Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Comments by Margaret Fong

Showing 31 of 31 comments.

  • Hi Sam, Thanks and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I totally agree that my physical health was compromised by the stress I was under and that I was probably deficient in nutrients. I also believe that my chronic deficiency of hydration/sunlight/exercise at the time was a factor also. My meditation practice and attendance at retreats has helped me release repressed emotions in a safe, private manner so perhaps that could help you too? Find a bit of nature where you can express your anxiety without onlookers? I have been taught that we are compressed bodies of emotions and thoughts and when those repressed emotions are felt, then they are released. However in my case, the clearing of negative emotions just seemed to go on and on but eventually it did stop and those overwhelming time periods of emotion were vanquished. Hoping that I have given you some support and encouragement on your journey in life. Best wishes.

  • Chaya, I very much identified with your post and agree with your observations. I find it illogical that psychiatrists make such light of holistic health success stories when their failure stories are so extreme and common. Even their success stories are dubious in my eyes. They are not as energetically vibrant and physically attractive as many in the psychiatric survivor community. Many just do not appear normal. Something I have noticed of people that seem to tolerate the drugs well is that they appear to drink a ton of water that may effectively wash the drugs out of their system.

  • Dear Borat, oldhead and madincanada: Well, I’m back to being an unpaid mental health advocate. I finished my paid internship and they even asked me to interview for a position, again one day a week. I declined because of the timing and some other personal goals I have. Also, I grew frustrated with the limitations of what I could say or do. I just seemed to be perpetuating the medical system to a large extent. You’ll be happy to know that I passed the police check. I’m lucky that I wasn’t on social assistance because the way the hours were structured, I would have been disqualified. Sorry to inform you so long after the stint ended. I have been very busy with my gardening club. madincanada please try to connect with me via Facebook or through CRAGS. Our new website is up and is looking pretty good.

  • Dear fellow nefarious critics of psychiatric drugs,
    These eight psychiatrists must feel threatened and fear their status and prestige is crumbling, to go to all that trouble of trying to discredit their critics. It also shows that those critics have reached a critical mass that cannot be ignored or dismissed as inconsequential.
    I do not believe that we should waste too much energy trying to convince people to change their beliefs when they do not have the capacity for change. They are too rooted in dogma and motivated by their own financial survival and status.
    I believe Mad in America’s greater gift is to offer an organization and support to those that instinctively know, without the benefit of a scientific study, that they would be better off without medication and those that want to help them. That awareness takes an evolution and strength that some may never achieve. Yet, Mad in America is providing that community and environment that is helping more and more people come to that knowledge by themselves. I applaud MIA and everyone involved for their courage and dedication to helping others at their own financial sacrifice.
    Are there MIA buttons? I would like to wear one and would delight in seeing Jeffrey Lieberman’s reaction in spotting it. We should celebrate the birthday of Mad in America. As the years have progressed, we see the growth of this organization in members and strength. So thanks Lieberman, for highlighting to your peers how strong your critics’ voices have become. And thank you again Robert Whitaker for providing a gathering place for those critics. Be persistent and consistent and eventually we will be heard.

  • Well, I’ve crossed the line. Last week I got my first paycheck from the above mentioned paid internship. In some respects, I’m sorry that I can no longer claim that I have never been paid for any mental health related work. On the other hand, it means that I am being taken more seriously and that society respects what I can offer from my experiences. O.K. that’s a bit of a stretch since my pay for a seven hour day is roughly equivalent to one 50 minute visit with a psychologist. However, it does indicate that Calgary is embracing the concept of peer support more wholeheartedly. I am participating in a formal trial training program for peer support workers in mental health. I hope it represents a significant, progressive step forward for this city’s mental health services. This program is through the same organization that facilitated the advocacy group I was in and there is talk that it will start up again. I am pleasantly surprised that peer support work is still moving ahead in Calgary.

