Monday, October 21, 2019

Comments by Elizabeth Hill

Showing 73 of 73 comments.

  • Thanks, Selena, for your response. I will look forward to checking out your website!
    And in the meantime, I am sending you and Reid all my best, and holding you in my thoughts/prayers….

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Reid,

    Thanks for speaking up with such a powerful voice! And for putting your atrociously unjust story out into the world. Words can’t describe how sorry I am for what you’ve had to endure all these years–and what you go on enduring. I wish I could help in a concrete way, but unfortunately I’m at a loss…. I’ve read other people’s posts (offering concrete suggestions) and I hope these will be of help to you…. What I can say is this: you have an incredible spirit. In your essay, I hear you speaking out on behalf of yourself and also on others who “are utterly helpless to defend themselves.” And from reading your mother’s posts, I see that you are regularly standing up for yourself and also for others (from within the confines of the psych hospital you’re in). What’s more, I know you pay a heavy, heavy price for it. I have first hand knowledge of the psych system, though nothing in comparison with what you’ve been through, but I do know how terrifying and violent the punishments are. And so I am in awe that you continue to stand up for justice in the face of such extreme repercussions. What you’re doing is truly outstanding and heroic. And I also know from reading your mother’s posts that you felt a lot more depressed when you were keeping your “head down.” And now that you’re “making waves” and calling out the abuses that are being done to you and to other patients, you feel better and more hopeful. What I hear is that you’re holding onto your dignity and soul in the midst of so much atrocity–and not just on behalf of yourself, but with so much generosity to others. You are doing an amazing thing, far more amazing than most people could ever contemplate who live their “normal” lives outside the walls you’re trapped within. That said, I am horrified that you have to endure this fate. And I will add you to my prayers (I pray to a Goddess of Justice)–that yes justice will be done sooner rather than later and that you will be out of this truly insane (for who are the truly insane ones here?) psychiatric system. And Selena, you are obviously an amazing mother! You two make an incredible team. I’m rooting for you both all the time…..

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your kind words, Alex….

    And yes it’s so tough and “mind-boggling” as you say–when a presumed ally/advocate turns out to be duplicitous…. I know all about that. So much better to know what’s what from the start…. However, I’m so glad that the sharing of the film turned out to be rewarding/healing! And deservedly so 🙂

    All the best to you in your ongoing journey, Alex! Keep on shining that light….

  • Thanks so much for your response, Alex. You say it all so beautifully…. And yes, I couldn’t agree more–that speaking our “heart’s truth” is the way through–on all the levels you describe. And while it is empowering and healing for the speaker, it is also empowering and healing for the listener, such as myself. So it’s this amazing chain reaction that helps to free us from our isolation and the world’s oppression. And I am so grateful to you and the other people in your film for having the courage and the tenacity to speak out and to spread truth/light into all the darkness…. Amazing (but sadly not surprising) to me that you’ve taken a lot of heat for putting this film out…. Sorry to hear that and I wish the world were a better place….. But as you say, we evolve ourselves and gain freedom from and disempower “the toxic systems.” And yes, I agree that’s truly the “non-violent revolutionary change.” I love your vision!

  • I’ve also had a chance to watch your film, Alex. And I’m so impressed with how candidly and courageously the people in the film discuss all the prejudice surrounding “mental illness.” This really resonated for me. I am also struck by the beautiful level of self respect and self determination (refusal to just lay down and fit into or obey the remarkably oppressive and demeaning and intrusive status quo “box” designated to the “mentally ill”). Great job. Thanks for putting this out there! Much needed!

  • I’m not sure exactly what the video in question is? However, I do want to say that I feel that some of us in this thread are getting off topic and in this way hijacking Iden’s essential message–which involves the brutal and deeply wounding reality of racism. Iden so bravely came out of the closet regarding the existence of racism in the movement. And yes, I think he is very brave and respectful to all of us because it would be so easy to just shut down and say screw this movement–considering the flagrant racism and sexism exhibited by a member in the movement and then the appalling subsequent cover up and the message of “just discuss the issue behind closed doors” so as to save public face.

