The ugly ableism of Kelly Brogan

holds card with text unable on old wood plank

Silly me. I thought I couldn’t feel more contempt for quack psychiatrist Kelly Brogan than I already did. Then she posted this:

Saying no to pharmaceuticals is an act of feminism. Every time you open that pill bottle, you are saying ‘nope, you don’t got this’ to your body, and you are instilling a message of oppression by a system that says feeling anything is dangerous.

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First, it makes no sense — but then that’s true of a lot of what Brogan writes. She strings together the words and beliefs of New Age nonsense in apparently random order without any concern for what they mean.

Only someone who has never experienced severe, unremitting depression could make such an ugly, ableist claim.

What system says that feeling anything is dangerous? Not any system I know.

Where is feeling disoriented from hyperglycemia, breathless from asthma or suicidal from depression a form of freedom? I’m not aware of any place like that.

And where does feminism involved in denying women the means to control their own bodies? Maybe on Planet Brogan, but nowhere else.

Second, far from being an expression of feminism, Brogan’s statement reeks of misogyny. The idea that women deserve to suffer has existed in nearly every time, place and culture. Indeed, it is embodied in contemporary natural parenting which views women’s pain and suffering, physical or emotional, as unworthy of concern.

Third, and perhaps most important, Brogan’s message is profoundly ableist.

What is ableism? According to StopAbleism.org:

Ableism – are the practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities.

Ableism is a form of privilege. People without disabilities don’t understand the pain of, the contempt for and struggle by people with disabilities simply to live the life that the non-disabled take for granted.

Ableism is as old as time, as is the belief that a disability is merited punishment.

Traditionally, in many cultures around the world, people with physical, sensory or mental impairments were thought of as under the spell of witchcraft, possessed by demons, or as penitent sinners, being punished by God for wrong-doing by themselves or their parents.

Only an ableist, someone who doesn’t need pharmaceuticals or medical technology to live (or doesn’t recognize that are already dependent on such technology), could make the ugly statement that Brogan did.

Does Brogan wear glasses or contact lenses? If so does she think it is an act of feminism to throw them away and be unable to see? Does she think vision correction is a message of oppression that by a system that says experiencing anything other than perfect vision is dangerous?

I doubt it.

Does Brogan think that an insulin-dependent diabetic refusing insulin is an act of feminism? Does she think that an asthmatic’s inhaler is an instrument of oppression by a system that denies that feeling air-hunger is a form of liberation?

I doubt it.

But Brogan apparently thinks that feeling depressed, even to the point of feeling suicidal, is liberating.

She apparently believes that depression can and should be treated by magical thinking — “telling” your body that “you got this.”

And she apparently is unaware that treating depression does NOT leave women unable to feel anything; it’s just leaves them able to feel happy.

Only someone who has not experienced severe, unremitting depression, affecting themselves or a loved one, could possibly make such an ugly, ableist claim as Brogan has done.

Why does Brogan oppose the use of medication?

Is it because medication treats the actual causes of diseases, including psychiatric diseases, robbing Brogan of the opportunity to sell women books and seminars that only treat the symptoms?

That would be even more reprehensible than even her ugly ableism.

  • Thanks for your well explanation. very interesting post

  • FFL

    Las Vegas shooter was reportedly prescribed an anti-anxiety drug that “hat can lead to aggressive behavior.” This is very interesting. http://www.businessinsider.com/las-vegas-shooter-had-a-diazepam-prescription-heres-what-that-means-2017-10

    Indeed,”Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings.”
    http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/psych-meds-linked-to-90-of-school-shootings/

    And here is a list of reported “36 School shooters/school related violence committed by those under the influence of psychiatric drugs”
    https://www.cchrint.org/school-shooters/

    Still appreciative of Dr. Kelly Brogan for her vision of a better future, one that has the intent to prevent certain harms like mass homicidal ideations, not this alleged malice to “kill people by taking them off their meds.”

    • Heidi

      Oh, Kirstie Alley, correlation does not equal causation.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Aggressive behavior of stockpiling guns? Covertly transporting those guns to the hotel? Barring doors to prevent people from getting on the same floor? Those aggressive behaviors and meticulous planning were caused by anti-anxiety medicine?

    • Who?

      Or you could make it a whole lot harder for people experiencing homicidal ideations to get hold of weapons of mass murder.

      Does that count, though, as limiting all our freedoms? Because that would obviously be bad.

      My eyes are rolling back so hard in my head that it hurts.

  • Danboone143

    Encouraging people to discard their medication which has been prescribed by a doctor reeks of malpractice especially when it’s done in a blanket fashion and not in an actual medical consultation, i.e. where the doctor actually has the patient’s individual information in front of them.
    I’ve had it with new age quacks peddling their rhetoric under the banner of “skepticism”, platitudes and jingo instead of actual medical diagnosis?

  • FFL

    I discovered Kelly Brogan online recently. I like her and find her inspiring. I do not agree with all of her views. But I also do not think she has done anything to warrant being called an “ugly” thinker and human being, and in fact I think what she does to passionately champion her ideas in a way she believes will make a positive impact, in the face of such opposition, cyber-bullying and threats is courageous and full of grace. As an intelligent person with free will, I can accept what makes sense to me and discard what does not; and even if I discard much of what she says, I can still be objective and appreciate the different perspective that she does offer. Nobody is perfect, but from what I have seen of Kelly Brogan, I am pretty sure she does not have evil intentions. I don’t think it helps people who are suffering get better by teaching them to find other people “ugly,” exaggerate their flawed ideas as “reprehensible,” and be admittedly guided by unrestrained contempt for others, instead of peaceful respect and tolerance for diversity of opinions.

    • Nick Sanders

      Did you even read the freaking quote?

      • FFL

        I did. I think the quote is divorced from reality and I would not recommend anyone sick I know and love be treated by her protocol. But I also don’t see the quote as indicating “practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities.” That is a manufactured conclusion, and the evidence barely adds up. This is going out of your way to characterize someone a bigot who devalues a pool of patients who she actually wishes to treat, and releasing it to a readership of potentially ill and unstable people with emotionally charged language inspiring frightening levels of anger. Meanwhile Dr. Brogan is trying to have a practice advising a limited group of patients who choose to see her and pay to learn from her unconventional methods. Which seems more helpful? You take your pick.

      • FFL

        I did. I respectfully disagree with it, but I also don’t see the quote as indicating “practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities.” That is a manufactured conclusion. This is misleadingly saying someone devalues a pool of patients, when she actually wishes to treat them in her own unconventional ways. On one hand this rhetoric is released to a readership of potentially ill and unstable people with an emotionally charged language inspiring high levels of anger. On the other, an unconventional doctor is trying to help a limited group of the same people who choose to pay to learn from her alternative methods. Which seems more helpful?

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      You don’t have to be evil to be prejudiced against someone. And since you’ve what, recently come across her online and liked an interview? That’s not all that much to go on.

      • FFL

        What I do have to go on is that I am a rational consumer of information, and that is more than enough for me to form an opinion. When I read this, I did not see Dr. Brogan as prejudiced against a group of people. Rather, I saw someone with a very different vision for treating the very same people you think she is prejudiced against, someone who wants to help them but in an unconventional way. So to characterize that as prejudice does not make sense, unless it was a rhetoric suggested to me and I followed it with my emotions, and even going so far to call her ideas ugly and reprehensible require, I think, very irrational leaps of logic.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          If you don’t know the history, you might think the Obamas are being irrational if you automatically assume they had fried chicken and watermelon. In fact, they would be reacting to your use of an old stereotype.

          I take it you are -not- suffering from a mental disorder. I am and I can tell you her words may -sound- innocuous to you but they most certainly are not.

          • FFL

            You don’t know anything about my experiences with mental disorder. What I will say about what I know is that mental pain can be so debilitating and all-consuming that there is little space to get “hurt” from a stranger’s words, one who is not my doctor or who I will ever have to interact with, unless perhaps those words were framed as a personal attack on me.

          • Who?

            Scroll down a little and read Robin Collier’s personal experience with KB.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            That is your experience. That is not mine. There was a commentor who, like you, parachuted in and was so militant in her lactivism that she actually worsened the suicidal ideation I was already experiencing. Brogan is the same for me.

          • FFL

            If that is the case I am sincerely sorry about that and I hope I have not played any part in perpetuating that. Yes everyone is different. I hope you get well.

        • swbarnes2

          Not all “visions” are equally true, good or healthy. Nothing you have yet written indicates that it bothers you in the slightest that this woman who “inspires” you so might be hurting people.

          • FFL

            And she also may be helping some people. They may be a very small proportion of people but you can’t discount that as a real possibility. We all have free will to choose what we want to do. She is not forcing anyone to use her methods.

          • swbarnes2

            Telling people to go off meds can kill them, and you think this is okay because you can play pretend that it helps someone? Because you “like” her, it’s okay if she leads to people dying?

            Real people do not think like this. Sick trolls do.

          • FFL

            I can’t assume that she’s caused people to die because I don’t know that. I do know that her methods are likely helpful to some people–and maybe not the seriously ill. They may be a few. But helping a few people get well is better for our world overall than nothing. And by providing an alternative option to those who want it, I don’t think she is telling everyone to go off meds. If the shoe fits for some, why not let people wear it? If it doesn’t fit for you, it’s also ok to not wear it. She’s not forcing anyone to.

          • namaste863

            I don’t think it’s quite as simple as all that. Like it or not, she is in a position of authority as a service provider. People are paying good money for her medical advice, because they assume she has the education to know what they don’t. The problem is…people are going to listen to her, and she has a one size fits all cookie cutter approach that eschews pharmaceutical interventions in favor of diet, exercise, and pseudoscientific nonsense. That approach might be enough for some. For others, medications are literally life saving, and telling her patients not to take them for ideological reasons can have fatal consequences. At best, I have often seen her recommend purchasing very expensive products that do nothing but separate people from their hard earned cash.

          • Azuran

            When it comes to medicine, it’s not about if the shoe fits, it’s about providing evidence based treatments to people who are counting on you to treat them.
            The average person doesn’t have medical training, they are counting on their doctor to figure out what is wrong with them and provide them with proven therapies for their problems. She’s not forcing anyone to follow her advices, but how are people supposed to know that they shouldn’t be following her advices? If they go to her, as a medical professional, and she tells them to get off their meds, how are they supposed to know that they shouldn’t?

          • Nick Sanders

            She is however, shaming people who don’t. Which is bad enough, but when it comes to mental health problem, which can frequently be worsened by the way people treat you, it’s down right appalling. Shaming people with depression just makes them more depressed, it is not help in any way, shape, or form.

        • momofone

          I’m not sure you are as “rational” a consumer of information as you might like to believe.

          • FFL

            Upon further investigation I believe she deleted this post. Maybe she realized it was a mistake. I don’t see the point of tormenting the woman for something she apparently admitted does not reflect her best self.

          • swbarnes2

            An honest person would have kept it up and amended it.

            You are inspired by a liar. This would bother an honest person. No one thinks it bothers you one bit.

          • FFL

            I am sorry you seem hurt by all of this. I am just providing my different opinion that’s all.

          • Who?

            swbarnes isn’t ‘hurt’, just like I wasn’t offended. Like you, we’re just expressing an opinion.

            Unlike KB, who was offering potentially fatal advice, then quietly took it down, without comment, or withdrawal, or acknowledgement.

          • swbarnes2

            You prove my point with every word. It’s what you are, and you can’t help but show it every time you type a word.

