Dear psychiatrist:

1shrinkA while ago I sent my psychiatrist another email in a string of most likely futile communications. He never responded to that note. And if you read it’s content I suppose it’s not surprising. We’ve been communicating infrequently, mostly with my sending him pertinent bits of information as I am moved to do so for a few years now.

A couple of weeks ago I again contacted him with the below linking to an article by Robert Whitaker in which he is dialoging with a mainstream psychiatrist who has the courage to at least wonder about what he is doing.

The content of the email:

Dear J,
This psychiatrist wonders about the state of care in the United States, don’t you??

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201010/samhsa-alternatives-and-psychiatrist-s-despair-over-the-state-american-s-0

I’m sorry you find it impossible to respond to me for whatever reason. Not that it’s hard for me to imagine what you might fear, but I really wish you’d find it in you to at least acknowledge that perhaps your trust in pharma was misplaced even if well-intentioned.

his non-response contained the below ideas in a very brief email:

He imagined there was some merit in the concern over psychiatric drugs, but he was not convinced of their “universal danger.” In fact he found them “helpful” for many patients.

He said he appreciated my keeping him posted.

So I in turn took that opportunity to continue my thoughts:

Hi J…
Not sure if you’re being genuine or not when you say you appreciate my keeping you posted. But I’ll take you at your word and continue this conversation.

You say you’re not convinced of psychiatric drugs universal dangers? That is an odd statement in my mind.

I will concede that there are a few people who seem to do better on these drugs. There are people who do not have the resources to opt for anything different and given the limitations of the current system the drugs are no doubt life-saving… but it’s ALWAYS at a high price, you’ve seen the rampant weight gain, the infertility, the sexual dysfunction, the diabetes etc. I don’t think any reasonable person can deny that.

And what does it mean your patients get better? And what do you recommend for those who don’t get better or even get worse? More drugs for the cocktail? Higher doses? That’s what you recommended for me. It really didn’t work out so well.

I know thousands of people like me…most of whom simply opt out of psychiatry so you may not even see them once they clear out.

Thousands of others languish on disability and I know you know who those people are…you can’t pretend they’re not there. Well you can, but I don’t believe you don’t see it.

Also you mention antidepressants and antipsychotics…benzodiazepines are perhaps even more disabling in the long run…and we’ve actually got quite a bit of documentation on the devastation they cause given they’ve been on the market for such a long time.

Be well J,
Gianna (Monica)

I have to point out to readers here on Beyond Meds that my life, in his eyes, until I made it otherwise explicit to him was in his view a medical success. Hell, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, had a professional job and was married. My subjective experience of my life day to day of that time isn’t important to him or psychiatry in general, I guess, since I gave him lots of information that made it clear the drugs were killing me even then but it’s all been reinterpreted through the twisted view of biopsychiatry. He never heard me. Not then. Not now.

I’m sure people wonder why I do this. It’s simply that I liked this man. And he’s not evil regardless of what some like to think about these guys. He’s misguided and he’s a human being. I’ve not met a human being who is free from misperceptions. So I will prod him with my thoughts from time to time.

A true dialog, not a conversion is what I’d like at this point. To simply expand his idea of what treatment options are and that what he does might not be the only response to the people he sees. It might not help all his patients but it could certainly help give options to some.

For more links to correspondence with my psychiatrist look here.

I did end up having a conversation with him on the phone eventually. I write about it here on Dr. David Healy’s site.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters