SURVIVORS OF PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS: THE FACES OF IATROGENIC HARM -- Grace
(watercolor on paper 11"x15")
Disclaimer: NEVER cold turkey a medication. Consult your doctor and do your own independent research when starting or discontinuing a medication.
Today I present to you my friend Grace, a very strong and courageous woman who was repeatedly harmed by those who were supposed to protect her. I painted an old picture of her from the day she was admitted to the psych ward. Her story is very traumatic to her and so it was difficult for her to put it into words for a very long time, but she shares it hoping to help others avoid dehumanizing and often re-traumatizing psychiatric treatment. Her story shows that with support and empathy from society and by staying away from those who traumatized her in the past, individuals with traumatic childhoods can lead a normal life.
"My mother, by her own admission, hated me from infancy, and my father consistently ignored me, so I grew up being quite neglected and with serious emotional & physical abuse. By age 15, in 1967, I was suffering so seriously from trauma that the intense anxiety made it difficult to eat & keep food down, and I was spending a lot of time hiding. My high school demanded a psych eval. The evaluation consisted entirely of tests. In a test that required interpretation of dots arranged in various ways on a series of cards, one card had 3 equidistant dots in a line. I interpreted it as Orion's Belt, part of the constellation Orion. The tester had never heard of Orion & assumed it was a paranoid delusion. Apparently on the basis of that (and the fact that the MMPI rest in those days was returning diagnoses of schizophrenia for very traumatized kids), I was judged paranoid schizophrenic, and my mother was informed in front of me, "Your daughter is very seriously & incurably mentally ill & should be sent to Oregon State Hospital immediately & will spend the rest of her life there." The horror of that worsened my traumatized state. My school suggested a 2nd opinion, and I was taken to another shrink who sexually used me for the next 1.5 years & eventually arranged to have me force-shocked without explanation or warning, I guess in an attempt to protect himself by damaging my brain. Again the traumatization was worsened. I became unable to eat & was sent to the state hospital at 17, where I was so terrified on the first day that I shrieked in fear when another inmate grabbed my hands. And so I spent the 1st week in solitary confinement. The drugs I was given had very awful effects & made me very depressed & helpless. But the worst part of psychiatry for me was the invalidating, dehumanization, and silencing. However the adult inmates on my all-ages wards were often very kind, and being around them was a great blessing. I treasure my memories of my old wardmates, some of whom had been there many decades. I realized gradually that psychiatry is bunk & worsens the suffering of its victims. Our lives make us as we are, and condemning that as 'sick' and trying to 'treat' that is inherently dehumanizing & cruel. I spent 7 months in the state hospital, was discharged, and then put as much distance as possible between myself & the mental hell system. As time passed, I gradually realized why I had come to feel such intense fear & suffer so greatly. I now feel much better, and I've been able to live a self-supporting & fairly normal adult well away from my family, the mental hell system & its destructive 'treatments.' People have been much kinder to me in my adult life, for which I'm always grateful."--Grace