    Iden is refusing to let the issue be locked up behind a closed door. I believe he takes a risk with all of us in coming forward, given that the racist incident was apologized for (and thereby condoned) and also closeted by certain folks within the movement. He writes with courage and passion and profound self and other respect. I believe we should all be standing up and applauding him–and asking “what can we do to combat this racism in the movement?” Well the fact is, he says it all so eloquently himself:

    “What are some next steps to healing for the Black community members within the psychiatric survivor/mental health communities?

    It is okay to be angry, upset or cry in the face of the racism and oppression you face each day.

    It is okay to tell white people who dismiss your emotions as overreaction or “reverse racism” that they have no right to devalue your feelings.

    It is okay to let them know that you are no longer accepting conditional love, that you do not owe anyone forgiveness, and that your humanity is not for sale.

    On local, regional and national levels, discussions with leadership and face to face meetings with community members are a must. Campaigns about mental health and wellness need faces that look like ours, and they need our ideas and input. We need to see and hear more speakers that look like us at conferences and on committees. When we see ourselves and when others see and hear us, minds and values change.”

    How about if we engage with what Iden has put forth so concretely here–and with all that he explores so powerfully in the essay at large?

    Racism.

    It’s real. It’s horrible. And we should focus on listening to and learning from Iden, who has endured racism at a core level (and what an amazing guide he is!).

    Why can’t we put racism–and the fact that it so unjustly exists in our movement and the urgent need to change this reality–at the center of this thread?

    Thanks for listening.
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Iden,

    Thank you for your beautifully written and very powerful essay. I am appalled that a movement that claims a concern for justice would carry on such injustice. I find it especially awful that there are several folks who–rather than denouncing this flagrant racism and sexism–push for such prejudice to be discussed behind closed doors. So as not to have the movement discredited etc…. The message is: we’re fine with racism and sexism, just hide it so we can look good. These people have no right to be in a movement that purports to be concerned with social justice. For social justice should include all people who are oppressed–and be embracing of and empowering to all. And no one should be “regulated to the back” and all should “have space at the table.” This is the only path to true justice and freedom for all. Thank you for speaking up Iden! Please keep speaking up. It’s so important to bring this “monstrous wound” out in the open….

    In solidarity,
    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your kind words, Alex…. It’s great to see all these connections being made.
    Keep shining your own light 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi LavenderSage,

    Wow! What a screwed-up way to find out that you like being with women! But it sounds like that experience really opened your eyes to another dimension of your sexuality—ultimately culminating in your relationship with your wife. Yes, relationships can definitely be challenging, but so worth it when there’s real mutual love and support.

    It’s great that you laid out such clear terms with Catherine before you started working together. Your terms are so self-respecting! Way to go. Catherine sounds amazing, and I can well understand that it’s a huge loss….

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi LavenderSage,

    Wow. You’ve been through a lot! It sounds like you’ve been feisty all your life 🙂 It’s great that you’ve always stood up so strongly!

    I’m glad to hear you claimed your bisexuality—despite growing up in a repressive environment. Congratulations on your 20 year marriage! it sounds like you and your wife are walking a beautiful path together…..

    I wish you all the best in declaring your identity as “one of the Mad.” It seems like you’ve taken an important step in visiting the MIA website, and in sharing your reflections/story here…..

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your therapist—and especially such a long term relationship. I know that when someone really stands by you, understands you, loves you for all that you are, well…that is a huge loss….

    I wish you all the best as you make your way in all your various endeavors,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi LavenderSage,

    Thanks so much for sharing you story (or some of it–I know there’s so much more!) with me. As with your poem, I am so impressed with how you always hold onto your authentic/whole/open self. I felt you doing exactly this when you interacted with the patient at the volleyball activities. He obviously felt how kind and real and connected you were (not othering him like the other volunteers did or looking down at him like the staff did).

    I was very sorry to hear about your suicide attempt, as I recognize the horrible pain and hopelessness behind the decision to take one’s own life. I was happy, however, to hear that you found such a supportive and respectful environment in the Respite Center. It sounds like you really faced things down in there, and that you ultimately found the strength you needed to create a new path for yourself.

