Showing 31 of 31 comments.
Yes, I would, oldhead! We do not need psychiatry. It is a profession of fear, intimidation and suppression. It is not how we work with fellow humans experiencing breakdowns (mad or sad ones).
Frank, I see the term mental illness as a misnomer for what is going on within humans so I’d like us to begin using different terminology. That seems easier to me than abolishing an entire institution. I feel we can educate folks to a more sensible view of what goes on with so many of us and change how people are worked with. I know this is no easy task, but that is where I am putting my efforts. Sounds like we both want similar things, though and I definitely do not want to get rid of the word unicorn 😉
I agree. We definitely need a HUGE 180 degree, or 360 degree shift, in our perspective around these things. For those ready, your provided suggestions are definitely key to empowering ourselves in the face of psychiatry.
yes, I know. that is why the word is in quotes.
LOVE your response! Thanks for pointing out those great Paul Simon lyrics 🙂
I was thinking of this caterpillar-butterfly analogy, too. We cannot build something new from the same structure, without it first going through a process of breaking down, perhaps total breakdown.
Frank, I agree that it is the treatment and oppression in psychiatry that does the harm.
I used the term mental illness abolitionist because I believe we need to abolish the use of the term “mental illness”, not because I do not believe humans go into extreme states, but because “mental illness” is connected to flawed understandings of humanity and is used to saddle folks with life-long, irrevocable, extremely damaging labels.
From my experiences, I understand these “illnesses” (as do people like Paris Williams, whose book, Rethinking Madness is available free to download on his website) to be humans breaking down to make sense of their worlds, the only viable coping mechanism we may have in our toolkits for the situations we find our selves in.
I’d prefer the term mental breakdown, or seeing our fellow humans as in the process of spiritual transformation/ metamorphosis, as many of us who have experienced extreme states come to see the oneness of the universe during them (see Dr. Russell Razzaque in his book Breaking Down is Waking Up or Sean Blackwell’s Bipolar or Waking Up book/YouTube channel).
Full and complete healing and growth from these breakdowns (or illnesses, if you must) needs to become the goal for everyone, instead of only a small percentage of people who realize they are not who they are told they are (or they can grow beyond who they are defined as) by the mental health “experts’ we currently rely on.
I use the term “survivor” because I believe I did survive intense inhumanity, indignities to my person, the loss of my full moral status, as I was “treated” by the traditional psychiatric, medical model.
Word Reference.com, which uses Random House, defines survivor as “to continue to function or manage in spite of difficult circumstances or hardship; endure”.
That is what I had to do to get where I am today, after the mental illness I was diagnosed with, treated for, and then judged by society as deserving of having my two year old son ripped away from me because of. Survive.
(odd that sometimes there is a “reply” button below the last comment and sometimes I just get the big general “leave a reply” box… and that the site goes down about once a day…do others have that happen also?)
Yes, I agree, OH, that the psychiatric system is doing what is was created to do. My point is that all of this large scale chaos and dis-order occurs because we keep getting further and further away from the natural world we are part of. We feel there must be scientific-evidence for every single thing we do (there probably was a study funded about why breathing is still necessary…I get that we learn things about our bodies & world when we investigate them but we’ve taken it WAY too far, to the point where we barely trust ourselves to interact with other humans -especially those in crisis -and we trust “experts” much more than our own selves who know our own experiences best as we’re the ones who’ve lived them). Our species, compared to other animals on the planet, has created so much dysfunction and complicated our lives so intensely (because our brains allow us to be far away from the present moment, unlike the rest of the animals in this world).
🙂 (can’t get a thumbs up emoji in here but that too 🙂 )
Your suggestions for how to best work with the psychiatrists or other providers treating you is very helpful. I took notes to do better when I visit the person I am forced to continue seeing.
The thing this plan doesn’t take into account is that we humans do go into extreme states and those around us are usually desperately looking for help. That “help” usually comes from psychiatrists, nurses, and other clinicians. They are given the metaphorical keys to the entire person, to fix them. So we do become patients, not clients -who choose to go see someone. But, this guide and proposed “hub” would be a great resource for people in the system ready to advocate for themselves and take back their lives.
Thanks for writing up all you’ve learned from your experiences and sharing them 🙂
Totally get where you are coming from. Yes, the whole system is very broken. Taoism -or the Tao Te Ching (Ralph Alan Dale’s translation & intro escpecially 🙂 makes sense to me, as a way to understand that we are very far from the natural order of things, natural order of life.
