Comments by Julie Greene, MFA

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  • Hello Itay,

    Thanks for this wonderful piece. A long time ago, I stayed in a place like that which ended up being closed down. I’m not sure why. It is described in the last chapter of my memoir, This Hunger Is Secret, which I published about a decade ago. It is now free for anyone to read. You can find it on my blog,

    It was my case manager’s idea to send me there. This was after shock treatments when I was having trouble thinking straight. I was frustrated and hopeless that I would ever get my mind back. They were going to send me to a state hospital. I went to the respite house instead. It was not at all like any place I’d ever been before. This was around the end of September, 1997.

    What was amazing was that there was this lack of hierarchy that was truly refreshing. The staff did not have those insulting “professional boundaries” that I saw in other places. They shared their lives with me. They even drove us in their own vehicles if we needed a ride. They weren’t therapists and weren’t trained as therapists, although one of them did end up converting.

    Not only that, but they had this staff office but it wasn’t off limits to the residents. We could come in there anytime we wanted. The door was open and there certainly wasn’t any insulting bullet-proof glass separating the staff office from the rest of the living space.

    You could come and go as you pleased. I had my bike there, too. They let me park it in the hallway. I can’t recall now how many weeks I stayed there.

    I spent a lot of my time just writing in my notebook. This was a habit I had developed as a result of shock treatments, but it grew into something more. I left the respite house. I was okay. By January, I was doing more serious writing. I enrolled in an adult ed writing class. In March I decided to try going back to college. I succeeded. I finished the first draft of a novel by August, 1998.

    I am not saying that the respite house was what saved me. I saved me. Good luck and lots of writing saved me. They allowed me the space to do it. I’m grateful.

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  • John,

    I was hoping you would write a piece for MIA, and I’m glad you did. I love the way you have described the white-clad slavedrivers who claim they’re only following orders. You really nailed them.

    Occasionally, I saw one or two try to break the rules and be kind. One of them did this telling me she’d lose her job if anyone knew. The other tried, but the doctor forced her into submission. She was taken off my case. One day, I saw her in the hallway. She looked at me with these sad eyes. I’ll never forget that.

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  • Bippy, you need them to tell you the numbers. Ask what your creatinine level is. If they insist it is “fine,” then you need to demand that they give you the number. “Fine” might mean fine by mental patient standards. The test here in the US is called a Basic Metabolic Panel. I suspect that it might be called something different in the UK. That panel tells you electrolyte levels also. I would suggest cutting way down on salt to help the swelling. There are herbs you can take for it, too.

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  • It is sad indeed that some people are so isolated that they feel they must resort to paying for “support,” in other words, “therapy.”

    There are still support systems in some areas for those that do not have any.

    I usually spend holidays alone, but I found out a local coffee shop is hosting a Thanksgiving event. If you look hard enough you will find support other than “therapy.” My main issue with “therapy” is that it tends to be a black hole that people can’t get out of. Who would want that, if they knew?

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  • Dr. Mary Dyer-Martin prescribed Marci’s drugs. She should be held responsible. When you put yourself in the hands of a doctor, you supposedly trust that doctor, too. Once you are on one drug, you might end up “out of it” and unable to comprehend that maybe you are on too much or too many. Breggin refers to this as “spellbinding,” and it’s very true. When you are drugged up, it’s the doctor’s responsibility to recognize this. It’s the doctor’s responsibility not to overdrug a patient. Now, if a person buys drugs on their own, then the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone. This is why some of us advocate for the abolition of the Power of the Prescription. When you are out of it from drugs, you’re likely to do anything the doctor says.

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  • One time, my fellow patient begged for a placebo. I wasn’t sure why. Placebos work quite well. You would think they cause no harm. Psych placebos still cause dependency and the notion that one is diseased. I believe that placebos only work on humans because we can experience hope and foresight. The animal sense of foresight is minimal by comparison. I don’t think they have any concept of a god, or of praying to something. I don’t think they need to. They seem more secure in themselves than we are.

    I also don’t think the concept of Parent God is present much outside Christianity.

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  • I have found that very consistently, if a person is down on their luck, people run away fast. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    I paid thousands of dollars to a scammer this summer and when I figured out it was a scam I was able to get part of my money back, but not my sense of well-being. Where are the phone calls and emails of support when I need them? People pulled away and I feel very alone.

    Some blame me for feeling like crap after what happened, or blame me for not “getting over it” when really, they weren’t the ones who were scammed, and they don’t know what it’s like.

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  • I am saddened that mostly, what will help people is information, accurate, complete, and relevant information.

    Such as….legal information about landlord/tenant laws, information about what constitutes domestic abuse, information about job openings in the area, or informing the person that “the pill” can cause depression.

    I guess that’s why search engines seem to be a popular way to get “help.” I would trust a search engine over a psychiatrist any day!

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  • Registered, I don’t get that. So you’re saying if a person isn’t lucid, they have no ability to make a responsible choice? Who decides who is lucid and who isn’t? Psychiatry.

    I also agree that suicide is a personal choice. We don’t know people’s situations. We can’t get into their heads, which is really a good thing, when you think about it. If we do, we’ve gone too far.

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  • Frank, I just read an article by people in the economics field who make six-figure salaries. All of them stated that we need more of the humanities in the colleges, not less. Many stated that in the employment world, and especially if one is a CEO of a company, the most important skill they learned in college was communication. The article further stated that people who major in the arts (music, writing, fine arts, dance, etc) end up making equal salaries to those who majored in a STEM field. The difference is right after college, where STEM grads are more likely to get a good job. After a decade, it evens out. (When you die it won’t matter anyway.)

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  • fnert, Abolishing psychiatry does not impose on the rights of those who choose it. Right to psychiatry is not a human right that I know of. Do I have the right to astrology? Not really. I have the choice to go to an astrologer…or maybe not. The freedom to choose for oneself, that’s a human right. I also have the choice to become a drug dealer, but if I chose that,I would be breaking the law and I might get in trouble. Still, I have the right to choose. I hope I choose wisely.

    Even if psychiatry is banned, people will have the right to choose it. It will be an unwise choice, but come to think of it, many people, myself included, make bad choices.

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  • Yes, I believe it was 1985. And it was Carl Pfeiffer and the Brain Bio Center. I can’t believe my parents drove me there and suckered into it. He poked fun at me, I recall. It’s in my memoir. I didn’t know how to react. I remember telling my mother that we needed to listen to the real doctors, the psychiatrists.

    Years later, I had forgotten about Pfeiffer totally. In 2014 I dug up the paper he had given me. I was fairly sure the dietary recommendations he gave me were the carbon copy of what he told everyone else, but there it was.

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  • I personally loved college. I learned a lot and thrived in that environment. I felt like I mattered, even though in many ways it was totally fake. When you get out you realize this. You might matter while you’re a student. After all, students generate income for the colleges. Students make the college look great.

    Is anyone else out there disgusted that once you finish college the only time the college EVER contacts you again is to ask for money? That’s when you realize you’re not useful to them anymore. Your money is useful. You aren’t.

    Years ago, I remember one day when I was starving and out of it, one of my former colleges called me up for that yearly plea for donations. When I saw the college in my caller ID, I told myself that they were inviting me to do a reading or give a talk, that they finally recognized that I had written and published a book and they actually remembered what a good student I was. I can see why I continued to starve after I found out what the real agenda was, and what most people’s real agenda is.

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  • I agree! Why work for them? I know some people who call themselves “peers” and when I have talked to them, they actually say they can’t get a job doing anything else.

    That, I suppose, may very well be true if they walk into their next job interview saying they are ex-patients. I can’t believe they’d devalue themselves that way. YES, you can do other things. You just have to give it a try. And…just omit a few things from the backstory.

    If you train to do something new, you are just as valuable as any other trainee. The playing field is even if you keep some stuff to yourself.

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  • I am sure BCHarris has had plenty of experience.

    In the memoir I wrote and published, I have a section on my experience with an orthomolecular doctor. The memoir did not sell and I have taken it off the market, but it’s still available FOR FREE at my blog, if you are interested.

    I also did not have a very good experience. My parents had pushed me into it and they had driven me all the way to Princeton hoping for a miracle. I never found out how much they paid for the appointment, but it was a waste.

    If he had been the great miracle worker he was claimed to be, he would have told me that lithium causes kidney disease and to get off of it as soon I could. (Getting off that stuff is not that hard.)

    I hear that a long time ago when Dr. Breggin was taking patients, that’s what he would tell them. He saved many people’s lives that way.

    My new book, by the way, is coming out very soon and it’s about surviving after lithium damages your body. It is not about “lithium withdrawal” since really the only withdrawal is the scare tactics and lies commonly used in nuthouses. It’s about how to get away from the mental health system and how to deal with kidney disease naturally.

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  • I agree. Don’t check the box. Don’t admit it. Don’t even imply it. Interestingly, since the diagnoses have no validity, if you don’t tell, if you act as if you were never locked up, as if you never had a diagnosis, no one will know. If you tell the wrong people, they won’t just run away, they’ll do anything to smear your reputation. You will become a scapegoat. People need someone to hate, someone to blame for their own flaws and mistakes.

    I agree that the hatred out there is worse than ever. I have had a lot of trouble getting the attention of journalists and nothing I write to the Boston Globe even gets read.

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  • I agree with Lloyd, I’m not sure the suicide question is answered (I choose to use that scary word!). I personally believe a person has the right to end their own life, but some religions forbid it. By all means a person shouldn’t be criminalized for wanting to commit suicide, or thinking about it, or planning it, or toying with the idea. Oh let me add one more crime: writing a poem with the word “Death” in it.

    If these principles were closely and strictly followed, psychiatry would go broke very fast. No one would voluntarily choose to be marginalized, drugged, and labeled. No one would choose organ failure and early death. No one would choose forced unemployment. Oh dear, poor shrinks. They’d moan about losing their jobs or not getting paid enough. They would complain because now, they have to be honest (if it were enforced). Oh dear! Maybe some of them can try out psychiatric disability. After all, you don’t have to work, right? They did it to us. Why don’t they try it out?

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  • Hi Michelle, I am not sure if you will see my comment, but I am looking for lawsuits by people who took lithium and then, were never told they had kidney disease. There’s no sense in trying to sue the drug companies since the drug has been around for decades. Doctors have known that lithium causes kidney disease for decades. It’s pretty much standard practice to keep patients in the dark about their medical condition…and then it ends up being too late.

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  • The following happened to me in first grade. We were at recess. The teacher asked us to line up in a line. We did. I did not like standing there in the cold. I got colder and colder, in fact, and I figured I wasn’t the only one. Finally, the teacher said we’d better be good or we wouldn’t get to stay outside.

    Everyone was silent then. I said, likely quite audibly, “But we don’t want to stay outside. It’s too cold.”

    In a flash, the teacher, likely a recess monitor, was right beside me. She told me I was a “bad girl” and told me I should be ashamed of myself. She grabbed me by the scruff of my jacket and dragged me to the end of line, saying I deserved it.

    It wasn’t so much that single action, but what it symbolized to me at that very moment. School was no longer my friend. It was a scary, hostile place. And that it stayed.

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  • So this is what happened a few days ago. I was teaching a class and some of the kids were doing stuff that was going to lead to trouble. By trouble I mean someone was going to get injured if they continued. I tried to solve this by getting the kids interested in doing something else. This worked, for the most part, as I saw the kids scurrying away from where they were to another part of the room. Unfortunately, the aide then started yelling at them and using shaming language.

    Kids react differently to this type of adult bullying. Some will just disregard it. One boy, though, was particularly hurt because he was called “bad” and a bunch of other things.

    He was so upset, he sobbed and curled into a ball. I was amazed that the aide was so clueless about what had just happened. For most of the class she was sitting way off to the side, with some papers in front of her that she appeared to be reading, but more likely, the papers were hiding her cellular telephone.

    I don’t know why she chose that moment to yell at the kids, but it was startling and deeply disturbing. As far as I can tell, this is normal, daily life at the average school, and this is the way kids are treated there.

    Although I tried to comfort the child, I knew I was rather ineffective at doing so. After all, I was a scary adult. The cool thing is that another child came and sat next to him and stayed with him until he was okay. The other child was an ally. Adults are the threat.

    Anyone who speaks out against the status quo, whether an employee or a child, or even a parent, is going to be ostracized. And the wheels keep turning. How can we stop this madness?

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  • They do it all over, Jim, laws or no laws. I know people who were held like that. I recall being held at Boston Medical Center in a prison cell for three days, dehydrated and malnourished, while they scrambled to figure out what to do with me. Finally, they let me go since I didn’t “qualify” for anything at all. The prison shrink said I fell between the cracks and she threw up her hands in utter cluelessness. Thankfully, not one psych ward would take me. To this day, I don’t understand why, during those three days, I was completely denied any medical care. By then, I knew it wasn’t psychiatry that I needed.

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  • I would have to say that I have all too often seen peer workers push unwanted treatment on people. If the peer workers are working for the hospital, then naturally they’ll be hired to work to the hospital’s financial advantage.

    I see an issue with defining good health with more consumption of medical services. Maybe it’s good financial health for the institutions and providers.

    I was saddened to see on a forum a bunch of peer specialists saying that if their jobs were canned they wouldn’t be able to get jobs anywhere else. They defined themselves as unhirable. This saddens me, since many of these capable people would be welcome in other workplaces, doing completely other things. Isn’t it time that survivors got themselves hired doing something besides working for the MH industry?

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  • First of all, our complaints are dismissed because they claim we’re crazy and don’t know what we are talking about.

    Some have gained a little bit of a voice by joining the opposition and becoming providers themselves.

    This leaves the rest of us. Many of us have other areas of expertise. But whatever that is, it counts for nothing. We don’t matter. Frankly, I’m so tired of being treated like a lowlife (in regular life and also in survivor circles) I am ready to scream. But…on the other hand, I can join the Lowlife Pride movement or some such thing. Might not have much choice. Or….maybe I get looked down on because I’m shorter than most of you.

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  • Yeah, Kindred, I agree. I have had to endure the pushing of the Pledge of Allegiance. I am honestly afraid my job status would be affected if anyone found out I don’t say the Pledge. Kids are taught to obey, obey, obey, without questioning, and if they dare say anything they get a note sent home, or detention.

    Here is an example of what they do. One day, I had taught a class that worked out very well. Afterward, the teachers want the kids to line up to leave the classroom obediently and silently. I totally hate this ritual, but I have to go along with it. So that day, the kids lined up, and suddenly, one little girl broke out of the line and ran back to me to give me a big hug. I was so touched by this. Guess what happened? She got shamed, demeaned, and sent to the end of the line. That was the day I realized I need to cut down on my hours. I’m tired of feeling on the verge of tears over these human rights infractions. I also realize that I can’t fight it as a minority voice. There’s too much hierarchy to fight.

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

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

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

    Your choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Every bit of support counts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • This is ridiculous. I’m unsubscribing to this post in utter disgust. Yes, pill-shaming exists and just because some readers here have never experienced it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. If there’s a human trait (choosing to take pills, choosing not to, being forced onto them) then there’s going to be someone out there that shames you. There are tactful and not-so-tactful humans in the world. I’m not sure that those that shame people for taking drugs are doing them a favor since often pill-takers become more staunch in their belief that this is “medicine.” Shaming is cruel, and it often backfires.

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  • I usually tell people who are upset about their past decision to take psych pills that it isn’t their fault. We were coerced or forced. If you first took drugs behind locked doors, even if you think it was willingly, it was force because you were incarcerated. We were lied to, told half-truths, told overblown stories of how effective they are. Likely, at the time, we made the best decision, or thought we were. They were doctors. Not very clever or insightful, but they wore lab coats (often) and actually in my case, they towered over me, too.

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  • It is just like the different sides of “stigma.” On one hand, it could mean stereotyping, which is a form of bigotry, seeing us as incapable, disabled, and people that society should reject.

    It could mean stigma against activists as Untreated MI.

    It could mean “i’m a sicko and I’m proud of who I am.” The Mad Pride statement, which I have personally rejected. There’s always the additional “I need help” or “You should just put up with me.”

    I don’t think it’s stigmatizing, but more like a fact to say, “We are all different and our differences shouldn’t mean some are set apart.”

    Taking pills is a choice. I believe people should make the choice that’s right for them. For many of us, it means getting off pills. For some, getting off is going to be impossible. No one should make anyone feel ashamed for making the best choice.

    I am especially shocked when some know-it-all who is decades younger than me says “I can do it, therefore you can.” How absurd and self-centered. I do appreciate a good success story, but let’s not overextend it to telling others what they should do based on our own experience.

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  • I have indeed experienced pill shaming. I’m not sure if I should put quotation marks around that or not. When I was about 28 I visited a friend. I was on drugs, a cocktail of them. She looked at my bottles, which I was then opening, and she said to me, “Ugh, well, okay, so it’s time for your DRUGS.” It was the look on her face of utter disgust that said everything.

    The other pill-shaming I have received was from the withdrawal community. I found that I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that I still needed drugs to get to sleep. I had tried for five years and I had barely slept. I made the decision to reinstate and get my life back. I reinstated for three years. I think it was about a month ago that I stopped successfully. I wish, in retrospect, that people wouldn’t put such a huge value judgement on “drug-free.” Like there’s an either/or. We have chemicals in our food, in our air and water, no one in fact is “drug-free” so please get off your high horses. I understand the exuberance but just don’t shove it in others’ faces.

    And mind the ageism also. Older people have complex medical needs. Some of us have organ damage from the drugs. Much of this is life-shortening. I have kidney disease and yes, it causes inability to sleep. Using the drugs to get to sleep was the only thing I could do until I figured out another way. I ended up staying away from the withdrawal community.

    It gets to the point where you have to decide about quality of life. Who decides? YOU. Not your friends, not your doctor, not even your family. You.

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  • I agree, Paula.

    I know you and I have disagreed over the term “eating disorder.” I want to make this (again) publicly clear. ED needs to be taken out of the list of psych diagnoses and instead classified as a nutritional disorder alongside Crohn’s, Celiac, diabetes mellitus, and other disorders related to food intake. While starvation or erratic eating will certainly make you crazy, and for many, make our lives unmanageable, this psychological distress is a bi-product of a physical condition. ED in itself is the only DSM label that directly kills you. There’s no evidence that it’s a chemical imbalance of the brain, but a nutritional imbalance. By comparison, Crohn’s will make you weak, tired, and possibly depressed…but it seems to stay where it belongs…out of the DSM eugenics bible.

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  • I have been through “crappy boss.” This wasn’t my disorder, but a workplace disorder. I never figured out why they made that woman a supervisor.

    There was nothing “inner” I could have done to fix the situation except to quit. No matter how good my nutrition was, no matter how much I exercised, it wasn’t going to fix the crappy boss situation. I could have decided it was all due to my own mental illness and then, therapized the problem away, still wondering why I hated my job, why every day there sucked, why the therapy hadn’t exactly solved anything. What then? Time for pills? Oh I know! Shock treatments…..

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  • Hi Elizabeth, There’s a group for gifted and talented here in the USA called SENG. I am a member. I learned from this group that kids who are very talented and show this at a young age are often given psychiatric diagnoses. Many of them are given ADHD diagnoses and more.

    Also, I learned that often, kids end up developing unevenly. So while the child may be very good at one thing, he may struggle in other areas.

    To give myself as an example, I was talented in music and math, but mostly, I loved to compose music. I tried to get a job at 16, serving ice cream. I was a total flop at it. I’m a little clumsy and I came to realize way too late that this isn’t a psych disorder!

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  • Yes, KS, it actually does hurt. If I hold onto anything that cold I get blisters. I never used the technique myself because it’s idiotic and a waste, but I saw it used on other patients. The pt would ask for something like Klonopin and if the nurses had run out of pill ideas they’d just say, “How about a frozen orange?”

    Now one time I was talking to the nurses about human rights and they tried to hand me an orange. I told them this was a way to silence and discredit me. Along with the frozen orange was the command to “go into your room and be quiet so it’ll work.” It’s a total myth that pills work better if you’re in your room, total bullshit about the orange also.

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  • KateL, I tried DBT and found it silly and irrelevant. It didn’t help at all, whatever the heck “help” meant. In my case, the one thing I wanted was to stop the abuse and prevent it from happening to others. This, to me, is common sense. Why on earth should I sit and hold a frozen orange when everything in my being tells me I need to stop this from happening? If I don’t speak out…who will? Apparently people are so brainwashed they think if psych abuse happens it’s THEIR disorder. No it isn’t. Coping within, to me, means I have a voice and you bet I’m going to use it. I think meditating my life away would be a huge waste of time. Some do find value in the “here and now” mentality. It’s just not for me and it’s not the universal cure-all.

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  • KateL, your experience resonates with me. In my opinion, the MH system does not offer anything of value, not from mainstream MH, anyway. When it comes to trauma you might find value in one of those “kooky” therapists that is totally outside-the-box.

