Saturday, August 18, 2018

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

Showing 100 of 1712 comments. Show all.

  • Yes, that is exactly what psychiatry does to creative people. It sabotages. You are a writer? Poof! We don’t allow that here. You compose music? Poof! What did you want to do that for, anyway? You’re a computer programmer? Isn’t that overly ambitious? Medical student? Why don’t you think more realistically! RN? Why don’t you volunteer in the flower shop? Anything they could say to insult us, demean us with their low expectations of us…they would do. They hated our genius and would do anything to deny it. This especially rang true for me in April 2013 when my psychiatrist told me she intended to drug me till I was incapable of writing. Why? Because my writing exposed human rights abuses at the institution she worked for, MGH, medical capital of Boston.

    I will never forget that. In a nutshell, that one appointment told me what the past three decades of psych had been all about. The one thing I knew was that I had to leave. I did.

  • If anything, his childhood was a springboard to his long and amazing career as entertainer and performer.

    I see my own life that way. I grew up as the shortest kid in the class, wore glasses, was Jewish, and a whole lot of other reasons why the other kids teased me. I certainly don’t look back on that with horror, but with amusement. It made me who I am, and I am not only proud of that, but thankful.

  • Damn this is beautifully written. I wish the part about his childhood was not included, though. I felt the description of Parkinson’s, that is, the present that he was dealing with, was plenty enough. I wish MIA would include more articles like this one. I enjoyed the empathetic tone of the writer toward the sufferer, his ability to put himself into the center of the protagnist’s shoes, to feel what he felt, or suggest what he may have felt, though we do not know. The idea of “mental illness” is so dismissive. It shuts down, it does not listen, it does not feel.

  • Actually, Steve, they thought “individualized treatment” meant giving everyone the precise same meal plan but allowing each person choices, say, a choice of type of cookies they wanted. Or a choice between cherry yogurt or vanilla. Huge variation and individualized treatment. Never mind a few of us might end up with an uncooked egg hard-boiled egg, just for variety’s sake. This, of course, led to some challenges since we were required to finish everything on our trays. What is the moral here? Everyone is different, right?

  • Hi Vanilla, I don’t know why you said that. Having been name-called for years, that is, called “not even human,” called “off her meds,” called, “Needs to be locked up,” called, “Someone needs to take her dog away and put her dog in a shelter,” called, “She used to be nice but now…” called, “Horrible,” called, “She’s paranoid about the meds,” called, “Why does she talk about rights all the time…” called, “I am afraid to talk to her…” called, “We need to lock our doors, don’t answer the phone because it might be her….” called “dangerous…” Do I need to go on? This is by people who once cared for me, by people who were friends of mine. This is how I was treated by those that once loved me. This is how I was seen by those that had cared for me like I was a sister, by those that had protected me and watched over me and seen me as a comrade. A club member, a pal. By those that later called the cops on me. For my protection. Claiming they were saving me. And themselves. In the name of some disease. So?

    Survivors have been silenced in other venues (such as the NYT) for years, while the NYT upholds the voices of spouses and parents, as we know. Never mind the Boston Globe and others. You get your chance with NAMI.

  • Oldhead, To address what you said, I could add that my mom paid thousands of dollars for my education, my bachelor’s degree and masters from esteemed colleges, that is, a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing (which I earned with high honors), and an MFA in Creative Writing. My masters degree was published not long after I graduated. These creative writing fields are not the same as journalism, rarely appreciated and pay so little we often lose money just to get published. However, it’s a skill, one I highly value, one that I have used over, first to keep me alive while incarcerated, then, to describe in my blog what happened, then, to blow the whistle when I didn’t know what else to do. Then, of course, I used the same skill to work through the trauma that resulted from the human rights abuses done to me. Now I keep writing to tell others to stay away from psych, and because to me it is a moral duty to keep writing and telling anyone whom I can reach. Why? Because I can.

    It does have a lot to do with education. That got paid for. I am even embarrassed to say so. But I love my mom, too.

  • Out, I think so, too. Someone figured out why pyramid schemes invariably fail. There’s a simple mathematical reasoning here. I researched this after I was involved in an employment scam earlier this year. How many people can you sucker into buying something overpriced and worthless? How many of your pals, soon to be ex-pals, did you coerce into it? And how many are now screaming their stories of financial ruin to the world?

    The lithium generation is either dead now or very sorry. The Prozac generation is aging, with early dementia clouding their thinking, but underneath, you bet they are pissed. If you were poly-drugged, your parents have outlived you, and their tragic story of your shortened life is hitting the news stands right now.

    If many more die, we will run out of burial space.

    It very well might not be long.

  • I will stop commenting on MIA as soon as the “likes” policy is in effect. I would suggest that anyone else do this, too. Please do continue to speak out as much as always, but do this outside of MIA commentary. Do it in your own blogs and on your own pages. You can always post a link to your commentary here. If it is your page, MIA can’t edit it, ban it, or try to moderate you. Do follow legal protocol…don’t plagiarize and don’t commit what would be legally considered defamation (but DO tell the truth!). I have been blogging unabashedly and rather prolifically for ages…now I will voicing my opinions and thoughts exclusively off MIA.

    And that’s that. Goodbye.

  • Okay, then, my solution is as follows. I will stop commenting here. Instead, I’ll comment in my own blog where I don’t have to worry about moderation and a popularity contest. I may, or may not, provide a link here. I am not leaving a comment knowing it will be liked or not liked, where it will stacked up with other comments and ranked, no matter where it ends up in the pile. I don’t want that. Yet I will still be able to comment if I wish. I would suggest anyone can do this via their Facebook or other pages they have.

  • Another thing. How can you compare to the NYT? That has a wider circulation and the chances of commenters knowing each other is very slim. Here, many of us know each other, or ran into one another in some other context outside of MIA. Those that stuck around a while know this well. You cannot compare. This is not just a forum where people voice their opinions, it is a community as well.

  • James Moore, how can you say I’m being unfair? Who is in power here? Who has the power to delete comments or ban someone? Ahem!

    I have not commented in the NYT. I commented once, an antipsych stance in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and my comments have been held for moderation ever since.

    Now talk about marginalization! How many of us have been banned from online communities because we stated the FACT that we were harmed by psych? Just saying that will cause you to lose friends, be called dangerous, called delusional and paranoid in online communities. I have lost so, so many friends who decided I was too delusional to deal with, or too disordered, or “off meds…” Whatever. Marginalized, blocked, silenced. Banned from speaking at a conference after I’d already been accepted. Kicked out, refused a blogging job that I was well-qualified for because they were “afraid the writing would cause people to avoid treatment.” And yet…this for telling the truth, nothing more. Banned because I choose to not have a therapist. You wanna hear about years and years of that? I can keep writing, you know.

  • James Moore, the “likes” system wrecks other community sites. Ask anyone who has been through bullying on Facebook. Facebook is junk because it turned into a popularity contest. It is not a safe place to say much of anything anymore except to show off a pic of your pet.

