Saturday, July 21, 2018

Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

Showing 1635 of 1652 comments. Show all.

  • 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 (from anemia). How about those dubious ones like Irritable Bowel and Fibro? Haven’t we seen that, too? When I was in the nuthouse (McLean) they told me my cracked tooth was not cracked, but it hurt me because I was grinding my teeth at night without my knowledge, due to “anxiety.” They tried to give me Haldol for that (this effectively delayed my getting the tooth pulled until it was badly infected).

  • And something I want to say to people with ED who may be reading this. You DO have choices. I know you didn’t choose to have an ED. I did not. You do choose to go back to those so-called “professionals” again and again when you know “treatment” fails you over and over. Why keep going back? Why not take a different path or try something new? Why not trust yourself? Why keep believing these doctors?

    Believing them, and continuing to go back, that you do have control over. It is your choice when you go back and go back. You are not a failure. They have failed you. It isn’t even treatment. It is imprisonment and taking away of your rights, and you do not have to choose to return to that. You can choose to live your life. You can choose instead to find something to be passionate about instead of going back. That, exactly, is how to get over ED.

  • And another thing….Many people have been shocked that if I say it’s not a mental health issue I am ALSO saying it’s not serious. NO WAY! These are not the same statement. It doesn’t have to be a mental health issue to be “serious.” Having come very close to dying of this thing, I am well aware of the seriousness of ED’s. You do not die of depression or schiz. Your brain won’t implode from thinking or having a feeling. You die of ED’s because you die from starving or electrolyte imbalance or dehydration, and many people are dying at a seriously alarming rate. Or you die in treatment because they refeed too fast. I recall a while back three people I knew died in the same week. It is very very scary.

    Still, I wish it wasn’t at all in the DSM. I wish it wasn’t treated by MH professionals. I wish they would butt out of the ED field altogether and leave it to nutritionists and other types of specialists, especially peers, folks like us. Peers are the real experts, people who have been through ED. This IS about the food, it’s about that first diet you ever went on. It’s about the reasons, if you can ever dig them up. It’s about acknowledging it, and moving on.

  • Frank if you had been through an ED I am sure you would say differently. If you had been through psychiatry’s total inept “treatments” and therapy’s irrelevant solutions year after year, and been through their scare tactics and ineffective imprisonments over and over, only to find yourself starving again and again, I think you would have an entirely different opinion.

    Psychiatry and therapy have no relevance to ED, and have no answers. This IS about the food, which is a substance. ED is about starvation and its consequences. I wish I had known, and bypassed the MH System altogether.

  • Hi Sam, From what I know and have observed, after anorexia many people experience either lack of hunger signals or an abundance of hunger. For those who do not yet experience any hunger there are various strategies that I have heard might work. One is simple discipline, which will work for those who thrive on discipline and orderliness. You might tell yourself you will eat at noon and then, eat at noon. Or, you might say, “I will eat after I finish this assignment.” And you might “reward” yourself after eating with something else, something pleasurable. Pick anything

    For many, though, discipline can backfire, especially when too much rigidity has been a problem.

    You just have to ask yourself where you are on the “organized” spectrum. Some folks find beat themselves up so much, while others do not know where to begin to discipline themselves in terms of managing their eating.

  • I see these as physical addictions. Can people stop psych drugs? They are physically addicting. right? Booze is, too. Binge eating, as I have explained, is physically addicting, as is anorexia, and these things are not so easy to stop, especially when you have some “therapist” harping on you or threatening.

    Have you noticed that if a smoker is nagged, that smoker will cling to his/her habit even more stubbornly? However, if the smoker is left alone and he/she is allowed to see that not smoking is truly appealing, the smoker is likely to actively take the leap.

    We have a problem of the System acting as naggers, which is effectively keeping people sick. It works awfully well to keep folks out of commission.

  • Tireless I don’t have any statistics on this, but many people have told me that support groups helped them. They stated that being among others who experienced the same thing in itself was a relief. People told me OA and AA helped them, or an ED support group. I think there should be more of this. There should be more peer support, that is, people who actually went through the struggle.

    I have heard them say in facilities that it wouldn’t be a good idea. They keep saying we would “trigger” each other. Yes, it is BS. They’re just protecting their money I think. If we actually got better they’d lose their customers.

  • I don’t understand why Islamophobia is included here in MIA. It is a social issue, an extremely serious one. I never knew anyone locked up in a nuthouse for it. I never knew anyone labeled by a psychiatrist as a racist or antisemite, or homophobic, either.

    Of course I knew many bigoted shrinks, especially women-haters. And I must say, psychiatry and the Mental Health System itself is one of the most serious social threats we have in the Western world.

    People act collectively in ways that they would not act as individuals. I know this to be called either GroupThink or gang mentality. When it is directed by a group at an individual, it can become bullying. When police engage in GroupThink it can turn to police violence, which is amplified due to the group effect. I have seen “staff” act in GroupThink fashion, acting violently or verbally abusive against individual patients.

  • Hi Carol, I could certainly relate as I am Jewish, grew up in MA, and found my introduction to Christianity (at age 21) extremely traumatizing. This was both in the form of exposure to a religious cult, and afterward, born-again type Christianity. I developed an eating disorder the following summer, when I was 22, and a big part was spiritual dissatisfaction. I felt that I couldn’t connect with God anymore, that my fat was getting in the way. Really what was happening was that leaving a cult, you tend to go through grieving, and you do feel disconnected, and disillusioned with society as a whole. Like society is only dull black and white, and the cult was in full living color. You can’t get over the disappointment, like everyone is shallow and trite. I wanted the cult back, but I couldn’t have it back. I wanted God back too. That warm chummy feeling, even though the cult was deceptive, I still wanted it.

    None of this was ever addressed in 34 years in the System for me. Not once. Well? They never asked. Fools.

    I think your point about spiritual crisis is a good one. And I cried when you said you tossed out the bipolar book. YAY!!!! If anyone reads this and tosses out theirs, too, it’s a victory.

  • I couldn’t agree with this article more. I have known certain religious people, well-meaning, I must say, to make claim that anger is bad, that’s right, MORALLY bad. And then there are others that take “Turn the other cheek” to mean you are never to express nor even feel anger.

    I agree that anger is amazingly useful. My anger at the MH profession saved my life. My anger got me away from them. My anger helped me realize just how wrong they all were. My anger showed me the diagnoses were fraudulent. My anger fuels my writing and fuels these words I am writing now.

    Just as Sarah says here, I, too, was called paranoid just for expressing anger. That’s so insane, insanity on the part of people who have the audacity to call themselves “professional.” I was called violent, too. I have some choice words for that I cannot even say here.


  • I believe there were cases of anorexia in the 1800’s. And there was a guy in France would was known to not be able to stop eating. I literally cried when I read the Wikipedia article about him. It was heartbreaking. They ended up imprisoning him in a prison where (they say) he ate live rats. But this was not verified, so it may have been a rumor.

    There is a disorder that basically comes from your appetite center not working right, and that is called Praeder-Willi. It can usually be found alongside learning disorders and sometimes, but not always, mental retardation. It is detectable, something missing basically. You do not get a satiety signal, so you just keep going. I saw a YouTube on this and bawled my eyes out thinking of how these folks suffer. No it is not gluttony, it is a horror story.

    You bet I thought for a while I had PW. However, the main difference is that binge eating turns on and off. PW never turns off. I hope this speaks to the seriousness of BED, for anyone who doesn’t “get it.”

  • I should add the following. I don’t know where this statistic comes from. Seventy-five percent of binge eaters are specifically addicted to sugar. I have heard that sugar addiction is so powerful it is more addictive than booze.

    I have known people to realize that their problem was sugar. Then, they realized all they had to do was to stay away from sweets. This really did solve it. However, if the sugar abstinence is then turned into another strict, rigid diet, the diet mentality then takes over and the purpose is totally defeated.

    This is likely why sometimes, meal plans fail, because a meal plan can be done so zealously that of course it’s the next diet. You then are set up to fail. I have known therapists to reinforce the setup!

    I am not addicted to sugar. I knew this early on. I do know (through experimentation) that I was likely addicted to some types of dairy food, and possibly my mother (who had ED many years before I was born) was also addicted to some dairy foods. For a while I started noticing that when I went grocery shopping, I was fine until I walked past the dairy aisle, then, all hell broke loose (and that was usually toward the end of my aisle-wandering).

    For some time, I was afraid to keep any food at all in the house. It was a matter of buying one meal at a time, just tiny quantities. I was so scared. Now I am proud to say those days are over. I can even purchase dairy food and leave it in the fridge and not worry.

  • To be honest after a while I began to realize “they” do not have the answers. I kept looking to them and asking, begging really. “If you have all the answers, why can’t you make me better?” I just got a shrug, or a pat answer like, “Follow your treatment plan.” I knew they just didn’t know.

    Incarceration can’t really solve it since you’re locked up and don’t have the opportunity to binge. For many, this actually is so darned ironic. You’re free while you’re locked up. You’re free from bingeing. I really thought this. For those two weeks I was free of that hell. Then, they’d let me out and it would start again. That was my life. My secret life because I couldn’t get anyone to understand. Even during the years they had no clue I had ED, I lied sometimes and made up some stuff about being suicidal even though I wasn’t, so that I wouldn’t have to go out again.

    When I finally got free of psych I was also free to experiment. Wildly. Many failed. Many had mixed results. I loved that I could do anything, mix up my food, try eating different ways, try different eating patterns, try out different mindsets, and even try out fad diet pills you could get over the counter (only the cheap ones).

    Just being free of it all helped so much. You would think that I would have gone wild with the bingeing, but that’s not at all what happened. I’d say I was free to find what worked with common sense and logic. I was free to figure out what I actually liked and didn’t like.

    I was free also to figure out that I actually like myself. I always did, but psychiatry wrecked it for me all those years. I liked myself before, but now, I like myself a whole lot better without the diagnoses to cloud up stuff. Being away from them I find I know myself a lot better. That is so important!

    There are things I can’t do, or don’t like doing, or just am not very good at. I have to face that. I am not superwoman, just me. Some things are too hard for me, and probably someone better skilled than I am should be doing those things. (Like reaching up to high places, since I’m so short.)

    And also, therapists used to tout “mindfulness” and “living in the present” which is a culturally-egocentric value in my opinion, and not for everyone, especially us older folk who thrive on our hindsight. We are good at storytelling. Let us tell our stories! Therapists should stop demeaning us for it, and stop complaining that we’re dwelling on the past. This is what us older, (wiser), folk do.

    Why pathologize it? My therapists pathologized what I got my degree in, writing memoir.

    My mom used to say we had to be good because she “had eyes in the back of her head.” Did she? I used to look, try to see in her hair. Really?

    She did. She had wisdom and hindsight. And we foolish kids couldn’t even see it. But that is okay, because now I do.

  • Exactly. I know that many times while I was normal weight I had a harder time being taken seriously. “You look okay, what’s the problem?”

    You make a valid point about making that number on the scale so important, and equating it with self-worth. It is so hard to detach these two things. I do own a scale but I could take it or leave it. I think the word is desensitization, or something similar. I don’t see it as the Judge. I used to. I remember the number made it or broke it for me. Now, other things are more crucial. When we find things that are crucial that we care about more than that number, we’re on our way.

  • Lawrence, Do parents really know what their kids are up to? If I had been 10, yeah they would have noticed. At 16 I could have hidden it. At 22 when I started I was living far away and there was no reason for them to be worried. I called now and then and updated them on how college was going.

    As for “education,” no one dieted back then. What education was there to be had? No one had heard of ED. Know what we talked about in my house? Politics, going skiing, and Nixon’s resignation.

    You have to realize many people develop ED when they are older. Maybe even after their parents are no longer living. We aren’t all kids. You cannot blame parents.

    I think people need to know that extreme dieting CAN be very dangerous. It can be like doing a very addictive drug. You think you can stop. But suddenly you’re sucked into it.

  • As for coping, from what I recall of my later years in the System I was “coping” with abusive treatment by starving myself. It was about the only thing left I could do. They cornered me into it with their power plays. They kept telling me what a bad patient I was, too.

    I got rid of the ones I had, then, tried to get new ones. I remember going from one office to another, asking them to help me. I didn’t know there was no help there.

  • Psychiatry is very quick to call us rigid perfectionists. I have issue with this. I’ve even had therapists demand that I stop working hard at college! I can’t help it if I like the subject matter of the class!

    Another thing I had issue with was the fact that I like to run. They automatically assumed any exercise at all was OVERexercise. But for many, exercise is extremely helpful. It helped me to like my body more and to see food as fuel, not as the enemy.

    I’m happy to say that after I got those fools out of my life I have been free to run as much or as little as I want. I’m 60 years old and running a 5k in about a month. I look back on how they demanded that I stop running and I realize THEY had the control problems and foisted them on me.

  • Yes and no. People with ED vary. Many are men, too. And also, many are older people, even folks in their 60’s and 70’s who are suffering. You can even start ED late in life.

    Another new thing is these weight-loss surgeries. Actually I have known a few people who got the surgery, and then, developed ED! Also, new are the drugs, which can cause all sorts of ED’s. I have heard of purging disorder caused by drugs, anorexia, and many developing bulimia, all from psych drugs and other pharmaceuticals.

    Another thing I’ve been trying to work on is that the weight-gaining drugs like Zyprexa should never be given to anyone with a history of anorexia. I think there should be a black box warning. The reason is that unwanted weight gain from the drugs will later cause a rebound effect and the anorexia will return with a vengeance. This happened to me post-Seroquel, and studies show that these drugs can often do this.

  • Exactly, Richard. I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I started the diet. I sure didn’t want to lose more than a few pounds. I had no plans beyond that. My first binge absolutely shocked me. I had no word for it, didn’t have the word “binge” in my vocabulary. And I didn’t know “eating disorder,” either, nor “anorexia” nor “bulimia.” This was not due to naivete, but because such things weren’t known back then. In 1980, remember, this was the year Ronald Reagan was elected, and the Vietnam War was fresh in our memories. Life was very different back then.

  • Steve many therapists who have control issues themselves get into the ED business. The ED “protocol” according to many therapists means forced weigh-in, reporting your food to a therapist or nutritionist, threatening the patient if she doesn’t gain, twice a week therapy, once a week weigh-in (see my article on this, it’s very very scary for kids), and a psychiatrist. This is the “team” (slavery) approach.

    The claim that ED is all about control…if it ever was…it now becomes control by the treatment team! So the control shifts. The team actually tells the parents to lay off, in effect they’re saying the parents did a bad job or caused the ED, that is, if the patient is young….the State is the Better Parent. “We do a better job so let us take over.”

    Now, the patient of course assumes these folks are actually working in her best interest and know better. Is ED about control? Yes. Yes. Yes.

    When that happened to me, THAT, is exactly what almost killed me. I was so trapped in it. When I look back I know I was responding to what they did. I know I starved myself voluntarily, but this was almost a defense against them, against the System that had harmed me.

