Sunday, September 19, 2021

Comments by O.O.

Showing 232 of 232 comments.

  • “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.) 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?

    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.

  • (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.

    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
    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?

  • “To clarify, an individual’s decision to voluntarily take psychiatric drugs is none of my business. It would be prudent to become aware of their risks before taking such drugs, but as long as people take them voluntarily, it’s their choice.”

    I’ll assume you’ve never been voluntary. hahaha.

    So Why do you want to “help”? A psychologist in private practice, what are you hoping to gain?

    What skin do you have in the game?

  • Do you think Canada is a bit more extreme because of our funded system? I kind of assumed that we were like the U.S., but when I share stories and fears it seems almost cartoon in comparison at times. Not saying it isn’t a horror show everywhere, just a bit more complicated to escape. I still believe that dying is the only way to guarantee you never get put back. Is that just me? I knew that if I disappeared to save my life there would be a nation wide hunt to “save” me from freedom. I wanted to leave Canada completely, but even when I crossed the border and back was told I had to go back to my own province immediately. How did he know I was avoiding home if they weren’t watching? I’m Canadian, why would I have to check in at home?

  • When I was trying to come off meds a CTO was threatened. Criteria for community incarceration and actual arrest for removal to a state asylum was “lack of insight” into my “Mental Illness”. Changing my language and fighting for my own health was enough proof that I would deteriorate if left to my own non-compliant devices. After diagnosis, using the language of your captors is not always optional and may be the only way to save your life in the long run. It is not so simple. And Yes, once free, pointing out language and facts and the way it promotes the status quo, is super important, but it’s not a privilege that everyone shares.

    Otherwise super cool essay.

  • I like you essay very much except the last paragraph.

    Academic psychiatry and pharma are rightly blamed for the propoganda, but the people you ask us to correct are the victims themselves. I’m very very tired of being corrected. Sometimes the wrong words are the only words you have after abuse. When do we start holding the perpetrators accountable?

  • Aw Boans.
    “Good news, bad news, who knows.”
    I am crying. I’ve been trying to find some way to buy land and just be in nature for whatever time is left. Wish I could whisk you and yours away to the forests of Canada to rest. So much pain. It is rational and sane to avoid them to those of us who understand.
    I feel like I know you. I have learned so much from your posts. You’ve made my life better and safer just by sharing you. Thank you. I hope you get to post for a long time to come.

    (Nothing like running from a Grizzly to take your mind off things.)

  • Why isn’t this research essay getting the same outrage as the Jordan Peterson Spank yer Kids Critique Column? (NO, I’m not into spanking. Not into bondage either.) Or Trump labeling. We rage with and against personas, public images as a platform, but what if it’s the wrong bus stop? This essay has real children’s real words about real abuse and not many raging in response. It’s disturbing. The language in the piece is distant and analytic, but if you have any imagination at all, or worse, have been there. (From my experience with Child Psych… That bed in that little room is also a privilege they can take away.) It’s Sad. Our SILENCE. It’s telling. This is why we need the voices of people who have been to hell and back given the floor 50% of the time. All this Right Wing Left Wing what-not. I’m pretty sure neither could get lift off without the other. Intellectuals? You need us for flight more than you realize. It’s just physics. (Well, there is this one other way that could be arranged, but I’m not sure you’d survive it.)

  • “The study suggests, however, that as long as the staff understands children as lacking rational thinking and socialization skills, the institutional norms of physical restraint, seclusion, and overbearing authority will remain, making it difficult for any alternative, especially one brought up by a child, to be taken seriously.”

    How big was the grant to come to this conclusion?
    How many years did this take?
    How many hours of abuse did they get paid to watch?
    How many children have trauma from telling the researchers “this hurts” and having them too just keep collecting the paycheck and taking notes?

    We aren’t specimens. I’m not sure if the researcher’s attitudes are any better than the nurses.
    The only pseudo-good that can come of being Man and or Wo-manhandled is that children who don’t learn “restraint” enough to escape will be passed next to Adolescent Psych and on and on and on.

    “Hey Buhdeeeee! I see you drowning there. How does that make you feel? la la la dodo do. Why yes I probably could pull you out, but what about all these other drowning children, how do you think they’d feel? Plus I felt threatened by your screams for help. You know it’s not nice to be angry Buhd. Plus I haven’t finished figuring out why your parents and the nurses pushed you in in the first place. And then I have to research the best way to pull you out. Can you hold your breath for a couple of years? I’m pretty busy maybe make that a decade. Oh wait I forgot… ethics! Maybe I can’t. No I can’t call 911 for you they’d think I was crazy too Sweetie! I may lose my funding! you wouldn’t want that now would you? My own kids got to eat and go to Harvard. Well Buhdeee! It was great talking, but my shift is over and I have a life. You hang in there! You’re doing GREAT!”

  • The worst part of shock was having that monster Parsons looking down at me as I was put out. SMIRKING. Me a slab of meat on a metal butchers table. The doctors and nurses all talking about where they were going on holiday next and where they had been as if I was already dead. I was terrified, and a kid, and these professionals didn’t care. That is the blow that took my legs off. Not just knowing EXACTLY what could happen if you try to run. Knowing that running voltage bilaterally through a child’s brain didn’t shock those in the room into silence. [email protected]#K this PLANET! [email protected]#K anyone who can stand by while a child is electrocuted chatting about your new boat. [email protected]#K the porter and the early morning walk to the basement. [email protected]#K the bench they made us sit on in a long row of skinny teenage girls while waiting for our turn. [email protected]#k the public who think this stuff doesn’t happen anymore.
    It’s NOT OKAY! It will NEVER BE OKAY! Boans is right. It’s designed to HARM. But it’s not just the machines. I’m sure if we ban the ones with a wall plug someone will just bust out the old ice pick again. And that guy won a Nobel prize I hear. So Society doesn’t exactly have my back. You can’t get through to people who care more about the next vacay than the kid seizing on the stretcher. 🙁 And I came out of all that believing DEEPLY that I was the monster. And instead of a chorus of HOLY S#!T and a lynch mob… I get wave after wave of experts who want to help me heal my self-hate for a fee. IT’s year after year of paying for someone else’s crime. HE TEACHES CHILD PSYCHIATRY to this day. And his picture hangs outside the unit I was locked in. One floor above the room where shock continues. And they’ve probably already found a new job for the peer supports as porters.