    I found value in a tapping therapist who understood totally that I had been abused in a hospital. Most therapists did not understand and assumed I was paranoid. Of course there’s no sense even trying to reason with them. Just move on.

    I would not even bother telling them about the kratom. Just keep it to yourself. I also broke my ankle, three weeks ago. Not badly, though. It is healed but I also sprained my foot and that is taking longer to heal.

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  • It’s the same with any prison system, Stephen. They don’t prepare the inmates at all. One week of workshop of some sort but it’s never enough. Times change. My friends who were on the inside said that they would have appreciated some very simple how-tos. In a decade, finding a rental has changed drastically. Technology has changed. They do background checks for housing and employment worse than ever now, but I think that is going to change.

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  • Anyone out there who has ever experienced verbal abuse from docs, nurses, aids, sitters, specialists, whatever….This abuse stays with you. Trauma from verbal abuse can hit harder than any other type. It’s been over five years and I am still affected by it. I still get overly defensive, feel like I have to “prove” myself all the time, can’t get along with other people, and can’t stand physical proximity of other people. I am scared even when the bus drives by a mental health clinic. Sirens make me flinch.

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  • I don’t think religion is supposed to be false or true. It’s a belief. Some of these beliefs work very well for some people, and we’ve got a variety of them, none true, none false. Some religions are harmful to society as a whole. Cults tend to be outside of the norm and also the harmful ones live segregated from the rest of society.

    Psychiatry is a cult. Psychiatry has to capture its subjects and brainwashes them. It has its own dogma that’s at heart, illogical. Psychiatry forces its members into ghetto-like situations such as halfway houses and HUD. Psychiatry takes its subjects out of the mainstream workforce.

    Cults can grow and become more mainstream. Christianity was originally cult-like, a seemingly far-out-there band of kooks, but centuries later, became mainstream. Most denominations of Christianity are not cults. Some are. And the lines are certainly blurred.

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  • Me: “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not go to Bingo today.”
    Them: “You have to go. It’ s time for Group.”
    Me: “I just finished graduate school. This is truly insulting to me and I suspect others think the same thing.”
    Them: “So you’re too anxious to go to group, eh? How about a PRN?”
    Me: “I didn’t say that. I do not want to go to group. I think I’m better off spending my time writing.”
    Them: “It is for your own good. If you refuse to participate we can only conclude you aren’t ready to leave.”
    Me: “No, it’s for YOUR own good, so you can tell the insurance company I showed up for a psychoeducational group, and bill it as such.”

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  • Little Turtle, bio has its place. Depression is not a biological “illness,” in fact, there’s no disease process happening there. If the person has hypothyroidism, that is a biological issue and not psychiatric. In fact, a so-called MI is diagnosed (supposedly) AFTER bio is ruled out. Psychiatry states “no biological basis” and then, invents one (chemical imbalance) just to sound medical, and to convince people to take drugs.

    When I was a patient I truly believed that since the drugs “worked” (kinda) then that meant I had a chemical imbalance. This was faulty reasoning. Drugs aren’t some kind of litmus papers that diagnose diseases. If we’re to take the diabetes comparison seriously, that would be like saying, “I was given a shot of insulin which made me feel great, therefore, I must be diabetic.” Huh?

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  • Of course we can help the psychs after they’ve been put out of work. We already do that for people. It’s called Unemployment benefits. Any of them that still need “help” after that can apply for disability and enjoy their “benefits” and forced poverty. Oh we can also make them take drugs to keep their benefits. Make them live in HUD and pay for their groceries with food stamps. That’s the help we got, so they deserve it, too.

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  • It IS a religion. They have their bible, their dogma, their slogans, their own gods they worship called Pharmaceutical companies. Dear God, please send us more money so we can capture more converts. You are brainwashed until you believe, “I have a mental illness, a real illness just like diabetes. It can’t be cured but it can be managed if I blindly obey my treatment team even if it’s very illogical and might kill me.”

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  • People criticize Szasz for associating with Scientology without really knowing what Scientology stands for in terms of psychiatry. The CCHR, which is a branch of Scientology, aims to end ECT worldwide, aims to stop the drugging of children, and they work by pressuring the legislators just the same as we do. Only they have huge money behind them. You can’t argue with the high quality of their videos. They may want to end psychiatry for different reasons than survivors and witnesses do. But no matter their reasons, their aims are the same as ours. Their understanding of why ECT is harmful to people is completely in alignment with our own thinking. It is brain damage. And the drugs? Harmful to children, harmful to society. Their book and video on how the Nazis used psychiatry and how the Nazi thinking is so similar to the DSM is exemplary. It is all a great way to get this info out to the public. They are doing wonderful things to end these harmful atrocities. Why shouldn’t Szasz have associated with them? Was that so terrible?

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  • Yes, Steve Spiegel, I would agree. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine because it is taught in medical schools and the AMA and other organizations claim it is medical. Whether psych is legitimate or not depends on how you define legitimate, because legitimate might mean “what is generally accepted.” It is by all means based on false premises, which Szasz most eloquently and clearly points out. He does this by examining psych as a profession and a medical science by examining its claims on a scientific and moral basis. In my opinion, he successfully shreds it to bits! After you read Szasz you won’t have any doubts anymore! Which is why, when I have recommended Szasz to my friends who are still in the System, they refuse to read him. It’s scary to lose your identity, whether it had any basis in truth or not!

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  • Larry, many of these therapists take away our independence and self-reliance. They take away our trust in ourselves and foster a heavy reliance on the therapist to make our decisions for us.

    To find a therapist who doesn’t do this is not an easy task and the average therapy-seeker with average insurance coverage or even worse, public insurance, isn’t going to be able to shop around. Nowadays, even in the areas where cost of living is low, out-of-pocket therapy will cost you at least $120 a session. Who can afford that? I hear that in some urban areas the cost can be $300 or more per session.

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  • If a person is handed drugs by a pharmacist who is mistaken about what is included, then, if the unsuspecting drug-taker goes and commits a crime, my guess is that the customer would not be held responsible and the pharmacist would have hell to pay.

    I believe there have been plenty of cases where a person was not told about the sedating effects of drugs. The doc failed to tell the patient not to drive. When there are consequences, wouldn’t the doc be responsible?

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  • I agree with Steve. Therapists run the gamut. Some are obviously boundary-paranoid. I can always tell! I had one who cried in front of me. She was crying over another patient. whom I did not know, who had died of cancer. What was I to do? She constantly violated HIPAA by revealing personal details about other patients. This was annoying to say the least! She made me be her therapist countless times. Why didn’t she pay me?

    I had at least 20 therapists over the years. I always wondered why it wasn’t “working.” I have realized that their definition of “normal” is culturally-driven. Also, from one generation to another, “normal” changes. From one part of the country to another, from one neighborhood to another, and so on.

    They would talk about “baseline.” After I’d been only a few years in the System they were clueless about what “baseline” really was for me. Also, one’s baseline can’t possibly exist, since it’s not this fixed entity, but always changing and evolving. Even so, they wildly underestimated me for decades.

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  • I LOVE your art! Wow, absolutely amazing! Thank goodness you aren’t on those drugs anymore!

    I was also called bipolar, only for convenience. The shrinks’ convenience.

    What if you dropped all contact with your parents? While I realize it’s a sacrifice, they aren’t helping, are they?

    By the way, I know Dr. Joffe. My doctor, Dr. Kimberly Pearson, worked with her. Pearson would have said the same thing, told you to stay on the drugs. Or given you more.

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  • It is genocide!

    Here are some suggestions for kids who won’t sit still:

    Play outside
    No more video games
    Toss out the television
    Bicycling, basketball, and baseball (okay, fútbol for those of you outside the US)
    Pets, pets, pets!
    Plant a garden
    Go to a park
    Stop assuming and start listening (to the kids, not the shrinks!)
    Toss out the boring school subjects and insist that schools teach something useful and interesting
    End standardized testing
    End ADHD diagnosis
    Healthy food
    Stay away from psychiatry

    And if the kids really want electricity, peek out the window during a thunderstorm and take a stunning photo. See how scary electricity is? Bring your photo to Show and Tell.

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  • UPDATE: Please donate to Marci’s legal fund. The courts and “hospital” put her legal team through hoops and they’re making her witnesses come back again. The facility has been lying just to keep her in there. This means more funding is desperately needed!

    Here is the legal fund link again:

    Every donation counts! If you are unable to donate, please share the link.

    I think each of us needs to remember when we, ourselves, were locked up. Freedom for Marci is a victory for all of us, especially for those of us who know what it’s like to be locked up and abused.

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  • Ron, my experience with even the best of therapists (or ones that claim they’re great) is the nearsightedness of most of these professionals. Not all, but many. Many have no clue just how bad therapy can be. Maybe Eugene is an exception. In Boston, I could not find a suitable therapist at all. I looked for about two years after I fired the one who was narcissistic. I did find one who did not believe in diagnosis, but I ran away very fast when he asked me out on a date. I met one who was unlicensed and also had no training. She had a business degree. I think she would have been better than average. However, she handed me a paper that I had to sign saying if I got into bad shape she would ditch me. She never told me she was unlicensed, either. I found out and never saw her again. I figured my all-holy psychiatrist wouldn’t approve.

    In two years of calling around, placing about 200 calls at least, I found no one at all! Most refused me when they found out I had ED, or when they found out I was so-called “disabled” and did not have enough money to pay them. A few offered a sliding scale but the lowest they could go was $60. I would say that 200 calls is plenty enough to know that such therapists are rare indeed. My so-called “health plan” had no therapists on staff who had any knowledge of ED. I called and complained and they claimed they would find someone for me. A month later they called said they were having trouble getting anyone on board. Then, I guess they forgot. By then, I was sure I would never see one again.

    I have, since then, had sample sessions with therapists. I did not say my prior diagnoses unless I was sure the therapist didn’t take diagnoses seriously. I was stupid enough to tell one life coach (a trauma one) about my abuse experiences while inpatient. She insisted on knowing my diagnoses and I was doubly stupid to tell her. She immediately refused to see me and said I needed “therapy” three times a week. For that, she got a bad Yelp review.

    Of the others, three of these told me I didn’t need therapy at all. One told me I needed an attorney. One told me I might benefit from career coaching, not therapy. Of course, I hang onto these lovely statements even though I really do not validate the expertise of “therapists.”

    The last one was the best. He spent a long time with me, questioned everything I said (not in a condescending manner at all!) and then, very clearly stated that I was doing fine and again, really do not need “therapy.” Interestingly, back when I was a patient years ago, I was desperate to talk to some nice, understanding person. Now, that desperation is simply not there.

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  • Catalyzt,

    Electronic records give people the illusion of privacy. Who the hell cares about how private those electronic records are when doctors talk about patients in the elevator, lunch room, hallways (the “huddle”) and also in their spas and on golf courses.

    We who were incarcerated have all heard them do this. They aren’t fooling me! There was a story ages ago about a cabbie on a golf course who was so shocked at the doctors’ gossiping that he reported them.

    I wish I could find the story now.

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  • Nancy99, a patient needs to decide for herself whether the concepts of mindfulness are useful. I do not agree that a therapist should impose these, but most do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pushed to meditate, or blamed because I don’t meditate, that is, I CHOOSE not to.

    The concept of mindfulness is likely useful to some people, but it’s just not for me. I wish people would respect that.

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  • Kindredspirit, I can’t agree more. I, too, was subjected to the fake Buddhism done by hospital clinicians and therapists. I hated it! We even had watered-down yoga. Ugh.

    I am actually triggered when anyone says to me, “Take a deep breath.” No, I will not! No one is going to tell me how to breathe! I’ve been breathing fine for 61 years now, and at 61 I can run four miles at least. Since when do I have breathing deficits? What is really funny is when the person saying that is a smoker. The only time I’ll do this is if a doctor is listening to my lungs with a stethoscope. I don’t even remember the last time that happened, either.

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  • ferkane, I like what you said, and agree with many of your statements, especially when you said that a CBT therapist should not impose “correct” cognition. Or what they assume is correct.

    Here is where I cannot agree at all: “Well this may be taught on some CBT training, but it was not on mine. In fact, in my training, we were specifically taught that behavioural change was generally necessary for stable cognitive and emotional change.”

    Sadly, this is used on school children and it isn’t working. In fact, it’s totally missing the point. I am disgusted that school employees are now using behavior correction and they even think it’s helpful. I am terrified that as a school employee I’m going to have to praise kids for sitting quietly and be obedient. Ugh.

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  • Ron, I have found, as a so-called consumer of MH services, that a very good therapist is so hard to find that for most, it’s nearly impossible. Those who are on a low income or on dis-ability who are forced into poverty usually have no choice in therapists or do not get one at all. I found, as did others, that finding one that had any clue of what they were doing with ED patients was next to impossible. Your chances of finding one at an agency that takes public assistance insurance is next to nil.

    In some states, the combination of Medicaid AND Medicare will cause a worsening of all sorts of care. Providers find the paperwork exhausting and many will not do it. Even after filling out the forms, they are often refused. This isn’t true in all states. Do you, as a provider, take Welfare-type insurances? I assume you have a sliding scale…but when I was on dis-ability, even $60 a session was much, much more than I could afford. I’m surprised at the providers that do not even realize this! Welfare recipients struggle to pay a $5 copay!

    I have confronted therapists on their insanely high fees, and guess what invariably happens? They do not want to talk to me anymore. I’m dismissed as yet one more poor person they do not want to deal with. Even now, when I see something that, in my opinion, is way overpriced, even if I can afford it now, I will not buy the product or service. Let that be the complaint statement.

    When I finished life coach training, I convened with other grads of the program who scoffed at me for lowering my fees. The message was very clear. “We don’t even want to serve those poor people.” There you have it. I was so disgusted with their attitude that I closed my business.

    How many therapists in the USA are not in the business of insulting people with a diagnosis? Very few. You may not, but most therapists, sadly, do. Most therapists will insult you further by telling you you have some inner problem, such as “poor coping,” when really, the problem is totally external or physical.

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  • I was having a hard time getting through the comments, for some reason….

    Anyway, I am very glad this book came out. I just had a really negative experience with CBT. I purchased a self-help CBT book that focused on trauma. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The book talked down to readers. It was so insulting I just had to put it down.

    Not only that, the so-called coping methods were just plain idiotic, or just so obvious it was common sense. Most reminded me so much of the “hospitals” that caused the trauma in the first place. Why on earth would I ever want to hold onto ice cubes? Oh please! I couldn’t read any further. What next? Stuffed animals?

    Finally, I confronted the real question: Why would I want to obliterate my emotions? What’s to “cope with” if I am coping just fine? I do not find certain emotions uncomfortable at all. The book totally missed the mark for me.

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  • I was certainly in total agreement with this article for quite some time, when we got to the “therapy” part I started flinching.

    There is therapy for the rich, and therapy for the rest of us. Ninety percent of so-called therapists will immediately send a voice-hearer to a psychiatrist. Most therapists will tell a voice-hearer that he or she has an “illness” or a “defective brain.”

    The best therapists will cost you money. If you’ve been put out of work by the System, you aren’t going to be able to afford a decent therapist. Those of us who were on dis-ability payments couldn’t afford even the lowest fees. Not only that, searching for a decent one is hit or miss.

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  • I agree wholeheartedly, Ron, that some ways that we try to help ourselves are not productive. Some people go out drinking, which is often very unhelpful and can be destructive.

    However, not everyone deals with adversity in an unhealthy manner. A person might go out running, for instance. I found found for myself that I do better without that so-called help. Why? Because the absence of that help gives me the space to find the answer within myself. It is there, and in fact, it always was. When you have “help” in your life, you will turn to that help and then, lose your trust in yourself and your own ability to solve problems.

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  • Wow, This is so, so amazing. I’m about halfway through the podcast while I am writing this. Caroline is someone I would certainly want to meet. I am Jewish and also a psych survivor. I could certainly relate to everything Caroline said here.

    I wish there was a text version of this. The absence of a text version was why I missed this.

    Will, Jews do not try to convert others. Proselytizing is either discouraged or possibly considered to against our laws. Jews do not make any effort to convert others.

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  • Steve,

    I totally agree when you say, “Stop diagnosing!” I don’t think we need a new diagnostic code for various behaviors that authority figures do not like. I do not agree that a “small percentage” of so-called MI have a diagnosible physical problem. Not having enough to eat, for any reason, is physical, or sometimes, having certain hormones out of whack. Never mind the environmental problems, such as “no heat in the house” or, “patient lives in very unsafe housing.”

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  • I hear what you are saying, Ron, but there is no way I’m going to agree that this person with expertise has to be a so-called mental health professional.

    The person might be a drug dealer, who sees someone who has become psychotic from street drugs. A drug dealer very well knows the bad effects of street drugs.

    The person might be an attorney, who can be very helpful in instances of child abuse or spousal abuse.

    An endocrinologist will immediately and quickly notice if a person’s depression comes from a thyroid issue.

    An optometrist will find out that disorientation and poor ability to communicate come from vision problems.

    A politician, too, can help, by raising public awareness about problems such as sexual harassment, child abuse, and more.

    All these folks are, as you say, “helpers who have to know more than the average person.” As I see it, therapy professionals are only one part of it. I find it scary and dangerous indeed when I start hearing therapists claim to be the only experts. I find it concerning when I hear the general public see mental health professionals that way, too. Some are insightful and wise, others are certainly not, and that’s true in all walks of life.

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  • By the way, Peter Simons, your articles here are totally awesome. Your ability to see through the medical literature (and its lies) is astounding.

    We need to attack these fraudulent industries, such as psychiatry and its ilk, with every weapon we have. We need mathematicians to analyze their so-called studies. We need scientific experts in electricity to see through the claims about ECT. The article here (can’t find link right away) which was published recently about the high levels of electrical current used in ECT (no, it’s not therapy!) is so amazing. We need sociologists, also, to see through their lies. We need financial people of all sorts, who show their deep concern over pharmaceutical fraud.

    We need artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and dancers to tell the truth to the world.

    We have so many weapons to use to fight this. We must unite. We must stop fighting against each other, which is more fuel for THEM, and instead, embrace our differences.

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  • Whether or not you see “autism” as legitimate, or any of these other behavior problems, the very fact that these drugs can affect the development of a child is extremely scary.

    The field of psychiatry and other specialists who advise pregnant and nursing mothers needs to WAKE UP for sure.

    My friend was taking anti-d drugs while pregnant. I do not know if she breast-fed the child. If she ever put two and two together and realized that the drugs had damaged her child, I doubt she ever wanted to face up to it. That would be the hardest thing to admit to oneself.

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  • Not only that, now that I am on this subject, many people have approached me and told me stuff like, “I went to college and didn’t know how to handle eating at the dining commons.” “If only I had known that going on an extreme diet would do this.” “I didn’t know how to cook.” “I didn’t realize that losing ten pounds shouldn’t be done in two weeks. I wish I had known.”

    Teens so often go on extreme diets due to not knowing the potential harm in it. The reasons are varied but certainly not liking oneself is only one of them.

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  • Ron, I cannot find your comment that you put on my comment. When I stated that a supposedly “bad” emotion is one that makes therapists upset, I really meant not just therapists, but the entire influence the MH industry has had on the media. Therapy contributes to it by convincing people to think everything under the sun is a mental problem.

    People think anger is bad. No, it’s not. It’s what you do with it. Due to rampant assumptions people make, people assume that anger automatically means the person feeling that anger is uncomfortable and it needs fixing.

    I’m not at all uncomfortable with my own feelings of anger. I don’t go out hurting anyone and I don’t do self-harming behaviors. People assume I, and others, can’t handle these emotions. This is projection indeed. I’m okay with feeling angry. Yes, I can handle it and what I ultimately do with it is up to me.

    That said, I’ve made mistakes. Can I be human now and then?

    I had a job that badly sucked, and after that, I had to recover. How did I resolve it? By doing writing, but not just journal writing, but writing in a way that helps other people and contributes to activism.

    There was, indeed, a recovery period. I had to recover from the job, and that was not easy. Is it okay to feel like crap for a little while? I think it’s fine, and human. People are oh-so-quick to rush in and try to fix something that likely shouldn’t be meddled with.

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  • Paula, this is true. But all women and girls have pressure on them. ED is on the rise. I think that’s because psychiatry and the ED industry realized they could make a few bucks off of us. I have seen it myself. Kids start going to those treatment centers, and then, they turn into revolving door syndromes. I think psychiatry and psychology need to butt out and quit calling it a mental disorder.

    There are plenty of environmental issues (pollution, ozone layer, drugs) that contribute to cancer. In fact, environmental issues, and especially stress and poverty, cause an awful lot of diseases out there. Just because stress and poverty cause disease does not make all those diseases mental disorders.

    I went through both binge eating and anorexia, and yes, you do suffer from these. Most of us truly wanted to be able to eat normally. I felt like I would rather have breast cancer than an ED. By the time you’ve been through years of therapy, drugging, and incarceration, the original reason why you went on that first diet gets completely lost and buried. Because psych and big money took over ED, it now perpetuates the problem, gives people more diagnoses, leading to “success” rates that are an embarrassment, though they will not admit this.

