Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by CatNight

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  • Steve
    Thanks. The most help I have found is through just folks that have been in the system. But for me I also had another life and have lived other paths before, during, and after my time in system.
    Having a more non mainstream look at the system plus some folks stigmitism in the past makes it difficult. To pretend or not to be pretend is the question. Much of the time I have difficulty doing either.
    Breathing and walking and other alternatives help but to thrive and get back to where I was and that journey in and of itself was not easy. This site and some peer meetings have been helpful but there needs to be more.
    Aeopisciplian authority given by the people to medical professionals is a legal and social contract. There had to be a way to break or call
    BS to contract that harm.
    I await it’s coming.

  • My other thought is that enuf with trying to figure out comprehendthe other side.
    What would be really helpful to me asa psych survivor is a framework – a compass rose- some rituals or paths others have used to not only walk away but continue on and if at all possible thrive in some way.
    Reading some of my medical records by myself was almost a revictimization. Talking to others is a literal crapshoot because so many upon hearing your real life story use “ that voice” of now but very effective othering.
    And again I have come from a lucky spot.
    How to live with the memories?And they come up at various times unwillingly.
    EDMR okay but my myriad of issues and practioner change to require meds changed that option for me.
    The anger of knowing how I treated folks and the trauma of not in any way shape or kind in return at certain times stillrankles and the inability to dialogue and understand where and why and how these practioners treated me as they did is at times an existential agony.
    Anger ultimately is only helpful on a short term basis but forgiveness that is one sided can be achieved intellectually with effort but is hard to retain and unless one is truly a wisdom healer never enough to change life paths in an effective way.
    The geographic cure can work but again the issue of memory.
    At this time we are seeing memory come up for sex abuse , and. othering and abuse in our nation or world history,but not psych . There have been so much too so many in ALL areas.But a mee too movement for us? Or is that beyond the Pale?
    How can we help ourselves bind our own and other’s traumas?
    To be effective activists especially now with so many arrests and physical and weaponized ( instruments of all kinds) WE need to walk in and move forward rather than do I what I have done – hide.
    One activists suggestedalways carry a second set of clothes so if your taken you have a change. I don’t WANT to be taken and until I have a modicum if some sort of resolution. No- no matter what. If I had not had my 15 years in the system, more than likely I would be out in full force for a variety of causes.
    I know one cannot give power to people but when the people still have the power what can one do?
    Getting of SSD but nine months and that track record hasn’t been reached though I have tried.
    School again? Two graduate degrees and my abilities are as sharp in the past and there were LD issues from birth.
    Volunteer one has to disclose or pretend.
    Inust want the freedom to be me and offer wheat ever small wisdom I have gathered.
    Anyone else have this need for resolution to move beyond?

  • Thanks Michael and Judi for the after comments.
    I would say another word for empathy maybe user and knower of human emotions- more of a phrase but it’s essentially the same idea.
    Samenow sp? in his writings of criminal minded folks – the real kind not the forced and contrive school to correctional system elitist pipeline – talked ofcomplete and utter comparentalization. There was no thread between their life just a series of moves of power and control.
    “Angels with Dirty Faces” is an interesting take on this as well as”Heart of Darkness”
    In my past work with offenders there were several type of folks- some were able to eventually move on past a predator mind set others not. Abuse and trauma were ever present in all of their histories.
    I think we see this mindset in almost all of our systematic institutions. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Oscar Romero – Corrie Ten Boom, Miep Giess, Dorothy Day, Raul Wallenberg, Sr. Dorothy Stang,
    James Wendell Johnson, have been and there are now folks who at best died in the face of these forces
    or challenged the status quo. And throughout systems there have been so many deaths, so many silenced voices, so many possible great hope futures deliberately or by happenstance killed off.
    The predators know human beings well, so well and they as stated in Judi’s commentary take time for the set up. There are many – too many rape walks. A rape walk is when a perp prowls in invisibility around the home or workplace or whatever and sizes things up. They know fear and anger and anxiety. And are skilled in creating it and using it for their own purposes.
    My best guess is somewhere there was a choice made by them to go full throttle into this mindset.
    The problem is we as patients, or parishioners, or constituents, or consumers, can easily be gladhanded by these folks. And I have found despite my dissident professionalism I still was dragged down into the basement bowels of the psych system. My sense of intuition and trust shattered to the winds. And this is from someone on the at first other side of the desk. What the world has done to so many without my privelge is at times for me devastating.

  • Katherine, Interesting though the comments here are correct – this is old stuff and it pays to be sensitive to those who are reading. That being said who asked you to write it and submit?
    It is important to know the curve and trajectory of history but there are slot of gaps like maybe Bedlam? And the Dalem Witch Trails right up in your state. One reason was possible Ergot poisoning. That is worth a blog right there.
    I think one reading one of these articles it would help to know many many states had institutions like these and many are still alive who were in them or like mevisted and or did volunteer or fieldwork in them. All of the ruined buildings are places for the kids to go in and get scared.
    Matter of Fact there was a big movement just awhile ago about this very topic. Halloween and the insane asylum for fun and profit. No.
    The point on the graveyards.Just like in Ireland. I strongly recommend the movie about the Magdalene Laundaries – very unsettling but true. In Taum numbers and numbers of small bodies were found and I would be if a dig was done in an asylum some small bodies would be found as well.
    Also before writing I would suggest you do some research on the West African port city? that was the dispatching site for the Slave Trade. There are several good media pieces about African Americans walking through the holding rooms.
    I think this is still important as one day one hopes the well intentioned good and the horrors are catalogued as past history as the families and children who have been detained by our government will walk through the buildings and walk through not as refugees but as free people. The same with Rikkers and other heinous facilities.

  • Thanks for your thoughts and this type of information Lawerence.
    I was in a museum which housed an old drugstore and the old meds were infused with opiotes. From infants to the elderly much of the so called elixers were made out of addictive substances. The probation era did not focus on these but maybe those substances were outlawed?
    How did snake oil salesmen morph into Pharma reps and docs with a pen and a pad of paper?
    EugeneO’Neil highlighted the old addiction epidemic in “ Long Fsys Journey into Night”. Day not Fsys.
    One would think that drama would be essential medical school reading.
    One idea might be a new way of writing scripts that would make the physician admit to doing a thorough medical history and write down three possibles scenarios: outcomes of taking the medication and then it is informed consent and then the patient can decide.
    I would also like to see investigative journalism take on Pharm Reps and other Medical Sales Employees. The are on the front lines and did they not know what they were doing? No ability to see the local population as human beings? No ability to let the docs know their educational background? Any moral or ethical classes?
    Please write more history or research it for us? When did the tide turn back?
    Not sure about your concerns re universal health coverage. Again research andcomparision to Norther European countries. BTW Nursing Homes really started going well with Medicare/ Medicaid. Some folks use a good idea and utterly ruin it for their own nefarious benefit.

  • Yes I found that out as well. The history of the Rorschach Test is interesting/sad as well.
    Paul Robeson psychiatric treatment and suicide is another story that needs to be told. His son wrote about it and came to some interesting conclusions.
    Likewise Hemingway’s story has some perhaps unusual details as well.
    The Mad Hatter character in Slice in Wonderland is based on history facts.
    Workers in hat factories would go out of their minds very often. It was the chemical fumes that caused the mind alterations. I find that something to contemplate.
    I still think we all are the canaries.

  • Unable to LogIn on any other name.
    Julie,
    There was much non help in the past and currently. Luck of the draw. As in any maladaptive system there are always people who try to do their best and try to have a high standard. Then there are the others and more others.
    In sex offender training we had a video of a nurse in a children’s hospital who admitted to abusing kids with severe neuro issues precisely because – they wouldn’t tell.
    So at various times there would be winds, waves, of truth BUT NOT FOR LONG.
    This was before sex abuse really came out just at the beginning edge- the system folks didn’t want to deal with it and it still lies buried.
    There is the buried abuse of all kinds from sides on the floor – poorly trained, working just to survive with their own issues that they try hard to keep under roots and up the ladder. The worse for me is the administrators who don’t go on the floors, who make money pushing papers and are wined and dined by big Pharma.
    As a lowly medical social worker, I was dined ie lunch/ one time and never ever again I refused even Christmas gifts. Oh and there was one free baseball game and lunch for the Mental Health Center Staff. One time.
    Beer rounds on Friday afternoons for all the residents- it’s a story in and of itself. From pens, to fridge magnets, to Rum. Similar to the 1776 musical song-
    From Bibles to Rum to Slaves. YouTube it and insert the words nouns if your choice.
    I am truly sorry to you and all.I went in to change the system and became woefully victim of it.
    I did do some neat things. Out of the box but still stuff happened and the memories are part of the life I live now because no way to break them through formal or informal means. And who am I?
    Too many life experiences and any wisdom I did have or gifts lost.
    Again my apologies to those hurt.
    Nothing can take back the time or memories- in a truly just and or merciful world there would be a formal written apology, listening and grieving time, and some sort of compensation. Unfornately, I know of no Time Machine and the taking off if the masks and stopping if the dances st The Net and pleasure resorts seemingly will never happen.
    Make a list of those you have lost and send it to the CEO’s and CFO’s of Oharma and for profit psych hospitals and private prisons and juvenile detention or treatment centers.
    Send it to your local County MH board and DD board. The abuse and corruption is spread and anyone who is disabled is at risk for lowly or the worst high level Perps.
    Also the artists need to wake up. They fell in line and look what had happened. Just like me.

  • Actually in the world and all of its history there is always the tension between artist and systems. Dante was forced into exile. Kit Marlowe was killed.
    There are between the lines stories of many artists some mentioned here in this comment area. The more brilliant one is and wide seeing the more trouble an artist walks into. Stalin and his regime was very unkind to artists. How Boris Pasternak survived and his work broke free is another between the line tangle of story.
    Here in my area one has to play the game to survive. There is no room or even an iota of space for other nonsporoved opinions. One pretends and pretends or is hauled off or worse.
    Some are doubly or tripley unlucky with being an artist from less privelege and or othered classifications. DFW was white and male as were others. I am reminded of the play title “ For Colored Girls…….” Nina Simone and others who tangled and were tangled into knots. Tied so tight – ever after the trauma bound times by docs or other officials refused solace or comfort. And some -many lost their lives. And art dies.
    I once was in a educational parent council for parents of kids with “needs”
    Made it to possibly two meetings – childcare issues.
    Some of the women – and they were all women- were really interesting and I would – had there been childcare provided or help from the school district to continue on.
    However, there was a Mom I thought was great. A few weeks after it turns out she was abused and killed by some young men, Layers just layers of trauma here- whirlpools.
    From reading the accounts – it seems they had seen her daughter and scoped her out as victim. She must of sensed it and went to get car alone. She was abducted and my best guess is she refused to tell the offenders the location of her daughter and they killed her.
    To this day no one from the Parent Council ever did anything to honor or even understand what she did. I was aware because I worked with offenders in the court system in one of the many jobs before terteriary,secondary, and primary trauma and life as I live coincided. And the art I thought I could do and share is not a possibility.
    This could have been, this woman’s life could have been used to understand not only trauma but how humans lose the ability to care and have empathy for others. My guess is those offenders had hortirific stories of their own. And sometimes trauma can cause the choice towards awfulness and a life of awfulness until death. Poor or wealthy.
    We talk of suicide but that is a stillpoint or ending. It is an end cause and the various why’s are deep and wide. My guess is in that family relatives have thought of ending it all- the ripple affect.
    Writing about suicide doesn’t really help. Writing about the why of the whole so called helping world does a bit more. Callling out the acts of human bravery or kindness sheds light in a very dark world. Artist can feel the flow of the cold and or warm currents – see the stains in the water or the affect of sunlight on a calm dawn beach. We also tell uncomfortable truths or see them and live with them in the prison that we all share -the human mind.
    I request that if you read this comment offer up a moment of silence to this mom I knew for a brief shing hour or two. Do something for another person today- do something more than just common.
    Work on art or help or forgive someone and or maybe yourself.
    Cry for the hurting males who killed her perhaps. They were not born that way- they were made by our common nightmare human inhumanity to other humans. I have no doubt.
    And then can we break these chains we all have tied around ourselves? And just move out and beyond ourselves.
    In her honor I will be retiring my Catnight name
    Next time it will be my own name and damn the consequences- it can’t get any worse I have lived through it all and am still here.
    Best to all- Mary O’Malley psych survivor seclusion…….. all of it – and retired LISW with twenty years experience in trauma issues.

  • Lawerence, You have written about a searing issue in today’s world.
    As always I wear several hats on this issue.
    1) Having worked on a medical floor in Social Services pre opioid era there were huge pain issues for folks. Sickle Cell Anemia who mostly come out of an African American population base were sometimes not believed by some of the staff. Elderly folks with compressed spinal fractures were totally incapitated.
    So pain was a huge quandry on multiple levels.
    Pain used to be used as a diagnostic tool back in the day.
    Salk developed a vaccine for Polio. He refused any monetary gain. And why NOT others?
    How this all became so awful is still unbelievable to me. Who was supposed to be monitoring the ethics of ALL of this?

  • Well so much for true intersectional dialogue. Despite his reliance on diagnostic toolShaun at least takes time and energy to reply- thanks for that.
    I think this thread covers a lot of bases old and new.
    I would love to have some Vets speak and dialogue with them. Way backs out ten years ago a mother who lost a child to suicide was telling me about the suicide issue in the VA. I would submit unless you have been in country there is no way any one can get the experience and peer relationship might be very important but I don’t know.
    There is trauma but there is also the spiritual mindset but I don’t have a good sense of what is what. Druids use to intentionally create a psychotic type of experience. So there is that whole realm that is never accounted for by most professionals.
    There is the whole epigenetic issues of trauma generations in the making with the whole world of isms that so many people deal with and have to deal with still today. Lynchings and Detention Centers and forced marched exiles.
    It would be nice to hear a We have no idea and let’s do a remake with a three year review with everyone involved.
    Some folks are helped by mainstream folks and processes but that is a very narrow spectrum and why not use everything?
    Healing has always been needed because human life just ain’t easy.
    The corruption and sense of do harm rather than do no harm just needs to stop.

