Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Comments by Caroline Colwill

Showing 91 of 91 comments.

  • Nijinsky,

    First of all, I simply do not believe in the death penalty or forced or deceptive psychiatric treatment. Also, like many Catholics, I do not see the LGBT community as “sinners.”

    I agree with the general ideal of turning the other cheek, but like boans indicated, this can lead to further abuse. Sometimes an abuser needs to be stopped, before the abused can be healed.

    What about the Nuremberg trials after the Holocaust? Should they never have happened? Was it no big deal that millions of people were killed? The Catholic Church has actually been criticized for transporting some known Nazi killers to South America, so that they wouldn’t suffer any punishment for what they had done. So, in a sense the Church was turning the other cheek on the behalf of the victims of the Holocaust and their families. Was this the correct thing to do?

    I also agree that the root causes of common crimes should be made known and dealt with. But is using political and legal power to force people to give up their “rights” to be greedy, not share, and not treat others with respect and dignity that much different than using political and legal power to force or control anyone into doing anything? Should we have no government and simply hope for the best?

    There are so many problems with our legal, political and socioeconomic systems. But I feel these problems should be addressed rather than to merely decide that there should be no rule of law. You even seem to indicate that you want some kind of rule of law in that people should share. I quite agree that people should share. In America, some people do share with charities. Some people argue that there should be no government intervention in people’s financial hardships, because it infringes on their rights to do what they want with their money, and that if they feel so inclined to share, that should be their own personal decision. I personally feel that without government rules and regulations and interventions, we will not be able to resolve the great inequalities that exist in this country.

  • Nijinsky,

    I agree that that wasn’t the point of the parable. But I still do not see anything wrong with someone experiencing some sort of consequence for their serious violation of another person. For example, I do thing it is fair if a rapist or murderer is punished in some way, and yes, in order to control them. If someone’s behavior becomes highly destructive, and greatly harms someone else, it is appropriate to try to stop them, in my opinion. The same applies, in my opinion to abusive, exploitative psychiatrists and war criminals. We should all be kind and loving with one another. The problems within psychiatry and the current legal system, wherein it is merely the powerless, rather than people who are doing terrible harm who are punished is a whole different issue altogether. Perhaps we just see things differently on these issues.

  • registeredforthissite,

    I don’t have any problem with anyone being “self-sufficient,” though I feel such a notion is a lie. People simply are interconnected. Even Jeff Bezos depends on being able to manipulate people with money in order to be “self-sufficient.” If no one was willing to work for him, he wouldn’t have a company.

    One of the real problems that I see with America’s radical individualism, rather than a desire to cooperate, is that the stakes are so high. People literally die of treatable diseases simply because they are one of those who hasn’t become “self-sufficient.” People go hungry in the US, because people are unwilling to be considerate of others.

    I am certainly not against individuals fully becoming and living fully becoming and living out their true unique lives. But as we can see with psychiatry some people are prepared to exploit, oppress and violate the human rights of others in order to satisfy their own self-serving wants and needs. This isn’t just true of people in the mental health industry. There is a lot of exploitation and abuse of power that goes on. So, this is the kind of extreme individualism and “self-sufficiency” that I am against.

  • One of the main differences between alcohol, cigarettes, street drugs, and psychiatric drugs as I see it, is the the former are viewed as recreational and their potential dangers are acknowledged by mainstream society. Politicians want to stop opioid, alcohol, and cigarette addiction. Whereas, psychiatric drugs are culturally enshrined as legitimate medicine. True advocates for victims of psychiatry are publicly discredited, if they find a big enough audience. This isn’t surprising given that psychiatry specializes in discrediting and marginalizing people.

    When I was a teenager, I was resolute in deciding that I never wanted to try illegal drugs, because it was my understanding that they could make you crazy. This despite peer pressure. If people knew the truth about psychiatric drugs, I feel that most people would never voluntarily choose to take them.

  • “Imagine driving past someone on the way to church and you come across a road accident, and a person asking if you would help them by taking them to the hospital some miles down the road. You think about it and say, “Sorry, but I’m on my way to Church which God wants me to do, but when I get there I will say a prayer for you” lol”

    There is actually a parable about that very kind of situation in the New Testament. It’s called the parable of the Good Samaritan. There was a man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest/rabbi saw him and walk by on the other side of the road. So too a Levite. Both were considered good religious people. But then a Samaritan, who was a part of what was viewed as an inferior religion, saw the man, had compassion on him, poured oil on his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid the innkeeper to look after him. He promised to pay the innkeeper any additional amount, should the man need more care.

    So, the lesson from this parable that Christians are supposed to take away is that it is more valuable to be merciful, rather than “religious.” Not that there is anything wrong with religion, but that other things can sometimes be more important.

  • That is a good analogy, boans, about what they did to you being like a doctor doing something that would cause a heart attack, and then “curing” him. It’s also sort of like arsonists who are also firefighters. They have some kind of a bizarre hero complex. Maybe psychiatrists have this complex as well.

