Sunday, April 21, 2019

Comments by KateL

Showing 79 of 79 comments.

  • Thanks for your insight, Julie. I think it will help me to remind myself, “this fear is protective” and I can learn to care for myself better. It’s really helpful for me, at the stage I’m at, to read these comments from you, Alex, so many others…to know that you found a way through it. I have a lot of shame to work through, some of which is “mine” based on hurtful things I’ve said or done, but much that was “put on me” by this system and by family members. Looking back over the past 35 years, I recall so many instances of these two powerful forces working together to scapegoat me. I don’t actually think that they were plotting against me but the way the system is set up, I feel that in many situations my family and the system shared a common goal…to silence me. To make me the problem.

  • Me, too, Julie. I can’t have any interaction at the moment with anything medical. I also fear the police. I used to like to go for a massage or acupuncture at times and found it helpful in the past but right now I can’t bear the thought of any kind of interaction like that. I hope that these fears will dissipate over time, although the medical fear might actually be rational. I can’t afford right now to have any person with any kind of authority seeing that I “present as depressed” or whatever the terminology.

  • Frank, yes, and that was, for me, a big part of it. I now see my problems in living that began in my teenage years as a response to experiences I’d had as a child…traumas. None of these experiences were addressed in any of the treatment I had, as the labels and the drugs piled up. The result is that now the childhood trauma resides alongside 35 years worth of mental health system trauma… detention, restraint, rote humiliation.

    Thank you for this blog post…it really puts the New Yorker article in a perspective that makes sense now. Maybe we will see our tipping point…with the New Yorker article a beginning?
    In the meantime, reading this post and the comments reminds me that I’m not alone, that there are many other smart, sensitive, articulate people who have been caught in this mental health trap and who are brave and strong enough to tell their stories.

  • Sometimes I lie awake remembering things people did, things they got away with, and it makes my blood boil. Many years ago, about 5 apartments ago, one of the therapists had called for a safety check on me. There were 4 cops and 2 EMTs in my apartment. One of the cops was looking through a pile of mail I’d left on the table; my guess is his reason for doing this was to show me that he could do it – just invade my privacy like that. He said to the other officers, “things can’t be that bad, living on Everit Street.”

  • Kindred Spirit, what you describe regarding expected/coerced psych drug compliance is my lived experience. When my diagnosis was switched from major depression to borderline personality, the pressure became much stronger, even though “there is no drug for borderline”. Then I was expected to comply with poly pharmacy (an antidepressant, an anti-psychotic, and a mood stabilizer) and of course I was on my own dealing with the “side effects” (aka the effects) of all those drugs. When I gained weight on the meds, the internist would be there pushing the Mediterranean diet but there was no acknowledgment that the drugs had anything to do with it.

  • I’m curious about the concept of reparations, particularly in instances of clear ethical violations such as the studies done on people with schizophrenia that Bruce mentions in his post. It’s really just a sort of question of intellectual curiosity on my part…not planning on seeking reparations for myself, I’ve wasted enough time :/ …but is reparations a thing that ever gets discussed? Has it ever happened?

  • “Just because your life has been destroyed…”. Exactly, Rachel. After I filed my formal complaint with the Yale Patient Relations Department, which detailed several instances of what I consider abuse that happened at the Yale Psych Ward and the Yale IOP, I got a voicemail from a woman who said she was director of Ambulatory Psych something something Services at Yale and she was so so sorry about what had happened. She asked me to call her so that we could discuss it. When I called her, there was no “sorry” but there was a lot of patronizing unsolicited advice from her. “You should write a book! It would be a bestseller!” When I explained to her that these treatment experiences had resulted in me being very marginalized and isolated, she simply said, “You should buy a Life Alert and wear it around your neck.” Okay, problem solved, I guess. It was like everything I’d written about in the complaint…all things that were very painful when they happened and still very painful to write about years later….was at some level almost amusing to her.

  • Ramesh,
    Thank you for providing this perspective. It’s scary to learn that as bad as it is in the U.S., it could be that much worse. It makes me wonder if at present there are any cultures in which people showing signs of mental distress or simply acting outside cultural norms are treated humanely. I’ve heard that in the Scandinavian countries, treatment is a little more compassionate.

  • Thanks Rosalee. I love reading things like this article, I think because I feel validated. All those times when I thought treatment providers were being dismissive toward me, felt they were blaming me for the problems I came to them with, instead of offering any semblance of support or understanding…I wasn’t wrong. I wasn’t being paranoid. They really were being dismissive. It’s nice when someone in the field lays this out…like, yup, that’s the reality.
    I met a couple times with this one therapist who talked to me about a paper he had written with some colleagues. The paper was called Compassion Deficit Disorder. It talked about all of the ways that therapists blame and mistreat patients with a borderline diagnosis. I only wound up seeing the therapist a couple of times because I wound up moving away but he seemed like a cool guy. He mailed me a copy of the paper at my new address. I think I still have it around somewhere.

  • Julie, that’s crazy (on their part). Sounds like a police state. What happened to freedom of speech. Are people really afraid of us or of their precious world view being shattered? I was just trying to make a point in my review. The point was that staff at this hospital discriminate against certain groups of people. Case in point, the security department had my keys but refused to look for them because I was coming out of a psych ward. 10 years ago, I would have never written a public review like that because I would have been to ashamed to admit that I had been in a psych ward. Now I’m fine admitting it because now I have some better understanding of what happened to me. There was nothing in the review that warranted them sending the police to my door but they did. I’m glad I knew what my rights were and that I didn’t have to open the door for them.

