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Beate  Braun

Beate Braun

"If you are diagnosed with schizophrenia, they talk with you like you are not there. They talk about you but not with you, but you have to hear it. But if you really want to talk, the doctors and nurses in the hospital don't have time for a conversation."

Contact info: Krefeld, Germany

Currently doing: Beate currently does secretarial work and previously was a graphic designer. She also enjoys riding horses and being with nature.

Mental health experience: Inpatient, Outpatient, Commitment, Psychiatric Drugs, Forced Treatment, Restraints

Psychiatric labels: Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenia

Psychiatric drugs taken in the past: Risperdal, other forced neuroleptics

Recovery methods: Self-Help, Peer Support, One-on-one Therapy, Exercise, Psychiatric Drugs, Social Activism, Spirituality, Meditation, Literature, Consumer-run Groups, Art/Music, Family/Friends

Brief History:

I've spent about ten years of my life in and out of psychiatric hospitals. I've been out for two years now, and I feel strongly that the hospital did me more harm than good.

When I was first labeled with chronic schizophrenia, I felt down, down, and once more down. The worst part of being in the hospital was probably the forced drugs. Two or three times a day the hospital staff would come with the needle and give me shots of strong drugs.

The drugs were so strong that I would bite my lips and fall to the ground. The forced drugs caused me to have these awful convulsions. When I would complain, the doctor told me that I was lying, I didn't have convulsions, and wouldn't do anything to help me. I felt so helpless.

If you are diagnosed with schizophrenia, they talk with you like you are not there. They talk about you but not with you, but you have to hear it. But if you really want to talk, the doctors and nurses in the hospital don't have time for a conversation.

One of the sad things is, they couldn't have done what they did to me without the state's approval. They had to get approval from a judge to force these drugs on me.

Right now, my dose of Risperdal is not too much. I take care of myself by taking a tour with my bicycle for 20 kilometers a day. I take a walk with my dog, to hold the drugs as low as possible. I don't drink or smoke, or take other drugs anymore either, which helps.

One thing that really helped me was never believing I was ill. I'm just a human being like everybody else.

As I get older, I'm becoming more interested in spirituality books and things, and having more fun at life. I paint oil pictures on canvas about mystic themes and I read about other artists.

I feel my social activism is just beginnning. I now read two books a month about organizing, etc. It's good for my soul.

Year told:

2002

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Tsuyoshi Matsuo, MD, chair of MindFreedom Japan affiliate

Tsuyoshi Matsuo is a physician who worked in a psychiatric institution in Japan for four years and witnessed how terribly the patients are treated. Dr. Matsuo said he was glad to be an MFI member, "Because I believe MFI is trying to straighten out the mental health system which is insane. I'm proud to be part of the movement to straighten it out!"
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