Friday, September 18, 2020

Comments by O.O.

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  • “the messiness and difficulties of working with survivors” I could say the same thing about being a survivor trying to work with psychiatrists, but would have to add danger to the list.

    I liked your essay.

    It is a mess, we can’t work together. I agree. Just wish that “difficult” wasn’t so quickly attributed to survivors. Wish there was less truth to it. are we really more difficult than you? if we did a study?

    Would I be my old professional self, reputation for being great with people, if I was a paid professional again? I don’t know. I didn’t act up and out until i was a patient. ANGRY.

    Don’t be weird, or too much, or too mad, Don’t make the professionals scared or uncomfortable or confused. Push for change, but don’t push? I don’t know what is needed from me. My intensity is rational if you consider that 1. I am expected to work with MH professionals who remind me of past life threatening traumas. 2. There is a lot riding on this for me… like my life and the lives of my friends. 3. I really want to belong to something meaningful, not as a client, but as a friend. An equal.

    If a survivor is truly viewed as equal would our feelings change?

    If a survivor had proof that they were equal and respected as such, would I still be so afraid of what you could do to me? Or of losing you?

    Maybe the wise ones are the ones who get away. The ones who get out and just disappear.

  • Actually I just thought of something… Who I am in “therapeutic” “patient” relationships is NOTHING like who I really am. It’s like I’m trying to live down to what the therapist imagines I am. Has already decided I am. When I have been me with a therapist i got hurt, really bad. So there are lots of memories that make “nice” “calm” “fun” a struggle with any “therapist”.

  • I have to share my new favorite song boans… (and Sam too.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mks4mvjbRDg It made me smile!

    I found it while licking my wounds after a recent blindside run in with a past therapist. It reminds me of myself and my inner self-blame psychoanalysis conditioned spiral.

    I was asking if I was needed. If my presence was a detriment to this movement. If I should just walk away. I was not in a good place.

    He never did answer my questions. He never said, “STAY! I need you.” Having my fear confirmed left me spiraling worse.

    He told me instead how I was too much and doing human 101 wrong, right before insisting that I accept him as he is. Hermit, mercurial, flitting. Just as he is.

    What if this is just how I am too?

  • In case it helps… I was raised in the same small northern community in Canada as Jordan Peterson. Some of Jordan Peterson’s manner, that is read as angry and cold, may be his accent. Or a regional dialect/mannerism. No round about or undue pleasantries. It is a culture of saying your truth directly. “If I want to give you the finger, I will do it to your face!” to quote my brother. In my mind I am showing respect by being open and honest and direct. I expect the same respect in return, but am learning on this global platform that where I am from things are very different.

    I don’t know a lot about J Peterson’s views. He will change and evolve like all of us. I just want everyone to consider regional differences in communication style when we listen to each other. What is kindness for you may be abuse for another. We are not all from Western Mass and California.

  • Thanks Psych! I’ve read some of Stahl’s psychopharm and had access to and read a lot of textbooks in the staff library at the Psych hospital. Honestly it wasn’t the medications that hurt me, it was how they were used. Taking a tranquilizer in a crisis a few times is much different then life long drugging, but there isn’t much point talking is there. I was a medical professional before psychopharmacology in the form of an antidepressant for (assumed somatic) shoulder pain, After that my underlying condition flared right up. (Or so I’m told.) 13 years later and my life RUINED I came off meds against advice. NOW some doctors say I must have never been sick at all. hmmm.

    So yeah I’m pretty hurt and angry. My time is valuable too, but no one listens once your labeled. No one will ever have to listen again. I’m glad you stopped in. Listen to your patients, Psych. Listen carefully with an open heart. Listen when they complain about no energy or weight gain or feeling like they aren’t their best. Listen! PLEASE! And use your power for good. You found MIA for a reason. Medications are just a tool among tools. (a power tool) Not a cure.

  • Hey Psychologist; 😀
    How’s it going? I haven’t seen you here before. What brings you in? 😀

    Why don’t you start by telling me how you chose your name? It’s pretty. You’re safe here. I only want what is best for you. Just a quick note about confidentiality… oh right, you know the drill. Silly me! 😀

    There a lot of sick people here who have come off medications against medical advice. How does that make you feel? You look nervous. 😀

    How have you been sleeping? 😀

    Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with mental illness?

    Why NO, my smile isn’t fake. 🙁 Why would you think such a thing? Do you have trouble trusting people? Do you often feel that other’s are unreal? 😀

    Have you ever had thoughts of harming yourself? 😀

    Have you been in touch with your psychiatrist lately? Are you taking your meds? It’s nothing to be ashamed of Psychologist. It’s like diabetes. Yes there are some temporary side effects, but nothing to worry about. Whatever you do don’t google it, it will only cause your imagination to create weight gain and tremors and worse. 😀

    Oh, you don’t want medication! Oh, you are a medical professional? Oh, I see. Are you sure? Is there someone I can call to verify? No? You don’t think you have a problem? mmmm, I’m really worried about you. 😀

    You seem angry, agitated. No you can’t leave now. It’s not safe! You are not medicated. What if you kill someone or yourself? I can’t let that happen! 🙁 I only want what’s best for you! 😀

    You are going to leave anyway? 😀 Against advice. I don’t think so. (SECURITY!) I can’t let that happen. I am a professional and I have an obligation to make sure you get the care you need. (SECURITY!) (ambulance transport … yes … … Query bpad … MANIA … … Aggression… running away… … anosognosia… query bring sedation… … police back up… … possible psychosis … )

    You’ll feel better in no time Psychologist! I promise. These nice men are only holding you down because you keep trying to get away! See how upset you are? I’m so worried about you. You’re safe now. In good hands! 😀

    But, the nice doctor’s will help you. You just need a little rest. The ambulance is here. 😀

    Great first meeting Psychology! Oh it doesn’t matter if I get your name wrong now, if that really is your name. Welcome to care! We’ll have a long talk when you get out whether you want to or not! 😀

    (Dark humor aside… Welcome Psych! I’m one of those “bpad” non-compliant folks. So far I haven’t killed anyone. Stay a while, you make me laugh! And not even in that Hollywood bipolar off meds maniacal MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH kind of way. It just caught me so off guard, your comments, that I giggled out loud. Almost posted: Are you for real?)