  • Julie, your experiences sound horrifying and yet I’m not surprised. How have they gotten away with so much for so long?
    A plain clothes police man knocked on my apartment door earlier today. I spoke to him and the social worker who accompanied him through the door. They wanted to talk, they said, to make sure I was okay. I told them I was fine and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t know who sent them. My only guess is that this was prompted by a Google review I wrote about the hospital where I was in the CIU a few weeks back. in my review I told the story about how the hospital security department had my car and house keys when I was discharged from there once. They refuse to look for them. I was stranded in the ER oh, my car in the parking lot but I couldn’t get into it. This was a long and horrible saga. Finally three days after my discharge, a friend of mine called and reamed out the security department head. That prompted him to finally look for my keys. They had them in their possession the whole time. So in my review I wrote, people say don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re in mental distress oh, but there are so so many reasons to be afraid to ask for help. I guess that prompted them to me to do a safety check on me so they could cover their butts.

  • Very true. This diagnosis is all over my medical records. After first being diagnosed and winding up in DBT, I was naive enough to think that I needed to tell any doctor I saw, whether and internist or specialist of any kind, about my diagnosis. Because then they would be able to help me better. What the diagnosis really meant was that nothing I said from that point on would be given any credence by any medical person. If I spoke of pain, I was hysterical or drug seeking.
    One of the worst things that happened was I had been put on a trial of Parnate by the psychiatrist at the IOP program I was attending (the DBT group met downstairs, in the windowless basement of this building that had originally been a morgue). My blood pressure got crazy high within a week of being on the parnate. I was taken off the parnate and my blood pressure was monitored. Everyone including me fully expected for my blood pressure to come back to normal. I was getting readings every day in the 170/140 range. Back then I was really healthy physically. I was a good weight and I exercised everyday. I juiced for god sakes. Noone – not the psychiatrist nor the internist I was seeing nor the cardiologist that the internist referred me to nor the ER doctors that I saw on one occasion when my BP got even higher than high – would acknowledge any connection between the parnate and the blood pressure. They just said things like, it’s out of your system now. One psychiatrist wrote in my chart that the reason for the hypertension was that I hadn’t followed the restricted diet for people on parnate, which was absolutely false. Cardiologist ran the usual stress tests and ultimately concluded that this sudden hypertension was due to age. “Welcome to your forties, you have hypertension.” All of these doctors did everything in their power to make this problem not about parnate. I had no history of hypertension of any kind prior to the trial. At one point, I said to the psychiatrist who had prescribed it, “since parnate is contraindicated for anyone who has any history of hypertension, did you check to see that I had no history before prescribing the parnate? And if so, you would have seen that I had no history of hypertension.” He said, “I don’t know Kate, maybe you just really get to people” and that all the anger that I had was raising my blood pressure. The internist had me on three different blood pressure meds. I was responding to none of them and she kept raising the doses. Eventually I asked for my records from the Yale psych ward, since every morning when you’re an inpatient they take your blood pressure. I made clear when I requested the records that I was only interested in the BP readings. What I received was a stack of paperwork, most of it scribbled or otherwise unreadable. There was one doctor’s note in my chart that said, “patient is thought to have poor judgment.”
    Another note repeated the accusation that I had failed to comply with the parnate diet.
    Finally the doctors came up with the line that I had had some kind of latent hypertension all along and that being on the parnate just made that latent hypertension un-latent. The night I showed up at the ER, they almost admitted me to the psych ward. Why? I wasn’t suicidal. I believe it’s because I had the nerve to challenge them, to challenge their authority, which is the same thing that got me the borderline diagnosis to begin with. I’ll never forget the doctor who shook his finger in my face and said “the problem here is that you don’t listen to your doctors!”. No one came to bat for me. Not the DBT clinician I had so much trust in.
    I totally identify with your experience, Julie.

  • Thank you, Rachel. I’m so distraught over my cat right now and yes, probably stewing in my own pain. Marinating in it. Swathed in it, etc. It’s just been a frankly awful couple of years. I know I will need to find a way forward at some point but seem to have lost my compass at the moment. For now, I find MIA to be a safe space where I can find validation for my anger at the system and be reminded that I’m not alone. And also a safe space to vent, something that I learned in DBT treatment was “ineffective”. There may be some truth to that, but at a certain point it amounts to self censorship. In a feminist theory class I took in college, the professor said, “Ask yourself, who does it serve?” Who does it serve that I remain silent about my past? Is it incidental that my silence serves the people in the mental health system who did what they did?
    I really want to get back to working with animals, one way or another. There’s a shelter within walking distance of my apartment that I hesitated to get involved with for a long while because they had so many reviews posted about the animals being kept in very substandard living situations and a lot of people had adopted from the shelter animals who turned out to be very sick with infections etc. In the past year or so, the reviews seem to have gotten better and I thought maybe they had cleaned up their act. It turns out though, that the state is currently trying to shut this shelter down for all sorts of violations. It would be so painful to see animals being treated this way. This shelter and the one that I worked at are the only two that are local to me. I’m not ready to adopt again as I am still grieving the loss of my cat.

  • Rachel, it stands for dialectical behavior therapy. The idea that two seemingly opposing ideas both have truth, and finding the truth in both, finding the middle ground, or something like that. It’s a nice idea I guess. Everyone has access to the truth but some people’s access is better than others because they’re not deranged, is what it really comes down to. The clinician’s truth always trumps the patient’s truth, in my experience with DBT.

