Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Comments by annajm

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  • Thank you for this piece, Dorothy. I must admit this is the first thing I’ve read on this site because I’ve kind of avoided things about psychiatric abuse for fear it might trigger the PTSD I have because of having endured it myself. I wrote a book about my experience when I was 16 and it was published when I was 21. My tragically “institutionalized” (both meaning of the word) uncle had told me when I was young that when “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” came out there was public outrage and some improvements in the way mental patients were treated. I survived my own experience with the feeling that it was my mission to write about it and generate improvement again. Instead I was dismissed as someone no one should listen to because I was young (as if things are not true until a person is a certain age?) and “crazy.” I received hate mail. I got a strange internet stalker who repeated claimed on every internet site that mentioned my book that she was a member of my family and knew the “real story.” This was an outright lie, but oh! how quickly other readers were happy to say they were glad an adult was there who could tell us the “truth!” The only positive feedback I received was from other young people who had been psychiatrically abused who could relate. I was glad to reach them and help them know they are not alone, but my book did not seem to spark any change like I had wanted and I was devastated about that. I’ve tried to avoid the whole thing since then, to “move on,” whatever that means. As if I could forget. As if I were not marked and vulnerable to further abuse the rest of my life whenever I hoped for some relief from the pain. I have been so sad, so outraged, and felt so futile. But I was reading your words, so close to my own, thinking of how your Susan was like my Doug- the first boy I watched die from institutional abuse and neglect- and how I spoke those same words to myself, “I am a witness.” And I feel better to know I am not alone (even though I am sorry this sort of thing happens at all, and especially all the time). And then I realized that myself helping others to feel not so alone is no small matter. Thank you so much! (((safe, internet hugs, if acceptable)))