Jabari Bird of the Boston Celtics arrested for DV

Apparently he is being “evaluated” at this time. Will they check for head injury? Typically, it’s the football players that are subject to head trauma, but any athlete should be screened for this automatically.

Add to that list children, roofers and others who work high-risk occupations, anyone who has recently had a car accident, anyone who has been in the penal system, mental institution, or hospital due to high risk of unreported injury, elders at risk for falling, and anyone who was subject to child abuse or domestic violence, even if it was in the past. Examiners should remember that many abuse victims have been threatened and told not to squeal.

Now I didn’t say domestic violence is okay, did I? If anyone thinks I said that, please read what I wrote again.

Anyone who is exhibiting unusual, concerning, or out-of-character behavior should be screened for head injury. Asking, “Did you bump your head recently?” is no excuse for not checking, especially if the person is showing the classic signs of head trauma. Head trauma sometimes causes memory lapse. Not only that, but while under the duress of a psych exam a person may feel uncomfortable sharing certain details of their past.

One type of TBI often overlooked is electroshock, also called ECT. Many people show marked personality changes in addition to cognitive difficulties after electroshock. Also we might see apathy, depression, and suicidality. The number of people who complete suicide after electroshock is poorly documented because facilities do not disclose that a person had ECT. Institutions claim HIPAA prevents them from disclosing this information. Of course this policy is not protecting the victim or their family, but protecting the offending institution.

ECT victims generally do not realize that electroshock always damages the brain, often rather seriously. A victim of something called “treatment” rarely realizes that something sanctioned by doctors and medical institutions could possibly do harm. This means that any question, “Have you had a bump on the head recently?” used as screening for TBI will not get a YES answer. In fact, many ECT victims do not acknowledge the ECT during examination or in therapy sessions. This may be due to memory lapse, shame, or emotional trauma over the procedure.

Some people who have electroshock eventually make a partial or almost full recovery. Recovery can be very slow and usually takes years. I personally made an almost full recovery, but from speaking to other shock survivors I am realizing that the media has distorted the effectiveness and safety of this procedure. When you see a shining star interviewed on television or in magazines who claims the procedure doesn’t damage the brain, please do not assume this story is a typical one. If you read between the lines, you might learn of damages. For instance, a victim of ECT may state, “My life is wonderful now, but of course I have some memory gaps.” How can this not be brain damage?

As for myself, I have a few memory gaps left but not a lot. Mostly I forgot some of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  My recovery took a very long time. As of now, I am  unsure if ECT damaged my musical ability. I am very afraid to find out. I am so afraid of being devastated over it that I avoid doing music altogether.

Regarding recovery from ECT (electroshock “therapy”)

This blog entry is about ECT, otherwise known as electroshock “therapy, or, “shock treatments.” Shock treatments are still done to people. They are not a thing of the past. They are done in mental institutions all around the world. You may have seen in the media that this procedure has somehow been “updated” or “modernized.” This is totally false. In fact, the same machines are still used today that were used in the original electroshock procedure. The fact that people are anesthetized and even doped up does not make it “safer.”

That we know of, most people experience severe harm from this procedure. Deaths are under-reported. Suicides following this procedure are also under-reported. We have no evidence that ECT prevents suicide. In fact, quite the opposite.

One person who comes to my mind who committed suicide following ECT was Ernest Hemingway. The reason why I mention Hemingway is because he was said to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. ECT stripped Hemingway of his ability to write. His family later verified that Hemingway was indeed distraught over his discovery that the brain damage he endured had caused this inability. He had thrived on his writing. Now, he had lost that ability. He shot himself in 1961. Popular texts state he was “depressed,” but in reality, he had been damaged by the ECT!

Now all this is background info on what I wanted to say (for those “out of the blue” readers who happen to drop in).

I am asking myself what sorts of things I would want to emphasize if I were speaking to a group of people who were survivors of the ECT procedure.

I think first of all, ECT recovery is not a moral issue. I would never tell a person, “I did it, so you can, too!” I think there are an awful lot of do-gooders out there, maybe very well-intentioned ones, who have the idea that if they say this, they’ll instill confidence in people. The problem is, this doesn’t always work. In fact, often, the opposite results.

If I stood up in front of a group of people and rah-rahed my way through an overly positive speech, saying “I did it, so you can, too…” that would be obnoxious and unrealistic. I cannot predict anyone else’s outcome.

The amount of effort, energy, and resources, including financial resources, required for one person’s recovery may be vastly greater than those required for another. Some people are just plain lucky and hit upon the right idea the first time they try. Others try ten times before something they try clicks. This is not a moral issue, but an issue of pure chance. The roll of the dice.

I do not have the knowledge to state, “It is God’s will.” I do not read God’s mind. You do not read God’s mind. Assuming there IS a god, and assuming that this god does indeed have a mind and has a will, which is seriously a huge assumption here, I do not have any clue what God has in store for you, for me, or for the world, if anything at all. To claim that I do would certainly be grandiose of me.

Looking back, I know I did certain things that MAY have helped me heal my brain. However, these were not a moral issue. I don’t feel that I “worked hard” to heal my brain. I know what I did, I had to do simply because I was under the gun at the time. I was very scared of being put into the state hospital. So everything I was doing then, things that healed my brain, I did only to survive, to get my butt as far away from State as I could.

Much of it was pure luck. Stumbling on the right pieces of the puzzle. But even putting it that way is a little bit on a high horse, because that, too, isn’t quite how it happened. It truly more “happened” to me than anything else.

And with that, the only thing I can say is to let it happen.

I remember I let myself write. They saw it as child’s play, a girlish thing. A diary. Only silliness. Play time. But I can tell you that writing is the most powerful thing you can do. From my dialogue with Bonnie Burstow, who has observed and recorded survivors of shock, and is the daughter of a shock survivor, she has stated that people who undergo this horrific “treatment” then use writing as a fantastic tool to keep track of their lives.

However it is that you write, whether you type, write by hand, dictate, or use any other means of recording your words, your words are incredibly important. Your words are copyrighted the minute you write them down. Legally copyrighted. They are yours and yours only. Your words are an historic record of a unique and special life. Yours. And your life is not the same as any other life.

What you write today is not the same as what you write tomorrow, much as our thoughts change from day to day, hour to hour. If we record our thoughts, we have a record of them. They will not be lost, even if our memory cannot store them for now. Writing acts as storage. Our writing acts as the vital missing link.

Of course, my doctors, back then, didn’t know that. Good thing they didn’t stop me.

I suspect that for some, other forms of communication or ways to record one’s thinking might work better because we humans have vastly different styles of thinking. Possibly these include various art forms or other things I have not even thought of.

I have no clue why I got better from shock. I have no answers. I cannot fully say, “I got better because I did x, y, and z.” No way. Not definitely. Why? Because sadly, I have seen others who have made immense effort, even for much longer periods and have had much slower results. I know that writing helps. But I cannot say it helps in all instances. Nor can I say one method is better than another.

