Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Comments by 30-watt-lightbulb

Showing 47 of 47 comments.

  • Honestly, I can’t discount repressed memories because of my own experiences. I’m sure there’s a way to influence people to concoct inaccurate memories, but there are a lot of things in my life that I didn’t form traumatic memories from solely because I never *thought* of them as traumatic or uncommon (parent physical/mental abuse, mainly. I just thought it was absolutely and utterly normal to be a few words away from getting your ass handed to you at all times, literally or metaphorically).

    But boy oh boy can I recount every little detail about vomiting for the first time as a child. It was Friday, December 21, 2001 at around 8:30 PM at night. There was an animated TV special based on the song “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and IIRC, they were at a scene taking place in a courtroom. The entire day is *filled* with memories that vivid.

    But the time my dad and I got into an all-out fistfight when I was like 8 or 9, around the same time period as the vomiting memory? I vaguely remember it, but could not tell you what it was about. My brain just did not place that memory in the “super special trauma” category because it was so *normal* to me. It’d be like me remembering what I ate for lunch on October 5, 2001. It was remarkably unremarkable.

    My memory is faulty. I’ve known this since I was a kid (it’s why I started taking photographs) and when I am pushed over my threshold for stress (that goes beyond the fight/flight response) I will sometimes blackout. I may very vaguely remember something happening, but I could not give you details at all. Normally, I “come to” in the aftermath completely bewildered.

    Like the first time I was Baker Acted. I could not tell you for the life of me what happened in between a nurse asking me “Have you *ever* been suicidal in your life?” and then a psychiatrist telling me that because I had answered in the affirmative, even with stipulations (“Yes, but that was a long time ago.”), I’d have to be taken in and held. Even though I was in the ER for a horrible skin infection on both my legs.

    I’ve been dissociating, depersonalizing, and derealizing for as long as I can remember. Like, some of my earliest memories are of me trying to explain to the adults in my house that I felt like I was “in a dream.” It wasn’t until around 20 years later that I learned that there were actual words to describe it.

    No obvious brain damage or neurological origin for it, either. I’ve been checked. Several times. MRIs, CT scans, memory tests… I don’t show anything out of the ordinary.

    So, I’m not entirely content with the thought that “if something bad happened to you, you would *always* remember it very vividly.”

    I am 30-watt-lightbulb, and thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

  • I’ve had to get care from a medical hospital that has cameras in almost every room to monitor patients. There’s always one person in each area watching. They claim to do it to better protect patients and really only use it for people who are fall risks. Plus it’s easier than going to each room.

    Needless to say, I didn’t relax once.

    But, honestly, I treat every interaction with any kind of medical professional as if I’m being recorded (both video and audio) and that the recordings will be used against me in some fashion. This goes double for *any* kind of interaction with the psych system. I don’t tell any professional anything I wouldn’t broadcast to the world. I used to physically look for cameras before I realized that that behavior could be viewed as “suspicious.”

    Paranoid? Maybe. I have trust issues and enough experience behind me to justify those issues. Being required to use an app or other surveillance would 10,000% drive me away from any kind of “help.”

  • I’m sorry that you’ve had the experiences you’ve had. These drugs and the system itself aren’t safe for adults, let alone kids. And being able to be a child is so important to our own development as people.

    I’ve been “treated” since I was a kid and while my experiences weren’t nearly as traumatizing as yours, it has still always left me feeling “weird,” “different,” and fundamentally “wrong” as a human being. It took me a long time to figure out things like small talk and I’m still not exactly sure where boundaries lie (like, when does a person cross over from being an acquaintance to a friend?).

    You deserve love and companionship. Humans are pretty much hardwired to need it since we’re social animals. *Real* companionship, as equals, not the really weird client-therapist connection.

    I think that there are more of us out there, those of us put through these drugs and “treatments” since we children. It feels like I just don’t know what the right term to Google is.

    You might find some comfort and support in the neurodiversity movement, if you haven’t already stumbled upon it. It does draw from the current mental health system that we have in place and it’s far from perfect, but it is nice to communicate with other people who have been designated as “weird” and not get silence or blank stares. Or talk about being on disability in a neutral way, free of judgment.

    Although, it does hold that some people are just “wired” differently than what’s seen as the norm, which hasn’t been really proven. But it does hold that these differences between people (whether or not they’re a result of some sort of physical difference) are good things and something to be embraced.

  • Trying to navigate the withdrawal has been the thing that’s keeping me from going off of my medications. Polypharmacy involving Paxil, Anafranil, and Xanax. I’m just thankful I found Mad In America before I had taken my first doses of Risperdal and Zyprexa. All prescribed in conjunction with each other for anxiety disorders and OCD.

    I’ve thought about coming off of Paxil for years now, but I’m 28 and have been taking a full 40mg dose since I was 6. I know there are people who do come off of medications that they’ve been taking for a long time, but I haven’t seen any accounts where the person’s brain had literally developed in conjunction with the pills. Is there even any decent research on the changes in the brain when children are put on these drugs?

    I also wish that I hadn’t bought into the idea that Anafranil is super special and has a magic anti-obsessive property that isn’t found in other drugs and can only be attained at doses above 200mg. I was washing my hands for like two or three full hours a day and it took me hours to even get a bowl of cereal and was desperate at that point.

