Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

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  • Hello Itay,

    Thanks for this wonderful piece. A long time ago, I stayed in a place like that which ended up being closed down. I’m not sure why. It is described in the last chapter of my memoir, This Hunger Is Secret, which I published about a decade ago. It is now free for anyone to read. You can find it on my blog,

    It was my case manager’s idea to send me there. This was after shock treatments when I was having trouble thinking straight. I was frustrated and hopeless that I would ever get my mind back. They were going to send me to a state hospital. I went to the respite house instead. It was not at all like any place I’d ever been before. This was around the end of September, 1997.

    What was amazing was that there was this lack of hierarchy that was truly refreshing. The staff did not have those insulting “professional boundaries” that I saw in other places. They shared their lives with me. They even drove us in their own vehicles if we needed a ride. They weren’t therapists and weren’t trained as therapists, although one of them did end up converting.

    Not only that, but they had this staff office but it wasn’t off limits to the residents. We could come in there anytime we wanted. The door was open and there certainly wasn’t any insulting bullet-proof glass separating the staff office from the rest of the living space.

    You could come and go as you pleased. I had my bike there, too. They let me park it in the hallway. I can’t recall now how many weeks I stayed there.

    I spent a lot of my time just writing in my notebook. This was a habit I had developed as a result of shock treatments, but it grew into something more. I left the respite house. I was okay. By January, I was doing more serious writing. I enrolled in an adult ed writing class. In March I decided to try going back to college. I succeeded. I finished the first draft of a novel by August, 1998.

    I am not saying that the respite house was what saved me. I saved me. Good luck and lots of writing saved me. They allowed me the space to do it. I’m grateful.

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  • John,

    I was hoping you would write a piece for MIA, and I’m glad you did. I love the way you have described the white-clad slavedrivers who claim they’re only following orders. You really nailed them.

    Occasionally, I saw one or two try to break the rules and be kind. One of them did this telling me she’d lose her job if anyone knew. The other tried, but the doctor forced her into submission. She was taken off my case. One day, I saw her in the hallway. She looked at me with these sad eyes. I’ll never forget that.

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  • Bippy, you need them to tell you the numbers. Ask what your creatinine level is. If they insist it is “fine,” then you need to demand that they give you the number. “Fine” might mean fine by mental patient standards. The test here in the US is called a Basic Metabolic Panel. I suspect that it might be called something different in the UK. That panel tells you electrolyte levels also. I would suggest cutting way down on salt to help the swelling. There are herbs you can take for it, too.

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  • It is sad indeed that some people are so isolated that they feel they must resort to paying for “support,” in other words, “therapy.”

    There are still support systems in some areas for those that do not have any.

    I usually spend holidays alone, but I found out a local coffee shop is hosting a Thanksgiving event. If you look hard enough you will find support other than “therapy.” My main issue with “therapy” is that it tends to be a black hole that people can’t get out of. Who would want that, if they knew?

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  • Dr. Mary Dyer-Martin prescribed Marci’s drugs. She should be held responsible. When you put yourself in the hands of a doctor, you supposedly trust that doctor, too. Once you are on one drug, you might end up “out of it” and unable to comprehend that maybe you are on too much or too many. Breggin refers to this as “spellbinding,” and it’s very true. When you are drugged up, it’s the doctor’s responsibility to recognize this. It’s the doctor’s responsibility not to overdrug a patient. Now, if a person buys drugs on their own, then the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone. This is why some of us advocate for the abolition of the Power of the Prescription. When you are out of it from drugs, you’re likely to do anything the doctor says.

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  • One time, my fellow patient begged for a placebo. I wasnā€™t sure why. Placebos work quite well. You would think they cause no harm. Psych placebos still cause dependency and the notion that one is diseased. I believe that placebos only work on humans because we can experience hope and foresight. The animal sense of foresight is minimal by comparison. I donā€™t think they have any concept of a god, or of praying to something. I donā€™t think they need to. They seem more secure in themselves than we are.

    I also donā€™t think the concept of Parent God is present much outside Christianity.

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  • I have found that very consistently, if a person is down on their luck, people run away fast. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    I paid thousands of dollars to a scammer this summer and when I figured out it was a scam I was able to get part of my money back, but not my sense of well-being. Where are the phone calls and emails of support when I need them? People pulled away and I feel very alone.

    Some blame me for feeling like crap after what happened, or blame me for not “getting over it” when really, they weren’t the ones who were scammed, and they don’t know what it’s like.

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  • I am saddened that mostly, what will help people is information, accurate, complete, and relevant information.

    Such as….legal information about landlord/tenant laws, information about what constitutes domestic abuse, information about job openings in the area, or informing the person that “the pill” can cause depression.

