A little life update — and a hello

Hi Everyone. And greetings after a rather long absence. It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, and I wanted to say hello and share a bit of what I’ve been up to. Mostly in terms of creative output I’ve been making new videos — I’ve caught the video bug again. It’s been an intense and largely rewarding venture. And most surprisingly, one of these new videos became more popular than anything else I ever put up. It’s my video on “Six reasons I quit being a therapist” (embedded below) and as of the date of this writing it’s been viewed more than a quarter million times. This is totally unexpected. And the strange thing is, I really don’t know why it’s happened, because when I recorded it and put it up on Youtube I didn’t think it was particularly better than anything else I was sharing. But somehow it seems to have struck a nerve with a lot of people — and somehow that translated into Youtube promoting it with their mysterious algorithms. What I have learned from the comments, though — more than 3,000 of them at the time of this writing — is that there are quite a lot of people out there who have had very bad, painful, even harmful and traumatic therapy experiences, and really are trying to make sense of them. Most of the feedback on the video, probably more than 95%, has been positive, but some has been negative. There have been a few therapists and psychiatrists who have felt I’ve spoken incorrectly or in an overly negative way about the mental health field, though frankly, I think just reading the far majority of viewers’ comments contradict that, which I admit pleases me. (It also pleases me that quite a lot of therapists have found value in the video too — so not all mental health professionals dislike it.) Meanwhile, I’ve been making more and more videos. And I find a real pleasure in it — a pleasure, though, laced with anxiety and the inevitable self-doubt of creativity. But the pleasure of it drives me forward — the pleasure of creating, of speaking my mind, of sharing my life experience, and hopefully of offering some help and support to people out there in the world. It is very gratifying! So again, a warm hello to you all! Daniel

24 thoughts on “A little life update — and a hello

  1. Hi Daniel ~

    I don’t even know how to express to you what this video/what you speak about means to me and how much hope you have given me. I was in tears the whole video from feeling so much relief because everything you said hit so close to home and for the first time my incredibly strong feelings of anger and resentment towards the broken mental health system were validated.

    In 2005, I first became tangled in the world of improper psychiatric/mental health care. For 11 years, I was taking 23+ pills daily of psychiatric medications all given to me based off a wrong “bipolar depression” diagnosis that I was given as a 15-year-old girl. In 2016, after getting my masters in clinical psychology and becoming a mental health clinician myself, I came to the solid realization that the psychiatric/mental health system is incredibly broken. Not only did I see how broken the system was while working in the system, but as a patient I realized the entire system stole many years of my life, stole my heart and my soul, failed me, and actually made the problems I was struggling with significantly worse. In 2016, I reevaluated my life, quit being a therapist (for all the same reasons you quit!), met with a new prescriber who explained to me that my previous diagnosis was VERY wrong, thus leading me to make the decision to come off all the meds so I could reclaim my life and myself and never take any medications again. During this process (a process/nightmare I am still going through but on the tail end of), doctors did not believe any of my symptoms while tapering off these medications, they did not offer appropriate care for me, they turned me down when I asked for help, they improperly gave me MORE dangerous medications, and I had to find out how to navigate this terrifying nightmare on my own/through hearing other people’s stories online that were incredibly similar to my situation, symptoms, and experiences that no one in the mental health (or medical) system believed. The only way I was able to keep fighting through the tapering was knowing that even though doctors are calling me crazy, I know that there is a LARGE group of people out there who are coming to the same conclusions and having the same experiences/symptoms that I am having. During the last several months, I have had at least 7 mental health professionals/doctors fail to help me when I advocated for myself and I have exhausted literally every resource available (not that there are even that many resources available to begin with) in the mental health system as they ALL gave me improper care, turned me away, or simply told me: “There’s nothing we can do to help,” “there’s no way your symptoms are withdrawal from these medications, it is just your anxiety, just keep on muscling through it, it’s just mild discomfort,” and “you just need to be on medication.”

    I have been trying to find the courage to speak out against this broken, disgraceful system that has stolen so many peoples lives my own included, and you just gave me the courage to finally do so because I know I am not alone. I have been struggling for so long to find ANYONE to speak with who has the same beliefs as I do about the mental health system’s failures and the same passion to fix it so more people’s lives aren’t taken away by the system, people I can band together with to make changes, and since stumbling upon your work, I am so incredibly inspired by your strength and courage. No one should fall victim to the very system that is supposed to be protecting them. Thank you soo much for your wisdom and courage and for helping me realize I am not alone.

