Monday, October 25, 2021

Comments by maedhbh

Showing 12 of 12 comments.

  • “You cannot change cult thinking overnight. It just kind of weakens, then someone else fills its shoes”

    You have just recounted the history of a psychiatry in a nutshell. It went from from spinning chairs and ice cold baths to insulin coma and lobotomy and from there to a metallic salts and renal failure and five generations of drugs that all did their damage and were silently withdrawn only for others equally damaging to be introduced. No one who shouts “this doesn’t work” is really taken seriously particularly if they are a psychiatric patient. It was ‘mental health day’ yesterday and there was plethora of ‘reach out to services for support’ shite all over the media.

    I am sure that many women go through variations of what is recounted in this depressing story of a person who was caught up in that system (because there was nothing else on offer). But all I read or hear (where I am from) is “My life was saved by x and x psychiatric facility” and “I got better when I found the right meds”. These are the voices that are getting the air and print time.

  • Hi KateL,

    I have posted the link to the Soteria summit below that is running for the next 3 Sundays (and is free to register and watch unless you want to donate). I checked into it yesterday and it gives me a little bit of hope to watch. I have not suffered ECT yet and I am sorry and angry at what you were put through. Middle aged women (I am one myself) get treated very badly by our culture as a whole. You are right about our demographic being ignored. I also find the profusion of ‘Karen’ videos offensive. Plenty of other people get angry in our culture – nasty entitled young men in particular – not many videos about them though under a common name.

    Unfortunately gay men (in particular) because they have bonded together since the Aids epidemic and ultimately because they are men and have more economic power have become largely part of the new Neo liberal establishment now as far as I can see.

    It’s pretty blindingly clear from the article that the outreach and education funding from the APA which allowed the film to have 100 screenings had an influence on the disgusting and clinically inaccurate disclaimer in the credits of this film. The filmmakers enjoy the benefits of being part of the sexually Neo liberal West. I do understand (being a supporter of All-Out) that in most countries of the world being actively gay is illegal and is punished by marginalisation and/or death. However in the West (excepting some states in the US which espouse fundamentalist religious beliefs) being openly gay now no longer carries oppressive consequences.

    What a pity then that the filmmakers coming themselves from a demographic that suffered (historically) with being labelled with a psychiatric ‘illness’ and suffered ECT, did not extend solidarity to people who are still imprisoned within that system.

    Shame on them and big kudos to Bruce Levine for having the guts to publish the review and call them out.

  • “Hopelessness and a self-devaluation set in if we’re detachedly analyzed, labeled, silenced, shunned and isolated.”

    Says it all really. Brilliant article – being supported in an extreme state – that never happened for me in my entire life. What I experienced was in the quote above. I have a PHD in being analyzed, labelled, silenced and shunned. I could make up a song about it. That I survived at all was due to rage – not love (because I didn’t get any of that); not hope (because I was told there was none). I don’t know how much longer the rage is going to keep me alive but it’s kept me alive this far.

    I like reading articles like yours – to get the humane perspective – that people can actually behave with kindness and decency – however it never happened for me.

  • Hi Rose

    Thank you for writing the awful truth. You describe a Kafkaesque nightmare that thousands of people across the world like yourself live with everyday – a slow insidious destruction of joy and hope in living by powerful and malevolent forces represented by the mental health industry which are fully backed by the state and mainstream media.

    In the last 150 years the meaning of human suffering has undergone a wholesale alteration that started slowly but increased in speed since the advent of the first neuroleptic in 1955; the person is now packaged up in bags of symptoms and branded with the label of any one or more of the 370 disorders in the DSM. The branding must not be questioned. The person learns not to trust any of their thoughts or sense perceptions as both are now deemed mere manifestations of their ‘illness’. As you write they are not treated as people but as patients or objects.

    If you think about it, it should not really be surprising that psychologists treat their patients in this manner given that research in the ‘profession’ of psychology involves the torture of small animals. That’s how Skinner developed behaviorism and how Martin Seligman developed the theory of learned helplessness i.e. by administering electric shocks to dogs. Of all the clinicians I have met the psychologists were the most consistently devoid of humanity – even more so than the psychiatrists.

    The little voice that started inside of you which was given power by your short talk with the taxi driver about an SSRI happened outside that system.

    These voices are happening in air pockets – like this site ‘Mad in America’, peer support groups for coming off drugs, and movements like the ‘Drop the Disorder Movement’ in the UK which has attracted a small number of critical clinicians. Every few years you find an outlier like Dr Terry Lynch who wrote ‘Beyond Prozac’ nearly twenty years ago in 2004 or Dr David Healy the psychiatrist with expertise in pharmacology who exposed the fraudulent nature of the drug trials. However they tend to continue to operate as outliers and their stances have not gone unpunished by the mainstream medical profession. Dr Healy lost a fairly prestigious academic appointment in Toronto over a talk he gave on the dangers of SSRI’s.

    Currently I believe the mainstream culture of drugs and diagnosis is stronger that it ever was – thousands of people owe their livelihoods to it as the mental health industry has mushroomed in tandem with the increase in people deemed to be in need being drugged/labelled so I do not think things will change. I don’t know when they will.