    I guess that’s why search engines seem to be a popular way to get “help.” I would trust a search engine over a psychiatrist any day!

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  • Registered, I don’t get that. So you’re saying if a person isn’t lucid, they have no ability to make a responsible choice? Who decides who is lucid and who isn’t? Psychiatry.

    I also agree that suicide is a personal choice. We don’t know people’s situations. We can’t get into their heads, which is really a good thing, when you think about it. If we do, we’ve gone too far.

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  • Frank, I just read an article by people in the economics field who make six-figure salaries. All of them stated that we need more of the humanities in the colleges, not less. Many stated that in the employment world, and especially if one is a CEO of a company, the most important skill they learned in college was communication. The article further stated that people who major in the arts (music, writing, fine arts, dance, etc) end up making equal salaries to those who majored in a STEM field. The difference is right after college, where STEM grads are more likely to get a good job. After a decade, it evens out. (When you die it won’t matter anyway.)

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  • fnert, Abolishing psychiatry does not impose on the rights of those who choose it. Right to psychiatry is not a human right that I know of. Do I have the right to astrology? Not really. I have the choice to go to an astrologer…or maybe not. The freedom to choose for oneself, that’s a human right. I also have the choice to become a drug dealer, but if I chose that,I would be breaking the law and I might get in trouble. Still, I have the right to choose. I hope I choose wisely.

    Even if psychiatry is banned, people will have the right to choose it. It will be an unwise choice, but come to think of it, many people, myself included, make bad choices.

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  • Yes, I believe it was 1985. And it was Carl Pfeiffer and the Brain Bio Center. I can’t believe my parents drove me there and suckered into it. He poked fun at me, I recall. It’s in my memoir. I didn’t know how to react. I remember telling my mother that we needed to listen to the real doctors, the psychiatrists.

    Years later, I had forgotten about Pfeiffer totally. In 2014 I dug up the paper he had given me. I was fairly sure the dietary recommendations he gave me were the carbon copy of what he told everyone else, but there it was.

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  • I personally loved college. I learned a lot and thrived in that environment. I felt like I mattered, even though in many ways it was totally fake. When you get out you realize this. You might matter while you’re a student. After all, students generate income for the colleges. Students make the college look great.

    Is anyone else out there disgusted that once you finish college the only time the college EVER contacts you again is to ask for money? That’s when you realize you’re not useful to them anymore. Your money is useful. You aren’t.

    Years ago, I remember one day when I was starving and out of it, one of my former colleges called me up for that yearly plea for donations. When I saw the college in my caller ID, I told myself that they were inviting me to do a reading or give a talk, that they finally recognized that I had written and published a book and they actually remembered what a good student I was. I can see why I continued to starve after I found out what the real agenda was, and what most people’s real agenda is.

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  • I agree! Why work for them? I know some people who call themselves “peers” and when I have talked to them, they actually say they can’t get a job doing anything else.

    That, I suppose, may very well be true if they walk into their next job interview saying they are ex-patients. I can’t believe they’d devalue themselves that way. YES, you can do other things. You just have to give it a try. And…just omit a few things from the backstory.

    If you train to do something new, you are just as valuable as any other trainee. The playing field is even if you keep some stuff to yourself.

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  • I am sure BCHarris has had plenty of experience.

    In the memoir I wrote and published, I have a section on my experience with an orthomolecular doctor. The memoir did not sell and I have taken it off the market, but it’s still available FOR FREE at my blog, if you are interested.

    I also did not have a very good experience. My parents had pushed me into it and they had driven me all the way to Princeton hoping for a miracle. I never found out how much they paid for the appointment, but it was a waste.

    If he had been the great miracle worker he was claimed to be, he would have told me that lithium causes kidney disease and to get off of it as soon I could. (Getting off that stuff is not that hard.)

    I hear that a long time ago when Dr. Breggin was taking patients, that’s what he would tell them. He saved many people’s lives that way.

    My new book, by the way, is coming out very soon and it’s about surviving after lithium damages your body. It is not about “lithium withdrawal” since really the only withdrawal is the scare tactics and lies commonly used in nuthouses. It’s about how to get away from the mental health system and how to deal with kidney disease naturally.

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  • I agree. Don’t check the box. Don’t admit it. Don’t even imply it. Interestingly, since the diagnoses have no validity, if you don’t tell, if you act as if you were never locked up, as if you never had a diagnosis, no one will know. If you tell the wrong people, they won’t just run away, they’ll do anything to smear your reputation. You will become a scapegoat. People need someone to hate, someone to blame for their own flaws and mistakes.

