Psychiatric Drug Facts via :

“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Oct 10, 2011

For World Mental Health Day Boycott Normal

I blog for World Mental Health Day
I am boycotting normal because there is Life After Labels
In 1999 The US Surgeon General David Satcher emphatically stated that stigma is the most important problem facing the entire mental health field. source

"Stigma is promulgated in part, through rules, practices, and processes of "liberal" institutions; for example, educational, medical, criminal justice, and social service agencies." (Corrigan, Watson, Byrne and Davis) 2005

I know from experience, that a person who is diagnosed with a mental illness can internalize the negative perceptions of professionals, family members and the community.  My perception was that I was flawed.  How others treated me and how I believe they thought of me became who I was; this was the basis of the self-defeating beliefs which ultimately I accepted as valid, which limited my opportunity to recover or even believe that recovery was possible.  In the article, "How using the DSM causes damage: A client's report," which used the transcripts from therapy sessions and these passages, 
"demonstrate that the multiple diagnoses imposed coalesced into his core construct of himself as “crazy.” When his diagnoses became internalized as a construct, his world became viewed through a lens that believed itself to be defective."   The authors stated, "The use of diagnoses may also have negative consequences for the process of psychotherapy.' and recommend "that diagnoses should be tentative and rejected if they reify negative self-concepts and do not promote change in clients."
In the nineties, I sought counseling for my issues with childhood trauma.  From the beginning, it was a constant battle for me personally, to not internalize what I perceived to be limiting and negative attitudes of the professionals at the community mental health clinic.  Repeatedly delivering the message that I would need to take psychiatric drugs for the rest of my life, seemed to be the primary purpose of the mental health services I received; although I had sought counseling for PTSD and feeling depressed, counseling was never provided by this agency.  I was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, assigned a case manager and provided "medication management" for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  I ultimately stopped going to this community mental health center a few years later, and had my g.p. prescribe my meds.   

The reason for this change was the psychiatrist who prescribed my lithium suggested that I need to take another drug to treat my ADD.  I explained to him  that I did not want to take a drug to deal with something that was not an issue for me, and was not causing me any problems.  In college, I was able to get very good grades---I have been able to work and perform complex tasks.  

I quit going to a psychiatrist because it was obvious that he was unwilling to respect my wishes---and dismissed my reasoning altogether.  I explained to him that I have learned coping strategies to deal with my attention difficulties including learning some study skills which had enabled me to make the Dean's or the President's List when I was in college.  I am able to  perform jobs with complex multi-step tasks, without a whole lot of difficulty, and I did not need or want to take additional medication.  For three consecutive months at my appointment, he would attempt to convince me I needed a prescription for a new ADD drug that had he said no potential for addiction and would help me.  What he did not seem to understand is that I did not need or want "help" for a problem I did not have.  I considered his repeated attempts to persuade me to take pharmaceutical speed insulting and inappropriate.  

Readers of this blog know that I have a son who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia.  The experience of attempting to get appropriate care for his complex PTSD as a child was disheartening and in retrospect, I believe that the fact that I had a psychiatric diagnosis was used by some to minimize my concerns and my perspective; if not dismiss it altogether.  After all, I was viewed as dysfunctional, and I am aware that I accepted this perception, as having some validity---even though I refused to accept that it meant I was flawed forever I fought against the notion that I would remain forever broken in some way.   

My son's behavior was extremely disordered.  It was regularly acknowledged that I had "good insight," into his behavioral issues; repeatedly documented that I actively pursued help for him, and partcipated in any treatment that he was provided; yet we were treated with contempt by the social workers whose job it was to authorize the services my son needed.  The fact of the matter is, I was constantly faced with fighting for my rights as a parent, and repeatedly encouraged to give my son up to social services.  I was actually asked, by one social service supervisor, "If you can't take care of him, why did you take him home?"  

This question was asked when I insisted that that they had a duty to help me get him the care needed; the services I was asking for were the services that were recommended when I brought him home after a ten month psychiatric hospitalization at the age of seven.  I knew that regardless of what the social workers at the local child welfare office thought of me, my son deserved to get all the help that he needed.  He had PTSD as the result of being traumatized, he had been victimized and violently assaulted at the age of three in a foster home.   I was treated as 'less than' by the social workers who I had to work with, in the hope that I could get the help my son needed.  I have more than once wondered if their judgement of me was used as an excuse to deny my child the help he needed.  
There has not been a day go by that I do not remember that I placed my sons in foster care; because of my unresolved issues and my own inability to cope.  It was the right thing to do, at the time.  It is extremely difficult to accept that putting my sons in the foster care system resulted in Isaac being harmed so badly.  

I have, after getting some good counseling outside the public mental health system, I have finally managed to have some forgiveness for myself---I will forever remember the first time someone told me that what happened to Isaac wasn't my fault.  I needed to hear it for it to be true; I guess. The counseling that I got helped me to deal with the effects of my own childhood trauma, and the feelings of abandonment that had plagued me all of my life.  It helped me to accept my birth mother as she was and to understand that how she treated me had nothing to do with me.  It helped me to learn how to protect myself, and it helped me to learn that it is my responsibility to do so.   

I don't do any of this perfectly, or as consistently as I'd like, but I know now that I am not defective, I know that I do not have a broken brain, and I have not taken the psychiatric drugs I was told I would need to take the rest of my life for six years.  I know that I am a good mother and that I can be responsible for my health and recovery.  I can be available to my adult sons, and truly appreciate them as individuals.  Isaac still needs a lot of help, and I am grateful for the recovery that I do have because it makes it easier to be present in the moment and to be responsible for doing what is needed right now.  I am extremely aware that I have been blessed.

My life is nothing like I imagined it would be, but I can honestly say that all my prayers have been answered.  Don't get me wrong, I gotta lot of work to do, but I know where I've been and know where I'm going; and am I am looking forward to the journey.

"A social justice perspective would target institutions that traditionally may not be considered worthy goals for change because they seek good ends (such as health care providers or police officers) but do so in ways that marginalize, exploit, or, in the worst case, victimize people with mental illness. A social justice perspective would scrutinize the means and the unintended effects of how institutions and larger political arrangements do not enable or empower people with mental illness." 
"People with mental illness who face the most egregious injustices are most often those who are also stigmatized because of these additional stigmas. For example, the issue of who is able to keep his or her behavior and symptoms private--that is, who is not forced by circumstances to make their behavior public--is also a social justice issue. This is not to say that people with mental illness who have enough money and credibility to maintain privacy and confidentiality oppress those who do not, but that socioeconomic status affects how people with mental illness experience their mental illness."

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