Sunday, November 27, 2022

Comments by wileywitch

Showing 377 of 377 comments.

  • That was a good book. There is no line between nature and nurture, or mind and body. Using nineteenth century concepts and relying on fraudulent twin studies as an excuse to do yet more genetic research and to make unsubstantiated claims about heritability is a desperate attempt to prove that psychiatrists are real boys.

    Uh, scientists.

  • Uber psychiatrists like Lieberman and some blogging psychiatrists I have seen now openly admit that they’ve always known that mental illness wasn’t biological and the medications didn’t target a specific imbalance, they just told their patients that to get them to take the medication. Then they express outrage at not be given unconditional positive regard. What adult does that? They’ve brainwashed entire populations into believing that psychiatrists actually understand the brain, emotions, and psychic distress and expect people to understand that that was for their own good. I don’t even.

  • For people who suffer with real pain, an opiod can make their life worth living. I think it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I suffered pain with MS that made it difficult for me to sleep and had me thinking that it wasn’t a matter of “if”, but “when” I would seek assisted suicide. Fortunately, I found another solution to lower the pain to the point that I could live with it and gladly stopped the oxy. I think it’s very important not to turn this problem into a witch hung.

  • The mirtazapine may have been keeping him awake and raising the dose may have made it worse. I used to say that I was prone to paradoxical reactions, now I know that psyche meds are prone to causing paradoxical reactions as any ad will illustrate; but the fact that the had chronic problems with sleep was sufficient to ground him. No diagnosis or mental health issue need be mentioned. We all need SLEEP— precious, precious sleep.

  • If your “depression” is actually an iron or B-12 deficiency, then yes it’s medical. If your psychiatrist diagnoses you with some endogenous depression assumed to be caused by some natural defect and prescribes antidepressants that he/she expects you take for life while your body is starving for oxygen, for instance, it’s medical malpractice and bulls*it.

    This ain’t rocket science.

  • I couldn’t read anything more complex than a Sue Grafton murder mystery and could not write a grocery list while on lithium. The dose I was on was way too high, and I didn’t even hear about blood testing for levels until I got V.A. care. I had payed private psychiatrists who didn’t bother with the testing and didn’t mention it, and were administering monster doses that made me a lump. Grrrr.

  • There is simply no separation between nature and nurture. Nurturing babies is in our nature. Babies with “mental illness” are most likely not getting their most basic needs met, and to not focus on getting that baby’s most basic needs met before considering anything else to be the problem is gross and criminal neglect in my book.

    I think the lion’s share of the problem with this false dichotomy of nature/nurture, is that we don’t have the vocabulary to speak without it. Brain/body/mind/society….— self? There is no operative word with which to speak of this casually or scientifically, so we waste a lot of time wallowing in an argument that shouldn’t exist.

  • Well, if you’ve been taking a cocktail, no one knows, really. I don’t think our brains know what to do on and while discontinuing. At least being informed of all the known effects of discontinuation can help so that we know that what we’re going through is not “our illness” but our bodies’ efforts to find a natural balance again. Patience can be hard when your body is in a confused uproar and your brain is wiggy. Support sounds good.

  • I WILL buy this book. Vindication and honesty is priceless. Thank you, Doctor Burstow.

    Everyone knows the secret; everyone knows that everyone knows the secret…

    And yet so many psychiatrists and other mental health professionals remain haughty and attack people who have been harmed by diagnoses and medications when they talk about it as if they were attacking the psychiatrists personally. Psychiatry needs to grow up, look at itself, and stop treating patients and ex-patients like they’re the ones behaving like children when they simply speak the truths about their experiences .

    Recently I saw an article asserting that the Placebo Effect is primarily a relic of RCTs, and the improvements are primarily either naturally occurring or the result of implicit biases in evaluations. I have no opinion on this, but find it interesting. Even the worst sort of depression— melancholia— generally lasts no more than three months for those who survive it. I don’t doubt that there are certain states that are worthy of the term “depression”; but the assumption that it requires constant and lifelong medication or other treatment is pure bunk.

  • Does anyone else here recognize rebound effects by their vengeful feeling? They’re mean.

    I need to get liquid amitriptyline and am now doing research to see where I can get it. Not Rite Aid. I’ve cut down from 150 mg to 45 mg and find myself up against electrical zaps, deep waves of pain, nausea, vertigo, and a feeling of mild existential dread that I’ve had with an allergic reaction to nortriptyline and with hyperthermia. I don’t know what to call that. If I didn’t know where it was coming from it would frighten me into going to an emergency room. Meanwhile, I’m holding at 45 mg, but still have to take an additional 10 to 20 mg during the day sometimes to stop the uproar in my body.

    It bites. Especially when the pills make ya’ psychotic or something near it. I cannot not thank psychiatry enough for desipramine and the bipolar II disorder that lead to a decade of useless drug cocktails. Now I’m working my way off the prescribing cascade that came with MS, which includes two antidepressants prescribed for nerve pain and sleep.

    The doses of psychoactive drugs available are not small enough, and that’s a problem with neuroleptics and benzos as well. It’s past time for pharmaceutical companies and doctors to make discontinuation less disturbing and symptomatic and to take the symptoms and conditions caused by these drugs seriously.

    The validation, vindication, information, and support I’ve gained through peer support and critical MDs and psychologists who know these experiences is priceless, and thus far is the most valuable resource for getting off useless and harmful psychoactive drugs and figuring out how to do so with the least punishment.

    Keeping people from getting on them in the first place, when they are of no benefit, is a much harder task. Why should we have to learn the hard way?

  • Electroshock is a closed head injury, and head injuries sometimes induce euphoria. There are some people, especially people with melancholia that swear by shock treatment, but I doubt they swear to being zapped until their memories are erased.

  • Yes, I think it’s undeniable that some drugs, even some that aren’t psyche meds, can essentially deprive a person of judgement and make them act out of character and do drastic and/or bizarre things that they wouldn’t have normally done. Whatever the personality or other problems of the person experiencing such an effect, they likely wouldn’t have acted on it without being in such a radically different altered state.

    That may not explain this one pilot, but it needs to be considered a very real possibility and the issue needs to be addressed truthfully. No one has a hard time believing that a person does things they wouldn’t have under the influence of street drugs; but people on street drugs KNOW they’re in an altered state.

  • I got a great deal of help from therapy, then it went bio-bio-bio and I got a lot of harm. I’m almost over it now, I think; but the fact that the marketing of the disease and medicate model has been so successful and is believed in so absolutely, I still have to keep pushing back.

    And, of course, spending time with others who are doing the same is a fine ingredient for recovery. Psychiatry can make you feel so crazy, ya’ know.

  • Getting off of the lithium I had been prescribed at a too high dose for three years, was like coming back to life. I had felt like most of my traits had been forever lost, but they all came back and I then managed to leave the only abusive boyfriend I’ve ever had. It was completely contrary to my nature to be in such a relationship for even a day, but on the lithium, I was unable to rally myself to do anything, even when in a dangerous situation. I felt forever stuck and permanently damaged by both the lithium and the erroneous belief that I suffered from an endogenous mental illness that needed to medicated with a chemical straitjacket for life.

    It took me a few more years to finally get it and stop ALL the psyche meds for the bipolar disorder I never had. Seven years later, I find that my moods are actually quite stable. PTSD, anemia, and drugs are the only causes of the “mood problems” I’ve had, and those were only “mood problems” because I and mental health professionals weren’t recognizing the causes of my unruly moods, which justify being disturbed and suffering, at times.

  • The V.A. has a problem with different prescribers not coordinating. For my MS pain, my GP says it’s my neurologist’s job, and I don’t have to tell you what my neurologist says.

    The V.A.’s own studies demonstrate that none of these drugs are effective for PTSD, but the V.A. uses the same general guidelines as everyone else. I got of oxy myself, and am down to 30 mgs of amitriptyline daily from 150 mg. After I’m done with that, I’m tapering off trazodone. Am also running my own personal campaign to cut down on unnecessary MRIs, other screening, and appointments. I’ve been through two prescribing cascades with the V.A. One for psyche meds, and one for MS. Before I started cutting down last years, I had amasses so many scrips that it was physically bothersome to swallow all the pills.

    Much better now. I have time to do a lot of research on my conditions and my medications, but the V.A. staff is swamped with so many patients and bureaucracy has always been its Achilles Tendon.

    I think the ruling guidelines need to be ironed out by pharmacologists and that they need to be involved with clinical prescribing to prevent drug reactions, risks multiplied by multiple drugs with the same risks, and unnecessary and inappropriate prescriptions.

  • There are many foster parents that are wonderful and doing the best by their charges with the resources they have (which are meager) but, to those who are working on the insider track, I think foster “parents” should be called foster “guardians”– not to be pedantic, but because they aren’t the children’s parents, they ARE guardians and the title should reflect their responsibility more than their power and status.

    Foster care systems need more money, and what’s being spent on drugs is a good place to start.

    Unfortunately, today’s foster children are likely to be tomorrow’s tale of unintended consequences on a large scale.

  • I just learned about the NNH (number needed to harm), and think it’s a great companion to the NNT (number needed to treat). It’s the best illustration I’ve seen of the numbers to help people weigh risks and benefits. Of course, population statistics rarely translate for the individual. You either suffer a harm or don’t; but populations like the elderly have always been particularly at risk. There’s a reason why geriatric medicine exists.

    We need to start spending money on adequate resources and training in care homes, instead of using drugs as social control.

  • It’s always good to see an MD challenging the status quo. More than one study has shown that doctors think they aren’t influenced by advertising (but others are) though their prescribing habits say differently. Even just using a pen with the drug’s name on it increases the number of prescriptions they write for that drug.

    Psychiatry has broken with psychology to the degree that there is a stunning lack of self-awareness among too many psychiatrists. Silly doctors, of course advertising and marketing works, otherwise, it wouldn’t be everywhere you turn and pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be spending more on it than they do on R&D.

  • My experience with involuntary commitment in a private hospital was that the idea that I knew myself and experience better than anyone on that ward (or at all) was evidence that I was a problem child. Ignoring their prescriptions and diagnosis was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

    I’m fine, thank you.

    But, the massive campaigning for bio-bio-bio psychiatry and the fact that so much of the public has bought into it makes it necessary for me to return here again and again to psychically fight it for my own good, though I know that I’m not bipolar and that I only had a brief reactive psychosis while suffering with very bad PTSD symptoms and a perfect storm of other stressors including an unprecedentedly long period of sleep deprivation.

    I’m still fine (thank you).

    It takes a continuing effort just to let myself know what I know about myself and my experience, and it wouldn’t tick me off so much if I were just a rare and unfortunate exception. Institutional abuse totally rubs my fur the wrong way; it’s the stuff of dystopian nightmares.

  • What strikes me about his tale of the Yale student is that most patients aren’t dropping out of Yale and the psychiatrist they see does NOT order “a battery of physical tests —blood tests, an EEG, MRI, and other neuropsychological exams—to rule out other possible causes”. They don’t test for so much as an iron or B deficiency or thyroid problems, and most of them don’t converse with the patient.

    It’s a very privileged tale.

  • The greatest anti-anxiety drug I’ve ever used is thousands of dollars in my savings account and still climbing. Living from paycheck to paycheck while buying luxury items or even necessities is stressful, if not horrifying. Living from paycheck to paycheck without savings is grueling, even when the threat is only on the periphery, the awareness that you could end up on the mean American streets is tortuous.

    Of course, if you’re working class, getting ahead can be next to impossible, but any savings is better than none. I’ve managed to save because I’m an in-home caregiver and don’t have to pay rent or bills. I also have a small pension on top of my part-time job.

    A soft cushion of money to fall back on is something I wish for everyone. It relieves and prevents stress like nothing else can.

  • There’s a lot of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ in that arrangement. Too bad caregivers can’t raise their pay, we’re underpaid and considered to be “unskilled” when being a caregiver requires a lot of skills, including thinking very carefully about the patient and negotiating.

  • I think a lot of problems could be headed off at the pass if the Surgeon General declared problems of mental functioning and being emotionally overwhelmed conditions worthy of treatment without a medical diagnosis being necessary.

  • It cheered me up recently to see a recommendation to stop the routine yearly exam of people with no health problems. When you need urgent care, it may be either a long wait (so much for urgent) or you might have to go to the emergency room to pay over five-hundred dollars to have an infected hangnail lanced, because doctors are spending so much time on healthy people. YMMV according to your HMO.

    Specialists are making a mint on people they don’t need to see in the first place, and another pile of money on false positives.

  • Nicotine is a stimulant and a depressant. We unconsciously regulate it’s effect to get what we need to balance out at any given moment. If you have a crappy job and have to smile in the face of disparaging comments and behavior, the depressant effect can help to mask anger, for instance. There’s a reason why most people who still smoke are working class, and if psychiatry came up with a drug which is both a stimulant and depressant that only has an effect for seven minutes, can be used as necessary, has been very well studied so that it’s effects are known, and doesn’t cause health problems or addiction, I’d take it now and then to buffer the effects of having to deal with other people’s crap gracefully in order to avoid negative consequences.

  • After my brief reactive psychosis(thank you), that was like a long waking night terror with the flashback memory of a decapitating Soviet strike and the horror of it in real time; I did some searches and found studies being done on combat veterans and victims of political torture living in asylum that addressed the possibility of PTSD with psychosis. Of course, ever clinging to the fairy tales of eugenic and fraudulent twin studies, they used combat veterans with PTSD and a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder as “controls” as if many or most of those veterans might not be suffering from PTSD-P and have been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

    That was very early in 2011. Now there are articles on PTSD-P all over the web on “reputable” medical sites, with no acknowledgement that this diagnosis is new. This general lack of acknowledgment ignores people who have been diagnosed with psychosis and PTSD erroneously before the category was created. Most professionals lack a sense of the history of their field necessary to put new developments into an historical context, no matter how recent the history, but psychiatry is, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders. This makes labels too permanent and gives the individual who diagnoses entirely too much power and influence in a person’s life, legally, socially, and personally.

    I think it takes a lot of energy and effort to make the fact that a person can experience such profound and unmanageable (if not ineffable) pain that they break down. It’s one of the most universal human realities I can think of, and it used to be understood by most people who suffer great and/or chronic stress. Yeah, I’m hanging by a thread too, and I hope I don’t break, take it easy, get well. is a healthy response to someone who has cracked. Hanging a label on them and telling them they are forever broken and ignoring the reality and value of their suffering after one psychotic episode or more than one in ten year intervals, or the like, is preposterous.

    The system needs to be changed to allow treatment and payment for treatment without binding labels.

  • Yep, B.

    If the World Bank were to say, give a lot more money to Doctors Without Borders, help Liberia expand and integrate their medical services for basic care and containment, then pay for the development and testing of an effective Ebola vaccine, then things might start looking up for the foreseeable future for all of them.

    I fail to see how Western style mental health care is going to translate for Liberians. Doctors Without Borders is pretty good at helping locals find local help.

  • Not to be nit-picky, but yes, you were born with a brain, and that brain has been changing non-stop since before you were born. Whatever genes we have, the expression of those genes is determined by environment. I’m not denying that there are medical causes of unwieldy or unbearable mental states, it’s just that the idea that there is any separation at all between nature and nurture is old-school and faulty to a degree that warrants its abandonment, but we don’t have the language to speak or think without the dichotomies of nature/nurture and mind/brain.

    Sometimes, I think, we need some philosophical therapy to create our own new perspectives and paradigms to help us liberate ourselves from our past without dragging our parents into our psyche any more than we need to so that their traits no long matter, heritable or not. We we can stop being their children and take possession of ourselves.

  • Actually, medicine has been focused on lifestyle and ignoring environmental threats to health, many of which have been known for a long, long time. We are all ever and always inextricably bound to our environments. Cleaning up and preventing pollution and noxious contamination is as important to our health as personal choices, if not more so, in some cases. Consider radiation and other elements that we cannot be immune to, and go from there.

  • Our bodies have to process stress. Most of us, most of the time, do not have great difficulty processing stress because of organ damage, for instance, so we take for granted what an embodied phenomenon stress is— it’s not all in our heads, by any means.

    I worked as a caregiver for a transplant candidate, and saw him fall like a board and lapse into a comatose state after talking to his ex-wife on the phone. His liver could not handle the stress.

    And everyone has a limit. Contrary to popular opinion among many psychiatrists, anyone can be leveled by stress, especially when they are swept up into a storm of many stressful things intersecting and do not have the resources to soften the blows.

  • One name— Dr. Joseph Biederman— a man responsible for the fact that infants have been prescribed drugs for “childhood bipolar disorder”. There should be a special place in hell for this man. We will never be able to account for all the damage he’s done, even if someone were bother to try to do so. The fact that he has been able to make a career of promoting the drugging of children while completely ignoring the well established knowledge of child development is evidence of psychiatry’s obsession with becoming a real science, human reality be damned; and our society’s real feelings about children, especially the spite and fear of teens hiding behind romantic myths of the wonders of being and having been young.

  • A state of “low functioning” can be a time of meaningful personal evaluation and re-evaluation that makes later functioning more likely.

    I found my psychotic episode to be very productive, and for months after that I gained a renewed and more realistic perspective on a lot of meaningful issues in my life. I think this “high” and “low” functioning is especially pernicious for women who are expected to dedicate themselves to any number of others and are considered to be selfish when we focus on ourselves to the exclusion of others, and let them take care of themselves for a while.

  • Remeron made me ravenously hungry. Normally I have meals on a saucer. On Remeron I would eat plates full of food, four times my normal amount and still feel hungry as I was overeating. It was perverse. I had to stop it.

    And it stopped helping me sleep within a week. I trust if this Binge Eating Disorder was around at the time, that I would have rejected it, but often, drugs have the spell-binding effect that leads people to think that the drug isn’t responsible for new symptoms. I really do think that the idea that the last drug started or stopped should be the first thing to consider when new issues come up, and that EVERYONE should know that. All these “comorbid” conditions are hinky.

  • Oh, yeah. I discovered I had MS when I couldn’t stand or walk, after suffering symptoms for years, but not telling a doctor about my lack of energy because I did not want to be sent to a psychiatrist for “depression”. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew damned well it was physiological. After I was diagnosed I asked what I was feeling, because if it was “tired” I’d never been tired a day in my life. It was fatigue. It’s real. It’s physiological.

    There is a certain amount of vigilance about pain meds that may be justified, but women often have “complaints” in the man’s world of medicine that aren’t worthy of professional consideration because women just bitch all the time, right?

  • Speaking to a psychiatrist on a ward as an equal makes him very angry, in my experience. Failure to submit got me threats of being held for a 180 days. Telling him “threat to self or others, you can’t hold me for 180 days for disagreeing with you” made him furious. Childish people are the last thing that someone in crisis needs, especially after the crisis has passed. It’s been five years since my one involuntary commitment and I’m still amazed at the personal problems of some of the staff.

  • The bio-bio-bio model of psychiatry is an evil Pinocchio. The suffering that has been caused by psychiatrists wanting to be “real scientists” without real science makes them chronic liars.

  • Psychiatrists and the rest of medical doctors need to consider first that with any psychiatric symptoms they need to start with a list of all the medications a patient is taking. Of all the psychoactive medications I’ve taken for a bipolar disorder I don’t have, to prevent a harrowing “depression” that was an iron deficiency; the most mind-bending drug I’ve experienced (while taking it and discontinuing it (slowly)) was baclofen. Sensory distortion, depersonalization, anosognosia, hallucinations… It was horrible/ I’ve been off of it for seven months and am still reevaluating myself, my life, my feelings, my relationship with MS, and my past because of the years I spent not actually feeling connected to my life and having malfunctioning sensory experiences as the norm.

    Now I know that baclofen made the spasm and pain worse, too. Meta-analysis shows that there were no really good studies on the drug and that it doesn’t work for the lion’s share of people who take it. yet it’s a first-line medication prescribed first for MS spasm. Because of the mind-bending qualities of the drug, I could never tell if it relieved pain or not— that’s some deleterious effect.

    Next time I see my neurologist we’re going to have a talk about informed consent. When I was preparing to quit, I just happened to find a whole lot more information on it than when I first started taking it. Tapering off two 5 mg doses a day in ten weeks isn’t “abrupt,” but my brain/body thought otherwise.

    I was delirious.

    Do psychiatrists learn the difference between delirium and psychosis and other cognitive dysfunction or do they just reach for the DSM? They should, after being trained as medical doctors, understand all causes of what they consider to be the symptoms of mental illness.

  • The reason that pressure to abandon to DSM creates such ugly scenes of opposition from psychiatry, I think, is because that’s how psychiatrists get paid by people who have to use insurance to pay for their visits. At this juncture, I think it would be wise if Congress were to pass a bill defining psychological and emotional distress as a health issue worthy of treatment of subsidy– our bodies and minds are not separate, never were, never will be. And stress takes a toll on a lot of systems in our bodies, it’s not just some ethereal state in the brain or mind. It’s highly unlikely that a whole lot of people would see psychiatrists for no good reason, especially now.

    Before psychiatry became mindless, I benefited greatly from it, and read an article, near the end of my need for counseling and the limits of what it could provide, saying that most people were satisfied after seeing a psychiatrist ONCE. That’s not a steady income, but there are certainly a lot of people who could benefit from long-term or repeated as-needed confidential counseling, with perhaps some drug intervention (with fully informed consent and with vigilance).