    Can you say which other sites use the “likes” system and it’s great and wonderful, adding to the site in some fashion?

    As a professional writer, I can say with confidence that boiling down your opinion to a black-and-white like or dislike can’t possibly reflect with any accuracy your real thoughts on the piece. Even a “rating” via number of stars is too much of a generalization.

    This is what’s going to happen. People will “like” the comments made by people they like or people they’re friends with. The comments made by people who just so happen to have writing ability (based on education…which many are deprived of…). Comments written by those who do not have access to a full-size keyboard, or are at a library or in a facility where time is limited and comments are written fast with no chance to edit or proofread will get fewer likes. This is not fair!

    And i’m sitting here writing from home on a full-sized keyboard….so I realize this.

    Why is MIA marginalizing those who are already marginalized? Ahhh…the segregation and stratification continues…..

  • No way James Moore! Other online communities are full of popularity contests, hurt feelings, and bullying. Why imitate what they’re doing wrong, just because they’re doing it? The likes part about Facebook is one of the main reasons I quit.

    I have been bullied on Facebook more than once, on the regular area and also in specialized areas (pages and various clubs on there).

    MIA is the one place where I haven’t been bullied. MIA is the one place where I can say “this event happened” and I won’t be called dangerous or paranoid just for telling the truth, here and in my personal blog.

    If you go forward with the likes plan, you are silencing those of us who need a place to talk about what happened.

    Please stop this idea in its tracks. PLEASE!

  • Absolutely, s_randolph. How does one define force? If you lie to a person, which I saw more often than not, deceive them into conceding to hospitalization, is that force? I think so! I have heard professionals say to patients, “Only a few days,” or heard patients tell me their therapists or doctors said that. This was not usually the case. Some stayed a month or longer. I knew many who planned for those “few days” and ended up forced out of work and out of their homes.

    What about the deceptive advertising these places spew out. The pictures of the “compassionate” nurses and people being listened to. This rarely pans out as the ads state. Why don’t these ads say something like….

    Don’t worry, we will keep you so long as we profit. If we decide we don’t like you, we don’t discriminate here…you get the same restraints, isolation, and needles as anyone else. You can be assured that even though you are not a cookie, you will get cookie-cutter treatment that is state-of-the-art. Even our shock machines are state-of-the-art, the authentic replica of machines they had decades ago, like an old antique car. Makes us lots of money (but HIPAA keeps us from revealing just how much). You may or may not have diabetes, but we’ll continue to compare you to a diabetic even though it’s totally illogical. No fear, you will get diabetes anyway from our drugs…so it’s all logical…sorta…and cozy here. Check out our lovely grounds here…these are to impress the visitors, as you’re not likely to see daylight for a long time. Maybe you can get a window view…if you can see between the thick bars we put there to keep the place secure…after all, psych doesn’t want you getting out and revealing to the world that you’re better off without us.

  • knowledge I witnessed a man being sent away, right in front of me, who said over and over he was “going to kill himself” right away, he said. The man was begging to be hospitalized. They told him he wasn’t sick enough. This was total bullshit, of course.

    I don’t know the real reason. Was he a frequent flyer and maybe they had stopped listening a while back? Was this insurance? I actually don’t think insurance was the issue. I suspect it was the fact that he was a wheelchair user. That presented a challenge for local “units” as many, as I recall back in Boston, were not wheelchair accessible at all or presented a safety risk…for the unit, of course. Or maybe they were afraid of an ADA-style legal issue. This poor guy was literally bawling on his way out. Shit.

    I don’t think such places are good for anyone, including the staff, but as it was his only option (that he could ascertain) they should have honored his request. The options, out of their grab bag of traditional “treatment,” (such as weekly therapy with a brand new T he had never met before, and that appt wasn’t for a number of days…) were not going to work, which he pointed out, due to the immediacy of the situation. Back then, there were no peer respites around, either. He just didn’t know what to do.

    Likely he really needed someone to listen, which occasionally happens in lockup, not often, though. That instead of the degrading treatment he got at that ER. Boston Medical. 2011, July. Saw it all.

    My fear at that time was that he would kill himself just to prove what assholes they were, or to prove them wrong. I wonder if he is reading here. I hope he is. Hello, dude!

  • Many do not, never had the chance to learn, or were told they were incapable or were discouraged in some way.

    When I was at a clubhouse back in fall of 1997, which lasted all of maybe three days, I asked if I could use the computer and teach myself. They told me I wasn’t “ready.”

    In December of that same year, I managed to get a computer that could get online, that had Win95. I taught myself everything I know about computers. Now I have a job working as independent contractor that requires extensive computer skills. Not ready? Geez.

  • Another thing….Many simply do not have time to comment. Was this taken into account? If you have two jobs and three kids will you be addicted to MIA the way some people seem to be? If you are stuck in day treatment all day, do you have time to comment? What about those who never learned to type, or find typing, or writing itself, too difficult to deal with?

    As one who is keyboard-verbose I am well aware that not everyone is.

  • I want to thank MIA for improving the search function, as I would agree that it doesn’t pull up the articles I need even though I know they are there!

    I already have the ability to not read comments! We all do! It’s called x-ing out the tab entirely, or just scrolling to the bottom of the comments and adding my own. I do this when there are a hundred comments and I cannot, realistically, read every single one! I tend to avoid those with too many ALL CAPS, or ones that just go on and on, which there aren’t too many.

    I enjoy comments that talk about dark subjects, or, in other forums, might be labeled “negative.” Negativity-bashing is bullshit, because most of the bare, naked truth about psych and lockup certainly stinks. Much of our best and most powerful literature is dark and wry, or doesn’t end happily. I love humorous comments, too. I also love hearing how people escape or turn their lives around post-psych.

  • Pleb, That has been my experience submitting to MIA also. You are not alone. I have sent articles that sat unresponded to for a month, then, when I inquired, somehow, interestingly, whatever I sent was mysterious “lost.” Really? Once or twice is believable but the number of times this happened makes me wonder. So I resent. That happened more often than not.

    Now if I were a MH professional, or ran some well-known organization, or was lucky enough to win some huge grant….Then of course things would be different.

    I think MIA should have a blind submissions policy. This is the best way to be non-discriminatory. Blind submissions means that the editors do not know the name of the person who sent the piece in when they receive it. They will not know the social rank (ahem!) either. Almost all online mags have this policy, and in fact, they tend to be rather strict about that. I agree with whoever said there’s an elite crowd here. I don’t think it’s right at all.

    Some will comment more than others. Also, some are more expressive at the keyboard than others. Some have only cellular phones to type on, and this will limit their ability to comment. Some access this site from libraries, where, sometimes, computer time is limited. A few access it from facilities, with staff glaring at them the whole time (Hey, what site is that?…).

