My first contact with the psychiatric system was at an early age — 19 in 1970. I was committed to a private hospital, Lindville, in Cork city, Ireland. I spent 6 months there, pleading to go home everyday I endured a massive amount of ECT and very heavy psychiatric drugs as the only therapy and was kept isolated. My friends used to call to see me, but I was not allowed to see them. In the end I managed to run away.
I had about 5 terms in Sarsfieldscourt over the years and endured ECT and more heavy drugging, at times involuntarily. When I tried to resist the drugs, male nurses clamped me to the bed and I was injected against my will.
I suffered the humiliating forced committals almost every time. Once in 1981, I was chased around the Renault garage, where I had bought my car 3 months before. I had and still have an ever present fear of being imprisoned against my will in a psychiatric institution.
As a committed patient, I had no rights whatsoever. I did not believe the psychiatric system was helping me and said so. As I was non compliant, I was made to suffer for it. I was not allowed to go to occupational therapy much of the time — as punishment. In 1979, after some time in Sarsfieldscourt, I talked with the other patients about how unsatisfactory this (psychiatric) mode of treatment was for us. We spoke out to the staff. I and others were sent to Our Ladys (The worst psychiatric institution in Cork). I was put in a locked ward there as punishment. I can’t recall the details due to the massive doses of ECT and toxic drugs.
it was one of the others, whom I met in Our Ladys, who told me this. I was very traumatized by my internment there .I had severe difficulty with memory loss from 21. Working in a jeweller’s shop, I was asked about a customer’s jewellery and I had no recall and was sacked for this. This pattern continued in the Irish Examiner newspaper where I worked for 23 years. This caused me great strain and difficulty. I worked initially at the counter taking advertisements. If I was ever asked about an advertisement, I had taken even a couple of days, before I could not tell my supervisor what I had done with it.
In 1986, I was put on lithium for “Manic Depression”. The dose given me was excessively high. Over the years pharmacists told me this. Then in 1993, my thyroid began to malfunction. I was attending Sarsfieldscourt for blood tests for the lithium and even when these were above the therapeutic level and I had symptoms the consultant never followed it up.
As a result my kidneys and liver are weak. By 1998 I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). I believe that ECT toxic drugs especially lithium are major factors in the undermining of my health.
There is a tragedy that occurred in my family due I feel in great part to the limitations of the current psychiatric system. My mother had been given the same label as myself — “Manic Depression”. In 1985 she became extremely depressed. She was so bad she was hallucinating. She drowned herself in October 85
I am writing this because I sincerely believe that the psychiatric system has been instrumental in destroying my mother’s life and severely injuring and limiting mine.
The psychiatric system is both a failure and destructive. The clear sign of this is that they have labeled all psychiatric “illnesses” incurable. This to me is an admission of failure. They claim these “illnesses” to be genetic without any proof. Consequently their theory is based on a LIE. All the power is in the psychiatrists’ hands. Radical change is needed.
Now with my contact with other survivors and Mind Freedom, I feel room for HOPE in my life and feel my suffering has not been in vain.