    The greatest tragedy of course is the loss of a productive and happy life by those ensnared in the mental health industry. You write : “What if I had never been diagnosed? What if I had never taken psychiatric drugs? ” You write that you are still grieving all the years you spent suffering – years that you will never get back. That is the worst crime of all.

    I don’t know how many more people will have to be damaged before our culture as a whole wakes up; currently it is seen as normal to drug five year old children for ‘behavioral issues’ so i have my doubts.

  • It is going to be hard for psychiatry at large to dismiss Altostrata – someone who appears to have had a successful career in IT for most of her life and who took a relatively small amount of Paxil for career stress which led her in the psychiatric rabbit hole.

    My opinion from reading this article is that she appears to have emerged from it due to her enquiring mind, intellect and I think a fairly steady sense of self; these qualities enabled her to maintain the stance that what she was experiencing was withdrawal not relapse against the onslaught of denial from a profession that is marked by gross contempt for the people it supposedly cares for.

    It takes a certain mental steadiness to set up and maintain a large discussion board providing both academic and anecdotal knowledge which is run with efficiency and decency for over a decade and which provides a lifeline for thousands of people suffering from the effects of psychiatric withdrawal.

    It is easy for psychiatrists to dismiss someone who has perhaps come from an abusive background, is very vulnerable and has never thrived psychologically as suffering from a mental disorder and therefore an unreliable witness as to side effects or withdrawal.

    It ‘s a lot harder when you’re are dealing with someone who is so methodically reasonable, has read and can quote the studies, does not have a God complex, plainly states that she is not an expert and would prefer that the doctors were dealing with the problems caused by drug withdrawal.

  • Hi KateL
    I agree with you as to the awfulness of coming off Cymbalta having been put on it by a rheumatologist –
    I was put on Paxil (Seroxat) and can attest to the awful effects that had – i was never suicidal before I was put on this drug but I became suicidal on it. However I was taken off it cold turkey and it wasn’t as bad as what I went through with Cymbalta.
    As Chuck writes, these drugs just sedate or excite and sometimes do both. The one thing that they don’t do is teach you how to confront your issues. You put your brain on automatic pilot when you go on these drugs; you think you can allow them to ‘take over’ your anxiety, terror, stress, loneliness, despair and soothe those feelings away but it’s at a terrible cost. You hand over the controls of your little plane to a Kamikaze pilot; no one knows until after the fact how these drugs will interact with your biochemistry and if they mess you up you’ve nothing but a pile of shrinks in air traffic control who haven’t a clue and don’t really care what the Kamikaze pilot does to your plane – if you crash/die/get suicidal/get worse – there’s no equivalent of an air craft investigation by the psychiatric profession. Any class actions against the drug are taken by the patients – never the psychiatrists.

    I wonder if the link will ever be made between the taking of psychotropic drugs and violent acts resulting in death of the person taking them or people close to them as Fiachra noted above that are currently being judged as entirely due to the person’s pre-existing mental illness or an out of character ‘extreme state’.

  • You write really well and I hope you keep writing.
    I relate to how you felt at 20 with the whole world in front of you and how you feel now. Psychiatric patients are occupied people and you live and write under occupation. I don’t feel that the human species will ultimately survive (a good thing in my opinion as there is more bad than good in us and we are noxious for the planet).

    However on the off chance that we will, in another I feel 60 years time or maybe less, the period of forced drugging of millions of people for their entire adult lives will be looked back upon as a barbarity. Whether you were overjoyed or walked a 100 miles in a day or sang in the street or muttered to yourself in a supermarket as you had no one else to talk to – whatever other ‘extreme state’ you manifested might be looked upon differently – perhaps with humour or kindness or even admiration for your eccentricity.

    We have the misfortune to exist when drugging is in full and awful bloom and the ‘insane’ or ‘mad’ are stamped as ‘defective’ and allowed to walk the streets alone and aimless as long as they are compliant in taking their drugs. There won’t be an out from that in our lifetimes I think.

    If you weren’t forcibly drugged who knows what you could be?
    I would urge you to keep writing until you produce something and publish it. That would be enough.

  • I have heard about the development of a farm in Ireland ‘Kyrie Farm’ as an alternative for those who are not extremely mentally ill but it has a long way to go receive full funding and I understand it is not suitable for people who have a ‘higher level of service provision’ which sounds ambiguous ‘as violence is not tolerated on the farm’.
    It would be nice to think that the creation of the centers and organisations mentioned in this article mark the beginning of a shift towards the changing of this terrible paradigm but I cannot say I am optimistic. They seem to be very small with a small bed capacity and their enlargement will depend ultimately on money (presumably government money). I cannot see governments funding that sort of model. Public health services are cumbersome and have grown up piecemeal over the years with a lot of vested interests and pay grades. How will national governments dismantle those layers of bureaucracy? The redundancy budget alone would cripple them and what would be their financial incentive to do so?