    And in saying this, I am alive and fighting back. It needs to stop.

  • Oh by the way, Frank, there are people who literally eat themselves to death. If you sit in on an Overeaters Anonymous meeting you might meet folks who seriously struggle with overeating. I have met people whose lives were very much taken over by overeating. I can say that overeating is not the same thing as bingeing. Some people suffer from both and some one or the other.

    I recall trying to explain this to people, even doctors, and since they never experienced it themselves it was futile and pointless.

    That I know of, in some regions overeating and bingeing are not even seen as distinct from each other.

  • The part that was a choice, that I wish I had not chosen, was to believe the lies of my doctors and therapists all those years. First of all, they ignored my ED and assigned me other diagnoses. It was my mistake to believe them. That was a very bad choice.

    It was also my mistake, over the years, to believe they had any answers at all. It was my mistake to believe the lie that “doctor knows best.” It was a lie that we patients should “go to staff” or to a “professional” every time we had a problem.

    It was my choice to fall for all of that. It was my mistake. It was a mistake that cost me over three decades of my life.

    It was my choice to turn my back on psychiatry and the entire mental health system. In doing so, I am doubly blessed to see the end of my ED. I realized then that the System didn’t have any answers. The answers were within myself, and are within each and every one of us. I can only hope that others see this, so that the 30+ years I spent are not a waste, but can be made into a story that helps others beat this cycle.

  • Lawrence I think most of the reason they almost always diagnose patients with concurrent psych disorders is because they want to drug us. They don’t have drugs for anorexia, so they tell us we’re depressed so they can give a cocktail of drugs. They even make excuses for giving Zyprexa. I’ve heard them telling kids that Zyprexa was “to calm you down” but really of course it was to induce weight gain in patients who weren’t gaining as fast as the insurance companies were demanding.

    They never acknowledged binge eating disorder until they had the designer drug. Back in 2013 I honestly didn’t realize this. Back then, I thought, “Oh, after all these years, they’ve finally listened.” Wow what a sucker I was. No, after all those years, they finally figured out how to make bucks off of us. And that’s the very sad bottom line.

    While statistically, more and more are getting ED, it’s also true that there’s financial interest in widening the ED umbrella. ED “treatment” is lucrative now. “Early detection” means more money for the ED prisons. We should be concerned because this is a human rights tragedy.

  • Yes, this is true. Data supports that usually religious fasts don’t cause eating disorders. I am sorry for the misunderstanding here. I didn’t go on a fast. I went on a restrictive diet that I found in a diet book. The difference is that mine was prolonged. Not that I planned this.

    My guess here is that the writer was figuring most would break the diet and not stick to it for very long, or at all. He claimed you’d lose weight rapidly. What I did was stick to it. I was really starving. I started in the beginning of July and stuck to it through the summer and into the fall. I was not actually overweight to start with.

    The religious part was the reason behind the diet, that is, it wasn’t to “get boys,” nor to look a certain way. I don’t think I owned a mirror even. I was in college, a music composition student. I think part of the reason no one believed me for so long is because I didn’t fit the stereotype.

  • I notice you edited your comment, Lawrence, to include seizures as exception. For a while during my long stint with psych I was wondering if my binge eating episodes were caused by seizure activity. I really didn’t know for many years.

    In the late 1980’s a doc said I might have TLE. Then, in 2011, another neuro said the TLE was a false dx and any irregularities were drug-induced. I believe this was correct. I never had those symptoms and anything similar I now realize was the effect of ECT back in the 1990’s. Hindsight….

    As I state in the article I solved the entire eating disorder problem by getting myself as far away from psych and therapy as I possibly could.

  • Lawrence as I said in the article, therapy and psychiatry perpetuated my ED, first by ignoring it and assigning me psych disorders I never had. Then after 30 years had passed they finally decided I had ED.

    I was now in my 50’s! So now, they did ED “treatment” on me in the form of force-feeding and using scare tactics. They threatened me over and over. It was a power play and it just about killed me.

    This is how it was. The therapist would demand over and over what I had eaten, would accuse me of vomiting, would tell me she had ways to get me into the state hospital, and if I was as little as ten minutes late for our twice-a-week appointments she’d be on the phone with the cops…sectioning. Once I was studying in the library and my phone rang. It was her. She said, “Where are you? I’ve called the cops on you.” I have to laugh at that one. This is the kind of stuff I had to live with, living in constant fear. I was told if I didn’t gain a half pound I’d be incarcerated. I was told I had to take a cab and couldn’t burn any calories doing anything at all. These therapists should go out of business.

  • ED is usually caused by a restrictive diet, that is, CAUSED by controlling your eating habits. Does that answer your question?

    From what I recall, this being decades ago, you have to realize that in 1980 hardly anyone went on a diet. I didn’t grow up in a chronic dieting family either, nor did I grow up giving a hoot about weight nor about fashion. I never looked in the mirror nor cared about my appearance.

    I went on a diet for religious reasons. I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. I didn’t have low self-esteem and I wasn’t depressed either. Come to think of it I wasn’t “anxious.”

  • Obesity does kill. When a person suffers from binge eating, that person may become overweight or maybe not. During my decades of ED, I was various weights, and even when I was rail thin I suffered horribly from bingeing. I begged for help and what happened was I was not taken seriously. OR…get this:

    I was told it was “good” to binge. The truth is that an extremely large binge can cause stomach rupture and that is almost always instantly fatal.
    …Or I was told it was no big deal…..
    Or I was accused of vomiting. This repeated accusation was traumatizing for me.

    If you really do binge it horribly disabling. You can’t work like that and you can’t function at all. You are sick all the time, and you go broke, too. It’s no way to live.

  • Well, again, you are relying on stereotyping. The stereotyping even seeps into “treatment.” So what happens is that young and vulnerable people are told “You are a rigid perfectionist” and of course that acts like a diagnosis. Most patients will rise to the occasion and act the part.

    Trauma may drive a person to go on a diet, but it is the extreme diet itself that triggers the cycle. Dieting causes a vicious cycle and it is so hard to get out of it that many tell me their lives are ruined by it. Therapy actually can reinforce the cycle by heightening the power play.

  • I have a lot of faith in orthomolecular nutrition. I actually saw Dr Pfeiffer himself. My parents took me to him hoping that doing so would convince me to get off the “medications.” This was way back in the 1980’s. We drove to NJ to see him. Sadly, at the time, I decided he was a quack and dismissed everything he said. I think this was because I saw my psychiatrist as a god who could do no wrong. I wish I could take all that back.

  • The comments here are really great. Steve McC I saw your comment in my email but I can’t find it now.

    Yes people do feel terrible sometimes, to the point of considering suicide. If you feel that conflicted, is that a “need”? Well it’s a need for something but not for psychiatry, lockup, and labeling.

    Yes, people suffer and yes they need something. They need to be heard, first and foremost. Most mental health modalities focus on symptoms and bullshit illnesses, not on real life problem-solving and issues such as poverty. Therapy doesn’t address it because therapy milks the poorest of the population (now, as this wasn’t always the case), so it’s an embarrassment.

    I have personally known people and read many stories about people who were in some kind of “treatment” for ages with therapists and during all those years the real thing bugging them was never spoken about.

    Then, something happens or some new person nudges their consciousness a bit. Then it all spills out. A sexual assault, abuse, bullying, these kinds of things that don’t get discussed in therapy if they don’t fit the therapist’s idea of what might bring patients to their offices. And some therapy patients never ever talk about what is really on their minds.

    Here is an example and this is public knowledge, a story I found online. A young person was suffering for a long time, and her therapists kept trying to hound her about her “abusive parents.” She knew her parents hadn’t been abusive and staunchly defended her upbringing.

    Finally, she was able to unearth it and tell someone. No it wasn’t her parents, but she had indeed been abused. By her grandmother.

    Yet this story doesn’t fit the stereotype. Nor does my own. I was abused while in high school but not by a family member nor relative. I was abused by my “best friend.” Trust me no therapist wanted to touch this one. They mostly insisted on defaulting to “abusive parents.” It was so harmful to me and harmful to my siblings (ripple effect).

    I did need to talk to someone. I found people sometimes, not therapists, usually some person older than myself I could look up to as role model, or mentor. Back then folks didn’t go to therapists very much.

  • yes, either way you are right.

    I think we need to go back to basic principles. I can think of things people here probably agree on, such as forced drugging and ECT. However we are divided on “therapy” and even divided on what parts of the System should be abolished. All, or some?

    I know many therapists try to silence me about therapy abuse and claim that my telling my story is counterproductive. I have had to drop my membership in groups where there were too many self-righteous therapists claiming their practice was practically flawless and only an “exception” would be abusive. Not true.

    I refuse to take on the mentality that all non-drug approaches are humane. In therapy, all you have to do is to tell a patient she is psychotic or delusional when she’s telling the truth, and you have the recipe for very bad abuse.

    Many therapists do rely on the DSM and many believe in their diagnoses, too. Ever try seeing a therapist who saw you as schizophrenic or other psychotic diagnosis? You are never ever believed. You can try all you want but they won’t believe a word you say. Everything you say is denied.

    You can tell them anything. Like that you were sexually assaulted. They ignore you. I told my psychiatrist that a therapist asked me out on a date so I fired him. She claimed I was delusional.

    I have had nurses roll their eyes at me when I was in kidney failure, and discuss me like I’m a thing. I hope they are reading this right now. #mountauburnhospital

    This can happen with, or without the use of drugs. I believe the term is gaslighting.

  • We live in a society where force is a way to wield power. Children are forced to go to school and if parents keep them home, it is considered truancy. In some societies woman are forced to obey their husbands, I daresay right here in the USA. Workplaces can be forceful. A boss or manager may threaten employees with “dismissal” should they act out of line. Employees are threatened with background checks and drug screenings. The atmosphere is oppressive in some of these workplaces, with much division between workers and those up top.

    We have normalized force, we shrug off the use of it, and that is not right.

  • Fiashra after all those years looking to doctors for the answers, I more quickly found those answers within myself. And they were there all along, all those years but I stubbornly turned outside of myself because they insisted on their expertise. I believed them. I no longer do.

    I find the idea of seeing to it that psychiatry and the entire MH System loses its customer base is a great idea. Many of my neighbors refuse to see Western Med doctors and are extremely skeptical.

    There are two things. 1. Share our own experiences, and 2. offer compassion to those leaving or contemplating leaving the clutches of the System. And to me, the System means dependency on a therapist, too. I don’t see a person as free of psychiatry unless they can break the therapy addiction.

    I also think we need more venues (media) for story-sharing, getting these stories to the public.

    I personally joined Toastmasters and nearly every speech I give (about once a month at least) is anti-psych, or has antipsych overtones. I am competing in the International Speech Contest this year, and also trying out for TED Talks, likely 2019. If I get anywhere with this it’ll all be widely broadcast on YouTube etc. I’ve been working hard at public speaking and I find it comes naturally to me.

  • There is no venue for therapy abuse. You can’t even go to another therapist for help with resulting trauma. That would defeat the purpose, no? And all that affects me to this day, affects my relationships and my ability to get along with others.

    I have even tried talking to my friends about it but they do not want to hear. Very few anyway. This subject needs to be brought out into the public and we need to be able to speak about it without being called paranoid.

    Look at what bringing sexual harassment did, people spoke up after many years. This is what I am hoping for.

  • Well for that I apologize. My own organ damage IS permanent, permanent and life-shortening. Truth is I cannot get medical care for it because to seek medical care means down the line revealing how I got kidney damage (lithium). I have to live with the damage from lithium on a daily basis, my sleep is affected, I have permanent anemia, sometimes my red blood cells are deformed or swelled up, I drink six liters of fluids a day to compensate and take electrolyte supplementation. I also almost died a few years ago. I was lied to and told I caused it. Then I found out my kidneys had been failing for years, maybe a full decade, due to past lithium use (12 years). I was also lied to about my own medical condition.

    However, abuse trauma, from psychiatric abuse, caused me to fear and distrust doctors so much I am having trouble submitting to a cataract operation. I am blind in one eye and the other barely sees.

    I am not trying to minimize drug damage because to do so would be hypocritical. I AM trying to emphasize therapy abuse since it’s fucking taboo around here and therapists’ feelings get hurt so such stories are suppressed. Some people have no clue how abusive some therapists can be and just how hard it is on a person. Never mind what that woman did to me. Most do not even want to hear about it.

    Adam Lanza was a victim of therapy abuse, too. That is how badly it damages a person.

  • Stumble into a great relationship or maybe have a pet stumble into your life. Stumble into church or a really cool meetup group, or, a gym. Friends of mine have found a lot of solace in the older self-help books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People. I personally liked When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

    I really have to give my dog Puzzle a lot of credit for being the awesome doggie she is.

  • I think the work rules and “time off” rules need to allow for time off and no incentive should be there to move people from the welfare system (state, temporary) to the permanent SSDI system (or SSI). Once moved to this federal aid, fewer than 0.5% make it off disability.

    I call for more allowances for time off and fewer incentives to put people on permanent disability. I don’t think any psych condition is grounds for putting a person permanently out of the workforce. I do see conditions created by psych such as TD, brain damage, some organ damage as grounds for a disability claim.

    As substitute for psychiatry, which is practiced in a secluded office, I suggest more compassionate and caring communities.

    I notice slight differences between locales in terms of community caring. Watertown MA was cold and hostile, cars beeping at pedestrians just for being slow, a lot of road rage, and hostile and unfriendly neighbors.

    I found South America friendlier, but you did run into a lot of inappropriate behavior due to too much alcohol use.

    Where I live now, in one of the communities, within one month I was offered a ride by a passing motorist (just uphill a block or two) when they saw me struggling with my bags. Not only once, but four times in one month! This is totally unheard of where I lived in MA. I was so touched when the drivers stopped and asked.

    Also, at my workplace, workers were noticing that New Yorkers were more hostile and, as the word goes, irate. I am wondering if it’s a matter of population density, that too many squished together is going to produce hostility anyway, because it’s unnatural to live like that. People need privacy and space.

  • Eric I love this. I, too, collected stuff, my best being a pool ball from a pool table on Wheeler 3, Emerson Hospital, in Concord, MA. This is where I met my boyfriend in 1986 whom I dated many years. Wheeler 3 isn’t the psych unit anymore. They moved to North 5. I had that pool ball many years.

    When I was in McLean a gal and her boyfriend (he was not inpatient with us) stole SO MUCH I was in utter shock. He would leave with these huge suitcases claiming he was “bringing her stuff home.” They believed it. When she started boasting about how much she had stolen, and whom she had stolen from, I started hiding my valuables. This was getting extreme. One weekend all the food was gone from the pantry! Well she got her money’s worth or some of it.

  • Absolutely not, this is a generalization about ED and totally untrue. Many older ED’s like myself were completely ignored by psych, that is, our ED’s went totally unnoticed, for decades, and meanwhile we collected other diagnoses (whether they had any grain of truth to them or not) like Eric collected blankets. Many ED’s of any age are missed totally, since ED doesn’t always look like a rail thin teenage girl.