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  • I see another choice out there. There is something to recover from. The mental health system!

    I have a chapter in my book on social media and mad pride. Only I titled the chapter something else. I do not think it’s a good idea for people to use social media to boast about how sick they are. There’s kind of a cult around that. If you do that, you’re going to attract followers who are morbidly fascinated with illness and death. The very presence of followers is like a reward. Get sicker, get more admirers. The formula looks lucrative until you realize they aren’t very good friends.

    This is an addictive tendency, sorry to say. It is a vicious cycle. I have seen people go down a very bad path doing that. I fear that Mad Pride is stoking the fire for this. I don’t think this was the original intent of Mad Pride.

    On the other hand, I believe our society needs to be more accepting of human variety of expression. There are no bad emotions, only ones that make therapists upset. This translates in a bunch of mythology being generated in the media, that dreams up a new disorder every day! They post a new disorder, and people immediately latch onto it and then, it’s another disaster, another new doorway to the nuthouse. Pssst…someone certainly profits from it!

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  • I couldn’t agree more, Stephen. My friends all pulled away from me when times got tough and when I was homeless they refused to help at all. Such is human nature.

    One time, I got on Facebook and asked if anyone had a spare room. I got unfriended for that, or blocked. Then my same Facebook friend that had given me the cold shoulder offered a room in his place to a different friend. I was bewildered. Makes you lose faith in humanity.

    What was really the worst part of it was when people started acting scared of me. Relocating totally cured that, thankfully. Disorder of the community…..

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  • I have worked in a school. Yup, absolutely. The parents are indeed opposed and generally have a more realistic view of their kids’ struggles than the school does. The schools focus on behavior only. If you are cutting class because you know how to do it, and playing video games is more fun anyway, the school will label you. Then they get Medicaid funding to hire and aide to act as policewoman, generally only to make sure the kids stay in class so the school won’t be sued.

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  • Rassulus, I agree that the main concern of therapists, or shall I say, “therapists,” is that if we abolish therapy, they won’t have jobs.

    I don’t buy that at all. Too bad! How many patients and expatients on here have stated that psychiatry stole their career? And that’s okay?

    Should we feel sorry for them? I don’t. Get another job, for godsakes. We writers call it a “day job.” Bag groceries. That’s what one shrink told me to do, if I recall correctly. Okay, so they ruined my career and that’s their answer? Go work for Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s. They’re always looking for people.

    Funny, they counsel people who are jobless, feel oh so sorry for us…fake empathy…and then they panic over their own potential joblessness.

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  • I was discussing this with a family member last night. Memory was also a frequent topic of discussion in writing school.

    Most of the time, with memoir, we trust the writer. This comes not from how believable the story is, but consistency in the writer’s voice. Occasionally you have the case of the unreliable narrator, a narrator whose story you might doubt because, as a reader, you might think the drunk, dreaming, or somehow, deluded.

    I believe now that all writers of memoir are to some extent, unreliable. We do not remember perfectly. Readers understand this, though. We are human, and humans aren’t perfect. We also prioritize. My brother, for instance, remembers not only the makes and models of every single car we had, but even recalls the type of engine, the history of the model, and how well it performed. I, on the other hand, could care less about cars and all I remember are the various adventures we had in each one, and what my parents named them. And of course, the little songs my mom made up about a couple of them. My other brother remembers absolutely nothing, or claims this anyway. I do not remember much math. I recall I was quite good at it and aced calculus, but still, I recall very little of it. I don’t use it in my daily life, which is likely the reason. This doesn’t mean I did not, at one time, know a lot of math. And it doesn’t mean I’m delusional that I ever took calculus.

    In writing school, we talked about truth vs accuracy. We tend to remember the basic truth about an event, which is our truth. Time may alter our exact recollection of the details. In writing, the readers aren’t going to care about the accuracy of details as much as they care about the message behind the story.

    That particular workshop struck me more than any other I attended at Goddard. The instructor gave us amazing examples of how memories alter over time. We talked about the importance of telling and re-telling our stories.

    It is very true that stories change over time. My story of ECT changed as I began to put the pieces together. The
    ECT part of my memoir I wrote in 2009 (and published) did not mention the ECT. It did illustrate that for a year and a half, I was very out of it. The entire time I wrote the memoir, I did not realize that ECT was the cause. So if I were to re-tell that story, and I have indeed done so, it comes out much different, but the story’s core truth remains the same. What changed and evolved over time was my interpretation of that story.

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  • Attorney Karen, YOU TOTALLY ROCK!

    Can we make a case for those who were damaged, and then, the damage was covered up? That is, we were lied to not only before, but after the fact?

    My own ECT story, which I sent to the FDA in 2016, was ignored, tossed out totally because I did not provide “studies.” I guess they are completely uneducated and do not realize that memoir, which is based on what a person went through, doesn’t need proof. In fact, unnecessarily backing up your statements likely discredits you.

    Here is a link for anyone that wants it:

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  • Financial concerns can lead to extreme stress, especially if your credit score drops. I worked for a bank for a while. There were days, many days, when the most rewarding part was telling people not to give up. I even shared tiny parts of my own story, how I had a low credit score (it crashed) and I shared with them how I brought it back up. I can’t say how many times I was thanked. I had to be very careful because I couldn’t do anything that would be seen by the supervisors as “advice.”

    There is a point at which you might get enough money to live on, and then, all that stress totally goes away.

    Might I add, also, that the mental health system will wreck your credit score. The most common reason that people of any age failed to pay their bills and got way behind was hospitalization. As a customer service representative, I knew better than to ask these folks what got them into the hospital. They often volunteered this information. Heart attack was quite common, as was cancer. Of course, those that were in for psych were not going to say so.

    When you are in a hospital, it is very hard to pay bills. You often have no way to get to an online banking website. ECT or drugs might cause you to forget to pay or to forget your PIN, or to go into overdraft for a variety of reasons. Of course, you aren’t getting a paycheck for being in there, either, unless you have accumulated an awful lot of sick time.

    After a while, I carried a check in my wallet. I was so scared of being snatched up and not being able to pay my rent. That, to me, is sad.

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  • Kumininexile, what an awesome comment!

    I, too, love this article. I am very uncomfortable about income inequity. I am finding that some people, even people who have had a lot of education (this gets paid for , too!), have no awareness of the struggles one goes through when one is underemployed, on disability, or facing huge debts.

    I remember counting pennies so that I could get the rent paid. I was walking down the street one day and this couple was getting out of their truck, arguing over whether to use the pennies they had left to pay for food or diapers.

    I have met people who have absolutely no clue. They think that homelessness is an attitude problem, that all you have to do is meditate and that makes everything hunky-dory. Please note who it is that is pushing this…..Not the poor!

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  • As I said in my email to you, I do not object to word “disorder.” I do object to “mental disorder” or “mental illness.” I do feel, as said, that ED is a nutritional disorder and does not belong in the DSM (not that anything does…the book needs to be classified at a hate book, a book of eugenics). It should be taught in nutrition schools. It isn’t. Not only that, most insurance plans don’t cover nutrition, not unless you’re diabetic or have kidney disease. Maybe that’s because nutritional counseling does help, and psychiatry would lose money if people could freely access it. In fact, learning about nutrition does help a lot of people, no matter what the issue is.

    I do not think for one minute that ED is a brain disease. I know it isn’t caused by perfectionism or poor self-esteem. All of these are myths imposed on patients, as is the use of incarceration and force, often to their detriment.

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  • I have been concerned about this for a while. Even apps like Sleepio are concerning to me.

    I worked for Crisis Texting Line and quit very quickly. First of all, anyone contacting them is subject to mandatory reporting. Secondly, I did not want to be a volunteer bot. I was unimpressed with the training. Thirdly, this app collects data. In fact, they’re very proud of that, and include it in their advertising.

    There’s also some kind of therapist-for-hire that works via texting. The service is insanely expensive, $75 for a texting therapist? Huh? I tried this a long time ago and was unimpressed and asked for my money back.

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  • Let me remind people that Binge Eating Disorder was not recognized by the APA until Vyvanse was determined as a drug to “fix” it. I have an MIA article on this.

    This happened in 2013. At the time, I kept wondering why the APA took that long to figure it out. I thought they were just stupid. Yes, that too….

    I kept wondering if their refusal to recognize BED as significant was why my complaints were ignored for decades.

    BED is certainly real, and you will very much suffer from it. However, it is a mistake that some people think (and I did, too!) that it comes from a “chemical imbalance of the brain.”

    It is true that it comes from a chemical imbalance, but not what people think. Malnutrition is a very real, very serious chemical imbalance!

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  • Yes, Oldhead, it’s interesting that many on the left talk about “right to treatment” like it was really treatment! It’s more like “right to have your rights taken away.”

    I am seeing distrust on both sides of the fence. I am very impressed by the Health Freedom movement. Most naturopaths will steer their patients (patients?) away from psychiatry. Many will even encourage you to reject a lot of Western medicine, too. I have a chapter on how to choose a naturopath. One of the things I say is that many will send you a “disclaimer” reminding you that what you do is your choice. People think this is an attempt to get themselves out of messy legal situations. Actually, the statement is a reminder to make your own decisions! This concept is one I also discuss throughout the book.

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  • Catnight, only one therapist ever said that to me. He said he does very short-term therapy that might be one or two sessions. This was a tapping therapist. He focused on trauma. I think he was the last therapist I ever saw. I had just been abused in the hospital (inpatient medical ward) and I have to give him credit for totally believing me. I saw another one for a free session only, via Skype. She told me, “You don’t need a therapist. You need a lawyer!”

    I have spoken to a few career coaches. Funny how survival with these people means omitting 35 years of my life.

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  • I agree, Oldhead. I state this many times throughout the book, reminding people that there’s no validity to these diagnonsenses. As a writer, though, I have to gently bring the reader to the point of realizing it themselves. As we say, “Show, don’t tell.” It is more powerful that way.

    For instance, in various parts of the book I explain that one psychiatrist on a ward diagnosed every single patient with “bipolar.” We were baffled by this. Some had just left other wards where they were given other diagnoses. Another psychiatrist labeled all female patients with “anger problems.” We knew because we compared notes. We joked about it, too.

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  • It IS child abuse to fabricate a diagnosis. We need to think about this because when it comes to the psychiatrization (hmm) of children, this could be a vehicle for nailing social workers and behavior specialists who force children into diagnoses. It would also constitute child abuse for a parent to bring a child to a psychiatrist with the intent of having the child drugged for either their convenience or to collect disability payments for the child.

    As far as adults are concerned, I am not sure where false diagnosis comes into play. I would suspect it falls under malpractice, but it would be much harder to pursue legally.

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  • I remember decades ago when we were all on lithium, a guy told me lithium had given him “diabetes.” I asked him why he thought he had diabetes and he said he knew because he was always thirsty. Sad to say, I was sure he was mistaken. He really meant diabetes insipidus, which has no relation to the other diabetes, although with the other diabetes, thirst can be a sign. The guy also told me about the urine experimentation. I was sure he was nuts! It took me decades before I found out it was indeed true. I also remember being in a “group” where this one guy frequently had to rush out. Again, I figured it was his “mental illness.” This was certainly not why. He was rushing out because he had diarrhea. He also had the shakes really badly and the beginnings of TD.

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  • I just want to say I was one of the patients that was paid $10 cash to be interviewed in front of the one-way mirror. It was 1997. I ran into the resident later on. I asked him if he “passed” the mock interview. He said he did not. Now that I look back, I wonder what he diagnosed me with. They thought I had BPD back then but what I was truly suffering from was aftereffects of ECT. What they did by totally mishearing me like that was a crime. After I left McLean that diagnosis mysteriously disappeared off my record, never to return. So I ask myself now what on earth he diagnosed me with that they disagreed with. Of course, if he had said, “Brain damage from shock” they would have immediately silenced him. I do not recall that guy’s name, either.

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  • I think the consensus here is very clear. Of course this is only my opinion, but I think the real change is going to come from the underclass, the poorest of the poor, many of them mental patients or ex-patients. This is where I personally see the largest revolt, and it is already starting. What is the word sociologists use? Proletariat.

    We can certainly eat their cake. What is going to happen, though, when we refuse their Kool Aid?

    Public health experts who deal with statistics are often saying that the poor do not have access to health care, or shall I say, “health care,” and see doctors less often, and therefore, must be very unhealthy. But no. The Revolution is already starting. People are finding that a lot of natural medicine is cheap or free. The best of it you will find in your grocery store, but the free stuff is priceless. Like, say, sunshine. Hugs. Your dog. Okay, okay, agreeably, dogs do cost money, but it’s a small price to pay for saving your own life.

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  • Hmm…that didn’t work. Paula I want to thank you for pointing this out and I hope you have a bit more influence on MIA than I possibly could. I saw the diagnoses harming the kids with whom I worked. They said to me literally. “I do not like being singled out.” And other stuff they told me. They weren’t able to articulate it because I do not think the families or the kids been fully informed. They did not know that they were seen as future delinquents, but the distrust that they were treated with likely told them exactly what the message was.

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  • Paula, thank you. I agree with you and also, I do not think that MIA should continue to uphold MH degreed people as “experts.” Those of us who have been locked up and know what it is like are more “expert” than they are. Why are we not heard? I am especially furious at Daniel Mackler, who brilliantly denounces his own profession and then, has the nerve to use his credentials as proof of his expertise. Huh? You can’t have it both ways…..

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  • Alex, a person needs to have enough money to live on. For a while, I did not. I couldn’t afford a place that was habitable. This meant living with unbearable neighbor noise, rats, a flood, mold, and a landlord that threatened me, cut off my electricity and threatened to cut the water, too. That is what happens when you do not have enough money to live on.

    Artists generally do not get paid enough to live on, either. I faced this as a kid. How would I support myself in a male-dominated field of music composition? I was so scared I was going to be doomed to waitressing. At my last job waitressing I had been sexually assaulted. Was all work like that? I didn’t know. That fear was one of the things that drove me into the mental health system.

    Now if I could have found a way to get paid as a composer, I would not have had anything to fear. There was no way that I knew of, not at the time.

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  • I discovered nootropics back in 2013. I was certainly not seeking a “brain boost.” As Dragon Slayer pointed out, you have to have brains in the first place. What I was looking for was something to help me with binge eating. Some of these nootropics really did help! After a while, I stopped taking them. I discovered pine nut oil, which worked! Then, I ended up realizing that other healthy fats will work just as well, and cost much less.

    I was a person who binged not when I was hungry, but right after a meal. Leaving psychiatry allowed me to study this scientifically. I figured out that all it takes is a few binges to get physically hooked. This is how it works: The body learns fast that it is going to be subject to a major onslaught of calories. Since it knows this, it braces itself by shooting up the insulin level. Now, you’re almost guaranteed to binge! The reason why people binge in response to “food triggers” is not psychological, but actually what happens is that the body decides that certain triggers are a warning that a binge is coming. This leads to a sudden rise in insulin.

    I was absolutely right when I knew, even back in 1983, that forcing the binge eating to stop would stop the cycle and at least give me a chance to beat it. I was doing the right thing when I put myself in the hospital. Of course, it was a heavy price to pay and a very roundabout way of doing things.

    I am putting this here in hopes that anyone suffering from binge eating might learn from my experiences, not that what I learned necessarily applies to anyone else, but maybe this will be helpful.

    I realized that eating some kind of fat, olive oil or nuts included, in the beginning of a meal will help prevent a binge. Gradually, I stopped bingeing. I stopped starving myself. It is great not having to worry about it constantly.

    I have revisited nootropics recently because after all these years I still have drug-induced insomnia. While yes, nootropics aren’t the best thing for you, I have to consider the harm that sleep deprivation does to my body (and my social life!), and weigh the pros and cons. I’m sticking with nootropics for now. I’ve been able to taper a little bit, too. I’m still tinkering with the dose.

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  • Daniel Fisher, I am so, so happy you mentioned that. They did the Rogers thing to my late boyfriend. That’s how they forced him to take “meds.” He kept telling me the “meds” were poison and he would not take them. He was right. The “meds” killed him. I’m convinced that what happened was a combo of “meds” and smoking, but the smoking was due to “meds.” The meds make it nearly impossible to quit smoking.

    I believe they were trying to do that to me, but they did not succeed. I was so, so lucky! They were pushing Zyprexa on me. I had tried it back in 1997 and the doc stopped the drug almost immediately and told me I should not take it. I knew it would cause ridiculous weight gain. I found out that this was their aim. However, it has already been proven beyond a doubt that forcing weight gain by coercing a person onto antipsychotic drugs does not cure anorexia, and very often, it worsens ED. I’d already been through it! It took me a while but I figured out that they wanted to get me on the injectable. Their aim was to try out the Zyprexa just to see what happened, and then, get me into a psych ward, sending me to my doom.

    One reason the psych wards wouldn’t take me (thank goodness) is that my kidneys had failed. This meant too much liability. An outside agency came in to evaluate me. The conclusion was that any agitation I was displaying was due to the abuse by hospital personnel and due to the extreme noise level on the hospital floor. Thanks to those very young crisis workers, I was freed from that horrible place.

    It took me a very long time to recover from the abuse trauma to even get to a point where I was functional. All these years I have not really had anyone to talk to about what happened. No, anger isn’t a disorder. It is a normal and expected reaction to abuse. (Do I need to boldface that?) I relied on writing to help me. Even now, I can get very worked up if I am re-traumatized. Very slowly, I’m getting over it, piece by piece. I channel the anger into activism. It makes me a better activist for sure.

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  • yeah, good point there. “Alternative medicine” is regularly debunked by Western Med because many of those alternatives are a threat to pharma and the medical device companies.

    They already know, for instance, a way to survive without dialysis. They don’t want us to know. They use excuses like, “That’s only done in poor countries” but guess what? Alternatives make a whole lot more sense than invasive surgery to create a fistula, and then, putting a person on a machine. For life. Or shall I say for the rest of one’s life that you wish you never chose.

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  • I gotta laugh, DS. I had this awesome tooth fairy named Danny. I even exchanged letters with Danny. I loved that more than anything. Imagine a tooth fairy who writes back! Funny, though, Danny’s handwriting changed sometimes, from the right-handed, angular writing of my dad, to the beautiful left-handed script my mom wrote. Hmm…was Danny DID? Of course, that wasn’t up for debate. No, he was a real tooth fairy. Of course.

    I did know that Santa and the Easter Bunny were fake. Those were for Christian children, not for me. Not my chimney! No fat guy would fit down there, and I seriously wondered about any chimney on the block. Now if only people would realize that mental illness is a similar delusion, but oddly, grownups are the ones who believe this. Kids generally know better. Till they get brainwashed.

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  • I agree that many participants, in particular, the lowest level “staff,” will certainly need to recover. Imagine how terrible it would be to come to the realization that putting someone in solitary was unbelievably cruel. Strapping someone to a bed meant you had abused them. I bet most “staff” would be scared to admit it. It hurts too much, likely, so they avoid coming to this realization even if it is staring them in the face.

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  • Naw, I don’t think it’s inadvertent if their goal is to make us obedient. If we are, that’s called “responding to treatment.” I have to laugh because when I was incarcerated the stupid nurses claimed that if I went to group it would show that I was “better.” No, it would show that I was submitting myself to idiot groups like Bingo which were insulting and demeaning to many of us.

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  • PD, I think of those recovery modalities as as “psychiatry’s little sister.” They are part of psychiatry. When I say I am antipsych, I really also mean the entire MH system. Incarceration, brainwashing, labeling, the whole bit. It all has to go. It’s all harmful. I do not care how “nice” a therapist is. Unless their real goal is to keep a person away from the System (which is hugely ironic anyway, as they are part of it), or a therapist that helps someone escape, then I certainly have no use for it. If they’re doing that, then it’s not therapy. It’s something else.

    The best therapists share information and that only. Might be information like, “Did you know that taking that drug will put you at risk for diabetes?” “Have you noticed that ever since you entered the MH system, your life has gone further and further downhill.” This would useful. Most will not even come close.

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  • I do not think psych drugs should go off the market. I think prescribing should go off the market. What if people could go out to a pharmacy and purchase whatever they wanted? This would lower the god-like power AND the economic power of the MD. People would no longer go to an MD to get a “refill.” Why, when if you want drugs that badly, you can go buy them? In my opinion, “prescribing” psych drugs takes no brains at all. Anyone can go find one of those charts and figure out how to titrate if they want the drugs that badly. I know that is what they rely on. Charts. Anyone can read one. However, if they knew the real effects of the drugs, I doubt many would purchase them. Some would, of course, but likely they would not stay on them. Who wants a drug like Zyprexa which will soon enough make you very very fat? Remember that awesome video done by the Zyprexa rep who finally spoke out? Yes, it’s really true…you can indeed tell someone on psych drugs a mile away, especially if you have had the experience yourself. Twitching, agitation, being very overweight, and unkempt appearance because if you are fighting off fatigue and the urge to pace, who is really going to care about grooming, anyway? Never mind they make us so poor we can’t afford decent clothes.