I can share this, though. I really did not expect to get better from shock. I didn’t see it coming! It happened very suddenly. I “woke up.” Poof! One day, spacey as usual. The next, better. I have anecdotal evidence that it’s similar with others. That one day you’re suddenly immensely improved. And that, too, seems to come out of the blue.

I didn’t even know that the spaciness was from the shock. I didn’t know it even after I got better! It took a long time. I really wondered why I had been so messed up, and why, for so long.

It might just happen for you like that, out of the blue, when you are least expecting it. When you have given up. Or nearly so. When you aren’t holding the door waiting for it to come waltzing in.  It doesn’t send advance notice.

Think of it as someone who comes knocking, a hungry traveler who has been wandering in the desert and has had no food for days. You do not know him. He knocks.

You don’t know him, but he means no harm. You didn’t do anything that caused this traveler to choose your door over the thousands he could have chosen. Open your heart. Open the door. Why?

Because he is there. Nothing more.

And that is about how it happens. Or, maybe, how it was for me. After that, I was able to resume my life. Not that it was easy, but I had my mind back at least.

Electroshock aftermath: The victim compensates for unexplained, negative effects of “treatment” and coverup

A person with memory deficit due to TBI or dementia, if confronted (“Have you forgotten again?”) might feel embarrassed or threatened. Perhaps the victim has not done well at a particular task he or she once excelled at, or forgot to show up, or failed to follow instructions due to inability to properly retain information or had trouble filtering out what was unimportant.

I have witnessed elderly people become defensive regarding memory loss. They do this for a good reason. I have seen just how truly frightened they are. I have seen families of elderly people come pounding on their doors, accusing them over and over, “If you don’t clean this place, you’re going to a nursing home!” or, “If you can’t manage your own affairs, you can’t stay here!” Whatever they can threaten, they will. If they knew I was there and overheard them, they would not have said such things. Meanwhile, you can bet such families have already made sure that “insurance” pay for the nursing home. It won’t come out of their pockets.

These frightened elderly folk were well aware of this. They lived in fear. They may or may not have been experiencing any memory loss at all. The point was that they needed to make it look like everything was fine, and this meant patching up anything that could be used as a legal loophole. At the nearest opportunity, a son or daughter might find “evidence” that could hold up in court that would allow that offspring some way to take legal guardianship, whether the evidence truly represented anything substantial or not. One “wellness check” could lead to losing one’s independence. Police or EMT’s make extremely arbitrary and quick decisions, and tend to err on the cautious side. I know, since I myself have been subject to such decisions on the part of emergency personnel, which were either correctly done or not so correctly done. We all have read in the news about the rather quick decisions to “shoot” simply because a person who was profiled was “wasting their time.”

What I saw was this: Elderly people compensated. If they lost things, they invented ways to keep track of stuff so they would either not lose anything, or they would cover up the fact that they’d lost it.

When I was starving, I kept an insanely neat house. I always put stuff back in the exact same place. The reason for this was NOT obsessive compulsive disorder nor was it any sort of psychosis nor mood disorder. I did this because I was desperate to hide the fact that I couldn’t remember where I had put anything. I was fastidious about keeping things in certain spots because I knew that if I didn’t do this, I’d never remember where I’d left them.

That’s the state they saw me in at the hospital. I continued to do that, to put things in certain places rather obsessively, fearing that I would lose track of them. They claimed I had “odd behaviors” that required antipsychotic medication. I tried to explain the dementia-like state that I had been in before my arrival, but I always got cut off mid-sentence before I could explain.  They were out of the room already, shaking their heads and not understanding a thing.

After ECT, I was similarly embarrassed. I hated it whenever someone mentioned that I’d forgotten anything, or said that perhaps I was deficient or damaged  now, or stated that ECT was a stupid decision on my part. I think anyone might be insulted by this, wouldn’t you be insulted? I had chosen it, or thought I had. In fact, I asked for it.

The truth is that I wasn’t properly informed of the consequences. I wasn’t told that the effects are so unpredictable that it wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t told that if I was damaged, they’d lie about it and wouldn’t own up to what happened. I wasn’t told that I’d be talked into bilateral while lying down 30 seconds before anesthesia, in dehydrated state, without being told the differences nor risks, nor asked to sign papers regarding potential risks. At the time, all I wanted was a drink of water!

I weighed well under 90 pounds for much of the ECT, and I was close to 40 years old. Each time they gave me ECT I had to refrain from drinking fluids. I have diabetes insipidus, meaning that when I finally arrived at ECT, I was desperately thirsty, most likely medically dehydrated to the point of possible electrolyte imbalance. I repeatedly reported the severe thirst, and requested that if possible, they could have the ECT as early in the morning as possible. I said that late morning ECT was “like torture for me due to thirst.” (And still, they didn’t even think to test for diabetes insipidus!) Since I was dehydrated and at a low weight, I know now that they were administering anesthesia when it wasn’t even safe to do so. I was far more of an anesthesia danger risk than I was a danger to myself from potential suicide. Often, all I could think about was surviving the thirst in the waiting room, which was the biggest challenge.

ECT is never voluntary. The first treatment may or may not be. Consent may be voluntary, but is it informed consent? I begged for ECT but I wasn’t properly told what it was nor why it worked.

It works because it damages your brain. Brain injury causes a “high.” You don’t even know it. It feels like you have been miraculously snapped out of your depression. But really, you have been brain-damaged, similar to being delirious following a concussion. This is why you feel just the same a few weeks later, and need either another brain injury or get back on antidepressants and you are back at square one.

Proponents think this is great since it prevents suicide. But does it? If a person really wanted suicide, would they take the trouble to submit to ECT if they believed the ECT would save them? I kinda doubt it. If I wanted to do suicide, I’d kill myself first, and bypass putting money into the shock doc’s purse. Why bother? A person who wants to die that much doesn’t want to be saved nor rescued, not so much that they will voluntarily have an electric lobotomy to prove it.

After ECT, which I am sure I could have done without, I was confused intermittently. Sometimes I was okay, others not. There seemed to be no pattern to it. I didn’t want to be accused of “losing my mind” due to a stupid decision I  myself made. So I begged for some explanation. What was wrong with me?

They should have admitted fault. Later, they did, long after the fact, but didn’t admit their error upfront. This was done rather subtly. “Well, yes, we gave you too many in 1996, but we promise not to do that again.” They never owned up to the coverup. They didn’t own up to the fake diagnosis of borderline that was given to me to explain my confused demeanor. They lied, claiming I was “dissociating.” They lied to me, to those caregivers who had not known me prior to ECT, and to my family, claiming I had a “dangerous personality disorder.”

