Thursday, June 21, 2018

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

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  • Jclaude, I hope you see this. This is how you deal with the appointments with them. So I assume you “applied” for a potential psych or therapist. Here is what you say:

    “I’m sorry, I just got a call and my old aunt just passed away. I will have to be out of town for a few days and I’m not sure when I will be returning. I honestly do not know if I can make it to that appointment or not. Can I call you when I return?” Then, never call.

    Or, try this: “I’m sorry, I’m in a grocery store right now in a cashier line and I can’t discuss anything personal. Can I take down the number and call you?” Pretend you will, and don’t.

    Or, “I’m sorry, I just can’t get my calendar app to open right now. Can I call you right back?” Don’t call.

    Or, “I’m sorry, this is just such a terrible connection. I don’t know what is wrong with this phone but I just can’t understand you. Who did you say you were?” Hang up. Be careful and don’t sound “incompetent” or deaf or they’ll send the cops. Just make like the phone battery is dead.

    Tell them you are at work and your boss won’t let you take personal calls. Insist they call after 9pm or on Sunday.

    Tell them you’re with your dealer and have to keep it in airplane mode. Policy.

    Julie

  • Steve McC, YES! I’ve been saying that for ages. See a doctor and you are asking for trouble. You are asking for at least Appointment Addiction, dependency, and a huge waste of time.

    Recently, my brother suggested I see a dentist. I guess he doesn’t get it. With fewer years ahead of me than behind, do I want to waste hours, day after day, of precious life in a dentists’ chair, waste thousands of dollars that go where? Into his pocket! For what? For pearly whites? I want to spend the last few years or decades of life being an activist, not paying time and money (hard-earned, I must say!) to the dentist! That plus I am totally convinced that if I go to one, I will lose my precious teeth.

  • I found Johnny and Jane to be a super enlightening book as a person who has been traumatized by recent abuse while inpatient on a medical floor (I was over 50 years old when all that happened!). I learned that trauma is human and I wasn’t diseased. I learned that war is terrible. Human but our reactions to it are normal and we very much should be horrified by war, and we very much should be horrified by abuse in a hospital, and we should be horrified by any sort of injustice, we should be angry, even for a long, long time. Until they hear us. Until things change.

  • Like Darwin’s theories, Maslow’s theories have been misused.

    When I was 20 years old I was first introduced to “therapy” by my employer. I tried to be polite and said nothing, but I really felt disdain over his engagement in therapy. My reaction was, “Oh my god, no one would waste time in an office like that unless they were too rich and way too self-absorbed.”

    Sadly, three years later, I fell for therapy myself. I thought that going to the “poor people’s clinic” would be different. I didn’t want to be elitist, either.

  • Oh yes, you have to say, “No notifications.” Once you figure that out your phone conversations aren’t constantly interrupted. I do have a cell phone and the main reason is bus prediction. I am car-free, and have been for 30 years. Oddly, people have criticized me for this decision, saying that it is limiting and causes dependency, but actually, it frees me up. I refuse all rides from people and insist on taking the bus. I’ve had “dates” who were insulted by my self-sufficiency! Honestly, my idea of “date” does not include “You depend on your man for every little thing.” That sounds like the road to abuse or manipulation or just plain bad relationship as far as I am concerned. So I take the bus and get by on my own.

  • Streetphoto, read Paula’s book, which she linked to. You can find it in hard copy.

    Paula, it would be great if I could add They Say You’re Crazy to my Kindle collection. When will it get put into Kindle format, or some kind of downloadable format? When I left the country I had to leave behind some 700 books, sadly, and now I’m trying to not accumulate so many hard copy books. I don’t mind accumulating files on my kindle, though, as they are transportable. Knowledge is POWER.

    Read, you guys! Reading helps keep you out of the grip of psychiatry. Psych drugs and ECT impair your brain, impair the attention span, worsen concentration and make it hard to read for many people (even though some folks claim otherwise). Reading takes practice and you have to keep it up. If you do not read, your brain will get out of practice. If you insist on only listening to audiobooks or only watching TV and video (as they do on the wards (some wards ban books!), your brain will lose its ability to read text. If you insist on only reading short bits of text at a time, your brain will lose its ability to sit and read for long periods. But if you have patience, and work at it, you will develop a love of reading. Just try and try, and what you lost due to being out of practice will come back. And keep at it!

  • Please do not confuse generalize over “devices.” Not all devices are evil. There are devices that help quadriplegics get in and out of bed. Reading devices help people read books (such as Anatomy of an Epidemic, which might save them from psych drugs!). As for “screen time,” not all screen time is evil and horrible as the media now insists. “Social media” is not the same as just looking at a screen. Before my cataract surgery, the only way I could read and write, which was how I educated myself and learned about the history of our movement and read about world and local news, was by using the screen and reading off of it. I do not own a TV, microwave, stove, nor dishwasher nor clothes washer nor dryer. I am not on Facebook, and I feel that reading and writing via computer, the only way I can access text, is very different from gossip and bulling others via Facebook-like applications. I hate watching videos via YouTube and I do not listen to audiobooks as I don’t have the patience for them. Text reading is much faster. Text reading is a great way to actively use your brain, as is writing.

    Because I am computer savvy I was FINALLY able to secure a job after being jobless for decades. I had been putting in up to ten applications a week for a couple of years, and had almost given up hope.

  • Well, Lawrence, you know doctors as well as we do. Never talking means they talk in their spas and clubs. They might talk in the elevators, the halls in their huddles, thinking we patients, with no brains in our heads at all, aren’t capable of hearing what they are saying nor understanding.

    Funny, I am only now reading many of the key antipsych books, but just from spending all those years in the nuthouses, I had them pinned down simply by overhearing their shit. You know, all it takes is sticking a pair of headphones into your ears and keeping them shut off. They’ll talk, thinking you can’t hear them. Or sitting in an apparent daze in front of the tube, but really, listening to their damn chatter. Especially when the head nurse or supervisory doc walks in. Stay in the daze or pace by. You’ll hear all you need to know that’s fit to print in the best antipsych books. Guaranteed.

