Monday, March 27, 2023

Comments by BothSidesOfTheFence

Showing 7 of 10 comments. Show all.

  • Hi Rachel,
    I agree with you, some times there are no “winners” in a situation. I always heard what my clients said and did my job: advocated on their behalf. Sometimes our wins were small – like getting a med reduced instead of tapered all the way off. Other times we had big wins – like the county agreeing to pay for day treatment via a senior center’s activities instead of in the contracted nursing home environment. And, some times we lost the battle but regrouped with a different plan. I say “we” because I always viewed my clients as equal partners. Every other social worker in my department did as well.

    Reading what KindredSpirit has written has hit me hard today. I think Daniel is correct in pointing out “black and white” thinking, among other things. If reform were as simple as bold walkouts things would be changed by now. I have never harmed anyone intentionally. I bristle reading some of the finger pointing here. It keeps us down. It perpetuates the problems. It splinters productivity. It reinforces misconception and reinforces “us versus them”.

    In case Kindred reads this, perhaps knowing I got in between a gun wielding, out-of-her-mind old woman client and the police officers who were called to her house for a disturbance will help Kindred understand MANY mental health workers take HUGE risks to help daily. I just don’t wear my risk taking as a bully pulpit badge of honor. I knew the woman. I knew how to defuse the situation. I knew the police did not have my training or relationship with the woman. She could have shot me. She didn’t. They could have shot her. They didn’t. This is one example of many, many times I risked my safety to help people. I’m not superhuman. Those risks on behalf of others impacted me negatively but I’d do it again.

    Thanks, Rachel, for your kind words. They helped me.

  • Daniel, Thank you! I’m doing my best to educate professionals about the unintentional harm we have caused. Some of us are now in the horrible position of examining our life’s work and accepting our failure. For me it’s important younger generations of mental health workers look at what has happened with fresh eyes and pursue more holistic non-pharma ways to help others.
    I hope they do a better job than my generation did.

  • KindredSpirit, I am as much a victim of ill-conceived, harmful practices as any other survivor of psychiatry. My brain was permanently damaged by both ECT and psychotropic meds. For anyone, including you, to deny and/or blame me for the harm I or they have endured is wrong.
    I gained a professional reputation for being straight-forward, blunt. I was respected for my advocacy on behalf of my clients which often bucked “the system”.

    I often share articles posted on Mad In America with other mental health workers to help them understand often unheard, underappreciated perspectives.

    I’m sorry you were harmed. I’m sorry you’re so angry you can’t seem to hear my own harm as well. I’m sorry you see me and my colleagues as your enemy. I’m sorry your pain has numbed you to the pain of others like me. I hope one day my apology becomes meaningful to you.
    I’m not your enemy.

  • Hi “SomeoneElse”. I’m one of those “mental health workers” who you just attacked. I also have a life history very similar to the author. We “mental health workers” are only as good as the information we are provided; drug manufacturers have lied to us, too! I know absolutely no one who works in mental health who is intentionally harming others though I do know several personally and professionally who refuse to comprehend how manipulated they have been by big pharma. Most people I know working in mental health are working extremely long hours for very low pay desperately trying to help people in a broken system with no solutions. Of the last 3 people who did my job, myself included, one died in her 50s, one left to go into another line of work and one was deemed permanently disabled. We “mental health workers” are suffering, too. We did not intentionally create your (or our own) struggles. Please be more mindful of what you say. Thank you.

  • Starr,
    You are a balanced, sincere person! I read your reply and admire your ability to reply mindfully! One of my biggest struggles is feeling “less than”. You made it so clear we are all on the same “playing field” of struggle. I hope you are proud of your strengths. I’m an old, retired social worker who’s spent decades working to find balance within myself. I feel proud of you! You give me hope. I hope your generation of social workers is like you! You are strong, introspective, kind and articulate. You are a shining star, Starr!

  • Hi Starr, I agree. Too many times people who were my “clients” turned to me for an honest opinion about a choice they were asked to make related to meds or ECT and I knew I couldn’t give them an honest answer.
    For many years I worked in Pima County (Tucson) Arizona. While bored googling today looking at what’s up in mental health in Arizona I ran across a post by a group practice that is appalling. It also clearly shows how too many “professionals” blame patients/clients. It can be found at
    Very very upsetting! We have a long way to go! Keep up the great advocacy!

  • Hi Starr. I’m a “Wounded Healer”. You mention CITA – Center for Tranquilizers and Antidepressants. Where can I get more info? Sounds like a good resource.
    Also, in my experience even 20 years ago you would have never been able to openly share your history and be hired professionally in many parts of the US. I knew many mental health professionals (myself included) who were forced to stay in the psychiatric “closet”. We have made tremendous progress. Thanks for sharing your insights.