    I love how you end your post with the fact that (when doing your volunteer work with people in distress) your own crisis “showed, and I was glad to have been seen.” This is beautiful and strong and true–as so many people want to bury/deny their time on “the other side” and just fit into the mainstream at all costs. And yet you seem to truly value this self (as you do in your poem) that others may want to discard and hide! I feel the same way in my own life, but you really inspire me to have more strength and pride in this regard! So thank you so much!…. Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response, LavenderSage!

    And yes, I agree that Linda would’ve been supported and honored in “another time/place/culture.” As she so amply deserved to be!

    Also, I am so touched that you shared your poem with me. It’s truly beautiful and inspiring. I love how you create your own design as you “crack the patterns.” This is a powerful, creative and self affirming act. I also love how you guard all the shards that the world would rather discard because these shards tell your painful/traumatic life story. And these shards, as you write, have “value,” “beauty,” “potential to be more.” I see you as honest, brave and triumphant within your poem. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response, Someone Else!

    I really appreciated all your reflections. And it is interesting that so many of in our “altered states” strive for justice and a better world. It’s also awful–that such a quest (rather than being honored and engaged with) is pathologized and crushed by psychiatry…. I also really connected to what you said about the “collective unconscious” and also about how you were “awoken to the inner light” and saw that we were all “connected”…. And it’s true that the web can generate so many connections and awakenings…. It’s an amazing vehicle!

    So yes, let’s keep fighting for this better world!

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response Fred.

    Wow. It sounds like you have been through a lot. This Behavior Control Unit is horrifying. And yes, psychiatrists certainly (through maintaining that distance you describe) can certainly make the most “cold-blooded decisions.” It is as though the “patient” is not real or human. And so the travesty goes on….

    I’m so sorry someone you love got caught in all that hell. They’re certainly lucky to have you on their side.

    Best wishes to you,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m actually replying to your very last message–but there was no “reply button” for sone reason on that message.

    So yes, please be in touch if you do get back this way at some point. It sounds like you have family in the northeast.

    And I’d love to get out to your amazing city!

    I look forward to staying in touch 🙂

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much Steve! Btw: I love Portland, I visited that city once, and thought it was so cool!

    And if you’re ever in NYC, or thereabouts, please look me up!

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for writing back, Alex!

    I’m so glad you find kinship in my reflections…. And I certainly find kinship in yours…..

    The quote you included speaks volumes to me. I in fact have the first two sentences of this quote pasted up on a wall in my kitchen! And the last sentence of this quote, I recently sent to a friend of mine. I’ve never had the whole quote in entirety, so thanks so much for sending it my way. It’s a real treasure. It’s always important to be reminded to let that light shine forth! I wish you best with shining your own light 🙂

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response Alex!

    What you say really resonated with me–and reminded me of a central insight I had when I was undergoing my “breakdown.” I felt that we were really all one at bottom, and derived from one primordial source, and that each of us showed up as various expressions of this source….. I felt like the whole point to life was to reclaim this light/source, and to express it as powerfully and directly as possible.

    Thanks again for your illuminating thoughts…..

    Elizabeth

  • I really appreciated your response Matthew…. And thanks for passing my post around 🙂
    And yes, I agree that people who are in the most vulnerable and passionate places are so often turned against for being “different” rather than shown the respect and love they deserve…. You say it more eloquently….!

    Thanks also for the wonderful work you’re doing. I read your recent post–“Finding clarity through clutter”–and was so thankful for your compassionate understanding of “hoarders”–who are all too demonized. I love how you look at the pain that is so often behind “hoarding.” You look at the real person! I also really related to what you wrote about “hoarders” being told “they lack insight” or are “hard to engage” if they don’t accept all the dehumanizing pathology that is imposed on them. The exact thing happened to me when I rejected my diagnosis of “psychosis”–which carries so much negative charge, and dismisses the whole meaning behind the experience!

    Keep up your great work….! And best wishes….

    Elizabeth

  • Yes, it certainly felt right! I was very moved by the depth of your response….

    And yes, it does seem like the “most sensitive and the least powerful”
    have to pay a high price indeed–though I like to think that ultimately I am freer and more whole (than people who deny and shut down) due to the journey I’ve been on for so many years…though god knows it’s been harrowing at times….