    Although I totally agree that you were especially brutalized by psychiatry, people who “consent” to psychiatric drugs have usually been totally, thoroughly deceived into taking them. That was the case with me. If my psychiatrist had told me that there was a 1 in 1,000 or 10,000 chance that antidepressants can make you totally lose your mind, I definitely never would have started taking them. If she had even told me that antidepressants can make you more depressed, give you anxiety, and perhaps become suicidal, I wouldn’t have taken them in that case either. Why would you take a drug that is supposed to fix a chemical imbalance in your brain that is causing your depression that could very possibly worsen your mental health condition?

    ‘“I see this, ultimately, as a call not to seek the destruction of anyone, but to fight evil.” I’d agree, though there are times when it needs to be contained and not given a free pass every time it is stopped in it’s tracks with truth.’ I agree that intervention is sometimes needed to stop human rights violations and abuse.

  • I don’t know what the rules are in the US about heart surgery. When I fainted a number of years ago, which was probably caused by psychiatric drugs, the hospital and doctors ran a bunch of tests, bu found no reason for it. They never even suspected the psychiatric drugs. They did find some kind of abnormality inside my abdomen, but probably because of the psychiatric drugs that I was taking, they wrote, “could be psychological.”

    “I found myself wondering about any biblical references to such a story, and of course it is the oldest one in the Book. Get him to eat this Missy. At least I am now aware of who it is I am dealing with.” The devil roams the world looking for souls to devour. I see this, ultimately, as a call not to seek the destruction of anyone, but to fight evil. Maybe criminal doctors and State actors belong in jail, and victims should be compensated. Maybe the whole medical field needs a reexamination. I think, but am not sure, that doctors in the US are sworn to “First, do no harm.” As easily as they pass out drugs, they are certainly not living according to that rule. Some doctors do actually do good, though.

    As far as breaking up families, it isn’t just the State here. It has been my experience and observation that this is a common goal among mental health practitioners. I always thought it was because of the American “ideals” of individualism and self-sufficiency as proof of good mental health. But doesn’t this just lead to loneliness? If they actually knew what they were doing, and wanted to help people, wouldn’t they help people to cultivate better relationships?

    ,

  • Parading people around who have been “saved” from addiction thanks to “God” still happens today. A woman I met at the mental hospital had this very thing done to her. One of her family members threatened to kick her out unless she went through a one year Christian rehab program to become free of addiction. She wasn’t even allowed to smoke cigarettes. They made her give testimony in church groups full of “good” people to explain how this group and her faith had saved her, and how much better her life was now. After she got out, she went back to her drugs and cigarettes. They probably made her take psychiatric drugs in the “hospital” too, but wouldn’t let her do heroin.

  • That’s an excellent point, sam. It really isn’t true medicine, in the sense that there isn’t any disease and psychiatrists don’t actually help people. I guess when I used the term “medical,” I meant it in the broadest sense in that you need a doctor’s prescription, even just to withdraw from these drugs the best way you know how. It’s “medical” also in the sense that it can cause great iatrogenic harm to people.

  • Hi Someone Else,

    I had a friend a long time ago who was prescribed wellbutrin as a smoking cessation intervention. It certainly didn’t make him quit smoking. He probably thought it was a nicotine replacement or something. Fortunately, he got off, but said that it still affected his head for some time.

    I’m glad that your bad doctors were kicked out of practice, and your criminal psychiatrist was convicted.

    I have a pretty good support system with a few close family and friends who are totally on my side.

    Thanks for the tip about keeping a few low dose antipsychotics on hand, just in case. And thank you for your encouragement!

  • This was absolutely, positively the best clinic that I could find in my insurance network. My previous clinic totally refused to help me off the drugs, despite my giving them a list of all of my adverse effects, and begging them to help me. One of the psychiatrists at the previous clinic referred to the drugs as, “The medications that are keeping you stable.” When I got the web address for providers and called all around, this was the only one, when I asked, “Do you help people off psychiatric medication?”

    They said, “We should be able to help you with that.” I thought they would let me have more of a say in the decision process.

    When I first met him, the psychiatrist asked if I had any questions for him. I asked, “Have you ever helped anyone off psychiatric medication?”

    He said, “Many people,” then added, “Usually more active than you.” The antipsychotics had basically turned me into a zombie. I am more active now, but nowhere near pre-antipsychotic levels.

  • Thank you for sharing your story and for your service. You would think that a university like Columbia, with its reputation as a bastion of intelligence and cultural sophistication, wouldn’t be so provincial.

    I am so sorry for all that you went through. I hope for your healing and a bright future.

    Grief can take forever to deal with, but time can make it a little more manageable. The death of your best friend can shake your whole foundation, and turn you whole world upside-down. I am so sorry for your losses.

  • Thank you so much for your very thoughtful reflections and advice. Yes, it is quite interesting how mental health professionals have made themselves the ultimate arbiters of truth and reality–to the point that they can call other people detached from reality.

    Thank you for thinking that I am too grounded to become “psychotic” from withdrawal. I hope you are right. However, I am aware that people who have never been considered mentally ill can become psychotic from drugs like LSD, etc. Psychiatric drugs are powerful too, so that is why I am so nervous.

    As far as pill cutters go, the pills are simply too small for me to accurately cut in halves and quarters. This is why I am hoping that my psychiatrist will actually help me off the drugs. Otherwise, I would definitely do it myself regardless of what any psychiatrist said.

