Psychiatry Almost Drove Me Crazy


 

I am a survivor of severe psychiatric
abuse. There was a year or so in the early 1980's when I was in and out of
psychiatric hospitals at least four times. During my visits to the hospital I
was in the midst of a spiritual
awakening
that I was struggling to contain that was triggered and
complicated by extreme psychological abuse at the hands of my father, who was a
very sick man. I was suffering so deeply from the psychic violence perpetrated
upon my mother and me by my father that it was making me "sick." One of the
most difficult parts of my ordeal in the hospitals was not being listened to by
the psychiatrists, either about the abuse by my father or the spiritual
awakening.

Spiritual emergences/emergencies oftentimes become activated because
of a deep experience of wounding, abuse, or trauma. In its initial stage, a
spiritual awakening can look like and mimic a nervous breakdown, as our
habitual structures of holding ourselves together fall apart and break down so
that a deeper and more coherent expression of our intrinsic wholeness can
emerge. The spiritual awakening aspect of my experience was so off psychiatry's
map that it wasn't even remotely recognized. Instead of hearing me, about
either the abuse or the awakening, I was immediately pathologized and labeled
as the sick one. Being cast in the role of the "identified patient," I was
assured that I was going to be mentally ill for the rest of my days, as if I
was being given a life sentence with no possibility for parole, with no time
off for good behavior. The fact that I wanted to dialogue about this and
question their diagnosis was proof, to the psychiatrists in charge of me, of my
illness. The whole thing was totally nuts. Fully licensed and certified by the
state, the psychiatric system's abuse of its position of power was truly
unconscionable. What the profession of psychiatry was unconsciously en-acting
was truly crazy-making for those under their dominion. I was lucky to escape
the psychiatric world with my sanity intact. Many others are not so fortunate.

In not listening to what I was saying
about the abuse being perpetrated by my father, and pathologizing me instead,
psychiatry was unwittingly protecting my father. It was as if the
field of psychiatry had become subsumed into unknowingly becoming an instrument
for a deeper, archetypal
process of "protecting the abuser" to play itself out in form and in real time.
Having my father be care-taken by those in a position of potential authority
over him, combined with my being solidified as being sick by those in authority
over me was a doubly sickening experience. It was only years later, long after
I had left the psychiatric community, that it began to come out in my family
that my father was both criminally and morally insane, a genuine psycho-sociopath
who was truly a danger to others (note — in trying to decide whether to use the
word "psychopath" or "sociopath," I've decided to create a new term –
"psycho-sociopath" to describe my father's condition. It "sounds" right). In
not listening to me or recognizing the reality of my father's virulent
pathology, the psychiatrists were complicit in the abuse.

One example to illustrate my point
about the extent of my father's illness should suffice — A few years before
they both died, my aunt Helen, my father's only sibling, during the one and
only conversation in which I ever received validation from any family member
about the abuse from my father, asked me if I knew who Hannibal Lechtor is
(from the movie "The Silence of the Lambs"). After I answered in the
affirmative, she then responded, chillingly, by saying, "That is the sort of
person your father is." By breaking the vow of silence in the family system
that typically surrounds and protects the figure of the abuser, my aunt, my
father's sister, was not only letting me know and warning me about the type of
figure with whom I was dealing with in her brother, she was giving me a gift.
By blowing the whistle, she was putting words on what I was non-verbally
experiencing first-hand in my relationship with my father. She was helping me
to name my
experience
, to language the extreme challenge of what it was like to have
been this figure's son. Thirty years ago, as is typical during early stages of
abuse, I hadn't yet developed the psychological fluency I have now to
articulate my experience. I wasn't at all surprised by what my aunt had said,
and immediately recognized what she was pointing at. The abuse from my father
wasn't obvious physical or sexual abuse, but was more hidden and covert, a
psychological rape of the soul, a true mind-fuck, that only someone as
psychically close as a parent can perpetrate. At that moment when my aunt
spilled the beans, my experience was that she had become a channel for the
voice of the unconscious, what I call "the dreaming,"
to come through. She was acting as an oracle who had spoken the magic words
that helped me to get a handle on what was happening within myself.