    I have been helped by drugs but I could have picked them up on Amazon just as easily. I didn’t need a doc for that.

    Psychs are poorly trained in nutrition and many don’t know jack about ED, either. Yes you can usually tell.

  • Frank I agree, a friend was helped by a psych who explained the aftereffects of seizures.

    Psychiatrists should do this more often instead of making up their own diseases. I think there’s a need for psychs to help elderly sort out the negative effects of the drugs they are given, such as blood pressure and heart drugs. Also many of these drugs interact and we need people to identify these bad reactions. God bless the psych who tests for physical problems before jumping to conclusions, but very few do. I wish psychs did more real medicine, since they are indeed trained in this, instead of doing hocus-pocus diagnosis.

  • It’s not Tireless that rants about the supposedly abusive middle class family, it’s another person. Tireless talks about the “recovery” movement.

    I know people think that about me, too, that I “rant,” but honestly if the general public started listening there would be no need for it. Where are the journalists? Where are the attorneys to take up our cases (thank you JG and a few others)? Many of us have lost friends and family too.

  • Walter I am not 100% sure, but remembering back over a decade ago, I was kept on Seroquel way too long, even when my weight had doubled (literally). I have no clue why my therapist was mum on this, but she continued to defer to the psychiatrist who was blind to my appearance even though I complained bitterly.

    It seemed like this psychiatrist pushed the Seroquel to the point of her being delusional or possibly pushing me to say certain things and then, writing these in her notes. She claimed, years later, that I said, “I feel good on Seroquel.” I may have said this but she quoted me out of context. She quoted me in similar manner multiple times and during those sessions wanted to know a number (1-10) for how “good” I felt.

    Years later when she read her notes to me (trying to prove something) I could see that she had pushed me to say how great that drug was. She only wrote down that stuff, and didn’t record my complaints about weight gain, nor the person she saw before her, or about writers block that also plagued me, and lack of motivation. So here was an example of biased recording of patient outcomes.

    When I questioned friends who knew me they said I was “out of it” on the stuff.

  • Fiaschra, Maybe they don’t want certain populations to increase in life expectancy. Psychiatry is handy for keeping these inconvenient populations in check. Which I suspect is its ultimate purpose. To suppress our voices, keep us out of the workforce, and ensure we die young.

    If seen this way maybe the “resistance” is SPEAK LOUDLY, LIVE LONG, and contribute to society in some meaningful way. Yes I know the suppression is very fundamental…..

    Susan R I like your ideas. Although having seen an oppressive workplace first hand recently, I can see that any worker solidarity is going to be difficult. People fear retaliation. The scare tactics in the workplace ensured worker silence.

    As on the wards, when they discouraged friendships and alliances among us, even to the point of separating roommates who got “too close,” or breaking up hallway conversations.

  • I’m certainly not shitting on anyone. I can share examples but of course cannot be very specific for the sake of those affected. I see these folks as doing a disservice to those who have a genuine terrible experience.

    For instance, we know that a back injury can put someone out of work, and if much pain is involved, certainly make life unbearable. We also know that people who exaggerate “back pain” as reason to get onto disability do a terrible disservice to those who really have debilitating back injuries. See what I am saying? And we see variants of this, too.

    It’s bad enough that withdrawal is mislabeled “symptoms of mental illness” by some MH professionals. I have seen examples of MH professionals who stupidly mislabeled to the point of total ignorance.

    The worst of these being when I witnessed a fellow patient who had a bad reaction to long-term use of what I think was Risperdal. He had clear signs of TD which were called a “nervous twitch” by the psych!!!!

    But still we have to be careful not to blame every little thing that goes wrong in life on withdrawal. There are always some jumping on the bandwagon, or, rather, sneaking onto it. This hurts those who are legitimately there. I suspect more are on that wagon than should be, that’s all. By all means I wasn’t directing my comment at you personally.

  • Richard L I love what you wrote. I think when we are newbies to the Movement we may have very high ideals and lofty goals, even unrealistic ones. This is not a bad thing even if we are grossly overoptimistic. I, too, recall the idealism of the 1960’s, the ideas people had that we could all live in peace and harmony, the “hippie” communes and people working so hard to maintain alternatives. I recall the earlier feminist movement, which was highly idealistic also. I recall a whole bunch of feminist utopia novels also.

    What happened to the feminists? What happened to the hippies? Where is the idealism, the dreaming and reaching up to places higher than we can possibly go? I believe such dreams are a necessary part of social change.

    Do we hope for a day when no one is called by a diagnosis or pseudo-diagnosis, when human behavior is not explained as synapses, but viewed compassionately, with genuine unselfish concern? I hope so.

    Realistic or not, I see no harm in hoping for the best. A person living in poverty might dream of riches. Working with this idea, he/she may proceed to work logically, step-by-step, to eliminate debt, work with creditors, and increase income. He may not become wealthy but his credit score will go up some.

    Without hope, where are we? I hope someday doctors aren’t paid so much nor treated like gods, nor have any say in court without tangible, measurable evidence. i hope we, as a society, stop blaming our own boo-boos on mental disorders, and take responsibility for cleaning up this mess.

  • If we abolish their Bible, the DSM, the entire System and its pros will shift to a more helpful and honest profession. The UN has asked also that no person be declared mentally incompetent, that each human is an authority on his/her experience. What determines incompetence? A diagnosis! Get rid of those harmful and hurtful diagnoses and any pseudo-diagnosis such as “Black and White Thinking” and we are looking at more compassion, less categorizing.

    I found out the name for what happens when a person fits him/herself into a diagnostic category post-diagnosis. This is known as the “looping effect.” I know it is very common. I have witnessed this multiple times on “units.” People receive their awaited dxes, handed to them like awards, then, these unfortunate patients rise to their “bipolar” (or whatever) role in life, often for decades. This is hugely harmful, never mind the dx-based claims of dangerousness, claims of lacking insight, and justification for incarceration and more forced tx.

  • I guess what I object to most is the elitism within the Movement. This comes from all sides, not just from provider circles excluding survivors, but from survivors who refuse to speak with other survivors, noses in the air, overlooking those they feel aren’t as important as they are. There is rampant snobbery in the Movement.

    And there is also a social ranking in some circles as to “off drugs” and “still on.” Or even, (I gotta laugh over this one), which particular drugs you’re still on. It is a status symbol. That is SO INSANE. I don’t think anyone should have to publicly post their drugs, for godsakes, to be accepted in a community. And oh, the worse you suffer from withdrawal, or claims of such, another claim to fame, the more attention you draw.

    Aren’t these things just fallout from where we came?

    Why can’t we all just speak reasonably to each other? I object to the tiers among us which are often arbitrarily drawn. I do think we should have chosen leaders and spokespeople from among us, people who can approach the government and the media. I don’t think “professionals,” no matter how sympathetic, reflect the survivor voice nor should they represent it.

    And I resent the claims that so many providers are quietly survivors themselves. You are not doing us any favors by remaining silent. Even those that claim they do so to “keep their jobs.” You are selling out, dudes, and snubbing us.

  • Frank I am also concerned about the medicalization of our anger. Anger isn’t a disease, and is useful to overturn oppression and can effect positive social changes.

    I grew up in the 1960s, boy were people pissed over the Viet Nam War. It was exactly this anger that I believe was the major reason the USA pulled out (for the most part).

    If there are enough of us, and we call out in unison, the walls will come down.

  • Tina I would be very happy to contribute. Originally, it was the use of force that caused me to question mental health “care,” as I saw multiple assaults on human rights while I was an eating disorders patient. Then, my disbelief in the System widened to include diagnosis and drugs.

    My initial reaction was a traumatic reaction to the use of force (water restriction) and after I would not be silent about it, subsequent threats to silence me via drugs and incarceration. Regretfully I have yet to spark the interest of a mainstream journalist, nor has any attorney been willing to take up my case, though a parallel case occurred in the UK that resulted in patient death. Prior to these incidents I had been incarcerated many times (three decades of that) and didn’t have a traumatic reaction. I am thankful that this red herring showed up in my life.

    I would be very very happy to write for this initiative! Please contact me at [email protected]

  • i want to know why the author didn’t quote Bonnie Burstow, who publicly calls herself an abolitionist. Mr. Nikkel did not call BB a nihilist nor an extremist nor an angry black-and-white thinker. Who would dare do so? No, it’s easier to call survivors “angry,” “extremist,” all those euphemisms for “personality disordered.”

    Here we see the class system at work. The socioeconomic tiers created by the “needy ill” and the unblemished wealthy who hold power over them. In my opinion, this class system is exactly what must be abolished.

  • I would like to see an end to the DSM and any euphemisms for “Mental Illness” taken out of mainstream use. I don’t mean terms like wacko, which is sometimes a compliment (depending on context). I would like to see a reduction of negative commentary on a person’s character.

    I would like to stop calling abusive spouses and other abusive people by disease names such as narcissist, psychopath, bipolar, schiz, and other conditions psych sees as permanent. I know people are angry at abusers, but if we see abuse as a crime and not a character flaw or disease, we are putting full responsibility for the abuse on the abuser, legally. Abuse is cruel and illegal, why excuse them by crediting some disease? Many abusers “pass on” the abuse they received as children, taking it out on their own kids. That, too, doesn’t make it okay, nor make it a disease.

    Doctors and other medical professionals sometimes are treated badly by administration or managers. They, in turn, take it out on their patients. I don’t see that as EVER being okay, nor in any way justified, nor ethical nor legal.

    Disease? These aren’t diseases, they are crimes.

  • Force-feeding via a tube, or even non-tubed force, IS rape in some locales, but if you look at the legal rape definition, it varies regionally, and even between states of the USA. So sometimes it falls under that category and sometimes the category specifies “penis” or “sexual intercourse.” Newer laws mention the use of drugs (date rape drugs, etc) as means to falsify consent.

    Look closely at the UK definition of rape. A person must not only obtain full consent, but INFORMED CONSENT. This means, for instance, if you are a married man and misrepresent yourself as unmarried, it’s rape. Or if you aren’t using birth control and misrepresent yourself as “don’t worry, I’m using a condom.” Apparently a handful of misrepresentation cases have been tried in the UK.

    Psychiatry always misrepresents itself. If it did not, we, as a society, wouldn’t buy into it. But legally, psych assault may, or may not fall under the rape category depending on the exact wording of the governing laws.

  • Hmm…where are the comments? Am I really the first?

    I agree, on a practical level, I highly doubt it’ll happen as you have outlined.

    However, Bob, you seem to have missed something. The All-Holy Bible, the DSM! Diagnosis means some people are singled out as diseased and “requiring treatment.” This is what leads to drugging and marginalization. You also specified, in your outline of the abolition events, only one MH practice, psychiatry, leaving out the rest of the shebang. I suspect also you took the comments (all by survivors, notably) out of context. Do you know any of these folks personally? It was almost like you were saying “All survivors are extremist black and white thinkers” which is, sorry to say, another way to say just how diseased we are.

    Most of us who are angry are not permanently angry. Anger serves a useful purpose, to protect us against another psychiatric assault and to preserve our human rights. Anger also helps spread the word to others who may be in the “questioning” phase. Many find that the anger, which is really a necessary part of grieving, dissipates over time. Especially if we are heard.

    You didn’t mention psychotherapists going out of business. Maybe because some therapists might be reading here and (horrors!) be offended. I think in many ways, since some therapists are movement allies ($$$), MIA and other groups sell out and let the entire dubious practice of psychotherapy off the hook.

    As I see it, it is pointless to abolish psychiatry as if it were the Isolated Evil of the World, when there are so many abusive practitioners and institutions that are not psychiatrists.

    After all, many MIA readers are “therapists” who work outside the box, outside of diagnosing and “treating.” However, these are rare indeed, far more rare than many are willing to admit.

    I think very specific things need to happen. We need to disempower the practice of psychiatry and Western Med in general. Doctors are overpaid. The psychiatrist’s opinion should not be used as court evidence. Emotional and mental distress should not be viewed as a permanent condition, and should not turn into lifetime disability and marginalization. What is “normal” should not be determined by mental health professionals.

    The CRPD has wonderful guidelines and literature outlining how people should be treated and is demanding that all countries agree to be humane to its people.

    What would happen if we abolished psychiatric *diagnosis* as a mode of eugenics? I don’t personally care what happens to the drugs, they can go on the street or be sold in vending machines so they’ll harm people less.

    Abolishing the DSM would improve the practice of “therapy” also. Therapists wouldn’t be cornered into treating diseases, they’d consider the person and the circumstances. A person wouldn’t be incarcerated due to being seen as “ill.” Without the support of the DSM’s phony diagnoses, many of these drugs would disappear from the market or fall into disuse.

    If psych drugs were sold on the street (they likely are already) people would use them for what used to be thought of as the drug side effects. Helping them get to sleep, a few for weight loss (or the opposite), a few to enhance one’s sex life (likely, again, the opposite), and one or two as date rape drugs. I used to hear of people using a few of these to “come down” off of hallucinogens such as LSD.

  • Thanks, Sera. I just saw this just now after my friend pointed it out to me. So I came to have a look. Some of what you describe I have experienced, such as the silencing incidents you describe, my own very much similar. It’s not nearly as bad as it used to be for me. I can recall being in rooms full of people and not being allowed to speak at all, and being cut off just as I began a sentence. I couldn’t help but feel like “If anyone else said that, they wouldn’t be cut off as I was” but…Then I get the feeling either I am not wanted around, or no one wants to hear whatever I have to say. It gets tiring and I end up feeling like I am constantly fighting to get a word in. This has extended to friendships also, wrecking a few of them, because even when it’s not really happening, as I have the deathly fear of not being heard.

  • Okay, I will hurry and get a quick-fix doctor license and set up practice in Florida. That’s the safest state for me. I don’t have to worry about being sued if I kill a patient. Maybe, in fact, it’s safer to kill than to maim, so I might pull the plug on someone to avoid a lawsuit. Ah, the life…I’ll see you on the golf course.

    In all seriousness, best of luck with this! And…I found this post as “sponsored content” on Facebook. Wow, MIA getting up in the world.

  • I hadn’t seen this before. I read the whole article and wasn’t surprised at the “treatment” you got, Laurie. What hit home was the bit about being a whistleblower. Then, suddenly, all came clear to me.

    I never knew why I had been abused myself, horrendously, called suicidal when I wasn’t, threatened, physically abused, sneered at, all sorts of emotional abuse including eye-rolling and claims that I was psychotic, theft, called a liar, given drugs that would have killed me, and had my apartment illegally searched (I found out upon my release!).

    I never knew why on earth this happened until I got my records. The suicidal claim was lame indeed. There was no evidence that I was suicidal and as I read my records, they’d already evaluated me and determined I wasn’t.

