Monday, September 28, 2020

Comments by KateL

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  • Thanks, Oldhead. I think I have to agree with your point about the media – the lid has been blown; the fraud of psychiatry has been uncovered and written and spoken about in ways that are easy to understand, so it must be something else. It must be that the media doesn’t want this story and in fact wants to continue to perpetuate a false narrative about “mental illness”.
    I guess I just wanted to believe in something. I had a somewhat romantic idea of “the free press” and loved the slogans – Democracy Dies in Darkness, All the news that’s fit to print/ the “paper of record”. I loved the idea of investigative journalism. And I thought that even though they were late to the party with other stories (like the story of how the pharmaceutical companies were in large part to blame for the opiate epidemic and the FDA let it happen and a bunch of doctors became drug dealers), they did get there eventually, and I thought they might just be late to the party with this one too but…it appears not.

  • Good point, Gerard. I also notice an implicit assumption in Aftab quote that “these critics” who “have no skin in the game” couldn’t possibly be ex-patients – who have all their skin in the game, not to mention their brains, livers, and every other organ; the assumption that a former patient… just as an example, I’ll use myself… couldn’t witness their own profound impairment and suffering that resulted from psych polypharmacy and for this reason became a vocal critic of the current paradigm of care. Aftab, for whatever reason, completely removed ex-patients from the pool of potential critics. The question is, why? Because I can say for certain that I am a critic and have way more skin in the game than I would ever wish for.

  • “I guess you have to approach (doctors) in a very deferential way”. Why I can’t/won’t see a doctor. Seeing a doctor and being deferential would be tantamount to lying. I’m not going to say the doctors know better than me, they have more information than I do. I’ve taken the drugs. I have first hand knowledge, in addition to having more book knowledge than most doctors I’ve met.
    If doctors can’t handle the truth about what these drugs and this health care system have done to patients, that’s on them.

    People got an idea from the media that maybe they have a chemical imbalance. The media did not come up with the idea of chemical imbalance. Where did the media get the idea from?

  • Someone Else,
    Hhm, what does it say that that disclaimer was removed from the dsm? Did the psychiatrists know that it was possible for psych drugs to create bipolar-looking “symptoms”, and then they didn’t know it anymore so they took that out? I wonder if the reason was that they worried about malpractice suits… because it sounds like an admission that the drugs can cause major problems, and the people prescribing the drugs know this, or should know it.

  • Someone Else,
    Hhm, what does it say that that disclaimer was removed from the dsm? Did the psychiatrists know that it was possible for psych drugs to create bipolar-looking “symptoms”, and then they didn’t know it anymore so they took that out? I wonder if the reason was that they worried about malpractice suits… because it sounds like an admission that the drugs can cause major problems, and the people prescribing the drugs know this, or should know it.

  • It’s so painful to read this and know, this is what happened to me, to my life, why I’ve lost my whole family, my ability to work, and any friend I ever had, because I was labeled and drugged for decades (leaving out the ECT), was never provided with informed consent, and never believed. I finally learned the term akathisia on my own, after years of hell, still no one in real life believes me. The message is “get over it” or, “if you really feel that bad, go to the doctor”. For what? More blame and invalidation? More labels? Another trip to the psych ward? And an entire profession that maybe is unaware or maybe is aware but dares not say anything.
    Where does that leave me and the thousands of others who are suffering in a way that is long term, chronic and soul killing because they committed the “crime” of asking for help, of putting their trust in doctors?

  • Thanks Evanhaar. Yes, the proper use and tailoring of supplements can be very complex, and hard to figure out with this brain fog. The last naturopath I went to, I made very clear, prior to signing up for a very expensive, “personalized” program, my history with psych drugs and the fact that I was in withdrawal from Cymbalta. I filled out all the paperwork, met several times with the “salesperson” on the staff (who called herself a case manager), but in my first meeting with the naturopath, he was surprised to learn that I “hadn’t been taking my meds” (he hadn’t read my intake forms, I guess) and tried to make it seem like I’d misrepresented my situation. I was outta there. Most of these people (most people) have never heard of akathisia, so how can they really help? It’s nice to feel like someone will hold my hand/can lead me out of the woods, but I need to find my own way.

  • Yes, Sam, I think it’s hard for medical people to deal with the system they’re a part of, they must see every day how inadequate it is. And then there are the bullies, and the ones who will treat patients like criminals when just acknowledging that a person is in pain, scared, exhausted – would go a long way.
    “…they caused me to pick up stakes after 30 years and become obsessed with how the rest of my life should look…” – this is where I am now. I gave my landlord notice and am busy packing.

  • evanhaar, I will look into these Thank you. I have an entire cabinet of supplements but don’t take any consistently because I don’t really know what I need. My modus operandi is to see a naturopath maybe once or twice, then deciding that they don’t get it/are talking down to me/are trying to rip me off. I often purchase some supplements before I quit. When anyone takes a tone with me or when something about their demeanor reminds me of being in a and an appointment with a psychiatrist, I swear I going to a PTSD response.
    Or I’ll read something and buy them online. The brain fog is tremendous – that’s part of the problem. But I will look into the manganese and b3. There are so many different B vitamins!
    I do try to stay hydrated. Doing better with that.

  • Thanks, Steve. I’m going to try to move, again, for the 5th time in 6 years. I don’t know where I’ll go… just far enough away that maybe my medical records won’t follow me. This way if I get sick I’ll be able to have a medical emergency or see a doctor and not face judgement based on what’s written in my medical record/medical rap sheet. I’d like to have a dog or a cat at some point. The idea that this is still possible is what keeps me going.

  • Thank you, Boans. Yes there is maybe nothing so painful as false hope. I have open myself up so many times to the possibility that I would be heard, weather by a doctor, a naturopath, a family member (no chance), a friend. I try to tell them what happened and I see the defense has come up in their eyes and then they will interrupt or tell me about some coping skill that I need to learn. I remember hearing Amanda Knox speak once and she said something about the fear that people have around her, that they are somewhat programmed to believe that someone and her situation must be guilty, because if she is innocent that means that this kind of thing could happen to anyone and that thought is too frightening for most people. I think a lot of people come to the conclusion that I am wallowing, feeling sorry for myself, playing the victim. That’s a part of it but I think a small part. More than that I want to be believed. Unfortunately this website as the only place where I feel that I get that kind of reception, without skepticism.
    I really need to work on my faith in something, my spirituality. I need to find a way to make meaning from what has happened because the idea that it was all just random is very painful. I wish I could say that I’ve learned something from everything that’s happened but mostly what I’ve learned is not to trust anyone.
    This may sound really out there. But I think there’s a child in me that is still desperately looking for Hope comfort and love. I had thought that that child was dead but now I see that as long as I’m alive that child will be too and I’m the only one who can comfort her. I need to find a way to be mother and father to myself.

  • aria, the experience you describe – pacing for hours just to not scream – I can relate completely. I remember being in IOP level DBT, where I was allowed to make “coaching calls” for help “using your skills” – which included “crisis survival skills” like intense exercise and sticking my face in a bowl of ice water. I was having crises almost daily; this was all put down to “borderline symptoms”. During the 5 years I was in and out of that program, I was prescribed so many different drugs – antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, amphetamines – by so many different prescribers, it was ridiculous. No one ever said that maybe the drugs were at fault and I only learned about akathisia within the last year. When I first learned about it, the feelings of betrayal were immense.
    I remember feeling like such a burden and a failure making those calls every day. I was always getting messages that I needed to learn to use my skills more on my own. I remember one time when I didn’t call and instead went into my storage area and smashed all my Christmas ornaments into shards.
    I admire your resourcefulness and perseverance in tapering off the drugs. They sure don’t make it easy.

