Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Comments by Sam Ruck

Showing 100 of 619 comments. Show all.

  • My best friends are a trans couple. My wife and I were the only ones who supported my gay cousin’s marriage. And yet, the religious fervor with which this topic is approached by the Left and Right makes any attempt at meaningful discussion on this topic moot.

    This ‘study’ is riddled with assumptions and biases. And the entire ‘science’ of this subject is based more in a priori assumptions on the subject rather than actual testing of how any of us develop as human beings. I’m all for supporting the LGBTQ+ community as human beings. I do so without qualification. But on a website like this, where ‘science’ is supposedly the basis for discussions, this entire topic is fraught from both ends with assumptions and passions that make nuance and real science impossible.

    I helped my wife rebuild her personality, block by block, part by part. Some were asexual. Some were gender ambivalent. I never imposed my beliefs upon any, but by loving and affirming each part and helping each to assimilate/integrate into a healthy whole, she has come to her own place without any shame and without all the distress and angst I see surrounding this issue from both sides.

    It really is too bad that both sides from my perspective are exacerbating the problem, and neither is willing to listen and examine their own ignorance and assumptions. As a result, this problem is only getting worse for those whom it most affects: the LGTBQ+ members and their loved ones.
    Sam

  • I found this interview disturbing on a number of points.
    1) That the one interviewee expressed no concern at all that her patient was abused with ECT to knock him out of his catatonic state. My wife has experienced many of those, and after the first time, when I had to figure out what was going on internally, it never took me more than 30 seconds or so to bring her thru them…certainly nothing barbaric like ECT.
    2) That the goal of changing the name is so that people will become more docile to accept their diagnosis and ‘treatment’. Sigh

    I’m think Someone Else had some astute observations about various forms of ‘psychosis’. My wife and I never had to deal with any forms Someone Else described except that which is caused by trauma and dissociation, and I simply never saw it as ‘psychosis.’ It was more a ‘time-overlap’ issue (past overlapping with present) because of the dissociation and as we brought back ‘online’ parts of her mind which had been sequestered/dissociated because of the trauma, well those parts were still oriented in the past at the time they got sequestered/dissociated…So to me, it’s by no means ‘psychosis’. When properly understood, it’s just like being Rip Van Winkle and waking up to find everything has changed, and so my part as her healing partner is to walk with her and be her ‘safe haven’ as she slowly acclimates from the past to her new, present-day circumstances and helping those parts to connect with the rest of her so that she’s not at war with herself.
    Sam

  • Thanks, Bob. Sorry I didn’t make it all the way thru, but you are meticulous, fair and accurate as always. I appreciate that you never try to ‘juice’ the facts to prove your point…of course, these facts don’t need any ‘juicing’ to prove how corrupt Big Pharma/Psychiatry are.

    As for calls how to beat this thing: until there are more acceptable alternatives that anyone and everyone can avail themselves of, people in distress will continue to avail themselves of whatever is there, even if it ends up destructive in the end. I’m glad MiA continues to push Soteria House and Open Dialogue. And I’m excited for the Soteria House and Peer Respite summit running the entire month of October…but the reach still won’t be enough to be available to everyone for a long time to come.

    I hope some day there are more things offered and taught, like what my wife and I have done, to empower families and significant others to walk with their loved ones thru emotional distress. But they will need supported to help them in those efforts, so that literally anyone who chooses can circumvent the corruption and destruction that MiA has so ably revealed.
    Sam

  • Hello, Lisa…
    I grew up on the far right, conservative spectrum of things: politically and religiously. But 14 years ago, when my wife’s childhood trauma and extreme dissociation crashed into our 20-year marriage…I was forced to re-evaluate everything…and that also caused a shift in my perspective toward the center. I had to learn to appreciate things from both sides…but then our culture wars here in the States have escalated during the same time in which I was learning to see positives in both perspectives…

    Now, when my wife’s trauma and dissociation crashed into our relationship, we were told it was d.i.d.(traditional perspective), but as we were finishing up our son’s senior year of homeschooling him…(and he’s now finishing his doctorate from an elite school in the Boston area), and because we were both from the Right, and in this country/culture that means you don’t expect the government to do everything for you if you can do it yourself…and so I guess we just started ‘home-healing’ her trauma and dissociation. Yes, it was overwhelming. Yes it was a trial by fire in the worst way. But, I’d already lived with my wife for 20 years. I knew she wasn’t ‘crazy’ and I only briefly thought she might be ‘dangerous’ thanks to our cultural caricatures…but I quickly got over that as I’d slept in bed beside her for 20 years and she had yet to hurt me, lol…And there were lots of other factors that went into how I treated her…but in the end I just continued to see her like myself (as I had for our first 20 years together) other than I now understood she was more traumatized and dissociated than I was…in fact, as we walked OUR healing journey together…I learned a lot about myself…and I had to ‘grow up’ so I could be a better healing companion for her…and I had to do my own healing because my triggers were getting triggered by her issues and vise versa…and I learned a lot about mental health issues along the way, including my time on this website even though we are outsiders to the experience of most on this website, having never been touched by psychiatry and its drugs and the loss of agency and the dehumanization so many here were subjected to..

    (I’m almost there on this ‘meandering’ comment)…and so, all this to say…I understand that the Left in our country wants to dissect everyone into little groups for some reason while the Right tends to (very) imperfectly view us all the same…which is part of the reason for the BLM movement(which I mostly support) on the Left and the Right’s pushback that ‘All Lives Matter”…(I’m almost there)…

    But I guess I believe why my wife and I have made it as far as we have…even though d.i.d. is considered one of the worst things someone can have according to the DSM…is because I fundamentally saw her as no different than myself. I don’t “other” her in any way, even though her trauma and dissociation (or the 7 other ‘alters’ who have joined the relationship) cause both of us a lot of emotional heartache and struggles that we wouldn’t otherwise have…

    And so, I’d like to suggest, that until everyone in this entire movement stops ‘othering’ everyone including the rest of us on the ‘outside’ in any way and looks not for ‘allies’ as the Left likes to call people like me, but for those like myself who see you and me as absolutely, fundamentally the same, this movement for radical change concerning mental health/trauma and struggles is going to continue to falter. My wife and I aren’t ‘allies’: this fight is every bit as much mine as hers. This isn’t “her” healing journey. It’s ours!!! If I didn’t see it as ‘ours’ but hers, the pain and heartache we both suffer from her trauma and dissociation would have probably pushed me to look for an easier path and less difficult relationship as we face all kinds of things most marriages don’t and are still struggling today, together, for her full healing.

    Don’t know if this makes sense because I know I left a lot out and made logical leaps that I didn’t have space to better define….there’s just so much more I could say, but this is already a longer reply than most are willing to wade thru.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  • Hmmm…the interview isn’t available from the link unless you pay for a subscription…

    I have heard of this book for a long time having been connected to the d.i.d. world for the last 14 years. And I have a lot of respect for Bessel in general. And I admit that I have NOT read his book: I’ve only read repeated reviews of it. So I will admit I am ignorant of the intricacies of his argument, but after 14 years of helping my wife heal the trauma she experienced 50 years ago, and as we untangled the dissociation that kept so much of it hidden from her…I just haven’t found our experience to validate Bessel’s core premise that ‘the body keeps the score.’

    Yes, we have found the trauma to be more and more deeply hidden: the last 2 girls to join us outside were both mute at first, and I had to help each of them connect to the ability to vocalize themselves. The last girl to join us was very ‘primitive’ even more than the other one. I have often wondered if she controlled the ‘primal fear instinct’ in each of us…but she still was a conscious part of my wife.

    The thing I would suggest to readers to remember about the ‘experts’ is their knowledge is very wide but not correspondingly deep. I would love to have the wide knowledge the experts have: to study of the general trends, to be aware of the basics of an issue, but they simply can’t have a corresponding depth.

    For example, one of the past presidents of ISSTD stated on her website that she had over 40,000 hours helping people with d.i.d. When I read that statement over 5 years ago, I did a quick tabulation of the time I have spent helping my wife heal, helping her untangle all the dissociation, and I was already way over 40,000 hours at that point. Moreover, I know of no therapists who have complete access to their patients’ system like I do with my wife’s. My wife’s counselor only interacted with 4 or 5 of the girls on a regular basis, one time a week. I interact with all 8 girls on a daily basis. In fact, at this point, I interact with all of my wife, all 8 girls, more than my wife’s host does, the one most people would suggest is ‘my wife.’ I keep her and the other 6 girls informed of what goes on when girl #8 is out with me, as we all desperately try to get the last one connected to the larger group of 7 so they no longer ‘lose’ most of their days to her.

    So, my experience is a mile deep, but only one person wide. Whereas Bessel’s experience is probably just the opposite: he has experience a mile wide but not very deep. He, nor the other ‘experts’ simply can’t understand what I or other SO’s/spouses do as we walk with our hurting loved ones in the depths of their pain and dissociation, 24/7 in all aspects of life, not just the safe confines of the therapist’s office.

    I’ve ‘argued’ for 14 years all over the internet to bring those in my position into the discussion on a wider basis, but thus far I have found few willing to listen. I do understand many SO’s and spouses are part of the problem rather than part of the solution, but I know many of us aren’t.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  • Hey Someone Else,
    here are the links to 2 mental health organizations in Ashland, Ohio. I’m pretty sure both are in line with the basic principles that MiA promotes. They might be able to assist you or at least direct you to others who could. The last link is to a group located in Toledo who are teaching Emotional CPR(Dan Fisher’s group) and trying to establish other similar things in Ohio. I’ve been in contact with various people connected to these groups, and you are welcome to tell them you know me(use my real name).

