to that. They often showed up with flashing lights and sirens on and it got to the point after I had been taken away between 10 and 20 times in the space of a few years that my neighbors made it clear to me that I was not wanted there.

    The second time I had to move was because of a string of incidents with the local police and the local hospital. The message from the police on multiple occasions was that they viewed me as a criminal and someone who should not expect to be treated with the same rights as a “regular citizen”. At one point I was interrogated in my apartment by two police, at length, when I had done nothing wrong, and in fact someone else – a neighbor – had made a false 911 call alleging that someone in the building was being held at knifepoint. I hadn’t seen or spoken to anyone all day, I’d been in my apartment and I’d been quiet and yet that did not protect me from having the police in my home, searching it, making all kinds of accusations, and demanding to know “why I looked so upset”.
    That was one of multiple incidents with law enforcement. The other main reason I felt unsafe in that apartment was that I knew if I had any kind of a medical emergency I would be taken to a local hospital where I had already been abused on multiple occasions, sometimes when I was there for so-called mental health reasons and other times for physical issues like broken bones. I lived in fear of winding up in that hospital again. I also lived with the constant worry that one of my neighbors would call 911 and say that I was acting strange. Based on their past behavior this was not an unreasonable fear.
    I moved to another state and I’m trying to keep my “record clean”, which means not seeing a doctor even if I feel very ill. I would have moved even farther away if I had had the means.
    I wasn’t forced to leave either of those places.
    I chose to leave because I felt unsafe. Refugee is probably not the right word. Maybe exile or outcast is more apt.

  • I wish I’d had the knowledge that I have now about psychiatry 15 years ago, when I consented to ECT as a fix for my “treatment resistant depression”. After the last in a course of 10 or 12 ECT treatments, when I was suffering from severe short term memory deficits that were a direct result of ECT (prior to my consenting to the treatment, the psychiatrist assured me that memory loss was a very rare side effect of ECT, that none of his ECT patients had ever suffered memory loss), I had a short appointment with the doctor in his office, where he laid the following on me:. “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work. You need dialectical behavior therapy.”
    He didn’t offer any explanation beyond that and his tone and demeanor made clear that he was not open to questions from me. I went home and looked everything up online because I had never heard of borderline personality disorder or dialectical behavior therapy before. That day was the beginning of 15 years of hell.

  • This account tracks closely with my own experience. I spent years after ECT as a full time mental patient, and one of the most painful and dangerous things about the experience was that my family and friends – what the treatment providers call “natural supports” – either ignored me and my increasing disability, many outright abandoning me – or they believed what the doctors said about me, that I had a severe mental illness called borderline and needed to be drugged and hospitalized. Every “episode” I had was attributed to my “severe mental illness” and failure to “use your coping skills.”. More drugs were piled on, I was threatened with more ECT. I lost everything. No one talked about withdrawal syndromes or medication spellbinding or akathisia. I was repeatedly reminded to take my meds, or told to call my psychiatrist to ask about a “meds adjustment”, or sent to the ER, often escorted there by police.
    Today, at 54, I am extremely isolated and have given up hope that will ever change. I don’t see any kind of doctor for any reason. I am very lonely and sad and carry tons of shame. I’m afraid of people. My entire focus is on surviving and staying out of the hospital.

  • Your story is so disturbingly familiar. I had multiple psychiatrists over a 15 year stretch when I was being treated for borderline personality disorder. Some of the psychiatrists were just arrogant, demeaning and callous from the outset, but there were others who seemed pleasant, caring…a couple who even seemed to actually care about me as a person and who, I still believe, really wanted to see me doing well. The common denominator between all of them was that not one ever attributed my often extreme agitation, accompanied by suicide urges, to the drugs they were prescribing. Those episodes, which often landed me in the psych ward, were always put down to my “severe mental illness” and repeated “failure to utilize coping skills”. None of these doctors ever told me – or probably any of their patients – that the drugs they were prescribing could cause a not-rare condition called akathisia.
    In retrospect, I think the psychiatrists who seemed caring at the outset caused more pain than the ones who didn’t — I was devastated when they each, in turn, gave up on me. Now I feel a huge sense of betrayal and a lot of rage.

  • Thank you for raising awareness about this awful condition. Your work has the potential to reduce suffering and save lives.
    I spent decades in treatment for what was termed mental illness — first it was treatment resistant depression, after I didn’t get better despite a psychiatrist prescribing a large amount and variety of SSRIs and then Adderall. He sent me to another psychiatrist after six years of this drugging which he kept no records of. That psychiatrist said I was a good candidate for ECT, so I submitted to a course of ECT. When I became much more symptomatic after the ECT, that psychiatrist rediagnosed me with borderline personality. Once I had that diagnosis, the polypharmacy went into overdrive. It was no longer just an antidepressant. There was always an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer and or antipsychotic. The particular drugs and the doses of these drugs were constantly being changed as I got passed around between prescribers and as they grew frustrated with me, they would often up the dose of my antipsychotic. I remember now that I used to sit in the group sessions of an IOP DBT program I attended five times. There was one stretch when I felt so agitated every day during group that I would take a pen or marker and draw flowers in a notebook during the entire group session. I needed to do something with my hands because I felt so agitated and I was trying to stay in the room and be a good patient. One day another patient came up to me and mentioned my drawings. She said to me,. “Your flowers? That’s true crazy.”. She was right. Every flower looked like it was shaking, like it was having a seizure, like it was about to explode off its stem. I probably still have some of these drawings around. I don’t think I threw all of them out. But back then I had never heard the term akathisia. It was only a couple of years ago, on this website, where I learned what it is and realized that that’s what I was suffering from all those years.
    When Jill talked about people losing their family and friends over this condition, because from the outside it can appear that the person is just being willful (as they say in DBT), I felt that deeply. I lost so much. To this day I’m afraid to go to the doctor for any reason.