  • Thank you, KindRegards, yes, looking back I see how much misogyny entered into the treatment that I received. I had a good mind and found so many holes in the logic of my treatment providers, and wasn’t shy about saying so. This led to a lot of harm. I can see that now.
    Actually it was probably even more than 30 years. It started when I was 17 and the board of education sent me to a psychiatrist because I dropped out of school and their numerous calls to my parents or ignored. She immediately put me on Elavil and I saw her once a week until the day I graduated at which time she terminated treatment because she stopped getting paid, and she left me with a full bottle of Elavil. I only learned the term akathisia within the last year and I’ve seen lists of drugs that cause akathisia or can cause it and Elavil is on it. I know there are so many for whom the drugging started even earlier – when they were young children. That the general public does not see this as a crime and human rights violation is beyond me. Now they have chewable adderal for children who are too young to swallow a pill, and the FDA is fine with this…I don’t get it.
    Thank you for your compassion.

  • Thank you, ThereAreFourLights, yes, sometimes coming to this website and reading the posts and the comments is the only thing that reminds me that this is not all in my head. There is nowhere else I can get this kind of validation. As much as it pains me to hear what’s happened to so many others, there is a comfort in it as well because it tells me that all that time I suspected my symptoms were due in large part to iatrogenic harm, I didn’t have the faith in myself to follow through on that.

  • Thank you, Steve. I was actually planning a move to the Springfield Massachusetts area because of the recovery Community there and the chance to be around people who had similar experiences. It seems that those are the only people who can really understand. Then covid-19 arrived and I’ve been in a state of limbo / paralysis ever since, wondering what to do. I’m grateful for this website and was so hurt by my friend’s comment that I cut off contact with her. Maybe a mistake but as much as I’ve tried to explain the situation to her, she thinks it’s something I can just put behind me. I completely relate to the idea of having a wolf at my heels and dealing with an existential threat. One of my biggest fears is becoming physically unable to care for myself and placed in a nursing home where I believe I would be in danger – definitely of being medicated and possibly of receiving more shock treatments against my will. When I was briefly placed in a nursing home after fracturing my ankle a couple of years ago I was made to take Wellbutrin in addition to the Zoloft I’d already been taking. I explained to the psychiatrist, who I saw once for 5 minutes, that Wellbutrin had made me very agitated in the past and I didn’t want to be taking it in addition to the Zoloft. She said that the Zoloft wasn’t working because I was still depressed and that whatever the effect I thought I got from the Wellbutrin, that was in the past so it would be different now. I was only in that facility for a couple of weeks and I can’t imagine what would happen if I was in a place like that long term. I don’t have any family. I’ve looked into the living will kind of thing, the thing that would give me some power to say I don’t want this or that done to me, but my understanding was that the living will needs to be carried out by a family member. So I don’t think anyone who is not in a similar situation can understand that this is not something in my past. I suppose if I get lucky and use a lot of self-discipline I might be able to get my physical health back to a better state, but most people as they age needs some form of assistance and that terrifies me.

  • I’m going through withdrawal akathisia after coming off Cymbalta. At this point I doubt the hell will ever end. I was prescribed an ssri or snri of one kind or another for the past 30 years. Eventually they added antipsychotics, shocked my brain, and said I was borderline. For some people there is no way back from hell. I have zero support. I’m completely alone and was recently denied a medical appointment because I wasn’t willing to “coordinate it with your psychiatrist.” So I guess it’s just survive until my body gives out. I’m 54 and physically broken so maybe it won’t be too much longer. No one believes me so I’ve walled myself off from the few people who still deigned to speak to me. The last friend I had said “stop going to that mad in America website. It only feed your anger and despair.” She compared it to an alcoholic taking a drink. I have no faith left in humanity.

  • I’m sorry, Rachel, for you, for me (I feel/think the same), and for everyone who’s been victimized by psychiatry. I’ve been accused in the past (not by anyone here), by multiple people, including therapists and immediate family members, of “playing the victim”. I was just lying in bed, wondering if the overwhelming exhaustion, weakness, and trouble breathing was due to Cymbalta withdrawal or due to some other shit, knowing at the same time that it’s a moot point because it’s only getting worse and there is no help for it, medical or otherwise. I hate my apartment and thought I had it in me to move again so I gave my landlord notice. I need to be out by the end of September but day after day has gone by where, not only did I do nothing to prepare to move, I barely got out of bed. It would be so much simpler to just die in my sleep one night rather than deal with yet another move where I don’t even have a place to go and there’s no where I want to be, I just don’t want to be here because I can’t deal with my neighbors anymore, or the noise. I’m not suicidal, just done. The most positive emotion I have left is apathy. I’m sorry, it sucks, and we didn’t/don’t deserve it.

  • Miranda,
    I came across the “off his meds” term yesterday, in a movie review of all things. The movie was about the apostle John, and the movie critic complained that the character seemed less like he was trying to spread the news of Jesus and more like a ranting person who had “gone off his meds.”
    It burns me up that this phrase and others are so widely accepted despite their obvious connotation. I would love to read a blog post on this.

    Thank you, Caroline. Great article. I would add borderline personality to the list of diagnoses in which any perceived misstep is viewed as a threat. Once I had that diagnosis, anything I did or said was questioned.

  • Yes, Sam. So many people want to delude themselves that the people involved in the manufacture and prescribing of psych drugs have more honest intentions than the people who were involved in the manufacture and prescribing of the opiates that caused the epidemic. They’re the same people. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors. And in both cases the FDA lets it happen. And in both cases the victims are the patients who wind up incarcerated in psych wards or in the case of opiate addicts, in prison. We get treated as criminals. The pharmaceutical companies and the doctors are the real criminals.

  • Cymbalta is poison. I don’t know if I’ll ever be “right” since coming off it. I still have terrible tinnitus, profuse sweating, and serious problems with agitation/irritability/paranoia. The GP who recommended it to me gave me no warning of the dangers (she just said, “you have pain. Cymbalta is great for pain”), and because I’ve been denied actual medical help for everything from a fractured ankle to severe arthritis and degeneration in my neck to hip bursitis while they chalk my pain up to fibromyalgia (i.e. they see me as drug seeker/hypochondriac), I broke down and started taking it. My body is so broken from the ECT and all the drugs they’ve thrown at me and told me I needed from the time I was 17. I’m 54 now and the Cymbalta withdrawal on top of other additional trauma I’ve been through the past couple of years while being denied any form of medical help, changed my entire personality and outlook on life. I see the world as a very dangerous place and life as an endless nightmare. I used to have a light in me but it’s gone now.