            You care nothing at all about the facts. You just don’t. And you can’t understand why anyone else does.

            You think that your feelings are more important than the facts. You love Brogan because she is passionate, and the fact that she is passionate about selling horseshit, and that her horseshit could kill bothers you not one bit.

          • Azuran

            Doubtful she removed it because she changed her mind. She probably only did so because she didn’t like the comments.

    • swbarnes2

      You “liking” her doesn’t mean that anything she says is true, or not harmful. Telling people that its a good thing to not take necessary medication is dangerous. Being a passionate champion of harmful ideas is not a virtue. Not intending to hurt people doesn’t mean that you can’t hurt them, badly. If your being “inspired” by her is preventing you from seeing that truth, then something is really wrong.

      You do realize that this sounds a lot like you copy-pasted it from an apology for Neo-Nazis in Charlottesvile, and swapped a few names around? “Diversity of opinions is good! We have to tolerate all ideas! If they don’t intend harm, everything is fine! Oh, I discard the bad stuff, but it’s still worthwhile to follow anyway! They are so passionate, isn’t that great?”

      • FFL

        The difference between this and Charlottesville is that she is not protesting her opinions and forcing violence upon bystanders. You can choose to listen to her and you can choose to turn away. She’s just providing an alternative to those who want to try that protocol. She can’t force people off their meds. She is only offering a different option, which I think has potential to help some, not all, people. The market is large enough to accommodate alternatives.

        • If someone is offering a product that we know kills people, shouldn’t we prevent it from going to market, even if it has the theoretical possibility of helping some people?

          Because while the market is large enough to accommodate all things, not all things should be sold.

          • FFL

            That’s a good point. My initial reaction is that the nutrition based healing she promotes is not new, so I think these products are already on the market and have been for a while, and I suspect there is evidence that it has proven beneficial to some. At the very least they are good supplemental programs. I think the market self corrects in that if it’s a bad product it will not last long. As for policing whether anything should be available at all, well I personally know people who have died on meds — whether by overdose, mixing or freak reactions. So there are risks to both sides and we should try to engage in non-inflammatory and honest dialogue about the risks and benefits of both sides.

          • swbarnes2

            But you don’t know if there any evidence and don’t care to find out.

            Yup, fundamentally dishonest to the core. You don’t really understand why that’s a bad thing, do you? Ten thousand people could commit suicide, and you’d keep talking about how inspired you are by her passion to get people to stop taking their meds and buy her products.

          • Who?

            Yeah, the market is fab at weeding out bad products, like cigarettes. Great product! No one gets addicted, or dies.

            Ever.

          • FFL

            Good point. But there are risks to both sides and different things work for different people since we have unique bodies. Some people do not react well to meds, as some people do not react well to certain foods. She offers one option for a small segment of patients who may have had bad prior experiences with meds and feel they have run out of options. I don’t promote only that. What i think is a good thing is diversity of options to reach the largest numbers of peopl, all with different physiologies, cultural backgrounds and individual mindsets who may actually get better from different programs.

          • Charybdis

            Ask Steve Jobs how that alternative cancer treatment worked out for him. Or Andy Kaufman, Steve McQueen or Farrah Fawcett.
            Supplements aren’t regulated and they often do not contain what their labels say they contain.

          • Azuran

            Saying something is ‘Beneficial to some’ basically means ‘placebo effect’
            If her ways had been proven to be effective to treat any specific illness, it would be the way to treat it.
            And sure, there are risks to both sides, but there also needs to be real, proven benefits to counteract those risks.

          • You can think those products are proven beneficial, but you are wrong. They’ve just not proven so harmful that the FDA has pulled them from the shelves. Supplements like that are subject to absolutely no oversight, testing, or regulation. You can make all the bullshit claims you like, with absolutely no evidence to back them up, and no one can stop you.

            The market absolutely does not self correct. That’s why we have the FDA, USDA, and various regulations about food and drug safety and purity. Before that, we had The Jungle, where rotten foods were routinely sold and adulterated products (often adulterated with very dangerous substances) hit the shelves on a regular basis. If you don’t know that it’s bad, people won’t stop buying it. Idealized markets presume 100% information, which is not something that is actually realistic to expect people to have.

            There are risks to medication. They are well-known due to studies and are presented in an appropriate informed consent context. These supplemental diets that promise the sun, moon, and stars? Not so much. There is no discussion of the downside of stopping meds. There is no discussion of the fact that changing one’s diet has been repeatedly shown to be inadequate for fixing depression or anxiety; it just doesn’t work. It’s worse than useless for other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

            The non-inflammatory and honest dialogue you’re talking about is pretty fucking simple. This woman is a quack. She’s selling her product with absolutely zero scientific evidence behind it, and she’s killing people when she tells them to stop taking their meds. Stop practicing the fallacy of the Golden Mean.

          • FFL

            Thank you for your thoughtful post. I understand your points.

          • And yet you still like and find inspiring a woman who advocates for things that kill people? Remember that intent is not magic- just because Brogan doesn’t intend to hurt people doesn’t mean she’s cool. Willful ignorance is inexcusable when you are hawking a product- it’s literally your job to know these things.

          • FFL

            Yes, I do, even though your points are really well presented and provide a lot of clarity to the underlying issues.

            To give some context, my openness to her message is guided by my personal experiences that inform what feels true to me. I have known mentally ill people who have gotten sicker with meds, even died, while at the same time know mentally ill people who have been better off of drugs. Though I do not try to make any conclusions from the limited data from my life and I cannot cite literature that proves any point.

            There is also a cultural dimension for me — I come from a family that would traditionally avoid medications for natural remedies. This preference is not judgment, but a mindset that I inherited from my parents, they from theirs. And while I don’t feel strongly about over the counter supplements, and the lawlessness around them you described sounds right, I don’t associate them as unproven pseudoscience, because I am aware of many of their traditional uses in original herbal or root forms. I remember taking natural medicinal concoctions when I was young, and they made me better when I got sick. It was tradition to turn to these instead of Tylenols back then. I don’t have evidence-based studies to prove that they were better remedies than the newer chemical drugs, but I didn’t question my grandmother who made them, and they worked as they probably did for thousands of years. My point is only to give some context for my tolerance for KB’s ideas.

            For many other reasons, I do think nutrition, health, exercise and “holistic” practices are beneficial. Again, I don’t have clinical data, but I can say that personally they have improved my life considerably. So it’s hard to imagine that treatment regimens that include those elements can be automatically presumed fatal. But I also respect the obligations of the medical profession and do not even purport to understand what that would entail. Perhaps if KB did not bill herself as a psych MD, and rebranded herself as a practitioner of nutrition, that may reduce the hostility over how she may not be meeting certain expected standards.

            I am not and never will be anti-medicine, but I still think the world is large enough to accommodate different practices and that it need not be binary. As you phrased it, I still believe in the dream of the “golden mean.” And I appreciate and respect your opinion otherwise.

          • Azuran

            Everything you just described is basically the whole foundation of homeopathy: Placebo effect.

          • Well, keep in mind that those herbal supplements probably did nothing- you’ll get over a cold in seven days with medicine or a week without. Tylenol helps control some symptoms, like pain or fever, but it doesn’t make you get better faster because that’s not what it’s supposed to do. Many herbs do stuff, of course- we get a lot of medicines from the active ingredients in plants. Some of those things are not good. Some of them have negative interactions with other herbs or other medications. And the ones that do good stuff we can purify, turn into standard dosages, and do way more good than the plant in its natural form. Quinine, tamoxifen, and aspirin are just three of the numerous examples of plants being turned into medicine.

            We stopped using herbal medicines alone because they do not work. If they work, they get turned into medicine. And yes, mental illness is a complicated set of diseases that don’t have any standard sort of reaction to various drugs. Some drugs don’t work for some people, and sometimes people stay on drugs past the point they could wean off of them. Medicine is not perfect. But when it comes to mental illness, diet and supplements alone will kill a lot more people than prescribed anti-depressants will. If you are selling something as a cure-all, you’re going to kill more people than you save (if you save anyone) if they all stop taking their meds. The numbers game says you are killing people.

            If someone wants to try natural stuff, they can try it. It’s a stupid idea generally, but they can try it. But the people who sell it? They are responsible for their claims, and their claims range from false to ludicrous. Brogan’s special expensive things DO NOT work to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness. They just work to make money for her. Not all natural or herbal remedies are bullshit, but Brogan’s pretty clearly are.

          • FFL

            I agree with you that if KB is selling something as a cure-all, that could be potentially harmful. But I am not aware that she’s forcing her program onto people as a cure-all. As you also said, we assume that a doctor will communicate the risks and known potential side effects of drugs in an informed-consent environment to their patients before prescribing them. Likewise, I am assuming that KB communicates the risks of her program in a similar setting. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that; after all, you can’t force someone to pay you and she also has a duty to avoid malpractice. People have the ability today to investigate her background and decide if they are open to what she has to offer or else to go far, far away. Many of us do that due diligence before seeing a new doctor.

            Like I said elsewhere, there are many people who do not suffer from debilitating mental illnesses, but still want some help, and therapy alone does not do it. Others are not ready to start taking regular doses of a prescription drug. I have personally only known people who have real concerns about dependency, side effects, bad memories of drugs that they have taken in the past that have worsened their psychosis, or other fears whether justified or not. What I see KB attempting, in the most ideal version of her treatment, is to deliver the most effective package that combines different traditional and non-Western modalities (“holistic”) that do not rely on drugs to this specific market of patients. That is what I previously meant about the market self correcting; there will be buyers if there is the need for that particular product.

            But I also understand your point that we need regulation to protect uninformed buyers as well. On the other hand, being “informed” is also a tricky concept. Regulatory approvals are based on studies submitted by the companies that want to market new products. Likewise, KB has a list of sources she can cite to support the efficacy of her treatments. If she has peer-reviewed studies, why doubt those and credit others instead? And if you doubt the validity of her studies, why not also doubt the self-selected studies from larger companies with resources to generate positive data? And this is really just a hypothetical question for argument’s sake; I do not doubt the rigorous standards required of medical drugs before they hit market (and I do not believe in conspiracy theories). My point only is that you will have battling experts in every field, and I’m not sure the jury is out on the illegitimacy of her methods–or alternative therapies in general. Like you said about supplements, they have not been proven harmful enough to be pulled from shelves; but that doesn’t say anything about absence of efficacy. And I mean efficacy towards treating milder symptoms and conditions, because we are not in disagreement about the dangers of not sufficiently treating severe illnesses. I have never said that medications are not absolutely necessary to treat many sick people, because they are.

            At the end of the day, if the evidence in support of what she is selling is really absent or worst, contradictory, and certain standard for practice are not being met, then perhaps the best place for people like KB and others is not in the medical setting. But that does not mean that they have no place in the market of people who are ill and seek help from others, non-MDs like therapists, nutritionists, acupuncturists, the list goes on. But again, I do appreciate your points and understand your concerns from a consumer advocacy perspective.

          • You’re making a lot of unfounded assumptions. There is no doubt in my mind that Brogan is not providing proper informed consent to her “patients”, because that’s not how homeopaths, naturopaths, or quacks work. Again, there’s a reason we don’t just let free markets reign, and that reason is that free markets kill an awful lot of people. Brogan isn’t trying to do anything other than make money, because if she actually wanted to do good, she’d be going about things in an entirely different manner.