    It became a self-fulfilling prophecy because everyone told me that I had this brain disease that I’d have for the rest of my life and would constantly be clawing its way through my mind even if I didn’t have any form of “symptoms” anymore and that I’d have to be constantly vigilant to make sure it didn’t return.

    You know what’s distressing? That train of thought. And the more it was reinforced, the worse I got.

    I’m doing better now, mainly by completely erasing that notion of “This is a brain disease” from my mind and distancing myself from formal treatment. I stopped medicalizing and analyzing myself and just let myself actually feel my emotions for once in my life. Turns out those emotions that I’d fear (literally fear itself) were a lot less intense than I’d thought they’d be.

    Blah, just watch me go off and talk all about myself all the time. I’m not as self-centered as my comment history makes me out to seem, I swear! Thank you for writing this book and letting MIA share it with us!

  • I’ve been passed around in the mental health care system since I was 6-years-old, so 22 years now. The “it’s a chronic condition that you’ll have for the rest of your life” mindset was ingrained in me until pretty recently.

    I used to have these battles with acronym-named, invisible foes — GAD, MDD, OCD, ED-NOS, AVPD, DPD, PSTD — before I started reading Mad In America and realized that, at the end of the day, they’re all just feelings. And feelings come and go, sometimes for reasons we don’t understand.

    Once I took the blinders off and saw myself as more than just a list of diagnoses that would last forever, I, shockingly, started feeling better.

    I think part of the reason why people flock to diagnoses is because they’re very neat and orderly, while the human experience is often chaotic and messy. It’s a way to compartmentalize emotions that feel like “too much.”

    This entire series has been really eye-opening for me and I thank you for writing it.

  • What makes me marvel a little bit is the way that our society wants to “treat” people who don’t experience distress.

    Could you imagine how many historical religious figures would have been treated in this day and age? Like Joan D’Arc or other saints. Or heck, any of the people who wrote what people now organize into a Bible. They all had mystical and religious experiences, but weren’t simply dismissed as “ill.”

    Growing up Catholic as a child, I did wonder why there are so few modern-day saints. Why did God stop speaking or interacting with humans? It took me a long time to figure out that they’d be exactly the type who would be forced into a treatment to “fix” their minds.

  • They still happen. The shaking hands are minor and don’t really affect my life too much, except when I have to do extremely delicate tasks, like spooling film onto a reel when I develop photos.

    The jerks are isolated and only occur a few times a day. It’s like a myoclonic jerk similar to what you can have as you’re falling asleep. They only come when I’m either really relaxed or really stressed.

  • Where am I? I’m right here.

    I’m 28 and have been on Paxil since I was 6, with a small break when I was 10 or so of a few months. I was also put on Trazodone for sleep at the same time as the Paxil, but stopped taking it at some point.

    I’m currently on Disability. I have graduated from college but haven’t been able to hold a job because I have a lot of difficulty focusing and also have days when I don’t have the spoons to do *anything* except for the basic tasks like feeding myself and taking an endless amount of medication.

    I’ve been diagnosed with a decent portion of the DSM at one point or another. It started with Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but then I started collecting them like baseball cards.

    So the full list looks like: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Obessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Specific Phobias, Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) with Borderline features, Dependant Personality Disorder (DPD) with Borderline features, Boderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED, formally known as EDNOS), Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

    If I had to pick one to point to and say “Here, this gives you the best idea of my issues” it’d be the C-PSTD. I have a lot of built up, unresolved trauma that is just constantly interfering with my life.

    I’ve spent far too many hours of my life in therapy, but I did manage to avoid neurolypics and stimulants, but got caught up with benzos (Xanax).

    I honestly don’t know what I’m like when I’m not on medication, but I don’t think I’d function well off of Paxil because the withdrawal would be too severe. My brain has come to expect 40mg this drug each and every day.

    I don’t know if the drugs have been the worst part. I think worse is the stigma that there is fundamentally something *wrong* with me and that I will *never* be like a “normal” person. I have a black mark on my very existance.

    And because I’m the “crazy” one, I’ve never been allowed to grow up. My parents give me some autonomy, but they’ve been told over and over again that I’m too sick to have a normal life. Which means I’m treated as a perpetual adolescent. I have have some autonomy over my life, but I wasn’t taught the skills of adulthood because I’ve been held back by these “mental disorders.”

    It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m really bad at being an adult because I haven’t had the chance to get better at it. But my being bad at being an adult is taken as evidence that I *cannot* be a responsible adult and that my disorders are too severe for me to be independent.

    So that’s where I’m at right now.

  • It just pisses me off that I started drug “therapy” with Paxil when I was 6. I didn’t have any say in the matter. And 22 years later I’m still on the drug because the withdrawal effects make it impossible to function even somewhat normally.

    Then a few years ago I was popped on Anafranil while I was in a (medical, non-psychiatric) hospital pretty much just because I had a recorded history of OCD. I knew it was an older medication that wasn’t prescribed often anymore, but they promised me that I’d find special relief with it because it had “anti-obsessional properties” and that it’d make an overwhelming difference in my life.

    Really, the only major difference that Anafranil has made in my life is the worst dry mouth that you can have. To the point where my teeh are rotting because I can’t produce enough saliva.

    I’m still (somewhat) functioning in *spite* of the medication. Not *because* of it. I’d love to go off of them, but in my case the withdrawal effects aren’t worth any minor potential gains.

  • Those numbers are absolutely dismal.