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  • Stephen, that was pretty much my parents experience of NAMI. Back then, it was a gripe group about kids that refused so-called treatment. They asked why this was happening and the parents talked about ways they could trick their kids into agreeing. My dad told me, “I’m so glad you are compliant because I would not want to do that.” Still, he was somewhat baffled by my unquestioning worship of my doctors. He tried to get me to question their actions. I know there were times my parents would call them up and question. Instead of joining in, I was a bit peeved that they doubted the gods. One time, my dad told me to write down if they ever did anything dubious.

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  • It is comforting to some people that they can just send the person to a mental health professional and use that as an excuse not to talk to that person. Been through it myself, when people said to me, “That’s for the therapist’s office. Why don’t you talk to her?” Thing was, I really did not have anyone to talk to back then and the therapy was abusive.

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  • That is a great question, KateL. If your brother was wandering around in a store and psychosis wasn’t considered a disease, then my guess is they would not have called the cops. He wasn’t doing anything illegal and I’m sure he felt very threatened by the presence of the cops. I would, too, if a cop approached me and I wasn’t a crook. Hmm…if I was a crook, I’d also feel rather nervous.

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  • Phil, I totally agree. If we get rid of psychiatry, we won’t be calling depression or any other problem a disease. We will know that these are not diseases at all, but meanwhile, we will validate people’s suffering even more since it’s not a disease they can use as an excuse. It IS suffering, for many people. It’s not permanent and the “effects” of drugs doesn’t prove that there was at any time, a “chemical imbalance.” This is backwards logic for sure.

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  • Dragon slayer, you’re not alone. I remember, for example, I tried to get the Foundation for Excellence to help me publicize my anthology. They flat out refused. I will never forget that. They said that I had no expertise to be doing the project. Is an MFA in creative writing not enough to edit a collection of writings? Since when is a MH professional more qualified? They actually aren’t. Wow, I was so furious that I refuse to read their newsletters. By the way, the project failed due to lack of submissions. The Foundation for Excellence is not the only organization that refused to help publicize. I need to cry over that. Yet one more project I was not able to get off the ground because honestly, I hate selling anything.

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  • I think one of the most abusive things that psych does is to put people out of work. Once we are out of the workforce, they can pretty much do anything. Schedule multiple appointments, even day programs. People who are put out of work are not likely to be able to return. We have no work history to fall back on. I am lucky I got employed and now, I have enough work history so that I do not arouse suspicion. Trying to get a mortgage, though, they asked for tax returns going back a few years. Telling them I was out of the country did not work. Because my work has been independent contractor they said I had to have a solid work history for two years. I found out about a mortgage opportunity that I likely qualify for. However, I decided to hold off anyway. I want to have the option to move anytime I want.

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  • I agree. Many therapists do transfer whatever is going on with them. I remember some of the therapists said they had abusive parents. Sure enough, they imposed this on their patients regularly. Interestingly, they imposed whatever type of abuse they themselves had been through. For some of us, this created false memories and split up families.

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  • Wow, good point, Stephen. I was a patient back in the days when psychiatry and even therapy was considered dubious, far out, and wacko. Hardly anyone engaged in their “services” and I don’t recall most of us buying into their false logic. I did not. My decision to try therapy (for an eating disorder) was pretty much due to peer pressure from an employer I had worked for. Interestingly, he was one of the most self-absorbed people I had ever met. Back in the late 1970s, this mentality was frowned upon. I was brought up told that it was something you avoided. I remember feeling very guilty if ever I came close. At the time, I was truly disgusted with the employer, although I kept that to myself. I decided to “try” therapy, thinking I’d only do it for the summer. I got sucked right in. Therapy was extremely addicting. I was in the system over a year before I took drugs…and believe it or not, I begged for them.

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  • Szasz was totally awesome. I love reading him. He is truly a great writer and entertaining, also. I cannot put him down. All this rather amazing considering technically, he was a shrink. My experience of shrinks is that they lack intelligence and lack insight into pretty much everything. My parents were shocked over this, too, and the lacking of the “staff” also. “They just don’t seem very smart,” my mom said. Was anyone listening? Apparently it did not sink in with me for decades.

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  • Dr. Goetche (sorry, I do not know how to do the special character to make the proper spelling), I love that you pointed out that as soon as a person is forcibly incarcerated, anything that happens is forced. Of course it is. You’re behind locked doors! And might I add that in the USA, any incarceration is involuntary. You may sign a “conditional voluntary” paper, but you sign it when you’re on the ward already. Also, once you are there, you can’t get out. Not voluntary! Anyone who thinks it is voluntary is surely deluded.

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  • Wasn’t it Pink Floyd that said, “Leave the kids alone!” I think that was from “The Wall,” but I’m not sure.

    Oh, now I remember, “Teacher, leave those kids alone.” Those were the words.

    I was working in education and I saw them try to fit the kids into the ADHD box. This worked out great for the kid on occasion because he was able to use his “severe attention disorder” as excuse to skip school. He couldn’t pay attention or he got distracted…He knew what was going on.

    Funny, they said to me, “We have to know that he’s in school. If he is skipping school, and goes and robs a bank, the school would be held responsible.” Now this made no sense given his age, and also, if he was supposedly that distracted then how could he concentrate well enough to pull off a bank robbery? I was so concerned that already, he was tagged as a juvenile delinquent.

    One day, after my job had really gotten bad, I was crying so hard I could not contain myself. When you see abuse via diagnosis and coercing onto disability, for me, it was so upsetting that I started to refuse to do my job. I wanted to be kind instead, and they didn’t like this very much.

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  • Wow, Fred, that is terrible that 1. you were injured in a car accident and 2. that they decided it was a mental disorder. Yes, I agree, we all need an apology and some should get some monetary reparations. I keep thinking the lost wages for 35 years would certainly get me a big sum. I think, also, they should pay back American taxpayers who paid a bundle for my fake treatment. This includes ECT. If anyone thinks that was therapy, they’re delusional.

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  • Bruce, I experienced the retaliation first hand. I never spoke out against them until I was abused in a hospital…I was 53 and they deprived me of water. There was no argument here, this is not a “perception” or “opinion.” I have diabetes insipidus and they really could have killed me by doing what they did. Never mind the verbal and physical abuse as well.

    After that, I was so badly traumatized that I ended up not being able to handle it and they hospitalized me. The doctor there tried to get me into a state hospital but I guess it did not work, so they let me go after 26 days. I kept wondering why that had happened but now I realize that they felt they had to silence me.

    I tried telling my therapist and she insisted the unit I said I was on did not exist. Really? Possibly she was psychotic. I am not sure.

    That silenced me, except in my blog where I complained about it bitterly and repeatedly. This was a way for me to heal from the trauma. One day, must have been about a year and a half after the trauma, the same hospital, Mass General, told me over the phone that my insurance did not cover therapy there. This was actually a lie. I knew that what they had told me was somehow not legal. I put that in my blog and up on Twitter.

    Now, MGH had caught wind of what I was doing. I believe it was April that I went for my monthly “meds check” (ick) and my doctor chewed me out, yelling and hissing at me…really very bad and “mentally ill” behavior. I was so embarrassed I didn’t know what to do. I was sure that others in that office suite (8th floor of the Wang building, Wang 815, if anyone cares) had heard her. I knew they likely thought it was some patient “going off.” I am not sure how she explained it all to her colleagues later on. Anyway, she insisted I take an antipsychotic, saying, “Any antipsychotic will do, just take it! I’m giving you this drug to stop you from writing!” She explained that her administration had insisted on this, specifically to silence me. After that, after I had been seeing her 12 years, I fired her. My last appointment was June.

    In August, 2013, that’s when my kidneys failed. I made the major mistake of telling them it was okay to contact my former psychiatrist. That’s when they started abusing me very badly. Physical abuse, verbal abuse, etc. Before that, they had been quite sweet to me. They tried to force me many times to take an antipsychotic drug. They also tried to have me committed to a psych ward. When it was clear that this may not be possible, they then told me they wouldn’t let me out unless I took Zyprexa. I took one pill because they were threatening me so badly. I believe their intention was to get me onto an injectable. That did not happen. They had an outside team evaluate me and they determined that I wasn’t a danger to anyone and then, the hospital was forced to let me out. I promised them I would go to a day program. Just to make sure I did not have a cop raid, I went three days, and then, quit.

    I saw one other shrink who insisted I had not been abused, that I was “psychotic” and she said “If you refuse to take an antipsychotic, you have no use for me.” I was very happy not to have any use for her. She also asked me five times if I had a gun and if I felt like killing anyone. Huh? I never saw a shrink again. I saw a nephrologist for kidney disease and after he threatened me, I realized I was going to have to leave ASAP. I did! I left the country.

    Even then, I had online bullies. I believe they were hired people and likely, it was MGH that hired them. I managed to use spam filters to get rid of them.

    In 2017, I had a speaking engagement lined up. Months passed and after they published the list of speakers, apparently some unknown person called the conference organizer and then I was then canned. I did not find out who it was. Likely, they told her I was psychotic. I’m so, so tired of these accusations. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not, but these assholes out there continue to accuse. I think they do not want to hear my story, or they want my story totally discredited.

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  • Bruce, this is so amazing. You are one of THEIR worst enemies. I hope you keep yourself well protected because THEY tend to retaliate. I love your writings so much and because of this I am very very proud to call myself antiauthoritarian. I hope to get a diagnosis of the severest form of oppositional defiant disorder possible. Disorder? No, it is what keeps me alive, keeps me speaking out when others cannot or are afraid to, keeps me telling the truth. I must do this, as I see it as a sacred duty as a writer. I really hope they hate me, too. I should add, too, that I was a Lou Reed fan. Now I know why.

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  • Yes, very true, Steve Spiegel. I do have “problems” now that were created by psychiatry. I have abuse trauma and it affects me all the time. It changed me, changed the person I am. I was also harmed by their drugs. I have to deal with kidney disease now, which of course I solve by natural medicine and not their medicine. I have drug-induced insomnia which I believe, as of right now, I have finally solved. Eight years of insomnia turning me into a bitch…..But now it seems to be solved.

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  • Yes, it is sad that Jamison recommended that people poison their kidneys. Ever wonder why we “mental patients” had pimples? Lithium caused this. The first signs of the kidney destruction will appear in the skin. Your skin, which is an amazing organ, will try to do to work of the kidneys, getting rid of toxins that now, the kidneys can’t filter out.

    At this point of my life, since my kidneys are barely functioning, I allow my skin to do this work. In the northern hemisphere we are approaching summer. Instead of using an air conditioner, I recommend allowing yourself to sweat, which will help to remove these toxins. Foregoing the AC is an inexpensive way to give yourself a sauna. You are saving on your electric bill and also saving your life.

    Survivors of lithium will need to reduce protein, sodium, and phosphorus, but not potassium as usually recommended for those with kidney harm. Also, since lithium causes diabetes insipidus, you should not try to limit water. You will need to drink as much as thirst demands, to avoid dehydration, and also you will need to actively work on keeping up your potassium levels. This can be done by eating potassium-rich foods or, if these are not available, taking a small amount of potassium supplement (I break those commercially-available potassium pills in half). If your potassium has dropped you can tell because you get hiccups and/or very painful muscle contractions (cramping). I don’t know why magnesium will help balance out electrolytes. I’m still researching this.

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  • It was my paternal grandmother that turned me onto Chagall. My grandmother was subject to sterilization…this, I am convinced now, was part of the eugenics movement. She was afraid to talk about it, did not dare to say aloud in front of us kids, but I did, eventually, hear it. She had one child and then they cut off her ability to have more. This affected her for her whole life, and totally explains her protective attitude toward me (which, by the way, the shrinks claimed was pathological!). I was her only granddaughter, which ultimately meant I was the daughter she never was allowed to have.

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  • I agree. The transition is not easy. I have made a study of the transition–and, as a person who was brainwashed for 35 years I can say this–it doesn’t happen overnight. I put some observations of the process in my book (Life After Lithium) saying that for some, the grieving is unbearable. I have known many whose anger (part of grieving) gets mistaken for mental illness which drives them right back to psychiatry. Many will not leave since they’ve identified as mental patients for so long, they fear losing their identity, their selves, in the process. “I AM bipolar, so how can I give up who I am?” When you leave a cult (I am also a cult survivor) you go through the same bewilderment. “Who am I now?” We need to reach out with compassion, help these folks go through this transition. Mostly, they need to be aware of what it is, and why it’s happening.

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  • Thanks, Lucy, I went to read one of your articles in MITUK and found that to comment, i had to create a separate account over there. I am too lazy to do this, I suppose. I wanted to say that for whatever reason, when reading your story about journeying into the Maori cultures and realizing the importance of story, I started thinking of the stories of my own people. I cannot help but realize (yes, I happen spell it with a z…) that my own story parallels the Passover story, and funny, too, we’ve just finished our Passover celebration.

    Why did we leave Egypt? Because we had to. We had no choice. It was like we were not only forced to escape, but we also fled in absolute terror. Me too! I was so scared when I left the US, scared they’d stop me at the airport, or they’d find a way to put me away before I could leave. Afterward, I was criticized by ignorant people who said I ran away because I had a personality disorder, that I would never be satisfied and that any of these consequences I surely brought upon myself. The only thing I could do was to shake my head and walk away.

    We live in such a sick society that turns against anyone they do not like and will blame that person for every problem they ever had. I kept wondering why that kept happening, why, for instance, fat people turned against me because I was thin and they had to struggle, hated because I was smart and others resented it, hated for so many reasons that were not something I had myself created, but they had created. I had to run away from the hate.

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  • I have just heard AWESOME NEWS on the Breggin show….This great psychiatrist who has had a turnaround because she realized the truth about her own profession, from Wisconsin, Gail ___ (I can’t recall her last name and it’s hard to pronounce) is going to testify for Marci. This is very good news indeed. I wish I could call into the show and thank her but it seems that Breggin isn’t taking calls. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Marci. It must be horrible in that “hospital” to have to endure such abuse. I am hoping she is released at last.

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  • This is in response to Steve Spiegel’s comment. Would someone who identifies as an AP activist wander around stinking and acting incoherent? Possibly, but not likely. Anyone who is capable of understanding basic AP ideological concepts likely doesn’t have severe cognitive issues. People who have just had ECT or are heavily drugged are less likely to grasp the concepts. But that’s the object, right? Keep us as clueless as possible.

    I suspect MI denial will show up as a mental disorder eventually. Then, we all better watch out. If that happens and we are asked, just lie and tell them we worship the DSM and their disorders. Tell them if we ever got depressed we’d go to a shrink immediately. Then, walk away and laugh.

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  • Hi Hidden,
    Thanks for your comment. I do have a Twitter account but I don’t use it very much. I used to have my blog entries go up on Twitter which increases visibility of course, but now I don’t do that. I should think about tweeting some of the entries. I have a YouTube channel that I use occasionally. Making a video is a lot of work and time-consuming. However, these will reach a large audience.

    I believe my blog has over 5,000 entries. I likely put up about 300 to 500 entries a year, and these are all original and mostly text. Some entries are thousands of words long, and all entries are spontaneously written. People don’t realize this. I do not go through them, re-do them, or do much editing. They are what they are. I liken this to painting with acrylics. You have to finish the painting fast because the paints dry so quickly.

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  • Kate, you asked what would happen, if psychiatry were eradicated, if a person wanted to commit suicide. Being upset, sad, etc, isn’t a crime, so why should a person who is suffering get locked up like they’re a criminal?

    If there were no “hospitals,” teens would much more likely open up about suicidal feelings. There will be no threat of a nuthouse to keep them silent and scared. Much of suicide happens because of the MH system. Hospitalization increases suicide, because after a person gets out, they are 100 times more likely to commit suicide than a non-mental patient. Not only that, therapy often pushes a person to suicide, because much of the time, therapy encourages the very same problems it is supposed to solve. Psychiatric drugs often cause agitation, a precursor to suicide. I bet if we eradicated the mental health system, suicide would decrease, not increase.

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  • Oldhead, I think there will be a bootleg psychiatry. People practicing it illegally. (Not that a lot of shrinks don’t already do that.) Shrinks will practice under the table, diagnosing minorities, immigrants, and Muslims. What a great way to spread hatred. Drug ’em, lock ’em up. Even though it will no longer be legal, shrinks will practice because people will still be interested in having those they hate put away.

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  • I think people are thinking they don’t want integration. Psychiatry is a great segregator. People love that we’re contained in “hospitals,” “programs,” and “homes.” They love that we’re excluded from the workplace and that we don’t have money, which disempowers us. They want to keep us as useless waste, as they see it. Why? Because then those who aren’t crazy can gain power, gain money, and no one’s going to complain. This is what is partially behind the argument that something has to replace psychiatry…because people can’t stand the idea of us living among them.

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  • Those that are anti-war do not deny the existence of war. Those that are anti-nuke do not deny the existence of nukes. Likewise, those of us who align with antipsychiatry do not believe psychiatry doesn’t exist. We recognize it as an atrocity that should be stopped. How much of it should be stopped seems to be the question. Is any of it redeemable? While there are some things about it that might be called helpful, when they add the rest of it into the mix, we realize that the harms and the resulting consequences are too high a price to pay.

    This is also true of employees of the mental health system, who enter thinking they are going to help people. However, what is the help, really, beyond being an outlet for people who are troubled? Along with that comes diagnosing and possibly causing harm by so doing, referral to a psychiatrist, creating a ghetto-like environment, creating dependency that didn’t exist before, and being legally obligated to section a person at slightest remote hint or allusion to anything that makes you uncomfortable.

    People do like having someone to talk to, but it comes with such a heavy price that, if one were to know the real pros and cons (most of which are hidden until you buy the service), very few would choose to have it in their lives.

    One of the main reasons I object to psychiatry is that once you buy this service, even if you assume it is your own choice, if you decide you don’t want it anymore, you can’t end it. Psychiatry is an unending subscription service. “You can check out anytime you want, but you can never, ever leave,” as we used to say. Invariably, anyone who subscribes will experience a decline in all areas of life, including spiritual, physical (one’s health and surroundings), social, economic, and premature end of life.

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  • I support Marci for many reasons. One is that I, too, was abused in a hospital. Many do not realize that when you are going through ongoing abuse over a long period of time, the stress is unbelievable and it’s very hard not to seem agitated. The more the staff provokes a patient, the more upset the patient is going to get, and that, of course, is further fuel to claim the patient is nuts…and this prompts worsening of the abuse.

    It takes an outsider, someone honest who sees the bigger picture, to recognize that any presentation of agitation in the patient is environmentally caused.

    As example in my own experience, when I was being abused at Mount Auburn Hospital, in Cambridge, MA, when I had kidney failure, I did end up having outsiders come to “evaluate” me. The intention of the Mount Auburn doctors was that the outsiders would deem me crazy enough to be transferred to a psych hospital. That’s not what happened.

    I was visited by these outside evaluators twice. The first time, the person walked into my room and said, “My god, the noise level is so bad here that it’s a human rights issue.” She was talking about the constant blaring of loudspeaker and patient call bells. Bingo! It had taken until then before anyone heard me. This simple and truthful observation started us off on the right foot. I explained how the staff had pushed me by verbal abuse to the point where I totally broke. I explained that when you have no potassium in your body, you might not exactly make much sense, which was the reason I was totally incoherent upon arrival (I was on the verge of “coding”). The outside person understood that I had been falsely accused by the hospital doctors of dangerousness. They stopped the sitters after this, allowed me to keep my door shut to shut out the noise (the nurses were furious about this!) and then, they were forced to let me out of there.

    This is the kind of objective observer that Marci needs. She needs someone to realize that disliking cruelty isn’t a mental disorder, in fact, it is a sign of sanity.

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  • Frank, I agree that the reasons for “treatment” are more than what they public realizes. It is a historical fact that whistleblowers and other antiauthoritarians are subject to wrongful incarceration, including being locked up in a nuthouse. If the authorities want to silence someone they’ll do whichever one they can get away with.

    You can hire a doctor and pay that doctor to deem a person nuts or demented. It’s been done. It is regularly done to elderly.

    I’m sure there are political adversaries they’d like to directly kill if they could. They can’t because they’ll get caught. They have clever alternatives: Drive the person crazy by verbal abuse till they off themselves, claim the person is psychotic, thereby wrecking their credibility, or by drugging and/or incarcerating.

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  • Frank, therapy can indeed kill you. Indirectly. Psychiatry also kills indirectly, because the psychiatrist doesn’t actually take a gun out and shoot the patient. Patients die from treatment ordered/prescribed by psychiatrists. The treatment is self-administered by a patient through lies and coercion, or administered by a nurse.