            You also really need to learn how to spot the telltale warning signs of a scam. Nothing Brogan cites is actually backing up her claims, and everything about her website is a screaming red flag of pseudoscientific bullshit. Therapists, especially licensed psychologists, are medical personnel. People going to acupuncturists, reiki specialists, or chiropractors are usually not hurting themselves, but if it stops them from seeing actual doctors (and it often does), then it has a very negative impact overall. Brogan is selling her products as being a replacement for medicine. Why are you okay with this lie?

          • swbarnes2

            FFL doesn’t care about actually backing things up, and never will. It’s about her vanity. Ordinary people care about evidence. Special people like her can ignore things like that, and just believe in people they “like” and “are inspired by”, who are “passionate” about the horseshit they sell.

            Her vanity will never allow her to admit that making shit up is a worse way to evaluate claims than looking at facts. Never. She will always find a way to believe that whatever she likes is better than what the facts show, and she will never have the humility to realize that it sounds batshit crazy to honest people.

          • FFL

            I do not consider myself a special person who does not share the concerns of ordinary people and I am sorry if I made you feel that way.

          • Who?

            It’s not how you made swbarnes2 feel, it’s what you said.

          • FFL

            I think we are in agreement – I don’t think that she should sell her products as a replacement for medicine. And I understand the moral outrage in that. I think her program and other similar ones should ideally be supplemental, or primary to those who really do not need medicine. Would you be okay with that? I don’t have a solution, except what I said before — perhaps she should move her practice out of the medical space, until conventional medicine is ready to integrate alternative therapies, if ever. And if she treated people the way she ideally envisions not as an MD, that may serve everyone’s best interests.

          • Azuran

            Conventional medicine is absolutely ready to accept any kind of ‘alternative therapies’ whenever one manages to prove it’s worth. And then it becomes conventional medicine.

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, no, in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, we’re totally happy with the status quo and never spend millions of dollars researching actual science-based ‘alternatives’ that might work better and/or for more of the population than what’s currently approved.

            :p

          • I think it’s rather silly to sell placebo effects at all- sugar pills work just as well and are way cheaper- but if she sold herself as “make yourself feel special but for the love of all you hold sacred, listen to your real doctors first”, I wouldn’t have any issues with that. You know what they say about fools and money, after all. If she wants to prey on the gullible, she’s welcome to, so long as she’s not selling false promises. I don’t think that would be very lucrative, because she wouldn’t be telling people what they wanted to hear, but at least it would be honest.

            As it stands now, though, Brogan is not honest and not inspiring. She’s a snake oil salesperson.

          • Who?

            Her practice is already out of the medical space.

            What she ideally envisions is what she is doing-trading on the respectability of being an MD while flogging snake oil for profit.

          • FFL

            Thanks again for all of your thoughtful comments. I really appreciate your dialogue on these issues. I can’t continue because my comments are being deleted and I’m exhausted! Take care.

          • Who?

            No one is deleting your comments.

            Take a moment to read the personal experience of Robyn Collier, below. Drawn in, sucked dry, ignored and now in a far worse way than when she joined.

          • FFL

            I wrote a long essay today responding to Feminerd and see now that it was removed as spam, so that was wasted time and effort. Sorry. I am getting tired but I will take the time to read her comment.

          • Box of Salt

            FFL “I wrote a long essay this morning responding to Feminerd”,

            was it the one starting with “I agree with you that if KB is selling…”
            I see right it after this complaint of yours (not sure where you are relative to “morning.”

            Multiple links may lead to moderation (to combat actual spam), but little else does here.

          • FFL

            Yes. I think it may be preserved in emails but removed from the thread on my browser, and in my notifications I get “Detected as Spam” and that they are working to get it fixed. No links posted. I suppose my comments are just no good.

          • Who?

            There are lots of your essays on here. When people post a lot, quickly, the order gets messy.

            No one is deleting your comments.

          • demodocus

            I see all your posts right away except for one listed as awaiting moderation. That one I can see if I click the link that says we can read it anyway.

          • Box of Salt

            FFL ” I can’t continue because my comments are being deleted”

            Check how you have Disqus sorting the comments. I still see everything I read by you that was posted earlier today (I’ve been looking in periodically all day as a break from other things I’m working on with my computer).

          • Box of Salt

            FFL “I come from a family that would traditionally avoid medications for natural remedies”

            Do you understand that the biggest difference between medications that approved for sale and your “natural” remedies is that the approved one are provided with specific dosages and have had both their effects and side effects studied?

            Sure, maybe you experienced some symptom relief from your grandmother’s natural concoctions, but the reality is that you don’t really know what was in them nor why it seemed to work. Science has given us ways of creating safer treatments now, and information that allows us to do risk vs benefit analysis. But I guess you don’t see having more knowledge about how you are treating your health as in improvement over past practices.

          • Box of Salt

            ^apologies for butchering my grammar above. I hate it when I fail to proofread properly.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            and I know a lot of people who do better -on- psych meds. Brogan would have us think ourselves weak because we do not “have this.” I had suicidal ideation 4 dozen times a day, no exaggeration. Started taking zoloft and after a few weeks for it to build up, I had none at all until I got my period back.

          • FFL

            I do not doubt that there are a lot of people who do better on meds. I don’t apologize for Brogan’s statements. But I also think she probably realizes she made a bad mistake and that’s why she deleted that comment. We learn from feedback, and I hope she learns her lesson. And I am really sorry to hear about your ideations, and truly hope you get better.

          • Azuran

            Don’t you think that if she had realized her mistake, she would have made it clear that it was a mistake, that she now realized it and apologized for it?
            Her deleting the post is just her running away from the backlash she got. She didn’t change her mind. She’s still sharing anti-medication article all the time.

        • swbarnes2

          Troll, I said that you are the one who sounds like a Nazi apologist, not her.

          • FFL

            You got me. Sorry. I guess neo-nazis like myself are not welcome here. Tough crowd!

          • Who?

            Everyone is welcome. But if you want to be agreed with, you might be in the wrong place.

        • Azuran

          ‘Just providing an alternative’
          Have you seen the study that came out lately, the one about ‘alternative medicine’ sharply raising the death rate of cancer patient? That’s the dangers of ‘providing an alternative’
          Not all ‘alternatives’ are valid.

          • FFL

            I agree about cancer. I’d never let a loved one not see an oncologist, though I would consider supplementing with a nutrition program. Psychiatry is different than terminal illnesses though. For many of the psych illnesses there are arguably many more “alternatives” you can explore that you cannot with terminal illnesses. I’d never let someone with cancer or any other seriously debilitating chronic illness (even mental illnesses) get off their meds. But I don’t think that’s what KB is promoting or how she can be helpful to some few people.

          • Who?

            ‘Let’?

          • Azuran

            Did you even read the post? She is shaming people who take medication for their mental health problems and making a blanket statement that no one should be taking them, that’s it’s basically admitting defeat and anti-feminist.
            Mental health problems can be just as serious as cancer, most of them are chronic and life long, they can be absolutely debilitating and completely destroy your life and lead you to suicide. It’s because people think of psychiatry as ‘different’ than other medicine fields that we are still so much behind all other fields in providing effective treatment.

          • FFL

            I read the post, but I wonder if you read anything she teaches except for that single comment. If you read her articles or listen to her interviews, you will learn that she does not espouse the “blanket statement” that no one should be taking them. As for “shaming” people — this conclusion I believe would horrify her, they’d horrify anyone, and I believe she would probably think much more carefully about what she says publicly in the future to see the impact she has on others. Even retracted comments. We’re all human and make mistakes.

            And honestly, these conclusions of public condemnation that she is “killing” people sounds to me like a meme (like “shaming” someone) that someone started from an exaggerated claim based on one of many possible scenarios: taking someone off of life-saving meds. I absolutely agree she shouldn’t do that. And I agree that critical-care patients should not seek her — she is very transparent I think about what she would require them to do.

            But what about the many other degrees of ill people for whom drugs have not worked? I can’t cite to you literature, but I can say that in my personal experience, I know only mentally ill people who have gotten worse with drugs, even died, and better without them. And what about the illnesses that are not debilitating? The DSM is a big manual, and there are a lot of people with disorders to help, but they do not all necessarily want drugs. Some may also not be ready to start taking a drug because of cultural reasons, stigmas they have not overcome in acknowledging their own illness, or a myriad of other concerns or fears.

            If we are truly honest, I think we can all imagine many, many more scenarios of those sick people we can help who may not want a prescription, but we limit our discussion to only that sole meme in which Kelly Brogan forces a “life-saving” drug off of a suicidal patient, and therefore advocates for “killing people.” That to me feels a bit disingenuous. And also feels like a hateful witch hunt. And I honestly cannot believe my defense of tolerance has gone this long.

          • Azuran

            I’ve been on her facebook page more than once, and it’s just full of horrible bullshit.

            Tell me, how is saying: every time you open that bottle of pills you’re saying ‘Nope, you don’t got this’ Not a blanket statement against pills?

            And no one here is saying that everyone needs pills. But promoting unproven therapies for imaginary diseases is NOT helping anyone.
            I could sell apple juice and pretend it cures depression. And some people are absolutely going to get better with my treatment. Doesn’t make my treatment worth anything.

          • Charybdis

            Psst! Azuran!! It’s apple cider vinegar that is the amazing, all-natural cure-all, not apple juice. No wonder your treatment hasn’t been working! / s

          • Azuran

            Nah, screw apple cider vinegar, I’m going with plain old apple juice, because Eve ate an apple and the bubbles in the cider is toxic or something like that. I have to separate myself from the crowd if I want to make a living.

          • Azuran

            I mean come on, just go see her facebook: anti-vaccine article, anti-vaccine article, feel the solar eclipse uniting the lunar power of women with the solar power of men, spiritual side effect of medication, anti-GMO article, reclaim your vitality in 30 days, reboot your pregnancy (and of course, she recommends against ultrasounds, despite 0 evidence that they cause any kind of problem).

          • swbarnes2

            When someone write a whole article advocating something that is what they espouse! Only someone fundamentally dishonest would try to argue otherwise!

            An honest person horrified at being misunderstood would have let the original article stand, and issued a follow-up. But your beloved idol isn’t passionate enough about the truth to do that, is she? She is so transparent, she erased her screed and pretended she didn’t write it! I know you sincerely don’t understand, and never will, but that is not how a truly honest person behaves.

          • Roadstergal

            And they don’t even need to lead you to suicide to kill you. I didn’t want to die, but I couldn’t _stop_ what was happening. It’s a horrifying place to be.

          • swbarnes2

            How about instead of being dishonest and making things up, you READ WHAT SHE WROTE. An honest person would do that, rather than making up what they think she must mean or think. But you sincerely do not understand what I’m talking about, do you?

            You can’t. You just can’t. If someone kills themselves because they follow her advice, you will still be inspired by her passion for horsesh*t, right?

          • momofone

            I have a family member with a psychiatric illness, and I can assure you it most certainly is a terminal illness, at least potentially, when they are not on their medication. Also, I find it interesting that you see yourself as being in a position to “let” people do or not do as you see fit.

          • Roadstergal

            Sure, there are a lot of ‘alternatives’ in psychiatric conditions. I got a few recommended to me. And sure, it _might_ not have been a ‘terminal illness’ – I was down to 76lb and had developed an irregular heartbeat because I was struggling to eat anything at all, but I _might_ not have eventually died without ‘Western’ (*barf*) medicine. But the science-based approach of medication and therapy brought me back to myself and back to health from my not-_necessarily_-terminal PTSD.

          • Who?