    What I learned was that at the administrative level, they didn’t truly believe I was suicidal nor did they believe I was psychotic. Their aim was to incarcerate me and drug me until I could no longer write.

    It was my whistleblowing activities that concerned them. This was the threat, not any danger to self. At the admin level they knew this, though they told their lower-paid workers I was very very dangerous indeed. They told the workers not to leave me, to remain within three feet of me at all times.

    The object was to have me moved from the medical ward to a psych ward where I would be kept a long time and further abused. Thankfully, they were too lazy to engineer the move themselves and had an outside agency from Boston do the evaluating. It was obvious to these young crisis workers that enough harm had been done and they petitioned for my release.

    This happened in Massachusetts and I have spoken to the legislators also. I also put in a complaint about my outside psychiatrist who was the one who saw to it that I was seen as a danger. There were other complaints I wrote up against her also. I have not gotten a response.

    I will check out your site and thank you for everything you do.

  • So when the study compared to undiagnosed people, had these undiagnosed folks been locked up for long periods, secluded from society, deprived of intellectual stimulation, unable to pursue academic study, and regularly insulted by low intellectual expectations?

    I aced calculus when I was a kid. I can’t do math now beyond simple arithmetic simply because I haven’t used it in decades.

    Patients are not encouraged to use their intellectual abilities. Those deemed psychotic are taken out of intellectually-stimulating “groups” and put into Bingo instead. Computer use is limited on wards if allowed at all. Units ban books. (I am told my memoir is among the banned books!) Rehabs encourage low-level jobs and discourage advanced college study.

    Reading this makes me realize that taking up the intellectual exercise of writing, which I did simply to record events post-ECT, was likely the main factor that led me out of System.

    Ironically, years later I was threatened by authorities who demanded that I stop writing, the very same thing that not only liberated me, but exposed the harms that marginalized me to begin with.

    When I was midway through graduate school a doctor and social worker took me aside and said, “We know you better than you know yourself. If you go back to graduate school you will only end up back in the hospital. You must go to a day program.”

    I told them to go to hell. I went back to graduate school and did fine.

  • Lawrence, you are writing about psychiatry from psychiatry’s point of view. If you focus on the patient’s experience, psychiatry and all of mental health isn’t just a religion, it’s a brainwashing religious CULT. I have been writing on this topic for years in my blog. I did a two-hour radio broadcast on the topic of brainwashing, cults, and the similarities between psych and cults. My station is at and if you scroll down the list of shows you will find the one on brainwashing.

    My suggestion has been that psychiatry and often, psychotherapy as well, both brainwash its clientele as a way of keeping them from leaving the cult and continuing to adhere to its illogical practices.

    The essence of brainwashing is to strip a person of his/he current identity and ideology, and then, replace these with a brand new identity and way of thinking.

    Thus, wherever you were at when you came into psych (such as, “I’m a college student and I just want a little help) gets knocked down and replaced with, perhaps, “I am a mental patient, I have a permanent disorder, I’m disabled, I smoke Kools, and I go to a day program and live in a halfway house.”

    It is written that if the brainwashing is successful, the subject will fully embrace the new identity.

  • Don,I would love to get involved with any of the projects you mentioned. I will contact you offline.

    I am amazed at how widespread this procedure is, and yet, most people assume it is no longer done. Also, most who are unfamiliar with how psychiatry works assume that shock is somehow “modernized” and therefore, couldn’t possibly be as bad as witnesses are saying. Survivor accounts are discredited or we’re told, “But you must have been an exception!” I’m never quite sure what the best response is when people say that.

    I think the year was 1995 or 1996 when I witnessed a 96-year-old man, fellow inmate, receive electroshock at Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s inpatient psych unit.

  • Sam, I want to know, after all the effort you have made to understand your SO, is she “better”? That is,”better” according to how she, not you, might define it?

    When I got better, and this is just speaking for me, “better” meant I started making my own decisions and taking control of my life. It meant having confidence, plenty of energy, and ability to do things on my own without relying on the demeaning “services” of the Mental System. The only way I could get to this point was to leave the Mental System far behind. I am not married and very happy to be single.

    When I wasn’t “better,” I called the therapist every time things went wrong. I didn’t decide for myself. I blindly obeyed the the doctor and the therapist. The therapist blamed me every time things went wrong, or blamed some vague thing called my “symptoms.” I was frequently “sectioned.”

  • This is in response to Sa’s comment, but again, I don’t have the ability to sort through the posts so I am sorry for misplacing this comment. SO’s and anyone interested might want to know about the Maudsley method of treating eating disorders. This is done at home. Hospitalization is discouraged or just not done. The family apparently helps the child eat again. I know a few who have been through this method. From what I know, the success rate is much, much higher than the usual force method. There are a few families that aren’t a good fit for this method. I have read about instances where it goes horribly wrong. But overall it sounds like when it works, it works extremely well. The force method turns kids into Revolving Door Syndromes and encourages bad habits. More people die from anorexia than from Depressoin or from Schizophrenia, according to statistics. it really can kill.

  • This is about my seventh attempt to post a response. Forgve me for putting it on the bottom but after all those attempts I just can’t scroll around to try to find the “right” place to put this.

    Say there really are EVIL People in the world. Then, doesn’t that mean some are NOT EVIL. It does. Some, according to this assumption are surely EVIL, while others, maybe the rest of us, are OKAY.

    What do you propose we do, since “some are EVIL.”? Say, lock them up? How about a concentratioon camp for Evil People? If they really suck that badly, why even bother? Just kill these inferior sub-humans.

    See, by calling some people evil, that’s re-creating the split society, with some “okay,” and some deranged. This is what the System taught us.

    how about holding the fully human people , which I would like to suggest we all are, totally accountable? Some commit horrible crimes. Many psychiatrists are criminals. They’ve committed some of the worst crimes in history. The crimes they committed were, and continue to be, based on the principle that some folks just aren’t good enough.

    Let’s not duplicate what they are doing.

  • Or, how about this? You ask for help with X but they help you with Y, which you may, or may not have. Example: You go to the college health center saying you were raped. You get pills for depression..You go to them with a career question, you get diagnosed with a phobia. And me…I went to them with an eating disorder, asked for rhelp with it, they declared me schizophrenic. looks like I MIGHT be able to get hold of the records precisely when this was done….

  • no no no! Frances that is waaaaay too much. With the Orotate you take very little! Not the euivalent of the toxic Carbonate. I tried it myself I got the size of tablets that are the lowest dose, which will give you roughly 5 mgs Elemental Lithium. I started with 1/2 pill, gradually went up. No more than two, that is 10 mg of Elemental Lithium (the rest of the mg is the Orotate, a B Vitamin).If you have the 10 size, only one pill at most, or two 5 pills. No more! Less is better and you will still notice better sleep. I also take magnesium and potassium along with this. It is very helpful but must take a low dose or you get toxic, you don’t want that. Go read up on it.

  • From what I have heard stress contributes to most diseases out there, certainly to one’s susceptibility to infection.

    Of course, how one reduces stress, or whether one does, is a choice. And for some of us, stopping psychiatric “care” has been a great way to reduce stress. Sadly, people with Alzheimer’s are often sent to psychiatrists, and even worse, locked units. Many of them spend their final days locked up.

  • Thanks for clarifying, Joanna. So that three-hour test rules out the possibility of, say, stroke being the culprit. This DOES make sense.

    My friend’s mother was misdiagnosed and that killed her. She has Lewy Body and the great McLean Hospital said it was Alz. Sadly, they gave my friend’s mother Risperdal. That did her in. I believe my friend was able to hire an attorney, but that will not bring her mother back, sadly.

    The test that the wealthy writer had was $10,000 out of his own pocket, he said. It did not diagnose Alz. Rather, it told him he didn’t have it. He ended the article saying the test showed he actually had something else, something that was less of a death sentence as far as he was concerned. He said very few can afford the test and it’s brand new, but you’re right, it’s not a positive, but negative indicator.

    If I recall correctly this was in something like The Atlantic, not in a scientific journal. It was an interesting read.

    I could relate as a person coerced onto disability and unemployment for over three decades and then, slowly realizing it was fraud. I have to correct people. I didn’t recover from schizoaffective. I never had it, never had the signs nor symptoms. I have to say this over and over because very few believe me. It is hard looking back knowing that for three decades, you were duped.

  • You guys missed the FOX news article on Kelley. He was drugged from sixth grade on. And this was apparently instigated by his parents. As a child, he spoke out against the drugging. FOX interviewed friends from junior high who described it as “he was heavily medicated.” This suggests a cocktail. As a child. It was psych drugs, the article said so. This information was suppressed and the nuthouse escape made central.

    By the end of high school he had already been mass unfriended by his peers. He had chosen atheism, but he lived in a community that frowned upon atheists. He was socially othered and even then, seen in a very bad way.

    Mass unfriending gives you a pessimistic view on the world. It makes you suspicious and for a while you truly hate your life. You feel like you can never, ever trust again.

    I am lucky that after I was also mass unfriended, some very kind people out there decided, even though it was the unpopular view, to give me a chance. So it turned around and I was never violent nor resorted to suicide.

    Yes he got the bad end of the stick. It didn’t get any better for him, and it looks like his capture in the nuthouse, escape of not, only furthered his feelings of distrust and fear, and other people;s distrust in him. I suspect that by the time he married he was way out of control, and something other than marriage was needed to help him trust others again.

    This happens to people and I feel for anyone in such a situation.

    And thanks for the humor on Murphy!!! Hypocrite!!

  • Thanks for this article. I was following along and nodding my head in an emphatic YES until I got to the part about Alzheimers. I believe the Alzheimer’s Foundation (or whatever the major charity may be called) states that to properly diagnose Alz, the patient has to go to a NEURO, not to a psych. The Alz Foundation has articles on “Preparing for your neuro exam” and talks about how grueling this three-hour exam is. There are also instructions for caregivers of the elder, telling about the exam and how tiring it could be for the elder.

    A neuro exam tests reflexes, EEG, balance, tests for stroke, seizure disorder, head trauma, etc. These would reflect physical changes in the brain. Am I right?

    A recent article came out written by a man dxed with Alzheimer’s. What happened was that he was diagnosed and then, he prepared for gradual decline and death. This was life-changing for him. (Yes it does change your life!)

    Oddly, as time went on, he found he wasn’t deteriorating. Then, he spent a huge fortune, (as he was wealthy) on a complex test that proved he never had Alz at all. The dx confirmed his suspicions, but he expressed in the article that knowing he had lived with a false death-sentence type dx was certainly almost like years had been stolen from him. Does this sound familiar to us?

  • Skylar that was so brilliant. I have witnessed similar things. I agree, in ANY situation, you simply cannot fully know what another person is experiencing. You don’t have their past behind you, you cannot live in their body, nor feel the same things they feel.

    Empathy can only go so far. Perhaps you have read Rilke’s beautiful discussion of “inseeing.” It is transformative, intuitive, and far too sacred to ever happen in a shrink’s office where one party pays another.

    I am thinking that in a really close relationship, such as marriage would be ideally, inseeing would be part of that relationship. I can’t see it projected elsewhere in the artificial sense, such as onto an online discussion, onto a “case study,” or newspaper article.

    Maybe such expressions of deep love should be encapsulated in creative arts, poetry, and music, where the sacred can be safely preserved.

  • Uprising, this writing class would not have been a general writing class, but specifically a class in memoir so people such as survivors (if you call yourself that) or ex-inmates can effectively write their stories. Good writing sells, less effective writing won’t sell. Imagine if we could get more stories out there, well-written stories that illustrated our credibility. People need to cultivate ideas on where to start their story, how to frame it, issues regarding point of view (this can get VERY complex), and many many more difficult questions.

    This would have been a very relevant class to our mission. Sadly, the editors didn’t want it. Part of me says, “They didn’t want the class because I was the one proposing it.” I know I’m not a big name, and it wouldn’t turn into a CEU, it would be helpful to survivors. What if an MD proposed it (even though an MD has no creative writing training typically)? It won’t be because an MD isn’t qualified.

    We know that if more stories came out, in either traditional publication, or online, or even as book-turned-movie, more would join the fight and those fortresses will crumble.

    For years people have asked me writing questions and I try my best to answer. All kinds of questions, some related to writer’s block.

    The goal of the establishment is to silence us, ensure our stories are not heard. Many feel too exhausted or are discouraged from writing, or are told they are incapable.

    MIA still upholds the authority of so-called professionals. I can’t even stand calling them professionals after what I saw on the wards.

  • Julia, yes, I, too, found that “professionals” that I myself consulted were not helpful. Some harmed me deeply.

    I have strongly disagreed with MIA’s favoritism of MH degreed bloggers. As I stated in my forum post, something like 61% of blog posts (not including comments, but the posts themselves) were written by MH degreed people. I tallied all these up, and somehow broke it down into categories. At the time, all MIA radio broadcasts were by MH degreed people with the exception of Eleanor Longdon. All classes were geared toward MH degreed people and taught by MH degreed people. I offered to teach a writing class (I have a masters) but that idea was killed by the editors.

    I concluded that by far, not enough articles were written from the legal perspective. I wish more law students, attorneys, and paralegals would submit, especially since these cases often come up in the courtroom. I very much appreciated Breggin’s recent reports on a particular court case that has been in the media spotlight.

    I think there are some who don’t believe much can be done to turn the tide. And yet others who feel we can. I see friction between these groups, the Yes We Cans and the Don’t Even Bothers. As I see it these squabbles play out on here.

  • I have somehow lost track of the ordering of comments here. Julia, I can’t speak for others but I don’t personally encourage people to “stay that way forever” or stay any way forever simply because this doesn’t happen, time changes us. We get older, we change, we grow, we die, and people and things and even climate all change.

    We cannot even state nor promise “recovery forever” as some programs actually do (if you obey them and keep on paying them money). These programs and their sweeping promises ultimately fail.

    I don’t suggest a passive approach such as waiting for some authority (parent, doctor, spouse, clergy, God, Jesus, magic pill) to somehow come out of nowhere, sweep down and “fix” our lives. In literature this is actually considered a cop-out method of ending a story, a bad plot method. A classic example (if you recall) is the ending of The Poseidon Adventure. At the end, they couldn’t leave the capsized boat. Stuck. Lo and behold someone had found them and cut through the boat. This plot twist was heavily criticized because all the way through, the protagonists had done for themselves, had taken responsibility instead of passively hoping for divine intervention, which was the preacher’s original message, way back in his sermon in the beginning, right? Whether you are religious or not, responsibility is the key here.

    Taking responsibility might mean taking back your right to decide for yourself, instead of passively allowing parents or doctor or therapist to decide for you. This takes a lot of practice since what people do (and I’ve seen this…) is that even after getting rid of the shrink, they then grab the nearest substitute. This won’t work.

    The System lied to us, forced us into relinquishing our control over our lives. Take it back. Take back your body, your mind, your life.

