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I will say I am one of those women that was strongly pushed by medical doctors, therapists, and a very rude psychiatrist to take SSRIs to cure very physical debilitating fatigue and brain fog symptoms that, shock and awe, ended up being directly caused by a completely separate and treatable physical problem.

I easily met all their criteria for the disorders I was diagnosed with, and I was indeed depressed at the time, but what I went to the doctor's for had little to do with that. The adamant pill pushers were nothing but disrespectful to me when I asked questions, lied to me that side effects clearly listed on the manufacturers' sites didn't ever happen, and got mad at me when I became "resistant" to taking a little-studied pill for something I'd had my whole damn life when my fatigue was a new development! They would never in a million years believe me today that getting out of the horrible far-right community that raised me, finding lesbian community, and developing radical feminist perspective on the misogyny and homophobia that created my disorders has done far, far more for my mental health and my gender dysphoria than anything else could have.

“Psychiatry is just the patriarchy with a prescription pad and a pen." This line speaks a lot.

Really interesting and thoughtful article. Thanks for posting!

It seems like some psychiatrists view self injury as enough evidence to strongly suspect borderline personality disorder. It’s extremely fucked up but IME there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on ruling out past abuse first.

I’ve had narcolepsy since early high school but I was misdiagnosed with psych issues for like 9 years before ever being sent to a sleep specialist. Most doctors I’ve seen since have accepted the newer diagnosis, even if they hadn’t known before that narcolepsy and depression could look so similar (oversleeping, lack of energy, not enjoying things as much, anxiety from pushing myself so hard to do things despite being so sleepy, etc). A good psychiatrist was actually the one that set me on the path that led to my narcolepsy diagnosis—he recognized that the only med I responded to was Wellbutrin, but that I needed a stronger effect while already near the max dose. It suggested stimulants might help more, but that didn’t make sense at the time. He suggested a thorough physical to rule out any physical health problems.

The primary care doc who did the thorough physical was actually one of the most skeptical when I saw her again a decade later. She followed through on all the various issues I was having, which is how I eventually ended up seeing a sleep doc, but when I went back to her years later she was extremely skeptical that narcolepsy could’ve been confused for depression and didn’t seem to believe it was plausible despite the conclusive sleep study and massive improvement with narcolepsy-specific treatment. By that time I’d seen 5 sleep specialists/neurologists (moving, being referred to docs with more specific treatment experience etc), all of whom agreed on the diagnosis, but this primary care doc still had an attitude about the idea.

I also saw a young male psychiatrist once to rule out bipolar disorder once when a narcolepsy med had stopped working in a very unusual way (eventually learned I’d developed gastroparesis, and the med required an empty stomach to work). He did rule out any concerns like that, but his assessment flagged cluster B personality disorders because I’d self injured in the past. He never asked about abuse issues, never probed into what I saw as my masochism, etc. Self injury was enough to mention cluster B personality disorder in his assessment, with BPD being the only one that could possibly have fit. I was (and still am, honestly) livid at how irresponsible it was for him to make that leap with so little consideration. A BPD diagnosis could’ve been enough to derail my narcolepsy treatment, whether it fit or not.

FWIW, that psychiatrist didn’t last long. Even working in an area with a massive shortage of psychiatrists. He was in charge of the psych unit my grandfather stayed in when a med he was taking to help with his (probable) Lewy body dementia seemingly triggered mania and made him start admitting all the delusions etc he’d been hiding from us. Once he was admitted to the psych floor, they put him on Zyprexa, and even though it was causing very clear Parkinson’s-type side effects (pill rolling tremor, all the muscles in his body were tended to the point he was sweating, struggling to speak, etc), it took over a week of his neurologist calling to get them to stop the med. His neurologist was pretty irritated about it, and we were furious. It wasn’t a med that should’ve ever been tried first thing in an elderly dementia patient, and having him taken off it shouldn’t have taken so much fuss.

TL;DR: psychiatry desperately needs more objective standards and tests, because shitty psychiatrists don’t know what the fuck they’re doing and having diagnoses that can’t ever be solidly ruled out is a recipe for disaster.

Very excited for this conversation. I was diagnosed with several personality disorders as a preteen. I didn’t think there was anything “wrong” with me, I was just a struggling kid in a family that didn’t have time or bandwidth to provide compassionate care to children. I always wondered who this “perfectly ordered” person I was being compared to that my behavior was so severely “disordered” I required medication. The psychiatrists were way too eager to prescribe me anything and everything.

Fun fact: I never took the medication. One of the psychiatrists actually told me “if you’re not going to take it, throw it in the trash not down the drain so it doesn’t affect the water supply.” As if they were happy taking my parents’ money regardless.

My parents and the psychiatrists, in future evaluations, commented on just how much improvement they saw since I started taking the medication.

Like I said, I wasn’t taking it lmao.

If people who take these medications feel like it helps them, by all means. I wouldn’t advocate for everyone to suddenly go med-free. But I do think this is an important conversation to have and that psychiatry, especially for children, is far too eager to prescribe.

Unfortunately the author denies that mental illness even exists, and has recently been posting misinformation about medication on Twitter, despite having no medical degree or license to practice medicine.

Even if there is clear evidence that misogyny has impacted the fields of psychology and psychiatry, there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. She does a huge disservice to those who do struggle with genuine mental health issues, and who have been helped by medication or therapy.

She also didn't declare her conflicts of interest, that she sells "professional services," including consultations and training. She may benefit financially by deterring people from pursuing evidence-based treatment and turning to her services instead.

She is very much pro-therapy. It’s the eager jump to medication that she argues is a problem.

If mental illness doesn't exist though, what would the therapy be for?

For abuse, general unhappiness. I had therapy that just gave me a different experience, being treated like a human instead of a thing, clarifying things, overall re-parenting, but with caring and respect for me as an individual, even though I wasn't mentally ill.

Even if there is clear evidence that misogyny has impacted the fields of psychology and psychiatry,

IF???

I wasn't suggesting that it was debatable or implying any doubt that there is such evidence.

What do you mean she has no degree? The author is a psychologist and has a PhD in forensic psychology.

I didn't say she had no degree. I said she has no medical degree or license to practice medicine.

She is not a psychologist either. She does not have a degree, training, or license in psychotherapy.

She's speaking on issues she has no professional training or standing in, and could cause others harm with her inaccurate advice. She's also recently been found to have revealed the private details of abuse victims without their permission, so she's not exactly reputable.

[–] sealwomyn 0 points Edited

Her site says that she is a chartered psychologist, I'm assuming that's in the UK where she lives. That doesn't mean I always agree with her -- I do think she leans toward throwing the baby out with the bathwater but it's undeniable there's a lot of really nasty misogynistic bathwater that needs to be thrown out of psychiatry, previous generations of radical feminists such as Dr. Bonnie Burstow have written about it as well. I just don't think it's fair to say she has no credentials.

That is disturbing about sharing her clients' info though as well :/