By Tabitha Ferguson

In 2016, I fell into the education field as a reading literacy aide in my local school district in Texas. I had no prior experience or qualifications for this position other than teaching Sunday school classes from time to time in a local church I attended with my twin sons. So you could say I was naïve to the system.

Going Public

Prior to accepting this position, I had been grieving the loss of my childhood, which I described in my essay “ Childhood Trauma Is Not a Mental Illness.” Not only did I have to process…

A Letter to My Former Patients and Their Families

By Maria Ingalla, DNP, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C

To my former patients and your families:

I may have seen you at one time in the last several years. I’ve moved around a few times and I’ve worked in a few different places. I’ve heard you tell me that you’re tired of telling your story again because I’m the sixth psychiatric provider you’ve seen in two years. That the other one didn’t listen. The one before that kept canceling on you. The one before that quit after a few months.

I’ve listened. Sometimes I try to explain that it’s because it’s just really…

By Chris Rothbauer

“Have you been telling people online you want to die?”

I just stood there, looking at the police officer on my doorstep like a deer in the headlights. It’s true; I’d been in a Christian chatroom telling people that I didn’t want to live because it felt like God had abandoned me. I’d been venting my emotions through online interactions for weeks, but I’d never really thought much about it. Now, I found myself trying to explain to the cop about behavior that could potentially land me in protective custody.

The thing was, I hadn’t called the…

By Rebecca Donaldson

I was about three years old when I first remember feeling that my mom may not be coming for me because I didn't think she'd survive to live to see another day. She was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and I worried she wouldn't wake up after passing out in the afternoons in our trailer on top of her black comforter.

I was eight or so when my cousin took me to church and I cried frantically in a hallway when I couldn't find her after Sunday school.

I was 13 when my aunt was murdered and…

by Miranda Spencer

With this Q&A, Mad in America’s Family Resources section (a.k.a. Mad in the Family) is introducing a new feature: brief interviews with both professionals and users of the mental health system on topics of special interest to parents and families. They are designed to provide a closer look at new research, trends, and people.

Our first interview is with Nev Jones, Ph.D., lead author of a paper published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology this past spring. …

By Kevin Smith

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

-Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

When I began journaling in 2013, I had no intention of digging through my psychiatrized childhood. In fact, I thoroughly believed I could write around it, like a yellow-taped crime scene. After all…my objective in journaling was simply to bring depth and resonance to my memories for a memoir idea I had.

But after four decades of dedicated forgetting, focused journaling revealed my traumatic childhood memories to be neither as solid nor as accurate as I’d…

By Annie Stafford

I have been working with my therapist for 10 years.

For 10 years, I have sought solace in Billie’s office once weekly, shielded from the daunting outside world for a blissful 60 minutes. I arrive prepared, poised to unshackle the skeletons buried in my closet and come eye to eye with the ghosts of my past once more. Shifting, the cushy seat sinks under my weight — I am restless as always. I glance down, notice a hangnail, and pull. There is pain — ouch — a prick of crimson blood appears.

“Shall we get started?” Billie…

By Tabitha Ferguson

I was born in 1982 into a divided family and grew up below the poverty level. My mom and dad divorced before I was a year old, and my family did not get together unless we had a funeral to attend. From a very young age, I was abused verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically by my parents and family members. In addition to suffering from an unstable home life, I was bullied by my peers and the popular kids at school. When I started showing signs of this abuse and neglect — including rages, relationship challenges, and…

By Jeffrey Craig

Once, for a brief time, there was an outrage over child drugging, in particular the use of child protective services and the schools in forcing or coercing this drugging on children.

I remember reading the horror story of Vincent Booth, who was taken away from his mother in the early 2000s when she refused to drug him with the Ritalin the school demanded he take for his “ADHD.” Vincent’s mother, Diane, tried to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to force his school to make accommodations, but had to kidnap her child from a psychiatric clinic after…

by Yaakov Ophir, PhD & Yaffa Shir-Raz, PhD

“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous. This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.” ( New York Times, Dec. 14, 2013). This penetrating declaration was not said about the coronavirus pandemic. It was said about the soaring prevalence of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by none other than the “father of ADHD,” the famous American psychologist Keith Conners.

Soon after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) published its 2012 estimate-according to which 11% of children…

Mad in the Family

Information and resources for parents who wish to explore alternatives to conventional, drug-based psychiatric care for children and youth.

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