    I also agree that anger is key. It’s saved my life again and again!

    It’s been great “talking,” Steve. I hope we’ll have more occasions to pursue a dialogue. All my best to you…..

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response The_cat!

    Yes, I agree that so many “normal” people are a real problem because they refuse to think outside the box and respond–even when the truth is staring them right down!

    Here’s to honoring/celebrating the “freaks!”

    Elizabeth

  • I really your appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, Steve!

    I found your thoughts on the “shadow self” so illuminating…. I agree that extreme states can contain a whole word that is disallowed/denied by the larger society. And as you point out–so many people turn on this world b/c it reflects their own hidden conflicts that they have repressed to “fit in.” I think the society others this state rather than trying to understand it b/c they don’t want to get too near to all that underground dynamite and (I might add) deep knowledge that these states can contain. It just shakes everything up! So let’s shake it up, as things desperately need to change!

    Thanks also for getting that I have been essentially driven into silence by all the prejudice.
    I spent so long speaking out (into such terrible resistance from those nearest and dearest to me, that was the worst), and I’m a naturally communicative person, so it is sad, as you say…. But in the meantime, I have people like you who get it and who hear me, so thanks so much for this!

    I also really appreciate all the work you are doing to bring in the light!

    Elizabeth

  • Wow! You are a veritable treasure trove…. There’s so much to explore here.

    I had heard of Cooper and just looked him up on on the internet more extensively–along with the book you reference. I have to say–he sounds fascinating, and right along the lines of so much that I think about and consider to be true/authentic….. I can’t wait to read him more!

    Thanks so much for all these amazing links Nomadic 🙂

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response truth!

    I’m so sorry to hear about the horrors you endured in the MHS—and also that you were all alone with it. I am so impressed with how you held onto the beauty of who you were throughout—“the devastation of that amazing spirit…a butterfly with wings mangled.” I’m just so sorry that they abused your “amazing spirit”…. And yet you emerge triumphant, with your knowledge of right and wrong so intact!

    And yes, I so well understand the intense pressures of being the “ever giving female”—and how this is rewarded. And then the “breakdown” (n the face of all these pressures and others) “pleasing no one.” And how one can be left all alone and abandoned—though I know I am lucky, as you say, to have a “wonderful partner” to support me…..

    I love how you speak of the “real monsters” poisoning people who are in any way special/different or simply abused/traumatized or vulnerable in a variety of ways…. It’s a true travesty.

    Thanks so much for your amazing voice, truth! Keep speaking out!

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response N.I.

    I am so glad my pieces resonated for you 🙂 I think it’s so true that–no matter how much loved ones may offer support (and I’m so glad you have this community!), there’s such a deep level of understanding/solidarity that may exist between “those of us living in the shadows.” (And I love that phrase by the way!). Your response reminds me of how important it is that we keep speaking out and connecting to one another.

    Congratulations on getting down to such a low dosage on the neuroleptics–and yes it can be quite the challenge to “negotiate some kind of relationship to psychiatry.” Good luck with all that…. Sending my best wishes, Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response J! You express so much here…

    It’s so true and important what you say–Linda was moving outside the norm regarding who is allowed to possess and project a powerful vision. No one listened to her meaning–and she was crushed.

    I’m so sorry to hear that you too strove to share your “dreams and plans” and endured the “intrusive, violent presence” of a world gone truly “mad.” It is all so upside down: where people should be honored for engaging so deeply with a vision, they are “savagely pathologized.”

    Thanks so much for your beautiful and inspiring voice,
    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for the links Nomadic!

    I am familiar with the Laing books, but am looking forward to exploring the others….

    The Mark Poster looks great–I am always interested in writers who examine and reenvision family….

    Elizabeth

  • It’s always so discouraging when someone with a diagnosis expresses such prejudice toward others who are in altered states. And no, this woman doesn’t seem to have a clue about the horrors that can go down in the MHS. She takes money from big Pharma and delivers the “brain disease” message–and all that goes with it.