    I think we’re going to see some huge lawsuits in the near future over neuroleptic use in people diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety disorders. It’s the big new thing to prescribe and it is astonishing to see just how much it’s pushed. I see the commercials all the time.

    Now there are commercials for tardive dyskinesia awareness. They make it out to seem like it’s always very mild and can be completely managed by taking another drug. Those drugs are, unsurprisingly, developed and sold by the very company that makes those commercials! Wow! What a coincidence! That’s totally not suspicious or anything!

    In my case, I had two neuroleptics (Zyprexa and Risperdal) prescribed for an OCD diagnosis. Without being told that there was a (decent) chance that any drug from that class could *worsen* obsessions and compulsions. Not to mention the side effects…

  • Did these researchers even take into account code-switching? I just honestly can’t see how this would ever work because our voices are so variable.

    For example, anyone who’s worked with customer service knows that you put up this false front and an overly friendly voice. What’s to stop people from just doing something like that during their test?

    Or what if English isn’t a person’s native language? Tone differs wildly from one language to another and would most certainly color the test.

  • I got tagged with Bipolar mania, too, when I ended up in a psych ward on what ended up being a huge misunderstanding. The psychiatrist came into my room at about 8 AM to find me fully dressed (sans shoes because they had laces), sitting on the bed, and completely agreeable. I’d go as far as to say that I was even chipper, like an annoying early morning coworker who’s awake and excited to meet the day.

    I answered his questions fully and politely and mentioned that I was trying to get back to the medical hospital because I had a skin infection on both my legs and needed antibiotics.

    For this, he labeled me as having mania and set me on a new regimen of a high dose of Topamax (I think it was 100-200mg) and a nicotine patch. Regardless of the fact that I have never smoked a cigarette a day in my life. Thankfully, I was a “voluntary” patient and was able to decline the drugs.

    Did I mention that I’m on a lot of different medications and the psych ward wasn’t aware that I was on anything? They had an absolutely blank medical record from me, even though the ER at the hospital I went to had all of my information.

    Sure, I can miss a dose of Paxil, Anafranil, and Xanax here and there, but it’s probably best to give me my Keppra so that I don’t have a seizure.

    It was also the end of June in Florida and the facility had a broken air conditioner? On top of everything else, it was like 88-90*F in a locked ward.

  • That’s my feeling, too. In my life, the more “help” I’ve gotten, the more suicidal I’ve become.

    I’d love to actually talk about it, but I don’t want to be locked up over and over again, so I don’t mention it to anyone. Not to family, friends, doctors, therapists, anyone who has power over whether or not I’ll be strip-searched, put inside a “safe” room, and forced to take their “treatments.”

  • I had a therapist who relied on the anthropomorphism for most of my treatment with her. To the point where it had a name (“It”) and characteristics (tall humanoid being composed of shadow, very much male in nature).

    Most of my time was spent fighting “It” and losing. Because there was no way for me to really “beat” it once and for all.

  • I know I felt a hell of a lot worse when I believed I had multiple brain conditions that would never go away versus the notion that, at the end of the day, thoughts are just thoughts and that I didn’t need to give all this power over to my “bad” ones.

    Like, multiple therapists and psychologists encouraged me to think of the “illness” as an invader in my mind, like a ghost that will permanently haunt me and who I had to grapple with for power over my own mind. That I had to be constantly vigilant and fighting it off or else I would “lose” and my “disorders” would become worse.

  • It’s disappointing that the author of the Vice piece didn’t even do proper interviews or really delve into the particulars of the studies. It’s definitely a missed opportunity.

    I just want to take a moment to thank you for this article and thank you for writing Mad In America. It was really quite life-changing when I found it in my university’s library. I had been launched into the world of psychology and psychiatry when I was six-years-old and until that point I had never thought to critique the system that I was submerged in.

    And, to be frank, I was angry at first, dismissing the book as “anti-science” and that my medication was the only reason I was still alive and that I’d be so much worse without it.

    But there was something that awoke in my mind.

    And after I continued to get professional care, I was eventually led to a psychologist who was supposed to be the best professional in my area for the treatment of OCD. She did me a lot more harm than good when she forced me to fit into her CBT method even though my problems were manifestations of very complex and deep-rooted trauma.

    And I just gave up, thinking that I’d never be “cured” and that my brain was broken and there was no way to fix it. I was just a broken person.

    A few years later, I was still in treatment and doing worse than ever. Looking for SOMETHING to help, psychiatrists started turning to atypical anti-psychotics as a remedy for my OCD. I was prescribed Zyprexa and Risperdal, working up from a small dose to larger ones.

    But there was just something in that side effect list that didn’t seem right to me. I mean, would a permanent movement disorder be a fair tradeoff for less anxiety? I’ve never been psychotic. The doctors were just turning to harsher drugs when SSRIs and benzos and tricyclics didn’t cure me.

    Then I again bumped into Mad In America, in the form of this website. And I started reading about anti-psychotics and the often harsh and extreme side effects they have.

    I never took a single pill of either of the drugs that I’d been prescribed after reading the information on this site. And I am thankful every day that I didn’t.

    This website, a friend network, and Bessel van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” changed my way of thinking about what I’ve been diagnosed with and I let go of the frantic search to to find some perfect syndrome or disorder to label myself with as if that label could erase my history.

    And I’m still not well, but I have hope now.

    Thank you.