  • Streetphoto and Paula, This is very true! I am so grateful for whistleblowers like Paula J Caplan who spoke out after she witnessed what amounted to corruption that affects hundreds of thousands of people to this day, as an insider while a member of the DSM committee. Her courage to continue to speak out against their two-faced nonsense is exemplary.

    I hope someday the DSM members will be brought to trial as human rights criminals (not Paula, though!). They are not serving the pubic nor serving diagnosees. They are serving the drug companies. Is the elephant too big to be seen?

  • I agree, Paula. As example, for decades I was hoping that Binge Eating Disorder would be recognized in the DSM and I had no clue why it wasn’t. Now, suddenly, in 2013, it was! Why? Because they had a name brand drug for it. Suddenly, we have an epidemic of BED, as I describe in my article here in MIA, https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/02/is-binge-eating-disorder-made-disease/. The article, by the way, drew much controversy. It’s not that more than ever are binge eating. It’s that now, we are valid, bona fide diseased so now folks can go to “doctors” and not be called “fakers.” Trust me, for decades we were called by other diseases such as borderline or anxious or anything but! Now they’ll give us dangerous, expensive pills that might kill us. (If you want speed, which does indeed reduce your appetite, ask any anorexic, we’ve known about coffee for decades now. It is far safer than Vyvanse, if you’re gonna compare!) Either way, hocus pocus, diagnosis! Suddenly, we got real! Suddenly, it’s a disease, but I don’t think it means we suffer any more or less. It’s just that now you can make an appointment with a doctor for it and have a valid-sounding “mental disease.” You can get hooked on therapy even worse. Which some find “useful” I suppose.

    I suggest the following. Stop dieting! Know that binge eating is the natural, normal consequence of restrictive eating. It’s not abnormal to react that way after anorexia. It’s not a mental disease. After starvation, whether you chose to starve or not, it’s very normal to go on binges for years, even a decade before your body gets used to food being plentiful again. It does go away, and it doesn’t need therapizing, pills, nor “treatment.” In fact, too much therapy will likely sustain you in a binge eating state, since it will make you hyper-focused on the bingeing. This is why many find over-monitoring intrusive and counterproductive. Just let it gradually subside, and it will.

    Julie

  • R Whitaker, if you read my comment, and perhaps you did not, I was also targeted as a speaker. I was removed as a speaker from a high-powered conference after I’d been accepted to that conference. I qualified, yet someone “flagged” me. Their excuse for removing me as a speaker was that I was “not recovered” and that I’d “trigger” the attendees, assumedly due to my supposed stick thinness, which I am no longer, thank goodness. I am sure it was total bullshit. They didn’t want the likes of someone there who was going to question the psych slavery narrative.

    BTW, my blog, which I have kept 13 years now (and blog daily, anti-psych all the way), has been flagged numerous times, toolbar put on (basically hacked), and I have also had online bully commentary, including bullies that appeared to knock down my self-esteem, accuse me of being “severe borderline,” narcissist, and psychopath. Swear words used, etc. Links to porn sites even. I believe the bullies are hired and I can only guess who hired them. I sent some of the commentary to other activists who agreed the bullies were hired, and said that since I’m an adult, little can be done, and it’s barely possible to trace them.

  • The fact that four years went by before the flagging is telling. This is what happened to me regarding a speaking engagement I had already booked. I was accepted to speak at the NEDA/BEDA conference. This is a ritzy conference that was held in New York last November. I was accepted and told to sign up. I bought train tix to New York and booked a room. Months passed. One day, out of the blue, the BEDA chair wrote to me and said they were canceling me because they’d “heard about me.” They claimed I “wasn’t recovered” and that I would “trigger people at the conference.”

    Not exactly. I might inspire people at the conference to avoid ED treatment centers, to start up their own self-help groups, to trust their own body intuition, to end doctor dependence, and to do sensible drug tapers…but of course NEDA/BEDA is sponsored by treatment centers and drug companies. Again, I was thoroughly approved. I had a great idea for the presentation and I have presented before. They didn’t tell me the source of the flagging.

    I was hoping to apply to do a TED Talk. They can’t argue against real personal experience and real achievement. I want to do a TED Talk because I do well in front of audiences, because I tell an entertaining and engaging story, and because I know I can reach more people that way. I looked into motivational speaking but I find it’s very hard to get speaking engagements ordinarily. I have tried contacting my alma maters, where I paid tuition and did amazing academic work, and they have stated they don’t want me speaking there, given lame excuses, or they just don’t write back. I am thinking of starting in the high schools instead.

    BTW, would appreciate support from anyone out there. If you have connections, can you get me a speaking engagement? Willing to travel.

  • The only part of the article I don’t quite align with is that emphasis on achievement is a negative force. I was always focused on academic achievement and I was very good at music. Focusing on intellectual things was what helped me thrive in academia.

    Sadly, therapy overemphasized relationships. As a result of therapy I became needy and attached to certain people I met in the “milieu.” I was emotionally attached to the therapists. It was a sad change from the academician I once was. None of what therapy had to offer had anything do with using your thinking. You were supposed to “feel.” It seemed too mushy to me. Yet I became brainwashed by the “group hug” and stuffed animal play.

    Now, I have gone back to my former self. I stopped emphasizing friendship and am plowing ahead with “career” in the forefront of my mind. This is how I am. I am hard-working, achievement-oriented, prefer to work independently, can create my own goals, and I love to do creative things. I was meant to be like this.

    Happiness doesn’t depend on relationships anymore. People let me down far too many times. Humans are fickle and unreliable. Instead, if one happens by, that’s a good thing. If one leaves, I don’t fall apart over it.

    What’s cool is that now that I am not in therapy and not labeled, I am free to feel what I want without professional criticism. So what if my bf broke up with me due to his two-timing? Had I been in therapy, the idiot therapist would have said, “Oh, let’s process this,” or, “So now you are grieving. Let’s set up extra appointments to get you through this.” Fuck that.

