Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

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  • I will not call anyone toxic. I can think of a few toxins, such as psych drugs and Agent Orange, but humans are not truly poisonous. I have done multiple blog entries on this topic and also, I believe, a podcast. I feel very strongly about this. I believe everyone deserves a chance. In fact, I will make a point of befriending people that others diagnose as toxic, because loneliness and being labeled is a horrible thing to endure.

    In the name of self-care, a group of about ten friends kicked me out right at the time I needed them most. They couldn’t have timed it better. That was eight years ago and it took me a long time to get over it. I went back to their forum and they kept telling each other they’d done the right thing and “taken care of ourselves.” Okay, they may have thought so, but they hurt me badly in the process. They continued to call me horrible names such as “not a person anymore,” “toxic,” and “negative.” Those words. It hurt so badly I wanted to cry. Then they’d go congratulate each other again for “doing the right thing.” I hated it.

  • Harper that seems like an extremely formulaic and narrow viewpoint. I no longer believe that there’s one magic answer to everything that will work for everyone. I know a lot of people out there who will tell you there’s only one way, notably, Evangelical Christians, some folks in AA, some therapists, and people who hold rigid religious beliefs. Oh, including some who say they’re Buddhists. Maybe some psychiatrists, too.

  • I think the title should be, “Fewer than half…” not “Less than half…” since we’re talking about the number of studies here. Just sayin’.

    I see this all the time. Yesterday on a website I saw witch instead of which. Maybe they spelled it that way to be seasonal.

    I wish the general public had easier access to texts of medical studies. A lot of the time I try to open a pdf and they want me to pay. Of course they do not want the public to be informed, so they can maintain their power and authority over us.

  • Mental health professionals are notorious non-apologists. I believe they do feel guilty but feel that apologizing means they’ll be sued. After I was deprived of water in a facility, which traumatized me, they did not apologize even though it’s obvious they did something horribly wrong. What happened is that my doctor lied to me two years later, defending the hospital’s actions, telling me the water deprivation was medically necessary. A simple peek into my blood levels at the time, and knowledge of my own body (and the result of taking lithium) tell me otherwise.

    I’m not sure what to do with this, the knowledge that a crime was committed and nowhere to go with it. I feel this empty void where there should be communication. I hate the silence from them and the occasional retaliation they still try to pull off. I’m still scared to travel to Boston, scared of what they could do if I were recognized, scared because of the very remote chance that I would run into a previous provider. Yes I know that’s illogical, but since when does fear have to follow what the intellect tells it?

    And yet the one thing I want to do is to ask them, earnestly, for an apology. To ask if they validate that what they did was morally abhorrent and harmed me deeply. To demand that they change their policies, change the way they do things, and from now on, admit fault immediately instead of covering their butts and then waiting years to do so.

  • They very well do cut corners every chance they can, every time they think they can get away with it. They do it in nursing facilities. Cut the staff so they don’t have to pay as many people. Cut housekeeping on weekends. Cut the meals on weekends, too. McLean did this. We had only snacks on weekends, froot loops and shit. Stop the real arts and crafts. Close the fitness facility and cut the nicer staff who did recreation. Cut therapists out entirely. Just drug em. McLean cut their hairdresser, too. My boyfriend was friends with her and he was heartbroken that she was going to leave. She used to cut his hair. She told me he had the thickest head of hair you’ve ever seen. True.

  • I have a day job too. I also have a masters degree in an unrelated field. And yet all the time these MH professionals and MANY SURVIVORS too claim I have no expertise except as a former patient. This is such bullshit I am ready to throw my degree at them (along with my 3.95 GPA) and hit as hard as I can. Yes we can be competent individuals and that competency and responsibility does not necessarily mean you work in the MH field.

    No violence intended, I must add. A degree isn’t a physical thing you can really throw. The paper only represents it, represents years of hard study and work and heartache and triumph.

  • yeah I agree with Oldhead, psych has pulled the wool over society’s eyes. That IS abuse, with people running around scared they might have a disease and teens killing themselves because they know how bad it is to be locked up.

    I don’t see myself as a victim. I have moved past the trauma of being abused in a hospital, although I still feel it to a large extent. But I am thrilled that I have found a way of life that does not include doctor appointments, doesn’t include pharma, doesn’t include going to a therapist because that is assumed to be the one and only way to “self-improve.” It is bullshit. Go to the gym, join a class, learn herbal medicine, get your driver’s license, all these things are self-improvement with real rewards.

  • Yeah, Shaun, The System is great if you are scared to go into the workplace or if you can’t find a job. FREE MONEY and it’s for life! Completely invisible permanent chemical imbalances come in handy you know. Just about as handy as “back pain.” A few towns over you can see billboards all over the place, lawyers advertising to help get people on the payments so they don’t have to work. Handy here in the county where jobs are so scarce and poverty so high that dis-ability looks like riches. If you are disabled you get paid per kid, too. Useful, and profitmaking, I must say.

  • Anonymous, I took a life coaching class but very quickly gave it up when I realized how scammy the business is. I am doing just as you said, working in an unrelated field and due to be totally off disability very soon. They have already stopped SSI, and I have been using up my nine months they give you of free money assuming you will fail. I keep activism and work separate. I really like my job even though it isn’t in my field (writing). It’s a job, with its pros and cons, but it pays the bills so no more dependency on Uncle Sam and taxpayer money. Not only that, I got a certification under my belt in the process. I am looking for a second job (the backup).

  • I was refused a volunteer job working in any capacity for an eating disorders organization because of my anti-psych stance.

    All I want to do is offer something different and refreshing to these (mostly) young women. A new picture of what it means to live free of the very serious eating issues (call it what you want) that I suffered from in secret for over three decades. A new view of what it means to be autonomous, responsible, and free of the tyranny of doctors and institutions. I want them to see that not only is recovery (from ED) possible, but it’s not something that takes rocket science, either. Recovery doesn’t mean you have to obey some outside authority. In fact, the road to recovery is outside of their rules. Their rules will only keep you sick and keep you coming back. I want them to know that the answer comes from within, that it is already there, and that it’s far more attainable than the MH professionals would like them to believe. However, I’ve been banned every time I try. They find out, or, in the case of the NEDA conference I was supposed to speak at, someone from my past (who?) literally called up the conference organizer and told them I was a dangerous SMI. Very sad.

  • My eyes were recently opened about just how low we are on the totem pole when I received a somewhat rude response from Jessica from the Foundation for Excellence. This was maybe a week ago. I had asked her to help publicize my project, http://forcedpsychiatry.com. Jessica outright refused, telling me any project they publicize has to be run by “experts.”

    Excuse me? If you are compiling a literary anthology on forced psych, what degree would you need? NOT an MH degree, actually, such folks are not qualified to edit an anthology. I have a masters in creative writing which I earned in 2009. That DOES make me an expert. But us lowly exes couldn’t possibly be experts in anything but patienthood. Bullshit.

    Jessica also further insulted me by telling me I was welcome to write an article on their site on “lived experience” since I had expertise in THAT. Hey, what about all those years I studied my butt off in undergrad and graduate school? Is that NOTHING because I’m an ex-patient? Is my degree made meaningless because I’m specialized in different field, not MH? I’m also certified in customer service, by the way. Does that, too, not count, because of my CLASS?

    Yep, we are still in the lowest class, especially in the eyes of these professionals. I don’t care how different they claim to be, most still see us that way, sorry to say.

    Never mind the other publications that also REFUSED to help publicize http://forcedpsychiatry.com. Meanwhile, these same publications promote MH professionals and their projects.

    I also do “peer support” but for sure I do not call it that. I call it helping other people, reaching out to people as a friend, and doing everything I can just to set a good example of what life can be like after you leave the MH System. I blog almost daily (http://juliemadblogger.com), been doing so now since 2005. Trying to expose the industry as much as I can.

    There. A bit of self-promotion which is okay for MH professionals to do, but not okay for me, apparently. I’m called personality-disordered if I even ask.

  • Sorry, Cassie, there is no way I am going to write, publicly or off the record, that “mental health care is valid and necessary.” Not to Ben Carey or anyone else. No way, and I will not say it publicly, either.

    Not after MH “care” coerced me onto disability which I never needed nor qualified for. It took me years to find a job after forced unemployment. Being supposedly dis-abled stole 35 years of my life, which is over half of it. Now I am 60 and feel like I have to rush to catch up and do everything I can do before lithium-induced kidney disease does me in.

    Not after I learned, at last, that the only way to cure my ED for good was to ditch the MH professionals. And I am not the only one!

  • Cassie, Where did you get “ogre” from? I would never say that. I don’t say that MH professionals are bad people. I believe that the MH profession is corrupt. That says nothing of the character of those who practice it. Have you ever worked for an unethical company? I did, a few times. For example, I was stuck in a job selling a product that was a ripoff. Now selling a ripoff product is unethical, and yet, to keep my job, I had to keep on selling it. It was a temp position and I could hardly wait for it to end. Since I worked in a position where I was coerced into doing something unethical, does that make me an “ogre”?

    There are no ogres out there. I never use that word to describe human beings. It is a label, a cruel word, and I just do not say it.

    I have known MH professionals who were “wise” and “caring.” They still harmed me! They labeled me, caused dependency, and the therapy was addicting. Continuing going to the “nice” ones kept me out of the job market for a good many years. Oh, not only that, they claimed the “treatment” was life-sustaining.

    If someone is going to be “caring” or “wise” in your life, I would hope it would be a spouse, parent, or close friend, or perhaps a caring teacher or mentor. “Wise” and “caring” are not traits limited to the MH professional world. They don’t have a patent on wisdom.

  • de facto, very good points. Mental health professionals are highly likely to harm their patients since THEIR premise is false, their ideas about us false, their stereotyping, their profiling of us, their tendency to classify us into whatever’s convenient, their claims that imprisonment is “treatment,” their repeated lies that the drugs are not addictive, that therapy couldn’t possibly also be addictive, that MH care seriously traumatizes people. The very fact that they call it “care” or “help” is a big joke.

  • Johanna, I saw your comment that mentioned “imbalances” but I cannot find it here posted in the comments section. While there is much we do not know, we do know that the “chemical imbalance” theory of so-called MI has been debunked ages ago. We do know that there’s an imbalance called hypothyroidism, one called dehydration, another involving blood sugar, etc. We also know for sure that these psych drugs cause imbalances, never mind irreparable organ damage and early death.