  2. Hi Daniel,
    Thank you so much for the videos- they’ve really helped me. I was homeschooled in a very conservative family and socially isolated as a child. I’m 30 now and still working through the consequences. When I’ve shared my sadness about my childhood with my parents they become angry or downplay my experiences. Your videos helped me realize I don’t need to feel guilty for distancing myself from my family of origin.
    Alison

    • Also, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on finding the balance between sharing feelings of shame with others vs. working through them as an individual. My experience has been that discussing my childhood with others makes me feel less alone, however sometimes I catch myself having to justify my feelings and seeking validation from the other person.

  3. Hi Daniel,
    You are a legend man. I accidentally come across your “Bullshit Psychiatry Song” & u blew me away & now I’m reading up & getting into all your stuff, you have so inspired me.
    My family have been caught up in the MHS 4 over 30yrs. Our daughter come down with depression @ the age of 18 & ever since have been caught up in this “SHIT-HOLE OF A PLACE”.
    We can’t count how many admissions she’s had, but the worst has been in the past 10 yrs. Her last admission was 6 mths long (15 mths ago) & the last 3 mths from that admission she was in a Catetonic state due to the over use, I call it “OVERDOSING” her on the Benzo Lorazepam. This drug nearly killed her. She could not talk, she never ate anything for 4 weeks, her hygiene was so poor, our darling girl would of been horrified, she couldn’t drink water or fluids & they had to literally pick her up one each side to sit her on the toilet & her hair started falling out. Her weight plummeted from 94 kilos to 65 kilos. What’s in this f’n poison? They couldn’t snap her out of the Catetonia so they performed 8 sessions of ECT without our permission with absolutely no results. We were saying, if u stop the Benzo she’ll come good, as we new that’s what was causing her problems. This hospital hasn’t the authority or expertise 2 put drips into patients, so we are screaming @ them when are you going 2 class this as an emergency & transfer her to Royal Perth Hospital, when she’s dead! That same day they called me & said her liver has come back abnormal we have 2 send her to RPH 2 emergency, I said it was an emergency 3 wks ago, you have neglected & abused our daughter. When she arrived @ RPH in emergency the staff were horrified. They asked what happened, I told them, all the staff could do, was shake their heads, of course they can’t say anything. A catheter was put in & hher urine was so dark brown/maroon in color from dehydration. We were horrified they could neglect our daughter to this point @ this MHHospital. As a family we were traumatised & still suffer w/panic attacks on a daily basis from that experience. After a 6 mth admission she was finally discharged. Of course another chapter starts, her Dr & Naturapath panicked after doing a blood test & found her Thyroid TSH was 39, a normal reading should be 0.2 – 4. TSH. Unbeknown 2 both professionals the psychotic drugs suppressed her Thyroid, which we had read up about & confirmed this. They started her on Thyroid Extract (which is made from pig thyroid), we didn’t want her 2 take synthetic shit because of drug induced mania, she is extremely, extremely sensitive 2 all medications & of course have labelled her as Bi-Polar, my a##e. Well the Naturapath was warned 2 keep the Thyroid Extract @ a very low dose, our daughters best friend went w/her 2 point this out 2 the Naturapath. Well, that was a waste of time talking 2 that Naturapath, she’s put our daughter back in hospital. Gone in w/drug induced mania, (a high) & now they’re causing her a mental problem with the poisons they’re shoving down her throat once again. Been in there for 9 wks now & the poor girl has had enough. He has put her on 10mgs x 2 Olanzapine, 100mg Quitiapine, 2mgs Clonazepam & 1gram of Chloral Hydrate (the last 2 @ night 4 her 2 sleep) Clonazepam causes her mania, he’s trying 2 drag her down w/2 antipsychotics & pushing her up w/a Benzo, I don’t quite buy that one, not very smart. The first sign of insanity is doing the same thing over & over & over again & expecting a different result.
    Daniel, I would love to hear your view. Please don’t ever change, you are what we are looking 4 in therapists, care for your patients & explain what the side effects of these “POISONS”are. I’m so looking forward to listening to more of your videos, books, blogs etc.
    I love your video on why you left being a therapist. Good luck mate & God bless you for who you are & your honesty.
    We are from Australia. Kazza