    I don’t need therapy to create a mess for me when no mess exists. When my ex told me he was two-timing me and wanted to break up, I was laughing inside, cracking up, telling myself, “Either he just needs an excuse to end it because he has no guts to admit he’s scared of commitment, or he’s a damn idiot and I do not want him around.”

    Who needs therapy? I’m fine. That’s because I am in a secure place within myself and I don’t define happiness as another human being. Oh, I do center life around my dog. I do not think she centers her life around me, though. I think she thinks of food constantly, and the many ways she can trick me into spoiling her even more every day.

  • “A post on Facebook about cats or someone falling on their face might garner 50 “likes,” while a vulnerable and honest reflection of pain, need for connection, or hopelessness will tend to go ignored and result in lost followers.”

    That’s exactly how I lost all my friends when I was about 53 years old. I tried to ask my “friends” on Facebook (and other places) for help with my eating disorder and then, very quickly, they were not my friends anymore. This makes me so angry, even now. They even called me dangerous and said I should be locked up. One of them said I “was no longer a person.” Makes me sick.

    I have no clue how on earth I made it through 2011, 2012, and 2013 alive. They never realized I had a narcissistic therapist during that time, which was causing me to react by crying out for help. It takes a long, long time to get over therapy abuse. I got over it alone, no help from the unsupportive ex-friends.

  • This is likely because the therapists have no clue what really bad poverty is like. They are employed, after all. They have degrees. Most have a chance at making decent money, some end up with crap jobs, though.

    I have been on different ends of the economic spectrum and I find that what SomeoneElse is saying is true. I came from privilege and the therapists couldn’t relate to that. Later, I found they’d ask me stuff like, “Can’t you take a cab?” when of course the price was prohibitive.

    Therapy is mostly ineffective, simply because the therapist tends to assume the client thinks just like she does. The therapist assumes she is normal and healthy and the ideal for living. Bullshit.

  • Kelli, I have seen first-hand the horrors of ED “treatment” and I can only imagine what you went through in there. I was also abused by totally unnecessary 1:1 sitters. It was horrible. I was accused of suicidality when I was not, and repeatedly locked up and threatened. I was not a child, mostly over 50 when the worst of it happened. I would like to get in touch with you privately.

    Julie

  • Law on the inside: You have no rights. Even if they have “patient rights” laws as they do in Massachusetts, these laws are totally disregarded. All states have “treat the patient with respect” as that one is national. Bullshit, they will treat you however they feel like treating you. If you complain that it’s not respectful, they’ll gaslight you by saying, “So, how have we not been respectful, didn’t we do___ for you?” Then they go off on a list of how great they’ve been, how much they’ve bent over backwards for you, which they know is baloney, then call you ungrateful. Say what? Offered to change the TV channel? What about letting me pee and change my clothes without staring, eh?

  • What if thousands of people just stopped going to doctors? How often do we REALLY need a doc? How often do we have bones that need setting? How often does a person need a bullet removed, or get into a car accident? These are times you need a doctor. Not for scrapes, bruises, colds, and mostly if you get the flu a doc can do nothing anyway, nothing helpful.

    Our insurance system, especially ‘Care/’Caid, pays for everything with no copay. You can see a doctor for the stupidest things. ‘Caid covers ER trips and ambulance rides whether they were necessary or not. Just call and they come.

    I am speaking of my past self here. I went to them for anything. They were free, after all. Invariably, they never gave me decent care, never satisfied me in any way, never addressed the issues I came to them for. Once, I went to the ER after I’d been raped and I ended up with a dx of “common cold.” They even wasted tax dollars giving me an unnecessary, wasteful “breathing treatment.” Stupidity! Every time I went in there saying “Help me, I can’t seem to eat” they just sent me away with a dx of “anxiety.” Useless.

    I was force weighed at the doctor about once a week for about a year per order my abusive therapist, and every time, the PCP charged my insurance. I never had to pay a cent and wouldn’t have! I never understood the high charges for operating a doc office scale. $45. $60 even a few times. Why did it have to be a doc? Why not a nurse? Wouldn’t that be less burden to society? I’d love to total up the dollars and cents.

    I do not see them now. Never. I had the flu, and because I didn’t see them, I got over the flu very fast. I hurt my foot when I dropped something on it, and that ended up hurting very badly but it would have been misdiagnosed had I seen a doc. Two days later I was fine.

    Seeing doctors is hugely wasteful. They do nothing productive. They aren’t gods.

    So thousands of people could just stop going without consequence to them, but much consequence to the medicos and their institutions.

  • If you are locked up, doing a hunger strike makes sense. If you are not, no one’s going to care. Especially three-day hunger strikes. You will survive three days of not eating if you’re healthy. A month-long hunger strike would raise eyebrows, and also, get you incarcerated with a tube up your nose. I think, though, there are laws protecting prisoners who do hunger strikes. I’m not sure if they can be force-fed under law if they’re striking. Isn’t there an international ruling on that?

    Now if you aren’t healthy, say, if you are diabetic or have other serious condition, or are underweight, not eating will kill you and again, unless the hunger strike is organized you’re likely to be accused of suicidality, and your cause disregarded.

  • I’m sick to heck of the topic of drug withdrawal! And I’m sicker still of the claim that MD’s and PhD’s are “experts.” This is why I have kept my participation in MIA to a minimal lately. I’m sick of the topic of drug withdrawal because while I see it as important, overemphasizing it minimizes human rights, or rather, lack thereof, which IS the bigger picture. I’m so disgusted with the overfocus on this topic here (and elsewhere) that I want to quit outright.

  • Lavender, I see writing as communication, though the process is also a personal journey, but the point is, you are bringing the reader along for the ride. That, to me, is the focus, the ride. I don’t write for myself. I write to communicate what happened so that it might be prevented from reoccurring. This is my goal. I am always focused on helping others see the truth about the MH system, and helping others understand that they, too, might be better off if they walk away.