I tried to read up on dissociation. Everything I read about it didn’t seem to fit what I was going through. I felt that what was happening was cognitive, but I wasn’t sure. Thinking straight was hard. I wrote things down, because this made it easier for me to keep my thoughts straight. I had heard that the confusion from ECT wears off quickly, that no way could I be experiencing permanent effects. No one did. No one became a basket case from ECT, did they? That couldn’t possibly be true, could it? But it was indeed true.

Dr.Michael Henry, who practiced ECT at McLean, is fooling himself, even now, wherever the hell he is, if he thinks the thousands of patients he shocked came away undamaged.  What he should have done was to sit down with me and tell me the truth. I had nothing, no word from anyone that this had occurred. Instead, a make-believe lie about “dissociation” that had no basis in truth.

I made up my own name for the confusion. I called it “The Thing.” What else could I do? This name that sounded like it came out of a Stephen King novel didn’t help relationships with my doctors much. However, I didn’t want to say, “I’m dissociating,” since I knew I wasn’t. I knew this wasn’t some “personality disorder” that suddenly struck me out of the blue.

You bet they poked fun of me. The Thing gave them plenty of golf course and elevator jeering material. Late night drinks, I’m sure, included enough jokes about The Thing. Maybe, too, they felt a twinge of guilt, knowing that what was behind it all were a few too many zaps of electricity, a few too many destroyed brain cells.

People compensate. They don’t want to look bad. They don’t want embarrassment. Embarrassment is extremely uncomfortable. In my confusion, I compensated by reinventing The Thing, by fitting other parts of my life and working them into The Thing. I stated that these stories from earlier parts of my life were due to my present condition. This doesn’t make logical sense, however, I was not being treated with logic anyway. The doctors allowed me to conclude anything, as long as they were not being accused nor seen as at fault.

For instance, I saw the fact that I’d been fired from a job when I was a teen “due to The Thing.” This wasn’t true at all. Many college-bound teens had a hard time getting jobs in some geographical areas during that time. This may be true even today. Many bosses are hesitant to hire a teen only to see that teen leave for college in a few months. When I was fired, my boss’ reasons were vague. However, my mother pointed out that I had not once called in sick, and had not once been tardy. When I asked for more hours so that I could get properly trained, the manager had made excuses, week after week, then fired me. She said he never even gave me a chance, and that I should forget about that job. I did.

I didn’t want to admit that The Thing was from ECT. Above all, I didn’t want to face the truth. So without changing facts, I explained my past via The Thing. The Thing caused me to lose my job. However, I don’t at all recall being confused on the job. I didn’t like the job, it was not something I wanted to do all my life, but I didn’t have severe cognitive problems and that wasn’t why I was fired. I was an inconvenience to the boss, and I was probably too smart for the work that was required of me. It was a bit embarrassing wearing that Brigham’s uniform.  Scooping ice cream wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t the first nor last who was fired from food service. Life goes on.

Nonetheless, after ECT, I rationalized many past life events, and fit them into The Thing. I finally concluded, quite incorrectly, that I’d had The Thing all my life. By then, time had passed. Winter was approaching, 1996.

Bingo. Now was the time. McLean had to make their move to seal this. Get it into the girl’s head that she has had this condition all her life, that it is impairing and permanent, and that she will have to ACCEPT IT. What else could these criminals do? They’d fucked up badly. They didn’t want a lawsuit. Dr. Henry couldn’t do this himself, oh no, not admit fault directly. They needed a Deus Ex Machina.

What’s that, you ask….I will tell you. This is an Unknown Hero who comes in and saves the day. It’s a terrible plot move on the part of a writer. They say not to do it. Audiences end up dissatisfied. That doesn’t matter, there was no audience. Guess what McLean did? They had a new medical student doing a rotation in psychiatry at the rinky-dink program I was in. So he was the hero who took me aside one day. This was during late afternoon. I didn’t know him. I’d only met with him and the doctor together once or twice and he’d only been there as witness. This was carefully planned, trust me. I’m trying to recall his name right now. It’ll come back to me.

He had been briefed, Possibly only partially, I’m not sure. Did they tell him, “She was damaged by ECT and we need some good lying right now.” Probably not. I had the whole conversation written out somewhere. I had a tendency to do that, believe it or not.

He tried to reason with me, saying that since The Thing had been with me all my life (which was what I had finally concluded, and they were going along with it), and I had the “best possible treatment” for it there at McLean, he said….He stated, “The best possible doctors, the best possible technology, the best possible research….”

Do you hear me laughing now? Under such honest administration!

“Even the best treatment hasn’t been able to help you. You will have to accept that you will have to deal with this for the remainder of your life. Our object now is not to cure you, but to help you learn to cope with it.”

I repeat,

“Even the best treatment hasn’t been able to help you. You will have to accept that you will have to deal with this for the remainder of your life. Our object now is not to cure you, but to help you learn to cope with it.”

That statement was true to their perspective. He wasn’t referring to The Thing as I had rationalized it, nor to any sort of personality disorder they invented, but to ECT damage that they didn’t want to honestly admit. Their aim was to avoid a lawsuit, to keep me from associating the changes with the ECT, and to keep my friends and relatives (those that remained) from making this association. As far as they were concerned, my mind was a lost cause. I was a permanent basket case. I was best off put away for good.

None of that was ended up the case, eventually. The damage turned out not to be permanent. It was extremely long term, as it all lasted a year and a half, then went away.  Their lies outdid them. Now, what about this personality disorder lie? What about their claim that I couldn’t sit in a roomful of people? And yet I had functioned fine in the classroom. With my memory coming back, it seemed that this “personality disorder” hadn’t been present before, nor had this “dissociation,” and I hadn’t spent my whole life cutting, running from partner to partner, doing street drugs, and threatening suicide. My next therapist, without being asked, said to me that she’d never understood why “borderline” was on there, and told me that she’d had it taken off ages ago. I myself didn’t like it on record, since I knew that people with BPD diagnosis were treated terribly in medical and psych situations across the board. Some Boston area facilities still had it on record and some didn’t, but for the most part, it was eradicated.

I believe the most permanent damage was to the cohesiveness of my family. My family was outright lied to. They were told things about me to cover McLean’s ass that simply weren’t true.  This was done through my mother, after my father died. She was taken aside while she was still grieving, and told that her daughter had a dangerous personality disorder. She was told she’d better detach from me, and to instruct my brothers to do likewise.

Imagine that. You lose your beloved husband to this thing called cancer, now, your daughter. My poor mother. I know her. Do you know my mother? I know her darned well. This bit of information, which was a lie, went in one ear and out the other. Clear and pure, in one, out the other, untouched. My mom most likely kept up that smile of hers, nodding and acting like she heard and understood everything. She did, but knew it was meshugana.