  • Thanks.
    I have the notes kept from my last ER certification stint almost done being edited into a book, but then i get thinking all the things i learned in treatment like my place. Like they’ll kill me if i publish this. Like who do i think i am?

    It means much more coming from someone with your credentials. I will get back to work on it. Thanks.

  • I don’t see the point of reading a book about a book.

    I didn’t know I was lower class until I had dinner with people who were high enough class to point it out. Classy!

    My grandfather wouldn’t let anyone with a university degree drive the million dollar combine, but the 14 year old neighbor kid could. I’m starting to see why.

    Endless regurgitation. Retweets of retweets. Research of research. Years spent learning to think critically are useless without practical skill and the humility needed to get stuck in.

    People need physical extrication and opportunity, not another game of “would you rather…”

  • Anyone who wants to use these machines should have to have shock themselves. Not sure if it’s still done, but like police being tasered or pepper sprayed as part of training.

    I’ve known two people who felt ECT helped them. They had more and more. 60 plus the one 100 plus the other. In the end both were pretty toasted. Memory just gone. But by then it was too late.

    But the real horror stories are people who were dragged off to shock. I’m still not sure how someone given shock for catatonia could hold on to a headboard like that, but 9/10 doctors can’t be wrong.

    Or those of us who did the math and had it with hopes it may be lethal. The only way out of that place. Who am I kidding. I didn’t have a choice and the doctor told my parents he’d have me removed legally if they fought it.

  • I couldn’t read the whole thing either, but I thank you for the action. I had shock as a teenager and this essay will have to be digested in smaller chunks.

    The only thing I ever stole was the ECT patient education video from the ward. 🙂 Public Service!

    Dr. Parson’s said, “we tested your IQ and your really smart so I’ve decided you’re making this all up.” So maybe ECT is also a treatment for making it up or a quick cure for being a smart child with unnecessary potential. I didn’t even know what was erased, until I tripped over it in real life. Like being asked to play card games, or going back to high school and even with help couldn’t do physics anymore. My dad has a theory that the doctor was intentionally erasing abuse. Perfect crime.

  • Maybe we should try to label Trump with every DSM diagnosis past and present. Showing how many of the labels could be made to fit surely would be a more entertaining read and also prove the point.

    Perhaps the evidence based standard protocol for each could be then hypothetically applied with a list of imagined tweets as he goes deeper into the abyss.

    And the third installment could be an analysis of the evidence applied to recreate what his life may look like after discharge.

  • I have no argument against any of the above. My issue is this gut feeling I get that this is another example of taking action only when people with power are affected. Like quick action during COVID hurts. It hurts because it means something. It sends a message about people vrs. non-people. Trump will survive a stern labeling. He doesn’t need protection. Where was the outrage when we were labeled?

  • It would have been easier to have all the info, but thank you. I’m crap at reading between the lines. And no one is meaner then the thoughts in my head that fill the gaps. I am always interested in organizing, I do what I can, but this time the change has to start at home. And I’m not someone that others play well with or stoop to listen to. I’d get run out of town if I hadn’t already left. lol.

  • Does WRAP and such still hand out those lists of famous people with [email protected]#!R? We should stop outing people. It makes Trump a fellow survivor and we ethically aren’t allowed to bad mouth our own, but as they say here, “no skin off my buns!”

    Until we change hearts we won’t change tongues. Consider the power of creative malevolence? My parents sat us down for the holy Euphemism talk (yes I still put a hard emphasis on HO and EU) only to have it backfire because we started using everything and anything as a swear word once we knew how. Any word can be a slur. I hear there is a whole blue bible of euphemisms to choose from.

    I don’t care what you call me. The labels say more about the maker and the tone-tweaker and the righteously-indignant-on-my-behalf-one than the accused.

  • Activism is impossible to sustain if you don’t have a safe enough corner to fight from.

    I’m not Anti-psychiatry! I am ANTI-CORRUPTION!

    Those with the least protection (money, status, family, education) are also asked to take the biggest risks while simultaneously being sold cures from every side. Does it make me angry that one retreat with Sean Blackwell is More than half of what I earn a year? (yes) Or that I have to work a day and a half for one therapy session, feldenkais, etc.? (yes) That I can’t get a loan for the education that may give me a shot because in my country disability cannot be counted as income. (yes) And when I do work, say peer support, the pay per hour is less than McDonalds without a contract or guaranteed hours leaving me still tied to disability. If I can never ever get to safety then meds or dying starts to make a lot of sense. Why should I stay conscious if there is no point? No hope?

    The painful truth is that the more marginalized I feel the more reason I give others to marginalize me. Our voices are left in the comment section in favor of professionals who can only imagine what it feels like to be so marginalized you can’t keep from screaming in frustration. And I don’t even think most people, from their place of relative comfort, realize the ways they are complicit. Please do not confuse my moral obligation to call out injustice as I see it for promoting psychiatry! And then I get thinking that maybe the professionals and allies who are afraid to give me the floor or an equal footing or a paycheck have a really valid point. If I had found an island of safety to retreat to, I’d protect it too. If I had to deal with me I’d be afraid too. I am growing more angry and aggressive the longer I fight without a break! I’m not willing to keep pretending I am grateful for a chance that never leads me closer to having my own safe corner of the world. Truth is people like me, when it’s all over, don’t come out with a little farm or a little nest egg, we end up back in a nursing home or a group home alone and drugged. We end up back where we came from. All the pats on the head aren’t going to change that. I used to fight believing that at least my death would make a difference for those still trapped inside treatment. But we aren’t winning! And the professionals with agendas are here too giving us one story while bragging to those they respect for real of the 6 figure profit they made in 7 months off clients like me. So activism is becoming torture, but Another suicide is just more proof for the world that psychiatry is needed. And I HATE THAT enough to stay alive. That’s how mean I am.