  • Sam, thank you, and yes that psychiatrist did hate me. I couldn’t see it then but I see it now. He couldn’t stand the fact that I was vocal once I learned that the psychiatrist I’d seen for 6 years who had prescribed everything from Prozac to Klonopin to Zoloft to Paxil to Effexor to Wellbutrin to finally Adderal had kept 0 records of anything. I knew right away that this was unacceptable/illegal and I did try to report him to the APA. They told me that unless I could prove definitively that the lack of record-keeping caused me serious harm, there was nothing they could or would do. At one point the ECT psychiatrist, who is the one who had asked for the records (that was how I finally found out that there were no records) tried to tell me that the referring psychiatrist hadn’t kept any records “because he was trying to protect you”. Um, protect me from what? I wasn’t buying it and that made him crazy. That made him decide that he had better label my anger as inappropriate, hence the borderline diagnosis. I wish I had had the strength back then to see clearly what was happening and to realize that these people had no concern at all for my well-being and in fact were more than ready to punish me for having the nerve to defend myself.
    i.e. cox, I’m not sure if your question was for me about reporting these abuses to a watchdog group. I did file a formal complaint with Yale, where the ECT was done. They never answered it. At one point I spoke to a woman in patient relations after I had filed the complaint and it was just a lot of BS from her. When I explained to her that the experience I had in treatment had left me very isolated and afraid and physically unwell but also afraid of doctors, she suggested that I get a Life Alert, as though that would solve everything. Of course that just made me angrier and then I started posting tons of Google reviews telling my story of what had happened. I see now that filing the complaint with Yale was similar to if I had been a prisoner and had been abused by a prison guard and had filed my complaint with another prison guard. I considered going to the state but then figured it would just be more of the same. I realize that I have risked legal retaliation based on some of the Google reviews I put up but I was willing to risk it. I tried to go through what they would call appropriate channels, and of course while this was happening I tried to defend myself very vocally, but I was just dismissed, ignored, ridiculed and punished. I learned a lot in the past couple of years about the lengths that they will go to to silence someone like me.

  • Rosalee, what that psychiatrist did was criminal and sometimes I hope there is another life after this just so that these sorts of people will have to face what they’ve done, the pain they’ve caused others. Kicking a person when they’re down seems to be a specialty of a lot of psychiatrists.
    I know from our conversations that you have tried to get these labels removed from your record just in order to get medical treatment that is not harmful.
    A lot of people have told me, when they hear pieces of my story, that I should get over it because it’s in the past. But we know it’s not in the past. The harm is still happening. I was just denied an appointment with a pain specialist because he made a condition that our initial appointment would need to be “coordinated with your psychiatrist”. I explained that I was a psychiatric survivor and would never have another psychiatrist again if I have anything to say about it. Of course I was denied the appointment, which I don’t even care because anyone who starts a treatment that way has nothing but more pain in store for me. In my head I was like, do you need the psychiatrist to explain to you the pain I experience with a fractured ankle that never healed right?

    So how do we just get over it when it’s still happening? I guess it’s just the sort of thing that people can’t understand unless they’ve experienced it.

  • Yes. I had a similar experience to DBT, where the so-called “core assumptions” of the treatment we’re completely disregarded by the certified DBT therapist I was in treatment with and when I tried to talk to them about it they acted like I was crazy, overreacting, inappropriately angry blah blah blah which just made me angrier, and then they just flat-out refused to talk to me about it.

    The DBT therapist I was sent to (by another fully certified DBT therapist), and who accepted me as a patient, was not in consultation. The party line goes that you have to follow DBT protocol, including being part of a consultation team, in order to call yourself a DBT therapist.

    I thought that the other certified DBT therapists would be as offended as I was by the crap this woman pulled but they just shrugged it off and still blamed me for what happened. She wasn’t in consultation when she accepted me as a patient, and a couple months in, when the therapy was clearly going nowhere, I brought up my concern with her, during a session, that she was not in consultation. The following week she started our appointment explaining how she had tried to find a consultation team but one was too expensive, the other one was too long of a drive, the other one had therapists who were too inexperienced, blah blah blah. The solution, she said, was for me to go back to the IOP DBT program I had just come out of. She had even gone and got the paperwork for me to re-enter the program. She told me that when she talked to them and picked up the paperwork they said, “tell her this will be her last time”. That really burned me up, that she tried to pass it off like it was my idea, like I had asked to go back there instead of the truth: that she was trying to send me back there so that she wouldn’t have to go and find a consultation team on her own.

    I asked the therapist whether she didn’t need to be in consultation to treat her other patients. She told me no, that her other patients did fine without her being in consultation, that I was the only one she needed consultation for. A couple of months later she dropped me with no warning.

    When I try to report her to the DBT governing board they told me that they don’t deal with complaints about therapists and if I had a problem I should report it through the state. Obviously no one at the state is going to care that this therapist wasn’t following DBT protocol.

    The thing that burns me up is they make such a big deal about their treatment protocol and how important certification is and fidelity to the treatment is so so important and then when I point out their behavior goes against stated protocol, that they’re breaking their own rules that they made such a big deal about, they tell me that my anger is inappropriate and they cut off contact. This was maybe my most painful experience as a mental patient because all the other treatment experiences, basically everyone was an a****** and a hypocrite, but there was one DBT therapist, the one who ran the IOP program and who referred me to this outpatient DBT therapist, and I really thought he had my back. I trusted him. And then it turned out they’re all hypocrites.

    I think the reason she took me on as a patient even though she was overwhelmed in her life and didn’t have a consultation team going was that she was up for a job in a new program that the referring therapist was running, a nice cushy job at Yale with benefits, and I knew she was in trouble at her job with the state because she confided to me in the session where she ended treatment, where she spent the whole session telling me how overwhelmed she was, that her colleagues at the state had filed a complaint against her. She needed the job at Yale so she accepted me as a patient and then she just dropped me with no warning after jerking me around for months and I emailed the referring therapist, the one who ran the IOP program, and I told him that the treatment had ended and that she had never been in consultation. He answered my email but he didn’t say anything about her or have any response to what I told him about her not being in consultation and then years later I found out that he gave her that job probably within a month after my sending him the email.

    And then he refused to talk to me about any of it. I sent him one email where I said this is very important to me, I feel profoundly hurt by what has happened and I need to talk to you about it. If not, I said, I need to write to dr. Linehan. He just ignored the email and months later when I asked him why he didn’t answer it he said that he thought I was being sarcastic or threatening in it. And then I was like, yeah I said I was profoundly hurt, and you read that as sarcastic or threatening…maybe because you didn’t want to address it, how convenient.
    The whole thing just makes me sick. And it makes me sick to think how much time I wasted and for how long I fell for all their b.s.

  • Joanna,
    I appreciate your comment and understand where you’re coming from. You make a very good point that you are actually saving the government money in not use utilizing psychiatric services, and also pointing out the additional hurdles that people face finding and keeping employment once they’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness. I faced the same hurdles and tried many times to re-enter the workforce but never succeeded.
    When I first went on social security disability about 12 years ago after having been employed full-time for over a decade, I felt very guilty and I felt ashamed. I’m still on disability but I no longer feel guilty about it. The psychiatric treatment that I received is what led to my becoming disabled. After being treated for what was diagnosed as depression for 6 years by a psychiatrist who prescribed dozens of different drugs and, I found out at the end of the six years, kept no records, I was referred by him to another psychiatrist for what was then being called treatment-resistant depression. That psychiatrist told me that I was a good candidate for ECT. I did some reading about it and I read that ECT could cause memory problems.
    At my next appointment with the psychiatrist I asked him about memory issues from ECT. He told me that he had never had a patient who experienced memory issues from ECT. I don’t know how many ECT treatments I received. I did agree to it but I was not informed of the dangers.
    After coming out of the hospital once the ECT treatments had stopped I drove to my follow-up appointment with the psychiatrist (I had no family support and was trying to navigate everything alone even after the ECT despite the severe memory loss I did experience). When I met with this psychiatrist in his office, he had a very grim manner and look on his face when he said, “you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work. You need dialectical behavior therapy.”. The psychiatrist didn’t explain what any of these terms meant to him. I had never heard of borderline personality disorder or dialectical behavior therapy. He left me to look that up on the computer when I went home where I was alone.
    That was just the beginning of the treatment trauma that led to my being disabled. So no, I no longer feel guilty. I do struggle with shame everyday but I believe that is also very much inflicted by the treatment I received. I live a very isolated existence now.