  • Thank you for introducing us to Sparrow Wagner and her work. I find every pice to be moving in their own ways, but there’s just something about “Ice Hospital” that hits a nerve for me.

    It’s ridiculous that all of this torture is committed in the name of “treatment.” And it’s even more ridiculous that most people who’ve never been in a psych ward buy into the lie that everything is peachy keen behind closed doors and that “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is nothing but fiction and that conditions within the wards are *so* much better today. They just refuse to understand that it isn’t treatment — it’s incarceration.

  • I see so many people who are so concerned about “mental illness” that they discount the fact that things really suck right now and that it’s completely normal and completely human to feel like shit when things suck. There’s no problem with feelings of grief or anxiety or depression in this particular moment because those are the *appropriate* responses.

    You can’t keep up the facade of “happiness” and positivity all the time. It’s hard to be positive when so many terrible things are going on all around the world.

    What we should be doing is helping each other work to process these strong emotions and share in a collective experience. A lot of people have lost their jobs. A lot of people have lost a loved one (or multiple loved ones). A lot of people are struggling to make ends meet. A lot of people are struggling with online classes.

    Our entire world has shifted and things will *never* go back to the exact same way that it was before the pandemic. But people need safe spaces to express what they’re feeling, not drugged compliance. That’s only numbing the trauma or putting it on pause and it’s going to come back to bite you in the back at some point.

  • “Put on medication” is very much implied in “Get help.” All of these societies are trying to normalize being on psych drugs, most likely for the rest of your life because you have a “brain illness” that can only be treated with drugs.

    It’s just frustrating to watch friends go through a low point in their lives and be bounced around over and over from therapist to psychiatrist to psychologist, trying on different mental illness labels and changing the perception of themselves based solely on those labels. After that, they see any kind of problems in their lives a result of those “illnesses” and never stop and realize that they’re *allowed* to have feelings. They’re *allowed* to feel like shit sometimes. That’s part of being a human.

    I went through the majority of my life seeing myself as “sick” and trying to pass all of my emotions and experiences through that filter. I dehumanized myself and my life and now I’m trying to undo that.

  • I don’t blame you for not trusting doctors!

    “Non-compliance” is such a bullshit term. All it says to me is “I don’t know what to do with you because you’re not getting better, so I’m going to redirect the blame back to you.”

    I would place my bets that there’s going to be lawsuits in the future from people who’ve been prescribed psych drugs off label and had horrible reactions to them. I’m pretty sure that we’re also going to see lawsuits about antipsychotics being used off label, as well.

    Anyone who prescribes psych drugs should have to go through a trial run of them. Let them experience first-hand what they’re telling people to take. If the medications are so simple and good and have “minimal risk,” then they should have no problem going on the medications.

  • I’m just sore because I wasn’t the one who consented and put this whole disaster into motion — my parents did. Had I been a teen or an adult, I wouldn’t have gone on them.

    What gets me is that I had come off of them at one point when I was a child, but when my school caught wind that I wasn’t taking Paxil anymore I was forced back onto them because they were “worried about me” while I was grieving the loss of both my grandparents. So they wouldn’t let me back into school unless I was drugged again.

  • Trust me, I’ve looked up the interactions and according to the interactions, I should be dead. I’m on enough medications that are central nervous system depressants that it’s a wonder I can get out of bed.

    And, for what it’s worth, my doctor has been trying to get me to come off of at least some of the medication. It’s largely a situation where I don’t want to slide down and away from the functioning I have at the moment, so I remain on the medications and do a lot of testing to make sure everything is working (relatively speaking).

    My most pressing problem is IBS. I’ve gotten it all checked out and all of the components are in working order. It came on suddenly seven years ago and has been constant since then. I have it “managed” right now with medication

    I think that most of my problems are caused by my body holding on to my past trauma, but at this point in life, I can’t get away from that source of trauma to begin the healing process.

    I have sought professional help independently of my parents but somehow fell into a situation where the psychologist was terrible and made my situation that much worse. She told me that there was zero chance of me “getting better” and that I would have to be put in an institution for months, if not a year or more, and drugged with benzos and antipsychotics.

    That was before she suddenly dumped me as a client and cut off contact. Her receptionist showed more compassion and understanding than she did.

    And I took it because everything I read told me that “getting over” OCD is *supposed* to be hard and traumatic and that once my body habituated to the panic, then I would stop being worried. So I just thought that her cold and uncaring behavior was just “logical” and part of the process.

    It really is a case where so many different professionals have failed me during my lifetime that I have *zero* idea who the hell I can trust.

  • I think informed consent is absolutely crucial. I see so many “mental health awareness” posts that are all about taking the stigma out of taking medications and that mental disorders, in general, are biologic and it makes me want to scream. I hate misinformation and I absolutely loathe disinformation. But that’s what we’re presented with.

    I found MIA the website when I was prescribed both Zyprexa and Risperdal for OCD. I’m glad that I got the information about the potential side effects and discontinuation effects because it prevented me from starting more drugs. The most recent psychiatrist I saw managed to get me on Anafranil to “help with the OCD.”

    Ironically, what helped me the most with OCD is my change in mindset from that it’s something biological and wrong with my brain to it’s rooted in unresolved trauma in my childhood and controlling small things was the only power I had in my life.