    I happen to write a lot. This is just the way I am, and also, I type very fast. I wish I could type faster so I could get more words out every day. If I could spend a weekend not sleeping and only writing, I would do that, gladly, but it’s not practically feasible. Working full-time now at a job doesn’t stop me from writing, thank goodness! Hope my ex-shrink isn’t reading this!

  • Kindred, I agree. I am less likely to comment here if it turns into a popularity contest a la Facebook. Disgusting! Terrible!

    Say what? Ranked? Oh, like some people are naturally superior to others….Really? Then what is that saying about anyone else? Isn’t that exactly what dx does? Those who don’t win the popularity contest are going to be thus silenced, because they lose visibilty. This is bullshit.

    If any survivors (or those that love them) reading this want to have their voices heard regarding the use of forced psychiatry (this includes “hospitalization,” drugging, anything one was deceptively coerced into, shock, etc) please submit to the anthology, Forced Psychiatry. I am taking submissions now.

    I do not take research papers. There are plenty of those to go around. I am looking for vivid details and description. Does not have to have a “happy ending.”

    Check out the site:

    Works that are accepted will be compiled into a published book.

    No outside funding! No grants, no paid publicists, no hidden agenda, etc. Just me trying to do good in the world and give people a voice.

  • Another sad example of how these professionals assume they have power to diagnose and determine some are mentally inferior. Note the language used in the quoted passages, the use of “we” when describing those who diagnose.

    “We,” therefore, does not refer to the entire human population, but a group of elites who claim they know better than the rest of humanity. Apparently they hold so much power that they are the authorities on who is suffering and who isn’t. Baloney.

  • I don’t understand why the writer of this article, who holds a PhD, thinks he is such an authority that he can call his male protagonist “healthy” and his female protagonist “maladaptive.” Whereas I don’t particularly worry which example was male and which was female (though I did take note of this!), I am concerned that a PhD’ed person seems wield such power over others, in particular, children and their families. Diagnosing is the act of proclaiming, YOU ARE something. “You, Miss, are maladaptive and you, Sir, are okay.” Thus, this determination, made by a PhD who has seized power by diagnosing, separates the okay from the not-okay, splitting off a group of not-okays so that they can be “treated,” marginalized, ghettoized, imprisoned, or killed.

    I am yet one more person who was labeled manic every time I aced a class, every time I was working hard on a college project, during National Novel Writing Month, and pretty much any time the MH professional found it convenient. They pathologized high intelligence, love of academics, desire to get somewhere in life, and any form of activism as a disease. Why? They had to uphold the label I had already been given. They had to uphold their own power. Some of them, I believe, regularly did this now and then at random just so that they stay in business.

    Last time I saw any type of doctor was right after my cataract surgery. After I explained to him how I had to adapt to being able to see again, which I must add is not at all easy, he smiled at me and said, “You have just the right attitude. Keep it up.”

    Had a doctor, even an eye doctor, who saw “bipolar” in my chart examined me at that time, under the exact same circumstances, he would have demeaned me as “overly ambitious” and cautioned me to take things one step at a time.

  • Steve, I wrote to you privately.

    I, for one, steer away from generalizations, although I am guilty of doing it just like many others. A sweeping generalization undermines the credibility of the speaker. If you say, “Everyone,” you’d better mean it, or someone who isn’t included in that “everyone” won’t be able to relate. If you say, “All psychiatrists are evil,” to me, that sounds far less credible than giving specific examples of gruesome incidents you witnessed. Using description and vivid, gripping detail (without exaggeration) is more powerful than a generalization, and reaches people where it matters — right in their hearts.

  • Cults and psychiatry use the exact same brainwashing techniques. When I encountered the Moonies I was traveling alone far away from where I lived. Isolation is a very effective technique. The Moonies took us away from society and we stayed a summer-camp-type situation. You really couldn’t leave on your own because it was out in the country on deserted roads. You cannot leave a nuthouse, either. You are separated from family and friends and they don’t let you freely communicate with the outside world.

    Real brainwashing coerces using kindness. The Moonies claimed the “loved” me but really they had another agenda. Psych, namely therapists, act all nice but their idea is to “change the patient’s thinking.” We are coerced into higher levels of “care” via kindness and deception. We may be told “It’s only a few days,” which is bullshit, or told, “Don’t worry, you are a voluntary patient,” and you aren’t. You are pampered and told how badly you “deserve a rest.”

    Conversion is the goal in both situations, that is, replacing the victim’s current ideology with a new one, theirs. After that, it’s a real feat to undo it.

  • ADHD diagnosed people are used to the stimulants, and have built a tolerance. There’s the difference, since non-ADHD students use them only occasionally, so they would be more sensitive to them.

    According to a personal trainer I knew, some runners benefit from drinking a small amount of coffee prior to a run. You would have to time it just right. What happens is that while running, the caffeine level will suddenly drop, which they term “coffee poop-out.” I experienced it once and then, learned. The other drawback to drinking coffee, for some runners, is that it can cause a stomach ache.

    The trainer told me to drink it only if I find it beneficial, but not too early prior to running. I find that I really have to start my run within 45 minutes or it is going to poop out. I can take it or leave it these days.

    To coffee or not to coffee is a major debate among runners, just like the argument over stretching. I do not do the latter, since either before or after running I am likely to overstretch a muscle.

    That said, Runner’s High beats stimulants any day!

  • Paula Caplan made a great point. I would love to explore this study further, but I ask, what happens if you perceive yourself as mentally ill, that is, if you believe the doctors, or your family is totally convinced? You might then accept the disabled label, you are forced into unemployment for life and poverty, and a lifetime (a shortened one!) of drugging and maybe even shock.

    My hope is to reach as many people as possible, in whatever stage of that diagnosis they are in, and help them turn around. This may mean convincing someone to cancel the very first mental health appointment. If we are lucky. Most, though, are married to the System in some way and it’s tough to help them see beyond it.

    There’s an interesting tidbit in this story about seeing your doctor as incompetent. You may also get bad treatment at the hands of “staff,” and start to doubt that they are really the gods they make themselves out to be. This is only the beginning.

    There is a danger, though, inherent in this because getting a doc who is obviously incompetent might lead to your ending up in the hands of one you consider “better.” The good doc/bad doc mentality is pervasive throughout MH and Medicine in general. So many times I heard, “That one was bad…go to this one instead!” So many people I knew thought that they only needed a “better doc” or “better hospital.” I was like that for years, or more likely, decades. It was like waiting for Elijah the Prophet who never shows up at the Seder. Oh well, next year, if we keep on singing the same song. (I think the ritual is built in to the Seder to make a point.)

  • Are you kidding, Shaun? Those groups they claimed were therapy were nothing but filling in grade-school level worksheets. Discussion was minimal. The lazy staff person handed out worksheets, we filled them in, and everyone read their responses. That was the more advanced groups. Bingo was just one level under that. Art therapy insulted the patients who were truly talented at art. You bet “writing group” insulted me. I’d usually go off in a corner and scribble off like ten pages. They never let me read anything I wrote, and if I squeezed in the words (really fast before I got interrupted again…) they’d kick me out of group.

