Showing 100 of 277 comments.
Great article. Clears up a lot of big questions. Thanks, Sera!
Very, very important stuff. Thanks for posting.
Very important stuff. Thanks for posting about this. The DSM is a terribly misguided book for all the reasons you say that psychologists talk about here.
It’s nice as always to see you’re still out there and active with the process. Good for you. I had wondered what you were up to, not having seen your name on MIA in a while.
I think you described the difficulties of meditation well. I’d just like to add one thing from my own experience.
There is a kind of resistance to letting go and just being there, as you described. For me, it comes in the form of a kind of nervousness and panic at the feeling of opening up and truly letting go and just being there. It’s alarming to feel your sense of yourself becoming exposed like that all of a sudden, and the instinct is to pull back and not do it. I think that is what you were describing.
What I do is remain completely still for a few moments, and as this sense of panic begins in me (it’s gotten much milder with time and practice) what I do is literally nothing except to breath and let myself feel that. It moves through you, and it wakes up your awareness and your senses as the world begins to come into you. Then, all of a sudden, as you just breath and let the feelings move through you, all the resistance just vanishes, and you find yourself simply there. No resistance, no difficulty at all. Just there and perfectly comfortable being in the moment. It only takes a couple minutes of effort and then you’re home free.
Thanks for the article. I think a lot of people try meditation and then they think it’s just not for them because they aren’t instantaneously enlightened, and the best thing for them is for people like ourselves to share the problems and what we’ve found for solutions.
I hope you’re doing well and we hear more from you soon.
Dr. Breggin, I would like to say that, in reading the comments that precede this one, it seems to me that almost all of them reflect a lack of understanding of what you wrote. That may be understandable, but I think it’s still sad and a little alarming that the readers of a website that often talks about how adversity and trauma are the possible sources of so-called psychotic experience are unable to grasp that what that means is that a lack of love, protection, and companionship at an early age is almost sure to change us, not for the better or worse really, but simply in how we relate to the world and treat the others who are in it.
I think you pretty much nailed the problem right on the head. I was particularly glad to see you contrast love with the survival of the fittest. It’s a sadly neglected understanding of how evolution works that there is not only competition between members of the same species but a great deal of cooperation that needs to take place between the various members of a society. Together we can do far more than we could ever do alone. That’s important.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m sure there are many people who would agree with you.
Thanks for asking about all this. My lawyer did his job to the best of his ability and his knowledge. He had no idea the “incident with the candle” was going to come up since he knew nothing about it. I couldn’t speak up during the counsellor’s testimony, and I was too engaged in what he was saying to write down what I was thinking in a note to my lawyer. It wasn’t a matter of incompetence, in other words. It was simply a matter of being caught off guard by the testimony.
Yes, it was hard. It was more than 25 years ago, however, so the sting of it all is gone.
Ann was very isolated. You never saw her on campus, or so seldom that I can’t remember anything more than seeing her outside the dining hall once. All she did was smile her strange smile, give me a tiny little wave that no one else would be able to see, and keep walking. It’s just who she was. She had more art in her room than I have ever seen in anyone’s house.
She was a rare individual.
That’s probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my writing, and I do appreciate the feedback. Good luck.
Thanks very much.
Sorry for this very late response, but I have only just seen this now, on the first of December (occasionally I go back through the comments section to answer people’s questions and comments, if it seems like that’s what they’re looking for).
There’s a simple reason that you can believe in God on a throne with choirs of angels, or in therians, etc., and never have any psychiatrist or other MH professional come after you. It’s about the simplest thing in the world. In the U.S., psychiatry never goes after religion. We have freedom of expression, thought, religion, etc., right there in the Constitution, and anyone — and I do mean anyone — who tries to go after religion will be attacked, harassed, etc. They do not allow anyone to attack them and get away with it. Also, the establishment is still, at least on the outside, religious, and when some psychiatrist decides he can go after people who believe in God or whatever else, all those politicians frown and clamp down on the psychiatrists.
You will, quite literally, never see psychiatry go after religion in the United States.
Very clever. It reminds me of Prof. Bentall’s proposition that happiness is a mental disorder, with symptoms of causing you to feel giddy and to engage in spontaneous, impulsive behavior.