During my hospitalizations I was trying
my best, giving every signal in the book, to get across and communicate about
my experience with my father to the psychiatrists. As if invisible, I was
neither heard, seen, nor understood, however, within the walls of psychiatry. I
was continually telling the psychiatrists about the abuse that was going on,
and yet, as if I was speaking in an alien tongue, the psychiatrists never had
any clue that there was abuse going on. My perceptions were deleted from having
any validity whatsoever. Being concretized as mentally ilI, I was being treated
as a mental "in-valid." The longer I was under the psychiatrist's care, not
surprisingly, the sicker I got. As time passed under their watch, the spiritual
awakening component of my experience faded into the background, and the abuse
came to the fore, front and center. Then, in a crazy-making double-bind, the
fact that I wanted to talk about the abuse with my father became the very thing
for which I was pathologized. Crazier still, in a seemingly never-ending game
without end, my attempts at meta-communicating about the nature of the
double-bind I found myself in was itself pathologized. The psychiatrists
weren't just not hearing me, they were actually perpetrating a hard to pin down
form of psychological abuse. It was as if I had fallen into a hell-realm, was
calling out for help, and no one, least of all within the hallowed halls of
psychiatry, could hear my cry.

A dreamlike image comes to mind that
actually happened to me that speaks louder than words. I'm locked up in a
mental hospital in the midst of having a full-blown spiritual awakening. I'm
sitting in my room in the hospital meditating. I am, moment by moment, watching
my thoughts arise and in their very arising naturally dissolve back into the
spacious emptiness from which they arise. I am dis-identifying from my
thoughts, and more and more recognizing that I can just rest in the spacious
emptiness which is our true nature. In addition to freeing my consciousness
from the limitations of the conceptual mind, meditation is the one thing I've
found which is healing the abuse from my father. Into the room comes the
psychiatric ward attendant, who surreally happens to be one of the big high
school basketball stars in the city in which I grew up, and he is stopping me
from meditating. I am not allowed to meditate. He has it in his notes that
meditation caused my illness. From the point of view of seeing the dreamlike
nature of what was happening, he was my own inner obscuration manifesting, both
literally and symbolically, in living, breathing color in front of my eyes. It
was as if I was having a dream, where my inner process was manifesting as my
seemingly outer reality.

While under their "care," the
psychiatric system wanted me to sign on the dotted line, making it financially
worth my while if I agreed to take on their idea of who I was. In a truly
insane logic, the fact that I refused was more proof to the psychiatrists of
how crazy I was. While I was under their power, it was a waking nightmare — The
more I was solidified in the role of being the sick one, the sicker I got,
which, in a diabolically self-perpetuating negative feedback loop, only
confirmed to those in authority how sick I truly was. In my "treatment," I was
energetically beaten within an inch of my psychological life, as if I was
continually getting hit over the head with psychic baseball bats. The extent of
dis-service and mis-treatment that I received from the "mental health" (sic)
community has been so traumatic and overwhelming that it has taken me almost
thirty years to even begin to wrap my mind around the horror of what played
out. The abuse I suffered at the hands of the psychiatric community, which was
true psychological violence in the flesh, is so beyond my comprehension that
I'm now just beginning to even find the words. I struggle because the abuse was
truly "unspeakable," a form of torture. Tragically, both of my parents died
convinced, with the psychiatric community's blessing, that their only child was
mentally ill. I have no family left.

Another dreamlike image from my
experiences: A psychiatrist who I've been seeing every week for a number of
months has so little idea what to do with me that he sends me to a supposedly
cutting-edge and brilliant psychiatrist at Cornell Medical Center in New York
who will surely know what the problem is. During our one and only session, I,
as best as I can, describe the abuse from my father and how deeply it is
affecting me. At the end of our time together, this alleged expert, as if
giving me a prophecy, proclaims, "You have the same illness as Freud's Rat Man,
and you will need three years of intensive psychotherapy to be cured." At the
time I didn't know anything about Freud's infamous Rat Man, but I immediately
sensed that it didn't sound good, that I wasn't in the best of company. Even
though I had no idea what she was saying, I intuitively knew she had no idea
what she was talking about. I was stunned by how not seen I felt. I couldn't
believe the trip she was laying on me after only one hour of knowing me. I was
being set in stone, psychiatrically pigeon-holed, concretized for eternity. I
felt like I was dealing with a total idiot. Symbolically, this psychiatrist was
an embodiment of an ignorant, arrogant, and bewitched part of myself. She might
have had the best of intentions, but she was apparently unaware of the
self-created, self-fulfilling and potentially destructive spell she was
casting. It was as if the inner part of me that entrances and pathologizes
myself was incarnating itself, just like a dream, in the person or dream figure
of the psychiatrist.