  • These were drugs prescribed by doctors. In my case, and many others, I was told over and over by the doctors thatI needed to be taking these drugs because they were safe and effective and would control the symptoms of my mental illness that they had diagnosed me with. I was also coerced by friends and family and even acquaintances into continuing the medication/drugs. I was brainwashed into thinking that my belief that the drugs were doing more harm was again due to my mental illness…i.e. that I wasn’t sane enough to understand that I needed to take these drugs. When I stopped or tried to stop taking the drugs I was called non-compliant.
    Yes there are long-term effects but most people who were prescribed the drugs were not giving informed consent on the long-term effects of these drugs which was the duty of the doctors to provide.

  • Rose, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was deeply affected by it and find it so upsetting that what you experienced is far from uncommon. The absolute confidence of the first psychiatrist in her abilities, as she was doing you so much harm; the complete dismissal by doctors of what you knew…and tried to tell them…to be the cause of the problems (the drugs); the addition of more drugs and more diagnoses by the psychiatrists you saw subsequent to the first psychiatrist (the one who sent you down this hellish path)…this all happened to me, as I know from this website it also happened to many others. I applaud you for writing out what happened so clearly and concisely. I can imagine how much work it took.
    I’m having trouble verbalizing my thoughts at the moment, so I will just say thank you for sharing your story. I am deeply appreciative on a personal level and I believe that…eventually…these histories will gain a wider audience and lead to systemic change.

  • mmarti2007,
    I have to say, I’m as discouraged as you are by all of this, by the sense that once a person gets on the Psychiatric merry go round (often through no fault of their own), there is no way off… certainly no easy way off. I was just denied an appointment with a pain specialist (who I’ve never met or spoken to… the referral came from a rheumatologist) because I refused their demand that “the appointment be coordinated with your psychiatrist”, whatever that even means. I explained to the woman on the phone that I’m a Psychiatric survivor, that I don’t have a psychiatrist and won’t ever see another psychiatrist. Of course I was denied the appointment, despite having multiple “legitimate” reasons for physical pain.
    That said, I think these articles are important. They tell the truth about psych drugs, and may be of help to people who are not yet on the merry go round – it’s a proper warning to stay away from psych drugs. I wish I’d had such a warning, 35 years ago.
    I do share your frustration and discouragement. It’s not an easy road by any means.

  • Amnesia,
    I am so sorry. I wish I had something useful to say to you. All I can say is, I believe everything that you say and I am so sorry that these things happened to you. I can’t imagine how strong you must be to have survived all of it. All of us who have survived these atrocities are stronger than anyone “looking in from the outside” gives us credit for.

  • Yes, Steve. It’s like a verbal shrug. No thanks. She said, “you’re self medicating (with Kratom) and that has it’s risks.”. I told her I will continue to self medicate, that being my safest option. I really don’t need to hear more from the rheumatologist about how safe Cymbalta is as long as it doesn’t make me feel so good that I want to…you know. I don’t need to hear anything else from any of these people. Imagine how much more money they would make off of me if I listened to them though. That’s a rheumatologist, a pain specialist, a psychiatrist to, you know, coordinate my appointments with the pain specialist, a primary care doctor which they keep telling me I need…and then the stay in the hospital when they all drive me over the edge.

  • Sam,
    Thanks for your comment. As painful as it to hear that you have also experienced this level of discrimination and intimidation from people in the “helping” professions, it’s also validating in that it reminds me that it’s not in my head, I’m not paranoid. This is really happening to me and countless others. I had hired a patient advocate and told her a bit of my history and I emailed her to let her know about what happened with the pain doctor. She wrote back saying, “I’m sorry you got bounced around today,…but this is the system and we can’t change the system. I recommend that you reinstate your appointment with the rheumatologist.”. I didn’t get bounced around. I got discriminated against, based on my record, my medical record, my medical rap sheet… As far as these people are concerned. Yes you’re right they hate tears. They also hate anger and hopelessness and being contradicted. They hate everything except robotic agreement that the ridiculous things they are saying actually make sense.apparently they can’t handle anything except a doctor knows best attitude even when they’ve proven over and over again that they know nothing.

  • SE,
    This makes sense. Sad, though…for them. I hope they cry themselves to sleep at night, or at least wake up with headaches.
    I broke down and had an appointment with a rheumatologist a few weeks ago, by video chat. I wanted to get some blood work. If I could have ordered it myself I would have.
    I thought it would be easier to do a video appointment than an in-person appointment but I still was crying by the end of our chat. This doctor, who was very nice and sympathetic to my issues, couldn’t understand why I had gone off Cymbalta because, she said, Cymbalta is a safe and effective drug, the only danger is a slightly higher risk of suicide when people first start taking it, because they feel so much better.
    Yeah, she really said that. Unbeknownst to me she referred me to a pain doctor who’s office called me yesterday. I called back to schedule the appointment today and learned from the assistant that the pain doctor would only agree to have an appointment with me if it were coordinated with my psychiatrist. I asked why this was and the assistant said something vague about “issues in your medical records”. Yeah I’ve been blacklisted. Probably all the Google reviews I wrote. I explained to the assistant that I do not have a psychiatrist, that I will not have a psychiatrist, and that I am a psychiatric survivor and do not need an appointment with the pain doctor. I just got finished writing a Health Grades review of the pain doctor describing this experience.
    I was so upset about this all day. Now I just think it’s stupid and kind of pathetic on their part. I have Kratom for pain and I don’t need a prescription for it so I don’t need a pain doctor anyway.

  • Someone Else,
    Yes, they are gaslighters, in my experience too.
    After I wrote that comment, I said to myself, if you could rewind why wouldn’t you rewind to *before* you had the ECT?
    Maybe some residual damage from all the years of drugs and shocks lol.
    I don’t understand why other doctors… internists, rheumatologists etc…stand with psychiatry as if it’s real medicine. You’re right, it makes them all untrustworthy.

  • I wish I could rewind my life 15 years to the day I was sitting in the office of an esteemed Yale psychiatrist who, after having shocked my brain a number of times (he’d told me prior to my agreeing to the ECT that I was a “good candidate”, what with my “treatment resistant depression”; he’d assured me that his patients did not suffer the “side effect” of impaired memory.) explained why it was my fault I didn’t get better. What he told me in his office that day:. “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. I wish I could go back in time. I’d throw this article in his face and never speak to another psychiatrist again. Instead I wasted another 15 years letting them gaslight me.

  • Thank you for your response, Sera. Yes, accepting that people don’t get it because they can’t get it, because they haven’t been there, is painful but maybe necessary. Whenever I’ve tried to explain the loss to someone who hasn’t experienced it, any validation I get is usually couched in a “yes, but…” type of statement. “Yes, but that’s in the past…”. Not according to my nervous system.
    I didn’t realize Jaffe is not a Dr. That he’s given a platform is depressing. Not that most psychiatrists deserve a platform either.

  • Hi, Sera, Thank you for a great article.

    I have a story that I’d love to share with Dr. Jaffe, not that he would listen.

    Yesterday morning I looked out my bedroom window and saw a city fire department vehicle in the parking lot of my building. On the door of the vehicle it said “Community Risk Reduction”. I didn’t then and still don’t have any idea why this vehicle was in the parking lot. There was a woman in the driver’s seat talking on the phone.