  • Hi Someone Else,

    Thanks for the tip about how they like to feel that they have cured someone. I will try to use that in my dealings with them.

    Certainly, none of my psychiatric or other mental health “care” providers ever warned me about any possible withdrawal effects of any drug. Neither did they warn me about any of the horrific possible adverse effects of starting or taking these drugs.

    My first psychiatrist, who started me on SSRI antidepressants, warned me about the possibility of a little diarrhea in the beginning when I asked her about potential side effects. Since I had been convinced that I had a biochemical imbalance in my brain that caused my “depression,” I felt that was a risk worth taking.

    I learned about adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and possible withdrawal effects through the work of people like Dr. Peter Breggin and Robert Whitaker. Mental health professionals had kept me totally in the dark about all things. It wasn’t until I started doing my own independent research, along with much reflection on my experiences, that I really started to question things.

    Thank you for the encouragement about getting off drugs. Stories like yours do indeed give me hope.

  • Hi sam,

    Thank you so much for your comment, and insight. You are right in pointing out that psychiatrists will go after anyone they can. I guess I was trying to say that politicians and people who haven’t been ruined by the mental health industry blame all of society’s problems on “mental illness.” Even some people who think of themselves as mentally ill have been trained to believe that the mental health industry has all the answers. It is a huge scam.

  • Hi Someone Else,

    Thank you for your support for my gradual escape plan, and your advice. I am aware of the possibility of withdrawal psychosis. A few years ago, I was on 6 mg risperidone and some dose of Abilify. I no longer take Abilify, and am now down to taking 1 mg. risperidone. My thinking, creativity, imagination, and writing have improved. Although I am nervous about the final steps, I am hopeful too.

    As I see it, I can either try to come of psychiatric drugs and maybe things will improve for me, or stay on them for life, and pretty much be definitely doomed. Once I realized that was my choice, I knew I wanted to try to come off them.

  • Hi boans,

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    The main reason why I stay with them at all is because, from all of the research that I have done, I know that stopping the drugs abruptly after taking them at high doses long-term can potentially cause disastrous withdrawal effects, including withdrawal psychosis. What if I stopped abruptly, experienced withdrawal psychosis, and stole a loaf of bread and yelled at someone? I might end up institutionalized for life as irredeemably “mentally ill.”

    It’s sort of like leaving a spouse who beats you three times a week, but is the sole breadwinner. Do you leave immediately, live on the street and lose custody of your children? Maybe you come up with an escape plan. In the US, there are groups that (very minimally) help women and children escape abusive husbands.

    Because torture and other human rights abuses against the “mentally ill” are viewed as legitimate treatments by mainstream society, there is no one to help you escape the system. You have to improvise. You have to work with abusive people.

    It is my honor to pray for you, and I have. I have prayed for justice for you.

    You are right that I have a little more freedom to publicly complain in the US. There is also a teeny bit of bravery. But I know that as powerful as the mental health industry is in the US, they have weaknesses too. Psychiatrists are afraid of malpractice lawsuits that could ruin them financially. They also have psychological weaknesses. They are bullies, and bullies are just cowards. Take away their profit, power, and prestige, and they will change their behavior. To some extent, they are paper tigers. If you can manage to escape them, all they can do is call you names.

    If by some miracle, my writing about the mental health industry became popular enough that the industry attacked me, I would consider that a badge of honor. I want them to stop ruining and killing people with their “treatments.”

    I feel that even though you cannot come out publicly, you do a great service in educating people about your experiences in the mental “health” industry in Australia.

    You take care too.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. If you feel that Jesus is madly in love with you, the Pope would agree. He recently said something along the lines of, “Jesus is madly in love with us.” Personally, I want to believe that Jesus is madly in love with me, but usually find myself thinking, If God really loved me, He wouldn’t have let X,Y, and Z happen to me. I guess I am making myself God’s judge, which you probably shouldn’t do!

    There is this saying in Catholicism that “God meets us where we’re at.” Maybe everybody’s understanding or disbelief in God is uniquely tailored to each individual. Anyway, having a romantic relationship with Jesus is a much nicer vision than so much of the hostility that exists in the world.

  • I definitely agree that “postpartum” does not exist, and I think my cousin would agree. Obviously without really knowing the entirety of a situation, a person can only do so much to offer suggestions that may or may not help. But my cousin definitely is a very kind person, and always open to new learning. My cousin doesn’t think of me as “mentally ill,” despite the fact that I was at one time “psychotic.”

    My primary care physician, on the other hand, wrote down as one of my medical diagnoses, “Psychosis.” I had previously thought that we had had a good relationship. This made me not really want to go back to him so much, unless I really had to.

    I do not know how much the average doctor has really bought into all that psychiatry teaches. Their livelihoods do not depend on it, like psychiatrists do. But like you said, there can be enormous peer pressure. Also, there is the fact that much of the public in general is so ignorant of psychiatry altogether, and that includes doctors. This is one of the reasons why I feel an effective PR campaign could be so beneficial. This is why books like those written by people like Robert Whitaker and this website are so important, because it does help to get the word out.