DSM lies, sure, it’s all meshugana. My mom knew me, she had faith in me and so did my dad. I was me.  I wasn’t a diagnosis. She was an artist, my dad was a scientist, so we kids were half-breeds, were we not? They say mixing the genes is a good idea. The scientist part of people’s brains can wreak havoc. The DSM lie went through my mom untouched and unbelieved, but sadly, I suspect my brothers decided to heed the warning. I haven’t heard much from either of them since 1997.

For decades, I wondered why the heck I didn’t have family. It really wasn’t until recently that I was able to put two and two together. I was often accused by people who had never met me, never knew much about me, saying, “You must have done something horrible for them to barely speak to you….” However, I haven’t done a thing! I never did nor said anything, nor was an asshole, nor acted badly, nor did anything wrong, nor (I hope) embarrassed them so badly as to give them reason to excommunicate me in such a manner. My family consists of wonderful, well-intentioned people who only want good things. They are good boys I raised myself. I taught them to speak and to read and to play baseball. I taught them to say hello when they pick up the phone and to pay a penny for candy. I helped them with Halloween costumes and played pretend with them. We played all sorts of games. I defended them when we all got yelled at. I taught them how to get away with skipping school if they really thought they had to.

I know I didn’t do anything to warrant being given the cold shoulder, to explain away years of silence, coldness, and noncommunication. I hadn’t done anything! And yet a lot of the time, I was treated like “Julie the asshole,” or, “Julie who really should be kept at ta distance” and I didn’t know why. I hadn’t been irresponsible, hadn’t, say, gotten drunk and acted disrespectful in their presence. I hadn’t been verbally abusive. I hadn’t been violent. In fact, there had been no chance for any of that to occur, since there had been ZERO contact.  It’s like believing a rumor about someone that you have never met. I even asked, but received no response. I was never given a chance. I can only guess that the phony diagnosis was believed, and that to this day, they are keeping their distance, believing in this fabricated “dangerousness.”

This is how stories get twisted around. When you don’t know, when you are deprived of all the information, either because someone doesn’t want you to know, or the information isn’t available, what can you do but to compensate just to survive? Perhaps my brothers only wanted to protect themselves and their families from this perceived “danger.” It saddens me that they only deprived themselves and their kids. And me, too. I don’t believe they really wanted to believe the lie in the first place, and honestly, I doubt anyone did.

¡No más electroshock! International Day of Protest South of the Equator in Montevideo, Uruguay

Katherine and I had been so busy with our own stuff that we put off the protest organizing until the last minute. Suddenly,, it was upon us. Katherine had put together a six’page informational piece for us to distribute, entirely in español. It was night before the protest and not a creature was stirring…But no, that wasn’t true. The earth was stirring below us as always and sunrise was coming awfully soon.

Katherine keeps a local mailing list so she sent out a notice to everyone on it about the event. The lack of response was dismaying, but I assured Katherine that maybe people just hadn’t gotten home to open their email yet. I in turn emailed someone I knew might be interested, but I honestly don’t think she received the message. I, in turn, didn’t pay much attention to my cell phone Friday night. Katherine showed up at my door, a bit concerned that perhaps I’d crapped out on this.

“No way!” I said. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything!” She said she’d pick me up at 1pm, or, rather, 13 horas, as it is called around here. The papelaria had prommised they’d be done printing out the information sheets by then.

Wow, i knew that was cutting it close. We live in a laid-back country here where timeliness is based on a real or perceived time warp. Show up..or not. Take your pick. Would the printout be ready?

Suddenly, I received an email from Katherine saying her truck was leaking water again. Last time we tried this, the truck stalled in the middle of Avenida Italia. That was not only embarrassing, but inconvenient for sure. I recall the texts Katherine received from a couple of ther other expats that day asking if we needed to be rescued. Oh no, we gals were just fine without the men. We figured out what the problem was and then were goood to go. But neither of us wanted to go through all that again. We deciced to take the bus.

I told Katherine I’d make some signs we could hold. I so much wanted to hold up my sign from the Justina protest, that said, “Never, ever shut up.” Could i even find it? My apartment goes from messy to “Why can I never find anything in here?” When tt gets that bad, I spend an hour or two doing a Grand Scale Cleanup. Then, it goes safely back to messy.

I found a box that had nice large sides. I cut out the largest pieces for a backing.  Then, I printed out two signs in the largest print I could muster up. I taped the papers with giant words on them onto the cardboard. I told myself I was all ready for a hitch-hiking trip. Time to hit the road.”No má Electroshock.” “Electroshock destuye las vidas.” Destruye? I was happy to learn a new word.

I was just about all set to leave when Katheirine texted me again. The papelaria hadn’t colated the pages. I told Katherine we should do it on the bus and not be late.

We drove back to her place so she could park her car at home, then walked from there to the highway. Buses were on weekend schedule which meant there might be long intervals between buses headed for Montevideo.

Buses were on weekend schedule. The wait was long and we were debating whether to walk to a different bus stop where perhaps we could see more buses headed to Montevideo. However, just as we were about to walk westward, the bus we wanted arrived.

I can’t see well enough to read the lit up signs on the fronts of buses until they are too close to flag down. Usually, I have to ask another person to read for me. This is rather difficult to explain to a complete stranger in Spanish. Today, Katherine was my eyes. She managed to get the bus driver’s attention so he’d stop and let us on. I’m not particularly good at that, either. I was so grateful for her presence. We were even able to get seated together. This was going to be a long ride.

It has now been a year since my drastic relocation, my move here to Uruguay to escape impending forced psychiatric care. These days, I look back on my last years in the USA with horror, and also feel a huge sense of relief that the three and half decades I endured of psychiatric slavery are finally over. I feel sorry for the people I know in USA who are obliged to endure the drudgery of endless appointments and programs, and have to live their lives with the threat of psychiatric imprisonment hanging over their heads.

I have taken this bus ride to Montevideo many times. The first few times, I couldn’t hold back my tears. So many times I wept while riding buses back in the USA. I hoped I could just cry quietly and no one would see my tears behind my glasses. These days, I weep for joy when I ride the bus. I watch the towns fly by, the mercaditos, the farmacias, the ferreterias, the almacens, minimercados, and the carcinerias. We often joke that it takes all day to do what in the USA would only be one trip. I don’t miss the giant supermarkets, giant malls, muzak, and pervasive TV in USA. For me, I’d gladly trade all that luxury, lined with beeps and buzzes, sirens and “security” cameras, for the freedom I have found here. Mostly, I rejoice that I am finally free from psychiatric “care,” the bogus system and all its false beliefs that almost killed me. I thought of all this, while the kilometers rolled on.

I imagine readers have a concept of what a ream of paper looks like. Imagine two women trying to collate them on a bus. We couldn’t quite deide who would colate and who would staple. We managed by trading off. I practiced my español while hading papers to Katherine. Katherine said to me, “Julie, do you really think you should hold  the papers in your lap that way? I think they are going to spill.”