    I know you mean well OH and others. I am prickly too. I know we are fighting for the same freedoms, but please I need a little space right now to get back up from the last assault.

  • Do you have paypal and delivery?

    I saw one “healer” charging “going rate” but by donation only. I thought that was interesting.
    The same “healer” would work with me but I had to know I was very high risk and may throw his stats off. He needed to only see people with a high chance of success because he was just starting out. I’d have to commit to a few treatments. I think the quote was $8,000 a pop. (He got really upset when I told him about the high that happened trying the breath work technique on my own. I’m cheap like that. lol Told me it was too dangerous without hiring a professional. He may be right. Funny how I’m the only one not allowed to kill me.) He emailed once in a while to book it. When I admitted I may never be able to afford his help, I never heard from him again. Why $8,000? Plus these are all gurus who came through their own psychiatric crisis without help. I’ve never heard any “healer” say, “and I took out a loan to pay this guy and voila!” They paid for credentials instead. We must look like total suckers.

    I didn’t think of it till later, but one “healer” in training invited me to be a client in his practicum. I was honored, when I should have been insulted. Would he have invited Robert Whitaker or Will Hall to be a practice patient? Yep I’m that gullible.

  • Why OH are you asking me this question? In this way? It feels like being baited.

    You don’t know me. Without seeing your face or hearing tone, the words alone have a mean feel in my stomach. I’m not very good at interpreting intent, so maybe we could meet via zoom and you could ask me again and I could answer. There is too much misunderstanding in word alone.

  • I’m just tired of running into the same themes and barriers here as I fight everywhere.

    (And please know that I love your writing and the way you respond in the comment section. I feel heard when you speak. I just don’t natural put all the nice stuff in that people sometimes need. I try, but it comes off sarcastic.)

    Anyways, I can’t say what I need to say and protect those with more power who are trying to help from shame at the same time. I can’t demand better without being labeled as difficult or manipulative any more than I could with abuses within psychiatry. And though I know the two are very different, my experience has been that this movement has it’s own “acceptable” drug pushers and users who don’t mention risks and when there are side effects refuse to acknowledge them. There are money changers of all kinds here. Plus this movement has a sexual assault cover up too. And it’s who you know and how well you can schmooze and enough education to write grant proposals. Maybe I’m just jealous. Or maybe until there is restorative justice here than we are similar to psychiatry and in the worst ways. I kind of expect more from us. I’ll even go first. Lay it all bare so we can fix it.

    If those with money and power here are blind to or feel powerless against the ways they are reinforcing the prejudices that mute us… then it’s pointless, maybe even dangerous to stay. But where else could I meet people who get it like the comment section does? I’m not one to keep silent for long, but when I push for more representation of voices like mine I am met with the same “yes but… one of your kind one time did this thing that made me scared and liability and funding blah blah blah.” Or just silence, which is even more hurtful. Kind of a teary smile but never any concrete follow up. That’s what I mean by being hired by those I’ve hired. It is not a nice feeling and hard to explain exactly. You know that feeling of being good enough to volunteer but when it comes time for you to be paid everyone’s eyes get shifty and everyone suddenly has somewhere else to be? Or knowing you are the token survivor and you should be grateful we let you come at all. That’s why I want to be paid. Proof of equality, to remove the “ethics” crap. Plus it’s much easier to be professional when I am paid with more than placation. In case the world forgot… I need to eat too.

    Like a family, we just don’t talk about some things. Like a family the person who feels injured takes a further hit for pointing a finger. Like a family, if you take action to hold the rich uncle accountable you probably won’t be family for long and even if your not kicked out you’ll leave because it just hurts too much to watch everyone act like nothing is wrong. And the uncle isn’t free to make amends either because he needs to eat, and no one will speak up because the uncle is the meal ticket. So you forfeit your place and spend time creeping the bushes at family reunions, because where else is there to go? And you tell yourself it is freedom to not have to play nice anymore. And the research has proven that fasting is good for “depression”.

  • ‘Where life is beautiful all the time and I’ll be HAPPY to see those nice young men in their clean white coats…’

    I was jealous the first time I heard of a release from psych because insurance ran out. I wish we had that same problem here in the north. No drug coverage limit at all for haldol and clozapine and the newest model of antidepressants that gets you put on the neuron seizers in the first place come as free samples so were good. Set for life.

  • I wrote this comment for another essay just now, but it fits better here.

    I lived in a group home that the makers of Abilify offered “free” work out equipment to if each resident kept a detailed food log for them. It was around the time they were sued for downplaying the weight gain side effect. I refused, so the company refused back. Who got paid in the settlement for Abilify anyway? It certainly wasn’t any of us group home fatties from the last ditch patient blaming research I refused to do. And I got double guilted for depriving a whole group home of a new treadmill which we probably wouldn’t have been allowed to use anyway because “Liability” and “Safety”    

  • I lived in a group home that the makers of Abilify offered “free” work out equipment to if each resident kept a detailed food log for them. It was around the time they were sued for downplaying the weight gain side effect. I refused, so the company refused back. Who got paid in the settlement for Abilify anyway? It certainly wasn’t any of us group home fatties from the last ditch patient blaming research I refused to do. And I got double guilted for depriving a whole group home of a new treadmill which we probably wouldn’t have been allowed to use anyway because “Liability.” 

    I like to think MIA would never allow Astrazeneca or Pfizer to give freebies away here too as a PR ploy.

  • It is acceptable to rage against psychiatry, but until we can confront Uncle Touchy or Auntie Don’t-listen-to-him-he’s-crazy AND have justice within the activist communities themselves we are only helping pave the way for the next people buyer. We must first confront our own complicity and prejudice. The ways we marginalize those we want to empower by forcing them, to earn a right to be heard with credentials, networking or self-promotion. Either we are worth hiring for our “pseudo-knowledge” too, or we aren’t. If you feel it would be beneath you to hire a survivor for survival teaching during COVID? Or not ethical to hire someone who has hired you? maybe ask yourself why. For me, direct feedback is respect. (I wish writing had tone-o-vision.)