    Because of my long history of being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, accompanied by the police, who show up first, and deposited in the crisis intervention unit against my will, my brain came up with a theory about why that vehicle was there. My brain said: The police are on their way, as well as the ambulance. The woman in the community risk reduction vehicle is on the phone with them planning how they’re going to get me out of my apartment and into the ambulance without exposing themselves in the event that I have covid-19.

    I tried to convince myself otherwise. I tried to tell myself that the reasons for this vehicle to be in the parking lot had nothing to do with me and that probably soon the woman would start the car and drive away. That didn’t keep me from going into a full body PTSD response, literally shaking, standing at the window and peering through the blinds, then getting back in bed and curling up in the fetal position and trying to forget what was happening, then back to the window, for an hour. Finally I went from bed to window and saw that the car was gone. I wasn’t so much relieved as spent. The relief came later.

    Like the book says, The Body Keeps the Score, and mine had no doubt that I should be very afraid in that situation. Yes, those hospitalizations/incarcerations have left a mark. I related this story to a compassionate friend of mine who happens not to have a psych history, and she suggested that if that happened again, I could go outside and politely ask the person in the vehicle why they were there. I thought, I couldn’t do that, not in the state I was in. Maybe it’s something you have to have experienced to understand. That’s what keeps me coming back to this website – the wisdom and validation of people who get it.

  • You’re right, Steve. I may have a touch of Stockholm Syndrome or over-identification with the perspective of my former treatment providers (it was a long 35 years). If I think of complaint-filing in another context, I see that the act in and of itself is not an aggressive one.
    A few weeks ago I was driving on the highway and somehow I wound up with two flat rear tires. My car was towed to Pep Boys, where they replaced both rear tires and said I was “good to go”. I got back on the highway and, after driving 20 miles or so, I saw that both of the new tires had lost quite a bit of air. By the time I got to my destination, both tires were almost flat. I had the car towed to another Pep Boys, where they replaced the valve stems and put the lost air back in the new tires.
    If I write to Pep Boys corporate office and say, “Such and such happened, when they replaced my flat tires they should have checked the valve stems and because they didn’t I wound up in an unsafe situation…I’m glad that the second time my car was brought in, they replaced the valve stems but that really should have been done the first time…etc.” that probably wouldn’t be interpreted by the powers that be at Pep Boys as an act of aggression but more of a straight-talk, here’s my opinion about the service I received and how your company could have done better type of thing.
    So, you’re right…people providing services should in general be open to feedback from the person receiving the service. So when I say, “I would have preferred, rather than the doctor saying, ‘You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work,’ that he would make the diagnosis prior to needlessly shocking my brain thus sparing me brain damage” it’s just feedback from a service-user. Thank you for reminding me that it was my right to provide that feedback.

  • “Are there people with lived experience who can speak personally and articulately to things that damaged them as well as things that worked?”

    From what I have read on this website, there are such people. But as you suggest, Robert, the personal stories shared here are being read by others who have been hurt by the system and/or who already believe the system should be reformed if not abolished, so these authors are for the most part “preaching to the choir.”
    I filed a formal complaint with a hospital where I’d received treatment, and although the filing of a complaint might be seen as an inherently “aggressive” act, I worked very hard, in describing my experience, both verbally and in writing, to maintain a non-aggressive tone because I did not want the people tasked with hearing my grievances to be “on the defensive”. I very much wanted them to be able to hear me…because what I wanted from them, at that point, more than anything, was validation. Validation that I had been put in several discreet situations in which my health, my ability to trust treatment providers, and my prospects for recovery were threatened and/or damaged. Unfortunately, I did not get the validation I was seeking. Instead, the response was to patronize, then ignore me. At that point, I lost diplomacy and reverted to an aggressive tone…I felt I had put in the effort and still had not been heard.
    The other thing I’d hoped to achieve in filing the complaint was to present an argument for the need for a patient advocate who is not in any way beholden to the system to be assigned to any patient receiving a hospital level of care. I tried to get across the idea that, in my experience, any therapist, psychiatrist, social worker, etc who is employed by the “system” has an inherent conflict of interest, in that if they speak up about what they see as a patient being unfairly treated/harmed, they are very likely to experience repercussions due to the tacit agreement between treatment providers to “stick together”. To my disappointment, I got no feedback on this argument.
    While systemic reforms require people with lived experience being able to speak articulately about what harmed them and what helped, it also requires people working in the system who will listen. In my case, it was the absence of people who would listen that led me to conclude that the system can’t be reformed.

  • Yes, I feel the same way, Jeffrey. This is how I’ve lived most of my life also, through no choice I made. Abandoned by family and friends, people were always putting up “boundaries” so they wouldn’t have to deal with my “severe mental illness”. No one but me ever wondered if the “help” I was getting was the thing that was making my life unbearable.
    I guess it gives us a kind of strength in situations like this. Quarantine? Yes, I can do that. I’ve been doing it voluntarily or involuntarily most of my life. Voluntarily is when I “took the hint” that I don’t belong.
    And now I live most of my life in quotation marks.

  • Not to be flippant…I understand this is not the point of the article and that the emotional distress of being quarantined due to Covid 19 can be profound… but I couldn’t help but think of all the parallels there are to the experience of being committed to a psych ward. Stigma, lack of clear communication, boredom, lack of necessary supplies, fear of being contagious…anger, PTSD. It kind of makes me sorry for the whole world.

  • Very nice job deconstructing how the concept of anosognosia is used against people who are labeled with psych diagnoses as just another tool to strip them of their rights.

    The New York Times is just as guilty of this kind of thing. Liberal/Progressive? Not on this issue. Do they even recognize it as an issue–as something that needs attention, the fact that psychiatry is completely out of control and trampling all over people’s basic rights? It doesn’t seem like they do.

    A recent column by Jane Brody (NY Times, “When Mental Illness is Severe”, Nov. 18, 2019) besides being a thinly veiled plug for a recently published book by a psychiatrist (friend of Ms. Brody’s?), was similarly full of ideas about the “dangers” of allowing “mentally ill” people to forego “much needed treatment” simply because “they don’t know they’re ill”. Barf.
    A few of the people who commented called out Ms. Brody on the general stigmatizing tone of the article and it’s many factual errors, but many of the comments were right on board with the idea that “mentally ill” people had just too many rights and certainly some of those rights should be removed…for their own good.

  • I just subscribed to the Boston Globe because I was hoping to move to Massachusetts and beco part of the recovery community that exists in Western Massachusetts. In my current state – Connecticut – there isn’t anywhere safe for someone like me, who’s been labeled, brain shocked and drugged, then thrown away by the system and by whatever family I had. I’m too sick to move again and now believe there is nowhere safe for a person like me. I’ll definitely cancel my subscription to the Globe.

  • Alfie,
    The other thing I have, besides the shame and the anger, is fear. I don’t have family, and at 53, my mental and physical health aren’t good (some of it is normal aging but most is damage from the interventions. Even if I can accept what happened in the past and decide to get as much as possible out of the rest of my life, I really fear becoming incapacitated in any way and being put in some kind of long term care situation and being made to take psych drugs again or even have ECT done again and not being able to say no. I’ve looked into Advance Directives but it requires a family member or close friend to put into action, and there is no one to fill that role. Just so many negative emotions about all of it, where I also wind up feeling like I just want to be done with it, just escape. The system can just take so much from people, including any sense of safety. I am taking steps to move forward but it is a monumental struggle.

