Saturday, February 16, 2019

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

Showing 1635 of 1843 comments. Show all.

  • Stephen did you ever take lithium? That WILL cause what you are experiencing. It can happen long after you are not taking the drug anymore. Even decades later, people’s kidneys fail. Muscle cramping (Charlie horses in any muscle including toes and fingers) are a sign that you could be headed for trouble. Get a renal panel done and READ IT, ask about creatinine level specifically. Oh, read my upcoming book, too. I talk a lot about that, discuss potassium at length.

  • My degree in Creative Writing never got me a U job. I don’t even begin to fit the qualifications. They want a full work history, including teaching career, and list of publications.

    I have written ten books, published two of them. The second barely sold any copies in four years due to unfriending over psych abuse. I couldn’t twist arms anymore so I took it off the market and now give it away for free.

    I even find it hard to get a speaking engagement. They want fingerprints practically. I can’t even get an offer to do a reading, even though I have tried. The best I can get is to sit at a desk selling hard copies of my book at a bookstore. I didn’t want to do that. I did not want the embarrassment of leaving with a the same full stack of books I arrived with.

    You really have to sell yourself. I don’t like doing that. I’m finishing up a book right now and to ensure sales and availability to all I am selling it for a dollar a copy.

    Some of my fellow grads are saying the exact same thing. Book didn’t sell, couldn’t get a job, etc. Many went back to their former careers. I didn’t have a former career to return to so I ended up staying poor and got poorer.

  • I do have some lithium orotate at home. I tried a very low dose of it for insomnia. It didn’t work, had no effect on sleep so I have not taken it since. I can’t believe anyone would recommend 60 whopping mgs of that stuff, either. I think anything more than 10mgs a day is unsafe for the kidneys. For some, such as elderly, people already damaged by lithium, or anyone with a physical health condition should take less than 10. Yes it is available in some drugstores, online vitamin suppliers, and in some health food stores.

    Just because it is a supplement does not mean it’s safe. As another example of a widely-distributed supplement is potassium ascorbate. This comes in 99mg size tablets and can be found in any drugstore. However, it is soooooo easy to overdose on potassium and then end up in the ER with a heart attack. For some people, though, they lose potassium or their levels are low, so for that population, potassium supplementation is medically necessary.

    I DO lose potassium due to damage from pharmaceuticals, but an entire pill of that stuff is too much for me. I rarely take it, but if I do I have to cut the pills in half.

  • I also wonder about people who comment on here constantly. I wonder if they have lives outside of MIA. I wonder if maybe they need to gain some perspective on this. MIA is only a website. It may be a social hub, but folks on here aren’t real friends, they are people in cyberspace you interact with via cyberspace only (for the most part).

    I would encourage anyone to go out into your community. Talk to real people in real-life conversations, pick up the phone, and get a life outside of fake socializing.

  • Sera you are far more likely to get your story into the media than most of us are.

    If you are going to use your own story as illustration, as you did in the workshop, I’d suggest putting it in third person: “This happened to someone I know.” Don’t say it was you. Just for future reference.

    In a recent job interview I was asked if I ever had a conflict with a coworker. I haven’t. I did have a conflict with a supervisor. She had deliberately picked on me and did what might qualify as workplace bullying. Instead of saying that happened to me, which would have made me look bad in the job interview, I stated that I witnessed her doing unethical things including belittling another worker. Here, of course, I put it in third person.

    All of life IS like a job interview. People constantly criticize and constantly seek out ways that we are faulty, abnormal, or diseased. We are all actors. We play roles, some of us many roles. Acting is lying, whether we realize it or are simply fooling ourselves.

  • Screen time means different things. Blind people and people with other disabilities use so-called “screen time” to access assistive technology. Many kinds of assistive technology help folks who are disabled work their jobs and do other necessary things to sustain themselves.

    When I had cataracts I could not read a print book. The entire time I continued to read and write by using a screen. I enlarged the print and used color reversal. If I really believed “screen time” was harmful, I would have stopped reading and writing.

    Right now, in my work, I spend all day in front a “screen.” I have had no harmful effects. Why? I do not watch TV, I do not play video games, and I do not participate in fake socializing such as Facebook.

    I do believe that violent video games, television, and fake socializing are all very harmful to children and to just about anyone. Television is extremely violent, even the commercials involve violence. TV is noise pollution which harms our well-being. TV also involves a flickering screen (you won’t notice this unless you stop watching it for a while). The flickering light that constantly bombards people likely induces seizures and behavior problems.

    I do not have kids. If I did, I would raise them without a TV in the home. I would certainly not ban “screen time.” I would encourage my kid to learn to use various computer applications, to learn to type, and to learn to read the news with skepticism. I would teach my kid to question what they are told instead of blindly accepting it. I would also encourage time spent outdoors and encourage enjoyment of physical exercise.

  • Getting more and more people to realize the truth will lead to fewer people acting as profit-generating “patients.” Without clientele psych will fail. In the process, while we warn others we need to make it very clear that this is a bogus science that doesn’t act in the best interest of the patient, but in their own best interest, and in the interest of the DSM, the drug companies, the medical device companies, and from the looks of it, the government also.

  • Stephen, my guess is that your doc located old records. This will happen if the doc is affiliated with a hospital you were in, or any hospital connected to that one. Nowadays large hospitals are expanding and buying up smaller ones. This means increased record-sharing between these sister institutions. In order to escape you need to stop going to any doc or institution within that range of communication.

    Here’s an example: I could have relocated from Boston to Western Massachusetts, where I once lived, and been relatively safe. However, instinct told me not to move there. Shortly after I made this decision, Massachusetts General Hospital expanded into Western MA. So now, anyone affiliated with Cooley Dickinson hospital in Western MA would have access to my Boston records. Some of these huge hospitals expand into other states, usually adjacent states. For instance, the UPMC empire, which is centered in Pittsburgh, purchased most of the Pittsburgh hospitals and expanded not only outside the county but into neighboring Ohio.

    I know very few people who managed to escape the clutches of psychiatry without relocation. A lot depends on local laws and what the institutions can get away with. Years ago, you could simply go to another doctor across town but this is no longer a safe option. They WILL share. Count on it.

  • I do not say “I overcame MI.’ That is not even accurate. I never fit their description of an MI person and was never disabled. What I did have to overcome was what psychiatry caused. Trauma, kidney disease, and low expectations of myself. All those were treatment-induced.

    I did have to “overcome” my eating disorder but that was ignored by my doctors for 30 years, so it was not “treated.”

    I do not tell doctors anything. I do not see doctors. I might tell my friends, but you have to be very careful whom you tell.

  • This is making me sick. Maybe the MIA editors should have explained a few things to the author here. We don’t validate DSM diagnoses here. Any. And that includes so-called personality disorders. The basis of such labeling is based in eugenics, the assumption that some people just don’t make the grade.

    I’d like to point out that HIPAA, which by the way, is not spelled HIPPA, doesn’t oblige the patients to do anything! HIPAA only applies to medical providers and any personnel who work in a hospital or treatment setting. So your shrink’s secretary is bound by HIPAA laws not to go leaking out who sees the shrink. The janitors also cannot tattle about who they saw on the psych ward. Patients are not legally bound. They are highly pressured to not squeal, not say a word when they witness abuse. Sadly, many patients actually believe this is covered by HIPAA law. It isn’t.

    You won’t have to pay a fine or do prison times if you name the names. It is helpful to others if you warn them about a particular abusive clinician, or name the hospitals that treated you badly. What no one should do is exaggerate, lie, or reveal very intimate details about ANY person, on social media, publicly viewable articles, or on a website.

    As a writer I am very careful about revealing anything about other patients. This isn’t because of HIPAA, though. It’s because if you use a name and say you saw that person in a nuthouse, you could be wrecking their reputation. When I have mentioned specific incidents or specific people I sometimes get around the libel issue by fictionalizing the characters, or creating conglomerate characters. You have to disguise their identity in that case.

    I am not subscribing to subsequent commentary on this article mainly because I don’t want any hateful, disgusting talk about “personality disorders” showing up in my inbox.

  • I agree only partially, Steve. Not all FFs had rotten childhoods. FFs are entirely created by the System. If we conclude they had rotten childhoods, this puts blame on the parents (and of course it couldn’t be the therapist!).

    I was a frequent flyer and my childhood, though not perfect, was not terrible either. I became an FF because it was encouraged by therapists, by these crisis teams, by the community, and mostly, peer pressure within the System.

    I have witnessed patients boasting about how many times they had been hospitalized. This was a status symbol! It was a status symbol to have many suicide attempts on record. In the ED world, if you had been tubed, you’re a notch above the rest. “Almost dying,” this, too, is a status symbol. It is subtle but if you listen closely to the dialogue, that is the implication. Many of these patients that I personally knew who were FFs did not have abusive childhoods. You cannot blame the parents because the majority of blame falls on the System.

  • This is very true. This was across the board with all institutions where a patient was a known frequent flyer. In fact, FFs figure this out. So eventually they show up at a new ER where they are not known. Why? They know they’ll get better care. Problem is, a lot of FFs will then overuse that new ER and then start to get worse care there. And it only goes on. Most FFs get that way because their outpatient providers catastrophize every misfortune the patient encounters. Mental patients are trained very well to show up at an ER even for a hangnail! After a while you wear out your welcome at any hospital in your local area. I have known people who did that. Finally, after years of this nonsense, they developed a problem that was an actual emergency. Often, FFs die due to neglectful or abusive medical care.

    Whether a person is an FF or not, no one deserves neglectful or abusive medical care. Yes they do cop an attitude. That’s gotta stop.

  • I feel saddened that the comments are hidden. The survivor voice is squelched because of this.
    That said, I witnessed a wrongful death on a psych ward once. I don’t know, to this day, if the family sued. They did a half-assed job of examining the guy in the ER. He was a known frequent flyer. Do they ever give known frequent flyers adequate medical care? NO! We were shuffled to psych by default. He made it up to the ward. He died (supposed heart attack) during the admissions process. Who the hell failed to notice he was having a cardiac event?

  • Speaking of Yelp reviews, mine were not removed. I was upvoted to a higher position Yelper so now whatever I write carries more weight.

    My recommendation would be to write other reviews, too. Review a new business that just started up in town, like a restaurant or crafts shop. Make sure every single review is based on your own experience with the business. Use very specific terms explaining why it was great or why it sucked. Stick to your own story and be careful of sensationalism.

    So for a restaurant, you wouldn’t want to write, “I heard the food sucks there.” Where is the indication you really tried it out? Also, “sucks” is vague. A better review might state, “I arrived at 6pm with my family and we had to wait 30 minutes to be seated.” Or, “My wife ordered steak and we had to send it back because it was undercooked.”

    If you are to review a hospital, use very specific terms also. You might want to avoid generalizations and stick to specific events and use colorful description. “The emergency department was so crowded I was forced to sleep in the hallway on a hard plastic chair.” And so on.

  • That’s funny. My comment that I put here was quietly removed and I wasn’t even told. Of course this makes me even more convinced of what I am saying. I think MIA is great for helping people realize the truth about the mental health system. People learn here that they are not alone.

    MIA needs to honor the survivor voice more, and quit upholding MH professionals as the only experts. Sadly, the notion of their expertise is the underlying assumption here. It’s almost like the editors speaking out of both sides of their mouths. “Yes, MH treatment sucks, but their professionals STILL know better!” A lot of us are pissed off. I have reduced my participation at MIA for this reason.

  • Fibro is an excuse diagnosis. “I don’t know what is wrong so I am going to call it Fibro so I don’t have to pay any attention to your complaints anymore.” Basically that is all it is. I also believe IBS is a similar excuse diagnosis. “I don’t want to deal with your complaints anymore, so I’ll call it an incurable disease so I can safely ignore what you’re saying.”

    I actually know someone who was misdiagnosed with Fibro. The diagnosis itself caused the person to fall into the looping effect, suddenly developing the entire “symptom-set” of Fibro AFTER the diagnosis. This caused long-term disability, drugging, and down the downward spiral.

    Turned out it was not Fibro, which is by default a misdiagnosis, but something else causing pain, which was overlooked for years until finally it was detected. Treatable and curable.

    Now I am asking myself if this person is going to cling to the Fibro diagnosis as a way of staying on disability, or leap back into employment and enjoying life once cured. I have noticed that a lot of people, an overwhelming number, are really scared to go back to work, which is understandable because the MH System creates this fear. The result of being so scared is to revert to any kind of disease possible, even look for diseases, just to remain a drop-out. Those invisible diseases are likely the best disease of choice, as they’re vaguely defined and difficult to detect, many based on patient report of symptoms…easy way to stay on disability, in my opinion. But many just don’t see the forest through the trees.

    Maybe I have this disease? Or that one? If you keep asking yourself this, you are sure to find something, some new label to put on yourself. It is like finding dust in your home. Look hard enough and you will find something to get picky over.

  • I agree. I once talked to a teacher who said she never read any reports about students passed onto her by former teachers. I asked her why. She explained that whether these reports are accurate or not is up for debate, first of all. Secondly, should she read them, this would cause her to view us with bias, with pre-formed assumptions.

    I never realized quite how valuable this commentary was until I left the MH system. I recall I put a bit of this “passing down” tendency by teachers in my memoir, but it shows up only briefly. I entered a classroom in the 9th grade, my first day of high school. Immediately, the teacher said, as she read my name on the attendance list, “Oh, I hear you are sometimes late for class because you stay behind at the last class talking to the teachers!”

    This she said right in front of the entire class. The kids burst out laughing. This was not a good way for me to start off 9th grade, sadly.

    While it was true that in 8th grade I enjoyed lengthy, extracurricular discussions with my teachers, what was not passed on was the deep, intellectual content of these discussions.

    I learned a lot from my junior high social studies teacher, Mr Egbert, who taught me all sorts of stuff about social theories, rebellion, and the importance of being my own person. He explained all this in terms of political theory. Mr Egbert inspired me, more than any other teacher. That was sadly left out of the narrative. What got put there instead? “Attention-seeking.”

  • Roberta, Thanks so much for sharing this story. I am increasingly appalled that elders are drugged so much and so heavily. The plight of elders is of particular interest to me as I am not that much younger than your father. This story so very clearly illustrates the harm that those drugs can do, even drugs for physical conditions such as statins, which are given to elders like candy.

    Much of this is due to the Medicare system. Medicare is not a benefit to elders. It is a benefit to the doctors who treat the elders. Medicare doesn’t pay elders a penny, but is paying billions to doctors and pharma companies. They use elders’ bodies and lives as objects, so they can get paid and enjoy a bit of power in the process. Old people are gonna die no matter what, so who will notice if a few guinea pigs get killed?

    Thing is, we’re human beings, humans with decades of history, culture, memory, and tradition behind us. We are each unique and complex. We are not useless waste just because we are older. The medical profession needs to stop treating us like we’re emotionless, ugly things who lack intellect and perception.

    As for the depression your father feels, my guess is that this will improve, perhaps very slowly, though. Alcohol and drugs (of any sort) will dampen a person’s ability to feel passionate. You end up with an “I don’t care” attitude which is truly a downer. You feel a lack of passion and direction in one’s life. The passion does come back, though. To live–this means you are striving for something. We need to have something we want, whether it is to run 5k faster, to get a better job, to earn enough money to feel secure, to find a mate, to raise kids, or to help a charitable cause.

  • Wow, Ekaterina, this is really an awesome and enlightening article. If I recall correctly, in my study of music during my early college years I learned about the lives of many famous composers. I enjoyed reading biographies of them, especially those books that wrote about the compositional process.

    I also read a lot of music theory books. Composition is an odd combo of mathematics and creativity. Sometimes it like putting together a puzzle. Some composers believed that a person could compose out of nothing, but I disagreed. Behind whatever we wrote was a backbone of music history, culture, esthetics, and music theory. By all means it wasn’t going to hurt us to study it and learn it well, then, go break the rules!

    An amazing book that I would recommend to anyone interested in the arts would be “Break Every Rule” by Carole Maso. Maso is a writer and the essay within this book, “Break Every Rule,” was extracted from a talk she gave to LGBT writers.

    Rules are good to learn, but as artists we must go beyond blindly following instructions. The greatest art breaks the traditional mold, sets a new path, and shows the reader/audience something they have never seen before. It will make you think in a new way, bringing you from where you are to a new understanding. If you piss people off in the process, make them laugh or cry, this is likely a good sign because you have moved them. You’re not boring. Which is the point, is it not?

  • I believe a lot of false positives show up due to poor nutrition. Elders may very well not be able to afford food, not be able to get out shopping, or aren’t being fed properly if they rely on someone else to provide for them. Also, it’s harder for an older person to digest food, some do not have teeth anymore, or they might develop constipation from lack of exercise…this can cause a person to reduce their intake. Still other elders actually deliberately restrict intake to the point that they could be classified as eating disordered (usually age will prevent this from being detected). I know as a fact that malnutrition can look just like dementia. Having been through it as an older person I recall I was forgetful, esp short term memory, had balance problems, and felt vertigo almost constantly. It was almost like post-ECT. I couldn’t figure out how to put on my clothes or how to braid my hair. Or whether I was wearing clothes at all….had I forgotten and was now walking around naked? I knew something was wrong but couldn’t quite put a finger on it.

  • Dragon Slayer, I have studied brainwashing. It is most effectively done not by cruelty, but by kindness, or shall I say under the guise of kindness. You are right that they deliver a double-punch. People are enticed into psych not due to cruelty, which is of course a turnoff, but by the appearance of kindness and air of expertise. This brainwashing technique has been used by many, usually with underlying evil intent. I am not certain all psychiatrists are fully aware of what they are really doing, though. You would think they could see the long-term effects of putting people on drugs and incarceration, and of coerced unemployment….They cannot see it though! They can’t even fathom that they’ve created a horrible mess. Either that or, unable to face the truth, they bury themselves in denial.

  • None of this surprises me. The corruption and ousting does not surprise me. Anyone who speaks the truth and is persistent about it is going to be targeted by these corrupt organizations that are desperate to silence us. They will silence a person any way they can, legally or illegally.

    I had a speaking engagement in 2017 at an eating disorders conference. I had applied for this and was chosen, as I heard, from among 200 applicants. Months later, the organization (NEDA/BEDA) wrote to me and told me they were trashing my presentation. Basically I was told that an informant had let on that I was somehow too mentally ill (psychotic) to do this presentation. The one way to totally discredit a person is to call that person psychotic. You’ll never be believed or seen as credible again.

    To this day I do not know who made the call to NEDA/BEDA. Undoubtedly a former provider saw me there on the roster and phoned them telling them I’m incompetent or whatever. Only a former provider, or someone claiming to be, would have the clout to do this effectively. I would love to find out. It is only another underhanded way they have retaliated.

  • I read the FDA’s statement. They ignored all statements written by individual survivors. All. They threw them out stating that it was “anecdotal evidence” and discredited us. Every story sent in about a person whose life was wrecked or who ended up with something other than what they were promised…..all these stories were tossed out. The only survivor comments they kept were those that quoted “studies.” So now, what are we? We aren’t human beings with real stories. We are numbers, statistics only, to be crunched, stacked, compared, and then what?

    Statistics and studies are dangerous because anyone can find a valid study to back what they are saying. The earth is flat? There’s a study that shows that, I’m sure. Trees can talk? I’m sure a real scientific study you can find in the literature backing your claim to make you look credible. I could, if I wished, stick a bunch of references into my writing but doing so would add unnecessary clutter. Memoir is an art form and because the main source of information is ones memory (or saved diaries), footnotes are rarely needed or desirable. In memoir, the writer is generally trusted as a reliable source, but at the same time it’s a given that ALL human memory is imperfect. So if I tell my readers that 20 years ago I was talking to a doctor whose hair was “disheveled,” it’s a given that this is what I happen to recall. Does it really matter what his hair looked like (I mean, how disheveled is disheveled?) or does it matter what he said, what he proclaimed, what he did, and those words that damaged most deeply? The reader WILL trust the memoirist to write honestly, which is what matters.

    There were a lot of things I noticed in the FDA statement, a lot of excuse-making and reasons not to hear us, to throw us under the bus, to pretend we do not exist.

    ECT is now approved not only for tx-resistant depression but for BPD, so watch out, folks. More and more will be diagnosed (based on what?) and fast-tracked. It’ll be such an easy way to get rid of women and elders….THINK ABOUT IT!

  • Drugs should be a choice, not something a doctor imposes on a person via a prescription or via force. In an ideal world, drugs would be available for purchase freely, without the magic gateway called a doctor. Doctors have far too much power! As soon as you have a prescription, the doc controls the amount, the supply, and also, you have to go back and go back to that particular doctor for refills, so now you are stuck married to that doctor, hooked on the appointments just so you can get your fix.

    In some countries, doctors do not prescribe and people just go to farmacias to purchase whatever they CHOOSE to take. Interestingly, in these countries, the doc-patient relationship is different because the prescription isn’t part of the equation. Doctors have more patient contact and play a different role, interestingly, obviously because they don’t have the instant ties to the drug companies. They are also paid less, that I know of.

    As for reinstating, I made the CHOICE to reinstate. I did this without a doctor’s blessing and without having to go and get diagnosed by any sort of doctor. I knew after five years that I was not sleeping due to damage from drugs, and I was nonfunctional due to insomnia. I thought my life was over because I was so tired, but finally I figured out that I was going to have to reinstate.

    It was common sense. If I wanted to sleep and be functional again, I was going to have to reinstate and then taper at a slower rate than I had previously done. I knew I had to do this without seeing a doctor. Had I seen a doctor I would have been put through a sleep lab test, more misdiagnoses, a shrink, ended up psych diagnosed all over again, and….the diagnoses would have defeated the purpose of leaving the MH system.

  • I have a knapsack for taking Puzzle on the bus. She’s a dog, not a cat. She loves the bus! She is 12 now and snores when she sleeps. When I am working at home I hear her snoring loudly while I am on the phone talking to my customers. When I have a training at work (we do these on video calls) I sometimes use my computer speakers instead of a headset which freaks her out so she comes and stands right by me. I am surprised she can hear it because she is mostly deaf. Maybe she wants to be “trained” in her old age. Hey, Puzzle, want some Salesforce, or some chicken liver?