  • I’d like to see a town hall panel with people from the comment section. I took a risk and put it out there. It is being considered, but…

    “Then there’s the problem of figuring out whom to invite and how. The risk of insulting people is, obviously, high, and the dangers are steep. Some of us have been the objects of threats that, at times, had to be taken seriously.”

    (PSA/Note to Self: Don’t threaten people!)

    And I was right back at that danger to self and others place. You can’t hear me because I’m a monster and I’m a monster because you can’t hear me. And back at that time I won an art contest for “mental illness” but couldn’t win the prize because it wouldn’t be “ethical” if we weren’t ALL winners.  

    But I also can relate. I’ve been threatened too. I have this arrogant prejudiced side, “I don’t want anyone to get “crazy” on me either!”  And what’s worse, in my past life I was training to become a paramedic. I’ve been that person who held down another believing I was saving them. And the suicide calls left a mark that battles with the marks left by psychiatry. I’ve called the police on my own brother.

    When I tried to brainstorm a better way in an online survivor support group I was screamed at. Then meetings were held about me without me because the screaming group member felt unsafe. Wherever I go, there this bloody monster is. I felt unsafe too. The harder I tried to make it right the worse it all got. No one could explain the social rules in any predictable way. My confusion was just a fake out and the verbal shock treatment was justified and for the greater good. And in a way it was. But next time could I have one of those “trigger warnings” too, preferably before the yelling starts?

    What bugs me is that I never did get an answer to my question. “Who do I call if not 911?” Maybe that could be the Town Hall title? 🙂   

    I like the word “trigger” because I think of guns and surprise and loud noises and death. I also think of how it is my trigger to keep the safety on and if I don’t it’s my damage to repair. I’m a visual thinker. The word works for me. 

    If my only choices are a muzzle or the pound, I’d rather live in the wild. I’m not sure I can say “this hurts” gently anymore.

    So back to the point. I hid in my roommates closet to scare her when she got home. She stared into the closet, but not at me. I started knowing that I must not be the only monster in the closet and started screaming first. Then she started screaming too. By the time we got ourselves sorted it wasn’t funny anymore and the other monster was long gone and I imagine, is still laughing. 

  • I was TOTALLY “triggered” by this essay. I “dissociated” and everything. Sheesh even the old “bipolar mania” fight for justice “symptom” and my “schizophrenic” “suspicion” that there was a “capitalist conspiracy” motivating it came back! I got all “manipulative” and “rescue seeking” and worse! “threatening” Ham good thing this site has a “patient” moderator. I “reality tested” by googling and “praise-be” it only “consumed” a few hundred to “forget” that my intuition was right all along “strap down” and get “straight” again. In the end I remembered my “shock” and all the “life skills conditioning” I learned in “psycho therapy” like smiling no matter what. 🙂 not creepy at all.

  • (Okay. Inside voice.) If you see a string of “removed for moderation” comments above, it is because I have failed thus far at finding a way to say my truth without “questioning” the integrity of the author. (that’s the polite way to say: without letting my own pain take over my linguistic better judgement.) Forgive me. Language is not my first language. (Insert smiley faces to help convey a desire to play nice!) 🙂

    I will try one last time. (Maybe it is best to start with an opening greeting.)

    Thank you, Dr. K, for an informative essay. I really appreciate a life story first point of view. You are admirably well informed!

    Speaking from my own life story, this article left me “bothered” not because of the specific content, but because of an inner sense that something about the intention of it was concealed. (maybe my transference is just acting up again.) First I reacted (quite a few times) and then I researched.

    I really value the research you presented in this article! 🙂

    Speaking from my own research, I have concerns that MIA may be being used as a marketing platform, so I have sent a letter to the author asking for clarification. If my intuition is right, we can go from there. Consultation may be necessary to find a way forward, but I am worth every penny. Even smiley face has to earn a thriving. 🙂

    I did learn something very helpful in (following my heart to) the Primacy of Therapy website founded by Dr. K. As people with credentials that we have paid dearly for, (credentials that could only be earned by going inside forced treatment and surviving to tell about it), we can use our “preeminence” as survivors to get our voices heard and more. Too many survivors (maybe like the therapists Dr. K coaches) have had the self-esteem beaten out of them, but there is hope! Thank you for the practical actionable suggestions on how to get ahead in a tough market! 🙂

    I am ready to apply one thing I’ve learned from this article and the ensuing research. We can quickly establish ourselves as experts by teaching. As a trauma (at the hands of credentialed professionals with good intentions and the backing of research) survivor, the first skill I want to teach is the courage to question all authority, research for yourself, and respond proactively when something doesn’t feel right. QUESTION-RESEARCH-RESPOND. Stand up straight and say it three times with me… Q-R-R Q-R-R Q-R-R

    Protect your truth even if finding the appropriate words never happens! Even if it ends up being a private practice with God and your cat as your only clients. Even if the first dozen attempts come across sarcastic and passive-aggressive! Say it anyway. Your heart will thank you and mine will too. 🙂

    You are a survival expert so own your pride of place and paycheck by schooling professionals who have not had the privilege of seeing reality from ground zero! You are not less. You are more! Pick the gravel out of your road rash face and get back out there people! There is a market for your wisdom, the world just doesn’t know how much they need you!


    I hear you! (Tell me about that. hmmm. hmmm.) Sorry. I couldn’t help my prickly self!

    I’m here all week. Try the faux-veal.

    Keep your stick on the ice!

  • “Only therapy can heal the distorted images of self and body that people carry who have had their sexuality violated.”

    Not always.

    There are potential adverse effects to this treatment too , including further sexuality violation, and not enough ways to hold therapists accountable.

    Plus a money trail to follow.

    Who is getting paid and who is paying? What do you get paid Mr. K for 50 min. and who do you send the bill to? Why does this question so seldom get a straight answer?

