Saturday, March 25, 2023

Comments by Andylion

Showing 3 of 3 comments.

  • Hey Kindred Spirit,

    I find it a little puzzling that you would say that the article shames people who have spoken out about the harms that psychiatric drugs have had on their lives. I am one of those people, and Sera Davidow invited me to take part of a project called “The Virtues of Non-compliance”, where I was able to speak some to the ways that SSRI drugs really wrecked my life and how I got “better” only by going off all of my medications. That project was made into a movie, “The Virtues Of Non-Compliance.” Sera was involved in another movie project called “Beyond the Medical Model.” I’d encourage you to check them both out.

    I appreciate your passion, and want to acknowledge the harm that has been done to you. I do not believe that the spirit of this article is to take away from that. Both Sera and Caroline have written countless articles about the harms of psychiatric drugs and the lies that the pharmaceutical industry has perpetuated in order to defend them. They are both tireless advocates who have lifted up the voices of folks like myself, who have been irreparably harmed by the pharmaceutical industry. I have no doubt that if the causes and conditions came together in the right situation, they would lift your voice up as well. I have seen them work together to do this for countless people.


  • This is a great article, very well written Sera. During my time with the Western Mass RLC, I have seen the impact this work has had on so many lives, it is really hard to quantify. While the data we have collected has been overwhelmingly positive, I agree that the real “evidence” is the people themselves, and the stories that they share. – Andy Beresky

  • Working for the Western Mass RLC has literally changed my life. I used to just work whatever job I could find, and I worked doing a lot of different things. I never held a job for more than two years, as I was never passionate about them; they never spoke to me, nor who I really am. It was just about earning a paycheck, and as a result, I’d eventually become disillusioned and bored with my previous jobs. Obviously I was deeply unhappy and took medications just to get through the day to day of such a dreary existence.

    Eventually, I got sick of that. I couldn’t do it anymore. I spent nearly a year working odd jobs for money. I spent the rest of my time in meditation, really trying to figure out who I am and what I really wanted to be. I stopped all of my medications, and gradually I was able to think much clearer. It wasn’t easy, and I almost went back to taking another crappy, easy job just for the steady paycheck. Fortunately, I did not get the job, and the same week I read an advertisement posted by the Western Mass RLC, for the new peer respite that they were opening. My first thought upon reading the add was, “This needs to exist, the world needs this. There were so many times that I could have used this.” This was the first time in my life that a job had ever spoken to me, it was like something deep inside of me started moving, and came alive for the first time. I wrote a cover letter talking about this experience along with my resume. This was the first time I was ever truly honest about how I felt, because I was honest with myself about it, rather than dismissing it as irrational and “nutty.”

    A few months later I worked the first day that Afiya opened, and although it took me some time to grow comfortable in my role here, from that first day I felt like this was what I was always supposed to do. At first I was a bit quiet, and thoughtful about what I shared and how much of myself I showed to my co-workers and the greater community. I’m a weird dude. I have weird tastes and preferences, and although I could relate to people superficially around those common interests, all my life I’d felt like an outsider.

    Though my work was wonderful, and the feelings derived from doing something so radical and making such an impact on the world were enormously gratifying, it’s really my interactions with the greater RLC community that’s allowed me for the first time in my life to feel truly accepted. I no longer feel like an outsider, because I literally have a community all around me at all times. I’ve learned to trust others, to ask them for support when I need it, and to most importantly trust myself. My experiences with the Western Mass RLC have enhanced my personal relationships with my family and friends, and pretty much dispelled all of my social anxieties. I’m still an introvert, though over the past three years, I’ve just felt more and more that I can naturally relate to any person socially.

    Cutting funding to this community will be a terrible blow in many ways. It will limit the opportunities for people to have experiences like the personal ones that I’m relating above. It will limit peoples’ abilities to form connections and access support at the RLC Centers. It will restrict the amount of outreach we can do within the more traditional systems, and how much we can travel to present on our model and to speak our truths.

    It’s definitely not about the money. There are countless people who tell me, sometimes every day, “The supports from the Recovery Learning Community keeps me out of jail, going to the RLC Centers keeps me out of the hospital, I don’t go to the traditional respites anymore because I go to Afiya.” All of those are significantly more expensive overall to the state budget. For example, a stay in the behavioral health section of a hospital costs around $3,000 a day. Think about how many people on State insurance go to the hospital, and how many days they end up staying there. A program like Afiya focuses specifically on hospital diversion. The RLC saves money the government money; that’s the bottom line. If every person who stayed at Afiya went to the hospital for seven days instead, the cost would be roughly 4.2 million. That’s a fraction of the budget here. Granted, not everyone who goes to the hospital is on state insurance, though even if only a small percentage are, it’s still saving money. Factor in the supports from the greater RLC community, the Resource Centers, Hearing Voices Network, and Alternatives to Suicide, and we’re helping a lot of people move through their experiences without seeking significantly more costly options.

    Those are the facts, peer supports are truly under assault, and it’s time for not just the RLC community, but all the movements within our country seeking to offer valid alternatives to the traditional model, to band together and institute real radical changes. We need to prove to these people that we’re not just some disposable line item on their inflated budgets, that we are real people with real lives and real stories, and that we are supporting real people in THEIR communities. When they cut this funding, they are hurting their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, as they’re taking away a very viable option that has countless success stories to support its importance in the world….

    – Andy Beresky