  • Hi boans,

    I am so sorry about the situation in Australia. I had always presumed that Australia had a free press. America has a free press, but at the same time, mainstream publications want to publish whatever is sensational to bring readers/viewers in and/or whatever will please their corporate sponsors. Sometimes journalists are punished/persecuted for what they write. So, there are some problems in America too regarding a truly free press. In a way, the desire to draw in readers/viewers kind of makes sense. If no one reads/watches your publication, what is the point of publishing? But I do feel that a good PR campaign could potentially have a positive effect, at least in the US.

  • Thank you, sam. Bringing what is commonly known on MIA to the mainstream may take a lot of time, and be extremely difficult. I have read at least one horror story about people’s adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs in mainstream publications, but they basically forgive psychiatry. I read one in The Guardian about a woman who became psychotic and homicidal after taking an antidepressant, but started with a disclaimer that went something like this, “Millions of people are helped by antidepressants.”

    I have a cousin who is an ObGYN. She doesn’t prescribe medications, but helps deliver babies. She has some awareness of the corrupting influence of the drug industry on how medicine is practiced. When it comes to the profound corruptions in the mental health industry, she isn’t fully aware of all of it, but she has a really open mind. She has “treated” a few women with “Postpartum Depression” in part by telling them to take at least one hour out of every day for themselves. She once told me that she wished she could prescribe people an M&M to make them feel better. She explained that you might get a little chocolate, I guess as a side effect. I feel that she is unusual in her awareness of corrupting influences in medicine and open-mindedness as someone in the medical profession in the US.

    I feel if people really knew the truth about the mental health industry that is so commonly known here, public opinion would turn against all that has been done to innocent people in the name of good mental health.

  • I totally agree with you, boans, that the State and psychiatry have no such right. I guess what I was trying to say is that because the State and psychiatry are so powerful, and they have done such a good job of demonizing their “mentally ill” patients, they spin any effort to defend yourself as an act of predatory violence by the less than human “mentally ill.” Whereas, when they commit genuinely horrific acts, they face no consequences whatsoever. On top of that, they spin stories that a psychiatry naive public buys into, as they are the experts, and the patients have been dehumanized. This is one of the reasons why they’re able to get away with all they do. The “mentally ill” really need an effective PR campaign that sets the record straight in the eyes of the public.

    I actually just wrote an article on this theme, but its publication date hasn’t been scheduled yet. I hope that if you read it, you will find something useful in it.

    PS Moderator, I am subscribed to this post, but haven’t been receiving the emails for the comments.

  • Hi boans,

    I do not feel that killing people is a legitimate power, though as you indicate, it is a kind of power. There may be very rare cases where killing someone is the only possible way to defend your own life or the life of the innocent, but usually, less lethal means can be used. How many times has “self-defense” or defense of the innocent been unjustly used by people with a little bit more social, legal, or political power against someone with less power? I feel that any claim to human rights generally, depends on a fundamental recognition of the sanctity of everyone’s life. Otherwise, you’re just left with arguments in favor of some people having human rights, while people with less power having few to no human rights. These are the very tactics that psychiatric abusers and torturers use to justify what they do, because they have no fundamental respect for people’s lives. They only understand power and money.

    If you actually had killed your abusive psychiatrist, the consequences would have been much more far reaching than you going to jail. The headlines wouldn’t have been, “Boans Defended Himself Against an Unjust Person,” but, “Schizophrenic Violently Murders Kind Psychiatrist Who was Helping Him.” I have no idea what mental illness labels they actually gave you, but murder is usually blamed on “schizophrenia.” Acts like that, when they’re blamed on “mental illness” usually further enshrine the public’s and politician’s views about the “mentally ill.” Mental illness is commonly used by politicians on both sides as the root cause of violence. This allows them to shirk their duties to take meaningful action that would genuinely benefit everyone.

    As far as appealing to politicians to take action for justice on the behalf of us who are truly marginalized, I think that’s a wasted effort. I once reached out to my state politicians to change the laws regarding the statute of limitations for civil suits for people who had been harmed by psychiatry–like when antidepressant use makes you psychotic, or when you’re physically and sexually assaulted in the “hospital” where you’re committed. One of them never got back to me. The other sent me some BS about how she would fight for the rights of the mentally ill.

    As you have stated elsewhere, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Politicians won’t do anything for us until popular opinions about the “mentally ill,” what psychiatry actually does to people, what psychiatric drugs actually do to people, etc. changes. There’s a lot of material to cover. I do believe change is possible. I hope I can play some small role in getting people to reconsider what they believe is true about mental health care. I want to expose the lies and heinous injustices. I want to appeal to people’s better nature in making a case for the fundamental dignity and human rights of the “mentally ill.” I feel if popular opinion changes, political change will follow. Politicians care a lot about getting re-elected. Money plays an huge role in politics in the US. At the same time, if voters feel strongly about an issue, politicians have to appeal to voters too.

  • Hi Psychologist,

    Thank you for your common opinion. There was a really good article here recently about the reliability of suicide risk assessment. https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/06/suicide-candy-corn/

    If you want to know whether psychiatric drugs reduce or increase crime, don’t search Google, read Dr. Peter Breggin’s Medication Madness. Pharmaceutical companies have even paid out multi-million dollar judgments resulting from psychiatric drug induced homicide and suicide. They don’t care about the loss of lives and the lives destroyed. They consider it the cost of doing business, as it is only a tiny fraction of what they make in profit.