    Yes, but I do pro bono! Yes, but I have sliding scale! Yes, but it’s the going rate! Yes, but I deserve to be paid what I am worth! Yes, but if you don’t like it spend the money you don’t have elsewhere! Yes, but that’s just the way it’s always been! Yes, but you just don’t understand! Whatever you do don’t question or point out the therapist’s shadow. Only the clients monsters are welcome here.

    Have you ever apologized to a client for a mistake without having to be asked?

    Have you ever made amends for damages that you caused intentionally or not to a client?

    Everyone makes mistakes. That’s not the issue, it’s just reality. When a therapist can prove he has the emotional maturity to hold himself accountable in concrete ways without having to be forced or threatened… (what’s the point trying?)

    I’ll finish that sentence when I find a therapist with true courage and self-awareness. Able to admit and own his own mistakes. (yes this also applies to she and they and me)

  • What if Mark hadn’t had the money for an attorney?

    I hired a private therapist and told my shrink don’t worry so-in-so is the head of my new international treatment team (I left the team of one part out and counted my therapist’s voices as individuals… I had a huge team. lol), It was a loop hole. My doctor “ethically” couldn’t let me go into my own care. It was a risk. It worked. But I payed for a name and a contact number with my grocery budget and then my credit card. My voice was not enough on it’s own.

    I asked for sliding scale and then added 20.00. I wanted my team paid as well as possible. Plus hiring gave me the option of firing. I am from a country that can treat you to death if they choose on the government’s dime. I was just doing the math. Out of my $1588 monthly income I paid $180 for 50 minutes and a name to drop. I didn’t dare underpay, or even admit my situation, for fear of being dropped. Even with only one appointment a month I couldn’t afford it and live independently, so I emailed between appointments and gave up luxuries like wifi/contact lenses/cell phone/groceries/my car/and eventually apartment to survive my last med withdrawal and my fear of being without supports after years of too much “CARE”. It was worth every penny plus debt, but finally being brave enough to take a bigger risk and STOP paying people to care… priceless!

  • Wow. Thank you for your work.
    Sheesh even with powerful support inside the system it still takes years! Decades. These peices never end with… and he got a check and an apology. Or the offending staff where fired or put on probation. I’m super happy these two people got out, but do they live everyday sickened by the fact that their violators are still practicing their abuse on others.

    As the person with power in these cases and as a professional with mandate to report abuse, did you report the colleagues involved to the authorities? And more importantly… why not? It’s really important we figure out how to compel professionals to report abuse and protect whistleblowers, because we can’t save all the people even just one mean doctor can lock up. We have to cut the power supply or the shock will continue.

  • Thanks Sam. I freaked a little the first time I tried to register and decided not to attend… then figured out the CODE and…

    Part of me wants to shake people and part of me feels really sorry for them. It’s a beautiful and weird thing these town halls. I appreciate the emotion from panelists, but also feel a bit hopeless by the “yes, but” fear of action. I quit peer support before the trial period ended because I was asked to do things that went against my values, like charting and policing and dumbing down my story so no one would get any ideas and try to come off meds too. If I can take a stand surely someone with more hiring potential could too.

    7 years too late, after my med withdrawal, an RT apologized to me. She said I had asked her for help as a patient, told her I was overmedicated, but she didn’t do anything because blah blah blah hierarchy, not my place, kids to put through college. It hurts to know that my life was not worth the risk to comfort level or college fund.

    Losing everything to do the right thing is not the worst that could happen. I don’t know how to get that across. I just get told I don’t understand or it’s different for me. Easier. Ha ha.

    So I’m experimenting with being less of a thistle. Professionals can be super sensitive. SUPER delicate. Higher the earning potential the easier fruit to bruise it seems. I’m not sure if it’s working, but it’s something to try. I really enjoy the town halls. Helps me be more fuzzy, less prickle.

  • The Survivor movement is the first place for me that felt like home. I wasn’t careful. I fell back into the role of patient here too. I cannot seem to help diving in with my whole heart honestly. Something happened. Life is funny that way. I tried handling it one on one because we are a family of sorts. It didn’t work and the silent treatment here mirrored the silence of abusers outside. Reputation above all else. I felt pushed out but it was really me pushing away and lashing out. A psychiatrist labelled it PTSD. There are survivors who tried, but I was too much and too mad. I can’t figure out who is safe and who isn’t, so I set about disappearing. Saner on my own, but this movement has a draw to it. People like you David keep me coming back even if just to hang around in the shadows remembering what it feels like to be home. Thank you for everything you do. You inspire me to keep going!

  • Sometimes when professional therapists enjoy dropping boundaries and being human to human I feel angry… I put extra walls up. The privilege is not mutual. The picture in my head is of a party with a paid server who helps themself to the cake, the private information, a warm feeling, and a paycheck before going home to an undisclosed location. If you need to confront them later for the footprints left on your carpet they go back behind ethics again. Disappear. Untouchable. Protected. We love you too but if I can’t leave the patient role within the relationship, you don’t get to come in and out of therapist either.

    I can’t ever take my secrets back. Even if I do get to be your equal, a colleague… my guts are already all over the place and yours aren’t.

  • “The Chief Psychiatrist literally rewriting the law”

    I met with a politician asking for government to take over policing psychiatry in the province. Dr. Swan recommended I only ask for 1 thing. He was friendly, but honest. He couldn’t because psychiatrists would get upset. We could get a Eugenics monument more quickly. So I asked instead for one small change to the MHA allowing a patient to name an advocate giving that person the same access rights as a lawyer, because the eugenics monument is like buying a bandaide for a corpse. He said it would take at least two years. (if at all) After too much trying all the way up to the Prime Minister, I quit hoping the Canadian government would help. They barely heard, the minister of health never answered. The prime minister’s office sent a polite placating form letter.

    What value are psych patients as people to a country or a community? You can’t sell us by the barrel. We only have secure long term wage and grant possibility broken. I have huge value broken. The same has repeated in the movement too. You have to prove there is something to fix and a way to fix it in order to be paid. Research. The system is working as designed.

  • I’d certainly rather be flicked with awareness then taken to another child psychiatrist!!! The punishment I was escaping was nothing like electroshock +++.