    Oh, speaking of that, I’d write for the psychiatrist, too. I worked very hard at this, then, I’d walk into the psychiatrist meeting and he’d refuse to read anything I wrote. Or he’d insult me by saying, “Sum it up in one sentence.” I can’t tell you how furious that made me, but they did it many times.

    The worst was when I had about six pages to show the psychiatrist. He literally pretended to read them. I knew he wasn’t. As he read, he tossed each page onto the floor, just to let me know how superior he was.

  • Shaun, if anyone tells their healthcare provider, or psychiatrist, or therapist that they have a plan to kill themselves, they clearly want to be hospitalized. Talking about suicide is the most effective way to get admitted. That way, the person gets a warm place to stay where they don’t pay a heating bill, hot showers with no water bill, and free food and you don’t even have to apply for food stamps to get it. You can easily and quickly get away from the roommates you don’t like, or escape from abusive spouse or parents, or get some relief from caring for your kids. You can even use the heck out of the ADA and get excused from work. Not only that, taxpayers pay for your holiday.

    Only invariably you get there and realize maybe you shouldn’t have opened your trap after all. You realize you could have gotten your needs met more efficiently by staying out. Now what?

    There are no voluntary patients on a psych ward. The ward doors are locked and we are trapped in there. None of the staff give a shit who is deluded into thinking they are voluntary and who is not. You are all slaves now and they can do what they want, or do nothing, and get paid for it.

    Now if you really want to do yourself in, in this day and age you keep your plans to yourself. People know better. We may be called “patients” but we aren’t stupid.

    One alternative, of course, is not to make plans at all but just decide and do it very fast before anyone can stop you. Many fail… in fact I think most do. They end up imprisoned and treated like total shit. You don’t want that, as if that happens it’ll wreck your life.

    Given that all this is extremely messy business, and for me, ending my life means I can’t write anymore (some might be thrilled about that!) and I won’t be able to do activism, I choose to live. And live every day as if there’s no tomorrow. Life is precious. There’s no debate there, not in my mind. No debate.

  • Thank you, Dr. McLaren, for this witty article! I loved reading it and chuckle over it remembering the decades I spent drinking the Kool Aid as a patient. I think there’s one more reason psychiatry continues to believe the lies in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their invalidity.

    Admitting you are wrong means you grieve. You grieve for the years you spent devoted to the lie. You grieve for your misguided career. You grieve for the money, time, and energy you put forth upholding that lie.

    Psychs are like anyone else. Humans avoid painful feelings on the whole. I think they, and their subservient patients, refuse to admit the truth because the idea of such grave loss terrifies them.

    To say, “I was wrong,” is virtuous indeed, but few do. We are trained by our society to refuse to apologize. Apology often means you admit you were wrong or made an error.

    When I had my antipsych turnaround, the first change i noticed was that I began to willingly and joyfully apologize. I noticed, though, how often others fail to do so. I did this because I was already down the grieving path. Most stay where it is safe and cozy, and never take that leap.

    I was in that safe and cozy place of believing the lies until finally about six years ago I was pushed into the grieving state by extreme torture on a psych ward (water deprivation). After that, the road was rocky indeed, a major struggle to regain the person I really am. I consider myself lucky…but lucky in spite of psychiatry. Because of their abuse, I left them behind and started a new life.

    For psychiatrists, individual ones, to break away, it means starting life over. Are they prepared to do this? Some make the leap to freedom. Most, sadly, do not.

  • Rachel my kidneys are damaged, too. I was told I didn’t have much time left years ago. It turned out to be false…I don’t know what your GFR is but mine is undoubtedly very close to 15, and has been for a while. I manage it totally on my own. I went our running yesterday and am not in “pain.” Please contact me if you are interested in learning how to manage it. The medical establishment already knows this, and has published studies proving kidney disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence, that dialysis isn’t even necessary and can be harmful, but they claim you have to or you will die. It’s a lie! Nephrologists continue to make doomsday assessments of patients and spread the cult of hopelessness. Not only that, from what I recall, mine never made any helpful recommendations to me. I figured out how to manage kidney disease on my own, in spite of the medicos.

  • Long before my antipsych awakening, I was interviewing with a doctor who said to me, “I see you are schizoaffective, but I note you do not have ‘flat affect.'”

    I then told the shrink that according to my own personal observation, the drugs we are given caused the “flat affect.”

    He paused, then said, “Likely you are right about that.” He then noted I “tolerated” the drugs well, and said that was why I didn’t have “flat affect.”

    I look back and laugh, but also I realize that this “toleration” led to insane doses of drugs and much harm to me.

    I agree that the brain heals. Or can heal, but doesn’t heal for everyone. For many, it doesn’t heal fast enough. I have studied this and as of yet, they don’t know why some brains heal faster. It is not an “attitude problem,” either. They just don’t know and cannot predict. These drugs also cause damage to the other organs, including the heart and endocrine system. Eventually, the damage is systemic.

    I resent the lofty attitude that some people have who claim such healing is easy, or simple, or that there’s one universal answer that will save the world. I resent the superiority attitude of some of those who have healed. It doesn’t help those who are still struggling to hear others boast about it.

    I figure all I can do is share my own experience, but I also consider myself extremely lucky. If I ever gave off the impression that healing in all areas was easy, or a breeze, then someone heard me wrong.

  • Perfectionism is not a human trait. It is a cultural construct. In fact, the notion of perfectionism has changed over the past 50 years.

    My dad was a self-professed perfectionist. This is not mean “driven” nor any expectation to be “perfect.” He was born in 1924. He was a hard-working student, likely gifted in math and science, and when he worked he paid close attention to detail. Because of this, he was valued at his workplace and give promotions and even given tuition to get a second master’s degree. He died in 1997.

    By 21st Century standards, my dad was not a perfectionist by any means. If we got bad grades, he accepted it and gently encouraged us. If he himself made a mistake, which, being human, of course he did, just the same as any other human, he didn’t berate himself nor get overly frustrated.

    Given the messy state of my childhood bedroom, piled high with clothes by the door to ensure my own privacy, my parents were very tolerant indeed and rarely said anything. Never mind my tangled hair, which, to this day, won’t stay tidy for more than five minutes.

    My dad said perfectionism was a good thing. It helped him get his work done. I look back and remember him as emotionally stable (whatever that means) and never had a reason to see a shrink.

    Who decides who is a perfectionist and who is not? Psychiatry. Interestingly, for much of my life, I’d hear the following from MH professionals: “You have an eating disorder, therefore, you must be a perfectionist.” I even heard that perfectionism causes ED, or that it’s 100% a universal predictor of ED. And yet, I know many who were told they were perfectionists and this, sadly, caused perfectionism due to the looping effect.

    Getting straight A’s, for me, was not due to perfectionism. It was because I loved school and took to it. I love learning, love the classroom, and, though I am embarrassed to admit it, I’m smart, too.