  • I did watch this. POWERFUL! J Peterson is a perfect example of how difficult and dangerous withdrawal can be, even with money and support.

    Gives me new respect for those who have come off benzos and other meds alone and without such luxuries. How amazing it is that any of us survive! I spent times of withdrawal treating myself with meanness and anger, as if I was weak or “Making it all up” as my first kid shrink accused me. I went through cold turkey benzo withdrawal at 17. I wouldn’t understand until years later what exactly it was. A Nightmare.

    WE ARE WARRIORS! We don’t celebrate how huge SURVIVAL is after psychiatry enough! ROCK ON!!!!

  • It’s just a pay cut for the greater good. No one is expecting professionals to volunteer, or go into debt to cover crisis support, or pay a therapist out of the wifi/cell phone/grocery/contact lens/make up/car or other such luxuries budget. Yet we ask clients to make such sacrifices all the time.

    Radical Alternatives left me further away from true freedom than psychiatry did because money is kind of important for thriving. How many get to PROUDLY thrive off my want before I break? I wouldn’t wish psychiatry on anyone, but one way they are ahead of “alternatives” is that they do, at least in Canada, help secure a small regular income, affordable housing, and practical support. When I escaped psychiatry, I did so by hiring my own team by cutting out all non-essentials like wifi, cell phone and groceries. JUST for a chance at living, but honestly… when I weigh the pros and cons. There are serious side effects to private alternatives. Including this idea that you aren’t enough as you are. That you are the one that is broken. Plus if you spend everything on therapy and end up homeless it doesn’t matter. Crazy happens when life is just IMPOSSIBLE. If I had to do it again, I would have spent the money on credentials, like those I hired had, because that’s how the game is played. You can use the term human rights as catch phrase or a marketing slogan, but it’s just more tokenism if you aren’t willing to meet me human to human. Inside the office and out.

  • Equality DOES NOT exist when only one person is paying or unpaid. You either need to drop the word “equality” or divide your funding equally making the “person of concern” a full fledged team member. This solution would empower, motivate engagement, and reduce shame while helping to ensure that material needs are met.

    Participation and empowerment, equality and non-discrimination, quality and diversity of care, social inclusion, autonomy, and dignity would all be met by balancing power in a measurable way. In crisis it would start as a temp position, but with the possibility of advancement.

    I can see this working. Being a paid colleague is huge motivation to be better. Plus the pride alone. 🙂

    What you have laid out doesn’t end the issue of being stuck in the patient/client/crisis/broken/sick role.

  • Layperson: A non-ordained member of a Church. (I don’t want to belong to your church.)

    Layperson: A person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject. (Believe me, no one has specialized knowledge of psychiatry, psychology and pharmaceuticals like those with lived experience. Years served in hospital and/or treatment should be respected the same way years served in school is. I have a PhD in psychiatric services. My thesis was on the Real World Reality of Ethics and Research as a Tool for Systems to Protect Predators and Cover up Abuse. I paid dearly for my education and am still paying.)

    Professional: engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. (huh. I’m a professional too.)

  • I was interviewed by a researcher once because I used nutrition to help myself come off neuroleptics, but I couldn’t be used because it was unethical to decrease or stop “anti-psychotics” in “psychotics”. I asked her why it is unethical if I chose it myself? And what if it is unethical not to research stopping these drugs? The scariest part was how blind she was to reality. How unfeeling for the specimens she was collecting and dissecting for “research”. For her pay check. For her potential Nobel Prize!

    This profession of “research” is not just corrupted, it is evil. I’m starting to think “research” is the very foundation of all the systems we are fighting to stop. It is research that led to and made acceptable the worst abuses in history. It is research that says one is broken and one is not. Research is the reason we have POLICE WELLNESS CHECKS! Research is the basis for the legal lock up of abuse survivors and dissidents in the name of treatment.

    It’s is the ultimate predator! Ultimate protection for abusers.

    If a fellow researcher is not free to say “wtf” “this is unethical” “STOP IT!” than what hope does some intentionally brain damaged lab rat have of ever making a difference? I can’t say THIS in any kind of round about stroking stiff upper class white lip way!!!!!

    It is not a tea party. It is an emergency. You will never save a choking victim if you stop to research or insist on pleasantries before action!

  • It’s too late to reverse this, so I’m not going to waste time venting about how sold out it makes me feel.

    Instead I wonder if there is a way we can devise to help prevent further and future buyouts and buy-ins?

    How do we teach integrity and self-protection?

    How do we protect ourselves from people with profit agendas from taking advantage of our trauma in the few spaces we have to be real and connect?

    How do we keep the desperation for real escape from psychiatry which is easier with money, from clouding our own judgement should an offer “too good to refuse” come along?