    Right now I’m on about 10 different medications, all of them for so-called “functional disorders” like IBS, acid reflux, and myofascial pain syndrome (it’s like fibromyalgia but without the more neurological side effects). It’s definitely a prescription cascade, but I have no idea which medication to come off of first because it’s like a cruel pill Jenga game.

    I just wish someone had sat my parents down in the early 2000s when they first put me on Paxil and Trazadone and explained to them that there really isn’t any data showing SSRIs are beneficial for children and that Paxil, in particular, has some really nasty side effects and is dangerous for kids.

  • Why the fuck do so-called “professionals” put people on all of these medications without a second thought? Do they just not care or just don’t know? That’s a hell of a lot of power to hand to someone, considering that absolutely everyone has a different response to these drugs.

    And why do so many people buy into this? Why is the “norm” basically to pick drugs at random and mishmash them together in different amounts until the patient either feels better (relatively speaking), goes off of them, or dies? We don’t do this for any other “medical condition,” so why are we so accepting when it comes to the brain?

    I recently joined a group on Facebook for people who have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) because I’ve been having hormone-related mood swings to an nth degree to the point where I go between an almost mania during ovulation to suicidal depression during the week before my period and the first few days of it.

    And I’m just shocked that all of these people are being put on SSRIs as a first step. Some of them take it for their entire cycle, but a lot of people are being told to take the meds for half the month and then stop them cold turkey for the other half. And the meds are switched up over and over again until something “works.”

    And it’s like, “No wonder you feel terrible! You’re constantly withdrawing from different medications!”

    I’m sorry that your doctors didn’t give you enough information to formally consent to the different drugs they threw at you. No one should have to go through that.

  • I wish that the “false memory” perception hadn’t taken off because it’s so pervasive and it makes adult survivors of abuse doubt themselves and the very real things that happen to them. I’ve discovered in my own adult life that I am prone to blackouts during highly traumatic situations. It’s very annoying when trying to work through trauma.

    I suppose I’ll share this here since I could really use some validation. I’ve told this to friends before and got a “Something happened, you should tell a therapist.” but I’ve told a few therapists about this and none really know what to do and just end up dismissing me.

    So, I’ll put up a disclaimer that I don’t know many specifics and I’m not even sure if anything happened, but the implications are really fucked up, for lack of a better term.

    When I was 7 or so I was taken to a psychologist who recommended that I receive therapy for my “disordered” anxiety. In reality, I had been the victim of abuse from my father whenever he was angry. If I didn’t behave and he was in a certain mood, the results were disastrous.

    So I was sent to a therapist, Jim, who worked out of my pediatrician’s office. I saw him once a week for months. I don’t know why I stopped seeing him, but I do know that I remember *nothing* from any of his sessions. Not a damned thing.

    What I do remember is as follows:

    – The therapy room was always very dark with one or two lamps. The light was very low to the point where it was hard to read anything in there.

    – I was completely alone. My mother was made to wait in the waiting room.

    – The only thing that I remember vividly and with detail is that after each session, he always walked me across the parking lot to the Walgreens and let me buy any candy I wanted, which he would pay for.

    – Around that time, I started “itching” at my clit until it was raw, sensitive, and hurt. I only did this for a brief period and then never hit the phase of puberty where you start getting sexual feelings until I went to college.

    – And around that same time, I started to get frequent UTIs. It was such a problem that I went to see specialists who confirmed that there was nothing wrong with my physically. I also remember *hating* that sometimes they’d have to examine my urethra. I did *not* like anyone looking at me down there. After I stopped seeing Jim, the UTIs stopped.

    On a scale of one to “fucked up,” where would you say this rates at? Am I projecting too much or imagining things? I keep getting told by professionals that if anything had happened, I would have remembered it, but I know that as an adult I’m prone to dissociation, derealization, and blackouts during highly stressful events.

    Eventually, Jim stopped practicing (maybe that’s the reason why I stopped going to him) and neither of my parents remember his last name or any other information about him.

    I apologize if this is neither the time nor the place for this, but I figure that if “extended family” stretched to clergy, then it may cover other people who provide a similar role.

  • So it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t depending on the person. I wish that this information was given to people before they accept the drugs. A lot of people are being sold on a false hope.

    I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not it’d be even worth trying to come off my drugs. I’m functioning relatively well right now, but I’ve never experienced being “drug free.” I was six when I was put on my first round of psych drugs and it’s been consistent since then. No neuroleptics, thankfully. Just an SSRI, a TCA, and a Benzo.

  • From the article: “Both medicines [ibuprofen and paracetamol] came with the risk of possible harm, including stomach and liver damage.”

    And antidepressants are some magic pills that have no side effects what-so-ever?

    I have chronic neck and back pain. Not terrible, but to the point where things can become difficult. I’m on two antidepressants (Paxil and Anafranil) and they’ve done jack shit for my pain. And I can’t somehow think myself out of that pain, either because it’s not in my mind. It’s in my body.

    You want to know what works for my pain? Ibuprofen. And, on the rare occasion, a prescription muscle relaxer like Flexeril. TENS therapy also works. So does a heating pad.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think opioids should be avoided unless someone has exhausted other options. But for people with severe chronic pain, their pain is still real and needs management. There *are* people out there who have such severe chronic pain that they need to use opioids. I haven’t met any kind of chronically ill person who *wants* to be on the medication they’re on.