    Speaking of intelligence, I read recently that intelligent or gifted children (I hesitate to use that term, actually) are often pressured during childhood to hide intelligence or even feel ashamed or embarrassed. I found this rung true for me. I sure felt that way when I was a kid, and during adulthood (outside of academia) the shame only continued. My intelligence wasn’t wanted in society and was never valued until recently. Psychiatry dumbs people down, not only by drugs, but primarily because they silence our brilliance and call it a disease.

  • Electroshock IS abuse. Locking up a person IS abuse. Thing is, we are trained to believe it isn’t. We are trained via our diagnoses to believe it is treatment, when logic and common sense (and the law, to some extent) tell us otherwise. Like say, the Bill of Rights. I can only conclude that once you are a patient you stop believing you are truly 100% human, but a subspecies that has no rights.

  • Rasselux, I think we’re all aware of brain injuries beyond drugs. I can think of a few. Electroshock. Anyurisms (sp?). Stroke. Atherosclerosis. Tumor. Trauma to the skull/head. MS I believe is a brain thing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Fluid buildup. Diabetic coma can damage the brain. Seizures. These may be related, or not related, to psych drugs.

  • Psychiatry goes against my basic upbringing, which was to be as autonomous and self-reliant as possible. We were Jewish. We went hiking, learned survival skills, camped in the wilderness, learned to ski, and to steer a canoe, and I carry a knapsack to this day. Psychiatry goes against the post-Holocaust Jewish culture in which I was raised, and my basic agnosticism, which oddly, it seems I must have been born and blessed with.

  • Interestingly, people are built better than cars. Cars do not have decision-making power, nor do they grow as they age, nor do they have the wisdom and insight that humans have. They don’t reason. They cannot take care of themselves. Do they change their own oil? No. People refuel themselves, bathe themselves, and don’t need “tuneups” despite what the medical community claims.

  • Hi Amy, it is easy to get those “hospitalizations” off your record. Relocate (out of state is best) and DO NOT SHARE your old records. Don’t tell medical professionals your history. Lie and say you never saw a shrink. Don’t tell your relatives who your doctor is, if you have one, and don’t tell your doctor (if you have one) who your family is, so they won’t be contacted. Don’t put your doctor’s name on your refrigerator! Don’t share your pharmacy records. Minimize contact with Western Med. Don’t call yourself sick and don’t borrow diseases either. I wrote a whole book on this technique, which many have used successfully.

  • Amy, Redesign torture, maybe with newer, better, or cheaper tortures, and spiff up the prisons? Really?

    It may look fancy, but reality is you still have no rights in those places, you are still unable to leave, you are still labeled with a mental disorder, too. Despite the plush carpet and smiling faces of “staff.” In many ways, those “nice” places are worse since patients are deluded into thinking it’s “care.”

    I recall going to those “nice” places and thinking the exact same thing as you did. But in retrospect it was the nice places that turned me into a permanent mental case.

  • Shaun, if you are curious about the “groups” in hospitals which are billed to insurance at a ridiculously high cost to taxpayers, these “groups” consist of watching TV, Bingo games, and use of worksheets that are at the kindergarten intellectual level. None were therapy. I recall addressing this with my doctor, saying that the groups were insulting to me. I was either threatened and told they wouldn’t let me out unless I attended, or they claimed that the fact that I refused to attend these insulting groups meant I wasn’t emotionally equipped to handle them. When I tried suggesting “meaningful discussion,” the staff claimed “Patients will be triggered.” Or, “Patients lack insight and aren’t smart enough.”

    I can tell you where meaningful discussion happened in those places. Invariably, it took place among us patients when the staff weren’t in the room. It was whispered in the halls or late at night, and any such conversation, if staff witnessed it, was shut down immediately. They also listened on to phone calls routinely and shut the phones off to silence that, too, or ordered us off the phone.

  • Shaun, Who decides who is dangerous and who isn’t? I, for one, was called dangerous when I wasn’t. Is psychiatry or therapy the Almighty God who has such divine wisdom as to know these things? How many times has psychiatry been wrong and perceived a person as dangerous when he or she has not been?

    You probably have had patients who have taken themselves to the ER because they felt suicidal (or because they couldn’t make up their minds so some shrink made up their mind for them). How long do suicidal thoughts last? These thoughts are most often transient, as you know. How many patients have you known whose suicidal thought dissipated while they were still waiting to be seen?

    Speaking as one, I recall that most of the time, for me, the thoughts disappeared during the time I spent in the waiting room. However, when I was interviewed, now no longer suicidal, I was so embarrassed that I either lied and said I was, or I said I was fine (but they always kept me anyway, for THEIR safety).

    Many times I went to the ER because I couldn’t get my doctor to speak to me off hours, or because he/she was unavailable. Or because the crisis team refused to handle eating disorders.

    Having lived the life of a person perceived as dangerous when I wasn’t, this for years, I can assure you no one wanted to talk to me at all. No one tried even. It was fruitless discussion because I as seen as either a liar or lacking insight. I could have said the sky is blue and they would have had to go check the color themselves to see if I wasn’t delusional.

    Psychiatric holds do not protect the patient or society at large. Many times the patient is held only because the institution is terrified of a lawsuit, certainly not for the well-being of the patient.

    Patients are smart now. They wised up and know that the only way to complete a suicide is to refrain from letting on, lest one be locked up. Many see lockup as a worse fate than death itself.

  • That I know of, most states have laws against any sex between therapist and client. How can it be consensual in a relationship that isn’t equal to begin with? That I know of, you lose your license in most states, am I right?

    Alex, thanks for validating that most therapists are either incompetent or abusive. There’s crossover between the two. I have known many to overstate their competence. This is rampant with eating disorders, which until very recently were rare or just not seen. I have known many therapists and also hospital doctors who claimed they had experience, training, and competency in the field, and didn’t. You are right that it takes a while to learn, and by that time, you’ve wasted time, paid the therapist’s paycheck, and likely gotten worse. When I had training in life coaching we learned that it’s unethical to misrepresent your competency.

    My guess is that such misrepresentation is illegal if done by a licensed professional in any field. It constitutes abuse and gross exploitation. I am thinking, for comparison, Harold Hill in The Music Man…who claimed he could teach kids to play musical instruments, but he was actually a swindler.

    I remember one therapist outright lied to me about his competency. Since I was young (25) and inexperienced I had no reason not to believe him.

    After a year I found out the bitter truth. My worship of this therapist blinded me from seeing him as he really was. He was “nice.” One day in a flash I realized what a humbug he was. The disappointment and letdown were just too much for me at the time.

  • But that isn’t true, either. Abuse and love aren’t opposites. Abuse isn’t the absence of love. The two have no relation to each other. You can love your wife and beat her daily anyway.

    Love will not stop abuse, either, since one doesn’t contradict the other. Conversely, abused kids very often adore their abusive parents. Or worship them as in Stockholm Syndrome.

