Obviously I feel strongly about the conference for DSM 5 for personal reasons – I have a daughter miles away from home under Section 3 in a private sector hospital because all the care has failed. She has several diagnoses but the team are now sticking to chronic treatment resistant. Unlike the team I have listened to my daughter and seen the change in her behaviour from mild mannered, polite, well behaved to unrecognisable and this has nothing to do with a diagnosis this is because my daughter was put on anti-depressants and took herself off in one go. At the time I had no idea about these drugs but then I started to read up on them and turned to experts in the States for help like Dr Ann Blake Tracy and Dr Walsh. I have read books and fully agree with everything in Dr Ann Blake Tracy’s book Prozac Panacea Pandora and then I purchased Pharmageddon by Professor David Healy and from my own personal experience can vouch for the fact that it is the drugs that have affected my daughter and this has nothing to do with any diagnosis. My daughter’s eyes were dilated, she suffered hallucinations, described a feeling like “crawling out of her skin” – no professionals stepped in to help my daughter in this state and she kept being dumped in the community time and time again. The drugs made her feel totally tired, confused, disorientated. She described symptoms of severe headaches and dizziness and heart palpitations. When I read the leaflets on these drugs it said to refer matters to the clinician and what did they do – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Instead my daughter was told she had to be on these drugs for the rest of her life and that is a lie. Dr Tracy sent me a tape on how to properly come off the drugs and I gave this to the Bethlem as Professor Murray promised a drug free period of assessment and no one listened. That is the main problem – professionals think they know it all and do not listen. All I have done as a mother is listen and speak up for my daughter – her words to me was “do whatever you can to help me, Mum” Well it is not just for my daughter that I wish to help but for all the others trapped on a never-ending section and my answer to this is that the professionals as part of their training should also be placed on the wards so that they can get an insight in the same way as a patient. Only then will a professional understand what a patient is truly going through.
So I attended the protest – I arrived very early and had never been to the Institute of Psychiatry before. Anyway when I got there the CCHR were staging a demonstration so I thought I would join this and then later on take part in all the protests as after all it is all about the treatment and false labelling of someone when mistakes are often made like in the case of my daughters. At lunch time a handful of psychiatrists came out and I took the opportunity to hand out my leaflets but not all wanted to even look at these leaflets and what does that say about a professional that refuses to even look and discover anything other than what they think in their minds. Luckily it was only a group of American Psychiatrists that refused my leaflets but others at least took them and I pointed out this website I had set up as I am not alone in feeling that the care has failed my daughter and in wanting to see a big change in the care system – not just an end to enforced drugging but humane treatment of mental health patients and inclusion of families where possible.
The protest by the CCHR was good and they had a distance to travel to this event and I admire this very much.
This protest was followed by Speak Out Against Psychiatry (SOAP) – I attend their meetings when I can and appreciate and admire these former patients who have suffered extreme abuse how they can speak out about this. In comparison I have gone through nothing apart from having to speak up for my daughter’s rights and then of course you get treated like a criminal. The patients give me the strength to always wish to carry on my fight for better mental health care and the hope that the wonderful care of Tornio, Finland can be available in the UK soon. At the protest I met the most remarkable people, some of whom managed to get off these chemicals and are now OK despite such lab labelling and this shows how wrong everything is.
There was a man who came out to speak because the psychiatrists very craftily went out through the back entrance rather than face up to the former patients, many of whom suffered abuse under the system. I not only thought this was crafty but cowardly in my opinion. However I thought never mind I will be back again tomorrow to the Maudsley Debates.