  • Samruck, if that is the case, I hate to disappoint you but I concur with the MIA editors. As you know I am a professional writer AND ex-patient who has also done editorial work and I know the field very well. I was published here at MIA many times but then was told that my limit had been reached by default.

    (I admit I recently blew my top at the editors over “the small stuff,” but I do hope they read this and forgive brief little acting out that was in fact a reflection of decades of silencing and unfounded discrediting. Yes I displaced my anger onto MIA editors, which was not cool. But this is not relevant to the issue of spouse writing about the person in question.)

    Now in your case, as I see it, from point of view of patient, IF a former doc, or former therapist submitted an article about me in a publication, without my consent and complete concurrence…YIKES! I would feel violated. Even when I was doped up I would have felt the same way.

    While I happen to be a total ham and love being in the limelight, love to perform for an audience (if I can find one) which is part of my nature (I was a trained musician), I would NOT want to be illustrated as a disease by a therapist. Especially if the therapist (and even supervisor) writes the whole thing.

    To throw off one’s patient identity and become the main subject in your life means you must stop acting as object, cast that role aside, and take on the role of protagonist.

    If I am the subject, then kindly pass me the pen. Or, perhaps, Nothing about us without us.

  • I don’t see MIA as silencing specifically SO (which I assume is “spouse” or whatever. I do see MIA as publishing more degreed people (mental health degrees) that non-degreed people. You can see my comment of my own tally I did in the forum unless it was taken down. I see this trend as elitism.

    However, this is reflective of the elitist society we live in, where such degreed people have far too much power and authority over our lives. I would like to even argue that we are living in a tiered society, that divide ever-widening, made more divided by mental diagnoses, the tier between the “needy sick” and those that supposedly serve them as “treators” and hold financial, judicial, economic, and political power over them/us.

    The divide needs knocked down. We need to attack it at all fronts, in any way we can. One way is to discredit psych diagnosis, and not use diagnoses nor pseudo diagnoses ourselves.

    If a spouse or family member submits to MIA I imagine it would be treated about the same as any other submission. They do peek at who wrote it, and this means they do note the letters after your name.

    Many publications have a “blind submissions” policy, that is, all identifiers such as the cover letter that includes the author’s name are stripped off, and then, the submission is sent to another editor who makes the decision. They might also have a policy that you cannot put identifiers within the body of the submission.

    Let’s put it this way. If you write to your local paper and with or without “blind submission,” you write, “I have a mental illness and I was kept in restraints for five days….” This will be sent to the trash can as “just another psychotic….why do we get so many of these?” Sad but usually true.

  • Hi Julia, That is a great question. I think dysfunction is perhaps in the eye of the beholder. So who am I to judge if another is “dysfunctional”? My goodness, how can I if I have never lived even one minute in that person’s shoes? I can, in my best judgment, state that the person is psychotic, occasionally, but dysfunctional, no. And when it comes to psychosis so often there’s a gray area.

    My boyfriend went through a period of bizarre beliefs and yes, that scared me. Twenty years have passed since that time. I can look back now and say that everything he said and did back then makes absolutely perfect sense to me now.

    These were the circumstances. First of all, loss. He was a witness to my ECT and as far as anyone was concerned my brain was fried and I’d never come back. We’d been dating over a decade and now, I was suddenly dependent and couldn’t do anything on my own. Prior to that I’d been employed.

    Secondly, he was experiencing devastating effects from pills and he feared the effects would not go away even after stopping the drugs.

    Thirdly, just when I urged him to talk to his doc, he went to his regular doc appointment to discover this doc he’d been seeing for about a decade completely disappeared. This is how he found out. He showed up and they told him, “He’s not here and you have a new doctor.” We tried to find out but came up empty-handed.

    Unfortunately I was very out of it back then and unable to put the pieces together when he totally and very understandably flipped out.

    I remember Joe as a very gentle person, a lover of music and children, and very much cherished by his family. He died at 45. I know the drugs, which were not his choice, were partly responsible.

  • Frank can I ask why you jeered at my show? Was that truly necessary? I am not aiming this just at you but pretty much everyone so don’t take it personally. My purpose is to bash psychiatry any way I can. I put a lot of work into what I write, went to school to become a better writer, have published and studied widely, continue to do research on my own, and pay money to keep my show on air. So don’t jeer at it.

    Are we not allies here? Don’t we all want to see the end of locking people up and taking away their rights?

    I ask why on earth, why do we spend so much precious energy, energy that we seem to have so, so little left, on fighting against each other and putting each other down, instead of fighting psychiatry and its discrediting diagnoses. Why are we hurting each other and weakening ourselves instead of fighting the laws, policies. and principles that created this mess? Why are we continuing to act in a hateful, and even vengeful manner toward each other instead of organizing and really doing some good in the world?

    I suggest we begin by taking down the walls that divide us, quitting the over-the-top boundary-setting, continuing to maintain dialogue (spoken conversation preferred) and above all, reach out to our neighbors. We need to cultivate trust, not the distrustful culture they imposed upon us in the nuthouses.

    If we continue to act in a hostile manner to each other then we’re only reflecting psychiatry. We’re not going anywhere. That has to change.

    I’m asking for your support. And maybe we need to each support each other’s efforts, causes, concerns, and look out for each other’s well-being for a change.


  • Tomorrow I am having Dog Pride Day on my radio station! All in good fun. Screw their diagnoses, especially BPD, may that demeaning label get totally mauled! Please call in! This will be a themed party. The theme, being “The More I see of Psychiatry, the More I Love My Dog.” Call in with your dog stories, dog barks, meows, any dog jokes, cat stories, tell me how about your parakeet, anything goes. 11am Eastern, 323-443-7210.

    PS: It will be Puzzle’s birthday.

  • Yeah, Steve, that’s EXACTLY why I quit Crisis Text Line. I politely left not saying a word about why I was really leaving. I told them I had a job opportunity and I had a time conflict. I just didn’t want to burn bridges. Actually, the real reason was this: I was in it about two weeks and they had us “practice text.” Well guess who was “grading” the practice texts? A computer. And they said the computer was spot on. So a computer was just as good as us. That about did it. Plus their stupid rules. No more than x number of questions, x number of certain types of questions, you had to “paraphrase” a lot, that is, parrot back what the texter said, only use slightly different words so you don’t reveal you’re doing that…..rewording basically….and there were rules about mandatory reporting, too.

    I was hoping I could slide around that mandatory reporting but there was simply no way around it. The program was rigid beyond belief. There was no room for this thing called creativity. This wasn’t helping. This was a human being a bot. That is, robotic responses. Quitting felt very good. Freeing.

    The experience made me question ALL crisis lines. I remember the robotic answers, the deadpan voices, the way they repeated stuff back to me, and the way they had no response to me when I asked eating disorders questions. They would say, “Sorry, we don’t do that….” Because it wasn’t in their fucking manual.

    Many of them gave a warning at eight minutes and then, ten minutes, cut me off. So I learned. Ask in the beginning if they do a ten-minute cut-off and if they did, it wasn’t even worth it, because they were going by a formula. I guess I had them second-guessed. The Crisis Text Line was no different, if anything, worse. I finally learned: DO NOT CALL.

  • Steve, the only “oversharing” done by therapists that truly bugged me (and I would tell them so) was when I had to be THEIR therapist. And that did happen, but not often. I hated having to pay a therapist only to end up having that therapist bawl during the session, or dump on me about THEIR problems, or tell me about THEIR rotten childhood. Yes I did have one or two like that. I felt extremely embarrassed about it, so much so I felt at a loss and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn with this problematic “therapist” nor whom to tell. I finally ended the relationship, much to my relief. What happened? My psychiatrist yelled at me over the phone, claiming I was “delusional.” Wow….I wasn’t.

  • Hi Frances, You asked about Lithium Orotate, I have been looking around. As far as I can tell, the mainstream research has little to verify one way or another about this stuff but that doesn’t mean it isn’t of value. I mean, it’s one of those products that cannot be patented so…..Apparently there have been very few documented cases of actual deaths due to overdoses, and these were probably deliberately done. Keep in mind that children have overdosed on Total Cereal, iron pills, and chewable vitamins. I see conflicts over who can, and who cannot take LO. My guess is that it’s dose-dependent. My guess is that there’s a small amount of lithium in some of the water supply out there in some locales, and we don’t even know about it. I can see that some people had trouble with it who perhaps overdid it, that is, used too high a dose. They then had a negative reaction and either quit using it, or lowered the dose and then found it more useful. I didn’t read of any ER trips or horror stories from the orotate. I did read of people’s horror stories with Pharma prior to trying lithium orotate and much relief upon switching to what is in fact less “toxic.” I noted the number of people who tried LO and found it useful for trauma. People reported fewer anger outbursts and many stated they had improved sleep. Some said they felt more motivated almost immediately or within days. No one reported anything I recall from my days on lithium carbonate, such as vomiting, pimples, weight gain, the shakes, etc. Many said they wished they’d known about it sooner.

  • Steve, one of the most helpful things ever said to me while I was inpatient was said to me by a lower-paid “counselor.” God bless this guy who I am sure is not reading this. I won’t say what he said. He literally broke “unit policy” by sharing with me extremely intimate and rather beautiful details from his life. He helped me more than the ones that insisted I follow “protocol” and go to “group.”

    This happened numerous times. The “nice” one that gave us a break. The one that reached out and whispered to me that she knew I was being treated unfairly. The one that risked her job to let me have a cup of “staff” coffee (that one very well may be reading here). As former prisoner I sure have not forgotten these selfless acts of love. I learned that many that reached out, risking their jobs, were later fired, but we never learned why.

  • Well, Julia, for one thing, I talk to people on the bus. I do public speaking and often I am approached afterward by someone who tells me I made a deep impression on them. I also regularly write to politicians and I DO get a personal response sometimes. Or I call them. I also met with politicians and have had personal discussions with them. I persuaded a pol to cosponsor a bill, which I cannot discuss on here but it is of interest for sure. I have written to the gov of my state and other states numerous times. I have my own radio station where I have guests on periodically, or, sometimes, I just talk about whatever I want. And I’ve been blogging 18 years because I believe in Freedom of Speech. And yes I have been threatened many times, by psychiatry, and even by the police (they had no warrant). Readers from as far away as Romania have read my blog. And many have been positively influenced, or so they tell me, though some are pissed off. I don’t mean to make myself look like anything fancy, only to say that if only you stay alive for six decades as I have, most likely you’ll accumulate a decent-sized footprint, although possibly a controversial one. Let it speak loud and clear.

  • No not you specifically Julia a lot of others here, too. That is common here on MIA. I honestly wish we’d spend more time writing to politicians and less time on useless debating. I wish we could inform people in power just how horrible the nuthouses are, just how illogical the DSM is, just how dangerous the drugs are, and that suicide increases because of “hospitalization.” I wish we could urge communities to be compassionate instead of claiming people are disordered and then sending them to therapy clinics. We really need to get the word out there. As much as we can. It is so frustrating. We must be persistent.

  • I ask why, after Emily has so beautifully written here about her life, and sacrificed her privacy, and given to us a gift, shared with us so openly, I ask then why are people now character-bashing her? I ask because as a writer of memoir and longtime blogger, I got the exact same reaction from people who frankly, didn’t even know me and had never met me. They came by the hundreds to tell me what a piece of crap I was. They compared me to their shitty relatives or exes. They even told me they hoped I would die and that I had dug my own grave. Why bash a person who is honestly and openly giving us a slice of her life? People aren’t perfect. I ask why we expect a writer to be that pinnacle of perfection when we ourselves are not? Why throw stones?

  • oh wow, here is my perspective on “oversharing.” As a writer of memoir and blogger of personal experience, I pride myself on my ABILITY to share and write on anything at all. I pride myself on honing down that skill and writing without any inhibitions. I pride myself on pissing people off by outing the shrinks and therapists that harmed me and others. I am super proud that I still have a great memory of events and conversations and I don’t hesitate to reproduce them in text. I am thrilled to “overshare,” if you want to call it that, the harms I saw in the nuthouses and institutions. I’m mighty proud that they can’t stop me from telling the truth. So keep telling it, let’s all do that.

  • knowledge, Your description would be ideal IF it were true, however, it isn’t. BPD is given overwhelmingly to young females who may, OR may not fit that description. I am one who did not fit that description. That wasn’t what my family was like, nor was it what I was like. I was given it because they needed to quickly excuse ECT damages. I had not been a chronic cutter nor had I had multiple suicide attempts nor chronic self injury. I wasn’t a drunk nor did that above family description fit mine at all. What happened, then, was tragic and I’ve told this story so many times I really don’t want to anymore. I rose to fit the occasion. Since I wasn’t improving from ECT, the doctors told my family (completely lying) that they should “disengage for their own good”). This is why, now some 20 years later I am spending my Thanksgiving alone. Screw the doctors that did this to my non-abusive family. Screw them. Screw the malpractice and screw the label and screw the DBT that didn’t do a darned thing to heal my brain from the damages from ECT. It only made me feel like a child and I found it completely insulting. Wise mind? Screw that.

  • Julia, yes, true, but why pay a psychiatrist for a fix? Fixes are great! I have a few up my sleeve, such as a warm pair of boots I bought last year. This “fix” solved a lot, it solved the problem of freezing cold blistered toes and an aversion to going outdoors in cold weather. Now I could have gone to a psychiatrist who would have dxed me with agoraphobia, seasonal affective disorder, and pills. Instead, I obtained the “fix” by putting on my thinking cap, going online, researching which type of boots were best, then, comparing prices and making a decision on which boots I could afford.

    I would highly recommend finding one’s “fix” by putting on the thinking cap one already has, and using common sense. These are free. This will safely avoid the expensive psychiatrist and his lofty office, years of life gone to waste, his diagnoses, his pills, the huge bill, possible lockup, broken families, terrible effects, and early death.

  • Little Turtle, not all antipsych is alike. I personally do not believe all psychiatrists are “evil” or “bad.” And that, frankly, is a misinterpretation of what antipsych is about. I do see some as feeling this way, but others do not. It is a blanket generalization.

    I do see the field as corrupt. However, most that enter into it are naive young medical students hoping to do good in the world. They assume they’re going to help people when they become full-fledged psychiatrists. During medical school they go through sleep deprivation and heavy duty bullying and brainwashing. They’re told that some people are inferior and to get over it. They’re told to shape up. They’re treated with misogyny. Many medical students turn to drugs to stay up 30 hours straight, drugs such as heavy-duty stimulants, and they end up hooked. Sleep deprivation means these medical students are open to suggestion and further brainwashing. The field is very corrupt, money-driven, pressured, hierarchical, and dishonest. I don’t think they became doctors for this, to worry constantly about threats of losing their licenses, to worry about being sued all the time, to be bullied by supervisors and limited by policies and bribed by pharma companies. But that’s reality for many of them.