  • Stephan, I always reading your comments and I thank you for your well written manifesto.
    I have issues with peers support in some ways but you are witnessing in your work place. I am so sorry you are not seen as the gift that you are.
    You could easily be co- managing an unit and really shine.
    The fear of professionals has prevented so much good from happening.
    Why not Peerand Professional Managed Units at every hospital and do an evaluation of comparison and contrast?
    Of course the administration already fears the outcome and are barricading every level and type of access for any other option.
    Thanks for your work but I wish better for you and please take care of yourself.

  • Shaun, I am commenting on several of your thoughts.
    Any psych dx is a snapshot of someone in a moment -it does not hold true forever or in the next thirty minutes. A broke arm is a broken arm that can be seen on X Ray even after the body has been submersed in a bog centuries after death.
    So even the use of PSTD has concrete issues. In regards to your opinion that not all humans involved in war exhibit that label- it depends.
    The British Government had problems with returning vets in WWI – and during the war the military had an advanced program to treat soldiers who were suffering from so called battle fatigue- ah another problem with labels- they can change and fall in and fall conviently out of favor. The main aim of the program was not to resolve but to make them ready to return to battle. Any knowledge that was gained was either buried or lost.
    So although the returning vets did not fit a label of battle fatigue – there were no more battles- they were unemployed and had so called unruly issues. Wonder why?
    The government as so many institutions do too many many times gathered them to form a security force in Ireland which was in the midst of one of a zillion rebellions. They became the Black and Tans and wrecked havoc and further trauma on the Irish people – a so-called moral harm type of period.
    Trauma signs and symptoms does NOT neccesssrily be OVERT it can be subtle and life long and for those with either wealth, or power, or those with strong support networks, or those with a healthy environment, or those with a strong educational background, or those with a special talent or gift, or those with just sheer good luck, it can be there but not exposed and or kept in quietly or loudly hidden by themselves or others.
    The mass 1960’s youth movement where did that anger and energy come from? My guess is 90% had a parent or parents who were somehow directly negatively affected by WWII.
    Not speaking about trauma is still living in a silent prison of trauma.
    Some sex abuse survivors if they do tell especially those with clergy or other dominant societal offenders take thirty or more years to tell the truth and many go to their grave effectively still silenced by the offender and or the system that refused to acknowledge the truth of the trauma cannon.
    And once one is medicated one is usually stuck in the system because of the medication.
    There is NO institional method that is acknowledged by the MH system to Eliminate the Label and diagnosis and or use the medication as a true short term solution.
    The MH system now plays the productivity game – at least at my last job – where workers are made to have high productivity rates or literally be fired.
    It actually works better to see clients for decades rather than not.
    I only worked in one program that was as trauma based as possible at the time where there was a time limit involved. Then for awhile short term treatment was in and they changed the program time frame. The wink wink here was – they will always be back.
    This is too long- Icould write a book but your journey is still in the making think more, research everywhere, and we survivors not only have knowledge but deserve much much better than what we were given. Restitution’s are needed.

  • Patrick, I appreciate your effort here, and the fact you are writing in a second language. You sounded like Lacan and possibly Levi- Strauss.
    Shades of Literary Criticism here which most American folks unless they have a grad or BA degree in Literature would miss and might not only find confusing but off putting.
    I think you were trying to say I am with you but too high flauntin’.
    And if not that you built a fourth wall with your use of the word Signifer.
    There are lots of gaps here but the history is expansive but we need the whole kitchen sink- dirty plates and all.
    So the torture that was considered treatment needs to be called out. Freud and his forced reversal with his first academic writings on sexual abuse of his female patients changed to hysteria.
    And although Anna Freud did some great work – what about her relationship with her father?
    I am glad to see your calling out of the issues with Autism.
    Have you read Sue Miller’s “ Family [email protected]? It is still one of my favorites though now it is dated but still.
    You by passed addiction and what was the real story on Freud and cocaine?
    And according to my memory bank in the nineties we as professionals were being to the DSM was bunk. We just we never told the truth about why.
    One of the things as a professional that I respected with a few of the psychiatrists I worked with was their ability to have compassion, empathy, and even as mutation to those thevwirked with or discussed. Some of them would talk about artists of all kinds and be in awe of their creative talent. A few. And in your Psychoanalytic journal one of them always had a section on artists and or creativity?

    I did not get this empathy in your writing. Next time maybe more Victor Hugo and less Satre.
    You cannot join with others if bridges are too walking.

  • Dear Helen,I appreciate the effort but not there yet.
    To quote TS Eliot – that is not what I meant at all-
    When I suggested dialogue in an earlier post. I meant like Gail Collins and Bret Stephan’s weekly writing. A dialogue – could also be more voices now and then.
    The divide is not broken until listening occurs and is internalized and oh light bulb moment occurs.
    I am reminded at one hospitalization at Windsor Laurelwood they had a student nurse give us patients a talk.
    One patient asked her if she was afraid of getting contaminated by us- this was after for me 15. years as a LISW with time in the inpatient and outpatient worlds of mental health system.
    Her reply is classic and should be put down in Capitol letters in the first/ next M H system tell all book or even better Medical and Nursing and USocial Eork text books on what not to say to folks.
    Her reply was no because she had asked her parents if anyone in the family had issues and they assured her no- no one in her family had issues so she felt safe.
    I wanted to stand up and shout- you lie!
    Anyone but anyone who has worked in the system know almost all profs have had some family experience or the old sawhorse shrinks kids are the most troubled of all doctor kids. And I would say anyone who has a doc as a parent needs a 12 step program just for that.
    Another Social Worker who went on to a PhD in academia – name available upon request- discussed this. But we both were unaware – oh our dads were vets- obtbey could do great work but yikes their trauma issues really played out at home. And it doesn’t mean just Vets. All and I mean All are survivors of various types and forms of trauma.
    Until that is put up front – the bridges are still down and waters still troubled.
    The aide? Staff member – one of the great ways control is used in inpatient units- one never knows the education level. Aide? LPN? Intern?
    RN? Roving Staff? Hired help? Student working while dealing with single parenthood and school and another job?
    The aide who called me a crazy bipolar bitch probably was not just calling me that there were echoes of a past or present she was presumably unaware of.
    So please better ways of dealing with power and control. Again as porrviste the effort. You all can do better.

  • When I was a professional I had an idea but not total comprehension of those supposedly I was helping.
    I think this dialogue needs to happen here- a joint survivor /prof ongoing conversation.
    This project is worth all try but the issues raised here are very legitimate.
    There are several aspects
    Power and Control – Systemic in a variety of areas
    Human Rights
    How one reclaims a voice when it has literally and metaphorically been quashed
    How to reconcile- past, present, and future.
    Just more thoughts for other pieces.
    I believe it can and SHOULD be done.
    My mother was a Social Wirker and worked with pregnant women and had them climb stairs. She told me after she herself became pregnant she realized the 7 story flight was awful for them and never did that again.
    I feel that way too. In some ways, I had no idea.
    So how to change perspective when the system has walls high walls around change?
    John Steinbeck’sThe Grapes of Wrath and Rose of Sharon’s lasting life giving image at the end.
    We all have to change. Some from what was done to us others for what we did to them.
    Another run of columns two person please!

  • Dear All, I think we should just do it. If fear is involved one can use a made up name or relative or friend who is supportive of the cause.
    I wear many hats. Survivor, like seclusion, like forced meddling, like police taking me away from bank, like.Parkinsonism .
    Various relatives have used are using these drugs. I have had many experiences with suicide of peers and others.
    I also was a professional for over twenty years before being pushed into the system.
    I think that it’s better to work as we rather than them. It just makes sense. There are really really awful professionals but my sense is these who post and interact aren’t the ones we need to focus our outrage on.
    And to the profs. This action is scary. Taking a step when police have been called several times scars one. And it was bad real bad. Never expect Kumbaya from us.
    But this a good idea and worth a shot.
    Miracle on 34th Street? To see a flood of paper and o email would be so worth it!

  • Steve -actually it is common practice to use antidepressants for pain management and benzodiazepines as well. Also I have seen psychotropics used purely for behavior management for both the old and young.
    Show me a patient with a complicated surgical procedure and I will show a potential addict.
    The other issue is offspring of folks who are given these meds and viola the old wine in the cabinet filled by teens with water becomes the pills swiped from the medicine cabinet.
    Now it’s both etoh and psychotropics.
    The drive had lasted for so long / it has literally been consumed into a mindset. I even get pushed and then ought into it.
    Remember PSA’s Yul Brynner and his face seeing him say when you see this I will be dead?
    None of that now only add upon add upon add upon add.
    And don’t tell me Big Pharma folks were not aware of what a poor economy and employment situation can do for sales.
    So twisted and tangled and no end in sight that’s why why not do something rather than not even if the doing has issues?

  • Mickey this is a very interesting idea from a community organizing standpoint. Very Saul Alinsky. For those who don’t know or have heard negative accounts – Saul really was brilliant especially with tactical planning. He wold only take on paid work if he felt there was more than a 75% chance of winning. He did not come from a victim and or survivor view. It was all about power dynamics from the setting to the furniture.
    Things have changed so much in the world now. We really as a movement are quite restrained. Many of Saul’s tactics would be quickly quashed now. And many would be failures.
    I just read somewhere that many docs sign NDA for big medical corporations. The system as. someone once said is rigged. Many private corporations or family run businesses have huge huge amounts of money to spend. Huge.
    So there is a phrase we must all deeply consider here. Politics make strange bedfellows.
    We have to sit with unaligned folks because they have better seating placement and more money and access.
    This rankles and hurts and in many ways is totally unfair. But there it is.
    We need however uncomfortable to become we. And then We are Many They are Few can create change and hopefully not cosemetic but true change. Abolition? Complete Dextuction?
    Transformation?
    To be determined and who knows? Who really knows?
    As much as I am angry and righteously so -I know no social action can be totally based on anger. Anger in and of itself fizzles, can become boring, can become a problem in and of itself.
    I would say let’s try it. What more do we have to lose?
    Unless all sorts of people intermingle and talk/ the walls stay up and bridges are never ever built. And yes sometimes you want to burn those bridges. And I have done my share of burning from all the stuff I lived through/ but what the hey?
    It is action and we have done nothing on a national basis-everyone else has.
    Sometimes as Harriet did one has to wade in the water and find out what happens after the water is troubled.Shevould never gaurantee safe oasssge. She had a history and knowledge but everyone just had to jump in.

  • Thanks Sera for another empathetic and informative piece. As the Latino world deals with death in prayer ritual- Presente David.
    We all are dealing with layers of multiple issues with the topic of suicide and as Robert’s previous recent article the water is both deep and wide.
    And kudos for being so wise with him. Education and intelligence sometimes obsufacstes human kindness and compassion.
    To sit with another’s pain is a high calling not taught or recognized in many parts of this world today.
    Henri Nouwen not only was sat with but sat with others in the last years of his life. There is a stream of folks and someday MIA should highlight those.
    In the article you focus on professionals. And I agree with your thoughts.
    The question is why and how come and why not?
    Again history of those folks who could sit and listen and how past communities were able to have them in a much much more available is so so very important.
    The one issue and for another time I hope is the concept of mental health checks and folks using the police to handle their problems and actively and purposefully avoiding any other action. A kind of wiping the hands clean.
    It is another layered quagmire.

  • Hi Steve, before I go offline. I just wanted to share thoughts.
    One sheriff is not a neutral word.
    Two Reading over things before sending a roller coaster learning curve that is affected by many things.
    Tbree. Male hold on the system even in anti system is still here. Most folks served by the system female and or othered folks.
    Use these thoughts as you will. I wish the best for the site but a learning curve still for all of us.
    That’s all folks!

  • Good luck and having the person who tagged a comment tell their thinking is essential. We are suppose to grow out of magical thinking around kindergarten. We need to know the specifics of why as you will.
    It would be nice to have a delay mechanism where before your post goes through – it comes back and you let it go through or not. A we are our own Sheriff idea. In grade school I had a teacher who brought in working phones to teach how to handle the telephone. I also had a record about safety Mr. Rogerish. We and the world do not yet have a template yet in place- hopefully it can be created soon.
    And nah the sheriff idea was that sarcastic humor? All I could think of was Bob Marley’s song.
    I will take a break and then comeback later.One never knows. A good faith effort can never ever be dismissed.

  • Eric, A good psychiatrist and or other professional in the system who has learned about childhood development, who has read SelmaFrau erg, DW Winnicott, who has read Jeanne Greenburg’s “I Never PrimisedYou. Rise [email protected] and “In this Sign” any of Judi Chamberlain’s writings or life stories,seen @ Splendor in the Grass and “The Snake Pit” and other theatrical and art based Humanities based classics would allow and actually be okay with anger. If course there is anger and there is anger. That’s why time outs work. It helps to create internal boundaries and the ability to self monitor and censor. At times we all need time outs and gain the skill of walking away when the anger is not helpful.
    But if a child does not get angry, does not challenge parents they will not become emotionally independent.
    So I think you asquience too much.
    We have been mistreated and we have the right to be angry and the responsibility to tell.
    How and in what way and what timeframe is still an issue on the table and this site.
    It takes an average of 30 years for an abuse victim to admit – many go to the grave in silence as well.
    WhenI was a professional in the system I consider anger a sign of awareness of something. And I tried hard to listen and support my clients – going so far as getting pro bono legal help even if a gaurdian ad litem was involved was at odds with the teen’s desires.
    And yes not all current professionals are evil but many are ignorant and or have been blindsided. And I would positvictims in a weird way as well.
    There is nothing wrong in agreeing to disagree. There is nothing wrong with owning the trauma that was imposed from the system.
    One wants to discuss from the experience not out of the experience.
    “Tell things slant” Emily Dickinson wrote. A step away.
    I have never found your comments deragatiry to me when I read as a former professional. And right on target when I wear the survivor hat.
    MIA has been slanting in a way I am not sure. Topsy turvey and ah so much going on and the waters are troubled everywhere it seems.
    Continue to wade in the waters unapologetically – we all need to remember just wade in sideways!
    And professionals should be okay with anger but it creates riptides then they have a right to have their own anger moment and own how they handle it.