  • Hi Kate, I had to do a search for the word, “Silence” to find your post. Sadly, the silent treatment you are getting from Yale is typical. We do not get the apologies and compensation we justly deserve. We almost always cannot get legal representation, although I am hoping that this changes.

    What remains? An ugly, rotten, hole of emptiness. A vast cauldron of nothing where once we had doctors and other people we truly trust. They’re gone now and that trust we held for them, and for humanity is general, will not return. Instead, what will replace it? Actually, the truth replaces it! Enlightenment that we were deprived of before! We are now bearers of this truth, and we have a responsibility, should we choose to take that responsibility, to pass the word on to others that THIS IS WRONG. What a blessing it is to be the bearers of this truth. Who else can tell this amazing story? Who else has witnessed it? Who else has seen such injustice first-hand? It is like having the Ring that the Hobbits had or having the responsibility of the Ruby Slippers…or The Force….choose whatever metaphor you’d like that suits you….But we must take this responsibility seriously. It is a mission, a new mission, a brilliant and joyful one when you think about it. It will become a passion, a driving force in your life. a reason to go on living.

  • Samruck, people who are single by choice are NOT deficient and are not lacking and are not limited and are not people who should be somehow pitied. Personally, I pity a lot of married people and can’t fathom being tied down. The thought of it is repulsive to me, although I did enjoy a relationship very much a long time ago. I am a different person now. I am older and my priorities are not the same.

    We cannot judge others according to our standards of what is normal and according to what WE think “happy” or “secure” means. I am very happy the way I am and feel secure just as I am. I’m not lacking, I’m not deficient, and I don’t feel the need to go out on the prowl for yet one more “partner.”

    It is a very narrow view indeed to assume that everyone needs, or doesn’t need, a partner. As soon as we say “everyone,” we are in for a lot of trouble!

    We are social creatures, true, but we humans have a vast variety of ways to be social. Having a single partner is only one way, there are many, many ways. I agree that some people are lonely and some desire more social contact than what they have. Still others would like to have more alone time than they currently have, and more privacy.

  • Hey Steve, Remembering the doc who shocked me and the McLean docs who covered up the damages, that is, Dr. Michael Henry, shock doc, and the all the others, all of whom I name in my documentation to the FDA, I bet hardly any of them could make chocolate chip cookies from scratch! They don’t teach that in medical school. Too complicated for their simplistic mentality. Are you kidding? They buy one of those boxed mixes from the supermarket. I bet you anything. Or buy them from Whole Foods, snob bakery section.

    Because of their drugs I can’t eat salt now. Last night I enjoyed salt-free pizza. From scratch, my own recipe. I’m getting good at making it. Okay, from now on, it’ll be called Screw Psychiatry Pizza. Or some such thing.

  • I have no desire to date. None. I’m not asexual. I just have other, more pressing priorities. Activism is more important. Writing is more important. Career is more important.

    I dated a guy last summer and really did not like it. He insisted on taking me out to eat which meant unhealthy eating all the time. It was hard to find anything healthy on these menus that my body could tolerate. To him, eating well meant “You eat out all the time.” I couldn’t get it through his head that I really wanted to cook my own sensible food, save money and didn’t want all the extravagance and unnecessary flattery. I couldn’t imagine spending much more time going out to eat in expensive restaurants several nights a week like that. Did he have any paycheck left to pay the utility bills? Well, he must have sensed my discomfort and broke up with me, telling me the usual “other woman” lie because he didn’t want to hurt me by telling me the truth. I knew, though. He was uncomfortable around me.

    I’m just too independent to date anyone. I value my freedom. I have Puzzle. That’s enough for me. I don’t need some human hanging around….clinginess? Ick. I have friends but a sig other, naw, not for me.

  • Hi Everyone, I have not been able to keep up with the comments because I have had work obligations and I have also been working hard on my book manuscript. I assume everyone has heard about the new FDA ruling that took effect yesterday. Peter Breggin announced it yesterday during his broadcast and discussed it. I announced it in my own blog as soon as I heard about it, which I believe was the day before Christmas when the FDA quietly announced it. I notice they announced it when they KNEW people were likely to be absorbed in the holiday rush and unlikely to check their email or keep up with the news. Did they think those of us activists wouldn’t notice? We did, however…..They have downgraded (or upgraded, whatever…) the ECT machine for certain diagnoses, claiming it’s “safe and effective” for severe BPD, treatment-resistant depression, and a few other diagnoses involving catatonia.

    Watch for increased diagnosis of severe BPD and depression, and widening of the umbrella of what is considered “treatment-resistant.” Schiz is a little harder to demonstrate but could be done with a few drugs inside the system or if the patient has dementia. This is going to prove quite profitable for elderly. More and more elders are going to be declared depressed because it’s easy to get the ECT paid for with the insurance they have, courtesy of taxpayers, Medicare. Better yet, get them on Medicaid also and milk it fast….ECT is great for that.

    It’s easy to get an elder depressed! Put the elder on blood pressure (or other) drugs, separate the elder from family in a “hospital,” (five or six days is enough to “prove” the elder is depressed, right?), do unnecessary surgery courtesy of Medicare since it’s “covered,” or tell the elder he/she has a terminal and hopeless medical condition. Poof! Instant dependency on doctors, multiple unnecessary and harmful appointments (they’re retired, so it’s justified, right?), resulting depression, reason to medicate and subsequent ECT.

    What else are they going to do with elders? Elders are a drain on the system, a waste of societal resources…….right? Just like those “mentally ill,” a blight on society!

    Except there’s one problem. We all get old…….But never mind that……..Folks in their 20s and, to an extent, 30s, can’t see too far into the future…and psychiatry takes full advantage of this little tendency when they prescribe their pills, of course…….

  • I went through a period of loneliness. For certain, isolation was the cause. I am very outgoing and not shy. Shyness was not a cause of the isolation. Fact was, barely anyone spoke to me for a period of about two years. Psych had wrecked my reputation, causing others to shy away. I was thought of by others as violent, paranoid, psychotic, whatever. Yes I saw this in their social media posts. They also called me “toxic.” One ex-friend wrote that I was “no longer a person.” I DID notice the way others who considered me “mentally ill” pushed me away by insisting on “email only” or “Facebook only” relationships. If I dared point this out to the person and suggested talking on the phone or maybe even getting together, the person would refuse or make excuses. The excuse-making was very noticeable.

    Later, when people started talking to me, with much hesitation, some of my over-therapized friends were methodical in their methods of deliberately distancing themselves. When I finally twisted their arms tightly enough I might get a phone call, but many routinely cut phone conversations off after ten minutes or some other set time, often the same amount of time per conversation. That was noticeable in the way they insisted on ending conversations no matter what the content was. I had other friends who cut a conversation off if I ever strayed onto the topic of psych abuse.

    It was ironic that I had been through this awful experience and not one person was willing to let me talk about it. I was silenced as soon as I brought it up. My natural tendency was to continue to do so. This is what trauma will do to you. You will continue to pull the conversation toward the subject of the harm because you NEED to talk about it!

    Thankfully, that period of extreme social isolation is over now. I have friends at work and other places as well where I have been able to find really nice people, and I have been communicating with my family, too. Because my life is now enriched by real friendships, I don’t at all mind spending my holidays alone. I get the day off so I celebrate by working on the book I am writing. This makes me very happy indeed!

  • JanCarol, By all means, YES to increased healthy fats! I don’t know when the “low fat” trend started but it has been in part to blame for many dietary disasters, including being the primary cause of ED for SOME people.

    Although I hesitate to make any recommendations online (or to anyone at this point) because people tend to grossly misinterpret whatever they read or otherwise pick up from such sources, I might make a general statement about healthy fats! Increasing my use of healthy fats (no, “vegetable oil” isn’t one of them) helped me cure my ED. This was likely the #1 change in my diet that stopped binge eating in its tracks for me. I learned this not from a doctor, not even from reading “studies” or from medically-derived material, but actually by intensive self-experimentation that started as soon as I began to depart from the System.

    First of all, common dieting knowledge told me that consuming fat will lower my appetite. Generally, restaurants know this. Look at the appetizers restaurants freely give to customers. Rarely do they give out nuts or anything fatty. They want you hungry, not satiated! More likely, they’ll whet the customers’ appetites by serving salty chips with a mustardy dip or salsa.

    Eating nuts will satiate a person. I don’t know why, but this was one of my little anorexic “tricks” I knew for decades. This is due to the fat content. The diet industry was revisiting this idea and marketing new products to people around 2010-2013 at the time in the form of pine nut oil. I was desperate to try anything to stop binge eating so I tried it and found it helpful.

    While pine nut oil WILL help SOME people (I tended to use 1/2 tsp before each meal, knowing that after the meal was my primary binge risk time) it’s also true that less expensive healthy fats will “work” just as well. You bet people figured that out! At that point, expensive pine nut oil lost its appeal.

    I believe it was Dave Ausprey who came out with his own brand of Bulletproof oil. People rave over that stuff. I believe, though, that any decent quality MHT oil is equally valuable for less money.

    I consume an array of healthy fats each day, which may include various types of nuts (unsalted, unprocessed, often those I take out of the shell myself), good quality olive oil (for certain sauces and general use), lots of ghee, MHT oil, pure sesame oil for flavoring, sometimes coconut oil (for sauteing), red palm oil (for baking), and likely others.

    I’m a little fussy over which types of nuts I buy since some are more recommended than others when one has kidney disease, which I have from lithium. I usually buy these in bulk, in large bags I store in the fridge. They DO have a shelf life. Now and then I purchase about $50 worth of them (again, unsalted, uncoated, not glazed or seasoned, not roasted because often these companies often roast the nuts in unhealthy oils and chemicals) and have them delivered.

    I should also add that I don’t hesitate to eat “carbs.” I eat a LOT of carbs now. I make my own no-salt bread and I spread ghee on it. I eat plain pasta and I put no-salt homemade sauce and olive oil on it, lots of veggies (these are mostly water and carbs with some nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, too!) and also many whole grains (again, carbs!) including buckwheat, millet, even popcorn with healthy oil dribbled over it. I try to reduce protein considerably since my kidneys can’t clear it easily and consuming too much of it will raise my creatinine. I sure didn’t learn that from a doctor. I studied like mad, experimented, and figured out on my own what I need.

  • Hi JanCarol,

    I am sure you speak from experience, being a leader on the surviving antidepressants board. Can I add one thing? Mainly because these are public message boards and I fear that any dietary recommendation might be misinterpreted by someone randomly stopping by, hoping for answers.

    While intermittent fasting and “keto” is great for some, both of these are disastrous for anyone who has been through an eating disorder. My eating disorder was started because I went on a diet similar to the “keto” diet, 1980 version. I had no history of ED, and wasn’t depressed and didn’t even know what a fashion magazine was. One thing, though, my mother had survived anorexia when she was a teen and had fully recovered. There was also nothing in my family history such as sexual abuse that might have been a stereotypical predictor of ED.

    It has been years and I have come to realize (as many of us have!) that the diet itself caused the ED. This has in fact been proven to happen to SOME people who go on drastic diets. I would also include any type of fasting (except whatever people do for their religious duties) as causative for ED. The diet literally causes a cycle that is very hard to break, and sometimes lasts for years or even decades.

    If anyone is recovering from psychiatry and recovering from drugging, I would avoid mucking around with restrictive diets if you have any history of ED, because doing so could rekindle your ED. You do not want that nightmare back into your life.

  • I am saddened to read this. I note in your comments, Neesa, that you started off suicidal and then got put on drugs and it was all downhill from then on. This is not an uncommon story. I know others who are afraid to get off the drugs because of a return of voices or whatever. I think JanCarol’s observations are very important. I have read that very serious dependency on drugs requires an extremely slow taper, possibly at a rate of 2% instead of the 10% many people try.

    I am concerned about your health. I suppose because my boyfriend, whom I dated 17 years, was on Clozaril, took it as prescribed, was “stabilized” on it, kept his appointments faithfully, and died at the age of 45. No, not suicide. His heart couldn’t take it anymore. It was sudden.

    I had heard him struggling to breathe at night, coughing from congestion, rolling over as if doing so would somehow ease the strain on his heart just to keep pumping. The drug had caused weight gain, made it impossible to quit smoking, lowered his resistance to infection, and was combined with Prolisec and Ditropan, which I hear cause additional risks. He was given Trilafon and Prozac on top of all that, and the thyroid pill (since he was a lithium survivor like me). We both had diabetes insipidus from past lithium use.

    After he died, I asked why he was taken. Why was I not taken? He was the better one, the wiser one, the one that the kids loved so much (he had about 38 nieces and nephews). Why Joe? Why? Can’t we just trade places?

    Nothing would bring him back. It was 2003. The next year, the Sox won the Series and I remember I cried over that, too. Why couldn’t he be alive to see this?

    We knew so little back then. I shudder to recall my own ignorance and naivete.

    We walk a tightrope, and sometimes, we don’t even know we’re on it.

  • Hello, I couldn’t help but giggle over this article. I went to med school, too. Went to Harvard Medical School, “residency” at McLean. I’d love to say that, now that I’m not even in the MH system anymore, with a bit of a smirk on my face knowing I was smart enough for med school all along so that statement might actually be taken literally.

    I was an experimentee, used at McLean Grand Rounds several times, right after ECT, learned on, and no, they don’t give a hoot about confidentiality, HIPAA or not. I remember afterward they’d leave those meetings with smug looks on their faces like they’d finally solved the puzzle, only to tell me one more concocted lie after another. “Of course there’s nothing wrong with your brain and it’s all in your head!” Was it going to be more ECT to “cure” the increasing confusion I felt from the shock? What now, doc?

    Finally, they’d messed with me tooooo badly, and they needed to get rid of me, embarrassed or maybe they’d possibly damaged me beyond all hope, certainly beyond recognition. “State hospital is just the thing for you!” they said. Lies, lies, lies.

    I didn’t think of it as lies. I never did. I always assumed they had best of intentions. Cover up damages from shock? That, of course, was the last thing on my mind. I only wanted to know why I couldn’t think straight. Why, doc? Why?

    Just as they were about to shuttle me off to State I told them to go screw. Told them I would kill myself rather than go to State.

    That did it. That prompted my instant GRADUATION from McLean. With honors, of course. Oh, and a scholarship to a community hospital and another 15 years of coerced (but paid for by taxpayers) mental health care until I got myself out.

    When I read “Grand Rounds” wow that brought back memories………What bullshit. What do they do with lab rats after they kill them, anyway?

  • Most of these studies serve as last-ditch attempt to legitimize “therapy” as okay while so many people are damning psychiatry. Therapy is psychiatry’s little sister. For many patients, if not almost all, therapy is the Gateway to the Endless Pit of the Mental Illness System, never to return. You want a diagnosis, drugs, more diagnoses, increased level of care needed, repeat offender, chronicity? Please go to a therapist. It might be a slower, more insidious route than showing up at an ER, but it’ll work just as well to silence you, put you out of work, ghettoize you, and kill you off early.

  • Dear Madmom, I was once a member of a UU church. One day, I got totally fed up and decided to write to a higher-up about my own minister’s unfair treatment of diagnosees at our church. I was writing on behalf of all diagnosees, and not only us, but on behalf of others he had treated in bigoted fashion. I really thought the email had gone nowhere, as the higher-up wrote to me saying that she could do nothing and that if anything were to be done it would have to be solved in-house. I assumed it had stopped right there. However, it must have gotten straight back to the church. This was over New Year’s, the beginning of 2014.

    On January 10th, I was coming home from a protest in Boston. It was around 3pm when I was dropped off by my friends. Ten minutes after my arrival home, I heard a loud knock on my apartment door. There was a lady cop, who was the cop social worker, and two church people who were committee members. They accused me of planning to kill the minister! Where did they get that insane idea?

    I told them I had no such plans! I told them I was shocked and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Where was the evidence of this, I said. No warrant, no paperwork, just standing there accusing me of future dangerousness, and seeming to try to get a confession out of me, or try to get me to fork up some weapons, which I clearly stated I did not have! I am five foot one, and couldn’t see too well. Why were they accusing little ole me?

    They claimed I had written something on a public website. I said this was a false accusation and told them I had not written anything on a public church website. Maybe they had the wrong person. I was so, so scared. What right did they have to terrorize me like that?

    They told me I could come back to church, SO LONG AS I DID NOT WRITE ANYMORE. I told them no thanks, I would like to retain my Freedom of Speech and Expression, which is rightfully mine and always was. Conditional church membership? Never heard of that in the UU Principles, I said. Then they said this little visit was “off the record,” that they weren’t telling anyone else at church. Oh great, now I’ll be called crazy if I ever mention it to anyone else. Was it also off the police record, too? Was this cop threatening me on the side? Maybe paid by them to do this? I never found out.

  • Exactly, Oldhead. People have a right to put anything they want into their bodies. It might be downright poison such as gasoline, but they still have the right to do it, in my opinion. How many people choose street drugs? Some. How many are coerced via the prescription pad and assume that means “safe and effective”? Prescribed pills include opiates, blood that is transfused, antibiotics, many drugs for things like blood pressure, birth control pills, and all kinds of stuff that’s downright dangerous. Do people choose to exercise, have a healthy lifestyle, eat right and avoid mental health care? If you do you might feel a ton better.

  • Hey, Oldhead. It’s been done. It’s called street drugs. Been around a looooonnnnng time and they ain’t going away just yet. I hope not because shouldn’t people have the right to choose? Choice via prescribed drugs can’t possibly be choice at all. The prescription adds authority and illusion of safety to the pills that shouldn’t even be there. I’m all for free choice. You wanna take drugs? Take drugs. Leave the MD and his power and institutions and diagnoses out of the equation so that way you really choose it.

  • I agree with bcharris here. People who do their own research and take control of their health, understanding why they take each supplement (instead of blindly following doctor’s advice) know what they’re getting themselves into. Those of us who have taken our bodies back will stop taking a supplement if it makes us feel sick or worsens our health. We don’t need doctor permission to make our health decisions for us.

    I think this above research and publicity is a move by Pharma to scare people into believing drugs are safer than OTC supplements simply because a doctor prescribes them. This is a move likely pushed by the AMA and other physician interests pushing for more power and authority for physicians, in hopes of bringing back their exclusive prescribing power, strengthening their elite position in society. This kind of hype reminds me of when L-Tryptophan was taken off the market for a while due to one contaminated batch….only because Western Medicine is very threatened by people being able to take supplements and improve their health. They are afraid of losing their power…it is a move of desperation here.

  • When I was abused in a hospital I lost a lot of my friends. They claimed it was ‘impossible” that such a thing could have happened. They claimed I was “delusional.” My therapist claimed the unit I was on did not exist. Even now, people outside of MIA claim it couldn’t possibly have occurred. However, it did occur. This kind of thing is not “the exception.” I was not psychotic. These were just people doing their job, apparently. These were nurses scared to speak out against the ones that had abused, scared of losing their jobs, nurses that knew I was right but afraid that if they sided with me they’d get fired. They were right. They would have! Still, when I said abuse, I meant abuse. I stand by my words. I know I am telling the truth. It’s hard to forgive when you were deprived of water. It’s hard to forgive when they defended their actions that nearly killed me, and then, to keep me quiet, tried to get me committed in a state hospital to ensure I didn’t pursue the case legally. Seven years have passed and I am still called psychotic to this day. I hate it.

  • Someone left a disrespectful comment about there being no such thing as reincarnation. To that, I say the following:

    I am a Jew. As a Jew, I choose to tolerate other people’s belief that Jesus was the Messiah. To me, the concept of Messiah does not compute, and when I hear “Jesus” I cringe inside. When I hear Christmas music I also cringe, but am I going to swear out loud at the Muzak when I head out to Walmart in a bit? No! Why? Because it’s not polite.

    As a Jew I am also agnostic. It is my right to have this belief, which for the most part I do not share with others. As a Jew, I choose to tolerate people’s belief in God. I also choose to tolerate people’s belief that there is no God, that is, Atheism. I choose not to choose.

    As a Jew I also feel obligated to tolerate beliefs I do not hold myself but I know are a deeply held part of nonwestern cultures, such as reincarnation. I think it is hugely disrespectful and narrow-minded to say that reincarnation doesn’t exist, is a delusion, or is impossible. What if I said the Christmas story was a mass delusion and anyone who believes it should be incarcerated? Maybe the entirety of Vatican City should be locked up and drugged.

    Is life even real? Please poke me. I must be dreaming. This dog is so cute, she couldn’t be real.

  • Oh wow, this is so funny and sad. That was about my attitude, too. I could predict their actions because I had been there so many times. I agree that one’s thoughts are private and are no one’s business! I can think anything I want! I can walk past a store and think of breaking in a stealing everything inside. Have I committed a crime? No! I honestly don’t care whom another person believes they are reincarnated from! That’s private business and should stay private. In fact, locking a person up for any belief regarding reincarnation is treading on incarceration based on religious beliefs. You did not do any deed to cause this. I’m glad you’re out. Stay out. Don’t go back to them and don’t tell them your thoughts anymore. They don’t help. They hurt.

  • I witnessed a library cop reprimanding a young student for holding his head down appearing to be asleep at the library. I was shocked. In fact, he was not asleep. He was holding his head like that because he was watching a video on his cellular telephone and wanted to shield his phone from the bright lights. So he was hovering over the phone and looking down into it, certainly not napping. I was so appalled at this cop’s behavior (and the fact that she reprimanded me for quietly eating at the library when I was a regular patron and I was truly starving) that I plan to write to the library administration and complain. While it’s a rule you can’t eat there, I was then stuck eating outside in the cold. At that point someone mistook me for a homeless person because I was so starving after a two-hour, freezing cold bus ride. Libraries shouldn’t be run like penitentiaries. They used to be sanctuaries for people. Sad.

  • They use Ed as a way to control patients. Those of us who have been in this sort of “care” see this technique used regularly on patients. If you question the rules, that is Ed speaking. If you ask to be released, that’s Ed speaking. If you dislike your therapist, that’s Ed again. If you ever dare speak of human rights, it’s surely Ed. They demand that you banish Ed from your head immediately by holding onto a frozen orange or they might hand you some pills or make you do very gentle yoga or color-by-number. Yes, it’s abuse, but as soon as you point that out they’ll let you know your eating disorder is surely to blame. Being human is a symptom, speaking out a disease, asking for fair, humane treatment is pathological. Your best bet is to vandalize the place, maybe write terrible swear word on the walls in permanent crayon. They’ll have to kick you out if you do that. Then you are free and you’ll get your rights back.