    I finally have an appointment with the director of Appleseed this coming Monday in the hopes of starting the support group I told you about to help survivors and their family/SO’s and anyone interested to walk together on the healing journey like my wife and I have using attachment principles to stay connected and facilitate healing of the deepest trauma and dissociation like my wife had/has. If that ever gets going, I’ll email you.

    Also, please add my email to your list if you don’t mind. I don’t know if I can do anything practically to start a Soteria House, but perhaps I’m wrong.

    I may copy this and send it to your email, but I wanted to offer these links publicly in case other Ohioans might have interest in visiting their sites and seeing what is happening in our state.
    Sam

    https://www.appleseedmentalhealth.com/
    https://www.ashlandmhrb.org/
    https://beliefactory.com/

  • “By communal mastery, the researchers refer to a community-oriented way of coping where people can manage life difficulties through attachments with family, friends, neighbors, and significant others.”

    That’s what we’ve found: attachment theory has given us the tools to go thru the worst of the worst, holding us together, and facilitating the healing process.
    Sam

  • One of the happiest things I have noticed during the 14 years of our healing journey is my wife’s hyper-vigilance is finally waning. For most of our 33-year marriage, if we were in bed asleep together and I got up to go the restroom or go to work, if I made the tiniest of noises, she would gasp and startle awake…but she rarely does that anymore…and many times if I gently touch her to kiss her goodbye as I go to work, she doesn’t gasp or startle either…it’s so gratifying because I know how much work and healing it’s taken to get her to that point…
    Sam

  • Sam,
    my wife and I do lots of fun things that engage all the various parts of her mind. I’ve also built her a craftroom and supplied it with everything she wanted, again to engage all of her. We tandem bike together, tandem kayak together, and I’ve always been willing to watch(tv or movies) or do things repeatedly to engage various parts of her to the fullest extent possible during the reconnection process.
    Sam

  • Steve,
    thanks for replying. I was pretty sure I understood your perspective, and you have confirmed that I do, and like I said, I largely agree with your perspective.

    I guess I was kind of more interested in your description and understanding of neural atrophy. I’m just a layman, but it seems like that is a physiological/neural issue that complicates healing trauma, but perhaps my understanding of that term is way off. And as my wife and I have worked on restoring those pathways from long-dissociated areas of her mind/brain, the restoration has always been accompanied by debilitating headaches especially when we are changing her inner working model from a trauma paradigm to a securely-attached one, but I do understand correlation doesn’t equal causation, and so maybe they are unrelated.
    I was just interested on your take or experience on any of this.
    Thanks,
    Sam

  • I’ve read thru everyone’s comments and have appreciated them. It’s too bad David isn’t part of the discussion. I have some comments and questions, if everyone hasn’t already lost interest.

    Steve, you seem to state repeatedly, in various discussions on this website, about the lack of a biological component in mental health issues. I guess I’m curious how you would described the neural atrophy that comes after decades of dissociation and lack of access to various parts of one’s mind/brain.

    I understand your point is to hammer against the ‘mental illness’ myth, but isn’t neural atrophy a real, physiological outcome in the physical brain from dissociation that comes as the result of any trauma when the trauma isn’t addressed? For my wife and I, that neural atrophy and reinvigorating those pathways between the various parts of her mind/brain, has been some of the most difficult parts of the healing journey. I accept and affirm this is different than the ‘mental illness myth’ and believing one has an unfixable chemical imbalance, but I believe it is a physical aspect of trauma/dissociation that complicates the healing.

    As for edmr…as in the other recent thread, my wife and I have always seen this as quackery, snake oil, magic elixir and such…and yet, I do want to state that whether one calls it the ‘placebo effect’ or ‘the power of faith’ from religious traditions, if it weren’t for my wife’s faith, we would have been hard pressed to effect some of the most major changes in her inner working model (attachment theory) that have foundationally changed her trauma perspective to one in which she has become securely attached to me as her primary attachment figure.

    I understand her faith is a type of crutch, but crutches have useful purposes when a person is deeply traumatized. They allow a person to do something they either can’t do or don’t believe they can do on their own. And who am I to say, when we pray and ask Jesus to change her inner world, that He really isn’t doing it? In the end, she believes it, the needed changes occur to help her connect to other parts of her mind/brain, and without those prayers, I’m not sure I could EVER convince her that she could do it on her own…

    I sent her a link of this article because right now the biggest issue we are having is the fear of reconnecting more deeply to the other parts of her mind, and even if it’s only a placebo/crutch, even with all my focus on attachment (which I would add is simply ‘faith’ in the attachment figure, that the person will be there for you when you need it…), I have struggled to move her past those fears…

    Sam

  • Kerry, thank you for responding. I have appreciated reading your views on EMDR.

    I understand this article is about that, and not dissociation, and so I won’t belabor the point unless you choose to further engage with me…but unlike most people, my wife and I chose to embrace and live ‘in the dissociation’ for the last 14 years. And thus, we learned how it works and how to tear it down: it’s not something to be avoided at all costs like most people act. In fact, the deepest healing she found was as we embraced it and brought those areas back ‘online’ which takes time and hard work. And so I’d like to suggest that it’s not what you and most people think it is, at least not 40 and 50 years later after the initial trauma, and it is definitely the harder of the two (trauma/dissociation) to undo after all those decades that the neural pathways become accustomed to doing workarounds to large areas of the person’s traits and abilities.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  • Hello Kerry,
    my wife is part of the early childhood trauma/extreme dissociation community, so I’ve heard about EMDR for a long time, and I’ll be honest, I’ve always been skeptical as it sounded like ‘snake oil’ and ‘magic elixir’ stuff, but I’ll grant you that I don’t always know why things I do to help my wife heal work, though attachment theory does form the foundation of much that we do.

    I am curious how you deal with dissociation. Any unprocessed trauma that isn’t dealt with, eventually becomes ‘sequestered’ or dissociated. For us, the trauma is the relatively easy part to heal using attachment concepts of ‘safe haven’, ‘proximity maintenance’ and ‘affect regulation’. It’s tearing down the dissociative walls and retraining her brain to access all those areas that had been largely unavailable for decades that has been the much bigger issue, and we’ve only found doing repetitive tasks, based on the concepts of neural plasticity, to undo that.
    However, beyond the neural plasticity issue, is the fact that the dissociative walls hide so much of the trauma, and at least in our case, the deeper the trauma, the more I’ve been the ONLY person she let into those dark places as her ‘primary attachment figure’ and so I wonder how much access you realistically have. My wife’s counselor didn’t have half the access I do, plus I’m with her every day, 24/7.
    I’m just throwing things out. I would love for EMDR to work. It’ seems so wonderful and easy…nothing like the hell we’ve gone thru the last 14 years as I’m still helping her tear down the dissociation and every time I think we have the trauma gone, another bit ‘pops’ up because we tore down more dissociation or for other reasons that are too numerous to delineate here.
    I do wish you the best.
    Sam

  • I’ve struggled with this article all week. I’ve watched all the positive comments about it show up. And I keep reading it, trying to see if I’m misunderstanding something, and I freely admit that may be the case. And I truly am deeply sorry for all those on this website who have had their normal, reasonable feelings used against them to take away their humanity and strip them of their agency and dignity.

    But this document seems to be guilty of some binary thinking, if I’m reading it right. I unequivocally stand against the biochemical model of mental health, and ‘mental illness’ and ‘chemical imbalances’. I stand against the weaponizing of people’s distress to use against them. I stand against any form of dehumanizing others just because they are struggling…but have none of these cosigners ever dealt with someone who experienced extreme trauma in early childhood? Any unaddressed trauma eventually causes systemic dissociation. ISSTD (international society for the study of trauma and dissociation) with whom I generally disagree because they adhere to the typical model despite dealing with trauma victims, still gets it right when they talk about ‘structural dissociation’ and how a little child’s mind who is subjected to extreme trauma will desperately attempt to sequester(dissociate) the trauma in order to find a way to keep living. But after a time, that coping mechanism becomes ‘structural’ and it causes a host of dysfunctions and dysregulations that are real, not imaginary.

    I love my wife. Just yesterday, I told her for the 1000th or more time, “I don’t blame you. NO ONE would ever choose this” but it’s kind of insulting to people in our situation to minimize the extreme damage she’s suffered and which has infiltrated so many parts of our relationship. I’ve spent 14 years helping retrain my wife’s brain so she could access all those areas that she literally had NO access to previously. I work a full time job, often 55 hours a week, and yet I come home and do all the house work, inside and out, and then I spend all my free time, building a relationship with my wife, using our tandem bike, using our tandem kayak, doing everything we possibly can do TOGETHER so that the strength of our relationship enables her to face the past pain and fears and tear down those ‘structurally dissociative walls’. It’s hard on both of us and so exhausting even today, 14 years later, and it still brings me to tears many nights when I wonder if we will ever get thru this.

    I don’t know. I hope I’m reading this wrong, but the choice isn’t binary. It’s not the biochemical model of mental health or simply empathizing with a person’s past. When the trauma is early enough, and the dissociation becomes structural, it takes real, daily, concerted effort to undo all the effects as you retrain the person’s brain/mind, and I truly am happy if none of you have ever had to deal with what is still an overwhelming task to me and my wife.
    Sam

  • I’m honestly not sure how these ‘contracts’ work when the examples given seem to focus on the symptom instead of the root issue. Do people self harm in a vacuum, for the fun of it? Then focusing on that issue instead of what is motivating the self-harming seems unhelpful. Moreover, if there is any unaddressed trauma in the past then there will be some form of dissociation, and so these contracts may not be made with the part of the person who is ‘responsible’ for the self harming or the addiction issues. I do think the community part of it could be helpful in an attachment capacity: drawing on one’s connections with others for strength.