  • I would have liked to see the commentary from the survey shown perhaps without names used.
    My thoughts are several. Maybe the voices of each movement need their own website or stream. We as survivors should not be beholden to anyone even friendly and supportive professionals of all stripes. True empowerment would mean a global based site with voices of those that have been in country.
    However this should not preclude interaction – which various streams with bridges for dialogue and debate.
    There also needs to be voices of professionals who have been in country after years in the system and also one for those in the system who came from the system. I am not sure how the Abolitionists worked out the slave voice Harriet Tubman, Sijourner Truth andmany others who spoke or wrote accounts, versus the priveleged but awoke white make voice and those white males not as priveledged as in President Lincoln , with Lucy Stone and the Seneca Falls Convention white females who realized Woah we have some common ground here.And the whole Disability movement in the late 1950’s into the 1960’s. Initially started as a parents group and then growth not a mirror image of NAMI why?
    Model U.N. programs teach debate somewhat elitist but so essential to these times. We all need to think and research and dialogue facts not just react. This is a hard burden for survivors because not only do we have righteous anger we also are in a recovery ladder sometimes greased by us ir sometimes Inswaer poured in by others who do not want us to be heard.
    All vets are survivors. That does not preclude official office or government work. Why those and not others?
    Fred Freese just died. A big friend of E Fuller Torrey. He was a survivor bought or played into the hands of those who used his life story and fo some reason he let them. Not sure why.
    The trouble with complete destruction is what to do with those in crisis? There will be more and more as the migrant crisis is not solved and even so with things as they are generations of new hopefully better help.
    There is a time for every thing. My question is what time is it now? And how can we all work together and in subgroups?
    One of my relatives was DD. Her parents would say she could do- normal- for so long and then start getting stressed. She had both DD life activities and “Normal.”
    That should be some sort of template.

  • Thanks Kindred for the poem reference. It is worth a read and maybe a mailing to professionals and government officials.
    Marian Wright Elderman if the Children’s Defense Fund has several books one with another poem.
    The first child abuse prosecuted was in NYC two centuries ago and they had to use an Animal Rights Law.
    There are so many threads here. The complete and utter lack of trading in Child Development to all or many professionals who work with children.
    Michael Harrington’s The Other America is also a must read though old.
    Jean Vanier and his L’Arche Communities not close to this but helpful to know about.
    Every child is unique and deserves not only a safe place at home and school but also the opportunity to thrive with environmental and economic equality.
    Read Octavia Butler’s bio. What she could have achieved with equal supports. And yes she was depressed but who eouldn’t be in society as she was asso many of us are or were?
    Sen. John McCain in the other side of politics for me did send the first National Geographic magazine that featured Climate Change to all members of Congress with another official.
    We need to do more of this.

  • Eric, I concur with Oldhead.As much asI would like to say it would help – no. But I really understand your need to write it.
    This did give me some fuel for possible future actions and or areas to research.
    Back in the day while Maryland was in the process of deinstutilization of both MH and DD institutions – and apologies for the MH label – there was a NFP MAUDD that had a Social Worker and JD that took on folks to help them st least get out from the institution. More DD but it is a sort of template.
    I don’t know what other templates and tools and techniques were used during those days.
    It seems as if the need for self critical analysis of psychiatry and the MH system was never try put in place.
    Most organizations and the government have red teams, the RC used to have a Devil’s Advocate, and in medical circles they had Tumor Boards and would convene a critical response team when things went down and or south.
    In Maryland,folks were arbitrarially places in either instituiyoon sometimes with out regard of strengths and or weaknesses.
    If one reads Probate Court papers folks were just forcibly placed after a petition to Court was made.
    Again, I am not sure how and why it was stopped but it seems Mental Health checks called into police have filled that gap as well as the power of professionals without regard to the rights of the folks threatened with psychiatric incarceration. Likewise there is no method or framework to either self advocate or have any other official or no official person advocate for you.
    Part of the problem is the literal well metaphorical wall between impatient and outpatient professionals. This makes the impatient folks so much more lethal in their power. I never understood the lack of communication but maybe fear on the clinicians because they too are one step away from someone calling the state liscencing board and causing financial distress and loss of business.
    In my locale – a former CEO of a Center was foricibly removed from a town hall about the county system because he disagreed with the current administrations handling of the system.
    There are groups other than our friend NAMI but more in the DD or physically disabled communities.
    In the DD communities if one has been petioles to have guardianship over one’s self there at least in the past was a full throttle legal advocacy for the person being considered for a guardianship. Just because one had a very low IQ and the family who were fairly pro self advocacy but were concerned about safety in the system- even in that type of situation a legal hearing was usually held full throttle.
    What is the legal difference between guardianship and AOT?
    Why can’t there be some sort of mutually agreeable compromise and or tool?
    Are there time limits?
    And if not – why not?
    How can one put in the latest research and st least get professionals and others to do a critical anaylisid of all relevant information?
    Why don’t o those involved in this cause accept pro bono status?
    According too the ABA -all lawyers in the association are required to set aside yearly pro
    bono hours.
    What turned the tide in the past?
    Can we make an Allie movement like in the LBGQT movement?
    What about Bryon Stephonson and his work?
    Can some of these actions be considered hate crimes?
    If UN declares torture? How does one use its strength?
    Are there any Law Schools that actually identify this as a cause and if not? Why?
    One does not have to agree with all things antipsychotic to see a human being had the right if nothing else to voice and advocate of their beliefs- hands down
    Guardian ad Litem work? I actually got pro bono stormiest to work on behalf of my teen clients when they disagreed with the guardian ad litem’s plan. It had nothing to do with what I thought was best but EVERYONE deserves to be heard and given appropriate consideration to their views, wants, and desires.
    Mycenter did have a complaint system and some of my clients used it on me. I gave them the names and numbers to call. They were angry and whether I was wrong. or right I felt they needed to be heard.
    I hope some how this rambling helps. Good luck.

  • Shaun As a former professional in tbe system I know the process of seeing and then acting on all this new information is not the easiest. You need to read all the histories of otherness and start thinking beyond
    A stand alone trauma center open 24/7 with alternatives and ohg free services or low cost would be so helpful. The rural and urban areas are shut out except for some 12 step programs and their are entire counties without any.
    The other idea is what is the basis of altered stars? Def from drugs but also in First Nation cultures and others altered states are induced. To this day I am not sure how much drugs and then my spiritual/ artistic/Empath makeup was part and or parcel.
    Trauma and some is severe and what to do after you have seen genocide?
    Getting the dx off would be a great way to make amends and help psych survirs or whatever tripe of human label one uses
    This has been the worst for me.
    Despite my past professional record I still have the dx in the records. And attorney help no tried that in various ways- THEY DONT WANT TO HELP
    Say a certain phrase and you have turned to nothing literally nothing in their eyes.

  • Hi Emily, I read your posting and thanks. I know exactly what your are talking about though for me the vocabulary would be different.
    I think you described the before and after body and mind sense and how one cannot truly forget and move on. And the need for folks and institutions to accept responsibility and atone and amend. It will never be what we want but a ritual a removing of label and truth telling.
    The word trauma fits for me because it is everywhere and eventually affects all of us though many wear masks and or deny.
    And life is not fair. Much more not fair for many. I am always aware if I had not hand luck and upper middle class ( though ah we were the family that read poetry,
    read de Chardin, and listened to Bo Didley and Harry Belefonte, had contact with other cultures so looking back we were probably considered weird in my town)
    If not for that random luck I would have been dead years ago. No doubt in my mind.
    Tillie Olsen wrote a lovely book called Silences and it is old but still worth getting your hands on it.
    Joanne Greenburg’s life and work are worth reading
    Audre Lorde yes, her too.
    So many have been victims on our earth so very very many. I try to learn about that ones who continued.
    Maybe no nouns just adjectives like Susan B Anthony suggested?

  • Emily
    Thanks for the reply. That is vital to building community. Victim yes but one needs to know there are other roles- POWS are not POWS forever they were prisoners , the Japanese Americans in interment camps eventually got out. We the living owe the others a voice and enemy lingers in the victim identity- issues. Maybe a new name ? Once the border crisis is over what role name will we give tbe children? I could go on and on.
    What does give me hope is Emma Lazarus. She was not only a poet but a Social Worker in the tentements of New York City.
    She developed cancer. In those days cancer was not treated in tbe hospital – stigma and all that. Her frien Tose Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter took care of her. After Emma died Rose became a nun and started a freeHospice program for terminally ill cancer patients.
    Society and medicine eventually changed so that cancer was not considered an anethema.
    Steven Biko died but his voice helped dismantle. apartheid.
    The abolitionist and suffergette movements wow centuries ?
    And btw an underground railway or Martha transportation line would be great baring that letter writing. I feel the safest with that.

  • Emily, I have appreciated your words and wish. you the best of luck? Why not Canada with Bonnie? And why go into academia when tenure is still such a ongoing problem?
    I have seen multiple sides of the MH system and find it now totally broken. Apartheid in some ways.
    In the past there were some as I was awoke professionals but we were still blind to slot of the abuses. As in any tyrannical government state there are good people. So often and so tragically it is sheer luck that one bumps into them.
    If you have not been forced hospitalized or pushed into an ER visit which usually ends in being escorted in a wheelchair with security you truly cannot begin to comprehend the experience. Or waking up in a seclusion room with no one telling you how it happened or why and with s nurses aid saying they are putting you into a nursing home.
    But kudus for trying to understand at least admit that some things will be forever beyond your kien. We will not hold that against you as mother mostly do not hold females who choose to not have children against them at least I do. Differences and heterogeneity are important and vital for growth.
    Saul Alinsky was aware of this.
    I looked st the survey and no. Been there done that – even enrolled in a NIMH before I rewoke. Not the best way to make change though ah it is alluring. The psychiatrist at Boring old man website -despite his elitism – was the best at debunking the ghost written research.
    As to your musical metaphor. In my area we have The Gathering Place that caters to anyone touched by cancer. No docs no dx anyone – whether you choose to have treatment or not – free services to all
    Mixing at times of most yoga and other classes and events. You are just you without a label of patient or caretaker or partner – whatever. I think it is a lovely model.
    I wrote up a replication in terms of trauma and sent it to the Board and the orgininatir of that program was on the board. She knew me and at least some of my cancer ties. Nada nada nada.
    This model would have by passed the medication and labeling issues for all. It removed them from the playing field. My guess is too scary. NAMI is so big in my area and I have been hounded.
    Giving free Reiki at a church with a NMA I group they had to come and give me their speil Mentsl Illness is like Diabetes. Nice folk but so ignorant and so very very uninformed. I know folks with Diabetes on a personal and once professional level. Not a good connection. In fact there was once a teen who wanted to stop her insulin the medical staff let her do it. Eventually she changed her mind but when I was in my seclusion rooms I thought of her freedom of choice often
    One complaint and this is for Dteve when a comment is removed the writer should get an explanation. It also would be helpful to track the why if it wafting a trigger and how to handle readings that can induce anger.
    An angry response place that can be put on hold and then renegotiated or voluntarily removed after 24 hours.
    Good luck in life.

  • The comments are an interesting reaction to efforts that should have happened decades ago.
    Does anyone know how the Nuremberg Trials were created and who and how witnesses were used?
    Elie Wiesel struggled with the concept of forgiveness for the rest of his life. Again I would look on how others handled restitution and reclaimization. The history is not that great. Intially, freed slaves were promised a small amount of land and money. But somehow it fell through the cracks. The First Nation folks are still dealing with multiple issues of health and sociology- economic status. South Africa did do a Commission but it will take decades to work it all out. The Japanese American containment – proper word? camps just had a SCOTUS long delayed moment.
    So much of human history and now we are so aware of it but instead of using it as a bell toll do many of us continue to hide our head in the sand.
    So many psych survivors myself included and horrirific experiences and done in isolation ie How do you tell close or extended relatives or say children I was put in seclusion and chemically raped. For no good reason other than I was more knowledgeable than staff and was uppity.
    So I think the psych survivor skinf to the sexual abuse folks have another layer of absolute isolation and for the psych survivor we are labeled and in that labeling our entire power our entire ability to fight back had been completely taken away.
    There are the folks on the unit but as mentioned in Eric’s writing you don’t see the folks outside.
    It’s multi layered and deserves an almost separate Nuremberg type trial or Truth and Reconcilliation Committee.

