Sunday, October 20, 2019

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

Showing 100 of 2266 comments. Show all.

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

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

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

    Your choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Every bit of support counts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As such, it does not, “in the court’s opinion, require inpatient attention. Many persons with the same attributes are found throughout society.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Psych IS indeed good and bad. It has to have some good parts, since otherwise, we’d all have left far sooner.

    Some were nice. Of course they were nice. That’s what sucked me in. Some had terrible bedside manner.

    I’m currently writing a piece on why people do not leave certain types of destructive situations. I hope it resonates with people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • I believe the concept of MI is useful to segregate from society those who we see as possessing traits we dislike or fear in ourselves. Diagnosing and “treating” supposed MI exists as the great segregator. It works well! We are taken out of the workforce, forced to live in separate housing, booted out of colleges and even from families, incarcerated, or killed. Supposedly, hiding us makes society more comfortable for the non-MI, or those who assume they are.

  • I also did not know about this study you referred to in footnote #1. I’m going to check that out because it supports my theory that extreme dieting leads to all kinds of distress that gets misdiagnosed as one kind of MI or another. Extreme dieting also leads to distorted body image and long-term eating problems. These studies are ignored by the eating disorders community because they would rather treat ED by force. Force-feeding, incarceration, intimidation, verbal abuse, shaming, guardianship, and more. It’s more profitable to take away the rights of (usually) young women and girls, even removing them from their families, than it is to allow them get better. The ED treatment racket is pulling in more and more money and now they want to take it not only from wealthy families but from taxpayers.

  • I can’t stand it when so-called progressive or “enlightened” people claim poverty is an attitude problem. Everyone I know who ended up in poverty was either born into it already or ended up broke due to bad luck. Medical bills can kill your wallet. Another reason is when a person decides to start a business, and then invests a huge amount into that business but it fails. Any time you start a business it’s a huge risk and you really have to have reliable people helping you out. No one can predict the future. I’m almost scared of people who are grandiose enough to think they can.

    Contrary to what some claim, you can’t just think of money and then, it’ll appear. Also you can live on very little but there’s a certain amount you need just to get by. While you can indeed live in the wilderness, very true…I considered it a while back…I found out it would be very expensive or impossible without a car. You CAN indeed live on rice and beans but not long term. Anyone lecturing others about eating nothing but rice and beans needs to try it themselves. When I was homeless I was struggling to get drinking water and to find a place to go to the bathroom. Just try it, try holding it all night because the past evening there was no place to go. Try walking 20 miles at night because you don’t have bus money. Yes, you need money.

  • Please continue to have your kidneys tested, that is, creatinine level for one thing, and keep track of your electrolytes, especially if you have any more leg swelling. Don’t expect the doctors to tell you the truth. They won’t! They’ll blame anything BUT their drugs.

    I also took lithium exactly as prescribed for 12 years. I was taken off of it in 1996. In 2011 I started having renal symptoms and the doctors did not admit the lithium had caused it and never informed me I had kidney disease. Looking back, by 40 I was likely in State 2 CKD and certainly in Stage 3 well before I turned 50. I never knew until I was 55 and in renal failure. Even after they revived me they never admitted it. I had to find out myself.

    You CAN treat CKD with natural medicine. In fact, I would recommend anyone who has ever been on lithium to maintain a low sodium diet for starters, which will slow down the progression of any damage you have.

  • Frank, I agree. Banning assault weapons…whom does this hurt? I can’t think of a practical purpose for one of those weapons. If they are banned, will the previous owners die? How will they be harmed? Take away food or water and many are harmed. While it might hurt a person’s pride and dignity to have to give up a cherished assault weapon, and might even feel violating, it’s not like they will die or get very sick without it. Furthermore, I feel like my safety and security are violated here in Pennsylvania knowing that just about anyone here might be armed. Honestly I worry that my dog will be shot while we’re out walking. The likelihood is slim but I hate the feeling that anyone out there can own a gun and can use me or my dog as target practice. It is unsettling. We have shootings in the city about every other day.

  • Great article. I agree. A few years back I talked to a “trauma” therapist who told me his goal was to “soften” my anger. I asked myself why. Did my anger make him uncomfortable? I stopped communicating with him after he said that.

    More recently I realized that I am not the least bit uncomfortable with my own anger. I’m happy to have it there to help motivate me. Outrage is likely the most useful emotion to get things done in society. Certainly, passivity, medicated anger, or anger limited to the therapist’s office isn’t going to be very effective at making the changes we demand.

    If it’s the goal of therapy to silence us then I personally choose to stay as far away from the couch as I can.

  • Good morning! Here’s an update on gun violence in Pennsylvania: Our governor, Gov Tom Wolf, whom I highly support, signed a gun control law yesterday. This is following a number of mass shootings in our state. It’s my understanding that these shootings were based on two separate factors. 1. It originated as a drug raid, but the criminal panicked and started shooting at the raiding officers. 2. Hate groups such as White Supremacists.

