As an angry thirteen-year old, I was sent to my first therapist, and eventually labeled “mentally ill” at the age of fourteen, when a psychiatrist was told me I had “Bipolar disorder” and subsequently put me on Depakote and Prozac. After fighting back against this throughout high school, I eventually surrendered to the diagnosis as a freshman in college, where I embraced my psychiatric label and the belief that I needed “meds” for the rest of my life. I’d spend the next ten years on nineteen different psychiatric drugs, in and out of locked wards, outpatient programs, treatment centers, and intensive psychotherapy, believing I had a life-long biochemical “disease” requiring life-long “treatment”— a belief that led me to hopelessness, isolation, emotional turmoil, and suicide. Since September 2010, I have been free from psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, and firmly believe that the human experience should never be pathologized. Today, I am an activist, writer, consultant, and community organizer who believes in the possibility of a world beyond the “mental health system.”
I serve on the boards of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) and National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA), and am an advisory board member of It’s All About Childhood and Family.
You can read much of my story here.
You can listen to me speak about my experiences coming off psychiatric drugs on Madness Radio.
An excerpt from the interview I did with CRAZYWISE, Phil Borges’ and Kevin Tomlinson’s new documentary on how we define and treat the experiences that get called “mental illness” in America:
Here’s a link to my page of videos if you’re interested in watching some of my public talks as well as my personal reflections on my years spent psychiatrized and the journey to becoming an ex-mental patient.
I’ve also spoken out at these protests: