Mental Health Recovery Stories

Sparrow's Story

In 1978, I had a problem. In fact, I had two.

My first problem was that my marriage disintegrated, in a very bad way. My husband not only had other women, he brought them home with them.

The second problem was that I didn’t know what to make of this. I left him, but I couldn’t leave the hurt. I didn’t realize then that everything changes, and that, not having made the world, I am not responsible for everything in it.

I thought that my failure, as I thought of it, meant that I was uniquely unlovable, that I would never be able to give and receive love. Time has since proved that idea false, but I didn’t know that then, and I was in a lot of pain, most of it self-inflicted. A cognitive therapist might have helped. A Jungian could perhaps have said something to me. A Buddhist priest would have been ideal.

But I didn’t get any of them. I got a psychoanalyst, a man who I now realize has severe problems of his own.

I saw him at first four times a week. Years went by. I wasn’t getting better. He drove a wedge between me and everyone I knew - family, friends, lovers - he arranged to be the only person in my life. I let it happen.

He gave me every drug in the PDR. Elavil, ok, but Haldol? I have never had a psychotic symptom in my life. Lithium. Mellaril. Chloral Hydrate. Sinequan, which has permanently damaged my heart rhythm, and will probably shorten my life. Major tranquilizers. Minor tranquiliaers. Sleeping pills, every one of them. SSRI’s.

I went downhill, and downhill, and downhill. I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t find any resources to help me. After 12 years, I was too suicidal to be allowed to be free any more. He committed me for the first time.

After that hospitalization, I still kept going down and down. I was totally dependent on this person, who I knew did not care about me. At length he announced he was moving to another state.

On a Wednesday, I refilled a prescription for 50 Klonopin, a refill for which I was not due. He approved it. The next day, Thursday, I was in his office, clearly stating my intention of committing suicide by taking an overdose of Klonopin. On Friday he approved yet another 50 count refill, over the objections of the pharmacist. Friday night I took all 100, plus all the others I had. I seriously meant to die.

I woke up in the hospital several days later: unconscious, I had answered the phone, and the caller had had me taken to the emergency room. I don’t remember anything about it. While I was semi conscious, I fell down a flight of stairs,damaging one shoulder permanently.

Another commitment.

One of my friends took care of me for a while after I got out of the hospital. I moved to Chicago, where I have family, believing that they would probably have to take care of me.

Fortunately, I couldn’t afford drugs or doctors. As the drugs wore off, as the toxic effects of my “therapy” wore off, I found there was nothing wrong with me. Nothing at all. I was not depressed, or anxious; in fact, I felt rather good.

I now have a web page for depressed people, although I don’t preach against psychiatry or medications, feeling that everybody’s experience is different. But I am one of the only listings on the Internet for psychiatric abuse, and I’m offerring those who need it the resource that wasn’t there for me.

Note:  The author prefers to be called Sparrow, instead of her real name, because "I have a kind of a weird employer..."


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                 last modified 7/20/98