  • As usual, the most important factor was left out. Were these individuals in treatment for their EDs? This is so important. I believe the ED voice is treatment-induced. I have seen the believe in the ED-Devil-like character induced in treatment, coerced into patients by therapy. This is caused by exposure to ED-specific therapy. Those who have not had this type of therapy do not have an ED voice and have never heard of such a thing. All you have to do, if you want to induce an ED voice, is to pester a patient, repeatedly, “What is ED saying?” Just ask that a bunch of times, obnoxiously, expecting a response. Ask like ED is a real person that has taken possession of the vulnerable, trapped patient. Now, the patient is more trapped. By the imaginary Devil ED. Very good job. You have succeeded! Now you have a guaranteed Revolving Door Syndrome.

  • Yes, I agree, this article is brilliant. I was cracking up over Frances’ statements. Just in themselves, they are typical of a shrink…speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Passing the buck. Refusal to take responsibility. Setting a terrible example also. Even blaming patients…and as a physician he’s supposedly a person that patients look up to, a role model of sorts.

    If Allen Frances was my employee and I witnessed him acting like that I would reprimand him because I would want my work associates to take responsibility for their own actions. If I kept him on I would demand that he clean up his own spilt milk. Lying and claiming you’re “delegating” only gets you in hot water.

  • 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, 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 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 (, 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: 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Check out the site:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Steve, I wrote to you privately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Rachel, thanks for asking. I have the entire page written but need to iron out a few leftover particulars. The theme will be announced when the submissions open and I will open it up for about six months for people to submit. I will be asking for creative works rather than research papers and preference will be given to those who are personally invested in what they write. I will be looking for poetry, shorts, essays, memoir, and the like.

  • Daniel, You make very good points. In the book, what happens is that Slater wants psychedelics but she only wants them prescribed by a doctor. So instead of getting them on the street she accepts what the doctor says, namely that she can’t try psychedelics simultaneously with the anti-d’s! Had she used her own head, and gotten the drugs herself, maybe her experience would have been more like yours, and maybe she would have been able to get off the prescribed anti-d’s.

    I also agree with you that anti-d’s are about the worst of the drugs to get off of. I was not on them for the most part. However, if you read my comment that I put here earlier, I had to reinstate due to long-term, very severe (hate that word), unbearable insomnia that would not quit for five years. How I lived through all that, I will never know, but I did until I finally decided to buy psych drugs on the street. I made this decision weighing the risks of street drugs against the worse risk of seeing a psych (or other MD) and getting a dx put back on my record. I chose street drugs as the least harmful option. I was able to taper successfully down to a sliver and now, I am off the pharma finally. Yes it took a very very long time but the good news is that street drugs saved me a lot of grief and got me functioning again. I sleep now. It was very very easy to ascertain when to lower the dose. Easy because the question, “Am I sleeping okay?” is simple, measurable, and cut and dry. I did all this without a doctor and decided based on my own response, which I feel I can measure on my own better than some person in an office can.

  • Oldhead, She is hoping psychedelics will “cure” her. But she insists on getting these psychedelics prescribed by a doctor. She explains that she is just so ill that no non-doctor can deal with her.

    I don’t buy this at all, and most of us don’t, I am sure, as many of us were likewise labeled “severe” at some point, or tx-resistant. We might have been called “severe” or tx-resistant, but this was due to the frustration of the clinician, or due to insurance non-coverage, or because there was no DSM label that we fit into neatly, or because we didn’t like being locked up, or because their pat answers and simplistic therapy didn’t work the first time. Or maybe it was their failure to listen that got us the severe label.

    This is not a reason to believe that only a doctor has all the answers for you. A doctor very well can pull out a bullet if you are shot. They are good for a few things. But not all of life. That is the essence of what seriously frustrated me about this book.

    And let me add that I have been very much a Slater fan ever since I was introduced to her.

  • I am not sure that is what I got from her book. I did not hear her promoting MH. I didn’t hear exactly that. I heard her utter helplessness, her bewilderment over how she got into the predicament she ended up in, and total flabbergastedness over why it all occurred. I do not think for one minute she wants others to fall into the same rabbit hole she did. My concern is that she still goes to these doctors. Why does she not solve her own problems instead? She is smart and resourceful. Why does she still seek the appointments and prescription method? Does she not know this is the road to death?

  • I am sorry you feel that way. I didn’t think feeling compassion toward a writer I seriously admire, and wanting to reach out to her, from writer to writer was “arrogance.” I never had compassion from psych. I got a diagnosis. I got bossed around, was told I couldn’t work when I could, and got locked up and got my rights taken away. For that, taxpayers got a bill.

  • Knowledge, I have seen that so, so many times, when kids blame their parents and even call them “pure evil.” I don’t get that. Why do they not call the abuse “evil”? They even go so far as claiming these parents were born “evil” and were “psychopaths.” Or personality disordered, paranoid, bipolar, chemical imbalance, otherwise diseased. Huh? When you dig deep, you invariably find out the abuse was passed-on abuse, that the parents were abused or traumatized themselves, if not by their parents, then subject to trauma, likely early in life. Often it is stuff buried so deep we just never learn. Unless someone just sits down with the person, quits the disease nonsense, and sees them as a valuable and valid human being, no less and no more.

    I just cannot stand hearing people called psychopath, mentally ill, or personality disordered, any of those hateful words. It breaks my heart.

  • Yes, in fact that chapter was my favorite. I honestly believed she got their permission and I didn’t realize she had gone over their heads! Guardians…hah! That is exploitation at its worst.

    As a writer I have fallen prey to this and once I literally pulled a chapter out of a book just prior to publication. When you write memoir you *must* be very careful and not tread in this realm.

    If any of you are familiar with the writer Lucy Greeley, she died of a heroin overdose at some point. Then, her friend Anne Hatchett wrote a book about Greeley. Hatchett was said to have exploited Greeley’s death.

    If you are going to write about someone you were close to after they die or after you lose touch irreparably, you have to be careful. You focus on your feelings and what you recall and have record of, and you realize those leftover feelings will evolve and change over a long, long period. You have to be aware that others, the others left behind have feelings, too. You also have to be aware of your own short-sightedness and be sensitive to the fact that there are things you may never know.

    Professionally, this is ten times more essential.

  • Szasz makes it very clear that Woolf killed herself by diagnosis and therapy. She was apparently steeped in the very idea of her madness, which she polished up like one would polish up the best silver in the house.

    The myth that the best creative people are “mad” clearly harmed her, too. And he states that madness got her out of having a kid and out of a humdrum job so she could write more.

    I spent years believing I could not work. This was untrue. I couldn’t work a boring, rote, repetitive, job where creativity and intelligence are not valued. However, there are indeed jobs out there that are a potential good match. Too bad it took me decades to find my current one.

  • Well, she fully understands that the drugs caused the harm. But she hates feeling depressed. Almost like feeling bad isn’t part of life. While I agree, bad feelings can suck, I would not (currently) medicate bad feelings.

    For five years I did not medicate the horrific insomnia that resulted from taking these drugs. I chose to stay away from all pharmaceuticals. I chose misery over seeing a psychiatrist. I knew that seeing a psychiatrist and getting psych pills prescribed to me would end up with a diagnosis back on my record. Also, the prescription means the doctor is in control. I wanted to retain control over what I consumed.

    I chose to obtain legal pills, psych drugs, via the street rather than go to a psychiatrist. You may argue that doing this is “risky.” Look at the risks involved in seeing a psychiatrist!!! Do I want to take that risk? NO! Then, remaining in control, I did a slow taper. Every time my sleep stabilized, I lowered the size of the sliver, right down to nothing.

    I am not saying people should break the law. But psychiatrists break the law all the time, institutions have no regard for human rights laws, and none of these have any professional common sense ethics. If anyone outside of the nut wards knew of the violations we patients witnessed and endured, my own petty violation would seem like tiddlywinks.

  • I figured I should take on this task. Actually, Welcome to My Country was the first book I read after I took a break from grad school and then, returned. I had just adopted Puzzle and she was nine weeks old (she is 11-1/2 now). I was recovering from devastating weight gain from Seroquel that had literally crippled me. The therapists had “advised” me not to return to grad school, stating that I “belonged” in day treatment. They claimed if I went back to school, I would “only end up in the hospital again.” Wow…they were wrong! I hope they are seriously embarrassed now.

    I remember the day I met with my advisor and she told me about Slater. I was scribbling my notes at a furious pace, wanting to capture every piece of wisdom she had to offer. I even remember the steam on the windows at the coffee shop where we met. “You *have* to read Lauren Slater, Julie, you will really love her writing,” she told me, without spoiling the end, when she described the book.

    I went home and ordered a good dozen paperbacks. I remember digging in with such enthusiasm. I still have all the critical papers I wrote on Slater’s books, in my files and in my memory.

  • I dunno. To me it is staring me in the face. I saw it in the nuthouses for so long, and one day, made the connection. Ah hah! I suspect that what happens is anyone who figures it out gets silenced in some fashion. You’re silenced in any way they can. Drugging. Incarceration. Outright threats. Illegal use of sectioning. Anonymous online bullying. Vandalism. Spoofing. They will stop at nothing to silence us. This limiting of our Freedom of Speech at all levels is making it difficult to be heard.

  • Catnight, I am sorry that happened. I sometimes hear stuff like “It is a disease like cancer.” This is such baloney unless you really do have a tumor that causes you distress, and very few of us fall into that category.

    My electroshock coincided with my dad’s cancer. I kept telling myself that he had a real disease, and I was being treated for a fake one and didn’t deserve the elaborate “treatment.” As it turned out, after the ECT I ended up brain damaged and then, finally, I told myself, “Oh gee, I must be legitimately mentally ill finally.”

    I don’t even think Lauren Slater would have wanted for you what happened to you. I don’t think she wanted people to interpret her that way. She was a therapist, not a psychiatrist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I fear it is starting already.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • I just read about people who are trauma survivors feeling like their lives are going to be cut short, having a feeling of imminent death that isn’t a suicidal urge but just a feeling like you do not have much time left or a feeling of urgency? Does anyone else have that, too? I have had that myself and I thought it was a “new life philosophy” that I developed after I was deprived of water in a hospital. But I am beginning to wonder if maybe it’s a result of the trauma. I always feel like I have to rush, and that started after MGH deprived me of water. After that I had a lot of trouble getting people to believe me or take me seriously. I hope someone reads this.

  • What is mentally healthy in one culture is considered out of the norm in another. For instance, my parents were like other WWII parents and did not share emotionally with us kids. This was the way that parenting was done back then. By the time I got to therapy, my therapists came from the next generation, so they claimed my parents were “emotionally distant.” This was not true. They were most likely warmer emotionally than most parents of that generation. Therapists compared our parents to theirs, and any variation was by definition “abuse.”

  • I know here in the USA the FBI keeps records called NICS, this is a record of people who cannot own firearms and one of the parts of this is MI, but it’s only those who have been court-committed and I suspect this would only contain some of us who have been court-committed on certain types of sections. Apparently you can write to the FBI to see if you are on this list. You can even ask to be taken off. I wonder if you could state that being on the list affects your employment and housing status (and possibly all sorts of other things, education, ability to get a loan, etc) and this is why you want to be taken off.

  • Chaya, just one little point. If a person is truly starving then you’d better not give that person candy. This, sadly, was a misunderstanding when the American soldiers came upon some starving Holocaust survivors. In their zeal to get them fed, they gave the starving survivors chocolate. The survivors died.

    What happened? When you overwhelm a starving person’s system with candy or chocolate after prolonged starvation, sometimes a condition called “refeeding syndrome” can develop. Usually, once it starts, the condition worsens and the person dies. It is very complex and serious, involving edema, heart failure, diarrhea, and physical lethargy. It is very hard to reverse refeeding syndrome. But the soldiers didn’t know that this would occur.

    Nowadays, refeeding syndrome almost exclusively occurs in ED treatment facilities when patients are tube fed too rapidly. This is a huge liability risk for these facilities and they are truly scared that patients will develop it.

    All I am saying is that candy is not an answer to starvation. It isn’t that it is unhealthy food, it really can kill a starving person fairly quickly. As for helping for weight gain for a non-diabetic person who isn’t starving, it might help, but you might get a stomach ache.

  • We have all seen the same thing. Victims complain of aftereffects of ECT, such as cognitive confusion or memory loss. We got the same response. “It’s an underlying mental illness.” I happen to recall these doctors even had the nerve to try to convince me I had been confused all my life! If we don’t improve they lock us up in State. “Severe Mental Illness.”

    However, I see Atty Karen’s point here. Will they be able to get away with making these bogus claims in court under oath? They may have lied to us knowing we were confused. They could get away with it while we were in a vulnerable state (and while there were no witnesses to challenge them). But in front of a judge is another matter.

  • Auntie and Fiaschra, I would think that the fact that such a list exists is a human rights abuse in itself. Some countries do have lists of people who have committed certain crimes. In USA there is a list of people who cannot work in health care (I found it!) and a list of those who cannot work around children, I imagine. But different countries do things differently. What have the so-called SMI actually done? Where is the evidence? What crimes?

  • Dang, Fiaschra , I gotta laugh at their “guesswork.” When I went to Gould Farm in 1984 and told them as plainly as I could, “Eating Disorder,” they said that wasn’t on their “list” so they arbitrarily told me they’d treat me for “depression.” Of course, treating a broken arm with broken leg treatment isn’t going to be too relevant. I complained that their “treatment” wasn’t working. They said, “How about disability?” Again, ED wasn’t on their “List” of possible “severe” disorders so I got stuck with “schizophrenia.” That got put on my disability form and I never saw the form, never filled it out nor was I interviewed by a third, neutral party nor was allowed a second opinion. Stamped and sealed by the end of summer. Funny, in September I started nursing school where I got straight A’s and I kept wondering, “What brain disease?” but was afraid to ask.

  • Exactly, Auntie. I would think your ultimate goal would be to get the hell off their list. You don’t know. Future employers, landlords, banks that are going to say yes or no, people that are going to matter down the road might have access, and if they don’t now, they may in the future. Never mind the gov’t. Plus I imagine you get far worse medical care if you are perceived as SMI. Even, say, if you show up and are having a legitimate heart attack. “You’re just anxious. Go home and do coping skills and come back on Monday and we’ll take your blood pressure.” I have seen people die that way.

  • Another thing I hear is effective is if you absolutely have to go to Western Med, bring a trusted friend or relative. Make sure that person stays right in the room with you the entire time and if the doc demands that the person leave, insist yourself that the person stays put. You can even say you want a witness, or say that this person should be a part of your aftercare or at least informed. Perhaps this person provided transportation and “needs to know information,” you can say. Really, though, the person is there to make sure they don’t pull any shit on you.

  • Auntie, if the internet service means avoiding actual office visits, then that’s a good thing. Try for telephone doctor service. You can quietly slip into telephone only and no office. I use a Voip phone to be on the safe side. However, I never give them a reason to call the cops on me in the first place. Don’t give out your relatives’ phone numbers, either, as “nearest family member.” Not unless you want your cover blown to bits if you are ever taken to the ER unconscious. Think about it…If you are hit by a car, they will call your family. If you are worried about family members ratting on you in a moment of panic, maybe it’s time to invent fake family members. Yes, it says on the forms you’ll be booted out of the clinic for falsifying info, but they’ll deal with that after you’ve croaked someday and they have a mess on their hands because they can’t figure out whom to contact.

  • Mental health professionals are in the business of covering up the abuse of other mental health professionals. They will never admit the faults of the other ones. They will cover for each other no matter how bad the abuse, even cover for sexual abuse done in mental health settings, claiming the patient must have been “attention-seeking” or must have a “persecution complex.” Mental health professionals are obliged like anyone else to report abuse of patients done by other professionals or staff or abuse that happens in facilities (such as physical abuse and neglect) because they are mandatory reporters. They are obliged to report these abuses by law. Do they ever? No, instead, they claim the patient needs more drugs and more therapy, and they insist that the patient is drugged into silence. Rarely does a professional encourage a patient to report abuse to the police, or file a report to the proper authority as required by law.

    These really are laws in all states. If you see abuse on the job you have to contact police. They sign papers saying this, even if you are a volunteer. This is true even if you aren’t a mandatory reporter by profession. I swear the janitors and those bringing around jars of flowers were more ethical than the nurses.

  • Oh the media has been going on about a “blood test” lately but I checked up on that one. It looks like more misleading propaganda since what the actual blood tests are that they refer to are the ones you get that rule out “other causes” such as checking your thyroid, checking for diabetes or low blood sugar, checking liver and kidneys and for cushing’s disease and maybe making sure you don’t have anemia or Vitamin D deficiency. Funny when I went to therapy back in 1981 I sure wasn’t given a blood test at all. I was never asked to see a primary care doc that I recall. Finally my parents insisted I see one.

  • My ex-shrink came out with a PPD book. I saw him in Bennington, VT. The book is out of print now. His name is Carl Burak, MD. I suppose he took advantage of the woman he wrote about and exploited the hell out of her. Anyway, I bet you can get it used on Amazon. I can tell you more in private about “Carl.” I saw his associate, a psychologist, Dr. Alkoff, and I never really directly saw Dr. Burak, who was prescribing, which wasn’t even legal (Alkoff relayed the info to Burak, who then prescribed, which was their way of doing things) but they claimed it was Kosher. Alkoff insisted he “knew all about the drugs.” He didn’t. He didn’t know much about anything…but that’s besides the point. I learned about Burak’s book when I saw it on Amazon. They had a racket going and I guess were rather wealthy. I suspect the trio (Burak, Burak’s wife, and Alkoff) skipped town after too many scandals. Alkoff fled to Florida, then, to Seattle. Always looked very fishy to me to have multiple licenses like that.

  • In the USA you can get psych off your local records without getting off the federal disability payments if you can’t find employment right away. You used to be able to simply go from one clinic to another, but now, with electronic records, this is less simple than it sounds. Now you will likely need to relocate. I am shocked at how many people immediately then “share” their medical records. This is exactly what not to do. Tell them “Oh yes, I’m working on it,” but don’t.

    Then, assure them you have already done it. Tell them the records have already been sent a month ago, if they happen to ask. So surely, they have them, but they are likely filed incorrectly, right? No one is going to know. They won’t pry any longer. Don’t complain about “depression,” “anxiety,” or anything even remotely resembling it. Don’t use their clinical language for mental distress and put on a happy face. Fake out the screenings. If you spent enough years on the nuthouses, you definitely know how to answer the questions. No, no one in your family ever had an addiction nor ever attempted suicide and there’s no known mental disorder in your family, either, that you ever heard of. Prozac? Doesn’t some movie star take that?

  • Oh, another thing….If you get a paper script, SOMETIMES you can drop it off, they’ll fill it, but you can just leave the script there, and if you never pick it up it’ll just sit there and you won’t have to pay. Eventually if they’re super busy they’ll either forget about it, you can ignore the auto-reminders and they’ll eventually toss it. Maybe they’ll just think you’re on “vacation.”

  • Yeah, oddly, I remember they pushed anxiety pills on me for minor procedures when I told them these pills were both not necessary and had no effect on me. Also I was offered various pain pills which oddly never do much. Most don’t work on pain nor have any effect except a few make me nauseous. I’d end up saying, “It doesn’t really hurt that much, ” and they’d say, “That’s good, the pills must be working” but I never took them.

  • Oldhead it varies from locale to locale since some folks have limited access as far as where they go to pick up drugs. Besides, in my opinion, a lot depends on who works there and the “other” circumstances.

    In my old pharmacy, I almost quit because they wouldn’t stop announcing my name on the loudspeaker when my drugs were ready. I kept telling them not to, and they would not stop. Also, buying at the self-register meant whatever I bought was announced out loud. The register didn’t name drugs but did name vitamins and other items. This was a privacy concern. People consider all sorts of things such as timeliness, maybe a certain employee who works there (and there’s turnover), knowing the pharmacist by name, or, in some cases, going someplace where they do not know you, or going out of town where you might not feel self-conscious. I knew people who felt less embarrassed going to a pharmacy where there was a drive-in, so they never had to walk in to the place. Nowadays some people get theirs mailed, but that involves risk of theft for some people.

  • Auntie, is relocating an option? What if you left the UK for over a year? Would that possibly get you off their radar? If you can’t, what if you could get off NHS? Of course this would leave you without any medical services at all. A few can do this. Depending on your needs this could work out. Unless you have something very serious or complex you likely don’t need doctors at all. Many problems are caused by seeing them, actually. When you stop seeing them, these problems go away, or become minimal. I see an optometrist (not MD) for glasses only. I avoid contact with Western Medicine as much as possible. It is a gateway to labeling.

  • Stephen, That’s what I was told, exactly. By a specialist trained in eating disorders. “I know you told me that, but I can’t trust anything you said because all anorexics are sneaky liars. Therefore, you must be lying.”

    First of all, I wasn’t lying.
    Secondly, there is indeed an origin of that stereotype. I do know some were affected at a young age, as young as six, who were forced into habitual lying because they were terrorized by multiple doctors, constantly hounded over their weight, forced to fake out the scale and fib about what they have eaten lest they be taken out of school and from their homes by force an locked up, possibly tied into bed and raped via the feeding tube.

  • Steve, I heard from other kids when I was growing up in the 1960’s that in the Catholic schools the teachers were like that all the time. The stories were so consistent that sadly, we accepted abuse of students as “normal.” We knew it wasn’t right but we were just little kids. There were stories about our school and Hebrew school, too. I never got hit by a teacher but one of them took it upon herself to jeer at me repeatedly, some of the teachers’ aides, too. I was terrified at lunch time because a lunch lady picked on me every time I returned my used tray to the return window. In remembrance of her and those times I wrote a piece called “Lunch Lady Communist.” It was one of my best blog entries from back then. You can probably find it in my blog, likely dated ages ago.

  • Are we really born disordered? Seriously? Okay, it’s “latent” and it grows and festers inside us, and then, suddenly, out it comes at some opportune time, like, say, around late adolescence or while in college. Like it was a seed already inside us, waiting to explode and wreak havoc. It does sound handy, this fake disease model, but we know it is false. No disease. Then what? Oh, these adolescent conditions which are truly a nuisance, such as, perhaps, a bit too much partying, are now suddenly deemed permanent diseases. Bipolar for life.