Not interested in running into any fire. Done that enough. What I mean by that is I have hidden the most impactful event of my life for 10 years, to be able to make a living, and survive. I am now at a place, with an incredible SO supporting me, where I can own my truth and not live in fear, which only allows my ex-husband to continue to be in charge of a part of me.
I believe our breakdowns come from distress, disorder and dysfunction, whether it is in our home life or the greater community or world, and mental breakdowns (mad or sad) are simply our coping mechanisms. But I also see them as part of the natural human evolution of our existential metamorphosis… why many of us come to this vision of oneness while in extreme states… so having a safe place to move through these experiences until they are viewed as human progress, not a forever mental illness, and all work with one another when we see it taking place, we will need some peer respite-like spaces. I heard about a town in Japan that made itself a safe place for their elderly to move about with dementia and thought about this as a concept for when people experience extreme states…
I deleted my account two years ago, actually ahead of the curve ago :)… but I decided to return recently with a simple name account to get info from groups in my area that use it for organizing. I’ve learned about all they do, what gvt does with what we share, what they do, have done To us, very well. I am ready to live my life as a fearless mental illness abolitionist so what this may bring, I am here for. (The connecting and info sharing is happening even here because I didn’t upload my photo to MIA when I made an account, but it was found from other online places and there it is, somehow?!)
This word “peer” is a new concept to me. But the horrors of psychiatric “treatment” and drugs are not… so, for sure, not looking to be anyone’s drugged buddy 😉 … but using my lived experience in a way that is valued… i like that idea a lot!
This is a link to a peer respite home in Western Mass… brings tears to my eyes to imagine what might have been if I could have gone to a place like this instead of hospitals.
Steve McCrea -we had about 7 inches of snow, but more falling now! 🙂
I will let you know as I find out. There are some “peer” groups on facebook if you are on that, that I’m just learning about.
There are public hearings about the bills (some have taken place already) SB5720, SB5431, SB5842 but you can write/call your Senators and let them know your thoughts about them.
There is also an advocacy day on 2/27 I just learned about… more info here
I have a friend who was living with a similar experience. Her husband, who she knew since 13, just had a heart attack and died peacefully. She feels so conflicted as her 11 yr old is devastated but she feels finally free, as if she’s won the lottery. And it happened that a student’s father, in my class last year, used the same law firm as my ex, and I saw that the mother had a parenting plan just like mine… so I have a few peers to share experiences with. But, as I said above, I have no use for trudging through the pain of the past any more than my thoughts happen to. I have contemplated contacting Lundy, to see if he might have anything to say about this situation, though.
So awesome that you are in WA too! Have you heard of the very backwards bills being proposed in our Senate -to allow forced Electroshocking (it’s not therapy so i don’t use the acronym), longer initial holds, build 8 more hospitals around the state, lower the definition of gravely disabled, allow police to administer drugs by force in public… A group, Moms of the Mentally Ill, has organized is a big part of these efforts. There are some advocacy days next week in Olympia, as long as snow doesn’t cancel them! 🙂
Thank you. I am now at a place where I am ready to share what I’ve experienced to work for change… I am not interested in living my life with a victim mentality.
Yes, I know very well exactly what the “experts” are expert at. As a teacher and with my personal experiences, I have come to see how invaluable a strong, healthy, intact family unit is. To me, it truly is the foundation of everything -children either grow up healthy and well-adjusted to be able to create a functioning society or not. I see all the disorder and chaos in our world stemming from this root cause.
Again, thank you for your validation. It means a lot. Yes, it’s pretty disgusting how all the professionals (parenting plan developer, case manager, lawyers and latest judge) who happened to be female, fell right into his trap.
If you know of anyone in the Seattle area that could help change this, please let me know. It feels like a huge miscarriage of justice to me, but I seem to be alone in that thinking, as the court (went back and tried again this past summer) continues to feel justice is served. I tried to get rights to be part of medical and educational decision-making (they were stripped due to my “long-term psychological impairment”… yet I had no trouble teaching somehow).
I am not in touch with domestic abuse services. I could look into that.
Thanks for the recommendation. I checked it out and …I see Jackson has a new book too, Whole Again, which looks like a great book, to add to my collection of tools for healing.