Yes, oldhead, it would be nice if some progressive psychologists and psychiatrists made themselves available to provide expert testimony. Unfortunately, everyone has to make a living, so instead of helping us they go to their jobs. I’m sure that many of them, if they had the time and money, would bend over backwards to help us in any way they could. Until it becomes an organized movement I wouldn’t count on that happening.
Good to know that you all didn’t give up on your battle. Congratulations on the settlement, and do — please — continue to pursue justice for the victims, both those who survived and those who didn’t, who have been ignored for too long. Thank you.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to the article. However, I wanted to respond myself to something you said.
As I understand it, the option to refuse drugs is something that varies state by state. In some states they can drug you immediately, no matter what you say or do. In some states you have to be shown to be a danger to yourself or others, that there is a danger of imminent harm. But both systems do exist. I live in a state where you can refuse, but once you are declared nuts they can do what they want with you or at least whatever your guardian (if the court has appointed one) will permit.
I imagine that every state has its own variations on the procedure, but the enforcement of AOT usually involves the police. If you aren’t taking your meds or aren’t showing up for appointments, they consider this a violation of your AOT requirements, and then the cops come and drag you back to the state hospital.
I’m in the U.S., if you want to know. What I am describing in this article is probably a pretty common experience in the U.S.
And also since you ask, they are aware that I write for MIA. I’m sure that they have no clue what MIA really is. They asked me about it at the hearing. They seemed to want to make MIA out to be this fly-by-night, amateur, fringe publication, which pretty clearly demonstrates that they don’t really know what they’re looking at, so they are probably unaware of the significance of anything we’re discussing here.
I liked your story. You have a wonderful attitude about it all. I am also right out in the open about my unusual beliefs. Good luck.
Great article. I especially like how you took each statement of Dr. Frances’s and broke it down, or how you went back through the history of a diagnosis and showed the progression of changes. It takes a topic that people may not realize actually has a history that is relevant and important, and clears up the confusion. This is the kind of nuts-and-bolts thinking that we need to get out there for people to see so they can make up their own minds what they think of it all. This article is a great resource.
Thanks for posting this. Staying aware of this kind of stuff is important.
Well done, Dr. Levine.
Nicely written piece and informative. Thanks.
Great to read your story. I hope you are and remain well.
Thanks for your article. It was very informative and well-written.
Thanks. An important subject.
Let me congratulate you on your good work.
There’s a reason that Central Park in New York City is crowded every weekend.
“Our movement, right from the beginning with Patsy Hage, Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, has paved the way for voice hearers to finally be “seen” as wholly human. Creating a community that would accept us and the voices we hear, fully. We do not have to live at the mercy of a world that only accepts what it can personally understand. We have the right to hear voices and no longer be hidden away in the attic of taboo and misunderstood experiences. The freedom to hear voices is truly a fundamental human right.”
I’m not sure that rights apply — I mean, you’re hearing voices, it’s not like you went out and got a license for it. There is nothing in any foundational legal document anywherere that talks about hearing voices as a “right.” It is not, after all, something one chooses to do. Otherwise I completely agree.
Nice story. Glad you followed your dreams. God bless.
An important but neglected topic.
Thanks for this important update.
Important information. Thanks.
Great to see you all sticking with this effort to change things with antidepressants.
Great article and list of resources! I was particularly struck by the part about “safety.” This was something that always struck me as very odd and very skewed when I was in a psych ward — the constant concern and questions about “safety.” “Are you safe?” seemed like this endless, meaningless refrain that could only result in horrible consequences if answered in the negative. There are lots of questions like this. At the hospital emergency room now (at least in my state) they ask “Are you thinking about hurting yourself or someone else?” Only a complete fool or someone with absolutely no experience of the system would ever answer this in the affirmative. Or: “Have you been feeling down, depressed, or lacked interest in things lately?” Again, another one-way trip to the psych ward, forced medication, and then AOT, if you’re lucky. If you’re not, it’s electroshock and God knows what else. Anyway, the safety thing struck me in particular, but the whole article is well thought out and informative. Thank you.