    Therapy also kills. I know, because I have been subject to therapy in a very harmful way. Imagine having this person who is supposedly an authority figure telling you you’re addicted to water, that you deserve to be in a state institution, that you are psychotic and invented hospital abuse, that you are a sneaky liar, that everything that happened to you you brought upon yourself. All of these repeated to me twice a week for over a year. Not only that, I was repeatedly threatened that if I didn’t obey and lost as little as a half pound, I’d be hospitalized. It was degrading and humiliating to live under these conditions, living in terror of the next police visit. Because of Maria, I really did almost kill myself. That was 2012. I am lucky I did not, and lucky I didn’t tell anyone. You have to recover from an abusive therapist. I had no one to tell, no one to talk to, and whenever I tried telling people they refused to believe it was that bad, but it was. I had to get over it on my own, which I did by blogging about it until the impact of the story had softened some.

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  • The biggest, most obvious problem with psychiatry is that they lock people up and take away their rights. The create dependency, not only on drugs, but on therapy. They create disability with their drugs and “side effects” and also simply by labeling and calling a person “disabled.” Putting a person on disability, effectively ending their careers, will seal this into further permanence. Thus, an “illness” is born. Yes, it is becoming an epidemic. Shouldn’t our growing anger over their gross human rights violations be enough?

    Phil, I want to also ask about psych’s new tactic: Calling us “mental illness deniers.” Aligning us via this terminology with climate change deniers and Holocaust deniers. It sounds like a new disease to me that might show up in the DSM-6.

    They did not expect us to make widespread use of the internet, mainly because they assumed we had no interest or we lacked the capacity to use it. Surprise, surprise! We can now gather, compare stories, and make tactical decisions on how to push our cause. Where to go from here?

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  • As I said Steve, they had their textbook ideas, and I suppose what mattered was which textbook stereotype they were using. They had no clue what my upbringing was like. I would love to write about antisemitism in psych because I heard “typical Jewish upbringing” a lot, or “Jewish mother,” or even telling me I was a “spoiled Jewish girl.” Because they were authority figures (and through schooling, I’d been taught not to doubt them), I would just nod my head and say nothing. Even the Jewish therapists would make remarks like that.

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  • I certainly agree, Alex. I had 35 years of my life stolen from me, which is very hard to face. I think I’m over it now, but I’m not over water deprivation, which left me confused, angry, hurt, and terrified. I’m not over being called psychotic and dangerous when by all means, I wasn’t. I am not over being put on suicide watch (which was abusive) when they knew I wasn’t suicidal. I am still having a hard time with the fact that they didn’t just not apologize, didn’t just totally deny that they’d done anything wrong, didn’t just call me psychotic and try to drug me to silence me, but even afterward continued to harass me online (thought I do not have direct evidence of this, only deduced evidence) and they did everything they could to wreck my reputation.

    I am still afraid. After water deprivation trauma I’ve been prone to get traumatized very easily. It’s like every memory of anything that ever happened to me haunts me all the time. (This is a blessing, too, if you write memoir!)

    As far as holding resentment over the lost 35 years, naw, I can’t bemoan that forever. People lose years of their lives to bad marriages, unsuccessful business attempts, and natural disasters. It’s not like I’m the only one. Knowing this certainly softens the blow.

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  • Sam, I don’t doubt that dissociation exits. Running is a meditation for me, but also, running, if you do enough of it, could be called dissociation. You stop thinking running thoughts, such as, “I really should be running faster,” or, “Maybe I should have tied my left shoe tighter.” You stop that kind of thought and you go into another zone altogether. It is like you don’t have legs anymore. Sometimes, I whisper a silly mantra to myself, such as, “Nyah nyah,” or I say swear words at my former therapist who forbade me to run, but that, also, ceases to have any real meaning after a while.

    A long time ago, when I was about 16, I was babysitting and the kids had gone to bed. They had a gray cat. The cat came up to me and started getting affectionate. As I stroked the cat, stroked her nose, that is, I recall feeling like we were totally glued together like that, me and the cat. It was like we were totally one. I must have sat there, mesmerized, for at least an hour. Was this due to adolescence, or because petting an animal is powerful and healing? It never happened again. By all means, it was not an unpleasant experience.

    Later, after ECT caused me to become very spaced out, my doctor claimed the confusion I was experiencing was dissociation. I went and looked it up. I remember shaking my head and saying to myself, “Huh?” It didn’t describe what I was going through, not at all. Years later I knew he and the others had been way, way off base. I wonder if he knows now.

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  • We aren’t immune to errors in judgement. Making a mistake isn’t a mental illness, either. I made a mistake when I posted what I said about Matt. I didn’t do it because of some kind of character disorder, but because of some leftover anger.

    One day, about a month ago, I made an error at work. It wasn’t a mistake in judgement, but from working too quickly and overlooking something. The supervisor asked me why I did it (it wasn’t a huge offense or anything!) and I said, “Human error.” I think she was shocked at that.

    It was a mistake for me to go on a crash diet in 1980, and also, it was a mistake to think that what happened afterward was due to a mental defect worthy of “therapy.” I had no clue, and honestly, I was really, really scared, mostly scared that binge eating would totally incapacitate me. It can! Try eating 10,000 calories in a sitting. You will be lying in bed moaning and holding your stomach for a very long time!

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  • Sam, Of course, brains change. Anorexia harmed my ability to think straight and I was scared I would never be able to think properly again. What I learned was that food will remedy this, and your brain can recover. I also read The Body Keeps the Score. I was okay with it until I got to the part that started showing vague pictures of brain scans that were supposed to prove something. The book took a turn down the deep end for me when it started saying the changes are permanent and can only be remedied by a therapist.

    People can be stuck in a certain mode, for sure. Therapy and labeling can cause the stuckness, promote it and even thrive on it. Spend a week in day treatment and you’ll see therapists encouraging undesirable behaviors such as cutting or sulking. It can even be lethal.

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  • There are a lot of factors. We have a media that is still running pharma ads, even though these ads have been banned in other countries. The pharma industry is the most powerful lobbying agency in Washington. We put people in prisons, call them “hospitals,” and wonder why they only leave angry, confused, dismayed, or even suicidal. We have a media that only portrays one side of the story. Meanwhile, there’s an undercurrent of distrust of the medical profession. I believe the distrust is growing as more and more are harmed or their loved ones are harmed. Something is brewing. Maybe a revolution!

    The Industrial Revolution wasn’t a battle, there was no warfare. There was just a radical change. We can hope that as more and more start to question, we will start to see some positive changes around us. Isn’t it inevitable? As psychiatry gets more pervasive in society, they could very well push it so far that the entire field implodes.

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  • Samruck, I don’t see your comment here, but when you say one sixth are drugged, wherever that statistic comes from, isn’t that kinda shocking?

    I would say the statistic is much higher among the elderly. How many elders are on cocktails of blood pressure drugs, etc…AND a psych drug or two? This alone is so alarming that maybe we need to take some action! When women are pathologized just for being women, isn’t that a problem? If foster kids are given antipsychotics for the explicit purpose of control, aren’t we, as a society, in huge trouble? When whistleblowers get diagnosed just to silence them…well?

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  • Danzig, various religions have been arguing over who is right and who is righteous for a very long time. One country conquers another, or takes over. Unfortunately, this ends up being like eugenics. “We are better than they are.” It’s nonsense, but quite pervasive. People can believe whatever they want. We hope they do not hurt each other just because they do not agree.

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  • Little Turtle, I can’t find your question here about what I think about critical psychiatry vs antipsychiatry….

    Every bad idea out there has its redeeming qualities. Otherwise, the idea would be immediately struck down. Drawing here from my experience in the Moonies when I was 21 (before my ED started), I can recall I got sucked in by the good things about the Moonies. They talked a lot about love, compassion, and hope for a better future. This looked very appealing to me in 1979. Others were also sucked into it. While we were brainwashed, we did not recognize the bad things that were happening. We barely noticed that they used sleep deprivation (five hours a night) and added sugar to the food they gave us. They used songs and catchy slogans. The songs were beautiful, all of us singing together. Then they introduced concepts that I couldn’t tolerate. Jesus, heaven and hell, and even devils and angels. These concepts were foreign to me. I knew by my Jewish upbringing to reject these ideas. Now what? They pleaded with me to have an open mind, that “Father loves you,” etc. Do you see how this worked? They used kindness to get me to give them my money. They tried to coerce me to give up college and my job, too.

    Psychiatry and the entire industry uses the same techniques to draw people in. When I first went to the hospital, they were nice to me. They said stuff like “You did the right thing to ask for help.” “You’re in the right place.” Some of the therapists in day treatment were also very nice…or seemed so. One of them even warned me not to start day treatment. She had been around long enough to know what would happen.

    If the hospital, therapy, and psychiatrists were outwardly abusive from the start, I would have left sooner. One of them was, called me a spoiled rich Jewish girl, but I dismissed him as an “exception.” I believe most at least thought they had good intentions. The Moonies with whom I had contact certainly had good intentions, having no clue what they were really doing. Good intentions don’t make it morally okay. Many people who work for corrupt industries have good intentions when they do bad things. They are cogs in a destructive wheel.

    Looking back in the historical sense, many of my former shrinks and therapists left the profession in disgust. Some got in trouble with the law for very serious offenses. One that I know of got burnt out, then, returned. Some retired. I think most of them are scared to admit, even to themselves, that they caused great harm to me and to many of their patients, justifying it by claiming it was “necessary.” It wasn’t.

    Do I wish to abolish psychiatry? Yes, because it is harmful to people and to human society. It is a practice based in eugenics.

    I do think that having another person you can talk to is very important. I do believe people suffer immensely. I do not call these things mental illnesses. If I am having a hard time, it means I need to take action. The hard part is figuring out what the appropriate action is. Talking to a therapist or doing avoidant “coping skills” and calling the problem MY disease, only delays or even halts that action. I have to figure out how much power I have to change things, and how much patience I have to tolerate the things I have no power to change. Interestingly, a lot changes on its own….if we let it.

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  • Pacific Dawn, I had a lot to get better from. Ninety-nine percent of it was caused by “treatment.” One percent was due to my own foolishness, including the bad choice to go on a diet in the first place (an uninformed choice, as I was clueless about the consequences), and the bad choice to try therapy. Drugs were also my choice. I literally begged for them back in 1982 because I hoped they would “fix” my eating disorder (therapy wasn’t helping), but this also wasn’t an informed choice, and the drugs I got weren’t what I wanted anyway. By then, it was too late.

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  • Yes, we see more and more people realizing that the mental health industry is unhelpful. Getting away won’t necessarily lead to good results immediately. People go through grieving and we all grieve differently. Inevitably, many are angry. This is understandable, and often very necessary. If only we could channel all that rage into some action to end the psych regime! We aren’t channeling it very efficiently if we continue to attack each other, instead of bringing it where it belongs.

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  • For me, the only way that I could have regained my ability to think independently was to end therapy. I do not wish to think the way my therapists demanded. Therapy taught me self-absorption and self-blame, reflective of an entire cultural era in the USA of scrupulous examination of the self. It was addictive and harmful. Turning inward is not the answer. Maybe it’s okay occasionally, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it now.

    I’m trying to make up for all the years I lost to therapy. Trying to teach myself as much as I can, trying to help other people, reaching out, doing good things as much as possible to make the world a better place.

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  • In journalism, writing, music, public speaking, anytime you have an audience you must consider who is in that audience. You can tell the same story or deliver the same message but you have to do it in a way that the audience can relate.

    In journalism, you must know the publication’s target audience. An article might do well in one publication, but not another. If I have written something and want to get it published I can send anywhere at random and hope that the magazine accepts it. However, I would be better off looking for a magazine that had an audience that matched the article.

    Nowadays, writing prostitution is quite common to the point where it has become the norm. Write something because it’ll sell, that’s the main mentality.

    I think writers should maintain their own integrity and write what they truly believe in, even if they know their ideas are going to be unpopular. Still, it is a choice. Kiss butt, or be yourself. I fear that too much butt-kissing can be habit-forming.

    Writers are also expected to sell their stuff. Pitching. Ugh. I don’t think selling has much to do with writing. It was truly liberating for me to realize that I could hire someone to do all that nasty selling stuff, so I wouldn’t have to waste writing energy on the marketing rat-race.

    I have hated selling since high school, when our high school band got coerced by a traveling salesman to sell burlap bags as a way of making money for the band. I sold many, walked around various neighborhoods going door-to-door asking for a dollar for each bag, which we would deliver to them sometime in the future. This was something like 1974. A dollar was worth more then. Finally, our bags arrived and we had to distribute them to those who had paid the dollar. The bags were poor quality, pretty much useless items. I was so embarrassed to have to have sold them so aggressively. It has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

    What’s worse, writers have to market themselves these days, not just their writing. This is not the same as self-promotion, but way too close for comfort for me. Too many writers cross the line, getting on Facebook and kissing butt to the masses. No thanks.

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  • Oldhead, I believe some prisons are worse than others. Still, the fact that I liked it early on doesn’t mean it was a good place or even humane.

    The fact that I actually liked the hospital for a while was what sucked me in. I kept going back thinking, “They’re so nice.” I hoped they would actually help me, kept hoping and hoping until it was obvious they weren’t there to help people at all!

    In the beginning, I did not hate it, and didn’t mind going there. The best brainwashing isn’t done by cruelty, but by kindness.

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  • I think it was the field of philosophy or logic that determined that while a person can easily be declared insane, it is not possible to then declare a known insane person sane.

    Thinking back, it was very easy to fake a psych diagnosis but it is not so easy to convince them you’re normal. No matter how normal you act, they can always claim you’re weaseling out of a hospitalization or drugs.

    Even most “invisible illnesses” can be detected by a test. Those that can’t…well, I doubt the validity of many of them.

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  • As I saw it, the stays were far less unpleasant back then. It did make a difference when they took away the pool and ping pong tables, took away the smoking room, took away decent quality art supplies, our rights to keep our shoelaces and dental floss…the list is endless. The units weren’t locked and were run differently. With the old units, there was an advantage to having a chance for them to get to know you. Any of this could (and should) have happened at the outpatient level, but rarely did, which was the sad reality of why some of us kept going back. I even liked some of the staff at those places. I wouldn’t have kept going back if I hadn’t. Gradually, as more and more units became locked, the quality of staff got worse and worse. Patients stopped liking the hospitals and started dreading having to go back. Many staff were completely untrained and didn’t know what they were doing. The decent ones quit in disgust, or if they stayed they had to break rules just to be kind. Some were fired for being too nice.

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  • Hi Sandy, I have an MFA in creative writing with a concentration in memoir, Goddard College, 2009. I am also a survivor. I have written about ten books and I hear what you are saying about not being able to change an old text. My thesis, which I published, is a piece of history. Published writing is personal history even if it is not memoir. The work represents where I was at that time, ten years ago. I used the term “mental illness” as part of the secondary title. I will not take that back. That is what I believed in then. Now, I know better.

    When I wrote the book I had no clue, for instance, that the year and a half I spent “very ill” in 1997 or so was actually not an illness, but brain damage from ECT. It took me a long time to realize this, and now, I can go back and look on that chapter and realize just how misunderstood I was during that time.

    I am caught in the middle a lot when I write. My friend, whose intentions are certainly good, tells me that if I call a mental hospital a prison people are going to be turned off. But what else could it have been? I am caught between trying to sell a book and feeling driven to tell the truth.

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  • One of the prisons had “Tea and Toast.” Huge insult. Their idea of “challenging” was to play Group Bingo and get to be the one who put the pieces on the huge board. Geez. Every time I went to college I had no qualms about writing long papers, reading tons of books, and giving presentations. Go to the nuthouse and I got insulted by Bingo, and finally, told that even that was “too challenging” for little ole me. It was challenging because it was very hard to put up with the lowest expectations imaginable.

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  • AA worked for my late boyfriend. He got sober through AA and then, later on, was a role model for many younger people who were newly sober. He and I did not share much about AA because it was his turf, but it was my understanding that many picked him as a sponsor or mentor. He was what others would say “solid in his sobriety.” He also liked that the group is faith-based. AA helped him get back to his spiritual roots and gave him a lot of confidence and pride. But as I said, it was not my turf and I didn’t pry into his business.

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  • Many people have told me that OA didn’t work for them. It will work for overeaters sometimes, but not usually. I am not sure of the exact track record but from what I can tell, it’s not very good.

    We have a very strong, powerful diet industry in the US. These folks will sell you anything and make you think it will help you. There is the addictive nature of dieting to take into consideration also. I have known many to take the first step and then, end up trapped. The diet industry has many potential candidates!

    OA isn’t a for-profit institution, and there aren’t any particular leaders. It tends to be run in a democratic, though somewhat haphazard way.

    In OA, they have different factions with different beliefs. Perhaps you have heard of “Gray Sheet.” I don’t know if this still exists, but those that follow ‘Gray sheet” follow a very restrictive regimen. The problem with any of these restrictive programs is that the rigid mentality often harms people, making them worse.

    There are looser-run groups but these often consist of people who never quite get over overeating.

    Groups have formed based on OA or based on other 12-step groups such as GA. Some spin-offs focus on anorexia or bulimia. I imagine that by now, there’s one for binge eating also. There are a number of these. Some meet by telephone. I have not been too impressed with any of them, but some people derive benefit.

    When my friend was married to an alcoholic she used Weight Watchers as her escape from him. She told me that many of the women who went there were also escaping bad marriages temporarily. She tells me that the WW group was like a lifeline for her, her safe time away from her husband. I think this is quite valid since the husbands aren’t likely to suspect anything.

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  • John, If people can relate to your situation they will be more likely to support you. I think there’s a certain amount of snobbery in the movement…I wish this wasn’t the case but I think it’s the case everywhere. First of all, we don’t have to all like each other. Secondly, some folks still uphold the idea that some are superior to others.

    For example, when I was at a conference in 2017, I was excited to meet other activists. What happened, though, was that some did not even speak to me, even though I made effort to speak to them. I was a little unnerved when an activist that I assumed would at least say hello did not even acknowledge my presence. It was like I was invisible. After that I realized that the idea of eugenics is alive everywhere. Even in the movement, you will find some that feel that others are beneath them. This is a sad reality about humanity that I wish was not true. If we are to end psych diagnoses, that is, the idea that some people are of superior character and others inferior, then we also need to end elitism and snobbery.

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  • John, it was indeed like mob mentality for me back in Boston. My friends were paranoid about me and thought I would kill them. My minister (whom I assumed was an ally, wow was I wrong) also thought I would kill him. That sounds like psychosis to me, doesn’t it sound that way to you? Mass paranoia against someone who never harmed anyone. I did nto threaten either, but the psychs threatened me plenty. They are the danger to society. I sure wasn’t.

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  • Very true, John. I have had police raids in the past. They searched my home without my permission or knowledge and without a warrant. They came to “arrest” me based on speculation, no evidence, no warrant. I had done nothing wrong. They hauled me off by ambulance countless times. Still, this is a fraction of what they do, not all of it. Most of the time they are trying to get drivers to obey traffic rules. Psychs are always aiming to diagnose us, which is a hate crime.

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  • They are worse than the police. The cops sometimes do good things. If there’s a car accident they’ll help summon an ambulance and help get you out of the car. I met a cop who helped get a cat out of a tree when the animal officer was not on duty. Psychs do much less good in the world, except for those that turned against their own profession. What cop turns against his profession and then, blasts it to the rooftops like Szasz or Breggin? I have heard of none. There is plenty of anti-cop sentiment but that’s not because people see the entirety of the police as invalid, only some of it. I know one ex-drug cop who teaches people how to pass a drug test, but that is about the only cop I have heard of to turn against the cops as a profession. I do not doubt the validity of the cops. Their training and profession are valid and a lot of it teaches them good things, such as CPR or finding lost people. Around here, mostly cops stop drunk drivers. I bet that is 90% of their job right there. Some act like bullies but that’s not because what they are taught is totally invalid. Home raids on so-called MI are only a tiny fraction of their job, even though that is the most we ourselves see of them.

    Almost all of psychiatry is eugenics based. The very principles that guide diagnosis are steeped in condescending hatred toward those they see as inferior. I would not say that about cops, though I must admit I still fear them.

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  • That is not what Bob said, Oldhead. Psych was cruel and immoral back then, say, in the 1950’s, but now a huge portion of the population is diagnosed and drugged. I think I am around Bob’s age and I also do not remember anyone being diagnosed when I was in high school. Kids were said to have “problems.” Mostly, we solved our “problems” totally on our own. Life has indeed changed. At my workplace where there were younger people, many were diagnosed and many talked about it, too. Wow what culture shock this is.

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  • I am a writer, too. All writers have to change their stories a wee bit to satisfy their editors. It is ideally a cooperative venture. Still, think of it…to be published in the New Yorker is not an easy feat. It is a very prestigious publication and if anyone gets picked by them it’s their Big Break. I can see why Aviv might have had to concede. They might not have published Laura’s story at all if she had not.

    I have prostituted myself many times as a writer. It just depends on how much you do it. One time I had a piece published that for whatever reason, they butchered when they put it to print. There were spelling and punctuation errors that happened when they copied it over. I was furious and demanded that they re-do it, saying that the piece, as it was, embarrassed me.