            This article about excessive use of B supplements and cancer increase is interesting.

            https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/b12-energy/537654/

        • Heidi_storage

          She has an authority conferred by her degree, and she has an attendant responsibility not to misuse it. Someone calling “Jump! Jump!” to a suicidal person standing on top of the building is certainly not forcing the person to jump, but is behaving reprehensibly nonetheless. An MD telling people to get off their psychiatric meds is not so far removed from that situation.

      • Danboone143

        Well said swbarnes2; liking someone as a form of scientific/medical validation is akin to saying they don’t care about facts and data, they prefer feelings. Sounds like superstition to me.

  • FFL

    Hello. I don’t understand the point of all this nastiness. No offense author, but for lack of better term, why are you such a “hater”? I have known mentally ill people who have needed medications, and people I love need medications to live. So I do not agree with Kelly Brogan. That said, I appreciate that there are people who espouse different views, and diversity of thought and practices and the freedom to express and live in our diverse ways make our society so great. Kelly Brogan chooses to practice one particular modality, and it may be extreme and polarizing, but she does not force her views on unwilling patients and we have free will to not take her advice. So my question is why do you spend so much energy rallying people to hate a stranger? The hatred I’m reading all over this board is not only hurtful to Kelly and her camp who has been cured by her programs, and all the people who do share her worldviews, but most importantly it does not serve the purpose of helping anyone get better. Quite frankly, you sound like a schoolyard bully calling someone “ugly” and I do not understand the point of this post or your intentions. I know people I have intense disagreements with but I do not go out of my way to rally people to hate on that person, direct evil thoughts to her, wish her license be revoked and livelihood lost. I would like to know what is doing on deep down inside you to have such senseless hatred towards someone you do not know, and also try to inspire the same hateful feelings in others. Barack Obama once said that we have to learn to hate, because the human heart’s natural tendency is to love not hate; at the very least, as part of a civilized society we should be tolerant towards people we do not agree with.

  • Caitlin Rice

    How cathartic and refreshing it is to read this article. When your disability is painful and physically obvious enough, Kelly Brogan just comes off as a complete dipshit. But to someone suffering emotionally I can only imagine how invalidating and profoundly horrible she makes people feel. I suffered excruciating pain for many years because of a physical problem and I couldn’t get help for it, and to make it worse my dad is kind of like her where he has nothing wrong with him and projects that on others. I was recommended to watch Kelly Brogan’s recent interview by my new age father who works in the medical field. I’ve been told my whole life “it’s all in my head”. I had to marry someone before I was ready so I could receive medical care. I had a CT scan and they found the problem. I had a deformation in my skull that put pressure on very sensitive nerves, and the reason it became inflamed was that I have severe allergies to common things. It took years to find this out but I had been suffering with it my entire life. “you don’t got this”? Yeah, I know. And? When I had surgery on my face it was because my DNA didn’t “got this”, and when I spray allergy medicine in my nose it’s the same thing. How torturous it must be for those suffering emotionally. You DO got this and you just need help from someone who’s willing to keep an open mind without giving up on finding a solution. Kelly Brogan is trash, that’s what’s wrong with her.

  • Liza Brown

    I was lead to a blog by Kelly Brogan from one of my “spiritual” facebook friends – I literally couldn’t understand many of the sentences and was so confused for a moment I doubted my own intellect and grasp of the English language – even though I am an English graduate and former BBC journalist! Her use of language seems designed to manipulate the reader into thinking she must know best by bamboozling you into thinking she is superior and wise. There are people out there – like my less well educated FB friend who actually believe this woman’s nonsense!

  • TKnyc

    I work as a therapist and I’ve been subletting my office for five years from another therapist who I recently learned is friendly and professionally connected with Brogan. I am appalled that both of them are in the “helping profession.” Kelly Brogan charges $2850 for a 2 hour consultation plus one hour follow up (from a reviewer on Amazon who called her office), and $525 for 45 minute sessions thereafter. And of course she recommends all sorts of tests not covered by insurance.

    I am so disgusted by their smug ableism (instagram). Brogan posted a photo of blisters on her hand from an epic session at SoulCycle, and her friend a selfie of her meditating in the back of a cab on her way to a yoga retreat.

    Even in my private practice I work with clients in great distress and some of them find relief from SSRI’s. I do medication management with them with the goal of eventually getting off the meds. I’ve personally benefitted from meds. Most recently Brogan posted that she prescribes red meat for depression!! What if someone were to go off their meds and self treat with Brogan’s recommendations?

    I wanted to post an image but I can’t seem to, but it says “simple steps to empower people with depression: Call your bookstore and ask for her book, if they don’t have it, ask them to order it!!”

    • Robin Collier

      I tried her approach. I got closer to killing myself than I ever have. I was in her program and I had two weeks to come off of sugar, caffeine, processed foods, dairy and grains. I believe that the diet she prescribes is a good one, although someone living on food stamps could never participate – although she was originally advertising that one could. I felt like I had to pretend that I had enough money to not be shunned by her and the group. Then, changing my diet drastically while already depressed, and no longer having the support of my dr. or therapist because I said I was coming off my remaining anxiety and depression medication due to Dr. Brogan’s assurances that they were completely food based. I had no support and was completely losing touch with any desire to live while going through extreme dietary protocols. I couldn’t be honest about my suicidal ideations with the group because I knew they wouldn’t allow that talk. I have never been so alone, and turned away from so many people I was close to due to my adherence to her program. After a few months I finally posted honestly in the group about some of my experiences. They were immediately deleted. I posted some more comments, telling others I was suddenly being censored, and those were deleted too. To lose that group, after I was already disoriented from my very dark depression, and to no longer have my old support, I am lucky to still be here. About four months ago was when I found out that I did not have enough money, and could not find support for her protocol other than her fb group which I was getting deleted on. I had to leave the group. I am still recovering. I am still lost. She is a dangerous woman – if you question her, if you don’t have a lot of money, or if you are struggling with mental health issues while going through her protocol. The only people she should be allowed to see are those who are already relatively well, who don’t question anything she believes, that have a substantial financial and personal support system for her way of life, and that aren’t intensely affected mentally and emotionally by drastic food changes.

  • keepitreal

    This nutjob went to India and came back as an enlightened being who should lose their license to practice.

  • Excellent post and your writing text are effective . I appreciate it . Keep continue sharing such useful post regularly .

  • Sue

    Surely this person is not treating patients with severe mental illness? To do so under such paradigms would constitute malpractice.

    It’s easy to treat the monied, worried well.

    • Who?

      You could have stopped that first sentence at ‘patient’ and have been right on the money.

      Even the monied worried well don’t go to the doctor for nothing.

      A doctor with no respect for anyone who isn’t perfect is the nightmare.

    • Robin Collier

      So true…see my above reply if you’d like…

  • SF Mom & Psychologist

    As a daughter, mother and therapist, I feel so strongly that many women would feel SO much better (stronger, empowered, safter) if they would say “Actually, I don’t got this. I need some help” more often. I grew up with a single mother (also a physician) who never asked for help EVER (with depression, painful arthritis, etc.) and my siblings and I paid for that dearly. I often need to remind myself to seek help so that I don’t do the same harm to my own children. And don’t even get me started on my therapy clients. There is so much suffering that comes from the white-knuckling it through life in an isloated manner, pushing forward, ignoring pain (emotional, physical) and denying of one’s actual experience.

  • Theresa Currie

    I saw on her site that apparently if I cut out… gluten, dairy, eggs, GMOs, grains of any kind, soy….. etc…. that I can rid myself of PTSD, anxiety, and depression because these are diseases of an imbalanced gut apparently. HOW DOES THIS LADY HAVE AN MD!?!?!?!?!?! Oh also by cutting all these things I suddenly won’t have to take my levothyroxine which totally has nothing to do with the fact that I ate only 600-800 calories a day for 2 years and had a horribly nutritionally unbalanced diet (mainly water in fact) and thus threw my metabolism so out of wack that even when I beat the eating disorder my thyroid couldn’t make enough thyroid hormone….

  • Dr Kitty

    So, if I have this correct, according to Dr Brogan, if a woman doesn’t take antidepressants and says that her feelings of hopelessness and crushing anxiety are normal feelings, and that there is nothing wrong, it’s an empowering feminist statement.

    Yet, commonly men don’t take antidepressants, minimise their mental health issues, decline to discuss their feelings, pretend everything is OK and “they got this” and then die by suicide.
    Are the menz doing feminism wrong, or what?

  • BeatriceC

    *looks at the army of pill bottles in front of me*

    Clearly not a feminist.

    It’s been a bad week. I went to the ER with a sudden onset, explosive headache. They thought I was having a stroke. I was in too much pain to clearly communicate to them that I have some normal amount of weakness on my right side due to a mountain climbing accident 25 years ago. They ran a stroke code, including a lumbar puncture that took 8 or 9 attempts, the last 4-5 with radiology assist. Turned out to be a rare form of migraine. Then I wound up with a spinal headache, so there’s another needle in my spine. Yippie. Went to the doctor today because PAIN. And I have shingles. Plus the doc thinks there may be something else going on in my back, possibly due to all those needles in my back last week. And my psychiatrist changed my medications. So the migraine meds, the muscle relaxants, the pain meds, the anti-viral, and the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds, I’m clearly just a pawn of big pharma.

    Also, Arco the lovebird died. We came home from getting my back x-rayed and picking up prescriptions and he was on the bottom of his cage. Arco is my foundling. There’s no way of knowing how old he was. He could have been 20-25 years old for all we knew. At least his last month he was loved and well cared for.

    • PeggySue

      Oh, no, BeatriceC, how awful. I am so very sorry about it all.

      • BeatriceC

        Thanks. The health stuff will sort itself out in due time. The wonders of modern medicine will get me back to normal fairly soon. I’m mostly just grumping that they won’t give people singles vaccines before age 60. That’s kind of a bummer. As for the bird, I’m guessing that Arco was simply very old. It’s so difficult to tell age on a bird other than pre/post adolescence. He’s the one I found at a gas station, so I know nothing of his history. He was a cute little bird, and at least he spent his last days on earth homed, loved, and cared for.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Your boys must be devastated. *hugs to you all*

        • Charybdis

          Teeny typo…”they won’t give people singles vaccines before age 60″. Shingles vaccine, I think you meant..
          Although I do find the thought of having a “singles vaccine” humorous; what does it prevent and why do you have to be 60 to get one?
          I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

          • BeatriceC

            I almost want to leave it just for the giggles.

            And with the amount of mind-altering drugs I’m on at the moment, I’m actually proud of myself for only having one typo!

        • Eater of Worlds

          It’s actually approved for 50 and older though most won’t give it until 60. If you’re 50 and have shingles, there’s a chance your doctor will give you the vaccine once you’ve recovered. They say wait until 60 to give it to everyone, but there are reasons that someone younger than 60 can get it. Maybe talk to your doc about it and you can get the vaccine?

          • BeatriceC

            Alas, I’ve 9 years yet until I’m even 50. Grump.

          • Eater of Worlds

            Do you take prophylactic medication? The same stuff they give people who have genital herpes? I take it for nasty cold sores as my immune system sucks and if I don’t I get bad cold sores in my nose, my hard palate, all over my lips. Maybe you can convince your doctor to give you the vaccine off label, but you’d likely have to pay cash for it and it’s about 200 bucks.

    • StephanieJR

      That’s awful; what a horrible health experience to go through. I’m sorry you’re suffering, and I’m sorry Arco died. Many metaphorical hugs.