The universe is speaking symbolically,
which is the language of dreams (i.e., "dreamspeak"), and the symbols that it
is speaking in are tailor-fitted just for us. When I was hospitalized, the suit
of clothes I was given to wear, though ultimately "perfect," felt a bit too
"tight," however. I don't think I was ever in an actual, physical straitjacket,
but my time in the hospitals did feel like I was in an energetic,
psychological, and emotional straitjacket. While I was having a peak experience
during my initial visit to my very first hospital, for example, I spent the
night strapped down to a bed in restraints. The accommodations were a bit on
the "might makes right" side. During my stay in the hospitals my creative
expression was forcibly shut down, as if the State, Big Brother, or the
powers-that-be were exerting control over me and making their dominance known.
It felt like I had been captured and become a prisoner. Living on a locked
ward, I felt trapped by the system, caged in like a dangerous animal. To say it
felt oppressive is a euphemism. It was abuse, pure and simple, disguised as our
mental health system. It is the shadow side of psychiatry.

My saving grace was never falling into
and "buying" the viewpoint of the doctors that was literally being "sold" to me
as it was forced down my throat. It couldn't have been more obvious from my
vantage point inside myself that I was having a spiritual awakening.
Fortunately, I never lost sight of this, even during the darkest of times,
which allowed me to trust the process which was unfolding within myself. After
getting out of the last psychiatric hospital in 1982, I felt ashamed, and
mortified at now having the stigma of being labeled, for the rest of my life,
an "ex-mental patient." As I've healed over the course of time, however, I now
"advertise" that I was locked up in psych-wards so as to get the word out, as
"I am not the only one." There are many other people who have suffered and are
presently suffering through similar waking-nightmares with the psychiatric
system.

Not only did the psychiatrists offer me
no help in dealing with the underlying emotional issues resulting from the
abuse with my father, they didn't even recognize that there was severe abuse
being played out in my family system in the first place. The degree to which my
reports about the abuse with my father were dismissed is staggering. I simply
wasn't listened to nor believed. In discounting my own experience, the
psychiatrists were fundamentally invalidating my perceptions, which was truly
maddening. In addition, the psychiatrists didn't recognize that I was suffering
from a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of the
emotional abuse from my father, and as time unfolded, from themselves as well.

Instead of help for my problems with my
father, the psychiatric system, on the other hand, unwittingly colluded with,
supported, and protected my father in his role of abuser. Like many
psycho-sociopaths, my father was brilliant and could be very charismatic, and
due to his "charm," could easily put people under the spell he was casting. He
was very skilled at presenting himself to the world as "normal." Because of his
uncanny ability to shape-shift and hide in the shadows of the unconscious, he
went his whole life undiagnosed (My father's virulent, but unrecognized illness
inspired me to create an entirely new diagnosis which sheds light on his sickness,
what I call "malignant
egophrenia
," or ME disease for short). My father bamboozled and
hoodwinked all the psychiatrists he interacted with, convincingly presenting
himself as a loving, concerned parent, and always casting me in the role of the
sick one. The psychiatric community got "into bed" with my parents (my mother
was under my father's spell), aligning with them "against" me, in the sense
that, being the one identified as sick, I was seen as the member of the family
who both had a problem and was the problem. Though the sickness was
fundamentally nonlocal
in nature, as it pervaded the whole family system (which now included
psychiatry), it was being "localized" as if existing only in me. Being conjured
up in the role of the identified patient, I was "carrying," as if in the role
of the archetypal scapegoat, both my family's, as well as the psychiatric
community's, unacknowledged, split-off, and unconscious shadow of madness.

Not only did the psychiatrists fail to
recognize the deeper process of spiritual awakening that had become activated
within me as a result of the abuse, their ignorance insured that they didn't
have the slightest idea what to do with me other than to pathologize me, which
is their default setting. People who are in extreme states, and are having
non-ordinary experiences, or who see things differently than the agreed-upon,
consensus reality are (arche)typically pathologized by those in positions of
power. Psychiatry's un-reflected upon propensity to see only illness is an
expression of psychiatry's own pathology. To put my experiences in context,
they happened years before "religious or spiritual problem" was accepted as a
new diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. When I was going through these
experiences, although it was only thirty years ago, it was like I had time
travelled and was living in the Dark Ages. In the early eighties, the very
concept or possibility of a spiritual awakening was precluded and excluded from
the worldview of psychiatry.