    I have been published in CCHR publications and I am not ashamed of that. They appreciate my work, have thanked me, and honor me as a writer and you can’t ask for more than that.

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  • I have read all those books, most of them while I was in graduate school. I recall what Styron said of Dr. Gold, that he liked the man well enough, but that the doctor had failed to help him.

    I remember Andrew Solomon’s head trip with “agitated depression” which was clearly drug-induced. He does say so.

    As for inability to write, that’s about the worst thing that can happen to a writer. Or…being told you aren’t allowed to write and threatened with drugs if you do. I remember when I went into the nuthouses, I asked for a pencil and paper and that was all I needed to feel okay.

    To work through trauma from hospital abuse I wrote in my blog, told the story over and over until I was done with it. Writing is not only a comfort for me, but it is a means for activism and communication. I believe the one thing I want to do more than anything is to tell my story so that others will be forewarned, and also to bring hope to people. Yes, there is life after psychiatry.

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  • Treatment-resistant, in my case, meant they missed the boat entirely for 30 years. I would walk into their offices and say, “I am very depressed because I binged again.” They would say, “Never mind that. How is your bipolar?” Their bipolar-type treatments sure did not help my eating disorder. When they increased the meds, it didn’t help my ED any, so they called me “treatment-resistant” because I continued to complain.

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  • How is regression to the mean any different from peer pressure? I was in a day treatment program where all the other patients were much worse off than I was. They were suffering from TD, multiple incarcerations, and were overall very depressed. I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into, thinking it was going to be like college. I was definitely peer-pressured to become more disabled, more depressed, more incapable. Why? Because the rest of them were. I started smoking, too.

    In eating disorders prisons, kids are under immense peer pressure. “Almost dying” becomes the new “in” thing. If two are tubed, they all stop eating so they, too, can have the tube status symbol. When passing out becomes popular, well, you can guess.

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  • The subjects I hated most in school were lunch, recess, and gym. The reason was that I got teased the most during those times. I remember outside of school loving to ride my bike, to do gymnastics in the yard, or to stand on my head just for the heck of it. I’m fairly sure that if I tried I could still do that.

    I’m not sure how they could re-do gym class to avoid the social tiers that result. The tallest, or best coordinated always win. Someone else always loses.

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  • We can all be open about our vulnerabilities to an extent. The degree of this is different for everyone. At times, I may admit to someone that I am very afraid of doctors because I was harmed by one. Then they understand why I work so hard to be healthy. I might also explain why I hate being interrupted or being accused of interrupting. I will say that a long time ago I was in an abusive situation where I was not allowed to get a word in and constantly cut off by other people.

    If you bring your story to a point where others can relate, it isn’t just your story anymore. It is reflective of a universal struggle. Who does not want to be understood, loved, or included? Fear is fear for all of us, we feel it similarly, though we may fear different things.

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  • Schools need to teach relevant material. They need to get the kids fascinated and passionate about learning. Some schools succeed in doing that for some children. Most fail.

    Kids should be allowed (or required) to design a curriculum for themselves that works for them. They should be able to voice their opinion, and be heard, on school policies.

    I have noticed with all the children I meet with, they all seem to have peripheral interests that could be further explored at school, but aren’t. For some, these interests are so strong that they shouldn’t be peripheral, but in the foreground of their education. Schools have become career-oriented. For the most part this does not include careers in the arts. Some of these kids would love more art, music, sports, dance, or drama and they’re not getting it.

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  • Sylvain, I totally agree. I work in a school system with supposedly “disabled” students. I have read their IEP documents and I have spoken to the students and their parents. The IEP might say ADHD but doesn’t say anything about why the student has no interest in school. The IEP might say “refuses to participate” but that, too, is happening for a reason. I have noticed that these same supposedly ADHD students can concentrate just fine if the circumstances change, or the topic is to their interest.

    When I was a kid I had very little interest in studying anything but music. I even failed some classes. Now I realize that since I was very good at music, I ended up being one-sided in my interests. Music was fascinating to me and everything else was irrelevant.

    Sometimes kids act up due to bad experiences in the past or present, and this, too, is omitted from the “everything that’s wrong with me” IEP statement. I see this as doing the students a disservice.

    If a student is deaf, or needs help ambulating from class to class, that’s very different from perceived mental illness. If you are perceived as MI, then it’s those around you that see you as disabled who are causing the disability.

    There is another thing to consider. Money. Sometimes it is profitable to put a kid into the disabled category. Medicaid now picks up the tab, meaning that the schools can exploit the student as a funnel for Medicaid money all they want.

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  • Stephen, Workplace process groups are likely a good idea, because from my observation, almost all workplaces lack effective communication. I find it especially true that communication is shunned when it goes from the bottom up, that is, the lowest caste workers have very little say in the workplace rules and policies and how they are enforced. Communication from the top down is usually bossing around and that, too, is ineffective.

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  • I agree about group therapy. It is largely ineffective and mostly harmful. I was part of a day treatment program where the therapists were overly involved in the patients’ affairs. I believe this was the reason why one patient there committed suicide. I have written some funny pieces about Group Therapy that are in my book This Hunger Is Secret. There are several scenes in there. I also replicated Family Therapy, which in my opinion was the most comical chapter of the book.

    Group therapy is unnatural. Even now, I hate sitting in a circle. If I were teaching I would not demand this of the students.

    In Group, there was so much pressure to bear your soul to these folks, and if you did not, it was a disorder. Too much self-disclosure becomes a habit. I believe my group-induced “talent” for self-disclosure is what made me a better memoir writer. The downside of therapy is that you invariably become far too self-absorbed…which in turn, will worsen depression.

    All in all, it was a huge waste of time for me. I should have been in school or working. After all, isn’t showing up 99% of the battle? We showed up. We could have been doing something more fulfilling. Later, I was denied the privilege of the more meaningful groups and told I was only good for Bingo. This was so insulting to both my intellect and my emotional intelligence that I refused to go to groups.

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  • Only occasionally should it be medical, and then, it’s never a psych issue anyway. For instance, thyroid levels being off can mimic depression or bipolar. Anemia resembles depression. Malnutrition will appear to be an eating disorder or can even psychosis. Electrolyte imbalances or dehydration often appear to be psychosis. Psychs love to bring problems that aren’t their turf into their turf. If they had their way, they’d psychiatrize everything, including heart attacks, stroke, natural disasters, and this commonplace thing called a death in the family.

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  • I am seeing also that the message that one has to recover from psychiatry is not very clear in the article. Of all of life’s challenges, most of us have the hardest time recovering from drugging, labeling, incarceration, and marginalization. Many of us find these challenges to be much harder than whatever struggles we were having that brought us to the MH system. I, for one, am still struggling to get over it, and still have many fears that were caused by the system. Examples are fear of human touch, fear of the cops, fear anything medical, etc.

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  • Mental, After you are first tricked, it’s hard to make an informed decision. You may choose to go to a mental hospital for “help,” but after you’re there, and drugged, how on earth can you make a good decision for yourself?

    ECT, for instance, is rarely done by physical force. I have witnessed patients being told they’ll be refused all MH services if they do not comply with shock. I have also seen patients told they can leave sooner if they agree to shock. Meanwhile, we’re held there, drugged and brainwashed until we comply.

    After you walk in, you’re under their spell. After the first agreement, there is no valid agreement, since after the start of coercion or drugging, you lose you ability to choose responsibly.

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  • RW, I am glad you wrote this. A relative of mine alerted me to the New Yorker article. We both agreed that the article rambled too much. I found it confusing after a while, not knowing what the message was. Was it that mentally ill people, dangerous as we are, might be able to get off drugs at some point? Or was it that getting off drugs was tough but mentally ill people might be able to do it? Neither, to me, says what I’d like to have seen in the New Yorker. I agree that the main point was lost. I suspect this was an editorial move and not the doing of the writer.

    I have seen plenty of people reduce their drugs or even get off of them, but if they are still acting and thinking like mental patients, they are less likely to succeed. You can actually change the way you frame your life and that, to me, is the most important step.

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  • Kumin, What happened to your book? It sounds like there was some fiddling on the part of our adversaries into the distribution and marketing of your book, from what you are saying.

    I wrote a book as part of my masters degree program and it did not sell. Partly, this was because I do not know how to sell anything. I should have hired someone. The other part involved some interference by the adversary. They did everything imaginable to discredit me, wreck my reputation, and made selling the book next to impossible. I still have copies and there’s a copy available for download on my website. For free.

    As I approach the time when I will be publishing another book (I’ve written about ten), I plan to do a better job of marketing. My reputation has been partially restored. I am hoping I will not have as much angst over this book than I did with This Hunger Is Secret.

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  • Bloodletting is still practiced. Kidney dialysis is bloodletting. They gradually remove your blood, send it through a filter, then, put it back in, supposedly clear of the toxins your kidneys can’t get rid of. I keep thinking a transfusion might work just as well. I imagine very wealthy people opt for this, paying out of pocket. People with kidney disease typically are anemic and often the red blood cells swell in attempt to get oxygen.

    Dialysis is big business, a huge profit-maker for the dialysis companies. I believe it can be safely avoided by taking simple (not expensive) dietary measures. Kidneys normally are very good at eliminating toxic waste (by-products). When your kidneys don’t work well, toxins accumulate in the body. It is not that hard to follow a healthy diet, except it’s inconvenient sometimes to find something edible at a restaurant. Avoiding certain foods, you can be assured that the toxins (some from food, some created by food synthesis) don’t accumulate to begin with. These toxins include sodium, phosporus, calcium, and protein, and for many, also potassium, unless you took lithium, because many lithium survivors lose potassium and have to replenish it. Some people have to reduce fluids, but if you took lithium, chances are this restriction is also not applicable. There are herbs you can take that help, also, and a few vitamins. While creatinine is a by-product of exercise, in my the benefits of cardio-type exercise outweigh the risks. The increase in creatinine following exercise is temporary.

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  • Also, I should say that in theory, life coaches don’t push their ideas on their clients. This is very clear in the training. I’m sure many break this rule. You’re supposed to let the client figure out stuff herself, use her own morals, logic, intuition, etc, to form conclusions.

    Life coaches do not have to follow any laws, except they are mandatory reporters. I’m not sure if this is true in all states. Mandatory reporting laws vary from state to state.

    I recently called a life coach in another state and city (just to ask for info, not for life coaching) and found him to be an abusive bully. I wonder if he saw my scathing Yelp review?

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  • Actually, PacificDawn, what constitutes a “life coach” varies widely. There is no certification requirement. Many people set up businesses as life coaches with no formal training at all, and that is legal so long as you don’t lie about your credentials.

    It IS true that many life coaches won’t take on patients they perceive to be mentally ill. In fact, we were told to refuse services unless the person saw a psychiatrist concurrently. I found out that to see a life coach I would have to lie (by omission) my past diagnosis, which means I cannot discuss 35 years of my life, and omit any diagnoses I had been given. Many will also refuse unless you see a therapist. And some will even insist that you see a Western doc if you have any chronic disease at all. But life coaches vary and not all of them follow this.

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  • Varun, I was a college student also when I started therapy. This was during the summer. My choice to go outside the campus counseling center was driven by my desire for privacy. I was so scared that anyone might find out I was going to counseling. I was scared that someone might find out I had an eating disorder. I also personally knew the college counselor from another situation. So I chose to go to the local counseling center in town.

    This was one of the worst decisions of my life. Therapy caused me to become self-absorbed, thinking there MUST be something wrong with me, that is, fundamentally wrong with my character that caused me to have an eating disorder. What I did not realize was that the diet itself, that I had gotten out of a popular diet book, had caused the entire problem. People do not realize the serious consequences of drastic restrictive diets. You end up stuck in it, and further weight loss and low caloric intake only worsens a person’s distorted ideas about losing yet more weight. It is an endless cycle. A trap.

    I didn’t realize this, though. I wondered if a character flaw caused it. Those therapist said, “You have an eating disorder so you must have an enmeshed mother.” This was a stereotype they had back then, and it is so false in my case that it is laughable. Then they said, “You have an eating disorder because of perfectionism.” This, too, didn’t fit me at all. They even tried, “We can’t help you, so your eating disorder is trivial and you’re probably faking it.” I latched onto “chemical imbalance” because I wanted to find some cause of the ED. That must be it! Then, drugs might fix it, right? I started asking for drugs. They claimed I was nothing but a spoiled Jewish girl.

    They did indeed violate my confidentiality, and they also violated other patients’ confidentiality. I went to an emergency room on advice from my roommate. She had told me that “If you go to the ER then they will give you drugs. They HAVE to,” she said. I was hoping they would hear me, finally, and give me the magic pill that would stop my ED.

    Instead, those idiots called my parents and I had not authorized for them to do so. I was 25 years old at the time and not a minor.

    They never heard me. They continued to drug me and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t “respond.” They gave me more. They diagnosed me with schiz but I did not have any schiz characteristics such as the ability to hear voices. It was so unfounded….and I was stuck on disability payments for the next 35 years.

    I regret the decision to start therapy. I regret continuing the therapy and my own failure to recognize that it was addicting. I regret believing them and seeing them as authority figures for as long as i did. I was 23 when I started therapy. I was 56 when I finally left that world. I am 61 now, employed at last, and finally ending disability payments.

    It is so quick and easy to fall into that trap. It will take a long, long time to get out of it.

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  • An example of editorial middle-grounding can easily be seen in Psychology Today. Eric Maisel, who writes about children here for MIA, tells me he has to tone it down when writing for Psychology Today. Or…he is toned down by the editors there. If you meet him in person you get a different story entirely.

    As a writer, I sometimes call this kind of behavior prostitution, that is, sacrificing ones beliefs just to get published. However, I, too, am guilty of writing prostitution. Sometimes you will do anything to have your voice heard. Why? We have to decide. We have a need to say something, and sometimes, bowing down just a little bit is not that terrible a price to pay.

    I have to decide how much to bow down. While I would love to teach creative writing at a local college, I stopped my application when I saw the college’s horrible policies against gays. I then took pen to paper and wrote, right in the application, that I refused to continue due to their discriminatory policies. I am not sure if they read my half-finished application, but I got to say what I wanted to say.

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  • Thank you, Bruce, for this article. I also saw the New Yorker article on Laura and felt that something was missing. I also felt that the article was rambling and way, way too long. There was too much repetition and the article itself lacked a cohesive central theme. Still, it was great seeing Laura’s story in the major news media.

    I am wondering about your terminology regarding “middle grounders.” I am wondering if this constitutes a bit of classification and possibly, stereotyping this perceived classification. It’s like some who classify “liberals” or “conservatives” somehow as groups where all think alike. You can’t actually say that in all accuracy about us “fanatics” who understand the truth about psychiatry, and yet, we get lumped together by the media. We’re “mental illness deniers” or just plain lack insight. The truth is, though, we are not all alike. Our stories differ greatly, as do our opinions.

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  • I attended life coaching school. In that class we were told we should refuse to take on anyone we perceive as “mentally ill” and refer them to a psychiatrist. We were also told that if a person is diagnosed we have to make sure they “take their meds.” However, when I came out in class as a survivor, many approached me and said, in private, that they felt the DSM was hogwash, but they didn’t want to say anything. Our teacher even spoke of chemical imbalances! EEEKs!

    Interestingly, it was the classmate who drugs her kid who bullied me after class was all over. She was so unreasonable…I have to laugh…If the kid had her for mom, well…….

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  • Father John, you are totally awesome and I thank you a bunch for all you have done for us.

    Human behavior also is not rocket science. Anyone can have insight into it, including prisoners, janitors, cafeteria workers, students, and anyone who has contact with other humans. Children have amazing insight. There’s no need for a degree to understand lying, dishonesty, and corruption, and to recognize when a worker for the oppressors is breaking the rules, risking their jobs, and actually being kind. There were a few, but most said nothing and complied.

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  • And why should the person have a degree in psychology? We need more clergy writing in as this is an underrepresented population on MIA. We need more scientists from other sciences as well. The discussion in the article is about electricity. What does a psychologist know anything at all about electricity’s effect on the brain? If your loved one has been through ECT you know better than anyone else the effect of ECT on a person’s life, regardless of your profession. I agree with the author that those who have been through ECT may not immediately be aware of the damage. My boyfriend did not have a college degree and he had majored in business. He understood more than any of those idiots at the mental hospital that the ECT was damaging to me. I was even seeing an esteemed psychologist for “therapy.” She was totally uninterested in me and even nodded off during our sessions. She was one of the most clueless individuals involved in the whole fiasco. Since when are psychologists the experts on life? I really hope you reconsider your position, Oldhead. You know better than that!

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  • Thanks so much for this very logical explanation. None of these things are an opinion, they are facts. We can choose to refuse to believe the facts, or misinterpret them, as most, in fact, will do. We can choose to remember only what we want to remember. In the case of ECT survivors, often we cannot remember.

    I am going to share this article with a relative who is a physicist. Much thanks for this!


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  • “Our culture would rather scapegoat angry people than deal with what they’re very often legitimately angry about.”

    What a breath of fresh air. I admit I have done my share of displaced blaming. But still, that doesn’t mean every single bit of blaming I’ve done has been transferred to the wrong party.

    I still DO blame Massachusetts General Hospital for willfully, deliberately, and cruelly depriving me of water. I blame them for failing to apologize when they had obviously harmed me. I blame them for denying that it was abuse. I blame them for not admitting fault when it was quite clear I had diabetes insipidus and what they had done could have killed me. I blame them for all their illegal attempts to silence me after it all happened. I blame them for trying to diagnose me with mania and paranoia to discredit me. I blame them for failure to recognize that I was enduring a traumatic reaction from water deprivation. I also blame them for spreading around lies to the general community that I am a dangerous person.

    I credit myself for getting away when I did. I blame myself for acting like a bitch at times and blowing my cool at people who didn’t do anything wrong, simply because I was experiencing traumatic memories. I regret the loss of friendships that happened during those years. Most will not respond when I try to contact them, so I am not able to apologize in a way that will be taken seriously.

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  • Kate, Using our words is about the most powerful thing we can do. I started writing most of my Yelp reviews when I was safely out of Massachusetts. I wrote so many that I moved up the Yelp ranks (I’m a premier Yelper or some such thing) because people liked my reviews so much. I have even been contacted by people who read my reviews. I have successfully turned people away from facilities that harmed me. People read what I have written and then are concerned that the same thing will happen to them. I so much feel the need to tell the truth, even if it is the bitter truth. It is my duty to warn other people so they won’t have to go through the same shit I went through.

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  • Kate, since that happened to me once for blowing the whistle, I am not surprised. One time I started noticing the minister at the church I was going to seemed be very bigoted and elitist. I wrote a complaint letter to a church higherup, that is, someone over his head. Next thing you know, the cops were coming knocking at my door. Believe it or not, they were accusing me of planning to kill the church minister.

    I was shocked. There’s nothing worse than being called dangerous when you are not. It was like they were afraid of me. They threatened me and demanded that I stop writing.

    I knew at that point I had to leave town, leave and go as far away as possible. I also knew I couldn’t tell anyone. Is another continent far away enough?

    Every day when I write, even as I write this, I am thankful that I got away from a place where I was threatened and told I wasn’t allowed to write. I guess whatever I wrote was powerful indeed. Maybe I should be proud of how scary I was, just by writing stuff.

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  • Kate, my experience was so similar to yours. My complaints about my eating disorder were misconstrued as, “You are just a spoiled Jewish girl, so…” When I had pimples from lithium they never informed me that pimples are a side effect. They claimed it was “poor self care.” When I broke my leg because Risperdal messed with my hormones, causing osteoporosis, it was “bad luck.” When Seroquel caused me to gain 100 pounds, I was the one who was too lazy to go to the gym. When Imipramine caused racing pulse, I was told it was “nothing” even though my pulse was never under 90. BP was raised on that drug, also, again, “nothing.” Imipramine caused agitation, again, “We don’t know, maybe you need more therapy.” When my feet and legs swelled up from kidney disease caused by lithium…oh no, that is poor self-care and likely from your eating disorder. One doc even said it wasn’t edema when it obviously was. When I started getting very painful muscle cramps in my toes, fingers, feet, etc, caused by kidney disease, it was “anxiety.” Really, it was impending kidney failure. When finally my kidneys outright failed, it was “suicidality” when in fact, it was from lithium all along. Trauma from hospital abuse was mistaken for paranoia and mania. Can they ever get anything right? Best to stay away!

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  • Rachel, DBT is a way of telling patients, mostly women, that they’re defective and need “therapy” to heal from something that the clinician is delusional about. Some doctors will label anyone that walks into their office as BPD. BPD is a way of discrediting you and permanently wrecking your reputation. It will work well if a person has been abused because then, the abuser is now safe because the woman’s accusation is nothing but a symptom.

    It worked very well for the doctors who knew that shock had harmed me. BPD silenced me and it was their excuse, ultimately, to threaten to put me in State. They HAD to do that to cover up ECT harm.