  • Julie, this is so familiar, so in line with what I experienced. Did the sicko girl in your DBT book have a cartoon drawing where her face was all screwed up? I stayed in the DBT program as long as I did because I trusted the lead clinician. Not anymore. He let so many abusive behaviors from other treatment providers slide. It was always a matter of me learning to use my communication skills to get them to stop abusing me.
    In my group there was a lot of fidgeting too. Also some people were sound asleep in their chairs, often due to being on high doses of antipsychotics. The clinicians would tell these patients to hold a bag of ice to stay awake, or to go splash cold water on their face. How about lowering the antipsychotic dose, clinicians, since that’s why they’re sound asleep in their chairs (either that or it was methadone maintenance since I was in the substance track)?
    I’ve had similar ultimatums from treatment providers, the “I won’t treat you unless you’re ingesting X.” Even from self-billed trauma therapists who had no education or training in medications. That in itself is a trauma.

  • I actually did volunteer at an animal shelter for a long while, which led to a part time job at the animal shelter, which led to being relentlessly bullied by other staff. I lasted about 6 months, eventually couldn’t take any more and quit. While I was there, I adopted a cat who I loved dearly. Had him for several years. Wound up having to surrender him a month ago after former DBT therapist called cops on me sending me to ER. Cat was left alone and by the time I found someone – my landlord – to bring cat to the vet for boarding, vet said I should surrender him, so I did since I have no backup if something happens to me. I’m broken hearted and exhausted and not sure I can blast anything anymore. People can look at me as self pitying or victimy or any way they choose, as people have always taken a disparaging view toward me I’m very used to it.

  • Thank you, Kindred spirit and Rosalee. I wasn’t sure how to reply to either of your comments directly. KS, yes, but it is the patient, supposedly, who needs to work on her communication skills. Shit rolls downhill, also yes – I’m also the baby, youngest of 4. Your last paragraph 🙂
    Rosalee, I have this book. It’s very good. I keep meaning to crack it open again. I heard Dr. Van der Kolk speak once, at the Yale BPD conference. I have so much respect for him. He is willing to stand up in front of a roomful of prescribers and well meaning (to give them the benefit of the doubt) therapists whose focus is mainly on teaching the patient to think and behave more effectively in the present. He stands up in front of all those people and says that the root cause, severe childhood trauma, needs to be acknowledged and addressed. And, as per his book title, it’s not just in the patient’s head. It’s in their body at the cellular level.
    I can’t say that DBT never helped me, but when I was in the DBT program the philosophy was that the patient’s history was irrelevant. It was all a matter of changing behavior, replacing “ineffective” coping with effective coping. I found that stance very invalidating but stayed in the program because the lead clinician was smart and compassionate, and he did listen, just not about the past. I did my last stint in that program 5 years ago. They have since added a trauma treatment aspect – prolonged exposure therapy – to the program.

  • This is awful, Rachel. I’m sorry. Although my family background is different, I totally relate to your story in terms of not fitting in to a very circumscribed, impossible role and then being made a scapegoat.
    When I was in the hospital waiting for my first ECT treatment, the psychiatrist called a family meeting, ostensibly because he wanted to see if I was playing some role in the family by having depression. I’ve been depressed since I was a teenager and I was then in my late 30s. I had not responded to 6 years of weekly appointments with a psychiatrist. That was why he recommended the ECT. So he called this meeting to see if I was playing some role in my family. My mother, my sister, and my sister’s husband showed up. My sister started the meeting by saying to the doctor, “the problem here is that nothing has ever been good enough for my little sister.” Her tone was just dripping with hate. For the next 40 minutes or so, my sister, my brother-in-law and my mother took turns taking jabs at me. I don’t remember that the psychiatrist said anything. The family members were all in agreement that whatever this illness I had was all my fault because I was a spoiled brat. The hilarious part is that, from what I remember, this meeting had no impact on my psychiatrist and it was never spoken of again. Several weeks later, after having had eight or nine shock treatments that I didn’t respond to, I got the borderline diagnosis. Sometimes the memory of this meeting surfaces and I want to call up that psychiatrist on the phone and say, “Really?” But I know it wouldn’t get me anywhere and he’s about the last person I want to talk to anyway.

  • Treatment made me afraid of myself and afraid of the world. The labeling convinced me I was garbage. I believed if I couldn’t even get along with the people who were there to help me, the treaters – and I couldn’t – how would I get along with anyone else. For a few years after the borderline diagnosis, I told every new person in my life that I had the diagnosis, out of fairness I felt I should warn them. The drugs and iatrogenic abuse weakened me physically and mentally. People were constantly pushing me away from them and toward treatment – “have you talked to your therapist about that?” “Maybe it’s time for a meds adjustment?”. These are some of the reasons it was hard or impossible for me to leave. But what actually had to happen is, it had to get to a point where they wouldn’t treat me anymore. I couldn’t leave on my own. Now I’m in hiding. I can’t even go to a regular doctor because they’ll see my “affect” and tell me I need to “talk to someone/go back to my psychiatrist/go to the hospital/get back on meds.
    I always had this fantasy that someday I would meet a therapist who I could tell my whole story to, and they would hear me, and understand how one thing had led to another, and with that I would start to heal. That’s all it was, a fantasy. No one had the time or inclination to hear my story.