    • Roadstergal

      So many things to deal with at once. 🙁 I’m so sorry, and so sorry about losing Arco. I hope the physical pain is managed quickly, and you get some support with the rest…

      • BeatriceC

        Thanks. One of the things about rescue birds is you really never know how old they are. Perhaps it was just his time. Alternatively, when I found him he was covered in gas and oil, and while I gave him good bath and the vet said everything seemed okay, there was still the risk that the gas and oil did a lot of damage and that caused his demise. But he spent his last month on earth loved and cared for, and that’s a good thing.

    • Dr Kitty

      Feel better soon.
      Take all the drugs they give you and rest.

  • Lurkerette

    PPD hit me very hard with my first kid. I loved him, but I didn’t feel like I felt anything emotionally, and four months in I was imagining that if I died, it would be best for him, because he was too little to remember me, and he wouldn’t have the capacity to miss me, and surely spouse would be able to remarry quickly, so he’d have a new mommy who would love him properly.

    We had no family close. That is not the kind of thing you can say to your mom on the phone.

    Zoloft gave me just enough space to get a handle on the PPD until I was getting enough sleep to heal. With kid #2, we were vigilant, waiting for signs, but it never surfaced.

    So, I’m on team vitamin Z, thanks.

    • PeggySue

      Thank heavens for vitamins.

  • StephanieJR

    Everyone in my family wears glasses. My gran takes medication for her diabetes and arthritis. My mum takes medication for her restless legs and high blood pressure. My dad takes medication for his blood disorder. My uncle, last time I heard, takes medication for his depression (and maybe for his back problems). My cousin takes medication for his seizures.

    This is only what I know about, and does not stop any of us, including my brother and myself, from needing more medication in future. Or any other relatives that don’t share their health problems.

    Except for my cousin, whom I don’t presume to speak for, none of us are really ‘disabled’. But you can see just how much we are dependent on, so fuck off with that bullshit, Brogan. Fuck off with implying that the people I love are inferior for needing help. The system doesn’t oppress us. It keeps us alive.

  • Guest

    I knew several Cystic Fibrosis patients, most of whom had undergone double lung transplants. Taking pharmaceuticals as directed for them was a matter of life and death. Without drugs to slow down the lung damage, its doubtful any of them would have made it past early childhood. Without drugs to combat organ rejection, their transplants would have been beside the point. Screw you, Kelly Brogan. Pharmaceuticals save lives every day.

  • I commented on her original Facebook post. I wrote “Every morning when I wake up and leave my glasses on the nightstand, it’s an act of feminism. I’m telling my body, “I can do this!” Then I run into a wall.”

    It got over 250 likes before she deleted it, along with several hundred other comments that didn’t go her way.

    • Sean Jungian

      Well done! LOL

    • Guest

      Omg I love it! Way to go!

    • Kristen Gislason Callow

      Awesome work! I hope you captured a screen shot!

      • I did. Fortunately. I had a feeling she’d go on a delete spree and she did!

  • Lilly de Lure

    Hmmm – static epileptic seizure as feminist statement rather than life threatening event, my consultant will be thrilled to hear that!

    • Charybdis

      Ooh! Maybe my debilitating migraines are MY feminist statement! And my IBS and depression and anxiety.
      Who knew I was a walking, talking bundle of feminist statements?

      • sdsures

        Ditto – my migraines are so severe that I’m allowed to have Botox for them on the NHS because nothing else has worked.

    • Azuran

      I guess I shouldn’t start taking birth control again. I mean, nothing is more feminist than risking pregnancy whenever you have sex. You aren’t a real woman or a feminist until you take care of a newborn while pregnant with another child.
      Obviously, I shouldn’t listen to my doctor who recommended I wait 1 year since I had a c-section either. He’s clearly just anti-feminist.

  • Guesty

    I am the mother of an 11 year-old bipolar. I thank God for pharmaceuticals and the dedicated professionals who have spared my daughter a lifetime of agony and hopelessness. Daily medication is a matter of life and death for her and she knows it. There are two kinds of people in her world: people who get that, and people she doesn’t let into her life. Find me a better model of feminism.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    In comparison, and at the risk of bragging on myself and a friend, here’s something that played out in our social circle recently. I’m damn proud of what we did.
    Friend A called me to say that she was scared and worried about B, a friend of A who I don’t know. A went to spend time with B and other friends. B was clearly having a total mental breakdown due to a combination of stopping mental health meds cold-turkey in order to breastfeed (*rage rage rage*) and postpartum depression bordering on postpartum psychosis–everyone from her kid’s preschool teacher to the state to her HOA were Out To Get Her. This isn’t at all normal for B. Further complication: B and her husband have several small children for whom B is the primary caregiver, and her husband travels a lot for work. Most of the other friends were pretending things were normal. A shrink at the party (friend of B) and A got to talking, and the shrink and A agreed that this was another Andrea Yates just waiting to happen, but there wasn’t quite enough going on, especially since B’s husband was also pretending this was all normal, to get her into a 72-hour-hold.
    As it turned out, B’s husband works for Ginormous Company, Inc, for which my DH also works. A called me in tears because she didn’t know what to do about B, her kids, and her husband whose only response to “your wife needs inpatient treatment NOW” was to say “but I need to travel for work, and who will take care of the kids if she’s in a facility?”
    I checked with DH, who has worked for this company for much longer, and got A both a reassurance that the company would hold his job while he checked his wife in/cared for the kids, and the mental health 24/7 hotline number that the company pays for. A passed this on to B’s husband, and she and the shrink finally persuaded him to drive B to a local mental health place. B is currently inpatient and getting her meds started/adjusted to her normal self; B’s husband is working from home somewhat while caring for the kids; his supervisor is aware and essentially said “tell us what you need so we can help you, and so-n-so can take your next several trips for you,” and the mental health folks are making sure she has support lined up for discharge.
    It’s really, really sad this can’t be handled this way for everyone, but I think that A and I may have quite possibly saved a few lives here. Thank goodness for decent mental health coverage and drugs that let someone with severe mental health function so normally for ten years that her good friend never even realized she had this issue in the first place. (Not to say I’m in favor of keeping this stuff under wraps, quite the opposite, but it says something about how well she is while on meds that A had no idea until this happened.)

    • BeatriceC

      “Who will take care of the kids while she’s an inpatient?” Ummmm, who will care for them when she’s DEAD. This is not a rant directed solely at B’s husband, but society’s general lack of understanding and lack of compassion for what’s going on. This question comes up regularly in my ppd group. It’s infuriating to listen to the mom’s talk about how they can’t present to the ER because their husbands won’t watch the kids or they will get angry or things along those lines.

      And yes, you and A most definitely saved a few lives that day. Thank you for being willing to help.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I feel so sorry for all of them. I wouldn’t want to leave my Demodocus home alone with the kids for several days because he’s so anxious he probably won’t deal well. But we both have mental issues, so we’re in a different place. He does take primary parent duty when I need a shorter break than 2 or 3 days.

        • BeatriceC

          But your situation is a tiny bit different because Demodocus has mental health issues of his own that also need to be tended to. Right now, you two are barely hanging on as a team. If one of you goes down, the other is going to have a much tougher time than a spouse without mental health issues. That’s an entirely different scenario than a healthy spouse just not wanting to make the necessary adjustments to allow his sick wife to access necessary treatment.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            True. I just phrased it badly. And who expects a mother of a 2 week old to be cleaning house?!?

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Or, worse, “who will take care of them when she decides they’re better off dead than being kidnapped by the evil HOA/preschool teacher conspiracy.”
        I agree re: society and mental illness. I liken mental illness to a really big, gross, puss-y abscess. (Yes, I know this is disgusting–bear with me.) Lance that sucker, and all the crap can come out, and then you can pack it with antibiotic ointment et all and let it heal properly. Don’t, and it can rupture and cause all kinds of nastiness, including blood poisoning and death.

    • Sean Jungian

      Well done. I have to give you so much praise for sticking with it, even though it is uncomfortable for us to get involved in something like this, especially with someone we don’t know or don’t know well.

      Many years ago, I called a friend to see if she wanted to go have lunch. She was a relatively “new” friend, of about a year or so, and I knew she had been having a difficult time adjusting to our new lives (we had both moved to a very small rural town after having lives in major metro cities with fast-paced careers).

      She demurred on lunch, and, even though I didn’t know her *that* well, having been through profound depression and suicidal ideation myself, I knew something was off, so I asked for a few hours off from work and went over to her house. After some small talk I took her hand and said, “I know you’re going through some shit right now, so I’m going to call (the psychiatrist’s office in another town) for you and make an appointment for you, if that’s okay with you. I’ll go with you if you’re scared. I promise you, it will be good to talk to someone.”

      She just started weeping and nodded, I made the appointment, and I did go with her. I am not normally a huggy-touchy person, but she is, so I did hold her hands and sit with her.

      I would normally not involve myself in these things. I have very rigid boundaries because of my own abusive upbringing and issues. But sometimes you feel compelled to reach out. I’m so glad you did. My friend – who is still my friend, BTW, and alive and well – is glad I did.

      And the thing is? I wouldn’t have been here, either, if, during college, when I was contemplating suicide myself, and missing a lot of class, an older classmate hadn’t reached out to me and said, “I know you’re having a hard time; I know this woman, she’s really good with other smart women, go talk to her.” I remember her all the time, and what she did for me, and it’s because of her that I was able to do the same for my friend, and for others in less serious circumstances.

    • Dr Kitty

      B’s husband would have made it work if B had needed hospital treatment for cancer, appendicitis or a car accident, and wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

      It’s just that inpatient treatment for mental illness is seen as optional, and the point is, if inpatient treatment is on the table, it’s really not optional.

      Just like with physical illness- if your Doctors say that you should go to the hospital, it’s because you need to be there. They don’t advise it unless it’s the best place for you to be. If they think you are better managed at home, hospital won’t even be mentioned as an option.

      • Roadstergal

        “It’s just that inpatient treatment for mental illness is seen as optional, and the point is, if inpatient treatment is on the table, it’s really not optional.”

        This.

        My brush with being anti-feminist. :p I had some lingering PTSD about 20 years ago that decided to manifest as an eating disorder. I was mildly anorexic for a while, then life stress made me severely anorexic. I wasn’t trying to kill myself, but looking back, as I was just over 70lb and still heading downwards, I would have ended up dead if not for intervention from my sister. She got me into an inpatient program.

        I was put on the wrong meds at first, but when the wonderful counselor realized I had PTSD instead of depression, he switched me to Zyprexa. I was suddenly _able_ to feel, real stuff in my mind. I had the most vivid dreams for weeks, and was finally able to benefit from therapy.

        Inpatient treatment and the right medication made me _me_ again. Sure, lots of exercise and good hobbies are important tools that help me stay mentally healthy, but the people who say you just need to exercise instead of taking pills – I was exercising twice a day when it was getting its worst. Hard. :p :p

    • Who?

      This is a wonderful thing you and her community were able to do for her.

      A former work colleague and friend of mine took his life a couple of years ago, and as the dust settled it became clear his family knew about his long history of depression, and had supported him, but he kept it together sufficiently well that no one in his circle (including his long-term girlfriend, a doctor) knew about it.

      The circumstances have had a terrible effect on those around him, but it has made all of us much more aware of the importance of sharing how we feel and being open to others doing the same. Whatever momentary concerns any of us might have about potential boundary violation or similar are nothing in those circumstances.