    Okay…But it’s my understanding that many personality traits change over one’s lifetime. None are set in stone. I read somewhere here in MIA that people’s personalities are even totally unrecognizable decades later. How many politicians and people in high places are now rather embarrassed over how they behaved in their younger years, and would not want the public to see their adolescent escapades as permanent character defects?

    Held accountable for crimes? Of course. But just playing your stereo up loud….big deal.

    Many people I know personally have gone through changes over the years. I knew people who acted reckless and now are not. I knew some who were shy and now are much less shy. I know a few that were predicted would never marry, but then married happily, are quite outgoing and had many children.

    “I didn’t inhale,” said the the President. Sadly, our overly critical public eye actually was going to judge whether or not Clinton smoked pot when he was a kid. Let the man without sin throw the first stone. I remember how my college dorm smelled back in the 1970’s. Like…um…incense, right? And now many states are legalizing it…..

  • About time MIA addressed the trauma we experience as a result of treatment other than “drugs.” Such as imprisonment where we are treated like a nonhuman “thing.”

    Friedman is right that most therapists and trauma centers assume “abuse” means parental abuse but when I talk about I mean abuse I got from while inpatient and from some of my doctors and therapists. There is nowhere for us to go with this, nowhere to talk about it. No forums. No support group. No place. You only hope someone will listen, but if you try to talk about that effectively ends the conversation.

  • My experience with CVS was the following, not in order of occurrence:
    2013: While I was inpatient at Mount Auburn Hospital, I was asked by the attending physicians which drugs I was on. To be totally clear about this, I wrote them down on paper. I also said the names and doses aloud. I also stated that I had picked up two prescriptions in person at my local CVS on August 11, 2013, a day prior to my hospitalization. I was on the medical floor for kidney failure.

    The psychiatrist came back into my room later, pointed his finger straight at me, and said, “You are a LIAR!” Then he said, “I called CVS myself! They said you were not in there on Sunday. They said those are not the drugs you take!”

    For the next two days I was given drugs I never took, some cocktail that didn’t make sense that I refused.

    It took those bozos two days to figure it all out. They had misspelled my name and between them and CVS they had not even verified spelling, date of birth, address, etc. Mental patients aren’t worth it.

    The inpatient doctor did not apologize and the entire staff there continued to abuse me until the day I left. About six months later I walked into CVS and the head pharmacist apologized but I don’t think she fully understood the potential implications of a name mix-up like that.

    Earlier in 2013: A pharmacy assistant “advised” me not to take a drug my psych had prescribed for sleep. This was an antipsychotic drug Latuda. He said it was too new to be safe, and there was no evidence that it would help with sleep. I never filled the script.

    All the years I went to CVS, I know in my heart they cringed seeing me on those massive amounts of drugs. I know they saw me get really sick in the end. They saw people die. They knew, and I bet they hated having to fill scripts for elders knowing that filling them wasn’t really curative after all. They were taking part in a lie.

    I have hesitated to apply for jobs like that, where I have serious ethical concerns about what I am doing. I remember I questioned working for McDonald’s, which I was forced to do when I could find nothing else. I know some people can’t find work elsewhere. I’m speaking as a daughter of an engineer who worked many years for Raytheon. I know my dad struggled with that sometimes, too.

  • Peter, Your work here is so amazing. This post should be up on MIA as a permanent page right up next to “The Case Against Antipsychotics. And I ask why on earth you’re going into “counseling” (as I see in your bio) when we need someone like you to fight these folks at the level of the courts or the FDA. Get your voice out there in mainstream media.

    And everyone else, share this article. I wonder what would happen if it were quietly passed around in pamphlet form at a large teaching hospital outpatient psych clinic. (Of course, on the outside of the pamphlet it can say something harmless like “free patient resources”)

  • Interestingly, there are no rehabs, that I know of, for people damaged by ECT. Unless, of course, you count state “hospitals” where they hide damaged people. Or nursing homes. Or we don’t see them or know of them because families are invariably advised to “disengage” due to the patient’s “grave mental illness.” The rest are rehabbed only in our memories. They are gone.

    There will never be rehab until there is public acknowledgement that ECT causes brain damage. What they often claim, post-ECT, is that some new underlying, latent mental illness suddenly and mysteriously appears out of the blue. Rehab for a fake mental illness won’t address the real harm that has been done. Until the truth is acknowledged and faced head on, and confessed by these criminals, I fear we will lose many more precious lives.

  • I plan to post a review of my own at some point.

    Anyone who publicly posts a review should be careful to comment on the book itself. A review is not a debate about electroshock, though a reviewer might describe the book’s emotional impact (which in effect reveals the reviewer’s position).

    I should add that my observation of product review sites in general has been that they’ve been co-opted, and I don’t even know if that is the right word for what has happened. Vendors are realizing that consumers rely on these sites to make purchasing decisions. Some review sites are better than others at deleting fraudulent reviews, whether positive glowing ones, or negative ones that are untruthful or defaming.

    Amazon, in turn, has tightened up and is making sure reviewers actually purchased the product. I believe Amazon requires a login to post a review. Still, I am finding that Amazon reviews are now far less reliable than they were only a few years ago. I receive far too many emails from vendors literally bribing me to post a review, offering me a free product, etc.

  • Registered, that would be nice if those principles were consistently practiced. They are not. I, for one, as patient, not as any hired person, was threatened because I told the truth in my blog about things that happened to me inside a mental hospital. I told the truth that I was deprived of water at Massachusetts General Hospital. They found out. Am I allowed to be human? Is it natural and perhaps, understandable to be traumatized after life-threatening water deprivation and subsequent denial that it ever happened?

    Yet these doctors told me I had no Freedom of Speech, no human rights, no rights at all. No right to write. They told me I should take drugs so that I would be totally blocked from my ability to write, from then on. Silenced. That didn’t work, so then they attempted to incarcerate me long-term and abused me again, and denied me medical care and denied me knowledge of my own medical condition.

    So they have the natural tendency to occasionally blow their tops, and that’s okay, but if we do…or even come close…in person or online…guess what happens? Hey, Facebook!!! Yoo hoo! Cute little “report” button kinda conspicuous there. Do I see a double standard here?

  • Registered, I had to do a search for your comment. I think it is excellent. I hope my response posts properly underneath your comment. This is an old blog by Dr. Berezin (I don’t know if my spelling here is correct even). There are a lot of psychiatrists’ blogs out there and many are seriously scary.

    If we read in *their* literature about how threatened they are about patients getting online and writing blogs and using social media in general, what about doctors using social media? Many psychs use pseudonyms but some do not. I keep wondering what would happen if their employers discovered their blogs.

    Some write very well but many do not write well at all. There are some that clearly are pissed off at their workplaces and rant in their blogs about how terribly their workplaces treat them, how boring their jobs are, how they hate treating patients who are nothing but addicts, on and on. Do their employers see these posts? Some I’d say break HIPAA! What if their patients saw these posts, HIPAA violation or not? What then?

    How would I feel, as patient, if a doctor I trusted posted that she hated her job? I remember my doc told me once how much she loved being a psych. But then, I read online that she hates her job and hates the patients. Gee.

    I do believe in honesty and transparency, but I also believe that in professionalism and tact. If you are being paid to be polite, be polite. These docs are being paid to have manners and ethics and this includes online ethics. Don’t call your patients, or anyone, a “cretin.” That’s just plain rude and unprofessional. If you truly hate your job, please just quit. Isn’t there a psych shortage? I see psych job postings all over the place. Take your pick. Even overseas, if you’re in trouble.

    Years ago, I was online and browsing at random when I saw a comment cross-posted to Facebook, that is, this was not a comment on Facebook but cross-posted. The post was about maternal abuse. Some kind of article by a woman whose mother was controlling. Right underneath was a comment, about a paragraph long saying, “My mother was controlling and abusive, too.” Roughly those words. This was written by a former therapist who had abused me, with her professional photo, and set to public.

    Now, of course, I knew exactly why she had felt the need to be so insanely controlling of her patients, and why she had very clear narcissistic tendencies. She had never resolved this ghost from her past. She transferred it onto vulnerable people, and claimed it was “life-saving care.” This is therapy? This is a professional? God help us.

  • Ah…my paternal grandma introduced me to Chagall. She had a collection of his work, and I am not sure of the format, but my memories of her showing these works to me date from very early on. I believe she also had a Chagall hung on her wall. Undoubtedly not an original but it was worth something. All the Kramer sisters were artistic and one was a professional artist. They all lived to be very old, if I recall correctly. Some of their kids are still living.

  • I know a few people who refuse to read nonfiction because they see it as too technical, too difficult to understand, or perhaps even too academic. Many associate nonfiction with their negative memories of “school” and therefore, fear it. They prefer a chance to escape into something totally make-believe. And yet, a fiction writer is more obliged to write “believably,” while the public demands that a nonfiction book “reads like a great novel.”

    The best fiction slips shining gems of truth within its covers. I remember when I was a student composer (before psychiatry) I learned about composers who wrote brilliant music under terrible regimes, under the pressures of Nazi Germany and behind the Iron Curtain. You do hear the message, sometimes even in pauses between notes. They say prisoners write on toilet paper when they have nothing else.

    I believe this is what we, as a group, are doing. We are scratching out poetry on whatever we have. We are living in times of incredible silencing. Toss it to the wind. It may fly far.

  • I think those tests are bullshit. I have taken Myers-Briggs and I don’t see that answering it one way or another makes a person “abnormal” or anything else anyone should worry about. I have been putting in several applications each week. If the employer asks me to do an online personality test I immediately end the application. I refuse to do those as basis for hiring. Then, right away, invariably, in my email or even text message I get something like “You forgot to complete our application!” Yep, privacy invasion! I have to “unsubscribe” from these bozos.

    Just today I had to “flag” a job offer. Again. There are scams out there. This one was a job that paid, but paid people to do illegal, unethical work. Sorry to say, taking a job like the one I saw would put me in on shaky ground to say the least, as I would be knowingly partaking in illegal behavior. This was more than selling products that were inferior, it was far worse than that!

    As a person who has been working hard to secure a job I have run into more scams in the past few months than I have in my entire 60 years of life. If I were to total percentages, I’d say I have to wade though these offers and postings and of what I see perhaps 75% are ripoffs, bad jobs, and scams. You can’t even trust Glassdoor and Indeed anymore as the bad employers *sometimes* oversee the postings there and pay to get fake positive ratings posted. Likewise, I’m seeing some companies with overwhelming, over-the-top bad ratings, and yet I’m asking if those, too, are legitimate.

    Now given all this….If I were looking for a job in earnest and had a great deal of schooling behind me and now I were asked to outright lie to customers, what would I do? The lie, to snag them, would be that they had a permanent, invisible and unprovable illness. My job, as employee, would be to lie to them, and lie to their families. Another part would be to sign legal papers attesting to the fallacy. The papers would imprison the victims, but I’d have to play-act as part of my job that the prisons were actually hospitals. “Treatment centers.” A lot of my job would involve brainwashing, but this would be called therapy. I would prescribe dangerous drugs, and have to lie and call them “lifesaving medications.”

    Now today I flagged a job because as a writer I believed the job was asking me to do something illegal, that a writer and human being would get into a lot of trouble knowingly breaking the law. As a doctor, knowingly being told to deceive people, I say, FLAG PSYCHIATRY.

  • Yes, Olga R, blame on the companies that have produced the drugs and have been well aware of the risks and have understated them, and also, the doctors like David’s who fail, time and time again, to warn patients of the risks, or, like mine, outright deny or ignore when patients point out warning signs.

    I did not generally get such strikingly terrible effects from these drugs. However, when my weight doubled, this was ignored. When I got ataxia, this was ignored. When my bones thinned, this was ignored. When my kidney levels were so low I nearly died, this was ignored. The only drug that caused me to feel like I was going to explode inside was a tricyclate antidepressant, imipramine. When I reported the effect, along with rapid heartbeat and raised blood pressure (up 30bpm higher and 30 points systolic and diastolic both) I was ignored. I told the doc I felt “racy” and “angry” like I had a “bass drum inside me all the time.” She told me this was “nothing” and to keep taking the drug. I couldn’t take it much longer so I asked an inpatient doc to take me off. She did. She did so in three days! That was some taper!!!

    So now it was March 2012. That horrible bass drum beat never stopped and I was truly wondering what the heck was going on. June 2012 I made plans to kill myself. I flunked that one. Screwed up my plans and didn’t tell a soul.

    When I ended up in the “hospital” due to something unrelated, I found the “staff” did not listen to me nor wanted to understand. They walked away from me in the middle of a sentence! They didn’t want to know. They didn’t care. They didn’t even want to help. I left, totally disgusted, and never told them about the little suicide plan I had just narrowly escaped. Weren’t they supposed to help with that stuff? How ironic! In fact, I never told a soul for another six months. By then, it was a moot point. No one gave a shit anyway.

  • Sandra, I have an MFA in Creative Writing and precisely what I am professionally trained to do, and love to do, is to look over book-length manuscripts, and I was specifically trained in memoir, to write memoir and personal essay and teach writing. I vowed when I finished my master’s training in 2009 that if anyone wrote a “madness memoir” I would happily look it over for free. Then of course I walked out of psych and all hell broke loose in many ways. I guess some folks got used to me being a “patient.”

    I would love to look over your manuscript! I cannot believe anyone would refuse such a thing. Get in touch via my blog and we’ll figure something out. I do rough reads and closer reads both or whatever a person needs.

  • Yes I was using Wine and running a number of programs but Wine does not always work and I ran into incompatibility with my devices and also, difficulty trying to see the computer screen. With Windows I have less trouble all around with accessibility. I am using as many open source programs as I can. Actually I have not purchased any programs since I purchased this unit. Also, with Linux, many programs had this terrible keyboard lag and I type very fast. I could never resolve that. Now that I have switched back I am realizing just how annoying the keyboard lag was, and how much it hampered my writing. It was in all my programs, not just in the browser, and I use a wired keyboard. I am sad I had to switch back, but I learned so, so much from using Linux, including how to install an OS and many other useful skills.

  • Uprising, that’s fine, but a few people get help from the pills, too, and they don’t experience negative “effects.” They might argue the same, or they might say…

    I had bad pills but I also had some that helped.

    Does this mean we should ignore that the drugs wreck some people’s lives? They don’t wreck everyone’s life, only some people’s. Therapy ruins more lives than is reported, and therapy abuse goes unreported and abusive therapists keep on practicing. Just because there might be a few good ones, should we discredit the massive numbers of patients that were harmed and call them nuts?

  • Sandra they don’t even think I’m worth it. I doubt I am even worth that in their eyes. I don’t have any money for them to take, no assets, no property, no car. No paycheck to garnish. No spouse and kids to kill. They could put me in a hospital and torture me again (it is worse on the medical wards) which is why I do not go to doctors and I am scared of therapy.

  • Sandra, The CIA doesn’t even care about most of us. They can’t follow every single person on earth nor even every human in the USA in detail, nor want to. They don’t care about little ole me. I am sure of that. I’m nobody of interest. I’m not a suspected terrorist. I doubt you are.

    The reason why I say this is because to follow and track every single person would require a large database. Their computers cannot handle such a database. Ever notice how often the post office screws up mail forwarding? That is because their computers cannot handle the sheer number of people in the US. More often than not, right? They screw up that yellow sticker, or assume you don’t live where you live and you have to sort it out or the census mixes you up with someone else. Now I have had two postal screwups, one that caused me to nearly have my bank account closed. Another cost me money because I was assumed for six years to live at the wrong address and I was barred from opening certain accounts, such as one with UPS for about ten years.

    The good part is that they really do not care. I’m nobody. Just an old lady, not a suspected terrorist nor crook. And more I cannot post here. I don’t care if websites track me via cookies. They track other people too, millions of people all over the world, and it only matters if I get arrested and accused of certain types of crimes.

    I have had the cops come to my home many years ago and accuse me of future dangerousness, even ask me where my weapons were. However, they came with no warrant, no paperwork, and when they accused me of posting on a site, they had no evidence that I had done so. I hadn’t posted what they accused me of! I explained the email I had sent, which they had no copy of, and in fact they had never even read it, nor realized that the contents contained no threats of violence.

    Someone had pushed the panic/paranoia button, clearly.

  • Well, then, I, for one, do not endorse therapy. I cannot agree with those who claim therapy is great when I do not see therapy doing great things simply because therapy might not use drugs.

    I see therapy causing dependency, addiction to therapy, abuse, outright unethical practices, complete ineffectiveness (this is hard to prove, in fact), loss of life functioning, unemployment, disability due to chronic unemployment, encouragement to use drugs, coerced diagnosis, forced diagnosis, forced higher level of care, very bad habits including self-disclosure, threats, bribery, accusations, gaslighting, sexual abuse and seduction, and more.

    MIA rarely takes a stance on this due to the proliferation of therapists on this site…therapists provide an income…they more often publish a therapist than take a stance.

    I say NO MORE. Therapy addiction is harmful, causes disability, is literally killing people, and needs to stop.

  • Frank, I can’t find your other comment and I know I should be posting under that one. While it is obvious that drugging causes earlier deaths, causes disabling effects such as diabetes and more, we cannot ignore the rampant corruption in the therapy and “help” industry. I know this from my brief stint as “life coach.” While my training was genuine and did teach good principles, in real life I’d say for sure, ethics go out the window. From what I observed in over three decades as insider/patient, therapists totally love to get people hooked on therapy! This is how they make a buck, and about the only way they make a buck. Get clients, get customers, keep your customers. Get your numbers up, which is another way of saying ensure they show up for appointments otherwise you lose your job. Bribe, threaten, lie if you have to. I have seen them charging insurance for appointments that never happened, or making claims that dubious therapy methods are actually effective, then, when these methods don’t work, blaming the patient for their “attitude problem” or claiming the patient “isn’t ready for therapy.” And sexual abuse is so under-reported it is a joke. The patient is psychotic or has a personality disorder or looking for attention.

    The harms of therapy alone are undestated here on MIA. They kinda have to be since so many MIA subscribers practice therapy themselves. I have talked to a few. They claim therapy is great since therapy does not use drugs. Some are clueless and have never heard of therapy addiction. They don’t even realize that therapy causes dependency on therapy, that is, they are teaching terrible habits without usiing a single drug.

    I know a few patients who actually think it’s great they got off drugs, but they never learned to make their own decisions because they’re hooked on therapy. They turn to case managers to make any decisions for them, or to drive them around like they need chauffeurs (because they never learned to take public transit) or do their cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping for them when they need to learn to do this themselves. Hey, Now We Are Six….But the mental health professionals didn’t like it when we reminded them we’re legally adults and have adult human rights. Because if we were allowed to do for ourselves and end the insulting handouts they’d be out of a job.

  • Steve, if incarceration is “BAD” then why are they pushing for more “hospitals” and why do so many people call it “care” when it’s not?

    I talk to a lot of people who have never known what it’s like inside one of those places. When I reveal to them the very basics, that the wards are locked, that people stay for months at a time never seeing daylight, that people are deprived of human rights, treated like animals and the therapy consists of Bingo games, they are shocked and they tell me this is an outrage. “Why is this still going on?” they ask me. “You mean our taxes pay for this?”

  • Of course they use cookies! All sites do. They have to to run a site. It’s not malicious “spying.” It’s just how websites work. Anyone can clear their cookies anytime they want. Some people have their browsers set to clear cookies and cache every time they close their browser. The disadvantage to this is that IF you do online banking your bank will not recognize you and will ask you to re-identify yourself all over again. In the case of online banking, for instance, the cookies are used to make sure it’s you, and actually protect you from fraud. While MIA doesn’t collect data by maintaining actual lists, websites that have users and visitors, especially ones that sign in cannot function without cookies. This is to protect the users, too.

  • I distrust most psychotherapies (that is, “talk” therapy) having been badly harmed by an abusive one, actually several that were abusive or just outright incompetent. Therapy promotes dependency, if not on anything else, the therapist. Therapy is extremely addictive. You get addicted to self-disclosure, which is a horrible bad habit, a habit you need to button up in many social situation and find, suddenly, you can’t due to years of that terrible habit. Talk therapy induces helplessness, sometimes far worse than psychiatry does. My psychiatrist only met with me once a month, while the therapist insisted on twice a week and insisted on forced weigh-ins, threatened me constantly, and coerced me to play with children’s toys, claiming it was “role-playing.” She made me change chairs, and talk to the stuffed animals in baby-talk. If she could get me to cry, that, she claimed, was “healing.” No it wasn’t, it was satisfying her intense and very sick desire to control her vulnerable patients. I suspect she had a controlling mother and was just transferring the abuse. This she did with no drugs whatsoever, just with threats and manipulation. It was pretty bad narcissism, but I do not use such labels, it was a behavior. I refuse to excuse her unethical and illegal behavior by claiming she had a disease that caused it. I cannot submit myself to therapy again.

  • LittleTurtle, i can’t find the comment of yours that ended up in my email, but I agree that there is a biological component. We cannot deny our biology. I can’t deny that I am short in stature and this of course led to my being teased a lot in elementary school. Wearing glasses at a young age also led to further teasing. Having dark skin causes many people to be discriminated against, and has for ages. If you have Middle Eastern appearance you might worry about flying because you could be suspected as a terrorist by TSA. All of these social reactions to people’s appearance alone shapes how we interact and view the world. If a person has had a stroke, injury, or heart attack, that, too, is biology, and cannot be ignored, either. I don’t think the Movement ignores these biological realities. In fact, we know psychiatry fails to recognize when a person’s biology caused discrimination, exclusion, or alienation, but gets called a mental disorder by mistake.

  • Sandra I feel the same way. I am free of them but I don’t talk about it with anyone in the clinical sense. I stay away from doctors. I have a lot of friends now that I just tell, though. I can even say it in public. “I escaped my psychiatric diagnosis.” I don’t know why. I’m not afraid of saying that anymore. I don’t say it to a doc though. No way. That is the route to lockup. The express route.

  • But Emily you DO delete spam. That is a far cry from the “data collecting” implied in the post above, that I was trying to clarify. I was trying to say that you really have to take the spam down, which people appreciate. It is part of the the common sense of keeping up a website, which to a large extent happens automatically anyway via a spam filter.