  • The system is incapable of self correction because the people running it are incapable of admitting error or wrongdoing. I say this as a former patient who submitted a formal complaint 6 months ago through the Yale Patient Relations Department. The complaint was ignored and the people I was in contact with in Patient Relations stopped answering my emails. They patronized me, in the beginning, saying that they were “very interested” in hearing about my experience as a patient of both the IOP and the Yale Psych Ward. I spoke with 3 of them on the phone for 45 minutes and I followed up with an email that provided more detail regarding what I’d spoken of on the phone. I never heard another word about it. My guess is that they recognized that I did have serious grounds for complaint and… maybe they were afraid of a lawsuit if they admitted that? I can only guess.

    The first time I ever tried to file a complaint was about 15 years ago. I’d been seeing a psychiatrist once a week for 6 years for talk therapy and medication. When after 6 years he decided he couldn’t help me, he referred me to the psychiatrist who ultimately performed the brain shocks on me and then, when those didn’t work, that psychiatrist told me it was because I have borderline.
    The ECT psychiatrist, after my initial evaluation appointment with him, asked me to ask the referring psychiatrist to send the records of my six years of treatment. I found out from the referring psychiatrist that there were no records. He told me that he hadn’t kept records of anything, not even the medications he prescribed over the course of six years. Upon learning this I became furious and I contacted the APA to file a complaint. They told me that unless I could conclusively prove that this psychiatrist not keeping records had caused me serious harm, there was nothing that they would do. They would not take a complaint from me.

    The cherry on top of this s*** sundae was that the ECT psychiatrist determined that my anger about psychiatrist #1 not keeping any records was inappropriate. The inappropriate anger I displayed about the lack of record-keeping was a main reason I received a borderline diagnosis.

    In my experience, mental health professionals are so used to not having to answer to anyone at all that they are, as a group, incapable of change. As they are incapable of reforming, they need to have their power wrested away by any means necessary, to protect the innocent.

  • I, personality, would love to see the Yale Psych institute permanently shuttered for human rights violations. That would give me a lot of hope. I won’t hold my breath though.
    But really, if one of these places were closed down, for what basically all of these places are doing, would it send a message? I’ve seriously considered protesting in front of YPI, alone. It would get me out of the house.

  • Yes. In other fields of medicine, getting a diagnosis, in better case scenarios, can be the first step toward a cure. Or if not, the diagnosis plus education, following a treatment plan, etc., …at least it gives a patient direction, some sense of control. “Here is the prognosis, here is what I can do to improve outcomes.”. Except that a psychiatric diagnosis can lead…or, in my case, led to loss of control. After I got diagnosed borderline, I read everything I could about it, because I wanted to understand my diagnosis. But the more I read, the more horrified, hopeless and distraught I became. I went to my treatment providers with the concerns I had about what I’d “learned” about my diagnosis, and every one of them told me to stop reading. Stop reading about this illness that we say you have. It won’t do you any good to educate yourself about this. I didn’t know it then, but know it now: I was in upside down world.

  • I wish I’d learned everything there is to know about psychiatry when my oldest (and closest sibling to me) brother was locked up in Yale psych ward and diagnosed schizophrenic. Doctors put him on Haldol. He had a dystonic reaction. Doctors kept him on Haldol – they said he was faking it. Faking a dystonic reaction. I was 11 and didn’t understand what was going on but that is psychiatry in a nutshell. I’d no clue what was going on or what these asshats had in store for me. Sometimes just thinking about things that happened, I literally start shaking with rage. Can’t confide in people about it though because “inappropriate anger” is one of the criteria for borderline, so they’ll just attribute it to my “mental illness”. This website is the only safe place to even share any of this.

  • Getting a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder 13 years ago effectively ruined my life. It was delivered thus: “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. Innumerable psych meds, treaters and treatments later, I’m now fully disabled with no friends and no family. I rarely leave the house. I had a full time job and had just completed a graduate degree when I got the diagnosis. I went home and googled bpd, as I’d never heard of it, and read about Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Congratulations, psychiatry.

  • Wow. Julie, Thank you for saying this. I really needed to hear that right now.
    On a side note, my mother recently called me “The Other.” I don’t think she meant it in a nice way – more like, “this is why no one wants to talk to you” – but it’s a badge I wear proudly.

    I wonder if people who identify as liberals tend to be pro-psychiatry because they see all mental health services as “helping” services? It’s just convenient, if they see someone suffering, to say, “go over there and get some help from the helping people.” And then they can stop thinking about it, without considering what psychiatry’s “help” entails.

  • JanCarol,
    Exactly. I love the idea of a healer’s hut. I know that during the phase when I was in and out of the psych ward over and over again a lot of it just had to do with feeling scared to be alone. I needed to not be alone… I didn’t need to be imprisoned and drugged but that came with the territory.
    I have come off, with no help guidance or support from doctors, so many different prescribed meds. I don’t remember one instance where I was getting a new prescription and I actually received anything like informed consent. Benzos, amphetamines, antidepressants. The doctors it seems do.not even have a protocol for coming off the drug. In some cases they didn’t want me to come off the drug but in other cases they did. I was first prescribed adderal by a psychiatrist who prescribed it for my depression – not ADD. In the ten years following, as my mental health declined, I saw doctors who were in favor of the adderal and would prescribe varying amounts of it or doctors who were opposed to it and would not prescribe it. The last psychiatrist I had who prescribed adderal decided he wanted me to stop taking it. I said to him, I agree with you, I also want to stop taking it, but I’m terrified of the withdrawal. I was having a hard time anyway at that point – my son was having a psychotic break – and I feared I would go into a suicidal depression when I stopped the adderal. The doctor replied that there is no withdrawal from adderal. He said, “you might just feel tired for a few days, but that’s it.”. Maybe there’s no physical withdrawal from adderal, but there’s a huge psychological withdrawal.
    The existence of websites like SA is yet another indictment of psychiatry. There’s a part of me that thinks I can “woman up” and do a cold turkey withdrawal from the cymbalta, but that hasn’t been going well. I feel a little better since I reinstated at a much lower dose the past couple of days. Now I just feel very weak, but not as agitated.
    Thank you for pointing me to the SA website, JanCarol. I’m going to try to do the drug signature tomorrow.

