Psychiatry: A Truth or a Lie
How a psychiatrist normalized sleeping drugs, and my parents believe it
Late 2016, my mother finally decided to see a psychiatrist though it wasn’t a voluntary decision. She was discharged from a 21-day stay at a medical facility and was diagnosed with anxiety as a mental illness. I don’t know the “real” details of the stay because from what I hear her tell me time and time again, everything she says matches symptoms of several mental illnesses.
While sobbing, my mother says all of this when recounting her experiences at the medical facility,
“These people in cloaks would constantly come into my room to check the closet and shelves. They just kept coming in and out acting like they wanted to steal something. So I started screaming. I didn’t know English but I screamed. I needed to alert someone.”
This is the classic example of paranoid delusions where the person thinks they’re being followed, they’re being watched, or they’re being targeted. There may be little to no indicator that any of those thoughts are real.
“I didn’t know if they disguised drugs as medication, so I always tried to think of some way to not eat them.”
This is one of the indicators of her psychosis where she is always suspicious of others and even hallucinates such that she thinks she is experiencing a reality that is far-fetched from reality. My mother has trust issues to an extreme. She doesn’t trust me even though I give my all to take care of her. Meanwhile, her siblings in Asia have repeatedly stole from her, yet she talks to them like they are good people. They sold her house in Asia without her knowing. They stole her money when she visited and had no shame at all, continuing to act normal around her. The thievery was repeated for decades.
She has said a lot more about her traumatizing experiences at the medical facility, but I don’t remember them. I do question if I should ask. I may ask her again because the more I inquire, the more I find that she has either been lying to me, hallucinating, or having her psychotic episodes throughout my entire life.
Based on her experiences at the medical facility, it is not that odd for her to be diagnosed with anxiety. Matter of fact, my mother doesn’t know, to this day, that she has this diagnosis. She thinks she’s perfectly healthy despite consuming over 20 pills of medicine every day.
Inevitably, my mother had to see a psychiatrist after her discharge. Her psychiatrist never talked to her at all; the doctor just prescribed her medication for her insomnia. My mother just listened and ate the medication. 4 years now. 4 years of daily consumption of sleep medication. She’s not just addicted; her health is declining because of this medication. When she’s off it, she describes her body as being in hell – endless leg and feet cramps (her toes stay curled for HOURS), ants running in her body, pins stabbing her body, and the torture never ends. And obviously, she can’t sleep.
The craziest thing is how her psychiatrist normalized the sleep drug.
I repeatedly tell her, “Mom, this drug does xyz. Do you not see yourself experiencing xyz?” I sometimes even tell her how disgusting the psychiatry industry is. For some psychiatrists, the occupation is to push medication on patients. That is how they make money after all. Prescribing medication like sleeping pills and anti-depressants in a quick 10-minute appointment makes money faster than doing a 1-hour long talk therapy. (Again, SOME psychiatrists.) I tell her how much the drug is ruining her, her mental health, her state of mind, and her physical health, yet she doesn’t listen.
I told my father the same problems of the drug to convince him to help me stop my mom from continuing to consume it. My father, a man who hasn’t gone to the doctor in 20 years because he thinks doctors are scammers, liars, and idiots, actually BELIEVED that psychiatrist. “The medication is just to help with sleep. It’s common. It’s harmless. It’s OK,” my father repeated after the psychiatrist. I almost lost it and wanted to scream.
How can my father be brainwashed by a psychiatrist that a sleeping drug is “OK?” Television series may be unrealistic, but it does contain some facts. People do overdose from sleeping drugs. It IS an addiction. And here is my father, a big paranoid man that doesn’t trust doctors and medicine, believing a psychiatrist that sleep medication is OK. And here is my mother suffering from this 4-year long addiction and not accepting the fact that she is addicted. Matter of fact, maybe all of the torture she experiences at night when she can’t sleep stems from 4 years of consuming such drug. She can’t do things on her own if she’s been relying on a drug for 4 years!
I’ve come to learn how easy it is to scam the Asian population especially the people that are illiterate immigrants like my parents. You tell my parents that a drug is a vitamin, and they will believe it. It is also mind-blowing how contradictory it is for my father to never believe in doctors and medicine yet be easily convinced by a few words from my mother’s psychiatrist.
I am thankful that after seeing 6 therapists for severe depression and suicidal ideations, not one told me to go on medication. (Well, 1 did but he did say I didn’t need it.) I was tempted to go on medication. I felt hopeless at my worst when I was homeless and suicidal. I had no idea what to do. And as I mention in a lot of my articles, therapy didn’t give me a path or a type of guidance on how to move forward.
I don’t know if psychiatry is real or a scam. I don’t know the science behind the entire field. I do know that my mother’s psychiatrist completely normalized a sleeping drug that was meant to be short-term.
I am open to conversations @raquelitarwong on my Instagram, but let’s not trauma bond or spiral into an extremely depressing conversation. I’m saying this for the good of both of us.
This post has gotten so dark, I am sorry about that.