  • You must be a very nice person considering how your sister-in-law was always diagnosing you and you still wish her the best. I would say it’s karma on her part. Yes, you are being the change agent, the leader in your family. Don’t underestimate yourself as with all that opposition, you are still trying a different route. Perhaps you saw on such an intimate level how the medical system failed your family and want a different life for yourself. Good for you and I really wish you the best. If you can, go to a conference. There’s was nothing quite like being at the Mad in America Film Festival, sitting in an auditorium of over a couple hundred people knowing that they had the same beliefs about psychiatric drugs as me. I wouldn’t waste your energy trying to convince your family members of a different way. Focus on healing yourself. Actions speak volumes more than words. Be the example.

  • Hi Claire, Thanks for reading my story. I have never heard voices so am probably not the best person to review your book. Might have better luck finding someone at the first North American held international conference of Intervoices in Boston this year. Sorry that you had bad experiences of meditation but I am not surprised. There are many different forms of meditation and different teachers. Unfortunately, many people can get on the wrong track and do meditation for years, and not get the benefits. In fact, for some that seem to get too caught up in it, I see that it it can be risky and not beneficial. We are all individuals and unfortunately there is nothing that I can guarantee in terms of recovery. I don’t try to profess to know the best way just this is what happened in my life.
    I have never gotten a mantra and falling down a lot doesn’t sound good to me. I have had some bad experiences with a couple of Indian gurus so I am NOT recommending that people need to hop on a plane to India to study meditation. If something like falling down a lot happens which I haven’t heard about before, I do advise finding another teacher. Word of mouth is a good way of finding one. Look at the health of the teacher and students for clues of how good the teacher is. Are the students showing growth and progress? Does the teacher have lots of long term students? I would try and find a meditation teacher that focuses more on sitting and being rather than one that wants to teach a lot of concepts. Someone that doesn’t want to be your guru but rather one that wants you to find your own inner guru. If the focus is on money, well that’s a red flag to me. As stated before, there are people that will take advantage of vulnerable people everywhere and that includes the meditation world. Good luck and it sounds like you have been and and are working to a place where you can help a lot of people for a long time. Thank you for adding your story and voice.

  • Hi Nomadic, Sorry for not responding earlier but I struggled with the tone of your writing. I laugh a bit when people say how calm I am writing about what happened to me. Well, I certainly didn’t start out that way. Unfortunately I was quite emotional, angry and still grieving. I still will get emotional but very seldom and usually not for very long. I say unfortunate because I think I came across as an emotional mess and therefore more proof that I was mentally ill. Just saying, that now when I calmly state the facts and look people in the eye, I seem to get their attention. At least I don’t give them any ammunition to work with to discredit my story. I think that you make some good points. Just don’t agree with your delivery.

  • Hi Jacqueline, Thanks for this post and the previous one. Sorry to be so late getting back to you. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the effort that you took to write these things. Sometimes it takes me awhile to come up with something meaningful to reply with. Also, not sure if people want me to reply or they just want to be heard and I wanted to let you know that I did read both your posts. You did bring up a new point in this second post though that I did want to elaborate on. You talk about the inter-generational history of mental illness diagnosed in your family. Instead of mental illness being hereditary, I think that you are pointing out that the stigma and financial burden caused by those diagnoses could be the cause of future generational issues of mental health. To me, your story points out, not the DNA factor of mental illness but the social pressures and financial environment that perpetuate the situation. Bravo and thank you for your courage.

  • Glad you told this story as it demonstrates within one family the different results achieved by following the medical model and not. I’d be surprised if the rest of your family wasn’t more amenable to your story now. Don’t be discouraged as your family and friends are all seeing this unfold and learning from it. You are making a difference being the example at the grassroots level. Eventually, we will all see results maybe not in our lifetimes but we are all planting the seeds.

  • Thank you Bradford. Still not sure about the iatrogenic neurolepsis point but I agree that those sorts of labels as a teenager must have been devastating for you and are for any anyone of that age. It certainly was for me and I was quite older. Parents believe that they are doing the very best for their children, putting their children in expert hands and by doing so perhaps creating problems that may have never occurred. Happy to see your story too. We can tell our stories and add to the evidence that the medical system doesn’t want to know about.