    I agree that the hatred out there is worse than ever. I have had a lot of trouble getting the attention of journalists and nothing I write to the Boston Globe even gets read.

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  • I agree with Lloyd, I’m not sure the suicide question is answered (I choose to use that scary word!). I personally believe a person has the right to end their own life, but some religions forbid it. By all means a person shouldn’t be criminalized for wanting to commit suicide, or thinking about it, or planning it, or toying with the idea. Oh let me add one more crime: writing a poem with the word “Death” in it.

    If these principles were closely and strictly followed, psychiatry would go broke very fast. No one would voluntarily choose to be marginalized, drugged, and labeled. No one would choose organ failure and early death. No one would choose forced unemployment. Oh dear, poor shrinks. They’d moan about losing their jobs or not getting paid enough. They would complain because now, they have to be honest (if it were enforced). Oh dear! Maybe some of them can try out psychiatric disability. After all, you don’t have to work, right? They did it to us. Why don’t they try it out?

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  • Hi Michelle, I am not sure if you will see my comment, but I am looking for lawsuits by people who took lithium and then, were never told they had kidney disease. There’s no sense in trying to sue the drug companies since the drug has been around for decades. Doctors have known that lithium causes kidney disease for decades. It’s pretty much standard practice to keep patients in the dark about their medical condition…and then it ends up being too late.

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  • The following happened to me in first grade. We were at recess. The teacher asked us to line up in a line. We did. I did not like standing there in the cold. I got colder and colder, in fact, and I figured I wasn’t the only one. Finally, the teacher said we’d better be good or we wouldn’t get to stay outside.

    Everyone was silent then. I said, likely quite audibly, “But we don’t want to stay outside. It’s too cold.”

    In a flash, the teacher, likely a recess monitor, was right beside me. She told me I was a “bad girl” and told me I should be ashamed of myself. She grabbed me by the scruff of my jacket and dragged me to the end of line, saying I deserved it.

    It wasn’t so much that single action, but what it symbolized to me at that very moment. School was no longer my friend. It was a scary, hostile place. And that it stayed.

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  • So this is what happened a few days ago. I was teaching a class and some of the kids were doing stuff that was going to lead to trouble. By trouble I mean someone was going to get injured if they continued. I tried to solve this by getting the kids interested in doing something else. This worked, for the most part, as I saw the kids scurrying away from where they were to another part of the room. Unfortunately, the aide then started yelling at them and using shaming language.

    Kids react differently to this type of adult bullying. Some will just disregard it. One boy, though, was particularly hurt because he was called “bad” and a bunch of other things.

    He was so upset, he sobbed and curled into a ball. I was amazed that the aide was so clueless about what had just happened. For most of the class she was sitting way off to the side, with some papers in front of her that she appeared to be reading, but more likely, the papers were hiding her cellular telephone.

    I don’t know why she chose that moment to yell at the kids, but it was startling and deeply disturbing. As far as I can tell, this is normal, daily life at the average school, and this is the way kids are treated there.

    Although I tried to comfort the child, I knew I was rather ineffective at doing so. After all, I was a scary adult. The cool thing is that another child came and sat next to him and stayed with him until he was okay. The other child was an ally. Adults are the threat.

    Anyone who speaks out against the status quo, whether an employee or a child, or even a parent, is going to be ostracized. And the wheels keep turning. How can we stop this madness?

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  • They do it all over, Jim, laws or no laws. I know people who were held like that. I recall being held at Boston Medical Center in a prison cell for three days, dehydrated and malnourished, while they scrambled to figure out what to do with me. Finally, they let me go since I didn’t “qualify” for anything at all. The prison shrink said I fell between the cracks and she threw up her hands in utter cluelessness. Thankfully, not one psych ward would take me. To this day, I don’t understand why, during those three days, I was completely denied any medical care. By then, I knew it wasn’t psychiatry that I needed.

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  • I would have to say that I have all too often seen peer workers push unwanted treatment on people. If the peer workers are working for the hospital, then naturally they’ll be hired to work to the hospital’s financial advantage.

    I see an issue with defining good health with more consumption of medical services. Maybe it’s good financial health for the institutions and providers.

    I was saddened to see on a forum a bunch of peer specialists saying that if their jobs were canned they wouldn’t be able to get jobs anywhere else. They defined themselves as unhirable. This saddens me, since many of these capable people would be welcome in other workplaces, doing completely other things. Isn’t it time that survivors got themselves hired doing something besides working for the MH industry?

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  • First of all, our complaints are dismissed because they claim we’re crazy and don’t know what we are talking about.

    Some have gained a little bit of a voice by joining the opposition and becoming providers themselves.