    Should money exchange for services, therapy or alternatives be immoral in, or at least separate from, social justice movements fighting psychiatry and oppression?

    How do we keep from repeating the patient role even here? What do I have to do to be equal? To not be the “sick” one here? Hide? Become the therapist?

    Sometimes professionals and researchers write blogs saying the labels are quackery, you are not sick, and then sell a service for “fixing” me in the very next sentence? Either I’m equal, whole, worthy, or I’m not. Which is it?

    How do healers for hire decide they are healed enough to heal another? What happens when you find out your expensive healer is sicker than you?

  • I think our nagging unease is there for good reason. Best to listen to our guts. 🙂 Anyways… cool essay.

    I adopt words and sayings too easily.

    My grandmother had a photo in her purse of the grandfather who never got displayed with the family photos. This picture only came out when it was just us. “There was a N in the woodpile” she would say lovingly. I grew up in a white farming community thinking the N word was a term of endearment. Thankfully the first “real” POC I met at 25 was gentle and could see past my WORDS. It’s really hard to figure out such a strange mix of pride and shame and ignorance. I mostly keep my ancestry a secret just like my grandmother did. The danger is different now, but the fear and confusion are the same.

    “Do we know who we’re fighting? The individual or the air that they breathe that poisoned them? It’s all so confusing. So fucking confusing. All these roles that shape us. That shape how I see you, and you see me.” ~Sera

  • Dear Sera;

    I am glad you apologized, but only because it led me to your essay. I needed this today. This is the best thing I have read on MIA to date.

    I do not wish to start a debate about language or appropriation. I just do my best to translate the pictures in my head without too much misunderstanding. Please hear my heart not my words.

    Take words like “privilege” and “white” away for just a moment: You were 5 years ahead of everyone else, sounding a clear warning! SHAME ON THOSE WHO DIDN’T LISTEN, not you. No one OWNS the metaphor of being crushed by oppression. Yes your story is different, but that image of “can’t breathe” is appropriate. I have faced long term institutionalization and am mixed race. So what? If you breathe you belong!

    I am sure there is some language nuance or social justice issue I am missing. Maybe I’ve once more missed the boat completely. (am I allowed to say that?) Please don’t try to enlighten me. I can’t absorb any more “rules” without losing my ability to speak completely. If I could protect the world by predicting, policing and punishing myself, it would of worked by now.

    Words are not hearts. Words are tools.

    If I was a superhero my power would be to expose people. (That didn’t come out right.) To expose hearts so we didn’t have to guess about motive or intent. Kind of a cut-the-crap power. Life is complicated enough already. And I haven’t even left my bedroom yet.

    I’m told smiley’s help. 🙂

    Rage on Sera! I need you.

  • “If the psychiatrist’s ego is so weak that s/he can’t accept feedback, s/he should not be in the business of “helping” people at all.”~Steve M. (To protect your identity.)

    How many “MH” and/or “Alternative” “helpers” have you met that can accept feedback? lol. The worst stonewalling, victim blaming, labeling as defective, when confronted with a painful truth that I’ve known have been self-proclaimed “radical” therapists. 🙂 Funny how many “helpers” get insulted when you try to “help” them.

  • Every bad thing that happened to me had the backing of research. History is much worse than my story. We sterilized the “feeble minded” in Alberta right up until 1976. The last residential school didn’t close until 1996. All had the backing of science. When research is proved wrong we get an “oops” if anything. No one goes to jail. Did the guy who won a Nobel prize for putting an ice pick into his patients brains through an eye socket get prison time? https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4794007

    Are we defunding the wrong department?

  • Plus I’ve always wondered about control groups. Do they put up a “research study participants needed” poster? If you are NORMAL call this number? Brain scans for a fiver? How out of touch with reality do you have to be to believe you are THE measuring stick for Normal? Makes me a bit worried that my brain is being held up against the top predators in our species as if I am the one defective.

  • (This comment is not directed at Peter Simons. Thank you for your writing.)

    I don’t get it, maybe I should go back and read it again, or maybe the old “recovery” side effect is acting up again. It has to be my fault because 9/10 researchers can’t be wrong. Turns out 70/70 researchers really can be wrong.

    I’m sure this time also, no one will tell me what 70 teams of researchers cost. The closest I ever get to numbers is that it is a better deal than that other guy. Cheaper in comparison. Payment plans, sliding scale. You can buy the dumbed down model if you’re poor. JUST BUY SOMETHING! Like some late night TV program selling blenders.

    This is the research of medication sellers, but also of the sellers of psychotherapy and other “recovery” alternatives use to keep us buying? The sellers even showing up here at MIA sometimes? Where their ideal client hangs out? I’ve been taking a break from believing everybody and self blame to read the business models being marketed to the healers for hire instead.

    This research thing? Do we have to keep going now that it’s been researched enough to know it’s a scam?

    If this was industry or farming and you hired 70 teams to fence your property but sent them out to survey first and not one came back with an accurate read of the map you provided? hmmm what do you think would happen? Maybe instead of retracting papers we should be retracting pay checks?

    Fine don’t fire researchers! Half their pay and give a researcher’s salary to the person in the MRI machine (in this case). I’m sure they could tell you all about themselves. And a salary empowering them as the ultimate expert of the brain you are researching would go a long way towards really HELPING. Much farther than more of this dismembered SCIENCE! My brain doesn’t go anywhere without me. Would you (research team) please quit acting as if I’m not here!