    If I were to ask a heathcare practitioner to stop abusing me, I might tell that person to stop gaslighting, or to stop shoving me, or to stop cutting me off mid-sentence, or to listen instead of putting words into my mouth. Or to let me out of restraints, or please don’t give me any “treatments” I don’t want.

    I notice abusive healthcare professionals will deny the abuse and therefore, gaslight, even boast about the great “care” they’re giving you, and also act sweet and kind in front of any potential witnesses.

    Some act super professional in front of supervisors and colleagues, but when you are alone with them with no witnesses they are anything but professional.

    One therapist told me he loved me. It was warped and perverted, and had nothing to do with caring or decent therapy.

  • I agree. It is abuse. So often, abused spouses think they’re the disordered ones (this being an element of abuse) and they take themselves to therapy. “What is wrong with me?”

    Therapy may give the abused spouse an outlet. But she gets labeled. He doesn’t. He can use the therapy visits as further reason to label her the nutso, and exonerate himself, washing his hands clean. His sick wife. While she continues to take her story to the therapist.

    But where do her powerful words end up? Wasted in an office! Her words belong in court, do they not? Or anything she can do to get away.

  • As far as I am concerned, psychiatry has to be stopped. Did anyone talk about reforming the Nazis movement?

    There is the movement and there are individuals involved in it. We have witnessed a handful abandon the psychiatry ideology and come to join us. We see examples of this daily here on MIA, not just patients who once believed wholeheartedly in “diagnosis,” but practitioners who suddenly see the light.

    Psychiatry must be stopped. I think there’s hope for individuals, though, as more and more are having the same epiphany. But not the practice of psychiatry, which has to end. We don’t know how that will happen. Will it be overthrown or will so many abandon it (patients especially) that it crumbles? Possibly both.

  • It is, but reality is that you can write all you want, but if your word doesn’t get out there, you don’t really have a voice. You may find the act of writing personally healing, but it only becomes empowerment if people read it.

    Credentials: MFA (master’s degree) in Creative Writing, Goddard College, 2009. Other credential: Speaking from the point of view of a person who worked six long years on writing a book that did not sell. Reality: You write, you publish, you sell. If you can manage to sell, your voice might be heard. Selling depends on your social position and on how much money you spend. From the point of view of a person who has been blogging daily (original text all mine) for well over a decade, and oddly, blog views are pitifully low.

    I keep doing it, I keep writing out of habit I suppose, or because it is a way of life. A tiny percent of what I write gets into the public eye.

    A long time ago I wanted to kill myself just to get my writing noticed. Funny, and sad how that happens. At some point I will die of old age, and then, suddenly people will realize how much effort I put into my writing. Now that is the sad reality for many of us. We live with this disparity. Voice for the few.

  • Christian, This article is incredibly important. I plan to share it and I hope others will also spread the word. I would like to add that for many of us, “hospitalization” in the USA has not been much different from this. I was abused in a facility when I was over 50 and medically compromised. It must be horrifying when it happens to a child.

    I would like to invite you, and anyone here, to submit writings to a new anthology on forced psychiatry. You can find more information here:

  • I would have to say I agree with Oldhead, too. MIA encourages dialogue but where is the action? I have been worried that those participating at MIA waste too much time “discussing” the issues. Any real action is done outside of MIA, in other groups, even done by individuals. I fear that the dialogue part sucks people in, becomes habitual for many, and ultimately, causes stagnation or even apathy.

    I have never used the term “critical psychiatry.” Where the heck did that come from? Are you putting words into our mouths? I can’t do the survey. I’m not a participant in a movement I have barely heard of, not a willing one, anyway.

  • I couldn’t lower the Seroquel at all, in fact I went from 25 to 75 and stayed there. This is why I switched to Thorazine.

    Just a hint: 75 mg of Seroquel is the equivalent of 100 mgs Thorazine. You should be able to substitute gradually and switch over. It took me a few days to switch. I went to a shrink site where I found a table on switching. So….Had I gone to a shrink they would have accessed the exact same table and done the switch just like I did.

    Now I ask…Does it really take an advanced degree to find a table in a search and follow the table? Nope.

  • That could have been my story, except I experienced the same thing from anti-p withdrawal. I didn’t sleep! I cannot believe I went five years in that nether world between sleep and wakefulness due to the worst insomnia I have ever had. I, too, was terrified of doctors after what I had been through, so I would not go to one.

    I figured the best thing to do, the sensible thing, was to reinstate. I got drugs illegally and then, tapered. Slowly. I couldn’t tell you how long I have been tapering since the reinstatement. Seroquel was impossible to taper from but Thorazine is reasonable, much easier, and switching from one to the other was a snap. I stopped totally but then, reinstated an even tinier sliver. I believe the tiniest I can get the slivers is about 3mg. Thorazine dosing goes up to 2,000mgs, so that gives you an estimate of how much I have managed to go down on it. If I ever have to get a prescription I’d go out of state and pay cash, no insurance.

  • FYI, when I was inpatient for kidney failure, while my kidneys weren’t functioning and my electrolytes were off, they decided to diagnose me with a mental disorder. They tried to force me onto Zyprexa based on my “mental status” while in kidney failure!

    Seems like of all those idiot doctors, only the kidney doctor noted that while a person’s electrolytes are as off as mine were, there’s no way I could have been capable of clear thinking. He alone didn’t feel my “mental state” was representative of “baseline.” The other doctors were too stupid to figure that one out.

    I would be dead if I’d taken Zyprexa. They wanted me on a hefty dose and wouldn’t let me leave unless I agreed to take it. Then they got all panicky because they found evidence of “antipsychotics” damaging one chamber of my heart. This didn’t stop them from attempting to force-drug me.

    I was only able to leave because an outside agency evaluated me and insisted that I should be let out.

  • Duncan, undermining of humans has no place here or anywhere.

    In writing classes, we had to be reminded: We’re not here to talk about the writer as a person. We’re here to talk about the writing.

    This is a major challenge for writing students in beginning memoir classes, where the temptation is to say something like, “This piece shows what a strong person you are.” This, too, is comment on character and not about the writing. We were encouraged, though, to express our own emotional reaction to the piece of writing and discuss reader impact.

  • Corinna, that is what I was saying. Most of us have not worked as professional peers. Which is why I questioned the point of view of the article. Most have not sat in on administrative meetings. We weren’t employees. We were prisoners.

    At my workplace, which has nothing to do with MH, I haven’t revealed anything about my past and do not intend to. I have attended workplace meetings where I am treated the same as the other workers of my level. I am not singled out as a nutcase because I don’t have a known diagnosis at work. Have I shown emotion? Of course. In a civil manner, because it’s my job and I want to keep it.

  • Alex, I am not surprised at what happened to you with the university students. Institutions, including universities, have a tiered power structure that is unbalanced to begin with. You have the full professors, adjuncts, those waiting for tenure, grad assistants, never mind admins. There are “staff” such as librarians and secretaries, these have their own power structure also. Even among the students you may find a power division.