    And I agree with you–peer support is the way to go. This way, we all keep empowering each other to stand up for a much needed justice! Thanks so much for your voice madmom!

    Elizabeth

  • Yes, I can imagine that “grunt-like caution” is so necessary to keep you safe–at so many levels! Thanks for all your responses!

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response Nomadic! I know only a little about Deleuze and Guatarri, but look forward to checking them out more! Thanks also for the link. I just glanced at it, and it looks intriguing 🙂

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your response madmom!

    Wow. You have quite your own story to tell! I’m so impressed with how you spoke out to the man who was bragging about this awful and deeply prejudicial Halloween costume. I’m also happy to hear that he could hear you! Great work on your part!

    I’m so sorry to hear that your daughter’s been through so much psychiatric abuse–and am wishing you and your family all the best! Keep speaking out madmom!

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for responding bcharris!

    Yes, I can certainly understand your feeling of “being a spy” on the street–trying to avoid blowing your cover by “acts of public strangeness.” I think the feeling of being watched and judged–when we are in altered states–is so powerful. What’s more, I think it would be great if there was more acceptance and understanding of “acts of public strangeness.” It sounds like you are trying to wake people up who are “ignorant.” Great job! I wish you all the best with your journey going forward!

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Sera,

    Thanks so much for exposing this. This is truly appalling–on the level of the Big Pharma’s direct hand in this. And also on the level of othering kids who may be suffering:

    “Moments later, a group of middle schoolers discussing their supposed friends ‘with depression’ make comments such as that their friend’s behavior is “kinda scary,””

    I was also distressed by the “illness” propaganda delivered to kids at such a young age. I know kids are regularly being channelled into one “disorder” or another these days, and this is awful.

    As you point out, why not reach out to kids in a real way?–“and ask for help without making it an illness issue?” It was hard enough for me to fight against the “illness” model as an adult. I don’t know how kids are supposed to fly in the face of all this brainwashing so early on–and come to their own authentic terms…..

    Thanks for being a powerful voice in the struggle against oppression.

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Catharsis,

    Thanks so much for your response. I’m really glad the “leaving the house” analogy spoke to you. I love what you say about “an expansion of consciousness, where familiar mind structures are transcended forever.”
    How illuminating! I guess once this deep reality (known as “psychosis”) is glimpsed, we will never see the same again. We will always carry that vision, that knowledge. We will always KNOW.

    Thanks again and best wishes to you,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Redmond,

    Thanks for the great article/book review. What a wonderfully bracing perspective in the face of all the pathologizing of suffering/depression. I wholeheartedly agree with the message you put forth–based on your own personal experience and also what is depicted in the book itself. I myself have lived through great trials–and have found that there is so much more freedom on the other side (than if I had averted these trials). There really is an affirmative and mysterious process (and I love your distinction between “mastery” and “mystery”) that is at play if we investigate and embrace our despair as fully as possible.

    I wish you all the best in the new year….. Keep spreading the message. We are in a land of drought–and what you offer is water. Thank you….. Elizabeth

  • What a beautifully written and insightful essay! I love the exploration of friendship. For I feel that friendship (especially the true or genuine one as described by Aristotle) is at the heart of love. Also, it was intriguing to learn about your experiences at Portland Road…. R.D. Laing was certainly revolutionary. I will look out for your upcoming book!

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Sera,

    Thanks so much for your insightful and right-on-target article.

    I loved your chart: I found it chilling because it’s so true.

    What you say here really resonates with me: “Though, perhaps that’s better than when people adopt our words and phrases as if they do understand. It’s easier to understand your enemy when they’re not pretending to be your ally.”

    The people who belong the the middle group–“You’re on the right track (sorta)”– are the ones who can be most confusing and frightening because they appear to be your ally. They go along (to a certain extent) and then end up sticking you in a hospital.

    I also really loved what you write here: “Our brains tend to feel around for that one little speck in all that lies before us that re-enforces what we believe, even when all that surrounds it offers up evidence that screams for change.” I think this is true of people who defend the status quo in the MHS. I also reflected how true this has been of myself as I’ve come up against the need to break down taboo psychological territory within me. That is, the need to change vs the pressure (within and without) not to. Thank you for putting into such eloquent and precise words what I’ve grappled with personally for so long.
    And thanks for your article at large!