  • That’s been known all along. Some people refused to take the check, and only one person— a Dutch man who had lived in the Netherlands during WW II— asked them who they were and what they were doing. Sadly, this experiment has been repeated with children in various parts of the world and the results were the same. Of course, children are generally required to obey adults, it’s just that few people seem to grow out of it.

  • Of course, I can’t find it NOW, but I’m tapering off amitriptyline for nerve pain and sleep (which it doesn’t appear to be working for) because I found an article by a cardiologist that rated amitriptyline at a 35% increase in the risk of heart attack. The drug itself settles in the heart muscle. That’s an unacceptable raise in risk, especially for a drug that isn’t working.

  • What gets me is how many psychiatrists are now blithely saying that they never believed the “brain disease” hypothesis, but it was useful in getting patients to take medication. That they aren’t ashamed of their lies and paternalism speaks volumes.

  • Attributing what someone did while under the influence of drugs as evidence of their “danger” betrays a complete lack of personal responsibility and cause and effect curiosity.

    Dogma be dogma, and the abuse goes on. What I saw in that private ward was people living in a little propaganda bubble that made them very boldly irrational and that put them on their own little pedestal from which to look down on people. They have no idea how inappropriately imposing and irrelevant their a priori conclusions are, and how obvious their imperiousness and blinders are to people they deem insane.

    Don’t even get me started on agnosia, unless you’re talking about a particular lack of awareness on their part. Thou shall not vary from the script they wrote for you in med school.

  • I’ve been in two hospital wards; voluntarily in a V.A. ward, and involuntarily in a private hospital ward. The V.A. staff respected the patients’ rights not to take drugs. The private hospital did not. The V.A. staff did not treat people like children— they have mostly big male war veterans in their wards— bullies don’t pick on them. The private hospital ward’s staff treated patients like children, if not babies. Responsible adults don’t treat children who can walk, talk, and dress themselves like that. The V.A. staff was calm, cool, and collected— they listened. The private hospital staff seemed to be totally lacking in self-awareness, especially in regard to their own affect and actively disregarded and rejected what patients said out of hand. Amy mention of actual experience was due to “agnosia”.


    In the private ward I was met with naked expressions of smug disgust from a psychiatrist, and condescending smiles from nurses, for asserting that my experience had something to do with why I was there. It’s bad enough to be treated like a lesser being because one is extreme distress, it’s surreal to be treated like a completely decontextualized object.

    They kept me for two weeks because I did not agree with their assessment, nor their treatment, and because I slapped medication out of a psychiatrist’s hand while I was in extreme distress. I knew perfectly well why was I was there. And had that admitting doctor left me alone while I was coming to grips with my one and only ever psychotic episode (at the age of 51) that was, at most, a two hour waking night terror (brief reactive psychosis) accompanied by feelings of the impending extinction of the human race, that was a MEMORY— had she not sat in front of me and asked me questions that had nothing to do with that, and kept trying to give me meds that I had told her I didn’t want, I wouldn’t have slapped the medication out of her hand in self-defense

    I wanted to be clearer, not separated from my experience chemically— it was second only to the traumatic event itself in significance to me, and was very informative. I was coming out of it, and examining it; but they kept focusing on their issues— like the nurse walking around talking real loud about how I was high on meth (never touched the stuff) who also told me that I didn’t have multiple sclerosis. The admitting doctor (if she was a doctor or a psychiatrist (I was busy with more pressing matters than her rank)) decided that I had a service-connected disability (my friend gave her my veteran’s I.D. that stated this), but decided it was not from what I said it was.

    Her delusions and pushiness were harshing my recovery, and I really didn’t need to be so drugged that I couldn’t remember the following two days.

    In isolation (Oh, that it would have been isolation!), I had taken my mattress off of that thing that reminded me of something in a coroner’s office and put it on the floor in the back corner facing the door. Apparently, they didn’t recognize hyper-vigilance, and they sure as hell responded (reacted) to me in ways most inappropriate to someone in that state. Don’t poke the frightened and hyper-vigilant monkey. Don’t ask them their birth date and trivial personal history questions as if those were relevant or appropriate. Duh!

    Yeah, I slapped the meds out of the woman’s hands the third time she tried to push them on me, because every interaction she had with me was insulting and degrading, and dehumanizing and all about HER and her control issues and her delusions of knowing me and my experience and what I needed in that moment.

    Also, on the ward, I witnesses many occasions in which the staff members were emoting their butts off in most reactionary and unnecessary ways. One reminded me of that scene in The Wizard of Oz where the witch promises destruction then jumps on her broom and flies out the window. That reaction was over me opening the laundry room door for a new patient. There was zero signage on the ward explaining anything like the rules— just a lot of NAMI posters that posthumously diagnosed great people in history with mental illnesses— especially artists, because being an artist or engaging in artistic activities is bipolar, right? So is being President of the United States in the darkest time to date— anyone with deep emotion is mentally ill, no matter what is going on in the world around them.

    My God, a nurse started shouting, “HE’S RESISTING!”, because no matter how loud she spoke, that gentle Mexican man trying to make himself smaller so she’d stop being afraid of him, could not understand English.

    If I ever need to take a vacation in a psyche ward again, I’ll go to the V.A. hospital; but right now, my priority is to scrub my soul of this pseudoscience and it’s classist, misogynist, and racist presumptions.

    Every day, in every way, I’m moving closer and closer to a position that this field should be abolished if that’s what it takes to remove their unearned power to define and confine individuals and take control of the course of their lives.

  • As a veteran with a 50% service connected disability, I assure you that I am somewhat compensated for the time I am screwed up with PTSD. That’s true of every veteran who receives benefits and has PTSD; which as far as I can tell, doesn’t go away. Mine, in fact, gets worse every time I have an episode. I have no peer group with which to discuss the trauma or to compare myself with, and there is nothing written about it. War is a trigger. Global warming is a trigger. And crazy talk about nuking countries is a trigger.

    Whether or not it’s medicalized, PTSD is often disabling and it can interfere with the best laid plans and courses of action, to leave the sufferer devastated and unable to function normally.

  • Yeah, I think there should be a distinction between being traumatized by an event, and having a lung-full of asbestos from that event. Together, they’re two different kinds of trauma from the same event that have a relationship that should be kinda obvious to anyone who has stepped outside of the trap of 19th Century, Cartesian mind/body duality.

    Guess some people need a coupla’ centuries to catch on, and being invested in psychiatry as an authority on the “brain” and “mental illness” may cause some people to hang onto that duality like a pacifier that also acts as a lever they can pull to get their paycheck.

  • I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the respiratory illness was probably caused by a burning skyscraper vaporizing into a heap of fine dust that included a lot of concrete and asbestos. Granted, mental/emotional distress and anxiety can weaken the immune response, and sleep deprivation is about the worst thing that can happen to a person’s immune system, and distress can manifest itself as physical ailments, like stomachaches and headaches; but trying to hang the respiratory illnesses that first responders and civilians at Ground Zero of the fall of the the Twin Towers sounds kind of nutty to me. Most of them have probably had respiratory illnesses since the incident.

  • In all honesty, it made perfect sense for the police to pick me up and take me to the hospital in response to my psychotic episode. If the best friend I ever had couldn’t reel me in, then no one could. The officers had to bounce me off the hood a couple of times before they had me under control. They didn’t expect a woman in her fifties to be so strong and slippery and clearly didn’t feel good about the force they used. I caught them completely off guard while it was their job to restrain me while I was spending more time in an altered and unreal state than being present and fully conscience of what was happening around me. I wasn’t particularly combative; but I was a whole lot more involved with what was going on in my head than what was going on for everyone else.

    The guys who worked at the convenience store pleaded with me because they didn’t want to call the police. Later, when I asked my friend who called the police, he started apologizing because he did. I told him he did the right thing and thanked him. It wasn’t safe for ME to be running around while barking mad.

    It was when I was coming down in the tank and trying to take stock of what had just happened— my first episode of psychosis— that unnecessary force was used, IMO. Though I was struck by the bruises on my body because I had never been manhandled like that before, I didn’t blame the police and still don’t. I was lucky, but I’m betting that’s not exceedingly rare.

    Training is great for the police and people in a psychotic episode who are picked up by the police, and there’s always room for improvement– but I think it’s important to also recognize that it’s sometimes the best anyone could do to restrain a person in the throes of psychosis and it can be in that person’s best interest at the time.

  • During my ridiculous 2 weeks on a ward, we were given vaporizers. According to the box, they need to be replaced every hour, but they can last a lot longer than that. It seemed like they wanted smokers to get a new one every hour. I wonder what the mark up was.

    There is no reason for smokers and users of nicotine products to be denied nicotine out of paternalism— OH, now they’re worried about health— the most useful and every day drug in psychiatry is nicotine.

  • Once you get it, though, you get it. No matter how a sociopath dresses it up, it’s really the same old baby tricks over and over again. Not having a hole in oneself that one wants to have filled by someone or everyone else— like the hole of ‘everyone is basically good no matter the evidence and I will demonstrate this with mystical forbearance’— helps to keep the sociopaths away. They choose their victims in an instant because they can smell that weak spot. Their instincts are uncanny.

  • Foster parents get precious little money to take care of children. We need to put our money where our mouth is and spend more initially for the care of these children so that we and they don’t pay more in the long run.

    Adult foster care is pretty much the same with some being drugged to the gills because no one has time to talk to them and the people being drugged can’t afford better care.

  • I think there are absolutes and a brick wall of hatred is a brick wall of hatred. The same goes for greed and useless idealism. Working with people who can be worked with seems like a higher priority than trying to work with everyone or trying to change minds that are determined not to change. Leaving things in the dust seems more doable to me than trying to change those who hate change or have too much invested in not-changing.

    Besides, sociopaths love it when good people spend their time spinning their wheels with those who will not yield to anything— especially when it’s all talk and giving the benefit of a doubt to people who will exploit it. We only have so much time in this world.

  • Have I told this story here, before? In the eighties I read and article about a little boy in Italy whose mother was diagnosed as manic-depressive. During her manic phases, she would get a little abusive. Neighbors would hear her yelling at the boy, and call the authorities. The authorities would take the boy away, boy every time they did, he managed to escape and find his way back home. Eventually they more concerned about what was wrong with the boy because he kept backing and because he didn’t have any identifiable symptoms— there had to be something wrong with the boy, right?

    So eventually they set him up with a high-ranking child psychology specialists who talked to the boy, and by doing so found out that most of the time he and his mother got along famously, she provided, and her occasional bouts involved nothing more serious than swatting the boy on the butt with a brush, which he could deftly avoid. He knew and understood that his mother was sick sometimes and he loved her and knew that she loved him and the bout would soon pass. So, the psychologist told them not to try to place him in other homes or institutions.

    A lot of people, even people who professionally deal with children, simply do not know how to have a productive conversation with a child. And that squeaky little Glenda voice that so many social workers learn needs to go. It’s o.k. to talk slowly and softly to very young children who are just learning language, but the ones who are learning to read and write are ready for a normal tone. Hearing that saccharine, condescending voice from a social worker, as an adult was truly maddening. It’s bad enough they use it on kids who can dress themselves.

  • I also think it’s a weak study. Even though it was double blind, the conclusion was an observation.

    “Findings provide initial evidence that omega-3 supplementation can produce sustained reductions in externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Results are the first to report improvements in caregiver behavior, and to establish this improvement as a part-mechanism for the efficacy of omega-3.”

    I don’t think they “established” anything.

  • I’ve seen reference to sociological studies of Millenials showing that because many of them had not been allowed unstructured play with children, or to wander on their own, or to play without supervision or constant reminders of risks, are more anxious than people who grew up in previous generations who were allowed to test their limits more and find their own boundaries, and deal with fear on a small scale in which they could conquer it without adult interference.

  • Hmm. I learned a lot from face-to-face therapy, for the most part, because I took advantage of a lot of schools of thought and quite a few different counselors and even lay counseling.

    The last time I got counseling, it was from a psychologist who specialized in cognitive therapy and it felt like I was there for him to practice his style of therapy more than he was helping me process trauma. It seems that psychology is suffering from a loss of dynamics and maintaining a narrow focus. At this juncture, I’d rather talk with a philosopher.

  • Without the web, I might have been completely subsumed by psychiatry and one of the medications I’ve taken for MS. It’s the biggest library ever and it’s ever expanding.

    It’s true that the social world on the web is truncated and very limited, but that is to some degree true in the face-to-face world as well. Our lack of community and the degree to which our behaviors and values are forced into the molds of capitalism and business school management protocols leaves us without community.

  • I wasn’t on any medication when I had the iron deficiency that I thought was depression, my psychiatrists called it “retarded depression.” I had been vegetarian for a while and wasn’t eating well because I didn’t have a kitchen— my diet was inadequate. Oh, if I had seen a doctor first AND boy I like where I am now can both rest together in my mind. That the whole field has too much power, too little evidence, and does too much harm, bothers me most.

  • Tell a psychiatrist in a mental ward that you’ve always needed eight to ten hours of sleep and that you’ve never felt good with less except for that time on an anti-depressant, and that you haven’t had more than three hours of sleep a night for weeks and have been hypervigilant with PTSD and have been suffering intense MS pains throughout your body when you lie down and you’re having overwhelming hot flashes and that you’ve cracked up from lack of sleep and see where that gets ya’. Any previous misdiagnosis will rule the day and nothing else needs to be considered.

  • There are studies being done on combat veterans and refugees who gained asylum after fleeing their homeland where they were tortured. Speculation that PTSD might include psychosis has lead to these studies and they are assuming that any combat veteran who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who has had a psychotic episode suffers from a psychotic illness because genetics. So, even though my psychotic episode was like a long waking night terror with the substance of my trauma, it doesn’t count. Seems that being diagnosed with a mental illness is an illness.

  • Nevertheless, night terrors, flashbacks, hypervigilance, dissociation, and other symptoms that fit the label can be debilitating to the degree that it is, at times, impossible to function normally. It’s normal abnormality and I think it’s a mistake to dismiss it. Talk therapy can help, and maybe some drugs can help for part of the time; but the pain is going to come when it comes and it’s likely to f*ck us up.

  • I’ve been helped a great deal from different kinds of talk therapy— before BigPharma took over— I finally gave up trying to find an equivalent here in the U.S. about seven years ago. I feel some regret that I didn’t describe the “counselor’s” affect and behavior and then walk out. She had what appeared to be a Prozac mask and looked at her nails the whole time I talked about my trauma.

    Being more informed about what’s going on in psychiatry empowers me and returns me to the person who would not put up with such a dismissive and inappropriate presentation for one minute without pointing it out and then leaving if it became clear that that counselor was not there for me or my trauma.

  • The instant medicalization of suicide is disturbing. Where is the attempt to understand and to recognize the depth of human pain?

    And why are the drugs treated as saviors when they seldom stop symptoms of “mental illness” but create more problems with mood, cognition, and the ability to cope?

  • It takes a lot of research to find all the information on dangerous effects of drugs that are off patent, even. I had to go to six medical sites to find all the deleterious effects of baclofen withdrawal. Had I stopped at one, I might have been disturbed by the hallucinations– which aren’t “psychotic” when you know they’re an effect of drug withdrawal— and I might have gone to the hospital where I was held on my only involuntary commitment and first (and so far last) episode of psychosis for the horrible hyperthermia I was suffering from the withdrawal.

    It’s inexcusable that “informed consent” is so difficult to come by.

  • As a veteran with service-connected PTSD, I’ve spoken to many other veterans who’ve said that they’ve stopped taking all the psyche drugs, use marijuana, and are much better off. One of the greatest benefits of (some strains of weed for some people) is correcting the circadian rhythms. Sleep is absolutely essential to deal with trauma and PTSD. Night terrors and flashbacks such up a lot of energy and spirit— sleep is essential to recovery.

  • I had a grand mal seizure discontinuing clonazepan as prescribed. The risks are considerable, but a person usually has to be off of the medication before they can clearly see what detrimental effects it had when it did cause more problems than it solved.

    Getting off baclofen made it clear to me that most of what I thought was the degenerative effects of MS was the effects of the drugs. Previously, I discovered that hormone replacements relieved about 95% of the pain above my ankles (the ankles and feet are purely MS pain) and made what pain was left much more manageable. The pain and other effects of menopause + hypervigilance and other death related stresses led to my first psychotic episode.

    I need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night, without fail in order to be fully functioning and always have. Of course, pain interferes with sleep and so does hot flashes and night sweats. I’ve asked for a higher dose of Prempro in the hopes that it will get rid of the residual aches.

    Our whole selves should be treated. Sleep and sleeplessness is complex and the causes of insomnia and early waking are legion. But one thing that people who are too sold on a 9 to 5 ethos needs to learn is that sleeping for eight hours straight is a new demand in the pantheon of human sleep patterns. For people who must sleep straight through in order to function at work, there can certainly be compelling reasons to take drugs during times of difficulty with sleeping. But like many drugs, hypnotics tend to induce agnosia and the addictive nature of the benzos and possibly horrific withdrawal effects make quitting hard, and for some people, very dangerous.

    Someone in the comment section of “Weaning Older Patients Off Sleeping Pills” linked to this website for people who want to get off benzos:

    Sometime after my seizure a more conservative schedule was recommended which included taking lower doses every other day. It clearly needs to be more slow and drug companies need to make smaller doses for this purpose. It is in conflict with their bottom line but is the socially and medically responsible thing to do.

  • Yes, and I often wonder how naturally extreme mental and emotional stressors require additional vitamins. The iron deficiency that I thought was depression, that led to a decade of rotating cocktails, and the one that occurred at the end of those ten years and made it clear that my “retarded depression” was anemia occurred while I was hypervigilant and suffering other stresses of PTSD.

    The body and the mind are not separate, and oh isn’t that difficult for psychiatry to get, but I was a 24/7 support person and caregiver for a man on a transplant waiting list, and I’ve seen him lapse into a state of temporary coma after a phone conversation with his ex-wife. Liver function is absolutely vital to mental functioning, most of us get to take it for granted.

    On that note, I’m going to take some sublingual B vitamins, now.

  • If my experience of involuntary commitment is normal, and from what I’ve read from people here it is, then mental wards can make room for the people most in crisis by, for instance, releasing people who disagree with their assessment but are not a danger to themselves or others— even when the V.A. or Medicaid or Medicare is paying for them.

    What to do, what to do? Need? Or hubris and greed? That’s a tough one, I suppose.

  • Rock on, Dr. Burstow!!! Organize!!!

    I did find a short definition of IE: the study of textually-mediated social organization

    And: “Institutional ethnographies are built from the examination of work processes and study how they are coordinated, typically through texts and discourses of various sorts.”

    I’m fascinated, but your Bizomadness link didn’t work. I’d love to check it out.

  • The number needed to treat to prevent one heart attack looks to be hanging around 500 right now. The risks are severe and permanent memory loss, severe and permanent muscle pain, severe and permanent muscle wasting. Given the number of things a person can do to reduce their risks of heart attack, it is, imo, malpractice to prescribe statins routinely.

  • Yes, too often people who have a conscience bear the burdens of those who don’t, and we—- as a species— need to move beyond that and learn to recognize both predators and their victims as individuals and as groups and work with them for the betterment of all of us. Unwittingly or not, too many people would rather walk on the right hand of the devil than be in its path. We all pay for that, but some more than others.

  • I’m switching exclusively to an E-Cigarette. I’ve done enough research (and have used it for months at a time) to trust that it won’t stain my new dentures after I get them installed. But nicotine is a both a stimulant and a depressant that we unconsciously regulate to get the effect we need at any given time, it only stays in the brain for seven minutes, and almost everyone who doesn’t chain smoke ignores many cravings a day in order to function in their environment. Of all the psyche drugs I’ve been on, I can’t think of any more useful and more amenable to conscious control.

  • Actually, the Senate is having a hearing about the medical profession being the third leading cause of death in the U.S. right now, and the misuse of psyche drugs could be very relevant to that gathering.

    At this link, everyone on the committee is listed by state and rank. Anyone who is represented by these Senators might want to send them information about harmful medications.

  • I’ve finally decided to forego mammograms and already decided not to take statins; but haven’t told my doc yet. I love her, she’s great; but NO. If I disliked my doctor, I’d spend about zero energy on feelings over refusal. I have no doubts about refusal, and I’m not a door mat or submissive by any stretch, but there seems to be a little hitch in the personal vs. professional feelings in these situations.

    I think she’s doing her best in the system she’s in and she cares very much about the health of her patients; she is following guidelines, and the guidelines and their attendant marketing are problem. I could print up some information for her, but that may have nothing to do with what the consequences are to her of patients not taking what she prescribes. I doubt she has time to study much and have a life while working at a V.A. clinic. She’s a good doctor. She listens.

    It’s all such a diffuse and seemingly self-operating system with “EBM” and “preventive” medicine, and it appears to be causing more problems than it solves.

  • What? Our “brain” creates our sensations and perceptions— a feeling in the brain and a feeling are inseparable. So, when someone is being raped, the feelings about being raped are a chemical reality. That does NOT mean that a person being raped needs a drug to correct his/her bad feelings about it. Right?

