I was a psychiatric care consumer for 16 years. For more than a dozen years, I was actively on multiple prescription psychiatric medications. I was deep in the system, for sure. My family’s health history could have kept a small hospital running for decades- alcoholism, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, along with mental health issues. About halfway through my affair with being non compos mentis, I woke up from my drugged slumber. I spent the last eight years of that time trying to extricate myself from it.

I had been asleep to so many things. Obviously, my own emotional baggage accounted for much of my lethargy. I was in denial of how my behaviors contributed to my illness. I trusted my parents, who had navigated the medical system, and they trusted their doctors. It didn’t matter that they slowly deteriorated partially from the medical care they consented to and the rest from their own obliviousness to their personal contribution in that area. I followed their example even when it didn’t feel appropriate for my circumstance. The world around me droned on without my attention nor conscious input. All that was about to change.

The first snooze alarm happened with the insurance industry. Mental health was paid on a different tier than a physical malady. I advocated for this to change by writing congresspersons, insurance companies, and governors. At last, my pleas, and those of the advocacy group I belonged to, were heard. The problem with our victory was TARP, the Troubled Assets Relief Program authorized in October 2008. We had to piggyback on bailing out banks, auto-makers, and insurance groups to get what we considered a humanitarian cause passed through congress. This left a sour taste in my mouth.

The second time I hit the snooze button, I was experimenting with more natural means of care. My insurance did not cover sound therapy, energy work, and alleviating vitamin deficiencies, so I had to pay out of pocket. The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. It was a step toward universal healthcare, which included only allopathic measures- prescription drugs and the diagnostic means to determine which one to use. Western medicine treats symptoms, not root causes. Many of my friends at that time were advocating for universal healthcare. I was finding relief outside that system and could not in good conscience join them in that fight.

Most of the medications I took were causing me unbearable side effects. A few were life-threatening. In my quest to get off of all of them, I found resistance from my psychiatrist. He was a caring person, and I thought I had an ally in my care for a time. When I began researching each of these drugs, I discovered I did not give informed consent. The mild complaints listed under each medication were the only ones presented to me when they were prescribed. My system produced all the obscure effects that one could have, leaving me damaged and wondering why. This was when I became fully awake to the world.

Tracing the pharmaceutical companies to congressional lobbyists gave me a partial answer to the questions I asked. Several congressional members had deep connections to these entities- family and/or investments. This discovery led me to how our money is made and the Federal Reserve. The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin filled in a lot of the blanks. From there, it was a hop and a skip to learn of the United States becoming a corporation (away from being a Constitutional Republic) after the Civil War. Though Lincoln and company emancipated the African slaves of America, we were well on our way to everyone becoming slaves to the corporate system. The Birth Certificate, standardized in the 1930s, became the instrument that made us subject to the corporation and not a sovereign flesh & blood being in the eyes of the law. A cursory trip through Black’s Law Dictionary will give you a taste of how words have a different meaning if you are on the other side of the real world.

I was, since late 2007, awake to a reality that many have known but have been shunned, derided, censored, hospitalized, or jailed if they dare speak of it. Now, in 2021, thousands of other people are trying in vain to hit the snooze button, but the feeling of “something ain’t right” keeps them from going fully back to sleep. For those of us who have been on this quest for some years, it is incumbent upon us to be kind and remember how it was for us to throw off our blankets and wipe the sleep from our eyes. We have had years to adjust and refine what is true and what is not. Those newly revived will need our calmness and patience as they find their equilibrium amongst the cognitive dissonance in their minds.

We are indeed in this together and cannot afford to leave a fellow traveler behind. There will still be some who can’t make that leap and will defend the trappings of our former western society to their death. Experts and authority figures will be revered, and the status quo, which is rapidly disappearing, will be held in a stranglehold by those who desperately need “normal” to return. It is said that prisoners come to love their cage where they are cared for (however abominably), housed, and safe with the devil they know. Allow them their illusions for however long they last. We have better things to do. Our country needs us and our expertise. Creating a world we all want to live and thrive in will be a daunting task, but we were built for this time. How will you contribute to such a world as we have not yet seen?

~ The Interrupted Sleep 1750 François Boucher
Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Collection

~ Read the story of Catherine Denton and how she created a healing for herself and others using holistic practices in Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health

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