Why I Identify as a Psychiatric Suvivor


Matthew is a support-oriented change artist, organizer, and social entrepreneur. Find out more here.

2 Responses

  1. Mary Newton says:


    Thank you for your great description of what it feels like to be a psychiatric “escapee.” I had a normal childhood, but in early adulthood experienced a “spiritual emergency” that undoubtedly would have been diagnosed as psychosis or schizophrenia or the like by a psychiatrist. I did in fact go to one, just once, for advice on how to handle the strange new thoughts bubbling up in my brain. I had read some Jung, and interpreted what was happening to me as a “confrontation with the unconscious,” as he calls it, that could function as the prelude to individuation and true maturity if I handled it properly. The psychiatrist I think tried to be polite, but bottom line was he brushed off my attempted explanations and questions and just offered me some medication. I’m sure he thought I would be back (or be brought back by my family) but I just went home and toughed it out without trying to talk to anybody else. I got out my old college typewriter and wrote about what was happening to me, and that helped. But it was about three years before I felt fairly confident I was going to be OK. I ended up going back to school for a PhD in psychology in hopes of finding out what “really” happened to me. It seems opinions differ even at that level!

    Anyway, I think “escapee” is the description that fits me best.

    Warm regards,
    Mary Newton

  2. I once owned the cutest black and brown mini Doberman pincher. His name was Rocky, as in Balboa. The reason why I say this dilemma of “mental illnesses” is more about communication, and isn’t a disease as falsely indicated by parents, educators, doctors, the medical professionals, etc., is because whenever my Rocky was inside the house with me and wanted to go outside to do his business, he couldn’t speak to me, but he could show signs of communication in his own language. Language is about speaking to communicate a message. Communicating is about understanding what needs to be understood. Understanding is about comprehension. Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand or connect to what they are reading, they are not really reading. The list of people I noted isn’t “reading” the “message” behind a communication that happens to us all randomly and mentally.

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