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MindFreedom Retreat "Insanely Supportive"

Chaya Grossberg, a MindFreedom 2007 conference/retreat participant from the Freedom Center, describes her experience.

The great thing about this conference/retreat was that it WAS a retreat.

The weather was perfect and for me, it was a semi-utopia.

Freedom Center presented at 2 workshops: Coming off psych meds and Resisting Corporate Psychaitry. Both were very well attended.

I was anxious during the Coming off Drugs talk (like zapping me through my stomach!), so my speech was not extremely well focused, but I hope I still got something across.

There was so much to learn from the people at the conference/retreat. But since I did 3 presentations (a yoga one as the third), not to mention planning meetings during meals, I did not get to go to as many of other peoples workshops as I would have liked.

But we did the yoga workshop under the shade of a tree, which was healing in itself. I only brought two of my self-published memoirs and they both sold almost as soon as I put them out, as did most of my poetry books (I brought about 10 of those), and both of my CDs.

I wish I had brought more of my memoir, which I finally, a year and a half after I published it, feel more ready to sell and share. I met Michael Susko, editor of a book of stories of psychiatric survivors and people who have been homeless. He approached me and wanted my story for his next book. He interviewed me while I lay on the grass outside, somewhat wiped out physically, but I felt very open with him, and able to share my story with a higher than usual level of authenticity. He gave me his first book and took 65 photos of me doing yoga in the labyrinth and burnt a CD for me.

I was amazed at the generosity of spirit I encountered from everyone.

My body itself felt so supported from being around such great people. I have not felt that supported, ever, I don’t think.

Interesting to think of how the word “support” is used and to learn what really feels supportive. It is clear to me now that simply being around people who see things more the way I do, have experienced similar traumas, and care about similar things, feels insanely supportive!

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Amy Smith, psychiatric survivor, organizer and artist

From her home in Colorado, Amy Smith provides leadership for the movement to change the mental health system in a variety of ways, from events to art work for the Occupy American Psychiatric Association peaceful protests by MindFreedom International. Amy is a psychiatric survivor, who has been psych drug-free since 2008. She is the former director of Colorado’s statewide consumer organization, and the creator of RISE University, an education program designed to illuminate the experience of labeled individuals and their families.
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