This was written when I was using a pseudonym (Gianna Kali) which I no longer use.
The comments on this post should be read to see how this sudden and unexpected encounter led to release and healing. Some who just read the body of this post only see the conflict and anger. I’ve no particular anger towards this guy at this point in time. The past is the past. Though it certainly came screaming into my present when this happened. 11/2010
An abusive psychiatrist I had 24 years ago showed up in my virtual world and as much as is possible we had a head on collision. PsychRights has a cause page on Facebook. Please join at that link and make a donation if you are a member of Facebook.
In any case I was happily recruiting members for this group as I am a big supporter of the work Jim Gottstein and PsychRights does. For that reason I was checking there frequently and at one point I was shocked to see a doctor who forced medicated me and told me I would die if I did not take meds for the rest of my life. He did other egregious behavior too, breaking my confidentiality in a very gross manner which I will not go into as I don’t want him to figure out who I am. As it is, so far he doesn’t recognize me from my Facebook picture.
PsychRights is explicitly against forced treatment the positions of the organization are listed here:
1. People should not be forced to take psychiatric drugs or given electroshock against their will. Period.
2. People should be told the truth about the harm caused by psychiatric drugs and electroshock and the lack of benefits for most.
3. People should be given choices besides psychiatric drugs or electroshock.
4. The massive, inappropriate and harmful psychiatric drugging of children and youth must be stopped.
This doctor of mine joined and as virtual worlds are strikingly similar to the real world sometimes on an emotional level, I felt like I was in a woman’s shelter for protection and my rapist walked in the door without blinking. I have been raped so I feel comfortable making that analogy.
I wrote him a note and then wrote the owner of the group to let him know what had happened. The owner of the group posted the following notice and this is what went down:
written by the owner of PsychRights on Facebook:
Nature of Facebook/Causes:
Yesterday (a psychiatrist) joined the PsychRights Cause and Gianna Kali posted the following:
(Psychiatrist who will be left unnamed), you forced drugged me at Alta Bates hospital against my will…you also screamed at me and told me I would need drugs for the rest of my life…YES YOU SCREAMED!!
what are you doing here? may I ask….you were wrong. And you treated me like shit.
I won’t forget how you treated me and there is a lot more I won’t say in public right now.
I’ve seen you around and I would never have said a word to you, but to see you here pretending you haven’t been involved in forced drugging is more than I can bare.
Owner of the cause on facebook says:
I’ve asked the psychiatrist for his response, but this serves as a reminder that we don’t really know the bona fides of everyone who joins and everyone should act accordingly.
the psychiatrist wrote at 5:18pm
it’s 20+ years since I practiced at Herrick Hospital at Berkeley I have only come back to Berkeley to live in the past 6 months…and I don’t recall you as a patient….regardless, if you were harmed by me or another psychiatrist, I truly apologize for that…a lot’s happened over those 20+ years…I’ve grown and changed professionally and personally…I now understand and believe that a lot of what we were taught and was acceptable if not expected practice was should have been neither–Coercive treatment is still is an all too many instances) acceptable practice but it isn’t right at all and is in fact harmful. My professional work is now largely dedicated to promoting/assuring client rights/autonomy/dignity and choice–it was in the vein that I joined the PsychRights cause. I certainly meant no harm–only to acknowledge and support people’s rights.
Gianna Kali wrote at 5:41pm
It was you psychiatrist. It was 1985 and it was you. I never forgot you because you were the pivotal person in my journey that broke my spirit. I actually wrote about you in a chapter for a book that will be published written by psychiatric survivors a few weeks ago. The book will be published within the year. Your name was not used, but you have remained in my memory as the most abusive and spirit killing doctor I had…you did other stuff that would identify me that was completely unethical as well..issues of confidentiality. And I’m a social worker so believe me I know what is appropriate and what is not. In any case you traumatized me so profoundly that I never forgot you. All the other docs during that era are indeed forgotten…I was only hospitalized a few times a week at a time for a period of 3 months because I took hallucinogens. But no one thought that my “psychosis” might be drug induced and so you told me I would die if I didn’t take meds.
I’ve become an activist and I’ve come off all my meds after many years. They have damaged my body profoundly. Oddly enough I’m completely sane…so sorry… I don’t have much compassion for you at this point….can’t find it in me right now.
This man currently holds a very high position in California’s mental health bureaucracy. I am calling for him to make a large donation to PsychRights as reparation for what he certainly did not do only to me. And if he really has changed then perhaps he’ll make such amends. I am not, however, speaking to him again.
***point of clarification: I called the “hospital” in question Alta Bates. He called it Herrick Hospital. Herrick Hospital was the dedicated psych unit associated with Alta Bates and therefore one and the same.
Note: for anyone reading this in the future: this was a healing process for me. I am not hateful, vengeful or vindictive. I do not hate this man. Please read the comment thread to get some sense of the process involved. I’ve had a couple of people who seem to assume I’m inappropriately angry because he gave an apology. These comments came in email for the most part. Posts are snapshots of moments in my life. They do not tell the whole story. You cannot assume a post is the end of a story and I’d appreciate it if people understand that I share only a fraction of what goes on in my life and you really shouldn’t imagine you know me.
The below comments are important.
For more links to correspondence with my psychiatrist look here.