I said, “Naw, don’t worry, that won’t happen.” That’s when the entire two entire reams of paper fell from my lap to the floor. Eight hundred sheets of antipsychatry literature were sprawled out on the bus floor in a most manic fashion. Such delight!

Just then, something amazing happened.  The bus fare collector came and helped me pick up the papers. He made sure they were re-stacked neatly and securely. I said, “‘¡Gracias!” Kindness like that is rare in USA, where two wonen with far too many bags and loose papers would get scorned by both  passengers and bus employees, maybe even looked at with suspicion as potential criminals, but here in Uruguay, kindness is the norm. Nor were we called crazy. We were being efficieint, since doing this at her house would have delayed us.

Finally, I sat down, with the papers back into stacks. We began collating again. I said to Katherine, “I think my writeup of this story is going to have a twist of humor in it.” We laughed, and continued to chatter on in ingles y español.

We managed to get perhaps 100 copies collated and stapled. Then, I noticed we were getting rather close to our destination, Tres Cruces, which is a mall-type shopping center. Katherine confirmed with the driver that he was pulling right into the station and then stopping to let passengers off. Usually, buses drive by and continue down 8 de Octubre, without entering the large bus area. We gathered our things, not wanting to cause delay or awkwardness exiting theh bus.

We took a cab to La Rambla, our national road that follows the shoreline. Many people were out walking with headphones, pushing baby carriages, and walking their dogs. Our original plan was to bring Puzzle, my dog, but I couldn’t bring her on the bus. I managed to convince Katherine that we might be better off handing the flyers to pedestrians and answering their questions rather than trying to pass them to drivers of moving vehicles. Cars were passing by rather quickly. Surely, La Rambla, the seaside road that traces the shoreline is quite different out in our town, where the beach is usually completely empty. This, in fact, is where I love to run in the mornings.

We found a bench to sit at and rest for  a bit. We realized that maybe it would be easier to sit there and wait for folks to walk by. So we perched the three signs I had in our bags, then waited. Whenever we saw someone, we handed them our information, saying, “Informacíon médica.” Some refused to take the pamphlets. Of course, people are affronted with such things all the time, most advertising and information about political candidates.

We learned that people who are doing fitness walking, or running, wouldn’t be good recipients, because they cannot carry the papers while doing athletics. People talking on cell phones were too involved in their conversations.  But casual strollers seemed interested in our literature. I began to learn just how to approach people, never forgetting to admire their dogs or babies.

We were delighted when Mariana, a friend of Katherine’s who lived not too far from where we were, joined us. The two of them seemed to have a lot to catch up on. I walked away a bit, to give them privacy. I knew Katherine was filling Mariana in on the status of her son, John Rohrer, who has been stuck in an Ohio state mental prison for six years now. Katherine has been working night and day trying to get him out and free. I myself will be filled with such overwhelming joy when that effort succeeds. I believe we will win this one. To me, seeing even one person get free is as if an entire nation if people were taken out of its chains. Let my people go.

Sometimes, people approached us to ask what electroshock meant. A man came and told us it was so awesome when a doctor put electricity into his heart to start it up again. Why were were protesting against it? I explained that this was “ectricidad en la cabeza, no en corazón. En cabeza, es mal, porque electricidad destruye un parte de corazón. I didn’t know if my español was correct or not. But I thought it was a good thing that he was happy to be alive. Now, I am, too.

A couple approached us later on. The man spoke a small amount of English, so I was able to tell him that I am a survivor of this barbaric practice. i told him that this stole a year and a half of my life. I also told him I had many hospital roommates who took their lives or died in some other manner as a direct result of psychiatric “care.”

True, I don’t speak of this at home, but my town is rather far from Montevideo, where three million people live. In  Montevideo I am anonymous enough to come out and speak of this. Here I do not. The town is too small, and gossip is always a risk.

We stopped to collate more papers. I was glad we had two staplers and extra staples. We joked that this was secretarial work. Women’s work. How many times had we been told, in our childhoods and beyond, that our place was at the right hand of a man, and of course, many steps below him.

We had both defied all that. Katherine became one of the most outspoken attorneys in the states where she practiced. Even now, she continues to infuriate the judges, but never hesitates to point out their crooked rulings and favoritism. As for me, I was supposed to be a dutiful wife and mother, who so lovingly tended her Kosher kitchen and never disobeyed. My dad would always remind me to “be civil,” didn’t he? I am happy and proud to have defied what was expected of me, and even prouder to civilly disobey as much as I can.

Freedom. What does it mean? For psych survivors, or at least for me, it means living well, living in a manner that says, “I never needed them and I am better off now without them.” This, actually, gives hope to others around the world that we can indeed survive and thrive postpsychiatry.

A man approached Katherine and began to sputter angrily. I couldn’t understand him since he spoke so quickly. Apparently he was a shrink who performed shock, only I didn’t even realize it. As soon as I told him I was a survivor of shock, I noticed he began to disregard me, as if I wasn’t there and didn’t matter. Why? Because to him, I was useless waste. However, he continued to yammer on to Katherine, telling her we were a danger to society just for exercising free speech.

Think of it this way: Had we been advocating not educating children, not teaching them to read nor write nor do arithmetic, and then, leave home and do criminal acts, would we be a danger to society? Or course not. We could speak all we wanted but not too many parents would take heed. But now, many were. Who is dangerous but those who are doctors of dubious science, but don’t know much and do illegal acts. A fellow survivor tells me he questioned a shrink, and discovered the poor man didn’t know what the scientific method was, nor could recite the very first line of the Hippocratic Oath. First do no harm.

After a couple of hours, we were exhausted. I was, especially. I needed water. Sometimes, when I get dehydrated after a long day, agua is all I can think of. This is because I took lithium for twelve years. I took it because I was told I couldn’t live without it. I was told it wouldn’t hurt me. It did.

My kidneys are half the size they should be as a result, and only partially work. But to me, kidney disease isn’t a death sentence. I look back on that kidney doctor I saw who offered me no hope. They were only waiting for me to die, or perhaps hoping for it, since my writing has infuriated them so much. Today, I ran 11 km by the ocean first thing in the morning, bringing Puzzle with me. I felt more joyful than I have in decades.

Joyful, yes, but also, centered. I hate to use that yoga word since therapists pushed the yoga on me in such an annoying fashion. Maybe think of centering in pottery. Think of the clay, held lovingly between the potter’s hands. I am that potter, and the creation I am holding is my life.

I never get depressed anymore. I know now that even the most debilitating depressions always come to an end. Shock will see to it that a person keeps coming back for  more, destroying more brain cells, memories, and with that, hope.

I am home now and Puzzle is asleep at my feet. I look back on our day with pride in my heart. If we touched one person, one family, and steered them away from ECT or any of the other psychiatric tortures, thereby saving a life, our mission was fulfilled.