  • Oh…I love Squeak. Love her. ☺️ They’re all so different aren’t they? They have their own personalities just like people. Except more so because I they don’t try to conform to a standard. They’re just who there are. The cat I had before Kodi… George, but she was a girl… Was very dear to me also. She kept me going through a lot. I always imagine how well she and Kodi would get along. I think they’d really complement each other. Maybe that’s a weird thought, I don’t know. I did register with the surviving antidepressants website. I submitted my topic and am waiting for it to be approved.

  • Oh, that’s so awesome, JanCarol. I need to find a way to take Kodi places with me. He doesn’t like the car and he won’t wear a harness but he does love adventure. I’ve taken him to hotels on two separate occasions and both times he loved it. We would go and explore the hallways at night. He probably also likes it because I get stressed out a lot in my apartment because of things that have happened here, with my neighbors. I think he sees that I’m calmer and happier and then he feels better. He did like the more expensive hotel better. He’s got good taste.

  • Thank you, JanCarol and KS for the information about the other websites. I’m still trying to figure out how these comments work…It seems like sometimes there’s a reply button under a comment and sometimes there’s not? Is there a way to take a conversation off the thread or a different part of the MIA website where people can chat and share information?
    Anyway, yes I am going to look at the web sites you listed. I’m realizing that there is a part of me, maybe a big part of me, that wants somebody else to fix it for me. Maybe that’s what kept me a patient of psychiatry for so long. I’m definitely doing a lot of self validating, though, which is good, I think… I need that, otherwise I would feel so ashamed about being so very angry and about some of the comments I made to former treatment providers. I emailed the one clinician I had at Yale who had been helpful to me. I’ve been sending him a bunch of email rants and for some reason he hasn’t blocked my email yet. I said to him, “I realize that I’ve been very disrespectful towards you & I’m sorry for that, however/and, there’s nothing I could say to you or anyone else in an email that would match how disrespected I feel as a person about the treatment I’ve received from the mental health system.”
    Maybe he’ll get it or maybe he won’t. I need to focus on what I need to do to pull myself out of this.
    I think someone had suggested a naturopath? That’s something I might look into. I realized that I don’t have the skills that would be required to access help through the normal medical system that is available with Medicare. I start to fall apart as soon as I walk into the doctor’s office. Traditional medicine seems to be designed for body parts and not actual people. I did see a chiropractor/naturopath for a consultation appointment about eight months or so ago. She used supplements from a company called Standard Process and what I found online about this company made me doubtful, so I didn’t go back to see her again.
    Thanks again to everyone for your support. My emotions have been so intense and painful the past couple of days. It helps to know that I’m not completely overreacting to this situation and that I’m not imagining how bad the system can really be for a lot of people. It’s so weird when I think about when the MIA book came out. I devoured it. Also Peter Breggin’s book. Nobody but nobody wanted to talk to me about it. I think they looked at it as just one of my symptoms, that I was so angry at and suspicious of the treatment I had received and was receiving. I think they just heard it as a crazy rant… F psychiatry, F the pharmaceutical companies, F the FDA, it’s all about money, it’s all a scam. They were like, “sure, Kate, did you take your meds today?”

  • Thank you for the article. I have often had strong reactions to practicing mindfulness and I do believe that it’s much more complicated for people with trauma. After I was diagnosed with borderline personality, I was referred to a dialectical behavior therapy program that was part of an IOP. So in the DBT group room, I learned about mindfulness. I learned about sacred self skills and listening to my wise mind. But I was in IOP patient, which meant I had to see the doctor at least once a month, and the doctor prescribed meds. It created a lot of cognitive dissonance for me. At that point, I’d been on meds for the better part of the past couple of decades, and had not benefitted from them. In fact I think the drugs made me a lot worse. But if I or any of the other patients in the DBT program spoke about wanting to get off their medication or skipping their medication because they didn’t like the way it made them feel,… because they’re wise mine was saying, don’t take these meds, we would always get asked, “are you a doctor? Did you go to med school?” if the doctor wanted you on meds, you needed to be on meds, no matter what your wise mind was saying.

  • I just took down most of my Google reviews (including the ones for the ECT doctor and the TMS doctor) mostly because I couldn’t deal with the negative energy having them up was bringing up for me. That’s the last thing I need is to create more negative energy. This is scary. I wonder if this is what leaving a cult feels like. Except that in my case, the cult doesn’t want me either. They’re like, “bad cult member! Off with you!” I also finally split with whatever family members I was still in contact with because that wasn’t doing me any favors.
    I saw some pet knapsacks on Amazon with the little space bubble window in the back. So cute. I think kodi’s too big though. He’s like 13 pounds.