    As Steve has pointed out, psychiatric drugs do not prevent suicide, but may sometimes cause it. Would you risk it?

    I don’t know why you’re pushing a pro-drug agenda, but your assertion that psychiatric drugs make bad people good, and suicidal people hopeful simply isn’t true. The value of psychiatric drugs to the user depends on the individual, the actual effects of the drugs, as well as the circumstances surrounding the drug use. Psychiatric drugs are really no better than cocaine or heroin in that some people like them, but they also carry great risks. But the average “depressed” person would never think to solicit illegal drugs from a street dealer. Some people do feel they benefit from heroin or cocaine, but hopefully, as a society, we recognize that people deserve better than to seek relief from their pain through drugs, and risk everything for the sake of a drug. People deserve better than psychiatric drugs too.

    When there is genuine love and concern, which sometimes includes practical help, people’s emotional states can vastly improve.

  • “The psychiatrist has all the power.”

    I’m not saying that psychiatric survivors cannot eventually become activists or writers–to warn and educate the public, connect with others, and put pressure on the industry to either radically change or disappear, as I hope to do, but in the immediate sense of the doctor/patient relationship. The psychiatrist has all the power either by legal force or total breach of trust. If you fight back against them directly in even the slightest way, they hold the power of institutionalization and forced drugging over you.

  • “Very importantly, I wanted these engagements to happen in a relatively non-threatening, productive manner. I think there’s this tendency toward an unhelpful dynamic that develops where criticisms tend to be aggressively presented, and then the other side reacts in a state of being totally defensive.

    That doesn’t help lead to meaningful engagement. It is fine if you want to refute something or if you want to dismiss something, but it’s not conducive to learning. It was really important to me that these interviews happen in a non-confrontational manner so that the readers would think about these issues without being threatened.”

    I appreciate that you, as a psychiatrist do not want to attack your peers, but as for other critics and victims of psychiatry, this is an unreasonable demand. Psychiatrists can literally torture people, but victims and critics must be nice? What else is this other than a huge power imbalance? It’s as if a rapist has the right to demand that his victim be nice, in order to better engage with him, and hope to change his mind about whether or not to rape people.

    If you can recognize that aggressive attacks can make people defensive, and fail to engage people in learning, why can’t psychiatry recognize that attacking people, known as the mentally ill, might result in bad responses?

    Now, excuse me while I go write some highly critical attacks and condemnations of the behaviors that the mental health industry in the US have engaged in with me, as well as others, including torture.

  • These kinds of articles are so important. So many people who believe in psychiatry and the US mental health industry as a whole say that they believe the “science.” These kinds of arguments and proofs against the bogus science that has been used to justify the medical model of “mental illness” can hopefully convince some to reexamine their fixed ideas about science and psychiatry.

  • A lot of things have slowly changed over time. For one thing, while on SSI Disability and because of my age, I was able to attend college for a time for the first time in my life on a full Pell Grant and State Grant. It was downright healing for me. I learned new things, had positive interactions with professors, and mostly, it did so much to build my confidence, which had been so terribly destroyed, first by life, and then by my interactions with the mental health industry.

    Also, greatly reducing the psychiatric drugs has done a lot to heal my mind. I feel better able to handle things.

    For many years now, I have been working on my writing. Getting published here made me feel so much better, as though there might be someone out there in the world who might be interested in what I have to say. My Mom thinks that pursuing a writing career is a fairy tale, but I at least want to give it a good shot before I give up.

    My faith has also helped me. I am sort of a bad Catholic, especially in that, even before the coronavirus, I didn’t go to Sunday Mass too frequently. But I have found certain things, like going to confession with good priests, to be healing, most especially after all of the damning condemnations and brainwashing that I had received from the mental health industry. I have also had experience with some bad religious people, but reflection, and especially discussing certain terrible experiences with a good priest, have done a lot to give me perspective.

    There are other things that I can’t really think of right now–little things that over time have given me more perspective, as well as different, new life goals and hopes and dreams. Some of the hopes and dreams that I had had when I was younger, I had decided were not really right for me, even if they had “worked.” My newer goals–things like doing the little good that I can, while also pursuing big goals and hopes and dreams, have made me feel a little more in control of certain aspects of my life. I well realize that there are so many things outside of our control, but whatever good I feel able to do, I want to do.

  • Hi JeffreyC,

    The world would be a much poorer place without you. I just went back and read through a bunch of your comments. You bring so much to just this website, and I am sure you bring even more to those around you in real life.

    I can definitely appreciate where you are coming from, though, as someone on Disability, I share with you a bleak financial future if I cannot somehow figure out how to earn a decent living, ideally doing work that I find meaningful and enjoy.

    I totally agree with you in some of your earlier comments about how a fair economic system would do so much to alleviate so many people’s problems. I also appreciate your thirst for justice for psych survivors.

    I am older than you are. When I was thirty-one and saw no hope, a priest told me in confession that there was a ray of hope. I still didn’t see any. After going through psychiatric drug and psychiatric incarceration Hell, and now as I am finally starting to come off psychiatric drugs, over a decade since he said that to me, I am finally beginning to feel a ray of hope. I don’t know that it will work out, but I haven’t felt hopeful for a very long time before now.