    I am surprised at how naive institutionalized patients can be about the power structure of a “hospital.” When I was on the wards, I’d say the majority blamed the doctor, the unit psychiatrist, for various bad decisions the institution made on the patient’s behalf. Reality is that the doc is only a pawn. Many patients aren’t aware that behind the scenes, admins are talking to insurance companies, wheeling and dealing for money without regard for human life.

    Likewise in a university. Profs are not always acting alone. There are admins such as deans behind the scenes. What a dean decides is not necessarily in everyone’s best interest. What is “best interest”? They likely follow the money’s best interest, though it depends on the U.

    I saw profs who didn’t have the best manners. Some were arrogant. Some were always late for class. In some U situations I ran across lazy professors and wondered how they kept their jobs. For the most part, though, they were awesome role models, excellent instructors, admirable people you just don’t forget.

    The best ones set a great example for us students. I learned how to teach by observing the methods of my professors over the many years I attended college. It was so much a healthier environment than the “hospital” setting. Considering how much you pay for a hospital and how much you pay for a U, I ask, therefore, which one is clearly the better bargain?

    While the cost of college has skyrocketed, you do learn there, you benefit. You leave with a degree, the friends you made, and a loan to pay back. You leave a hospital with a diagnosis, trauma, wrecked reputation, possible loss of job and breakdown of family relationships, and on top of all that, drug addiction.

  • Anger made me an activist and if didn’t feel total outrage over psychiatry and it’s lovely “System” I would not be a decent activist. Anger gives me energy, energy vital to life. It makes me spunky and gives me my quick sense of humor. Anger makes me ever so more to stay alive, I stay around to see my goals and dreams actualized. I have psych to “thank” for my anger, because when they pushed me too far, they pushed me out of their desperate grasp.

  • Yes, that’ll work if you carry the vial of fake stomach acid with you as your fake stomach.

    Another desperation tactic might be to ingest activated charcoal at the same time that you ingest the Abilify. Warning, though, activated charcoal will wipe out your nutrition. Don’t eat then, eat some other time. And also, charcoal will block up your plumbing so if that happens you need to keep on top of that.

    “Doctor, my patch must have fallen off in the shower. Suddenly I just don’t see it there, if that’s what you’re wondering. By the way, my aunt died and I will not be able to come to our next appointment. I will call once I am back in town. Maybe then I can get this patch replaced.”

  • Exactly, they write crap about our personalities to imply we’ll never get better, stating it in our records. When they treat us this way, with these MI expectations, we fall into those helpless roles very quickly without realizing it. I learned that this is called the Looping Effect. I always wondered what the name was for “becoming exactly what’s expected of you.”

    A striking example is among foster kids who are told they’ll end up in the CJ system. Told that from day one, and treated like they’re already criminals.

  • This article hit an emotional chord with me, except the context is one I have not been involved in. I have never been a consumer/administrator nor have I worked in a professional capacity as Peer. I have never been to college to study mental health nor been on the decision-making end in any MH scenario. I was the recipient only, the one on the bottom of the totem pole, the “patient.” So I have not attended such a decision-making meeting in that context. I am wondering why the article focuses this way, when clearly, most readers have never been through this.

    I have, however, attended more shrink appointments than I can count, or even those group shrink meetings where there are ten shrinks and only little ole me to defend myself. Like being on trial (but where’s the crime?).

    What I recall of those meetings is that sometimes, I was there for token purposes only. They either did not allow me to speak or time-limited me to one minute. Or they’d say I had a few minutes, then, invariably after I uttered a sentence or two they’d cut me off and say “We have to wrap this up.” They’d end the meeting and whatever I said didn’t matter because it was a done deal already.

    If I dared complain, they would claim, “But we invited you to the meeting and let you speak.” That was always bullshit and constituted gaslighting. They knew I had not been heard.

    There were times I got emotional, for the reasons stated so beautifully in this article. It was my freedom taken away (and they threatened to take away what I had left…), my home I was at risk for losing, my body they were forcing drugs into, and my beloved dog Puzzle I would have had to give up had they gone through with what they were trying. One time, had they not let me go, I would have died of dehydration while interred in the facility.

    Yes, I got emotional because I care about my life. I begged, cried, and pleaded for them to give me water. Please! Please! I was so desperate and terrified. How can one remain totally calm when one’s life is at risk? And the fact that I begged them, doesn’t that prove I care about what happens to me?

    If I were suicidal, I wouldn’t have cared. I would have just let myself get dehydrated.

    Then they had the nerve to claim I was suicidal. Why? Because I got emotional. Because I cared deeply about the one body I have. Because I wanted to see tomorrow. I realize now the total incongruity of their actions and words….But I suppose their desire for power, and desire to silence me and take my rights away, trumped any sense of logic they had.

  • Auntie, I have said this before but I think it starts with each of us. We kick back, but we also live well, acting as real-life demos of what it is like to kick psych out of your life. While I know many are suffering we need to take these grievances to the right places. These complaints need to go to the FDA and even taken to the courts, if possible.

    I know the mantra “psych ruined my life” is prevalent, but we need to state also that psych caused the multiple medical issues we have faced, sustained us as disabled people, loved to keep us out of work, supported and upheld our maladies. We need to state loud and clear that leaving psych did not cause mental illness nor supposed “worsening of mental illness.” We need to make it clear that damages such as tremors, TD, memory loss, and so on are not “mental illness” but caused by the treatment. The general public needs to see this clearly because if not illustrated, the average person will not connect the dots.

    For many of us, leaving psych saved our lives. We need to say this loudly also, and those of us who have immensely more stable and happy lives need to make themselves visible.

    You get to a point where you are not afraid to tell people after you get to know them and they trust you. That trust must be there otherwise “telling” won’t work. It will only lead to distrust. When we give away our background, we win people over to our side.

    I did this at my regular Toastmasters meeting and it worked! I love giving antipsych speeches there. But at another Toastmasters Club I revealed too soon, resulting in their clear reluctance and hesitation when I joined that club. I made the decision to take a long hiatus and try again.

  • Oldhead I think Slater very well might be on the brink of joining our side. This was what I meant about process. She is partway there.

    Likewise, many of us did not become antipsych overnight. We had to shed the brainwashing, the dependency, the worshipful belief in them, the bad habit of going to doctors and therapists for every little thing. The System trained us so well. We had to get over the fear of grieving, and of course, the actual grief over not playing the “patient” role anymore. Many simply do not know any other way. I believe that finding another role, or life purpose, might help. That and getting away from those that treat you like a patient!

  • Hi Rossa, Glad you asked about what PRN means. It stands for Pro Re Nata. The literal meaning is a little different from how it translates medically. It is a nursing abbreviation for “as required.” If you are given Haldol PRN, this means they either forced it on a patient because they think they know what is best, or, because the patient has complained and this is the go-to solution.