  • Thank you. I do feel “nuts” – just not in a mentally ill way, more of a human person responding to situations way. Although I’m sure most people I’ve been in contact with lately would say it’s the first way. I’m trying to tell myself that even though I’m not okay right now, this is a moment in time.
    Is it okay to just talk randomly about different topics in these threads? Probably a little late to ask since I’ve been doing it for a while. :/
    Rachel, Abby sounds awesome. Kodi is the most high maintenance cat I’ve ever had, but he’s also the most rewarding in some ways. He’s very intelligent, a Russian blue. I adopted him from the shelter where I was working at the time when he was six. He’s eight now. he was with the same family the first six years of his life, … it must have been quite a rupture to him to wind up at the shelter. So I think his needs are more than those of other cats I’ve had, but I also feel like we understand each other because we’ve both been through a lot.

  • Thank you, Kindred Spirit. I think I’ve been trying to shut down emotionally because the pain is too much, but then the cat senses that, I can’t be there for him if I’m shut down, he gets scared and sometimes he attacks me. I don’t fault him for it. I would want to bite me too if I was him. It’s just hard. I just got a call back from the vet who I called this morning about boarding him and they said that if I decided to surrender him I can just bring him there to surrender him at any point and they will find a home for him. I know they’re interested in his welfare but it’s so easy for me to get paranoid and think, they think I shouldn’t have him. They think he’d be safer elsewhere. I have no idea if that’s what they’re thinking, it’s just hard right now.

  • Thank you, Lavender Sage. I’m doing a little bit of cleaning now. I was thinking of taking my cat to the vet for boarding for a few days while I figured out what to do but I haven’t yet. I just feel awful about the effect that this is having on him. He’s so sensitive to me and there is no one else for him to go to. I put a bird video on for him. I still haven’t looked on the website you sent me the link for. My mind is so scattered right now I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure out a protocol regarding the cymbalta. I’ll try to at least go to the website after I have some coffee. There were some useful things about DBT, although at this point I find it on the whole overly simplistic, invalidating and demeaning. There is a “turning the mind” skill. I’m going to keep turning my mind back to what’s right in front of me, what’s real. Like my cat. Thank you so much for the support. It means so much to me.

  • Thank you, all of you, for the supportive comments. I’ll keep trying. It just feels very dark right now with the holidays and everything. and I was stupid enough to think that the one clinician I had had at Yale who was helpful to me at times and I thought cared about me… I thought I would be able to file the complaints about what happened there and still maintain some kind of contact with him. But he’s written me off. It’s like that movie, the pod people or something, where I talk to somebody and explain it and I think they get it and I think they can see it through my eyes and then they say something or do something that lets me know they absolutely can’t see it through my eyes and they’re judging me and blaming me.

  • Agreed. This is probably the least answerable profession. Unless you include, I don’t know, psychics. But psychics do less damage.
    I know this for a fact – that they are not answerable – because every time I tried to raise my voice against what I knew was unjust treatment, my words were pathologized and I was silenced. I recently initiated a formal complaint regarding the treatment I received at Yale in both the psych ward and their IOP. I was met with a wall of silence higher then any wall even Trump could imagine. That was after writing statements about four of the most egregious abuses I endured there. Actually, I had to stop writing after the third because I was getting too suicidal. I did my absolute best to relate these experiences in a calm and modulated tone. I sent the statements to the appropriate people in the patient relations department. I got no response.

  • My house is disgusting and disorderly. I’m about to surrender my cat back to the shelter since I can’t take care of him anymore. I don’t know if it was all the trauma, the ECT, the TMS, the drugs, the commitments that included isolation and restraints, the abandonment by everyone in my life, or the current withdrawal from cymbalta, but I didn’t used to be like this. I used to keep a very clean home.

  • I guess I’m not going to worry about it. I didn’t write anything that isn’t true. If I had taken my car to a mechanic and they made the problem worse, and still charged me, the review I would write would be true and angry in that case also. They’ve already taken everything from me that they could. In the example you cite, the end of the review would be: he said he never had a patient who had memory loss from ECT and because he was a highly regarded Yale psychiatrist, I put my trust in him. He shocked my brain eight or nine times and then told me it didn’t work because I have borderline personality. He didn’t explain what borderline personality was, he just told me that I had it and that that was why the ECT didn’t work. I think it probably comes under free speech. Most people I would guess would not do something like this because they wouldn’t want such personal experiences to be made public, but as I’ve said I have nothing left to protect.

  • Hi Steve, I’m still trying to figure out how these comments work so I’m not sure if your comment was toward me, but yes I’m aware that just my rebelling against the mental health system is not going to solve anything for me. To be honest I don’t see a solution. I have no family, no friends, my health is poor, and I just survive. Finally realizing that in seeking help from the system I was only going to continuously get abused… That just led me to speak out. That’s all I can do at this point. My family and then the system took everything from me but I still have a voice and I’ll use it until I don’t have that anymore either.

  • Hi Rachel, sorry I wasn’t sure how to directly reply to your comment…but yes, how is this any different from name-calling? It had a terrible effect on me. I just took it on, the BPD label -it must be true because the name was given to me by a highly-regarded doctor at Yale. I still remember the way the med students used to follow this psychiatrist around the halls of the psych ward like he was God. For years I believed that I could not have any type of romantic relationship or I would turn into Glenn close in fatal Attraction. Even though, prior to the diagnosis, I’d never done anything like that.