    When you mentioned that ‘imbalances resolve,” I wonder what the heck there was to resolve chemically in me except the imbalance caused by the drugs.

  • The usual psychobabble is that people who are suicidal cannot see the forest through the trees. Is this true? Or do they see the grim reality of the forest in a way others around them fail to see?

    I recall an article about a vet who took his own life. He left a detailed note. The Vet services all failed him. He lists them one by one in the note and states that each one of them could have helped but refused to. He was in dire financial straits and was unable to get help for physical issues or trauma trying any way he could. His note sent a very clear message to the VA.

    He also made a clear statement about the various “help” agencies out there that never provide help. I have noticed that the nonprofits have sold out. Many are funded by sources that would surely create a biased atmosphere for anyone seeking help.

    One I noticed was a rape help agency I had gone to in 2008. They did help me then, gave me advice, etc. However, when I contacted them again the only thing they seemed capable of doing was insulting me over the phone with the usual breathing instructions.

    This ain’t help, it is insulting! I find it especially insulting when someone decades younger than me thinks they know how to breathe better.

  • I have no doubt that a writer’s inability to write would cause suicide. Go sit in on a discussion between MFA in Creative Writing students. If there’s anything worse than death to a writer it is inability to write.

    When I graduated, though I was scarcely aware of it, I took on a silent oath. That I would write about everything I had seen and heard, much of which happened on the wards. For doing just that I was persecuted and forced into exile.

    Drugging and shock are great ways to silence writers. It is on par with banning their books or bullying them or threatening until they stop.

    I believe it is the week after next we celebrate Banned Books Week. I’m trying to figure out how to celebrate.

  • I am revisiting this post and read the article, as much as I had access to. I noted the wording of the article, “only 5%” had ESRD. If you realize the sampling was of those who started on lithium after 1980, and had been on it at least ten years as of 2010, this gives us a sampling of people who are likely age 30 to 50. They likely do have kidney disease, and they are not likely YET at ESRD. Patients who reach ESRD are usually put on dialysis. Death most usually occurs during the first six months of dialysis. If you survive that, you are likely to live a few more years.

  • The discrediting of people with college degrees is rampant. Your mental patient status trumps your degree. There are exceptions, people who have MH-related degrees. I have been discredited on here, on MIA frequently, discredited by other patients and survivors, and dismissed by supposed “professionals.” All this renders my degree and extensive education meaningless on the social level. I can’t be trusted, I might be violent, and if I say I am good at something, that gets scoffed at as grandiosity or just dismissed. I have far more authority and get more respect at my workplace than I do here.

  • Yes, Steve, that story about the second therapist really needs to get out there. I have spoken of her many times in my own blog, but the blog isn’t getting a lot of pageviews right now. I am trying to get the story more visible without resorting to joining Facebook again. She is still practicing. I don’t think she should be, and I don’t know where to go to report her where I will be taken seriously.

    I face the usual dilemma, the easy way out that people use. All they have to do is call me crazy and my story and anything I say is silenced.

  • Michael I am sharing this one in a blog post of my own. I just blogged about this.

    In my work in customer service most of our customers are kind, polite, and gracious. However, we do get ones we call “irate.” This is the common term in the industry. They even yell or swear at us into the phone. Some are extremely rude and blameful. I’ve had some call from their cars and then blame me for THEIR background noise. The list goes on.

    We get trained in this. As home workers we are told to empathize, or at least sound that way. We are told to force an empathetic attitude even if we do not feel it and what we are really thinking is, “I really am about to sneeze,” or some such thing. Or, as of late,”Darn I need to turn on the fan.”

    We have learned not to take these irate customers personally. They may say they’re pissed, but who are they really pissed at? Me? For an error made by UPS? They do, and they even blame us for their own errors.

    We have figured out that more often than not, these customers are projecting whatever is going on in their lives onto us, because we are there to pick on! I had one, early on, crying over the phone over a pair of flip-flops we couldn’t get to her in time for vacation. I knew something else was happening. Maybe it was a really important date, or maybe this was just the last straw for her in a long line of recent misfortunes she had experienced. I weathered the storm by realizing that, and also later on, joked to myself that my best flip-flops were from the dollar store! Of course, saying that would have gotten me fired. Maybe she will stop at a five and dime on vacation and find the perfect pair she has always wanted…..

    I don’t know how on earth I can stand being yelled and sworn at, but this is my job and it’s part of the job, for which I am paid. We learn, but it takes time and it’s only human to get upset by it every now and then. Only one time that happened, when the customer hit too low below the belt and insinuated that I am stupid, among other things. It was hard to deal with that. What makes up for it all are the wonderful customers who come next, who thank us profusely for our problem-solving skills and say we’re the best.

    I ask myself why these customers don’t bother me, but an insulting remark from a complete stranger on Facebook really ticks me off. Why is that? Possibly the content, which is often an accusation of having a mental disorder.

    These stranger bullies on Facebook are doing nothing but projecting. I’ve been accused of paranoia by someone who, I later found out, was paranoid herself. I was accused of lying by liars, accused of abuse by a person who was abusive toward me (and I had not been toward her), and so on.

