Friday, March 24, 2023

Comments by Astra

Showing 12 of 12 comments.

  • Reading this article felt like looking into a mirror. I was born in the late 90s, but nearly everything else is identical. I went to Catholic school as someone who had suicidal ideation since the 4th grade when I started puberty, and it was somewhat related to my gender identity and sexuality.

    I was surrounded by family and school faculty that shut me down and told me to have more faith when I was dealing with my emotions. Eventually, I too used the internet because it is a profoundly lonely experience feeling like no one wants or understands you at that age. I’ve never had the cops called on me for expressing my feelings (though I had that threatened by family members if I kept telling them my honest thoughts), but unrestricted internet access lead me to meeting people who took advantage of me as a child. I just wanted to feel loved and understood for who I was, not how I felt.

    I went to school for psychology because I believed I was not alone and could do something within the mental health system that I felt totally failed by (I have been in therapy for most of my life! I was still molested, told being nonbinary was not real, and told my thoughts were dangerous). I have graduated with a bachelor’s and feel completely stuck, as my view of the mental health system has changed. I do not think I can truly help people from within the traditional master’s degrees in mental health counseling (social work or psych).

    I apologize that this comment is so long; I felt compelled to write it and to ask you the following question because I see much of myself in your story. Do you have any suggestions on where one can go OUTSIDE of the traditional mental health system to help people as a profession? I guess I should spesify that I am not religious, still queer, and have 25k in student debt. Thank you for reading.

  • I do not know why researchers tend to do this. When I wrote about my own psych studies in college, I was told that if the data does not support the hypothesis, the discussion/conclusion should go on to explain why that may be, even if it runs totally contradictory to our background research. There’s enough literature on why genetic testing for psychiatric issues is a confusing and confounding mess at the moment. Why make a statement like this at the end of an article, again, is beyond me.

  • “From his perspective, it was important for the survivor movement to avoid making all mental health professionals into antagonists, which could prevent more genuine dialogue with mental health professionals.”

    I am grappling with this statement. I never know what I am going to get when I interact with a mental health professional. All of them are potential antagonists because the system they operate in tolerates abuse and neglect. They hold power over me, inherently, by their position as “healer.” Yes, some of them do try to offset that power imbalance and can be life changing, I’ve met them few and far between.

    After my undergraduate degree in psychology and 8 years of lived experience in the mental health system, I just cannot trust the majority of “them.” I will not be hostile outright to individual practitioners — but just saying I cannot trust them, I am sure I could be labeled as “paranoid” and therefore hostile. Trust is earned. Until psychiatry makes amends with its inherent mistrust of the patient as a system, I cannot trust even myself to work among them.

    Smaller movements may be the better option. I just don’t know how I’d be able to support myself.

  • E. Baden,

    Right as the Pandemic hit, I was about to apply to graduate school for clinical psychology or clinical social work. At that point, I had major aspirations about working towards system wide change from within the field. I always knew I disagreed with psychiatry, yet I pursued an education in it (I believed at one point that I would find like minded people from within it). Of course, no one person can change a system, nor can one organization.

    I did not realize that until I truly had time to think as getting my master’s became more and more of a pipe dream (many schools/departments were so busy with managing their services during the pandemic, few could really speak to me about their programs). If you find a non-psychiatric job that allows you to show compassion and understanding from outside the system, please update us. I’m trying to do that as well with no direction and no upper education.

  • Thank you for the linked website. I am first going to try the “old fashion” way of trying to convince my prescriber that there’s no reason for me to be on a seizure medication, and I don’t even have a diagnosed mood disorder. My prescriber said to me, and I quote, “Unfortunately I cannot prescribe something to fix the pandemic, or the stress is causes. Are you doing okay with your 100mg of lamictal?”

    The Zoloft is next after that. I am lucky to be on “low” doses of both, but I’m sick of being on them because I know what they’ll do to me long term.

  • I remember being honest with my NP during April of 2020 — I was on the brink of failing my honors thesis because I was so anxious from the isolation + feeling like nothing was in my control that I couldn’t even open my emails from my professors trying to help me. I would cry uncontrollably for days.

    For some reason she put me on LAMICTAL. I was so desperate I just took it. I can only imagine, as you mentioned, the wave of people becoming injured by psych meds they were given due to the pandemic. I am trying to get off my lamictal before I suffer seizures for the remainder of my life.

  • Really?!

    Perhaps I don’t know enough people with back pain (I myself have some issues given the physicality of my career), but this article’s statistics are shocking to me. I wish my zoloft took away my back pain, damn!

    Then again, whatever pharma companies can get away with marketing their pills for (whether or not the pills actually treat it, or if they work at all) shouldn’t really be surprising to people who are informed on how pharma works.

  • Cabrogal,

    I agree 100%. Often times I feel like I’m burning out and I’m only in my early 20s. Though, I suppose constantly working to attain some goal of supporting myself with no real direction will do that. I am seeking some form of employment where I can make even small changed in indivduals lives that doesn’t require me to do back breaking work (my home health aide job, for example). Not sure if I need a degree to do so, or not. I admit the method I am currently using steers towards sacrificing myself.

  • Thank you for responding.

    My main goal, like many others (I’d assume), is to support myself financially while doing something I find meaningful. Activism and public education has always been very meaningful to me. I was told by my professors that my degree would be useless unless I also went for my masters (which I suppose is true, since they assumed I wanted to do clinical work). Since I’ve been told that, I’ve been paranoid that I’m doing the *wrong* thing financially by holding off on masters school.

    What kinds of organizations do you suggest looking for? I am not familiar with the sort that could actually pay me for working there.

  • Laura,

    Thank you for writing this article. I am a recent psych undergrad, emerging from the pandemic more disillusioned than ever about our mental health “system.” I wanted to study psychiatry because I wanted to understand why people like myself, my parents, my loved ones, were being abused and misused on their “treatment” journeys.

    The things I’ve heard professors say about not only the things I’ve been diagnosed with, but others (especially personality disorders) makes me glad I’m far away from my place of learning. I could go on about how our experiences are similar, but I do have a question.

    I am afraid of going to clinical grad school for the exact reasons you’ve outlined here. I have 25k in debt, and due to COVID, no counseling on what or where I should go next. My college did not have a social work program, but the longer I studied psychology, the longer I understood that actually helping people enmass from within the field wouldn’t be viable. When I brought this up to my professors for guidance, most shrugged and said it was outside their area of expertise, and couldn’t recommend any social workers to me.

    Would you, or any other commenters, suggest social work, or another field? I currently work for a dollar above minimum wage in a nursing related field and I’m at my breaking point. I’m young, but it doesn’t feel like there’s much left for me. I spent my early 20s nearly killing myself to get high marks and produce undergrad research. Without further direction, it feels like that was for nothing. Sorry for ranting.