This is a type of psychiatric abuse that is very difficult for anyone to put into words. I am posting this here for those who have been subject to it and their friends and family. I hope that if there are subsequent damages tangible enough to then go through the court system to prosecute and hopefully stop this abuse from reoccurring, families and victims can direct potential attorneys to this post.
To the casual observer, diagnosis abuse is not what it appears to be. In fact, it is deceptive unless you question and look beneath the surface.
What you see is a psych patient that you suspect is “faking it.” Or perhaps you think the person is “exaggerating” her symptoms to “get attention.” Oddly, she becomes symptomatic around the time of her appointments. So this gets you wondering. Actually, as concerned friend or family, you might be getting fed up. That’s what it looks like on the surface.
Now, let’s look at the picture from the flip side. Almost always we see a female patient and male psychiatrist. Or we see a rather disempowered male patient. The patient is disempowered by gender, by unemployment, by family situation, by living situation, or any of a variety of combinations of situational complications. The doctor or therapist, if not male, is at least domineering, although most observers never even met this doctor. This could also be a “team” working together. One sending the patient to the other. If this is the case, not all need to have the necessary degrees to diagnose.
Imagine an actor. The actor is never herself. She is only an employee. This is her job, and she does it well. She is handed a mask, and she wears that mask and plays whatever role assigned to her.
The patient walks into her abuser’s office and asks, “Who am I this time, Master?”
He responds, “You are schizophrenic.”
So for the next few months, the patient is that, till the doctor decides to pull a fast one. “You are bipolar.” Suddenly, the patient changes her mask and goes on a manic episode. “You are a self-harmer.” Oops! Suddenly, cuts and burn marks. “You are deeply depressed.”
Two years later, the cuts are forgotten about and she’s on antidepressants, not antipsychotics anymore since the abuser took away the Schiz mask.
For him, he gets a high from the power trip. She keeps losing her friends since they assume she’s at fault. They call her a faker and a liar. She defaults to him, not even knowing who she is anymore. She has totally lost herself, and actor without a center. He has stolen her soul and murdered it. She says he’s the only qualified one to determine her diagnosis. Only he knows her, her One and Only. In an instant, with his power to diagnose, he snuffed out her soul, because she is, and will always be completely at his mercy.
I am wondering how we can help a person in this situation. This is not something new. I have seen this for decades. I saw it maybe three decades ago, and I see it now still. My guess is that it is just as common now as ever. I believe this is a very serious type of abuse since: 1) it lends itself to blaming the patient, when the doc is to blame, 2) it is too hard to pinpoint and prove 3) on the surface it doesn’t appear that anything is off-kilter with the doctor-patient relationship, and 4) the end result (though I have no figures on this) that I myself have witnessed in my personal life has been absolutely devastating, actually I have seen suicide result from it.
I just thought I’d give ya’lls a heads up on this and I thought I’d try to be helpful. Please pass this one along if you want.