  • Lawrence I am laughing because you said during medical training you snuck into the “meds” drawer and took one of the pills! Ha ha! And then, slept a few days. Really, you should have rented a bed in the nuthouse. I don’t think they charge much per night if you stay there. You could have billed taxpayers, no one would have noticed. They must have had room service and a nonsmoking room for you, no? Or were you …ahem…SMOKING back then? Smoking what? You know they restrain you for that, do you not?

    Either way, if it made you sleep a few days, imagine taking several of those per day, building up a “tolerance,” then, having to take a higher dose since you were “tolerating” the drug, or, because the drug made you pace. They needed to “medicate” the pacing, after all. They do that. Then what? Suppose then, you “tolerated” those drugs. Then, they’d add another drug, then, you’d spend a few weeks in a nuthouse “stabilizing.” By then, I think your medical career would have been long gone out the window.

    Then, some three decades later, this is what will happen. You’ll notice that no matter what, you can never, ever sleep. Never. Pills or none, you can’t. Your body cannot initiate nor sustain sleep no matter how tired you are, because your body completely forgot how, in all the years those drugs did it for you.

    You are now 65 years old. You are constantly exhausted. Your marriage is hardly worth it since you lose your temper all the time. You have alienated your neighbors and friends. You and your wife decide to separate. You can’t get a thing done during the day. You keep nodding off, and yet, you can never ever sleep.

    You have decision to make. Is life really worth it, living in constant exhaustion, constant nether-world? You are alone now. You suddenly realize that taking all those drugs, all those years, somehow did this to you. You feel deeply enraged, that you were cheated, duped, and that you were robbed of everything decent any person could ever have.

  • Well there are indeed self-righteous folks out there that claim you can heal and get very blameful and claim you didn’t “taper” right and if only you listen to some know-it-all young person who claims to know exactly what it’s like to be an older person…I gotta laugh. They are clueless and sometimes arrogant, too, and I am tired of hearing about how there’s some “right” and “wrong” way to taper. I honestly do not want any further lectures from someone 30 years younger than me about how to breathe, when to breathe in and out, how the fuck to cut a pill, how to buy a pill-splitter, when I was alive decades before they were and breathing just find before their egg and sperm ever met. I was in a nuthouse before they ever took a pill, well before Prozac was even invented. I begged for the stuff, too, fell for the hype just like we all did in there. For most of us, those capsules did not do a damned thing anyway, and the SSRI idea was abandoned early on. It did about as much as snapping an elastic band on your wrist. Nothing. Not for me. I felt it was over-advertised, overpriced junk. What a disappointment.

  • That I know of, Steve McCrea, they’ve proven the drug damage to brains in autopsies. I am saddened that people have to die to prove it. We may only suspect or guess brain damage and it may slowly still be happening undetected, as we lose small pieces of our lives. We might not be able to add figures in our heads anymore. We can’t do calculus but who cares? We lose at chess when we used to be able to beat a computer at it. We used to have 200 digits of Pi memorized and now…it is all gone. Or we had all the species of North American birds, even the extinct ones, memorized, and now, we cannot remember the meanings of simple vocabulary words. We could knit with our eyes closed. Now, nada. We cannot cry anymore. No one gives a shit. It didn’t matter, did it? It doesn’t. Years and years go by, but then we know for sure when a person is irreparably damaged as still living people, as TD, seizures, or dementia. And then it’s too late. AND STILL called mental illness. AND DRUGGED.

  • I can’t find the comment about brain damage by dragon slayer. It is hard to prove brain damage on a living person, easier on a cadaver. Either way, psych drugs damage the heart, damage the thyroid, damage the kidneys and pituitary, cause diabetes mellitus, cause massive weight gain, and more. Oh and can cause seizures, double vision, other eye disorders, possibly blindness, hormone disorders, bone thinning, sexual dysfunctions of all sorts, reproductive harm, poison breast milk, harm during pregnancy and during nursing, and outright kill an elderly person or very young person. I personally have damaged kidneys, damaged thyroid, diabetes insipidus, permanently poor quality blood that is always anemic, scary low GFR (and I plan to refuse dialysis), and according to my naturopath, the reason I can’t sleep is due to damage to my pituitary. As far as I know, the massive amount of “antipsychotics” I was given that I dutifully took for years caused permanent rebound insomnia and there has been no improvement in that for 7 years. Apparently I am not the only one! This runs rampant!

    Just last night a very kind and sympathetic “professional” with whom I spoke over the phone suggested I try to obtain medical marijuana, which I have not yet tried, and since this person is local I very well may enlist this person’s assistance in finding a physician who will prescribe a strain that will sedate but will not cause me to restart binge eating. This is the first time someone has listened to me, believed me, was concerned, and suggested a workable, reasonable and soon-to-be legal solution to this, considering my age and circumstances.

  • Steve Mc, that, is precisely what I was saying in my Eating Disorders piece (which Dr. K says he does not agree with but I think he and a few others just did not understand!). If you starve, I mean very very seriously starve, you will then get “stuck” into a very bad dieting cycle that is hard to get out of and can last a long time. This was proven in the Minnesota Starvation experiment. Starvation causes a diet cycle. This, of course, is why people are stuck on yo-yo diets for decades. They can’t stop, can’t lose weight, can’t seem to control themselves, and this isn’t gluttony nor perfectionism nor a mental disorder, it is a dieting disorder. It happened due to a diet, due to starvation, which kicked off a bad cycle. Unfortunately, you will appear to have a mental disorder if it gets really bad. You might act depressed or even racy or hyper, or lethargic. In elders, anorexia will be misinterpreted as Alzheimer’s and this happens frequently I imagine. You cannot think straight if you are eating 300 calories a day, nor can you tell a doctor really what is going on, and next thing you know, you’re in a nursing home called incompetent and unable to care for yourself.

    This IS biological, misunderstood as mentally caused, but it is caused by a diet, by poor nutrition, erratic nutrition, gross nutritional imbalance, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, no nutrition at all, diabetes, organ failure, or being massively overweight or so underweight you can’t think straight anymore. When I almost died and wasn’t eating I was unable to dress myself and unable to braid my hair anymore. I let it hang loose and I could barely stand up. Then my kidneys failed and they called THAT a mental disorder. I had no potassium left in my body. They were very stupid.

  • Is it more productive to say “antipsychiatry movement” or “psychiatric survivor movement”? Both get bashed by pro-psych groups but there’s a difference.

    I am confused over what is “neurodiversity” because some of them talk about “I’m bipolar so please don’t stigmatize me.” I cannot align with this line of thinking, but I feel obliged to respect it because right alongside it is “I’m an artist so please bug off.” or, “I’m a little different and that is okay.” Which I do agree with. Or, “I hear voices, let me do this.” Which is fine by me. I don’t align with “bipolar” since that is a disease proclamation, unless of course the word is intended otherwise. But then, of course, we are getting very confusing here.

    Plus I am starting to get involved with other groups, too. Such as anti-bullying groups.

  • Steve I agree, it IS criminal. I have heard “patients” insist that they do not want to know the side effects and they are perfectly happy with the limited information given to them by their doctors, even knowing that information is only a “partial list” of effects. I have challenged this over and over, asked why they do not want to know, why they insist on being blinded like that. They say to me, “Oh my god, YOU are not a doctor! How dare you!” But why NOT know? Why should a patient not be informed, and doesn’t a patient have a right to all information and to transparency and to the real risks, so he/she can make an informed choice? It’s like they don’t want to know because they know if they were informed, they would make the RESPONSIBLE choice not to take the drugs, but they want to absolve themselves of adult responsibility and instead, keep the doctor as babysitter. I think deep down some realize this and want to stay dependent children. And this is why they get so accusatory at me. However, by all means, David would not even have had a clue, never having taken these drugs before, and having had no prior exposure.

  • Slayer, I am thinking specifically of when I was harmed, though temporarily, by ECT in 1996, I did not admit it, even to myself, for over a decade. I assumed it was mental illness but I never agreed with their BPD claim. When I published my memoir in 2009 I still thought it was “illness” but I left it as undefined. It took a while. Then, I figured it out. That is a very long time.

  • Slayer, you make a good point that many who are victims of the drugs resort to using psych’s terminology instead of properly identifying the drug’s effect. Misplaced blame is common in tragedy as it is. We default to what is easier or more comfortable to admit, even if it means fooling ourselves at first. Grieving is not easy, and I know so, so many that delay it for decades.

  • Dee, my experience likewise. I think due to budgetary concerns the “groups” got considerably worse after the early 80’s. The therapists were not very well trained, if at all, after that. They started those “worksheet”-style groups that pretty much anyone who had as much as a junior high school education could lead. The worksheets were ready-made groups and I recall seeing the group leaders shuffling through the worksheets and saying, “Which one this time?” “Did they do this one last time?” “Shall I do this worksheet, or that one?” “Will they know if I do this one again?” “Shall I just play music and have them do ‘relaxation’? They like that, right?”

    I always knew when these programs got paid by the head, because we either had to sign a paper saying we’d attended, and we were pushed into going (so they’d get paid more), or, someone would stand outside and write down who had shown up. Medicare paid for each of us. I cannot believe playing music for us was a group.

    Not only that, well-meaning friends of mine would call me, back when I did, in fact, have friends that called, and they’d say, “Oh, how are the therapy groups, are they helping you get better?” I didn’t know what to say to that. I tried to explain, but so often the staff were near the phones. Once I recall I tried to explain to a friend, tried to say, “It’s not really therapy and all they do is–” and I tried to hold back tears, but the staff member stopped me, interrupted my phone call and insisted I get off the phone immediately. They never wanted anyone revealing what a shithole the place was.

  • Dee, after I was called schiz, my parents went to the doc and complained that I didn’t seem schiz to them. So the doc, Dr Merrifield, met with my parents and me (my two brothers were not present at the time) in a family meeting and he stated, with much to-do, that I was BIPOLAR. Well that got my poor mom cheering, actually, cheering with some relief that I was not schiz! From then on, though, I was doomed to be bipolar, for the next five years or so. I studied bipolar and acted bipolar. I was never manic but when I was happy they called it mania. I was mildly depressed because they didn’t recognize that I had an eating disorder all that time, and were incompetent at treating it, so there were times that I was in an ED-type fog, that likely resembled depression to anyone that saw me.

    Then they did ECT in 1995 and 1996 because my insurance was running out. Now I was dxed with schizoaffective and the added BPD to explain away the effects of ECT. They claimed I was “faking ED for attention” at the time. I lived with the schizoaffective, of which I had no symptoms whatsoever, until I left psychiatry altogether (escaped the country) in 2014.

    I think it is sad that the whole time, they were totally convinced I had a psychotic disorder and they were flat out wrong. Oddly, outside of the institution, such as at school or in situations where I did not reveal my dx, people didn’t seem to see me as nutso. This was what got me the idea of relocating, and got me realizing that relocating was going to work. It got me realizing that if you do not act like a nut, you are not a nut. If you are not seen as a nut, you are not a nut. And furthermore, if you do not talk like one, that is, if you do not describe yourself with THEIR language, you aren’t a nut. This involves inventing (or leaving out) a history for some of us if we are approached by a medical professional. And if you refrain from using substances that risk your sanity, such as booze or mind-bending drugs that could cause you to do or say something you might later regret (as in driving drunk) you are not a nut. It is not worth the risk. Are these things that complicated? This is how to stay out of a nuthouse.

  • That doesn’t make sense, Steve S. What does in fact make sense is if you sit and do nothing for decades, or do only very passive activity, what they call sitting on a couch (instead of reading, writing, playing chess, playing football, exercising, riding a bike, playing an interactive game, listening to music, doing art, knitting, praying, working a job, fixing computers, shooting baskets, raising kids, etc) then maybe your brain won’t work as well.

    Brains work better if they are used, and the parts of your brain that you do use will get better as you continue to use them. I have not used the math part in many ways that I used to have, and I suspect it has not stayed developed due to years of disuse.

    Should I give up reading and start to use a “screen reader,” what will happen? I suspect the part of my brain that reads text will shrink after a few years. Even though I truly struggle to see text, because my eyes do not work well, I don’t want to lose the reading/writing part of my brain! So I don’t resort to “screen reader.” I keep it very strong. Or try.

    I feel sorry for patients who are coerced into believing they are disabled. I feel sorry for those that believe they have brain diseases or fall into a place where they become unmotivated. I feel bad when they do nothing but watch TV and smoke. I did that a few years because I believed I was schizophrenic and good for nothing else. I smoked and waited for my “shows” to come on. Wow I could never live like that now.

    I smoked and waited for the doctor to call. I remember sometimes waiting all day. He didn’t call. There were days I was afraid to leave the house because I was afraid i would miss his call. I would wait five or six hours.

    Then, the moment would come. I remember hearing the phone, putting down my cigarette and rushing to pick it up. It was him.

    “Why don’t you just take a Thorazine,” he said. Then, he hung up.

    So that was it. After hours of waiting.

    That was my life when I was 27.

  • I think what MIA forgets is what their readership consists of. They remember their “regulars,” people they already have as usual readers, but they forget the “out of the blue” readership, those that come in from outer cyberspace. These are the more important readers. These are the new readers who perhaps just left a horrific experience in a hospital and are desperate for answers. They are readers who endured decades of psych and are finally, finally, waking up. They are readers who finally found MIA after years of being brainwashed. This is exactly where I was in 2013 when I first found MIA, and frankly these are our most critical people to reach. I think these are the readers who matter most. We need to think of these very fragile and frightened readers before anyone, frankly, before the seasoned readers who more fully understand the principles, because those that teeter in indecision are on the brink of returning to psych. If we can reach them, we can help bring them to sanity, bring them to make the decision not to go back to the hospitals and doctors offices. But if we do not reach them, alas, we lose them.

  • Lawrence, I haven’t given up, but how am I supposed to react when my pieces are turned down over and over? Keep trying when it’s futile? Send in a piece and somehow strip my own name sign it “MD” or “Sera Davidow” and then, see if that changes their view of it? Sign it Kelmenson?

    As a writer, I figure my job is to move the reader from point A to point B and that means stirring up the pot. That means shaking up what people already think, and making people ask questions they have not yet asked. If I only please people, I’m not doing my job. And if I see something, and I do not say something, I am not doing what I swore I would do when I got my degree. Or probably years before that. To me, writing is a sacred thing. And likely that oath that was never put to me on paper is more sacred than that Hippocratic Oath the doctors never ever follow.

  • How is eliminating psychiatry eliminating biology? That’s not logical. Psychiatry doesn’t address “biology.” Psychiatry, or, rather, its “care,” diagnoses people with mental defects according to arbitrary standards that have nothing to do with biology, then, uses these non-biological standards set by rich white guys to designate who will lose their rights. For life. Who will be declared disabled. For life. Who will be out of the workforce even though they are likely plenty capable. For life. Who will never earn an income. For life. Who will be separated from society, shunned, called “dangerous,” or predicted as “dangerous’ based on nothing biologically sound, nothing scientifically reasonable, only guesswork…for life. This, decided in a few minutes…decades ago. This, decided by a signature. This, decided because someone got paid, because someone needed an excuse, because someone decided to do it for convenience and nothing more. Because someone wasn’t willing to open their mouth and explain the whole nasty truth of the matter. Or listen. Or care. And for that reason, lives are wasted, people die, and no one ever knows.

  • Stephen, it was only very recent that “patient” learned how to use the internet due to the proliferation of the “smartphone.” Before that, “patients” were not getting online. This meant the online world was “safe” from patient infiltration. It also meant that most patients did not have access to the wealth of information accessible via the web, information about the drugs that had been kept from us for decades. Of course, we could have guessed, but the Web verified that they KNEW all along, they knew the drugs caused organ damage such as kidney failure, they knew about heart damage, they knew about QT damage, they knew about diabetes and TD, but they failed to inform us, or told us it was a “trade-off.” The web also allowed us to connect with each other despite physical distance between us, connect and communicate despite being financially unable to meet in person, even some who are locked up can get online and “talk” to others. This strengthens us and scares psychiatry, and challenges them in a way they were never challenged before.

  • Lawrence, Much of what I send in to MIA they either ignore or reply that my writing is “too basic” or “too personal.” I sincerely hope my writing is deeply personal and very basic, and I don’t want to prostitute myself by not writing basic and personal stuff. That is my point. That is what many of my blog readers appreciate, and the object of my writing and how I was trained, in my graduate studies in creative writing, to write. I worked very hard to earn my master’s degree, too. I read 60 books, wrote countless term papers, did a teaching practicum, wrote a book-length thesis (which got published) etc. I still write a ton. My writing has yet to find a home outside of my own personal blog…And apparently MIA is not going to be that “right match.” We have come to an impasse over and over and they just don’t want the kind of stuff I write, degree or no degree. Survivor or not. They want statistics instead, which I don’t want to write. It’s not my forte. I have to accept that, pissed as I am, and move on. It isn’t easy to let go and accept it.

  • I apologize that I have not kept up with all the great comments here and have in fact only been able to read some of them. So I have missed a lot.

    Right now my focus and main work has been on the gross fraud of coerced disability and coerced unemployment since 10+ years of being put out of the workforce, or even a few years, depending on which field of work you’re in, inevitably means you are unemployable even though you are capable of working.

    After I was called schiz, I had to go buy a book on schiz (I bought the Torrey book) to see how a “good” schiz should act. I wondered why I couldn’t hear voices. I kept listening and listening, twisting my head different ways, and still, I couldn’t hear them like a proper schiz. I even turned down the radio. Maybe that would do it. But no. Nothing. I wasn’t good enough, I figured. Why couldn’t I hear them? What should I answer when the doc asked me what the voices said? Fake it?

    Institutionalization robs us of the ordinary skills that people gain from being immersed in the workforce. Working people may hardly be aware of this. The simple gesture of the handshake is absent in the institution. After 30+ years of intermittent lockup, I had to teach myself to shake hands with people! No one taught me this gesture! You don’t go up to your boss in the workplace and ask for a frozen orange. You don’t excuse yourself because you need to put a paper bag over your head. You don’t cry and share because sharing is “letting it out.” You don’t bring a stuffed animal to work and role-play with it. You don’t go ask your supervisor for a “PRN,” because if you do, your super will ask you what the heck that is. Thankfully, I knew enough not to do these things. I laugh at how useless the “skills” were that we were taught. These were not skills, they were a way to stay mental patients.

    If you ever make it as far as a real job interview you’ll have to invent decades of work history and you’ll need to be creative about it just to get your foot into the door of this thing called “work.” Good luck.

  • I think psychiatry itself is well aware of the harms it does. It is well aware of the harms of institutionalization, and well aware of the harms of the drugs it and pharma have created (even before the drugs are released, or they are certain suspect) but as soon as they do cause harm and anyone points out the obvious (such as patient death) they shift the responsibility of their crimes onto those they harmed. It works every time. It works even if the patient is alive. It’s called Mental Illness. They lock people up for that.

  • I did, for a long time, feel like kicking myself for believing the lies. I felt like a fool. I felt embarrassed that I had been duped. I felt jealous of the younger survivors who got out so much sooner than I did. I felt like a fool for letting them walk all over me.

    Now, though, I know that each of us was in different circumstances, that some are more easily able to walk out than others. I no longer ask myself why I stayed in. I know why. I know I stayed in year after year hoping that “the right one” would show up who could cure my eating disorder (which they apparently did not know I had!). “Next year, they’ll figure it out…” I said that to myself, over and over. “This admission will be the one.” “This doctor knows, not like the others.” “This will be the pill that stops the binge eating.” Little did I know, they weren’t trying to cure my ED, they were trying to cure nonexistent bipolar and schiz I never had.

    Somewhere in Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye keeps saying, “On the other hand…” and gives in to changing cultural demands, part of the plot. But one day, he blows his top and says, “There is no other hand!”

    There was no other hand for me. Probably water deprivation was the last straw. I think people walk out when it gets to the point of there being no other hand left, and that point is not the same for everyone, just like we grow taller at different rates. While I sure wish it was sooner for me rather than 34 years down the line, I’m glad it happened and glad I’m still alive.

    I don’t blame myself anymore. I ask how I can help others get out sooner, or not go in at all.

  • Aw thanks, and thanks for writing this article. I can only hope that those who “reported” me would read what you wrote, especially the person who pushed the panic button after reading a very old blog entry I wrote which consisted of me only fantasizing.

    That day, when the cops showed up, I noticed that not one cop had read the actual blog entry my friend was referring to. My guess is that they were unable to find the entry and instead of trying to do so, just took her word for it. They ended up letting me go.

    After that, I went to my friend’s forum and read what they said. They called me a non-person. They said my dog should be taken away from me and I should be locked up for a long time! They said they wondered why I wasn’t and they said I was very very dangerous and warned each other to lock all their doors. I gotta laugh. They were thousands of miles away from me. This was a sad example of group paranoia directed and objectified at me, and I hadn’t ever threatened them. They blamed their problems on me and turned all their anger toward me. I’ve never been violent. I just wasn’t brought up that way. I had to relocate to get away from all that, and get away from the paranoid cops.

  • That I know of, MIA editors are concerned that spammers show up who post stuff marketing items that have nothing to do with MIA content. They do have to delete spam content. They also have to delete or “moderate” anything that goes against their policies, and they are transparent about these policies. I don’t see anything about their sending the cops to a user’s home. If they collect geolocation it is likely only because they have nonprofit status, and likely have to report where users are located (roughly). They may also do this for editorial purposes. They want to know which countries people live in. If many speak a certain language they may decide to expand to offer a part of MIA in that language in the future. We now have MIA in Brasil and MIA in Finland. Maybe next will be MIA in French for those who live in Quebec and other parts of the world where French is spoken. All websites do this and it’s not to “spy” on people.

  • i mean don’t you guys get it? DON’T LOCK PEOPLE UP! That’s what this blog says. Locking people up harms them. That and nothing more. It’s the elephant in the room all-too often ignored by activists who insist on adding too many spices to the soup, too many arguments and complex statistical data no one can understand but the issue is in fact very basic. Why should people who have only asked for help be locked up? Put behind locked doors? Incarceration defies logic, yet taxpayers pay for these so-called “hospitals” and actually want more built.