    You don’t seem to understand that every individual is shaped by their surroundings much more than is acknowledged in the U.S., and that most humans do not remain “normal” and just skippy, thank you, during and after extreme experiences. People lose their minds from solitary confinement, torture, loss of a child (as a child), and being overwhelmed with a host of events. It’s human, not being fundamentally broken, but being overwhelmed. This is, obviously, a difficult society to live in for many.

    My uncle who I described above and my mother suffered unspeakable things as children. His mother was a sociopath and his father was a psychopath and —- probably because of the sibling’s grandmother— all of them have a conscience so they can feel the shame of what was done to them.

    He was strong to have survived, the “resilience” nonsense should have been throttled in the crib. My uncle also went through two tours in Viet Nam as a Marine helicopter machine gunner. He came back an addict and traumatized by a greater sickness than even his father’s . What sense does it make to blame his condition on biology? His condition reflected the war and the pathology of others, not a loose cog in the machinery of his mind.

    I don’t doubt that some people suffer from extreme mental illness from physical causes. Schizophrenia from an in vitro virus? Possibly some, but unlikely all; and schizophrenia is a category that is about psychiatry, not cause and effect. Study iof the human biome appears promising and has demonstrated that some apparent mental illnesses can be corrected in the gut.

    There are also hundreds of physical illnesses that can be manifested as mental illness that can be eliminated by treating the actual physical illness, and not the brain. The brain is part of the body, and the world, and memories, habits, skills, etc…

    Oh, and medication that can have an affect on mental processes and mood.

    Whenever anyone reduces human suffering to the point of madness as a biological fault in a human brain, they dismiss most of what it is to be human and are possibly a bit personally unfamiliar with atrocity and disaster.

  • By the standards of the day, every native of New York City is manic because they all have “pressured speech”.

    What you’re describing should extremely difficult for a psychiatrist to get away with, but it’s not; and that is the state of corruption in the field of psychiatry today.

    It’s corrupt and dehumanizing.

  • Abolition doesn’t dismiss alternatives and the use of force in some situations. When my uncle showed up on the steps of my childhood home with an ice pick then, when let in, proceeded to scream “Ladybug, ladybug, your house is on fire, your children are going to burn,” while tearing up the house; my very strong mother and stepfather and two very big neighbors took him to the hospital and helped to hold him down while the staff gave him a shot of thorazine. He had been labeled as schizophrenic and fit the description well and was on PCP when he showed up at our house with the ice pick.

    There are times when it’s irresponsible not to restrain someone on behalf of everyone involved. Abolition doesn’t have to forbid that. It’s when mental ward staffs hold someone down and administer neuroleptics anytime they feel nervous or inconvenienced that coercion and force becomes pathological, controlling, and dehumanizing.

  • Actually, I didn’t get high on speed. I really did look like I was on speed when I wasn’t and looked like I wasn’t when I was. It didn’t give me more energy, it helped me do very linear things like make a checklist every night and go through it methodically the next day— every night and day. And it made it possible for me to keep myself and two others on schedule and on time. It helped me with mail and paperwork.

    But it caused chronic sleep problems that led to benzos, etc. You know the drill.

    Now I take guanfacine and it really helps, it calms me down and makes my thoughts a little slower and more orderly.

    My “ADHD” is the result of a head injury I had when I was eight, the result of which is probably a hundred absence seizures a day, and difficulty with executive functioning and decision making. Whether my lack of judgment is due to the head injury or temperament is anyone’s guess. I can’t drive because I don’t want to kill anyone, and I’m a royal klutz, but “ADHD” (my fist-full of daisies) doesn’t interfere with my work or schooling as long as math isn’t involved.

    It’s a physiological condition for me, and learning to understand that has helped me immensely in the ‘get off my back’ department.

  • I thought this quote summed up a lot about trauma and recovery:

    “As a society, we live with the unbearable by pressuring those who have been traumatized to forget and by rejecting the testimonies of those who are forced by fate to remember. As individuals and as cultures, we impose arbitrary term limits on memory and on recovery from trauma: a century, say, for slavery, fifty years, perhaps, for the Holocaust, a decade or two for Vietnam, several months for mass rape or serial murder… In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera writes that ‘The struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.’ Whether the power is a fascist state or an internalized trauma, surviving the present requires the courage to confront the past, reexamine it, retell it, and thereby remaster its traumatic aspects… to the extent that bearing witness reestablishes the survivor’s identity, the empathetic other is essential to the continuation of a self.” (Aftermath, 57-9)

    ~ Susan Brison

  • Which reminds me— in order to explain how a seven year-old girl contracted a venereal disease, some brilliant physician deduced that VDs could be transmitted from toilet seats. I mean, how else? Really? Really. Such concern and professionalism.

  • Oh, he’s quick to criticize psychiatry and psychiatrists, but when someone who has been hurt by it/them speaks up, then he suddenly needs to defend it/them against the unwashed masses.

    And, ZOMG!!! drug seekers show up at his office— wherever did anyone get the idea that psychiatrists have anything to do with drugs? It just boggles!

  • Sure, when a woman tells a psychiatrist that she was sexually abused by her stepfather and he responds by leering at her and asking her if she loved her stepfather, then just kept leering while she knocked over the chair and backed out of his office, then the real offense is her having cartoon fantasies of pistol whipping Freud; because structural violence works for professional misogynists and Freud gave the worst of them a way to blame their victims.

  • My baggage? Yes he’s a proponent of therapy first, but I you haven’t figured out that he will assume himself to be the expert on any patient’s life and that he doesn’t respect people he considers to be lessors (like patients who dare to criticize psychiatry in any other terms but his) then you don’t get him.

  • Oh. It’s you.

    If you’re looking to get your butt kissed, Joel Hassman, MD, then you’ve come to the wrong place. No one died to make you our master. Almost every comment I’ve ever seen you make has been juvenile and emotionally overwrought.

    Step off.

  • The Soviet political prisoner Alexander Solzhenitsyn has said that the worst torture he endured was the sleep deprivation, which is often used as torture, for a reason. People would crack from it. The Soviets used it to get prisoners to sign false confessions, people would confess to anything to be left alone to sleep.

    Sensory deprivation ——

    has made perfectly healthy volunteers temporarily insane within and hour. In those experiments, no one lasted more than four hours.

    The solitary isolation used in SuperMax prisons (often on criminals who are not violent) drives a lot of prisoners mad.

    Is it just too hard for the leaders of psychiatry to see that we don’t stop in our brains or even in our bodies? What we are includes our environment, the people in it, and the fluid nature of the boundaries we share with others.

  • The muscle relaxant baclofen, which is for some reason the first to be prescribed for the muscle spasm of MS, in spite of the fact that there are no properly done studies showing that it is efficient and there is plenty of evidence that it the risks and side effects, and withdrawal is harsh—- it was keeping me awake, increasing the pain, and causing a host of “psychiatric” symptoms that were merely drug-induced. There was very little me happening on that drug.

    I’m still taking amitriptyline (a first line med for MS that should not be taken with baclofen and trazodone because I need to taper off amitriptyline very carefully. I heed the warnings I find here.

    Psychiatry isn’t the only branch of medicine thinking that “evidence” = marketing; but it’s still the only branch that makes up “diseases” as it goes along.

  • Or at least they might stop and consider that rather than hanging onto the concept of schizophrenia as if it were their mother’s tit, that perhaps anyone in a state that appears to be psychosis might just need a couple of good nights of sleep. Sure it doesn’t have the cache of a junket to Bermuda, but it could be of great value to people who are having a hard time processing everything that’s crashing around them and who would suffer horribly from a major setback in their lives.

    How many hours of what courses do psychiatrists have to take to remain as clearly obtuse as so many of them are?

  • Generally, people think of abolition as suddenly eliminating the object of its ire. As you say, Bonnie, it is a painstaking, slow, and deliberate process. It requires continual evaluation and re-evaluation, and must be orderly.

    Abolishing nuclear weapons requires nuclear arms reductions and a very clear and mutual process that two or more institutions must be committed to.

    Abolishing prisons is, likewise, is a long-term commitment, not a technocratic fix.

    Perhaps, it’s possible to work around most of the institution of psychiatry with alternative forms of counseling, respite, peer support, and the development of Soteria type alternatives— to leave psychiatry in the dust.

  • It’s a shame that so many people conflate television tropes and plots with being informed; which is why I challenge everyone to play my game of re-evaluation—- it’s easy to play. For instance, if you find yourself thinking that the art and crafts strewn all over your fastidiously clean living room, would scare people who can’t tell the difference between clutter and dirt; ask yourself, “Is this true for Pygmies?” An image of Pygmies hoisting spears in a defensive position should put an end to that thought, and anyone who does come into your house and react as if you lived in a pig sty can be mentally adorned with a spear and hunting attire for protection in your head, while you smile and let them defend themselves instead of rushing around trying to make that guest comfortable by reacting as if your space were truly offensive.

    Another aspect of this game is, “Really?!” So, if you find yourself saying that someone is approaching something like “a bloodhound on a trail”, ask yourself if you’ve ever seen one actual bloodhound in your whole life, much less one on a trail. Sure, you can take for granted that the species’ reputation is well earned, but I bet there are a few useless bloodhounds out there.

    Of course, it’s more fun when two can play, but they have to be two people who are accustomed to thinking out loud together, are respectful of each other, and who laugh every day, when not inappropriate.

    Television is programming even to the most critical observers, it can be easier, I think, to take apart and examine in our heads while not watching it and when we see it reflected in our society.

    Today’s television and film portrayals of “mental illness” and mental crises are, generally speaking, poor and cliche. They’re every bit as unscientific as those old Freudian plots in which a man has amnesia and is struggling against it while being melodramatically haunted; but THEN, he smells the flowers, and remembers that he killed his mother! Whoo! It all comes back to him and he’s restored to sanity.

  • I just found out that one of the first line meds prescribed for Multiple Sclerosis— baclofen– is only effective for 1 out 4 people being treated for MS, and the other— amitriptyline is simply not effective. Baclofen can cause such an awful state of agnosia, sensory distortion, and depersonalization; that one would have to withdraw completely from it to see what it did.

    Seems neurologists are being influenced by something other than evidence, and seeing as how both of those neurologists worked in a V.A. hospital and the other (the intern) worked in both the V.A. hospital and a research hospital; one might think they would be a bit more on point as far as knowing what they’re prescribing. Going by the current algorithm appears to be wrong, harmful; and a waste of precious time, money, and well-being. It’s the kind of thing a committee needs to take care of and pass down to clinicians.

  • Complete remission from what? Life? To want to suffer no “symptoms” in this age of instant mental illness (see your doctor) is to want to be a robot. But then again, one dystopian theme has slipped into the 21st Century on cat paws—


    Hug me til you drug me, baby.

  • Wonderful primer on pharma- drug pushing up close, Dr. Healy.

    My first thought was, ‘What drug, currently on the market, causes problems similar to Crohn’s Disease and is it made by the same company?’

    I just spent ten weeks tapering from a low dose of baclofen for MS muscle spasm in my ankle, and have found myself again now that the agnosia, depersonalization, somnolence, sensory distortion, fatigue, drug-induced rank stupidity, inability to learn, inability to remember numbers for any length of time, poor muscle coordination, photo-sensitivity— BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE— has dissipated.

    DOCTORS AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, should be required to review all medications and possible effects before prescribing ANYTHING. Between my primary care physician and my neurologist, I was on one med that raised blood sugar and one that lowered it; everything I was taking was constipating, including the laxatives; a muscle relaxant was making the spasm and pain in my ankles worse…. and so on. I need to make a chart with some Venn diagrams to illustrate how most of these drugs I was prescribed either ganged up on me with some shared effects or countered the each others’ effects, or created whole new effects in combinations.

    Most of how I was affected by taking AND discontinuing baclofen could easily be misinterpreted as “mental illness”, which is par for the course, in a culture in which every native of NYC is bipolar because of their “pressured speech” and having a rotten day is “major depression”.

  • To the bone, Sharon! And brilliantly written. Seems the closer people get to the reality of what is called “care” in psychiatry, the more truly simply wrong it appears, and so the more directly one can calmly describe it.

    Evidently, the nurse who kept asking with all the asinine effect of the mean high school girl, if I knew why I was there, has at least two jobs.

    After being told that the Valentine’s day card I was making with crayon for my one true friend (and I his) was “awesome”, I responded with something like, ‘Guess those 60 completed hours of studio art are paying off.’ It was infantilizing— I don’t say that to five year-olds. Random complements to “boost self-esteem” are garbage and children know it. Also, it appears that being an artist is a sign of bipolar disorder, now.

    It’s all so ridiculous.

  • I know what I know, and am not going to be swayed or second-guess myself about things I’ve already experienced too much of, too many times.

    It’s always nice to see those little innuendos challenged openly, but I’ve got enough on my plate finding the barbs in studies and talking back to them in my space, on my computer, in my voice, for my own self-protection and vindication.

    This paper linked here at MIA:

    is both precise and enlightening where some clarifications are concerned, while avoiding the elephant in the living room deftly. Some good, some bad, some wtf?, and some WHA?!

    No one needs scientific training and advanced mathematical skills to see that the statement— “1 out 5 people suffers from a mental illness”— is an unmitigated and unsupported statement that should put psychiatrists— both researchers and clinicians— on the witness stand and worked over until they admit it’s bullshit and that their willingness to tell so many people who are treading in a world in which too many psychiatrists are being grossly overpaid, overprotected, and unduly defended WHILE they gut their patients’ psyches and damn them to drugs that psychiatrists don’t understand—-

    THIS HAS GOT TO STOP! The primary delusions of the field of psychiatry are neither scientific, nor logical, nor beneficial.

    No excuses.

  • It’s an abscess in the body of medicine and all the sciences that festers in marketing and all the institutions that protect professionals and professional bodies from being held responsible for their predatory and dangerous practices. Confusing education, maintaining the status quo, and high pay with wisdom and care can be a real threat to others.

    The only phenomenon that I can understand lowering the quality of care in the mental health field is a natural aversion to vicarious trauma.

  • If nothing else, the body has to expend time, energy, and resources to cope with the meds and their reactions with each other and with my mind-brain when all that work could be dedicated to healing lesions.

    After much study, I found that alpha lipoic acid which is supposed to be good for nerve pain (and is used for Type II diabetes) also lowers blood sugar. Baclofen raises it. There’s an unnecessary struggle to invite into a body. Several other combinations were cautioned against and one was specific to autoimmune disorders, I think amitriptyline. Fibermyalgia and ADs?

    There’s a little problem at the V.A. as far as policy goes. The neurologists thought my GP was supposed to handle the pain meds, and my GP thought it was the neurologist’s job. Doesn’t matter anymore, and I’ll kick myself if I ever let myself be prescribed so many things again.

    Rather than using the illicit word “chipping”, I’ve named it “nibbles”– take a little mousy morsel (after the dose is tapered to such a small amount) and monitor. After a little nibble of baclofen two hours ago when I started to feel shortness of breath, the pain in my ankles INCREASED about 20 minutes later. Within an hour it decreased again noticeably, but the spasm is still worse than it was last night and most of today. My ankles have felt more relaxed (very little spasm) than since before the symptoms of MS started— which goes back to summer of ’07!

    Baclofen makes my ankles and feet hurt! Quitting it does wonders. I’m too happy to feel like a chump who has been burned twice with the same baby-tricks, and am bearing in mind that tapering off others may not be so easy or could even be very hard. Hope that’s not the case with amitriptyline or trazodone. Since I’ve seen what you and others have gone through with it, I’ve decided to take your advice.

    “… holding contradictory “truths” is often the way forward…”


  • Yeah, what Someone Else says. The drugs can induce a state— “agnosia”— which is what petty shrinks call not believing that you’re sick the way they say you are and need to take the medicines they prescribe you so you can respond to them the way they think you should. It’s just part of the brain damage, I think, of some of the drugs, many of which can subsume your personality, skills, mind, and strengths so much that you figure most of what you have always known as YOU is gone.

    But it comes back, and often comes back the wiser.

    In the eighties I read about head injuries specialists that were adept at interviewing people who had symptoms of brain injuries, but denied ever having had one. Eventually, it would click during the interview and someone would say, “Oh, yeah! There was that time I fell out of that second story window!” Before they remembered, they suffered from injury induced “agnosia” and it wasn’t a state of psychological denial, it was just a little byproduct of the injury.

  • Ya’ know, I don’t want to fall back to Freudian views that blame mothers for everything, but I have to suspect that the fear that a family member who has freed themselves from contemporary psychiatry and their upbringing might point unabashedly to the elephant in the living room and describe it in painstaking and accurate detail. That can be terrifying to some family and group members and can be what puts a labeled person in that role in the first place.

    Family and group dynamics— some of which can look totally unreal to the outside viewer— can be very powerful and the facts of it suppressed with every ounce of energy it takes to keep ignoring illogical, hurtful, harmful, and bizarre behavior and thinking patterns while insisting that everyone else ignore it too, no matter what psychological costs and loopy mind tricks are required to keep it from being directly challenged.

    One of the things I loved about an uncle who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and also suffered from PTSD from two tours in Viet Nam, is that he would talk facts, straight up, while all his sisters were reanimating fantasies about who and what their sociopath parents were really like. And, he was the only person I could have a pleasant conversation with at my stepfather’s funeral. By being honest and realistic, he could free himself from a lot of the anger and denial that goes into festooning an invisible elephant that’s crowding everyone else out of the living room who is not being crushed by it.

    It takes a whole lot of anger and lies to deny pathology and its effects. I imaging that there is also a lot of mental/emotional disturbance and crises that has nothing whatsoever to do with entrapping group dynamics, as well; but it seems to be extraordinarily difficult for most people to address “mental illness” or mental illness without being reactionary and unnecessarily fearful, while clinging desperately to one answer to keep them from falling into an existential free fall in which it is necessary to recognized how little one knows and the pain and vulnerability that goes with that. Our culture is very conformist and made for business, not individuals, not families, not friends. We too often don’t have the slack and freedom to give ourselves and others what we need.

  • In all fairness, a lot of scientists in scientific fields are lacking in the scientific part of their job description these days and likely always, but there’s an enormous culture of pseudo-science being created by the games needed to be played for funding and general corruption that cries out for evaluation and correction; which a lot of scientists of integrity are demanding these days. Most of the science news we hear or read is crap even before the journalists get a hold of it.

    But, as you say here, psychiatry is on a whole ‘nother level. Psychiatry is about as sophisticated scientifically as the television show “CSI”. A blonde hair is found in an enormous study. The detectives look at each, then look again at the hair, then one looks at the other and says, “bimbo”. Waddya know— it did belong to a “bimbo”, what an astounding bit of logical deduction that was! What exactly is this subtype of female humans called “bimbo”? It generally refers to women who are in their most fertile years, have blonde hair (bleached or natural), wear a lot of make up, spend a lot of time teasing their hair, are not very intelligent, and are sexually “promiscuous”? Whatever that means. I’ve no doubt the detectives and everyone at the lab knows how to test for bimbo-ness and rate it on a scale from 1 to 10; but it ain’t scientific and “bimbo” is not a valid scientific category in the taxonomy of women, or anything else. And none of those scales would measure anything but the pseudo-scientists who develop and use them. Stereotypes fueled by prejudice, like the bulk of the booming number of diagnoses in bio-bio-bio psychiatry and the DSMs should not be treated like discrete entities when they are little more than a Rorschach for the people who use them when the person being evaluated has no voice.

    Meanwhile, back in the lab, it is discovered that a corpse has “N-H-4” on his sleeve. Ammonia. Hmm. What scientist wouldn’t say “N-H-4” instead of “ammonia” when playing at being a scientist? Jargon! The show can’t go on without it— you know what your problem is? You have a disease in your brain, that’s just like diabetes, except totally different except for what I’m about to do. (Pulls out prescription pad.) It’s called Type II bipolar disorder. We’ll fight it with a fistful of drugs and a threat— you will become a full-blown psychotic mess because “kindling” , if you do not comply with my evaluation and the treatment I have planned for you. Do not ask any questions that do not flatter me and let me know how awed and grateful you are for this little bit of time I’ve spent and this little bit of effort I’ve made on your behalf— unless you’re paying cash, then I’ll have to work a little harder to convince you I’m worth it. Just think about what we could do with another twenty minutes! See my receptionist.

    Psychiatry writ large has the opposite of scientific curiosity, and is, at the top— more than anything else— an obscenely well rewarded racket that pretends to have special insight into human suffering and crises, and that wants no objections or contradictions from other psychiatrists and psychologists, especially if it concerns the woeful harm they are doing to their “patients” or “clients. And they sure as hell don’t want to hear anything from their patients that doesn’t smooth over their refined feathers and assure them that they really are real scientists and real scientific authorities and real doctors of such stature that the patient can do nothing but agree if they know what’s good for them— there’s always force for those who refuse to bow down and kiss the ring. (Unless they’re paying cash.) Why the very idea of letting “mentally ill” people give any account of themselves and any of their experience— especially their tortured relationship with psychiatry— is just nuts, because the patients are all nuts. Right?! Who cares what they say? Nobody will believe them once they’re labeled.

  • If you clap your hands with glee and praise over every drawing a child brings to you, you’re likely to see that kid quickly scribble randomly in a snit, and then bring that too you with a considerably outraged challenge for you to praise him/her for that one. Kids need respect and they can spot a lot of phoniness a mile away.