    No, psychiatrists aren’t bad people but look at the conditions they’re working under. How can they possibly be decent to their patients? Those that dare to do so get out of it. Honestly I don’t think we should call them bad people. Is there such a thing? To call them evil is like saying they’re inferior, which is like another form of eugenics. I don’t think antipsych believes that at all. It would be contradictory.

    Psychiatry and most of therapy that believes the lie that some people are inferior and need “treatment” forever, the belief in a tiered, divided society and any justification for further division and killing off of supposed inferiors is the root of it all.

    Any belief in inferior humans, such as “narcissists,” “psychpaths,” etc, is eugenics at the very root. Although a person can behave in that manner, and I have witnessed this, I am careful not to call a person a permanent narc.

  • John Hodgett, I am not sure whose comment you are replying to. I studied voice with Frank Baker as part of my music study and a few others and I also am currently going through the Toastmasters program. I know what you mean about the dreaded “mumbling” and “trailing off at the end of a sentence” that so many people do.

    I also did teaching as part of my masters degree in creative writing. The philosophy we were taught, which I feel is a good one and also aligns well with what I was taught in Frank Baker’s classes, is to find that part of a student’s work that is truly magnificent, whatever it is, and ask that student to do more of it.

    So if a writing student, for instance, does a really good job of depicting dialogue, stress this in feedback. If there’s a passage of brilliant description, but only a paragraph of that, tell the student that more could be added. That way, students don’t leave feeling bad, they are instead encouraged.

    I wish therapists did the same, but I don’t remember their doing that much at all. I recall insults, their telling me how stupid I am, that I did stuff wrong and moral put-downs, telling me how disordered I am, insults to my family that these therapists had never met, gross assumptions, even calling me alcoholic or violent, threats, or telling me if I didn’t follow their instructions and treat them like gods I’d be locked up or I’d die, or the dreaded vague threat of relapse.

    According to Szasz, and I think he was right, is that most will fall into the predicted path that the diagnosis carves for them. Some, however, will rebel and reject the diagnosis. Given that I was a rebellious kid who admired the hippies as role models I am surprised that I didn’t end up the latter, but along with rebelliousness I also enjoyed being a stellar student (almost part of the defiance), so sadly, I enjoyed playing stellar patient (probably defying the student role) for far too many years. I admit it was a huge waste. That isn’t easy.

  • I agree, Emily, but I also see using help from others as a form of self-reliance. For instance, I can become very dependent due to a broken furnace. Or, I can hire a professional to fix my furnace. I am not competent to fix furnaces and in fact, in some regions it isn’t even legal for an unlicensed person to fiddle with furnaces (this varies by region I believe). Another example is the paratransit, which allows people who use certain types of mobility devices to get around. Some types of devices can’t be used on the public bus system. So while the paratransit might to me, if I were to use it, be totally illogical, and like dependency, since for me, it would be overkill, but for others, it allows for self-reliance.

    This type of overkill is rampant in the mental system. There’s no reason for someone to come and do the laundry for us when we can do it ourselves. Why do they drive patients to appointments in mental health vans or take them to parks or to movies supervised by “staff” when patients can get around themselves? This actually creates fears such as agoraphobia that wasn’t there to begin with. Why repeatedly tell patients that they’ll fall apart on the weekend because the staff won’t be around? Why repeatedly tell patients to arm themselves with “weekend coping skills” like the weekend without staff will be their biggest enemy?

    Back in 1981 when I first heard these scare tactics on a Friday afternoon I was so shocked. I thought, “Gee, I thought weekends meant I had more hours to practice and more hours to get all my assignments done. What on earth are they talking about?” Sadly, it didn’t take long for me to fall right into the trap.

  • Emily, Changing your major isn’t a disorder. If I recall correctly a majority of students did just that. Nowadays many colleges are aware that students who begin college at 18 are too young to be able to conceive of life in ten years. There’s actually a word for this: Longevity Disconnect. Longevity Disconnect is of course exploited by the student loan sharks! They are well aware that students cannot imagine being in their 30’s. They aren’t cognitively developed yet to understand aging. Of course this also explains rampant ageism among those of that age. AND this explains why a doctor can give young people pills and say, “There’s a chance you’ll get Tardive Dyskinesia in your 50’s.” And guess what? A 19-year-old is not going to even be able to conceive of being 50. They take the drugs with the mentality of…”I feel good now and I do not care how I feel in 20 years.” The pharma companies LOVE longevity disconnect, they are making huge profits on it. You can lecture, scream, show videos, show them books, photos of dying people…nothing will convince them.

    Changing your mind is a human right.

    I changed my mind about psych when I was over 50 and had been a brainwashed mental patient over three decades. changing my mind saved my life.

    At around 19 I changed my academic concentration from music education to music composition. I transferred to a different college and wasn’t called disordered for that. I was called smart. At 26 I went to nursing school.

    At 40 I started my first novel and then, went to writing school. How old was I when I took up public speaking? 58. And started my radio station? 59. I think now I have been blogging 18 or 19 years and counting. And I am starting a job training and new career now at 60. If anyone wants to stop me from using my Freedom of Speech they’ll have to do something very drastic.

  • I have re-embraced the value of self-reliance, a value I held dearly in my youth since reading Emerson and Thoreau (I come from New England). I am aware that self-reliance is not a universal value but I feel that we, as patients or formerly patients were robbed of our autonomy and ability to do things for ourselves. Women are especially coerced into this dependent role. Therefore, our assertion of self-reliance is work done in exact direction against our roles we were forced to cling to as patients. Everything we do ourselves today is a move against that old diagnosis. Self-reliance will strip ourselves of that mental patient identity.

  • Ally that sounds like something people go through in life that’s very temporary UNLESS they fall into the BPD trap. The diagnosis seals these behaviors and emotions, crystallizes them as permanent, like putting them on display in a museum forever and ever. So now speculators ooh and ahh at what they see before them. But it isn’t you. It’s a fake. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t change nor budge on its pedestal. It’s their fictional account of you, an impression, a caricature.

  • Frances I have been trying for years to gather support here and elsewhere for a group action against doctors who drug people irresponsibly with massive doses of sedating drugs causing permanent (or apparently so) inability to initiate or sustain the sleep state. I am in that position also. I am not asking for an action regarding a specific drug, but action against irresponsible overdrugging. Unfortunately, people affected by this have been too exhausted to agree to commit to anything and any effort on my part has run into a brick wall. This has gone on and on for years.

    Some, in attempt to avoid more doctor appointments, have resorted to street drugs. I am tempted to commend these folks. Home remedies are many and varied. I am amazed at the number of remedies coming out of aryurveda. Lithium Ororate can be obtained without a prescription as can many remedies. Some people swear by it. That one I have yet to try. I personally would recommend trying ANYTHING out there within the realm of common sense.Think about it…Do we actually know anyone who has been harmed by vitamins, fresh air, education,and common sense? But we know many harmed by pharma and medical “care.”

    Many times doctors prescribe outside of the realm of common sense. The so-called “trade-off” wasn’t logical at all. was it?

    “You feel okay now, but you’ll die 25 years younger, who cares? You don’t work and you’re a burden to society.” Some tradeoff. That’s literally what we were told, the rationale.

    Frances will you join me in ending irresponsible drugging?

  • Yes, Bonnie, I agree. As example, right after my ECT damage, after I was told by supposed EXPERT (and I love to blow the whistle here) McLean Hospital gave me the ECT and then, re-diagnosed me as “underlying borderline” by their borderline joke of a doctor, John Gunderson claimed I was “incapable of sitting in a room full of people” which were his exact words, I went back to college at Emerson College in Boston. I also started and completed my first novel. Emerson is not a slacker school and wasn’t exactly inexpensive. As it turned out, I got straight A’s. This wasn’t a disorder. I happen to be both studious and smart, and I like school. I thrive in academia. I never claimed accommodations. I never saw any reason to do so. After all, I am fully capable of sitting in a room full of people! And I don’t need to take tests in a separate room, I don’t see any sense in singling people out like that, nor need for it. I never had an anxiety disorder.

    I recall the reaction of the folks at McLean who had claimed I was incapable. Absolute shock. Pardon the pun. I graduated summa cum laude.

    Meanwhile, a wonderful adjunct prof at Emerson had assigned a project to our class which I loved doing and she told me, “Why don’t you turn this into a book-length project?” I did just that. She loved the book. I published it with a self-publisher. This was way back in 2001. I published the book in 2002 when self-publishing wasn’t as easy as it is now via Kindle and other ebook methods.

    Then the Emerson writing and literature department put out a notice asking if anyone had had a book published among the students, faculty, and staff. I responded as student. Sadly, they claimed my book “didn’t count.” The adult degree program pushed for me, but the WLP program dismissed my book.

    I have no clue what went on behind closed doors.

    After that, I was treated like I didn’t matter anymore. I was nearing the end of school and it wasn’t that perceptible, but I noticed the instructors that had previously highly praised my work now walked by me without waving hello. Unfortunately I signed up with a lazy thesis prof who didn’t show up for our meetings half the time.

    Speaking out is important but timing is everything.

    After I graduated it was the same. I was only asked for money by young student volunteers and I tell them I’m on welfare, and no one ever contacted me for any other reason. I have tried to contact my former profs but I never get a response.

    I get treated better in adult ed and junior colleges. The junior colleges accept seniors, people on welfare, and folks coming out of prisons.

  • From what I recall, I did not have emotional problems when I first approached mental health professionals. I was experiencing eating issues and was eating erratically. I binged every few days and fasted in between. What happened was that my belly was so full that I was extremely uncomfortable and this caused me to become severely depressed and unable to get out of bed or do much. Over the next few days, when I didn’t eat, I gradually felt better. Finally, my blood sugar was so low I felt lightheaded and high. I was afraid to eat again for fear that it would turn into yet one more binge. I was afraid of food, scared that it would only go on and on, hated my life like that. This wasn’t a mental disorder, nor a personality disorder, it was a nutritional issue, and I certainly didn’t need dangerous amounts of antipsychotics. Therapy wasn’t helping, mindfulness was a joke, my family wasn’t to blame, and none of these incompetent professionals ever asked about my eating for about 30 years. When I tried to tell them, they jeered at me and told me it was “trivial.” They never even questioned when my weight dropped dangerously low. Who were the psychotic ones?

    I am left with permanent insomnia from dangerously high doses of antipsychotic drugs that were given to me over a period of decades. This has nothing to do with withdrawal and everything to do with the ridiculous doses I was given all those years. I notice that most psych victims fall for the “underlying condition” lie they are fed by the time they reach their 50’s. The fancy sleep study places seem to be linked to device manufacturers (hmm…scammy I suspect) and even the Sleepio app does not even acknowledge damage from prescribed drugs (I wrote to Sleepio and they do not acknowledge this exists even though it’s $300, don’t waste your money!)

    I truly believe that these drugs cause the body/brain to lose its ability to initiate and sustain the sleep state. And as far as I can tell it is permanent. I have met people who have had insomnia ten or more years from having been given high doses of sedating drugs. Can we get a lawsuit going…PLEASE…. Don’t cave in to “underlying condition”! Let’s hold the doctors that do this accountable!

    My doctor had me on three antipsychotics at highest possible dose simultaneously and I was not psychotic nor manic. My complaint was my eating disorder, which didn’t need antipsychotics.

    “What you gave me isn’t working.”

    “Okay, I’ll give you more.”

    “That didn’t help.”

    “Okay, we’ll double the dose and add another drug.”

    Folks, we live in a society where we trust these people. I’m asking anyone out there….Let’s take action.

  • Emily, This is why this happened. For one reason only. You were told you had a terrible disease called Borderline. Then, without even realizing it, you found your identity as that. So you stepped into that role that psych created for you for a while. You fit yourself into that mask. You became that person. It was your job, it was you, you did it well of course, it was who you were. But that’s over now. Mental Health has done the harm, so the gig’s over now. Hear the applause? The world is all clapping. Bow and step off the stage. Step way, way off.

    Ten years from now it won’t be like this. Being emotional is a normal part of being young. Going from one partner to another is normal for a young adult of mating age. Getting straight A’s isn’t a disease, it means you are smart and good at academia…I was, too. In my opinion, the world around you needs to get over it. They are jealous and shouldn’t be calling you disordered just because they can’t seem to do as well as you do. Don’t cave in to their envy.

    Awkwardness? Hah! I beat you at that one. Yesterday I tripped and fell on a crack in the sidewalk, smashed to the ground, and in the process, BOTH lenses popped out of my glasses onto the pavement. The frames stayed on my face. I put my glasses back together. I walked home laughing, totally okay, telling myself I was lucky no passersby stopped to forcibly yank me up. (I love the metaphor here.)

    There’s no such thing as perfectionism. There IS such thing as being talented. Envious people love to put down talented people by calling them perfectionists. I recall one of my past therapists insulted me when I was getting straight A’s. She called it a disorder. Now I question this when certainly my college instructors did not see it as such.

    We live in a world that knocks down excellence in favor of mediocrity, medicating intelligent people, calling them schiz, locking them up, calling them criminals or dissidents, and giving them ECT to lower their IQ. ESPECIALLY WOMEN. We aren’t allowed to use our intelligence, as I have written here:

    In a few years, maybe ten, maybe twenty, you’ll look back and laugh over all this, definitely not cry anymore, simply because of getting older. Don’t use labels nor pseudolabels on yourself and don’t use them on others, even celebs. Being young is a blessing, not a mental disorder. Live well. If you are alive you are a winner.

  • Madmom, I would suggest not saying a word about mental history. If your daughter wants to pursue an academic program AND…AND can do the classroom work…then by all means she should. Just NO NO NO mention of any contact with the system. And talking to oneself, that, by the way, is a trait most professional writers can’t get rid of. You can look this one up. It’s called Inner Speech. Seriously. We talk to ourselves constantly. It is the inner writer in us. We write in our heads. Now this is how you COVER UP that you’re actually talking to yourself if you don’t want anyone giving you looks. Nowadays it’s a snap. Either walk a dog and make like you’re talking to the dog, OR, make like you’re yapping into a cell phone, so, have a bluetooth in your ear all the time. Or…Honestly, Madmom, I really truly do this sometimes…When I catch myself muttering while walking along the street and Puzzle isn’t with me, I grab my totally dead cell out of my pocket and hold it to my ear so I can safely mutter to myself. No one ever knows.

    Trust me, most writers have this problem. Writers of memoir have it the worst. We write in our heads and it comes out as talking out loud. This is extremely embarrassing. It’s like we are writing our lives as they happen. And sometimes, we wish the writer in us would just shut up. I think, though, I am cursed because I don’t think mine will stop till I die. But…..since i’m sitting here with year after year with no writers block yet, and I can write on any topic at all (pick one out of a hat, please), I suppose it is a blessing.

    Perhaps your daughter would enjoy a writing class? Some are more structured, which are most likely better to start with, rather than the looser “workshop” types where you run the risk of ending up with people in the class attacking each other, which isn’t supposed to happen but sometimes does. In one of my summer classes, a super dedicated teacher had written her own textbook and even took the time to meet with each of us individually numerous times to discuss our projects.