  • Gæst

    Oh, now she has me really angry, too. I take a lot of medications, but I view myself as an overall very healthy person. I have chronic conditions, and the medications help me manage them and are what make me feel comfortable and able to participate in the things I want to do in life. Eff anyone who implies people who take medications are inferior.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    What’s wrong with needing help sometimes? I literally need help to clothe and feed myself (I have little idea of how to grow enough food to eat regularly and no idea at all of how to spin cotton into thread or weave it into cloth, much less how to transform oil into polyester.) I accept the help of the city in getting clean water, the help of architects and construction workers in living in a building that won’t collapse, the help of farmers and clothing manufacturers…why shouldn’t I accept the help of pharma too?

  • Merrie

    I honestly think that there are a lot of things that are wrong with our society, many of them involving prejudice against women and minorities, that contribute to the stress people are under and lead in some measure to instances of depression. I would love to have a kinder, gentler society where fewer people struggle with depression and fewer people need medication. And I sort of think that in some measure, she was trying to get at this, with maybe a side of how some decades ago the general response to frustrated suburban housewives feeling unfulfilled was just to drug them all up on Valium and the like. I know that viewed on a societal level, medicating away people’s discontent to make them fit better into the current system is distressing. But from an individual standpoint, we still have to live in the society that we are in, and it doesn’t make much sense to glamorize the idea of “sticking it to the man” by refusing to take medication for a condition that is adversely affecting your life, even if that condition is to some extent societally created.

    • Azuran

      Seeing as she has also shared a post about how diabetic people shouldn’t use insulin and should instead treat it ‘naturally’ and share anti-vaccine crap, I’m pretty sure she meant exactly what she was saying.

      • sdsures

        *chokes at the mention of not using insulin*

        • Beth

          I hope she at least means type II diabetes – not that it’s ok not to manage that properly either, but type I diabetes + no insulin = quick death

          • Stephanie

            Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t. I’ve had a number of people tell me that using for my Type 1 Daughter would heal her permanently without that nasty insulin.

          • Roadstergal

            So, this is a really nasty thing about T1D. The later you get it, the less aggressive it is. So if you get it in adulthood (I’m talking 20s instead of little-kid), some folk actually have enough of a mild, slowly-progressing form that they can control their blood sugar enough to stay out of the hospital without insulin. It’s a lot more work, and the long-term outcomes aren’t as good, but you can find a pretty young spokesdiabetic who can truthfully say he’s put that nasty insulin aside and is doing just fine.

            For now.

            And it says nothing about what your kid with a more aggressive form needs.

          • sdsures

            For type II, we could substitute “insulin” for meds like Gliclazide, which is what my husband takes for his type II diabetes.

    • Valerie

      I don’t think she’s advocating for a kinder, gentler society. She’s selling her $600 program, which looks like it’s about healing mental and physical illness (including cancer) through diet and woo.

    • crazy grad mama

      There is a lot of interesting discussion to be had about the intersection of culture and mental health, and what makes it worse or better on a societal level. Ironically, Kelly Brogan’s “suck it up and deal with it yourself” message is really typical of American individualist culture, which, IMO, is not good for mental health on a large scale.

      On the other hand, my depression is genetic. My dad has it. His mom has it. Circumstances can make it much worse, but it’s always there, and it would be there at some level in the best of all cultures.

      • Dr Kitty

        There is *some* evidence that people with schizophrenia do better in cultures that see it not as a mental illness, but as someone with special access to the spirit world.

        This is usually because their hallucinations and delusions are re-framed in a culturally acceptable way, and they have the respect of the community rather than suffering stigma and isolation.

        The best of all solutions is probably to eliminate the stigma and isolation, while treating distressing hallucinations and delusions which present a risk to the person or others.*

        * I recognise that there are some people who have hallucinations which they do not find distressing, and have harmless delusions which give them comfort. They should not be treated against their will, IMO. The vast majority of people who are in that camp are very religious.

        As an example, I have a known a person who believes that their Child of Prague statue tells them the weather forecast every day. Not exactly normal, but a difference I think society could accept.

    • Gæst

      I will admit that I sometimes refuse to take my prescribed dose of asthma medication because I want to stick it to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies who play games of chicken with each other over the prices, and who do everything they can to prevent an affordable generic from being available. When I was a poor grad student, I had no problem paying for my asthma meds, because my copays were reasonable. Now that I am employed full-time, they are a burden on my budget because the costs for the exact same drug have risen, and my insurance company has raised all copays and keeps changing the “preferred” brand of what I need. Any penny I can prevent from getting into their hands is worth a slight risk to my health, at this point.

      • Eater of Worlds

        Inhalers pissed me off. When the US banned chlorofluorocarbons, which were in all aerosol propellants, they were not going to make asthma inhalers follow that ban. However, the inhaler makers decided, yay fucking yay, if we switch to hydrofluoroalkane we can extend patents and get more money. So they did. Proair expires this year, ventolin expires next year. That’s why prices of inhalers went up massively and won’t start to go down until next year. This is also why Primatene mist went off the shelves. It wasn’t as good a medication as the script inhalers, but it kept people alive who could’t afford doctor’s visits and script medication. As an OTC drug they had to change from CFCs and they never managed to go to HFAs.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think that not taking your asthma meds is a slight risk to your health. Long term inflammation isn’t good for your body. You can get permanent scarring, which means you’re always out of breath, and that is called COPD. If you have untreated asthma you’re more likely to need emergency treatment and steroids, which cause a whole host of problems ranging from fluid retention in your legs to higher blood pressure, weight gain (fat can trigger asthma) and a bunch of other stuff. You can get muscle wasting because you can’t exercise as that triggers asthma especially when it’s not controlled and you can even go into respiratory failure with a bad attack.

        I used to be untreated for lack of money. These days I am treated, and I honestly can’t imagine not taking my meds just to “stick it to the man.” I honestly think you’re doing more harm to yourself than to the medication makers. One person not taking their needed medication isn’t going to hurt them at all. I almost died the last two times I had an asthma attack and that is with proper medication. How much of that was from years of not being able to afford anything? Or was it just a shitty asthma day? I don’t know but I have to be really careful now.

        • Gæst

          Oh, I agree about all the risks to myself. But it’s hard to pay over $100 in copays at a time. For most of the months I was off the steroids I wasn’t having attacks and wasn’t using my rescue inhaler either. I went back on when I started to have problems again.

          But hey, if I die young, at least no one will have to pay for extra years of healthcare for me. That’s what we want in the US, isn’t it? To be rid of all the burdensome people like me who make healthcare expensive by…using it.

          • Eater of Worlds

            No kidding. I have what is considered really good insurance in the US and just one of my inhalers is 80 bucks, and I have four of them (one regular rescue albuterol, liquid albuterol for nebulizer, and two steroid inhalers) and it’s not enough, I’m seeing my specialist soon to get some other drug like singulair or something so that I can stop getting close to dying when I walk faster than a sloth. Wish I were joking about the sloth pace, but I can’t actually walk briskly anymore. I have my own pulse oximeter to help me judge if this is just crappy or if I’m really close to the danger zone of low oxygen. I bet all the conservative republicans in the house and congress think that I should just croak instead of “making insurace more expensive for everyone else” and the moderates are too afraid of losing their jobs to vote the right way.

          • Gæst

            Yeah, and my son now also has asthma. His nebulizer meds are much cheaper than mine, but unless he spontaneously improves with age (a thing that is mainly a myth) I’ll soon be paying for steroid inhalers for both of us. I’m glad to hear two rescue inhalers will be open to generics soon, but it’s the steroid ones that are really killing me.

            Singulair is working great for my son. I’m sorry that you have asthma so severely.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I wonder if those of us who were diagnosed as having asthma as little children and later outgrew it would’ve been diagnosed with something else these days.

          • guest

            My son is treated by a pulmonologist for asthma but the doctor has said numerous times it could be long term GERD and he could grow out of it. But since they can’t tell for sure, they treat it as asthma so the kid can breathe and hopefully not go to the emergency room. He is 6 now and has been able to reduce his meds significantly so I think he will “outgrow” his “asthma” and it was likely never asthma.

          • Eater of Worlds

            Depending on how good the air is for asthma, my peak flow is always 70-80% below what it’s supposed to be. So picking a random number, if my peak flow is supposed to be 475, it actually tests at, what, about 330? That’s what my peak flow is when I get up and don’t take any asthma medication except for the low dose oral steroids which I take for another health condition. That’s why any exertion can trigger me to get dangerously bad very quickly. My doc is not happy that I’m always having to work to breathe so we’ve gotta figure something else out or I’ll end up with COPD.

  • Mel

    My mom’s side of the family has a long history of alcoholism.

    In the last 25 years or so, the rate of alcoholism has dropped to nearly zero because of SSRIs.

    It turns out those little pills are a much more effective way of treating depression than drinking your liver into a piece of leather.

    Likewise, I had a bout of PPD after Spawn was born. Thanks to a therapist who recognized that my higher level of background irritation was a sign of depression and a GP who increased my SSRI, I was feeling much calmer within two weeks.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Seriously. If I have more kids, it will be mostly due to the existence of Zoloft. “Wait, you mean I can actually enjoy my kid’s first year, rather than spend it in an insane swirl of suicidal ideation and extreme anxiety? Seriously? I shall now have ALL THE BABIES.”
      My mother has so many issues. SO many issues. I haven’t had contact with her since before I became a mom, and am much happier for it. My kids don’t need that crazy in their lives. But I can now understand a little better why she’s the psycho alcoholic that she is: apparently, slamming glass after glass of scotch is better than dealing with some of your demons via an antidepressant. I can recognize in retrospect just how bad her PPD/PPA must have been. Example: my sister and I weren’t allowed to leave her room except on special occasions/to leave the house entirely for several years of our childhood lest we die from coming in contact with occasionally-incontinent grandpa’s germs. I wish I were making this up. Somehow, this is better than being like “those people” who take pills for PPD/PPA. Me? Count me among “those people,” and I say sincerely, thank God for Zoloft and the people who created it and its ilk.

  • Mariana

    “Wow! I haven’t felt that much like myself in years!” This is what I remember thinking while sitting on the toilet one morning, two weeks after starting anti-depressants. I just wish I had had them sooner… But you see, my parents did not believe in mental illness such as depression. No one noticed I was depressed from my late teens until 23, and I didn’t know that feeling like that was not just a part of “growing up”. Took me 5 years to finally be able to go off my mess (after lots of therapy). Now I know there is a difference between sad and depressed.

  • Sheven

    Feminism to Kelly Brogan: “Fuck off.”

  • yentavegan

    Kelly Brogan might believe that she is a feminist. Apparently she is delusional. She believes in the power of magic and that sick people can cure themselves by positive affirmations. She is dangerous.

  • Laura

    Zoloft and psychotherapy are why I’m currently the happiest I have EVER been in my entire life. I can actually BE happy rather than be depressed/anxious most of the time. Do I still have hard days? Of course I do! But I’m able to handle them in a healthier way than I was before.

    Screw you Kelly Brogan.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Yes!!! When I talk to friends with PPD who are scared of taking meds, I explain what it’s like for me on them: “Look, I still have bad days when I haven’t slept much and the toddler is kicking off and the baby will not stop fussing. But now I can say, ‘well, this sucks, when DH gets home he’s taking them for an hour so I can get some respite, I’m ordering takeout, and we’re going out to the park til DH gets home to get out of the house’ rather than going into full-on ‘this will never end, he will never stop crying, I’ll never get a break, why don’t I just kill myself and get it over with.’ I’m not high; I don’t think that days like that don’t suck. I can just see them in a balanced way.”