  • Hi ebl, I haven’t seen this article yet, but it doesn’t surprise me. Big pharma and the FDA have also been going after kratom, a natural supplement that many people have used successfully to get off opiates and to manage pain. I use it myself and have benefited from it. The FDA has been trying to schedule it in the same category as heroin, for years. It’s all about money. I’ve heard some reports that big pharma is trying to isolate the active ingredients in kratom so that they can come up with a chemical version. Once the FDA has made sure that real kratom is illegal, then the pharmaceutical companies can step in and make their money. So they have an answer to the opiate epidemic that they, in large part, created.

  • This is terrifying. It’s so much worse than I thought it was, and I thought it was bad. The greed. The abuse.
    As a 52 year old woman without family or friends who is only just freeing herself from the system after 35 years, I fear the future. All it would take would be a broken hip or similar type of injury and I’d become a nursing home ward. I got a little taste of this when I fractured and dislocated my ankle in May. I made the huge error of admitting to suicidal thoughts when I was in the orthopedic ward post-surgery (was in a lot of pain and on a lot of opiates and already very traumatized). I unleashed pure hell on myself.

  • Thank you so much, JanCarol. I will read up about it on the website. Thanks for the link. Going off cold turkey was kind of an act of rebellion for me. It was sort of my symbolic, that’s it! But I realized it might not work out well for me because I know this is one of the trickier drugs to get off of. Emotionally I’m not right, at the moment. I don’t feel like myself at all.I don’t know how much is the cymbalta withdrawal, though because there are so many other things in the mix. The recent split I had with the mental health system, with being a patient, was kind of a big deal for me, particularly since there is one clinician that had helped me at times in the past. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in a cult. When MIA first came out, I read that, and I think Peter Breggin’s book also. There were a few that all came out around the same time, as I remember, all saying basically the same thing. The people I spoke to about it then, many of them friends who also had experience as psych patients, were very opposed to the arguments put forth in these books, that psychiatry is mostly made up. Since that time I’ve spent more time as a patient, more time taking different meds that I didn’t respond well to, and this is like my second awakening. I also take a couple of other things, like Kratom and phenibut, so it’s hard to isolate what’s what. anyway I will look at the protocol for cymbalta taper. I have some of the med left, so I might be able to do it without seeing a doctor. Thanks again.

  • Oldhead, yes, I have come to understand that, finally. Of course now I have all this grief that I lost so much time and my physical and mental well-being to being a mental health patient. One thing I won’t do is go and speak to a mental health treatment provider about the grief. A couple of months ago I visited Brazil with a friend who is from there. It was only my second time out of the United States, excluding a trip to Canada. It was so beautiful there and I just kept thinking, wow, I could have been doing things like this, I could, have been traveling, learning about other cultures, could have been doing so many things instead of being in treatment and in and out of the hospital most of my life.

  • Apologies if this is too off topic… but in the last few months I have undertaken a “project” that entails writing Google Maps reviews of multiple former providers, detailing the negative experiences I had with them. The doctor who did the ECT. The doctor who did the TMS. Some of the reviews are very rage-filled and I don’t know if this is paranoia, but I do worry that one of these people is going to take legal action against me or try to have me locked up. I don’t know if what I’m doing is productive. It is cathartic at times, to call people out publicly… people who, as a group, are not accustomed to ever being called out. My goal is that if someone reads the reviews in their entirety it tells a kind of cautionary tale of what can happen when a person allows their life to be hijacked by the mental health system. Sometimes I worry that people will read my reviews, and think, “now there’s a dyed-in-the-wool borderline.” But most people thought that about me anyway. Also, it’s hard to maintain a neutral tone when detailing experiences that made my life so much worse than it already was.
    Jan Carrol, thank you for your comments and the link to the website. Luckily I am not on any psych meds at the moment. I went off cymbalta cold turkey about a month ago. The psychiatrist who I’d been seeing for about a year-and-a-half who had been prescribing it… shall I say, disappointed me, in a big way. That was one of the final straws for me.

  • Thank you. Yeah they did a number on me. After I got the borderline diagnosis I was so afraid of the scary person they convinced me I was that I spent a lot of time trying very hard not to be scary. Trying to be compliant and agreeable and friendly and pleasant and not to go off the rails when say, somebody shocked my brain for no good reason (he didn’t look into my history at all really before he suggested the ECT. The referring psychiatrist, who I’d seen for six years, had not kept any records. If the ECT doc had looked into my history he would have seen suicide attempts, anger, all of the things that point to borderline. I do have issues with this diagnosis but I do also believe that there are a set of symptoms that tend to hang together that make up what they call the borderline diagnosis. All of these symptoms had been present for two decades prior to him recommending ECT.) This idea I had…that I had to try very hard not to be scary…put me in a very vulnerable situation. I wound up in a DBT program where I had a clinician who I believe did care about me but he is part of the system. He used to talk to me over and over again about this skill called benefit of the doubt. If you’re not sure of somebody, like for example an outside therapist, it’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt. Looking back, I can see that in almost every situation where I granted the benefit of the doubt to a psychiatrist or a treatment provider, I gave them the opportunity to hurt me more than if I had cut and run when my instincts told me to do so. I also see, looking back, that as the patient, I almost never was granted the benefit of the doubt by any treatment provider. Just one example off the top of my head, when I went into a hypertensive crisis a few days after starting a parnate trial, the hypertension… which was severe, I could have had a stroke… was attributed to the fact that I had not followed the restricted diet. Absolute BS. So, so many instances just like that one. And then all the doctors stuck together in telling me that the parnate had nothing to do with the hypertensive crisis, which went on for months after I was taken off the parnate. I was in my very early forties then, in great shape… I ate well and exercised daily. I finally saw a cardiologist who gave me the usual series of tests, including a stress test which I passed with flying colors. He said, “welcome to your forties you have hypertension”, and ushured me out the door. When I finally confronted the Doctor who had prescribed that parnate trial with the fact that parnate is contraindicated for anyone with any history of hypertension, and I asked him whether he did not first check to make sure I had no history of hypertension, or whether he did check and saw that I did not have any history of hypertension. His response, “I don’t know Kate, maybe you just really get to people.” They wanted me to believe that I had aged so much in the week or so that I was on parnate that my BP had gone from normal to 170 / 140.
    There’s a part of me that wants to beat myself up for having let myself be gaslighted by this industry. There’s another part of me where I’m more understanding of myself because as a child I was always made to believe that there was something wrong with me and things were my fault. So I started out vulnerable.
    I’m glad that I found my way to this website.