    Gun laws are very lax here. This is noticeable to me since I was raised in Massachusetts. Here, in some areas, guns and hunting are ingrained in the culture, so any attempt to limit gun ownership and sales is met with opposition. The opposition tends to go overboard in my opinion. People own guns for a variety of reasons. I’d say between Pittsburgh and Philly, our two major cities, there’s a fatal shooting at least daily. Many barely make the news. We’ve also had numerous murders done by cops. One of the most visible of these was the shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, a black boy.

    Mayor Peduto, of Pittsburgh, proposed a three-part gun control law. I supported the first two parts and opposed the third. The first two banned ownership of assault weapons such as AR15 weapons. I supported this because these weapons have no practical purpose except to kill a lot of people. How can anyone gain anything useful or constructive by owning one of these? We restrict the ability of ordinary citizens to own highly toxic material due to the risk to the public. Assault weapons are equally toxic to the public. The risk is too high.

    The third part of Peduto’s law involved “extreme risk” orders. Basically, a family member or the cops could decide a person is “mentally unstable” and write up a petition. This paperwork would give the police free reign to raid the person’s home, search and remove weapons. I oppose this due to the impact on those falsely accused. I also oppose it because families could use this order to scapegoat other family members, as retaliation, or as a means of control.

    I think police raids on drug dealers should be done differently. They shouldn’t raid if children or other innocent people are present. In two of the shooting instances, the criminal panicked during the raid and shot the cops. Is there a way to catch criminals, no matter what the crime is, without scaring them into shooting? Raiding is cornering the person. I can see why they’d panic. What about getting them out of their element, doing these arrests in a less violent and violating manner?

  • Can they even track people who are on drugs but have never been hospitalized? Think of the massive amount of prescriptions out there, prescribed not only by psychiatrists, but by nurse practitioners, ob-gyn docs, neurologists, pain specialists, orthopedists, geriatric specialists, pediatricians, and more. It would be very hard to track down a fair sample.

    While likely hospitalization itself doesn’t directly cause cardiac death, indirectly, it does. During hospitalization patients are brainwashed into believing they have real diseases that will require “medication adherence…” which in turn, kills them.

  • Thanks, Sera. I have been thinking this for years. I have noticed the silencing. I have even noticed it in the so-called “alternatives to psychiatry” movement and I’ve heard it from fellow survivors. “We don’t want to hear that.”

    Being truthful about life events is a human right because it’s part of Freedom of Speech. Some, in fact most people choose to remain silent. This makes the role of those of us willing to speak out about injustices even more vital.

    We speak for many. We speak for those who cannot speak out, either due to force, or because their jobs or housing will be on the line if they do. Or they are dead.

    While I am giving a speech in a room full of people (where I am assured no one will interrupt, walk away, or stop me from speaking) I can see people flinch at certain moments when I say certain things. The good part is that I am heard out, I get to finish my sentence, I get to make my point. Ultimately I am thanked for the impact my words had on the audience.

    For the most part people aren’t allowed to speak. We are silenced by people who insist we’re psychotic. We’re unfriended. We’re silenced by drugs and incarceration. Our labels discredit us. We can’t get published or they make sure our writings don’t sell. Or we get killed.

  • So shall we get cardiologists involved? Screen people’s “hearts” for potential terrorism? How about starting in infancy, segregate those with “toxic hearts.” Keep them away from law-abiding taxpayers. That’ll do it. Don’t associate with those inferiors, whatever we insist on calling them: negative, toxic, narcissist, psychopath, bad energy etc.It’s all based on how they make us feel, and how much they remind us of our shortcomings. We can’t stand the sight of them due to our own insecurities. So we continue to hate.

  • Bob I agree. What practical use do these assault weapons have? The only thing I can think of is that they could be put in a museum as display pieces (such as war memorabilia) and never used again.

    The DSM is also an assault weapon that should be limited to a museum or buried deep in a historical archive so it can be referenced by researchers as a bad idea but never used. We have seen the shameful mentality that has arisen from it.

    The way to end hate is to cease all participation in hateful activities. This should be a conscious decision, as it is better to choose than to be pushed into something via force. We need to choose the most responsible way to act. We should hand in our weapons. Communities already offer this to people, weapons collection where a person can do so anonymously. We should each choose our words wisely, and teach our children to do so as well. Our actions and thoughts often follow our words. Our world is shaped by our language.

  • Bonnie, your article well done and further illustrates some of things I say in my upcoming book, Life After Lithium. I’d like to link to this article in my book, if that’s alright. I already have Psych and the Business of Madness linked my appendix. Your article goes into more depth and by all means supports the cause. The historical context is an essential part that I often miss out on in my own writing. It’s just that I can’t cover everything….