  • When it comes to drugged or undrugged, I can tell a drugged patient a mile away by the twitching or shaking. In the example I gave before of nursing school, they actually cited the shaking as “symptom” of mental illness, but the shaking was from lithium, not from MI, interestingly. If a student gains 50 pounds in six months from Zyprexa, yes, it’s going to be noticed or questioned. I can see concern over diabetes or bone thinning from drugs, or serious heart trouble or seizures, all of which are liability problems for the colleges. These aren’t reasons to kick students out, but maybe reasons to question the drugging, or give extra support to the students. I remember a fellow student had breast cancer. They didn’t kick her out. They supported her. She took a semester off so she could get cancer treatment. (It’s kind of one of those jokes that women with breast cancer end up with more friends while we end up losing all of ours….)

  • YES! I wish, more than anything, that back in the day…I’m talking 1980 here, I had spoken frankly with other students about my eating disorder. I would have gotten the help I needed by sharing with them. Instead, my own sense of pride and need to keep it secret took over. I wish, above all, that I had never ever gone to mental health where they knew nothing about what I was going through. It was summer and school wasn’t in session. I made the choice to go entirely on my own.

    If I could turn back time, and I cannot, I’d actually go back and talk to that 23-year-old me, who had now been suffering ED a year, and tell that 23-year-old girl to turn her bicycle around and head home. I’d tell her that mental health had nothing to offer her but lies.

    I am saddened that the affluent and progressive college I went to, where I excelled in everything I did, where I was bound for success, where I was in high demand as a performer and composer, that college where I did so well (and paid tuition) now doesn’t even want me back to speak about eating disorders. I have inquired many times and they have told me over and over they don’t want me, they don’t remember me, that ED isn’t relevant to their mission. I keep telling them that maybe some of the students will be helped by what I have to say. I have now contacted their new radio station hoping they might take me as interviewee.

    Ah, the silencing………..

  • My friend was urged to take a semester off due to “instability” but really, a prof had made advances on her repeatedly. Can we bring this one out into the open as well? Can we point out how many times campus rape is the REAL cause, and can we point out how many times women and people of color or minority religions are asked to leave?

    Can’t anyone be called crazy without any proof? Just send ’em to the counseling center and instantly get rid of them! Inconvenient major? The U isn’t fond of the gay club getting too much support? Is that performance or art project too expensive for the U? Student discovers something about prof that U doesn’t want leaked out? Send ’em to the shrinks to get rid of ’em!

  • Another thing I thought of: Instances where students were kicked out and then, their lives were made much worse as a result. Look up Sascha Menu Courey, U of Missouri. Student from Canada. I happen to remember that one and i blogged on it. She was raped and went to the U’s health services, was told it was all in her head, and then, if I recall correctly, was put into the mental system, drugs involved, kicked off the swim team, was devastated and killed herself. Big story. Happened a few years back and in my view, the U, the guy that raped her, and psychiatry were all responsible for killing her. Yet somehow that one got all twisted around.

  • Come to think of it, it wasn’t ME per se that they loathed so much, it was what I symbolized to them. I was Jewish. I had attended Bennington College as a music student. There was so much hatred by the local people toward the college students, who were mostly Jews from New York, practically foreigners to them, invaders, unwanted intruders in that small town. You could see the social split, and I bet it’s still there. From what I could tell, the students hated those they called the “townies” and were just as guilty of bigotry as the “locals” were of antisemitism. So what this school did was a result of that hatred. I was a misfit, and I got the boot.

  • This happened to me. More than once. In 1984 I went to LPN school, beginning in September of that year. This was mostly a schooling that involved tedious rote memorization. Those of us who were older and had more education behind us wondered why we were there, yet we dutifully did the memorization simply because we figured it would lead to a career in Practical Nursing if we did the slave work. A month or two into the schooling it was very clear that I was the leading student in the class. I was getting the top marks. I felt embarrassed every time the tests were handed back and I had the highest mark. I can’t help it. I’m a good student and I always did well. I told myself I needed to slack off because it sucked being smart and getting nasty looks from the others. I never told anyone I saw a psychiatrist, nor mentioned I took drugs.

    One day, I revealed that little fact to a teacher. Big mistake, but I didn’t know that at the time.

    It took about a month. I continued to excel. Meanwhile, the teacher, who herself had nothing against me, had informed the director of my so-called “condition.” She told me she was going to do this and I saw no harm in it. After all, mental illness was sort of an identity for me at that time. It was 1984. I mean, back then, it made me special and unique. I liked that. Artsy.

    December came. I hadn’t done anything wrong. My grades were still stellar. The director pulled me aside and that teacher and another were in the room. The director demanded that I take a semester off.

    I convened with my friends. We realized it was a convenient way for the school to get rid of me. I got paperwork from the school that indicated it was pretty much impossible for me to return and also, I was being charged a lot of money should I ever do so. The school disposed of all of my records.

    The same thing happened to another one of the older students that they just didn’t like. She sued, and won the lawsuit. I was encouraged to sue also. However, as you indicate in your article, Bonnie, the emotional toll on a person is high. This student, whom I remember well, was about 36 years old when she was kicked out of the school and even at that age, suddenly developed an eating disorder, most likely in response to the trauma of being kicked out. I left town a few years later (also in response to my own loss) and didn’t hear from any of those folks but I was very concerned about her.

  • I am asking people to PLEASE STOP the default assumption of child abuse!!!! Doing so is so fucking offensive, especially this time of year when some of us have to be alone on Thanksgiving. People enter the System both voluntarily and involuntarily for a huge variety of reasons and those reasons change over time. Please STOP assuming you know other people’s reasons for entering and staying in the mental system. Really such rash assumptions are so fucking offensive. No one can read the minds of other people nor read the minds of other people’s families, for godsake, nor the minds of all the in-laws! If I recall correctly, some shrinks in my past acted like they could, but they were always way off base. I am so put off I feel like quitting MIA for good for my own sanity, or at least complaining to the mods. I am very sick of these completely unfounded accusations of past child abuse that never happened, this is just insane.

  • Tireless I am not going to argue any longer. You are making huge incorrect assumptions about people you do not even know and have never even spoken to, things that happened decades ago when life was very different. Humans tend to assume everyone else is just like them, has the same flaws and makes the same mistakes. Unfortunately that’s not true. Every family is different and not every family is just like yours.

  • Tireless, other instances of people who go to therapy who aren’t taken by their parents include people who are already adults, such as working people who go because therapy is covered on their insurance plan. I know an elder who went because she was urged by her PCP. These are examples of people who weren’t taken to therapy by their parents. In fact, in the case of the elder, her parents weren’t even alive. Tireless I’m very sorry you were taken to therapy by your parents but that’s not how it happens for everyone, and you cannot assume it does.

  • Tireless, that’s not always how it happens. Not everyone is taken to the therapist by their parents. I was older, 23, and had been living away from home for many years. I took myself to therapy and my parents didn’t even know, actually. I didn’t tell them until I’d been going for a few months. When my parents found out, they were bewildered as to why I was going to therapy! The abusive therapists blamed my parents, which is what therapists do by default. My parents were not abusive. Therapy was! I am saddened that the therapists claimed I had a bad mother when I didn’t. I am saddened that therapy so badly harmed my family that I have two nephews and a niece that were raised as if Auntie Julie doesn’t exist. Every holiday I cry over this. Especially Thanksgiving, which I spend alone. I hate hearing about the wonderful time people have with their loving families. I hate seeing the pictures, too. I spent my 50th birthday alone and it was awful, and my 60th is coming up. Our family used to be happy when I was a kid. I can only warn people not to step into the therapist’s office. These people do not unite families, they break them up.

  • People with CKD are already being told they’re gonna die no matter what they do. Nephrology is a cult of hopelessness. How about actually treating the CKD with a more hopeful attitude? I have gone to kidney forums and found the same theme over and over. The people who stop going to the doctors and start using common sense live longer and feel much, much better.

    Simple dietary changes will work wonders. I do not eat any salt, which means staying away from almost all processed foods and foregoing the restaurants and pizza, but I feel much better. I figured that one out entirely on my own without a doctor.

  • Having hung around the mental system for decades I can say I knew many battered wives who ended up on the wards. I befriended them. I found they were indeed very distraught. They were called MI along with everyone but at the time I wondered how being battered made a person sick. What sickness?

    It is a metaphorical sickness, not a real one that has germs or lesions. We live in a cruel society. Why should anyone adapt to it and accept it? Anyone who speaks out, rebels, or just doesn’t like the shit they are tossed into gets a mental label. Such was my observation from many years on the wards.

  • Exactly, AA. I don’t hang with the “withdrawal” community much as I am sick of the drug-based focus on here and of course over there. As I say in my book that’s just about finished, you can stop the drugs and be over with withdrawal but still be very much a mental patient if you don’t shake the treatment-induced dependency. What good does getting off drugs do if you can’t do anything on your own? That and trauma from the so-called treatment, especially incarceration, are the larger damages. Too much focus on the drugs distracts us from the basic human rights issues. I am saddened that MIA ignores this stuff, but that’s the way most of this community is. I suspect that’s because a lot of psychologists hang here and want to keep on doing what they’re doing. It’s a business…..

  • AA, thanks for validating. I am having trouble getting anyone to own up to being victimized by this. I suspect that this is because most people either die, give up entirely, or go back to drugs, legal or illegal, out of desperation. And they don’t want to admit to such things.

    My latest attack on this is to get a light box because as far as I can tell the problem worsened when cold weather hit and I was forced to spend more time indoors. I end up walking the dog before dawn or after sundown. I’ve never tried one of these devices before but a friend used one and swore by it. These are supposed to keep you awake during the day and asleep at night. Better than sleeping with a machine I don’t need nor want.

  • The Sleepio program is based on a book by Colin Espie. The book is much cheaper than the computerized program!

    If you want to get Sleepio for free, you can sign up for a research study or get it through your workplace (if you have one). If you sign up you’ll receive an email saying if they can’t find a study for you after 60 days you will be offered a discount on the program.

    What I end up doing, at least once or twice a week is to cancel my activities for the day because I am too sleep-deprived to function. I back out of an awful lot of commitments on pretense that I am “sick.” It is embarrassing.

  • Seeing as Sleepio doesn’t involve seeing a doctor I checked it out. I found that most of the introductory questions don’t even apply to my situation. I got a zero for sleep score which is the worst possible. I guess it doesn’t work for organ damage. I’ve called many sleep clinics anonymously and they refuse to acknowledge damage from drugs. Oh well.

    Most people I know who have ended up with drug damage affecting sleep resorted to staying on drugs long term or permanently.

  • Again, nothing here about damage to ability to sleep FROM drugs. The drugs cause physical damage, resulting in complete or partial inability to sleep. For many, the damage is permanent. I’m not convinced CBT is the answer for organ damage. And as usual, the drug companies aren’t owning up to this.

    I have known, or known of people who resorted to opiates due to inability to sleep. There are cases documented of severe insomnia that resulted in death.

  • Tireless, I don’t understand what inheritance has to do with it. Also, not all parents are abusive nor does ending up in the System make a person automatically “the family scapegoat.” I have known patients who were very loved by their families, and had not been abused by their parents.

    I wasn’t scapegoated by my parents. I have certainly been scapegoated in social situations outside of my family years later, simply because it was easy to place blame on the known nutcase in the group.

    I wish my dad was still alive because he defended me against those docs, and so did my mom. My dad kept telling me about human rights, too. I should have listened.

  • Yes but there are some religions that brainwash people. I have many times compared psychiatry to a brainwashing religious cult. I did research on that since I was a Moonie for a short while and was subject to brainwashing. The methods are exactly the same.
    Limited contact with the outside
    Slogans and repetition
    Use of confession-like sessions
    Replacing your current beliefs with their beliefs
    Threats if you dare leave
    A Devil figure, who will snatch you up outside the cult (relapse)
    Discrediting of anyone who speaks out against the cult
    Replacing your identity with new identity as cult member (patient)


  • Fear is not a habit like smoking is. It is an automatic reaction that is borne of experience. Statistics show that people who are in marginalized populations tend to fear the police more, for good reason because they’ve seen more police cruelty in their communities. So fearing the cops comes from experience, it is not something chosen. A woman who has been raped may be fearful afterward and perhaps be extra cautious to lock her door or not go to certain places. She may fear the perpetrator and avoid contact, or get a restraining order. The fear protects her to a large extent. If you are a kid and you are beaten up by another kid in the neighborhood, you may avoid that kid, and this is because your fear is protecting you. Fear keeps us from walking in the street because our fear of being hit tells us what will happen if we do.

    I recall being too confused to fear ECT while it was going on, and now I truly wish my protective instinct had kicked in because I would have stopped the shock sooner.

  • When you say disinheritance, do you mean disengagement? I know with ECT, if the damages are high, the offending institution calls the patient a hopeless case and often instructs the bewildered family to “disengage” from the patient, which may mean not speaking to her or refusing to include her as a member of the family.

    As for inheritance that’s another matter. I’m thinking of buying a life insurance policy so i can leave money i don’t even have for a charity. But most policies are too expensive.

  • I don’t care if a person believes a spaceship is coming down to take them away. Oddly, a lot of people have this bizarre idea that a human who lived 2000 years ago is part god, should be worshiped as one, and is actually coming back. They even have bizarre beliefs about rising from the dead. None of these folks are harming anyone by believing these oddities. In my opinion it isn’t for me to judge whether a person is “distressed” simply by their beliefs. It is their actions, whatever they may be, that may, or may not, be concerning to others. In theory anyway.

  • Human rights/patient advocate lawyers are few and far in-between. Your very existence was a threat to them and I’m sure they had vested interest in silencing you or discrediting you in some fashion. From what I can tell, silencing anyone who mentions human rights is a universal phenomena inside the System. I’ve even heard from some doctors that use of the word “rights,” no matter the context, is a sign of paranoia. False as this statement is, it is proliferated in the System, even by some patients.

  • Larry, From what I can tell, within this community many have been harmed by psychiatry. This includes many who have been accused of paranoia every time we speak out about human rights. I think by default we shouldn’t be accusing each other of paranoia, simply because it is totally hypocritical, never mind rude and offensive, to do so.

    It is rude is most any context even outside of here. If, say, you accuse a neighbor of paranoia in an argument over a lawn upkeep issue. What are you doing except discrediting that neighbor, dismissing his claims and also wrecking his reputation in the eyes of the outside community by calling him psychotic? He may very well be mistaken or misinformed, or maybe you’re mistaken, or there was a failure to communicate, but none of these has much to do with a mental disorder.

  • Yeah Larry but in my past other people have been extremely cruel and used that label to totally discredit me. So it’s a sore spot.

    My doctor claimed that human rights were “trivial” and claimed that I was paranoid a number of times.