  • Chris – it has taken awhile to comment because now I find your use of the b word triggering. But that is my issue at this time not yours at this time.
    In the past in my journey, I did try to embrace the whole label role. Actually in NAMI money donation literature they suggest you use your label while asking for donations. In an act of protest I choose to use the s word. Because I knew it had negative connotations in the community and just to show what embracing the label could do in a community.
    My letter donation campaign resulted in police calls to my house. No ever came up to ask me what my story was.
    So I literally shot myself in the proverbial foot by following in pa resistant way NAMI ‘s advice.
    Prior to this my child’s soccer coach had relayed once finding I was a LISW that his brother was a s and had issues also another writer friend needed help with a relative who needed some help who was also labeled s. To their credit they were not dismissive but genuially confused and now that I know so much about the survivor movement I wish I could do a do over spend get them both connected to this site and other groups. I know they would not only listen but learn.
    At one of my CUEs before I quit the profession the presenter basically dissed the entire DSM process and said they gather in a basement and hold up their hands for options. And this was for the DSM III R.
    If you want t embrace the bi concept – whatever works- however you are on the journey and this may or may not be the last stop for you.
    I look to nature and science.
    And it shows many diverse patterns beside the binary system. Artists also talk about the four season cycle- so maybe one can call themselves a quad?
    Prosody in Poetry has all sorts of patterns- one could use as a snapshot or label. Today I am a trochee. Tomorrow or next year I will be an iambic pentameter.
    Fractals! Maybe some of us are fractal people?
    Humans for better or worse have always exhibited a need for classification. The Caste System in India is ancient.
    We also have both expressed and nonexpressedneeds for community.
    One time s relative who had a DD child said, he could be in society but stress symptoms would start and back in another more DDish community the stress symptoms would disappear or be less.
    One needs to live in multiple communities and how do we manage that? How do we talk to one another?
    And add to that Trauma and Yikes everything becomes more confused and harder to find solutions.
    The Irish still talk of The Battle of the Boyne and Oliver Cromwell and it’s is centuries! And Armenians still cope with the trauma of their own genocide over a centryry ago. And African Americans still deal with the memory of The Midfle Passage.
    Some of us carry remnants of the Neanderthals in our biological make up. What happened to an entire once thriving species?
    After a war and most wars eventually end even the 100 years war ended there is always the next morning and people have to live with each other. I try to remember that though so easy to forget.
    What do we say to each other in the morning after a war?
    How has it be done in the past?
    What happens to language?
    What happens to memory?
    What happens to art?
    As angry as I can sometimes get and rightfully so I don’t want to have to deal with an involvement of an atrocity.
    But then again there was a movement against Hitler?
    What happened to its survivors?
    And when one dismantles – how does one rebuild?
    And what about the cornerstone or keystone in a foundation of s building? If it is damaged or rotten what is done?
    More questions than answers here,

  • Thanks Knowledge. I found thee work at times very problematic. Drugs were used with kids in hospitals who were sick enough to need nursing care but to old and rambucious to handle on weekends in the floor units.
    And that was way back.
    The prof organizations need to be woken up somehow.
    BTW
    Dr Julious Richmond Surgeon General began the talk of stopping homosexuality as a sx and issues with smoking. It just takes one strong bearable voice and then the cracks start to open.

  • Julie, I am glad you wrote this and I like the discussion going on. I hear she is a good writer but I have my own particular issue with her separate from most of the discussion. I have read the other books from Kay to Andrew to Ellyn. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. And Their is the ethical debate that has never risen to any type of solution about client stories and this goes for all sorts of books especially like Mary Piper and her “Raising Ophelia” book. That should be an entire blog and more because with bestseller earnings without those human interest narratives where would the book be? Like Plantation owners where would they be without slave labor?
    One of those things that even when a book’s ideas are good and it is well written there is the reader unease but look at Eugene O’Neil and “ Long Days Journey Into Night” he used his family and his mother’s addiction to morphine – so similar to the opioid crisis now only you don’t live addicted you eventually OD and possibly die. So there is the issue of art and human suffering how to protray? And how else to get an urgent message across?
    Tony Kushner’s “ Angels in America “ and the other works of art that the AIDS crisis brought out were essential in turning the tide that and the forgotten AIDS quilt. So there is that fragment side of the discussion as well.
    Trauma studies also complicate the picture and I still see in my local community people identifying with the diabetes analogy only wow you do have a great chance to become diabetic- how ironic is that?’
    And there in my family and others those that choose to use meds and get benefit. You can’t smash them and I despite my history refuse to be rigid about their choice to take – although some day I hope it will be seen like a tobacco issue. Until that time comes and unless there are varied and solid alternatives most folks have to struggle on their own.
    Since I once was a professional I also wanted to say back in the day
    Termination of treatment was the goal. I would say we are a team and my job is to put myself out of business. And there was one program I worked in that was as trauma focused as possible during the time and it was an enforced two year time period where the last six months was all about ending treatment.
    So at times the thinkingbwas there until it became incovient to the powers that be. And I think there was a knowing downplaying of all of that and highlighting the bio aspect and illness metaphor.
    The system already iffy became solidly rigged. There was no treatment as I had treated my own clients it was pure and simple incarceration.

  • Rachel I am not sure what one would call it. And there are still gaps in my understanding because there are walls of silence around that and other things.
    All I know is that I had this friend who was very influenced by Lauren Slater in graduate school. She and others staged this meeting where multiple where aware of what was going to go down. The worst aspect is a a liscenced Social Worker I would never do such a thing to someone and I had already had sought out support. They actually gave my mother a list of shrinks so the message was medication. Not support.
    The really strange layer and their were and still are many is that a relative was trying to withdraw from a med and I was supportive at the very same time.
    Other friends were going through their own family traumas and I didn’t want to burden them and those folks continued to have really really hard times. The best I could do was disengage but life has never been the same.
    My writing hopes were destroyed as were many years of my life.
    Kind of a psychological tar and feathering so to speak. Irish folks did that to women who had the sheer gall to fall in love with a Brit.
    I was just ready to change my life and not just stagnate. So much for that.

  • Thanks for this heads up. Despite the flaws of this approach there were some real insights gathered on trauma and or childhood.
    I think the biopsy history folks saw the cracks and used the fall to suit their own purposes.
    But this is important to everyone here and around the nation,
    We of all folks especially those who were incarcerated while being a parent know this scenario all to well.
    This issues and others no matter what your political thinking gives us some sort of a voice.
    In some reports the children and teens are being forced into chemical treatment. They are being taken to psych units where some think it will be better for them. Unless the centers are aware and woke it will not be better possibly with the chemicals worse.
    The Poor People’s Campaign is also s path,
    One can call or sign a petition.
    This also would be another opportunity to break down folks ignorance about our public fear if a person is safe to disclose.
    If nothing changed it will get worse for ALL of us.

  • Dear Julie,
    Thank you for this piece. I always wondered where Lauren Slater was and I was afraid she was one of those who would continue to drink the cool aid. I also enjoyed reading about your own journey away from drinking the cool aid.
    The journey you have taken and I as well was hard and st times still hard but with as much empathy and some writer’s envy as I have- I am so so glad I did not continue the way she has.
    And I do appreciate your empathy and realization in the past we were hoodwinked. And the painful aspect is it is s Hood one can only remove by one’s self. And sometimes for many and for many reasons the Hood is the only option seen and or given.
    Your writing hits a painful chord. Lauren came to a local college to speak and was a demigod to an old close friend.
    Because of her, (LaureSlater)my old friend and others did their own ignorant intervention when I told folks I was thinking on separating.About five people were involved including my husband albeit they pulled him in. The intervention went down badly for me and I suspect with hindsight them. I have never ever been the same. There was the me before and there is the me now. My mother was called and she was dealing with a disabled husband and a dying daughter and I was contacted. See a psychiatrist. Implied wax you need medication.
    The trauma of that month made me want to take meds because I felt so NOT ME anymore. And down the rabbit hole I fell.
    It took months for my husband to admit what they had done. He was a StageIII cancer survivor and my sisters terminal illness and his post treatment side affects really made him less than what he had been. We have been back and forth. He is more able to see his role and we have some what but not yet totally resolved our relationship.
    My dying sister never thought I was crazy- She knew the details. But they never asked her.
    So I have always felt Lauren Slater had for me and maybe others a weird non involved but influencer type of role in my life.
    She is like NAMI others in needsee her and those as pathways where in reality they are error prone as all humans.
    I am not surprised at how she is doing. And I am for sorry for that. I hope she can see the light some day.

  • Well if one looks into trauma – the ability to comprehend and analyze what a person is currently experiencing sometimes never can be done ie Vets in POW camps and such.Dr Henry Louis Gates program on family history highlights hidden stories of trauma- literally for safety and other reasons not able to be acknowledge.
    Back in the day in grad school threre was acknowledgement but so small. Michael Harrington’s book- “The Other America” is still seminal reading. The problem came to the fore with the downgrading and lack of funding for community centers and many folks WANTING to go into private practice. Both options proved to be toxic to ethical professionals. I totally dropped out.

  • Thanks. I as both a former professional and as a psych survivor can empathize. It was abuse and I would venture a form of torture. There were some places in the past that did try at helping. Fritz Redl’s work When We Deal with Children.
    America is great at wording respect for children but if you look st the history no. The first child welfare case used an animal cruelty law that was in place. That was during the era of the orphan train and lost children from immigrants or dead parents or parents with issues from the whole plethora of societal problems. In retrospect the orphan train seems a better idea- at least if it was abusive you could run away.
    And lost children. We have one in our family history. There is a marker in the cemetery – Our Willie.
    Kudos for keeping on. I did it backwards from you. I still struggle because the help actually was so harrowing it taught me access hate not only for the so called helpers but for myself as well. Some days are better than others.Forgiveness is a long process because to hold on to hate is ultimately destructive for yourself and others – lose/lose situation but hard because there is no formal ritual of restorative anything.
    Essentially a doctor/ pt role was a formal societal contract read Ormand’ work on medical authority
    Legally if a contract is broken or illused there is a pathway for recompense. Any first year law student with brains can riif on the law case about the man with the hairy arm.
    As such now like in Aparthied South Africa there are only walls with some cracks. And they still are mired with issues and will be for many decades.
    What is do hard is when you drop off a pet for boarding and the staff is more empathetic and uses feeling. Words about your pet than ANY inpatient staff at any and all levels.
    And outside profs are unable to get it. Nice folks but you have to be inside just as with pregnancy.
    You don’t and sometimes can’t know what you don’t know.
    I would go for the trauma center idea the system is broken beyond repair. And also more profs need to come out like yourself
    Police, politicians and tell truth to power. But again no safety net yet.
    And a movement to stop mental health checks
    Who ever thought that one up?
    Needs to spend some time in country.
    I still can’t do things because zI live in fear of those calls. One false step a word or a “strange” behavior and I am back to a place where NOBODY CARES as the Broadway show put it so well., The Me that Nobody Knows.
    Best
    Mary

  • I don’t know Oldhead. If you go back decades there was Ken Kersey and other artistic efforts that if not upsetting the applecart at least had a tint or shade of resistence.I have been amazed at how folks on the whole nine yards of the political spectrum have been actively blinded sided to the psychiatric system’s brokeness and abuses.
    Family Therapy was started by professionals in the system who saw there were big problems.
    They flourished for several years in various areas and now seem to have a very small voice and impact.
    So any help from inside the system is few and far between.
    The Roman Catholic Church in the fifties had social action cells that convened in different areas in the States. That would be one way. I don’t know how it worked just that once it did exist.
    I think the young folks might be the key. They just need to be mentored.They at least have a huge stake in the game.
    The hundredth monkey idea- if they could see as in the shootings there is a deep and more complex story as in gender. racism, and sexism- I think they could get behind the movement.

  • Thanks for this Sarah!
    I think you have encapsulated a part of human existence. I think it works for all folks and did help me to put some of my experiences into a more clarifying framework.
    This should be taught to students everywhere so that we can have an informed public.
    It seems we are as a country – a society- and world all in trauma mode. And not with one trauma but many overlapping the personal and public boundaries of family, work, region, culture, religion, gender – and on and on.
    I think trauma maybe the one universality that can pierce through the blinders of eye, heart, ears, and mind that we all either have chosen or have been forced to wear.
    I would think giving this to the movements besides ours would be invaluable.
    Keep up the work.

  • Dear Richard,
    Thanks for sharing your gift and talent.. I was always told to mouth the words when singing in class by the nuns. I did have one friend who allowed me to sing during a trip. It was joyful- so kudos for using your voice in a good cause.
    It reminds me of the old songs – from Joe Hill to Little Boxes – to Biko- to Whose Garden Was This and so many others. There should be a list. We need more songs and creative endeavors- may yours lead the way.
    I enjoy your thinking though I come from a slightly different perspective in terms of my life as it is was and who knows what is next.
    My ongoing concern seeding this from many many sides is the system is broken and has been but how to help everyone deal with life when there are the range of OMG and WTF issues that come up like flotsam in our lives and some issues are most definitely systemic and ah the current political wave we all are forced into riding willing or not.
    I also try hard not to lead forward in anger and resentment though I know my anger was justified by the awful so called treatment I received made worse because though I was in the system I tried very hard to be aware and help. Not sure if this approach ever worked despite my own best intentions. And I also know there are always some good apples in the bin the trohble is having the ability to find them admits so many bad ones. That takes time, money, luck and a modicum at the very least of societal privelege.
    If one does not know who what how to look for help and those answers are quashed then how can one ever triumph? The fact that people have and do is amazing to me.
    I would love to have restorative justice for the stems survivors some day. We may not be able to talk directly to the abusive charlatans who creased, maintained, treated us or others but some sort of legal, societal reckoning would be great.
    I also would imagine some of the professionals in system were somewhat harmed or compromised as well and there issue at the right time needs to be addressed some where along the spectrum.

  • Sandra— I like your comment on families. As I have evolved or de evolved hopefully evolved I think families are lied to and not in th the dark and support is at the very best woefully lacking.
    I think that I had a child visit in one of the hell holes and it was so oppressive I would consider it undersong torture and no “ helping professional” in sight.
    This was the one with the tv in a locked wooden crate and the IT room locked with no OT staff though filled with supplies when I made a fuss and they let us use the supplies one time.
    The system is broken for ALL except those in power who profit.
    They break families – break down good memories and insert trauma moments.
    Just think how it affects the family dog. If animal lovers were aware of how the “help” of inpatient treatment affects and damages the pets just the pets mind you- they would be up in AAarms against the secondary trauma endured by the pets who can’t figure out what has happened to their beloved owner.
    A visit to a doc and then ER time and the pet waits alone.