  • ArmyChick

    Thanks to Lexapro and Amitriptyline I am still alive to raise my daughter. Depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental disorders are not liberating but debilitating.

    She needs to STFU.

  • carovee

    Feeling so overwhelmed by anxiety and panic that I’m literally crouched on the floor unable to move is much more empowering than taking medicine that allows me to function. Stupid doctors with their anti-‘feeling so awful you are borderline suicidal’ oppression!

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Ditto. Sobbing on the floor in the living room because I’m convinced that if I go into the kitchen I will accidentally leave my baby IN THE OVEN and turn it on is oh so much better than taking the kids to the park for the afternoon. Oh, wait…

  • crazy grad mama

    You know what? I don’t got this. My body, and especially my mind, don’t got this. And it doesn’t make me a weak or inferior person to recognize that. Does she know how much strength it takes to get out of bed every day when you’re seriously depressed? How much strength it takes to put the sharp things down when your mind is obsessed with using them on yourself?

    Also, fuck anyone who says that taking meds means you don’t “feel anything,’ because that’s such a dramatically wrong misstatement of how antidepressants work.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    That blithering idiot.
    I’d rather feel nothing than the level of suicidal depression I had last year. I’m a stoic by nature and a person who tends to minimise any pain I may have, but by god, if having a little zoloft allowed me to feel something *other* than killing myself and taking my unborn daughter with me than I was going to take it. I’m weaning myself off now (my ob knows) because my normal melancholy fits don’t really need to be medicated as a rule, just finding ways of distracting myself until the fit passes.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      PPD is freaking HORRIBLE. Good luck on the Zoloft weaning. Mine went pretty well–I took it very gradually–but I was a complete idiot and weaned off just before the holidays. Pro tip: don’t do that. 😉

  • Toni35

    My oldest child was diagnosed with selective mutism at age 5 (though we had suspected an issue for about a year prior). A full year of non-drug interventions later and she was still entirely non-verbal at school and out in the community. We finally put her on meds (low dose of Prozac). Six months later she was audibly whispering, six months after that she was fully speaking, and six months after that she was off the meds entirely and maintaining her voice. She’s currently indistinguishable from her peers (she’s 10 now).

    If helping my daughter overcome crippling anxiety is anti-feminist, then I’ll wear that label proudly. This quack can take a long walk off a short pier.

  • kilda

    but see, the baby is breast fed, so his saliva is clean and germ free and magical. No germs can exist in the vicinity of breast milk. It’s like a crucifix for vampires. The germs shriek and run away.

  • Heidi

    “We have a right to expose our children to the world and boost their immune systems naturally.”

    That’s pretty funny. I don’t think any of us really have a choice in the matter. Yeah, I’m pretty sure my child gets exposed “naturally” to a lot of germs. But I still wouldn’t let my child suck on the cart straps if I could help it! Fabric is porous, can’t really be wiped, and who knows what salmonella or E. coli or listeria from foods put in the cart or even a baby having a leaky diaper could be hanging out on a strap.

  • MI Dawn

    Dear Kelly Brogan. FU. Yeah, “I had this” every time I thought about how I could kill myself without causing distress to the person who found me. Every time I spent hours crying at night because I was such a worthless piece of sub-humanity who wondered how anyone could express love for me when I was so totally worthless; such a piece of trash – no, trash had more worth.

    Medication pulled me out of that, as did talking. Talking alone didn’t do it. I’d be dead now without the help of medication. I don’t need it always, but I sure as hell needed it then, and for a while this year.

    Just FU.

  • Sean Jungian

    The more I think about this, the more pissed I am getting.

    I live in rural North Dakota, we already have far more suicides than we should, thanks to continued stigma against mental illnesses.

    Last week, a high school student killed himself, the 3rd one in a little over 2 years in the same school district. The school went ahead and held an already-scheduled pep rally the next day. The students had to organize a memorial on their own, because, to quote the Superintendent, “Discussing suicide only encourages copycats.”

    So, it was left to these confused, grieving adolescents to somehow figure out how to comfort themselves.

    Just two weeks ago I was trying to find mental health resources to help another young person I know, to find testing for possible ADHD or other learning disabilities, as well as counseling for anxiety and possible depression. There were only 3 resources to call – all at least a 45- minute drive away – and none that could get this person in to be seen before June. In addition, no one was even interested in hearing about the issues until they had all the insurance information. I tried getting a referral from the PCP, from social services, etc. The only immediate help that could be attained was private counseling for drug addiction.

    And then this blankety-blank (not what I want to call her) goes ahead and adds to the problem even more. Eff you, lady.

    • moto_librarian

      I haven’t done much reading on copycat suicides, but I fail to understand how it’s better to pretend that nothing happened than to give these young people an opportunity to discuss their loss and honor the memory of their friend.

      But what do I know. I only work on an elite college campus in the midst of a huge mental health awareness campaign. #talkaboutit is the catchphrase. That is, unless the word that needs to be said is suicide. We’ve had at least three of those on campus over the past two years, but we can’t say that word.

      • Sean Jungian

        From what I’ve read – I looked into it after seeing that outrageous quote from the Superintendent – from what I can tell, there was ONE study done, and it was about suicides being reported in the media, and the sensationalism attendant with that, that sometimes resulted in copycat suicides. There was just a correlation, also, not a causation. The idea was that possibly other depressed kids would see it as a solution to their own troubles.

        But that was about media reporting, not about providing grief counseling for students when a fellow student has taken his or her own life. Not about taking the opportunity to reach out to students to let them know someone can listen, that if you’re not comfortable talking to your parents/your teacher/etc. there are still people you can talk to. Publicizing the suicide hotline number. Letting students know the resources available.

        Just TALKING about it. Whenever you work so hard to cover something up, you lose so much trust. Going ahead with a Pep Rally? Okay, but couldn’t you have provided a moment of silence, too?

        • MaineJen

          On the other hand, Netflix has come out with a series called 13 Reasons Why or something like that, which from what I can see *does* glorify and sensationalize suicide. Completely tone deaf. SMDH

          • moto_librarian

            The worst part is that the producers met with mental health experts and then refused to follow their advice!

          • MaineJen

            Ugh. WHY

          • Sean Jungian

            I’ve seen that reported as well. I haven’t looked at it myself, yet.

          • Mariana

            I watched all of it. I teach teens, and they can’t stop talking about it. It pretty much described my experience as a depressed high schooler who no one knew was depressed. My take away from the series was that adults have to pay more attention to teens. They don’t necessarily ask for help… And when they do, in their own strange way, you have to work hard to read between the lines and really try to give them the space to talk. I know I said some really crazy things to some teachers (“why do people insist this is the best time of my life? If it only gets worse than this I should just jump off that window and be done with this miserable life”). No one noticed. I only got the help I needed after a 17 year-old friend died (allergic reaction to some medicine) my 16 year-old host brother (car crash, I was an exchange student), my uncle (shot dead) and my grandpa (old age) all in the space of 2 years. If it weren’t for that I don’t know what would have happened to me…

      • Azuran

        Same where I went to school.
        When I was in high school, one of our teacher had a heart attack on his way to school and died. The school handled it extremely well. Classes where basically suspended for at least 2 days and we had group session with all the teachers and therapist. They had a the therapist stay the whole week if anyone wanted solo time with her.

        By contrast, during my time at vet school, a teacher and a student (intern) killed themselves. And while the administration was usually making a huge show of caring for mental health, when those happened, they said no word about it. They didn’t even acknowledge that it happened, they offered no counsel, they didn’t ask for a therapist or whatever to come over for those who needed help. They just swept it under the rug and pretended nothing happened. (They didn’t even fill the spot left by the intern and dumped all her work on the remaining one until she had a very public mental breakdown)

        • Heidi_storage

          Hmm. My high school didn’t do squat when a student killed himself, when a drunk-driving student killed one passenger and permanently crippled another, or when a student drunkenly fell off a trail and into a tree and died. Not so good.

        • Christy

          I’m not always a fan of the way our administration does things. But when a resident committed suicide they had grief counselors here that day, we’ve had several memorials and meetings with our on-site psychologist for faculty and staff. I think over all, we probably have more emphasis on mental health than many vet schools, and that’s a great thing.

    • Mel

      There is some danger in copycat suicides among teenagers – but failing to have grief counselors around for a fairly extended time after a suicide is far more problematic.

      • Sean Jungian

        Agreed. I think ignoring it completely sends a far more damaging message. The family has spoken out but I think if their grief and that of the students had been handled more compassionately at the school, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal in the local news. I just think at the very least grief counseling should have been made available.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          One thing that formal recognitions of grief will do is to show how much people mean to others. Among the things that suicidal people will think is that no one cares about them. When an entire school shuts down and grieves over a loss of a student, it demonstrates that, yes, we DO care about you. We may not be showing it in ways that you can recognize, but you matter.

          Anything we can do to raise that level of doubt that life is worthless and suicide is a solution helps. Mourning the loss of life does that.

  • anh

    I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant and migraines are really a struggle. How is accepting that pain in any way empowering?

    • Empliau

      I am so sorry. I am a migraineur too, and when I was pregnant I only had a few (I have more after menopause than I had before. For some women menopause slows the migraines down. Lucky me, I guess). When I couldn’t hide in a dark room, I had caffeine in the form of a large latte – I avoided caffeine while pregnant except when in severe pain. Tylenol does jack for migraine in my experience. If you’re not someone for whom caffeine provides temporary relief, I have nothing to offer except sympathy. And my daughter is almost grown up – seriously, no good meds safe during pregnancy still? Damn!

      • Chi

        I get horrendous migraines too, and yes I got more (and more vicious) during pregnancy. I spent a lot of time curled up in dark rooms with cold compresses over my eyes and my partner bringing me cups of tea or caffeinated soda.

        Fortunately I’m also someone who trusts my doctors to look at my symptoms and give me adequate measures to control/fix the underlying causes.

        Which is why I now have a stash of Tramadol in my drawer. It’s a synthetic opiate so apparently it’s not AS bad for pregnancy as straight opiates. I still only used it sparingly when I absolutely had to, but that was mostly because I didn’t like how hungover I felt the day after it was out of my system.

        Apparently you can also use Tramadol whilst breastfeeding which is why it’s prescribed here for post c-section pain.

    • awaltzforzizi

      I’m a status migraine patient. Occipital nerve blocks and trigger point injections helped me a lot, and since it’s just lidocaine it might be safe for a pregnancy. I wish I had something else to offer.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    My sister shot herself because she was un- or under-medicated and severely depressed.

    Fuck you Kelly Brogan.

    • J.B.

      I’m sorry.

    • moto_librarian

      I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

    • Empliau

      I am so sorry.

    • Chi

      That’s so awful. I’m so sorry.

    • yentavegan

      So sad. So hard to find balance when a tragedy like you’ve endured strikes.

    • Mel

      I’m so sorry.

    • Gæst

      I’m sorry that happened to your sister.

    • Christy

      I’m so sorry.

    • TsuDhoNimh

      I have come to terms with the suicide … my contempt for quackery* around depression remains at a high level.

      * pray it away, eat the right stuff and it goes away, get some will power and it goes away … etc.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        for half a second, I thought that asterisk meant you were joking about praying quackery away. lol

        • TsuDhoNimh

          If it were only possible!

    • StephanieJR

      I’m so sorry.

  • kilda

    sometimes our body hasn’t “got this.” fortunately we are smart enough to have figured out all kinds of ways to help our body along with medicines, surgeries and therapies.