    It’s an important discussion. Children who are difficult to control get drugged and worse. We do need to talk about this.
    What do parents do when the whole society is looking out for signs of illness in children? Even video game use can be a symptom now. If you know all the facts of psych treatment and you believe in a harm reduction approach? I don’t know what I would do to keep my kid safe. Mothers fleeing SS officers have smothered babies by accident to protect them. We cannot know what we will do until we are tested. I’m glad it’s not me raising kids.

  • I agree.

    I respect the bravery and awareness it takes to put an opinion on child rearing forward. I don’t agree with spanking but am certain there is much more to this story. No one who shakes a baby ever plans it. Only self-awareness can prevent it. Public shaming Jordan Peterson for his honesty won’t make parents who abuse their children stop, but it may silence sincere people who do things they deeply regret in overwhelm when they need us most.

  • I changed my mind. We need a quality assurance system. Credentials. Don ‘t get rid of it.

    But We also need a way to use experiential knowledge as real credits towards a real degree. Or a way to test whats been learned the hard way. Anyone walking through a psych ward, even breifly gets a survivor t-shirt. On paper many of us just can’t compete for the few jobs that pay.

    Then again, maybe I don’t want to see the underbelly of this place either. I’d have to leave.

  • Just wondering Tim if we could have a more detailed breakdown of who gets paid what out of this bargain $14.00?
    Do you get a cut?
    When you work with clients what do you charge? Could I hire you for $20 an hour? If you couldn’t or wouldn’t take it should a peer (whatever that means)? If not why not?

    As an artist I was given very firm feedback about the damage I was doing for other marginalized artists by undervaluing my work. It is one thing to volunteer for a stipend and another to be underpaid and take it because you feel trapped. Society doesn’t see you as an equal. I will work for nothing because I know how it feels to have nothing, but should my empathy and drive to improve my situation be exploited? Products made by exploitation are always cheaper for equal quality. Should we buy them?

    In a made up game based on credentials we must find a way to honor the education survivors have had instead of insulting them. Find a way to give education credit for suffering or abolish the stupid credential system all together. Find a way to pay people according to value. Lower the going rate for listening professionals and raise the going rate for peer counselling. If peer outcomes are better shouldn’t they be paid more than “professionals”? Do something other than charging the desperate and disadvantaged to pay people who are marginalized already just enough to pat yourself on the back for arranging the deal while leaving those you wish to empower still too poor to get ahead.

    Teach people that those who really thrive don’t pay people to listen to them. Patients do. If we have any chance of truly escaping psychiatry we have to escape the patient role in our heads… that we should be grateful and never question.

    We are still in the same box.

  • You are right!

    The problem is not you. Restorative justice requires everyone involved to be brave enough to own their mistakes, caring enough to want healing for all, and generous with time, effort and money. You have insight and they don’t. Even if they did agree to meet you would be left to arrange it all, to chase them down or punished for messing up a job that is just impossible alone and injured all while being triggered and traumatized by more stonewalling and more gaslighting and worse. And they still win, still work, and all we have left is the screaming feeling inside and out.

    It is not okay what happened and continues to happen to you. And now more silence as this blog gets buried in the pile. I pretend to let go and move on too, but I can’t. If you find a way to get reputation protecting cowards to the restorative justice table let me know.

  • Most survivors have real world expertise in extended forced isolation. Would the professionals working to help us ever consider turning the tables? We have knowledge you need. How many would pay $150 USD or more for 50 minutes of my time? What if the magical “going rate” for survival training is $600? What if I offered you a sliding scale because I know you are having a hard go of it right now? How much of yourself would I make you expose in order to prove you needed a cheaper rate? Would you feel humiliated to be pro bono? Would I feel guilty taking money for my hard earned education/experience and should I? Do you value my wisdom enough to buy it as I have bought yours? Why not?

  • Unified movement comes at a cost that those of us who don’t color in the lines may not be able to afford. How many of us would be excommunicated from our own movement for being ourselves? Conversely, how many have abandoned the movement (insert any group larger than solitude here) in self protection?

    Power to protect as a group doesn’t exist without the power to punish individuals who don’t conform.

    I don’t know. I feel useless. I am angry that a reformed psychiatrist will always trump a liberated patient. That no one can hear me because I have a state issued label instead of a state issued degree. If I had both than maybe… if I play nice and do what I am told… maybe… maybe…

    Angry that empowerment for many is a volunteer position as an HVN facilitator or a minimum wage job as peer support. A carrot we never can catch. Angry that the catalyst for HVN is less recognized than the psychiatrist and his romantic partner holding the umbrella. Tired of soothing professionals who vent about how hard state enforced isolation is during covid to those of us paying them a days wage (sliding scale) for 50 minutes desperate to get past a lifetime of state sanctioned isolation.

    I don’t know how to cope with that.

  • JWs are very organized. They are clear what they will and will not accept. As a group they know their options. Legal documents are filled out ahead of time. They are ready to die for what they believe. There is leadership. Action is prearranged and immediate. Within seconds, not days. Yes it is thousands of letters and calls sent in unison, but at the same moment others are at the hospital in shifts standing guard, others helping make meals… They have well trained and well dressed hospital liaison committees and a legal body that will take action right to the supreme court. They communicate clearly and efficiently in emergencies. Everyone is paid nothing equally. It is MUCH much more than just letter writing. We could learn from them when it comes to protecting each other from forced medical treatment.

  • I so tried that. It’s insane!!! Worked in the same locked ward I’d been in myself as peer support. I wanted a badge so I could get out if I needed to when there was violence. I insisted at the next staff meeting so the bosses stepped aside to whisper and cancelled the on unit program. No notice. (Not sure where to put the quotation marks so I’ll leave a few extra… “””””””””””””””) If I hadn’t lived it I would think I was just one of the inmates imagining I was staff. Haha.

    Honestly you couldn’t tell who was staff and who wasn’t except by the name tags.

  • I’ve had a feeling that the only way to truly thrive after being a psych patient is to keep your mouth shut about it and become a therapist. Smart to keep it private.