    But don’t go prescribing antidepressants like candy. They may not be as potent as opioids, but they come with their own sets of side effects and lack of long term studies.

  • I’m sorry that you had such a roller coaster of a ride. The way that psychs hand out medications like candy is just wrong and should be seen as disturbing. But, because they have degrees, no one thinks to question them.

    It’s so disturbing that this is seen as NORMAL. “Oh, you just need to find the right combination of medications. It may take a while, but you should keep taking them.”

    Like, what?

    In my own life, I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t have a horrible reaction to Paxil. That med seems to be the breaking point for so many people. Maybe it’s because I started taking 40mg when I was 6 and my brain kind of developed around it. That and 100mg of Trazadone (for sleep) were the first things I was prescribed.

    Now it’s 40mg Paxil, 200mg Anafranil, and 0.5-1mg Xanax. I was prescribed, but have never taken, 50mg Topamax, 10mg Zyprexa, and 2mg Risperdal. All to be taken together on top of the other three.

    I think towards the end they were just trying to kill me.

    I took one look at the side effects of the antipsychotics and said “No way in Hell.” I’m just glad I had that option.

    I have zero idea why the Paxil and Anafranil have not given me serotonin syndrome yet. Maybe I’m just naturally sturdy.

  • I love it that people think you can easily control when, where, or how you dissociate (and in my case also derealize). I had a horrible psychologist tell me in our first session basically that because I dissociate, I am purposely being noncompliant.

    At that point, I barely knew these states of mind had actual *names.* I found out that face through peers, not the system that I’ve been forced to revolve around since I was 6.

    Still hate that woman. She managed to break any agency I had left and allowed for my entire life to collapse on itself. I went from living on my own to moving back in with my parents. I was just *so* desperate for relief from my obsessive thoughts that I’d do whatever she said I needed to. Dig through garbage, not wash my hands after going to the restroom, purposefully expose myself to people who were ill, whatever. She’d say “jump” and I’d ask “how high?”

    And she *still* dropped me without warning for being noncompliant…

  • Thank you for this. There are few places where a person can actually talk about something as serious as suicide and not have to worry about being locked up against their will.

    One of those places is a Reddit group called SuicideWatch. It’s worldwide and there are always quite a few people online, so the chances are good that you’ll get some sort of response from someone who is going through or has gone through the same sort of experience. There are quite a few people who’ve never talked about their pain and desperation before and a lot of people who have tried things like the Suicide hotline and either had a bad experience or were scared that they’d have the police called on them.

    I wish that people wouldn’t treat the hotline as the end-all-be-all response to someone thinking about suicide. It seems to follow the same line of thought that only the “professionals” can handle someone who’s at their wit’s end and are opening up. I’d be more than a little hurt if I decided to divulge that sensitive information to someone and their only response would be “Oh, here’s the suicide hotline” like that would make everything peachy keen.

    I think we just need a way of reframing the topic.

  • I was started on Paxil for anxiety and Trazadone for sleep problems when I was 6. I’m now 27 and am taking Paxil, Anafanil, and Xanax daily. And then there are all of the medications I take for physical symptoms: pain, IBS, muscle cramping, leg swelling, indigestion.

    I’ve been diagnosed with all manners of anxiety disorders and depression. I come to find out that a lot of the mental and physical symptoms I experience line up with the experiences of other people with unresolved repeated childhood trauma.

    I feel like I was set up for this starting with the first prescriptions I was given.

    I’m so tired of being “ill” all the time.

  • I’m going to go on a little rant here because it’s safe to do so.

    The suicide question got me sent from the ER to a separate psych ward. Of course, I had gone to the ER because I had a really nasty skin infection, but I guess my non-existent suicide threat was more important than antibiotics. (It was a bad infection. The ER nurses were almost impressed with how bad it was.)

    All because I answered the question, “Have you ever thought about suicide?” with a “Yes, but I don’t feel that way now.”

    I was only held for 18 hours, but I managed to check off enough boxes in psych ward bingo.

    I was separated from my dad because I was a “danger” and placed into a different section of the ER. I had my shoes taken away (never got them back, either) and was put into a tiny room with three beds crammed into it. The only thing I could do was lay and watch TV. No food or water, even though I was there for a solid 8 hours.

    Then they took me to the psych ward at 3 AM. Since I was “crazy,” I was strapped down to a stretcher. I had straps over my head, shoulders, waist, hips, legs, and ankles. The people transporting me were nice, though.

    Then we went to the psych ward, where I filled out paperwork, got my photo taken, and was stripped searched, and then shown a bed. I actually slept for a few hours and then got dressed and made myself presentable. I’m still not entirely sure what the search was for. I don’t know if they were looking for scars, contraband, or drugs. Maybe a mix of the three.

    I talked with the psychiatrist, who was polite enough, but then diagnosed me with bipolar disorder because I was very chipper and that didn’t fit in with the intake report. In reality, I was trying to talk my way back to the ER.

    They tried to give me meds, but I knew I had the right to refuse their treatment because I had gone in “voluntarily.” Based on a five minute conversation, the psychiatrist wanted to start me on a high dose of Topamax. Thankfully, I knew enough about medications to be like, “Whoa, wait. Let me see the drug info.”

    They also tried to give me a nicotine patch, even though I’ve never smoked. Apparently they just give them to everyone there.

    What they didn’t do was give me any of my regular medication. I’d missed multiple doses with some of them and they didn’t really seem eager to get them to me.