  • Especially since, as far as psychiatry goes, many can look up these pills and self-prescribe. And they do! Some 20 years ago I started noticing I could self-prescribe better than they could. I said nothing. Not then.

    Secondly, it’s been proven that compassion works better than therapy. Just the fact that the personality of the therapist is the most important factor, way beyond the methodology or amount of training.

    When I had acupuncture I remember the acupuncturist was really nice. That made the acupuncture work, though to this day I don’t know if anything else other than someone was nice to me mattered at that time.

  • Mad studies scholars may see it as something within everyone, but the mainstream sees it as an excuse to segregate and exclude, though a very arbitrary one. Madness is nonexistent in that the actual characteristics of one perceived as mad are not defined nor do they delineate Mad People at all. The difference, as far as I’m concerned, is that those perceived as Mad get their rights taken away. That’s societal, not personal.

  • Lawrence, For once I am glad to hear this from a psychiatrist. You forgot something. Disability. Psych diagnosis is easy to obtain. You barely have to fake anything. Just walk into the presence of a psych and tell him/her your past diagnosis, and he’s likely to believe it, whether you had that dx or not. He’ll write it in your record and now, you’re guaranteed a basic income for the next seven years, called “SSDI.”

    What a great idea for those dissatisfied with their jobs, or those who are in a field where work is scarce. Great for women who want to depend on their husbands and need an excuse to stay home. Great way to get out of the workplace if you were sexually harassed on the job, without dealing with the mess of reporting anyone. Great for artists of all types, as it’s an income instead of having to get a “day job.”

    I am guilty of the above, most of them, which is why I bring it up. I didn’t know how I would get a job as a music composer, and at my previous jobs I had been sexually harassed. Disability worked great for me, excusing me from the workplace, until I was abused in a hospital. Everything turned upside down for me after that.

  • I agree that many survivors need to publish under a pseudonym, for obvious reasons. I do not, but that’s only because there are five of me in every major city. So I am easily mixed up with others who have my same name, and whose to say if it’s the real me? I was well aware of this when I published in MIA under my real name, but if my name were something else, something less common-sounding, I would not want to use it.

  • I am thinking along the same lines. I am not uncomfortable with “lived experience” because to me it means you’ve been locked up and experienced psychiatric violence. That’s not even debatable, it is a fact. You were behind locked doors, drugged, shocked, or all of the above. I’m not sure what “mad” is, though. I do not define myself as “mad” at all. I don’t think anyone I know defines me that way. If they do, they aren’t my friends anymore.

  • To expect acceptance from everyone is unrealistic, considering how many people are out there.

    The other day I received negative feedback at my Toastmaster’s meeting. I was shocked at the amount of negative, and so little positive feedback. I had enough self-esteem to know that my speech was one of the best I have ever given, and also very different from what I usually give there. Why the negative feedback? At first i was dumbfounded.

    Harsh, negative feedback is not the norm for this meeting. However, I wondered very briefly if the speech I had given was simply a bad speech. I realized that the speech was excellent, but the venue was wrong. It was a mismatch. At Toastmasters they don’t expect “art” and “poetry.” They’d rather have a concrete, sappy story. Many of the nuances in the speech flew over people’s heads.

    So inside, I told myself I would not toss the speech, nor take the negative feedback very seriously. I would take the speech to a different audience, an artsy audience, maybe a poetry reading or some such thing, because really it was performance poetry, not a speech per se.

    The fact that I was able to shake off the harsh criticism and move past it says something about self-esteem. I couldn’t have done this during the couple of years after psychiatric abuse (abuse by therapist and abuse while inpatient). Psych abuse shakes you up very badly and makes you vulnerable.

    The fact that I handled the negative criticism well also says a lot about my fellow Toastmasters’ faith in me. They would not have given me this harsh feedback if they thought I would not have been able to “handle it,” or if they thought I was “sensitive” or that I’d crumble if I heard it. They knew I would not. They would not have given feedback like this to a rank beginner. They made it clear that they set the bar high for me. I took this as about the best compliment you could get. It was an amazing learning experience.

  • I experienced severe insomnia as a direct result of taking Effexor! This was back in 1999, summer. I had never had insomnia before and was shocked that I couldn’t sleep. Stopping Effexor solved the problem. Any other antidepressant either had no effect on sleep or caused insomnia. But of course the average shrink would say this is just “anecdotal evidence” and act all dismissive…..

  • Any excuse to keep a person longer on a psych ward, they will do it, especially if they can milk the insurance in the process. They cannot prove patients are ill and a patient cannot prove he is not.

    I, too, have seen overweight people accused of “poor self care” on psych wards. They’ll use any excuse. More likely they’ll accuse underweight people of that, though.

    I have been remembering times they kept people because they were too lazy to find a translator. For six or more extra weeks. Or incarcerated from the ER “just in case” simply due to lack of translator. That was such a crime.

  • We have to realize that pressure to be thin is relatively recent. The diet industry wasn’t that strong in the media and in our culture until the past couple of decades. Back when I was growing up I remember this diet aid called “Aydes.” I remember talking with my friends, “But why would anyone want that?” meaning why would anyone want to eat chocolate to lose weight. Dieting was rare in the 1960’s and 70’s, at least in my own culture and among my friends. It was unheard of in my family and I never really knew anyone growing up who went on a diet. Only vaguely. I don’t recall pressure in school, either. Not that kids didn’t get teased for everything under the sun…they did! Fat was just one of them. Now, it is different. People forget that this dieting thing in the media and the pressures are all new.

  • Yeah but if you have been through an ED, which may, or may not necessarily be visible, the skinny-shaming hits very hard. No one necessarily knows how “shaming” may affect another person, or whether it is perceived as shaming, either. Many times, a flippant comment about a person’s body that is intended as a compliment is really an insult, depending on context and other elements. ED
    “activists” say we should refrain from body-commenting altogether, to be on the safe side.