  • Like my complaint requesting the photo of the child psychiatrist who damaged me be moved out of the psych wing where the abuse happened in the name of trauma informed care? And they look into it and hum and hah until I give up or die? The best they can commit to is “forwarding my feedback” and they don’t have to tell me a decision so the feedback could be shredded on arrival for all i know, but the nice lady talks to me nicely and forwards it again and research is done but nothing changes cause somehow no one with any authority ever sees anything on the child wards. And blah blah blah blah blah. Dr Parsons photo still hangs there proudly and we the children are left with no more recourse than the rateMD page. Screaming is about all that’s left and who can, what with a chart flagged psychotic noncompliant and the wellness checks and all.

  • “Kerry’s case is unique not only for her attempt to have the injustice of forced medication repealed, but in exposing the breaches of rights by the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal and the Australian mental health system for undermining rather than enabling the recovery and development of its consumers.”

    I do not believe attempting to have injustice repealed or exposing breaches makes Kerry unique. (Thank you Kerry! You rock!) I believe what makes this unique is the support Kerry has to fight. People willing to risk prison time for her freedom. She has a group backing her. She is believed. Writing her story. thank you.

  • Broader movements get freedom and leave the patients behind. Gay rights didn’t come back to help the rest of us out of the DSM. It isn’t a doompost. I agree, we must act with and act now. Please don’t assume that hopelessness expressed in the comment section equals not acting in the real world. Maybe this space to vent more safely is how we keep going outside of here. Plus we aren’t all American. And we don’t all have the safety of credentials. Or enough privilege to hide during storms. OR even a community of like minded people to work with. I’m the only HVN facilitator in my whole province. So it doesn’t really apply universally. Maybe this is a doom post after all. I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of the assumptions of who is acting and who isn’t based solely on a few anonymous words.

    I am a bit tired of always coming back to US politics. As if the USA is the standard we all should strive for.

  • “A biologically oriented belief model may lead doctors to underestimate the value of psychologists.”

    I don’t care! Clearly the doctors who can’t see me past a diagnosis are the ones who need a psychologist to address the rampant discrimination they are perpetrating. What I was seeing an MD for couldn’t be helped by a psychologist! STOP! STOP! this idea that I’m the one in need of a psychologist, when my back was injured is just more of the same CRAP!

  • Like when you are taken to the ER by your mental health aide because you are so weak you can’t hold your head up and the ER doc asks over and over if you see anything that isn’t there instead of doing a medical check?

    When you get so tired of trying to redirect him back to your physical illness that you point between him and the mental health aide and say, “I don’t see anything that isn’t there except for that guy.” And the aide gets the joke and starts laughing uncontrollably, but refuses to say anything in your defense when the doctor takes control of the situation? Like that?

  • You mean like when a group home staff insists you help push her stuck car in a freak snow storm because “you are young and healthy” and you feel something pop? You mean like when you go to the MD for that back injury because you know it is bad and he asks what meds you are on and then stands with his hand on the door knob ready to run away?

    Or like when your leg starts dragging that night so you go to the ER and that MD asks what meds you are on and then accuses you of wanting pain pills?

    Or the group home boss that tells you your “borderline” is really acting up when you cry from the pain at dinner, so you choose to drag yourself back to your walk up apartment. Only the bus driver believing something is really wrong? Even stopping as close to your door as he can get.

    And then when you can’t do the stairs to go get groceries and you can’t get anyone to help you, so give all your possessions away because you can’t even pull pants up let alone move stuff so your Dad can move you back to the small town from the city and the MD who knows you enough to order tests finds out you have a blown disk and have herniated two others?

    Like that? Like when you go back to the group home to ask if they have insurance to compensate for your injuries now that you have MRI proof and they accuse you of a worsening of your Mental Illness so you go away quietly to avoid the wellness check? Like that?

  • You’re right boans. “Think anyone cares about video? The usual rumblings about change and … we need more money to treat people like humans.”

    It kills a conversation dead to ask people to act without pay. Funny how often we ask it of those already homeless. In the name of “job skills” and “helping”. God forbid a professional has to live on investments and family inheritance alone. No shame asking for 6 figures in order to move. Gotta eat you know? I feel sick.

    And in psych people are being watched die over days/months/years. Plenty of time to act. (sometimes there is only screaming left.)

    Why didn’t the cops step in? It would interrupt the gut flora of their work life? It would be awkward? They aren’t paid enough? I’m so glad I have nothing to lose and nothing to protect. I don’t care if I die, it may actually be a relief. It is the people who haven’t lost enough that I am beginning to feel sorry for. They seems so afraid. So paralyzed. Or even delusional.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12Us5nPWouY

  • (SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    Why didn’t someone call anonymously the adults in care abuse line? Oh right I remember calling it myself. It’s an answering machine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 DAYS! I thought 8 minutes and 46 seconds was too long. 🙁

    “The family deserves a formal apology” ?!?!?!?!?!?! COLLEAGUES MUST BE HELD CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR NOT STEPPING IN! I say open all these old cases and start arresting professionals who chose silence. That would end psychiatry cause there would be no one left at work.

    It may even end private therapy for that matter.

  • What if a bunch of us went in at once? It would be easier to blow the lid off when we needed to get out. I’m not kidding. I’ve lost everything to psych abuse. I have nothing to lose. I would die happy bringing reality to light. If you need a more “credible witness” and want to send in a credentialed volunteer (if a professional would have the courage or the stomach for it?) I will work to get them out. We need to do something. We need to do something big.