    I like the end part of this interview, finding the middle ground, finding nuance, living with apparent contradictions (because of our ignorance). The binary, polarizing, black and white thinking of the States is simply making things worse as I have seen so many instances of it spilling over into how we help and see people who are in distress.
    Sam

  • Hello Rebecca,
    my wife and I have spent the last 14 years implementing attachment concepts in our marriage to help heal the many attachment wounds she suffered as a little child. Those concepts have been the roadmap for our healing journey and can do things for someone experiencing extreme distress that I wish would get more talk: I’m glad you’ve shared just the tip of what they can provide to any of us.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you the best.
    Sam

  • Hello Daiphanous Weeping,
    I’ve been following some of your comments here and on other threads. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling validated very well. I wrote a response last night and then deleted it. I try to watch myself since I’m just a husband and neither a ‘survivor’ nor an ‘expert’, but you say a lot of things I can relate to the journey my wife and I have been on the last 14 years. And if I remember correctly, the only difference between your schizophrenia and my wife’s d.i.d. is some ‘expert’ decided if the voices the person hears seem to be external, then voila, ‘you have schizophrenia’ whereas if the voices seem internal, then, poof, ‘you must have d.i.d.’

    For us, my wife’s diagnosis of d.i.d 14 years ago was a godsend. For 20 years before that we struggled in our marriage. WTH was wrong? We didn’t know. We loved each other, but so many things were a struggle for us, no matter how hard we tried. We finally started seeing an alternative counselor who suggested she might have d.i.d….and we finally had a name to our unknown assailant.

    Now we were fortunate. She didn’t get caught up in the mental health system. Our son and I helped and kept her safe the first 5 years when all the pent up trauma and emotions let loose in a hurricane of extreme states. We slowly found our way, together as a couple and family, as we utilized attachment concepts amongst other things to effect real healing that the drugs only mask.

    I’m sorry you feel crazy. My wife felt the same at first. I can’t imagine dealing with all the stuff especially if you don’t have someone in your life to help stabilize and normalize things. When a ship is in a hurricane, stuff gets thrown and tossed and you feel like your life is going to end at any moment, at least that was how it was for her. But I went through those hurricanes by her side as a ‘safe haven’ literally carrying her and wrapping her in my arms at times when it was worst, and little by little the hurricanes diminished as my presence and assurances somehow gave her mind the extra help it needed to process those things from the past and assimilate them which stopped the storms permanently.

    I can’t speak for you, but the trauma and subsequent dissociation seemed to be the biggest issues for my wife…and the dissociation seems to have caused most of the extreme states and other stuff she struggled with as the mind desperately wanted to get back in a sort of ‘stasis’ because it wanted access to everywhere. We are still working on dissociation issues, but the extreme-state stuff is mostly in the past.

    I do wish you well. I think I understand a lot that you are saying and I agree with much of it, and so I just wanted to speak up and say I hear you.
    Sam

  • I think part of the problem is people confuse symptoms with root causes. I always focused on the trauma and subsequent dissociation that the trauma caused. IMO, these are the root causes of everything else. So much of the dsm is just symptomatic issues which spring from the original trauma and the mind’s subsequent coping mechanism of dissociation that then become systemic when the trauma isn’t dealt with.

    However, there is one other issue I see when helping a survivor of early childhood trauma. S/he may have no baseline for ‘recovery.’ During a healthy childhood, the parents serve as role models for the child. But in a traumatic childhood that is often missing. When my wife and I first started our journey, over and over and over she told me, “I don’t know what ‘healthy’ looks like.” I took that as a cue for me to grow up and become a role model that my wife was lacking originally. I don’t dictate the outcome, but I try to model healthy behavior as we walk the journey together.
    Sam

  • Miranda,
    I hope Mad in America will really explore the healing power of life-long attachment relationships especially when childhood abuse occurs and the person’s attachment system is deeply traumatized. When understood correctly and lived appropriately, these attachment concepts, as laid out by Bowlby, literally can heal the worst of trauma and dissociation and all the extreme states that come with those. The science is there, but unfortunately, too many of the experts try to do what only family can do as the primary attachment figures in the person’s life.

    I’m glad to see Mad in America embracing the larger family system because one never knows which family member will/can step up, and with some training and understanding, fulfill the healing role the person needs. Ideally it would be the parent or spouse, but I’ve got a newphew struggling with attachment issues because he was adopted and from what I’ve been told his older sister is the best at looking past her brother’s issues and loving him despite and through them.

    If there is ever anything I could do to assist this section, I’d be happy to do so. I had to learn it all on my own: that’s something I don’t wish on anyone else.
    Sam

  • Fourteen years ago the trauma and subsequent dissociation my wife had experienced during childhood crashed into our 20-year old marriage. We were in our son’s senior year of home schooling him, and I guess it didn’t really occur to me to do anything different with her needs. We did find an alternative counselor, but as anyone suffering extreme mental distress knows, it’s a 24/7 thing, not a once-a-week-at-the-counselor’s-office thing.

    But her counselor offered us a lifeline for the first 5 years while I dealt with my own issues and we developed a rhythm between us. Eventually the attachment strategies we had always leaned toward with our son and each other became the foundation of our relationship interactions on the healing journey we found ourselves upon. I always refer to this as OUR healing journey because I had to decide to own all the fallout from her trauma and dissociation lest I ‘other’ her and it become a wedge between us. Moreover, it’s OUR healing journey because I had a lot of healing and changing that I had to do before I was someone she could depend upon at all times. I studied up on attachment theory and then became much more purposeful in implementing it in our relationship, and that is when I really became a healing companion that could facilitate her healing in profound ways.

    Before You Call for Help is a tiny synopsis of the highlights of our last 14 years from my perspective and how I learned to be the healing companion she could trust with her deepest fears and pain. It was only when I began to frequent Mad in America 5 years ago that I realized how I had inadvertently spared her and us so much additional trauma at the hands of the mental health system here in the States. At 30 pages it could only scratch the surface, and I’d be happy to discuss anything further if anyone finds something of value in it for their situation.
    Sam

  • Daiphanous Weeping,
    though attachment is most easily done during childhood through healthy interaction with a loving, providing parent, the science supports what my wife and I have experienced the last 14 years: that adult couples can provide the same for each other. But the challenge for us is undoing 5 decades of trauma and dissociation that became systemic in her thought patterns. If only I had understood what was going on inside her when we were first married at 21, it would have been so much easier than when we finally started at 40 and now into our mid 50’s, sigh…
    Sam

  • Hello E. Baden,
    I see you are from the Midwest. There’s a little group of us in Ohio trying to change things here. I’m just a husband but I’ve walked with my wife thru all her trauma and extreme dissociation and extreme states. For most of the last 14 years I have mostly done it alone and have been blacklisted across the internet by those who don’t want to hear of a better, non-medical/medicated, relational (attachment concepts) way to heal. But just a few months ago I met some others who actually embraced me for the first time…and I’m still struggling to believe I may have finally found a home. I just turned 54 and haven’t given up my hope and dream to share the better way my wife and I found, and happily, Mad in America just posted a little quick-reference guide in their family section that I wrote.

    All that to say, don’t give up the fight. I know it’s hard. I hurt so deeply most days, especially the days when I was screamed at (online), called a pedophile, wife abuser and all kinds of other things. But we need people like you. I wish I had the wisdom you do when I was 25. If you’d ever like to talk, shoot me an email at my blog address (samruck2 @ gmail dot com). Finding other like minded people makes all the difference in the world. I don’t know where you are in the Midwest, but perhaps, there are others in your neck of the woods, too.
    Sam

  • Hello Curiousmedia,
    I don’t really want to debate economics. I understand there is a ton of inequality in our system, and so many are being left behind, but I don’t think it’s truly a function of capitalism, but of the avarice in our leaders and the 1% hearts. At the same time, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and unchecked socialism has a history of failures from last century.

    Anyway, I believe Megan’s main point was ‘we don’t have everything we need’ within ourselves, and attachment theory would affirm that. It’s the foundation of everything my wife and I did on our healing journey from her childhood abuse. Attachment theory teaches us as the song says, “We all need somebody to lean on” and that’s not just when we are in crisis, but throughout our lives.
    By the way. I’ve been here over 5 years, but thanks for the welcome, but I’m an anomaly here, and so I don’t comment much anymore.
    Sam

  • Hi Megan,
    I think your anger toward capitalism as the culprit of all the ills of this society is misplaced at least in regards to the main thesis of this article. I would suggest it is the West’s overemphasis, and especially the United States, on rugged individualism, independence, autonomy, the me-culture and such. I never really bought into all that stuff, and so when my wife and I naturally began following attachment theory from the start of our healing journey, it wasn’t a huge change for us. We just had to learn to become more purposeful as we implemented its main tenets into our relationship.
    Sam

  • Bob,
    thank you as always for your thoughtful work and analysis of things.

    The very last question you answered in this interview had to do about family. I strongly believe the tipping point for this movement will come when we train and empower the significant others, family and friends to walk with their loved ones who are in distress whether from ‘psychosis’ or any of the many, other, varied extreme states that come from trauma and dissociation. I’m glad you recognized that it doesn’t take a ‘peer’ to be empathetic, and it is usually only family and SO’s who are around long enough to effect true healing for that 30% who weren’t helped in the studies you cited. For me and my wife, it’s year 13 or 14: it’s been so long at this point that I’m losing count, but we are still drug free and moving forward, even if it’s not at the pace we had hoped when we first started.

    I wish you the best as you continue to spearhead this movement to treat others as any of us would want to be treated instead of ‘othering’ them. For me it’s just part of the Golden Rule.
    Sam

  • “Participants are encouraged to understand their voice-hearing experience on their own terms, and no one narrative is emphasized over any other. This means the biomedical explanation of voice-hearing is on equal footing with the alien-implanted technology explanation during these meetings. There is a strict rule that participants do not criticize each other’s narrative around voice-hearing.”