  • Thanks for all the talking points.
    What can we learn from South Africa,The Female vote, and Abolition of Slavery?
    Many of these movements were multinational and reguired strange bedfellows to get the actually work done. It took decades and several generations before some of the goals were accomplished
    Witness and bearing witness is such an important concept and role.
    The immigration crisis and massaive refugee global issues – all play a role here because of the trauma issue.
    Freedom House in Detroit caters to the needs of refugees who have experienced torture.
    Our community might help here.
    Have you ever met a refugee from a war torn and violent country. I just felt the absence of safety from them. It was clear they had been through a hell I never could fully imagine.
    And in some countries -others- of all kinds are in unsafe zones.
    So how to use history and how to expand a fishing net.
    I don’t have the answers – and my locale in some ways is hard.
    But we need to think on witness-trauma- and change or someday end the system as it is now.

  • Thanks Au for your time, effort, and thoughts. I have issues but you have created a great framework for discussion.
    In your community I am not sure where the issue of trauma lays.
    My one and only concern is how can we- will we deal with trauma and for it to work we need to address it at almost all societal levels
    I am coming from Caps for Sale approach to all of this as a worker and yes through my fault I did the dip in more babysitting than not work- I had no idea of what folks who were there were actually dealing with- then I have my time in MH system and then trying to live out of system but trauma issues are still present

    We need to be able to meet in a safe place and organize. One of the student groups against gun violence laid out shoes in front of the Capitol steps for each child victim of gun violence since Sandy Hook – it was a visual like the Aids Quilt
    And in a fully trauma aware world the shooters and other offenders of all ills would be at least understood to have some sort of trauma template in their lives.
    No excuse but to understand is better than hating and or stigmatizing.
    Keep up the work you all.

  • Dear Cal,
    Thank you for this. I am so very sorry that this has happened and is still happening. I had followed some of it but did not know it was still continuing.
    Thanks for the numbers to call.
    It helps to be able to use your voice and calling for me is doable.
    What else would you like the MIA and psych survivors to do?
    There has been a bad rift between the MH – no better word for now- apology for this- and the DD folks for a long time. The folks on the A spectrum seem to have been thrown in the midst and not in a helpful way at all at all.
    FYI- Some local and state government funding divides and separates funding. My local country does this with DD services getting much more than MH.Divide and Conquer indeed.
    In the old state hospital system where I zI had seen both but more involved with DD state systems – it was crumbling structures similar to Public Housing in one of the so called bad areas- and a pervasive sense of sadness. But nothing like this – though there were cottages I was not allowed to see.
    There was the beginnings of cololesence in the 70’s and with the advent of ADA.
    We all need to work together.

  • Thanks Julie ad Pam’s for your kind words.
    It helps to not be alone with this issue.
    And to have the dx label taken away.
    To have this step put in would be utterly invaluable.
    A was a for Social Worker and I was always aware of the power dynamics. I would say I am the pilot you are the navigator we work together as a team.
    To have mostly male docs treat me like dirt- to have them and most staff treat me worse and in ways I would never treat another human being in a professional capacity I still find shocking and the wounds to my self image, esteem,trust, hope are still open and the scars still not formed enough.
    To still be confused to the why and how come and what the hell did I do wrong questions is maddening no pun intended.
    The layers of trauma that put me in harms way and the trauma that was called treatment and then the lack of clarity is every day hard.
    And Julie to put salt on my wounds- I told folks I worked with that the only perfect human is a dead human. If I did something I would admit,take responsibility, and make some sort of amends.
    If I were to call CPS I would have the kid sit in and hear every word and then I would give them the scenario facts good and bad.
    This what should happen and this is what might happen. No guarantees because the system even way back was broken
    I would advise tell Again and again til someone hears you.
    Now I know in some cases no onehears you because iPod facto because of where you are in society you are basically s non human.
    All the professionals who are in support need to think long and hard on what to do.
    We have our voices but need a way to become hear able.
    Novels like Bonnie and art in all its form helps.
    There needs to be a way to remove dx labels and a forum for professionals to apologize – take responsibility and make some sort of amends.
    That this process is not legitimized in any areas of our society today shows how off course we are.

  • It was neat to see the support given to folks. Happy Birthdays to Bonnie and Julie and a very unbirthday wish to the rest.
    Sometimes I wonder if I was given ect superticiusly. My experience was so bizzare and I did get a hip fracture and do you trust the memories of those times? How much fog was real or not?
    I have interacted and failed so I go day by day.
    I am unable to find away to integrate my self before in system my self in system and my self outside system though every time a police car passed me by I inwardly and outwardly cringe because I was hauled off.
    I can ride or walk and give an historical trigger trauma life recount.
    Leaving is an option but where and when and what would constitute a safe place for me?
    The sum of my being is deer in the headlights frozen
    The risk of being hauled away with face mask and five point restraints and forcibly medicated is to strong to overcome.
    If there were pathways of acknowledgement of apology or amends it would help but no.
    Silence from written correspondence and the records I have obtained – many Un obtained are not helpful and just the fact second parties are used to copy them means another human being has seen my history without my permission.
    I don’t comment much anymore.
    Best to all.

  • Of course responsibility is very important. There used to be a professional therapist who worked exclusively with adolescents who had murdered a parent. She never advocated for them to be absolved if the murder but worked within the criminal justice system. If and when able and allowed she would take them to the parent’s grave site.
    She understood the seeds of trauma but also comprehended hate and severe aggression is intolerable in a functioning society.
    And we all have to acknowledge there is a very wide spectrum on how humans have distinct temperaments and how each of us copes with trauma.
    I just get upset with the nomenclature used to avoid responsibility of the powers that be who avoid responsibility with the use of the phrase “mentally ill”.

  • The latest news report I read and it is hard to even consider delving in-reports TRAUMA!
    He is an ORPHAN!
    The system failed him and all the ties that bind- the big Pharma playbook, the NRA change from times where assault rifles were not used or even thought about, the weapon industry – those who make money off of assault weapons, the Mental Health system which soon after deinstutionslization began to flounder because monies from the Federal government weren’t forthcoming and a divide and conquer mentality ran slipshod and wild fire over the disability movement especially seen between the DD and MH funding and publicity.
    Professionals in the helping fields became cogs in a more and more restrictive and push the pills work culture. Important information on Trauma was pushed and or erased so that the pills could or bogus therapies designed for submission could be used and touted.
    He in the eyes of the world was one of the EXPANDABLES.
    And he figured that one out.
    Until we all rise up
    Victims will be melded into Perps
    More people and children will die and ever so many people like in Thomas Grays “ Elegy in a Churchyard” will live lives at best of quiet desperation and those that had gifts unseen and unheard will never make their mark and help change the world.

  • Thanks Kat and I am sorry for you and all of us harmed by so called “helpers”.
    Although trauma has been known as an issue it has gotten trampled on time and time again. To acknowledge the extent of how trauma has impacted our society and most importantly how offenders in all professions have used heir radar sense to make malignant use of trauma to empower themselves and their minion is difficult. This is not just a psych issue- this is societal at many, many levels.
    Read the tactics used by rich offenders to stop the victims in their tracks.
    Not only Big Pharma but other for profit organizations – their tactics and toxicity. How can they ever sleep at night?
    Roxanne guy has a new memoir that is spot on describing trauma. Read it in pieces that fit. I found it helpful. Krista tipped On Being podcast deals with trauma at times and other areas that I have found helpful .Suppossedly there is a Holocaust Trauma Clinic? If so it should be a generalized one for psych trauma survivors paid for by Big Pharma instead of Advertising and PR the profit stream goes to these centers. And 20% of all psychiatrist’s income who have been named as a non- helpful traumatizing physicians – go to funding for a ten year period.
    Not great but I would take it.

  • Pia, This is in some ways a large can of worms but I think the time has come to talk and begin discussions. I have knowledge coming from multiple side of the issue from both a personal and professional stand point.
    US Primate Centers – PETA heavily protested these centers and found issues. At the same time, these centers worked on cutting edge AIDS research during the awful epidemic. Some primate centers have now been closed.
    Most medical researchers have used animals because they thought it was better than say the use of research on unknowing or uninformed human subjects. Look up Tuskegee Institute history of horror.
    The Nazis used concentration camp children for medical research look up the accounts of the survivors of the twin research.
    Read “Refuge” by Terry Tempest Williams and her account of the effects of nuclear testing on her extended family members.
    Check out the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil” a film version of a true account on how a father helped find a solution to his son’s genetic disease.
    The urge to find help, to find a cure, to find the proverbial bullet runs deep for family members.
    The urge to find better ways of fighting protecting the country runs deep in governments.
    The urge to find more profit, more money runs deeps in for profit and even nonfood profit systems and research is then used upside down.
    The focus is on how to keep people addicted and profit flow not only flowing but more and more.
    With chemicals used by agriculture the research is on how to increase profits no matter what the chemicals are doing to the biomes and ecosystems.
    Read Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”
    Even a so called simple product like infant formula can create issues because it is given to developing countries therefore allowing innocent infants a portal for cholera and other diseases where water is not abled to be boiled.
    At one time medical researchers were transplanting heads of animals on to dogs. True. Names withheld.
    I also am aware of medical researchers who are good decent folks and are aware of the need of families and patients who are facing life long medical problems and pain. They can be forced into silence when they become aware of ethical issues. NDL’s and gag orders and threat of professional obliteration. See some of the Hollywood movies that centered on doctors caught in research nightmares.
    For decades state institutions and schools for the disabled were the perfect place for research. Silence and lack of power perfect place to work.
    Abuse and those who participate in it are bullies and act like typical offenders.
    Whenever their is lack of truth, the push for profit over ethics, bullying of whistleblowers or potential whistleblowers, whenever there is the smell of stink coming from CEO’s CFO’s lavish lifestyles and perks given to professionals to keep them quiet or aid and abet the goal of the corporation, institute, or system ` unethical thinking, and justifying is looming and looms large.
    In the eighties the hospital I worked for pushed research on all departments. It was voluntary but not voluntary. We did research projects that we had no heart or interest in and the results were compromised but put in because of the pressure.
    Small beans, but that aura of culture kept growing and growing.
    Check out how rabbits were killed for pregnancy tests. Check out research done by cosmetic industries.
    Some folks would say PETA over steps but I think they need to be listened to and respected for their viewpoint just as families members and patients need for help need to be listened to and respected.
    Ethics needs not to be sidelined as a pain but as a full partner at the table of medical research.
    Think tanks funded by neutral funding resources with all concerned folks dialoguing.
    Doctors need to hear parents, researchers need to hear and see patients face to face, funders need to talk to all involved.
    Profit should be taken off of the table of consideration.
    Good things have happened with medicine and to her sciences but just because good things have happened or are happening in no one removes the ethical onus for all involved to use ethics as a guiding light so that shadows can disappear or kept to a bare minimum until animals are never used.
    The use of cadavers, dead embryos, all need a long and deep conversation.
    We not fear dialogue and strong feelings and tiring thinking. We just need to do it and move on to a better way of acting and creating helpful information.
    As you can tell, the arts also need to be pulled in. There are great television episodes, novels, movies, plays, folktales that can provide perspective and guidance.
    An Ethics Profession using all of this could help.
    There are some and those who work or work in hospitals know about Tumor Boards and meetings trying to figure out what happened to a medical nightmares. The Ethical Review Boards that really are more show than anything else because they are considered dangerous and or superfluous.
    We are all humans, imperfect beings at best.
    We all need to listen to our better angels in every way. There will aways be issues, the having to take the better choice versus the best choice.
    But as long as that choice was well considered and worried on that is okay.The concept of trying is the true golden rule. We cannot ask anymore. Good and true caring ethical human effort.

  • I thought animal research was now banned. Is PETA still active and if they knew of your studies they would be outraged.
    Abuse is abuse whether with human and or animal subjects exposed to possible toxic chemicals.
    I would suggest you read about the LSD and other experiments foisted on willing and or unaware subjects. Also read Richard Adams “Plague Dogs.”
    Once I and others felt clinical trials were at the cutting edge of the best medical thinking of the time. I have learned with rue and regret the powers that be co-opted much of medical research for the advancement of fame, wealth , and glory.
    There is a wide spectrum on what is and is not acceptable in research.
    There needs to be a firm ethical foundation and do no harm part and parcel of the process.
    Dialogue and openness and knowledge of history needs to be involved.
    Edward Jenner’s inoculation of himself and family members- worthwhile or not?
    Samelweiss and his concern about hand washing .
    Lister and his concern about clothing of medical folks.
    Madame Curie and her husband and their deaths.
    Terry Tempest Williams and her accounts of families during the era of atomic testing and their resultant medical problems.
    Is this the best we can do?
    There has to be a better way.

  • Maybe a dictionary of terms? It could be self published and it would create interest. I would suggest contacting all and every movement whether it is in total agreement or not and create a safe space to work together discuss, dialogue, and disagree. I am thinking of the King James Bible framework here. It became a literary work of art. There were several main translators and all had their own issues but it worked more than well.

  • Steve, thanks for leaving too! There have been lots but its one of those not talked about things. I have run into folks I knew in the profession and many have walked away if they are able too or some are just putting in time and I mean time in a prison like sense. It’s bad as you know.
    Oldhead private practice can work only if you take on private pay folks. Most folks can’t pay privately and use insurance. Back in the day, it was difficult to get on the insurance boards. Second time around for me I just gave up. Most folks attach themselves to a doc and he/she leads the practice. DX is still needed for insurance to pay.
    Private pay means you need a set skill and you need exposure to the rich. I found you had to go into branding and marketing and that turned my stomach. The other issue in private practice is the need for more and more patients. That is why other family members are immediately seen as cash cows. I would talk about my family and would almost see the therapist salivating because I had several kids.
    It makes good people into money hungry cogs in the system.
    Then there is ethical concerns about where you practice. Do you practice in a community where you live or not?
    I was once offered a great job well paid, neat hours, working with kids but it was in the community where I lived. The kids I would be seeing would be aware of who my own kids where and could possible come to the house. This would create issues if there was any abuse going on and and confidentiality issues. I would never ever say anything but I was afraid the kids would worry and no not the best thing for them. So I missed out. However, stuff did happen and in light of those events it was probably a good decision on my part not to accept.Some professionals don’t mind this but until we all can be open about trauma and getting, giving , and receiving support I still ind it to be dicey.
    Now that I have been in the system I have never been sure if the system grapevine was in effect. When I worked in agencies – it was there and I was aware of the whispered stories and tales – yuck!- so possibly my second foray into private practice might have been hampered – who knows?
    If one had access to wealthy folks one could be a “helper” with those family members in need. But it would be fraught because my guess would be there would be trauma and secrets and skeletons in the closets.