  • Has the danger we are in been believed? Why are we offered a platform to share our personal stories, as if it is a generosity, when most of your writers wisely never do share private details about themselves? Do you realize that the trauma of forced treatment could be why we overshare? A dangerous, “please don’t hurt me… I’ll tell you anything you want to know!” Or a desperation for change so strong we will risk all, because we know the truth?

    Why wouldn’t a disclaimer at the beginning of anonymous personal stories explaining that the author has been verified but is in need of protection because the danger of psychiatry has also been verified, be less powerful than writing under my own name?

    If you won’t protect us at MIA knowing the truth about psychiatry then we really are in trouble. MIA is about “rethinking” I thought. I am telling you, from personal experience, writing my story for MIA put me in physical danger. I am asking you to “rethink” this policy. Please. We are not Fake News. We are real people risking life and freedom to support this cause by sharing our first hand experience even though we have the least protection ourselves. And we have things to share far beyond the risky one personal story you allow. You need testimony to back up your research. You need us alive. You need us thriving.

    Yes it was my choice to write under my real name, but like most things I’ve done “voluntary” I didn’t know the risks or side effects until it was too late.

    Please find a better way.

  • By the time we hear voices with lived experience they have been filtered through multiple paid professionals like a giant game of telephone. It is oppressive. The only people unpaid and not credited are the “diagnosed”. Like being a patient trying to get help. By the time your words get to the electronic record it is something else entirely. And again the only person unpaid is the patient.

    I imagine these ten blogs are the very inner war each person goes through after diagnosis. These are real people, but this research takes all the human out of it. Sterilizes it. Hard not to draw comparisons. Until the credentialed authors begin respecting people with lived experience enough to tell their own stories, be named as co-authors, and be paid, then why would anyone else?

    Maybe I should take this opportunity to reverse credit the therapist and MIA author who used my own words for personal gain multiple times without crediting or compensating me.

  • I don’t understand why the bloggers were not given credit for their writing, the basis for a whole research study, while Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz are mentioned and linked to. and “The study was led by Maev Conneely” and this blog itself has a named author. Even “Social Theory and Health” was named. and the image has a credit. Does this bother anyone else?

    Like a past therapist quoting directly from my emails to his twitter without any name attached, but he was quick to make sure I knew to credit him if quoting his work. You can tell if someone respects you by the way they use your name, or not.

    Why the double standard?

    Blogging is what these people do. This is their work, an income based on views. Why is it okay to use their writing without credit? Where are the links to the blogs?

    Why isn’t this an outrage essay about inequality? About appropriation? About using the vulnerable for personal gain?

  • Hi pleasehelp;

    It has taken me too long to reply. I woke up tonight realizing that I have given condolences to another ECT survivor further down without giving the same regard to you. That’s not okay and I am sorry.

    I had ECT and lost memories also. The memories never returned, but I have relearned some of the skills lost with time and effort. I continue to experiment with nutrition and supplements, but I haven’t found a fix. Enjoy your family and have fun as much as you can. I find new memories are healing.

    🙂

  • Sam;
    I am so thankful you are here. It is because you are an exception that we need your voice VERY much. Escaping psychiatry can be impossible without a partner. I’ve heard others labelled as “ally” feel they didn’t deserve a place in the conversation. Or feel pushed out. If we can’t push out professional helper’s-for-hire as survivors, what right do we have excluding any person with experience keeping a loved one safe from forced treatment. My hired help never protected me, but we still worship him more than is healthy.

    “the voice of the person ostensibly being “helped” has to be raised above that of any family member” This is true Steve. But even at MIA one of my frustrations is feeling that above “helped” and “ally” alike are the “professionals”. (please forgive these stupid labels.)

    I also feel othered here Sam. I’ve described the movement like a bit of a university campus fraternity. It is really who you know and how many letters you have behind your name. (Sorry, but that has been my experience. I am ashamed that I tried to fit in, but I didn’t survive the hazing.)

    So I say YES to survivor’s voices being raised above all others when it comes to discussions about our experiences and what we really need. But allies are not the voices we need to squash in order to get there. (Standing up to family on an individual basis is a different thing.) It is the credentialed elite that must step aside next. Or better yet, help us build a better table.

    (quick after note… since writing this I feel afraid. The first two paragraphs of the essay felt a little like barbed wire. If I say the wrong thing will we all be punished by losing the comment section? I’m just feeling sick. I get the words wrong a lot. Motive is hard to hear in text alone. I just had to say something. Sam has just as much right to be here as anyone else. Maybe more. He’s helping out of the goodness of his heart and not for profit. Anyway. I am way spinning mentally. I feel afraid to speak. but since when has fear ever stopped me. Just thought a little context may help. Or maybe I’m just revisiting the cowering skills learned in forced treatment. I’m just sick not knowing how this will come across or if I used the wrong words. It feels like a double bind. but my best is my best. this mess is it. I’m sorry.)

  • I had a police officer come to a group I ran as a guest speaker. He ended up interviewing us instead. He had deep concerns about police doing the wellness checks and crisis calls because they were trained to attack anything that looks like aggression with actual aggression. He wanted to find a better way. I arranged a meeting at his request between Survivors, Community Mental Health, Victim Services, Police and Medical. It was hijacked by the head of Mental Health. He shared our histories as reasons we shouldn’t be heard. I wish I had of been more educated, or rich, or famous. Or not from Canada. I wasn’t even off meds yet. I didn’t know how, only that I must. Just stumbling forward. Afterward the person helping me was cut from services at Mental Health cold turkey. The police officer never spoke with us again. It was the kind of silence that tells you there was a memo you missed because it was about you. 
     
