“You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets”

A line I was fed over and over at a residential program that specializes in addiction and eating disorders. YET if I was honest about my chronic suicidality- the reason I was there- even though I had absolutely no plan or intention of hurting myself and just wanted to process it I was punished by having “privileges” like being able to listen to music or go to art groups taken away.

Pro tip: punishing someone who is depressed for being depressed by taking away things they enjoy doesn’t make the depression disappear

After so many years of severe abuse in the mental health system I learned to lie for my own safety. 
If I was honest about being suicidal it meant I was liable to being deprived to basic medical care and people remembering to feed me, it meant being sexually harassed by a man who determined if I would be discharged from a hospital or locked up for years, it meant being physically assaulted by staff members at random, it meant being verbally abused, it meant that I would be treated in ways that the United Nations considers torture. 

If multiple studies have now found that the more money, laws, and policies that are put into mental health care in a country the higher the suicide rate is- SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG WITH PSYCHIATRY.

If torture by mental health professionals in the best psychiatric hospital in the US, decently rated hospitals in suburbs, horrendous inner city psych hospitals and everything in betwen can leave me with years of such horrendous trauma that I almost killed myself because of it SOMETHING’S BROKEN HERE.

If more and more information keeps being brought to the light of day about the catastophic harm done by psychiatric medication, for example that long term antipsychotic medication use makes people “sicker” and have more psychosis throughout their lives then if they were never on the medication, if we know that most of the group of white men who get to decide what a mental illness is get paid huge money by the drug companies who make billions and billions of dollars on these psych medications which we know have skewed data on the effectiveness of these medications and illegally advertised them as treatments for people who are specifically not supposed to take them (such as marketing antipsychotics as a treatment for elders with dementia even though there is a big warning in the prescribing info that an elder with dimentia is at an increased risk of death), if we know about the abuse that’s going on behind hospital doors, and that individuals diagnosed with “schiophrenia” have a better prognois if they live in Zanzibar than the United States, if we keep being told a person in a white coat who has known us for 3 minutes knows us and our problems better than we do, if we keep being told any questioning of psychiatry is part of our illness but have no right to be offended when a mental health professional decides we must be lying about our own feelings or our own lives when we aren’t, if psychiatry keeps claiming to be making break throughs and yet more than a quarter of americans are diagnosable as mentally ill in any given year MAYBE IT’S TIME PSYCHIATRY STARTS BEING HONEST.

Please check out my zine Depictions of Self Identified Madness: A Visonary Alternative to the DSM

my main Tumblr Dreams and Zines.tumblr.com ask questions, get resources, contribute your own depiction of self identified madness,

and my tumblr ShitPsychiatrySays.tumblr.com to see more of my work and parts of my story and submit shit that has been said to you.


One thought on ““You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets”

  1. cheshirekit says:

    So much yes! I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. I am so sorry *anyone* has to go through shit like this. Nobody deserves such treatment. Something needs to change, or perhaps more accurately everything needs to change. My experiences in residential have been similar for the most part, such as the part about privileges being taken away for daring to be honest about mental health issues. I thought I was there to have a safe space to be honest because none of my friends or family at the time could handle my honesty about this topic either. I thought at least staff who are trained in working with people with mental health issues would be able to. Boy was I wrong. I hope we both are able to find strength and healing and stand up for improvement in the mental health system. ❤

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