This is my one year anniversary of being hauled away by the men in white coats. I had escaped reality because of extreme anxiety from a crisis of a stalking boyfriend, which made me smoke more and sleep less. I became paranoid and delusional, but not a eminent threat to myself or others.
So this thing with crisis and the way the mental system dictates that crisis is actually a symptom of a brain disease really bothers me..... A fellow psych survivor told me that one crisis is depression, and that two or more is bipolar. So if you have a loved one die and are having a hard time dealing with it, you are labelled depressed. If your loved one dies and then you get into a car wreck the next week and having difficulty with these situations, you are now bipolar. Some people just have better coping skills and better support systems. But those who don't are diagnosed mentally ill.
I still attend NAMI peer to peer support groups. Basically I attend these meetings so I can say that I don't need medication. To show others that it is possible. I have ridden the Haldol needle and have learned a great deal about overcoming traumatic experiences. The NAMI poster says that : "We believe mental illnesses are medical illnesses with environmental triggers." Last week I asked what that meant. I said "Is that like allergies? You know, when pollen season kicks in your allergies (a real medical condition) flare up?" You can actually use tools to listen and look at the symptoms of allergies. Runny noses, red eyes, wheezing. What about mental illnesses and the chemical imbalance? What tool is used? Symptoms become the illness with the mentally ill. You are anxious, that is anxiety. We dont' tell people with runny noses, that you are rhinitis and will need medication the rest of your life.
If mental illnesses are triggered by environmental factors, shouldn't those factors be evaluated? Everyone who I have met with a mental illness has had some traumatic event happen to them that they just have not resolved. Most of them have self medicated with illegal drugs or alcohol which makes the problem worse by adding brain damage. So why do we still continue to drug and sedate and chemically restrain people who are experiencing as NAMI calls mental illness: "traumatic events"?
And now I am looked at even crazier because I believe that the chemical imbalance theory is ridiculous. Yet my peers cannot show me any medical or biological tests they have had to determine they had a chemical imbalance. It's just because the man in the white coat said it was true. He's a doctor, he knows.
What has happened to humanity and morality? Love and Empathy? God? We have replaced paradise with a parking lot. We have replaced recess with Ritalin. We have replaced traumatic experiences with chemical imbalances. We have replaced faith and spirituality with health insurance and the need to be cured, not healed. God forbid we get sick and die. We are plagued with fear of getting sick, losing money, losing loved ones, and reaching our death date.
Sometimes I feel like I woke up into another world, one which I do not want to associate with. I want to save the world, or perhaps just find a cave to live in. Today my 86 yr old friend said he would rather live in an institution than under a bridge. But he expressed he never was in an institution. I told him I would rather live under the bridge...but eventually, they will catch you and institutionalize you anyway.