  • Thanks Sarah, this is brilliant! Yes. When a person calls 911 they are never judged in any way shape or form. They could be in crisis themselves yet their word is taken at complete face value.
    I have been a victim of this twice. One was a neighbor who smiled gleefully as she said ” I know what I will do I will call the police.” she overheard a comment I made while she was standing – actually trespassing on my property have having an adolescent blow at me and stated some pretty devastating things. The adolescent took off and the pole came to my house. It was awful, humiliating, and shaming. Luckily, the police where rational but it was close to losing my freedom. The woman was in crisis and she got away Scott free. She had a son in Iraq, had lost a nephew, was raising a niece, and don’t doing to well financially in a well income development. She was a tenant among no tenants.
    She never spoke to me after I brought cookies to welcome here. She had no idea of my life, my education, she knew nothing about me. She had no idea of the medical crisis of my husband, my parents, my children. She had no idea I was a LISW. But she was listened to and obeyed- not me.
    The phone calls to police really bear scrutiny. I don’t think the police like it very much either. It puts them between a rock and a hard place and they are sworn to uphold the law whether the law is incorrect and biased or not.
    There has to be a better way to deal with all of this. I credit the cell phones as part and parcel of an ongoing problem that just keeps on getting worse not better. It’s the propaganda, its Big Pharma, its life after9/11. It’s folks not being able to use common sense. It’s lack of the ability to handle etiquette questions in the neighborhood. Lack of good healthy manners and healthy boundaries.It’s the elevation of psychiatry to religion and holy status.
    Think back thirty years ago. Except for the prevalent racism and in a smaller way -that so many of us missed and were not aware of – this did not happen.
    My mother roomed with a woman who had a daughter with issues of non reality – let’s say. The daughter was in and out of the hospital system – poor one – but my mom was not afraid and she never ever told stories about the police coming and dragging her away. If it had happened she would have told me. Really.
    The militarization/criminalization of mental health and the uptake of “-othering”
    So how and why did this start? And how can we stop it? I wonder about Reagan assassination attempt and others, the Vietnam War protests, and if someone decided to use mental health folks as ducks.
    Thanks again. Keep up the work.

  • Your welcome. Thanks for thinking too! I also have thought about pregnancy as a metaphor for trauma coming from the underrated, often disqualified female point of view.
    Once it happens, it. can never, ever be forgotten now matter what happens. It can be both a curse and a blessing. It can be an awful , awful result of rape, it. can be something very beautiful. Usually it is so to speak a wide and large mixed type of blessing. Like the song “Sunrise,Sunset” an aching awe.
    Not a perfect fit. I guess I was thinking about can curse be a blessing? Ever? I still think you need more than oneself and a concrete metaphor ritual to turn it into something good. Fairytales and folk tales, and liturgy might have hidden or open answers. Community and refuge are in important. I think of “Into the Woods” songs and story and the one titled “No More.”
    Dante’s journey into the woods. Our journey into the ugly briar patch or do harm medicine or do harm by ignorance, sanctimony,patraicharchy, racism, agism, sexism. We weren’t really given a choice to where we journeyed. This is key. Friends, docs, family, those we went to for support led us there through good intentions or not. Remembering the path to hell is paved with good intentions. And can we ever truly get out of this country not of our own choosing?. I think the wind pulls, and invisible hands still have power to send us nightmares and ghosts. It takes a lot to totally pull away and some are endowed with magic shields others through no fault of their own not as gifted. No More.

  • Thanks for putting this up quickly. So what are we going to do?
    I have made efforts to have a nfp trauma place that would offer free alternative therapies similar to one that my local as for cancer patients and their family and friends. It went up to the county board and met with deaf ears.
    I think we all need a place of sanctuary and even then sometimes the hurt is just too hard. But at least if we did have a no questions asked place open 24/7 that ANYONE and I mean ANYONE could do to for meditation, yoga, art, music, horticulture, writing, theater, film. And this would be run by a wide mix of folks WIDE and would highlight things and rooms that envelope folks in the best of their cultural and racial and religious heritage. A blanket so to speak. The room would have icons and ICONS. Anyone is like police officers coming off a night shift, journalists blown away by what they have discovered, mothers knowing that if they don’t get away bad things will happen, workers who have been laid off, teachers having a bad day, politicians losing the election. Actors who did make the cut. Survivors of all sorts who walking unknowingly into triggers.Students. Athletes , Yes doctors and nurses.. Priests, minister, and rabbis, nuns. Volunteer who have just saw too much. Accident survivor, medical mistakes survivors.
    Everyone staffing would be open that we all are walking each other home. All of us.
    This has been done in some places. And I honor them but there are vast areas where all folks have is this website and some others.
    And one cannot not do this alone especially now and if life continues as it is.
    What would Matt want with all of our concerns? How would he best be remembered and honored?
    Is going to the conference- and meeting something that would honor him even if we have issues with some things ?
    Can we get past the curse which was not of our own choosing and lends and lended itself to anger, and hostility, and rage of self and of others and let go and work and agree to disagree? Can we find two core principals and work with that?

    Can we be open about discussing the choice to end life? The most eloquent account of surgical thinking I heard was a tape of a alanon lead by a father a physician who fought nightly with the urge just to end it all. Andy maybe by actual talking and truth telling if not a trauma center, then rooms where folks could go SAFE that is essential. SO essential.
    I lost two grade school classmates to suicide. One classmates lost her brother, in my neighborhood there was a suicide circle after my family left the local. Who knows why?
    I lost a neat acquaintance through her inadvertent death by a relatives suicide. I have had friends, co workers who as parents have lost children. Another classmate lost her father. Relatives have chosen to go home alone but it has been hidden in the family closet.
    And that comes from a fairly privileged background. I do not know how the truly othered folks in our country have kept on going. Some haven’t.
    IT IS A SECRET NOT MANY WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE. And all secrets at least very many are ultimately unhealthy.
    The development of a ritua,or ritualsl to wash of the bad traumas!!!!!!!!
    Again I will keep Matt in my memory.
    Let’s Do Something. At least new steps in some way shape or form.

  • Thanks Michael,
    I went into the field as a dissident social worker and still became entrapped and suffered the curse or maybe irrevocable harm. I also am so sorry about Matt. It is a thin wire we all walk on a times. I will add hi to my memory bank of those who choose to leave. There are many in my life. And that I think is worth a whole blog – the secrets that people carry about don’t tell the hows of a death. The church and its concern about being able to be buried in sacred ground. The trauma of unknown entity, the trauma of family members caught in a web they can never totally talk about in society.I have known folks and have known family members And there is the gossip – the neighborhood stories – this where the women killed herself in the garage. No name only that story with what – the intelligent question is what had or was happening to her?. It’s pain all over. I know even harder stories but that is for a someday writing.
    Your words meet what I have been grappling with – the before and after person. For some it happens during childhood, others adolescence, and for a few of us in mid -age when everything was going okay until non locus of control events created a landslide, an avalanche, or avalanches as Mexico has shown us – lightening can and does strike twice.
    I was never a label person but did fall into using it because eventually there was no other way to work in a system. It was a shortcut that never should be able to be shown in the light of day. I still struggle with my use but wonder how to get an idea across to someone else without spending a long time and with keeping stories private. Another issue that needs a blog.
    For me, there were several layers to the curse working. And maybe you or others could address that. The spell or curse has to have a ritual, it has to have effective energy and the submission of belief from the accursed. I am thinking stereotypical Vodoo here with the representation of a figure and several pins not just one being stuck in its shape.
    Many times, I would rise up and continue on. I had a background and history but the hard things kept on coming fast and furious so I could shake the curse off with time and effort and energy that could have been better spent elsewhere. And the false starts, and going in not the best direction also created fertile ground and space for the curse to work. I am talking NAMI here at least my local version – I am talking trying to search for the “right”doctor/’right’ therapist/”right” method.
    I am talking of wearing the curse as a badge of honor – Thank you Glenn Close.
    The psych docs NEVER EVER listened to the extent of trauma I had or was having in my life. I was other and I could see the fear in their eyes – literally. I was typhoid mary to them. And I think there was anger – many were male, many from foreign countries with a patriarchal system eons in the making. How dare I question and give them troubles? And they cursed me and finally it worked.
    After having a Lithium toxicity reaction and put in seclusion because it was never properly diagnosed until I found the correct dx in the charts several years after.
    In the more very prison like secure unit I was told by an aide that they were going to put me in a Nursing Home.
    That was their curse by proxy. It worked very well. I still at times
    carry it.
    My family members have no idea, no ability to conceptualize the horror of that experience. Friends and family continue to think I will rise again and go on and be the self I was prior to my time in country. They don’t understand that they and I lost the me who was.
    It doesn’t mean that I can’t continue on in life or do things, or learn things. It just that I do not have the self concept factor I had before the system ate me up. Things got worse after that so the pink slipping which was a visual and experiential cursing made the recovery that I had obtained in trying to lift the curse – it was basically obliterated. And now once in a while small things – unexpected encounters- can make things so much more difficult and other landslide happens. The curse is redone and revealed again.
    One really needs closure. I in fact have used empathy rage to curse back the invisible perpetrators. But wanting those others to feel my pain and angst is only reharming me with echoes.
    I would love for their to be a ritual to take away the power of the curse. Even if someone took the place of the various professionals who harmed me. And I could make a grounded truth story to them. It would be helpful.
    The other issue is the recovery issue. If you talk about cursing how can you recover? If some folks like many here on this site have been repeatedly cursed how to overcome?
    Not all of us will have the opp for truth and reconciliation most not.
    Can we have a OZ moment where the three friends are given awards not for what they had but what they struggled with? So the Cowardly Lion is given a badge of Courage despite his fear issues.
    There has to be a solution. You don’t want a curse to stop expectations just the acknowledgement that pieces of who you were have been lost and scattered. It’s a different you and that takes time for all to mourn , to grieve, then adjust and make any need accommodations.
    Maybe the ability to tell the hard truth to family and friends so that they understand completely how and why the pieces were lost and scattered. Even professionals need to hear this . How?
    And trauma so much in the world, so little ability for humanity to cope well with it and in these times my cursed life mirrors the world at times. Grace and grit and maybe a miracle or two would help. thanks again. mary

  • Hi Help, You found this site – that in and of itself is a very good thing. I know hope sometimes its a word that hurts more than helps at times. Just hold on and walk a step by step breath by breath life and read. IT would be so nice to have mini and or large trauma sanctuaries open 24/7 to go to when hope is lost is the junkyard of life. They have a small version for cancer folks in my area. Not open all the time but enough with free alternative therapies and support groups. Everyone deserves this type of support ACROSS THE BOARD. And we all need group support to help deal with our memories of the trauma that we lived through in the psych units. Reparation monies from the Psych docs and guilds and Big Pharma folks.
    How did the Japanese-AMericans fight for their reparation? Learning and gaining knowledge helps with the despair!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pick something and learn, then pick something else, and learn some more. Walk, hug trees – do different things, try different libraries, thrift, volunteer to walk a dog at a dog shelter, buy a goldfish, write a letter to someone. PEN PALS. ANYONE?
    AND TRY TO KEEP CONNECTING. THEY MADE US ASHAMED. Try to believe even when you don’t feel like it that we are worthwhile and valuable. Call your Senators and Congress members. Sometimes they will talk to you!!! Thats one interaction with another adult who doesn’t know your history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Understand the anger. I have relatives on meds. I give them my views.It’s a hard call even when I was aware at some point I fell into line with horrific results for me.
    Just so you know. Sometimes the options are very, very poor. A old old friend was a social worker way back before the 1950’s. She had a lovely family with a very very brain damaged CP small child that could only literally cry. There was no capacity for human emotion – my guess is that the brain must have been malformed or something awful happened. As a social worker she and she was very aware of the maltreatment in institutions tried to help the family get the child in the institution for relief . the child screamed and slept, screamed and slept in a non cyclic way. the family had go to court their petition was denied because the state would only take children five and beyond. there were no meds then just placement in an attic. Not good.
    Until all of you can use the brains that I know you have to open your minds that sometimes despite. the bad bad issues sometimes people have the right to use medications as the only option left. If yo
    Be kind, have mercy. If you haven’t worked with DD folks with severe impairments don’t comment. it shows. You are getting angry at the choir. Here . And yes. I am anonymous and yes I have been on the other side. But don’t do what Big Pharma does and paint everything on just two sides. The snarky stuff does not become you. Keep your minds open when triggered and in anger. And I have empathy rage – sometimes I want folks to feel what I have felt in solitary confinement.- Walk away and write on a different day. WE need all of your voices just not the voice coming from the trauma and suffering we all had. I think of Mandela. Years of prison. We all can do this. And I will tell you I fail all the time and my curses are truly vile.. If I was a Big Pharma person I would be shuddering!! Yikes!