  • Thanks for the recommendation. I read the long synopsis on Wikipedia. The book I would like to recommend is one that I have been reading for a number of years and will probably continue to study for several more. It is “I am That (Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Mahaharaj)” first published in 1973 and considered a spiritual classic. It can be tough to find but I have successfully ordered copies for my meditation group directly from the publisher Acorn Press. Some of the chapter titles from the book: “All Suffering is Born of Desire”, “The Notion of Doership is Bondage.” and “Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure”. Certainly not a novel that is easy reading but worth studying. It has helped shape my view of life.

  • Hi Borat, I was so busy defending myself, I forgot some things I probably should say in terms of full disclosure. I did undertake some free training as a peer support worker on a volunteer basis. There was some talk of a paid internship but it never materialized. Now that I have published my story and it’s so obvious I don’t believe in the medical model, it will be interesting to see if that opportunity comes together. I have my doubts though. LOL. Also, after my story came out, the mental health advocacy group I was volunteering with got cancelled until the spring. I was told the facilitator was pulled to work on other things. Is there a connection with the publication of my story. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I have really felt better since getting my story out. It’s like a burden has been lifted from me.

  • Hi FeelinDiscouraged, I am glad that you escaped all that negativity but at the same time you left what support system you did have. Sorry, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I thought moving away was a good idea. There’s really no need for something so drastic, just pull away instead and practice setting up boundaries. It concerns me because you have isolated yourself and put yourself at more risk to those that will take advantage of vulnerable people. There are those people everywhere. I consider my nervous breakdown a wake-up call to pay attention, change my attitude, and life. Running away is not that, it’s avoiding the situation and you get the chance to recreate your problems all over again. If you were home then you could build on the safety net you had and you have a benchmark to measure your progress against. You may feel better at first, the exhilaration of a fresh, clean slate but you’ve perhaps just moved your history and house of problems somewhere else. Also, it’s quite stressful going somewhere totally new, without familiar surroundings and faces that you can trust and have stood the test of time. You may have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire and don’t realize it yet. I hope that one day you move back because making peace with your past is part of the final stages of recovery and finding peace in your life.

    I also felt that the psychotherapists were trying to drive a wedge between me and my family. Was it something that they were doing so we rely on them to keep going back? I paid for a lot of psychotherapy out of my own pocket and I just refused to spend any more money on it. It made me feel like a victim of my birth and I couldn’t understand how that would make me better. I still don’t get it.

  • Please refer your friend to the website Surviving Antidepressants. As I said in my story, I got off easy as I wasn’t on anti-psychotics for very long. My holistic healers agreed that the body is always trying to come into balance and it may shut down normal production of it’s own brain chemicals to compensate for the drugs. The body does NOT adapt that quickly. Your friend is really shooting himself in the foot by stopping cold turkey not just physically but also emotionally. I think a major factor for me was that I started succeeding and the success built. However, I had very low expectations and because I was employed was able to take my time. I was in a stable place so I could heal. I have my reservations about nutritional therapy. If the body isn’t well enough to absorb nutrients then everything’s going down the toilet. Remember in my story that one of the things my herbalist initially worked with was the health of my elimination system. Holistic healers seem to have a better detailed understanding of how the body works. Nutritional therapy seems rather simplistic, maybe too simplistic. I don’t have that much experience coming off drugs but I believe the psychiatric survivor community. It’s dangerous stopping cold turkey! Perhaps give him a copy of Will Hall’s free online Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs. Recovery takes time and there’s a part of me that thinks the slower, the more anchored it is and the more confidence you can have in it. Hopefully, your friend can give himself some time and give himself more options instead of being so black and white. Don’t know what else to say. Ultimately, it is your friend’s choice and journey.

  • Thanks for the info but I don’t think Toxidrome was the reason in my case. I was never on more than one anti-depressant at a time. When I went into psychosis, I wasn’t taking any anti-depressant and hadn’t for some time because I didn’t react well to them. The six year number was more of a start to end time frame for when I was engaged with the medical system. I was not involved in either psychotherapy or anti-depressants constantly throughout that time frame. Perhaps I should have written it as “I just grew worse and worse despite all the psychotherapy and various anti-depressants that my doctor prescribed.” Please remember that there is a word limit to how long a submission should be and I was trying to be brief so people would finish reading it. Thanks for your input though.