    A male therapist asked me out on a date early in 2013 and when I reported this to my psychiatrist she claimed “That’s impossible,” and she called me paranoid and psychotic. I was telling the truth and she was obligated by law to report him since psychs are mandatory reporters.

    Brainwashed patients claim that the human rights abuses I witnessed and those that were done to me never happened and call me paranoid as a way to totally devoice me and ensure no one else believes me, either.

    Yes it is offensive. If anyone calls me paranoid, or any euphemism for it, I unfriend.

  • Dee, I saw that post and thought it was amazing. I don’t see it now, either. I didn’t see anything in there that was at all offensive, either. I found what you said touching and poignant. You made a great point, too.

    We are activists, and for many of us, the cost is high. We DO lose friends over this. For some, the financial toll is very high. Never mind working our butts off only to be silenced or ignored, or even condemned. Some run the risk of re-capture. I totally understand if a person drops out because of these immense losses. I’ve heard many wise words from activists who are older than me or who have been in it longer.

    I have not stopped nor gotten tired of it, but I am aware of the hardships others have gone through. Many have to make the decision and ask where their priorities are. Those of us still in the position to speak out and willing to keep up the fight need to fight even harder.

  • No, we can’t use the constitution as our defense because we aren’t seen as fully human nor worthy of human rights once diagnosed.

    We’re told we have occasional choices under the guise of “health choices” but it’s usually between one prison and another, one drug and another.

    You can have ECT or state hospital, after all, take your pick.

    This is funny: I was told to “choose” the “better” state hospital. Umm…….There is no good prison.

  • I have never known acupuncture to be forced on a person. I’ve never heard of anyone court ordered to get it. And in my own personal experience no one walked up to me and said “All your problems are because you are deprived of acupuncture, and you’d better go!” That’s a little different from what I actually hear, which is, “Have you tried acupuncture. I did, and found it beneficial,” Or, “I tried it and it didn’t help.” Sharing experience is useful, sure not the as coercion.

  • JanCarol, I agree. I have a hard time with religious proselytizing of any sort. I realize though that in some religions they see proselytizing as a religious duty and they believe with all their hearts that pushing religion on others is “helping” or “saving.” So keeping this in mind I politely take their pamphlets, thank them, and then, firmly end the conversation.

    However, some folks have gotten to the point of imposition. For instance, a few really pushy and imposing people claimed that any problem I have is my own fault because I choose not to meditate. This is has extended to physical drug damage, dishonest landlords, and being broke. Meditating or not, or praying, or not, is my choice and my right. I am sure that having a dishonest landlord isn’t caused by my not meditating! I cannot control other people. For me to believe I had that power would be grandiose.

    I also do not like the mindfulness pushers, therapists especially, who tell you, in essence, that “mindfulness” is universal, that it will work for anyone. They will criticize you for multitasking even! If you don’t believe in it these folks will turn the blame on you.

    Then there are the deep breathing pushers. I have to laugh. I cannot tolerate some self-righteous health nut half my age telling me to take a deep breath when I’ve been breathing just fine since well before they were born. How dare they tell me I am breathing wrong! I tell them so!

  • Oh how funny. I just read an article about how great ECT is and it was all about ECT at McLean where I had it some 20 years ago. And get this: They say the antipsych movement is fueled by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I wrote to the “doctor” who wrote the article and told him he was incorrect about that. The wonderful Kesey play is fiction, well done fiction, but we are driven by real experience (ours) and real facts, real life stories, real studies, actual statistics, even theirs they didn’t want leaked out.

  • Bonnie, I can relate. I did NaNoWriMo a number of years. I think I finished maybe five times. I wrote some memoir (which my degree is in) but in 2010 I took on the challenge of a novel. I never edited it after I was done with the 30-day marathon. I loved the book so much that I posted it for free, as is. Yes it really is painstaking work. Bit by bit…right?

    There is a book out that i have used that’s really good (for anyone out there) to help you structure a super workable outline. It’s Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I would get the wire-bound if you can, don’t use the Kindle version (unless you know how to file-convert the .mobi file to printable, then print out many pages!). She may have a web version by now. You do not have to do it in 30 days, this is just a workbook.

  • Oh yeah! I remember that, someone mentioning “recovery movement” to me. Is this Ellen Copeland? I saw her book and didn’t find it at relevant. I was kinda turned off by the principles of it that my friend was mentioning, but at the time I wasn’t sure quite why I was turned off. She mentioned censorship of any medical terms. Not just psych terminology, but even regular medical terms such as “I have a fever” or “I really need to drink because I get dehydrated easily.” And the whole concept of censorship based on “triggering.” I ask who on earth defines what is triggering and what isn’t! Undoubtedly, whoever is in charge, right? Yes that pisses me off. Especially after the fight of my life was over Freedom of Speech. That is a precious thing I hold onto dearly. Does the “recovery” movement still exist?

  • I agree Dr. Nash, I think that if we are going to be effective, not only do we need organized effort, but we also need to demonstrate what we believe in in our personal lives.

    Too often I see discrediting of diagnosees, even by people who should know better, such as fellow survivors. I see use of pseudodiagnoses also, such as calling a person delusional without using the word. Don’t do that. Walk the walk.

    Too often I see us bashing each other when that will only weaken us. I can’t figure out what to do about that, as it seems rampant. We need a solid plan, and solid leadership from within.

  • I don’t think cell phones and other electronics caused psychiatry. Actually our movement is allowed to flourish because of technology. Before that, they used phone conferencing, but now we have the internet to connect us. Also the smartphone was not anticipated by psych and they are kinda overwhelmed that now, patients have easy internet access via the smartphone. This is a blow to them. We can now tell the truth and many will read or listen to what we say, even though most of us have never been able to pursue through legal means.

  • In my opinion veterinarians treat their patients (and owners) very well. My vets have always petted Puzzle and played with her, calling her Sweetie, and most have treats for the dogs. As a pet owner I know most people treat their pets better than mental patients are ever treated.

    But the expression, “treated like an animal” usually isn’t comparing to the loving relationship with a pet, but perhaps to cattle being sent to slaughter.

  • Hi, I have read that mannitol has been shown to be effective in reversing Parkinson’s. I don’t know if it has been tried for TD but in my opinion you won’t know till you try. There was a study in the UK and the results looked hopeful. I have seen anecdotal evidence on forums, folks stating they had Parkinson’s and the mannitol reversed it and they were no longer shaking.

    My naturopath does not recommend it but I tried anyway and found it useful. Anyone who tries it should be aware that you need to use it cautiously. Too much will get you running to the bathroom. My guess is that the amount that’s “too much” varies from person to person. I was lucky and could tolerate it just fine.

    On the whole, common sense trumps Western Medicine by far. Using it is a skill that improves the more you learn to trust yourself first and foremost.

  • I agree with Bonnie. My experience as a published writer of memoir tells me this. People are uncomfortable with the truth! The way my own friends (now ex-friends) so rudely refused to buy the book was shocking to me. Total sales were about five sold, in the six years it was in publication. Even my graduate school buddies refused. I am clueless as to why they dropped their support and friendship because we were on good terms when I was in school.

    In my opinion, well, if it were me, and my friend, someone I cared about published a book you bet damn well I’d go to their readings and purchase the book even if I didn’t have time to read it. I’d read the book and support the author in non-monetary ways such as upvoting the book, reviewing it, and otherwise standing by it. Why? This is what it means to be a friend. If a friend has an art opening you bet I’ll be there. Sadly, the friends I had not only rudely refused, but bashed me also. Without even opening the cover, I got remarks like “It’s probably badly written,” or, “I don’t want to read it if it’s about abuse.” It is not about abuse, but they hadn’t read it, of course. Also I got rude people saying “If it’s about human rights I am not interested.” They had no clue I had put six years of hard work into it, no clue what how much work goes into an MFA degree, no clue the emotional investment I made. No amount of arm-twisting worked and I realized I had to end these relationships with nonsupportive people whose aim was to put me down any chance they could get. I did hear from folks who couldn’t afford it and I understand. This is why it’s now free.

    Also, it took me all those years to admit to myself Chipmunka was a scam. Interestingly, this parallels ECT. When I had it I refused to admit to myself that ECT had harmed me because I had chosen it, actually asked for it. Who could admit to themselves that they had willingly harmed the brains God had blessed them with? (This aspect of ECT is in my documentation)

    People are uncomfortable with real life. They’d rather escape into fiction. Furthermore they don’t want to pay a high price for a book so this is why I think in the USA simply requesting that Bonnie’s book be ordered at your local library would be the best approach, and, if possible a book discussion group would also further the cause. I’m thinking that high end bookstores in wealthy parts of your town might carry it.

    The book could be given as a gift also, as the timing is perfect for Christmas. Did you plan it that way, Bonnie?

  • Bonnie given the price of the book in the USA, my suggestion would be to concentrate on getting it into libraries. This costs nothing for the library patron who requests the book. And anyone out there who has privileges at a library for the blind can get it made into Braille and audiobook.

    Is it being made into an audiobook for the general public? I am willing to narrate it, if you want. Since starting my radio show I have obtained an excellent microphone and am certainly experienced at reading aloud for audiences. Not only that but I survived ECT. I can also do sound file editing.

  • Bonnie, I agree. Many readers only read novels and avoid nonfiction. I believe this is rooted in our school days when a novel meant fun and nonfiction meant Your Teacher Made You Read It and Write a Paper. Readers want to be entertained and for whatever reason they conclude that only fiction will do this (which isn’t true but that’s the general belief). They want a page-turner, and if the plot doesn’t constantly move along, they’re likely to put the book down.

    I am excited to read the book. I can do some of the things on your list and will be happy to help out. Since I have experience writing a book that didn’t sell, I learned just how essential marketing is. Marketing the book well will make or break it as a publication.

    I would like to add a couple of electroshock harms to the list. 1) Witnesses to shock are traumatized.

    2) After electroshock damages a person, the perps are likely to claim that the cognitive problems were from an “underlying psychiatric condition.” This is classic behavior in malpractice. “Your cancer was always there, we didn’t upstage it” is a common excuse (Look up Amy Reed). In ECT, the patient is told they were always confused, and/or told it was “latent BPD.” The new BPD or other diagnosis is terribly harmful.

    3) After damaging a patient that patient is often sent to a state institution, nursing home, or other long-term, restrictive facility. Or put on disability.

    I have available online ENTIRELY FREE both my memoir, which contains information about my post-ECT experience in the chapter “Walking the Line,” book completed in 2009. By the way, I found out that at least one inpatient facility has BANNED my memoir. Stripe on the uniform!

    I also have posted in my blog the entire 28-page testimony to the FDA about my ECT and post-ECT.

    All found at I have been blogging 18 years now. They can’t stop me!

  • No, the therapist didn’t commit suicide. A Lanza did. Just another screwup I did due to not being able to see the computer screen, and I deeply apologize for that.

    The therapist fled the country knowing he was guilty of abusing Adam, and he knew he was the perp. That I know of, there was no publicity over this. Adam (and his family that raised him) was seen, and still IS seen, as a subhuman monster. He was an innocent kid who was horribly abused by a therapist. Period. Newtown was the consequence of therapy abuse. The person kills him/herrself, and sometimes, takes others, too. I’m lucky because I got over the trauma without doing something like that.

    There’s a cool blogger named Cathy Eck who talks about Black Sheeping. Read her entry (sorry I don’t have a link.) She claims to have insight into school shooters. The entry does show a lot of clarity into what it feels like to have no friends, to be totally disenfranchised, and to be feared by others for completely arbitrary reasons. It was like that for me in 2012. I’m lucky I got through it.

    (NOTE: I no longer feel that way. I’m way way past that now.)

  • Oldhead, were you ever harmed by a therapist? I know a few who committed suicide because of therapy. Actually most I knew who killed themselves successfully did so due to the harms of therapy.

    I was harmed by a therapist, too. I had a narcissistic one. And one decades ago who was antisemitic. One who made sexual advances toward me. These things are done in privacy, with no witnesses, and almost always, the patient has no recourse and is simply called delusional.

  • Bradford, when a person commits suicide I first ask if there was a therapist. Often the therapist drove the person to suicide without even knowing it. Therapy sustains the disease state, upholds it, and nurtures it,keeping the person sick. Poor Matt never stopped therapy, and if you read his eloquent blogs on so-called BPD, he seems to worship that therapist just a bit too much. It is a classic sign of abuse. He sees her as his savior, that God on High. I tried very hard to confront him on this, to get him to see that maybe he should consider becoming independent of her, but no way would he hear me out. I have just done a radio show on this sort of abuse as I myself was subject to it in 2011, in Boston. The initial signs are worship of the therapist. Adam Lanza was abused by his therapist also, and the therapist fled the country after Adam did the Newtown shooting and killed himself. So sad that this is overlooked. Drugs are not the only problem with the mental system!!!

    Abusive therapists are not all that rare, either. Matt and I argued over this, and he actually said I was psychotic to call my therapist abusive. I don’t think so. My name has been cleared.

  • I am saddened to hear this. I always felt that Matt had been swept away too much by the fake BPD diagnosis, and yet at the same time, he claimed to have shaken it off. He tended to be arrogant in my eyes, I didn’t write to him much. I was saddened that he still clung to his therapist and was still very much addicted to the process, and held “the therapeutic alliance” in such reverence. I tried to tell him that therapy is invariably a false construct, a power structure that exists solely to degrade the patient and keep him disabled and needy. I felt the need to stop my involvement with the ISEPP mailing list (“therapy is good and drugs are bad” bullshit) and pretty much didn’t hear from Matt anymore. I know he kept his activism and his personal life separate, which is notably admirable. I recall he used a pen name for a while.

    No suicide is done alone. There is always a perp. Sadly, almost always, these things are shrugged off as “mental illness” and the perp walks without a scratch.

  • I have overheard the following microagressions stated about myself. “Patient claims she does not smoke.” This is biased since it is OBVIOUS I don’t smoke. I would stink of it if I did. I conclude that the nurses smoke. That’s why they cannot distinguish who smokes and who doesn’t.

    “Minor chest pains.” Fellow patient had depression diagnosis and was a frequent flier. They didn’t even check her vitals and they sent her home, telling her to call her therapist. She had a heart attack. She lived.

  • Yeah, Fiaschra, I hope I spelled that right. For decades, pacing, in my case, was considered a “symptom of mania.” I was never manic! Every single time I paced they called it mania and gave me mania drugs. but I was never manic! The pacing ended completely when I stopped the drugs. So…did that “cure” so-called mania? Hmmm….. I am mostly saddened that this want on and on for DECADES.

  • I think Slaying needs to keep this other topic off this page, (), for the sake of not going “off topic.” After all, the mods cut out any comment they want based on claims of “off topic” or even claims that you’re “self-promoting.” Anything to get comments off the page they don’t want.

    Really a lot of the blogs here are themselves for purpose of self-promotion, ahem scammy Brogan, as example, and various promotions of “alternative treatment centers….” (Treatment for WHAT DISORDERS?) We’re observing the mods are getting out of control these days.