  • Pharmacists should have much more of a role in our medical care. Check out at this link:

    It starts with, “Any new symptom in an older adult should be considered a drug side effect until proven otherwise. Unfortunately, medicines are often overlooked by clinicians as a likely cause of new symptoms in older adults. A common mistake is to treat the symptom by adding a new drug. Sometimes, this new drug also causes another side effect, which can then trigger adding yet another new drug. This sequence of events is known as the ‘prescribing cascade’.”

    I think that should be extended to all persons.

    Since hormone replacements have eliminated about 95% of my MS pain, I’m making a plan to discontinue most of my meds. After carefully tapering back to less than a quarter of the baclofen I’ve been taking— an antispasmodic that can cause hallucinations and psychosis if stopped abruptly— the spasms and burning sensations in my feet (the other 5%) have been reduced significantly. I’m sleeping through the night lately, instead of having to sleep in two or three shifts, like I have been for the last two years. I still have some tapering to do, but when I feel short of breath, I take a tiny chip of baclofen, and the symptoms stop within ten to fifteen minutes. It’s only active for two to four hours, so it’s easy to tell when it is and isn’t active. It’s amazing how different the world looks when your head is working better, you’re better rested, and you have more energy.

    So, I’ve also cut down on the amount of ibuprofen I need to feel o.k. My kidneys, heart, and liver will thank me later, and I’m cutting the oxycontin in half now. I know what to do should withdrawal symptoms get harsh or too disruptive— in the world of illicit drugs it’s call “chipping” but it works with with prescription drugs as well . Am looking forward to being free of medications that aren’t working and/or make me sicker than I am.

    My major concern right now is the amitriptyline, because it’s no longer making me sleepy and because it raises the risk of heart attack by 35%. The drug itself actually collects in heart tissue. I’ve been taking a very high dose— 150 mg— daily for nearly two years. And because it’s a mind bender and abrupt continuation can cause a psychosis that most psychiatrists and a lot of doctors would assume is a mental disease. Because the drugs only have the effects they’re promoted for, right? Just found out, also, that amitriptyline only works for nerve pain in 3 out 4 people. For all the trouble it causes, it may not even be working for what pain I have left.

    Amitriptyline is also making me flat, too indifferent, and making it difficult for me to learn from negative experiences– I think. I’m learning the differences between fatigue, tiredness, and lethargy; and between brain fog that is part of MS vs. cognitive impairments caused by the meds.

    I’m going to use the 10% taper for amitriptyline starting July 1st, and will give myself a month to watch for withdrawal symptoms— ; ) THANKS MONICA!!!. I also see my neurologist on that day, so — I’m going to ask him to prescribe liquid amitriptyline and good instructions for dilution (I’ll also ask a pharmacist to compare notes) so I can really taper by 10% with a little rounding up and down.

    I ended up on most of these drugs willy-nilly because of the awful symphony of pains throughout my entire body that made it extraordinarily difficult to go to sleep, and which hurt really very bad. I wanted to cry sometimes, the pain was so intense. During a freak cold-spell early last December, I discovered that hot flashes and night sweats were responsible for almost all the pain north of my ankles, even when I didn’t feel particularly hot or warm. I was wearing a t-shirt and light workout pants that stopped below the knees and a sheet caused pain all over when it was 52 degrees Fahrenheit in my room!

    It’s hard to express what a joyous and relieving bit of information that has been. It changed everything. I’m considering raising the hormones a little bit, to stop the struggle between being too cold and too achy some nights, but sometimes that’s a toss-up now, and it’s not severe. I’m pretty sure that most of the symptoms I’m experiencing are a result of the drugs, not MS. If I stumble on some evidence contrary to that for some drugs, I’ll work with that, but I’m not going easy on any of them and will assume the drug is the culprit until evidence says otherwise.

    Since extended sleep deprivation is not an option I can live with— that, severe pain, and hypervigilance was responsible for my one psychotic episode at the age of 51. I’m going to take trazodone and/or benadryl to help me get to sleep until I’m clean, and I have some time to establish good sleep habits again; then I’m going to start cutting down on the trazodone and then I will be FREE of psyche drugs! Hopefully. It’s going to take however long it’s going to take— another goof example of slow being fast— but right now I’m capable of making a complex plan, doing the math, and writing a coherent report with a table to give to my neurologist– while I’m in relapse! Already I’m smarter by reducing my drug intake. My neurologist’s boss has expressed serious concern about the number of meds I’ve been on, so I expect my plan to be received well, to be supported, and for any questions I have to be answered— and probably to be given helpful advice. My GP found the connection between the pain and menopause to be wonderful. That’s the mark of good doctors— they listen and consider that their patients may have insight that they don’t.

    I feel so happy right now— I have a lot to look forward to. THANKS FOR LIGHTING THE WAY, GUYS!!! I feel much safer with you and feel more confident in my ability to cope with the challenges of discontinuing medication because you do!

  • Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. The one party, command society, and totalitarian government was Lenin and Stalin’s doing. Marx wanted workers to own the means of production and some vague sketch of an idea.

    What’s happening with BigPharma is everything Marx warned us about. He got capitalism’s number right away. Former Soviets now say that everything they were told about communism was a lie, and everything they were told about capitalism was the true.

  • It would help if most professional psychiatrists would respond to this petulant little complaint of being treated unfairly (wrings out handkerchief into bucket of tears) by telling them to tell them to GROW UP. They want to argue, they should write a well-reasoned argument/ Deflecting legitimate criticism by calling people names is NOT making an argument in any “scientific” or medical fashion. It’s irresponsible petulance that they should be too embarrassed to make public.

    Many branches of the sciences and medicine are wrought with people who have poor reasoning skills, a lack of humility, unchecked biases; and too much influence, power, and money. Many scientists are nearly worshiped as great thinkers these days on any topic, and it isn’t doing us or the sciences any good. Richard Dawkins goes about giving a lot of talks about the non-existence of God with that being received by many as scientific wisdom is ridiculous. Whether there is a God or not, the last time I looked, the existence of God was not falsifiable.

    Most psychiatrists aren’t scientists any more than Richard Dawkins is a prophet here to spread the word of no God.

    I think bullies and sociopaths flock to psychiatry like pedophiles to playgrounds. And they’re the people most likely to rise in an institution that isn’t held accountable. The 800 pound gorilla in the medicine cabinet needs to be cut down to size and be required to get itself in order in order to stop harming so many people with brain damaging drugs and damning diagnoses.

    And most of psychiatry needs to snap out of its petulance and unconditional positive regard.

  • Your response was right on, Francesca. It’s war and the sexual abuse of children that is pathological. It’s frustrating to suffer for someone or something’s violation, but I think it preserves the self and connections to others such that we really must examine and question a lot in order to save ourselves. Surviving and overcoming trauma, regardless of what the injury is — and it isn’t a condition that arises in people who aren’t resilient— requires a lot of evaluation and revaluation bit by bit. It’s a soulful and very painful journey that may get deeper and darker with time. The personal story and impact of trauma is unique to the individual, but if often, a societal ill that should concern everyone.

    I think it’s a mistake to treat PTSD as a single entity that can be treated the same way for anyone who suffers it. I’m not talking about scales of feeling hurt— it hurts and disturbs as much as the individual who suffers it feels hurt and disturbed, no matter the nature of the trauma. It makes no sense to compare, but as far as dealing with the psychology of the trauma each story has it’s own background and it’s own path to understanding that requires growing with it as much as growing out of it.

  • None of the drugs being used by the V.A. helped me with my PTSD and the assumption of taking the drug all the time, ad nauseum, is specious to me. Most people who suffer PTSD suffer episodically and can go years without being overwhelmed.

    A lot of vets have told me that they quit all those drugs and are doing fine just smoking weed. They may still require hospitalization from time to time, but this is also true for people who take antipsychotics for psychotic labels (or as a sedative for sleep problems). None of these medications fixes anything, they don’t prevent flashblacks, night terrors, hypervigilance or psychosis.

    Combat PTSD is a powerful psychological condition involving life and death issues and KILLING. It seemed that the V.A. used to acknowledge the profundity of it and were careful to distinguish between PTSD and other psychiatric maladies– like, for instance, making a point not to confuse it with bipolar disorder.

    Otherwise, I get good care except for the polypharmacy overkill. I have a week to write a report and make a chart with all the effects of the drugs I’m taking for MS, which I will share with my neurologist, my primary care doctor, and a psychiatric nurse who is serious about side-effects. I’d like to not take amitriptyline, but must cut down very carefully. I already stopped taking two prescriptions I was taking, because the sheer number of pills I need to swallow in a day. It’s laborious, significantly reduces the quality of my days, and I don’t trust most of them. Fortunately, the V.A. always gives vets the right to refuse medication— even in the psyche ward.

    The guidelines they’re following include a lot of “preventive” medication that is being peddled hard by the pharmaceutical companies. One of the meds I stopped was Lipitor, which I read up on while taking it. Statistically, if a person has a bona fide heart condition (not risks, but an actual heart condition), then five hundred people would have to be treated with Lipitor to save one life. Weighing that against the risks of taking the drug, is a no-brainer— risks include permanent peripheral neuropathy and permanent muscle cramp (which I have quite enough of with MS, thank you), and profound memory damage (like not being able to remember anything for more that two minutes.

    I think they mean well, but some authorities in the system are caught up in the “preventive” whirlwind and polypharmacy and are convinced that it’s best practice that will save lives.

  • When I told my neurologist that I had had my first psychotic break, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Maybe it’s a one time thing.” What comfort. Not everyone in medicine buys into psychiatry.

    And even though I’ve learned from experience (the hard way) that psychiatry was a corrupt cult that has done me harm, I still need to read the views of critical psychiatrists and people in the recovery movement. Marketing combined with the mantle of science and medicine is a powerful institution in which billions of dollars are at stake. I doubt that it will change much until criminal charges become the norm for treating people like they have no understanding whatsoever about where they hurt and what they need to feel safe.

  • Psychiatry has built a massive rube of a system to avoid talking to their patients as if they were human beings capable of being just as intelligent and capable as the psychiatrists, generally speaking. There are good ones out there, but they’re terribly outnumbered.

    I can understand the fear of vicarious trauma and the challenge of having to deal with people who are in crisis and clearly disorganized in their thinking; but to respond to that with a diagnosis, a life sentence, and with drugs and only drugs is to treat their patients like lab rats and creatures not nearly as complex as doctors. Pay no attention to that history of wrong and stupid scholarship— our world is scientific and sophisticated. Just look at all those machines, and numbers, and the large variety of pills in a wide array of colors, shapes, and sizes! Plus, MRI! See how sciency it all is.

    Compliance is a terrible goal for people who recognize the other as capable of getting a hold on themselves and their situations. It seems to me that they’ve turned what should be an empathetic and nurturing role and made it the very model of modern manliness— numbers, obedience, unchecked power of the psychiatrist, a cloak of scientific integrity that is, for the most part, simply not there and the inherent assumption of superiority of the “doctor” being supported unquestioningly by our courts.

    Psychiatrists (most of them) have completely divorced themselves from all that messy feminine stuff— they’re men of science and the patients had better see that, or risk becoming a problem patient, who may have to be dealt with by force.

  • So they use those handy little lists that could make anyone appear to be “mentally ill” by their paltry measures, and then complain that patients are doing what the whole apparatus is training them to do? What politicians they are. Perhaps they should wake up one day and realize that medicine and helping people is not their calling. They should be shills— a career that is better served without taking responsibility for what one does and is best executed with no conscience, at all. They’ve got the “glib” thing down to an art, which is well illustrated here.

  • From what I saw at a local hospital ward, I’d say that the staff was so busy because they were acting out paranoid fear non-stop. I don’t see how anyone is doing any vulnerable person any good by, let’s say, tossing their room while they’re sleeping and waking them up in the process; to make sure that the patient doesn’t have any contraband like a tea bag that has caffeine, that one is going to use in the morning, before the coffee and tea are made available. Gee, maybe patients could sleep longer if their weren’t a parade of staff members violating their space at random or for the patients who won’t be good little boys or girls and take drugs they’re prescribed without complaint— bad child, bad!

    I had taken one of the drugs I refused before, and it made me very angry. They did not want to see me angry. I did not want to see me angry. But surely I was only refusing because I’m a “treatment resistant” problem child. How could they think otherwise? Seriously, how could they think otherwise? It’s a question they should be asking themselves.

    One thing I know in any situation in which a person is out of control— don’t add your feelings to the mix. Stay calm. Be non-threatening. Lean back, relax your shoulders and your jaw and be relaxed in the moment. If staff members cannot handle most patients without force and constant surveillance, then maybe they should get more training or find another profession. Sure, there are scary times and scary people, but when the primary response to them is being more dangerous and controlling to everyone, then it’s paranoia— a state that most people recognize as dangerous most of the time. There’s no reason for someone in a disturbed state to feel like they have to take care of the people who are supposed to be taking care of them. It makes no more sense than turning high schools into prisons for all the students, instead of identifying the sociopaths and their minions. It’s lazy and mindless.

    And, if mental health professionals can’t tell the difference between a sociopath using the mental health system to escape the consequences of their most recent crime; then how do they really distinguish the different labels they apply from one another? People given the power to use force out of the belief that they’re using it in the patients’ best interest, should know better than to put a wolf in the ward.

  • Here are some definitions of “cynical”:

    distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic.

    showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.

    bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

    It’s also defined as “knowing the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

    When you have good reasons for being suspicious, it’s not “cynical?; it’s just natural distrust of a person or agency that has bred mistrust and done you or your loved ones harm— it’s a survival instinct.

  • During my only involuntary commitment to date, after my only psychotic episode, I was prescribed Abilify (among a host of other drugs I refused to take). I saw it being advertised so knew it was pricey, but YOW! You’d think insurance companies would have a problem with paying for that, but I guess it’s still cheaper than two hours of talk therapy.

    It was advertised as an adjunct to antidepressants, and I wasn’t depressed, so I asked the smug psychiatrist why he was prescribing it. I don’t remember his answer, it was mushy and not particularly logical. It wasn’t even specific. ‘Blah, blah, blah, other uses…’

    I wonder what the mark-up was on Abilify. Seems that the hospital could make some pretty pennies off the still patented drugs. I finally told him I would take lithium (because it was cheap, close to natural, and didn’t cause strange symptoms). Since I was making sure he didn’t like me, he agreed and I went home two days later. I didn’t refill the scrip, because I only needed sleep and time to process what had happened to me in the comfort of my own home, with my BFF.

  • Thanks for the resources, Donna.

    I had all that counseling before 1991. Free counseling from grad students at the University of Texas, plus a few licensed psychiatrists and psychologists off campus who worked on a sliding scale, and even lay counseling. Took the best and left the rest, and am very grateful for having had that opportunity. Some group therapy helped a lot too. In 1991, psychiatrists I saw started wanting to put people on antidepressants right away to “make counseling more productive.”

    Outside of my childhood home, most adults in my life really liked and cared for me, and I pretty much got along with everybody. I have a lot more good memories than bad from my childhood, but learning about sociopaths really opened my eyes about my stepfather and reading “World of Pain” by Doctor Lillian Rubenstein taught me that a lot of what I didn’t understand about my childhood family was part of a text book case of a certain class of working poor pathologies– my parents were “hard settlers”. We always had the cleaning house and greenest lawn in our little working class neighborhoods. Aside from my sociopath of a step-father, we did have structure, unlike the other class, which I can’t remember what Rubenstein named; but they were skid row, addicts, alcoholics, etc., who were too incompetent to hold jobs and had little to no structure and discipline in their lives.

    Sociopaths rely on a small set of what are essentially baby tricks, once you recognize the patterns. They have a real talent for dressing them up so they look different each time, but they’re not, and much of what they show themselves to be is counter-intuitive. Anyone, for instance, who believes that someone who is looking them in the eye is telling the truth is ripe for the taking.

  • Color me surprised that a psychiatrist lost his license for having sex with more than one of the patients he was drugging.

    There are black box warnings of the risks of suicidal and/or homicidal behavior from many psyche drugs. It’s patently unjust and irresponsible not to require the drugs being taken by people who have been labeled and “treated” for “mental illness” be used as evidence when a person on one or more psyche drugs has been violent toward themselves and/or others. They are mood and mind altering drugs. If this were done routinely, doctors and prescribing nurses would have to think carefully. They might then be more likely to change the ways they prescribe, how they inform patients and guardians about risks and dangerous, and might even make a habit of not prescribing drugs before seeing the patient and talking a few times, at length, and—- you know—WORKING for patients while prescribing drugs more soberly and judiciously, or not at all. That it’s routine for psychiatrists to prescribe drugs at the first meeting and to downplay risks is outrageous. Many of these drugs can make patients a danger to themselves and others. Psychiatrists need to be forced to deal with the realities of the drugs they prescribe.

    I suspect that Adam Lanza was a sociopath, and his mother might have also been one. She had this totally messed up kid who appeared to have no social skills or graces at all, and she bonded with him with guns? Extremely socially incompetent and/or predatory teens should not be encouraged to bond or identify with weapons of any sort.

  • Hmm. Sounds familiar.

    You believe in woo? You have no scientific understanding? ‘Oh, it’s the evil drug companies’ (just another conspiracy crank, right)? You want people to suffer with mental illness when there’s a solution because you’re so backward and judgmental? You don’t want to decrease the stigma against mental illness? Maybe you’re mentally ill and SHOULD be on drugs? You don’t want to decrease the stigma of mental illness by making sure people diagnosed with mental illnesses are drugged so that they won’t do any of that crazy mentally ill violent stuff? Anyone who does crazy violent stuff is mentally ill, don’t you get that? You don’t want them all identified and rounded up and treated so that they can’t be a bother to people who are most concerned that the mentally ill be helped for their own good?

    All this from people who are adamant about citing sources but dismiss what you have to say out of hand, because psychiatry is ‘science’. Is so. Is so. Is so. You’re just anti-science and don’t want to admit you are. They don’t need to look at your links to articles and papers by psychiatrists and the NIMH, or any other source that contradicts the reigning paradigm. They don’t think they’re victims of advertising. How can they be, they’re just so rational that they indiscriminately adhere to the status quo and insist that others do as well, because science and numbers and studies and double-blind randomized control and stuff? Such is their scientificity.


  • Donna and travailler-vous you reminded me to thank Dr. Hickey, thank you. It’s refreshing— alarming, but sober. Thank you, Dr. Hickey, for speaking up for the children and taking the “adults” to task for their little word games.

    Donna, that book looks fascinating and too expensive. Having grown up with a traumatic narcissist or sociopath, to be more exact, I found a lot of great help with counseling from psychiatrists and psychologists in the eighties. We did a lot of work on “the tapes”—- the internalized voices of sick parents. I also worked on it myself for a year outside of counseling with mindfulness until I finally stopped beating myself up with the words and toxic projections of my trauma-inducing parents. At times I was absolutely floored by the things I was saying to myself. No wonder I felt so sh***y sometimes. I completely divorced that side of my family when I realized that there was no way to relate to them without being a pawn in their psycho-drama and playing the family scapegoat who was supposed to ask them to forgive me for what they’d done to me.

    A book called “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense” helped me a lot way back when. I’m thinking I should order another copy and review it all. It’s harder to deal with people socially when those tapes are playing. It’s hard to tell when one is being bullied when one is bullying one’s self. With some practice, it becomes easier to spot and deflect bullies around and inside us so that social situations aren’t so loaded and stressful.

    There was a time when some people in psychiatry/psychology said that victims of sexual abuse “seek out” abuse, as if it took a lot of dedication to find a person who would sexually assault them or their child(ren). I’m pretty sure that what happens is that people who were raised by one or more sociopaths have had to turn the alarms off because they had to in order to psychically survive an inescapable situation and threats of more and worse harms for defending one’s self. Predators have an uncanny ability to spot and test people whose alarms aren’t working. Being raised by a sociopath/narcissist messes up boundaries in such a fundamental way that restoring one’s own dignity and integrity (once out of harm’s way) requires re-parenting oneself with kindness and patience.

    Having a good friend to talk about social situations and possible responses means the world, too. I’m grateful for all the guidance and inspiration I’ve received from many people, from all walks of life. There is so much that can be learned and unlearned. The objectification being carried out by psychiatry and its institutional drive to medicate as many people as possible by extending the definitions of mental illness to the degree that young people can be damned for expressing what they’re living instead of what two institutions think they should be expressing because ka-ching! is FUBAR. Absolutely unacceptable!

  • Hopefully, one day soon, the study of genomics is going to bury these dinosaurs. Here’s a great article—

    It’s long, but it tells great stories about research into gene expressions. It starts with bees. Here’s an excerpt from the part, near the end, about research in human psychology:

    “Kaufman laid both the kids’ depression scores and their SERT variants across the kids’ levels of “social support.” In this case, Kaufman narrowly defined social support as contact at least monthly with a trusted adult figure outside the home. Extraordinarily, for the kids who had it, this single, modest, closely defined social connection erased about 80 percent of the combined risk of the short SERT variant and the abuse. It came close to inoculating kids against both an established genetic vulnerability and horrid abuse.

    Or, to phrase it as Cole might, the lack of a reliable connection harmed the kids almost as much as abuse did. Their isolation wielded enough power to raise the question of what’s really most toxic in such situations. Most of the psychiatric literature essentially views bad experiences—extreme stress, abuse, violence—as toxins, and “risk genes” as quasi-immunological weaknesses that let the toxins poison us. And abuse is clearly toxic. Yet if social connection can almost completely protect us against the well-known effects of severe abuse, isn’t the isolation almost as toxic as the beatings and neglect?”