  • Thank you so much for your comment, Rachel777. I hope to be where you are someday in terms of being totally off all medication. Just by greatly reducing antipsychotics, I am also beginning to get better. Like you, I find defying mainstream psychiatric opinion to be incredibly scary. Once diagnosed, the theory goes, you need your medication for life, or else you will be a raving lunatic. That kind of threat can certainly create long-term submission for far too many of us, even while the drugs are actually destroying us. I have also done my homework, including reading Robert Whitaker’s work, as well as becoming familiar with psychiatric survivor stories where people actually did improve. Although it is a big risk, the alternative of being a zombie for life, ending up in some sort of shelter, and definitely never getting any better, helped me make my decision. I am beginning to feel hopeful again.

  • Thanks so much, Rosalee D! Yeah, I guess this experience with the coronavirus really demonstrates that the labels of mental illness and psychiatric drugs aren’t meant for any dominant majority, but only a marginalized minority of people. If “mental illness” is common and normal, then it somehow ceases to be mental illness. It is only when people deviate from accepted, common socioeconomic norms in thoughts or behavior that we are labeled mentally ill.

    One of my friends once commended me for being original in my thinking. While if someone is a successful business person, creative person, researcher, or some other sort of successful person, this kind of attribute may be commended by society, but if you are a starving artist, you are probably “mentally ill.” I hope to cover this kind of difference in perception by the “mental health” industry and society at large either in an article or in my book. I never know how an essay will turn out.

  • I do not have a simple answer for you as to what to do when a person is a threat to themselves, but I ask you to consider this: Physician assisted suicide is legal in some states. Is suicide acceptable in those situations? Why? The motivations that drive people to want to commit suicide in either the young and healthy, or old and terminally ill probably have a lot in common. A desire to escape unbearable pain of some kind. A desire to exercise self-determination and have some control over a bad situation. Hopelessness. So, what’s the difference? One is socially and legally acceptable, while another isn’t.

    One of my therapists once tried to explain to me how I shouldn’t commit suicide, because I was relatively young and healthy, but it was okay if the elderly did. As my parents are elderly, I took great offense to this. They mean the world to me, much more than he ever did. If quality of life is a legitimate reason to commit suicide, there are a lot of suicidal people who have a legitimately bad quality of life.

    As a person of faith, I ultimately believe that every life is infinitely precious, but we live in a society that considers a lot of people disposable. A lot of people who end up in the mental health system have been disposed of by society. Maybe you could try helping people in acute distress by learning how to just be a friend to them. How would you help them if it was your child or a dear friend?

    As for people who commit unprovoked acts of violence that is a criminal matter. The mental health industry commits unprovoked acts of violence against patients. When patients fight back, it is they who are considered deviant. Maybe the mental health industry needs de-escalation training too.

    I’m a big believer in the possibility of redemption, even for criminals. If you, as a guide and life coach, don’t believe that someone can change for the better, how are you going to help him or her become a better person? The typical person who ends up in the mental health industry doesn’t need his or her faults and failings pointed out, but rather, for you to see the beauty and goodness that already resides within them, so that he or she can begin to see it within themselves.

    The ways of actually helping people are often time consuming, messy, and require something of you. Americans tend to favor efficiency and superficial effectiveness over genuine help. Take your time, be a friend, don’t try to “fix” people. Be more of a servant to equals, rather than an expert condescending to inferiors.

  • Great points, Sam! I especially liked your observation, “When you practice something that takes advantage of people being disadvantaged, eventually it won’t hold up, although it can be pretty powerful for a long time.” I like to think that exploitative systems will eventually crash and burn, and that we will work towards a world that exists for everyone’s true well-being.

  • That sounds fine. Community, love, friendship–these are important things, and the kind of things that everyone should be able to find in a church. The fact that some people can only find these things in group therapy under the umbrella of mental illness, speaks to larger cultural and social problems within our country, like that some people become so marginalized that they’re only offered community through the mental health industry. It would be nice if even neighbors were more loving and friendlier. I guess we could all stand to be more loving and friendlier.

    My parish only offers community for successful married people with children, or young single people. I am a leper there. I’m kind of glad that I am officially under no obligation to go there now since I only went once in a while before, anyway.

    I once had the misfortune of going to Church on a Mother’s Day when they were passing out books. I said to the woman, “Oh, I’m not a mother.”

    She said, “No, it’s for all women.” So, I went home and read it. It was for married women with children with instructions on how you should put God first, your husband second, and your children third.

  • I have tried to convince some of my friends who take psychiatric drugs about their possible dangers without any luck. I have a friend who even started her son on “ADHD” drugs, which turned out to be a gateway drug and diagnosis which led to further drugs and diagnosis, much like my own story. In all this, it’s good to remember that even drug addicts still have a human spirit that can overcome a lot of harm.

    One of the things that I hope to address in the book I am working on is the widespread, mainstream deception in the Western world by the mental health industry–how it works and counter arguments. I bought into it myself for so long and deeply, so I have a pretty good understanding of these things. So many people have so much invested in being mentally ill, calling other people mentally ill, and being mental health providers that it can be nearly impossible to break through those ideologies. Popular opinion needs to change.