    Independent research on the efficacy of treatment in these places that would justify their enlargement would be difficult and involve additional cost – they do not have the vast pockets of the pharmaceutical companies with their armies of ghost writers and fraudulent RCA’s. As Robert Whitaker said himself recently in a conversation with Nicole Anderson on the ‘Medicating Normal – film Facebook page as long as corporations whose interests is primarily profit are involved it will be hard to change that model (I am paraphrasing but here is the link to the talk).

  • You have an interesting and original turn of phrase but you did just that as in ‘examine’ me or when you asked me in another post if I was the ‘DEMON’ (your caps) in another post because I had stated that the psychiatrists who criticised E Baden for her position were ‘good Nazis’.

    You then asked a series of insinuating questions that would define me as ‘psychiatrist’ if I had ever offered a pill or advice to anyone else along psychological lines. You don’t know me from Adam and yet you felt that you could ‘examine’ me or my motivations or ‘feelings’.

  • I can’t understand why an article about Allan Frances – the man who was instrumental in the gross enlargement of psychiatric diagnoses as the chief editor of DSM IV and as someone largely responsible through a lucrative kickback from Janssen Pharmaceuticals for promoting the wide-spread prescription of Risperidal off label for a multitude of ‘conditions’ to young adults suffering from anxiety and elderly people in care homes – is being published on this forum. He now wants to re-frame his legacy by becoming a reformer of the mass prescribing of psychotropic medication he largely put in motion which has ruined millions of lives. I don’t understand why he is being allowed to do so. If ever there was a case for ‘cancel culture’ it’s this man. There is a recent video of him up on Youtube giving a lecture on the widening of psychiatric diagnosis – one of his opening remarks was ‘Psychiatry is a noble profession’. He obviously likes to think of himself that way – by allowing him a forum you are allowing him to burnish his image.

  • E Baden – you must be a good person; they are rare but you do get them.

    As someone who has seen in the course of my life 15 psychiatrists and five clinical psychiatrists – I only met one psychiatrist who saw me as a human being and said to me ‘I don’t believe in labels’.

    I was very anxious however to get the right label so on my request to she referred me to a clinical psychologist who diagnosed me with borderline.
    Subsequently she retired and I flailed about for a few years trying to find someone else to treat me and was diagnosed with bipolar, autism until finally I was asked by a psychiatrist ‘what if you had all three – what would be so bad about that?’ That was it for me. I accept that after years of drugs and labeling and unresolved childhood trauma I am probably unfit for work so I go along with the narrative to get my disability but I no longer believe in it.

    I have nothing good to say about the five clinical psychologists who treated or assessed me in the course of what was a pretty hard life. Not one of them spotted that I had been sexually abused and had suffered significant childhood trauma. I was labelled at one stage ‘ a young woman with a high degree of maladjustment who is unlikely to benefit from therapy’ because of my maladjustment. The psychologist who diagnosed me as ASD after a self referral wrote six pages about what was wrong with me and handed the report to me at the end and said ‘it was lovely to meet you’.

    I had one good counsellor who saw that my primary issue was trauma but unfortunately I also attended therapists who were as ego driven as you describe and they did further damage.

    I think the reaction of your colleagues could be likened to the reaction of good members of the Nazi party as I do believe that conventional psychiatry as it is currently practiced is intrinsically evil – the people who participate in it destroy a person’s hope by labelling him/her defective without any real scientific evidence and once applied the unscientific labels allow them to liberally administer toxic drugs that they know will seriously impair the patient’s physical health for a ‘lifelong condition’ that is not backed up by evidence. There is no change or cure really in conventional psychiatry – there is just acceptance of a diagnosis or diagnoses and ‘management’ that is severely life limiting.

    Like all groups most psychiatrists and psychologists who adhere to the DSM have a set of beliefs and people who stray outside the group’s belief system even if it exists to promote social control and further abuse of vulnerable people for status and profit – will be punished by exclusion.

    In the neoliberal world it’s all about making money. The other professionals in your area have chosen to go down a road for status and profit so they don’t want to hear about anything that might interfere with that.

    If you look back at history that’s really the story of humanity – there are very few heroes but you sound like one of them.

    I suggest that there are people out there who are crying out for a critical psychiatrist like yourself. I know I was when I was a young woman in Ireland in the mid 90’s who was attending a coercive psychiatrist at the top of the psychiatric hierarchy who kept me in hospital an extra month because I asked her politely if it would be possible for me to not have to take the psychotropic drugs I had been taking for four years that had been making me sick, nauseous and manic. I had just read Dr Peter Breggin’s book ‘Toxic Psychiatry’ and found out for the first time that I could get a whole host of long term health conditions from the drugs I was taking, In response to my concerns she told me that I ‘either did it her way or I didn’t do it at all’. I tried to find another psychiatrist for a second opinion but there were none.

    I would think there would be many people that would attend your practice if you set up privately. It involves taking a stand and that is never easy particularly I would imagine in a profession as corrupt and self seeking as the one you fell into because you wanted to help people.

    Thank you for your article and I wish you all the very best in life.