To My Fellow Ex-Mental Patients in the Aftermath of Psychiatrization: We Heal

I cried this morning as I thought about the depth of the violations we face as mental patients, especially those of us who were psychiatrized as children and teens. To have psychoactive chemicals coursing through our veins every minute of every day through our most formative years… The years when we’re meant to be figuring out who we are, what our bodies mean and how they work, what we believe in, who and what we’re drawn to, what drives us, what matters… There are no words to describe what this means, what this really means, for not just us in our own individual lives, but for American society. For the entire world. No words.
 
But let me now say this: though the despair swept over me this morning and I cried for a while, it wasn’t long for the deep faith that churns at the very core of my being to reemerge. For while they may have taken our bodies, our minds, our sexuality, our creativity, our passion and our sense of connection to self and world through our years of psychiatrization– our entire identities, enslaved to them– they never, no matter how hard they may have tried, came close to touching the fire of human spirit that burns in each and every one of us, and it is this– this fire of second chances, of awakening, of perseverance and determination– that fuels the process of healing and reclamation that we are all going through as ex-mental patients, together.
 
We have many grave doctor-induced physiological injuries to heal from: our guts are shot, our cognition sputtering, our muscles aching and our bodies stuck in fight or flight; the overwhelm and fatigue and terror and angst and panic and despair and numbness and paranoia; all those terrifying moments of feeling possessed or occupied by thoughts and sensations that are strangers to us… There’s no doubt about it: our central nervous systems, these intricate beautiful biologies that forge the seats of our souls, have been gravely harmed by the pharmaceutical bomb of so-called “care”. But we. Will. Heal. We are, already, healing. We will keep healing, until we feel fully settled into the potential for life that they took from us for all those years, but were far too weak to forever hold onto.
 
I have healed so much, already, nearly six years off. Every day I am blown away by this fact– by the continuous unfoldings of awakening that make themselves known to me day in, day out. I am transformed, and transforming, continuously. I feel powerful, and awake.  Sensitized so acutely to life that it sears me with pain as it fills me with joy.  And the more I wake up, the more it hurts.  I despair, every day, at the fact of what happened to me and to so many of you. What’s happening, as I write these words, to so many millions of our fellows out there.
 
There’s more healing for my body to do — plenty more, I know, though this is now an exciting instead of daunting fact to think about — and though the dark cloud of pain and despair often moves through me, I always find myself afterwards, on the other side, sitting once again in the bright beautiful awareness that I am coming alive– that we, together, are coming alive, more and more every day. Our bodies are regenerating themselves, right down to every last cell.
 
To my comrades out there– today, I think especially of those of you who lost your childhood and adolescence to the Mental Health Industry– hang on. Let those clouds of despair and fear sweep over you and move through. Know that that bright beautiful awareness of aliveness is waiting patiently within you, and will emerge in due course, whether five minutes or further down the road of time. Together, we are reclaiming our bodies, our minds, and our lives. And together, we are building a future in which growing up and being alive in this world is no longer something to modify or “treat”.  A future in which we no longer turn to professionals and pill bottles to navigate our pain, but instead, to each other. We’ve started, already.
Sun and Life, Frida Kahlo.

Sun and Life, Frida Kahlo (1947).