    I tried to end stigma aka descrimination by outing myself. Big mistake. It was as effective as putting a person of color in the middle of a KKK gathering and having him remove his hood to end racism.

  • Thank you for naming this reality madmom. When I was on social media I was called out aggressively by a fellow survivor. I asked if we could speak one on one with our voices instead of writing knowing my own challenges to be understood. It turns out she was furious but also lacked the ability to slow her reactions due to a TBI. Once we talked and I understood we were able to adapt. She didn’t scare me anymore. Our world rewards those who have the ability to hide and punishes those who don’t. You named the difficulties so clearly. How many survivors don’t have trauma compounded with brain injury and neurological difference? We need dialogue more than ever. Places to grow with feedback and accommodation rather than
    the all too common assumption of ill-intent and excommunication from yet another space, or more painfully, being ghosted without ever knowing why.

  • I am living proof that a 30 day certification can be cancelled in an instant.

    I don’t expect immediate results, I demand it.

    We aren’t kicking psychiatry, we are kicking each other in the little read comment section of MIA anonymously.

  • Exactly.
    So what do you suggest? How do we sneak kids out while we neutralize the kidnapper? What if it is an international ring of powerful people?
    If it was you locked up what would get you out the fastest and keep you out so you could continue helping plan to defeat psychiatry? Or does the fact you are a victim disqualify you from trying?
    What if we never defeat psychiatry?

  • Standing outside a predator’s house protesting, “kidnappers shouldn’t exist!” is not going to help the child under the stairs. The child is my only concern.

    I already know psychiatry shouldn’t exist, but it does. What I really need help with is how to extricate the people suffering right now. Please, if you know a way, enlighten me.

    You know that long list of labels we want gone, the one used to silence and control us? I think we need to add victim to that list.

  • Change is not coming fast enough. We have to be smart. This is what I’ve learned. Maybe it could help others.

    when you have no other options aim for a label like PTSD or autism where meds are not the only treatment funded. if it applies get referred to a sexual assault centre. Play up who you know. My advocates were phone in only and it worked. And most importantly be still. Don’t fidget. Pretend to read if you can get a book. Let outside supports say the strong words for you. This is key! This is an enemy you must outsmart. I had advocates threatening legal action as another patient asked directly to call a lawyer. She was taken down by force for it while I sat unmedicated. The only difference between us was advocacy. Arrange a plan ahead of time. Get out of certification if possible. For me advocacy combined with my firm determination to act serene got my 30 day hold cancelled. They can do it if they want to. Get out of emergency psych and try to find a doctor close to retirement who has less to lose. Put your head down, work hard, get what you need and get out! Readjust. Learn. Keep moving. You are a warrior!

  • That makes a lot of sense. Shock was used as discipline. I was too honest, idealistic… too me. I’d probably thank the government for the rotten meat. I know what happens to those who rise up. It is so hard to speak up openly after that kind of conditioning. How does one ever truly belong after being intentionally broken by your state appointed savior.

    It is hard to hear that we are in this together. I like the way Boans said it.

  • I agree with not turning an understandable human response into a pathology. I agree. But…

    What happens when an understandable human response is still too big to manage without support. As an anti-psychiatry activist, even though the response was understandable, I had no options but to seek support from the system. Even the treating psychiatrist admitted that if it was her she would have had the resources for a retreat, acupuncture, nutrition, whatever she wanted… But what do you do when the understandable reaction to an extreme situation leaves you too much for natural supports, or too afraid to trust them, or just not able to convey how bad it is. I couldn’t wait for society to change. I tried everything I could think of to survive before giving in. I tried until my credit card was maxed and I was living in my car. When I confessed to a fellow survivor that I thought I needed haldol I was yelled at. When I begged another survivor for help it was not understood as an emergency and he was very supportive but all he had to offer were words. There was one couple who took me in, but my chance of earning within the movement depended on my recovery story, or so I believed and still do, so I couldn’t be honest there either. I was not okay at all, but their was no one with resources, or patience, or energy to keep me safe indefinitely except psychiatry. No one loved me that much, but I know how to survive psychiatry from too much experience. I took a calculated risk and it worked out this time, but What now? How do I reconcile this as an activist? I HATE what psychiatry has done to me and my friends. I had shock treatment as a child. I’ve been hospitalized more times than I have digits. So don’t tell me I just don’t understand!!!!! I have permanent damage from 13 years of poly-pharmacy. But when push came to shove psychiatry was there when no one could be. This time because of having powerful advocates, I wasn’t force treated. I was in hospital 46 days and in a group home 4.5 more months. Who else would have the resources for such support? I didn’t want anyone to see me in that state anyways. And the trauma itself came from within the movement. So what now? One thing I did learn was that vocal advocates who are not afraid to say, “we’re watching. She better not come out more damaged than she went in.” made all the difference. And a doctor who had witnessed my journey off meds took a chance treating me a new way. It changed me. And I watched and took notes as others without advocacy were abused and forced and not believed… It was like I had immunity. Untouchable. In psychiatry nothing has changed (It’s really true), but with the right voices behind me everything was different. Please don’t hurt me for saying it… Maybe we need both, Psychiatry and the movement.

  • I do feel we are on the same page. I remember when Matt Stevenson died. I only knew him through this comment section. I wrote over and over to his private email too little too late to apologize. To tell him how much we needed him and that I understood why he chose to bow out. We’re all just broken edges rubbing against each other. The global lock down at least gives us space to miss each other.

  • I can see the problem with that sentence too. I am sorry. I’ve also been refused needed medical treatment because of assumptions based on the psych labels in my chart. I was not talking about the way professionals use labels against us. That is abuse.

    Bringing it home… Every survivor has a different set of engagement rules I’m expected to know. I’ve been yelled at more in the survivor movement than I ever was in institutions. I’m beginning to sincerely wonder if antipschiatry isn’t just the other side of the psychiatry coin. I’m not willing to post under my real name anymore.

    We are so busy raging against the machine we forget to check ourselves. I agree with all of you and some days I agree with psychiatry too. At least when I was a self-righteous antipsych activist I could rage acceptably. Label or don’t. I don’t care anymore. The hard work needed to escape is well beyond the impossible realm of words.