In a spiritual awakening, the boundary
between the inner process that is happening within the psyche, and outer events
that are happening out in the world, become synchronistically
intermingled and co-related such that our experience reveals itself to be of
the same fundamental structure as a dream (where the inner process of the
dreamer is expressing itself in, as, and through the forms of the dream).
Oftentimes, when the archetypal process of spiritual awakening is first
activated within us, our constructs about the nature of reality de-construct
such that we can appear, from the mainstream reality point of view, a little
"crazy." As we awaken, we are, in fact, stepping "out of our (conceptual)
minds." Cultures based on wisdom have the capacity to discern and recognize an
individual who is potentially going through a process of spiritual awakening.
Such wisdom-based cultures especially value such individuals and recognize that
these people are being called by spirit to potentially become a shaman or
healer who in the future might greatly benefit the community. Usually, all
these would-be shamans or healers need is some time and a safe container
for their process to naturally integrate into the emerging wholeness of their
psyche.

When someone is first beginning to have
a spiritual awakening, however, they are in an extremely open, vulnerable, and
delicate state. During this initial stage of my awakening, I wasn't integrated
nor grounded enough to realize that it wasn't wise for me to honestly reveal to
the psychiatrists the magical inner and outer synchronistic experiences that I
was having in my awakening, which were truly off their radar. In Biblical
terms, in innocently sharing my sacred experiences with the psychiatrists, I
was "casting my pearls before swine." Many years later, my friend, the late
Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack once shared with me his definition of being
crazy – "It's not knowing who to tell, or not to tell, what you're
experiencing." From his perspective, I was out of my mind to share my mystical
experiences with his colleagues, and in retrospect, I fully agree. In essence,
the more I authentically expressed my experience, the more I was convincing the
doctors I was crazy. This reminds me of a line from an email that I received a
few years back where the person literally writes, "When I told my psychiatrist
that I thought my mission in this world was to spread the message of love, she
prescribed me an anti-psychotic." Contrary to supporting the healthy part of me
that was awakening, the psychiatrists pathologized, mis-diagnosed and medicated
me (with "anti-creative" medication), temporarily aborting my mind-expanding
spiritual emergence, traumatizing me even further. I am truly outraged at the
outrage of it all. It feels crazy not to be. I am outraged both for myself and
for the innumerable fellow sufferers of this profound betrayal of the
Hippocratic Oath, whose deeper meaning is to do no harm.

In a similar dynamic that played out
with my father, psychiatry, instead of protecting me, was what I needed
protection from. Instead of helping me to heal, my psychiatric experience was
something from which I've been in recovery from and needed to heal. My intimate
relationship with psychiatry created quite an overwhelming cocktail of abuse
for me to digest (please see my article "We are all
Shamans-in-Training
"). I felt totally violated, branded, humiliated, and
dehumanized as a result of my treatment with the psychiatric system, a
pill-pushing club "med." During this time in my life, my mid-twenties, most of
my friends were in graduate school getting degrees for their future
professions. I became "certified" in a different way; little did I realize,
however, that I was being trained in my future profession, too. Many of my
childhood and college friends dropped out of my life as this process unfolded,
as I imagine what I was going through (not exactly the "American Dream") was
uncomfortable for many of them. It was only years later that I had built up a
strong enough sense of self to re-frame my encounter with the primitive,
stone-age, and draconian field of psychiatry as an aspect of my spiritual
awakening, as if it was a shamanic descent into the underworld, into the depths
of a modern-day Hades.

A further dreamlike image: An extremely
arrogant psychiatrist is telling me that if I don't start making inroads into
getting a job in the burgeoning computer field by the next time I see him, he
wouldn't see me anymore. I'm horrified and disgusted at the manipulation he's
using, all supposedly for my own good. Like a dream, my inner father process
was materializing itself in my waking life in the psychiatrist's office, as if
the underlying, mythic figure of the negative father was using this
psychiatrist as a local emanation of a nonlocal archetype. Just like my father,
this psychiatrist was not relating to me as an autonomous agent with my own
intuitive wisdom, but was trying to shape and form-fit me into his version of
who he thought I was. He was literally playing out my unresolved father process
(and his, too) with me, as he was picking up the role of the archetypal
abusive, unconscious, and power-tripping father figure. Keep in mind that
computers were the last thing I was interested in; I was an artist who was
having a spiritual awakening. And it just so happened that my father, who this
psychiatrist was all too intimately in touch with, wanted me to go into the
field of computers, or whatever field would bring in the most money. I think to
myself, "Who do you say you're working for?" Needless to say, I never came back
to this not-so-undercover agent of my father's.