  4. Hello Daniel,

    Well, this video certainly struck a nerve with me! It’s a relief to know that I’m far from being the only one too! I’m so glad that you have the courage to openly and publicly criticize the world of ‘Therapy’, and please know that your videos have offered me help and support – so thanks 🙂
    Over the last 8 years that I’ve sought Therapy; I have been continually disappointed, invalidated, upset and yes – retraumatized! On one occasion, with my very first Therapist – I was very vulnerable and confused at the time and desperate for emotional support and validation – I left the Therapy room so upset and invalidated; I ended up numbing myself with a bottle of Whiskey – I wasn’t even a drinker! Fast forward 8 years to my last Therapist – and believe me, she IS the last! – spending an hour in the carpark after a session, in the car, sobbing, before I could actually drive home. (I didn’t cry much in the sessions as she had a habit of dramatically grabbing a tissue and crying herself!) Later that day I telephoned the Samaritans (a suicide prevention line in the UK) and received some ‘free’ comfort from a volunteer – enough to reassure me I was not ‘crazy’. In between the first and the last, I had various experiences – none of them were the ‘healing’ kind. In my search for ‘how to find a good Therapist’, I once came across a training video entitled something like, ‘How NOT to be a good Counsellor/Therapist,’ by the main training body/institute in the UK. I think the video was meant to be ‘humorous,’ but I had experienced every situation in the film! (from the Therapist talking about their own problems to yawning throughout!) – (maybe I’m just boring!)

    I really think that the role/job of a ‘Therapist’ is not natural, and I’m not surprised that it had the effect on you that you mention in your video. I wanted my Therapist to be an empathetic, sensitive and kind person, while being strong with good boundaries, being knowledgeable, warm and wise and experienced: (Hmmmm…. think I’m describing the Mother or father that I wanted, but never had). But just saying, how is a kind, compassionate and empathetic Therapist going to go on and on for years without buckling under the load or becoming completely desensitised?

    Anyway, Like you I’ve found validation and support from wonderful books and online videos – and eventually I realised that I had love and support all along from my best friend and husband, but unfortunately took me 20 years of marriage to ‘let the love in’ – and to be able to ‘love freely’ back of course. My children were born before I became conscious of the ‘poisonous tangle’ I was in with my ‘family of origin’. I have read your critique of Alice Miller and understand your comments concerning Alice using her daughter/son for her own healing; and I just wanted to say that my children, my daughter in particular, have helped me to heal; as being loved by my children was my first experience of being loved unconditionally. I’ve had to face my own ‘acting out’ as a parent; I’m glad that my ‘now teenagers’ will tell me when I’ve crossed the line. My daughter, in particular, has been able to articulate how hurt, confused and scared she had been in the past, when I guess I acted out the mother/daughter relationship which I had experienced – the most painful thing ever to hear, and to bear. Oh course I realise now that I can love ‘myself’ unconditionally – but I’m not sure how I could have gotten to the place I am now – estranged from my original family, and a whole lot kinder to myself – most of the time – without the ‘experience’ of that kind of ‘love’. Unfortunatley, I let my Son be completely used by my own mother – his grandmother – for her own desperate and selfish needs for quite a few years. Oh, crikey – telling my life story here. Need to do some journaling me thinks!

    Keep doing what you’re doing – if it makes you happy – and you know, don’t wait until you are completely healed before you head back into a ‘love’ relationship because we will never be 100% healed – will we? I think it may have been John Bradshaw who said the best Therapy was within the family. It’s true – everyday can be like a therapy session!

    Best wishes
    Julie x

  5. Hi Daniel!…I was wondering if you have written a specific article or have any advice on how to start a new project or change careers….. You have shown to be very creative and versatile to come up with new ideas and implement them. You have been therapist, filmmaker, writer and anything you want with success…..You have been able to reinvent yourself many times. How do you come up with new ideas?.. How do you know what the world needs and what you are good at?…. How do you overcome the fear of starting something new?

    • Ohh Adrienne,
      That’s Daniel’s secrets. That’s why Daniel is who he is. It’s all in how we think and what motivates us. Our life experiences and what we decide to do with them. We all have to work with our own experiences, you can’t put experience on your shoulders, you have to go with what you have. Everyone can be creative if they really want to. It takes honesty and a lot of thought.

    • hi adrienne — hmm, i don’t know exactly how to answer your questions specifically because we are all different, but i did write an essay some years back that came to mind when i saw your post. here it is: http://wildtruth.net/emotional-flowchart-creative-process/ this at least is how i do some things…. all the best! daniel p.s. ultimately, though, i just follow my inner motivation, and try to live a healthy life so i’m open to change. and i journal a lot.

      • Thank you so much Daniel for the link and suggestions, they are very helpful!.. I see that is normal to have fears and doubts when launching a new project. The important thing is to overcome that fear and do it.

  6. Daniel,

    Thank you sooooooo much for this video! I believe it’s so popular because it puts the puzzle pieces in place for so many of us. It did for me.