    An adult who knows how to have a conversation with a child to find out what’s going on with them and letting the child know that someone cares— is that too much to ask? Any effort to find out what is “wrong” with the child as if there were nothing that would make a child have difficulty socializing and adapting but mental illness, is madness itself. Why aren’t these adults—- you know— adult? What color is the sky on their planet? Do they remember what it was like to be a child? Have they never suffered anything that might make them recognize and understand states of grief, shock, fearfulness, neglect, or any other unpleasant to miserable states that didn’t strike them out of the middle of nowhere, but were actually rooted in a real loss or deprivation?

    Do they not know anything about being human? Who are these robots?

  • I had no idea he was committed to a mental asylum. There was no scientific reason whatsoever for them to have scorned him and reject his proposition.

  • Right on, travailler-vous. I had my first and last psychotic episode and involuntary commitment at the age of fifty. That my episode and its content was treated as irrelevant was crazy— stark raving mad. The very fact that it was my first episode was significant to me, of course; but to them, all that mattered was my diagnosis and the cocktails they prescribed, and I refused, until I told them I’d take lithium, which I took for two days, to get out. I didn’t fill the prescription. I didn’t need it, and I never will.

    I understood perfectly why I cracked and the process of evaluating my psychosis myself was key to my transformation. I now have a very deep understanding of the trauma I’d been carrying around for thirty-five years now, and I respect it. I now know contentment and self-acceptance that I never thought was possible. Some pain is too big for words.

    It’s swimming upstream to claim one’s psychosis as one’s own valuable and meaningful experience, but it’s worth it.

  • I’m a little bit concerned about Stockman’s bill and the sentiment around it because it might allow parents who abuse their children to claim themselves as victims of an agency that really does exist to take children out of abusive and neglectful homes— the kind of people who think they have the right to deny their children much needed medical care and offer prayer instead, or the type that would starve a two year-old for not saying “amen” at the dinner table. Parents should not have the “right” to treat their children however they see fit when that “care” includes abuse and neglect. Child agencies do have a legitimate purpose and rescue children from hell on a regular basis.

    The focus, however, in this bad play, needs to be on psychiatry and somatoform disorder as a construct that allows psychiatrists to trump medical specialist over their impressions. The burden of proof should be on the psychiatrists and a medical team should be engaged to investigate the mitochondrial disorder and treatment that Justine has been given so far, and how she is doing now.

  • I can’t escape the suspicion that Justine Pelletier was used as a mascot for somatoform disorder. What I don’t understand is how the hospital had the power to completely shut down the rare expert on mitochondrial disorders.

  • I hate Sigmund Freud. I don’t care how groundbreaking some of his ideas were, the facts remain that he diagnosed a woman with a psychiatric cause for her stomach pains, and she died shortly afterward with stomach cancer, and he created that horrible “theory” (hypothesis, brain fart) about girls falling in love with their fathers or uncles, or whatever man in their family was sexually abusing them. Even if most of patients hadn’t been sexually abused, did he think it never happened? Could he not see how cruel his interpretation was to actual victims of childhood sexual abuse?

    “What do women want?” They don’t want to be blamed for having been victimized as children, and they don’t want to be treated for a mental problem while they’re dying of cancer, so let’s start there, huh?

    What a great man. Golf clap.

  • It’s true, however, that stress in the body/mind is a physical reality that our body/mind must adapt to. Cognition is embodied. That so many people are blissfully unaware of the emotions behind every scientific perspective or posit is evidence that Cartesian duality still reigns, which allows for such rank stupidity as most evolutionary psychology and its attempts to normalize patriarchy as if were a biological inevitability and contemporary psychiatry.

    Somehow, anger in men and jealously guarding one’s “expertise” no matter who is hurt by it is pure reason. Women are easily judged to be wanting due to their ‘innate inferiority and lack of reasoning’, and men who prey on them don’t need to bother asking a psychiatrist what is “wrong” with them, because they were born with permission to exercise power over the “weaker” sex and blame their victims.

    Most women could do themselves a big favor by not submitting to psychiatry and asking themselves what is wrong with the world around them instead of always judging themselves as falling short in their efforts to adhere to impossible demands and double binds.

    Psychiatry is the most feminist issue, aside from reproductive justice, that women in this country are facing. Labeling a woman with mental illness is about the most disempowering thing that could be done to her, other than denying us the vote or access to birth control. And it’s the hardest thing to rectify, because the whole field of psychiatry is devoted to keeping itself in power and is funded by BigPharma.

  • From Freud to the present— petulant, childish, entitled men. As far as most of their colleagues go, success is all the evidence they need that the man on top of the heap is deserving. And ain’t success the pinnacle of mental health? We measure a person’s value in dollars. Lieberman wins!

  • True. And because the mother’s body will make sacrifices to provide what the baby need in utero, it’s very important to screen pregnant women for deficiencies. B-12 and iron deficiencies produce a “retarded depression” that is a medical condition, not an endogenous depression.

  • Right on, Leah!

    One of the truths we need to tell is that medical school is exactly the wrong training for people to use in order to learn about emotional crises and their causes. The more time I spend following the opinions of some psychiatrists, the more I realize how poorly educated most of them are in the humanities and how gobsmackingly ignorant they are about politics and government. Seeing people who think themselves superior but clearly don’t even know how the three branches of government work expounding on larger social forces, is like seeing monkeys trying to use the field phone. Psychiatry is a cargo cult that convinces most of its practitioners that they understand the human mind/brain and its malfunctions when they don’t even understand themselves or culture and how the two are related.

    Just the fact that so many of them think themselves to be so much more intelligent than others is evidence of what a poor education they have— they don’t know the difference between having (expensive) knowledge and being intelligent. They, with few exceptions, have so little to offer their field and the political aspects of its impact that they have next to nothing to offer to right the wrongs their scientificist religion has spawned.

    Only the exceptional psychiatrists and mental health professionals who see the light should be taken the least bit seriously by survivors. There is no reason for survivors to waste anymore time with most of them, other than what the survivors need to process for the purposes of their own healing. We owe them nothing. I don’t care how much money they lose, or how much it hurts for them to see the truth. I’ve suffered because of them— we’ve all suffered their “treatment”— and it will be a cold day in hell when I suffer for them and what they have to lose in the face of facts and the realities of those they’ve poisoned and labeled.

    Anyone who is not willing to humble themselves and consider the voices of survivors is comfortable in their ignorance and should not be allowed the table, because they have nothing but their own lies to support them. TRUTH comes before reconciliation, there is no other way, and our truth is THE truth of what psychiatry has wrought, not the crap they learned in medical school and their internships.

    Their opinions, if not enlightened by the truth of survivors, are lies. That they’ve been given license to treat their brainwashing like truth is THE problem, not A problem. The starting point is US and our experience, not theirs. They think they’ve been “in the trenches”? Let them take the drugs they prescribe if they want to know what it’s like “in the trenches”.

  • Looking at what blacks have to deal with right now and always, I would say that the Civil Rights movement has had limited success and has to reassert itself regularly with dwindling results. Perhaps, if possible, I think it would be best to build a movement in which people can help themselves and skirt the institution of psychiatry altogether. It’s better to just leave it in the dust so that it no longer applies. I don’t know how to go about this, but can’t see going toe to toe with psychiatry as anything but exhausting.

    I’d like to be wrong, but unless a critical mass of psychiatrists, other mental health care specialists, medical doctors, and neurologists take psychiatry down as the brain damaging pseudo-science it is, psychiatry will rule and the best most people can do is avoid it.

    I think it’s profound to find people who have had the same experiences and have come to the same realization that psychiatry does not help them and hurts them. Supporting each other is important. Showing others that we can take care of ourselves without drugs is important.

    The most powerful thing I think possible right now, is getting grants to develop community centers for peer support and peer housing, and carefully documenting results or finding some other organization or graduate students to do so to show that alternatives can work.

  • Though I agree that prohibition was stupid and counterproductive, many of the women who lobbied for it were attributing the problem behaviors of a lot of men to alcohol. It’s true that there is a relationship between violence and alcohol. At the time, there were also a lot of men abandoning their families, as well. It’s possible that there were social and economic reasons behind both the violent and irresponsible behavior of a large number of men and epidemic levels it, and that increased alcohol consumption was not causal but related.

    As far as “bad drugs” that people suffering with mental/emotional difficulties and others use, nicotine is a “bad drug,” so its benefits as a mood altering drug are being ignored. Nicotine is both a stimulant and a depressant. When smoked, smokers unconsciously regulate their smoking in order to get the benefit they want. Most smokers don’t chain smoke, but smoke more when they drink because the alcohol makes them inhibit their behavior less. If you’ve ever been a smoker or know some well, you’ll notice them firing up when they’re angry or bored. On the whole, most smokers inhibit their smoking a lot, regularly, and have no problem doing so, for the most part, until they suffer obvious withdrawal symptoms. It’s a great drug for stuffing anger and other unwelcome emotions that are unwelcome because a person has to be “on” for their job or some other inhibiting cause. It’s so good at relieving boredom that it helps improve concentration on boring tasks.

    Nicotine only stays active in the brain for seven minutes so its effects do not last long and can be controlled. As far as being a mood altering drug goes, the risks of cancer and emphysema are the most significant risks, and that isn’t about the nicotine. Nicotine has no longterm side-effects that effect brain function, other than withdrawal, and certainly doesn’t cause psychosis.

    BigPharma is never going to make a more versatile and useful drug that works as quickly as it does and stops working as quickly as it does. I suspect that some electronic cigarettes allow the user to regulate whether or not the user gets the stimulative or depressive affect, but I’m guessing the one I use does, because I’m comfortable using it exclusively. I also suspect it gives bigger hits than smoking does. The patch does not, and I’m not sure the gum or lozenges does either.

    There’s a reason why the poor and those with mental illness or “mental illness” are the most common smokers and it’s probably because nicotine can be a very useful drug, especially for people who are prohibited from showing their feelings but treated as if they didn’t have them.

  • Of course it does. How could such a perverse environment— one that insists that the people subject to it are constitutionally unable to exercise their own agency and have no rational choice but to submit to the will of mental health professionals who appear not to have a rudimentary understanding of human psychology and who demonstrate that daily— make people better psychologically, mentally, emotionally, and functionally? Those diagnosed with schizophrenia have essentially been ordered not to function and have been given drugs that will assure that they are properly incapacitated.

  • I’d send money and comments. I don’t trust that I’d make much of an activist because MS is such a fickle and relatively disabling disease that I could not honor commitments consistently and would sometimes not be able to gauge whether or not I could.

    But I would support such a movement to unmask the bipolar fad, wholeheartedly, because I’ve been subject to it.

  • I see what you’re saying. I think nearly all “evidence” in psychiatry is bunk scientifically and is little more than marketing. Using the language of that marketing and categories of people labeled with it in the context of violence, or anything else, does not shed much light on reality and does legitimize the machinations of psychiatry and psychiatric taxonomy.

    A lot of independent studies also have too small sample sizes, and I think it’s because the way that psychiatric research is financed now (primarily by drug companies), most researchers can’t afford to study statistically meaningful samples.

  • My family had no access to me, much less power over me, because I was too sane to subject myself to their control issues. But, their desires to control me weren’t necessary, because I was not sane enough to keep myself from surrendering to psychiatry for a depression that was an iron deficiency and a diagnosis that was based on my reaction to an antidepressant.

    “Bipolar disorder” has been quite the jackpot for BigPharmaPsychiatry because any refusal to take the “medicine” is a symptom of the “illness” and a desire to be “manic” even if you’ve only been manic once in your life, on an antidepressant. Any low functioning is evidence of bipolar disorder. Any high functioning is evidence of bipolar disorder. Any failure to agree that you’re bipolar is evidence that you “lack insight”. Who could escape this? How? I suspect that someone given this label would need a lot of money and influence to have it removed.

    Under the influence of large doses of lithium— than none of three psychiatrists who prescribed them had told me might be toxic, and none of those three ordered blood tests for toxicity— the who I was was gone. I couldn’t read anything more complex than a murder mystery. I couldn’t write a grocery list, much less anything else, because my hands shook so badly. I couldn’t rally myself to get out of a bad situation that I would have not stood for for five minutes undrugged. I assumed everything effective about me had been destroyed and was very happy to see it back shortly after discontinuing my “treatment”. I was all me, and got myself out of a horrible situation in under a week.

    I wish I could say that my life as a mental patient ended there, but it did not. I allowed myself to be put on rotating cocktails of neuroleptics, antidepressants, antiepilectics, benzos, and what-not for an additional five years out of fear of becoming psychotic— the kindling theory of bipolar disorder. Two years ago I did have a psychotic episode. I have to consider the possibility that the drugs made me more likely to have a psychotic break. Or perhaps I really am bipolar? I no longer consider myself to be bipolar in any way that the medication and the obliteration of me would be worth it. If, having a psychotic episode every ten years were the price of not being doped, it would be worth it to be me with the agency I need to deal with me and my life.

    Though I understand my psychosis as reactive to extraordinary stress that included hypervigilance from PTSD— the content of the entire psychosis was that trauma— I cannot convince a psychiatrist that that is the case. Though a prescribing psychiatric nurse, my primary care physician, and three neurologists see no reason for me to submit to psychiatric “care”, I would be helpless in front of a psychiatrist. The worst thing, besides my trauma, that ever happened to me is bio-psychiatry. My trauma was overwhelming, at times, but it never made me incapable of working or too incapacitated to get away from an abusive boyfriend. None of my other boyfriends or my husband had ever raised their voices to me, and there I was stuck with a sociopath, feeling and being helpless while being battered because the lithium made me useless even to myself. How did that help me? I volunteered to be a victim of psychiatry. Had I had a computer and the internet then, I would have informed myself, like I and countless others are doing now, and I would have spared myself of being robbed of myself, and given a drug for every side effect of the previous drug.

    Biopsychiatry was safer in the dark. Seeing it threatened gives me hope for myself and countless others. Seeing it robbed of its power to imprison and force drugs upon people is necessary to right a great social injustice. Seems our society always needs for some demographic to be fair game for singling out and abusing by giving some arm of society control over them and the power to do whatever they see fit to the “other” without legal challenge, so that violence can be done to them, in the name of preventing violence. Isn’t it ironic that the individuals who do the most violence are the last people who would see a psychiatrist, unless it helped them avoid jail? Isn’t it ironic that psychiatry is ruled by corporations now, that are effectively psychopaths who are only interested in enriching themselves at the expense of the people they claim to be helping?

    Thank you for your work, Tina. Bringing bio-psychiatry and the abuse and coercion that goes with it into the light is giving truth its due.

  • Oh, psychiatry and the courts combined are doing a great job of joining together to disarm women and children who are at the mercy of predators and to label the women with “Münchhausen by Proxy” or “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. It’s not that those behaviors never happen, they’re just very rare and it’s very easy for sociopaths to convince others that women are guilty of this and that the predator is an innocent victim who should be given custody of children.

    Sexism, racism, and classism is built into our institutions so that all it takes is a failure to challenge it in order for those with little political power to be abused by our justice system and our mental health system and the places where they meet.

    What I find most disturbing about psychiatry is the misogyny that is too often evident when looking into the face of a psychiatrist. The failure of a woman to submit can be reason enough to proclaim her mentally ill. In my experience, it’s been as plain as the nose on their faces that a couple of psychiatrists I’ve been subject to are frightened of women who won’t submit to the degree of groveling before them and surrendering their agency in order to receive their “help”. The relief on their faces when they see you in the drug induced stupor they think makes you “better” is rather obvious. How is that getting better? Disagree with their assessment, and ipso facto, you are sick in the head.

    Resisting can be absolutely necessary to protect one’s self and life. Letting them have the upper hand is detrimental for women who have made the mistake or had the misfortune of making themselves vulnerable to a psychiatrist’s assessment about their ability to handle themselves without intervention.

  • What does “take with caution” really mean? Assuming that the pregnant woman isn’t being prescribed caution to take with her SSRI, it sounds to me like “you’ve been warned, so if something happens, it’s your fault.”

    Screening is madness.

  • We should also vote in every election. There is a midterm election this year, and if you want to keep the Affordable Care Act and don’t want to see social services gutted, then you might want to vote for someone who is likely to win and who is not dedicated to reversing it.

    Some people say that voting for one party is just voting for “the lessor of two evils”. Do you want to see the greater of two evils elected? Get registered, get educated—most of what people credit or blame on the POTUS is actually an act of Congress— vote, please.

  • Churches have a problem with sexual abuse, no doubt. There’s a connection between authoritarian institutions and sexual abuse. People who feel like they can do anything they want to children shouldn’t have access to them, but there’s nothing easier to feign that piety and people think their children are safe with their church leaders and fellow members of the congregation.

    It’s sad that there are people who would betray our every trust. It makes it hard to trust anyone else. Sandusky had parents thanking him for “spending time” with their troubled children. This is the kind of thing, I think, that some top psychiatrists should be working on— teaching people how to protect themselves from predators.

  • I saw a psychiatrist for two sessions who spent an inordinate amount of time attending his fussy collection of pens with nibs, while I was talking about spending six minutes in DefCon 2 with no reason to believe that we were not seeing a decapitating first strike by the Soviet Union. I was telling him about the negative association I had with computers and how, when I went to college with the money I earned from my service, I used the old card system instead of the computer because they used the same IBM keyboards we used in missile warning. He asked, “So you thought the world would blow up if you touched the keyboard?”


    Evidentially, everything about PTSD has now been forgotten since it is now “a disease” caused by a lack of “resilience” that is probably genetic. He appeared to think that my experience in nuclear forces had made me completely ignorant of the processes that were required in order to “blow up the world” and thought I was the one who was confused about “triggers”.

    Double idiot.

    I saw a woman at the Vet center who had a Prozac mask and looked at her nails while I talked about my fears of total global annihilation. I understand the risk of vicarious trauma, but is it too much to ask that they be fully present and listen while they’re getting paid ten times what I get paid to give my caregiving clients my undivided attention?

  • When he’s getting paid to treat you, HE is obligated to YOU. People diagnosed with mental illness, people suffering obesity, and people who doctors think are beneath them suffer medical neglect unnecessarily, regularly, and inexcusably.

    An obstetrician tried to charge me $800 dollars for dropping by uninvited after the stillbirth delivery of my daughter, perching on my bed, putting his hand on mine, and saying, “You should use birth control.”

    I called and asked what I was paying for when I got the bill, then told him what I would pay him. I paid what he said he paid the intern who did the delivery. Later, after I had moved to another state, I got a check for fifty dollars from him. Guess he got honest with himself.

    My V.A. doctors do not even think of talking to me the way that doctor talked to you. He might be under pressure from management people who have a high school diploma and no other education higher, to write scrips for patented medicine to make more money for the HMO, but that doesn’t excuse the attitude that you should be unconditionally compliant to his every whim. That’s medical abuse.

    Get this story— an Asian woman who was having difficulty with her blood sugar and symptoms of low blood sugar, was told by her doctor to “stop eating rice with everything.” Not long after that insult, she passed out while driving, totalled her car, and then it was discovered that she had tumors on her pancreas.

    Grrrr. Maybe we should pay for working class people to get degrees in medicine so we don’t have to be at the mercy of so many prima donnas.

  • Yes, it does suck. As a rule, it’s a mistake to distrust authority in scientific matters that one doesn’t have training in, but it’s clear now that the pharmaceutical companies aren’t scientific authorities and most of our information and understanding of psyche drugs comes from their marketing companies.

  • They may be all the same. It was clear to me that no one in the system knew anything about how to make an environment suitable and self-explanatory for transient groups of people. The staff spent most of their time being paranoid that patients might kill themselves with dental floss or a piece of scotch tape— I was interrogated over a request for a piece of scotch time I wanted to fix a game box— while patients went about begging for basic necessities. The patients became siblings in a household with parents who put basic needs of their disempowered “children” behind control and preferred that the “children” compete for attention.

    They failed in logistics, and appear to have done so out of a lack of respect and consideration for patients. Their little “jobs” the people they trusted could do without harming anyone resulted in people who may have not have washed their hands (and I never saw one of them doing so) touching every set of eating implements and setting places that no one was going to use at the tables, then putting the sets of plastic utensils wrapped in plastic back into the bin. It was completely unnecessary and unsanitary. For some reason, giving people the job of handing out washcloths, soap, and toothpaste was too dangerous.

    They also had containers with pencils that were covered in pink hearts and fru-fru on every table that made the commons look like the bedroom of a seven year-old girl with a princess complex. That was likely the work of the “art therapist” who clearly had issues of her own. I’m sorry about her failed musical ambitions, but the neuroticism was right up front. I could tell why she was there and so could other patients. We were a captive audience.

    The infantilizing was palpable and pathological. Being a fifty year-old adult, at the time, with a long history of working in positions of responsibility for others and doing a noteworthy job of it, I found the environment and the leadership to be incompetent, irrational, and pathetic.

  • And if “we” bark at him?

    I really hate the baby talk.