    This leaves the rest of us. Many of us have other areas of expertise. But whatever that is, it counts for nothing. We don’t matter. Frankly, I’m so tired of being treated like a lowlife (in regular life and also in survivor circles) I am ready to scream. But…on the other hand, I can join the Lowlife Pride movement or some such thing. Might not have much choice. Or….maybe I get looked down on because I’m shorter than most of you.

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  • Yeah, Kindred, I agree. I have had to endure the pushing of the Pledge of Allegiance. I am honestly afraid my job status would be affected if anyone found out I don’t say the Pledge. Kids are taught to obey, obey, obey, without questioning, and if they dare say anything they get a note sent home, or detention.

    Here is an example of what they do. One day, I had taught a class that worked out very well. Afterward, the teachers want the kids to line up to leave the classroom obediently and silently. I totally hate this ritual, but I have to go along with it. So that day, the kids lined up, and suddenly, one little girl broke out of the line and ran back to me to give me a big hug. I was so touched by this. Guess what happened? She got shamed, demeaned, and sent to the end of the line. That was the day I realized I need to cut down on my hours. I’m tired of feeling on the verge of tears over these human rights infractions. I also realize that I can’t fight it as a minority voice. There’s too much hierarchy to fight.

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  • Hello, I am the author of Life After Lithium, which is not yet published. I want to share with you that if you take lithium you will experience renal failure. You are likely to die of it, or die of something related such as cardiac failure or stroke. Kidney disease leads to diabetes and you might die of that.

    Your doctor should tell you about the wonderful lives people have on dialysis. You’ll be married to a machine three days a week, six hours a day. Do you want your life ruined by that? You’ll be forced to stop working, and go on disability. I’ve got more news. Most people die during the first year of dialysis.

    If you have already started lithium, your creatinine, which is a blood level, has already risen to an alarming level. Don’t expect your doctor to properly inform you about this, either. You will notice symptoms in a decade. You aren’t likely to live past your 50s.

    Your choice.

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  • Mindfulness? Huh? I agree with Steve. I work in the schools. They are oppressive to kids. Take high school for example. My kids have to be there at 7:30 in the morning. If they’re late, even by a minute, they’re punished. They have only three minutes to get from class to class.

    When I was hired I was given the spiel about inclusiveness. We were given extensive training on how to report child abuse. This was supposed to include abuse by school personnel, yet when I made a report to the state, my supervisor demeaned me and said I should not have done it.

    I have seen instances where teachers, who are hired and paid to teach, aren’t teaching. I don’t understand how, on a moral level, these teachers can live with themselves. The kids are at a loss. They deserve an education. They didn’t come to school to be babysat, supervised, bossed around, and threatened.

    When I get to teach, when I get to stand up in front of the class, I give examples of how voicing one’s concerns can make huge changes, even if you are a minor. I have said so many times, “You matter.” But at the same time, I realize that for many of these kids, they have spoken out plenty, but often they are not being heard.

    They still matter, though. I tell them not to give up.

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  • I have news from Marci. The place she is at, she says, is better than Elgin, or shall I say less oppressive, but still, it’s a hospital. She has six more weeks there. After Marci spoke up and revealed to another patient what a court order was (education, I say!) she then had any “privileges” revoked and she’s restricted to the “unit.” She says it is very difficult there as it’s one of those “acute” psych wards, where clearly, she feels out of place.

    She says every little bit counts. If you can call, or send a letter, she would be very happy! She sounded very clear, upbeat given the circumstances, and unfortunately for them, she remembers the various offenses against her very well. They can’t use their most effective weapon, drugging, against her, so they’re clearly trying other means, legal or not, to attempt to silence her.

    Every bit of support counts!

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  • Dr Tasch, I first heard you on the Breggin show. I’ve been very impressed with your work.

    What are the chances of being able to turn around a few more shrinks and a few more attorneys? Shrinks have power in the courts because they’re shrinks. Attorneys can make huge changes because they know the law.

    Can we ex-patients/survivors influence local attorneys and find more shrinks who have common sense and guts to stand against the system?

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  • I have read, or tried to read, several DBT books. All are horribly blameful toward the patient, who likely isn’t to blame for being misunderstood or misheard. I hated reading, “You can’t handle your emotions.” As far as I knew, I handled emotions better than most people around me at the time. I want to feel my feelings. Even the unpleasant ones, because sometimes, it’s necessary. Unpleasant feelings help us make good decisions. I want to remember, so I can tell the story to many people. I want to be pissed off and stay that way as long as I need to, and I am not uncomfortable with my own real feelings. The assumption that we’re somehow not okay in our own skin, that was the biggest insult. Mostly, it applied to those therapists, not to us.