  • In my case, having been through what I’ve been through with the mental health system, having been denied medical care after being drugged and brain shocked (I was even coerced into “non invasive” tms treatments which it turns out is just as bad as ECT. The news just keeps getting worse, but I guess it explains why I can barely dress myself), I’m not afraid of Covid. They always leave borderlines out of this anyway, since no one really knows what it is beyond a way to scapegoat and gaslight a person.

  • Unfortunately, the ignorance/denial of the horrors of psych drug withdrawal is just one symptom of much larger problem: the predisposition of the large majority of treatment providers to discredit/deny the experience of the patient, as reported by the patient. The diagnoses – especially borderline, which I received after “failing to respond” to electroshock treatments, after trying advocate for myself upon learning that a psychiatrist who’d been drugging me for 6 years kept no records – are another symptom of the same problem:. the predisposition to discredit the patient. The denial of the impact of childhood trauma – yet another symptom. That psychiatry continues to deny the debilitating effect of both being on psych drugs and of withdrawing from these drugs – is really just par for the course.

  • Lisa, I am so sorry for how you were treated, and I’m grateful that you are here and that you had the strength to write this. Your last few paragraphs give me hope. Someday, I hope to have the courage and the strength to tell my story — there are many, many parallels — including that I was punished in various ways on multiple occasions for committing the “offense” of trying to advocate for myself. I want to re-read your post and will probably have more to comment, but for right now I just wanted to say thank you.

  • I wish I’d found this website, or something – some kind of literature – in time. I was lied to, and drugged, with what I now realize was so a huge amount and variety of psychiatric drugs that I’m astonished I can still form a sentence (but in many ways I realize I am horribly impaired), for 40+ years. Plus ECT. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, benzos, amphetamines… just a never ending trail of drugs. I didn’t know about akathisia. I’d never heard of it. The cycle went on for so long adding drugs, my functioning would get worse, I’d land in the psych ward, I’d be called non compliant, and other names, more drugs, more drugs. I’m 54 now, have been on SSDI for 10 years, and am literally completely alone in the world. I’ve lost everything including my health. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The immense cruelty of psychiatry is astounding.

  • Rebel, you said it very well. How many are in just this situation? “Regular” doctors don’t believe psych patients, much less former psych patients, and we have to live in fear of saying too much or saying the wrong thing for fear the doctors will send us back to the ones who caused all the damage in the first place. I’ve been in this exact situation for years. No one who hasn’t been through it understands that it can actually be dangerous for me to seek medical attention if any sort. My body always goes into a trauma response whenever I’m in a medical setting, and my blood pressure shoots up. It’s just an awful situation, particularly as I age and my health problems get worse.

  • I don’t understand this article. Traditional psychiatry is integrative psychiatry is holistic psychiatry? Well traditional psychiatry destroyed my mind, body and spirit so I’ll take a pass. Maybe it’s the brain damage from all of the brain shocks and the forced/coerced polypharmacy which always included antipsychotics but I don’t understand how one thing can also be it’s opposite. If it’s about breathing exercises and eating well and having boundaries and relationships — how is it psychiatry? Do people get diagnosed by integrative or holistic psychiatrists? I don’t understand it at all.

  • Thanks, Sam. I hope they are unhappy. That was one small event over 15 years of hell that I went through as “a mental patient with borderline”, or, as they like to call me, “a borderline”. I had been in treatment multiple times over the course of my life prior to the borderline diagnosis but the hellish dehumanizing treatment got much worse once I had that label. From the moment the Yale psychiatrist who had recommended ECT for “treatment resistant depression” told me, “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work” it was 15 years of absolute hell. I doubt I’ll ever recover from the damage they caused.

  • One of the last actions I took as a “mental patient with a borderline diagnosis” was to contact the office of a psychiatrist in my state who advertised himself as providing “holistic psychiatry”. I called and scheduled an appointment with him, for which there was a 2-month wait and for which I was willing to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket as he did not accept Medicare. I filled out the forms as instructed by his assistant and sent them back prior to my scheduled first appointment. The day before my first appointment, he had his assistant call me and canceled the appointment… Reason being, “he’s not taking any more borderline.”