  • I understand, Alfie. At some point I need to gain some acceptance if I’m to have any kind of quality of living. One thing that would help is having any kind of validation in real life like what I find on this website. Mainly people in my real life just think I’m a loser, that I wallow in anger, that I play the victim, or that I need to find a new psychiatrist and “get back on my meds”. They see it as, I’ve had so much “help” and I stubbornly refused to be helped by the help. I guess for now I need to find a way to validate myself. I also have a ton of shame because I don’t like that I lash out at people when I feel like they’re putting me down or they think I’m just a “hopeless borderline”. Between the shame and the anger I have very little peace. I need to work on having more peace which, as you said, comes from acceptance.

  • Everything you describe – that’s how I feel, too. I spent some time going to AA also and felt the same pressure to be grateful. I was in DBT at the time, too, where everything was about being willing. The more pressure I felt to be grateful and willing, the more resentment built up inside me.
    I like what that person said to you,…the resentment is your spirit saying, don’t let them take your dignity and self respect. I would add to that, our intuition, our gut sense of what’s happening. Sometimes, when I thought I was being “played” – I really was being played. I wish I’d trusted my instincts instead of suppressing them and accepting the “party line”:. You believe someone is trying to hurt you/lying to you because you have paranoia and anger because you have borderline personality.
    Unfortunately, after spending so much time in the system, I really do have trust issues. There’s no one right now in my real life that I trust. I think I’m going to need to slowly build trust in myself before I can think about trusting anyone else.

  • My borderline diagnosis was at least in part a form of punishment – because when I learned that my psychiatrist of six years had kept no records while prescribing a ridiculous amount of drugs, I tried to report him to the APA. That was viewed as inappropriate anger by the psychiatrists, so, after shocking my brain a number of times, I was told by the ECT shrink (a close colleague of the no-record-keeper,), “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”

  • CryAngerNow,
    I’m in the same/similar boat. I’m not off meds for as long as you have been (congratulations to you for that accomplishment).
    I was on various psych drugs for 30+ years. Toward the end, there was more polypharmacy with antipsychotics, mood stabilizers (because of a borderline diagnosis). The last drug, which I’m still in withdrawal from – Cymbalta – all I can say is, I think it changed who I am.
    But, to your point – the residual resentment, the pressure (internal and external) to be “even-keeled”, to “let it go” feels like to much too ask, in a way, doesn’t it? It would be one thing if the message – the truth – that Dr. Breggin speaks (for which I am very grateful) were universally embraced as the truth, if people understood how badly we, as patients, had been harmed, it would sure make things easier. And I don’t mean so I can wallow in victim-hood, not at all. But so people who profess to care about us would understand certain things about the impact our experiences have had on us, as people trying to live in the world. So they would understand why someone with this experience might be afraid to see a doctor of any kind, why we might appear cynical or lacking trust…any number of things.
    Another reason I find it hard to let go is that, 20, 30 years ago, the information that’s available now – this website, Dr Breggin’s books, any number of other resources – was simply not available back then, when everyone was still saying, “Trust your doctor (even if he/she is a psychiatrist)”.
    So anyway, a long way of saying, yes, I have the resentment, I have rage at what happened to me, and I fear it won’t go away. I don’t like being angry, I wouldn’t choose it, just as I wouldn’t choose what happened to me. But there it is.

  • How much harm was done by SSRIs during the first 10+ years after they came on the market with no warnings attached? I wonder what list of side effects came with a Prozac prescription in 1998. Probably nothing about worsening depression and anxiety, akathisia, homicidal and suicidal thoughts.
    How many tragedies happened in those first 10+ years that were never traced back to Prozac (or paxil or zoloft etc)?

  • I’ve had people say things like that to me – “did you take your meds?”, “you should be on meds”. “You need professional help.”
    You’d think people could come up with something better. File under, “Insults For the Unimaginative”.

  • Thank you, Steve. I actually had a good relationship with that Dr in the beginning, but he prescribed the Parnate and when I had the severe hypertension even after they stopped the drug, he could not or would not admit that the Parnate had anything to do with it. Any time they came close to admitting the connection, it was still always about what I’d done wrong, like saying that I’d violated the diet. They just abandoned me to deal with the medical crisis on my own. Even the Drs and therapists that I had a good relationship with in the begining – every time, something like that would happen, they’d show they were loyal to the system, not me…then they beat me over the head about my problem with not trusting “the people who were trying to help me.”
    I should write a book. We should all write books.

  • Thanks, Steve. I was proud of that one.
    The psychiatrist who said that to me, about me getting to people, this was at the end of 5 years of hell they put me through starting with ECT, the BPD diagnosis, many hospitalizations (all traumatic), dozens of different drugs. During that 5 years I lost basically everything that I cared about.

    So I was sitting in this Drs office at the IOP, and I think he could see how hopeless I was, and he wanted to say something but I guess didn’t have much to say, so he mentioned a ketamine study they were doing at Yale for depression. He said maybe I could try to get into that study.

    I knew I’d be excluded from the study due to the bpd diagnosis, and I was pretty sure the Dr also knew this (it’s common practice to exclude “borderlines” from depression studies) so I just said, “Hey, it’s a chance to get high.”

    That’s when he said “maybe you just really get to people.”. I was so broken at that point, it didn’t even hurt my feelings. I just didn’t care.

  • When I had an ongoing (months-long) hypertensive crisis as a direct result of being put on Parnate, they did use this kind of twisted logic with me. First they said my BP had shot up to 170/140 because of my age (“welcome to your 40s, you have hypertension”), then they said it was because I had violated the restricted diet for people on MAOIs (I hadn’t, but that didn’t stop them from writing in my chart that I had). Finally, they declared that I had an innate, underlying case of hypertension which was “revealed” by the Parnate. I told them, that’s like, if I punch somebody in the face, and then tell them, “you had an innate, underlying black eye. I just pointed out with my fist.”
    A few months later, the Dr who’d prescribed the Parnate said, “I don’t know, Kate, maybe you just really get to people.”
    They don’t like being called out on their idiocy, that’s for sure.

  • Sam,
    Your whole comment, but especially that last sentence – wow. You said it so well.
    It’s true, I’ve been traumatized over and over by reading articles about “mental illness” and “encouraging those who suffer mental illness to seek treatment, stay in treatment, be compliant with treatment…blah blah b.s. b.s.” in that liberal, progressive, paper of record, The New York Times.

    Last night the police came to do a “welfare check” on my neighbor (her father was concerned that she was suicidal and he couldn’t reach her. She hadn’t bothered anyone.), which involved two cop cars, lights flashing, cops pounding on her door for an hour, threatening to break it down (I said to the cop, “if I were her, I would be terrified right now.”). Then came two fire engines and the ambulance, she was taken to the local hospital CIU where she will only be more traumatized. That’s just one aspect of the harsh reality that mainstream media doesn’t want to report on.
    Was it Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson who said that thing in that movie that was about something:. “You can’t handle the truth.”. I think it applies perfectly here.

  • Thank you for this very informative article. I never heard the term akathisia during the decades I spent in treatment.
    I was treated with benzos and SSRIs for “treatment resistant depression” then, when I got worse, with Adderall, then, when I got psychotic, ECT, then, when the ECT didn’t “work”, I was told it was because I had borderline personality, so more SSRIs and now mood stabilizers and antipsychotics (one kind psychiatrist told me that Abilify would “heal” the problem in my brain that caused the borderline), then I could no longer work, went on disability, spent the next five years in and out of Yale IOP and Yale psych ward, I was severely anemic but no one noticed as Drs wrote “patient is thought to have poor judgement” and so much worse in my chart, I started self harming, had briefly become addicted to methadone while trying desperately to hold on to my job, so methadone withdrawal, more antipsychotics, higher doses (why is she so angry??), throw in an SNRI, some Geodon, Lamictal (if you break out in a rash let us know; otherwise you can assume “your” meds are working against your powerful, intractable, innate severe mental illness), now an MAOI which led to hypertensive crisis (“just try not to make yourself hysterical”), Latuda, the new and improved Abilify, hospital, hospital, hospital, garbage patient borderline recidivist, abandoned by family and friends, spit out of the system.
    No one ever mentioned akathisia. Every time I said “iatrogenic” the understanding DBT clinicians would point out, “That’s not helpful” (treatment interfering behavior, urge to argue, please make a star on your diary card).
    Unbelievable.