    Maybe you could think of it as trying to convince someone to quit smoking. However, the dangers of smoking are widely known, and quitting abruptly doesn’t cause potentially disastrous withdrawal effect. Educate, inform, encourage, but support the friend for their innate value, regardless of their choices.

    To sum up, I’m sorry, I really don’t have any helpful advice for you regarding how to warn your friends of the dangers of psychiatric drugs. I haven’t had any success in doing it. Maybe you could give them a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic and hope for the best. Good luck!

  • Obviously, a business decision. If we can convince enough people that they are sick, in need of lifelong psychiatric drugs, therapy, mental hospitalization, institutionalization, group homes, the lives of the sane, normal mental health professionals can only get better and better by comparison.

  • Thank you so much for this article. It would be interesting to know who and by what measure people are labeled with schizophrenia and other “serious mental illnesses.” So often, a diagnosis of mental illness is made because of someone’s perceived social ineptitude, which is so often bound up with a lower socioeconomic status. I have read articles that state that there is a much higher incidence of “mental illness” among the poor. Greater poverty=greater mortality. So, there may be factors other than “mental illness” that account for the increase in all-cause mortality among the “seriously mentally ill,” even if they never took medication. But as you point out, it is highly unlikely to find anyone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who has never been exposed to antipsychotics.

  • I congratulate you on being able to function so well despite having difficult experiences and being labeled and treated by psychiatry. I didn’t fare as well after my experiences with the mental health industry.

    I explain somewhat some of my own experiences of being labeled with mental illness in a piece that I have submitted to this website. At first, I was labeled with “depression.” Like you, I took some comfort in the label, because it seemed to validate some of my deep pain. Also, like you, I didn’t really want anyone to know that I was “mentally ill,” because, what would they think of me then? This is the inner stigma and turmoil that psychiatry puts in those they label and “treat.”

    I would suggest that if you are labeling your clients “mentally ill,” you are doing them a disservice. You are separating them from the rest of humanity as somehow bad or inferior.

    You are not bad or inferior either, as long as you are doing your best to be a good person.

    Personally, I no longer believe in psychiatric labels. I find them dehumanizing and meaningless. And who gave psychiatrists, or anyone this authority to label other people because their inner worlds (which no one but God can know for sure) aren’t quite like everyone else’s? It isn’t based in science.

    If we hope to transcend psychiatric labels and stigma, perhaps we need to abolish psychiatric labels and the concept of mental illness, as those things do separate some people from the rest of humanity. Saying that someone experiences depression, or anxiety, or hallucinations is just an experience, perhaps one that falls within the full spectrum of human experiences. And let us never forget that psychiatric drugs themselves can cause some of the most distressing emotional experiences.

    We’re all at different places in our life journeys, and I appreciate that we may just have to agree to disagree on some issues.

  • That may be true of most psychiatrists, but what about activist psychiatrists like Dr. Peter Breggin and Joanna Moncrieff who use their platforms to presents alternative views about mental health and psychiatric treatments? Their credentials and standing in the psychiatric community give them a public voice that otherwise would be drowned out. A publication like the NY Times won’t give voice to minority opinions to anyone, unless it is someone of “importance.” “Mental illness” has been used as a political weapon before, but it has always been against dissidents, never mainstream, powerful political figures. The FBI had diagnosed Malcolm X with “pre-psychotic paranoid schizophrenia.” Why not allow for some psychiatrists who do not believe in the DSM to weigh in on powerful political figures.

  • Great points! The President of the United States should probably be the most scrutinized person on the face of the earth. Everyone should be entitled to their opinions, including psychiatrists. And I am definitely in favor of getting alternative views about mental health into the mainstream media.

  • All that most psychiatrists care about is their profit, power, and prestige. This is a big part of the problem. I recently read an op-ed in the NY Times where a psychiatrist did make an armchair diagnosis of a mass murderer as having schizophrenia. So, far from there being any ethical motivation behind not making armchair diagnoses about public figures, they most certainly do, when it suits their interests. Psychiatry has always been about the more powerful damning the less powerful.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I had not known about TMS before this. I fear that like you, me, and so many others, we only find out about the potentially devastating consequences of psychiatric treatments once our lives have been severely damaged or ruined by them. I am so glad that you are able to offer support to other survivors of TMS. I hope that helps you to find meaning in what you have experienced, and I hope that in coming forward, you will help to effect change.

  • Awesome article! I have sometimes been criticized for my “negative thinking,” and I guess that’s how I wound up in the mental health system. Pope Francis has recently been talking about the “selfish indifference” that so many have–that “as long as life is good for me, life is good.” I think he’s totally right. Although the Pope is sometimes “positive,” he also isn’t afraid to fight back against the many horrible things that exist in the world. He doesn’t pretend that all is well with the world, when it clearly isn’t.

  • Exactly! This is how “advocacy” groups like the drug-funded NAMI sprang up. Parents who had been blamed for their imperfect children clung to psychiatry’s biochemical imbalance theories of “mental illness” and the drug treatments along with them. Humanity is so much more complex than all of that. No parents are literally perfect, but people can encounter so many difficulties throughout life that have nothing to do with bad parents or a fundamentally defective child.