    I am not sure how to deal with the know-it-alls except that such attitudes tend to soften over time. You see a lot of that on Facebook.

    I wonder if those accusing public figures of mental illness are actually worried about their own “mental status,” whatever the heck that is. According to Paula Joan Caplan, most people want to be assured they are not mentally ill, that what they are feeling and experiencing is understandable.

    As customer service rep, I know not to accuse, nor comment on a person’s character. I try to tell customers their anger is understandable. If a customer receive the wrong item, I might joke about the time I received basketball shoes instead of running shoes (me? I’m too short!). Or if their item was lost I joke about how my BICYCLE got lost by UPS. That, to me, is so funny (did it roll out of their storage area?) that the customers usually relax and know they’re not going to be accused of dishonesty.

  • One in 200 successfully get off disability. Congratulations! I am at that point myself, just waiting for the letter from Social Security telling me I no longer “qualify” as dis-abled. I plan to frame it!

    And you even make enough to support your kid and her mom. Wow, so cool. I hear you on NOT telling coworkers about your “dark past.” After all, as soon as you tell them they will never treat you the same.

    I was on it, including back pay, from age 25 on. Now I am 60 and finally back into the workplace.

    Looking back on my greatest accomplishments, I’d say getting off disability is very close to, if not at the top of that list.

    I earned my degrees while still in the System, only I really don’t know too many others who managed to pull that one off. In spite of the doc’s recommendation that I drop out. Oops.

  • Stephen, I had one that cried in my presence and used me as her therapist, too. I had one ask me out on a date. I had two that slept during our sessions. Elsa Ronningstam would sleep for 10 minutes at a stretch while I sat there not knowing what to do. The only reason I ended up with her as a therapist was because my previous therapist insisted I see a psychologist and Ronningstam was the only one available. Since she specializes in stuff like sociopathy, she didn’t know what to do with me. She couldn’t help me with my ED at all. I saw her after ECT till I fired her. After seeing her for many months she called me up and said she had to have me come in so she could answer the questions on the disability form. I came in and she asked me “What are your symptoms?” I was shocked…oh wait, I’d already been shocked…either way, that did it for me. After eight or so months she didn’t even know why I was there.

    The abusive one insisted that I get force-weighed and regularly threatened me over my weight. I figure at that time it was her duty, or better yet, my psychiatrist’s, to inform me that I had kidney disease (functioning under 40%). The therapist knew but did not tell me. I have diabetes insipidus which means I need more water to survive. This therapist repeatedly accused me of “water-loading,” “water addiction,” and “abusing yourself with water.” Totally untrue! She even accused me of vomiting, which I have never done. I never learned how! She sent the cops to my house when I was sitting quietly, studying, at the library. She even called me and I happened to be in a location where I could pick up the phone there. I did, and she asked, “Where are you? The cops couldn’t find you at your apartment.” Huh? I was so scared to go home that day. She sectioned me another time, and then, claimed she had only sent the cops for a “wellness check” and claimed the cops mis-heard her and dragged me in anyway. I doubt it since a section involves paperwork they have to fill out w her. They HAD the papers! She regularly lied to me, then claimed I was the liar. I had to sign a seven-page contract with her, which she regularly changed to suit her whim. One time she came to the hospital where I had been imprisoned. I prepared for the meeting with “staff” and had a statement written out. My voice was not heard. The meeting was all about her! I was shocked. Of course with her narcissistic tendencies, that all makes sense. One time in “therapy” she said “bullshit” after everything I said. And more.

    I hated that she ran my life. I so badly wanted out after I realized this. I went through withdrawal after I quit her. Narcissistic abuse does that to you. You become isolated in the therapy and your other relationships weaken or end. During the abuse you might seem erratic or bizarre to others since you are being manipulated the whole time. I lost many friends that year. They never understood that the abuse caused it all. it took a long time to recover, and I was angry for a long time as part of the grieving process.

  • I was overdiagnosed with debilitating arthritis which would have been debilitating if I had believe the diagnosis. I was told I wouldn’t walk or run again. I was overdiagnosed with a “severe and disabling personality disorder,” which oddly enough, disappeared once I recovered from electroshock. I gave up my driver’s license in part because of a false diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. I have never had a seizure except when they gave me shock. I was overdiagnosed with rotting teeth which caused the surgeon to remove five of my teeth that shouldn’t have been removed. I was diagnosed with mania when what I was experiencing was trauma. I was diagnosed with the common cold when the real problem was that I had been raped. Recently, a telephone doctor insisted I go to the ER for a foot that was hurting, discolored and swollen. He claimed “It could be your heart.” Bullshit! I went to a podiatrist and it was tendinitis.

    We are so much smarter about our bodies than any doctor could possibly be. It is only common sense to realize this.

  • Meghan, Something doesn’t sound right about this relationship at all. If this were a friendship, what kind of friend would this be? It isn’t helping you. It is hurting you. You need to end it and find good people in your life.

