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Personal Stories

The MindFreedom Personal Story Project collects histories from psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers about their experiences of survival, resistance, recovery and self-determination in the mental health system. Many participants in the project have struggled through difficult emotional times, and all have suffered through psychiatric labeling and an often abusive and patronizing mental health system, yet they survived, and even thrive. Thank you to psychiatric survivor Oryx Cohen who first initiated this MFI program as an intern in the MFI Eugene office. (Please note that these are the personal stories of those who shared them, and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MFI.)

Personal Story Victoria Molta
"I can only say I have been through a spiritual transformation. A snake slips off an old, useless piece of skin and I too discarded a part of myself, the victim."
Personal Story Barbara Nichols
"I can’t tell you how happy I was to get my degree from Portland State. My father was a physician and he told me when I was 18 that I was not smart enough to go to school. Now I’m the only one out of five children to have a degree and I just feel really amazed. I am amazed that I would really stick with it because my disability--whether it’s from the medications or from a depressive way that I look at life—doesn’t always motivate me to get things done. I’m very happy to have gotten this done."
Personal Story Carol J Patterson
The truth is, you can't heal me without my cooperation, you cannot. There's no such thing as forced healing.
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Personal Story Pat Risser
"I had been brainwashed by the psychiatric system to be hopeless, helpless and overly dependent. So now I've dedicated the greater part of my life to try and reach people who are currently affected by the system and deprogram them from the cult of psychiatry."
Personal Story Gail Roberts
"My first stop was the ecstatic and exotic mania of a completely different reality, Japan, where I quickly attained a celebrity status as I have a resemblance, at least according to the Japanese, to Elizabeth Taylor. I started to get rich teaching English and had to stuff my yen under my tatami mat. When I had to leave quickly to avoid deportation, I was devastated."
Personal Story Clover Smith
"One morning, 12 drug years later, engulfed in sickness, I called the current psychiatrist and yelled, "What do psychiatrists think in their head? My mind is cured when my body is dead!" I slammed the phone down and never swallowed their pills again; I had taken the first step toward wellness."
Personal Story Scott P Snedecor
"This chemical imbalance thing is about the most wacky thing I've ever heard. I don't think I've ever had a Thorazine deficiency in my life! I don't think people get Zoloft deficiencies."
Personal Story Hal H Noble
this is a test of the personal story input
Personal Story Don Weitz
"I was damn lucky to have escaped electroshock and brain damage including permanent memory loss. Thousands of psychiatric survivors were not so fortunate, many have died and will die from psychiatry's 'safe and effective, lifesaving treatment' such as electroshock and forced drugging with neuroleptics and/or antidepressants."
Personal Story Kris Yates
"Sometimes I have this tremendous sadness because I think that I might be in a much bigger place than I am now. I’m happy with my life but I’m also 51 years old. I might have been where I am now twenty years ago had all this not happened. I figure I’m here in spite of the mental health system."
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Levi Chambers: Young adult leader

Levi Chambers is a sociology student, organizer, and psychiatric survivor working toward mental health justice in Olympia, Washington. He said: "I am a member of MFI because the organization fights for my rights more effectively than groups with funding from big pharma. My family and I stopped supporting those groups, and have been MFI fans ever since." Levi believes in community mental support, non-pathological and non-chemical treatment alternatives, and declines to use psychiatric labels. Currently a 22-year-old college student involved in the Icarus Project and a member of MindFreedom International, Levi hopes to become a researcher who works to gain scientific acknowledgment for alternative recovery models. If you would like to work with Levi to fight discrimination, build alternatives to conventional psychiatry, and demand a non-violent revolution in mental health in Washington State, please contact him.
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