  • What happened to you was awful. I’m so glad you got off the APs – no small feat I’m sure. The withdrawal part, I can imagine, would have been terrifying…even if you understand insomnia, paranoia is caused by the withdrawal, you can’t allow any representatives of the system to know you’re in that state as they will use it as “proof” against you. I went through that recently with Cymbalta withdrawal.
    The one blessing I had was the system didn’t get to me until I was 17 or 18. It should be illegal to drug children. As you said, none of it should be legal.

  • “We get a desire to be validated by the system that put us down” – Sam, this is so true in my case. I hadn’t realized it. After a filed a formal complaint and it was ignored, I became gripped by this obsession, this panic:. They have to validate me. They have to say they understand why I feel so hurt, angry and betrayed. I kept writing emails and Google reviews, thinking, if I provide this detail, make this analogy, explain it this way, if I just use the right language, they will see what they did, acknowledge it, apologize. Maybe they will even admire my persistence. One person in Patient Relations, in response to the formal complaint, said, “you should write a book. It would be a best seller.”. But I think she was only patronizing me and trying to avoid responding in any way to the complaint.
    I have to wonder, why was I so desperate for their validation? It’s not like I had the energy for all that writing. I still do it sometimes:. I’ll post a Google review on the psych hospital or the IOP explaining another facet of how badly they f’d my life. I’m reminded of a quote I heard on that show The Mentalist. Something like, “when the individual is humiliated by a group, the individual will, in response, hold the group in higher esteem.”

  • Actually, they have done this… turned sarcasm into “evidence” of a “mental illness”…one of the psychiatrists who testified for the state in the Marci Webber case claimed that Ms. Webber showed signs of borderline personality, which, according to this psychiatrist, can manifest as “extreme sarcasm”. (I’m proving my borderline diagnosis in this comment by using so many quotation marks. I’m proving it times 2 in this parenthetical remark which is also extremely sarcastic).
    While in treatment, I often resorted to sarcasm as a defense against constant blame, invalidation, disempowerment, etc. from treatment providers and people in my family who benefitted by me being seen as severely mentally ill. Sarcasm was one of the tools I used to survive.

  • Antipsychotics were added to my prescribed drug regimen after I was diagnosed with borderline perality following a series of ECT treatments in my late 30s (the psychiatrist had recommended ECT for what was then diagnosed as treatment-resistant depression – meaning I hadn’t responded to a huge variety of SSRIs, amphetamines, benzos prescribed for 6 years by the non-record-keeping referring psychiatrist.). After the brain shocks, the doctor said, “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. Once I had that diagnosis, I was always made to be on an antipsychotic along with whatever else they were prescribing. I know I became psychotic at times as a result of prescribed drugs, but most of the time I wasn’t psychotic, I was angry. Really, really angry. Angry at treatment providers. Angry about this new shitty diagnosis that the doctor who diagnosed it didn’t even bother to define for me. I went home and googled borderline personality disorder. That’s how I learned what it was. The psychiatrists weren’t treating my psychosis with the antipsychotics. They were treating my anger. The anger that they seemed inappropriate. The anger that made them angry or uncomfortable or defensive. The anger that, they seemed to feel, I had no right to. At times, the more compassionate psychiatrists would try to make me feel like the treatment relationship was a partnership, that they weren’t forcing these drugs on me or writing notes about my non-compliance in my chart. One conversation with one of the kinder psychiatrists went like this:
    Dr:. (about to write a new RX). “What dose of Ability do you think works best for you…5, 10, or 15 mg?
    Me:. “I don’t notice any improvement when I’m on Abilify, so I really can’t say ”
    Dr:. “I’ve seen you off Abilify. I’m writing the Rx for 15 mg.”
    Being made to take antipsychotics (there were also Rxs for Seroquel, Zyprexa, Geodon, Risperdal, Latuda…it just depended on the Dr) made me angry, which, by their logic, meant I needed a higher dose of antipsychotic.

  • I had the experience with a number of psychologists, social workers, etc – people I was seeing for “talk therapy”and who were not licensed to prescribe – each of whom, at some point during the course of treatment, raised the idea that I was not being drugged enough or, in one case, when I had stopped all psych drugs, the psychologist suggested that I needed to face the fact that my disorder required me ingesting psych drugs as a part of my treatment. All of these non-medically trained talk therapists turned the conversation to psych drugs, one even insisting that if I refused to take psych drugs, she would drop me as a patient. She spent an entire session talking about what she thought would be a good drug cocktail for me, based on what her other patients were taking. None of them allowed for the possibility that the drugs I was taking or had recently withdrawn from had harmed me. Psychiatry’s propaganda about chemical imbalances and patients “needing to be compliant with medications” brainwashed across the board… including talk therapists.

  • When I was last in the CIU of the local hospital, after I’d been held overnight and it was getting towards noon the following day, I felt sick, hungry, worried about my cat who was home alone and I had no one to call to go and feed/reassure him (such is the life of a person who’s been diagnosed and in the system for 15 years…friends and family give up, if they were there in the first place), listening to the cries of the other patients who were also being ignored in their cells, I started yelling. A nurse came in with a needle in her hand and 4 male security guards trailing her. They surrounded the bed as the nurse told me to lie on my stomach. She pushed my gown out of the way and shot me in the butt. I’m a 53 year old woman. All else aside (the forced drug, the tacit threat represented by the guards, I could go on), the nurse could have put the needle in my arm and the drug would have entered my system just as quickly. The point was to humiliate me as much as possible. As others have said, there’s no way to insert humanity into a system that’s innately dehumanizing. This nurse wasn’t some outlier or rogue actor. She was just doing her job.

  • Thank you for this article. We need more and more of this kind of deconstruction, to borrow Miranda’s term, so that, eventually, anyone with their eyes open will see and acknowledge the truth of what Psychiatry has done and continues to do.
    I have also heard psychiatrists state that they never claimed to have evidence that chemical imbalances caused “mental illnesses”…that the chemical imbalance theory was an urban legend, that whoever came up with it, it wasn’t psychiatrists.
    It seems like they will say anything.

  • Very true, Mary. My family took that line. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked, “are you taking your meds?” If I answered yes, I’d then be instructed to call my psychiatrist and ask for “my meds to be adjusted.”. I couldn’t have problems anymore. If my car had been stolen, if my shower wall had crumbled, if my upstairs neighbors were too loud, I just needed to take my meds.

  • Hi, Sam, I understand what you’re saying. I suppose I wouldn’t want to live with the knowledge that I’d destroyed lives of people who were already suffering by placing labels on them, drugging them, incarcerating them. If they even have that knowledge. As you suggested, they do a good job cocooning themselves. When I think of the psychiatrists who hurt me…2 have lost their licenses/jobs since then. Several others, the ones I now see as the “untouchables” are still either highly placed at Yale or enjoying retirement in a wealthy suburb of New Haven. Every so often the local paper runs an article on one of them:. Oh, look, he wrote a book of poetry! Look, he rides his bike to work at the Yale psych hospital! Aren’t they special, these overprivileged gray haired men who ruined my life!? Do any of them really understand the impact of what they did, what they put me through? I doubt it. I was silly enough, a couple of years ago, to think they would apologize if I filed a complaint.

