Four years ago this month I was in a cuckoo’s nest!
I’ve been working on trauma recovery for over 20 years. Unfortunately, some of the worst damage to my nervous system occurred through the so-called “standard treatment” for PTSD when I asked for help with Developmental Trauma four years ago. The Black box medication gave me intense suicidal ideations, the psychologist ignored my complaints about this and downplayed what was going on with me.
The prescribing physician did not follow up with black box protocols to check on the patient’s condition, and when I sent her an email telling her this medicine was not good for me, she called to say go to the psych ER for “an evaluation.”
The next thing I knew I was stripped of my belongings and clothing, kept alone in a cold room overnight in a psych ER where patients were abused by staff.
The next day I was shipped off to the local cuckoo’s nest, #RockfordCenter for Behavioral Health here in Delaware. Rockford is owned by the notorious Universal Health Services #UHS, America’s largest mental hospital chain. UHS posts a 30% profit, double the industry standard, by cutting services and staff. Also, they force their employees to hoodwink and abuse patients.
At Rockford I was abused, my rights violated, fed a polypharmacy concoction that did nothing but make me feel yucky, and received no individual counseling. It was a hell hole.
I was unnecessarily kept in hospital for 8 days and nights due to an iatrogenic condition caused by the psychology – medical – pharmaceutical complex we call healthcare.
The harm was so great that, though I have been artistic most of my life, after I got out of that Cuckoo’s Nest I could not even hold a paintbrush! I had to go back to preschool and splash, smash, smear, and paint with my fingers. It’s like they nuked me back to the stone age.
After that, I consented to some surgery and woke up to find the surgeon had performed two additional procedures and removed healthy tissue from my body without consent. This was like another nuking back to the stone age. The resultant medical PTSD makes even routine office visits stressful. I can’t have the surgery I need to repair 7 in of hernia in a 14-in belly. This is greatly disabling. I can no longer sail, canoe, kayak, or lift things over 25 lb. Life as I knew it was destroyed.
Fortunately, I’ve studied the neurobiology of trauma for almost 8 years. Otherwise, I would be dead. Our so-called health care system has no recognition of the nervous system and the importance of its regulation as well as its involvement in what we call mental health conditions. Health conditions.
Two years ago I started my Trauma Aware America page to help inform providers and empower survivors. I want to share the good news of neuroplasticity and the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, which shows us we can help ourselves and each other heal through kind relationships. Holding space, compassionate witnessing, empathy, verification of strengths, just being together in safety.
In January I started teaching this online. I partner with my friend and colleague, Imogen Ragone , a long-time Alexander Technique and BodyIntelligence instructor. We call our classes, “BodyIntelligence, Neurobiology, and Trauma.” The first four classes are on the foundations of nervous system regulation, and the second set shows how each participant can build their own healing framework based on neurobiologically sound principles combined with simple practices also backed by neuroscience.
For the past 4 years pretty much my whole life has been focused on recovery. It’d be nice if the medical system stops kicking me back down. I intend to “never stop talking it,” as the great Maya Angelou advised. The healthcare system in America ain’t about health and it ain’t about care.
I’m grateful I have learned about the neurobiology of trauma and can now articulate it so other people don’t have to study it for 8 years to understand the basics we need to help ourselves and each other heal. I know we are the healing wave.