Don't get me wrong — There are plenty
of well-intentioned psychiatrists, including the ones with whom I worked. I am
not talking about individual psychiatrists, I am talking about the underlying
psychiatric system as a whole. There is a certain consensual agreement with
reference to behaviors that are considered "normal," the nature of health and
sickness, as well as fundamental ideas of who we are, that all representatives
of the "academy" have to accept in order for them to be considered a
card-carrying member. There is an axiomatic set, a way of looking, that has
been drilled into psychiatrists heads during their "training" in medical
school, for them to take on in order to be a true initiate. Built into the very
institution of psychiatry, into the very organ-ization of the field, to the
extent that self-reflection is not part of its practice, is the hidden abuse of
power. It takes more than good intentions for a psychiatrist to not unwittingly
become an instrument for "the system" to play out its unconscious, destructive
aspect. The traditional psychiatric community is set up to be a set-up, in that
built into the system is the unconscious set of assumptions of materialistic
science, not the least of which is that we exist as encapsulated, separate
selves apart from the underlying field. In fact, for most psychiatrists, there
is no concept of an underlying field of consciousness at all. Consciousness is
understood purely as something that arises from matter and thus can be manipulated
by material, i.e., electro-chemical means (via psychiatric drugs, for example).
It takes an exceptional practitioner of the art of psychiatry, a true doctor of
the soul, to see through the implicit materialist in-doctrine-ation they have
received as part and parcel of their very conditioning and upbringing into the
field of psychiatry. A true healer knows that they are meeting themselves time
and time again in their patients.

A final dreamlike image, where the
madness in the hospital nonlocally spills outside of its walls: In one mental
hospital there is a meeting that I am having in front of all the doctors who
have been studying my case. In presenting me with their findings, they are all
in complete agreement that I have a mental illness, manic-depression, and that
I am going to have this illness for the rest of my life, and need to be
medicated till I take my last breath (It should be noted that I haven't taken
any psychiatric medication for over a quarter of a century, with no "episodes,"
which, from the psychiatric point of view, is impossible if I truly had what is
now called bi-polar illness). I stood up to what felt like a board of
(mis)directors and told them that they didn't know what they were talking
about, which only confirmed to them how crazy I was. In consulting their
hallowed diagnostic manual (the DSM), it was like they were reading from a
"grimoire" (a manual for invoking and casting magic spells), and were trying to
match what little they understood of my experience to something somebody wrote
in a book. Feeling both objectified and marginalized in my own treatment, the
doctors weren't interested in consulting with me. They didn't have much of an
idea of where or who I was in this whole process, and, frighteningly, they were
in the position of making decisions which might greatly affect the rest of my
life. I felt like a guinea pig who had become drafted into a sinister science
experiment, and it felt get-me-out-out-here crazy. We were en-acting in that
conference room a deep, archetypal process of abuse of power that gets acted
out in the non-level playing field of psychiatry (as well as within traumatized
psychiatric patient's heads) innumerable times every day.

The dreamlike scene continues: The next
day, one of the doctors, an intern who was at the meeting the day before, is
giving me a physical exam. During the checkup, he praises me for what I did the
day before — standing for my own experience and speaking truth to power. He
expresses that he thought I did great under trying circumstances, and that he
really appreciated the courage it took for me to challenge his colleagues (of
course, it would have been nice if he would've said this during the previous
day's meeting, but I don't push my luck). It felt wonderful connecting with
someone who "understood," particularly someone who was in the role of an
authority figure. We so connected during our meeting that we decided to get
together when I got out of the hospital. The next week or so we did get
together, and we went out with some friends of his to a bar to hear a rock
band. Over the course of the evening I discovered that the rock band was a
group of musicians who love Jesus, and this doctor was a born-again Christian
who, seeing me as a potential catch, wanted to help me save my soul. I remember
him talking about how my teachers, some of the genuinely enlightened
practitioners in Buddhism, were possessed by the Devil because they weren't
Christian. I couldn't believe it. Just when I thought I had found an ally, I
realized I was once again in another crazy-making, mind-warping situation, as
if there was no getting away from the craziness. It felt so sci-fi, like I was
living in the movie Invasion of the Body
Snatchers
. As if iterations of a fractal, both during my time in the mental
hospital and at the bar I found myself in situations where a crazy, cult-like
organization was trying to enlist me to become one of its members. For me, this
process is symbolic of the undercurrent in our waking dream that is constantly
entrancing us into falling asleep, becoming brainwashed and hypnotized by those
in power to take on the agreed upon collective viewpoint of the herd. Upon
reflection, what played out in my life is an externalized reflection of an
archetypal process that is happening both in the greater body politic as well
as deep inside of all of us.