  • I think people are misreading this blog. I don’t see victim-blaming here. I see psychiatry-blaming and honestly, despite my differences with MIA editors I highly doubt they’d publish something that was damning of patients. Such writing won’t float here. Read it again. I believe Lawrence is right on the mark. Institutionalization causes dependency. Very basic. Very obvious. Very overlooked because it’s so obvious. He is not saying that psych takes advantage of people who are weak to begin with. He says PRECISELY what I say in my own personal blog outside of here (because MIA won’t touch my stuff) and I’ve been saying for years. Psych, particularly at the inpatient and “day treatment” level, consists of heavy-duty brainwashing that causes dependency, causes long-term reliance on “staff,” causes a person to defer to whatever the doctor says, causes a person to default to “patient mode,” and causes a person to assume without question that he/she is unable to work, incapable, and disabled for life. Is this the victim’s fault? NO! This is caused by the horror story called psychiatry. This should be a wake-up call, and not a reason to sit here and bash yet one more great article coming from MIA.

  • Carlene, I suspect that you are right. People call the police with no awareness of the possible consequences. More and more are being trained as mandatory reporters. I question their training, whoever it was that reported since you made it very clear that you were not at imminent risk.

    I have had this happen also. This happened due to misinterpretation or misunderstanding. For instance, use of a metaphor taken literally, or, a fantasy or musing taken literally, literary reference (there are certainly plenty of murders in novels!), use of the word “suicide” in a sentence taken completely out of context, a note on my fridge that contained the word “suicide” with no intent whatsoever (I question the reading comprehension ability of the cop who found the note!), blog entries that were not current (can people read dates?), Facebook posts that were misconstrued, etc.

    It has to be imminent risk, according to the law, according to any mandatory reporting law as applied to suicide. I ask if it is self-importance or lack of ego on the part of the person doing the reporting, a desire to be a hero or savior, or some kind of control issue going on.

    I did call the cops on someone a while back because it wasn’t “risk.” Someone was being beaten…domestic violence. So I had to decide very quickly. I’m not a mandatory reporter but I did call. The decision was not an easy one.

    Another separate occasion a man chased a woman with his car, out on the street in late afternoon in a bad neighboorhood on a Sunday, nearly running me over in the process, then he got out and chased her on foot while she screamed desperately that she was going to call the cops while she was running from him. He was snarling something very aggressive-sounding I couldn’t understand. I was very afraid. My phone was out of battery. I listened as I tried to get from the vicinity away myself, and from what I could hear the woman did indeed run to safety, indoors somewhere nearby. I cannot see well enough to get the license plate number, nor even guess anything about the type of car. “Sedan.”

    This is not the same as “in four months.” Jeepers. Common sense.

  • I think our movement…if we have one…has started to examine the drugs very closely and turn its focus on drugs more than it did before. Of course this needs to happen, but there are consequences. Was it okay to take us out of the workforce? Okay to lock us up in the name of treatment, or okay to put us in housing where we never interacted with anyone but other mental patients? Was it okay to put us in a new fake world where we learned that some people were “staff” and others were “patients” and never the two shall mix, a black-and-white scenario that taught us to think like that, black and white, now a new mental illness for which we shall be soon blamed forever?

    That was institutionalization. We learned that “staff” were the authorities. We learned that they knew everything. We learned to go crying to them whenever we had the tiniest problem. We learned that we were patients who couldn’t do a darned thing for ourselves. But the handy staff did it all for us. They drove us to appointments, found “providers” for us, called us to remind us of appointments when we really could remember anyway, brought us our drugs and reminded us to take them when we were perfectly capable of remembering, and even read aloud to us stuff we could read ourselves. We got “help” playing children’s games. We were handed stuffed animals and told to role-play, encouraged to carry stuffed animals around in public and encouraged to talk baby-talk. We were encouraged to bawl like little kids and then, told we needed “therapy” because we had cried.

    Therapeutic groups were charged to Medicare by the head, sometimes over 50 dollars a head. Sometimes this consisted of watching a filmstrip or video and then, several minutes of discussion afterward. One staff would be in the room, a “staff” who often did not even have a college education. It wasn’t necessary. Staff were called “smart” by default, because they were staff and because they had rights and because they had keys to the unit. We patients usually had far more college education than the staff running the group, but we were too polite or too drugged to say so.

    I rarely got through a hospitalization without enduring a game of Bingo. We had to be supervised for these Bingo games because we were considered dangerous. The Bingo board was generally oversized, which baffled me because very few of us, if any, were vision-impaired. The instructions for playing were over-simplified, told to us as if we could not understand or as if the game was so complex that our defective brains couldn’t possibly comprehend it.

    Some of the groups were worksheet-type groups. This of course made it easy for the junior staff that had no clue how to run a group. All these staff had to do was read the worksheet as a group, alternating, and then, have the patients fill it out. I personally found reading the worksheet aloud insulting since most of us did not need a read-aloud. I knew that the read-aloud time was only filler for the staff, who didn’t know what else to do with the group time. They needed to claim all this was therapy, after all.

    There came times during my patienthood that I became insulted by the selection of groups available to me. So I complained in various ways. “The groups are insulting.” “The groups are beneath my educational and maturity level.” “The groups have no relevance to real life outside the institution.”

    What happened? I was told, “You clearly cannot handle the groups and therefore, need to stay longer.” “You cannot cope with the groups. They make you too anxious.” “The groups are too challenging for you.” “You are paranoid.”

    My favorite remark was the following: “You are incapable of sitting in a room full of people.” This was told to me by John Gunderson. This one cracks me up and I wish I had tape-recorded it, because I believe this remark alone reflects the entirely of psychiatry’s incompetence.

    These days, I compete in public speaking contests, have no stage fright, and plan to compete more in the coming months and years. I get a lot of compliments, too. I love to speak in front of an audience and I do so whenever I get a chance.

    I’ve been talking about institutionalization for ages in my blog: if anyone wants to come over and have a look.

  • There are a number of us who seem to have permanent insomnia from taking the drugs. People are saying heavy doses of sedating drugs will totally destroy one’s natural ability to fall asleep and sustain the sleep state even with drugs, or without them. Ten years on the drugs does sound about right to cause permanent rebound insomnia. I have been affected and I have great difficulty sleeping at all. I noticed this starting to happen while I was still drugged many years ago. It never ever resolved nor got any better. I waited a full five years and saw no improvement, and tried everything I could. I had to make a decision finally. I did not return to psychiatry nor resort to prescribed drugs, mainly because staying unlabeled is very important to me. But I didn’t want to be an exhausted bitch, either.

  • I am not sure about the last statement, that whatever fallacies or shaky bits of logic are stated in the psych textbooks are somehow shaping scientific thinking. That doesn’t necessarily seem logical to me.

    I think this is a cultural issue indeed. Many people are embarrassed to discuss it and in some circles, bringing it up (one way or another) is considered offensive. We aren’t supposed to use certain words.

    I’m saying this from the point of view of someone who grew up deeply ashamed of being smart (or in any way talented) and felt I had to hide it, especially since it got me teased a lot. It takes its toll. Not the teasing. The fact that I felt so ashamed.

  • Steve I am noticing (since I am getting older) that elder issues are a hot spot for both right and left. I would say that both are extremely concerned about elder abuse and are on the same page. If we can state that many elders are psychiatrically abused and state how this is done (gaslighting especially!), then I think we can win over both sides.

    Tell them…How would you feel if your mother or father was abused in a facility? You will get a reaction. Then you can state that abuse can mean accusation of suicidality, or incarceration not only in a nursing home but on a mental ward, or shocked to death, or given pills that kill them. And state how often this happens. On both left and right they are aware of nursing home abuse….we can tell them about psych abuse and that it runs rampant.

  • Wow thanks for the good laugh! I read their catch-phrases and wonder, too. “Modest effects.” Like what the heck? They tend to use vague or non-quantitative language, of course for darned good reason. Not only can depression not be measured, but since when is it an entity, some sort of bad area, bad cells or bad chemicals they could actually identify in the brain that can just be removed or zapped with electricity or drugs? They know. They are very good liars. Who makes money off the Lancet? And how is it funded?

  • Thanks Dr. Breggin! Looks like these “experts” that were put on a pedestal on the Dr. Oz show, while showing off their fancy wares, inadvertently mucked up.

    If they’re going to dress up on TV in New Clothes, maybe they need to learn a bit more about their garments before they show them off. I’ve heard you can get into a bundle of trouble exposing yourself.

    Thanks for the info.

  • I have been thinking about retaining ones cognitive abilities in general and why some people are able to remain (excuse me, this term gets to me) “sharp” in their senior years, and others are not able to. Obviously the issue is so complex I don’t think science fully understands, but I am thinking lately about brain plasticity…and the following:

    People ask me why I do not use a screen reader. A screen reader is a way to “read” text by having a voice read the text instead of using my eyes to read it. This sounds nice, and I know it helps people, but I do not want to do it even though reading can be tough sometimes. I continue to read quite a bit and strongly prefer text over video-style learning. I believe I should continue doing this. I KNOW a part of my brain is in charge of reading and writing text. I believe if I stop reading text I will lose the ability (over time) because that part of my brain will stop developing…or functioning well. I have psych and ECT to thank for all the text I write….in a rather bittersweet way I must add.

    In fact….While after ECT I really started writing up a storm, I REALLY wrote like crazy after they abused me in the hospital in 2011…And even more after I was threatened and told NOT to write (by both psych and the cops!). Screw em. I won’t stop till I die and I credit psych because I am alive in spite their “treatments” and threats.

  • streetphoto, it looks like a case of the new clinic (the University one) not having an understanding of what eating disorders were, total ignorance on their part. Yep. They very well may have done a thorough mental health screening on her at the U and totally not asked about her eating. You could call it either stupidity or neglect. Most MH screenings don’t cover ED! That’s how I went 30 years through the system misdiagnosed myself.

    In late December 2011, I showed up at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts after I had not consumed any calories (not eaten) for six days. I felt dizzy and weak and honestly, was a little worried since my weight was around the danger point. This was disregarded and I was told “You feel dizzy because you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”

    What? I was 53 years old and NOW they give me some new diagnosis? I was handed an information sheet on GAD. Then they told me, “We want you to leave since other patients have more pressing issues than you do.” I was not even offered food nor told to eat nor given an IV. I left the ER, was very out of it, could not find the exit door, which they had to point out to me, and finally, caught the bus home. I could NOT believe what had just happened.

    Less than two years later I nearly died in that very same ER (I coded, and I don’t have much recollection of the exact time frame, obviously), likely because they saw my complaints as trivial.

  • Psmama and cat, I believe we as a culture are taught to fear saying “I am sorry.” This is basic good manners. However, we fear apology and are told to avoid admitting we are wrong. Since I realized I was wrong for three decades, I now celebrate apology. I love admitting my errors. I celebrate the right to change my mind, switch gears, or plod onward to Plan B. Sadly, most of society stubbornly clings to the delusion of its own faultlessness.

  • I remember being interrogated at many meetings they held while I was inpatient. Ten doctors and me. They would grill me. During that time I was often belittled, shamed, even mimicked. I recall that even if I asked to be given time to speak I would be cut off before I even finished a sentence. In my own defense, if I anticipated such a meeting, I began writing papers so that I could “get more words in.” They would refuse to read the papers I had written. One time, the doctor hastily ripped the papers out of my hand, and then, faked it that he was reading them (he couldn’t have read my handwriting that fast!) allowing each paper to fall to the floor as he did so, and then, made some irrelevant comment indicating he had no clue of the content. I was jeered at. I heard them sigh with boredom. They rolled their eyes when I spoke. When my parents were brought into session, they belittled my parents.

    That was torture. It was torture to poke fun at me repeatedly, torture to make me look incompetent, torture to make me stumble on my own words and torture to needle me unnecessarily and then, claim I had an anger problem.

    I owe psychiatry a lot. Because of these torture sessions, where I had to present myself before these idiots, I learned to survive their interrogation, even though they made me feel like crap. I am now an excellent public speaker. Shall I credit them, or myself?

  • Catnight, I also cringe when I hear sirens, as I, too, was hauled off. I especially fear ambulances. I cringe at flashing lights. I am very fortunate we just do not see them much around here where I have moved to. I believe this is because the county is so poor. Likely the “force” is understaffed. They are busy enough with house fires and car accidents. Where I used to live in MA, I saw them all the time, it was crazy.

  • Same here, psmama. I went right up to the head nurse and told her that telling the patients that Zyprexa was for “anxiety” was illegal, or at least unethical, that Zyprexa was not FDA approved for anxiety, and to outright lie and tell them it was for that, and really, they were giving it to put weight on the unsuspecting kids. was total fraud.

    I have been hoping to have black box warning on Zyprexa and Seroquel because these will backfire if given to anyone with history of anorexia. They WILL put weight on, but weight gain isn’t recovery. So…of course you know this…The weight gain leads to Revenge Anorexia…As I put it. I know many who, after the Zyprexa (or Seroquel) weight gain, then, dieted like mad because they were rightfully PISSED OFF. Revenge Anorexia will literally kill a person. I have also heard of a few who developed bulimia in act of Revenge against drugging with drugs like Zyprexa.

    And I told this to the nurse. She said the ends justify the means and they needed to put weight on the patients. Because the insurance companies demand it. So she said lying was perfectly okay. The short term result was what mattered, she said. Really? Maybe because they had not yet been caught breaking the law.

  • psmama, I saw so many young people cycle in and out of the ED places and come out worse each time, yet they continued to insist they needed the “treatment.” I woke up one day realizing the “treatment” was the problem. The “treatment” had caused most of what ailed them, and had perpetuated their ED’s. I agree totally that personifying ED as “Ed” is like kindergarten and totally insulting. It is like creating this false Devil, setting up the Devil as a scare tactic, and telling very vulnerable people that “If you disobey, the Devil will get you.” This is scary similar to what is done in brainwashing religious cults. “If you leave the cult, the Devil will get you.” Or, “If you stop treatment, you will Relapse.” Here, Relapse is the Devil-character that snatches people up. The scare tactics in ED treatment are rampant. “Don’t trigger each other!” in other words, don’t talk human rights or Ed will get you! which is bullshit.

    I went through it with them, too. As soon as I started talking human rights they tried to silence me. They didn’t succeed Then they tried to discredit me in the eyes of the other patients. They called me psychotic and paranoid over and over. It was traumatizing to say the least.

    I applied to speak at the recent NEDA conference and after I accepted the invitation, two months later, after I was sure it was for real, they contacted me and informed me they had just figured out who I was and they were uninviting me. Their claim? That I was “not recovered and would trigger others.” Obviously, none of them knew me well enough to determine if I was recovered or not. This was not the reason. They did not want any talk of human rights at the NEDA conference, that was the real reason! So how was I to take this? I see it as a stripe on my uniform. How many get UNINVITED to the NEDA conference, after all? Am I that powerful? Wow!

  • I cannot find psmama’s comment. Psmama, I saw the horrors of ED “treatment.” I know what happens in ED “treatment” when you try to speak up for your rights. Any mention of “rights” is labeled a mental disorder. It sounds like you went through horrible torture and the “treatment” harmed your family also. My heart goes out to you. I want to thank you for posting here the truth here even though I cannot locate your post right now.

  • Rachel that is funny and the reason why many journals have a “blind submissions” policy. For those of you who do not know, “blind submissions” means the submitted articles are stripped of any identifiers, any names, anything that would identify the writer, and then, handed to the editors who decide what will be published.

    That said, I wonder what would happen if psychiatry had a “blind diagnosis” policy. Strip the person of other diagnoses he/she has been given in the past by other docs. Actually, they do this as part of the Board Exams. They play a game called “What’s My Diagnosis” (like “What’s My Line” from the 60’s). I was called upon to be a guinea pig for a mock board exam. So I, at the time, had a diagnosis, or shall I say, coverup diagnosis, of Borderline which was used to excuse the confusion I experienced after the shock. This mock board exam took place approximately a year after the shock. I was still going through transient periods of confusion and the doctors, assuming my cognitive troubles were permanent, were now thinking “STATE HOSPITAL.”

    Now, little ole me, rail thin, but never mind that, was presented to a nervous fourth-year resident who was practicing for his What’s My Diagnosis game. Just a practice run. The nervous resident, watched via camera by many other residents, interviewed me. He was asked to come up with a diagnosis.

    I left, and they handed me a ten dollar bill.

    Months later, I ran into this very same resident, who had now passed his exams. I asked him how he did with “guessing” my diagnosis, wondering, since I knew in my heart the BPD was false, what on earth he had guessed. He did not reveal this to me, but said, “I fear I did not do well on that. My guess was way off. And they told me so.”

    Hmm…eating disorder, and consequences of ECT, maybe? Gee. Sadly, at the time they believed I was “faking ED for attention.” Very sad.

    I hope he is reading this right now. Dear young zealous doc, you should have stood up to them.

    I don’t recall what I did with the $10. But I am sure they would be VERY unhappy to learn that it has been written up into this amusing story.

  • Wow Stephen, what a story. You know, back in the day, what kids did, what many of us did, was graffiti, and it was relatively harmless.

    I don’t know if you guys remember the absolutely beautiful Simon and Garfunkel song about graffiti. The song is only one minute long. I think it is called Poem on the Underground Wall. I believe they are referring to a location in Chicago.

    The song can be found on youtube and it is about expression of a young person feeling totally disenfranchised. So many of us did, and the young person in the song was speaking for us all in that flash of a moment. The “poem,” the word written, is not said aloud in the song. It is not necessary.

  • Wait. Some people claim atheists are deluded. Many claim theists are deluded. Shall the battle lines be drawn?

    What would some people say if I were to say I was raised without the belief that Jesus was the Messiah? Was that also a psychosis? We had no concept of “trinity.” No concept of “son of God.” This was incomprehensible to me.

    Was my dad delusional when he said we could not mention the name of Jesus in our house? Or just putting his foot down, sick of seeing his kids getting swallowed up by the dominant culture?

  • And there’s another sad reality. Social stratification. I don’t mean solely economics. I mean in every single social group, including online groups, we have the elite and the non-elite. The “in” crowd and the “not so in.” While you may find yourself “in” in one group, you are squashed in another.

    Those in a higher social position usually don’t have to fight so hard to be heard. They don’t have to deal with finagling, hemming and hawing, stalling, and red tape. They have a clear line of communication to the top.

    Words by any other name would smell as sweet. But there are days I would love to sign my name with someone else’s name, watch the results, and laugh my fool head off.

  • I don’t agree. Puzzle very much knows right from wrong. It may not be a higher moral sense, but her sense of whether to act or not act is based strongly in her remembrance of my approval, current or past, of that act. She will gladly do something if she is certain it will get her food or a petting. From what I have observed, I do not scold Puzzle because she reacts to disapproval deeply, not that I really know what is going on in her head. When I hear people scolding dogs I feel bad. I identify, remembering times I, too, have been shamed, so I do not do this. The fact that she feels she has to sneak to raid the trash tells me that she does know it is a no-no.

  • Stephen, i laugh because THEY should have asked that question. I had been a slave to them 20 years and had told them repeatedly that I had an eating disorder. So in their infinite wisdom, they responded by saying, “Oh, so you must have bipolar! We’ll give you treatment for that.” This is due to the total logic of psychiatry and it’s best friend, therapy.

    For an entire 20 years they never listened, never heard, and even jeered at my complaints over my eating problems. Now, my insurance was running out which was the reason for the ECT, the ONLY reason. The reason I agreed was because deep inside, I hoped that something, finally, would help my ED. Nothing else had, none of their “treatments.” Gee, I wonder why! But I never told anyone that. Why? Because they’d just poke fun at me all over again.

    Six months later, I could barely put a sentence together.

    It wasn’t until I was 50 years old, a good decade after shock, and three decades of MH “treatments” later, that I got a MH professional, a therapist working for a community agency, to “notice” I had an ED. God bless her.

  • Bonnie it is merely a reflection that CAPA is a mailing list and at MIA, people have to be subscribed PER ARTICLE to each article, although subscribers are alerted each week via a newsletter. So while readers may read the articles, generally, unless they comment and check the check box (meaning a LOT of email is going to show up in their inboxes over the next week, and this may go into their work email, remember…) then, they are not subscribed to the comments. Therefore, not too many people saw your comment.

    Having been through endless frustrations over years of being ignored on Facebook and wondering why, and taking it way too personally, I realized the answer was mostly practical. You would not believe the tears and endless hair-pulling I went through. “I went through so much effort to write that post, why does no one even give a shit? Why do I work so hard for nothing?” But it isn’t MIA vs CAPA. It has more to do with the mode of delivery and actual number of views.

    I would literally cry out of frustration. And I still feel like crying when I think of the amount of work I continue to put into my writing and other works, and my failures, over and over, at getting anywhere with marketing my works. I lose friends regularly. Yet I am so grateful for the handful of supporters out there. As I used to say, God bless the stragglers still hanging on.

  • Hey there allies, I would like a belated 60th birthday wish. I turned 60 a couple of months ago but i was working a slave job on that day. On my birthday I got demeaned and belittled to tears by my supervisor. Finally, totally exasperated, I told her it was my birthday and I expected to be treated better than that. She did not even apologize. It was a hard day. There was no party for me of course….circumstances. I was fired a few weeks later due to the workplace’s refusal to accommodate my mild vision impairment. They lied about the reason for firing. i worked a job after that and then found out it was a scam. i’ve been having a very hard time since, really struggling, and would appreciate a birthday wish even though it is not my birthday. I would like people to be nice to each other. Just stop the senseless cruelty. Thanks.

  • Bonnie, I have noticed that victims of all sorts of crimes have a tendency to avoid naming the perpetrators. “My abuser,” they say. I can’t stand that. Why not use his name? Why not say, “Bob,” or “My father,” whatever his name was? Why not say, “Dr. Michael Henry”? He was the shock doc at McLean for over a decade and masterminded my ECT, but he was not the only perp, there were those involved in the coverup afterward also, many of whom I believe I never met face-to-face as they were administrative criminals.

    We cannot forget the administrators, who knowingly shelter the shock docs, who lie to the public and to families about the cause of harm, who invent underlying diagnoses, and who claim they are faultless.