    Has Mad in America tilted so far to the Left that it can’t see a HUGE issue with this statement? Does validating other people’s experiences mean the total rejection of any kind of baseline for truth or facts at minimum?

    I like a lot of what HVG does, but this is NOT one of them, and that Mad in America would uncritically make this statement, a website dedicated to the refutation of the biomedical model of mental health, is a sad statement on the loss of…I don’t know exactly what, but I’m truly flabbergasted.

    I validated most of the things my wife told me about her voices, but when she told me they were ‘aliens’ I gently pushed back, and slowly over time, her views changed to something more in line with a perspective that would facilitate her healing. We still have divergent perspectives on her ‘voices’ so it’s not that I think there is only one ‘truth’ but this is a low point in the fight for a better way if one can’t gently help others find a perspective better in line with basic facts.
    Sam

  • Lauren,
    I’m sorry this article didn’t get more views or comments. I was in a Zoom meeting last night and this course got mentioned and so I did a search on MiA and found your article today. I recently wrote a 30-page, quick-reference guide of my experiences learning to become a good healing companion for my wife. The others in the meeting represented those who have experienced trauma and the mental health system. But we agreed on our common humanity and the need to move past divisive terms and ways of seeing each other. This course you explain seems like a good, first step, and there’s so much more for those who are in a sustained relationship like I am.

    I sent this link to the rest of the members in our little collaboratory group.
    Sam

  • When dealing with (false) accusations, these were a couple of things that helped me:
    1)“Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”
    2) Allowing myself to be the ‘scapegoat’ for my wife’s justified anger at her abuser. Sure it hurt, but I saw the end goal when the anger and rage were gone so that they no longer separated us.
    3) Asking for complete accusations so I could give FULL apologies, in detail…and never justifying myself in any way. Again, the goal is to diminish the anger and broken trust and validation. Later, there will be time for ‘my side of the story…’

    As for psychosis, sigh, I still don’t understand the obsession with this concept. I feel it is completely unhelpful and judgmental. I walked with my wife in her perception of reality, validating it, learning from it, and providing her a ‘safe harbor’ in the midst of the storms that were associated with all the ‘extreme’ states…and so we developed our own reality as we walked together and moved out of the constructs forged from her traumatic past.
    Sam

  • Hello, Lauren,
    my wife and I are fellow homeschoolers, though our son is 30 now. I have a lot of happy memories of those days, but I know my wife shouldered most of the burden of the schooling: I supported both of them the best I could so that it was a family effort.

    I’m sorry for your experiences and the trauma they have caused. I couldn’t quite tell if you are still struggling with eating issues amongst other things or not. I’m glad it sounds like you’ve got a pretty good support network, too. I’m glad it sounds like you have a good therapist now, but never underestimate the power your husband has to support and carry you through the hard times. Once I learned how to help my wife, it made all the difference in her healing.
    Take care,
    Sam

  • Trishna,
    wow. You have found the exact same thing my wife and I have at nearly every point. I’d love to swap stories with you, though you do seem to come at it from my wife’s perspective and not mine…I’m astounded how closely you mirror what’s taken place on our journey.
    Sam

  • Even though I strongly disagree with the FMSF and its disinformation campaign, I think it was disingenuous and unhelpful for the author to completely ignore some of the catastrophes like the satanic ritual abuse and daycare scandals. How can we learn from the past, if we choose to ignore the missteps that caused those scandals?

    However, as someone who has helped my wife heal and integrate her dissociated trauma memories, I never found them to be part of some ‘super category’ of memories. They were fragments and snapshots associated with extreme emotions of fear and terror. I’m glad her abuser was long gone, a neighbor from the distant past of whom we had no name to associate with the vague description of him that she could recall, so we never even thought to attempt some kind of reckoning, legal or otherwise. For us, the point was never about the abuser, it was about her coming to terms with those memories and extreme emotions in light of her secure relationship with me today so she could integrate them into her personal narrative and finally be released from their ability to chain her to the past and how they affected her today.

  • Kermit,
    since Open Dialogue is about a collaboration between therapists, family and the person in distress, it would be nice to see the other two legs of that equation brought into these town meetings and not ONLY the experts. I wish we could hear from the family and how their needs were validated, but also how they learned to be better healing companions for the one in distress. And it would be good to hear from the one in distress and how they viewed his/her interaction with family and how it propelled the healing process.

    I would also love to see a vision laid out to expand Open Dialogue. There is nothing here in Ohio. When I contact some of the groups you have listed, I’m just ignored because I’m a nobody, sigh. How do we get this available on a larger scale? Why not look into a program to empower families? There are lots of ‘peer programs’ out there, but I have yet to find one that teaches families how to travel with the one in distress and do the kinds of things I had to learn to help my wife, like walk her thru ALL the extreme states she experienced so that she actually healed and not just ‘coped’, like how to implement the attachment concepts of safe haven, affect regulation and proximity maintenance that were so critical to walk my wife thru the worst things she experienced, like how to navigate power dynamics, like how to weigh the needs of various people in the relationship when there simply is NO way that everyone can get what they need, like how to deal with the stress brought on by extreme states and remove the fear of the unknown, like how bringing our adult son into the healing journey added a dimension to her healing that I could NEVER have replicated on my own…and so much more….

    I’ve got so many thoughts and questions, and sadly, I probably won’t be able to participate in this even though I signed up for it because it’s our first day of vacation.
    Good to see you back here.
    Sam

  • Hi Amy,
    well, I was bored today. I’ve seen this article on the website for awhile…and hesitated to read it because I was afraid it was another culture-war piece…and this war is wearing me out from both sides. But honestly, as I read your article, I was caught up in the story arc of the episodes and found myself wishing I could experience the same.
    I do understand some of the horror the survivors have expressed in the comments section. I can’t imagine my wife would ever allow herself on the show at this point in her healing journey. And I did cringe when Reddy was ‘attacked’ by the Fab Five as I’m pretty sure how parts of my wife would react to anyone but me or our son doing that. But I’m pretty sure she liked the original series and she likes a lot of these makeover reality series, AND as you and Bob have made clear, it’s ALL consensual even if it’s hard and disruptive to the ‘heroes’.

    Thanks for sharing. Maybe I’ll even send my wife a link to it and see if she’d like to watch it with me.
    Sam

  • Hi A.S.!
    I always feel a special affinity toward Finland because of the exchange student from there that we had in our family 35 years ago. We still keep in touch with her via Facebook.
    I’m so glad your parents rallied to help you. I hope some day there is far more help offered to the families who want to help a loved one in distress but don’t know where to start and don’t want to go the NAMI route.
    Sam

  • Joanna,
    Are you talking about people who are using street drugs and alcohol or just people in severe, mental distress? My wife was never the former, but she was definitely the latter, and I never tried to ‘control’ her nor did it really matter if she was ‘reasonable’.
    Think of a person in the water during a hurricane. She was flailing, desperate not to drown. Control and reason are irrelevant in that situation. Validation, engagement and attachment were what mattered. She had to know I was right there with her in the water and even though she felt overwhelmed and out of control, I wasn’t, and I wasn’t going to let her drown.
    When people are ‘too disturbed’ as you put it, that’s when the attachment concepts of affect regulation, safe haven and proximity maintenance can slowly calm the worst of cases like my wife used to be. She didn’t need drugs and never used them. She needed empowered family who knew how to ride the hurricane out with her…and now our seas are much calmer…
    Sam

  • Joanna,
    as a husband who has been doing this very thing for my wife the last 12 years, what you say is correct. It takes way more than kindness and it is exhausting, and yet, we, the family, are simply put in the very best position to do what is needed. It’s a 24/7 ‘job’ especially in the beginning. Our son was attending a local college while at home. He took the night shift, and I took the dayshift (since I worked nights) helping my wife, keeping her safe. We did that for nearly 5 years until he moved out to do his graduate work by which time my wife was in a much better place.
    I love what Open Dialogue seems to be, but there is no one like that here in the Midwest states. I would have loved someone to help me learn the ropes, but in the end only I can be her primary attachment figure and do the hard work of helping her heal all the attachment issues she suffered from severe trauma and dissociation 5 decades earlier…and helping her tear down the dissociative walls so she can be whole again.
    Sam

  • There’s a lot of stress in my little family. I like to think of attachment points as the little, individual filaments of a spider web. The more points of connection I can make between my wife and our son, the more we are all held together so that we can bear the stress and turmoil we face.

    I email our son and the 8 girls in my wife’s system every single morning. I played PS4 with him over the internet 2-3 times a week. I share a mug of coffee with my wife each day of the weekend. We take tandem bike rides. We always eat together and watch tv together, sitting next to each other. We run our weekly errands together, go to church and bible study together and whatever else we can when I’m home from work.

    The more points of contact I have with each of them not only hold them to me when they are facing hard things like his 4th year of his PhD program, or all the stress she has healing from her trauma and dissociation, but they also serve to hold me when I’m struggling with the overwhelming despair and despondency that have plagued my adult life.

    Sam

  • Hi Paula,
    as someone who has struggled with this most of my adult life (I’m 53) the loss of hope that things will get better is the biggest driver of the feelings of despair. I find myself desperately looking for hope, even false hope, that things will get better to keep me going when it’s worse. Sometimes the thought of death itself gives me hope that ‘if things get too bad, I have control, I have an escape…”

    The sad things is, I know how I could fix things pretty easily, but it goes against all I believe, and so I’m trapped in a double bind and going thru the problem is the only hope for things to get better, and yet, solving that problem isn’t within my control…it’s truly overwhelming…sigh…
    Sam

  • There is, of course, nothing wrong about people criticizing MIA or me personally. The criticism can open the door to further discussions and debate, which you can hope will lead to a greater understanding of important issues.