*  *  *

I posted photos to the Montevideo Protest Facebook page here:

I hope you enjoy them!

ECT shock doc Michael Henry and other McLean personnel who participated in coverup of ECT damages: Nyah nyah!

Dear Michael Henry “MD”: I hope you enjoy my ECT story: https://youtu.be/O49EIIfDRlU which will be broadcast all over the world later today. You and your McLean cohorts thought I’d never figure it out, that your dirty little secret of harm and subsequent coverup amounting to fraud would never be discovered.

I’m sure I’m not the only one harmed by your electric torture. What happened to me turned out to be temporary. But you weren’t sure, were you? No, in fact, the “effect” of confusion didn’t appear to be at all abating so you had to do something. You flat out lied to my parents telling them that no way was the confusion I experienced a direct result of ECT.

While the effects of ECT, thankfully, were temporary for me, your lies and coverup up the truth had permanent effects. The whole goal of psychiatry, once it has harmed, is to “explain” the damage by adding on more psych diagnoses. This story isn’t unique to me, but to all patients damaged by psychiatric “care.” How many times have I heard someone say, after leaving a psych hospital such as McLean, “I have a new diagnosis now.” Why? To cover up the direct damages done to the patient by the hospital.

What you did, you and your cohorts, was to give me a new diagnosis to explain the confusion I endured for a full year and a half. I wasn’t dissociating. I had never dissociated before and what I was going through did not at all resemble what your literature describes as dissociation. Your new fake diagnosis was supposed to be a lifelong condition, yet all the “symptoms” you were attributing to me had only begun after the ECT. You thought you could get away with this lie, but it was disproved after I left McLean.

Unfortunately, the coverup did more damage than the ECT itself. You hoped I’d forget, didn’t you? Maybe that’s why you continue to shock patients when they have already obviously been damaged. So we will never know.

You hoped my parents wouldn’t be able to get a lawyer nor even realize they might want one. You were glad my father was dying of cancer so my parents didn’t have the energy to challenge your actions. You knew he’d been a NAMI monitor, a person who walked right onto psych wards, spoke with the patients, and made sure wrongs got reported. I’ll bet you were thrilled as his health deteriorated. I am sure you were mighty relieved that my parents were “uninvolved.” And I’m sure you were thrilled that my mother went into her own little world and got rather quiet after my dad’s death.

I know what happened and you cannot stop me from speaking out and telling the truth. My therapist, a second-year resident with very good intentions I’m sure, took my mother aside, meeting with her alone, and had a private conversation that I knew about but the details were kept from me. I know what all that was about. I don’t blame the therapist but I blame those that put her up to it, Dr. John Gunderson and the hospital administrators.

My therapist unwittingly did permanent harm that day she met with mother. She told my mom that I had a dangerous “personality disorder” and it would be best that the family distance themselves from me.

The saddest heartbreak of my life has been that my brothers disengaged and I never knew the reason why. I hadn’t harmed them nor imposed on them nor done anything as far as I could tell. When my therapist told my mother to distance herself due to my phony “personality disorder,” all that flew into one ear and out the other with my mom. However, she dutifully followed instructions and informed my brothers.

To me, this is mystery solved. My brothers have closed their hearts and minds against me. This has been made worse, I’m sure, by the fact that one brother is married to a licensed social worker. All based on a lie you had to tell to cover up ECT damages that YOU did.

The diagnosis harmed me. Most people, after being diagnosed, develop the known “symptoms” of that diagnosis. As I say in my speech, I began to cut, and I was not prone to cutting before. I became desperately suicidal and that hadn’t been the case before, not nearly to that degree. I became extremely dependent and needy, partially because with all that confusion I could barely care for myself, but also due to the “neediness” trait you claimed was a “symptom” of this new phony diagnosis.

It took a while to shake all that off. No, I wasn’t “cured” of this diagnosis. The effects of shock wore off after a year and a half of hell. I was able to resume my life. All that was not congruent to your proclamations that my brand new personality disorder was lifelong. The next therapist I had decided threre was no “personality disorder” and the diagnosis is incorrect.  Oops! Gunderson claimed I “wasn’t even capable of sitting in a room of people.” That’s a direct quote.  I suppose the classroom doesn’t count, eh?

Bet you all at McLean sure were relieved and also, shall I say, shocked that I could actually function again after ECT damage. You didn’t know, did you?  I was one of the lucky ones. What about those that are permanently harmed by ECT? What do you do with those folks? Drug them to keep them quiet? Or do you lock them up for good? Take your pick. I’m sure you have plenty of ways to silence those you harm.

Tomorrow, the truth will come out as hundreds of us stand strong against this barbaric practice. I hope you all at McLean are mighty scared.

PS: Don’t even bother trying to retaliate. Local Watertown, Massachusetts police won’t be able to drag me off to yet another lockup. I’m not there! Nyah nyah I got freedom of speech now! I’m sure it’s the one thing you abusers did NOT want!

What is insane? ATTN: Montgomery C Brower, Forensic Psychiatry, McLean Hospital

Regular readers of my blog know that I am all in favor of transparency. So in the name of transparency I shall state that I was once a patient of the above Dr. Brower. He was a young resident at McLean Hospital. I was not yet 40 years old. My father was still alive. I met Dr. Brower, a rather young, energetic Dr. Brower, while I was inpatient on one of the “units.” I’m trying to recall the name of the “unit.” I believe these were shuffled around quite a bit as the hospital downsized over the years. They seemed to have sold some of their buildings, making some into condos. I laugh now. They once had apple orchards, pear trees, even woodsy areas. All that got sold off. So if you read my book you might not make much sense out of the “forbidden path” bit. Truthfully, there once were a bunch of “forbidden paths” on the McLean grounds, and I’m sure there were plenty of patients and former patients and probably disgruntled staff who hung themselves from the trees or otherwise died in the woods there. Didn’t Anne Sexton mention these woods too? As did Sylvia Plath. I suppose I shouldn’t. I’m not dead, either way. I doubt their literary mention of the woods is what did them in.

Okay, this was called NB. North Belknap. Yeah, there was also a South Belknap. Of course, if there’s going to be a North, they might as well build a South. There are North and South America. However, North America has forgotten that South America exists. Hola! (Oops, they didn’t quite hear me. Shall I call out a little louder?)

Yes, and there were two North Belkaps, 1 and 2. These were NB1 and NB2. There was a 3, but this was a floor of offices. I hear they made that floor into a Clozaril clinic for a while. Most hospitals shuffle around all the time. Why is that? Can’t they make up their minds? Why are hospitals always under construction? They can’t sit still. They are always on hills. Elevated moods. They must have ADHD, high anxiety, and by all means, delusions of grandeur. Shoot ‘em up with some Ritalin. They’ve got a brain disease. It’s permanent and they clearly lack insight into their condition.