Thanks, I know I am not paranoid. “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft has been an invaluable resource, to validate what I have experienced.
Steve McCrea, You hit the nail on the head! That you understand this brings tears to my eyes (to say the least) as I feel SO misunderstood by this system intended to support families & protect children. They took away my 2 year old and then told me to get better. Yes, take away a mother’s child, tell them they are broken, and need to get better first, without their offspring?!? I want to sue the state for removing my human right to be a mother to my child, but all seem to think because I’ve been hospitalized, everything’s good here. I should be satisfied with what I have. I have never hurt him, never wanted to, never thought about it, nor anyone else. There is only “He said, she said” about what took place in our home… and with me having lost my credibility from going into extreme states (mania, or womanly hysteria), and him with lots of money and lots of fear, here we are.
He misconstrues almost everything I do (unfortunately, I am not exaggerating this) as examples of my disorder (me wanting to talk about where our son would go to Kindergarten got me a meeting with the case manager who had to check whether I was ok) or he blames me for our son’s misbehavior. I happen to be a school teacher for last 17 years, so know kids’ behaviors and where they come from, but he dismisses this and sees me as worthless and only manipulative. (I am always conniving to try and get more time with my son, in his opinion. My suggesting he can stay over longer than the court-dictated minutes because it is a snow day and I am not working and he still is, or asking that our sick son just stay put at my place for a bit longer, is conniving and me ONLY trying to game the system. He drives across town to make sure I don’t get a single extra minute, and his son doesn’t get any “extra” time with his mother.
I have seen him crack at times, as you said. At a parent-teacher conference when I was not too afraid to speak up, since he twists most everything I say, I turn into a quiet, scared person around him, my new partner has noticed (yes, I found myself interested in a woman after being married to this man when I had NEVER thought that way before), she described to me, as I rarely look him in the eyes, how he became very red in the face and angry as I said whatever it was to the teacher.
I often see my ex-husband’s behavior in our son, and even my son treating me in ways my ex-husband would, when he first comes back to me, as he spends the majority of time with his father. The court not only took away custody of my son from me, they have also nearly cemented into place the ability of his father to pass on his controlling behavior to our son, and he continues to be in control/charge of me & my relationship with my son. The irony is beyond disgusting.
Thank you for listening.
thank you JanCarol, for all this information. <3
yes, in this case, the lady driving her self mad trying to make sense of the relationship she was in, was not listened to, as hubby remained calm and composed. I tried to tell those who arrived for his (i called too) 911 calls that i was in an emotionally abusive relationship but wasn’t taken seriously as i had driven myself into an extreme state.
yes, i believe the psych label was, and continues to be used as a tool of patriarchy in my case
i know that well, oldhead, but having the label removed would leave my ex-husband little left to cleave on to as his reason why i must only get the exact to-the-minute amount of time with our son that the court system has mandated.
rachel777, it is court-ordered (aka, law and breaking it can/would be used by ex to say i am not following the law and thus should not see our son anymore) that i follow my providers’ recommendations, prescriptions. it is in NO way for my emotional well-being, i am well because i chose to reflect and learn what i was doing wrong and stop going there. my prescriptions are as low as my naturapathic psychiatrist will go. she tells me i am nothing like her other patients, yet is too scared, with court, and a child involved, to say i don’t need anything, at this point. yet, no one has any problem treating the child’s mother as broken, and drugging her, when she is clearly better now. that’ll be the day we recognize how our system creates the broken people we create…
JanCarol, thank you for this info about OTC lithium orotate. I look forward to bringing this with me to my appt next month with my psych.
oldhead, yes it is ALL very, very insane. if you know the name of a psychiatrist in the US, WA state ideally, who has the chutzpah to rescind this label i was given while i tried to cope with being married to an emotionally abusive husband, and since separating, have had zero relapses, for the last 10 years, i will happily go to them.
don’t know if cvs has it and not sure about arsenic, as, luckily, i haven’t been forced to take that, yet 😉
Sam Ruck, you are definitely an anomoly. the man i had just said i do to, now 14 years ago, quickly called 911 on me, and did it 2 more times before surprising me with divorce papers and a restraining order in 2009, taking away my then 2 year old son, when i thought he was just going to his grandmother’s for the day, because i had been in some extreme states, yet NEVER hurt my baby or anyone else, and was never looking to.