  • I have accepted that I’m responsible for myself, that no one is going to help me. I’ve accepted that I need to avoid doctors, hospitals and police at all costs. I can survive alone, as I have, no family, unless/until I break another bone or have a stroke. I don’t know what will happen then. My health is terrible. Three and a half decades of psych meds, ECT and a lifetime of trauma have not left me with a functioning body.

  • Great article.
    Eli Lilly makes of Zyprexa and Cymbalta, which I’m currently in a long, hellish withdrawal from. They cover up the terrible harm their drugs do, blame the patient’s reaction to the drugs on the patient, bury evidence of the withdrawal symptoms. Doctors are clueless. My internist said, “Take Cymbalta instead of Zoloft, Cymbalta is great for pain, but have your psychiatrist prescribe it.” I told the psychiatrist what the internist said, the psychiatrist wrote the Rx. I don’t think either of them knew anything about this drug beyond what they’d read in an Eli Lilly produced brochure…no different than the situation with Purdue Pharma and the other drug companies that created the opiate epidemic. The drug companies have the plan, which has nothing to do with treating illness and everything to do with profit, doctors get taken along for the ride (because of their failure to question drug company propaganda or they’re complicit). Mainstream media has finally recognized who was at fault in the opiate crisis…there are articles calling out Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers, in depth reports looking into how this happened, where did it start, what was the FDA’s role, what part did pharmacies play, who knew what when, etc…but no such coverage of the epidemic of suffering, disability and death caused by psych drugs. Is it that the majority of the populace doesn’t care, or they’re too squeamish about anything to do with “mental illness”?…I don’t get it. Also no one is forcing people to take opiates, while this whole system…hospitals, police, the courts…can and does force people to take Zyprexa and the like despite the devastating harm to the individual. Hello, NY Times? Anyone in mainstream media? Maybe they can publish a review of The Zyprexa Papers…that would be something.

  • Lavender Sage, You make a very good point regarding statistics vs personal narratives. Sure, it’s easy for some to dismiss personal stories as anecdotal (and soft, and feminine, perhaps?) while upholding statistics as “real” (solid, scientific, “numbers don’t lie” etc) but we’ve all learned, many of us the hard way, that studies can be skewed in all sorts of ways, intentionally or otherwise. I had been considering ATMC for treatment of the protracted withdrawal symptoms I’ve been experiencing, which brought me to this article. The “anecdotal” stories that were shared in the comments told me what I needed to know. For me, the comment sections on MIA carry a lot of weight – I pay particular attention to comments from fellow survivors.
    Off the topic of treatment for psych drug withdrawal but still on the topic of statistics, after I received a borderline personality diagnosis and was referred to dialectical behavior therapy, I read over and over again that DBT was the first – and at that point, still the most – successful treatment for BPD. When I entered the program, I was told over and over again that the goal of DBT was to achieve a “life worth living” as defined by the person living the life (i.e. the patient). The clinicians would ask each patient to come up with a list of goals that, if achieved, would make them see their life as worth living. Everything the clinicians asked patients to do was purportedly in the service of achieving these goals, of realizing the “life worth living”.
    At some point, after a few months in DBT, I did more reading about the studies that had shown DBT to be a successful treatment. To my great disappointment, I learned that the studies hadn’t been concerned with how many patients had achieved their life worth living. Instead, the success of the treatment was measured by the amount of time patients spent in the psych ward. So, if the patient had a reduction in emergency room visits and a reduction in the number of days they spent hospitalized, the treatment was deemed a success. After I learned this, I brought it up with my DBT clinicians, as I couldn’t help but feel a bit hoodwinked. Turns out they didn’t want to discuss it and eventually they began to label my attempts to discuss it as “treatment interfering behavior”. I had to start marking it on my diary card as a problem behavior every time I brought up the subject of the studies that showed DBT was “successful”. As you said, the truth of a study is defined by the researchers, not the subjects of the study.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. I’m horrified by how you have been treated. I’ve been involuntarily committed a number of times (more than a dozen but fewer than 20? I’m not sure). It’s hard to explain how dehumanizing the experience feels to someone who hasn’t been through it.
    Sam brings up a good point: steroids definitely effect one’s mental state. Steroid psychosis is a real thing.

  • You’re so right, Sam. They have a lot of blood on their hands. I just watched a documentary on Amazon, “Speed Demons Killing for Attention”. Despite the confusing title, it’s a very informative look at acts of violence committed by people who were experiencing “amphetamine induced psychosis” – all of them were on Rx speed…Adderall, Vyvanse. Dr Breggin and Dr Goetzche (sorry for mispelling) are interviewed. There was a part about the FDA approving chewable forms of these meds, for young children who can’t swallow a pill yet but have an ADHD diagnosis. I woke up this morning thinking I dreamed that… like, “no, that’s not real, that would be insane”. It’s a real thing.

  • So much truth in this, Sam. You’re right, psychiatry is one piece of the puzzle in the brainwashing. Everybody buys into it. Once I was diagnosed, I couldn’t have a human problem anymore. It was all, “did you take your meds? Can you talk to your therapist about that?” After I went on disability, I was sitting with a friend one day and stated my concern that I would not be able to re-enter the job market. She said, “Is that something you can talk to your therapist about?”. Later I told her that her response hurt my feelings. She said, “I didn’t think I could field that response myself.”. Field that response. Like suddenly I could only get support from people with degrees in the space of a 50 minute session. And you’re right, psychiatry/the mental health system is nothing but endless circles.

  • Krakatau,
    I’m not sure if you were writing in response to my comment…if so, I’m sorry that you had a similar experience. Now I realize, there are so many who psychiatry did a number on.
    While I was still in treatment, I had only a dim awareness of the antipsychiatry movement. It’s only within the past couple of years that I’ve become aware of the extent of the rebellion against psychiatry and it’s myriad abuses of power. When I was still a patient, they had me believing I was an outlier, one of the few who didn’t “respond to treatment.”. At least now I know the truth, but still, as you said, it’s painful.

  • I’m reminded of all the self-help type of advice that tells people to “stay away from negative/toxic people. They will drag you down. Avoid them. Cut them out of your life.”. After the borderline diagnosis, I used to feel so hopeless and ashamed anytime I saw an article or post with this advice. I knew people viewed me as negative, pessimistic, not-cheerful. I knew that a lot of people (mental health workers included) viewed “borderlines” as toxic.
    Now I think of it differently. It’s hard to be cheerful and positive when you’re being labeled, drugged and humiliated. It’s hard to smile through that. And the truth was, I was toxic, literally, but only because I’d been coerced into taking ridiculous amounts of psych drugs. I’ve also stopped reading women’s magazines and I stay off Facebook and the like.

  • Rosalee, You capture that moment so well. It’s a terrible image, greatly captured. I feel like I’ve met this psychiatrist. Actually, the one I told you about…who I found out, lost her license in 2015, had a similar demeanor. The first time I met this woman, she wore black.leather trousers and a white silk blouse. I started to tell her some of my history. She interrupted, scolding me:. “You’ve had a lot of help” (i.e. it’s your fault you’re not cured). She instructed me to write her a check for my co-pay, which I did, and then yelled at me as I was leaving the office because I tried to exit back into the waiting room instead of the correct way, the door that led to the outside. She said I was violating everyone’s privacy. Such a shame she lost her license.