The conversation has begun! NAMI has Robert Whitaker speak at convention. NAMI member responds…

National-Alliance-on-Mental-Illness-LogoThe conversation has begun!

Kathy Brandt, a former President of NAMI, writes of her experience listening to Robert Whitaker at the NAMI convention. YES!! NAMI had Robert Whitaker speak at the convention. This is very very good news.

This is a piece of what Kathy writes:

The Case Against Excessive Use of Antipsychotics

Whitaker’s findings, if true, would require a new paradigm of treatment, one that might require that someone who is psychotic be given “asylum,” or “refuge,” a place to rest and recover with limited or no antipsychotics, using other effective treatments that include more than just medication.  That seems impossible in our country, where the mental health care system is practically non-existent; where people are hospitalized for 3-5 days and released with a bag of samples and prescriptions; where insurance companies dictate release, arguing that recovery can take place outside of the hospital; and where too many psychiatric units are just holding tanks where little good treatment occurs.  If Whitaker’s findings prove true, it will take decades to address them and it will take money.  How can that happen in a country where we don’t provide even minimal care and where funding continues to be cut?

By the time Whitaker concluded his talk, the room was heavy with anger, despair, and fear.   Some people were angry at Whitaker for presenting studies that could prove inaccurate and yet could have such an impact on so many.  Others were angry at psychiatrists and big pharma for promoting medication that could be harmful.  Most difficult for those with mental illness and their families, me included, was the fear that the medicine we have relied on was damaging and that we had put our trust in the wrong hands.

My son, who as you’ll remember was sitting right beside me during Whitaker’s talk, is angry, very angry about what he heard, angry at doctors and the pharmaceutical industry.  And I am scared that he will decide to quit taking the one antipsychotic he is on, and I’m confused about whether he should.  He’s been stable, healthy, and happy for several years.  What will happen if he stops?  Will he fall back into the pit of mania and psychosis, end up on the streets as has happened so many times before?  He’s agreed he’ll speak with his doctor about what he’s heard, but I find myself wishing that our family could move to Finland. (read more)

It’s clear that it’s a very scary process for many people who are first encountering the power of this research and information. Those of us who have been understanding and living the truth of this information for so many years have a hard time understanding what it’s like to encounter such truths for the first time. Some of us who’ve found much more wholesome ways to heal were able to avoid the harm psychiatry causes, so that means that many of us really don’t know what it’s like to have gone down the road of taking drugs that harm and believing them to be healing agents.

I’m sharing here in this post the comment I left — it’s currently in moderation, but I imagine that once the morning is here in all parts of the United States it will be posted. Please if you leave comments be respectful…people need to grapple with the implications of the choices they’ve made…God knows I took these drugs for many years before I had the proper supports in place that allowed me to make any other decision. I do know what it’s like to sit on that side of the issue. All too well.  Even if I never sat there very comfortably I took drugs I didn’t need and that gravely harmed me for over two decades. The fact is until we have a meaningful infrastructure of care that truly allows for alternative gentle healing care many people simply are too afraid to understand all the implications and dangers of psychiatric care as usual.

This is my comment on Kathy’s post:

thank you for sharing your thoughts Kathy,

I am someone who got my life back when I freed myself from antipsychotics…the harm they’ve done me was and continues to be great. I want to share two pieces I wrote about my path.

Monica’s story: the aftermath of polypsychopharmacology

and

Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs

I’ve been an activist throughout this whole journey and wrote even while bedridden due to the extreme iatrogenic damage caused by the drugs to help others find safer and gentler ways through this terrain and to therefore avoid what turned out to be for me extremely neurotoxic drugs. Thousands have now been responding to such gentle care. I’ve seen the transformation in so many…it’s been a wonderful blessing that’s come from the great harm I’ve endured.

On my website Beyond Meds that I refer to in the above two pieces there is a navigation menu at the top of the page where there are 100s of posts that help people find whatever their unique combination of healing modalities might be. Among those posts are also dozens of recovery stories of folks…just like me that found that psychiatry had been sorely wrong about their prognosis…people who now thrive drug free.

Coming off drugs should not be done precipitously. It can indeed be dangerous as withdrawal syndromes are very real. It needs to be done with great care and planning. I have pages of resources on that too on the blog.”

Resources for healing:

There are many more resources among the navigation drop-down menus at the top of the page.

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