Gianna on Madness Radio

Will Hall interviewed me for Madness Radio in early December 2008.

Listen here:

The interview deals with my experience being a psychiatric survivor and takes a look at the work I’ve been doing with this blog.

Since December a few things have happened. I am indeed, now, completely housebound. I can no longer drive. I remain sane and stable mentally but am grossly physically disabled. I do trust that in time I will recover some of my physical health and wellbeing if not all of it.

Madness Radio is a wonderful radio program. Will Hall has interviewed some of the people who in my life and reality are the most inspirational human beings on the planet doing the work that I am most passionate about. I’m deeply honored to be among the people he has chosen to interview. I’ve often posted interviews from Madness Radio on this site and I encourage people to visit the archives there and listen to even more awesome interviews.

I want to thank Will Hall for this opportunity. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to share with this additional medium.

So for now to listen to the interview with me and Will Hall please click here.

In case time is an issue the interview is actually only 46 minutes not 56 as marked on the page.

For information and resources to learn how to withdraw more safely visit my about page.

This interview does not get into details about how to more safely withdraw. If anyone is interested in learning there are books, articles and websites that can help guide you. But, the bottom line, is no one truly knows the full extent of what these drugs do to us. Please be careful and know that you are responsible for your own choices. I speak only from my experience.

Finally for those of you coming from Madness Radio I want to let you know that this blog is about a whole lot more than psychiatric drug withdrawal. It’s about the politics and sociology of mental health as well as the spiritual dimensions of our experience. It’s got all sorts of commentary on pharma and the corruption there and in psychiatry and it’s also just about learning to live well. The scope of this blog goes way beyond withdrawal…and meds for that matter too!

MORE: Radio and video appearances

30 thoughts on “Gianna on Madness Radio

  1. I finally found enough time to listen to your interview on Madness Radio. Great job! I’ve always known that you’re a beautiful writer but had never heard you in this manner. One of my favorite parts of the interview was when you were reading the things you’d written. Another one was when you were giving your recommendations for improving mental health care in this country. Congratulations! Hope we get to hear you on the radio again soon…


  2. Great interview, Gianna! I hope you get to do another about the orthomolecular program you’re following.


  3. Andy,
    frankly I’m so dense I didn’t even understand that that comment allowed people to have access to downloading…or maybe I got confused because I did see that site from some source…in any case, no please don’t continue. I know Madness Radio wants to keep track of stats.

    and I’ll delete the link up there.


  4. Great interview, Gianna! Thanks for the BT seed, Andy! Amazing story, Kristo! And you sure smoked out that rogue, Duane!

    Incidentally, Big Pharma keeps belching out these phony statistics right across the Western world.. Those liars just keep on lying!

    The NAMI clones, people like Marjorie Wallace, keep claiming here in Britain that the discovery of anti-psychotic drugs in the 1950s miraculously emptied the lunatic asylums…

    More lies from the drug industry..

    If anti-psychotic drugs really did clear the asylums then the asylums must have been bursting with “lunatics” before anti-psychotic drugs were available! But they weren’t..

    The number of “lunatics” detained in asylums in the 1950s was very very small – of the order of a few thousand people.

    Yet the prevalence of “psychotic disorders” of a severity requiring forced treatment today is said to be about 1.8% of the population.

    Since Britain’s population is 56 million, over a million of us must be lunatics…

    Thanks to anti-psychotic drugs, one million of Britain’s lunatics can “stay living in the community”..

    So surely, if the statistics are genuine, before the wonder drugs were available, the asylums must have housed a million untreatable lunatics??

    As if!


    1. You’re welcome Sloopy, and Froscha, but in hindsight I think it should have checked with the Madness Radio admins or Gianna at the very least, before I started sharing the file and submitting it to a torrent search engine. I would not encourage anyone to share content that isn’t theirs without getting permission from the owner first. So I do apologize, Gianna, and please pass this on to your contacts at Madness Radio with my word that it won’t happen again without their authorization.