  • If we are talking children here, America has a terrible track record with the support of children. Politicians and others talk a good story but that is what it only is a tall tale. Child care, education, support for parents, support for disabilities, good education for those who do want to help as in Social Workers and I would say even the medical students is laking in historical content and context,and in critical thinking. The isms are pushed aside and swept under the rug. What is honored and put on the alter is profit, greed, and getting the best deal at the lowest price. And yes country clubs and cars, and high end fashion and jewelry. Those things are considered ultimately as more important than families and children in our country. Vets who were knowingly exposed to hard things have to fight to get proper treatment and if you come from a lowballed, low exposure culture or group watch out- the system will and can eat you up.
    There are good folks scattered among all the layers. The trick is to find them and somehow connect a thread to one another with not only exposure but some sort of active force that will in the end blow down the tower of blocks that these adult toddlers have built. One can always hope.
    Thanks for all your voices.

  • Truth I agree but as one who has seen and experienced multiple perspectives- even I would have to admit there can be rare circumstances that usage is the only option left. That is why there needs to be trauma sensitive treatment, money for standard and alternative treatments, well paid and cutting edge informed staff from janitors up the line.
    There is such a thing as disability fatigue. My family has been very very aware and our ability to handle difference and otherness fairly high though definitely not perfect. Our family has had a multiple perspective on disability through personal experience. One family elder came back from a family event and said there were just too many disabled folks to have a relaxing time. And this was said with love. If we are going to a near if not complete medication philosophy then we must acknowledge and accept families and staff will need supports just as much as those in need or crisis. Lopsided approaches and views are ignorant and doomed to failure.
    Trauma informedmeans thewhole 9 yards,the whole cobbdle from
    prevention to everything else.
    It also means we must all accept we fit into the other category now and then or lifelong. Sometimes both- sometimes on a variety of different levels. Use of chemicals should only be used as a desperation measure. If services were really well funded, proactive, and all encompassing I would hope greatly that the option would be used if at all very very infrequently.

  • Too long in coming but I will take it. Thanks. There has been a long history that is mostly covered up behind this research. Back in the days of institutions, there were attempts to separate folks based on cognitive function but this was after WW1 and the indriduction of IQ testing in soldiers. Many inmates were commuted due to all sorts of issues and many times those with nonsimilar issues were committed. I still remember a an “inmate”of a state institution for the Developmentally Disabled trying desperately to use the very weak process available to him to get out based on the fact he was not developmentally diabled.
    In some states services are tied together in other states not. Therefore many times the monies go in unequal portions to Developementally Disabled systems rather than “mental health”
    This creates a wedge among family members – jawbreaking at times to me. On the radio I heard a sister of a developmentally challenged woman state – “but she’s not crazy”
    In another instance if a life long MH labeled man say-“but he’s not retarded”
    Many folks after deinstulization started taking place went directly to nursing homes – even children.
    I can easily see how medication was used to make it easier on staff with bare bones staffing and almost no training.
    Many group homes are run by immigrants and they bring their own trauma issues with them which adds another layer to the mess.
    Monies are barrel scraping for many programs- like many areas of social services in our country today and that makes the use of medication the go to response BD with the historical amnesia and lack off i depth education and training many programs are being run by administration and staff who are completely ignorant about best practices.
    The other issue not addressed here but should be is the high rate of abuse. Developmentally disabled folks are prime targets and putting them on these types of medications only aids offenders. In a state wide training on offenders they interviewed a hospital staff member who worked with
    compromised patients and abused them knowing they had no ability to tell on him.
    Another issue is how to handle problematic behaviors. Medication should be at the very end of the line. The idea of “least restrictive environment”isessential. Every
    every program that works with folks in need needs to have a team approach and medical ethicist on board.
    Expensive yesbutwho everpriseddoing the right thing would be easy or inexpensive?

  • Thanks Eric and to your mother. The concept of other has been so problematic in our human history. I always wonder what the story is on the Neanderthals. They intermarried, 3% of our genes come from them but how did they disappear?
    Lepers in the Bible, the mark of Cain- such a long, long history.
    The concept of “” the wandering Jew”
    It boggles the mind. In our present history, even Winston Churchill had his leanings and ideas. The funny thing is- those who mightly support fear of the other usually have stuff hiding in their own closet.
    And btw- never feel ashamed or try not to feel negative about any of your writing where you were in process of any different state of mind. Sometimes writing is the only helpful thing. But I understand. Thanks again for this.

  • Amity and Darby thanks for bringing Kate’s death. The article was great. There are a lot of connecting threads to her story in my life story.
    One is her experience in the old style institution. Yes. I was in several as a vistor and intern.
    And she was more spot on then she knew.
    One summer I worked in a small basement room in my county’s probate court microfilming old commitment papers. It was clear the scam was on for many folks by family members. And there was always the death certificate months later for many.
    Someone needs to research these records.
    And the saddest part for Kate and for myself was we were forced to going to a place we already knew was hell. RIP Kate old gal.

  • No. The premise is finehope/hopelessness but no. No mention of trauma and s second person account versus the actual article. Please stop publishing these pieces. I find them a waste of time and energy.The are masked as helpful when really they are the same old same old,
    The once now and then interesting depth filled articles are almost not worth reading.
    Central American,South American, DACA, and the Hispanic view of past and present common treatment oractice would be much more interesting and helpful.The livesif so many activists have Ben lost. Presents to all of them. Speak your true voice.

  • Eric to clarify my writing.
    My fault- Torrey was on the scene in the early 1980’s trying to promote that a winter reoccurring virus caused the s word. If you were born in certain months he tried to prove their was a greater risk due to this virus idea. He didn’t strike me as strident and rigid but that was before I was in country.
    There is information on the badge system used in the cc camps. The guards used it for easy identification of what prisoner class an inmate was. Sounds horrorific and would overlaying even more future affects in a survivors family.
    I never knew about the labeling system until now Look under shaming badges.
    In my area a lot of NAMI folks have been Jewish and I wonder about the dynamics of that. Don’t want to comment further because it is not my story.
    The badge usage ties into color coding. My last stay in country I was forced to wear bright orange patient wear for two days after admission.
    Shaming badges- shaming clothing / essentially the same thing except patients are supposed to be there for help.
    The whole industrial/prison system especially in some areas / read here Arizonia is rife with this thinking process. Again not my story but we need to hear and maybe help.
    To think a WWII refugee was able to be the first American medical doctor to identify child abuse is informative. His cohort Fritz Reidel was among those who conceived the concept of therapeutic mielu.
    Anna Freud worked with refugee children in England. She and her father were very late refugees from Germany.
    Bruno Bettelheim was also another refugee who worked with children and later committed suicide. No one wants to acknowledge that can of worms.
    You may not agree with all that they did but they came from war and it informed their life.
    Children and adult children of War vets are beginning to realize secondary trauma in their own lives.
    I am thinking each of us as the ability to handle stress present and past and sometimes the stress becomes so overwhelming you go into altered states. And each person is unique and their circumstances are unique . This is not being acknowledge in the system.
    Thanks again!

  • Thanks so much Eric.This is the work that I think is so important.
    Torrey, at first was into a virus cause and did work on birth dates and Ireland. That has been around for a long long time maybe 1950’s but the historical story and other abuse stories point much more to trauma and secondary and tertiary trauma.
    Check out the badge and color coding schemes used in the camps in Germany and other places such as surprise! Institutions of all kinds.
    Some of the refugees from Germany developed into interesting voices for children. C. Henry Kempe and Fritz Reidel among others. Not perfect but aware in some areas.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Thanks Sera! I just commented on this on another social media site.
    I would direct folks to put on their presidential historian hats in and do research. Have issues does not preclude you to being a great president. Massive amount of words have been written about Lincoln and please check out his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. Hers is a hard story.
    Behavior, behavior, behavior should be the way to remove a president from office. Choice is involved.
    We all need to speak up. I don’t know how to get away from the stinkin thinking you so elequently described since it involved those in MH Mt Olympus.
    I am repulsed by all of our leaders aspects but at the same time I can also appreciate how some folks voted out of desperation.
    What have we come to? I can only hope that something good will find its way like a weed and push trough concrete cracks.
    My guess is that he and others despite money despite background had trauma – it was covered up and hidden and they choose to continue to wallow in it rather then stop and at least try to turn around.
    As the song goes…. “You have to be carefully taught…”

  • Thanks Richard! Yes. In many cases an opioid is one of many meds prescribed. Spinal surgery folks can be given pain meds- benzodiazepines, ant- depressants. In some ways it is good to have pain control but there is a plethora of ignorance on the part of medical folks on how to do good withdrawal. There is also the lack of coordinated teams that could introduce alternative methods of pain management. PT and OT folks and the alternative therapies all have ways which taken together could help end some of this problem.
    If support from insurance and medical administration folks would come in team work and review for each patient that would be great. Money continues to be the only bottom line these days.
    To have a doc – no matter who or how good function well with time limits, paperwork issues, and lack of inter and intros professional interaction is the work of the corporate devil.
    No one can do well with complex human medical and emotional issues totally ensconced in an insurance and hospital administration cell.
    We see what has happened.
    My fear is what will happen.
    I believe those of us who have seen the machinations of the “Mental Health” side of things are the true and vivid canaries in the coal mine. And look what happened to them when disaster struck.
    I worry in my worst moments that we have all become canaries and the coal miners are aware but the Company folks are willfully oblivious.

  • Also many docs throw in SSRI for pain management for long term sometimes lifetime pain issues. But sometimes they throw them in just throw them in without really thinking.
    This whole issue needs much much more discussion and research. For those unfamiliar with pain management in the last century there were issues especially with folks who had sickle cell anemia it became a war between staff and patient about the realty of pain.
    This was also before alternative methods were considered real options.
    So there is a history and view that’s needs to be acknowledged.
    Again so much more with everyone involved needs to be done.

  • Richard yes that explanation of the difference between addiction and dependence from proscribed medication is excellent. I saw that happening before my very eyes with a relative who luckily was more aware than the pain management doc. I also talked to an addiction specialist who was seeing the same issue. Interestingly he said he heard about Robert ‘s work on the radio and literally had to stop driving to listen.
    As a tip for those who know or are folks dealing with pain issues- meds can come in strips one can cut them and titrate them down as needed. Some docs are unaware of this option to handle pain -one can walk away from the meds. My relative used all sorts of alternative methods and walked away.

  • I have been silent on this site. I have looked at the various contributions and they have all had interesting thoughts .
    There still seems and this commentary proves it again- a divide between users and non user professionals. Whether they have lived experience is never mentioned and that creates more of a divide on this site. Is it fear based or did they just get lucky or does status play its hand even with a female based cohort?
    Glad this is being thought about but meh because it is so all encompassing – the range – used is or seems overwhelming.
    The best folks to be actively involved with actual power to talk the talk and monetary ability to walk the walk would be those with multilateral experiences.
    Until you have been pregnant one just can’t conceive – no pun intended- how life is changed forever. We as a world community keep on looking to professionals even with the best intentions who just miss the boat because as in male Ob/Gyn cant talk the talk or walk the walk.
    A movement needs folks from both sides in an equal concurrent community. Actually, from the whole spectrum.
    Seneca Falls and the meeting way back before that. Check it out -African American females and others working for rights of both.
    We just need to do it and folks will come like an open audition . Scary kind of very Who knowsish but look at how many stats have been found in theatre or sports. One lighted candle showing the way.
    Think folks. Work together. Listen and professionals be humble. Some of you never ever would have suirvived by what we survivors have and had been done to us.
    Blogs with both folks – a written conversation would be a good start.

  • Wow Madmom you hit the proverbial nail on the head. Yes and to add- we live and probably have always lived in a world encircled by trauma. We have had the tools and analysis for this over time but it keeps getting lost or pushed down
    Freud deals with it in his writings on anxiety. Right there- the words about a person coping with danger.
    What you describe is almost like the process one goes through when one is taken hostage. And NAMI and professionals were- no doubt about it. The CEOs and others in the power cycle acted as offenders- the Pharma vacation package to docs like a rape walk by a sexual offender – check out what the lay of the land is
    So how to get eyes and ears opened up?
    How do get the offenders a juminy cricket and or a growing nose when lying?
    Thanks to Robert for bring up a framework which allows dialogue too
    I have struggled with my anger but am also aware resentment is the poison that kills you. Hate does not make great.
    But one also has to experience the outrage and other feelings in order to walk through the wailing wall.
    My guess and best bet is the CEO folks and others on the other side have unresolved trauma issues as well.
    They used power tripping and money as coping mechanisms to the great loss of us all.
    If South Africa can work towards betterment of atrocious times, if other countries can do so in fits / starts and Good progess – this should be doable. The trouble is human lives are being irrevocably damaged tonight on the wards, in the prisons, in the nursing homes and group homes where staff is mandated to act in ways they might not believe in.
    And now more than ever there are restrictions in what can be done with activism.
    There has to be something doable. I willl as always keep putting my thinking cap on.

  • In Europe there were institutions that had families of physicians and staff living-eating-playing with patients. It was not unknown to have a former patient become a professional . Frieda case of Dora is an example.
    Rorschach -who developed the test had some interesting thoughts worth exploring and the test itself.Food for thought.
    Thanks for exploring I don’t think I could have done it!
    And thanks for bringing up incarceration.
    The private prisons and private detention centers all need voices.
    What I long for is more of a solid network of folks working together to institute a new narrative and change but I still like your hope
    Why not try?