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  • Magdalene, I am frankly quite tired of “activists” who tout the “therapy is good and drugs are bad” narrative. Very tired. I was abused by my therapist and therapy kept me in a sick state for years, always on the verge of the next crisis. I am tired of hearing that mindfulness is for everyone. I don’t think it’s logical, and in some cases, it’s very unhealthy since it causes apathy. I am tired of the demands that everyone should meditate. I am tired of being guilt-tripped because I choose to avoid it. I used to know someone who was addicted to meditating. It was bad. She couldn’t stop and got so far behind on schoolwork that she had to drop out. I avoid yoga, too, as it reminds me of the “gentle yoga” we HAD to do in the nuthouse. Why can’t people just let me be me? I’m fine the way I am, thank you. Sick of the trendiness of those things.

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  • I am glad you reviewed this book. We need more survivor stories reviewed because (on a practical level) doing so increases awareness that the book exists, increases exposure, and potentially increases book sales. I know that saying so sounds selfish but I’m remembering how I had a book published about ten years ago and for the most part, couldn’t even get my friends to help out. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever been through.

    I will definitely check this out. I’m glad to see another person rejecting CBT and rejecting that packaged “mindfulness” that therapists love to sell. It is NOT for everyone, contrary to what the mindfulness salesmen claim. I found that mindfulness was just one more way to blame the victim. It turned me off.

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  • It IS news, although I agree with Pacific Dawn that we should have known this already. I find it reinforces the importance and influence that non-parental adults have in a teen’s life. As a teacher I am well aware that I am a role model for kids. I also remember my own teachers in high school and junior high. Many had a positive influence on me. At the same time, I wonder to this day about the indifference of some of them.

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  • We can start right now by stopping the use of made-up diseases to explain away our bad behavior, no matter how minor. If we are adults we should be accountable for our behavior. We cannot blame some disease. “I didn’t show up because of my depression.” Or, “I was late because of my ADHD…” These need to be replaced with, “I felt I couldn’t come to the party because I didn’t know most of the people there.” Or, “I was late because I mis-judged the amount of traffic I’d encounter.” Plain and simple. We need to do away with, “I snapped at you because of my bipolar,” and replace it with, “I’m sorry I snapped at you. I’m under so much pressure right now due to mounting debts. It’s not you.”

    We need to teach our children not to fall back on disease-excuses. I’ve had to deal with this as a teacher. I have had kids ask to be excused from the room, which I am not allowed to do ordinarily except for a bathroom trip. I can tell when they want to use their label as the reason. They start to stammer and act awkward because they’re not sure they can tell me. They don’t know me.

    What I do with these kids is that I spare them the awkwardness and gently encourage them. I give them practical reasons to stick with the class and with whatever assignment we’re doing. Instead of letting them excuse themselves due to their labels, I integrate them into the discussion. I get them motivated. I have never failed to bypass the labeling this way.

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  • This is a two-hour interview, and I’m about 15 minutes into it. Already they can eliminate any schizo diagnosis. If her thoughts were that disorganized she wouldn’t remember all those names and phone numbers. That’s impressive! Also, she shows interest in the therapist’s life. That, too, is impressive since people steeped in the MH system are also immersed in themselves. I suppose the therapist here felt obligated to give her a dx by default. I’m very impressed with Marci’s desire to “not rely on the government” and get a job. This is so amazing.

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  • Bravo to Marci! How can we truly know what a person is like if they are diagnosed in captivity? I don’t think anyone should be diagnosed based on inpatient behavior, especially if they are enduring abuse, by staff or patients. Even animals will act differently if they are in cages. Birds pluck their feathers out. Rodents will eat their babies.

    As such, it does not, ā€œin the courtā€™s opinion, require inpatient attention. Many persons with the same attributes are found throughout society.ā€

    Sounds like the staff there at Elgin have bad morals, are unpleasant and abusive, and lack insight.

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  • We’re already doing it. I hold two jobs, working weekdays and Sundays. My weekday job is one I do outside my home. I have to put on a good impression no matter what, even if I have a bug I picked up at work. They call that “professionalism.” I don’t think “professionalism” has to be robotic, either. I have already filed a mandated report because I knew that was the right thing. Imagine if all ex-patients acted respectfully instead of the childish manners taught in the nuthouses. Imagine if all ex-patients inspired other people by example. Imagine if we all stood up for what we believe in. We would be leaders. Soon, there would be no more patients, no more suckers, no one would fall for it. Psych would crumble.

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  • This is scary indeed. What if this list were to be misused? Who can access the list? Your college? Your future employer or landlord? Can it be accessed if you are running for public office? Can the media access it? If you are being sued, or prosecuted for a possible crime, can being on the list work against you? Will they use it to detain people as supposedly violent criminals or monsters?