    Best wishes,
    Elizabeth

  • A beautiful article! I love your emphasis on going through the long arduous process (as the butterfly does) rather than just pushing away the struggle and getting back into one’s routine. I do believe, from my own experience, that this is the path to a much deeper freedom. If we don’t deal with the source, the “symptoms” will just keep recurring in one form or another…..

    Best wishes.

  • First off, I am so sorry for your loss of your husband to suicide. What a huge thing to come to grips with…. You write eloquently of how suicide is stigmatized and marginalized. And how we should embrace it instead. If I understand you correctly: this would help people who are suicidal and also help those who are grieving a person lost to suicide.

    I very much agree with what you say here:

    “If broken relationships, financial stress or embarrassing moments alone caused suicide many of us would have chosen that path already. These are everyday occurrences most people survive. They are not death sentences. They may be the last straw, the catalyst, but rarely are they the single identifiable reason for suicide. Sometimes suicide is a time bomb waiting to go off and a bystander merely stumbles over the trip wire. The cause of suicide involves more than a single life event gone wrong.”

    There is so much simplistic thinking around suicide. People seem to avoid venturing into the deeper waters: that is, the huge, complex, and often long term forces that drive a person to suicide.

    Thanks for shining the light. I am sure your book will be a solace to many. Best wishes to you…..

  • Hi acidpop5,

    Thanks so much for your response.

    I am truly sorry for the torture you were subjected to. Five point restraints. I am horrified at the utter paralysis. Four point restraints were awful enough; I can’t imagine five point. And five years of all these terrible things being done to you. You must be a real warrior to have survived this. And yes you’re right. How ever can this help us function better? And the “proposed outcome” is indeed fear. This sort of sanctified abuse creates a terror state. How can we possibly feel safe in our own society?

    Thanks again for your voice,

    Elizabeth

  • Thanks so much for your inspiring story. Good for you for resisting the trap of psychiatric drugs–and for embracing your daughter in her true, natural spirit. (She sounds wonderful!) To think of the tardive dyskinesia route–and how tragic that is. May Meili always prosper and be protected. One thing is for sure: Meili is so lucky to have you and your wife…. Best wishes to you.

  • Hi snowyowl,

    Thanks so much for your response. I appreciate your kind words and validation. I am so sorry to hear that that you are “stuck on the part where I am silenced, and talking to the unappreciative, talking to the “veritable hand.”” This is a hard place to be. I hope your contact with MIA will help you to feel heard and appreciated. It sounds like you have been through so much with the MHS. I am so glad you finally managed to “ESCAPE!!!!” Keep the fire burning!

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Tracey,

    I was able to find your article and read it! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I love what you write here: “However, it can and does take an incredible force of will to hold and nuture this resistance when you are up against a culture of compulsory hospital treatement, forced drugging, direct to consumer marketing, big business, anti-stigma campaigns that tell us all about how we need to ‘accept’ people with mental illness, and a society that has – on the whole – bought into the concept of mental illness and the ‘science’ of psychiatry.” I think it takes so much strength and courage to go against the mainstream. And yet it sounds like you knew right off the bat that “Tracey with a mental illness” was a lie. You rejected that “alien” construct right from the start. And I know how strong you were and are to do this. It’s so terrible to be put in a box (0f pathology) that as you write has been defined by people who didn’t have the experience. And the message (from the mainstream) as you further write is “that you are somehow different from others, somehow damaged beyond repair, somehow not as worthy of the life you truly want and somehow not capable of achieving your wildest dreams.” This is a terrible and frightening message. It can literally be soul crushing. I’m so happy that there are people like you urging people to not believe in this dangerous sham. And “to start believing in ourselves….” That’s what it really takes. Last of all, I wanted to say that I deeply related to the long lasting impact of the abusive “treatment.” I also spent years dealing with it in therapy. A terrible trauma!

    Thanks again Tracey. I’m so glad I read your article…. Keep up the good fight!!

    Take care,
    Elizabeth

  • Hi Mary,

    Thanks so much for your response. I’m very glad that you were able to educate yourself with “written accounts” so as to stay free of the system.