    Let me take a moment to mention that the air conditioner in the facility was broken. This was in June in Florida. It was sweltering.

    The ward wasn’t separated by gender and the nurses stayed in their little area. So I had a creepy guy dressed in only a robe come into my room several times, to the point where I mentioned it to the nurses. He did offer me some meth, though. Now that I think about it, the robe was closed (thankfully), but I’m not entirely sure how it was fastened.

    Robe guy also announced that his plans for the day were to create a scene so that he’d have to be injected with sedatives. Apparently this was a daily thing and he just came to the facility to get drugs.

    There were also a few people who were homeless and were mainly using the acute care facility as a way to get meals and a safe place to sleep at night.

    Eventually, my father was able to convince the facility that I was actually quite physically ill and needed medical attention. So I ended back up at the ER and was in the hospital for a week or so, getting 3-4 doses of IV antibiotics a day.

    When I’d asked what I had been sent to the psych ward for, they said that I had been taken in because I had been physically violent and threatened to kill my cat with a knife.

    I didn’t even OWN a cat!

    Moral of the story: Don’t be lazy and attempt to shave you legs with a dry razor. It will make little micro-cuts in the skin and then get infected.

  • I had the same exercise when I was in therapy for OCD.

    “What is your OCD telling you to do?” “Your OCD is lying to you.” “Your OCD is trying to trick you.” “Your OCD is always going to be there for the rest of your life, waiting until you slip up and do your compulsions.”

    Is it any wonder that I got better when I WASN’T in therapy?

    After finding MIA I was able to see what my “disorders” are just thoughts. No better or no worse than other thoughts. It allowed me to dismiss the more obsessive ones because suddenly they weren’t important anymore. They weren’t a part of myself that I needed to be at war with or an evil entity lurking in my brain. They were just random thoughts that can be ignored.

    My fear was only important because I viewed it as the “other” and the “disease” versus identifying it as an emotion. Now I know that they’re just emotions and will come and go.

  • I know that my own problems could’ve been more easily and effectively treated by having my parents work through their own issues in therapy. A lot of what was wrong with me was that I hadn’t been taught how to handle emotions like anger in a responsible way.

    Instead, they popped me on Paxil and Trazadone when I was 6.

    “For example, “antidepressant” drugs that disrupt serotonin can cause serious fetal heart defects and pose a risk to the child’s overall growth in utero. Taken directly by children, the drugs have been shown to cause severe behavioral problems as well as brain abnormalities in a large proportion of users.”

    Does anyone have a source link for this? I haven’t been able to track down a good study of brain abnormalities caused by drugs in children on Google.

  • This sounds like a TENS unit, which is a small device fairly commonly used to treat muscle and nerve pain. I have neck and back issues and use them as needed.

    It can cause the nearby muscles to twitch if turned up too high and it can cause skin irritation if used for a long time.

    Most doctors will inform the patient not to use the electrodes on the head, directly over the spine, or directly over the heart. If you do end up putting it on your spine, you’re in for quite the adventure because it can cause stimulation throughout the entire nerve. For example, if I put it right over a major nerve for moving the arm, my entire arm twitches.

    If I had a kid, I’d certainly want more of an explanation than this:

    “The system delivers the low-level electrical stimulation to the branches of the trigeminal nerve, which sends therapeutic signals to the parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD. While the exact mechanism of eTNS is not yet known, neuroimaging studies have shown that eTNS increases activity in the brain regions that are known to be important in regulating attention, emotion and behavior.”

    This reeks of the whole “throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks” mindset.

    People who prescribe it should have to use it themselves!

  • I’ve been seen as mentally ill all my life and it really *has* negatively impacted me because I became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I saw myself as someone who should never work on bettering themself because I would always be sick and amount to nothing.

    For example, I’ve been diagnosed with OCD for almost ten years now. For about eight out of those ten years, I’ve been a mess of obsessing about things and following through on those compulsions. I washed my hands until they bled. I restricted food until I was hospitalized. I would avoid physical touch. I avoided leaving the house.

    When I finally started reading this site and the viewpoints of other psychiatric survivors, I realized that I didn’t have to be limited by my diagnosis.

    For whatever reason, this has made me go “Okay, these obsessive thoughts are bullshit. I can do better and work through this.”

    I think that for a lot of people, a formal diagnosis gives them something to hold on to. It’s something that validates their struggles and suffering. A lot of people are unsure about the human condition because we’re all supposed to be our best selves all the time. We’re supposed to be happy and productive all day, every day. We’re not supposed to be sad or angry or fearful or any of those “ugly” feelings.

    But there are a lot of people who are trying their best and still feeling horrible. I don’t know what the right answer is for everybody. I think that an important question to ask is “Am I feeling this way because I’m expected to feel this way?”

    People in general seem to have a hard time with letting themselves feel *anything*.

    Putting the onus fully on the patient’s side seems a little like victim-blaming. Society and capitalism play into it and it’s not as easy as “just be happy” or “don’t be anxious.”

  • I had much the same experience in college. The center at my school was woefully equipped to help anyone, even though there were a *ton* of students struggling (The school was/is a pressure cooker by design. The “best” rise to the top. There are several suicides every year.).