    Why don’t we all declare ourselves “monsters” and then see what happens. I got horns and a forked tail. How about you?

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  • I agree, Oldhead. I consider myself antipsych, but I am not a Scientologist. Some survivors and likely all scientologists are antipsych, as are other people (some ex-providers, many family members) Simple logic. These are just plain separate issues.

    I’m thinking though, that since the Sci clan shows up at these protests, some clarity might be needed, as some people likely have no clue there’s an antipsych movement aside from Sci

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  • My parents joined NAMI in the 1980s. This was mainly a support group. They said to me that I was compliant and that most parents complained of noncompliance. They felt that my situation wasn’t the same. Even in the 1980s he introduced me to the Vermont Liberation Organization, or something that sounded like that. This was just what it sounds like. They worked mostly by telephone since Vermont is mountainous and most people/patients couldn’t get around easily.

    I believe it was 1986 that they took me to see Dr. Pfeiffer. This likely cost them a lot, but since I was steeped in the brainwashing, I’d say I didn’t get much out of the appointment.

    My dad later rose to leadership in NAMI. Prozac had exploded on the scene but had not picked up the popularity it has today and the drug wasn’t yet passed out like candy. NAMI changed my dad. He had a chance to do a lot of research and attend conferences. He read On Our Own and saw Judi speak in person. He wanted me to learn about this “other way.” Then he started mentioning this bizarre thing called Human Rights. He kept talking about it, telling me I should learn about it. I figured, in my total naivete, that Human Rights meant something in history, like maybe the abolishing of slavery after the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Movement, and couldn’t possibly be relevant to me, here and now.

    My dad’s cancer was starting to return, but he took on a job as “monitor” in the state hospitals. He went to Westborough State, I recall. He spoke directly to the patients and asked them about human rights abuses. He was also highly instrumental in getting Metropolitan State (The Met), which was very near where I grew up in Lexington, closed down for good.

    Years after his death, my mom encouraged me to join her in the NAMI walks. The last year she asked me, I asked 1) if I could bring Puzzle, and 2) if I could run the walk instead of walking the walk. She said I should ask the organizers. If I recall correctly the organizers did not say, but implied, that most were far too sick (from their “treatments”) to be able to run it. This was an eye-opener to me. At the time, I was just shedding the unwanted “services” and “treatments” from my life.

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  • Hello Melody, I would love to know which educational institution put you through this. I have attended six different colleges, actually seven. In order of appearance, they are….UMass/Amherst, Bennington College, a defunct practical nursing school, Southern Vermont College (non-matriculating), Emerson College, Goddard College, and online school which was really a scam, at SNHU.

    I have never heard of such an inhumane, humiliating practice done at any of the schools I attended. At UMass, I believe starting sophomore year as music majors we had to go through “Juries” which was at the end of the semester. This was a chance to perform a piece in front of the faculty while they critiqued our playing. Students were not present. We were nervous about the juries, but nothing like what you describe happened there. I received my notes from them and they stressed the positive and also noted improvements. No one failed if they mucked up their juries.

    Bennington never had that. They didn’t have uniform standards for “passing” and each student was expected to create his or her own goals, and then, achieve them. The faculty were there to support these goals. Bennington was grade-free, meaning I could go as far as I wanted with my projects and was not limited by “grades.”

    Practical nursing school was nothing but memorization and no critical thinking. They didn’t like it when we thought outside the box. After the school ended (I never got that far) the class took a standardized practical nursing exam. I don’t remember anyone being raked over the coals as you describe.

    Emerson, in hindsight, was more conservative than they made themselves out to be. Faculty were required to give grades and with some courses, the administration required mid-terms and finals. Studying and working hard was a joy for me. I got straight A’s.

    At Goddard College, where I completed my graduate studies, I really learned how to teach, and more importantly, gained confidence and leadership skills. This was not a teaching program, that is, not a certification program, but the faculty were so good that I learned by example. We were required to teach our own classes and that experience was inspiring for me. The only time, to my recollection, that students felt pressured or nervous was right before final semester. The reason was that at the end of third semester we were expected to have a full draft of our manuscripts and we sent this in for approval for final semester. Not all students passed. Some were asked to repeat a semester. Sometimes this led to conflicts, but usually not. I passed. Final semester you really had to push yourself hard. I did. I loved it! At the end of final semester you pass in your manuscript again and two faculty members have to separately and independently approve your manuscript. Everyone in my class passed, all ten of us. Then at graduation we gave public readings and little speeches at the graduation ceremony.