    I am relieved to read a piece that pushes the professionals and advocates to act instead of guilting the already vulnerable, alone, and in danger into rising up. I speak up and someone calls for a wellness check. That’s the end of it. It is time for colleagues to confront colleagues. Power against power. You guys fight it out. That way when we do rise up it isn’t such a blood bath.  

  • I’ve wondered about the anonymous writing rule too. I chose to write at MIA and elsewhere under my real name, and regret it now. It didn’t make enough of a difference compared to what it cost me.

    But there are people who write here without using their real names.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/04/not-stigma-privacy-writing-pseudonym/

    I’d love to read blogs by oldhead and others. If an exception can be made for a professional wisely seeking privacy, why not for people who could be killed for speaking up? (I’m not being dramatic.) We live in a connected world. I’m not the only person I know who had trouble getting a place to rent after telling their story on MIA. It isn’t MIA’s fault. I’m not blaming. But perhaps there could be more protecting. Maybe an exception with an explanation. After I changed my name, I tried to rejoin some of the groups I’d been in. I asked if I could be anonymous, but still belong, and the answer was always no. I get it, but I don’t. The people running the groups know me, and I was honest about why I needed protecting. It felt like punishment.

    And speaking for writing under your own name… It has been a protection from forced treatment. Professionals who know tread more lightly. Are a bit afraid. Maybe it makes me look more protected than I am. 🙂 So that’s cool.

  • Have I resonded with indignation, ghosting, threatening back, questioning motive, or discounting the source when offered feedback or criticism? (Self judgement included)

    What is preventing me from thinking it through now with a view to understanding? Did I miss the real message because of my own prejudice, trauma, pride, …? What if I reread the words with love instead? How would the message change? Have I lost connection with spirit that speaks through urges to act? How can I get back in touch?

    If I just sit quietly until moved, what direction am I being asked to go? Am I willing to do what is asked of me?

  • I can only change myself:
    In what ways am I avoiding action in my own life right now?
    What am I most afraid to lose?
    Why do I hesitate?
    How can I override my own systems that restrain me?
    Is my “would never survive without” list realistic when compared to global living standards?
    Do I act only when paid or only if it may lead to payment in the future?
    When I’ve witness bullying did I respond in real time?
    Is there one injustice in my personal life that needs voicing?
    Or someone I have failed to protect? Or apologize to?
    What excuses do I use to stay silent? Or to silence others?
    How do I medicate the guilt instead of breaking the cycle?
    What can I DO right now to practice courage so that when the time comes to save a life I am prepared to act instinctively?

  • The issue is inaction. (and it has come up in the comment section.)

    A bystander would have been shot for pushing a police officer off of his target. Obstructing, the word is. Fitting considering death was from obstruction. But a fellow officer could have and survived physically. (Should have.) And afterwards his life would be hell because that’s what happens when you take a stand to a bully or a system, but George Floyd would still be breathing.

    How many are in the comment section anonymous because we’ve paid a steep price for taking a stand? How many have been begging for those with more power have courage? George Floyd is a public on camera example of why we must act with everything we’ve got when our hearts demand it! How many ways must it be said?

    Losing everything to do what’s right is NOT the worst that could happen!

  • I can’t see, after everything, my journey ever being anything but difficult. I haven’t found a way to re-thrive, but I have mad skills in escape. Mostly I’m just angry. Tired of climbing barriers. You cannot know what all can be taken from you until it is gone.

    I did escape at 17, worked, traveled the world, was training to be a paramedic. I had an amazing med-free life of purpose for 8 years. My shoulder was sore one day after white water kayaking. The doctor thought it was “depression”. He gave me SSRIs and within days the nightmare started all over. My EMT practicum was cancelled 5 calls away from finishing. My goal was to be a paramedic by the time I was 26. I turned 26 sitting on a psych ward floor tearing up the forms for AISH. (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) I didn’t survive as well after being recaptured. It took 13 years to escape the second time.

    As a teen the first suicide attempt was after being given SSRI samples by a doctor after my grandmother died. I guess I, of all people, should have known better then to take them again.

    May you and yours find a lifetime of freedom.

  • “Were there repercussions? You bet, but not against the hospital!”

    Sadly, I know this too well. The threat of accountability/repercussions is a bluff I’ve seen work. Worth a try. Holding a psychiatrist accountable is a whole other thing that so far I haven’t found a way to do. But they don’t need to know that.

  • Russerford: I’m so sorry. 🙁

    My Dad was advised by legal counsel to take lots of notes in the meetings with the care team. I was force treated as a teen too. Like your daughter. In the end the doctor washed his hands of me, “Get her out of here she will never get well.” his exact words. Went through cold turkey withdrawal but was too young to understand what it was. We got a puppy on the way home. They just tucked her in bed with me. I remember my Dad standing over my bed crying as I went through it. (The only time I’ve seen him cry.) My mom played the same violin song over and over for days because it was the only thing that seemed to help.
    My Dad wanted to press charges but I was so damaged and terrified that I just couldn’t do it. I’m not sure how protesting would work, but maybe. The sentence my Dad said that had my certification cancelled was “Do I need to call a lawyer?” That’s it.

    The last cert. that was cancelled recently, I filled out the forms for multiple people giving them access rights to call in and get updates on me. Just having people call at any hour kept me protected from some of the other abuses that happen in locked wards on the down low.