    My mom was schizophrenic, and my son labelled ADHD and drugs for both of them were, what I call, “paint over rust”. My family was finally helped by a therapist from a foreign country that insisted on work with me and my wife along side my son, medicine free while educating me on pieces of what you shared. He’s now medicine free (from 3 prescriptions), more motivated and happy. It seems there is more truth outside of the US than inside.

    I didn’t understand why school counselors, therapists and psychologists were all driving us to these labels and I could see that they didn’t even form a proper relationship with my son. I always thought it strange how the teachers and counselors could ask you, “Have you talked to your doctor”, one that wasn’t really trained in mental health, yet could prescrive psychoactive drugs. What a messed up system.

    Thank you for your wise words. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you in this mission of truth.

    –Andrew

  7. Where is that 2 minute video you just did ? At the end, you actually smiled. Now, don’t do it too often. Remember to use it sparingly because it reveals a lot and you don’t want to reveal too much. Your expressions are always genuine. But that beautiful smile, reserve that just for certain occasions. It says a lot.

  8. Hi Daniel,

    Lovely to see your new videos. By now I think I have watched everyone of your videos, documentaries, read all your blogs and listened to all your past interviews.

    I highly value your insights, and appreciate your unique and exclusive take on the medical ”market” , and in general your experiences and views, on life and the world.

    Im wondering if there are any more interviews planned for the future ?

    And if possible you could share some of your thoughts, on why with some ”schizophrenic” people, that have a strong belief that they are some sort of religious chosen figure, or a messiah of sorts. I have/had a friend who believes with out doubt that he is the one and only messiah, who has come to save the human race. (I have some of my own thoughts on this, but would love to hear, what you may have to say)

    Best Wishes

    Aron

  9. Hi Daniel!
    It was just yesterday that I went to your wild truth web page to see if I could get your feedback on how to stop taking psychiatric drugs safely. I was inspired by the Broken Wings video on YouTube. I have been doing self therapy and a healthy diet for almost 2 years now. I am on the lowest dose possible of one drug. I feel really anxious and self conscious writing to you, because this feels like the first time I am putting it out there. I am in Montreal, but I am afraid to bring up my desire to be drug free with my really harmful psychiatrist. I don’t know where to look or how to start. Would be happy to hear your ideas. Wish I could take care of all this myself, instead of taking another risk and getting drugged up again, as happened about 8 years ago. Broken Wings gave me hope! I haven’t had hope since 8 years ago

    Yours in friendship and hope
    Rhona

  10. Thank you so much for your videos! They have meant a lot of me as I am going through an intense year of therapy and life changes. One thing I have found really helpful, in addition to reading books and listening to videos like yours, is a somatic approach to trauma recovery. I have a coach who is trained in Somatic Experiencing, and I have also tried out Berceli’s TRE ‘shaking’ approaches, and these have made a huge difference for me! I would love to hear your thoughts on these or other body-based trauma healing methodologies — maybe in another video?

    I appreciate that you are so outspoken in criticism of anti-psychotic medications; luckily I have never had any experiences them. They sound just awful. But I have been diagnosed with ADHD and I find stimulant medication to be so incredibly helpful to my healing process. It has changed my life. What’s your opinion on stimulants for ADHD (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.)? Do you feel the same towards them as you do towards the anti-psychotics?

  11. Hi Daniel – Just feeling like I should leave a message and say thank you for sharing your thoughts and point of view on psychotherapy and childhood trauma. I’ve watched most of your videos and they really helped me understand how this entire “in therapy” thing works, especially from the therapist angle, and make a lot of sense of my own experience – I’ve been seeing social workers, counselors, psychiatrist since I was 13, up until this year, I found a therapist who asks about my childhood memories and willing to look into it. That’s how I found your videos while trying to figure out more on this topic. Thank you again, and look forward to seeing more of your videos.

    Liz – 23, Hong Kong

  12. Daniel, im a UK based psychotherapist and marriage counsellor/coach. I’ve been following your work for a few years now and have read all your books. I respect you for having the courage to put your head above the parapet. There will always be the so called “professional” detractors who are fearful of looking into their own shadow. Don’t lose heart. I suspect you are helping more people than you realise. And I am delighted one of your videos (finally) went viral.

    If you ever come to London, the meal is on me.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this Daniel. I admire the honesty and sincerity of your words. Everything that we go through in life teaches us something. I am sure you really helped those people as a therapist, but you also learned so much too. It is good you are sharing your learnings with the world. I hope you keep us impressing us with your videos and your creativity! Greetings from South America

    • saludos lucila — hmm, necesitamos una persona que traducir el video… youtube tiene la posibilidad de ingresar subtitulos, sí! daniel

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