  • Thanks Sera for this and all the comments.
    I originally as a professional was turned off by NAMI but felt badly. This was before trauma and generational trauma was really talked about. Then when I allowed myself to be pushed in the system I felt I had no where else to turn to in processing my own trauma. It was not helpful and I discovered in my locale MAMI had over run the narrative. I went to one walk it was small and ran into other professionals who said they came out of pity.
    However the hospitals and social service agencies were big time supporters.
    Management and administration love this philosophy even as you know Sera journalism folks do not question the narrative.
    I have had NAMI folks come to a church Reiki healing volunteer project and proudly spout the propaganda.
    I thought the church was progressive but it had its NAMI ties.
    Open AA meetings are more real about emotions and issues with trying to get help with things other than meds. Old timers were no meds then the wave of folks made it so they too were pulled in now it seems like they are more more open.
    Best talk on suicidal thinking was at a alanon meeting- go figure.
    I would suggest folks read Jane Mayer Dark Money because I think that is part of what we are dealing with.
    My concern for myself after my forced hospitalization is safety.
    I keep looking for a good place to move but fear doesn’t strike out yet.
    So speaking out in my local is fraught and wrought. There are supportive folks but in these times I just don’t know. The worst part is I have so much to offer. I feel my insights and gifts are being wasted and diminished every day.
    In the old days there was so much more latitude and openness to difference at least when I was a teen.
    I think a buddy system and use of a 12 step type of narrative might work
    Telephone trees or email chains.
    One trouble for me is that I feel I have been burned by reaching out and I am unsure like I guess many others are which folks are safe.
    The best memory I have ofvrecent times is going to a panel of self labeled autistic adults. It was held at a center developed and run by parents. One of the speakers ended by saying and asking why there were not autistic folks on the board and why they all couldn’t have more of a voice! Yes! She spoke out and received a round of applause. The panel was organized by an advocate coach who like me when I worked felt folks sometimes need help but they should be in charge and take flight on their own wings.
    Fear has continued and forceably been instilled in our narrative by others.
    This has made it doubly hard to speak out and be listened to.
    I also don’t want to burn down bridges for those in NAMI who just need open eyes and ears.
    Theatre folks might be a way to get the word out with new works with talk backs . You don’t get that with movies.
    And we also have to be open to all the isms that are inherent in the system and for me in my perspective.
    Sometimes I don’t see all the ways I have lucked out.
    And not to shut down. Sometimes hard not to do.This dialogue has been great. Thanks to all.

  • In regards to your wish in the last paragraph. And thanks for the work – it saddens that it has come to this in our research world.
    In my area,NAMI had implicit power to expose the medical school students and residents to carefully picked folks who would relate how the status quo of the system worked well for them. These folks were picked by staff who might not have had any professional training. At one meeting another woman and I were dismissed because of our expressed views that did not fit into the narrative. In our area, the journal news venue would come out with a reformed surivi or who had been a media flashpoint and now had seen the light and repented of their ways.
    Many medical residents that see folks may not have received trading in the states. This creates a double edged sword hanging over patient’s head because they are dealing many times with medical folk who are only told the one narrative and may come with a cultural background that is patricharal and could be elitist.
    Their ability to hear people’s suffering and trauma is diminished at times.
    With the emphasis on medication so much is thrown effectively down the toilet in terms of any good that the profession achieved at times in the past.
    The concept of true Auepiscaplian sp? is lost, torn asunder, and rent to the pyschiatrist’s very soul.
    I admire the ones who hold on to the inherent moral practice of the Hippocratic oath. It still is not easy for them.
    I would think drastic intervention is the only way to change the power dynamics-
    Even if at times chemicals work for some the issue of where the MH world is belies a sense of things being on the right track.
    Look at Polio-scabies these conditions showed drastic change not a slippery slope into hell.

  • Monica you brought me back. Thanks for your words.
    As both a survivor and a retired LISW I share your perspective in some ways.
    I worked in the field for over twenty years before being pulled into the system by uninformed family, all of us traumatized by ongoing criss issues, uninformed friends, and “helpers” who really didn’t help.
    The worst was the trauma of hospitalization.I knew what a decent looked,acted,and felt like. These units were prison- nothing more-nothinging less.
    As a professional, I worked assiduously to treat the relationship as a team effort.
    I took time to establish trust and when something bad went down I told the truth of what I had control of and what I didn’t. So if abuse was acknowledged I told my client the law – prepared them for what would happen and had them listen to my call to the abuse hotline. I tried very hard to let them know it would not be easy and keeping on telling their story to the safest folks they could find.
    I was only there to help them learn to cope with life independently.
    My job as I saw was to put myself out of business.
    I tried hard to have a mutual respect relationship. I learned many things from my clients and sometimes was in awe of how they maintained.
    My issue with the MH professional writings is -at times- you can feel the defensiveness- and I would say fear.
    When one starts out writing- ” I have this- I wrote these books, I have presented these workshops, and most revealing of all – I come from this family constellation – and I am not willing to admit any true hard issues because I am an expert.
    This stance- for me as a reader with both lived and professional experience disbelief, anger,triggered hurt- the stance of power- and ultimately sadness and continued lack of hope that the secret tragedy of MH care will never be totally revealed and change happen.
    I want a dialogue. But it has to be played out on a fair field – a round table like the Paris Peace talks.
    If you read literary critical thinking vocabulary and fiction matters in terms of the power of relationship.
    There are so many people involved in the system that I would really like to hear from. Police officers, aides who work on the units, judges,ect.
    Maybe Robert and staff need to work on some sort of framework for dialogue for all.
    Or some toiols not used now. What about survivor first reads and commentary before a MH work comes out?
    What and how did Bishop Tutu’s commission work?
    Maybe a reading list for potential contributors to read before writing suggested by survivors?
    Hannah Ardnt’s work would be important.
    There are virulent isms all over the MH system from ages and ages ago. It has gotten into the white mean now and U think that is part of why MIA exits. Not the best way but please let’s use this to solve not continue problems otherwise U will not be back.
    Politeness never hurts but the issue of power is fraught and wrought here and U know it might not even cross contributors minds or they just are not sure how or what to say so they go into default pistering mode.
    How can we do this better?

  • Sorry Chaya I did not address your hurt.
    I don’t think there are many fantastic thereuputic relationships. One has to have a gift and one has to be lucky to find that person.
    Kind of like marriage except you are in an truly unequal economic relationship.
    I go back and forth. I try and then stop for a variety of reasons
    We all all looking for that missing piece that would make us feel less hurt or empty fill in the blank
    Sometimes we find in a professional sometimes in a friend
    Sometimes in other acts of alternative stuff and actions
    Ultimately I think we all our hurting and some of us are not only aware but we pick up the vibes and carry them in our souls.
    Keep on walking the walk.You are not alone and I value your presence here. You ran into a bad situation where your support was wounded and did not have the tools strength or skills to deal with your nonlocus of control loss. She could have done several things
    She could have cried with you
    She could have done a ritual
    She could have modeled or talked about how to say goodbye
    She could have advocated for you and the others and told you her actions
    She could and I think had the responsibility to help you have another support
    She could have spoke the truth this really you know what
    She could have resigned
    Or she might have tried and failed and was unable to acknowledge it or talk against the system and in her on life was on the edge
    Best is to forgive piece by piece and bless her because festering feelings thoughts and memories never help us
    Easier said then done as I know all all to well
    Another day or time there could be a place for seeking another but help comes from walks and small things or just having your great writing and voice
    Keep open and keeping the idea of a dream catcher
    The webbed area keeps the bad stuff out the hole allows the good in
    I don’t do any work though I have done peer experiences workshop stuff
    Still dealing with life
    Thanks for putting a light to this

  • Sorry for the typos the lingering side effects of meds and overlay of dyslexia and dysgraphia
    I had made use of supports from social workers in the past but on my own way in my own choice stream and mostly behind closed doors
    Had planned for more but couldn’t squeeze it in too much hell going on
    In past had supervised some one out in the peer community I was only Worker who was willing
    Also tried to get clients off meds in 1980s but wall
    Now I know why they were clueless!
    Being in the worst scenarios has given me 360 almost vision
    Someday would love to use it for all

  • Oh yes for twenty years as a LISW. I dropped it when I became frustrated with the profession and its trajectory in the regional systems.Also multiple family issues made it nigh high to impossible to do good work or advocate for change.
    “Friends”intervened nonprofessional clueless during an extreme nonlocus of control period calling already fragile family members to get me into the system. One so called professional colleague was involved but I am never gotten the details. It started me into the cesspool of meds and seclusion and as ful side effects and totally destroyed my sense of self worth.
    Still recovering from it all
    CV available on request!

  • Thanks Chaya for your thoughts.
    And Steve for yours and the others.
    Therapy is a minefield. There is no good way to walk through the maze and it is a maze with yucky and good things based so much at random which makes it worse for the traumatized person because once again you have little to no agency at a time you really need it.
    I have had a spectrum my issues is that several therapists leaned on me or I was aware enough because of my gifts and training they were not able to handle my life circumstances. Another issue was the complete and utter separate role of the therapist and docs inpatient and outpatient
    It is a huge horrific desert so that the one professional who could at least advocate is also locked out by the medical system.
    Training Steve can provide extra but it in no way shape or form is any sort of guarantee.
    I would advocate for a shamanistic system which is inherently peer sensitive along with a fine tooth selection of useful and helpful wisdom writing from all areas and all times.
    And my work was always to put myself out of a job.
    That was always my shared primary goals and it was a team approach. I never thought I knew it all and was open to see my work asa journey for me as well. The system is so corrupt and rotten that these tenants are little found. The docs are lost like CEO’s.Most have lost their moral souls and compass and are deaf -blind – and dumb in the worst way possible. They do damage on a daily basis and at this point I have have found no good way to put an end to their great damaging of humans.
    This was the most horrorific part for me being in the system. They abused and tortured one of their own and didn’t even care or believe or bother to ask and actually listen to me as a human.
    It was a gift in learning the great pain of disenfranchisement. At least I can use it for good and to finally be brace enough to speak truth to power for all of those caught in horror situations.

  • Emmaline and Elizabeth
    I worked with RD’s and still know some.
    What is important hear is the “othering” unintentionally going on.
    In order to dialogue well and there is a learning curve here
    Read Kein Uris he has a great section in working through listening and responsibility.
    It would have helped if Elizabeth had said
    Catnight
    I hear you and others have a hard time with the use of my terminology in the article
    How best can I reframe those phrases?
    Oh trauma yes thanks for bringing it up and I will have to do more research on that aspect
    Power plays a role even in conversation and now blogging.
    Colonialism 101
    It would be interesting to have a lunquist well versed in oppressive societies do an analysis of the power plays in this dialogue
    May not have been intentional
    but there you have it.

  • Again Elizabeth reread your words!!!!!!!! ” I have found a way to get many people get past their mental suffering.” I am not denying your knowledge base’s truth or ability to help folks. You are not a savior and your terminology is still problematic in my eyes. That’s what got Carl Whittaker, the famous family therapist, in trouble – he drank his own cool aid.
    I think most psych survivors are open to new helpful ways. The terminology you use is important. Mental suffering my foot! Let’s do the time warp again! As far as I know you have no idea what suffering really is. It would be helpful to take off that mask. Get in the mud and find a way to describe trauma issues, nutrition issues, medical issues – pellegra sp? – actually did cause altered mental states as well as syphllis – the environment ! “Silent Spring”.
    I was also a LISW for twenty years in the trenches of urban areas and severe trauma, humility is everything. Again think on it.

  • I understand but everyone needs to think long and hard on how to dialogue with each other in order to change things as the are.
    First is respectful listening with a vocabulary of compassion.
    Then there needs to be an acknowledgement that we all have hidden or visible trauma.
    You can’t be human and not have it.
    You have to take off the masks and get down on the floor
    Some folks do it better than others and it is a learning curve.
    See the musical
    “Fantastic” and “The Madwoman of Chailot” in particular the ragpickers speech.

    And we have to acknowledge we are working on a puzzle with no box top cover to follow.
    We each have pieces and it will take time and effort and mud and dust and ash to deal with the process.
    Psych survivors like myself suffered trauma in treatment and in life circumstance or with something.
    Our feelings and needs for the ability to acknowledge and help deal with inherent triggers in dialogue had to be understood and acknowledged.
    I am very aware that if I use my name and degrees it will be seen and heard in a different light then if I use my name here.
    Same person two sets of realities.
    The voice changes and the stigma begins when you state your full reality many many times.
    Before my time in the belly of the beast I was aware of psych survivor movements and some in the professions.
    At times the ones who opened up were gossiped about and derided behind closed doors.
    I hated that as well and I am so sorry I was not able to stand down their words.
    We all carry baggage memories of what was done and what we could have should have done.
    My concern with this blog was in Elizabeth as well intentioned and so well informed could not hear my plea for compassionate listening and then responding
    She has replied so Thank you for that!
    What is so hard in saying I
    Oh I am sorry
    I never thought about that aspect
    I will try to keep that in mind.
    Not expecting perfection here just real humanity
    Thanks for your reply.

    I am sorry for the hard times.
    What would your family member think of all this?
    Could there be a dialogue?
    Please think on my thoughts8
    Mary

  • Did you hear me properly Elizabeth?
    Again you used the word mental and you totally ignored the current untenable situation with South Sudan which hilights terrorism and trauma to the max.
    You used the word “they” in a pejorative manner not taking into account or taking the responsibility to share with your readers a fact that every nutritional student in college knows the pervasive desert islands of grocery stores in urban lower SES neighborhoods.
    And the pervasive in your face marketing of the Big Pharma of food companies. They all use the same playbook. They all make tons of money off of us.
    You may have interesting information but that and a cup of coffee will help no one and only continue to hurt your soul.
    Until you allow yourself to go from they to we you will be worst than any the worst of us
    Until you can share in the human world you and your work are nothing
    You are like the APA NAMI Big Pharma all the moneyed interests that care less for others than for themselves
    Read the latest on Syria
    Read the recent books out on mass incarceration
    Read about The Lost Boys of Sudan
    Have you ever once talked with a refugee?
    I have- a family who lived under a card table on the Main Street of Phom Phen sp?
    Have you ever talked to a grown man who was a lost boy? Gentle kind men and so so very fragile with the torture they survived.
    Have you ever spent time with folks in deep deep trouble and trauma?
    Have you ever experienced times if deep deep trouble and trauma?
    Until you can honestly claim both and use the vocabulary of compassion
    Don’t bother replying
    And BTW
    Check out
    Cry the Beloved Country – one of the first of many many good reads on Aparthied.
    Mary O’Malley MSW MFA