Tell your story and teach other men how to take care of their wives, or loved ones, who are only working overtime to make sense of the disordered lives they end up in, in the disordered world we are all in
yes, oldhead, i know lithium is toxic and have worked hard to heal myself with as little meds as legally possible. OTC means over the counter. that is what she is prescribing me. she had the nerve to tell me that she takes 10mg herself because it is good for you. yet she prescribes me 60, lol.
yes, it matters that we don’t term mental breakdowns, or extreme states, life-long, intractable disease. it is the only way we will ever subvert this very f**ed up paradigm called psychiatry and #howstigmadies, truly. i believe our dis-ease and dis-orders come from our lives, our ways of handling, coping with our experiences, from what we learn as children, read something Phillip Moffitt wrote that speaks to this (this is an article about the mother wound, so he references that at the end):
Learning to live life hurts all children. Some amount of wounding is inevitable and in a certain sense necessary. It is the severity of the trauma, the context of the wound, and how it is handled that determines whether the mother wound leads to strength and wholeness or ongoing trauma.
I just watched the documentary Heal on Netflix. Awesome, awesome, awesome film about healing through how we think, yet they say nothing about healing our extreme mental states, because few want to touch that. It’s so baffling that while these “illnesses” come from the mind, we are told they can definitely NOT be healed with the mind. Anyone see the irony?
I read Mad in America but haven’t read any of Robert Whitaker’s other books (I love his website as it brings us survivors together, though 😉
Yes, it is way too low to be at a therapeutic level, making the point that it is not needed and I haven’t had any other meds in years. Psych decides what to do but out of fear of courts and liability, is very cautious to take me off fully.
Thank you for your supportive words. They are hugely appreciated!
Thanks for the response and suggestions. I get that anaphylaxis is real and would most definitely push aside all the mumbo jumbo of psychiatry FAST(I am an elementary school teacher in a well-off district so I know anaphylaixs!)!! And my emotions are controlled, haven’t had anything out of that normal range in 10 years… had to turn off most emotions long ago to watch your two year be taken from you screaming… and be told this is what must happen to protect him from me, when I was protecting him from his father…
I work with my psychiatrist, what you resist persists, I know that well, too. I haven’t been very drugged for years, as I am on an OTC amount of lithium, because psych is too afraid to do what she likely would without a court involved, which is not prescribe me anything. I’ve been “graduated” from therapy years ago because i was/am doing well, and have learned how to handle life.
All I have left is telling this story so that perhaps it will not happen to someone else and being healthy for my son as he grows up and learns why he is growing up in the situation he is.
Krista, I look forward to part 2. It was a bit confusing to understand but it sounds like you were able to remove your diagnosis because you had an anaphylactic reaction to something… the only thing I am definitely allergic to is psychiatry, but that probably isn’t enough.
From your list of casualties (“The first casualty would be my credibility. The second would be my former excellent health, oh yeah, and a decade of time. The third casualty was losing trust in everything and everyone.”), I have all of these also, along with the biggest one, that will never be regained: being present as a mother to my young son. He, and I, will never get the time stolen by the diagnosis I was given, and how it was used by my ex-husband to make a parenting plan that has me seeing him for short stints and going a week without seeing him, every other week. I have also been healthy for 10 years, labeled in 2004. Yet, with a child, no one will touch this case as they are afraid. I sought out all the disability rights groups, ACLU, whoever I could find, went back to court last year even, but am told that, nope this is what you get. I am watching my son as he begs his father to spend more time with me, while his dad refuses, blames me for his misbehavior, and using the parenting plan to calculate to the minute, when I will see him and when he MUST leave. All I can see is the trauma this is creating in him. While I aim to be fully present when we are together, nevertheless, my heart breaks inside, from the situation the courts have deemed “in his best interest”.
Most recently, the psychiatrist I am forced to continue seeing (now about every 6 months) happened to circle a different code last year. I got home, looked at the receipt, and found out I didn’t have bipolar anymore, but anxiety disorder. She hadn’t even told me (she might think this would make me anxious, no?, if I really had it). I have no idea where she got this diagnosis from, I go about my life getting things done with no issues…anyway… This seems like a great example of how arbitrary these “life-long mental illnesses” can be.
I look forward to your next article in hopes of finding a way out of this, too.