  • We do not need permission from government to stay home. The planet is begging us to STOP in so many ways. JUST STOP. Stop everything!!!! It’s not a big ask for those with a warm bed and wifi. JUST STOP. I lived in a nursing home during a flu epidemic. Believe me, those most alone are already on lockdown. There is so much we can learn from this adversity. It gives me pause to reevaluate what is really important. Why do we put off change until we are forced? Why? How many brought their vulnerable home under the same roof for protection during this storm? I myself am thankful to be with family. And it is mindblowing how fast things can change if the stimulus is strong enough. Please don’t waste this opportunity for change.

  • I can’t see any change as long as there are still nest eggs to protect. Humans don’t change when comfortable, do they? Total collapse and rebuild seems the only possible positive. I hate how hard it all is, this planet. Hate how asking for change feels like a bad dream running and running but never getting anywhere even one on one, let alone globally. This is our wake up call. I know institutionalization and you’re right about vulnerability. No one cares. We will probably once again be used for testing the cures needed by the rich, deserving of life. Hard to not give up.

    Plus a psychiatrist is the first person who called to make sure I was alright. We can conspiracy theory that all we want, but it doesn’t change the fact. It isn’t right, the crowded conditions, but in poverty and crisis in a cold country… i hope it all falls apart completely. Then those who know survival and isolation and making due will have the real power.

  • Having everyone quarantined at once feels less traumatic than hospitalization. We are all together in our isolation this time. This research can help understand and support the long term effects of psych “quarantine”. I am grateful to sleep in my own bed, have wifi, privacy and use the phone. Thinking of everyone everywhere with love, but especially those in psych hospital and others who are isolated without family and the comforts of home.

  • In my alien perspective I looked around the movement and saw that there were people co-founding and collaborating while also having sex and doing drugs together. Is that why nobody wants to talk openly? 

    If we were just a movement of equals (no bosses and employees; no therapists and patients; no ladder to climb) then would falling into bed together be just another expression of our humanity? In my institutionalized perspective, I believed that having human experiences would help me belong. I made plans to check sex off my list. I felt proud and proactive until he made me promise not to tell anyone. Why was loving me so dangerous? So shameful? So secret? The only difference was that I was a client so even in the movement I was still the patient. I hate that. Trying to belong has left me more isolated than ever. At this point I’d rather spend a weekend in the psych ward than run into him at a conference. How do we make a movement where we all get equal access to human experiences including being loved proudly if we can’t be honest with each other?


    Find survivors who’ve left the movement due to sexual assault. Hire them for good money, an offer they can’t refuse, like any other expert would get, to meet for an emergency summit and follow up summits. Protect their bodies and minds during the process, hold it somewhere safe and beautiful… Arange travel if necessary. maybe Esalen. Make it long enough to really figure things out and face to face. Give it clear parameters. Feed them, house them in private rooms, honor them for the knowledge they have hard earned. Give them the same perks you’d get Will for a project. Reallocate and raise funds for it. Send emails write grants. Prove that as a movement we value the victims, hurt parts, anger and all. Stop insulting them by crying over your potential lost income while asking them to fight a losing battle for free. Or asking them to fix it themselves or only stepping up after they have lost all hope. Or insisting there is only one way… your way. Make it happen like you would for someone you value because of their status. Guests of honor. Come together as a movement. Step up. Prove to those leaving that speaking up wasn’t a mistake… “a mess” a problem. Words alone won’t fix this.

  • I still want to believe it was somehow a mistake. Somehow something i could fix by trying. Thank you for the insight. In the end I just chose to walk away. My health has suffered too. The silent treatment and self blame and the confusion. In the end all i could do was scream in frustration. There is never closure. Never a finish line. I don’t know about restorative justice or reconciliation, but i want relief and it seems something…. I’m sorry you went through that. Maybe there isn’t an answer. What do we do? What do we do? I’d rather live alone in the bush than break my own heart for a paycheck. I’ve never been offered money for a project in the movement. I wonder how many women have?

  • I still want to believe it was somehow a mistake. Somehow something i could fix by trying. Thank you for the insight. In the end I just chose to walk away. My health has suffered too. The silence treatment and self blame and the confusion. In the end all i could do was scream in frustration. There is never closure. Never a finish line. I don’t know about restorative justice or reconciliation, but i want relief and it…. I’m sorry you went through that. Maybe there isn’t an answer. What do we do? What do we do? I’d rather live alone in the bush than break my own heart for a paycheck. I’ve never been offered money for a project in the movement. I wonder how many women have?

  • If money does shift to ethics and restoration who will get it? Will we compensate the power people who are thriving by stonewalling “the problem” as motivation to participate? If a perpetrator won’t hear a victim one-on-one while he/she is still mostly sane and civil… why would they listen now, let alone lose money for it? Will we be again punishing the mostly innocent or punishing the helpers?

    Separate money from the movement. Remove business from activism.

    I did everything I could to hold a movement leader accountable while still protecting him, my values, and this movement that I love. It wasn’t worth it. All my struggle to find out he had just shut me and the secret he asked me to keep out of his mind. In the end I was the mess, lashing out at the people who hadn’t given up on me yet. Wondering if this monetized movement wasn’t just another arm of psychiatry itself. I found the movement by becoming it’s patient paying for supports to replace psychiatry.

    I want to be real with people who are real in return. I am among armored giants. If those with the most privilege/protection can’t escape the bind, what chance do I have? I’m already naked.

    Losing everything to protect your values is not the worst that could happen.

    Something about naming someone publicly feels wrong if there is any chance of reconciliation privately… But if you’ve tried? In a #metoo world why are we still dancing around the details and the names? I keep hoping it can go back to the way it was before the sex and the drugs and being one of the cool kids in my new movement family.

    The only solution I can see is locking everyone involved in a room until we face ourselves and each other and our shadows. Forced to be courageous and maybe like my grandma would do… forced to hug until we are siblings again. 🙂

    Looks like I too am just another branch of psychiatry. Here we go again…