    For instance, the comment, “You look healthy,” when said to a person who has recently gained weight after being force-fed in an ED facility, will not be taken well! It very well will be seen as hurtful, translated as, “You gained weight in there, didn’t you?” This, I recall, was discussed at length among patients, who resented their families’ well-meaning comments on weight gain.

    We also had to deal with jealousy, believe it or not. Even people who were very very thin dealt with it. Much of this was from healthcare providers themselves, from our friends, even from relatives. You heard stories about sisters competing and even mother-daughter jealousy.

  • I’ve experienced discrimination as a heavy person and also was discrimination when I was underweight. I remember hearing microagressions, remarks about my weight that were totally uncalled for and rude. Like once I was in a thrift store and someone commented that I could “fit through the aisle.” Or various other rude comments. Since when is weight-based commentary only inappropriate if aimed at “fat people”?

  • I think most people WILL care what a cop thinks of them during a routine traffic stop. I think most will care what the HR person thinks of them during the job interview. You are likely going to care that they don’t think of you as a typical terrorist while you are walking through an airport. The day I locked myself out of the house, right after I moved here, the cops didn’t even ask me for identification. Why? Because they took one look and decided I “looked honest.” I’m just little ole me who stepped out with her dog. So yes, unless you are seriously drugged or very young, you do care. Only people rarely realize how much they care until they’re on the other side of the profiling fence.

  • Steve, Some, not all, women value these things. Only some women wear makeup and only some feel that shaving their legs is important. Only some feel that wearing glamorous clothing means beauty. Only some wear fancy jewelry or anything supposedly “sexy.”

    I am proud to say I don’t fit into that category and never did. I don’t know why. I never valued those things, never even spent time in front of the mirror, never paint my nails nor spend time shopping for frilly clothing. Clothes are for warmth and protection only, for practicality. I braid my hair because it’s the best way to keep it from tangling. To decorate the body seems wasteful, but that’s my own personal value and I realize other people think it’s great to play dress-up and I need to try to respect that more.

  • You didn’t cover weight gain from antipsychotic drugs. I have seen the fat acceptance ideas used as argument by therapists and psychs to stay on these drugs. “Yes, you are gaining weight but accept yourself! Keep taking the drugs, don’t complain, and love yourself anyway!” It’s a bullshit argument for complacency, for failing to take action.

    Any ideology can be used for good or bad. Psychiatry has used fat acceptance to support drugging people with Zyprexa and other similar drugs that cause diabetes and early death.

    On the other hand, fat acceptance has helped many people, when the ideology is used constructively.

    Is there any way to be notified of these sooner? It seems I always come in on the tail end and I never heard about the May 24th event as well.

  • I agree, Tina. The right to choose to use available health-related resources regardless of citizenship, locale, race, or economic status. The right to be free of being forced or coerced to partake in such.

    I even wonder about the flu shot. Many tell me it’s being pushed on them, and they barely have a chance to say no. I was alarmed when I had to fill out a form at the ophthalmologist’s office asking me if I’d had a flu shot and mammo. What does this have to do with cataract surgery? After my surgery is over, I’m sure I’ll have a chance to give feedback or ask questions (if not, I will anyway) and I hope to point out the imposition these questions pose to the patient. I suspect they’re trying to get these things onto your record and plan to “share” these things with any doctor that signs onto the online system.

    Last time I was at the eye doc the doctor insisted I get a primary care doctor. This, too, is an imposition, since I am not sick nor injured right now, but thankfully the folks in the office seem to have forgotten to continue to push that one on me.

    Health care should be a choice, not pushed on a person. And I do not like it when a doctor tells me how to manage my adult body. I am in charge of my body, not the medical industrial complex. I have the right to ask for a badly needed cataract surgery and have the right to be spared from all this rude pushiness.

    Also, in my opinion, the fact that I notice these things now, while in the past was blase about the obvious infractions on my rights, I credit to being off the drugs! I am no longer oblivious to human rights abuses. And darned proud of that, because I think this is the way I am meant to be.

  • Steve S, I concur. Also, many people who are in state of emotional distress might need or want “help” but the help they get, if it’s from the System, invariably is rarely what they are asking for.

    I remember each time I left a facility, or ended with a therapist, I asked myself, “Why do I feel such a terrible sense of disappointment?” But then, I learned I was not alone.

    I have known people who ended up in “therapy” for physical pain, due to joblessness, due to overall impoverished conditions, or because they’d been crime victims or subject to bad circumstances such as being hit by a drunk driver. Therapy leads to a psych diagnosis, and that is the gateway to drugging, marginalization, and worse.

    “But that is not what I asked for.” Sadly, I hear this too much.

  • I don’t understand. Right to refuse treatment whether one is ill/injured or not is a right. Right to illness? I don’t agree with the parallel to right to laziness. One does not choose to become ill, I hope! However, Right to Illness implies that a person deliberately contracts an illness, or has the right to do so. I feel that people who are ill with any malady, real or perceived, should be treated well! Health is not black or white, it is on a continuum.

    You have the choice to exercise or not. You can not exercise, that, certainly, is a right. I am not one to judge whether another person’s choices about their personal health matters are good choices or not. And why should medical people claim authority over another person’s personal health choices? However, they do, increasingly so.

  • Speaking of….I finally caved and went to get evaluated (again) for a cataract operation. This time when I filled out their required forms they had the nerve to ask me if I’d had a mammogram and flu shot! How is that relevant to cataract surgery? I answered “refuse to answer” since that was an option. I hope they’re just like any other doctor and they do not even read the forms I take the time to fill out. I tried to leave as much as possible blank, and wrote in sloppy handwriting….

  • Hello Will and All, I never saw this article when it came out. I started to write a similar article of my own recently and when I was done, decided that since I am not Will Hall, since I am not Sera Davidow, since I am not Ron Unger….and so on….I would not even get the article published here, so I didn’t bother to submit it.

    My premise was that we need to clean up our act and stop the hypocrisy within our own ranks. End the elitism, end the white dominance here, end the tiered system from which we came and run our Movement truly democratically. We need to stop giving exclusive vocal rights to the few, and open it all up instead to the many who have been harmed, to the many who have been affected and are demanding changes of all sorts.