    What’s more, I am touched by your thanks and encouragement. Your words mean a lot to me. What you say just reconfirms the importance of getting the truth out. And yes, it’s so vital that we learn to “help ourselves and each other.” The knowledge and wisdom exist from the “inside.” We need to keep speaking out! Thanks for your own voice. Thanks for holding the faith….

    Take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Iden,

    Thank so much for your inspiring story! I’m sorry that you had to suffer so deeply–due to the prejudicial world. But you’ve clearly triumphed! I’m glad that your grandma stood behind you….. Keep shining the light. And keep watching those sunrises! Best wishes……

  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks so much for your response. I truly appreciate how imaginative you are regarding how trapped one feels in restraints. Most people (doctors included) don’t imagine it. So thank you! I was also interested in what you said about most people not being “able and willing” to hear that a “”helping” place” can actually be “such a nightmare.” And perhaps this being related to people distancing themselves from the “mentally ill” because “empathizing mean realizing” that they themselves could end up there. I think this is true. I think people try to block out what they are afraid of. But I’ve also wondered whether people other the “mentally ill” to such a degree that they (the “mentally ill”) aren’t real to them. Their experiences are “off the map.” Subhuman. Not to be related to. I think the same might be said of the public’s attitude toward people with Alzheimers–though maybe there is increasing awareness in the latter domain. I don’t know? I hope so.

    And yes, I’m so glad to have found MIA–so that I may feel heard and validated by people like you! And so that I may hear and learn from other kindred souls!

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Liz,

    Thank so much for your response. Yes, I believe that “psychosis” can indeed involve a spiritual dimension. And thanks for informing me of “Dabney Alix” and her “Spiritual Awakenings.” I will look forward to checking that out. I’m glad my story helped you to see “this state in an alternative perspective.” And that this further helped to prepare you should your children experience such a state. You sound like a very thoughtful parent!

    I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s suicide. It is my deep hope that a reform of the MHS (in both a more enlightened view of “psychosis” and in the “treatments”) will help to save people who are desperately alone, misunderstood, and often abused within the current system.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks so much for your response. I actually went through MIA to get your contact information.
    I’ve sent you an email. I will look forward to being in touch.

    Take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Tracey,

    Thanks so much for your response. It really meant a lot to me. I’m so sorry that you were met with the violence of the MHS. However, I’m glad in your second “psychotic break” that you were able to slip “through the cracks” of the MHS. It sounds like a lot came out of that second “break!” I am so glad that you ultimately connected to your “sacred knowledge.” It sounds like your work has been key to flourishing in that “garden of kindred spirits.” And yes I agree that the work to overturn the current system (in both its violent “treatment” and its narrow, prejudicial view on “passages”) is such essential work. There is indeed so much at stake–as we know personally. I’m so glad you’re out there making a difference!
    I will look for your op-ed on MIA and I wish you all the best with writing your story. 🙂

    It’s great to confirm the knowledge from the “inside.”

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi foglight,

    Thanks so much for your response. I appreciate your support and kindness.

    I’m glad that my account gave you insight into both the abuses of the MHS and also into the nature of the “passage.” And yes, having one “important person” can be literally life saving. Thanks also for your interest in my book. I will be sure to let you know when it’s finished. I consider a reader such as yourself most valuable!

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi SamMe,

    Thanks so much for your response. Yes, I believe there is a deeply spiritual aspect to these states of being. I’m so glad your son was able to get good care overseas, and that he got supported by his community afterward. He’s lucky to have you in his corner! And yes it is so important to have this discussion and to share what goes on from the “inside.”

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Will,

    Thank you so much for this complex, deeply humane portrait of a person in a “different” space.
    And thank you for insisting on human connection above all–and for speaking out against force.
    Force is devastating and, as you point out, will only drive people further away: “When you have been traumatized by those offering help, avoiding treatment might even be a sign of health, not madness.”
    I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for being committed to the empathic, honest and patient path. That is, of forging a connection with an extraordinary person who is deeply misunderstood. And thanks for standing up for this approach (forging a connection) as opposed to the current model of coercion. I couldn’t agree more! It is the only way through…. I know from experience…..