    I agree with the others. Often therapy does more harm than good. I had an abusive one I would love to write about here in an article but I don’t know if MIA would welcome that since so many subscribers are therapists…..Although I don’t see how relating a personal experience would steer anyone away from therapy…only from the abusive or harmful therapists. Sadly, there are far more out there than most people are willing to recognize. We do not know what happens behind closed doors, do we? In general I do not think going to therapy is a good idea.

  • Steve, Typically, shrinks accuse parents of ED kids of “overinvolvement” or “enmeshment.” However, I know my own parents were not like that at all, yet I still got an ED. I think the theory is total bullshit and a way to blame parents for what is simply a dieting problem. I do know helicopter parents, though. I believe this is a cultural value. As I see it, some cultures value helipcopterism, while others shun it. The tendency goes in waves. It’ll be huge with one generation, then half a generation later it will swing the other way. This also goes with parental emotional sharing. Didn’t all of us who grew up kids of WWII parents experience a certain reserved attitude? Of my young girlfriends, only one said she was “close” to her mother. The rest of us had normal parents, or, as we saw it, normal for the day.

    Changing parental attitudes affected me when I went to work as a nanny. The dad had a totally different attitude about parenting than I had ever seen. He insisted his way was the only right way, which I found offensive and actually an offense to my upbringing. I had to put up with it, though. I was being paid to do so.

    We have to be open-minded to different parenting styles. I don’t think there’s a one right way. We may see parents in another culture in a negative way, but I think we have to accept these differences instead of being overly critical.

    For instance, some parents of cultures that aren’t mine seem too rushed and pushy with their kids. I hate hearing a parent tell their kid to hurry up constantly. However, if I had been raised like that I bet I’d see it as normal and even acceptable.

    My parents used spanking. Most did that I knew of. Many used a belt. My dad insisted on not doing that. I wondered if he was weird or maybe one of those hippie pacifists. I don’t believe spanking harmed me in the least, not that I would advocate it nowadays. They did not shame us or verbally abuse us. That made the difference.

  • Me too. It is lonely because if I share I risk wrecking my social life with whomever I share with. I have, in my new life, with mixed results. I have had to end relationships with people who hear my story and then act afraid of me. I generally just cut it off. I have to constantly fight off the urge to tell my story because doing so is a natural inclination as an activist. I feel that telling it is powerful and a story communicates to others. However, the results can be disastrous if they assume you’re psychotic and won’t believe otherwise.

  • Thanks for debunking this study, Bob. You would think people would figure that one out. However, many are likely too drugged or shocked to think straight anymore. These drugs have made their way into the medicine cabinets of so many people at this point. Back in 1980 I barely knew what mental illness was and I had never heard of psych drugs, even with my college education. Is the trend beginning to turn as more and more are harmed? Or do they have more tricks up their sleeves?

    Maybe it’s about time we shouted “Bah Humbug.” If we are ever heard.

  • You might believe me, Cassie, but most people don’t, they woul+d rather call me disease-names then ever admit the therapist might have been wrong.

    As for “good therapist, bad therapist…” This is a pitfall that many fall into. They think that there are good doctors and bad ones, and sadly they are totally missing the point. You can’t divide them up that way because doing so makes it look like therapy and western medicine are really okay, and the bad apples are people we should just dismiss as deviant. Even the best therapy is based on keeping people sick, needy, and teaching them dependency. Even my very best of therapist prolonged my mental patient status. Being nice means the patient keeps coming back. Being cruel might send them away traumatized but which is really worse? If you have a bad one it might help you realize the System is not a very good place to go if you are suffering. Not unless you want to get more disabled.

    Anyone can submit to Forced Psychiatry, which is anthology I am producing and here is the website: http://forcedpsychiatry.com. Submissions are open now. Please go take a look and spread the word. This will be a published book available on Amazon and pseudonyms are allowed. Anyone affected by force, coercion, lockup, etc, can contribute, including families affected. (Yes, I will be contributing.)

  • Cassie, I will jump at any opportunity to tell my story, but in this case it’s not exactly relevant and clutters up the muck of stories that Carey will receive. Imipramine isn’t an SSRI and is rarely used anymore. I didn’t do anything violent or horrible. I only had thoughts and feelings and mostly I kept them to myself. To add to all that, I had been abused by my therapist. It wasn’t the drug alone that produced the rage. I know in my heart that her abuse made it all ten times worse. Think : narcissism and you will get the idea. It was very hard to get over it.

    We humans love to find easy answers but the truth is it wasn’t just the drug. It was her. But who will believe me?

    What I really want to do is to write a piece about what it is like to be abused by your therapist. I hope it truly offends all the therapists out there, any of them who assume all therapists are great and wonderful. She had a lot of credentials and a must have a lengthy and involved resume. Funny how that means nothing and doesn’t tell you a thing about what happened inside that office. I can still picture it, with the cushiony couches, that horrible potpourri smell, the fucking stuffed animals I hated, those scarves we were supposed to play with like they were children’s toys, the waiting room, everything.

    Sometimes on my way out of Walmart these days I see a vending machine full of stuffed animals and I feel sick seeing it. It’s so sad when I see mental patients buying them there, putting dollar after dollar of their disability check into the machine.

  • Eric, Thank you for this freaky and haunting story. I was confused all the way through. Editor of what? I finally deduced that this was some kind of college publication. On the whole I would have appreciated a little more clarity throughout the piece. Of course I realize you have to preserve Ann’s anonymity but you can do that without being vague or ambiguous.