    We also need to end the dominance of drug discussions and realize the larger picture, the elephant in the room. They’re still locking people up, they’re still diagnosing, they’re still name-calling and marginalizing anyone they see as mentally defective. This is eugenics, run by the wealthy and powerful. It is only going to continue.

    With the drug-only focus, we’re only picking at the tip of the iceberg. Instead, the whole damn iceberg has to be gone. While the drugs, the Topic of the Day, are visible and horrible, so is incarceration, so is forced/coerced unemployment, forced/coerced disability, and the resulting monetary impoverishment many of us face. We will never have a voice if we remain poor, unemployed, or worse. Drugs or none.

    Politicians do follow the money. Where’s ours? We don’t have any. Scientology succeeds more than we do. They have money.

    We can all end corruption in gov’t, but I suggest each of us do this on a local level, or county level. There are ways each of us can do our own investigation and get these thieving scoundrels out of office.

    Julie

  • Thanks, Jclaude. I was peer-pressured into believing I must have had bad parents since I began to hear horror stories in the therapy groups. I asked myself, “If I am here, then something must have gone on.” The group pressured me to “talk about it.” They assumed I had been abused and kept needling me to talk about child abuse that had never occurred. In my book, the memoir I published, I have a chapter on that exact moment I was pressured in group therapy. I re-created the scene (with names changed).

    What happened in the scene was odd. I was pressured by the other patients. They were expecting a child abuse horror story. If any horror story had happened to me, it was my eating disorder, that is, a dieting cycle I could not end, which had only started maybe 18 months prior to that moment.

    I was terrified to tell the group the truth. “Sorry, I have no child abuse horror stories to tell you. I don’t make the grade. I’m not good enough for you all. I do have embarrassing eating problems even though I might look okay to you.”

    I never said that. What came out that afternoon was an ear-piercing scream. Likely, I was screaming at the irony of the moment.

  • JC, I wish MIA would talk about this issue more.

    I am working on a new article for MIA about how some, certainly not all, workplaces are oppressive and reminiscent of the nuthouses in their hierarchical structure and overbearing “policies.” I went through a bad workplace situation in January so that inspired me to write it. (I have another job now that seems totally reasonable so far!)

  • Streetphoto: The mental health system isn’t just a pill mill. It’s a system of incarceration. It removes people from society or ghettoizes them, essentially de-voicing them or refusing to allow them to participate in society and denies them rights to make their own decisions. It removes them from the workforce, creating a tiered society, a society based on elitism, the haves who are supposedly capable who have rights, and those who are considered incapacitated, whose rights are taken away, sanctioned by laws in many countries. Drugs compound the matter, they are part of it, but they they aren’t the big picture.

  • Mary, this is their little-known “eating disorders protocol.” Any ED patient in their inpatient “program” is automatically restricted to 32 oz per day. They monitor this very carefully. They won’t allow soup nor tea. They also watched me in the bathroom even while I was toileting, totally illegal in MA, and insisted they’d have to watch me shower. They claimed I would drink the shower water. I refused to shower with someone watching. I was very very thin then. I became desperate for water within a very short time. I begged and begged. Pleaded with them. I realized I would likely become dangerously dehydrated as I’d been upon admission if this continued. My normal intake for over 30 years now has been at least six liters per day in 68 degree weather. In summer or if I am exercising, that could double. I do not get an electrolyte imbalance from drinking my usual amount of water.

    While I was there I noticed my face was beginning to have that “sunken in” appearance of dehydration. My eyes became scratchy, my lips cracked, my skin became dry. I had headaches which they claimed were from fluorescent lights. I told them that had never happened before. Then, they said it was “caffeine withdrawal” and allowed me a cup of coffee in addition to the four 8-oz bottles of water they allowed me. They denied I was suffering from what was essentially life-threatening to me, and very very scary and upsetting. They were also verbally and physically abusive to me, and they intentionally listened on to all my phone conversations, illegal in MA.

    I continued to ask, “Why? Why? Why are you limiting my water?” They repeated, “Protocol.” I have hated the word protocol ever since.

  • Wow….Maybe we should see this as a step back, or perhaps a challenge we have to face…but of course it’s not failure. After all, the dialogue is ongoing, not over.

    Tina, something was forwarded to me regarding making an appeal to the UN. I was literally tortured in a medical facility, Massachusetts General Hospital, via water deprivation in mid-2011. This was their “protocol,” so this is scary because it’s still ongoing, that is, they still have this universal strict “protocol” and they watch you so you cannot cheat. I believe it was pure stupidity that caused them to do this to me, but this was MGH! The greatest hospital in the USA! Stupidity and discrediting of the patient that would have killed me! I now suffer trauma due to my life having been threatened.

    In the mailing you had mentioned two choices and now, in light of this new development, what would you recommend I do? Two ways to bring this torture to the attention of the UN. I would love an investigation into this “program” that MGH does not even advertise. I would love for MGH to end their water restriction policy as they told me there was no medical reason for it whatsoever. Just a universal policy. I feel the policy poses a threat to patients because they do not make exception for those that may have diabetes insipidus, and the possibility is very real, even undiagnosed, as mine was undiagnosed 27 years (I was told I was “faking it”).

    I’ve been called psychotic over and over. And this really did happen. But you cannot argue when they call you crazy. It is senseless.

    I had anonymous hired online bullies for two years bullying me over this, too. And they even abused me in another hospital (2013) to try to silence me and get me locked up permanently.

  • I am surprised, but then again, not so surprised, that so few have commented here. We have been silenced too many times. When I say abuse, I only mean psychiatric abuse as I was not abused by my parents, and yet, since psychiatry refuses to admit it could possibly do harm, they insisted all those years that I must have had bad parents. The repeated accusations did terrible harm to my family, to my parents and siblings especially.