Through numerous dreamlike experiences
like these, I was being introduced to the nonlocal field of consciousness that
synchronistically in-forms our world, a burgeoning insight which years later
would form the foundation for my work. This underlying, all-pervasive field
drafts people into being its instruments and unwitting operatives,
choreographing events in the world so as to materialize itself. This seamlessly
interconnected field ceaselessly animates innumerable nonlocal "hands" to set
the "stage," arranging the scene in the play of our waking dream so as to
simultaneously veil and reveal itself, entrancing or potentially liberating us
at each and every moment. A deeper process shaping the manifestation of
so-called reality was being shown to me through all that was playing out in my
crazy life, as if the events in my life were parts of an initiation. A more
fundamental aspect of my being was making itself known to me, and was using my
experiences in the world – in my family, the psychiatric system, and the world
of rock and roll, as its canvas. The psychiatric system turned out to be one of
the crucibles for my awakening. My harrowing ordeal with psychiatry was a
"close encounter" that almost killed me, a "near death experience," of the
psychiatric kind. If it doesn't kill you, however, it makes you stronger. I
have survived.

The very insight that I was beginning
to realize in my awakening — the non-objective, dreamlike, and symbolic nature
of reality – which was ironically one of the things for which I was
pathologized by psychiatry for attempting to articulate, was the very insight
that redeemed my experiences with both the psychiatric system as well as my
father and literally saved my life. Whereas psychiatry wanted to make me a
productive member of consensus reality, I was more interested in deepening my
contemplation of how what we call "reality" is an arbitrary product of our
consensus. Instead of being "out of touch" with reality, I was awakening to
that, just like a dream, there is no objective reality with which to get in
touch. Years later I was greatly encouraged to discover that this same
fundamental, transformative insight for which I was being pathologized by the
psychiatric system is in fact the very same insight which is the pith essence
of the great esoteric spiritual wisdom traditions from around the world.
Needless to say, I was happy to find myself in such good company, though I
wasn't overly thrilled at being left on my own to deal with the psychological
clean-up operation resulting from the traumatic aftershocks and aftermath of a
most unnatural, and unnecessary, psychiatric disaster. Realizing that my own
personal process of awakening was yet another unique instance of an insight into
the dreamlike nature of the universe that has been discovered by countless
human beings throughout history has been enormously validating and healing for
me (for a deeper articulation of this essential truth, please see my article "As Viewed, So Appears").
Seeing my own personal experience of awakening framed in the context of the
perennial, spiritual wisdom traditions has only amplified my awareness of the
tragic and egregious lack of this kind of insight into the nature of the mind
that pervades our modern, medical psychiatric profession.

The symbolic events that were literally
transpiring in my life, as is true for all of us, were a synchronistic
reflection and revelation of a living process deep within myself. It was as if
everything that was playing out with my father, in the field of psychiatry, and
for that matter, every aspect of my life, was communicating to me through the
symbolic dimension of my awareness, which is the same part of me that dreams my
dreams at night. I was beginning to realize that the same deeper, dreaming Self
that dreams our dreams at night is dreaming our lives. Though my close call
with psychiatry almost drove me crazy and nearly killed me, I have learned something
through my ordeal, an insight so profound that it can't be repeated often
enough. How things turn out depends upon how we dream it. I am my own living
proof.

NOTE — To create context for those of
you who have read my recent article "Shamanic Transference,"
it was about a year or so after my last hospitalization that I connected with
the one psychiatrist with whom I worked for a number of years. Going back to
the psychiatric system might have been similar to the magical thinking involved
in repeatedly going back to the abusive parent and expecting a different
result, but I obviously still had something to learn. Clearly, in going back to
a psychiatrist after my earlier experiences with psychiatry, my head needed to
be examined.

ONE MORE NOTE — A friend from out of
town came to visit me right as I was finishing this article, and not knowing
what I was writing about, synchronistically brought the movie "The Changeling"
(directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie), feeling strongly that
I had to see it. Much to my astonishment, the film, a true story, graphically
illustrates in images the exact same archetypal pattern of abuse of power,
psychiatric and otherwise, that I'm trying to describe in words. Highly
recommended, but not for the faint of heart.

 

Image by quapan, courtesy of Creative Commons license.