      And to clarify, no one has said yet that I needed to apologize, or expressed disapproval for doing it without consent. My apology is preemptive and something I wanted to do after reflecting on my good-hearted — but impulsive — decision to help spread the word and desire that more people should hear what Gianna has to say.

      So for now, I’ll stop seeding the mp3 file unless I’m granted permission by the owners to share it.


  5. Hey Gianna,
    I just listened to the interview and it was super-terrific. Your passion, sincerity, frankness, intelligence and quirks all shine through :D!

    Everything you have learned and shared with listeners is very important. As a result. I´m going to add a link to this page under my Healing Stories on my blog as well.

    Thanks again,
    p.s. I see you have met Kristo! A great ally!


  6. Gianna – That is an amazing and moving interview. It captures so well the life commitment you’ve made to open your experience to help us all work toward turning around a horribly broken and perverse system. I had not before heard or read about the unthinking brutality of the treatment you were forced into. It’s such a testament to your courage and inner faith that you can bring so much love into treatment. It exposes the reflex-act drug/confinement approach as tragically stupid as well as brutal.

    Thanks so much! And here’s hoping that the terrible physical disabilities will not hobble you for long. Your spirit has obviously transcended them. — John


  7. Hi Gianna,

    I’m a former psychiatric patient. I experienced extreme traumas in my childhood due to violence, criminal behaviour in my environment, alchol and substance abuse in our sociale neighbourhood, within the nineties where we all seemed to be a lost generation still involved in the punk movement.

    As a young child I was always hypersensitive, shy, scared but with the best results at school, but that changed when I became 13 of age. I started to follow the behaviour of the outcast dropouts in our little village and became a heavy rebelling teenager, playing guitar all night long, and I did a lot of drugs. This resulted in a total collapse of the ego and I got hospitalised in an extremely psychotic state. Nobody understood what happened to me. In my family we have more schizophrenics. My uncle commited suicide in 1994. After years of hospitalisation with manic and psychotic episodes I felt an intense need towards natural health care, meditation and yoga. This resulted in a spiritual emergency when the kundalini energy arose in me. At the same time I was a victim of verbal crime and physical crime (a drunken man attacked me at night and stuck a knife in my hand). And as if that wasn’t enough, my grandmother was dying from cancer and I suffered from glands fever, which later lead to the extreme fatigue syndrome.
    I went to see a psychiatrist and told him about the kundalini but he gave me only Risperdal which made it worse, so I got stuck in the experience and due to the lack of transpersonal guidance I tried to commit suicide.

    I survived an attempt to kill myself by putting a large knife in my heart. I woke up at intensive care on morphine after a heart operation. When I saw the psychiatrist there I showed some books on kundalini awakening and shamanism which I got from a theosophist. They didn’t listened to me and gave me pills untill a was in a normal state of consciousness again. After three weeks, I left the hospital against the advice of the psychiatrist and went home. After all during the years since my first psychotic episode at the age of 18, I graduated from high school in economics and modern languages, got some certificates in computer languages, did work as a volonteer with other patients and kept on reading on psychology and spirituality. I realised I was an extremely highly sensitive person, and I had extreme problems with our rat race society where sensitivity isn’t a good thing. To release my trauma and existensial problems a started to perform as a poet and musician and wrote a couple of songs, they are still on myspace ( After the ego-collapse during the kundalini-process I felt an extreme influx of spiritual energy. It was like a thousand volts of electricity flowing through my body. Al the trauma came from the unconsiouss into my consiouss mind. I realised I had been using a lot of drugs to be able to study at high school and to cover my sensitivity. I got a lot of help when I met a transpersonal psychologist who was working for the spiritual emergency network, founded by Stanislav and Christina Grof. I became a student in theosophy, read Ken Wilber, Aurobindo, Jung, Assagioli, lots of works on highly sensitive persons, and I become a good friend of famous and unfamous artists in my country and in the Netherlands. Right now I’m still seeing a psychiatrist, it’s a good man but he doens’t now I comming of my meds now, and I feel fine. I take of myself, work volounteerly as a webdevelopper, journalist writer, I research daily on the internet, I am active as an activist for psychiatry, I make interviews with artist, because I believe creativity is a way of healing if you suffer from mentall distress. After years of freaking out on psychedelics, cocaine, amfetamines, XTC, alcohol and so on, I live no the most sober live ever. I see substance as tools to use if you do it properly, but no abuse. I hardly drink alcohol. Right now I am on ice tea or orange juice daily. My main addiction is nicotine, that’s what’s still left, but I live a rather self-fullfilling live. I’m still sensitive to our rat race society and stress, but I’m again at university, course by course, on my own speed, slowly towards my goal. I did workshops in shamanism and chakra consciousness and I live from the heart. I’m sure that my suicide attempt wouldn’t be necessary if there had been a psychiatrist who studied altered states of consiousness. Also the chronic fatique syndrome together with the kundalini I see as a purifying process. I had a ‘shamanic illness’ accompanied by visions, experiences of synchronicity, telekineses, and I could read aura’s for a period of time while in that extreme state of higher awareness. My father also saw that I could read his throat chakra and so on.