    Bob,
    find a way to enlarge the circle of family members allowed to contribute at MiA. Thus far the only family I’ve seen allowed to contribute are those whose loved ones were caught up in the system. Why are their voices allowed, but those of us who have fought 24/7 for years to keep our loved ones OUT of the system are not allowed to share how we did so? Is the audience at this website, only and solely, composed of those caught in the system other than me? Is there really no interest in empowering families and SO’s to keep their loved ones totally out of the system?
    Sam

  • “There is a radical need for a world where ‘us and them,’ ‘center and margin,’ and ‘normal and crazy’ are no longer needed.”
    Perhaps this best describes the path my wife and I have taken. I see her fundamentally as no different than myself. I believe our refusal to embrace the dichotomy between ‘survivors’ and ‘the rest of us’ is why my wife and I sidestepped so many of the issues that have engulfed all parties within the mental health industry/world and most attempts to reform it.
    Sam

  • Hello Dmitriy,
    Thank you for sharing your life and experiences.

    My wife and I have walked this healing journey together, as equals. I almost always engaged her ‘voices’ first because of the dissociation she experienced. The loving and respectful relationship I developed with each one was instrumental in her overall healing and the eventual tearing down of the dissociative walls so that she could make a new, corporate life with each voice. I did things she absolutely couldn’t do for herself, and yet we learned to how to do it in ways so her agency was never diminished nor did I ever abuse the potentially huge power differentials in our relationship (she is a housewife). We are both richer for the journey and I learned much about myself and my own inner workings as well.

    Sam

  • I’ve tried for a day to formulate some kind of response to this study. I guess it’s always good to look for alternative treatments, but I still have major problems even using the word ‘psychotic.’ It prejudges the person’s experience by those on the outside instead of helping the person to find meaning and a way thru it.

    I googled psychosis, again, and it’s known to be a symptom: so why are they still taking a symptomatic approach rather than dealing with the real issue? Coping is not healing. Therapists cannot be the main therapeutic instrument in the sufferer’s life.
    I understand sometimes symptoms must be reduced so that the real issues can be addressed, but there are so many questions this study didn’t answer or even attempt to address, sigh.
    Sam

  • Hmmm…
    Well, I guess I should state first that my wife and I feel fortunate that we really didn’t have to deal with incest issues in her past, but that doesn’t mean many of the issues brought up by this author had no bearing in our healing journey. and her extreme position on many of these issues, imo, hurt the cause of survivors rather than help.
    1) Her critique of the FMSF is rather simplistic. The d.i.d. world is extremely familiar with this society and its attempts to discredit survivors while protecting offending family members, and yet that doesn’t mean there is no credibility to the malleability of memories and how therapists of the past blatantly manipulated survivor memories and produced wild claims of satanic ritual abuse and more and paraded d.i.d. patients around talk shows like circus freaks while they stoked their own careers and egos.

    Dealing with dissociated memories is a delicate dance of validating the person and what is uncovered while at the same time understanding that these memories can be vague, symbolic at times, trapped in childish understandings, and fragmentary until other pieces of the puzzle are revealed later in the journey, etc.

    The FMSF’s disingenuous attempts to discredit survivors doesn’t mean survivors’ memories are infallible. I ALWAYS validated my wife, but I also gave her the space and safety to later alter those declarations of memories as other pieces of the puzzle were added to clarify things, and some pieces may always be lost to the fog and mist of things that happened 4 and 5 decades ago.

    2) The author’s definition of incest is so wide as to render it meaningless. If she’s going to expand it to mean family friends, other children, pastors/priests, or ‘anyone who betrayed the child’s innocence and trust’, then it loses power as it alienates thoughtful people who might otherwise affirm the horror of incest. It’s an overreach that does NOT help survivors. Incest is clearly defined as sexual abuse (in all its forms) within the family and relatives, period.

    3) Validating and believing the survivor doesn’t automatically transfer into a legal ability to bring justice against the perpetrators and recognizing that reality seems to be a problem for some. It’s a conundrum that is frustrating and upsetting.
    Sam

  • Hi Karin,
    this is a very powerful story. I’m very sorry for all you suffered just because others couldn’t handle your grief.

    I did much the same for my wife as I walked with her thru the healing journey, though I always told her I was ‘sharing’ and ‘helping to carry’ her fear so that she didn’t have to do it alone. It seems we possibly mean the same but say it differently as your friends appeared to do for you the same as I did for her.
    Best of wishes,
    Sam

  • Hmmm…
    Well, I guess I should state first that my wife and I feel fortunate that we really didn’t have to deal with incest issues in her past, but that doesn’t mean many of the issues brought up by this author had no bearing in our healing journey. and her extreme position on many of these issues, imo, hurt the cause of survivors rather than help.
    1) Her critique of the FMSF is rather simplistic. The d.i.d. world is extremely familiar with this society and its attempts to discredit survivors while protecting offending family members, and yet that doesn’t mean there is no credibility to the malleability of memories and how therapists of the past blatantly manipulated survivor memories and produced wild claims of satanic ritual abuse and more and paraded d.i.d. patients around talk shows like circus freaks while they stoked their own careers and egos.

    Dealing with dissociated memories is a delicate dance of validating the person and what is uncovered while at the same time understanding that these memories can be vague, symbolic at times, trapped in childish understandings, and fragmentary until other pieces of the puzzle are revealed later in the journey, etc.

    The FMSF’s disingenuous attempts to discredit survivors doesn’t mean survivors’ memories are infallible. I ALWAYS validated my wife, but I also gave her the space and safety to later alter those declarations of memories as other pieces of the puzzle were added to clarify things, and some pieces may always be lost to the fog and mist of things that happened 4 and 5 decades ago.

    2) The author’s definition of incest is so wide as to render it meaningless. If she’s going to expand it to mean family friends, other children, pastors/priests, or ‘anyone who betrayed the child’s innocence and trust’, then it loses power as it alienates thoughtful people who might otherwise affirm the horror of incest. It’s an overreach that does NOT help survivors. Incest is clearly defined as sexual abuse (in all its forms) within the family and relatives, period.

    3) Validating and believing the survivor doesn’t automatically transfer into a legal ability to bring justice against the perpetrators and recognizing that reality seems to be a problem for some. It’s a conundrum that is frustrating and upsetting.

    I would love to see the stigma removed from all topics of abuse, but unfortunately this author seems to fall into the tribalism and culture wars our country is experiencing and thus adds to the confusion and division in general rather than capitalizing on the common views most people have on this topic.
    Sam

  • I think it’s important to remember that Dr. Aftab should probably be considered an ally to those of us in the critical psychiatry camp: https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/07/bridging-critical-conceptual-psychiatry-interview-awais-aftab/. His attempts to bring nuance to the debate may be frustrating to those in the anti-psychiatry camp who want to burn it all down, but my reading of that interview was a very careful dance he did, allowing Lucy to have a clear voice on her position while articulating many of the refutations, deflections, and many other spurious arguments the mainstream psychiatrists would suggest to ignore and caricature any who oppose the status quo. He has an audience that many will never have, and if he alienates it with the passionate rhetoric of those in either of our camps, he will lose his chance to continue to move those who are moveable. I know that’s not what the victims of psychiatry want to hear, but it is reality.

    Thank you, Lucy, for putting yourself out there especially in light of the ‘refutations’ at the end and the haters on Twitter.
    Sam

  • Mark,
    I wish I could give you a ‘big name.’ I started a blog 10 years ago geared toward SO’s and families and to teach them how to be involved in the healing(recovery) journey. My wife and I gravitated toward attachment concepts as the best means to hold all of us (including our now adult son) together as we walk thru the various issues created by her extreme childhood trauma and dissociation. Though we haven’t ‘arrived’, she has recovered to the point she tells me she just doesn’t fit in most survivor/trauma boards online.

    But the blog never gained the traction I had hoped for though I met others doing similar things. My best guess is that those of us who are doing this are so involved we just don’t have much time for anything else. And I’m unaware of anyone else advocating for this, but I can’t believe I’m the only one.

    Personally, I wish I could team up with Open Dialogue, but there’s no one in Ohio who does that and so we largely continue to walk on our own, outside the mental health system.
    Sam

  • Mark,
    the fact that you would leave SO’s and families out of your PowerPoint list of people in your ranks is incredibly dispiriting and indicative of why, I believe, this movement continues to falter. Our son and I single handedly kept his mom/my wife out of the mental health system by giving her 24/7 coverage for 5 years when all hell broke loose as we started our healing journey together. 7 years later I still do all kinds of things to help and support her. I have always had her 100% full recovery in mind and work every day toward that goal doing ‘whatever it takes’ to see all the trauma and dissociation healed and reintegrated into her personal narrative.

    There is a small band of us on the frontlines despite the lack of affirmation here and elsewhere. I hope some day that changes and what we have learned and accomplished is recognized as integral to the fight against the dehumanization of those who have suffered mental health trauma/distress.
    Sam

  • dfk,
    though I don’t accept or use the term ‘psychosis’ because it shows a judgmental ignorance (imo) of what is really happening, I do agree it’s a ‘software’ issue. After walking with my wife for 13 years in this, I think much of non-drug induced ‘pyschosis’ is related to dissociation and overlapping mental realities (past and present). I help her reprogram her software by walking with one foot in her “Matrix” and one foot in the present. I don’t demand that she change, but simply am a safe companion for her, interacting with her where she is and helping her as needed, and slowly she is moving from the past to the present at a rate that she is comfortable changing as she brings those dissociated areas into her general narrative.
    Sam

  • “The fundamental principles that guided the authors’ rights-based approach are participation and empowerment, equality and non-discrimination, quality and diversity of care, social inclusion, autonomy, and dignity. ”
    I find most of these principles worthy of recognition, but I do have concerns about autonomy. No one is an island, and the demand for autonomy is just more of excessive western independence rearing its ugly head. It’s almost ironic that they put social inclusion right before autonomy: you can’t have it both ways in my opinion and even less in the intimate relationships of family and SO’s/spouses where a rights-based approach truly needs to be hashed out and everyone must learn and/or be taught how to honor each one’s dignity and agency in the context of relationships…which can’t only be one way…but flow in all directions.

