I have been an unwilling “consumer” of mental health services. I was under forced psychiatric treatment for a period of 18 months, following an arrest for making 20 some calls to 911 over 2 days. I was in psychosis, a direct result of the abrupt cessation of Valium. I had been on it for more than 3 years when my first psychiatrist told me to taper off 30mg a day in a period of 2 weeks (medical malpractice at its finest). But I digress. After being jailed for a while and overmedicated on hdol and some other drug I can’t recall, I was eventually transferred to a local psychiciatric ward, and eventually given an injection of Invega. The next day I nearly died, of a cardiac arrest brought upon by multiple pulmonary emboli. I managed to survive after 16 minutes of CPR and drugs and shocking my heart. It was na long and difficult recovery, being hospitalized for months and basically unable to ambulate or speak for months. I was told that the Invega injection had paralyzed my throat. I believe it did more than that. I have a nagging feeling that injection was the actual cause of my near death experience. So as soon as I had recovered from the PE, I was off to court, where I pled not guilty by reason of insanity and my plea was accepted. I thought that was that, not guilty and I’d go on my merry way. But not so fast… I was made to sign a document with the court, declaring me a mentally ill person. I was ambushed by a case manager and the head of the mental health services board, and told that I was going to have to do 18 months of Conditional Release with county supervision. The agreement I signed, to stay out of jail, included 18 months of psychiatric treatment, including me taking every medication that the county psychiatrist would prescribe. This included SEVEN different psychiatric medications. I was flabbergasted and dismayed. But being put on klonopin ended my suicidal ideation and took away the akathisia I’d developed after being denied benzodiazepines for tapering purposes after my hospitalization when I began to experience acute benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. So I did my drugs as instructed, always under threat of urine tests. I became apathetic and depressed. I also was forced to attend weekly “therapy” sessions as well as monthly psychiatrist visits. I was not a fan of my meds, and I completely disagreed with the diagnosis od schizophrenia. I was a 49 year old woman with no history of psychiatric issues. I knew that it was the bad tapering experience that caused my symptoms, which were classified as paranoid schizophrenia. I know that there’s no absolute test that can prove such a diagnosis. But I did as I was told, I did my 18 months, I took what was prescribed without fail. In the period after my conditional was over, I’d taken multiple trips to the psych ward due to rapid tapering of klonopin, advised by my county psychiatrist. It left me feeling vulnerable, as I could be imprisoned in the psychiatric ward just on the word of anyone who suspected I was suffering symptoms of mental illness. I certainly do not want to see anyone else go through what I had to endure to stay out of jail. Although my story is not good, there were definitely people who had it worse than I did. Most of the others in my therapy group had spent months, if not years, in mental health facilities, and most were living in group homes and on disability for their psychiatric diagnoses. I thank my husband often for agreeing to let me live with him, and he took me to my appointments and therapy groups. Otherwise I too would have had to reside in a group home. And from what I heard from the residents there, it wasn’t fun to li9a group home. I am very against any sort of forced psychiatric or any unwanted medication routines forced upon people by the mental health system. I believe with all my heart that people should have the choice whether ot not to undergo psychiatric treatment, and that forcing medication upon people is a violation of their freedom. I look forward to getting involved in activism to prevent unwanted treatment by innocent people who may have a psychiatric diagnosis. Psychiatry has largely failed us, I feel, as an unwilling patient with the experience of being forced to take multiple medications which basically changed my personality, my weight (I gained 90 pounds in those 18 months due to an anti psychotic medication, and then basically blamed for it by my caseworker). It changed how I view the police and the court system, and I believe that there’s a lot at stake for anyone declared mentally ill by a court. I cannot believe that in a so-called free country, I could be forced to take medication that could change me so negatively and so severely, and that after it was over, I now must spend almost a decade getting myself off the rest of the medications. I welcome any opportunity to tell my story if it would benefit any person going through forced treatment. I want the world to know what the courts and the psychiatrist and the forced medication have done to change my life course, for the worst possible trajectory.