  • I was just watching a documentary that talked about this…I had never realized there was such a strong connection between psychiatry, eugenics and the Holocaust.
    When I was considering my new psychiatrist proposal of ECT (I’ve been referred to him after six years with the psychiatrist who basically prescribed and slept during sessions and kept no records,… Referred to the second psychiatrist for a second opinion),I told the ECT psychiatrist that I’d heard a lot about short-term memory problems for people who underwent the treatment. This psychiatrist, who used ECT more than anybody else at the large teaching hospital where he did the treatments, told me that he never had a patient of his have any short-term memory problems after undergoing ECT.

  • I have similar feelings toward medical doctors. They seem to have a real unwillingness to look at obvious connections. At one point I was on three or four psych meds, all of the weight-gain variety, and my internist was hyper focused on my metabolic syndrome (I’ve had high blood pressure ever since a short trial of parnate made my blood pressure skyrocket), but didn’t want to talk about the psych meds and the effect they might be having.
    I’m 52 now and I’ve read a lot about childhood trauma causing physical problems in middle age, like early aging. I would love to find a new primary care doctor who would be willing to have a conversation with me about that. Not even to suggest solutions. Just to have the conversation. That would feel validating or something to me. But I have Medicare, so I don’t think that will happen.

  • Thanks again, Lavender Sage. I understand what you’re saying about anger. I went through dialectical behavior therapy, which was somewhat helpful,but looking back I feel like a lot of it was about stuffing anger about things that I had every right to be furious about.
    I was being a little sarcastic about failing at the ECT and then the TMS. Because now, many years later, I realize that it wasn’t my failure. How can you fail at something where you just lie there while they attach things to your head? But they had me convinced at the time, both doctors, that I had indeed failed the treatments. The first doctor, the one who did the ECT, said afterward, “you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. Then about eight years after that people in my life were pushing me into trying another treatment, TMS, one that I had no confidence in, but I let myself be talked into it. After those treatments didn’t work, I met with the dr. who oversaw the treatments in his office and he told me, “at some point you’re just going to need an entire personality makeover.”. This doctor barely knew me. He had no idea what was going on in my life at the time of the treatments. And I had told him that I had a borderline diagnosis in our initial consultation. He told me that wouldn’t be a problem and he bragged about his huge success rate, 80 something percent, with the TMS. So yes they both had me convinced that I had failed but now, looking back, it’s like, no, don’t put that on me, Doctor.

  • Thank you, that’s very helpful. It is, for me, a trap that’s easy to fall into… Winding up back in an ER if I don’t prioritize keeping myself “together” over anything else. I also wonder sometimes if my dozens of trips to the crisis intervention unit or whatever they call it are some kind of a compulsion to repeat the trauma, but that’s a thought for another day. I’m glad to hear that you have found a way that works for you. That gives me hope.

  • Thank you so much for your response, Lavender Sage. So far I’ve only read a couple of the blog posts, including this one, plus a lot of the comments in this thread. I have to say I feel like I found my people 🙂
    I really “get” the strong feelings in the voices of survivors. I’ve started to do a bit of writing about my experience, and I find it hard to modulate my anger. It’s like I’m reliving the experience as I’m writing about it. When things like this (treatment induced harm) happen to anyone who is in the act of seeking help, it’s hard not to take it personally. For me, anyway. The best I can do is throw in some black humor.
    Thanks again.

  • Hello, I am brand new to this website, although I did read the book when it came out and it very much resonated with my experience. I have a question that may be a little off topic, although I did at different points have both ECT treatments and then TMS treatments for unremmitting depression… I failed at both! Yes, I’ve been a bad patient. A very, very, bad, bad patient. Anyway, my question is: Do those of you who have written about your experience with the mental health system on this website find it to be a generally useful and possibly healing experience? I ask because I, too, feel that my problems stem from childhood trauma and were exacerbated by traumas I experienced as a mental health patient. At age 52, after an adult lifetime spent as a patient, I am no longer interested in being a patient of the mental health system or our medical system at all, to the extent that I can help it. I do feel that I need to process some of the traumas experienced as a patient somehow if I am to have a chance at any kind of a life. Friends who have not had the same experiences can’t really understand what it’s been like for me and when anyone sees I’m depressed, which I would be the first to admit that I am, they quickly recommend some form of treatment. Have others found that writing about these experiences and hopefully connecting with others who have similar histories helps to “clear” some of the trauma to some extent? Thank you.