Loruh Golden Speakout
Submitted by admin on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 04:13
Hey everyone I'm Loruh I live in New Salem and the mental health system I was in was in southern Connecticut so totally different frame of reference but same thing, different location basically. And I wanted to say that I really identify with Oryx and Caty about sa, When i got i the mental health system, I was 14 years old , I had been abused and neglected my entire life and bullied constantly, and then somebody tried to rape me. It's like, of course I'm going to be depressed. It's NORMAL to be depressed after that. And then basically I went to Child Guidance or something, and that's when I got my first prescription for haldol.
I'm skipping around a little bit chronologically here, but when I ordered my records, I ordered my psych records from 13 years ago, and read everything that they said. First of all they said that I was depressed, so they gave me Prozac, and Prozac made me manic, like the Your Drug May Be Your Problem book talks a little bit about. So then they labeled me bipolar. You put somebody who skateboards in a locked ward for six hours a day with no exercise of course they're going to be scaling the walls. They're like, You're having a manic reaction, and we need to give you more haldol and lithium, and so they did, I went from being vibrant, loudmouth, and obnoxious to being loudmouth, obnoxious, and sedated. And actually I became more so on the medication, because I just didn't care. I knew these people -- I knew I was depressed for a reason and there was no magic pill that was going to take it away. The only thing that was going to take it away was to get me out of an abusive environment where I was being called XYZ negative all the time and being criticized.
Because I went to a private school where everyone wanted you to look like Barbie. I say this jokingly, but it was really like Hitler's breeding ground. It's like they were really training you to grow up and look like Martha Stewart and drive SUV's and BMW's and the whole 9 yards. And I was about death metal and skateboarding. Needless to say that didn't go over. And it's funny because I had the same thing about the nailpolish too, except it was my psychiatrist -- they thought that my black nail polish was some morbidity thing and that I was "suicidally inclined" because I was wearing black nail polich. And I was in and out of institutions for 2 years. And like other people have said, I had it hammered into me that everything was biochemical and that I was going to have to take drugs for the rest of my life, and that it had nothing to do with my environment and that my parents were idiots and that the school was completely undervaluing anything that wasn't white Aryan upper class BS.
The first part of my recovery was when I went away to boarding school in Bath Maine, and there was this one girl and I really didn't like her at all, and I thought she was really stuck up and irritating. But then again I thought that about most people anyway, and I was telling her a little bit about my story, I 'm like Yeah I'm bipolar and I take Wellbutrin and Tegretol and blah blah. And she was like, You're not crazy and you're not stupid and you don't need to be on medcation. I was probably 16 at that point. And that changed my life. Somebody telling me I'm not stupid and I'm not crazy and I don't need to be on drugs changed my life and the way I though about myself, Because I really did think that I was going to be in and out of wards for the rest of my life locked in a corner in some drugged-out stupor.
And I was getting to a point where, after 2 years in and out of the system, I really didn't know how to exist outside of it. I didn't know how to socialize, I didn't know socially appropriate things like I didn't know how to read people, I was so confused, the medication made my head so screwed up, that I was either tired or spazzed out, my sense of direction was horrible, it was just all of these things that I couldn't explain and I didn't know why and I really had to learn how to exist, just day to day life. Just how to have a conversation. And that's something that I never thought much about until a couple of years ago, because I did eventaully go back on medication, which was ridiculous. Somebody coerced me into it, like a lot of people were coerced into treatment. I was having a really hard time, I was having a lot of sexual abuse memories, and a sponsor in AA said that because I was cutting my arms that I needed to be in a hospital. So this was I think 6 or 7 years ago. I thought then I wasn't having adverse reactions. I had to sleep every afternoon for 2 hours. And I was completely disoriented. My body is -- I don' t want to say permanently, but severely damaged from the amount of medication I have taken, like I really can't detox chemicals and I am horribly reactive to scents, and I can't eat food that is not organic without my body going into conniptions. I'm a complete insomniac though that is getting better.
All of these things come and go. Everyone says, Oh, i's on the market, it's safe. They've done studies it's safe. IT'S NOT SAFE. I really don't think that my body would be as damaged as it is if I had not taken medication for years of my life. The last round of medication I took for 3 or 4 years I don't remember. And this is not advisable I don't recommend it, but when I moved to Massachusetts from Connecticut, I think a few months after I moved I took myself off my medication. Like completely just stopped. And I don't really know if I noticed any side effects or not, but I know that I didn't have to sleep every day for two hours any more. And it's just been in the last six months that my head is clearer. Like my short term memory doesn't feel like I've been smoking pot since I was 10. Like I just don't feel so dumb anymore. When I was on medication I just felt dumb all the time. And especially when you look like this everyone is going to tell you you're crazy and everyone is going to tell you you need to be on medication.
And a lot of my friends who have gone through the same thing will say, Well, maybe you wouldn't cut yourself so much if you were on medication. Let me tell you something. When I was on medication I gashed myself up a hundred times worse than I ever did off of it. That Breggin book tells you all about aggression linked to medication. I feel so much better now that I am off of it. And I feel a lot more empowered now that I am out of the system, and knowing that I can exist out of hospitals is something that I never thought I would be able to do. And also what Catry said about having control over your own life -- that is a really big part of my psych recovery, is just knowing that I have control over my decisions, and that I am not subject to a psychiatrist's will. I've been in emergency rooms where they have tried to commit me, and basically you wear nice clothes you stop swearing and you make them sure you're not going to kill yourself but they are so patronizing, it's like I've had really good experiences in therapy, which is how I've gotten out of a lot of my psych stuff, but it's been a really big thing for me to stop identifying as a mental patient. I just thought that I was going to be a mental patient for the rest of my life, until I was probably about 22, that's really what I associate it with.
Jumping back a little bit about the socializing thing. I remember when I went from high school to my first college, people would ask, what did you do in high school. I wouldn't exactly go into it, but I just didn't know what to say. Like, Hmm... I played Truth or Dare in empty hospital rooms, I made fun of psychiatric nurses, I bummed cigarettes from people that thought they were Jesus. I skate boarded and listened to death metal and I drew scary pictures that everybody was afraid of and thought I was nuts because of. The turning point for me was that I went on and did normal things. And like Oryx said, eating clean food and getting reasonable exercise and taking better care of myself physically has made a really huge difference. Not using things like caffeine and Nutrasweet. I used to drink like pots of coffee and smoke like a pack of cigarettes a day and use tons of Nutrasweet. Just getting off of those three things alone in the last 5 years I am a lot more level-headed.
And just to try to do things that I want to be doing, like my devote attention to my art work, and my creativity, and not give the psych stuff so much power-- to start to create a whole other identity that isn't damaged and banged up and drugged up and everything else that goes along with being in the psych system. Yeah I still have the voices in my head but I'm like, Yeah, that's nice, shut up.
I can truthfully say that I I don't think I will ever walk through the doors of another institution again and I'll never take another drug again and that I will be ok. And with therapy and friends and creativity and exercise and blah blah blah I'll get through it. And I've gotten this far, and I feel I'm going to be alright.