    I had a grand mal seizure discontinuing a benzo as prescribed. I had bought gel caps in anticipation of having to divide the capsules to stop withdrawal from interfering with my demanding job; but I had the seizure before I got that far— didn’t see that coming, at all. First ambulance ride, first IV, first cat scan.

    Zyprexa does sound like hell. I’m worried about the amitriptyline I take for nerve pain and sleep. I hear it’s just as bad. I take the maximum dose. I’ve looked it up many times, but yesterday I found out that it raises my risk of heart attack by 35% and the drug itself actually works its way into the heart muscle. Yikes.

    It’s good to hear that you’re o.k. now. Light the way. I think knowing that it can be unbelievably hard helps to prepare people for the worst and encourages them to pick their battles wisely. There’s never a really great time to go through a horrific experience like withdrawing off some of these drugs, but I’m guessing having fewer obligations would help.

  • During my little forced stay, I noticed that there were three NAMI posters on the walls that otherwise had no useful signage. You’d think they’d at least post schedules for meal times and visiting hours in English and Spanish, but NO— just finding out what was going on was an exercise in bad family dynamics.

    Those NAMI posters were all the same list of artists who were diagnosed with mental illness postmortem. What is that supposed to do for anyone? Tolstoy was mentally ill? And we’re supposed to feel good about that, because—? I heard the social workers and nurses tell people repeatedly and they told my friend repeatedly to go to the NAMI website for “helpful information about mental illness”.

    So, I called my friend and asked him to do a quick search to see if NAMI was an astro-turfed front group for the pharmaceutical industry. It took him no time at all to confirm that.

    I hear NAMI is making changes and have dropped their pharma-funding. I’m guessing that many of them felt betrayed because they believed that they were a part of a real grassroots movement, finding support that they’ve desperately wanted and needed.

  • Smaller doses for tapering off the meds might help.

    Some doctors are starting to think it would be better to let heroin addicts have smaller doses of heroin instead of methadone, because the addicts understand their tolerance for heroin.

    Is there any reason why slower tapers with lower doses wouldn’t work? After reaching the lowest dose, if some of the drug seems to still be required, couldn’t a person start taking those doses further apart? The primary aim is to reduce the violence done to the body while the dependency is weakened, right? The addict is the best judge of what feels tolerable.

    Even some experts on rehab for people with alcohol addiction is lowering their consumption instead of treating strict abstention as a necessity.

    Our society has a lot of odd ideas about addiction and “addictive personalities”.

  • If you can find a pdf download of “The Myths We Live By” by Mary Midgley, I think you won’t be disappointed. So much scientism is being hailed as the ultimate in scientific knowledge and wisdom that it would be laughable if it weren’t so pervasive and out of control. Psychiatry and evolutionary psychology seem to have so much bum “evidence” qua wishful thinking and implicit bias, that it’s a gobsmacking, head-desking, face-palming world of elite and well-funded idiocy.

  • The best friend I’ve ever had is who keeps me feeling strong and grounded. He has never been “disappointed” when I’m less than my best self, and even when he doesn’t understand things I do, he trusts me and my processes. He knows me better than anyone ever has, and vice versa. We’ve earned each others’ trust and we both honor it.

    In the U.S., most of don’t have community. Philosophers argue over what is community, but it’s certain that we live in a fragmented, atomized, and hyper-individualized culture. We, as social animals, should be disturbed by the insensitivity and abuse that is broadly accepted as normal.

  • During the early days of PTSD from sexual abuse being the hottest topic in mainstream psychology/psychiatry, I sometimes ran across counselors who were visibly thrilled that I had been sexually abused and wanted to tell them about it.

    I also had a counselor so enamored with Jungian therapy that she couldn’t accept that I wasn’t angry because the orange dress in one of my paintings was red, in her opinion, and evidence that I was angry, though my life was golden at that point and I was not angry. After two sessions of her fruitlessly trying to figure out what I was angry about, I noticed all the angry tulips on campus on the way to our appointment, and then let her go.

    Take the best and leave the rest of any approach. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.

  • Very soulful refrain. Can we not admit that life is very hard sometimes, and that much of the time it’s much harder than it has to be?

    I read an article once by philosopher in Israel who was among many philosophers in that country who wanted their profession to be paid for counseling the way psychiatrists are. He and many of his colleagues were already volunteering on suicide hotlines and helping people sort out their thinking and feelings and helping them try to get a grip on what was important to them. He said that first, they must be a “friend”— by that he meant that they must in that moment care for that person and want very much for them to see their way out of crisis so that they listened as if listening to a friend they respected, admired, and felt equal to.

    I would love to talk with an epistemologist about my trauma, but most of all, I would love to talk with other people about our trauma, and at this time, I don’t know how to go about that. But being able to put a traumatic event or a response to one into the context of what it means to be human and what to do about evil, does seems to elude psychiatry.

  • I don’t speak German, but Mollath has a wikipedia page. At first some things in it make me think that his violence was an issue, then I found English versions of his story in German papers, and the violence wasn’t even an issue until 15 months after the time his wife said that he attacked her. There were no corroborating witnesses who could put him at the scene of the tire slashings, either. It’s incredible that his “violence” was considered to be fact in court in the case that charges weren’t pressed at the time. Just. Wow.

    Good grief, what’s most scary about this story is how easily, and how probably often this happens in Western countries where the bio-psychiatry model reigns. It would be as easy now for a predatory husband to have his wife taken hostage and drugged by psychiatrists (or vice versa) than it was when it was a popular plot line in Hitchcock stories. It’s unreal. This could be an effective coup in any case where emotions run high, like a custody battle. Is there any situation an unprincipled psychiatrist can’t make worse?

  • I agree. Thinking of mental/emotional distress as homeostatic imbalance (rather than dysfunction) that likely involves every system of the human brain/mind/culture would embrace the complexity of our lives, minds, and problems.

    For nicotine addicts, for instance, the relapses that occur up to a year after quitting are often interpreted as psychological problems or a failure of will, but are really a sort of wig-out, a temporary physiological state in which the pleasure/pain center of the brain appears to be going haywire in an effort to reach balance. It’s a necessary step that is uncomfortable to tortuous— it can feel like mania or depression; but is really just a wild swing of the pendulum in its effort to reach homeostatic balance. It will pass, and efforts to analyze oneself psychologically during these times are a waste.

    It takes a full year for a brain to return to normal functioning after quitting smoking. This is true for a whole lot of drugs that pass the blood/brain barrier and alter the chemical functioning of the brain. Could mental habits or responses such as those that result in learned helplessness also affect the chemical functioning of the brain in the same way some drugs do? How could they not? The thoughts are inseparable from the chemical phenomena. Could changing habits do as much to contribute to homeostatic balance in the brain as well as other interventions?

    The mind/brain is inseparable and the individual/social being is inseparable. We are social animals with a highly developed and very sensitive brain living in a highly-developed world that demands a lot from us. Many of those making the demands are nameless and faceless and appear to have no obligations to us. Our culture expects a lot from us, expects us to feel individually responsible for fulfilling it’s expectations, and discourages us from thinking of ourselves as the communal animals that we are.

    Divide and conquer is a tried and true method of social control. Othering people who suffer from the effects of pathological social behavior as if they were the pathology itself is a mean tactic and more effective and powerful when denied than it would be if it were seen for what it is.

  • It’s interesting that people would ask for what they know is a placebo. In this case, the added benefit would be that the placebo does not have other unwanted effects, that antidepressants certainly have.

    It’s not unusual for transplant recipients to feel so good on their anti-rejection medication (steroids) that they stop taking them. They don’t start to feel bad until a significant amount of time after their body starts rejecting the organ. The good feelings are a drug induced state that don’t work in their favor. A lot of drugs do work for what they’re supposed to work for and the failure to take those drugs has life-threatening consequences.

    The fact that the placebo effect is so significant in antidepressants is a side effect of the fact that for most people these drugs don’t really do much for “depression”. When all the data is properly collected and analyzed, the effectiveness is not much different from placebo. That doesn’t mean that an antidepressant doesn’t have a significant and positive effect on some people— way over placebo— ,but that they’re not effective on the whole and should stop being promoted as a likely solution to the problems of “depression” for anyone who anyone thinks is suffering from it, whatever “depression” means.

  • You made it, Dee. It’s good to see you!

    The book, “Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness,” by Gail A. Hornstein has a great story exploring the history of a patient permanently housed in an asylum. The search started with a well preserved jacket the woman made around 1895. She had stitched writing all over and it was a masterpiece. Ms. Hornstein found out as much as she could about the woman to tell her story. The book also includes the stories of many people labeled with schizophrenia and their stories, which they often had to find alternative ways to tell because of the pressures put on them to shut up by the institution of psychiatry and people who enforce the belief that the “mentally ill” are just crazy and nothing they say for themselves can be taken seriously.

    The book includes a story about a mental asylum in Israel that was medieval in its wretchedness. An employee had written an editorial letter stating that the asylum needed money and should be receiving money from restitution from Holocaust crimes because most of the residents were survivors of the Holocaust. The hospital itself was built to be a —-

    wait for it—

    a prison for prisoners of war. The editorial caught worldwide attention, then psychiatrists in Israel were embarrassed into asking themselves if the patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and were Holocaust survivors might actually be suffering from extreme PTSD and trauma from one of the most extremely dehumanizing constructs known to modern humanity. Most of them were labeled and warehoused shortly after they arrived in Israel, which was shortly after the Holocaust. After this became public knowledge; it took a few years for psychiatrists to get around to doing a formal study, and I don’t know what the results were, but I trust that the same thing would have happened here and that most psychiatrists would conclude that these patients were predisposed to mental illness for genetic reasons and/or lacked “resilience”. The lack of humility in the practice of psychiatry is pathological.

    The sickly funny thing about genetics and schizophrenia is that not long after Hitler and his minions murdered most of the population of people identified as schizophrenic and their families in Germany, the rate of schizophrenia in the German population was pretty much the same. You’d think it would be easy to kill something that’s been disproved so many times, but NO.


  • You convinced a lot of other people to see that, which is why we’re hearing about it. The Recovery Movement is the most hopeful and human movement I’ve ever seen— it’s about everything that makes us human, not just “mental illness” and individuals who suffer from overwhelming distress. We could all be more beneficial for the human heart and mind and it doesn’t cost any money or need studies to verify its usefulness.

  • Of course, anyone trying to intervene should listen. I’m so sorry for your experience, but glad you’re alive to tell the tale. I joke that I’ve never attempted suicide because it’s too much of an executive decision, but I’m not sure I’m joking.

    Do you have someone in your life who you can safely talk to about these feelings if you have them again? Someone you can stay with for a while? No one should ever be treated the way you were treated ever, much less at such a dark time. Let’s hope that the people conducting this study learn a lot and are able to influence care in the mental health institution.

  • Alan Dershowitz is a right-winger, but that doesn’t change the fact that this whole affair is cock-eyed and a blatant injustice. If he can fight for them and win, I support him. Few people are so ideologically blinkered that they aren’t right sometimes in their hearts and their minds, and he is a very experienced and high-profile lawyer. This story can use as much attention as it can get and it would be a further injustice if Fox news was the only news program willing to follow this it.

    The coverage from the Boston Globe is some of the best journalistic writing I’ve seen in ages.

  • The fact that I’m such a lousy librarian and secretary is getting on my last nerve right now. If anyone has a link to an article that includes a quote from a psychiatrist acknowledging that there is no evidence for the “chemical imbalance” theory (hypothesis) and saying that it’s something that the patient can “understand”, please link to it here. With the chemical imbalance charade, the other metaphor— that an antidepressant for depression is just like insulin for diabetes— comes into play and likely wins.

    With this bio-belief, psychological intervention is rendered useless, therefore, the psychiatrist wins the race and the jackpot that comes with it. People also are led to believe that SSRIs only act on serotonin, correcting the imbalance, and have no other effects. While under the influence of an SSRI, the patient may not be able to tell that something is an effect of the drug, and not them or their “disease” that is responsible for any behavior or thoughts that are induced by the drug.

  • Isn’t Korson supposed to be one of the rare experts on mitochondrial disease? Did these parents shop for experts on mitochondrial disease? Seems that if they wanted to abuse their children with medicine, that they could have just told a psychiatrist that they’re child was problematic. They could have had their child debilitated and collecting social security disability in no time.

  • Having worked in an adult foster care home for two weeks, I suspect that this is happening to adults too. I only worked in one, and there were other obvious problems that made the place and the job unacceptable to me, but having to make sure that some of them took their huge piles of pills for lunch while they sat there at the table slobbering and completely out of it already, was not something I had to do or would choose to do, so I quit.

    There are good people who really do want to help children and adults who need help, but too many of them are underfunded, undereducated, and overly sold on bio-psychiatry.

  • All the states have the right to take a child out of their parent’s custody, and that often saves lives; but THIS is something else. Where are the medical doctors and specialists in mitochondrial disease? They’ve been gagged too? How is it that a psychiatrist gets to over rule a medical doctor who is a specialist in a rare disorder who has successfully treated the patient and the patient’s sister for years?

    It’s hard to tell whose spell needs to be broken.

  • No reason to go back to Nazi Germany, AgniYoga, because it will just lead you right back to the U.S. which had been steeped in eugenics since 1907. Sad, but true, we inspired Hitler to murder people labeled as schizophrenic and a whole lot of other unfortunate peoples who the status quo felt superior to and were sure would reproduce their ailments or shortcomings without fail to the detriment of the human race.

    The fact that not too long after every person with schizophrenia the Nazis could get their hands on were systematically “exterminated,” the population of people with schizophrenia in Germany was about the same percentage of the population, should have made it absolutely clear that schizophrenia was not inherited like eye color, but the genetic “explanation” still stands as if it had sturdy legs to stand on.

    I think I summarized it well enough and have a link to a pdf with that post, if you’re interested. A lot of those Nazi scientists came here to set up shop after the war and to keep the eugenic bandwagon rolling.

  • Yeah, I’ve been there, and was fortunate enough not to have suffered trauma from it, but it’s amazing how little it would have taken to prevent it.

    I spent many years in student housing co-operatives in which members could have all their home needs satisfied from rent and bills, to food, kitchen wraps, toilet paper and cleaning supplies for as little as $245.00 a month in the mid to late eighties. It’s a secure feeling to know that you don’t have to worry about any housing necessities or meals after paying your rent. There was a lot of very good and healthy food for that price, too, and everyone in the house did some work as part of the cost of living in those houses. The project of living together and running the household was educational, democratic, and sociable. There is so little community in our society, but it is possible to build it, as you and others are clearly doing.

    Houses for those in recovery or houses that are mixed would go a long way to prevent homelessness. With the long decline of wages, rent takes up too much of our earnings and requires too much work for too many hours. There isn’t a single county in this country where a person working 40 hours a week at minimum wage can afford their own apartment. Co-ops are a great way to cut costs and share the wealth.

  • Great news! Best regards with your new heart. If it seems that everything you and the people who have helped you did to keep you alive is now suddenly maladapted, then you’ve arrived. It’s a whole lot to process, isn’t it? Take good care of you and the wonderful gift of a new heart. Kudos to the transplant team— they’re a rare and highly skilled breed. And congratulations to everyone who helped you live to see the day. Mazeltov!

  • Too many medications are not made in sufficiently small quantities to make withdrawal bearable.

    After my first (and I hope last) psychotic episode, the psychiatrist was sure it was due to bipolar disorder which I was diagnosed with after having a hypomanic episode on desipramine. I don’t remember the first two days after my involuntary stay because of the drugs they had me on, but thereafter I refused most of the drugs. I was suffering pain from MS and night sweats that made it difficult for me to sleep and I was hypervigilant with PTSD. So, I tried ambien to help me sleep. The next morning another patient told me all about our early morning visit that I had no memory of. So already there were two things: not remembering two days except for one brief moment, and getting up and having a conversation in my sleep that I didn’t remember having— that made me feel crazy.

    They kept trying to give me depakote, but I remembered that depakote made me feel very angry (and they didn’t want to see me angry) so they tried to put me on abilify. I took it once, then saw the commercial in which it was described as an “adjunct” to an antidepressant. I wasn’t depressed, and asked exactly what abilify was being prescribed for. I got a mealy-mouthed non- answer then stopped taking it. If it was being advertised and prescribed off label, then I figured it was a money-maker that wasn’t selling itself.

    After reading this, I am only more glad that I finally refused to accept their diagnoses and their treatments. I haven’t heard about people having psychotic episodes discontinuing medication until a week ago, and now I have seen reference to it three times, for three different drugs. How can this be ignored? Drug treatments are making people crazy coming and going!

    I’m taking amitriptyline for nerve pain and help sleeping and am taking the maximum dose. I’ve forgotten to take it twice and have no way of telling if the extreme pain I suffered without it was rebound or just what I feel without it; but I know now to be extra careful about not running out and to be extra careful if I try to cut down. I figure the chance that I could convince the same psychiatrist that I was suffering a drug-withdrawal psychosis would be approximately nil.

  • I keep forgetting the name of the “Rosenham” experiment, but fortunately for my drug induced memory, it keeps coming up on recovery forums. Every mental health professional should be reminded everyday to check themselves for confirmation bias and ask themselves if what they are seeing as symptoms of disease, may be what they’d consider a normal human reaction in other situations with other people, including themselves.

    I have heard that most suicide attempts are impulsive. If that’s true, then perhaps it makes sense to ask suicidal people if they’ve made plans and to ask them to have someone take away their weapon of choice or to give them up voluntarily. Until the passage of the ACA, it has been illegal for ER doctors to ask patients who are the victims of domestic violence if there is a gun in their house. It seems to me that if suicide is impulsive for most successful suicides than any intervention that slows down the suicidal person and asks them to focus on getting help with solving their problems would be preferable to seizing them and taking control away from them. If the person felt like they had the agency and resources to solve their problems, would they have been suicidal to begin with?

    I don’t think there’s one answer to that question, but I don’t see how overwhelming force would help a person feel like they have the strength to keep living.

  • Having someone to speak up on your behalf is very important.

    The one thing that I found helpful about my involuntary stay was visiting with other patients and being fed good food. The rest was ridiculous, but I did manage to find time every day to contemplate my psychotic episode, the content of it, and what that meant to me. I still had to work at it for about four months after I got out, but in the end, I became more content than ever. I’m not free of the PTSD and must watch carefully for triggers, but I really managed to get off my own back about it after feeling the horror of it so vividly. Of course it makes me sick sometimes— it was a very powerful trauma that is too big for anyone to make sense of, and it’s o.k. that it has knocked me down as much as it has. I’ve done alright. I’m not a failure, I’m a survivor and a strong person, and I’m happy with where I’m at and who I am.

    My voluntary stay in the V.A. ward did not involve condescension and being treated like a child, I think, because it isn’t safe for them to treat veterans of war like children. They also make it very clear that you can decline meds and don’t push once you’ve declined. The food wasn’t as good, but it was also nice to be fed and not to worry about taking care of anyone but myself. And to visit with other veterans in an environment where being disturbed and wanting to heal is normal is a unique comfort.

  • Yes, John, and I didn’t mean to suggest that some people aren’t suffering PTSD and overwhelmingly debilitating feelings from CSA. There is nothing “wrong” with a person who suffers psychotic inducing pain and confusion as a result of CSA. It just shouldn’t be assumed, and should definitely not be assumed to be a single cause of psychosis-inducing stress at any time of life for any person. Just the fact that so many people somehow managed to ignore all the alarms while a child was being sexually abused by an adult is enough to make it horribly difficult to trust others. When a world is indifferent, then a world is indifferent, and people should be expected to act accordingly.

    I don’t think I have ever suffered any kind of extreme stress that would not have been manageable with a savings account, the freedom to take a few weeks off from work, and the ability to live in a peaceful home without having to apologize for not being my usual highly-functioning and helpful self. These are things that working women don’t usually expect to have— we’ve been taught not to be a bother to anyone and that our failure to take care of others (regardless of reciprocity) is a failure at being a woman. What we need, is some slack.

    Having empathetic care with assurance that it takes time to work out major problems would make anyone feel more confident in their ability to heal. That applies to anyone, regardless of gender or sex, who can’t stop running without falling into a pit and taking on additional problems, and so becomes overwhelmed when personal stresses interferes with and threaten one’s ability to keep their head above water.

    I think, the harder a person tries not to stop, the more likely they are to have a psychotic break in order to just stop trying so hard to avoid it when part of them knows that the content of their psyche’s distress is the most powerful force in their lives at any particular moment and will not be put off any longer.

    Of course, there are probably a hundred other reasons to have a psychotic episode, many that have nothing or little to do with psychology. An attuned counselor in a reasonable system should be able to help a person take stock of what happened to them and help them figure out how to process it and to learn what they need, how to give themselves what they need, and how to ask for what they need.

    I see it as a sort of birthing process where the patient does almost all of the work, but the counselor assists, helps the one in labor stay focused, and knows the warning signs and what to do when deliveries go wrong. The mother’s job is to handle the pain and to push, the mid-wife’s job is to monitor the baby and the mother, to be supportive, and to know what to do when things go wrong.

  • A psychiatrist on a V.A. ward (I affectionately refer to as “the flight deck”) told me they couldn’t help me with an issue and I love him for it. How hard is it to say that something is over their heads and beyond their imaginations? It was like being given myself back. I was the arbiter of my trauma, not them. It doesn’t mean they can’t listen and try to understand, it’s not like a psychiatrist needs to explain something to a patient better than they can explain it to themselves in order to help.