    I believe now what Dr Daniel Fisher said, a former patient who works now as a psychiatrist. Antipsychotic drugs can help in dangerous situations, but they are a temporary solution. I don’t believe in patients who have to be an psychiatric drugs for the rest of their lives, only when the brain is damaged or so, but not due to psychoses induced by yoga, meditation or drugs.

    So my goal now is to study the psychology, keep on writing and researching. I have a transpersonal psychologist who helps me financially with my education. A test a unversity told me that I have to be active on four fields: poetry, music, writing and psychology, so that’s what I do. I also work on the stigma on mental illness because I still suffer from people who call me lazy, worthless or a loser, while I’m all I can for humanity.

    I’m in contact now with Sean Blackwell from Bipolar Or Waking Up (You Tube Channel). From the Spiritual Emergency Network I got the DVD on spiritual emergencies; the trailer is on my website:

    I hope, in the future, to build a bridge between psychology and spirituality for a better mental health system. After all the pain and distress, I feel I’m on my path and I am at the right place on the right time.

    My diagnoses have been: psychotic depressive, bipolar 1 and schizoaffective. I think I’m just highly sensitive, that’s all, they might think I’m totally nuts and lost my mind, but not my heart!

    Thanks for reading,

    Singer-songwriter and poet
    Volonteer as webdesigner, journalistic writer
    Bachelorstudent psychology
    Student of shamanism and theosophy


  8. Gianna – that was a great interview. It was interesting to learn more about how you ended up in psychiatric care. I have to admit that I laughed when you described hitting the car in the parking lot. That so could have been me when I was coming off Paxil. I wasn’t able to turn my head without getting vertigo and remember thinking, “What the hell am I doing at the wheel?”, while driving in rush hour traffic.

    Hope there’s more interviews in the future!


  9. In addition to Duane’s comments: I recently read a blog post by one of our Norwegian sisters, that states the suicide rate for psychiatrized people in Norway to be 100 times (!) higher than for those who escape psychiatry. No reason to believe, this would be so much different in other countries. Now, since when are psychiatrized people untreated?? As far as I know, they are the people, who almost without exception are – massively – treated. It seems, it’s more like the “treatment” causes suicidality than the absence of it.


  10. Gianna,

    He was one of those NAMI boys.

    You know NAMI – that front-group for Big Pharma….Bringing the newest and best brain poisons to the American public….hiding under the guise of a 501 (c)(3) “non-profit” agency…..

    Gianna –

    “Friends don’t let friends join NAMI”!

    And, friends don’t let NAMI boys drop propaganda bombs on other’s websites without saying something about it!

    What I had to say to you was the most important thing, and I hope you know that I’m grateful for all you said in that interview for so many of “us”.



  11. Duane is responding to some propaganda that was posted by another poster…it was an article of about 2,000 to 3,000 words and really had no business being in this comment thread, so I deleted it…

    Duane’s work with math, though, impressed me enough to leave those comments…especially since the suicide card and how we all will kill ourselves if we don’t take our meds is just totally unfactual and not at all statistically accurate…


  12. Dan,

    Historically, it’s about 10 to 12 suicides per 100,000 population.