    There’s no such thing as holistic psychiatry, or integrative psychiatry, or compassionate psychiatry. It’s all dehumanizing, othering, putting a label on the patient, putting the patient in their place. That’s what psychiatry does, and in the process, destroys lives, including mine.

  • Registered,
    I told them in that phone call that I didn’t need an appointment with the pain doctor and then I called and canceled my upcoming appointment with the rheumatologist (the referring doctor in the same system. I don’t know why I said neurologist in my earlier comment, it was a rheumatologist who referred me to the pain doctor, but I didn’t know she was doing that. I only made an appointment with her because I wanted her to order blood work, which even that I would have done on my own and looked into it, but paying out of pocket for blood work it turns out is very expensive) because of what the pain doctor’s office said. The rheumatologist did call me back and left a message asking me to call her so that we could “discuss your concerns”, and I give her credit for that. I don’t know what that conversation would have looked like but at that point I decided to move away and start up with new doctors in a different system. So I’ve gone from Connecticut to Western Massachusetts and already found a primary care doctor. Of course she wants my records from the other system and I already told her that they are going to contain derogatory things about me. She said she’d take it with a grain of salt.
    At the time that that demand was made, I didn’t even have a psychiatrist. I fired the last psychiatrist I had about 3 months prior to that phone call from the pain doctor’s office. So meeting the demand would have meant going out and finding another psychiatrist who would be willing to coordinate my appointment with the pain doctor, which I don’t even know what that means, like, at all. I just know that any attempt I made to meet their demand would have resulted in a s*** show and then that s*** show would have been blamed on me. That’s how it’s been for the last however many decades.

  • Yes, or in my case, it meant being referred to a pain doctor by my neurologist, and the pain doctor demanding that he would only grant me an appointment if it were “coordinated with your psychiatrist.”. When I asked why, the woman on the phone said, “because of some things in your file.”. I said I didn’t need an appointment with the pain doctor as I will never again have a psychiatrist and then called the rheumatologist office to reiterate what I had already said about being a psychiatric survivor. Coordinated care didn’t exist, for decades, and then it was finally implemented to show that they were all against me and I would never be believed.

  • Looking back at my, “time in treatment” (journey through hell), this dynamic makes so much sense and the realization makes me nauseous. I was familiar with the concept of the male gaze, but wasn’t strong enough/didn’t trust myself enough to make the connection.
    Most of the psychiatrists who were “treating” me were older men. I wonder if I became less interesting to them as I aged (following the ECT/borderline diagnosis/onset of polypharmacy, I aged quite rapidly). At a certain point, I became a freak to them. One of them whispered into my ear at the end of a “medication consult, “How many psychiatrists have you seen?” Ah, they are all gross, and I hope they do see some form of punishment.

  • I’m going to let myself off the hook for that last bit – believing credulous bullshit. I was never a customer of psychiatry, always a patient…. sometimes voluntary, often involuntary. I was intelligent enough to poke holes in the logic of what these people were saying to me – that (the speaking up) led directly to more abuse. The societal pressure to “listen to your doctors” and “be compliant” (nothing worse than an unmedicated, non compliant borderline running around, was the general feeling) was immense. I don’t think we should let anyone in a position of power off the hook (certainly not the FDA, which has done nothing to protect US citizens from these poisons they call psychiatric medications. But psychiatrists, as, technically, medical doctors, took an oath to do no harm and to put the well being of the patient above their own self interest, and in both of these they continue to fail miserably.

  • Great article and deconstruction of this interview. Thank you, Dr. Hickey.
    I wonder if these men ever tire of their own BS. I can’t imagine how exhausting it is, keeping up this ruse. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit… maybe it would only be exhausting for people who value honesty.
    As far as these *doctors’* failures/refusals to name the antipsychiatry miscreants who are causing the profession so much trouble…one obvious reason for the vagueness comes to mind. As Sam and others allude to, many of the people who are most outspoken about what a fraud psychiatry is are former psych patients. The drs can’t come right out and admit they have zero respect for patients even though they know damn well that the experience of being a psych patient is what led a large percentage of “troublemakers” to become vocal about what a fraud the profession is, to become vocal about the human rights abuses psych patients are subjected to. They have to pretend to care about patients (even former patients) or their house of cards will fall down. They seem to feel comfortable enough to attack whistle blowers with a lot of ad hominem b.s., but imagine if they did that to former psych patients – like people who have bravely shared their stories on this and other websites about the damage psychiatry had done to them… about how they barely escaped with their lives? If Pies and his co-horts came after these people, they’d reveal themselves as the monsters they really are. But they know damn well that many antipsychiatry voices are voices of ex-patients.

  • I’m sorry, Lauren. I believe you, if that means anything. I think I may be experiencing something of a permanent/chronic nature also, in terms of psych drug damage. I’ve lost basically everyone and everything and my body is in survival mode. I try to explain it to the couple of people who still speak to me, and they say, “So then, what’s the solution?”. It makes me so angry. Like I’m supposed to know the solution is to what the drugs did that no doctor I’ve ever seen believes me about. Somehow that is our responsibility when we were the ones who were lied to by people who took an oath to do no harm.