Thank you for writing—hang in there, girl, we’ll all make it through.
First, you say you “should” find my story inspiring. “Shoulds” come from expectations that other people put on us. I should: stop smoking, call my mother more often, and be inspired. The fact is that you appear to be really bummed out. Don’t worry
about what you “should” do; just do what you can do and be comfortable with that.
Second, I am so very glad that you weaned yourself off the Abilify. Good for you! Be proud of yourself! It is immoral to compel someone to take mind-altering drugs and you should certainly
feel free to lie, cheat or do anything else that is necessary to (a) get out from behind the locked doors and (b) get away from taking drugs. As long as you do not engage in violence against others, you have the right to be free in body and mind. If you don’t meet other people’s expectations or desires then that’s their problem, not yours.
One of my favorite stories comes from a woman I met on-line a decade ago. She slowly, methodically and carefully weaned
herself off all her medications—none of which had been appropriately prescribed—and then, after she took her last dose, she dumped all the rest of her pills into the toilet, pissed on them, and flushed. Hooray for us! The woman had a certain flair.
It appears that you are, indeed, delusional—you persist, despite powerful forces against you—to think that you are a valid human being and should be treated with respect. I think so, too. The psychiatric system will never see you as “the real me” but who really gives a crap what the psychiatric system thinks? Your letter demonstrates that you are rational, reasonable and very, very perceptive about the irrational behaviors of those working in the system.
My advice to you is simple: stay as far away from the system as you can. The prescription for happiness is (a) a good night’s sleep; (b) a healthy diet; (c) challenging exercise; (d) mature spirituality; (e) creativity; (f) a foundation in nature, and (g) doing things that will benefit others. Start with a good night’s sleep, and slowly work yourself along through the other steps. Take your time. Whatever mess you are in, you didn’t get there overnight. My rule of thumb is that for every two months your life has been a mess it will take one month to get it straightened out. It really is a do-it-yourself project. You do not need a psychiatrist, therapist or pills. You may find it useful to engage in short-term relationships with a sleep specialist, a dietician and a physical therapist.
For spirituality, read the good books: Bhagavad Gita, Holy Bible, Holy Koran, and so on. Be a learner; listen to all the voices until you find our own. Creativity is your own thing—I write; do you
paint, sing, dance, do photography? Whatever you enjoy is the right thing for you. Creativity unifies you in your world. Go back to Mother Nature, put your feet on the ground and find sustenance. Hike, garden, swim, or simply lie on your back and watch the clouds. Doing things that benefit others can be anything from crocheting blankets to running for Congress. The important thing is to end up other-directed and aware of your gifts and other peoples’ needs, but don’t push it. First you have to get yourself on an
Please note that Richard Gottlieb is not a doctor; he’s better than that. He never needed the prestige and paycheck of a doctor; he just wanted to help people so he became a clinical social worker.
I, too, have found support groups to be utterly useless. All the people in them are so committed to taking drugs that they cannot sit and listen to someone who is trying to find healing without drugs. They have put their faith in doctors and drugs and by denying those things you are threatening the very basis of their life. If they let you into their consciousness then they will have to engage in freedom of thought and that is too frightening. They must discredit you in order to justify their continuation of drugs. You are capable of independent thought; give yourself credit for that.
Thank you for your kind words about my writing—they are worth very much. Indeed, I am writing a book and it is tedious and hard to stay on task, so your encouragement is very valuable. I will
drive myself forward with the words, “Annie, this one’s for Debra; you’ve got to finish the manuscript.”
Debra, you are an intelligent and courageous woman. You are standing against an entire dehumanizing system that is strong
and deeply embedded in our society. You are crying, “I am real!” Yes, indeed, you are very real. Write to me anytime you want to. I got through it and you can to.
Go in peace. You are a good woman and can see the battle through to success.