    Also, my own math was wrong….25% of 12 million is not 4 million….it’s 3 million….which would bring the number down slighty….to total suicide of 750,000 (rather than 1 million) in your outrageous hypothetica…..

    To claim that suicide is this high amongst untreated bipolar….In is a lie by NAMI – an outright lie.
    NAMI is good at telling lies – whether hiding the true information on the dangers of psychotropics, or creating scare tactics such as this…..

    I’m not saying you’re lying….I’m saying the stuff you’ve been reading is based on a lie….and, you keep spouting it to others without doing any math!

    We aren’t gonna get anywhere with any of this unless people start telling the truth…..And, the truth is these psych drugs are dangerous, and taking 12 additonal years off the human lifepan (grand-total of 25 years less than the average person)…..And, I gotta say Dan….I’m tired of the injury and the death of my brothers and sisters.



  13. Dan,

    Now that I’ve spoken my heart with my ‘sister’….I have a question for you…..

    You post –

    “Research has determined that as many as 15 to over 30 percent of bipolar patients commit suicide if they are left untreated, or undertreated.”

    Well, let’s do a little math…..Would it be fair to say that 25% of the 12,000,000 people with bipolar might (at any given time be ‘untreated’ or ‘undertreated’…..I’m sure you NAMI people might want to insist that it’s more than that…..right?

    Let’s go with 25%….Is that okay with you?

    Well, 25% of 12,000,000 is 4,000,000

    You inisist the suidide rate is between 15 – 30 % for those folks, let’s go with 25% again, because you hint that it might be over 30% – let’s settle on 25% – is that okay…..

    Well Dan, that would be 1/4 of the 4,000,000 – making the number come to 1,000,000 suicides per year….

    You know the problem with that figure Dan?
    We have about 30,000 – 35,000 suicide per year – of all 300,000,000 people in the United States…..

    That’s the problem with you NAMI people….Whether it’s suicide statistics, or the ‘science’ behind Lexapro or Wellbutrin…..

    I haven’t said a cuss word on any blog, anywhere for over a year……

    I would just like to say that you’re full of the stuff that makes grass grow (I didn’t again…..)

    Although, you don’t want to know what I’d like to say to you.



  14. Gianna,

    The interview was very touching….when you started reading your posts….to hear your voice, and the emotion behind some of your own writing –

    “I still consider all who call themselves bipolar my brothers and sisters. And for that matter anyone else who has ever been labeled with any psychiatric disorder. We are family.”

    Yes we are.

    Tu hermano,


    P.S.: (Your brother – We speak a little Spanish in our home)


  15. Hi Gianna,

    It was fun to hear you on the radio. I listened to the link of Madness radio on Sunday too from a link you posted.

    PS: I had been pronouncing your name wrong. I had been pronouncing the G, but on Madness Radio he pronounce it”Johna”

    You sounded good.


  16. Gianna, you’re amazing! Wonderful interview. I really got into the way that you compare psychedelic experience without spiritual attachments with ‘psychotic’ experience with spiritual significance! Otherwise, what amazing inspiration for survivors of psychiatric drugging and oppression.



  17. Hi Gianna,
    I have just listened to the madness radio show and you were
    outstanding. It will be a great source for millions of people who have
    been hurt by psychiatric drugs. Thank you for all the work and
    dedication you are doing to help and support others.

    I am now almost a decade free from toxic poisons and at 61 my life is
    improving daily. I have found ways to relax daily and I and others are
    amazed at the quality of life I have today. I wish the same to you and
    all those who have the courage to detox slowly from toxic psychiatric



    1. Mary,
      You too are a star!!
      You were one of the first survivors I became aware of and have been a source of inspiration to me.

      thank you for all you’ve done.


  18. Gianna,

    I loved your interview! I’m so proud of your work and recovery, you truly give hope when there appears to be none! Your interview made me cry, and you are right I believe this is your calling. Thank you for all that you do for human kind!

    Kristy Davis


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