  • Thanks for addressing this. Thanks, Sera and Emily. I listened to the whole thing. Please, please do more on this! MIA does not address this topic enough. Too much about drugs, not enough about force and abuse in so-called “care.”

    The reason why this harm, the main harm of the System is so rarely addressed is that this harm is so obvious and so huge and so widespread that most people don’t even notice it.

    When I was back in the nuthouses I tried to talk about the parallels with forced care and sexual violence. Of course I was called psychotic just for speaking up. When I said that intubation was rape, I was told to be silent. When I suggested that forced catheterization was rape, I was told I was psychotic. When I said that being glared at while I ate was violating, I was called crazy. When I ended up traumatized from all that they did, I was told I “needed treatment.” How ironic.

    I agree that trauma-informed care is a myth because they don’t validate that “care” itself is often abusive, and therefore, not care at all.

    I wonder why they need a trigger warning. Do we get trigger warnings before we get locked up in hospitals?

    I’m going to be linking to this in my blog because it reflects exactly what I have been blogging about for the past 5-10 years or so. Only if Sera says it, maybe people will finally hear the message.

  • I would suggest the following: Establish a scholarship whereby self-directed students who able to work without close supervision can apply for a low-residency type academic study such I did at Goddard College where I did my graduate work. The low-residency setting allows students to remain living wherever they are, and travel twice a year to a conference where they work intensively together for about ten days. This way, students are not required to relocate.

    The other suggestion I would make would be to set up such a program in a university that is located in an area that is affordable to live. Of course, trends cannot be predicted, but as of now, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, etc, are insanely expensive compared to, say, the Appalachian region or parts of the South.

    Psych survivors are invariably so poor they/we cannot afford to live in any other locale than the most impoverished of areas. Because my current area is affordable, I am delighted with the people, the culture, the way of life, and the welcome I have received here.

    Why not set up an antipsych department at a junior college? As of now, I am currently planning out an antipsych class, likely an overview of principles, to teach at my local junior college. I plan to apply to do this for the Continuing Ed department. It’s my understanding that if the class is well-received I will be invited to run it again.

    Many continuing education centers independent of universities will welcome teachers willing to teach this subject with open arms. And variations thereof! “Writing by Psychiatric Survivors.” “Mad Poets Strike Again!” And so on.

  • Ria, I believe you. I stayed in touch with one of my buddies after I left. She reported to me that it got even worse there.

    I remember (this being 2011, January) the bathrooms were very bad. I personally cleaned the women’s bathroom daily. I had to clean piss off every toilet seat and sometimes even poop. This was wintertime and they never managed to get the window in there closed, so it was around 45 degrees in there and we had no clue how we’d shower. There was a “handicapped” bathroom but that was usually used by the unfortunate person whom they’d kept held in solitary, usually for about a week. As a psych ward it was about the worst overall I had seen in a while. The food was so bad people couldn’t touch the stuff. They got worried I would lose too much weight so they let me have Kosher meals, which were non-McLean, ordered in specially. The other patients were awfully nice that time. We knew damn well the staff were totally incompetent. I left there in far worse shape than I was in upon my arrival.

    My therapist had insisted I go to the ER. Why? I had a broken tooth and she insisted I needed a psych ward for that. I was told at McLean that my broken tooth was “anxiety from teeth-grinding at night” and they insisted I take Haldol for it. I was held three weeks, no dentist, told repeatedly it was my imagination and that the Haldol would cure it.

    By the time I had that tooth pulled it was so badly infected due to the delay that the dentist was worried about pulling it, but of course it was essential to come out. I was really sick afterward because it was so infected from the extraction. Not only that, the crack was visible with the naked eye. McLean had no excuse. I was not faking it.

  • If there is to be outright militant genocide of “mental defectives” a la Hitler, then guess who they’ll nab first? Activists. They’ll imprison us, torture us and kill us in the name of “treating” our rebellious personalities, ensuring that once we are silenced or dead they have free reign to kill off everyone else they don’t like.

    I fear it is starting already.

  • Ria, pretty much that sized them up. The night staff at McLean were terrible, I recall, one time I was there. This one lady came and brought pillows and blankets so she could sleep all night. This other one brought a textbook so he could study his school work. He ordered us to stay in our rooms until 6am. When I left my room to get a drink of water, which I truly needed for a medical condition, he ordered me back inside. The other patients came to my defense. I remember that rather clearly and with a sense of camaraderie toward the other inmates. I phoned some higher-up office and complained. The night staff were okay to me for the next few nights and then, went back to status quo.

    For future, if anyone out there is incarcerated: Don’t call the human rights office. Call the human resources office, that is, the HR office that is in charge of hiring and firing, and complain. That will get you some action. Don’t complain about bad bedside manner. Complain about patient abuse, rape, negligence, patient harm, sexual harassment, theft of your belongings or anything they really need to hear about. Sadly, all that is the usual stuff that happens on a psych ward.

  • Yes, Phoenix. Let this be a lesson to therapists to hear out what the patient has to say about former therapists! It shouldn’t be a taboo topic! And for godsakes, mandatory reporting, even if you are reporting on abuse done by a mental health professional, is the law! Mandatory reporting about abuse done in a mental hospital is the law! If you see something, say something! That is the law! Those who turned their backs on me have some serious reckoning to do.

  • Eric I am sad that you enjoyed your stay so much. No wonder they kept you four months. Who paid for your hotel stay?

    I used to be like that, too. That’s one of the many reasons I stayed a mental patient for so long, and didn’t get out for decades.

    I was devoted to it, like it was my destiny, my life’s purpose. God-given. Sacred. Only after three decades I realized their diagnoses (whether that meant role in the nuthouse or “schiz”) had no leg to stand on, and it all crumbled.

  • I agree, it’s nothing but psychobabble. Here’s what I would have preferred, but it never happened. Each time I switched therapists I wanted to tell the new one about the last one. I wanted to say what went horribly wrong. I was never allowed to say that. It was taboo. I hated that.