  • When I was a kid in high school I wanted the following:

    Someone older than me that I could look up to and trust.
    A few friends that I could share with.
    My own room, or adequate privacy and for no one to read my diary.
    A dog. A relationship with nature.
    To have a future I could look forward to.
    To be able to keep my thoughts to myself.
    To make my own choices and to learn exciting new things.
    And to ride my bicycle just about everywhere.

  • When I took the Minnesota Muliphasic Fuckup Test in 1982, I noticed a culturally biased question on the test. The test asked a question that used a phrase that I had never heard before. As it turned out, this was a colloquial expression never used in New England, where I was raised. Likely it was used in the Midwest or the South, but I had no clue what it meant. I also noticed assumptions of a two-parent family, assumptions you went to a classroom school, assumptions of ableism, and that you knew a few things about Easter. Since then I believe researchers have noticed the biases. NOTE: It may not have been that test but another one…I am recalling a Y/N test I did with a #2 pencil.

    Even back then, I believed the inkblot test was totally bogus.

    When I was all done with these tests I went back to my therapist and complained that the tests had no relevance to my eating disorder and didn’t address the issue. Nowadays, I wish I had said that a whole lot louder.

  • Slaying and Yeah, in my opinion, criminals of all sorts commit crimes because they know they can get away with doing what they are doing and won’t get caught. The mentality is so simple it even explains why my dog, Puzzle, raids the trash. She only does it when I leave the trash can open and I am not looking that way. This is the basis for much of crime, especially white-collar such as psychiatry. They will stop if they find out we’re peeking and we’re covering the stories.

  • Oh I see. Because although it says “we do not agree” or perhaps we are saying “This book is full of hate speech” what book-burning also does is to oppose freedom of speech. So in that sense, the act is illogical or a mixed message.

    True, if you ask a librarian, people can write and publish whatever they want. True! Problem is that this bogus book is woven into our laws, used as a legal framework, even cited as “evidence” to take away the rights of many people and even deem them incompetent.

  • The worst thing that ever happened to me, which I refer to as Psychiatric Abuse, was being called suicidal when I was not. I was treated like a dangerous animal, restrained, and put on 1:1 monitoring. I complained that the 1:1 people were physically and verbally abusive to me and were denying me basic privacy rights. I was told I was psychotic. I was not. This was even worse Psychiatric Abuse. This is the worst and pretty much only abuse I ever went through and had very little to do with “drugs.” They gaslighted me, held me hostage, would not let me communicate with the outside, continuously called me psychotic, told me they were sending me to an institution for life, tried to force me onto Zyprexa, and finally, let me go.

    After I left, I found out my church had kicked me out, most of my friends that I had left claimed I was psychotic and that it never happened. One of my good friends sided with the hospital and claimed they were doing their job. I cried every day for months alone, hugged my dog and cried and cried and thought my life was over.

    At the time I was 55 years old. That incident may have nearly killed me, but it made me an activist.

  • I knew right away how I would answer this question, Bonnie. I will take up an issue about which I am often questioned and which I feel might be of help to others. The Day I Woke Up From Shock.

    It was my 40th birthday. I had named the effect of the shock, The Thing. This was the name I had given the confusion, because the confusion had taken on a character of its own, as if it lived and breathed inside of me, as if it was an evil creature that refused to leave me ever since…Ever since when? It was a question I could not answer but the doctors should have answered. Of course, I know now. I didn’t know then. Since the ECT. But this they kept from me. Instead, they told me the confusion was a symptom of my “mental illness.”

    I believed them, believed The Thing to be a psychosis, even though it didn’t quite add up to one. My psychiatrist suggested I was “dissociating,” but I told him I saw no similarity between what I went through and what I read about dissociation. Finally, they had told me I was “so severely mentally ill” that I would have to be hospitalized in a state institution. That was around the fall of 1997.. I was very scared!!! I did not want to go.

    The day The Thing left me was in early January, 1998. It lifted from me suddenly. I woke up and it was gone. No more mixed-up thoughts. No more having my thoughts disappear from my head. No more having my thoughts get tangled up like my hair tangles. No more having them slip away like sand slipping through my fingers. No more scrambled thoughts. They were just like they were before. Me. I was me. And I was 40 years old. My birthday.

    Right away, I did what I had gotten into the habit of doing. I started writing stuff down. Everything. I wrote emails, because now, I had email friends. I wrote down so many things. And that day, I started my very first novel. I wrote every day and finished a draft in eight months. After that, I took many writing classes, got two degrees, and I have written about ten books since. Two of them I published. Oddly, those psychiatrists had told me I would never succeed at anything and that I was “incapable of sitting in a room full of people.” (John Gunderson said that.)

    The tendency of shock survivors to write is probably documented somewhere. If it’s a gift, it is a bittersweet one. I would like to encourage all shock survivors out there to keep on writing, keep doing it and don’t let anyone stop you.

  • This is interesting but I can speak to this as a writer who has studied not only how to write but the process of becoming a writer or blogger. Blogging is like performing. There is always an audience, that is, some readers. Therefore, to blog means to take on a PERSONA. This means a blogger puts on a metaphorical mask when she blogs, much like an actor becomes another person when taking on an acting role, depending on the assignment. One is never exactly oneself when performing. One is always the persona. Writers refer to the persona as the VOICE. Writers often say, “I wish I could find my voice.” This means writers seeking a niche as a writer, or, perhaps, style or way of writing. Finding that voice (which can change over time) is said to be a sign of maturity as a writer, and often takes years or even decades.

    So a blogger is performing for an audience, in effect, role-playing, always interacting dynamically with readers, and for that reason, is NEVER her true self. She only shows a slice of her life, never the whole shebang. Memoir as a form is also “slice of life.” It is not the whole of life. It is a segment that is explored in depth. It is effective as a form because it is not trite nor a mere summary.

  • Cindi, I will try to contact Marci, and thank you for the update. This is truly awful. I have been in abusive hospital situations and I know how bad it can get with the verbal and physical abuse and gaslighting and constant threats you get in those horrible places.

    I want to ask if you and Marci have been able to piece together which of the drugs you think was the culprit. Or does it even matter now?

    God bless you and people like you that stick by people during the absolute worst of times. I remember what it was like when I had no friends left because of psychiatric horrors and people called me crazy. My ex-friends were the worst.


  • That I know of, class action lawsuits do nothing because there is no direct statement, no direct involvement. The patient does not face the same person who harmed him and no statement of apology is made nor is any demand made for cease and desist. You might get a check in the mail for ten dollars. I don’t think that will be very satisfying.

    Instead, you have to face the offenders head-on. Who really harmed? The makers of a drug? Or the person who called you mentally ill and handed you a prescription, insisting you needed that pill? The diagnosis itself is the root of that harm. A lawsuit against a doctor will be more impactful and will make bigger waves. I think we need more of these, more attorneys should take these on.

  • Gottstein is licensed in Alaska but may, or may not, know someone who practices in the locale where you were harmed.

    Slaying, at this point, in my situation, some of those that were involved in my situation in some fashion have relocated. One or two because I think they got in trouble.

    The doc who first put me on SSDI was found to be practicing without a license but I think he started up again in another state. Another doc, who overstated his competency, relocated twice, radical relocations, looks suspicious to me. Others have also moved….And some I left the places they were working under not-so-nice circumstances.

    I have a plan, though, Slaying. Get in touch with me. I’m trying to get people together on this who REALLY WANT TO DO SOMETHING so we can knock heads together and take action. I really have thought up something.

  • Yes I noticed that insane “counter appeal” regarding statute of limitations. “Should have known.”

    This has been pointed out to me as well…And arguably, why do patients not realize they are not “bipolar,” “schiz,” etc, when there is no evidence for it? I think we need to argue….As Bryan has….

    We are limited in how much information we have access to in the “mental health ghetto.” We are not encouraged to do our own research. We are encouraged to “ask our doctors” for all information and never rely on ourselves or our own common sense. We’re even told we’re incompetent and “lack insight.” Many are told we’re psychotic and cannot trust what we hear, see, and sense intuitively. We are told that if we are suspicious, it’s “paranoia.” If we dare question, it’s a “symptom.” All this can be argued as to why we remained clueless of the fraud and deceit, and why we continued to deceive even ourselves when the contradiction stared us in the face.

    But would the courts believe it?

  • Bryan I just read all those legal papers you supplied in the links. I don’t know, as you put it, if your life is “ruined” or not, as that is up to fate, or maybe what happens in the coming years and how you spend those years. You seem like an intelligent, incredibly brave, and promising young man to me. You are a role model and a hero.

  • Martn it was in that DeMarneffe building that i took part in mock board exams. I was a fake patient for that and I got paid $10 cash. A real $10 bill, handed to me by Dr. Meninger herself for being a guinea pig. I am proud to say I was misdiagnosed because they already had me misdiagnosed anyway. Maybe the resident guessed that I was recovering from shock and they gave him an F because “What?! That’s not possible. You need to study harder for the exams, buddy….”

  • Martn, What is a fee based program?

    I admit it was Options Day Treatment that brainwashed me into becoming a mental patient in 1981. They did this without giving me drugs, they did it with “therapy.” I started off a college student and left the program nine months later in very bad shape. I can’t believe they called that therapy. They did not know what they were doing and they didn’t know a thing about eating disorders, which was my chief complaint. It is sad because I also saw incompetency handling other patients.

  • Thanks knowledge. I am happy that I got away from Massachusetts where I was threatened, basically told by my doctor I HAD to stop writing, demanded that I stop and insisted that I take disabling drugs so that I would be incapable of writing. Even the cops and my church threatened me which was not even legal. I suspect the church elite paid the cop to ruffle my feathers, but I will really never know. None of that was legal to threaten me like that.

    I keep telling myself that success is the best revenge. I know they did all kinds of things to try to silence me, including trying to have me locked up in State several times totally without any real reason, multiple attempts to drug me, insistence upon my dangerousness, etc. I have spoken to so many people about these incidents and the threats and much of it was not legal.

    I have put up multiple Yelp reviews that they cannot take down. I put up YouTubes also, and HealthGrades reviews and a few others that have not come down. I put up anything I can to warn others that these things can happen to YOU, too. My YouTube I did not long after I left Mount Auburn Hospital extremely traumatized (and crying too) got many hits and much support too.

    I also believe in naming the names of the guilty. Writers change names to protect the innocent, not the guilty. Sometimes there’s a fine line, if family of the guilty are involved, but we have to think of other potential victims here, too. Name the names. You will help others by doing so. Even save lives. Don’t protect a perp. The only time you can’t name a name is when you are at risk, then, you wait a while. Expose them for who they are. And be truthful and honest. That is just my opinion.

  • Yes the so-called “bipolar” schmooze club at the DeMarneffe building. Where the more bipolar you are, the more cool you are. Let’s support our moodswings, right? I think I showed up once.

    I showed up at the clubhouse in Waltham which I think was called…let’s see…Potter Place. I really thought just the name of it sounded like kindergarten. I remember I asked them if I could learn computers. They said I “wasn’t ready.” Wasn’t ready for what? So then it was just before my 40th birthday and I asked my mom to buy me a computer (since she asked me what I wanted for my birthday). I taught myself computers completely on my own. By the time Potter Place folks called me to wish me happy birthday I had already learned how to use Windows 95, AOL, email, and whatever they had for Word back then. It was before Broadband, way before Facebook. We only had dial-up. Then I went back to college and got straight A’s.

  • Stephen, At McLean Hospital the night staff were very unprofessional. In fact, I remember the staff being untrained and unprofessional on the whole. There was a marked difference between the “units” where the patients paid out of pocket and the “units” where patients were covered by Medicare. Huge. Medicare patients had untrained staff that had only high school education. The pay-out-of-pocket units were staffed with very experienced staff. I know this simply because I was there as both Medicare patient and also visited others, this over a very lengthy and involved period. These wealthier units had experienced staff, many having worked there over a decade. They were well-trained.

    Even the food was better on those units. They had home-cooked meals. The food at McLean on the Medicare units was about as inedible as could be. It was mass-produced, not like “tray” food you get in a community hospital that you order off a menu. They brought it onto the unit in a big container and then, dished it out. Like elementary school food. It really couldn’t be eaten sometimes. You worried about contamination.

    As for the staff…Night staff slept all night. Some quite deliberately. One of them, I recall, a woman, brought pillows with her to work. She put two chairs together and put the pillows on the chairs, just so she could sleep. Then, she put a hospital blanket over herself. The other staff, a man, ordered all patients into their rooms. We were not allowed to leave our rooms from maybe 11pm to 6am. Period. Exception may be to pee, but they would harass you for peeing even. Now this lady slept ALL NIGHT. I know this. I did get up to pee. I have diabetes insipidus and I get up every night, to pee and get a drink of water. The guy did not allow me to get a drink so I called human rights and he got in trouble. Sorta. She STILL slept through the night and would get annoyed if I walked past and disturbed her.

    The object of these night staff was to give the patients enough “meds” to ensure we slept and then, NOT WORK. The guy used his work time to study for whatever classes he was taking during the day or evening. He was not working, either.

    I am amazed that these night staff got paid. Why is it that so many people struggle to get jobs and keep those jobs, and these night staff got paid to NOT WORK and be so cruel to us patients?

    Then, maybe a few weeks later, I told my outpatient psychiatrist, “The night staff at McLean slept on the job.”

    My psych told me “That’s impossible. You must be psychotic.”

    I can’t tell you enough how harmful it was, all those years, to be called psychotic when I was not. It was like being caged forever. And how satisfying it is to be free now to write these words.

  • Gabi, I think a lot of life has to be learned and cannot really be taught. One is active and the other is one acting upon the other as subordinate. Somehow when the learner actively self-teaches, whether or not there is a teacher who guides the learner, the learning is learned better because it is actively done. And wanted and sought after. If we are curious and want it, we will seek it, or if we feel a dire enough need we will make it a part of ourselves. It is like walking a mile a day because the doctor insists we exercise (we are likely not to!), and walking a mile each day because that is how we get to the bus to go to work.

  • yes you do make good points. I really would have wanted peer support sooner and would have maybe been more open-minded to trying something besides the traditional approach had someone who had had ED approached me. The problem is there is very little crossover between ED and psych. And there is pretty much NO peer support for eating disorders. God forbid people might actually get better and the ED treatment places might lose money.

    I don’t think you guys realize that there really is an ED community. ED is treated entirely separately so these patients hang out together. They become “treatment buddies.” They even call themselves that and they friend each other on Facebook. Sometimes maybe 400 or 500 friends, all from these ED treatment places. Many of these are residential treatment places where these young kids cycle in and out of. Many of them go in and out 10 times a year, every year, and they’ve been doing that since high school or even earlier. They are a clique. They have their own Facebook pages. It is not the same world as psych, and they look upon psych as different (although there is overlap).

    I never saw this world until I was over 50 and I was rather shocked. I was shocked at the human rights abuses these kids put up with. To them, it’s NORMAL to be locked up and they call it “treatment.” They don’t even know that it’s not normal to be watched in the bathroom and watched in the shower. They were taken too young. I was 50 and they called me granny and were very cruel from the onset. Then they claimed I was psychotic when I started trying to point out “human rights” to them. It was a losing battle.

    Never mind NEDA, which is the NAMI of eating disorders.

  • Exactly, Darby. It does vary from state to state and outside the US, too. Especially how each state uses “peers.”

    And, Madmom, each state’s commitment laws are different and each state’s patient rights laws are different. I come from Massachusetts where they have what’s called the Five Fundamental Rights….These I have not seen elsewhere. Most states do have a code and most do include something about Patient Respect…but this is not measurable and difficult to prove if broken. Most have basic laws about restraints that are rarely if ever followed. I am unsure if the locales claiming they do not use them really do not use them and maybe just don’t document it. The Five Fundamental Rights are very specific, a little easier to prove one way or the other.

  • I did! We had that in my high school. We had that for many issues, including drugs, that is, street drugs, but not just that. It’s a great concept but yes, it was co-opted. It is a term used in the workplace also. Peer support is used as a workplace terminology to mean a workplace support and networking between workers or sharing between one workplace and another professionally. Such as networking between specialized nurses. If you look on Glassdoor (if you are looking for a job) and input Peer Support you are unlikely to come up with what we’re familiar with. You’ll come up with anything from truck driving to nursing to business specialties. Yes I tried.

  • Unfortunately, cb, you are right, there isn’t much support out there but it depends on where and how you look for it.

    I know this is just me and it might not apply to anyone else. Sometimes, the harder you look, the harder it is to find it.

    And if you look for it in others, you might not find it. I used to think I needed a therapist, and I did not find a therapist. I thought I needed a friend but I couldn’t find one. I looked around and then there was only me and my dog. This was around 2012 and I had this flash of something, I wasn’t sure what. Puzzle (my dog) and I were standing together in the kitchen and I figured it was just me and her and somehow everything was going to be okay.

    Nothing was okay after that for a long, long time, but I remembered that exact moment like it was saved in a photograph even though it wasn’t.

    After that I had a terribly scary thing happen (trauma) that made me fear this thing called “help” as if it were a four-letter word. I am still scared. So whenever I hear “help” I am scared like it’s a knee-jerk reaction. I am blessed with the trauma that protects me against the help that is not help at all, but harm.

    Now I remember that photo.

    See what I am saying? I am blessed because I found the real help by shedding the false “help” and finding it instead within myself. Well, me and my dog actually. I know the idea of self-reliance is a culturally centric one, but I embrace it now as I did as a young kid when I read Emerson and Thoreau and incorporated the ideas into my own ideology. I should not have listened to psychiatry’s imposed ideas of dependency, but alas, I was swayed for too many years.

    We survivors have a lot of unbrainwashing to do, and it is a difficult road indeed. There is no help, and very little support.

  • I agree, Madmom. I am not about to “drop out” anytime soon. Although I must admit a few people have tried to convince me to “drop out.” I tried. I really did! I really tried to NOT read anything from MIA. I tried an MIA vacation. I couldn’t do it very long. And I do not want to “drop out.” I don’t have it in me.

    I am not saying one shouldn’t take a break. Nor am I saying MIA or any “movement” stuff is addicting. What I am saying is that I feel fucking passionate about this. Why should I not? I LOVE the passion I feel. That passion is who I am.

    It is exactly this that gets me up every morning. It is this that lets me eat every day, and keeps me from starving myself, and keeps me from immersing myself in my eating disorder like I used to do. It gives me a reason to go on.

    It keeps me writing these words. And I keep on writing. It is the same passion that makes sure I never, ever give up.

  • Madmom, Hey, do you call writing several thousands of words per day “work”? Hmm…If they threatened me to stop doing it, is it even more “work”? ha ha ha

    If they pay you to write, is it work? If you do it passionately, is it more work? If you have a degree in it, is it work? If they claim it’s a disease, is it then NOT work, but a “disability” or a “compulsion”? Do you then get paid “disability” for it? What is that they call it? Grapho…..Geez. I hope I have a lot of that. That and oppositional defiant and very disorderly please. “While you are here, waiter, could you please add in an APA protest or two on the side, and please, no salt……”

  • And another question. Peer work. What is work? How do we define “working”?

    I have asked myself this recently after a terrible experience working a low-paying job which thankfully is over. The bosses threatened the workers regularly and bullied us, all the while claiming fairness and claiming they were “sticking to policy,” ha ha. They added new policies all the time, every few days, and claimed if you broke their policy you’d be fired. I loved the scare tactics so much. I told them so.

    Anyway……giggle giggle…..So much for company culture. Pee faster? Fast food, anyone? I gotta laugh. One worker told me that in order to eat fast enough to shorten my break I should make a smoothie for myself. Geez, was it coming down to that?

    I challenge myself with this question…What IS work? What is a good worker? Is a good worker one who obeys a boss without question and does what she is told even if she disagrees? Or is a good worker one who thinks for herself and challenges what doesn’t make sense or doesn’t seem right? Will a good supervisor do what she is told even if it means bullying a worker she’s in charge of? Or will she do what she knows is morally right, defying upper management, and instead, be fair and kind, risking losing her job?

    What IS work? Which of these constitutes work and who decides? Why should a person who is following her conscience be let go, while a person who is merely following orders be paid and kept on?

  • I think I linked it myself. Maybe. That is the blog that made my own personal history. I say that because really way back when, no one kept a blog. I mean back in 2005 when I started. My shrinks knew but they thought of it as a childish hobby. Occasionally they took interest in it. Cell phones were not common then. Until the advent of the cell phone, mental patients didn’t have interest in doing much online and didn’t have online access. Well, I was told I was “the exception.” I kept on blogging.

    Anyway, I kept up my blog and in 2011 after that water deprivation I was not only shocked, but totally LIVID. I blogged about it but my docs barely noticed.

    My doc and Massachusetts General Hospital took notice in 2013 and that is when all hell broke loose. MGH told my doc that she HAD to drug me till I was incapable of writing about the abuse anymore. They demanded she give me antipsychotics. She told me this in April 2013 and she was acting totally berserk, right in her office in the Wang building. I was so embarrassed. All this, over my blogging. She repeatedly threatened me, demanding that I “stop writing” and told me I was a “liability problem” for the hospital.

    I had a choice. Continue to write, or give in to them. Keep my freedom of speech, or stop. What would you do? I was even threatened by the cops early in 2014, and that was similar. Stop writing, or else……

    Well? I left the country! I value my freedom of speech and freedom of expression too much to stay in such an environment where I was constantly being threatened like that.

  • I am very very wary of anything called “disability” and rarely call myself by that label except to state that I don’t see well (and therefore, couldn’t possibly drive a car safely). Or to state that I am not very tall and therefore, need a step-stool at times. I am fearful of aligning with disability-help organizations. For instance, one in my area promised “jobs for seniors.” I am 60, so I “qualify” as a senior. However, when I called them, they grilled me! They asked me right away if I was dis-abled and then demanded to know what my dis-ability was. I refused to tell them anything and told them, “Why don’t you send me your materials in the mail?” They did. I got their application which included a place where a neighbor had to sign saying my living situation was what I say it is. And their “jobs” pay sub-standard wages, half-time only.

    This, they explained, was because it was “training for a job.” I question this seriously. If we are “seniors,” then why do we need long-term “training” for an entry-level job that others take only a day or two to train for? Why weeks or months of training? So I asked them what this “training” consisted of. They were very vague on that.

    I have passed up this (ahem!) opportunity since i fear it’s “day treatment” all over again. I fear that this “training” consists of “group discussions” and “let’s talk about it” and “how do you feel” and “pep talk” and “breathing instructions.” I really will miss the Group Hug, though…….