As to the type of comments you are likely to receive, it should be more than obvious that ANY link between improved fitness and the types of drugs that those with SMI are taking is bound to be weak. Metabolic syndrome, for instance, as if the name weren’t enough of a hint already, basically shuts down your system. Massive increased weight gain, lethargy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes . . . although it may be only anecdotal (will it be more official if I call it a “case study”?) after a couple years on antipsychotics I could not keep up on a walk with my 70 year old mother when previously I had been very fit, and in less than six months off them I was back to my old self — after a lot of work, of course. Add this neuroleptic malignant syndrome, with its loss of pleasure in any activities, including physical, and you not only largely account for what are called negative symptoms but which I believe are actually drug effects, and you describe a situation in which any studies of the effect of physical activity on those with SMI are bound to have weak results. Sorry to go on so long, but I figured I night just as well simply sum up the responses you should be able to expect since they are all so familiar to me.
I can think of few things as despicable as experimenting in this way on children, especially if they do a more extensive study.
Good news for once!
Never having been suicidal myself (except in those few moments of extreme duress when hearing voices that wouldn’t stop, day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute) my principal concern is psychosis, not depression or suicide. Yet the whole question involved in any of these is the effects of modern “treatment” modalities, including drugs, and it has been an eye-opening experience for me to learn about the increased violence and suicidality associated with modern antidepressants. Your report greatly deepens that knowledge. Thank you.
Good luck with it all. As you say, it can be — or has been — a pretty rough environment at times, with people doing nothing but insulting psychiatrists, etc., who may not as a general class be my favorite group of people but most of whom I have found to be genuinely caring individuals, even if misguided by the medical model. Even that is something of a generalization — and I am guilty of the occasional generalization myself. However, your guidelines would certainly lead to a more civil discussion arena, in which the various gladiators put down their swords and instead embrace one another in fellowship. Best of luck to you. It’s not an easy job, I’m sure.
I call a Nazi a Nazi, Rachel, not some new-fangled marketing term like alt-right. A Nazi is a Nazi, and that’s it.
I don’t know anything about Breitbart, gay or not, but one thing I can guarantee you is this: when the Nazis take over, they don’t play games with who’s gay or a little different or maybe had a felony once. They kill you. They kill you. Hitler was more than happy to have the gay people and the criminals and the sadists working on his side — until he was actually in power. Then he killed them off, en masse. That’s the reality, regardless of any rhetoric you might have heard. And the Nazis now would do the same thing.
Real Nazis are about conformity to a certain conception of power, and they have very, very strict ideas about purity and morality, and to deviate from them is to condemn yourself to death, regardless of how they may use you in the short term to achieve their ends.
The whole article is interesting, actually, and well worth reading. It covers much more than just the so-called “personality disorders.”
First, I’m afraid that my experience is not much different from yours. As for court-appointed lawyers, they seem to have already decided the case is hopeless and so, rather than listening to you explain things on their merits, they simply go into court and give the same speech they’ve given a thousand times, which might sound good on camera but which addresses none of your individual needs. Second, another thing I have encountered is that court-appointed lawyers tend to be second-rate burnouts who shouldn’t even be practicing law any more; after all, if they were really any good, they wouldn’t be taking cut-rate cases from kangaroo courts where the outcomes are basically predetermined. And third, never trust anyone who wears a badge issued by the institution they are supposedly opposing; if they are that cozy with the opposition, you can rest assured that their interests — their relationship with the other side and the judge — will easily take precedence over defending your case.
As for the The Forced Drugging Defense Package, the attorney I am working with now, who seems honest and conscientious, said that most of it would be impermissible as it would be considered hearsay, but that he would try to work some of it in by having me read sections of it, along with sections of my own letter, into the record to show “the sort of thing that make me question the system of psychiatry and drugging.” At least he’s making an effort.
No, I meant another country. You can get a travel visa and move to a very inexpensive country and then seek asylum once you get there. This is what I myself may do at some point.
Go right ahead.
There actually already is an underground railroad for people trying to escape the system. You might not have heard about it, because they keep themselves very quiet, but they do exist already.
As a person with lived experience who has also been misdiagnosed (over and over), I cannot adequately say how important this article is. I have told people over and over and over again (including in my articles for MIA) that the real way to go about things is to take people at their word, not as you choose to reinterpret it into some framework of your own. This would help things immensely, and clear up much misunderstanding.
Thank you. Good luck to your sister. There are still a few states which do not follow AOT orders from other states, although it is not easy to determine which ones. What I suggest is looking around and exploring the options. The other option is simply to move to another country. If your sister receives disability, those payments should continue even in another country, where it might be cheaper to live and where the onerous system of AOT is not in place. Just put on a backpack, get a ticket, and go. This is what I may be forced to resort to myself. Again, good luck to you both.