    I wanted to go into a DBT group where I hoped I would learn some skills on how to wrangle my strong emotional reactions. While I was able to participate in the group, I had to get a therapist outside of the school because I was seen as “high risk.” The school wanted to make sure that it had its ass covered legally and I had to sign an agreement that no matter what happened the school could not be held liable for what happened to me.

    I ended up going to see one of the only psychiatric specialists for OCD in the area. She came to me highly recommended by the school. I went looking for help and found abuse instead. The psychologist invalidated my feelings, gaslit me, and told me that I would never get “better” without a drastic increase in my medications and a few months inside an inpatient facility.

    The entire time I saw this psych she was constantly trying to push me into the deep end of exposure therapy. I was struggling with strong contamination fears. One of the things she had me do was to pick through the garbage that she had in her office and then not wash my hands. During the time I was handling the garbage, I was to not think about anything else other than the fact that it was germy trash and to “face my fears” until my body gave in and just stopped triggering my fight-or-flight instinct.

    She disliked me a lot, mainly because I was not new to therapy or psychology. She’s one of those people who likes to keep her patients on a tight leash and for them to not expand their knowledge on anything. After our first few sessions, I looked at her floor to ceiling bookcases packed with books on psychology and asked her if she had any recommendations. She told me that *she* would tell me what I needed to know and stressed that I should *not* read about different therapies or talk to other people about therapy.

    While this is all going on, I was really struggling with stress from school. The breaking point for me was a few months into therapy when I had finals I needed to work on, grocery shopping to do, and errands to run. I didn’t have time to have a panic attack.

    When I politely told her this much, she told me I was non-compliant and said that I should not return to her office. She told me again that I’d never get better without her treatment, but that she couldn’t treat me until I had a few months of inpatient care and a new drug regime.

    Needless to say, I got worse instead of better. Any benefit I would have gotten from CBT because she used it as a weapon against me.

    I’ve got other stories about other times with other people that I’m sure I’ll share here. I’ve stupefied counselors and therapists with my experiences.

  • “Who in their right mind would allow themselves to be dosed with this junk?”

    I think you may have proved your point right there. The people who *are* going to be getting these treatments are desperate. This promises almost instant relief.

    I really can’t blame anyone, though. We’re taught that our brains are broken. That medicine can save us from ourselves. It’s easy to justify any treatment if you’re just trying to make the pain go away.

  • I really can’t believe they’re pushing esketamine even though it doesn’t have the research to back it up. These experiments should have to be repeated at least a few times and their effects tested before it goes to the public.

    I feel bad for the people who may take this and have a “bad trip.” My brain does the dissociation thing all by itself and it’s *not* as great as most people think.

    This just makes me frustrated because they take advantage of people who are suffering and looking for a way out. If it were a one time dose, then it’d be a different story. But it is a twice a week dose for a month and then “maintenance” doses for who knows how long.

    It’s a good cash grab, though, as more people are labeled as “treatment resistant” these days and the use of psychiatric meds continues to climb to higher and higher.

  • Hi, you may remember me from your last article.

    Looking over the materials, I wonder how the heck I avoided a juvenile bipolar diagnosis. I looked at the text for “The Explosive Child” and noticed myself in it right away. But looking back on it, a main reason I went over the top when I got angry is because that’s what was modeled for me. My dad was abused as a kid and though he didn’t go all out on me, I was still affected by his temper and feared him when he was angry.

    The problem wasn’t that I had a dysfunctioning brain — it’s that I was part of a dysfunctional family! I think that if someone had seen *that* instead of blaming the problem on me, then I would have had an entirely different life.

    I think that the stigma of being “ill” also weighs very heavily on kids. The overarching narrative for someone with depression is that they will always be vulnerable to it and that it could come back at any time, so better keep taking your drugs! It makes kids fearful of their own mind, which can set off a chain reaction where the child expects to get worse so they do get worse.

    Going further, once a kid is pegged as sick, they’re watched like a hawk. The kid is fearful? Anxiety disorder, we have drugs for that. The kid is angry? Bipolar disorder, we have drugs for that. The kid is excitable? ADHD, we have drugs for that.

    It just leads to a self-perpetuating cycle.

  • This has been going on since I was in grade school back in the early 00’s. I was misbehaving in school (or refusing to go because I was bored) and I got sent to a child psychiatrist who gave me “good kid medicine” — Trazodone and Paxil — when I was 6. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.

    I do have to wonder how exactly the medication affected my personality and the entire way that I think. I’ve been pegged with a host of new disorders to follow up the original two: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depersonalization/derealization disorder, Eating Disorders, Avoidant Personality Disorder with Borderline features, Dependent Personality Disorder with Borderline features.

    And those are just the ones I’ve had someone go “Yes, you have that. This is what’s wrong with you. Let me put this in your file.”

    Last summer I accidentally ended up in a psych ward (don’t tell anyone at the ER that you’ve thought about suicide before). In addition to all of those, I was starting to be scouted out for Bipolar Disorder (I started getting asked questions about mania). They also wanted to give me Topamax, which I refused.

    Thankfully, I find out about the effects of antipsychotics before I started taking them. I’ve been prescribed Risperdal and Zyprexa but I don’t want to mess with my mind any more than it has been. I’m on Paxil, Xanax, and Anafranil — all three with their own fun withdrawal experiences.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the crazy one or if I’m the only sane one.

    Thank you for reading my ramble. I’ve been following this website for a time (Since I first found “Mad in America” at my college’s library), but haven’t posted until today.