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  • Kindred, I agree totally about DBT being blameful toward the patient. I read the first few pages of the manual and did not go any further. First sentence: Life is hard. I’m fine with that. But then it went on to show two girls, one of them shown as a sicko, and the other one, non-sicko. So the manual said this is for you sicko folks. After reading that, I was so turned off I wouldn’t read anymore of that nonsense.

    I’ve been in DBT groups. The last one, everyone was fidgeting from their anti-d drugs. That was hard to endure, seeing everyone in that room fidgeting constantly. i kept wondering how the staff could stand it. Anyway, the concepts were so basic that I was surprised that most of the patients couldn’t understand them. I ended up feeling like I was leading the group explaining these things to them. I believed at the time that the drugs caused them to have cognitive difficulties. I can’t think of any reason why they seemed so slow-minded. I felt like I was back in grade school, but these were grown women, some well-educated, too. Many also played with stuffed animals…..

    I finally left the day program after three days, realizing it just wasn’t for me. Then, not much later, I found the Movement and I have not looked back. Sept 13 was my last psychiatrist appointment. She asked me five times if I felt like killing anyone, then she threatened me and said I had to take anti-p drugs and if I didn’t, she wouldn’t treat me. The answer? You guess.

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  • DBT is so invalidating. It is avoidant in its very nature. It is also silencing. Many of us were harmed and we’re supposed to “cope” with it now? No way! In other words, “We don’t want to hear your shit because we don’t want to take action to stop abuse. Here’s some therapy instead. You’re the sicko. The abuser is irrelevant now, part of the past.”

    DBT is perfect to let rapists and other abusers off the hook. “She was a sicko, right?” She was just imagining it all. Paranoid. Personality-disordered. They walk because of this nonsense.

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  • Rosalee, I also read that same book on trauma, or maybe a similar one. I agreed with much of it until I got to the part about trauma causing brain changes which are permanent that only a trauma therapist can heal. I cannot believe that these changes are permanent unless you make them permanent or sustain them by going to a mental health professional. Just getting away from the source of trauma is a start to healing, even though it is true that the worst of the traumatic reaction comes later on. It isn’t logical that going to a mental health professional is going to heal what mental health treatment caused. It makes so little sense…and yet people do this all the time, without even realizing it.

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  • Kate, Ditto to what Steve said. The MH system causes people to see themselves as losers. This is so hard to stop. You can’t just change out of loser mode instantly just because someone says so. In fact, telling people to change their thinking sometimes backfires.

    People can, though, change things bit by bit, in realistic-sized chunks. I think the idea of not using clinical language to describe ordinary experiences is likely a start for many people. However, you really have to distinguish between stuff that should be called by clinical language, and that which should not. Total abolition of clinical language just isn’t realistic. If I do not drink enough water I am going to be dehydrated, and that is an unarguable medical fact, not a feeling and not an opinion.

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  • Kate, you can contact me anytime. Reaching out to you. Find me on my blog, There is a Contact Me page there and I respond as soon as I see it. I was dxed BPD right after shock to excuse away the confusion from the shock. I was lucky that the dx was taken off later on, but years after that, my ex-friends distance-diagnosed me with BPD and somehow that got spread around. I also have “paranoia” on my social record, which caused me to lose all my friends. I have not really recovered from that.

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  • Dr. Moss, I agree with you on this one. While we already know these diagnoses are harmful, that is, our community here is very aware that a diagnosis will marginalize you, put you out of work, wreck your reputation, etc. As for drug harm, that’s publicly available knowledge also. There are varied reasons why people get into the rabbit hole of MH, often force or coercion or not knowing that it’s a rabbit hole.

    However, the question remains, why do people stay patients? Why do people stay even when, if they took a broader look at the situation, they see that MH world did not help, but actually caused deterioration. Why do so few doctors notice? Why do patients accept the deterioration instead of taking action?

    Those that are court-committed clearly do not want to take the drugs and often do not agree with the diagnosis. I’m certainly not referring to those who are in MH by force. Force wouldn’t be necessary if the patient can start identifying as a mental patient. Most of us did, sadly.

    When you identify as an MP without the use of force, or if force is only used occasionally, then the establishment has what it wants. Permanent patients.

    Therapists push this, many without realizing what they’re doing. Docs invariably do also. There’s a lot of peer pressure in the system to identify as an MP, and all this serves a purpose for the establishment.

    I believe it also serves a purpose for the patients. Many are terrified of being taken off disability payments because that means a major source of income will be cut off. Many are afraid to stop therapy for a variety of reasons. Many are also afraid to stop drugs, even if they suspect they might not even need them anymore.

    The System provides security for many. It’s a place to go. It’s where your friends are. It might even be where you have an identity or social role. Many patients still believe it’s helpful, even though they aren’t sure why and can’t seem to say exactly how it has improved their lives. They’re told it’s life-saving, and many still believe this.

    There are many redeeming factors about being a patient. That nice nurse or nice mental health worker. That one doc or therapist that you can spill your guts to. Therapy, which for many, feels good. But it’s all a trap. Every trap out there, including religious cults, has redeeming qualities, which is why we get sucked in in the first place, and often, why we can’t drag ourselves away.

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  • Both Sides, you gotta realize that most of us were deeply harmed either by individual carers or by institutions. Or both. I for one am proud to be opinionated and biased toward the underdog. After all, most of us weren’t even allowed to express our opinions. We were silenced or discredited. You don’t like it here on the ward? Don’t worry, it’s just a symptom of your paranoia. And so on.

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  • Exactly, Kindred. In a presentation I gave I likened diagnosis to a college major. We really did boast on the wards. It was a status symbol. Especially among the “almost dying” crowd. That can even win you brownie points. Or, it was like, “What are you in here for?” Like what crime did you do? Depression, bipolar, these were the sins we committed, just by being labeled, that got us in there.

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  • Daniel, I also had a negative experience with TELL. I know of another website that’s better. I also thought the TELL staff seemed to think that therapy abuse is rare and not only that, THEY own the market on it and it’s not possible, in their eyes, that anyone outside their private club has ever been abused by a therapist. Not only that, they recommended therapy to heal from therapy abuse! Makes no sense! They ended up being really rude and I gave up. No, they aren’t the only ones who have ever been abused. These are the kinds of stories that come out years, or even decades later. We’ll hear about it big time in 20 years when many of the victims and perps are already dead. Do we get an apology from the Vatican of Therapy? Do we get our day in court? Trauma IS damage, it can wreck your social life and even cause you to lose a job or lose your marriage. I had to recover from Maria and a few of the others. Not all were abusive. I had to get over therapy addiction, also. I found it was just as hard to leave an abusive therapist as it is to leave an abusive partnership.

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  • Daniel, I have had my share of that sort of therapist. Typically, the initial red flag MAY be that you start to feel like the “therapy” is life-saving. You might worship the therapist thinking he/she is the greatest, or the One and Only. The therapist perpetuates this (possibly without realizing it). You feel like the ONLY one you can possibly confide in is the therapist. Yes, it is a setup.

    Another red flag is that you seem to be on a roller-coaster, that, oddly, started when you started therapy with this therapist. Or you started having thoughts of suicide around that time that have ended up ongoing.

    You may observe favoritism. The therapist sees another patient four times a week, or insists on seeing you that many times, or keeps you late a lot.

    The therapist keeps changing the rules, adds extra contracts, etc. The therapist contacts you without your contacting her/him first.

    Threats. The therapist frequently threatens to drop you, or to have you hospitalized, or to send the police.

    Accusations. The therapist accuses you of things you hadn’t dreamed of doing. Overall distrustful relationship. Fear-based, frequently punishes the patient, sulks, goes into a huff or otherwise acts unprofessionally.

    Sexual advances, sexual remarks that are out of place, etc. Contacting your family or anyone in your life without your permission.

    Refuses to take your side in any conflict. Denies that another therapist or doctor harmed you, or denies that you were treated badly in a facility. Automatically sides with the clinician.

    Calls you psychotic repeatedly, claims you are paranoid when you are telling the truth, calls you dangerous when you aren’t. Jeering, eye-rolling, gaslighting.

    Physical abuse. Or denies that another person abused you when you are telling the truth.

    Bosses you around and runs your life. Threatens to have your kids taken away or other loss of rights. Character-bashing.

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  • Where is the research on what happens to a person after being given massive polydoses of antipsychotics? I was on 900 of Seroquel, 20 of Abilify, and 6 of Risperdal, simultaneously, and also concurrent with 600 of Lamictal, 300 of Topamax, and a third anticonvulsant, Trileptal. All at once.

    I believe I have permanent insomnia, eight years of resulting exhaustion now with no improvement, as a result of all those anti-p drugs. Nothing helps except to get my hands on some drugs, which gives me partial relief.

    I am scared to death to see a sleep doc because of their tendency to misdiagnose and worsen what is already a bad situation.

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  • Fred, it took me decades to admit it. It is also not easy to say I faked my way into hospitals because of the backlash I could get. However, people do not realize the real reason I did it. Every time I had trouble with my eating disorder (dieting cycle, really) I had to take action. I tried, multiple times, to get my therapists and psychs to listen. They never did, and apparently even those who had known me for years had no awareness that I had ED. I went 30 years like that. During that time, if the binge eating got out of control, I would say the word “death” in my session and that got my hospitalized. I now had temporary relief from bingeing. I dreaded leaving because I knew I’d be back at it again. I lied and said I was “suicidal” just to stay in there. Every time I left I felt disappointed, let down because they failed to hear me, failed to recognize what was really bothering me. I went back over and over due to the “unfinished business” feeling. It never worked.

    To most, I appeared “bipolar” but the truth is, if you’re so stuffed with food you can barely move, you’re going to be depressed. I was called “rapid cycling,” for obvious reasons. All those years I figured I must have a brain disorder causing the eating binges. I latched onto bipolar. It took me decades to figure out (on my own) that it wasn’t a brain disorder, that the erratic eating was affecting my moods, not the other way around. I had to realize that the diet had caused the ED. Starvation will affect you for years, changes the way insulin and other chemicals act in your body, and also can change your mentality and outlook. Repeated binge eating will cause you to have insulin spiking and this can go on and on. Breaking the cycle was essential for me (I knew this, but the psychs were just plain clueless!) and the only way I could do it, back then, was to get myself locked up.

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  • I would have made the exact same observations myself. I did see and know patients who begged for a diagnosis, loved being diagnosed and were happy to walk around practically boasting about it like it was their college major. Some were happy because that meant “there was a treatment,” in other words, they might get some drugs like Klonopin, which was always a bonus, like a lollipop for certain patients. Many really were drug-seeking. They even switched doctors when the first doc refused to give them Ativan or whatever they could fake it and get.

    When I got my diagnosis I kept asking myself how on earth I would live up to it. How was I going to be a convincing voice-hearer if I didn’t really hear voices? Should I lie? What if they ask me what they’re saying and I hadn’t a clue what voices say?

    One time I invented a delusion and I admit I wasn’t good at it. It didn’t pass inspection. It was far easier to act bipolar after they figured out I wasn’t schiz. But really, I was always disappointed at how poorly I fit their molds, any of them.

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  • My dad did work for NAMI as a monitor in the state institutions. He remarked that the people who worked in those places were extremely low paid. He noticed that they were not treated well, but of course, they got to leave at the end of the shift and the prisoners there had no rights and no pay. He also observed that there are some positions in health care that were about the only job that certain immigrant populations could get.

    I was abused by “sitters” while I was on a medical ward. I noticed that they, too, were treated badly. Not as badly as they treated me, but badly. Overall, immigrants get treated badly anyway.

    And I can give many examples. The way the doctors spoke of the sitters was pitiful. They were dismissive of them and verbally insulted them. To have to put up with that, day in and day out, would certainly wear on a person. If you refuse or speak out you can lose your job. It was a matter of an oppressed population beating on the one population less powerful, the patients. It happened a lot!

    One of them told me they had cornered her into working overtime. She was supposed to meet her kid at the school bus stop after school. The school had decided that if she did not show up they were calling DCF. Lose your job or lose your kids.. Either way, you lose.

    Most were unkind. They pushed their religion on me and called me names, verbally abused, physically abused, stared at me when I was changing, wouldn’t let me pee alone, jeered at me repeatedly, insisted on having the TV on all night long, and wouldn’t leave my side even though there wasn’t any evidence that I was at all at risk. I actually remember the “nice ones,” since they were a rare blessing. The resulting trauma affects my ability to be physically close with anyone. That includes sex or impending sex. I panic and exit. All from hospital abuse trauma. Never mind having a hard time getting along with people.

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  • I knew people who refused to talk to me, stating that I should only talk to a therapist. I other words, they were able to quickly excuse themselves by claiming they didn’t have expertise on the commonplace life issues I was experiencing. Why? I was a mental patient having these issues. Like regular ole stuff like isolation and loneliness were somehow different because I was an MP. So that, of course, was very isolating having been told over and over that I’m not worth listening to, that only a therapist could put up with me, etc. I’ve learned that this was just a way to get rid of me.

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  • Hello Jane, A big hug and…welcome! I’m so glad you wrote what you did. It very well could have been my story. After I stopped all psych treatment including therapy, I got better! Why is this story telling itself over and over and yet, mainstream media seems to ignore us. The usual story is that a person stops psych treatment and then, relapses. Now for some reason, that’s not the story! We are getting stronger and now we even have (sort of) a community of us.

    I am also from the Boston area and I was in the psych system 35 years. I’m 61 and got employed last year. I try not to look back too much. I was on “antipsychotics” and “mood stabilizers” which were to treat the Diagnosis of the Day, whatever they found most profitable, and sometimes, they chose the diagnoses that were best at silencing me. It did not work!

    It was the brainwashing that was most crucial for me to overcome. That and getting some friends in my life. It all comes back. Very slowly. Remember that, and never give up!

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  • I can give an example. I went to therapy asking for help for an eating disorder in 1981. They did not know what eating disorders were back then. They never heard me for the next 30 years of intensive therapy. One therapist after another after another…most of them never knew I had an ED even though I said it many times.

    I can’t count the number of diagnoses I ended up with, the cocktails, the lockup situations, the “programs” that promised to help and did not, and the shock treatments that nearly did me in.

    I suspect that the world of mental health is in such hopeless shape that what Eric is suggesting here is more or less a dream, not something that can possibly happen. I don’t think there’s hope for psychotherapy since most therapists worship the DSM and psychiatry. And they called all that “help.” It wasn’t.

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  • The best therapy I had ever heard of lasted one session. A guy I knew had been diagnosed with a hopeless condition called epilepsy. What was incorrect about the diagnosis was the permanence of his seizure condition. It is very common for teens to have seizures resulting from rapid hormonal changes. Without realizing that the epilepsy was temporary, he got a vasectomy, because he felt it would be irresponsible to pass along a disease to any offspring. Then he found out the truth: He did not have a seizure disorder anymore.

    The man became despondent over this. He bemoaned that he had destroyed his chances of having children. He even became suicidal. At this point, he decided to try therapy.

    The therapy lasted one session. The therapist told him that usually, vasectomies can be reversed. This bit of information-sharing was all the man needed, and thankfully, the therapist knew enough not to turn him into a permanent mental patient. The man had the necessary surgery, went on with his life, and was never suicidal after that.

    Unfortunately, this is not how it usually goes. People get addicted to the appointments and pampering, end up with the nasty habit of too much self-disclosure, become self-absorbed, and all this leads to chronicity. Therapy can be an awful crime, a terrible thing to do to a person.

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  • I don’t understand why so many people blindly obey orders even when the rules and policies are totally illogical. I know some do it out of fear, fear of being kicked out, or fear of unseen, unspecified punishment. Usually people obey simply because most of the others around them are also obeying.

    Many policies are based on distrust of the constituents to think for themselves. Then when those in power see that one or two do think for themselves, the original thinkers are banished or shamed.

    It is the way that people are. We saw it in the schools and in most workplaces. Half of the USA is dissatisfied with their jobs. The main reason people quit is not because they leave for better pay. They leave mostly due to ingratitude of the management.

    Most shocking is the blind obedience of many nurses and lower staff who obey orders knowing that what they are doing is inhumane. Some get a kick out of it. Others go along with it out of fear.

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  • If it’s something you heal from, then yes, you’re implying disease or disorder. I have seen those complaints about these so-called narcissists. The anti-narc community loves to separate the world into two halves, the Evil Narcs, and those that aren’t Narcs. They’ll even go so far as to say it’s contagious and that you have to stay away from them or you’ll “catch” it. This is demonizing people, othering them. It’s pretty easy to say, “He’s a narcissist,” spread that around, and then, the poor guy is alone and isolated. That ain’t healing.

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  • I find it very sad that anyone would call another human being “toxic.” Where is the poison? Where is the radiation or dangerous germs? I would never call another human being “toxic” since that is really a euphemism for mentally ill or personality disordered. By all means there are toxic workplaces and toxic social situations, but no human being is toxic. It is a pseudo-diagnosis. What is behind it? It is a declaration of that person’s inferiority, and denial of their human worthiness. Why claim that a person is diseased? It’s really okay not to like another person, or to fail to understand that person. Why can’t we leave it at that, rather than excuse our dislike by calling the disliked person “toxic”? We may not feel comfortable with our own feelings, or our lack of empathy, but just leave it at that without claiming the person is diseased.

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  • I am pretty sure I am an anarchist, too, now that I have read your book and got some clarification on what anarchy is. This is why employment (working for boss) never appealed to me. I like having the money but it wears on you if you don’t have the opportunity to use your mind. Very few jobs require the intellect that college required. Some don’t want to hire anyone who actually thinks for themselves. They prefer blind obedience. I do not fit in at all. They liked me at that last job but they kept badgering me to obey, even when obeying meant doing things that were illogical.

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  • I was a member of a supposedly “liberal” church that claimed to be welcoming, but that turned out to be hypocrisy. They didn’t include anyone they did not like, and this meant pushing out the poor, being unwelcoming to black people and immigrants, and of course, anyone deemed to be nutso they felt too embarrassed to include.

    A lot of groups that claim to be liberal are just hypocrites. They include only those they want to include. Snobbery prevails. The elite left, let’s say. The elite right, too.

    Oh, shall I say the Elite Antipsych community, too? Elitism is rampant.

    I am enjoying your book so much, Bruce. I even quit my job, sick of being bossed around by a 21-year-old. Time for a change.

    Even at my other job, the one I like, I hate the useless rules. I think rules are designed for those who refuse to think for themselves. They need slogans to help them make decisions that the rest of us can make just as well using common sense. Today I told my supervisor that I refuse to follow a protocol if it doesn’t apply or if it’s illogical.

    In 2011, nurses and doctors followed a protocol, water restriction, that nearly killed me. They could have done the logical thing and considered I am a lithium survivor. They did not, because they were too obedient to make a responsible, humane decision.

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  • It’s about time MIA talked about antisemitism since it is rampant and has affected many of us. When I was a kid I heard it all the time. I was the bad one who had killed their Jesus. It was all the fault of the Jews. We were sinners who didn’t have Santa Claus. We didn’t have Easter baskets and we sang gibberish every Saturday (wrong day, they said) at Shul. We were outsiders who had to go to Hebrew school and miss all the fun.

    Yes, I got over it. I don’t see it as a major trauma in my life.

    I can guarantee, if your son ever gets into the Mental Health System, he’ll see worse antisemitism than he ever got at school. I had them calling me spoiled, a Jewish American Princess, and for years they criticized my “typical Jewish upbringing.” They said my mother had a “Jewish mother complex.” All baloney.

    What was my childhood really like? My parents took us into the mountains, taught us how to find the constellations and find our way by the angle of the sun or moon. They taught us how to navigate in the woods, even if there wasn’t a trail. We learned to cook over a campfire or a camping stove, to canoe on rivers and to ski in the coldest of the winter. My mom recycled long before any other mom did. She knew that sugar was bad for you well before Sugar Blues came out. She loved to challenge me to a fun game of Guess That Composer. I admit occasionally she won, especially when it came to discerning those Italian composers whose names all ended in ini.

    Dad taught me good judgement and good morals. He taught me that doing what is right is more important than doing what you are told. He knew this because he remembered the Holocaust. We were told we could not ever forget it, though we did not directly discuss it much.

    Most important, my parents believed in me. Keep on having faith in your children even if you disagree, even if you think you know better. You very well likely do, but let them learn. Encourage independent thought and let them know they can think anything, that no one should force or coerce them to believe things that they do not want to believe. This is one of the core Jewish beliefs that I still cling to, Freedom of Thought. Let them teach themselves to make it in the world. They will.

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  • As an example of the above, I have known people to read articles about “highly sensitive people.” This is a pseudodiagnosis, and it has harmed many people. As soon as they latch onto the self-diagnosis of this deficiency, “highly sensitive,” suddenly, the looping effect takes hold and they will become the diagnosis. This is a terrible trap. I know people who latched onto that diagnosis and now have social problems, difficulty maintaining friendships, and even have trouble keeping a job. I have no clue how to tell a person to stop this self-diagnosis, that the very idea of that something is terribly wrong with them is poisoning their minds.