I suffer at times from chronic pain. Does meditation help? Yes, but only so much. Opiates are not the evil they are being made out to be. They may have been overprescribed to people who didn’t need them, but there are other people who do in fact need them. This is how it works: go too far in one direction (prescribing) and then have a reaction and go too far in the other direction (not prescribing) and treat those who need them as mere drug seekers looking for a thrill. This is how it works with medicine, and how it is working now.
Also, I have a supplementary document that addresses the AOT people’s complaints that covers many of these subjects. Don’t worry, I’ve got this covered from all angles. Not that it will do me any good.
Thank you. I don’t have time to find an attorney around here (very rural) who could do this, but if I could I would. In the meantime, I am submitting my own letter ahead of time in the hopes that it will be read. I don’t expect it to be, but I had to make the effort.
There is a whole separate section for submitting art, which you can find by looking for the art section on the right hand side of the page, where it lists the contact information to contact that editor and submit art.
I’m sorry you went through what you went through. Some day this will end. We may not see the day soon, but it will end.
Thank you for your time-consuming and considerate reply. Why no one with legal experience has yet orgnanized such a body is outside my understanding. Certainly I know of a few people who would be capable of starting such a movement. Perhaps I will contact a few of them and see what they say.
Thank you for the information. I have heard about other states as well that do not have AOT arrangements and do not follow the arrangements made in other states. They seem more attractive all the time.
Congratulations on your success. I also got off scot free for many years, but it was after I withdrew from drugs and had a dangerous neurofeedback session that I became psychotic again and checked myself into a hospital, where they promptly stripped me of my rights. Good luck to you in the future.
Thank you for the suggestion. In regards to your earlier comment, I also do not believe this letter will make any difference at all in the resolution of my case. Nevertheless, I am the sort of person who keeps fighting back, no matter how hopeless the cause, and so I had to write it.
Thank you. Very well composed and thought out.
Important work. The emphasis is so much these days on quantitative studies that the importance of in-depth qualitative work is lost.
Good luck in your endeavors.
Good to see this work expanding beyond the purely English-speaking world.
Thank you for your story. All too common. Even in parts of Africa, those perceived to have mental afflictions are chained to trees very often. This sort of thing must end. The only questions are: when? and: what do we have to do to stop it?
Thank you as always.
A wonderful idea, regardless of how it was executed.
Very nice, well-composed article that lays out the issues clearly and succinctly. Thank you.
Thanks to Dr. Moncrieff for her excellent article.
I was unaware of that. Thanks for the information.
Important as always. Thanks.
Thanks so much for sharing this. My mother also did not give up hope, even if she went with the drug model. I guess that’s the only choice for some people. I hope your son is doing well and that you yourself are doing okay. It’s very important for people to share their personal stories. I’m glad that you have.
Thanks for your very enlightening and obviously time-consuming reply — I appreciate the effort. You did a better job of explaining my four points than I did, but I was going for brevity, not the whole experience itself.
I am neither a scientist nor very well mathematically informed, but what you say about the numbers only makes sense. This is a very clear piece of data (NNT numbers) that I should hope the public would be informed about, but when even I, who reads everything he can about the subject, have no idea what all of this means, then the general public is bound to be hopelessly misinformed of what’s happening. I can only hope that these conclusions will form a chapter of your latest book.
Nice article. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thank you for your comments. Very interesting.
Personally, I believe that neurofeedback in all its different forms will replace much of what psychiatry is doing now, and the more information we get out there as soon as possible about it, the better. It sounds like you had a more positive experience with it all than me, and I congratulate you on it. Perhaps it will become truly useful and safe in the future.
I appreciate especially that you are going to deal with the issue of suffering among those with unusual experiences. There is far too often an emphasis by writers that what they experienced was purely an uplifting experience. This is something that is simply and blatantly untrue for many of us, if not most of us. I hope you are able to explore it well and that people come to a better understanding that it is not one, but both.
Good for you that you are so willing to do the work that needs to be done.
And good luck to you too!
Monica, it’s always great to hear from you.
Like you, I believe that given enough time, we can recover from what was done to our brains.