    I deserve to feel well and if there is a medical treatment that can help my mind or body feel better, I and every other woman, has a right to take it. THAT is feminist.

    Also what the heck does she think this has to do with feminism anyway? Men don’t take pharmaceuticals? How are medicines just some tool of oppression aimed at women?

    • StephanieJR

      I know, right? Her stupidity doesn’t even make sense.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Every time I put my contacts in in the morning, I am saying to my body, “Nope, you don’t got this.”

    And it hasn’t got this since I was in 3rd grade.

    No amount of positive affirmation will change that.

    OTOH, so what? So I can’t see without corrective lenses? And?

    • AnnaPDE

      Now you aren’t perfect. And if you don’t have much to be proud of, you do want to cling to any accident of birth and claim it as an accomplishment.
      As in, general you.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Now you aren’t perfect

        Damn, there goes my life.

        And when I put my hat on to go out in the sun, I am saying to my hair, “You don’t got this sun protection thing.” Or, at least, I am saying that to the few hairs I have left. More imperfection!

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          oh the sunburns on my Irishman’s nekkid pate!

    • MaineJen

      Right there with you! Terrible vision since age 9. Contacts since age 13.

    • mabelcruet

      Same here. You know that great big letter at the top of the eye chart? I can’t see that with glasses or contacts. I’m -10 in the right, -9 in the left. I used to look forward to middle age thinking it would improve with the onset of presbyopia-nope, doesn’t work like that. So now I have my contacts, my short sight glasses for when I don’t have contacts in, my reading glasses for when I have my contacts in, and varifocals. I swear the varifocals are out to get me-I keep falling down the stairs. No amount of wishful thinking is going to improve my eyesight.

      • TsuDhoNimh

        I’m also in the “Chart? What Chart?” group.

        • mabelcruet

          The last time I visited USA I had real trouble with immigration security. I was wearing my glasses and they told me to take them off for the photo, which I did. Then he said to look in the direction of the camera-I went to put my glasses back on so I could actually see where he was pointing-he’d turned into a pinkish-grey smudge and I hadn’t a clue where the camera was. He started screaming at me as though I was deliberately being awkward. Idiot man.

          It does cause problems though-I usually buy different brands of shampoo and conditioner so that I can tell which is which in the shower

  • AnnaPDE

    Oh, but you forget that the feminist way would be to cure all ailments (or better yet, not even get them) through eating right ™ and exercise and meditation and general adherence to whatever New Age-y principles are en vogue at time of writing. Because you know, it’s just all this patriarchal civilisation wrecking our otherwise perfect bodies, but some ancient matriarchies have figured out the One True Way, which was preserved by some exotic little known culture, and now we need to pretend we live in the jungle with them, or something.
    It’s the exact same kind of “obey the god(s) and they won’t punish you with sickness” principle as Paleo etc.

  • Madtowngirl

    I used to be so against taking pills for my depression. I believed that “I had this” and if I just changed my attitude, I’d be better.

    That may work for people who just have “the blues.” It doesn’t work for those of us who have true anxiety and depression problems. It took me a long time to accept help, because of this dangerous bullshit that people like Brogan spreads. When I finally got the prescription, I felt like I had given in, that I was weak, and that I was copping out. But taking those pills brought me back to a place where I could be myself again. Where suicide didn’t look like a good way out. Where I could truly live again.

    Even then, it took years before I could finally accept that I had a chronic problem – that I would always have to be mindful of my mental health, and that I was at higher risk for PPD, PPA, and depression in my senior years, than average.

    Thank you for this piece. This quackery needs to be called out.

    • kilda

      I’m glad you gave yourself permission to get help and that it worked for you. I think that’s actually a pretty good explanation of what depression is and why it’s not just a bad attitude you can pull yourself out of. It’s when your brain CAN’T stop thinking and feeling that way because something is chemically wrong and needs to be addressed so your brain can function normally.

    • J.B.

      Yes.

    • mabelcruet

      I completely agree. There is a huge difference between depression, and being ‘out of sorts’, miserable, down in the dumps, feeling blue. It took a while for me to recognise I was depressed, odd because we have a strong family history-mum and aunt are bipolar, mum had multiple admissions both voluntary and non-voluntary. I wasn’t crying, my depression manifest as grey. Just bleak grey nothingness in all directions, and a complete absence of any other feeling or sensation. My family doctor was superb-told me to think about antidepressants as a bandage for your brain. If you broke a leg you’d accept a plaster cast for support while the bone healed itself, and that’s what antidepressants do, support you while you get better. He also said it takes as long to get out of depression as it does to get into it-it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a long slow descent and long haul to get out again, but it’s possible.

      Is this woman still practising as a doctor? In the UK she could be reported to the General Medical Council for this sort of crap. Encouraging people not to take properly prescribed medication puts their health at risk, and that is unprofessional. What would happen if someone took her advice, and ended up having grand mal seizures, or hypoglycemic coma? Or suicide? Or didn’t take their children to see a doctor and the kid dies of meningitis? It’s a horrible thought, but she is risking people’s lives here. She’s bringing the medical profession into disrepute.

    • crazy grad mama

      +1. Antidepressant medications aren’t right for everyone, but they are a literal lifesaver for many.

  • moto_librarian

    I’m alive because of antidepressants. Full stop. I had suicidal ideation for a very long time due to depression and generalized anxiety disorder. This kind of advice kills people, Kelly. You are exhibit A for every person who ever dismissed my illness as weakness, laziness, over-sensitivity, or (my personal favor) not having a positive mental attitude. It took me a long time to even get into treatment because the message was that my illness was a character flaw that could be changed if I simply tried harder. You can’t possibly be an ethical care provider for people with mental illness. I hope you are stripped of your board certification before your idiotic advice kills someone. I just hope it hasn’t already.

    • Elizabeth A

      I can’t possibly like this, because I know you were in terrible pain. But I *agree*.

    • Comrade X

      Everything you just said.

    • Mel

      Depression took my natural positive mental attitude and smothered it.

      SSRIs gave me my mind back.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Yes. Yes. YES.
      I have low-key depression most of the time. During normal times, it’s manageable with diet and very regular exercise. However, the postpartum year can’t be handled with any kind of diet or exercise alone. I can’t even eat right in the first place, much less exercise, because the depression and anxiety is so bad. However, give me a low dose of Zoloft, and I can get out of the negative loop and into a more positive one: I don’t feel suicidal, I can sleep, I can eat fairly healthily, I can get out and exercise. Without that first little step (take the antidepressant), I wouldn’t be able to go on to do things that make me feel still better (eat well, exercise). It’s crucial.

  • Elizabeth A

    But my body DOES NOT got this.

    I was having hideous anxiety attacks and losing my ability to function in my day to day life, but I have a history of this problem, and was able to call up my doctor and request a prescription for something I knew worked well. (I went off it while I was getting chemotherapy, and hadn’t felt the need to go back on for a few years.) My PCP counseled me about possible side effects, wrote a prescription, and encouraged me to call back for psychiatry referrals and alternative meds if things did not go well. I felt better within a week or so. I now get to experience a wider array of emotions than just panic. I still feel tons of things, including, from time to time, anxious ones – but there’s such a huge difference between normal day to day stress and worry, and intrusive anxiety.

    I still have a job. I’m able to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, and care for my children. Are these things not feminist?

  • MaineJen

    I didn’t feel truly “free” until my depression was successfully treated. Until I found the right medication, I was a slave to my body’s chemical imbalance. I lived in a perpetual gray zone during the worst of it…everything was boring and pointless, my hands and feet were too heavy to lift, everything was wrong.

    Kelly can Eff Right Off with her advice to ‘just think positively.’ She has no idea what she’s talking about.

    • Madtowngirl

      Exactly this.

  • Amy M

    It was the other way around, for me at least. When I was depressed I couldn’t feel anything and when I got help, which included meds, I was able to again. This Brogan lady is a real jerk.

    Oh, also, I take medication for migraines. If I don’t (and sometimes even if I do), I can end up completely non-functional, in debilitating pain, puking and praying for death. That’s not liberating at all. It’s the exact opposite: basically anyone could do anything to me if I am in that bad a state, since I would not be able to fight them off. It’s not the system oppressing me of course, it’s my own body.

  • Heidi

    More utter nonsense! Currently I’m not on any lifesaving medications, but ibuprofen has definitely kept me functioning in the past. I don’t see anything feminist about getting fired from a job because I was out for debilitating pain every month. My contacts allow me to safely drive and navigate. I can’t see just a few feet in front of me but with vision correction, I’m nearly 20/20. But I have been on lifesaving medications for a delayed severe allergic reaction, and I see *nothing* feminist about letting myself slowly suffer and die. And I’m never about to let a dentist drill on my teeth without medication. Not sure what’s so feminist about neglecting dental care and having a much lower quality of life. I really don’t understand why this suffering she insists on is placed at women’s feet. So I suppose men get to take painkillers and anti-depressants and ease their suffering?

  • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

    I guess the ultimate expression of feminism would be for me to be dead at my own hand. That will show the patriarchy!

  • Comrade X

    Thank you for writing this. Really. Thank you. Blessings upon you.

    I lost my father to depression. It nearly killed me twice. It is a very serious, potentially lethal illness. I still fight it every day, and will do so for the rest of my life.

    The utter ignorant arrogant twattery it takes to trivialize it (and other serious illnesses) the way people like this so-called “doctor” do, is completely staggering to me. The “advice” she is giving people with potentially life-threatening illnesses (to eschew proper diagnosis and treatment in the hope that the “right” attitude will somehow magic them away) is disgusting, bordering, given her qualifications, on criminal.

    I cannot fully express how angry this makes me.

    • moto_librarian

      I’m so very sorry. I never attempted, but I had a plan. And I had ideation for years.

      • Sean Jungian

        I, too, had a plan. My biggest stumbling block for a long time was trying to figure out how to take out my dog first, so he wouldn’t have to live without me.

        You just don’t think right. You can’t think right.

        My antidepressant & anxiety meds (which I have been taking for nearly 20 years) don’t take my emotions away from me, don’t make me feel artificially happy, don’t make me a zombie – they make it so I can fucking DEAL, so I can be myself, be responsible, so people including MYSELF can depend on me.

        Yeah, my body and my brain chemistry definitely DON’T GOT THIS, you hateful twit. So. Fucking. What?

    • TsuDhoNimh

      A large proportion of my paternal relatives have been treated for clinical depression, and me too.

      I was never suicidal … it was situational depression. Amazing what the right medication can do, then you can do the stuff that gets you out of the situation that is depressing you.

      But if anyone had told me that if I took medication I was somehow “not feminist enough” and “participating in my oppression by the patriarchy” I might have become undepressed long enough to beat the crap out of them.

      And I know that Brogan’s solution involves BUYING into her world view and BUYING her products instead of pharmaceuticals. Her hypocrisy is showing.

  • Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    My daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age four. Thanks to the glory that is modern medicine, she’s not only reached age 19 without any permanent bone damage, but she reached national levels in pony club, competed four years as a high school varsity tennis player, and made the NCAA regionals in fencing her first year on a collegiate team. My friend’s mother received the same diagnosis decades ago, lived with pain and limited mobility her whole life, had to have physical help to fasten her clothes and was unable to write as her fingers became too stiff, and was not expected to ever be able to bear children (she had one, my friend.) Which of these women sounds more liberated to you? Let us please never glorify disability. (Oh–my daughter takes anti-depressants, too, and so do I. Everyone in my family is grateful these exist.)