    It’s the paternalism that is so quick to justify overwhelming force and psychological overpowering that claims superior knowledge and superior motivations of the psychiatrist over the contents of the patient’s mind and the patient’s values in their lives. When the psychiatrist is acting like a petulant child who is ready to punish you because you are not letting him have his way and are not becoming exactly what he says you are, then it’s kinda his problem.

    Who wouldn’t like to paid a good salary with benefits for that, while being absolutely convinced that they are the last and best hope, though? They’ve been trained to believe this.

    I’m not saying that psychiatrists never do good or that some psychiatrists don’t do a lot of good, just that the whole field is delusional and twisted with the psychology of dominance and force.

  • One could argue that you didn’t kill yourself because you were too drugged to do so, and so it was a net good. I would argue that that’s glib and insufficient justification for policy.

    Seeing the frantic checking of rooms and tossing of patient’s personal effects for contraband caffeine (as if it contributed to suicide) was bad enough. I can’t even imagine being strapped into restraints for long periods of time, but figure if I were suicidal, it would make me want to hurt them more than myself.

    It’s understandable that the staff doesn’t have time to give very personal care to every patient in a ward, but they could rectify that to some degree by not keeping people who are not a threat to themselves or others and who want to go home. Keeping people until they agree with the psychiatrist or vocally express a willingness to go along for the sake of going along and getting out is not necessary. They could be a lot more choosy about who they keep in their wards and for how long, by using sensible triage for the sake of the patients.

  • Anyone who hasn’t seen “The Changeling” might want to see it now. This story of “somatoform disorder” and the ability of the psyche ward to commandeer a child, deny a medical diagnosis and treatment, and vilify parents on no sound evidence, whatsoever, is both outrageous and unbelievable, but a clear warning bell about the unchecked powers of psychiatry.

    “…does somatoform disorder even exist?” It does now. It appears to me that this case is so important to the ones making it because somatoform disorder is a new diagnosis and oh what a lucrative diagnosis it can be— psychiatrists can rip patients right out from under medical doctors with this diagnosis. Justina is their exhibit A, and they’ve really mucked this one up, so instead of surrendering to the expertise of a real doctor, they are going to absurd lengths to insist that they were right all along.

    “Up to 50% of patients in pediatric care will complain of medically unexplained symptoms with significant functional and emotional impairment. ”

    Pbthht. If someone gets an upset stomach before a big exam are they suffering symptoms of “somatoform disorder”? While being a caregiver for a transplant candidate, I saw him pass out and go into a near comatose state after talking to his ex-wife on the phone. His condition made it difficult for his body to deal with the physical effects of stress in his body. My job was to make his life less stressful so he could live until the transplant. Cognition is embodied— stress is not just psychological ephemera floating weightless in our heads, it’s a physical reality. Repeated stresses can cause physical dysfunction.

    Had I made the mistake of explaining what I was feeling before I couldn’t walk and was then examined and given an MRI and a subsequent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, I would have been put on all kinds of antidepressants and antispychotics, and what not that would have only made me feel worse. I had learned the hard way and so spared myself. My mood was fine. My outlook was fine. I had no energy sometimes and was a damned good sport about it. I have to wonder what percentage of psychiatrists can tell the differences between depression, exhaustion, fatigue, the depletion of an iron deficiency, the mental sluggishness of hepatic encephalopathy, etc. It doesn’t appear that they make any effort to delineate or to question much of anything anymore. Not only have they forgotten psychology—a field that has a lot of impressive research behind it and impressive insight into the human mind— they appear to have forgotten the body as well.

    The bad play of injustice in the lives of Justina and her family is stultifying, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most people will think this is an isolated and extreme incident, but it’s a symptom of a much larger disorder of three authoritarian institutions without sufficient checks and balances, riding roughshod over the civil rights of people whose day in court is a gag order.

  • I agree with almost everything you’re saying, but this: “CSA is so unequivocally horrific…” and this, ” Equally, one of the ways abuse is so damaging is that it is so big a trauma it casts a shadow occluding everything else in a life…”

    It is possible to suffer childhood sexual abuse and not even suffer PTSD from it. A person who has been sexually abused as a child certainly has issues to work out with counseling; but that doesn’t mean that every aspect of that person is damaged and that that damage is greater than any other. In fact, I stopped seeing the psychiatrists and psychologists who helped me so much with the effects of sexual abuse, when they stopped talking about anything else. When for instance, a came into an office feeling a little angry because a man had been following me in his car for three blocks while I was walking, making vulgar movements with his tongue, while I was wearing a tank top and shorts because it was near a hundred degrees outside, the psychiatrist asked what that made me think of my stepfather. It didn’t. I was thinking that that kind of thing happened a lot in the summer when some predatory men interpreted summer wear as an indication that a woman wanted nothing more than being sexually involved with random men they encountered on the street.

    The whole field seemed to have been under the impression that women had to be looking for men to sexually harass, abuse, or assault them or their children, even to the degree that it was considered common knowledge that a women who had suffered CSA tried to “recreate” situations in which they were abused. And every bit of sexual objectification and abuse a woman suffered was related to her abuser. What color is the sky on that planet? My ex-husband had a tendency to get really frisky when I needed sleep for mid-terms or finals. One night he kept bugging me until I said, “I feel like I’m being sexually abused!” He suddenly looked so concerned and sympathetic, which made me even more angry, until I realized what was happening and said, “Don’t you dare! I’m not feeling this way because of what happened to me as a child, I’m feeling this way because YOU are ABUSING me. I said, ‘NO’ and meant it! Don’t touch me!”

    When a person can’t get counseling for a traumatic event that really did cause PTSD, and is instead told that they need to deal with their childhood trauma more than anything else, even when that person is over it, in part, because they’ve divorced their family completely and are free of their abuse; then a lot of imposition is going on.

    Perhaps, some people are stronger than the mental health professional they are seeing. Perhaps that person had a very strong bond during their formative years. Perhaps, some people had other people who were sources of strength and comfort, who helped the patient understand that their family life was temporary and that they could move on. Perhaps, some people understood that it was not them that was sick even when they were children. Perhaps, some people enjoyed their lives outside of their family trauma and were so liked by and liked others so much that they knew that they were going to be alright and that they weren’t the problem.

    If someone says that they didn’t suffer from flashbacks and night terrors about CSA until ten years after suffering from flashbacks and night terrors about a separate event and they very much wanted to talk about that traumatic trauma; then a good counselor should listen and talk about what the patient wants to talk about instead of using their CSA hammer on the client. You know who knows better than the counselor how much a person was hurt by sexual abuse? Right— the person who was abused.

    People who were sexually abused as children aren’t all the same, and we’re not little machines that have been sexually abused as children and so will malfunction according to the manual. Please, stop insisting that people who suffered sexual abuse as children are all permanent victims who are “damaged goods”. It’s not any less damaging for a person to be told by mental health professionals that they are permanently damaged by sexual abuse for psychological reasons, than it is for them to be told that their stock value plummeted when they were sexually abused because they lost their innocence.

    No one is getting their innocence back, but we should at least be able to assess the damage ourselves and to be believed by people who think that they’re here to help us.

  • I’m sorry for your experience, Anonime, and am glad that you’re alive to tell the story.

    I’ve never been suicidal, but have spent time with three people who were expressly suicidal outside of a mental ward. I know two of them didn’t attempt it for at least a year after we talked. It seemed to me like suicide is always an option and that when someone is thinking about that option, it’s important to not be afraid of what they’re talking about, to not be afraid of them, to listen intently, and to remind them that circumstances change, even when it feels like you’re feelings are permanent, you can count on things changing. Which means, staying relaxed and fully present while being with them.

    The third person was an elderly woman who insisted that I let her give me a ride. She looked desperate so I accepted. She said her brother was expressing suicidal wishes and asked me what I would tell him. I told her, and just before I got out of her car she said that I “just may have saved a life today.” I hope very much that that was the case.

    In my one involuntary stay in a mental ward the paranoia over the possibility of suicide was palpable and overwrought. I get it that it would be traumatic for them to lose a patient to suicide, what I don’t get is how they let themselves maintain such a nerve-wracked environment. People who are emotionally overwhelmed have a tendency to be really sensitive to the emotional energies of people around them. When the people who are supposed to be in charge appear to be out of control, it doesn’t engender the trust they keep telling you you should feel toward them.

    That there is just now a movement to learn about suicide from people who have attempted it is evidence that the institutions of psychiatry and psychology have been neurotic and in denial about it to the degree that they fear that patients who are suicidal are objects who are suicidal by nature yet infectious. Bio-psychiatry embraces that reductionist thinking, but the problem of suicide for psychiatrists is much older than the DSM-III or IV. A primitive fear? A personal fear? Let’s hope that a lot of people learn from these formerly suicidal people who are sharing their experiences or suicidal feelings and of the treatment they got in response.

  • I was thinking about Housing Firs too, Donna. It makes sense that people would reject help getting affordable housing when it would be used against them. This is a very positive development. I’m guessing that having a safe home to return to every time one left would relieve a lot more anxiety than any drug.

    You’ve done wonderful work Iden. Congratulations on your group’s grant and your coalitions. You’re filling a need in your community and setting a fine example, thank you.

  • The U.S. does not pay for most of the U.N. budget. Of all the countries on the Security Council with the right to veto—- the U.S., the U.K., France, China, and the Russian Federation, the last two are much worse for the mentally ill and “mentally ill” than the U.S. or U.K. Even their orphanages are hell holes, and those people don’t have a fighting chance to change the way the mentally ill are treated there.

    As “fascist” as the institution of mental health care still is in the U.S. and the U.K., it can be changed the way every institution is changed for the better in a democracy— with organized and sustained collective action, and with changing minds and perceptions on a personal and public level. There is a lot of marketing working against us in the media, in our colleges and schools, and in doctors’ offices. Critical psychiatrists, psychologists and other people working in the mental health field are strong and necessary voices.

    I no longer donate money to the ACLU because they don’t defend psyche rights, but I can try to influence my representatives and try to change the minds of people I speak with. It’s difficult and unfortunate that it’s so hard to convince college-educated middle class liberals that most “mental illness” is not an endogenous brain glitch, that most medication doesn’t help, that most medication is harmful, and that depriving people labeled with mental illness of their civil rights is not good for the “patient” or “consumer”. or the public. That most people can’t put the readiness to deny the civil rights of mental patients together with the myth of mental illness being destigmatized and see how ridiculous and sad it is is frustrating.

    Most people fear mental illness and people they believe to be mentally ill. “Concerned” paternalism makes sense to them. It’s not going to be easy to convince enough people that mental illness isn’t what they think it is, and that psychiatry isn’t the success they think it is in order to change the climate and culture of psychiatry and commitment. But it’s happening.

  • There’s a form for forced treatment denial at MindFreedom.

    I really need to fill this out, but have been contemplating what to put in it, other than a request to be sent to a veteran’s hospital as soon as possible, in the event of a psychotic episode and to be given nothing but benzos to bring me down in the case of psychosis— sleep, not a drug induced state of drooling and muttering incoherently is my first choice. I also want to see if a prescribing nurse I see sometimes and my neurologist can add a couple of notes for me.

    I don’t really expect to have another episode, and wouldn’t expect a hospital to pay any attention to a legal document, but I really should do this and give a lawyer a retainer to use it on my behalf. I’ve already given my bff the power of attorney, but an actual lawyer may put a profiteering psychiatrist on notice and prevent him from giving me my day in court while I’m under the influence of a drug cocktail that makes it difficult for me to understand anything, much less understand a judge who looks like he doesn’t know how to dress himself, has crumbs in his beard read a sloppy stack of papers in legalese as fast as he could in a monotone and grumpy voice, while not allowing me to ask any questions. Sure, he was awakened for it, but he still had a job to do and was responsible for more than himself at that time. I couldn’t have easily followed that on my best days after a cup of espresso and a good breakfast.

    Has anyone here had a good experience with a lawyer while under shrink arrest?

  • The psychiatrist for my only involuntary commitment said three times that he could keep me for 180 days. I was not violent and not suicidal, and made it clear to him that I knew that the standard was “threat to self or others”. I had been psychotic for about an hour. I finally said that I’d take lithium and was out two days later. And then I stopped taking it, but that’s what it took for me to get out, and I believe that that was the case because the Veteran’s Administration was paying for it. There weren’t any hospital beds available at the V.A. when I was checked in.

    I had to insist that they get my medical records and give me my medication for multiple sclerosis it. I was in remission at the time— the first one since I had been diagnosed— but I still had the pain and it was worse. Now I know that the pain is always worse during a remission. In the mental ward, all I got for pain was Tylenol, the ward was cold as hell when it wasn’t ridiculously hot, and it was difficult sometimes to get basic things like washcloths or toothpaste because the staff was so busy with paranoid monitoring. They even had just one nurse for me, even though I was lucid and non-threatening, because I was refusing the antipsychotics as soon as I was lucid enough to refuse them.

    I told myself that this was like exercises “in the field” when I was in the military, and just toughed it out. The food was great, I’ll give it that much. Other than that, it was a theater of the absurd.

    There was a woman who had come in for making a suicide attempt when she was home with her child. She openly admitted that the she did it because her husband was talking about leaving her. She was there for one night.

    I don’t understand how they could not see how twisted their assessments were and how little they had to do with the actual patient and the patient’s behavior.

  • The wheels of justice turn slowly.

    I think it’s very important to have one friend or family member who loves you, knows you better than anyone, and trusts you. This person visiting you regularly while you’re in a psyche ward, and speaking on your behalf is very important. They can submit letters and notes to the staff that should be included in your record, too.

    Also, in the U.S. anyway, a person is entitled to get their psyche records from the hospital and can sign a form telling the administration not to release that information to anyone else. Even if you just do it for yourself, going through those records and making corrections can be a self-affirming exercise that is advantageous to go through as soon as you’re let go. You may find out that the staff was just as dismissive and tone deaf as they appeared to be. For me and my friend who went over the records with me, it was quite vindicating. The records included things he said that they got all wrong. He was ticked and had a hard time believing that they just misunderstood. The record appeared to be packed with confirmation bias on their point to the degree that they looked to be hearing what they wanted to hear.

  • Think bigger, Francesca— Infinite Acronymonious Treatment Resistant Disorder Disorder might tie it all together so that only one label would be required, but with infinite dimensional details. IATRDD, IATRDD +1, IATRDD + 3…

    There could be any number of committees on the DSM task force to elaborate on the many manifestations of infinite mental illness.

    Start with an antidepressant, add an antipsychotic, add an adjunct, then add drugs to treat the symptoms of one or more of the first three drugs or any combination of them. Then a person could be on their way to swallowing 8 or more psyche drugs a day, being debilitated, and being unable to figure out what’s wrong with them because they’re stoned out of their mind on so many different drugs that the drugs themselves don’t know who they are anymore.

  • Open Dialogue sounds like it involves a kind of humility and straight forward approach to a person in crisis that is too “soft” by American standards, for insurance companies and “experts.” I trust that it takes special training and self-awareness that does not encourage practitioners to believe themselves to be in control of a situation and so expert that they should act without question. That does require intelligence, patience, and real skills in listening and self-control for most people.

    The most striking difference to me between psychiatry now and psychiatry when it helped me in real and deeply meaningful ways that empowered me, is listening. The biological approach has made the profession deaf. Sure, there are exceptional psychiatrists, but they’re so exceptional that most people should not expect to meet one.

    Wasn’t there a time when lawyers and psychiatrists were required to give a free initial consultation? Having to spend money to find a psychiatrist you want to work with is prohibitive. I could tell that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with most of them in the the first fifteen minutes of the first meeting— especially those who appeared to be wearing a Prozac mask or were haughty. If I had had enough money to play ‘shop for a psychiatrist who looks like they’re actually there and looks at me like I’m also there,’ I probably would have taken a vacation and traveled, instead of knocking myself out treading water while working full-time, being most fearful of not being able to work and ending up homeless.

    My savings is the best anti-anxiety drug I’ve ever used. As a woman especially, being financially insecure is a nightmare. Being unable to work is an identity crisis— I LOVE to work. I really do believe that most working poor people are properly insecure from their realities. The U.S. is a mean place for poor people. The prospect of ending up on the streets is horrifying, especially for people (most often women) with children. It’s not being sick or not having enough ‘resilience’ to fear the worst in our country when you don’t make a living wage. Psychiatrists and other middle-class professionals might want to ask themselves why more Americans aren’t more anxious.

  • Hey, b, I wrote two replies to you yesterday that didn’t post.

    In the eighties I read that psychiatrists and lawyers were top in their field for being attacked by their clients. I can understand being wary of attacks, what I don’t understand is mental health professionals treating people like they’re going to blow up at any minute.

    I saw a nurse on the local hospital ward shouting to her colleagues, “HE’S RESISTING!” HE was a very large teddy bear of a man with downcast eyes who looked like he was doing everything in his power to make himself smaller so she wouldn’t be afraid of him. He looked like he was worried about her, for her sake. The “resisting” part was him not being able to understand English no matter how loudly she spoke it. That was some twisted psychology on her part and a failure to read the situation.

    Also in the eighties, I had a house-mate who was thin as a rail, delicate looking, and had a slight handicap in one of her legs. She worked in the state mental ward and had been taught well how to restrain people without hurting them or her herself. She could get a handle on a big guy by herself while calling out to other staff to help to her. No one appears to get that kind of training anymore. Police use tasers on unarmed mentally ill people in public when they used to restrain them with their bare hands. I think they need to be taught better methods of self-defense.

  • A lot of children who are recommended for adhd drugging and analyses are simply the youngest children in the class. There is a lot of difference between a child who just turned seven, and one who is four months shy of their eighth birthday. Milestones of development weren’t intended to be deadlines. Besides how old they really are, there are differences in maturity for many reasons, and children have their own schedule for development in which windows of development, so to speak, open and close when they’re ready— not when some arbitrary cut-off arrives.

    The only advantage to rating and judging and grading children by age is the ability to convince oneself that half of the children are stupid and not worth much investment and that’s not really advantageous. Academic ability is just one kind of intelligence, it certainly isn’t the only kind required for human survival, and it’s often quite limited— especially when people with advanced degrees still don’t understand the difference between knowledge and intelligence.

  • They indict themselves by taking such actions. It’s too bad court systems are overwhelmed by corporations that are richer than the gods. A lot of people and groups are rising up to counter that, and that’s just the history of democracy, in a way, but BigPharma is Goliath and his whole army (of lawyers).

  • Yep— “people can and do recover from ‘mental illness.'” Fellow recovery voices and forums is good medicine and a reminder in numbers to counter the number of messages sent every day that “mental illness” is a biological illness removed from social contexts that can only be treated with drugs. You’re sick (you’re sick, you’re sick).

    Psychosis can be a critical step in recovery, which can just be the breaking down of false “truths” in the operating system coming apart so one’s own truths, which include others, can be accessed, acknowledged, and self-authorized. It doesn’t make one’s own experiences and account of one’s self irrelevant. It is one’s very own experience and it hardly gets more personal than that.

    Now that I’ve been psychotic or delirious or whatever, I’m not afraid of it; because all the fears that were in it were there all along and represented others’ pathology, not mine. In too many ways, people who are perceived to be or are labeled “mentally ill” are dealing with the unchecked powers of mad-making privilege and are too sensitive to ignore those realities or just too tired to support them anymore.

    Other times, it might just be a brain fever from any number of physical ailments, but neither should have the power to be defined as who and what a person is for the rest of their life. That’s just crazy.

  • Therefore I see a huge risk of highly educated professionals, taking for granted their styles of tinking and experiencing in self-controlled manners, which is totally related to their social classes and cultures norms, behaviors and powerful groups, to be given the power to conceive of, structure, stratagize and train peope with experiences of extreme distress, social injustice and its translation to oppressive life events who often come from wholly different real worlds.

    It is time to keep straight forward: In my opinion, it is the clinical and scientific communities who need to learn with and collaborate with people with unusual experiences, hearing voices and beliefs as social groups including an immense ethnic and gender, educational and cultural diversity (incl the cultures of living in the streets as we have little chairs and palaces) to be enabled to reframe the understanding of peoples’ extreme experiences and to create together learning approaches based on sharing of power and knowledges.”

    I agree. What to do with these people who know so damned much? In my experience, they were anything but “highly educated”, they were very specifically and technically educated.

    When I was in my first lock-down room, the nurse was walking around and talking real loud about me as if I weren’t there. She was sure I was on meth and was “calling it”. She told me I didn’t have multiple sclerosis. I remembered, at that time, reading about a study done in a mental ward showing that almost every time patients got upset, the staff and/or visitors had done or said something to the patient that would upset anyone. I had taken the mattress off of the ugly berm that was to be a bed and put in on the floor ina a corner of the room, in front of the door. It seems a trained person should have recognized hypervigilance and should have made an effort not to behave in a threatening manner.