    If they phone me I’ll just tell them…maybe…I’m working on it….Or maybe I’ll say, “Hey, it’s in the mail…..”

  • The jobs I looked at but couldn’t apply for required a driver’s license…These were hospital-run organizations hiring supposed “peers.” Where I currently live one hospital runs the whole area. They’ve bought out other hospital systems that used to flourish here, so now, it’s a monopoly, just like Harvard runs a monopoly not only in Boston but all over Eastern MA expanding into NH and into Maine. So here where I now live, this one hospital system runs the medical establishment in an extremely wide area, branching into neighboring states. Common citizens hate this big business unless they are employees getting paid well by them! Also, this means patient record-sharing whether you want it or not.

    Anyway, they were advertising for “peers,” but all it was was “taxi service” to appointments. That’s why they wanted the driver’s license. I do not qualify because i’m nearly blind. As for lived experience, likely a few therapy appointments counted. More than that they probably didn’t want.

  • What I saw of it in Massachusetts, and I never visited any of the Western MA RLC programs, they really were identical to day treatment in every way. I was embarrassed and I didn’t know how to react nor what to say to the “clients” who attended. “Hey, don’t you realize you could be doing something useful with your time?” I had hoped for “alternative” meaning political activism, APA protests, education about why not to take drugs, but that’s not what was there. It was more validation of the System’s supposed illnesses.

    And breathing exercises remind me of nuthouses too much….I can’t stand the idea of someone telling me when to breathe. I am too anti-authoritarian for that.

  • Darby, When we speak of this, why are only the “drug” stories the ones that are getting out there and the other horror stories suppressed? Why is it still called “hospitalization” when the doors are locked and people are committed by the courts, forced to stay, and even taken by cops from their homes?

    We have this recent story of a high school in Florida. They’ll talk about the about supposed “mental illness” till they are blue in the face, about how scary and violent we are, about how much they should abuse us even more with their treatments, with their force, and put us away for life and deprive us of every right we have. And totally miss the point.

  • I was shocked when the Boston Globe published a story about a couple in Acton, MA (where I think mostly they have money) that kept getting packages from Amazon that they had not ordered. Now this was a major article in the Globe. Huh? This is the most trivial story I have seen, and THAT was deserving of a Globe reporter’s time and energy?

    I have contacted reporters. I have begged them to put my story in the papers. Why do they care more about this rich couple getting Amazon packages? Shame on them! One reporter contacted me and was interested but it sounded like she was going to put it in some very obscure paper…Still, I started telling her but didn’t get to the point fast enough, unfortunately. I tried to give her the proper medical background (assuming she’d need to know about the kidneys, no?) and then, she cut me off, impatiently, and hung up before I made it to the juicy part. “Hey, I was abused in a hospital.” I never got that far. She hung up saying she wasn’t interested.

    I can see why people get frustrated when they can’t get lawyers to sue and just aren’t being heard. When our friends and relatives claim our story is trivial (why don’t you just get over it?) and when the forums are only about drug withdrawal. When MIA will only publish four “personal stories.” When people say we have “anger problems” but we know our anger is justified. When expressing our anger is called yet one more “mental illness” worthy of therapy and pills. When talking about a mental hospital is called a “war story” like it’s a fucking taboo.

  • Exactly, Stephen. These “professionals,” the ones I used to see, spread around that I’m psychotic and tell other patients not to listen to me, not to be friends with me, that they’ll get “triggered” from me. NEDA (the NAMI of eating disorders) is pissed at me, too. On the whole, these sell-out organizations don’t like people that talk about human rights. I’ve even seen bogus claims that talking about “rights” is a sign of “paranoia.” Some of the patients, whose lives are basically full of the contradiction we know so well have been very very cruel to me, also. I’ve had to get off Facebook at this point. I deleted my account.

  • Stephen I can’t even find a FORUM for hospital abuse! I can’t find anything. Others are looking, too. We are not alone, there is a large population dying to find a venue. I personally was called psychotic when I wasn’t, for decades, and it is very hard to explain just how deeply harmful this is. I was also called suicidal when I wasn’t, this was acutely damaging to me, and this, too, is very harmful. I also have this deep-seated anger in me that started in 2011 when I was deprived of water in a hospital to the point of medical dehydration. I can’t just wish the anger, trauma, and knee-jerk fear away, just like that. I have a lot of privacy issues that arose from the hospital abuse. And I cannot control other people’s insistence on seeing me as disordered. It is their choice to continue to view me through their diagnostic lenses. I can’t control this, but I can choose to not associate with those that see me as “mentally ill” instead of understanding that I was deeply harmed and might have good reason to need people to bug off.

  • I think if there was a peer support for eating disorders it would consist of helping people who 1. had the experience of struggling with eating and 2. had the experience of being traumatized by ED “treatment” (which is far more violating of human rights than regular psych “care” on the whole).

    That I know of, if you stay in longer, #2 looms larger and larger. The trauma increases exponentially and affects your eating difficulties…if you even manage to stay alive. I think a group of peers to help alleviate the trauma would certainly save lives.

    And…given the grim statistic of psych “hospitalization” increasing suicide rates drastically, peers who help by actually believing people after they leave these hellholes would be lifesaving. You shouldn’t have to leave a psych prison where you were treated like a subhuman animal, and then, go home alone and cry your eyes out for months, or fall into the hands of some therapist who will dismiss what you say and call you psychotic or call your anger a disorder.

  • Darby, I heard sometime around late 2011 of the “Recovery Movement” which seemed to be a group of people who validated that there was such thing as “mental illness” but also thought you “recovered” from it. I never liked their ideas. They were big on “coping skills” and such. None of it related to what I was going through at the time, so I dismissed their ideas and moved on.

    Having discovered MIA sometime in 2013 in a flash I realized that others knew the same things I did, that what there was to “recover” from were the human rights abuses done to us. Whatever ailments we’d suffered from, if any, that brought us to their offices or “hospitals” were now either resolved or forgotten. For some, now, having left psychiatry and therapy far behind, we finally had a chance to deal with these problems head-on.

    The “recovery” movement avoids human rights issues. They kept saying “Don’t tell war stories!” I thought that defeated the purpose and I didn’t want much to do with them after that. It was like telling me to shut up.

    The one thing I want to do, still, is tell those war stories loud and clear so the whole world knows I was badly abused in a hospital. I don’t see the point in telling it in a therapist’s office. I want to tell a major TV station or newspaper, but I can’t pique their interest. I am still looking for a venue. Still. If I was rich or famous they’d care, but I’m not, so they don’t. There are so many of us bursting with these unresolved stories and nowhere to go with them.

  • I am so happy that you are pursuing this, and that you pushed on to discover the lack of insurance and licensing issue.

    I, too, was caught up with an unlicensed doctor. He was the one who initially put me (and countless others) on disability payments. It was 1984 and I had been turned down in 1983. He put me on SSDI for schizophrenia. Based on his word only, no tests were given, not even psych tests. In fact, I hardly ever met with him.

    Bryan I am happy that you are able to do this before the statute of limitations has passed. For many of us, we cannot pursue a case because we’re too exhausted during the years following the harm, and the period of time passes too quickly. These doctors and the facilities that support them get away with destroying people’s lives and making money off of it.

    I hope you realize that you are young and you have many years ahead of you. You can do a lot with the PI license. I hope you use it creatively and productively to screw the field of psychiatry for many years to come. BRAVO! And best of luck with the lawsuit. This is indeed groundbreaking. Brain disease? Naw, you have chutzpah.

  • Darby I wish I could forward this article to the peer support employers that turned me down. I applied to a number of them. Laughably, one employer made me do an online personality test, one of those employment tests they have you do to see how compliant you are. I hope I failed miserably!

    Many peer support jobs in my region require a driver’s license and they check if you have ever had any speeding tickets, etc. I asked why once and they said because you visit “clients” and drive them to appointments. Is this not a form of coercion? I couldn’t apply to such jobs even if I wanted to because I do not have a license.

    Other peer support jobs turned me down due to my lived experience. Ahem.

    One I applied to had a group interview. I noted that the other candidates did not have lived experience. They were college students, specifically, social work students, who wanted college credit for being “peer support” workers. Huh? Apparently the agency didn’t care and wanted them anyway.

    I notice that there are very few opportunities for peer support in the eating disorders field. In fact, ED treatment centers try very hard to end friendships between us. They claim we will “trigger” each other, or claim we’ll “interfere with each others’ treatment plans.” They will stop any discussion of human rights, confidentiality, or informed consent.

    I was turned down for a blogging position by an ED organization because, in their words, “We don’t object to your writing but we’re afraid you might discourage people from seeking treatment.” Yes, they were probably right. I hope to save lives.

  • Yes, Tireless. There should have been a response decades ago. And I don’t think the response necessarily has to be from the psychiatric/psychologic community. Getting BED into the DSM had everything to do with pharma and nothing to do with “having our voices finally heard.” To believe the latter would be naive indeed. I think the response to destructive eating needs to be to take all ED’s out of the DSM and recognize them as truly serious problems. ED’s are thought of as mental illnesses and people can stop thinking of them as such (it really takes a huge leap to do so) then you see them as really much MORE serious and deadly.

    I think ED needs to be taught in nutrition schools as mainstream nutrition study. Right now, it’s not. You go to a nutritionist and they know ONLY about diabetes and kidney disease. ONLY. They might know a little about the stereotype of ED, but that’s all. They don’t really know. Nutrition therapy for ED should be covered by “insurance” for ED and in many locales it is not. A person who is suffering, say, a college student (a kid like I was), should be able to walk into University Health Services and get an appointment with a nutritionist who knows about ED. You should be able to mention ED and they should know what you’re talking about, and not give you that stupid blank stare. Colleges should have peer support communities, other kids who went through ED. Students shouldn’t have to go through a therapist to access a nutritionist and other vital services.

    I have contacted my alma mater where I developed ED (Bennington College) numerous times and asked them if they would like me to come and speak. I told them I would not charge a cent. I reminded them that students may be suffering and that having someone come and speak might reach a few of them. They told me they were not interested. I have also contacted their radio station several time asking if they wanted to interview me. I have yet to receive a response. It is disheartening, to say the least (especially since I paid all that tuition…)

  • Tireless, ED’s are not a “middle class” issue. Stereotypically, ED’s affect the affluent, however, statistically ED’s affect people from all backgrounds. People can develop ED’s later in life and even during elder years. I don’t see ED as necessarily a “family” issue especially when a person has left the nest decades ago. Also frequent among elders is laxative abuse or at least habitual laxative use. After 50 or 60, when a person has anorexia it is so easy to misdiagnose as early Alzheimer’s, which means spending the last years of one’s life in a nursing home likely drugged and tied into a chair. One of my elderly neighbors who was at least 80 was a compulsive exerciser. She was also being abused by her daughter. She wasn’t thin. When we think “eating disorder” we see a stick thin teen and we don’t think of elders, but I have known elders who suffered, either lifelong, or developed it late in life, and I was an elder anorexic myself. I don’t see “family” as being the cause nor answer to anorexia for those of us who are older. And in fact when I was 23 and living on my own, “family therapy” was irrelevant, destructive to our family, scary for my teenage siblings, bewildering for my parents, and really a complete waste of time. Except maybe profitable for the therapists, i don’t know.

  • I have heard so many “me too” stories in response to this article. People have written to me telling me of how they were sent to ED “treatment” (or took themselves there) and how then this “treatment” then negatively affected their lives due to trauma. I know that those of us who take a human rights stance on ED treatment are not some tiny minority! I know that many are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation or fear that they will be refused medical treatment for other conditions, or will be shunned in some fashion. There is much pressure to remain silent on the human rights abuses in ED. I hope that people can speak out, because these abuses keep people sick in their ED’s, keep people playing those control games. It is a terrible cycle to get caught up in.

  • Lenora…Yes, yes, and yes. I have found that many people who align with addiction model did indeed suffer childhood trauma, but we have to be careful not to stereotype or make assumptions the other way around. I think people have to decide for themselves if the model is helpful. A therapist cannot say, “You have an addiction, therefore, you must have had a rotten childhood.” See the difference? These things must be realized ourselves, like an awakening, because that way, we empower ourselves.

    I agree also that food problems such as celiac (for instance) which really creates malnutrition. There are many variations of this malnutrition and various ways we don’t get what we need, mostly without even knowing it. Also, if you found something that works, GOOD! I support finding things that work! I support self-experimentation! Try out new methods and find out what works FOR YOU! I honestly don’t think relying on “standard protocol” is going to be successful for most of us.

  • Julia, Yep, pretty much. I remember a lot of that. Being boxed into that mini-world. Except I didn’t have it as a child, in fact it didn’t start until I was well into college, oddly.

    I didn’t end up with the forced weigh-in until I already had diabetes insipidus, decades later, which is a condition that involves needing to drink a lot of water anyway. So that complicated the water-drinking part. What a game! If I didn’t drink, I ended up dehydrated. If I did, I was accused accused accused, just for doing what I needed to to do. The only solution was to end the forced weigh-in. One therapist agreed (suddenly realized I was an adult) but the other didn’t seem to realize I was over 50. Can they not do math? Wow I really hated that. I hated getting into the johnny, the ritual of it.

  • I agree totally, Registered. People are smarter than psychiatry thinks. People can decide for themselves IF they have access to information. We do not need the middlemen called psychiatrists, who only lie to us and give us limited information. We should be allowed to take full responsibility for our decisions. Psychiatry does not take responsibility when it screws up, after all! It blames the patient when its drugs, prescribed by the lying middlemen, fail.

  • JC, I had the same problem with a bullying ophthalmologist. I had to be firm. “I am seeking a second opinion.” Mainly because I did not want this jerk operating on my eyes! Also, I am afraid of doctors after what happened to me. The guy called me stupid and put that in my records. When it came time to go back I called them and told them I had relocated and no longer had need for their…ahem…”services.”

    Also, when I went to get glasses, the glasses were done wrong. I had to be firm. The bifocal line was put in the wrong place. A month later, they produced the right glasses and made double sure that line was right.

    If anything ever hurts the last person I’m going to call is a doctor. That’s asking for trouble. I just wait a few days.

  • Tireless since I didn’t purge I do not have lived experience with it, however, perhaps it is something that a person can decide for herself and ask the following question…Am I doing this out of habit, or, am I doing this because my body demands that I do this? It is highly possible that the body prepares to purge upon sensing certain cues, and actually gets the stomach ready by increasing stomach acid, or possibly gagging on cue. I know people who told me this happened very easily for them, and often when they didn’t want it even. So the person would have to ask these questions and face them very honestly. And then, be prepared to work hard on stopping. It is a difficult battle since the body wants to continue with it after you’ve been doing this for a long time.

    I know from experience that many people develop a disliking toward the feeling of fullness to the point that it becomes intolerable…and you have to work up to tolerating it again. This takes much hard work and patience.

  • Steve I tried to sue MGH but I was so traumatized that it was hard to get anyone to believe me at first. It was hard to get myself back together. I was kinda crazed, scared to death over what they had done. A similar “case” occurred in the UK a year later to a man who had diabetes insipidus from a brain tumor. He actually phoned the cops, which was appropriate…anyway, he died of dehydration. This was 2012. It was called a human rights outrage. Me? I was called crazy for it. And yet, it was the same thing. Same abuse. Yes they could have killed me and one big THANK YOU for validating me.

    My own doctor denied what had occurred and begged me to stop blogging about it. She threatened me and told me she was drugging me to force me to stop writing. The abuse just never stopped. So you can see why I finally left the country.

    Even then, a lot of people refused to believe me and claimed I was psychotic. Some people even said the “unit” I was held on at MGH didn’t exist. Wow, they just didn’t know the real truth.

    The statute of limitations is past but that I know of, the fact that I keep writing about it smears their reputation badly enough. Writing is powerful, and it pisses them off plenty.

  • Yes! I found it was not too difficult, once I got the hang of it. If you do not want to be labeled, do not go to a psychiatrist or MH professional. Do not act like a mental patient, do not call yourself one, do not use their language, act responsibly and when in the presence of medical professionals, don’t admit that you ever went there. Get away from anyone who calls people by mental illness labels. Make this a habit and you will not be labeled yourself.

  • MGH’s explanation for depriving me of water was that it was their standard ED protocol, that all their ED patients had to follow it. So all the ED’s that came to their unit had to be limited to 32 ounces per day regardless. I have diabetes insipidus, which is a rare medical condition meaning that I need far more water than that just to stay alive. Limited to 32 ounces I will become quickly dehydrated after a few days, which was what happened. My real need is six times that amount, which they claimed was a psychological addiction. By the 11th day, of course, I feared for my life. I was very scared and begging for water. I was trying to sneak some, too, but they were threatening me and physically abusing me. You have to realize when you are medically compromised (I was dehydrated upon admission) it makes it much, much more frightening. This was 2011 and I left very traumatized. The trauma was denied by my providers and mistaken for mania.

  • Another thing: Patients develop secondary problems due to ED, such as osteoporosis (leading to broken bones and growth problems if the osteoporosis happens in childhood), stomach problems, all sorts of digestive difficulties, inability to get pregnant, birth defects, heart trouble, on and on.

    When a person has stomach or digestive problems it means they literally cannot eat or can’t eat certain types of foods. Or can’t chew or swallow. It gets very complicated. I have known people who get so physically ill that at that point these physical problems are so important that I think the psychiatrists need to butt out. For instance, if your electrolytes are totally off, or your blood sugar is nil, you can’t think straight and I don’t think this is time for a psych eval, nor time for a diagnosis. In fact, it’s never time for a diagnosis. And yet, they insist. I think they are hard up for customers.

  • Yes, I have tried to alert the MIA community and tried back in Massachusetts. No one seems to realize that ED’s are treated separately from psych or different “protocol” are used. Bathrooms are locked and often, patients are monitored in the bathroom, or even watched while peeing or defecating. Or asked to say the alphabet. Some patients are watched while showering, not allowed to shower or do anything in the bathroom alone. This is terribly traumatizing. They are force-fed via tubes, which is rape in some locales, depending on the legal definition and whether the tube is forced. Some have the tube in for a month or more, and some are monitored via 1:1 to make sure they do not take the tube out. I know from first hand experience that some of the 1:1 people can be abusive, even physically abusive or verbally. I have heard reports of sexual abuse from patients. I have also heard multiple reports of tying patients down, even tying children down, or tying them in the day room, or tying them to wheelchairs, or, demanding that they stay in bed all day. I have seen patients with total muscle atrophy due to forced “bed rest.”

    Force-feeding can lead to refeeding syndrome, which often cannot be cured and leads to patient death. You will have to look this one up. Refeeding syndrome is usually caused by “treatment.” The hospitals are very scared of this. It is potential lawsuit material. Because they are so scared they abuse patients in their utter fear.

    I was deprived of water at Massachusetts General Hospital while in “treatment” for anorexia in 2011. I ended up traumatized and have really never gotten over it. They never acknowledged fault nor apologized. Instead, they tried to put me in a state hospital.

    More and more ED patients are put in state hospitals. When I called NEDA about this a few years ago trying to help out my friends they said they don’t do anything about it.

  • Becky, Yes! I know Jeanine and I support and agree with her work. There are so few of us out there who are at the point of realizing that these “rehabs” do nothing but use force and coercion and take your money. Years ago there was no money in ED, now, of course, there is. And because there’s money, the ED organizations are pushing for “awareness” to get more customers. But as soon as folks like me speak out we are silenced. The fact that BED ended up in the DSM is all money.

    None of this has anything to do with the fact that people really do suffer, and we’ve been suffering for a long time. MIA readers need to be aware that the ED treatment centers are separate from psych hospitals and the human rights violations at the inpatient level are far worse. They are also more expensive, on the whole.

  • Hi Tireless, Unfortunately, since many people keep their ED’s secret we don’t have accurate statistics on it. I have seen the most insane “studies” passing as “accurate.” For instance studies done in girls’ dormitories at boarding schools…How is this a cross-section of the general population? Sadly, men get ED, too. I have spoken to men with ED and they tell me it is very hard to come out of the closet.

    With men it can happen just like it happened with me. Many men even seek “treatment” such as therapy and pills and end up “treated” for mental disorders but the ED never gets addressed…and this can go on and on for decades. I know several men and women both in such a situation. With men, it is harder since they are less likely to be believed nor taken seriously.

  • Nowadays, mental illness is taken seriously and the ED community is fighting to be included into the MI category and I do not support that. The ED community, including NEDA/BEDA and other ED organizations have made a point of not including me (BEDA/NEDA kicked me out of their conference last year!). They do not like human rights activists apparently.

    I don’t know how Pat defines disease. I personally see ED’s as something very real that people suffer from. Just because people suffer does not mean it has to be a “disease.” One does not mean the other (although we, as a society, are conditioned to believe this). I have been accused by the ED community of denying the severity of ED’s because I have stated that ED is not a mental disorder.

    I am waiting for the ED community to respond to this article. I tried Tweeting but I am not adept at Twitter. My tweets seem to disappear.

  • Tireless, I agree, I do not use the word “recovery” either, mainly because it has been co-opted by other groups. I don’t use the word “recovering.” To me, what I am currently recovering from, in all seriousness, is the abuse I endured during my last few years in the MH System when I was in my 50’s. Much of it consisted of their attempts to silence me as I was emerging from decades of fraudulent psych diagnosis claim. This is an ongoing process for me, and a very difficult one.

    I agree, too, that the objectification of women is somehow linked to capitalism. We must realize, however, that ED is not exclusively a women’s or girls’ problem. When a man has ED the issue is compounded since if he tries to get “help” he is not likely to be believed nor taken seriously since it’s seen as a teenage girls’ problem.

    To call it a disorder or not? Yes, I do. I do not call it a psych disorder, though. I consider it outside of the psych realm. We have seen ED portrayed in the media for so long as psych, and we’ve seen it linked to psych, and patients are told over and over that “it’s all in your head.”

    Is high blood pressure psych? What if psych decided it was? They’ve put smoking addiction under their umbrella, why not high blood pressure? Why not heart attack, since they can get far-fetched and claim “stress” causes it? I actually saw that happen to a person! Why not claim kidney disease is psych since kidney disease makes you tired (