  • Cassandra, that’s an amazing letter. I am glad you wrote.

    That said, I don’t think I will be sending a letter. I don’t have anything constructive to add. First of all, SSRI drugs had no obvious effect on me, neither positive or negative. The SNRI (or whatever) drug Effexor caused insomnia and binge eating. I did have a very negative “effect” from Imipramine, and also a positive “effect.” Imipramine stopped binge eating for me, but unfortunately it put me into a suicidal rage.

    There’s a huge difference between feeling rageful and actually taking action by doing something violent or destructive. I didn’t act on the feelings. I came close but did not make an attempt. I have no physical evidence that I went through all that, no obvious damages except lost relationships.

    I was prescribed Imipramine from Nov 2011 until Feb 2012. I was suffering after I was taken off because the idiot who took me off tapered in three days. I experienced no relief from the rage and very bad binge eating that went on for another year. The rage subsided gradually but it took a long time. My way of expressing myself was mistaken for a mental disorder, which caused further harm, but that’s all over now.

  • I would not go to one that decided I had any mental disorder, no matter what kind of doc it was. My current naturopath says “depression” but stresses that it’s not a disease but a way people sometimes feel, certainly not a condition one has in one’s character makeup, but a transient and very understandable human way of feeling. Since I am rarely depressed the topic doesn’t come up at all with him. If any doc decides I have mental issues I run away very fast. Any kind of mental disease or label.

  • JanCarol I have never heard of a “natural” doc who used psych labels. Any of the ones I have consulted steer clear of such medicalizing of normal behavior. Isn’t anyone a little nervous when they get poked and prodded? I have stopped going to docs who do that, “natural” or not. I refuse to give them my business. BTW, life coaches shouldn’t label people but the majority of them do.

  • I would write this letter but as a survivor the effect of these drugs on me in terms of making me violent was minimal. In 2012 I experienced a really bad “effect” from Imipramine, though. It lasted long after the drug was stopped but I am fine now. A lot of people called me “dangerous” but that was hogwash and just passed on from doc to doc that was unsupported by historical facts.

    My writing endangers psychiatry, so in that sense, I hope to be lethal in other writings that I do. Dangerous, scary, a menace of course.

    I know people, fellow pts, who were made manic by drugs, but I don’t know if I could make a strong enough statement as witness alone.

  • Psych is not always summoned for that reason. Some of us went to therapists for other reasons, not “Objectionable behavior.” Some, say, had depression they had never told anyone about, that hasn’t manifested itself in outward behavior. My own reasons are included here. I did have an ED, but no one had noticed the weight loss because I hid it well, and my school work, though it faltered momentarily, on the whole remained outstanding. When I revealed to others that I had gone to shrinks, and had even resorted to a psychiatrist, people I knew such as faculty and classmates were shocked.

    I wasn’t sent to therapy by anyone but me. My choice. Only I didn’t realize the rabbit hole I was getting myself into. Within months I was converted, even prior to taking any pills at all. I was talking their symptom/disease language, knew the slogans, and had given up my music career. It happened in a flash to observers.

    Looking back, I should have seen a nutritionist, hopefully an alternative one. These were not available in 1981, and none of the therapists knew anything about ED. This is sadly a very common experience in my generation.

    So I was not “sent” to a shrink and nothing about my behavior prior to entering the system was bothersome to anyone.

  • I don’t see self-publishing as something I would “resort to,” but rather, it is my first choice. It not a cop-out. Self-pub means you take charge of what happens. Times have changed and many authors are choosing this route over traditional publishers. I have written ten books and published two. My next book will be self-pub, my first choice, because of my past experience and what I saw my colleagues go through with publishers.

    You have to decide. Do you want fancy, or do you want to spread the word to many people and potentially save lives? Why do you want to see the book in print?

  • ARe you kidding? Profit. Fame. Attention. Money. It’s her identity, her “brand.” Miss Bipolar. Without it, who would she be? She doesn’t even know who she is.

    They used to tell us that about eating disorders, in the ED nuthouses. That part was very true. ED did become an identity for many people, me too, and you start to wonder who you would be without it. You get scared to let it go, even though you know you can, since without it you fear you are nothing. I am wondering, though, if telling us this, just rubs it in and magnifies the problem. Because they’d say it almost like a self-fulfilling prophesy. Just like they told so many of us, the day we left, “You’ll be back.”

  • Okay, I understand. My fellow graduates have gone with traditional publishers with mixed results. I would be very careful. I fell for Chipmunka and that was of course a ripoff. My book was my masters thesis and sold, in four years, maybe four copies total. It was about the most demeaning and shameful thing that ever happened to me, mostly because I supported my fellow graduates and on my tiny disability pay, purchased their books just to make them look good, even reviewed them. They never returned the favor, and even stopped speaking to me when I ditched the System.

    I would never go with a supposed traditional publisher again, after seeing friends of mine also ripped off by other publishers that weren’t even scams. A really good one will get you readings, get you on TV, get you into the papers, etc. So with a decent publisher, which even the best of writers rarely find, you won’t have to pay a publicist separately. But that’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

    To me, giving away my writing for free and hearing a “Thank you” from someone means so much more than having a big name publisher and risking having all my books sitting in my basement collecting dust. Any day.