However, my experience unleashed a period of psychosis that lasted two and a half years. That was when I contacted you for the first time, and you were the only person to respond to my cries for help. For that, I am eternally grateful.
However, neurofeedback is brand new, and they don’t know what they’re doing yet. I’m glad that it helped you, but it is very important that people know what they may be in store for. I myself had no idea of the profundity of what was about to happen.
There are people who swear by the drugs, and I am sure there are people who swear by neurofeedback. In the end, I believe that neurofeedback will be a very powerful resource, but I am also sure that when done the wrong way on the wrong brains that it will be just as dangerous, just as powerful, and just as overwhelming as the drugs ever were.
And with all that said, I hope that you call me some time. It’s always a great conversation, and regardless of our different perspectives, I always come away with something new.
I thought I was in, as you describe it, active neurofeedback. The passive form, where things are simply done to your brain without any control of what’s happening, strikes me as extremely perilous. Thank you for your clarification between the two.
i appreciate your concerns, and I also believe that neurofeedback is the future. At this point, however, it is still in in its most dangerous stages, much like drugs in the latter half of the 20th century, or like metrazol or insulin shock in the thirties and forties. There is a lot of work to be done — and there is nothing to indicate that neurofeedback, practiced with our primitive tools, will be any better. In fact, in combination with brains surgery (implants like they do with depression) there is no indication that with our modern technology that they will be any better. But thank you for your response, which I am sure is based on good experience and may lead to improvements in the future.
Ummm . . . diagnoses never go away. I hate to say this, but once your medical record is established, any practitioner who reads them will see what other say and what others have repeated. You can disagree, of course, but it’s like any institution. The records are the records. I have personal experience with getting something as simple as high blood sugar taken off my record (gone long ago), and yet no one listens or records this. Never mind a diagnosis of schizophrenia or depression. But good luck to you if you try.
Great podcast. Hope you both continue the good work.
The doctor was quite concerned and wanted to do what he could to reverse the process. I guess that’s possible with the kind of neurofeedback I had experienced. At that point, however, with my voices back in full command of my mind, I didn’t feel that going back for more was really the answer. In fact, I will not be willing to undergo any form of neurofeedback or anything else, like transcranial magnetic whatever it is, as these strike me as dangerously powerful and yet very primitive in their effect, which no one really knows about. Thanks for your question.
Thanks for your response. I am not simply opposed to neurofeedback, but it seems to me that at this point what they are doing is essentially experimenting on people to see what happens. That’s not what I signed up for. I will, however, do my best to keep an open mind about it all.
I wish all of you well.
Believe it or not, it is directly physical. Sound entering your ears, magnets on the back of your brain, tapping your fingers to reinforce a good thought — these are all real, and they do have powerful effects. Nothing, however, affects your brain like light entering your eyes or like magnets pulsing in your brain. These are the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off next to a computer. Your brain is an electric device, not just biological, and the power by whatever means that enters directly into your brain is considerable.
Thanks for your reference to the article. Neurology, as it is currently practiced, is a brand-new field with almost limitless potential for damage as well as possible enhancement of human abilities, but I happen to believe that letting nature do its thing like it has for a few million years now is probably the best course — especially with my experience of it all.
“Precision medicine” — excuse me, but what the fuck is that? Is this like cancer, where you go after specific cells? Or is this like mainstream fundamentalist religion, where you tell desperate people what they want so awfully to hear?
The acid test, of course, is whether it works. It won’t. But once again there is going to be a lot of hoopla to make people forget the last round of hoopla, which also meant and did nothing more than the meaningless round of hoopla that came before that. And so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
Thanks for your article. It was most clear and succinct.
I move pretty freely between the two at this point.
Thanks for the interview. Never having been the victim of sexual assault, it’s important to get that perspective and how it relates to psychiatric assault.
I hope it does not turn out as grim as that, but I am also alarmed at what I see.
Great work. Thank you.
Thank you. And yes: Cool Hand Luke, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I consider it my moral duty to resist, if not for myself, then for others — or I did then, but I’m older and much too tired now to fight back that way again.
Yes, I have been force-sedated a few times. I have also been forced to take Haldol, which, as you probably know, can cause some pretty severe akithisia. Why? Is this some kind of contest about who’s had it worse, or was it maybe just that I eventually figured out how to deal with the system better than some other people have?
Congratulations to you both (Laura and James) on this fine work.