  • Hi Ron,

    Thanks so much for your response. Yes, it seems critical to have one person to connect to always.
    And to have that person “get” it. I think it can be life saving. I’m lucky in having this one person, and I’m glad you’ve been lucky too!

    Take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Truth in Psychiatry,

    Thanks so much for your very thoughtful and encouraging response. It’s true: “Force is always traumatic.” And it does so much needless damage. I love what you say about passages deserving “more reverence and humility.” You obviously have eyes to see! I always felt that the psychiatric checklist in the face of such a vast and mysterious process was arrogant beyond belief. Like trying to dictate the surge of an ocean. And yes I vigorously agree that the MHS “must be be exposed, challenged and changed.” It’s high time. And it’s people like you who will play an important role in this process.

    Thank you ever so much,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    Wow. I’m so sorry that you were severely abused by the MHS.

    I’m glad that the Filipino psychiatrist helped you off your meds. It sounds like he was coming from the right place.

    Keep up your good work as a therapist–helping others to be free.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Subvet416,

    Thanks so much for your response. I agree that there is “a deadly serious game.” I hope “I’m holding all the cards to play a good hand.” I believe “I know the rules of the game” I’m playing. It seems you have to know the rules to know how best to maneuver.

    Thanks also for giving me the link to “The Master Game….” I will really look forward to checking that out!

    I also hope you will get your own story out at some point.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi ang,

    Thanks so much for your response. I was not on any medication at the time of my “break”–so it wasn’t medication induced. I know, however, medication can cause a “break.” And it sounds like that’s what happened to you. I’m so sorry!

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi CatNight,

    Thanks so much for your response. I agree that “Truth is too scary to publish!” I think there has always been an obstacle to getting real stories out there. People want a watered down version—or a lie. As you point out: “A brilliant Mind” was based on a lie. And so yes I understand your concern. I share it. On that note, I hope my book will be as real and convincing as possible. I have aimed to tell the emotional truth as well as I can. It was not comfortable to write, and I hope it will not be comfortable to read. I would like to think I’m helping rather than hindering. We’ll see….. In the meantime, I appreciate your honesty and passion about these matters.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi lily.c,

    Thanks so much for your response. Oh you’re so right! We are pressured to betray our experiences from so far back. And the more we hold onto, as you say, the harder it is to “play along” with the status quo.

    And yes I agree that there is “No Other who deserves what’s wrongly done to us.” And the more we can turn away from that “authority” and “find solidarity with each other” and find out what’s been “hidden and called “delusion””—well the richer and more beautiful our lives become. Energy as love…never to be destroyed.

    Your vision is beautiful. Thanks for further opening my eyes—and reminding me of what really matters.

    Take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi michael,

    Thanks so much for your response. I’m very sorry to hear you’ve been abused by “professionals.” And I’m glad Szasz (I agree—he’a amazing!) was able to help you through it. I think it’s powerful to give “a calm and well documented opinion when someone asks.” It spreads enlightenment. And yes, compassion is certainly helpful.

    Good luck picking up those pieces. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. I’ve found that the answer really does lie within. And I’m glad you can depend on yourself. I believe this is the place of true power.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi 9,

    Thanks so much for your response. I love your outrage! It is disgusting to have to lie to prop up the ego/status of one’s abuser. As if they hadn’t already done enough harm—and then you have to dance around them to get out of their grip.

    “Don’t tell. That’s the rule. But we’re sick if we don’t tell. But we get in serious trouble if we tell.” I love this. Have you read R.D. Laing? It reminds of stuff he’s written.

    And I agree that it’s like sexual abuse—or physical or emotional abuse. All this cover up to spare the abuser—when it is s/he who should be taking responsibility.

    Thanks for suggesting my story should go out to people in psych wards. That is the highest compliment you could give me.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth

  • Hi Someone Else,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I am so sorry that you, too, got caught in the brutality of the MHS. But thank God you escaped that doctor who “snowed” patients.

    I wish you all the best writing your own story.

    Thanks again and take care,

    Elizabeth