    I find it a little telling that the article this was based upon mentioned Open Dialogue and then spent NO time dealing with the issue of family/SO’s. ‘Peers’ are well and good, but it is family that can either be the best or worst partners on a healing journey. We are the only ones who are truly set up to give long-term 24/7 coverage and who are probably willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do so like our son and I did for my wife. I doubt any ‘peer’ would give 13 years of his/her life to commit to walk the healing journey, and despite the bad rap family often gets on this website, I bet many family members/SO’s would be willing to do so if only they were taught and given the tools to help rather than abdicate what ONLY they can do to the ‘experts’ at the urging of NAMI.
    Sam

  • Sera,
    I wonder if Bradford meant to capitalize ‘here’ also…meaning your privilege on this website, though the website’s reach is little comparatively.

    As for the tone or ‘style’ as you say, yes, this article was a struggle for me to get thru, and I typically enjoy your articles. One of the girls in my wife’s system is a social justice warrior, and she has helped me move to a more -balanced (i.e. center/right) position on most issues, but this kind of read more like something I’d see on Slate. If I used similar, derogatory language coming for my formerly, far-Right perspective, it would never even make it thru the moderators, and it shouldn’t.
    The style detracts from your article.
    Sam

  • I’m afraid that having an ‘urge for a social approach to mental health’ will lead to dead ends, at times, just like the biomedical approach has. When any of us force fit mental health/trauma into a preconceived paradigm to fit our proclivities, then it closes us to the things which don’t fit into that paradigm…and not all trauma is socially/culturally based by any means.
    This approach by HVM is very concerning, even if it is a little better than the biomedical approach.
    Sam

  • Thanks Snowyowl, I just wish MiA would be willing to find a solution like Open Dialogue apparently has (according to Steve) for us to truly partner together. I know I could offer more to this movement to end the dehumanization that so many of you have experienced. I kept my wife from it: I think I could teach others in my position who would have interest to do the same.
    Sam

  • Steve,
    my wife and I will have been married 32 years in 4 days. In a relationship of any duration NEITHER voice can be raised above the other. Both have to be heard and given equal weight. Moreover, in a very real sense her issues are my issues. I can’t help but be affected by everything happening within her, and vice versa.

    Now I understand that many spouses and partners do NOT take the path I have taken, but I wonder how many who end up at NAMI do so out of good faith. I contacted them once because I was desperate, alone, and needed help. In the beginning of our journey I was absolutely overwhelmed and our son and I gave my wife 24/7 coverage for 4 years while he attended a local university and I worked 2nd shift, and yet she still wasn’t physically safe and for a year or more was covered in bruises, and she had many, nearly-broken bones because the new girls didn’t know how to ‘use’ the body very well. I had new girls trying to jump out of cars going 70mph or running thru moving traffic or wanting to buy fairy wings from the store so they could jump off buildings and fly! And that’s just the tiniest tip of the iceberg! When you all tell people in my position that our voice is 2nd class and we are engulfed in this kind of stuff, how many stick around? I’m not here near as much as I used to be for that very reason.

    The way to beat NAMI isn’t by belittling what the family is going thru but by showing them a better, though harder, way, and giving them the support to walk it with the person who is suffering. Again, I learned to wade through all the issues: I’m NOT special. I just refused to give up on my marriage and my wife. If we helped others, they might be willing to do the same!
    Sam

  • Sera,
    I believe systemic problems are changed one story at a time until it reaches critical mass like, hopefully, BLM seems to be doing now. None of us change the past: we change today and hopefully that changes the arc for the future like I’m trying to do with my little family. It’s unfortunate you are turning me into an ‘exception’ rather than seeing me as a potential ‘example.’ I may never have ‘othered’ my wife, but it still took me years to learn how to change our relational dynamics, how to fully implement attachment concepts to hold us together as we walked thru hell and help heal her own attachment system, how to see thru ‘extreme states’ so they became understandable, and thus healable, etc. I will never fully understand what my wife experiences but neither will she understand fully what I do on our journey, but that doesn’t stop us from treating each as equals. And if I could learn to do this, others could too. I don’t want to be an ‘exception’ but I do wish I could help others in a way that I never got any help for myself.
    Sam

  • Sera,
    I agree with much you have said, but I hope some day you will see that you seem to be judging our situation from YOUR experience. If that isn’t the case, then I apologize. It took me years to learn to see everything my wife was going thru by HER perceptions of it. My wife has never been ‘psychiatrized’ and as for being ‘diagnosed’ well, that was by an alternative counselor and, once I quickly got past the Hollywood caricature, for me it simply meant ‘your wife was deeply traumatized and is dealing with massive dissociation.’ Everything else we learned together, on our own, apart from the system because she even made me promise NOT to read any books on the subject (until years later). So I entered the journey without any preconceived ideas. We just kind of ‘fell into’ attachment strategies as the best thing to help us thru this. Later I became better educated on that subject, so I could help my wife even more, and so I owe much to John Bowlby for the road map he unknowingly provided us!

    It took me years to wade thru all the power dynamics of which you speak and learn how to use my strength for her advantage while never, ever, ever using it for my own advantage or even coercing her ‘for her own good.’ I had to learn that when I tried that tactic it never produced true, deep healing, and so I stopped doing it and learned to wait for her to move at her own pace, not at mine

    I do continue to wish you all well. I hope some day my wife will be willing ‘validate’ what I say, but if this is only for us, then so be it.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  • Sera,
    thank you for your sincere question. I will try to answer it the best I can.

    12 years ago when the other girls (alters) started to join my marriage and family and all hell broke loose because of all the extreme states they all went through, I never saw my wife any different than a person with extreme physical trauma. I never ‘othered’ her. I never thought she was crazy. I never thought she was psychotic, delusional, paranoid or any of the other derogatory things that are said of people who find themselves caught in effects of extreme mental trauma and dissociation.

    I ‘owned’ all the effects that her trauma and dissociation brought into our relationship. I saw us as ‘foxhole buddies’, in it together, 100%. I understood that a lot more would be required of me as the other girls (alters) joined our relationship, and our marriage today is certainly not typical to say the least. Many times I both physically and figuratively have
    carried her through the healing journey: I did whatever it took to help the only woman I have ever loved, and it was only when I found this site that I understood how much our efforts as a family (adult son included) had saved her from all the additional trauma and suffering so many of you have suffered from the drugs, the dehumanization, and the forced incarcerations you were made to endure.

    But when I got here I was immediately ‘othered’. It didn’t matter that I was an expert with lived experience on how to keep someone suffering extreme states, extreme dissociation and everything else my wife has experienced out of the system and off the drugs. All that is seen on this site is that I’m NOT a trauma victim. No matter how much I have argued that SO’s, family and friends MUST be part of the solution, it has been made clear to me that I will always be 2nd class unless my wife ‘validates’ my voice, here.

    Let’s go back to George Floyd. I’ve read lots of op-ed’s lately. A number of them by black authors have essentially said that until white people ‘own’ the protests, the blacks can only take things so far because white people control the power in this country. George Floyd changed the ‘other’ into a human face that many for the first time could connect to and white America has finally seemed to change the tide of this racist travesty in our country.

    I hope some day that Mad in America, Western Mass RLC, HVN and others will understand the same, that people like me must be more than just an ‘ally’ which still feels like a 2nd class ‘othering’ term to me. My wife and I are together on our journey 100%. There is no ‘other’ in our healing journey. There is only ‘us.’ This is not her struggle: this is our struggle. And I believe that it will only be when we help others like myself to ‘own’ this struggle, as the whites are finally doing with BLM, that things will change in the mental health arena as well.

    Sam

  • Bob,
    I hope some day MiA will find a way to expand its circle to include people like me. I have worked 24/7 for the last 12 years, as you know a little, to keep my wife OUT of the system completely. If people had the knowledge and tools to do the same, so much of the carnage psychiatry causes the majority of your readers would never even have a chance to occur.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  • Sounds like it was a good meeting with lots of interesting takes on the topic.

    “Contacting police should be treated as a very last resort, and true trauma-informed care is built on collaboration and trust”
    Until family, friends and carers are taught how to understand ‘non-drug induced extreme states’ so they are de-mystified and the fear factor is removed and then those people are taught how to help the person thru those states, people are naturally going to call in help. Those states definitely can be overwhelming and scary the first time one sees them, even as an outsider, and that just adds to the fear of the person experiencing it. Fear feeds fear, but if the carer can remain calm, then the one in those states can learn to feed off that, as well.
    Sam

  • Kermit,
    NAMI elevates the voice of the family over the sufferer of mental distress from what I read on MiA. However, it is my experience that MiA elevates the voice of the sufferer over the family. Until true parity and dialogue occurs and is facilitated between the 2 parties most interested in this entire topic, I wonder how much progress will be made.

    It appears Open Dialogue takes that more balanced approach though I have no personal experience with it (wish I did!). I hope some day MiA can move thru (and beyond) the pain and trauma of the sufferers to see that the families are suffering as well (from the fallout of the trauma and distress of the sufferer and not only from the effects of psychiatry) and healing will only come when all parties are brought together and learn how to love and create safety for everyone involved.
    Respectfully,
    Sam

  • Hi Sam,
    I’m sorry for the terrible things you’ve suffered at the hands of the ‘experts’, but I didn’t learn about attachment theory from them. My wife asked me NOT to read any of the literature out there the first couple of years we started our healing journey. And so she and I just kind of developed our own style. A lot of it was based on the Golden Rule, though I always tried to listen to her feedback if she didn’t like something I was doing.