    I’m not trying to say your book won’t sell, but it’ll be harder than you think it’ll be. A lot of people just give lip service and you can make them promise up and down, send them links, send excerpts, and they will not follow through, not share on social media, not help you out in any way, and in the end, tell you to get lost. My best friend, well…ex-best friend, refused to read even the sample and told me so.That summarized the entirety of what I went through. After that, after six years of grad school, after that joyous moment of my thesis passing, and even getting a standing ovation at graduation, after rewriting like mad, that’s what I got. Humiliation.

    Nov 2014 when my publisher wrote to me and said my book had sold zero copies in the past year, I went down the beach near where I lived in South America, me and my dog, and I let myself bawl. No one heard. Then I went back home and went on with my life.

  • Ron, just wondering, how can a person want involuntary treatment? Agreeably, no lockup joint is voluntary even if you asked to go there, since you can’t voluntarily leave. So anyone who claims they are voluntary in a lockup joint is fooling themselves.

    Secondly, that I know of, a court order cannot be legally done to person who has been willingly going to treatment. If walk in there and you do not resist, then the court order can’t be done to hold you there. They can only commit if they perceive you as an escape risk or they think you are resisting. There’s a fine line here.

    For example, I was unconscious (and in fact, my heart wasn’t beating) when they claim they put a Sec 12 on me back in Massachusetts. Now I don’t know if my records are accurately written, since I am positive that they couldn’t have legally obtained a Sec 12 on me while I was in kidney failure. Not that such illegal shit can’t be pulled on an MP. After all, who cares about us? We’re worthless scum to them.

  • Wow, I love this story. Thank you for sharing that! It’s funny that only an hour ago I was visiting Drugwatch. I love that you can look up lawsuits there.

    I also had panic attacks, but only for a year, and that was some 20 years ago, not long after shock treatments. The panic attacks stopped as mysteriously as they came, around the same time the cognitive impairment wore off.

    I imagine you know a wealth of information about drugs! I have been looking for lithium lawsuits, hope to find some to help me feel inspired. Thanks again.

  • Irit, I have an MFA in Creative Writing and in my opinion you should self-pub. I am not suggesting this as a shortcut, but because when you publish, the publisher will reap the profits and make decisions you may not like. I would self-pub and make the book available as an ebook (Kindle/Nook, etc) in addition to hard copy.

    I would hire several readers prior to getting it into print. You want someone to do a “reading” and you want someone to do a closer, fine read, which is more like what the proofreader does. The more pairs of eyes, the better. The actual proofreader should be someone who does this detail work specifically as a profession. I do readings of anyone’s “madness memoir” entirely free. I do not proofread (not for money, anyway) because I suck at it. I will do a reading with margin comments of the entire manuscript free of charge.

    I see no need for a publisher. Times have changed, even since I got my MFA. For sure. You will need someone to design the cover who knows how to do covers (might ask around here or try Fiver), and you can buy the ISBN and file copyright yourself. I would suggest publishing directly to Kindle. They have a special service for this that is possible to access in Canada.
    You can contact me at julie at juliegreene dot net

  • I would have said that, or, “Or,”…… Either one of these would have worked. Still, I’d hate to have my comment taken down because I neglected to use a quantifying preface to my sentence. Had I left it out, Dear Steve the Sheriff, would it be implied? Say, if I said, “Group One tells Group Three….” Actually I wouldn’t have said that anyway. It is not universally true.

    There are some that insist you have great parents and can’t understand why you run away, haven’t spoken for a month, or act out in school. Must be a disorder, couldn’t be his/her home life…..

    Can I generalize by saying that psychiatry is rarely on the mark? Even if we think they are at the time, or, are totally convinced that they are right, ten or 20 years down the line…if we aren’t dead, we very well may not only have changed our minds, but regret that we believed them, and regret the consequences.

  • Or, in some cases, Group One tells Group Three, “Your childhood sucked. We’re better than your own Mommy and Daddy. We’re the new and better parents!” They say this to anyone in Group Three, twisting around any type of childhood narrative, good and bad, to fit Group One’s version. This leaves Group Two wondering what they did wrong. Due to Group One’s blameful attitude, and high level of authority and esteem in society, Group Two may then begin to wonder about every little nit-picky thing and wonder if THAT was the one thing that caused their loved one’s supposed “mental illness.” Group One blames Groups Two and Three for all of Group One’s subsequent errors, mainly because Group One refuses to admit fault and refuses to apologize. Group One continues to do great harm, and then, calls that harm “mental illness,” attributing it to either the moral shortcomings and character defects of Group Three themselves, or the past failings of Group Two that nurtured, raised, and cared for their loved ones.

    Okay, is this a “generalization”? Or a retelling of a familiar tale?

  • Brett, I don’t see Frank’s reaction, stating he was “insulted,” as an attack on any person. I see it as a reaction. Look at the wording.

    “I’m insulted.”