    There is no such thing as “highly sensitive.” Some people are more prone to be observant of certain details. Others observe and remember totally different details. I notice workplace unfairness a lot sooner than others. I am the first to complain, often the only one who dares to say anything.

    Understandably, I am bothered when I have to take a call at work and I hear the caller being prompted by another person in the room. One time, I took a call from a guy who was clearly being abused by his girlfriend. He told me his girlfriend found out that he had purchased our product and now, he said, she was making him close the account with us. He said he regretted it. Knowing she could not hear me, I told him, “You can always sign up again, don’t worry.” Meanwhile, she continued to yell at him and cuss him out in the background.

    Afterward, I approached my supervisor and really, I wish now that I hadn’t. I was shocked at her lack of human compassion and lack of understanding of the significance of the event. She was condescending and told me to “get back to work.”

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  • One of the best therapists I have ever seen I saw over Skype. After I told her what happened to me she looked at me and said, “You don’t need a therapist. You need a lawyer.”

    What we need are people, degreed or not, who can point out exactly why and how “therapy” violates people rights. We need people to steer others, by example, away from therapy. We need role models who can illustrate that “problems” can be solved without aid of the mental health profession.

    Some of us need validation, just someone to listen and agree, “Yes, that therapist broke the law and broke all ethics to which they were bound as therapists.”

    Decades ago, say, in the 1960s, therapy was not very popular. Why? Because rigorous self-examination was not popular. People did not worry about every little thing that was wrong with them.

    As soon as you point out a person’s intrinsic deficiencies, or what you see are deficiencies, it sets a person down a very bad rabbit hole that’s hard to get out of. Sadly, all you need to do is to suggest a deficiency for the person to go into a tailspin.

    Yesterday I was on the phone with a guy, a free “business coach” session. I told him I’d like to have a more meaningful job, but I can’t seem to get hired at one. This guy knew nothing of my background and I didn’t tell him I spent 35 years as “disabled, severely mentally ill.” Knowing nothing about how far I have come (including currently dealing with a terminal illness), he ended up telling me I was “pessimistic” which, sadly, got me started on thinking I had a deficiency. Good thing I know better than to dwell on it or worry about it. If I was that flawed, I’d be miserable, and I’m certainly not.

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  • Regarding “fast metabolizer,” I have reason to believe this may have been why I ended up on gigantic cocktails. I have diabetes insipidus, which was from lithium. This means I metabolize water much faster than the average human. We used to talk about this way back when. People were saying they were “washing out their meds,” which was likely partially true. If the drug is metabolized in the kidneys and has certain other properties, you will literally wash it out of your body due to high water consumption.

    Diabetes insipidus can be treated with drugs. They usually use a potassium-sparing diuretic, which acts paradoxically and helps you retain water so you’re not so thirsty. This isn’t a good thing for your kidneys, as these diuretics will speed up kidney decay. I was never treated for DI because it took those idiot doctors nearly three decades to diagnose me. This is insane because it’s very easy to diagnose. I am realizing also that high water metabolism is likely keeping me alive right now. I do not need, or want, “help,” because they help will harm.

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  • Actually, Jan, we live in different countries so maybe the situation is different. People have to get by somehow on the unlivable “disability” income. Most of them are working and not telling the government. You get in a lot of trouble if you’re caught. My friend who had her own very successful business decided to claim “depression” as disability but kept the business going. She put the business in a family member’s name. Not legal but people have to get by and they do what they can. Many I know on disability also get money from their families, but in the US it has to be done in cash. You can’t have a penny going through your bank account. My friend ended up so broke she had to cheat on her taxes.

    There are also people who end up with an enormous amount of money from these side-jobs. There was a big news story about a local fortune-teller who made huge amounts of money but something wasn’t legal about it (can’t recall) so she got caught. I believe that happened when the justice system got wind of her activities and they had an undercover cop pose as a customer.

    I know a lady who sells her own specialty laundry soap and she has made good money doing this. My coworker sells veggies from her garden. I have a neighbor who has a tiny garden where he raises these amazing flowers. He regularly cuts them down and gives them away. He gave me some and I was so touched by this I almost cried. Home chicken coops are very popular here, even in the city, though you’d need a lot of laying chickens to make anything substantial.

    I suck so badly at selling anything at all. However, I’ve made a point of studying how to sell. (What is a job interview but advertising and selling yourself, and of course, lying a little….) I hope to get skilled enough at it to get my book to sell, which I hope will be this year. I’ve also studied how to delegate “nuisance” tasks. It’s a win-win because whoever you hire can use you as a reference, you pay them, the job gets done. You save time and they get a another sale to add to their accomplishments. That, in fact, is community.

    I couldn’t possibly do this if I was still in the System. MH is a fail-fail situation all around. You won’t live well if you’re living as an inferior, subhuman creature. You’ll be lucky if you’re still alive after they get through with you.

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  • Melody,
    I also live in Western PA. Yes, it is big state so just saying “Western PA” could be anywhere from Erie to Greene County. I would like to meet you if possible or connect somehow. We need some activism around here! I can’t seem to find your website. Those brain zaps sound awful. I never had them and never knew much about them. Maybe they mainly come from antidepressants? I was coerced onto anti-p drugs and mood non-stabilizers for decades, and my kidneys and thyroid were harmed from lithium.


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  • I agree, Kindred, but for the most part people who have been in the System are told they cannot work or are in some way incapable. Most of us have has been brainwashed to believe we are less capable than we really are. In fact I do not know a single person who was treated in the System with expectations that were too high. Whatever capabilities you had were treated a symptoms of a disease, so they weren’t capabilities anymore. Some of our capabilities were a threat to them. God forbid, an artist might capture the scenes in mental hospital. A writer will write about what it was really like. Were in in law school? Well? What were we good at now? Being good in “group”? ugh.

    Because we were brainwashed to be more dependent than we needed to be, I generally stress trying to reach a point of increased independence, especially dependence on psychiatrists and therapists, or at least stop seeing them as gods on high.

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  • People do not realize that HUD and all the handouts are not a free ticket. In order to qualify for HUD your income is already so low you cannot afford a decent place, or any place. Once you get in your chances of ever moving out are very little. You will not be able to “transfer” to another HUD if the one you are in sucks. They put you through the worst hoops if you want to do that. You have to apply, and then wait and wait. Unless you have a Section 8 certificate you can’t relocate. Ever.

    Living conditions…well, if you are in senior housing you might like a nursing home more. I hated senior housing! I hated living with people I had nothing in common with. It felt very institutional.

    The handouts cause dependency. I heard that fewer than 0.5% ever get off disability. If you are on disability your chances of a landlord accepting you are next to nil. I had to lie and say it was “retirement.” It worked!!! But that won’t work unless you are over 50. Once you get a good history with one landlord then moving to a better place will be much easier, since you are not reporting to the landlord that you currently live in HUD. If you work locally and tell your employer your address you will be giving yourself away…and your chances of getting a job, again, are fewer.

    Some people do manage to sell on Ebay or Etsy. I knew a guy who cut hair on the side. Massage is not hard to learn. Getting paid gigs as a musician (weddings, etc). Sewing clothes, selling your art (photography is likely the one visual art that could be very profitable) or selling your psych drugs. Fortune-telling (i.e. “readings,”) if you can convince other that this is valid, will be instant money. All of this must be done illegally, that is, without reporting to the gov’t, or you are screwed unless your business is pulling in enough to live on. That is, if they find out you’ve been doing what you must do to survive, you’re a criminal.

    The key is to get out. Get away from mental health social circles and quit the mentality of dependency. Do not use the System’s language. These are the hardest things for many of us. Learned dependency takes years to shake off.

    This is weird…I feel that I have ditched the mentality well enough. One day, roughly a month ago, I came home to find my keys were not in my pocket. For a split second I was transformed back into a dependent mental patient. I was suddenly thinking of “staff” that would somehow rescue me. Or a therapist who was that instant paid friend. I’m so glad that sudden flashback to the old days only lasted a second until I realized my keys were in my other pocket.

    I believe this will happen again if I am ever in a really scary situation. It would have to be extreme though. Like if I was hit by a car or beat up.

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  • Kindred, the naturopaths that I know are far removed from all this. You have to have a certain amount of self-preservation around these Western medicine folks. Yes I still flinch when I have to walk past an urgent care center and every time I thank my lucky stars that I am walking past….as fast as I can!

    I agree, they actually justify the HIPAA violations. I did call a hospital once to point out the HIPAA violation they did and they apologized. That happened at the surgical center when I had my eyes done. They said some stuff to me when the guy giving me a ride home was in the room. An apology was enough. Plenty enough. They admitted fault and said they would be more careful next time.

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  • Oh sorry that I wasn’t clear. Do not go to doctors that take insurance. I also went to Urgent Care one time and I knew that they’d find out that I was on Medicare at the time. I left the ER AMA when I realized they weren’t going to do anything good for me medically.

    There are plenty of naturopaths that you can find if you look for them. Not ones hired by hospitals! Ones that work entirely independently. No real naturopath will go along with the insurance system. Contact me if you want the names of a few. There’s no reason to see a Western doc if you do your own research, including reading what various naturopaths have to say. You choose! This, by the way, is why I’m alive and not dead. I make my own choices, allow myself room for error, adjust when necessary, and lo and behold, I’m far more healthy and energetic than I was the entire time I was in the MH system. Even with kidneys that don’t really work.

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  • Wow. Just wow, KS. I think you are right. I personally do not see doctors for anything. I had my eyes fixed because I had to. Yes they had some old info. They knew I had kidney disease. They didn’t access my old Boston records and now it’s been so long (six years since last shrink visit) that I doubt they will. They had access to ophthamology records from 2016.

    This is what I do, and I recommend it to anyone. Do not use insurance! As KS said, do not see a doctor unless you get shot or hit by a car. I do get blood tests but I pay out of pocket for them and I don’t go to a doctor to get them prescribed. The results are not shared. They might send an email telling me my levels are off, but that is it. Like I don’t know this already!

    Most naturopaths will not share with your doctor, but beware of the ones that insist on it. They aren’t real naturopaths! Any alternative practitioner may advise but you aren’t obliged to take that advice. That is the beauty of it. You decide, and you take responsibility for your own decisions.

    Read up on stuff on your own. Take everything with a grain of salt. Ask yourself if what you are reading is logical. If it sounds like a scam, it likely is.

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  • Unfortunately you usually can’t tell much from a website. Looks like the person with username ILNC has now decided to bow out. I do not understand why he came here. This is a website that, I hope, does not validate any mental health “treatment,” and certainly would not endorse any treatment. Unfortunately, since a lot of so-called professionals want to get in on the act (after all, MIA loves to publish people with letters after their names!) then what has happened is that some professionals get to push their services, programs, etc, and I don’t even need to name names here. I just keep wondering why. We’re not going back. And that’s the whole point of all this. Never again.

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  • So, ILNC, what is your organization? Are you going to be transparent about that? Interestingly, Massachusetts General Hospital has the best of the best reputations, yet while I was there I was deprived of water to the point where I would have died if I had not gotten out of there. Mass General runs McLean, which is a cesspool of bad care. Also, my highly esteemed MGH psychiatrist threatened to drug me until I could not write, telling me that her MGH administrators wanted to silence me. If MGH was so great, why didn’t they inform me that I my kidneys were failing from lithium? Why did they keep me in the dark when warning me might have saved me a lot of grief? Great reputation, sure. They manipulate the statistics in their favor, just like all of them. (It’s really easy to classify a wrongful death as something else, you know…)

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  • Michael, I have a masters degree in creative writing with a concentration in memoir. You cannot just toss out stories told by people who are really there. To me, these stories mean far more than any statistics compiled by someone who was never on the treatment end of things there. I’m not saying the place is good or bad. I think MIA as a whole cares far too much about statistics and does not value stories enough. Storytelling is how we move people, how we reach them and evoke emotion and perhaps also inspire to action.

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  • Yes, KS, I too have met very cruel nurses. Many were just plain incompetent. I remember ages ago helping the nursing staff write notes with proper grammar. Some did not know how to spell the simplest words. Even words like schizophrenia. They couldn’t spell it. You wonder about the quality of care in such circumstances. Yes, they can do stuff like take blood pressure, but many weren’t too good at critical thinking. Or they didn’t even know what critical thinking was. We were the ones who with the broken brains, remember?

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  • Bruce, I am loving your book! I wanted to tell you that. I have reviewed it on Amazon (posted as JG) and I’m not even done with it. I also wanted to write a review of it for MIA but who knows if they’ll let me.

    Anyway, I have to laugh. I started a new position. At work we only have bits and pieces of downtime, during which the workers either chat with each other or, oddly enough, play with children’s fidget toys. I decided I was not going to waste my mind. I would sit there and write but that is not allowed. I brought a hard copy book with me but the boss said I can’t read during work, with the exception of their stuff, which is kept in a looseleaf notebook at my desk. Rules rules rules!

    I am sure you will not mind my creative solution to the dilemma. I have the Kindle copy of your book. I managed to print out a bunch of pages. I brought those pages to work and when the supervisor wasn’t around, stuck the pages into the notebook. Now, while I might appear to be studying that darned notebook an awful lot, I’m actually getting my Bruce Levine fix!

    I have challenged authority for as long as I can remember. I remember being in a playpen and when my parents weren’t looking I ripped a hole in the playpen mattress. I “decorated” my furniture with blue crayon during nap time. My mom left the room while she was cutting my hair. Oh how fun it was to snip snip snip! My mom had to take me to a professional hairdresser to fix the mess.

    I have challenged what I felt was illegitimate authority here at MIA (favoritism) and also when I was on the ISEPP mailing list (failure to acknowledge the harms of “therapy”).

    All my life I have been shocked and disappointed in my fellow humans who insist on not saying speaking up, even when they’ve known something was immoral. However, it took me decades before I ended up speaking up at the hospitals about the obvious wrongs. Again, I was shocked and disappointed that my fellow patients didn’t just insist on remaining silent, but they turned against me. They called me psychotic even.

    For instance, when I spoke up about the lack of telephone privacy on an eating disorders ward, I got the following responses from my fellow patients: “But we don’t have human rights.” “But you have to follow what the staff say.” “Who cares if they aren’t following the law. None of the hospitals do!”

    These are all logical fallacies.

    The “staff” were far worse. They said the human rights laws that I pointed out did not exist. I pointed out that there was a private phone in one of the rooms that they commonly called “The Yellow Room.” I asked to use the phone in the Yellow Room and they told me “We don’t have a yellow room!” insisting I was psychotic. Then, when I showed them the policies that were in the way, way back of the patient handbook, they had to take a different tactic. One of the nurses said, “These human rights are only for some patients, not for all. We will let you have your way. But you’d better stay quiet about it.” Finally, I said that patient rights laws applied to all patients, not just the “good” ones.

    I had a home inspection a while back as my rental home was being sold. A couple of local cops showed up. It felt like a home invasion. Their report was full of exaggeration and disdain for the way I choose to live. It’s my choice, and my right, not to have fancy furniture! It isn’t messy in here but one or two empty boxes lying around constituted “trash strewn all over the home.” Not quite! I got a letter from the rental people saying the inspectors are coming back in 30 days and the place better be cleaned up. They never came.

    I have been inspired by your book, Bruce. If they ever contact me to tell me the inspectors are showing up, I’m going to ask them to show up in plain clothes, not uniforms. If they show me their badges I will tell them I do not need to see proof of their elevated social status. They’re not arresting me, for godsakes!

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  • So, being victim to racism is the new disease? Huh?

    So one day, in my neighborhood, my friends informed me about Santa Claus. We were barely out of toddlerhood. I went back and asked my mom about that. She explained that we do not have Santa because we were Jews.

    Was I suffering from Santa deficiency? What is the therapy for that? Is the world of psych, psychology and psychiatry arm in arm, insistent that they’re the ones to go saving everyone, now going to make me role-play with a stuffed Rudolf?

    Why should being who I am, including my heritage, be a disorder? This type of therapy seems to reinforce this, encouraging minorities to go right down the rabbit hole.

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  • Equally hurtful is accusing parents of abuse based on no evidence except projection on the part of the “clinician.” We already know that people who are less well off or are of a minority group are more frequently victims of this. Immigrants also get accused disproportionately. If you have MI on record you’re more likely to have your kids taken away.

    I’ll never forget the antisemitic remarks those damn doctors continued to heap on my family. If I were to smack them 100 times for each time they said “Jewish mother” I think my hands would fall off before I was done.

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  • Of course there’s such thing as repressed memories. There is a real danger, though, when you go to a therapist who supposedly extracts those memories. Therapists are full of biases and they’ve got their own agenda. I’ve known a few who were child-abused themselves so they project this onto all their patients. It is really a dangerous thing to do. I credit therapy for splitting up my family for a number of years. Thankfully the effect wasn’t permanent.

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  • Shift of consciousness may, or may not, change how you view reality, but I don’t think it does a thing to influence anything except our own actions, thoughts, beliefs. I don’t think an attitude change or “shift of consciousness” (the same thing!) are going to change the actions of others. Actually, to do so, if it were possible, would be a freakish act of control.

    If a woman is being beaten or abused by her husband, she can do all she wants with her attitude but that isn’t going to change him. Why? Because if this were true then he would be beating her not because he’s being cruel but due to her supposed “attitude.” Obviously this is a very blameful approach to take.

    She might, though, read a cool book, or meet a new group of friends who influence her to have the courage to walk out. Here, her attitude change didn’t stop him or change him, but gave her the courage to leave.

    On the other hand, lack of her own money is going to be one of those huge roadblocks to a successful exodus, one that can’t be produced by an attitude, or wishful thinking. Maybe luck will work better.

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  • Sam, I truly believe that false memories can indeed be induced, and often, induced by therapy. It’s not hard to do this, as a mere suggestion can alter one’s thinking about a past event and can cause a person to re-frame that event in a negative or positive way. Either of these can be harmful.

    For instance, if a child is abused by his/her parents, a suggestive remark by a therapist might cause the now-grown child to believe that their parents were “doing what was in their best interest,” even though it very well may not have been.

    In the other direction, I have seen therapists re-frame non-traumatic events as traumatic, in order to point out parental harm that didn’t even exist. I witnessed one patient who was told repeatedly that there was something terribly wrong with his upbringing, and yet, the events that this patient later told me about were not incidents of child abuse or neglect. The patient rejected therapy early on, thankfully.

    I cannot tell you how often culture played a part in this. My Jewish upbringing was constantly called a dysfunction by the therapists. I didn’t know whom to blame for my supposed mental illness so I ended up thinking my parents were bad parents. To fill in the void that resulted because I couldn’t actually recall any specific events, I filled in the blanks with false memories. Vague ones, but the harm was done, sad to say. It takes years or even decades to undo this.

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  • Anything at all can be a tool. If you call it that or recognize that you’re using it that way. I had friends back in the day who went to psychs solely to serve their addiction to the pills. The idea was to go to a shrink to get your fix, whether it was anti-d’s, anti-p’s or of course, benzos. Only they didn’t use the word “fix.” They would go and plead their cases, claiming just how “anxious” they were, and would leave with their next month’s worth of hits. They got mad when the shrink wouldn’t be their dealer, claiming the shrink didn’t understand or wasn’t “doing anything” to help them. They never realized that addiction and dependency on the pills was the cause.

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  • Here is my favorite line: “The beautiful thing about psychiatry’s pronouncements is that no one can ever prove them wrong.”

    This is very true, not only of diagnosers, but of lay people also. If another person views you as psychotic, personality-disordered, or otherwise MI, you don’t stand a chance, and you can never prove them wrong. I have tried to point this out to Governor Wolf (Pennsylvania) because of this new proposed legislation on gun control. The first two parts are fine but they also want to label people as “extreme risk” and then treat them with force, the object being to remove all weapons from them. I have pointed out to him that to be thus labeled wrecks a person’s life. And what if the “extreme risk” determination is incorrect? Now what?

    He and the other legislators proposed that if a person contests the “extreme risk” diagnosis, they should present their case in court. I told Gov Wolf that this won’t work, as insanity, once proclaimed, cannot be disproved. I think this was determined by the field of philosophy and logic quite some time ago.

    For this reason, I recommend that if you are seen as dangerous by a set group of people you should remove yourself from that situation ASAP and start over where they don’t know you. And then, just act responsible and people will never know about your misfortunes of the past.

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  • All this data-collecting must have been a huge effort. But you didn’t answer the most basic question. What is it like there?

    You can collect all the data you want on “outcome” on places like McLean but that won’t tell you the food is inedible, the staff are mostly incompetent and poorly trained, and the place is filthy. The units are locked and they coerce or force you into accepting “treatment” you otherwise would reject.

    So the desired result? The patients are a lot quieter, aren’t they? What is the word used? Docile? The study even says so! Must be the best place on earth….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Hi JanCarol,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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