    If she was crying or scared, I’d try to comfort her, just like I would want comforted if I were in her position. I spent many nights literally carrying her around the house as she would bury her face in my neck. I tried to be calm, when she couldn’t be. I learned to validate her fears from the past, but after I had done that, I redirected her to her new reality that she was no longer alone: I was with her and I would take care of her and protect her. It helped that the other girls (‘alters’) fronted as little girls because it helped me throw off the terrible maxims so many of us adults have been taught in our hyper-independent, western cultures to be strong, self-reliant and not ‘needy’.

    After a few years of us doing things our own way, I thought I ought to read and see why things were going relatively well for us, and that was when I ‘discovered’ attachment theory…but it was just stuff we’d been doing all along since we didn’t have anyone to tell me otherwise (that’s also when I found out I was doing things all ‘wrong’ according to the ‘experts’ despite how well she was doing, lol). After that I became a little more purposeful about some of the best points of that theory, but I in no way changed how we’d been doing things from the start.

    As for the ‘navel gazing’, my wife used to get caught up in that, too, and I try to steer her away from it. I tell her, “let’s just focus on the trauma and the dissociation, and the rest of the stuff will take care of itself” and for the most part that has been true.
    Sam

  • Hi Phoebe,
    thank you for the affirmation: I’m glad your own life affirmed the effectiveness of attachment techniques for even the most extreme of altered states. My wife went thru the entire gamut, and we never had to resort to drugs or forced interventions.. Maybe some day I will be able to do an article or series here as you suggest. There is such a desperate need to teach non-medical interventions to those who surround someone in distress.
    Sam

  • Hi Sandra,

    since you gave me the link to this article of yours in our brief interaction a month ago, I read it, again. I read you and your husband’s recent interview in the Psychiatric Times that MIA gave a link to in their “Around the Web” section and it made me think of you. I tried to track down a contact email for you on the internet, but then wondered if that might feel creepy…sigh.

    You said you intended to go thru more of my personal blog, but then my wife and I left for Europe and the holidays hit, and I never heard back from you. Maybe you found nothing of interest there, nothing that might help with even a few of your questions that you throw out in this blog and elsewhere…and if that’s the case, then maybe I really have nothing to offer…I can’t get my wife to join me in my efforts to change the conversation on how to approach extreme mental distress issues, no matter how often I beg her, and nothing I have tried on my own for these last 11 years has been accepted by any corner of the discussion on dissociation, ptsd, attachment concepts, mental health, the SO’s place in the healing journey, or anywhere else I have tried to find a ‘home’ for myself. I just, literally, seem to fit nowhere in this world or its internet…and that’s a really hard reality to have to face…

    Our son lives over in Waltham, outside Boston. Sometimes I wish I could stop by your place, even if I had to pay for your time, and just figure out if I really have wasted my life and these last 11 years, especially, as I carried my wife thru all the issues that come from extreme dissociation, thinking I could show the world a better way to approach mental distress. But no one wants to listen…and I’m really running out of hope and strength to keep trying to make a difference.

    I know this ‘comment’ really ought to be in private, but I didn’t know how to get it to you, and maybe you won’t even see it now as this is such an old blog of yours. I do wish you well and am glad there are people out there like you who are brutally honest with the truth…even if you found nothing of any value that I had to share…
    “Sam”

  • Hi Steve,

    well, I did qualify my response because Ayurdhi writes in a more clinical style than I am used to reading. That’s why I wrote ‘if I’m reading this correctly.’ It seemed that this blog was a largely positive portrayal of the study designed by Marlowe, Perry and Lee. But I am aware that I was going against the prevailing negative opinion of this blog in the comments section.

    So with that said, IF I am reading Ayurdhi correctly, then I stand by what I stated previously. I have tried many times to lay out my understanding of dissociation on this website to little effect. But I do understand my understanding isn’t mainstream but has come after 11 years of walking thru its many aspects with my wife on our healing journey. I would love to do a series on dissociation here like I did on my personal blog, but I won’t hold my breath. I think it would help make sense of the many confounding things that the various authors on this website note, but have no explanation for. And that’s why I tried to interject my understanding into this blog because the original authors seem to understand there is something more going on than they can explain: thus, their call for further study. I see it thru the lens of dissociation and thus, I think their study is a great start and hope they will continue to pursue it.
    Sam

  • Madmom,
    I don’t know if you’d be open to my experience as I literally, at times, carried my wife thru her extreme states and PTSD symptoms…
    There are 3 concepts from attachment theory that were vital for me to ‘master’ as I helped my wife thru these various experiences, though much of it I would categorize as simply being a good parent or SO.
    1) affect regulation. This first concept is most easily understood that the person in distress will mirror your reaction to the situation. If you stay calm and cool when she’s in the midst of an extreme state, that WILL affect her and calm her, too, but if you ‘lose it’, that will cause her to escalate. You’ve probably seen this concept played out in movies and such when all hell breaks loose but the ‘leader’ of the group keeps his cool and thus enables the rest of his/her band of followers to follow that lead.
    2) Proximity maintenance. Basically this means that your very presence has a calming effect upon the person in distress. You don’t always have to say something. Sometimes just your presence can be calming, but this is important: don’t minimize the importance of touch if your daughter is in a place to receive it. We humans need non-sexual touch to feel connected, and I have made it a hallmark of how I keep my wife connected to me for these last 11 years. You would almost always see me with my arm around her, or holding her hand or sometimes I’ll simply reach out and touch fingertips or rub noses or stroke her hair or her cheek. All these little things are powerful ways to emphasize that she is NOT alone. She is connected. And that connection, that attachment is what will hold her when the extreme states would otherwise overwhelm her.
    3) Safe Haven. To me I always visualize this as protected ship harbor during a hurricane. She would often run away from me when she felt scared and overwhelmed, but I NEVER let her be alone during those times no matter how much she would try to push me away. It was a balancing act, and so I was careful not to force myself upon her, but I would gently envelope her with my presence, with my words, with my affirmation. If she was hiding under a table or something, I would crawl under it with her and wrap her up loosely in my arms and legs and just whisper to her, “it’s ok now, Honey. I’ve got you. You are safe now. You aren’t alone anymore. I hear you. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there with you before, but I’ve got you now.”
    But I think safe haven also means when she thought she was going crazy and all the other derogatory things she’d safe about herself, I’d respond, “No, Honey, you’re just hurt. We’ll get thru this.” I had to learn NOT to overreact to all the things that got thrown my way. It really helped me once I understood what was going on inside of her.

    Now you’ve got the additional issue of the drugs, so everything might not ‘make sense’ in time like it did for me, but I’ve had to deal with mini-seizures, her going comatose, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, flashbacks, night terrors, self-injury issues, and more…but at this point, all those things are a distant memory and she hasn’t had anymore for years.

    I’d say the main issue was me. Once I got my ‘stuff’ together, my wife began to make much greater progress. Like it or not, we the SO’s and family and friends can make all the difference as the ‘primary attachment figures’ in the lives of our loved ones. Yes, it is exhausting, but we made it, and you can, too. You’re welcome to email me, if you’d ever like to correspond more.
    Sam

  • Ontological insecurity is defined as Quote:
    “Vulnerability to psychosis, wherein the self is experienced as lacking in coherence and consistency, precariously separated from the body, others, and the world and on the brink of disintegration into psychosis.”

    If I’m reading this correctly, this is just another way of saying ontological insecurity is the result of major, entrenched dissociation caused by trauma. From my understanding of how psychosis is described, I think it can be understood as the mind’s attempt to reintegrate dissociated, traumatic memories but as it attempts to do so, there is an overlap between the past memory and current reality which leaves the person experiencing it disoriented and unable to tell the difference between past and present. If I’m correct, it’s why I really don’t believe in psychosis because I think it would be better explained as experiencing overlapping realities (one past; one present) rather than the more common view that it is a ‘break’ from reality.

    Quote:
    According to R. D. Laing’s theory, ontological insecurity could lead to full blown psychosis when significant others interact with a person in a confusing, intense, and critical way. At its core it is the lack of a coherent and stable self. It is related to a crippling fear of loss of autonomy, especially the fear of engulfment, implosion, or depersonalization, in relationships with others.

    This is where the SO’s understanding of the attachment concepts of ‘safe haven’ and ‘affect regulation’ and ‘proximity maintenance’ are key. It really didn’t matter which attachment style my wife was currently experiencing when she was in an ‘extreme state.’ What mattered was that I satisfied her need for a safe haven and affect regulation by remaining calm, cool and anchoring her to the present and that I was physically present. A few times I let her pull me into her fear/anguish from the extreme state, and then I just elevated her distress, but when I stayed grounded, I was able to ground her and she would more quickly come out of those states, and, happily, that is what her mind seemed to need to begin the process of integrating those traumatic memories into her personal narrative to the point now that she rarely experiences ‘extreme states’ and they are rather mild when she does.

    I believe attachment concepts provided me a way to ‘hold’ my wife during psychotic-like events, gently cocooning her while she herself felt ‘ontologically’ fractured and insecure, and by me doing so, it gave her time to heal and gain that sense of self-security that she had previously lacked.

    Sam

  • Thanks for sharing, Bob.

    Every time I read one of these heartbreaking stories, it makes me so glad my family and I side stepped all the pain and misery caused by the mental health system and its drugs despite our path not being an easy one. Maybe some day we’ll find a mutually amenable way that I can share how we did it here on MIA.