So there I was, a lowly patient on NB1 I believe. I met Dr. Brower for the first time. He wasn’t my doctor at first but he was the Unit doctor. You guys know what I mean. The one on the Unit that is your doctor while you are inpatient. I didn’t like him. I started to like him after a while, though. I guess he grew on me. But at first, I found him super annoying.

Now you guys gotta realize, when you deal with a shrink, you don’t just deal with that one shrink. There’s a hierarchy. There’s the shrink, his boss, his boss’s boss, the insurance company, the hospital they are working for, the administration, and on and on. Of course, your family, too. Never mind YOU. Do you think you actually have a say in what happens? And of course, your prior shrinks and whatever bullshit they may have put into your records that you cannot control.

It was then 1996. Records were mostly still on paper. I’d say electronic records were coming into the fore and were about to take over, but not yet. It was quite common for the next decade to enter a hospital and find out that you’ve been billed under the incorrect social security number.

Know what happens when you leave the country? You look at your Medicaid card and burst into laughter, because suddenly, it’s meaningless. It feels like a terrific Fuck You. Or it did for me. I still have mine but I have no clue what to do with it.

So there was a rather youthful Dr. Brower. I had no clue what to think. Know what NB was like back then? It smelled like an old library. Like books. We did have books there, in fact. This was back in the day when books were allowed. It wasn’t all gross there the way it is now. Or shall I say in 2011 I was there and it was downright disgusting. Dirt all over the floor…never mind the bathrooms. I cleaned them myself, so I would know.

Joe told me, later on, that Dr. B looked “preppie.” Joe was right. He did. Kinda. I always felt somewhat embarrassed talking to Dr. B because he spoke too loudly. So I’d be talking to him and the whole world would hear his half of the conversation. I would wonder: Does he think I am deaf? Why does he speak with such a loud voice? One day, I heard him speak to an elderly lady and as far as I could tell, she was hard of hearing, so I figured that speaking loudly might be perhaps appropriate, but to speak to everyone with an elevated voice like that, wasn’t that assuming some sort of air of importance? I never quite figured that one out. Finally, I was so annoyed and so embarrassed that I got up the courage to speak up.

This was after I had long left NB and was seeing him outpatient. I’d been seeing him for a long while and we’d developed a rapport. I told him flat out to kindly lower his voice. I told him that his voice was so loud that it carried through the walls into the other doctor offices, and thus violated my confidentiality. During this same appointment I had to remind him a number of times. I felt silly. Was I his mother?

So back to 1996. I admit they were sick of me. I’m sure of it. I was a frequent flyer by then. Who knows? I wish my PCP had had more of a say in the goings-on. She was the one who was concerned that my weight was dropping, but no one else gave a shit. Then, she ended up moving her practice and I never saw her again. She also was well aware that the Risperdal was causing me to miss periods because it raises Prolactin. No one else gave a shit about that, either.

Then, I had shitloads of shock treatments. One after the other. Dr. Brower was not in favor of the shock at all. Actually, it was my idea originally because I’d had it the previous year, 1995. However, Dr. Michael Henry, new on the staff at the time, was the shock-happy one who decided I “needed” lots and lots of shock. I believe Dr. Henry recently left McLean, but I’m not certain about this. I am rather certain that he was still working there in 2012. I recall specifically what he looked like. I am certain that anyone who gets “ECT” won’t forget him. You can’t.

Dr. Henry has dark, dark eyebrows. You don’t forget those eyebrows. I think those eyebrows are the last thing you see before you go under. They have an anesthesiologist tell you, “Pick a nice dream!” and then, rather quickly, you are out. When you wake up, you might find out they’ve taken your clothes off. They might tell you that they had to do that because you wet them. Yep, shock does that. When you wake up, you might find yourself puking up nothing, too. From the anesthesia. Or you might not wake up at all. They don’t tell anyone about those folks, the ones that die. How do they get the bodies out of there? (Oh, Julie, stop talking like that, it’s triggering people….) No, really, do they wheel them through the tunnels? Maybe they serve them up for dinner. They might save money that way. We all knew the food was gross.

So, seeing as my posts get posted up on Twitter, and I’ve addressed this to the attention of Dr. Brower, I assume this lovely little post will eventually make its way to him. See, McLean knew they’d done wrong by me. They knew they’d screwed me bad. They knew they’d given me way too many shock “treatments.” So what the heck were they gonna do?

You screw up a perfectly normal, okay lady. She was fine before, now she’s fucked. She’s a basket case. What do you tell her doting parents? How do you explain this to her boyfriend? What about her former therapist, who might inquire at some point? Here you had an intelligent 39-year-old woman who had a job and had been considering college, and you gave her so many shock treatments that now, she can’t think straight.

Her parents suspect. Her boyfriend suspects. One of her old friends has made a call to the hospital demanding an answer. What if there’s a lawsuit? What then? What if her father actually doesn’t die from cancer and decides to sue? What about the brothers, they might actually wake up and care about her even though right now they apparently don’t? After all, they might get some real money out of this….

The doctors had to think quickly. This woman’s insurance was running out. That was it. State hospital. But she needed a new diagnosis. Quick. They needed an explanation. She complained of feeling “confusion.” Of course she did, it was from the shock, but McLean was NOT going to to the ethical thing and apologize.

Imaginary scenario:

Dr. B: Miss Greene (he always called me that), I want to tell you that it’s entirely our fault. We gave you too many shock treatments and that’s the explanation for the intermittent mental confusion that you experience. Honestly, we don’t even know if you will ever get your mind back. We’re quite embarrassed about what happened.

But no, that’s not what he said. Of course not. Patients never get an apology. Nor are they ever given an honest answer.

He told me I was “dissociating.” Yep, dissociating. I look back and laugh. No way did that one fit, but they tried real hard to give me a new phony diagnosis to fit their gross malpractice.

Another thing he tried was to get obsessed about my periods. So many male doctors get obsessed like that. Dr. Brower was no exception. He wanted to chart them. I felt like rolling my eyes at him.

I feel so sorry for my parents. I remember when my mom said, “It was the shock that ruined her, wasn’t it?” She really did word it that way. Seriously. Yeah, maybe it was tactless. But I value my mom’s honesty and the fact that she dared to come out with it when those doctors were so dishonest and cagey. For all their bogus terminology, I really wonder how they manage to stay in practice.

I’ve looked Dr. Brower up. He’s testified in court in some famous cases. One was a school stabbing. He stated that a kid was “not insane” when he stabbed a student.

I ask you right now, Dr. Brower: What is insane? He stated that the student wasn’t delusional. Okay, so delusional is insane. But is delusional the only excusable insane there is in a court of law?