    I want to warn you that my relationship was super damaged with my family from what happened. From not knowing who to blame or who didn’t protect me enough. Turns out the hospital was telling my parents they were too busy to get me for phone calls. And the hospital was telling me my parents weren’t calling. My mom thought I was manipulating. I thought my parents didn’t want me. We are finally figuring it out, but it’s taken a couple decades. 🙁

    I can’t help much, but I can listen if you need it. My Dad has talked to parents before too. I hope it helps to hear of survival, even though imperfect, especially when you are in a part of the journey that seems (I can’t say it.) it is just NOT OKAY! I’m so sorry.

    I think my own experience is what makes me so INTENSE when I hear stories like this. I’m glad some of my anger for Evan helped someone at least a little.

  • “it’s quite difficult to avoid psychiatric drugs at all if you do not have the possibility to afford good therapy or other psychosocial treatment.”

    Why not call out the “providers” instead for price gouging someone in crisis? I don’t understand. My first reaction to this comment was shame that I was the failure. Not working hard enough. Medication does take my mind off things, the same way binging does, the same way street drugs might, the same way a $200 hour with a therapist does, or a buying spree, but in the end I am just further away from “curing” my poverty induced distress.

    There are too many well meaning professionals who just don’t GET IT. I have these same blindspots when I try to help others too. Maybe we can help each other to see better.

    “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

    I can feel the oppression in the writing and the responses or in the silence after a comment that forces a person with privilege to turn and look at it. The oppression is in my complaints that get forwarded into oblivion. Or the fight needed to get physical illness taken seriously after diagnosis. And how I can’t get a loan to buy a home. It’s everywhere. MIA (and others) are the only places I can at least name it honestly. (I am grateful for MIA) But I am growing more frustrated that even here I am just a patient. A statistic. A commodity. I want to shake people awake, maybe I need to wake up too. From my vantage point the beautiful thing you pat yourself on the back for is better than psychiatry, but better than electrocuting and jailing innocent disadvantaged is not hard to be. I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m saying it to be kind, like telling someone their skirt is tucked into their pantyhose. Even in the best of spaces, the abused are not being heard as equals. We’ve decided who is sick and who is helper. Who pays and who is payed. There are too many painful similarities between therapy for hire and psychiatry even here.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Isn’t this what therapy is for? Helping gain insight? Pushing us to jump edges that we avoid? Fixing what isn’t working? And knowing we aren’t alone? Let those of us who’ve been there HELP you instead. Why is it an attack to say you need help too, maybe more than the patients who pay you?

    “For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

    Email me. I have much to gain in more “professionals” knowing a little better what the vulnerable and sensitive legally abused face inside psychiatry, and the landmines of opportunists awaiting us in society as we try to escape.

    What do you have to lose? Paid Peer Support has its own conflict of interest. Professionals with lived experience have good reason to self-censor too. You need to talk to those of us, so sensitive to oppression, we refuse to belong. Here’s a quarter. I care.

  • You comment R777 about becoming a comic book villain from med withdrawal is a very good point. I will do more thinking on it, but I have to disagree that A Beautiful Mind is less damaging.

    I like art that starts a conversation. I’ve had many productive discussions about the realities of psychiatry today as a result of movies. I saw One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest for the first time in a locked ward that looked very much like the one in the movie. We even had a bus the same vintage. It was standing room only after a long battle with staff who did not think it was “safe” for patients to see. (Ironic that I chose it randomly from the patient movie store with a ticket from the head nurse. hahaha)

    Maybe my perspective is different because I saw Joker without ever seeing a batman or any MC movie or reading any comics. So I didn’t have knowledge of what it means to be “Joker”. No notions of villian or hero.

    There are so many illustrations in Joker of how society must do better and of how it feels to be punished for being punished. For being different. The stop meds = kill is too simplified a conclusion. There are other ways to see it that have nothing to do with being Woke or not. This is art imitating life. Banning it from spaces like MIA for fear the public will get a wrong idea, an idea that has been being promoted for generations now, is kind of like the head nurse not wanting us to see “One Flew…” because we may get “ideas”.

    MIA blog criteria is, does it ask us to rethink psychiatry? In my opinion, Joker does EXACTLY that.

  • I used to use my name, it is the biggest regret I have within the movement. I thought my story, my openness, my honesty would make a difference, and lead to an alternative source of income beyond disability. But I was the one who ended up in danger and pushed out. The privileged here get just as upset as anywhere when you need to point out a fault.

    So maybe one day, if I get to a place of safety, I will use my new legal name, but ex-patients have to be more careful than most. The stakes are higher for us.

  • “virtually nothing” is what everyone trashed by the system ends up living on.

    If all of us protested by living on “virtually nothing” to make a point and put the rest to crashing the system that is murdering us surely there would be enough. I see why we are waiting for a wealthy case, but what that is saying about our world hurts too much to keep composure. To bother staying alive.

    And those of us who know the danger first hand are rightly screaming for help to change from those with the luxury of shelter. But we are ignored, censored, kept away, asked to negotiate, placate, be polite even in radical professional spaces. But it’s too late for nice! If you really knew the reality we are facing you’d be screaming too. There isn’t time for grant proposals and funding. Plus in the long run it could work in your favor. A publicity thing that positions you as one of the good guys worth every penny after psych is Abolished. Tell the world that this cause is SO CRUCIAL that you are willing to live on a “disability” wage in order to save lives. Willing to spend your own money, energy, status to save lives. Willing to risk your life for another. Surely the royalties off the documentary alone will be compensation.

    And I will feel better knowing we really tried. I really believe that if I don’t do everything I can to save these people I know are being murdered. I am guilty too.