  • Hi Magdalene,

    Some of this article and your comments offer some valuable insights, but some of it seems like victim blaming. Blaming the “me too” movement on bad parenting, rather than predatory men. Blaming victims of socioeconomic and political injustice, of which the mental health industry is so often a part, on bad parents, rather than the people who perpetrate these injustices. Why not, instead, at least acknowledge the very real pain and hardship caused by these injustices, and to the extent possible work to help people and bring an end to such injustices? Was the Holocaust or slavery caused by bad parents?

  • Good news for the very poor in the US! I just found out that I had gotten some bad information, or someone changed the rules. In any case, people on SSI Disability, and the homeless CAN get the $1,200 stimulus check. Here’s the link: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here Unfortunately, it is likely that many of the homeless and very poor will not have the resources to file for and receive the payments, but for the some of us, it is indeed a great blessing.

  • Let’s hope that will eventually be the case. I read a story about a pharmacist who was filling many prescriptions for opiods (spelling?), who became fed up, and eventually refused to fill anymore, because he or she knew that they were simply killing people. He or she either quit, or was fired because of it. That kind of willingness to make personal sacrifices for the sake of people’s genuine well being can have a real impact.

  • Hi J,

    Thank you for your comment. I quite agree that little things are important to everyone. I guess I am hoping to bring meaning out of my experiences and research. It’s like a story I once read about a formerly homeless woman who ended up getting a low-wage job in food service at a sports stadium. She would take the perfectly good leftovers and distribute them to the homeless. She never forgot her experiences and tried to bring good out of what she learned.

  • Hi Someone Else,

    Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes I think that creative, sensitive people, especially those of us who have experienced trauma, are more likely to get sucked into the mental health industry, as we can recognize that not all is well with the world, or even ourselves.

    I am so happy to hear that you have been able to work creatively during this pandemic. Excellent Q and A about Freud and the terrible emotional violence that has been done to survivors of abuse by those who were supposed to help them. I hadn’t really known how widespread the cover-up was.

    I am aware of the potential dangers of withdrawing form psychiatric drugs, but the alternative–taking them for life–is probably worse. I always worry a great deal about withdrawal psychosis every time I go down in dose. So far, so good. I hope I will be able to successfully come off of all drugs.

    God bless you too, and thank you for the work you are doing.

  • LaDonna,

    I am so glad that you appreciate and relate to my article. I am also happy to hear that you are building a life. Your story gives me hope, that I too may one day be able to build a life, especially once through with all of these medications.

    I had also suffered many difficulties, including sexual trauma, that probably helped me lean into the direction of the mental health industry. They present themselves as healers, and that was what I was expecting and hoping for. I hope that more psychiatric survivor stories can come out to warn people about the dangers of entering into the system.

  • Hi boans,

    I definitely agree with you about the “religion” of psychiatry, more like a cult. As it is not rooted in legitimate science, what else can it be called? If it weren’t for the use of force, intimidation, and political power, where would mainstream psychiatry be today? So many have been deceived and forced into psychiatry with sometimes disastrous results. I like to think that God can bring good even out of bad. If Jesus were alive in America today, he probably wouldn’t be crucified, but locked up and drugged for having delusions of grandeur and persecution.

  • I have been social distancing and washing my hands, as recommended, and I have begun wearing a mask, as recently recommended, in case I have it, so that I do not give it to anyone. I think you are wise to be weary of the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry as a whole. With my cocktail of psychiatric medications, I developed very high cholesterol, so my doctor put me on Lipitor, a statin. For two years, I became too afraid to drive at night. My Dad kept wanting me to get off of statins, but I wouldn’t, because I thought I wasn’t having any side effects. I finally googled it, and found out that Lipitor can impair night vision, so I quit taking it immediately. I have driven at night a few times since then, but am still very nervous about it.

    I am so sorry about all of you iatrogenic harm from psychiatric drugs. I too have many health problems that I did not have before. One of the problems that most bothers me is my lack of energy. I am hoping that once I am completely off of medication, that my energy can return.

  • Hi boans,

    I have read and enjoyed many of your comments on this website. You are quite right about how the church deals with the “mentally ill.” Churches are lacking in so many areas, and personally, I do not feel that everyone needs to believe in any kind of a God. So many people have been harmed by churches too, and “Christians.” I feel very strongly that people who feel the need to force their faith on others have some kind of a serious problem. Why isn’t it enough to believe what you believe without needing others to do the same? It can be even worse within churches where there is such strong pressure to conformity. Conformity to what, exactly? Does everyone need to be alike? Isn’t it our uniqueness and our diversity that is humanity’s strength?

    And I am so sorry for all that you have been through with the “mental health” industry.

  • Thank you so much for your kind and empathetic words. Your story is wonderful, but I am so very sorry for all that you have endured. I would most definitely like the opportunity to truly educate Christians about what a huge scam psychiatry is. Too many fall for it. I have read many Christian articles about “How should the church minister to the mentally ill?” As if we are somehow a subset of humanity. I am hoping with my book to articulate a more human approach to all people, an approach that I see as being more in line with Jesus.