    But I can certainly empathize with Zel: I have struggled with similar thoughts for decades though for completely different reasons. It really is too bad that so many people in this world are too blind and self-absorbed to see those who are suffering alone, and how it strengthens both people when they learn to ‘attach’ to each other.
    Sam

  • As someone with 11 years of lived experience, that is living with someone (my wife) who would be considered to have a ‘severe mental illness” I 1) don’t consider her dangerous, 2) don’t consider her crazy, 3) and don’t consider her biologically, mentally ill and in need of drugs to ‘control’ her. I am truly horrified by this push of Trump and Dr. Drew in the wrong direction.
    Sam

  • Sam Plover,
    I looked back over my response just to make sure, but I never said I was ‘fixing’ my wife. I do NOT see that as the case. I have an older brother who tried to ‘fix’ his 2nd wife, and it didn’t end well.

    As for me and my wife, we live together, we interact together, I love her, I support her where she needs it. Yes, I do a lot of things intentionally to create a loving and safe environment for her to heal, but I never see myself as ‘fixing’ her despite her many dissociative issues. We are in this healing journey together. I have had to change in many, many ways to be a good healing companion for her. It’s not all about her: it’s about us.

    Yours,
    Sam

  • Hey Bob,
    I’m glad to hear that MIA is growing and expanding and from your opinion, you seem to think the tide is turning: that’s very different from many other writers on this site who bemoan the lack of progress. I hope you are correct!

    I’ve been frequenting this website for nearly 5 years. Philosophically, I thought I’d finally found a ‘home’ here, but then I learned I’m not really part of the in group because I’m not a survivor or a therapist and I didn’t stick my loved one in the system with horrible results. I’m just a husband who has spent the last 11 years, 24/7 doing everything and anything it takes to keep my wife’s story from being the same as most on this website. And for the most part we are thru it, together and better, both of us changed from the experience of walking it as a couple and family.

    I’ve argued without effect that people in my role, the SO’s, family members and friends are the front lines in the battle. When people in mental distress begin to experience ‘extreme states’ as this site calls them, what’s a person going to do? Do they call the cops or experts? I haven’t seen anyone here teach others in my place how to deal with panic attacks, flashbacks, mini-seizures, going comatose, extreme anxiety, PTSD issues, dissociation, self-injury, hearing ‘voices’ and all the other things that typically drive them to call for help, for backup, even if it’s bad help and backup in the form of the mental health ‘experts.’ There’s not a single Open Dialogue practitioner here in Ohio: so who are people in my position going to turn to?

    Maybe MIA has decided people in my position are not their core focus group, and that’s your right to do so. But I don’t see the tide truly turning until people learn how to deal with these issues on their own or have good help concretely available.

    I do wish you and MIA the best,
    Sam

  • Dear Sandra,

    I always appreciate your articles. You are always so careful with the facts and try so hard not to over or understate things. You are willing to live with difficult, messy realities when surrounded by so many ideologues.

    I got thrown into this world of mental distress because the woman I love finally opened her own Pandora’s box after 20 years of marriage and we got sucked into it together as we tried to make sense of the hurt, pain and dysfunction and find a healing path forward, together, as a couple and as a family. Eleven years later we are still together on the journey, and I hope coming to the conclusion of this phase, though that may be wishful thinking.

    I’ve always wished I could find someone like you who would be willing to sit down and listen to the things we learned about fully implementing attachment concepts in a way that even the attachment theorists simply don’t understand because they limit themselves. And I wish I could share with someone like you about the true scope and nature of dissociation and how it underlies so much of what you would see in people’s signs of mental distress. My wife and I chose to live in her dissociation. We embraced it, breathed it, walked in it, and conquered it. I’ve helped her integrate most of those dissociated areas of her mind, and though we aren’t completely done, we know what needs to be done.

    I wish someone like you would be willing to read my feeble attempt to share what we learned about attachment concepts and dissociation. I tried to share them in my little blog, but I know they would never withstand critical scrutiny, as I just tried to share my observations about what worked and then tried to find a theoretical basis for why they worked, and so I’m sure I got a lot of it wrong even though what we did, did work.

    I’m glad you like Open Dialogue. Someone who practices it here in the States out West said what I do with my wife would be a good fit with their philosophy, but there’s no one here in Ohio for me to connect with.

    Anyway, I do wish you well and hope you find what you are looking for like my wife and I did.
    Sincerely,
    Sam
    https://samruck2.wordpress.com/

  • The article was extremely brief and really didn’t get into much and appears to be gearing toward a promotional for the attachment ‘interventions’ that the author offers thru his clinic. I’m afraid that it will promote therapists as a legitimate source to heal attachment issues, and though I do think they can be a resource for healing/changing one’s attachment issues, I really don’t think someone whose relationship is based on the flow of money is a good person to model to the ‘patient’ how to securely attach in a healthy relationship.
    Sam

  • Well, hello David,

    apparently we are fellow Buckeyes. I will definitely contact the email you gave, though at this point, I’m hoping my wife and I are on the far end our healing journey, though that could be wishful thinking, lol, as the last girl to join our family has taken longer to get connected to the others than all the rest combined, sigh.

    I have walked with my wife thru her d.i.d. for the last 11 years, without the use of medications and outside the mental health industry. I accepted where she was and then we walked together from there to create our own reality as we both have healed and changed and grown. I never treated her as if she was crazy, but validated all the experiences that come along with extreme dissociation, such as voice hearing and a host more.

    Take care.
    Sam

  • Hello Itay,
    I admit I struggled with your use of ‘anarchy’ in this article: I think your use of ‘egalitarian’ and some of your other word choices, at least to me, better represent what I believe is the intent of your message.

    I love Open Dialogue from ‘afar’ having never had the change to experience it on the healing journey that my wife and I have been on, but I was told by one of it’s practitioners that what I do with my wife fits very well with their philosophy.

    And I’m not sure why the swipe at marriage in the book you referenced: when my wife and I first began our journey together, over and over, she wanted to be reassured of my absolute commitment to her if she was going to visit the deepest, darkest corners of her childhood and it was ONLY within those safe confines of our marriage that she felt able to go where she had ignored for so long.

    But our egalitarian relationship and the contribution it engenders to our journey together most definitely fits with the spirit that seems to undergird your article. I have made attachment concepts the bedrock of everything we do to create a strong, cohesive relationship that can withstand the extreme pressure her many dissociative issues have brought our way…and thus far that has meant the difference of us not only staying together but growing stronger as a couple and family as she has healed in ways that many say is impossible without the use of any drugs or being connected to the mental health system at all.

    I wish you all the best. We are excited to visit your country very soon!
    Sam

  • Boans,
    I never realized until years later that one of the most important things my wife ever asked me when we first started our healing journey was for me NOT to read anything about her issues, and I honored that request. That gave us about 2 or 3 years to develop a system of me helping her that truly worked for her and us.

    Later I started to read the literature out there, and only then did I realize how radically differently we were doing things, but by then I was unaffected because I’d already seen the extremely positive results we were getting.

    It is too bad that so many families that want to help are instead ‘turned to the dark side’ so to speak and become agents of more pain and suffering instead of the healing agents they could be.
    Sam

  • I think this movement has struggled, in my opinion, because it doesn’t know how to get past its fundamental refutation of the biomedical model of mental health and heart breaking stories by those harmed by the mental health system. Yes, those things are important, but when loved ones are experiencing ‘extreme states’ which are NOT drug induced, then how do the people around them help without knee-jerk calling the police or authorities? How do families raise children who aren’t even enticed by drugs and so many of the other things that people use to dull their overwhelming pain? How do people navigate the overwhelming stress that 21st-century life places on all of us, not just the poor and people of color, though it may be exacerbated within those groups?

    Until the movement empowers and teaches those around the person in distress how to help AND how not to freak out, I think the default is going to be to bring in the ‘authorities’, never realizing they themselves are actually the only people who can walk someone thru ‘psychosis’, extreme anxiety, paralyzing fears, ‘paranoia’, mini-seizures, dissociative issues, becoming comatose, flashbacks, panic attacks, and more.

    I contacted Open Dialogue a few weeks ago to see if there was anyone in Ohio that I could team up with, and there’s not a single practitioner here. That’s really sad. Until we start giving real, practical alternatives to people, they are going to go to the ONLY help there is, even if it’s terrible help.

    Sam

  • I’m not thrilled with the amoral and unfettered capitalism that we are seeing today as Wall Street cares ONLY about padding the profits of the 1%, but I think this struggle is so much bigger than the Left/Right divide. Maybe this review is misleading.

    Anyway, I think this movement has struggled, in my opinion, because it doesn’t know how to get past its fundamental refutation of the biomedical model of mental health and heart breaking stories by those harmed by the mental health system. Yes, those things are important, but when loved ones are experiencing ‘extreme states’ which are NOT drug induced, then how do the people around them help without knee-jerk calling the police or authorities? How do families raise children who aren’t even enticed by drugs and so many of the other things that people use to dull their overwhelming pain? How do people navigate the overwhelming stress that 21st-century life places on all of us, not just the poor and people of color, though it may be exacerbated within those groups?

    Until the movement empowers and teaches those around the person in distress how to help AND how not to freak out, I think the default is going to be to bring in the ‘authorities’, never realizing they themselves are actually the only people who can walk someone thru ‘psychosis’, extreme anxiety, paralyzing fears, ‘paranoia’, mini-seizures, dissociative issues, becoming comatose, flashbacks, panic attacks, and more.

    I contacted Open Dialogue a few weeks ago to see if there was anyone in Ohio that I could team up with, and there’s not a single practitioner here. That’s really sad. Until we start giving real, practical alternatives to people, they are going to go to the ONLY help there is, even if it’s terrible help.

    Sam