    PRN is not the same as “ad lib,” which in nursing means given if and when the patient asks for it. Ad lib is not often written since it gives the patient too much control. They do not like that. It might be appropriate, in their eyes, for a patient in extreme physical pain (accident victims, cancer patients), because only the patient can feel that pain. I was interred with a woman who had end-stage breast cancer and they had to remind her constantly, “What is your pain level? Do you need something?”

    I remember that situation well. I was there for anorexia and here I was with a dying woman. The staff regarded me with disdain and lavished all kinds of love on that patient. Never mind her constant visitors and flowers. I got none the entire time, no cards, no flowers, abused by “sitters,” and the staff even said they wanted to get rid of me and send me to to the psych ward to get me out of their hair. MGH.

  • Steve it got that way with me, too. In 2012 I told no one, and then, did not follow through. That was June/July. By September I was totally fine, no help from “them.”

    After that, a year later, to be falsely accused of suicidality and theatened with long-term lockup while I was in kidney failure was scary, upsetting, and deeply traumatizing. Nothing I could say or do would get them to listen. What a bunch of arse-holes. No, assholes. I said it.

  • If I were to total up the vitamin pills I take no way would it be 31. Not only that, I designed my regimen myself. I did it through self-experimentation. I change it now and then and some are “prn” (wow their word…) but it feels settled now. I take a few for insomnia, a few for ED (you still get physical effects for about a decade after you get better), and a few for kidney disease, and one herbal pill for blood pressure as it has started to creep up (it works great!). I stay away from the medical profession if possible. I let them do my eye surgery but I don’t want them meddling with my kidneys. If I had let them, I would have died by now. I am so afraid they’ll snatch me up and force me on dialysis, but I am fine and certainly not sickly. There are simple natural things you can do, mostly concoctions I make myself and drink, uncomplicated, inexpensive, too, that work as well as dialysis and I have already started that on my own. That’s usually twice a week.

    Okay, counted. I take 16 vitamin pills in the morning regularly, plus a smidge of powdered Niacin. At night, powdered Thiamine and no pills.

    I do not tell doctors that, as they’d call it a mental disorder, ha ha.

  • That said, I know I was on three antipsychotics simultaneously at highest possible dose, some even higher, three anticonvulsants simultaneously, and usually one or two other pills to add to the mix. That very well could have added up to 31 pills a day, as I had to take them a number of times per day per order from those fake Messiahs, never counted (maybe did not want to face it, ha ha…)

  • This article resonates with me. Also, I agree with Alex about “toxic environments” even though I don’t use the word “toxic” as social metaphor. I choose not to because I fear it is too offensive to some people who have been called “toxic” themselves (i.e. “You are mentally ill,” which is really what is under that statement).

    Either way, for me, therapy was that toxicity. My therapist was manipulative, gaslighted me, threatened me, kicked me out of her practice and then, begged for me to come back, used sectioning power to scare me, accused me of things I never did, and made me play with stuffed animals. She regularly accused me of lying when I wasn’t. All this made me feel like I was very stuck. Stuck until I realized…THIS IS ABUSE! And I got out.

    Withdrawing from her narcissistic abuse was absolute hell. This was six and a half years ago. That was when I was actively suicidal for about a month. Then, a year later I had anorexia really bad, and I know her abuse (and other people’s failure to hear what I had to say about it) definitely was the cause. (Anorexia and suicide are not the same thing, please do not confuse. You die of it, but you die of a lot of terrible things out there.)

    Then, slowly, I got better. I got over her.Yes, getting away was the answer! I wish I didn’t have to nearly die to find out. But I am grateful and I have a decent life now. Really good.

  • Knowledge, I have wondered how my life would have turned out if I went into law instead of music or writing. I find that lawyers know what ethics are. Psychiatrists either do not know or ignore ethics altogether. I believe they may have ethical concerns about what they’re being asked to do in medical school. They are told to ignore ethics, ignore what their moral conscience tells them, and to be dishonest to patients because “the ends justify the means.” This is a logical fallacy, one of many that med students are told and in turn, we patients are told and we’re supposed to accept like the pills we’re handed in a cup.

  • Wow, This piece is very telling about the failure of the System overall. My experience with these state-run agencies and nonprofits is similar. They do nothing at all, back up the state and the psych institutions, do not serve the people, and help no one. Some start off great and die young or sell out.

    There were some good ones that then started kissing butt to the hospitals, then you saw them fall flat.

    I got a position with Crisis Text Line but quickly quit as soon as I saw what it REALLY was. They data-mine user information and pool it. Very sad. That is its real purpose. Don’t be fooled. Not only that, they boast that a bot can be a text responder just as well as a human can. Why not bot therapists, too?

  • And let me add, I was off drugs five entire years and not sleeping at all during that time. Hypnotic state kept me going. That was all I got, night after night. I was fully conscious and the exhaustion was beyond belief until I finally gave in. Five hellish years later. It’s just that I didn’t say the word “Withdrawal.” I didn’t want to be so trendy. It was more like, “Drug-induced insomnia.” from HELL.

  • Not true, Rachel. Just because I wasn’t bedridden (or crying….) doesn’t mean I wasn’t having a hard time. Five years of the worst possible insomnia…Is that “easy”? Really? It was so bad that people claimed I must be faking it. I literally lost friends over it, blameful friends, one even had the nerve to claim that the drug-induced insomnia came from a “gratitude problem.” Wow, now I know it didn’t (arrogance, I must say!).

    My ex-psychiatrist claimed I had “mania.” I wasn’t manic but after several years of not sleeping and losing all the friends I had (not sleeping makes you into a bitch…) I was not manic, but so exhausted I was afraid I would die of organ failure. Is that “easy”? I am lucky I did not die. I am lucky I didn’t commit suicide, as many do. It did not get to that point, but my life felt useless, pointless, because I couldn’t accomplish a thing! Never mind dropping things, bumping into things, and short-term memory problems. I am lucky I did not see a shrink during that time.

    My decision to reinstate with drugs obtained illegally saved my life. How long do you think I did that? Two years. Two years to get off those drugs. Easy? I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t bitching or yapping about “withdrawal” because I didn’t have brain zaps. Still, I had to get off so slowly otherwise end up a miserable insomniac all over again. It was easy to titrate, but do you think it was easy to be worst possible exhausted, easy to lose my friends, easy to be accused of mania and scared to death of more forced drugging?

  • Oldhead, precisely as you say. “Beset by contradictions.” All of us are full of contradictions. Contradictions pull us this way and that and in fact, keep us alive. If we were serene, we would be static, unmotivated, bored with life, and devoid of ambition and drive.

    As for psychedelics, I’m all for it. What confuses me is reliance on doctors to prescribe them, reliance on their all-holy expertise. Why not just try psychedelics if you want them? Why bother with doctors at all? They’re useful for taking out bullets or setting bones. Everything else, their track record is terrible.