    As for colleges that discriminate against gays, yes, they do! I applied to teach at a local college (Western Pennsylvania) which I will not name. During the application, they said I had to agree to Christian principles (I winced) and then they had me read their policies, which included banning all lesbian and homosexual activity. I stopped then and there. They auto-sent an email to me asking me to finish the application. I wrote right in the application, in a spot where my text would fit, that I cannot continue and refuse to work for a college that discriminates against the LGBTQ population. I sent that off. How could anyone, in good conscience, work there? I imagine this doesn’t happen in Massachusetts, where I am from, but maybe I’m wrong.

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  • I did not read the comments but I see there are many. I attended the first webinar. I noticed that I saw very few familiar names there, which is promising. Many were MH workers of various sorts from Oregon and had a lot of knowledge of Oregon-specific issues. They definitely reacted positively and seemed to be learning!

    I also felt that Bob Nikkel’s presentation was realistic because in many ways, their efforts did not succeed. I question how public health officials measure “health.” I took a public health class recently. This was an undergraduate class. These students were likely much younger and less experienced than me. They foolishly measured “health” by “number of doctor visits” and “percentage of people who go get vaccines.” Actually, I suspect this is the prevailing view, pushed by the media. So if I saw a psychiatrist twice a month and a therapist twice a week, I’d be more healthy? If I took a cocktail of blood pressure pills, cholesterol pills, and HRT, I’d be more healthy? I’d likely be dead! It looks like people just don’t get it.

    I would not say psychiatry has failed. Psychiatry is a dark shadow in our history, an abomination, an embarrassment.

    People wonder why, when the Nazis were rising in power in Germany, the story never reached most of the North American public. The reason is that the media did not publish these stories, or when they did, it was some tiny article in a remote corner of the newspapers. There was growing Antisemitic sentiment shared among the most powerful and richest influencers of the day. Their companies funded the papers through advertising.

    This is exactly what is happening now. They squelch our stories. They silence us in any way possible, even using illegal means to keep us out of the mainstream media. We continue to grow in numbers and are more successful at shouting loudly, but are dismissed as nutcases. When I explain to people that I “got better” because I got all MH “care” out of my life, they say, “Oh but you’re an exception.” I’m honestly tired of hearing that. I have known others who have done the same, ditched them all, and what’s cool is that EVENTUALLY, these folks flourish. It takes time to get through the grieving and financial wreckage.

    Psychiatry should be abolished. The drugs are only a side issue. Psychiatry is guilty of heavily influencing society on all levels, encouraging eugenics, that is, the separation of the supposedly sane and the supposedly insane. The media supports this idea, that we should be given “care,” which might include incarceration. That we should be put out of work and then, handed an embarrassment of an income from the State. That we should become property of the State, which now controls and monitors our finances and our living situation. We are rounded up and put in ghettos or prisons.

    Their “care” should be exposed for what it truly is. The Nazis lied about the showers and psychiatry is lying about what it does, too. We need to inform and enlighten the public so that psychiatric “care” can be stopped. Ended. We need to save our people from the fate we ourselves befell.

    A new era should begin, not based on hatred and fear of “other,” but based on love.

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  • I am not sure you are really aware of what this site and the activity you see here is all about. While I agree that sometimes, people might vent on here about their experiences or opinion, thereā€™s no place else we can safely do this. Many of us had traumatic reactions to our psych experience very specifically because when we got out we had nowhere to take our stories. Psych abuse is rarely recognized as a trauma. Where do we go? The therapist? Really. Try it! My therapist told me the unit I was on didnā€™t exist! My psychiatrist told me I was manic and told me she would drug me till I couldnā€™t write anymore. Your profession is responsible for countless deaths and billions in disability money and Medicare payments to hospitals that held us against our will. Of course we are angry. It is about time someone was!

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  • However, most are treated with a combination of the two. You can do therapy alone, or drugs alone, but what if you do both drugs and therapy?

    I’d guess as the drug use increases, which invariably it will, the quality of therapy decreases. You might be falling asleep or unable to concentrate on a therapy session. Or the whole session might consist of a sunscreen lecture. You might be so unmotivated that you didn’t shower before therapy, so the whole session focuses on getting you into the shower. I have had countless therapy sessions where I asked them why I was getting edema and muscle cramps. It was from kidney disease from lithium, but this was really waste. Why didn’t they just come out with it and tell me I had kidney disease, when undoubtedly, the KNEW all along?

    In the end, therapy didn’t just suck. It was a danger to me, and I got out.

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  • Oh, I should add something else. For those out there who may be a so-called mental health professionals, you can help out by ENDING the assumption that having a mental health degree means you’re an expert on life. You are NOT. You might, though be an expert on the inner corruption of your profession. This is what you should be talking about. You should not use your credentials to claim expertise on the human condition. Quit acting like gods.