    Now, in shrink talk (forgive me, everyone, please…), note that Frank has made an “I” statement here. He used the word “insulted” as a descriptor. It appears as a verb, but the usage of that verb is as an adjective. The adjective usage describes Frank’s thoughts or feelings, as “I am” (you can say just as easily, “I am sad,” or, “I am surprised”). The word “insulted” is clearly not a descriptor of you, nor of the proposal, nor of those that designed it, but of his own initial personal reaction. Note that what follows in his original post continues along the same lines.

  • Brett I am surprised you didn’t know what I was referring to when I think I made it clear. You cannot make claim that there’s a double standard here at MIA between survivors and “professionals” when we have two groups that aren’t of equal power in society, aren’t of equal wealth, and by all means, one group has more authority in most spheres than the other.

    Here, though, while you seem to demand and equal playing field, it simply isn’t possible when we are talking about extreme harm and traumatic experiences done by psych AND THERAPY the likes of which you cannot even fathom.

    None of us are insulting you personally. I love taking jabs at the psych profession, I repeat, profession, and yes I love to bash therapy, too. Not therapists, or at least not you since I do not know you, but therapy as a concept.

    I can talk about the abusive therapy experience I had all I want and in living color, too. I AM FREE NOW! I don’t see why you should be insulted by that. It should not have happened. I am only trying to warn others of the red flags.

  • Psych is a profession. Survivor is not.

    Psych is a corrupt profession. Since survivors on our own aren’t a profession, or a union, and we don’t have the power to put you anyone else behind locked doors, I’d say that’s an unfair statement, Brett.

    Please read Steve’s “sheriff” article again. Tell me how badly the psych profession, or, say, you in particular have been harmed by survivors. Have your rights been taken away? Have we put you out of work? For how long? What about your kidneys? Have any one of us here destroyed your kidneys?

    I just filed my taxes (and paid them) or the first time in 37 years. 37 years out of work. Can you top that?

    So it’s not okay to occasionally “insult” your profession?

    Okay, having some fun here.

  • I am not sure what we’re supposed to object to in our letters to Carey. I have yet to jump on the bandwagon. I can’t, in all fairness and accuracy even mention “biological psychiatry” since there’s nothing “biological” about psychiatry. Where is the biology behind their Bible, the DSM? No biology there. No x-rays, no blood chemistry either. Psych is a hate movement, it is eugenics-based, it takes away people’s rights. It splits up couples and families, even encourages families to “disengage for their own good.” What biology is used in the courtroom when they take away your kids or take away your freedom? Psych causes death by suicide, homicide, incarcerates millions of people who have not committed crimes. What is biological about that? Where’s the biology in restraints? Seclusion? Forced unemployment? Zapping people’s brains with voltage till they can’t think anymore? Wouldn’t that be classified as torture, not medicine? I see no biology here.

  • Who is up for a PROTEST there? Right there outside that conference at Brigham and Women’s in Boston? Ready? I will be the first to sign up! I know one of those docs! He falsely dxed me with temporal lobe epilepsy! I do not have it and never did. I suspected as such, and stopped seeing him with no ill consequences. Later I found out that he is an overdiagnoser. In my opinion, he was also a misogynist.

    He tried to convince me that the devastating cognitive effects I had from ECT were from my periods. Oh please. I would like to surprise him and tell him I am still alive, (sorry dude).

  • I have been accidentally put on the “provider” mailing list for this and it’s annoying. Whereas I did attend a training for life coaching last January, I made the decision not to pursue it as a career for various reasons that came quite clear to me as there is too much corruption in the profession. I don’t see how a person can become an MH professional, even one that isn’t called that but really IS that (let’s be realistic here and call it what it is!), and still maintain a clear conscience. You really have to walk a fine line. My own classmates, fellow grads of the program I was in, were already talking about how to charge clients as much as possible as soon as class ended.

    I was in a meeting in Denver with the ISEPP group where this project, or a similar one, was discussed. The discussion went nowhere and at the end of the meeting I had no clue whether the plan was on or not. I hated the rude eye-rolling on the part of some of the participants.

    TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE Denver meeting: IF you invite so-called survivors to your meetings, then at least do so because you value our input as equal to yours, not because you feel obligated to include us.

    Darius, Your comment caught my eye. The idea of categorizing the responses into these distinct groups turns me off as the effect of psychiatry and it’s little sister that also can cause great harm by its harmful use of categories, psychotherapy, are not only on the individual victim/patient, but will affect the patient’s family, neighborhood, workplace, school, and historically, for years or decades to come. The categories are limiting.

    In brief, psychiatry makes us all sick.

    What is said in the article (here I am paraphrasing) that psych is something used to control people whose behavior is somehow objectionable is too narrow a statement, and perhaps extreme as well. Many, if not most of us were okay, by that I do not mean perfect, but just fine the way we were prior to our initiation. Afterward, we were so much worse off that we were branded as MP’s for life, still in the System or marginalized in the role of outcasts. This might cause our family to become an Outcast Family, branded as sick, wrong, deranged by psych, especially if our families don’t kick us out quickly enough.

    We can have category #5, #6, #7, too. I knew a janitor who cleaned a psych unit. The janitor tried to blow the whistle and then was incarcerated along with the rest of us, effectively silenced, forcibly unemployed at that point, life ruined.

    When will it stop?

  • 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.