    The woman who came in with the clipboard and who kept pushing drugs while I was taking inventory of what had just happened to me and the historical realities that I was feeling so intensely, did not even introduce herself or attempt to make eye contact. She sat down in front of me with a clipboard and looked at her clipboard while going through a checklist, starting with questions about my childhood that had absolutely nothing to do with where I was at. I thought about all the times counselors had related current events that had no relationship to my childhood to my childhood and it was one of those ‘if all you got is a hammer’ situations. I got the records afterward and saw that she had made a note that I had a service connected disability—I had a veteran’s I.D. that said as much, so that was a no-brainer—- but she didn’t think it was from what I said it was from. It was and is, and that was exactly what my whole episode was about. But she was quick to assume that I was deluded about the content of my psychosis that she hadn’t the slightest curiosity about, and that I was deluded about my service connected disability.

    The “art therapist” kept grimacing at the collages I was making about my trauma and everything I was thinking about it while doing my own thearapy. She would rather I had a cut out pictures from a woman’s magazine about what advice of their’s I was going to take to “help myself”. I have 60 completed hours in studio art coursework and understand the processes of using art for self-exploratory purposes, thank you. And I did, for hours every morning, before everyone was up, I contemplated and reevaluated the content of my psychosis and every related issue. It was very productive psychological work that included experiences in the military that were very positive.

    They also all appeared to be completely unaware of their own affect and had a tendency to overreact to the simplest situations. And told every friend and family member of current patients that all their questions could be answered at NAMI.

    It was all so patently transparent, and the ‘f’amily dynamic’ was palpable. Better pretend that they’re helping you— they can keep you for 180 days is they want, you know. Say, “You can’t keep me here until I agree with you— Threat to self or others.”, and watch how dangerous you become.

    “CBTp is part of a treatment approach governed by individualist and cognitive paradigms from ‘operationalist experimental psychology’. It is therefore in great danger to be used as an instrument of indoctrination and injustified individualist disempowerment of often disadvantaged people in extreme distress or struggling to make sense … of what is more than their subjective lifes.”

    They need to stop assuming that they’re smarter, better educated, more attuned, and know what the patient needs better than the patient does. On a personal note, I’d like mental health professionals not to tell me what psyche drugs their on and what it does for them. That’s just creepy.

  • This is no laughing matter, Francesca! Many of us are acronymonious— suffering from too many acronyms. You can only have so many before it starts to show up outside the offices of specialists and requires real doctors with real prescription pads and other purveyors of destigmatization to address those labels.

    Be concerned, be very concerned! Any day now, there will be acronyms with five, maybe six letters and cocktails won’t be enough— we’ll need something like a pharmaceutical wedding cake with many layers of drugs that we can eat communally in school and at work. If if gets any worse than that, they’ll just have to gas us en masse to keep our attention affixed and our feelings irrelevant.

    Someday, someone might come up with an acronym remover, but they’re going to have to have one hell of a lawyer.

  • Working at “reducing the stigma” is just another chance to advertise.

    In a very concerned voice.

    I wonder if there is anyone in the medical community who might interject themselves into future conversations about SCTD to wonder aloud if a head injury might produce such symptoms and if so, who’s going to bother trying to figure that out.

  • Oops. The prize goes to:

    “‘The psychologist Russell Barkley of the Medical University of South Carolina, for 30 years one of A.D.H.D.’s most influential and visible proponents, has claimed in research papers and lectures that sluggish cognitive tempo “has become the new attention disorder.’”

    Is there any indication, whatsoever, that the people who name these disorders give the slightest bit of consideration to the people they expect to carry these labels around? “Hi. I have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder. What’s your problem?”

  • It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with not getting adequate sleep ord consuming too many empty carbs and excess sugars, or of children not being taught how to regulate their attention, or children being bored, or anything, really, except a drug deficiency.

    I’m guessing Nemeroff and/or Biederman.

  • It’s bizarre that talking about psychosis doesn’t happen as a rule. It’s quite the elephant in the living room, isn’t it?

    I think I’d prefer a patient directed approach, but with informed consent about trying out different schools of counseling, if one session didn’t do it. I’ve found that for trauma related counseling, cognitive therapy is dry and misses the point entirely.

    I just started looking up delirium for some reason. It’s been three years since my only psychotic episode, and I’ve once again run across this:

    “Visual hallucinations are more commonly associated with neurological illness than primary psychiatric disease, whereas complex auditory hallucinations usually accompany delusions in primary psychiatric illness. ”

    I had vivid, visual hallucinations, I did not hear voices. I also have MS and was taking several medications that can cause psychiatric symptoms, was under some profound life and death of a best and only friend threat, and was hyper-vigilant. And more. I was also drinking vodka with morphine and experiencing the worst and most extended period of sleep deprivation of my life, thanks to nerve pain, PTSD, night sweats, and fear of impending devastation, all at once.

    Does it make any sense not to talk to someone about their psychosis enough to establish what happened? Even if a person did have a psychiatric label, it does not necessarily follow that that is why they’re psychotic in any given moment. What is with the compulsion to make such quick diagnoses then close the book? Are they not getting paid enough to talk to a patient for ten to twenty minutes in which they are not granted absolute control of the dialogue and can take the patient’s account of themselves as a construct that might even be as valid as their own brief impressions based on the disease they’ve labeled you with?

    I’d really like to sit down with that psychiatrist and have a talk. I can see his condescending smirk clearly, right now. (I can also see myself with a cream pie and an impulse that I can only indulge in my imagination. That sometimes helps for some reason.)

    There’s something very lazy, compulsive, and whatever the word would be for a phenomenal lack of curiosity in the status quo of psychiatric treatment for a mental breakdown. Guess I’ll get back to my drawing board of studying what happened to me by researching delirium and psychosis some more. I remember every moment of my psychosis, and the times directly before and afterword. I know what the trigger was. The content was all directly related to a specific trauma. The feelings were a flashback of the feelings I had during the trauma and during every flashback and night terror since. It was a perfect storm of past, present, and future stresses and vulnerabilities.

    Before they pushed me into the floor and forced medication, I was coming out of it, feeling scared for having been psychotic, but also feeling amazed by the power of it— of course I cracked. The enormity of the stress I was under impressed me. I wanted that to sink in a for a little while while I got my bearings. They didn’t have time for that, I suppose. And when they showed their disregard for me and my request to be left alone the third time— offering medication to me that I did not want and had politely and unambiguously refused three times— I slapped the medication out of the nurse’s hand, and so was piled on by four people and shot with an antispsychotic cocktail. Funny that they didn’t want to talk about what happened to me those two days I didn’t remember, either, thanks to the drugs. Anyway, I’m kind of proud about just how much it took for me to lose it.

    It would have been nice if I could have talked about it without being mocked or being greeted with a smug sense of superiority. Evidently, I’m so damaged that I thought a first episode of psychosis was worth talking about. It would also have been nice if my sure knowledge was proven wrong and “agnosia” was not going onto my chart every time I answered “why are you here?” with the answer. Because I insisted that my psychosis and the contents of it were relevant to my first involuntary commitment, and the second stay ever in a mental ward, at the age of fifty, I was somehow proving their point about how detached I was from reality. The first stay was for PTSD and the same trauma that was the subject of my psychosis was at a V.A. hospital. Coincidence? Or psychic phenomenon?

    It would have been nice to have been able to talk about my first and only psychotic episode with any one of the mental health professionals who were so busy looking at monitors, shaking down patient’s possessions for contraband like tea with caffeine, or talking about helpful tips for relieving stress that you can find in any women’s magazine. That’s worth $1,000 a day right there, don’t ya’ think? I wonder how long they would have insisted I stayed if the V.A. wasn’t picking up the tab?

    All I needed was a sedative and some sleep and someone who would listen to me enough to take the most profound mental experience of my life seriously and to help me deal with it. It’s wrong and truly bizarre that a person can be locked up in a mental ward for two weeks, be given eight different drugs in that time, and not be allowed to talk about what got them there.

    Psychiatry needs to start studying some psychology, especially the psychology of cognition so it can get its head on straight. It’s crazy.

    I’m only speaking for myself here, but I’m betting a lot of people feel the same and a lot more would feel the same if they felt like they had permission to question this eminent, yet psychologically disturbed and emotionally stunted profession.

    Present company and those who don’t fit the description need not take it personally.

  • You fought the good fight, and won, Mr. Haslam, and it was a very big fight. Victory is yours!

    My mother had been prescribed valium at the age of 16, which she took intermittently, sometimes with rum. One of the scariest and confusing things about her when I was a kid, was the time she was sure it was Wednesday, and I kept telling her it was Friday and we had to get dinner ready. I had to experience benzos myself before I understood that she had had a blackout, and as we all know, nobody should have to understand that. I really feared she was crazy that day, but it was the “medicine”.

    Best regards.

  • “… do not rely on your diploma to address your own needs for respect and validation at the expense of those we try to serve.”

    Oh, yeah.

    Your point about boundaries is well taken, I can see today’s psychiatry being a reaction against vicarious trauma the way the war machinery of WW II was a reaction against trench warfare. Listening with empathy requires feeling pain, managing those boundaries is certainly work that requires a lot of time reflecting and checking oneself.

    Those big scary guys are the reason, I think, that people in a V.A. psyche ward aren’t condescended to and treated like children.

  • One diagnosis we’ve been spared from the DSM-5— a lot of psychiatrists noticed a lot of what they called “excessive bitterness” after the global financial crisis. I can’t imagine what treatment they would have recommended for the “excessive” bitterness of people who had lost their homes and/or a huge chunk of their retirement savings and/or their jobs because of our scheming financial overlords.

  • Even though my PTSD included waking up from horrific night terrors huddled in a corner holding myself sobbing and shaking in a cold sweat; I did not suffer so much as three consecutive nights of sleeplessness until I started taking psyche drugs. To counter the effects of drugs I was taking, I took benzos TWICE to help me sleep.

    The first time, I took benzos to help me sleep, I also spent twenty minutes doing deep relaxation and deep breathing exercises (breathe in to the count of out, out to the count of sixteen) every night to get to sleep. Discontinuing the first one as prescribed, I had a grand mal seizure that was my first tonic clonic seizure, my first ride in an ambulance, my first IV, and my first cat scan, at the age of 39. Having been trained to be a good woman and a good patient, I told the emergency room doctor that it was my fault for stopping too quickly. When I got home, I looked at my bottle and realized that I was discontinuing as prescribed. I had bought gel caps and had intended to use smaller amounts than were available in the case of hard and/or disruptive withdrawal symptoms. I had an extremely demanding job that required me to be available 24/7 and on top of situations that most people couldn’t begin to deal with.

    Later, a prescribing nurse told me that they were starting to discontinue by taking the drugs every other day, then every three days, etc. because the prior plans with the available doses were inadequate and too many people were suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms.

    Later, when attending a university, I agreed to take a benzo again, was told that it was less likely to cause the symptoms the previous one did. After discontinuing it very slowly, on my terms, my ears started ringing all the time. I feel fortunate that it sounds like crickets in the distance in the country and is not a very high-pitched squeal. I’ve had this tinnitus for six years. Sometimes, it’s so quiet that it seems to be going away, but then I realize that I’ve just gotten very used to it and good at ignoring it. I’ve also gotten into the habit of having the television on as background, which I’ve never done before. I always liked being able to hear a pin drop in my house when I wasn’t intently watching of listening to something.

    On Prozac, in a V.A. psyche ward during a voluntary commitment, I was given Prozac. It made me feel gooey on the inside with a hard shell on the outside. Having my body feel like something not human was not acceptable to me so I stopped taking it.

    “Why are we told there is a “chemical imbalance in the brain” when there is no diagnostic test to prove this?”

    They don’t even have corroborated studies with supporting evidence for their biological reductionist perspective.

    I’m rooting for you, “Lisa D.”, and hope you find peace in your body, your mind, and your life. It’s a hard road that no one should have to go down, much less be told that there’s something wrong with them because they suffer the physiological effects of psychiatric drugs and withdrawal from them.

    It ain’t you, love. Keep fighting.

  • I suspect the purpose of this is to make those labeled with a mental illness the fall-guys for gun violence. Instead of having reasonable gun control, how about a little kabuki? Guns don’t kill people, mental illness kills people, sometimes numbers of people at once, right. “Mentally ill”— scary. Guns— not so much. Guns don’t kill people— mentally ill people kill people. And automatic assault weapons. With high capacity magazines. And Teflon coated bullets.

    Better to stigmatize and subjugate people who have been then the victims of psychiatry and other forms of egregious abuse than to have the reasonable gun control laws that nine in ten Americans want so that violent predators like domestic batterers cannot easily buy guns to kill people they can’t control. Wait— do you see a pattern here? I do.

  • Yeah, one of the nurses on the ward I was on had a tendency to fly at people, arms waving. She seemed awfully unaware of her own affect. She reminded me of an article I read long ago about a group of mental health care workers who would observe in a hospital they didn’t work in, and they concluded that almost every time a patient got upset that one or more of the staff and/or family had treated them in a way that would upset anybody. Then, of course, they got to tut-tut at the patient’s reaction.

  • In the throes, I think, a person who is close may be too rooted in the workaday reality of the prior “normal” to be a part of the disintegration. My BFF took my one and only psychotic episode well, but it was hard for him. He loves me and loved me at the time, but my trauma was too big for him. I’m his caregiver and have helped him with a medical condition that required a lot of cognitive assistance and daily guidance. He’s been well for years and was there for me when I needed someone who knows me well.

    He felt helpless when I was in the stratosphere. He’s the only person I’ve ever known who accepts whatever I’m experiencing. He doesn’t get disappointed or impatient with my processes for dealing with trauma. He doesn’t second guess me. He trusts me.

    By the third day in the lock-down ward (after two days I’ll never remember, except for one memory* because of the drugs ) I stopped taking the drugs and spent a lot of time doing real art therapy— not cutting pictures out of a magazine to show the “art therapists” that I was taking their advice by pasting pictures of middle-class white women’e magazines to show how I was going to take care of myself. I worked on a triptych of collages expressing the three acts of my psychosis and the traumatic stress that fueled it. I looked at it calmly and studiously. I spent silent time while people were still sleeping combing through relevant memories and reevaluating them.

    If someone had told me that I would have a psychotic episode and then be glad I did, that I would understood perfectly why I did, and that I would completely ignore that smug man’s judgment of me and his prescription, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve laughed a lot about it. I do not fear having another one any time soon. I haven’t finished reintegrating it, but I’m more whole now and I’m more content than I ever thought I could be. There’s more peace in my now and more appreciation of my processes through my life. I really did what was good for me a lot. I haven’t felt restless in three years.

    The nice police officers handled me very well , btw, and did not want to hurt me. They only slammed me on the hood of their car a couple of times because I’m really strong, especially for a small middle-aged woman. I took them off guard, they really didn’t want me to get hurt and I think they were sorry they both had to restrain me. I appreciate that. A couple of the nurses in the ward were cool.

    * I remember my friend visiting me on one of the doped up days. I slid a subscription card for Ranger Rick magazine across the table and said, “This time, you be the raccoon.” That’s probably going to have to remain a mystery. Made perfect sense at the time.

  • There was a time when psychiatry warned itself not to conflate effects of PTSD with bipolar disorder. Part of PTSD is forgetting triggers that leaves you feeling like there is no reason to be feeling so bad because you’re blocking traumatic feelings in self-defense. It’s a time when a good counselor would remind you that you have PTSD and help you navigate it as safely as possible while helping you keep it together so that you don’t lose yet more ground and give yourself more reasons to suffer. It’s a fine wire to balance on, and a good counselor would help, rather than throwing drugs at a person as if that were really all that could be done for them.

  • I beg to differ.

    What a great thing to cheer up people who are hospitalized in crisis! NOT. Look at these famous people who had mental illnesses— what’s your excuse, loser? Too many of these people were “diagnosed” long after they were dead. More than a few of them had problems with drug and alcohol abuse, and fame itself can do a number on someone’s heads, especially when they’re on their way down.

    How, on God’s green earth, is Michelangelo mentally ill? Because he was a great artist. Pich.

    Just another stinky NAMI poster to be plastered in lock down wards as if the people on that list had any relevance whatsoever to the people in crisis on that ward.

  • Yes, our legal system grants legitimacy to psychiatry that it does not deserve. When I read stories like this I want to see psychiatry slapped so hard that only the reasonable psychiatrists can stand back up again. This story illustrates how wrong the field has gone and how overbearing and meddlesome it has become.

    I want to see all the people responsible for the kidnapped, medical neglect, and chemical torture of this girl on the witness stand.

  • After being a bit debilitated from the worst episode of PTSD since the twelve years I had had it, I found myself feeling “depressed”, because it had hit me so hard and I was having a hard time moving past it. Several antidepressants did nothing for me, but desipramine sent me flying. Regardless of what the DSM-IV said at the time, the psychiatrist that gave me the prescription said that I was bipolar II.

    I went to a support group of manic-depressives and was floored. I could not imagine doing all the things they said they had done. I felt like I did not belong there, but was convinced that if I did not take my medication, that that is where I’d be going.

    The years on lithium were the worst years of my life— not because I wanted the “highs” but because I was truly disabled, couldn’t write a grocery list because my hands shook so badly, could hardly read, and stayed in the only abusive relationship I’d ever been in as an adult because I was incapable of rallying myself to get out of it. I stopped taking the lithium to get out of the situation then four more years of rotating cocktails.

    What I want to see addressed is why so many antidepressants did nothing, why two antidepressants now help me with sleep and pain from multiple sclerosis but have no effect on mood, but desipramine made me manic? It seems that such distinctions should be important to our new breed of psychopharmacologists; but they appear to be oddly disinterested in how their drugs work beyond what they can sell them for.

  • A lot of white men get defensive when it’s pointed out that they are the dominant demographic in our society. If they want to move beyond that and work toward a more egalitarian perspective, then they can stop reacting defensively and listen to the perspectives of others.

    The demographic that has the least voice in social norms and is saddled with the most vicious slandering is black women. Watch for black women in television and film and be amazed at how absent they are from most stories and how stereotypical their characters are when they do.

    A lot of what we identify with and identify others to be is not conscious and is formed more by media than by experience. If the field of psychiatry, with the biological being the reigning paradigm, the fact that they’re ignoring so many genuine and historic social dimensions in order to determine what is and is not normal can only mean treating women and people of color as being deviant from the norm biologically, rather than by living in a white,college educated, middle-class or upper middle-class, male-dominated culture.

    I see no reason to pretend otherwise and to collude with the terrible hypothesis that nothing about who we are in our society matters.

  • I was a nanny for a girl who went into rages. When she was seven years old, she bent a brass shaft in a door knob. Her rages were intense and very violent. She went into the door knob rage because I had calmly said, “No” to a request that she already knew was going to be answered with a calm “no”.

    When she went into a rage, her father and I would wrap her up with pillows, sitting on the floor, and hug her until she “surrendered” so that she wouldn’t hurt herself or us, and because we couldn’t afford to let her destroy the house. It took about six months of this as her tantrums decreased in intensity and frequency until they stopped.

    She had good reason to feel rage— her mother was a sociopath who severely neglected her and had strange and irresponsible people over to her apartment all the time to party with, which made the girl feel appropriately vulnerable.

    Her father and I were responsible, and over time, we helped her get work through her rage.

    Her mother stood her up three times with supervised visits so was no longer allowed visitation. Sad as it was for all of us, the girl no longer had to deal with weird scenes on the weekends, so she became more evenly balanced across the week and Mondays were no longer a struggle for any of us.

    Children need to know that they’re safe, protected, and that the adults they depend on are responsibly providing them with the material, social, and emotional stability that they need in order to relax and to trust.

    How sad and maddening it is when “experts” indicate to children that it’s their fault that they’re angry.

  • Refuse to fill out inventories to grease the slide to diagnosis and medication. If a mental health professional cannot look at you, listen to you, and treat you like a human being who can account for yourself, then they aren’t helping, no matter how convinced they are that they want to help you.

  • In my one and I think only experience in lock-down and involuntarily commitment I saw a nurse speaking loudly to a large but very gentle man and describing him as “resisting” when he simply couldn’t understand a word of English, no matter how loud she yelled it.

    Although there were 3 NAMI posters listing the names of people posthumously diagnosed with mental illness who were more successful than we’d ever be (what they think makes people feel better is very strange), there wasn’t a single sign in Spanish.

    All of the staff recommended that family members go to the NAMI website. I called my friend and asked him to look it up to see if it were an astroturfed drug company lobby. Of course it was.

    What a corrupt field. Once I had enough sleep, I understood exactly why I cracked which is why I was “lacking insight.”

  • Yes to all the above, but the names of the diagnoses themselves are problematic as well. “Post traumatic stress disorder”. “Attention Hyperactive Deficit Disorder. Clearly, these labels are more about psychiatrists than about the people they diagnose. How much does a field that gives people such labels to describe their conditions with actually care about the people they think should carry these labels and identify with them?

  • It’s my impression that bipolar disorder is being diagnosed now for a lot of people who had would have been diagnosed as schizophrenic decades ago. The relations between one bipolar and the next is no more defined than that between schizophrenics in the sixties and seventies. It’s a one size fits all diagnosis, but more convenient because bipolar disorder can be “revealed” by a person’s reaction to an antidepressant.

  • If someone were to do an in depth and very honest review of psychiatric care they would find that “lacking insight” and “grandiose” are too often synonymous with the “narcissistic wound” so many mental health professionals feel when a patient disagrees with them and challenges their authority.

    That so many of them are neurotically and judgmentally obsessed with every little aspect of a patient’s affect while they themselves wear disgust, fear, and feelings of smug superiority like a badge is just too precious.