  • The last time I was on the inside, a woman kept asking to speak to her lawyer and the nursing team would hold off or not allow her use of the phone. Or cut the call short because she was getting “agitated”. She would rightly ask harder and louder. DEMAND a lawyer. She had take down after take down. First aide was called after at least one. Drugged into oblivion. I was there. She wasn’t threatening or even using bad language. She said “you are hurting me. I want to call my lawyer.” So money is not the biggest barrier now that Evan is locked up. Truth is until he’s out it may be useless unless he needs candy from the vending machine. Even if Even could afford a lawyer, he may never be allowed to make the call. Plus how many of us have tried hiring a lawyer only to be told we didn’t have a hope. Or worse, get no reply at all.

    The hospital must know that people are watching. That if Evan comes out more damaged then he went in, that there will be repercussions.

    And Evan must be careful, maybe more than those of us who come from less, to keep his indignation in check just for now. Play the game. Sit still. Name drop your allies. Forget his life before where he had power too. Just for now.

    I know I don’t have a PhD. I’m not a Lawyer or a Doctor. But I have had certifications cancelled twice. My expert knowledge comes from inside psychiatry out. You cannot learn it from a place of safety. Or buy it with money. There is a way to play the game and escape. I’m offering you my knowledge free of charge. Don’t let Evan die because you will not stoop for help from someone who you see as less than.

  • The comment I was responding to has disappeared. In case it doesn’t re-materialize, it is a response to Dan Booth Cohen and and a CALL TO ACTION.

    Author: Dan Booth Cohen
    Comment:
    It’s heartbreaking and a story repeated in families rich and poor throughout America. I knew Seymour Durst and his family growing up in Manhattan in the 1970s. It was all there to see from the start. After a 20-year career in business, I became interested in transformative experiential process work and trained in Systemic Family Constellations and received a PhD in psychology. Now, in my practice as an off-the-grid psychologist, I see clients only 3 times for about 2-3 hours per session. In most cases, this is sufficient for any specific emotional, relational or behavioral intention. Needless to say, I do not receive referrals from other professionals and cannot accept insurance. I have been in practice 15 years and have successfully worked with thousands of people. The most difficult problem to treat are the side-effects and withdrawal symptoms of psych meds. They are much more problematic than underlying symptoms.

  • With strategy and, specifically, the creation of a team willing to assume “care” a patient can be rescued from certification. Once outside the walls power can be given back to Evan, but for now the game is played by institutional rules. Evan MUST have a keeper assume control in order to leave the pound.

    Would you be willing, Mr. Cohen, along with Jim and other professionals to make a treatment team? It is not an appropriate time to ask for money. And an even less appropriate time to advertise your private practice. Like treating a choking person is just what you do in an emergency. It is time to ACT! You may be Evan’s only hope. I will volunteer to be the Peer Specialist for you team.

    And you must act NOW! Don’t overthink it. You have power and resources. One phone call from outside Canada from Will Hall had my certification dissolved. If we act as a team, use your credentials as a super power, we CAN save Evans life before it’s too late.

  • I can’t remember now. The mental image was of sputum samples and a lab guy covering his as-if after misplacing one. And then I remembered the first sputum cup I held for a gentleman with poor eyesight and a tremor as he by some miracle hocked a gag me warm loogie into the 1.5″ diametre cup I was holding with my eyes closed so I didn’t hurl myself. That’s about it.

    And I imagine the researchers regretted not attaching tracking collars to the lab “participants” after the fact. PLUS no pie if you don’t finish your questions.

    I’m so tired Sam. Anyone want to share 160 acres in the far north with me? We could each take a corner and never see each other once the cabins are built and for pie now and then when the “space madness” gets too much.

  • “The last time I talked to Evan he wanted me to write an article about what is being done to him. It is the least and, sadly, apparently the most, I can do for him.”

    If Evan can’t make it, with Jim’s support and his status and publicity? There isn’t any hope. There are a handful who have made it, but how many without rich families? Or without a degree? Or who can’t stomach the game playing of capitalism?

    If the “helpers” “healers” “leaders” can’t do any more than tell the story, what’s the point? If Evan’s money had dropped to “virtually nothing” before he hired Jim as a life coach, would Jim have ever met him at all? This is not a criticism of Jim. This is a statement of despair. I know people need to be paid, hire lawyers, eat, have a home, but when everything is punishing with the purpose of breaking the person? It is the same Story over and over. At least Evan is a more relatable example of being disabled by power even with psuedo-security. If it can happen to Evan it can happen to YOU! A warning for professionals? Funding is not a good enough excuse to stay timid! PLEASE! It’s not personal. It’s just impossible to keep asking politely. If no one SCREAMS for you when the air supply is cut off, you’re gone! GONE!

    Madness is the only way to express this kind of hopelessness.

  • I’m glad he has you. In my experience having a vocal and articulate person or persons on the outside is key. When I was certified recently the two people who called the hospital to say we are watching ended having the certification cancelled, but those with family backing psych… shoot. shoot. I feel sick.

    I’m not sure how much “virtually nothing” is, but it is all relative I suppose. Until power players (stars/doctors/the wealthy) are ready to protest the death of one psych. patient we can’t do much apart from pray. Maybe the charges laid in the U.S. recently will set a precedent that protects everyone, even us. Each group that gains freedom from the DSM seems to celebrate rightly, but then move on. Hey! Hey! We’re still locked in here fighting guys. Please don’t leave. Which pysch patient death will finally spur the action that gets the worlds attention?