Crossposted on Our Lives After Labels. If you're a psych survivor and want to sound off on your life after labels, I think posting on this blog is open to anyone. Just email the admin your story on he'll get it up. Suggestions about what you might want to write about are on the sidebar.
Drugs and alcohol, coupled with an over-the-top attitude, pretty much caused my problems.
I have an old Axis Report where they reference "alcohol abuse, episodic; mixed substance abuse, continuous." They list some other things on it: depression, paranoid delusions, a sketchy work history. Under those labels, they note "see substance abuse."
I've always been wild and willing to game anything or anyone that wants to play, just looking for a thrill. The drugs and alcohol just helped fuel these tendencies. I simply had a really good time on them and enjoyed myself. There were other times when drugs-- or rather withdrawing from drugs like alcohol and speed--made me batshit insane. Then the shrinks would give me more drugs that simply got me more high. With shrinks, it's kind of a vicious cycle like that.
I tried working with rehab counselors for a while. They always insisted that things were there that I knew simply didn't exist in my makeup or my view of the world. I confided fully in one psychotherapist. Then they used what I had said to him to lock me up some months later, which is where that old Axis Report comes from. If I had known my own statements were going to be used later against me, I never would have tried to get help to start with. That's when I was 21 and that experience queered my taste for psychiatry.
I partied heavily until I was 30 when I got into a bunch of trouble and I was forced into an outpatient commitment. This time they gave me drugs--Risperdal and Depakote, to be precise--that didn't do anything at all, except make me gain a bunch of weight, cause sexual dysfunction and bring me very close to Diabetes. These were all things that the shrink didn't seem to care about and tried to downplay and dismiss. He just said you have to take drugs for the rest of your life if you don't want that to happen again. He refused to accept that I didn't think they did anything at all and kept insisting that the drugs were helpful. However, I saw later in an Axis Report my attorney had that the shrink had noted, "The subject shows no response to medication."
At any rate, I finally got rid of the shrink. Medicaid dropped me because I had enrolled in school through VocRehab. A psychotherapist I had been forced to see along with the shrink had realized there was very little he could do. So for whatever reason, he got me hooked up with VocRehab.
I had flunked out of schools before because of my partying, but this time it was different. I was 30 and still partying like I was 17. My life flashed before my eyes and I was almost bored to death. All through my partying days, I had stolen, lied, written bad checks, stiffed credit card companies and even hustled to obtain money to cop. And this novelty-seeking behavior, as they're beginning to call it these days, was suddenly no longer novel. It had all become such a bore.
I know I'm supposed to say getting clean is difficult. That's certainly what the rehab counselors who make their money on it say. That's certainly what junkies who I don't think have any real desire to get clean say. But it wasn't difficult at all. It was just another day, another choice, another path.
I went on to receive my associate's degree, graduating magna cum laude even with my lousy prior grades, and getting a job as a paralegal in a law firm.
All that's been over 15 years ago and I haven't paid a lick of attention to what psychiatry claims since then, except to laugh at it.
From my experience--and your individual mileage may vary--all psychoactive drugs are a crutch, a dead end in a life that was never guaranteed to be easy. Psychiatrists say you have to take this, you have to take that. And they claim that they know what's best for you and they're doing it for your own good. What a crock. Only you can attempt to determine what's best for you. And if you screw up, then you're the one responsible for your mistake. Not your reputedly diseased brain, not your dope-peddling shrink, but you. You're responsible for picking yourself, learning from it and going on with your life. And of course, your friends at MFI are always willing to lend a hand.