    I have heard this from SOME mental health professionals, even some here, all too much. I have heard such idiocy as, “I know what causes eating disorders! Perfectionism!” Me: Oh, so it’s a character defect, is it? How about, instead, saying, “The way they treat people diagnosed with ED is horrible! The use of force and threats in the ED professions is shocking and a human rights violation.”

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  • Wow! That is so totally comprehensive and far-reaching that I say, as solution, we need to meet people where they are at. When dealing with people who have swallowed psychiatry’s Kool Aid, we need to be kind, not aggressive and not pushy. When I began in activism I was too pushy and this did not fare well because it had the opposite effect of what my aim was.

    For those of us who are survivors, we need to lead the way by living well. We need to show the world we are not the needy, helpless, lazy…oh, find me more adjectives, please….that they claimed we were. We are not useless. We are not societal waste. We are people who ran into bad luck. We were misheard or we were young and made bad decisions such as the decision to actually believe them. It is not our fault. We need to realize and convey: This was just ill-fortune.

    The whole idea of Bad Luck is unacceptable in our society because people think there has to be some scientific reasons why things happen. While of course there are scientific reasons, for instance, why cancer strikes. Yet it’s not true that the person had bad morals, bad karma, a bad attitude, bad self-care, or “did it to himself.”

    Now the same with ending up in a shrink’s office, which has no relation to inner suffering per se. This is not a moral failing. For me, it was youthful bad choice, one that was not well thought-out and did not take into effect the possible consequences of psychiatry due to my own ignorance and inexperience in life. For others, it was forced on them by misguided people, people who are ignorant and believe psychiatry’s myths.

    Recently I found myself broke due to bad luck. Now all that is over, but during those two months I was under the worst pressure even though I am working two jobs. I am dying to write about the experience and relate it to the survivor experience. I sure have a lot to say about Bad Luck and why society hates to hear this side of things.

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  • Vitas, I’m glad you shared all that. Much of what the hospital did was totally illegal. In fact, there was really so, so much that I think you’d agree, there’s no “five minute version” of the psych abuse story, not for any of us. In so many ways I wish there was as when we speak with attorneys they don’t want to hear the real version. It takes too long to explain the massive amount of harm. It took many calls for me to find an attorney. The closest I got was one who said my case would involve so much paperwork that he did not have time to do it. At least he agreed I had a case. The rest cut me off after I told them what diagnosis I had been given.

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  • Don, that’s why I want to sign up as fake patient. Just to get the inside dirt.

    My guess is they’ll keep it on the market. We don’t matter. Mostly, we’re out of work and expensive for taxpayers. Of course, psych caused this, but anyway I am sure they won’t change anything at all. They want to keep us this way, silenced and marginalized.

    I took Olanzapine and had to stop it after three days. This was back in 1997. It was intolerable.

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  • Krista, it never occurred to me when I was back in Massachusetts that the Medicaid listings were faked. I didn’t have a grasp on how the funding worked. I made roughly 200 calls trying to find a therapist after I had fired the abusive one I had. I found that the Medicaid list was totally useless and after I exhausted that, I called at random. The National Eating Disorders Association was also unhelpful, as both the local and national chapters failed to locate even one therapist who took both ‘care and ‘caid. I lived in Boston and all 200 turned me down before I got into the door. I was suffering from severe trauma from the abuse. I kept trying and trying and I remember hanging up the phone after one failed call after another and just crying. I had my lovely dog. I had no one else, and my supposed “friends” thought the abuse was my imagination.

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  • Who is going to agree to this? How much will they have to pay study participants to get them to comply? And how many will drop out before the 15 days are up?

    Olanzapine has been out for about 20 years now. So now they’re doing this study? So now they suspect the drug damages people?

    They won’t find much. They don’t dare keep normal human beings on the stuff any longer than 15 days. What about us? We’re not human. We don’t count.

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  • Thanks for sharing this. Resilience is something you learn by doing.

    I couldn’t get a “job” as peer specialist, either. I told them I didn’t believe in force. One mention of human rights and that did it.

    It’s okay, there are plenty of things I can do for a job. Thank goodness I don’t have the mentality that “peer support” is my only choice, given my background. Now that I have gotten far, far away from the mental health system, I can choose for myself. Pretty much anything that suits me.

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  • The term Mental Illness has no basis in reality. It is hate speech, designed to promote segregation and create a class division. Of course, the diagnoses are also hate speech, with the exception of “depression” so long as it is used to describe a stock market or weather event. Or mood. We used to say “depressed” which meant sad, down in the dumps, or just having a bad day. Wish it stayed that way instead of becoming one more fake disease.

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