    Like I went to see this T in 2008 and I fired her after she ignored that I was raped. Yep, it flew right over her head. She literally did not notice that my neighbor had raped me. After I fired her and found another therapist, I wanted so badly to tell the next therapist, “Hey, this is what happened, this is why I fired her!” but that conversation never took place.

    The next therapist I struggled with at first but we came to a pretty good understanding. She got laid off. The next therapist was narcisstic and abusive.

    The one thing that would have been helpful at that point, 2012, would have been to talk about the therapy abuse. There were people in my life that could have been there for me. I was begging to talk about it, hoping that someone would listen. I went from therapist to therapist, hoping that someone would hear my story. Sadly, my psychiatrist refused to believe me and called me psychotic and I couldn’t get a single therapist to listen. I almost killed myself around mid-2012 as a result. I didn’t. Never took any pills. I tried to tell someone but I couldn’t get anyone to sit down with me and listen to my story. Around the beginning of 2013 a therapist tried to ask me out on a date. Great therapy. When I told my psychiatrist about him she told me I was psychotic, and that such therapists do not exist.

    I concluded that therapy is useless. I’m surprised I’m alive after all that. Can anyone blame me for not having contact with the bozos called MH professionals?

  • I had a narcissistic therapist. That was hell. The whole time I saw her was hell on earth. I remember leaving Maria’s office feeling like I wanted to kill myself and wondering why.

    Maria was controlling and abusive. She used to accuse me of vomiting over and over and I never vomited. She told me she was arranging for me to go to the State Hospital.

    After I was deprived of water at Massachusetts General Hospital (which is TORTURE under any law in any country!) she told me the “unit” was on did not exist and that I was totally psychotic and it never happened. Then she claimed this meant I needed the State Hospital even more. She pushed for it harder after that and threatened me at every appointment.

    That woman should not be licensed and in fact I think she should do prison time even though I don’t believe in prison really. I HATE WHAT SHE DID so much. I hate what she did to me and I hate what she did to all her patients because in my heart I know I was not the only one. One of these days she will have a suicide on her hands. I pray this doesn’t happen but I see it as inevitable and I pray she gets nailed for it. At least.

  • Yes, Chaya, that I observed also. This is one reason a “therapist” can sometimes be easier to talk to than a family member. The conversation is less “loaded” if you are talking to someone with less history behind her. Of course so can a friend or neutral person you meet online that you don’t have to pay $150 an hour to talk to.

    Rachel, I remember saying the same thing to myself. I thought it was very sad that no one would speak to me at the time, literally no one even though I tried so hard. So I was going to have to find some “therapist” and PAY that person who was going to hate talking to me, but she was being paid to sit there and if she could stand me, listen to me. I hated the thought of it, but I figured if I was going to have any spoken conversation at all it was going to have to someone I paid. Then, of course, I realized that therapy is nothing but prostitution! I cried every day during those years, crying out of the isolation I was stuck in and lack of spoken conversation.

  • Gabi, That is a funny question. I am proud to be alive in spite of psychiatry. I am alive because I refused it. I am alive because of noncompliance.

    My mom taught me something when I was a little kid. She said if you ever have a difficult problem to solve, you can solve it! Just put on your Thinking Cap. She said everyone has a Thinking Cap. But we have to remember, she said, to put it on.

    Psychiatry tells us we do not have Thinking Caps. Psychiatry tells us we have to rely on Them for all our needs. However, if we rely on them, we will fail, over and over and over. This is because they are unreliable. What happens is that we end up terribly disillusioned by psychiatry, and subsequently we might feel disappointed in humanity in general. But the beautiful thing is that we then might fall back on what is left–ourselves. Lo and behold, we might dust off our Thinking Caps.

    We all have one, and we can put it on and use it anytime. My mom was right! It costs nothing to use it. It is magical and amazing. Put it on and you can do just about anything.

  • The worst example of narcissistic behavior that I have seen recently was my therapist that I had between November 2010 and around March of 2012. I was total hell having her for a therapist. She had a Savior complex and was very controlling and manipulative. She regularly threatened me and falsely accused me of all kinds of things, whatever she felt like accusing me of. I am horrified that she still practices therapy.

    Still, on principle, I don’t call people narcissists. I say, “narcissistic behavior.” I don’t label others. Much as I hated Maria’s behavior I will not label her. I know in my heart that what she did was criminal. It was abuse. It was not a disease and I will not excuse her abuse by claiming it was a symptom of a disorder. She should not practice therapy until she can work out her control issues. I hope she reads this and wises up.

  • That’s why the CV sheet we have to sign when we are admitted is colored differently. Ever notice that? It’s not for OUR benefit. It’s for the junior staff to ensure they know which paper is the essential one we have to sign No Matter What. We have to be coerced into it No Matter What. So because they can’t be trusted to memorize “conditional voluntary” written on top of the page, the paper is colored differently. After all, cumulatively speaking, the staff are far less educated and less intelligent and far less insightful than the patients.

  • Gabi I recall when my late boyfriend believed he was a “federal agent” I went along with it. I listened to his entire fantasy about his work as an “agent” and all that that his “assignments” entailed. I kept on listening and if something sounded scary to me, I said so and asked him if he also felt scared or threatened. He said he did. We talked through all of it and I never said “That is not true.” I never tried to prove him wrong nor rationalize nor minimize anything he told me. ALL of what he said was based in reality, and actually much of it I never realized until years or even decades later. For instance, a lot sprung from his anger over my ECT. I was barely aware that I’d been damaged by it, but he was painfully aware that the person he had known may not come back from ECT fog (I did!).

    Another thing I perceived at the time as being unrealistic was his claim that the drugs were “poison.” He insisted they were “bad for him” and he did not want to take them. He spat them out and hid the spat-out pills from the staff. One day, he handed me a wad of them that he had spat out, saying, “These are poison and I will not take them!” I didn’t know what to do except walk away and toss them out in my trash.

    Now, well over a decade has passed and in my heart I know he knew exactly what he was talking about. He knew. Even after he finally agreed to take them, which he agreed under much pressure, he knew deep down they were killing him.