How about this insane? What if I go out for coffee at my usual place. I turn away from my coffee momentarily to speak to a passerby. While this is happening, someone drops a drug into my coffee. I don’t know much about drugs really. Let’s say it doesn’t affect the taste of the coffee and it dissolves right away. So I finish my coffee and a bit later, have no clue what’s going on, get into my car, and deliberately run someone over. Am I insane? I’m not delusional. But that’s insane, isn’t it?

How about this insane? I am given a drug by my doctor. Let’s say it’s to treat a rash. Oh, a steroid let’s say. I tell my doctor, “This drug is making me feel terrible. I feel like I am gonna murder someone.” But my doctor says, “Don’t worry, just finish the bottle. What you feel is only a feeling. Accept it.” So I get in my car and deliberately run someone over. Is that insane? I’m not delusional. I willingly took the drug. I obeyed my god-doctor. I was competent. I was treating my rash. So was I insane?

How about this insane? You heard about Rehteah Parsons? Yep, the kid who was bullied. She was badly bullied, driven to suicide. We know about just how bad that bullying was. This has gone to court and it’s been in the media and in petitions. Do you know how many kids that happens to that we DON’T hear about?

Think about how they treated her. You drive someone crazy like that. You torture someone to the point of suicide. Is that insane?

Looking back on my own years in the MH system, looking back on ANYONE’s years and years and years locked up, tied up, forced to take drugs, forced to appointment after appointment, told how incapable we are, how stupid we are, how limited we are, how we are doomed for life, lied to, treated with deception, not told of consequences of this bogus treatment we are given, not told of what was REALLY done to us over the years and years, no explanation given for the deaths of our friends, and the ruined lives of our comrades, the families we’ve lost or never had or never had the chance to bear…..Is this not torture? Is this not bullying? Can you not blame us for one minute for feeling a little bit pissed off?

No, it’s all medicalized, pathologized, compartmentalized into insurance numbers so you can safely bill us and call us by yet one more diagnosis.

Good grief. If I could paid for every diagnosis I have ever had, I’d make damn fortune. If I could earn a dollar for every pill they coerced me into taking, I’d have enough money so I wouldn’t have to worry about the next meal for quite a while. Puzzle and I could eat like gourmets. I wonder how much money I could make if I got paid for all the minutes I spent waiting in shrink waiting rooms. I should be compensated for my time! They didn’t call me Frequent Flyer for nothing. You accumulate brownie points, right?

I think I need honesty points. Honesty points for every single freaking time I didn’t lie to a shrink. Every single time I walked into a shrink’s office and said in earnest, “Can you help me? I’m having a problem with _____.” and actually thought the jerk was going to help instead of out for himself. Out to puff himself up. Cuz Dr. Brower, I saw your photo. You sure looked nice in that shoot. You sure they didn’t touch up that photo a bit? Sure they do. It’s the age of Photoshop, ain’t it? I know how to use it, too.

No, I doubt Dr. Michael Henry did up his eyebrows. They were real, all right. He didn’t grow them that way to deliberately spook someone before they went under. It’s just that I have a good memory. I doubt you shrinks are too pleased that I remember this crap, either. I hear you don’t care for whistleblowers too much.

Either way, I remember you well. I liked you a lot. It’s just that I want you to think good and hard on what I asked. What the hell is “insane”? After all, folks like you have a lot of clout in the courts. That’s all I ask, Dr. B.

Julie Greene, your former patient, 1996-1998

sign this petition to ban shock on children with disabilities!


Here’s what I wrote:

Are you kidding? ECT is NOT “treatment”! Even if a person is “put under,” it’s torture. It does nothing to cure depression. It made me into a basket case and I spoke jibberish for an entire year and a half. Please, end this abuse now and NEVER, ever use this method on anyone. Those “doctors” that claim this is a “cure” and do it to hundreds of people should be punished in high courts. Why do we glorify them as gods? Why do we even call them “doctors”?

The name of the “shock doc” at McLean…I’m trying to recall now….Oh, I can recall his face but not the name.   Oh, now I recall.  Micheal Henry.  As they say to us PRISONERS, as if we are in kindergarten,

“Michael, you NEED to go to jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect even a measly $200. Are you kidding?  You don’t deserve even that.  ECT is torture. C’mon now, Michael….Time’s up. Here’s your needle. Now pick out a nice dream.”

Are you considering electroshock “therapy treatments”? Read this first.

I have had these so-called “treatments” a number of times.  This is my experience as patient.  I am not a doctor or nurse or neurologist, nothing like that, just a person who went through it.  I know others who have had them as well, some more recently.

I don’t know anyone personally who would say they were thankful they had them.  Maybe a week later, they said that the treatments were helpful.  Ask them a few months later, the story is not so positive.

What I do often hear is that folks were by all means, coerced into the treatments, or not told the whole gamut of side effects.  Many people were shown a movie.  This movie is made by proponents of shock.  It’s not an objective film that shows the pros and cons realistically.  You can go to the Prozac website and find out about the pros of Prozac, but you won’t find out about lawsuits against the makers of Prozac, or about the public outcries about the drugs, or the depth of concerns about giving Prozac to young people or people with certain health conditions.  Anyone can fill a drug maker’s website with all kinds of propaganda.  This film is propaganda, too.  Often, patients are shown the film while inpatient, and then the nurse will answer questions.

Yes, many patients get coerced and don’t have much chance to speak with those that have been damaged by shock.  Patients can have irreversible memory loss.  I myself was fortunate enough to get my memory back, but many lose quite a bit of their lives…forever.  I’ve heard such heartbreaking stories, such as people forgetting their wedding days…forever.  Women forgetting their baby’s first steps as they learn to walk.  Never mind the forgotten PIN numbers!  That’s a classic.  I know people who have opened their cell phone contact lists and had no clue who half the folks were that were listed. Forever.

But I want to say something else.  I know, folks, why shock works. No, it doesn’t even work at all, but people think it does.  Let me tell you why it works.  Why some people are so convinced.

You go to the shock doc. You’ve been on that horrible psych ward for a month, and nothing has worked.  Now, suddenly, it’s you.  All attention is on you.  You a lying on a clean table and several docs are actually paying attention to none other than you.  For a change, you aren’t shit.  You’re so important, cuz you could even die on that table before their eyes. For those ten minutes, you are more important to them than anyone. To avoid a lawsuit, for godsakes, your life is in their hands, and they’d better stay on their toes.  They are so focused on you.

Honestly, that much attention on me, being loved so much like that for those ten minutes would certainly jolt me like lightning shockeroo out of a deep depression for a while.  Maybe a week!  Me?  Little ole me? Do I matter that much?

That, in a nutshell, is why shock works.  It has nothing to do with the shock treatment itself.  The jolt of electricity is dangerous.  I would never recommend it.  If you want love, go get your hair done, hug your kids, get a dog, go somewhere else but the nut ward, it’s not worth it.