    Somehow, intergenerational trauma fits into this picture as well. Or at least I see it in my own story, as a Jew, and as a woman.

  • Hello, thanks for sharing your story. How much did you pay the therapists?

    Secondly, readers need to know that not all therapy patients get good results like this.

    I had about 20 therapists. Most were either incompetent or abusive. Here is a recent story I wrote about one of my therapists.

  • Please see my expose article on the cyber school I worked at. Here is the link:

    All the kids I had worked with were traumatized due to bullying at their former schools. This was ignored by the behavior specialists across the board. One of the school personnel even suggested the families were “lying” about the past. I did not think so. Wow they really wanted to silence me.

  • Thanks for this article, Bob. I agree that it is up to us. Here are some things I would like to add:

    Jim Flannery’s recent film on how to escape forced treatment is very good. It is called Voices for Choices (on YouTube).

    Secondly, just because a state doesn’t have AOT does not mean they don’t use force. Yes, they do. Does a state hospital count? Yes, they use restraints and they force needles into you. If you refuse drugs they will put you on guardianship or just keep you locked up.

    Thirdly, force (whether it’s called AOT or not) is used as retaliation against activists and used to silence people, for the good of the institution.

    Those of us who have escaped or somehow ended psych “care” should now take heed to live well, to illustrate that we are fine without their “treatment,” that we can thrive once we are free of it. We can be careful about our use of language and make sure to use our words, not theirs.

  • I have been told that running is a meditation, which I agree with. I do like running and usually when people push meditation on me I tell them I already run so PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!

    I like running because it is useful. I run on the treadmill, on a local running track, and on the street. If I am outdoors, I enjoy beautiful scenery. Indoors, I enjoy myself, too. It can be used as a form of transportation. Sweating is healthy for you and you earn your shower! Also, running strengthens your heart. Proven.

    No one pushed that on me. I decided myself. Maybe that is one reason I love it so much. That plus long ago when I went to brainwashing sessions, the therapist threatened me and said I couldn’t run. Now, it’s extra enjoyable to be free of her and defying her.

  • Every time I hear about mindfulness I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I think it’s a mass effort to stop or curtail activism. I think it’s a farce. Yeah, it might feel helpful but it’s avoidant, really.

    If something sucks, face it head-on, figure out what sucks about it and if you can do something to make it not suck. Then, decide if it’s worth it. Sometimes it is not.

    Here is an example. My workplace screwed up and overhired. People are barely aware that this is the cause of us having very little work and very little pay. I personally am not making enough to live on and am going into the red. So this is what happened.

    I confronted them directly in an email and in a post on their social media. I posted both on our workers’ private Facebook page. Now, suddenly, as of today, people are following suit. They are speaking up!

    I asked them to be upfront with us and tell us what they plan to do with the huge number of surplus workers. I doubt they’ll get rid of us but they have to do something. As of today at last things are slightly improved.

    What was the alternative? Contemplate my navel? Talk to a therapist? Put a paper bag over my head?

    No! I spoke up right away. Nothing to do with coping except to tally up my budget and realize I can’t go on like this. All numbers, nothing that therapy or meditation can help with. I think we will see results!

  • Thank you for this article. Andrew’s story is heartbreaking.

    I came from Massachusetts where they had this sneaky way of forcing drugs by using guardianship. They also had representative payees. If all else failed, they certainly had the money there to lock anyone up and force that way.

    If anyone wants to avoid AOT or other form of force, my guess would be to go to an impoverished area where the local gov’t does not have the resources to enforce any form of forced psychiatry upon its people. That is just a guess.

  • I believe each person is the authority on him/herself. We need to allow each other the space to make our own choices. I’ve been criticized for having a hard time getting off drugs to help me sleep. However, we aren’t all alike. I found out my body can’t make its own melatonin.

    Access to information is vital. I keep wondering why the medical profession works hard to keep it from us.

  • I wrote to some organization about a peer support job. They said the requirements were that I was in “treatment.” I wrote back and said, “But I got better (from my ED), does that count?” It didn’t. I didn’t apply.

    Another organization refused to hire me even as a blogger because “You might dissuade people from seeking treatment.” Yes, I would.

  • Do we know RW’s response yet? This is crucial.
    I would totally leave MIA because of the diagnosis-worship and social elitism, but I keep ending up with this “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” resolution. In other words, any attempt I’ve made to start a an online community fails. My project to create a collection of writings on forced psychiatry also failed and I took down the website. I know of others. Some are doing okay. It’s difficult. You need a lot of money to get something like this off the ground. To create a nonprofit you have to have already collected tons of money. Isn’t that ironic? To start an online forum you have to have tons of people willing to participate. I’ve thought and thought about it. Asked myself over and over how to start a community that doesn’t talk diseases and validates lived experience as expertise. I know there are a number of smaller online and local groups. MIA is incredibly visible and vocal compared to most of them. That’s why I keep coming back.