Prologue Survivor’s Story first encountered the mental health system after I got into a bad car accident where I got a head injury, fractured a cheekbone, and severed two nerves in my neck. Because I didn’t seek
I medical attention, my father ended up bringing me to the emergency room. I was lying in the
bed chanting, “Ohm, Ohm,” thinking I was spellbound and destined to help the world. At that point I was forcibly taken by the police to the OHSU Crisis Unit and stayed for 21 days at the Acute Care Center. I remember rolling around on the floor there and having severe seizures and muscle contractions from the “medicine” they had me on. Because I was deemed “out of control,” a few times they had a bunch of big hospital workers dog pile on me, hold me down, and give me shots of Inapsine right there in the old butt, right through my clothes. I remember at this time that I had a lot of difficulty, mostly because of my head injury, and my “medical” treatment at this time was observation in the psychiatric ward. For about 10 years after this initial experience I was involved in the mental health system both as an inpatient and outpatient, and during this time I was given a variety of medications: Thorazine, Haldol, Stelazine, Mellaril, and Navane were some of them, just to name a few. Primarily I was given neuroleptics, called the “major tranquilizers.” I remember these drugs having a number of unpleasant effects. They wanted me to do ward work at the state hospital and I remember being jealous of the detoxing heroin addicts who were not on psychiatric drugs. They seemed to be loose as a goose and could mop and things and my muscles were so shot from the medication that I couldn’t even mop the floor. I had a ton of extrapyramidal muscular effects from the medication. I also had a dystonic reaction where I couldn’t control my tongue and it would contract wildly. Another reaction that would happen was called Akathisia. I would get very restless and I would shuffle forward and back. I would be talking to my parents and doing this shuffling and they would think I was some kind of baby or something! When I was on this stuff my IQ just crashed and
Mental Health & Criminal Defense
burned. I went from being in the higher regions of intellect to having tremendous difficulty with relatively simple tasks. I was more fatigued than usual. I gained weight on Lithium and couldn’t coordinate my fingers and hands to play guitar. I also had a lot of tremor associated with Lithium. Because I was on these medicines, my creative stuff went down hill, which is a part of the wholeness of who I am. I’m a writer, artist, photographer, musician, and I play golf. By the way, when you give me some Navane, it really messes with my golf swing. One of the particular things that I wanted to mention is that I’m wearing glasses now. When I was younger I had very good vision: my vision was 20/10. So I had kind of an eagle eye. Because of the need to make me comply with the medical world, I was told I would be better off with a shot of Prolyxin once a week, that way you don’t have to mess with taking a bunch of pills. But the shot takes a long time to administer, at least a minute, and then the drug takes like a week to disperse in your body. Luckily, I didn’t have a neurotoxic reaction, like many people do have to these types of deponeuroleptics. For me the Prolyxin made me severely anxious and agitated, and I lost my good eyesight from being on it. Before I was on it I had this 20:10 vision, but now I have myopia, and it was only a short time that I was on the drug. One of the goofiest things about being on medications is that when you’re on these things, they can give you some pills for the side effects, anticholinergic medicines, that have their own side effects such as dry mouth and further fatigue. I also was shocked, I can’t remember how many times. Ironically, the main reason I got shocked was because the Stelazine I was on was making me depressed. I was having a very bad state of depression, and I didn’t want to live. I think I wanted a firing squad to come in and shoot me, but that wasn’t really an option according to the doctors. I’m not really sure about this informed consent thing. How do you use informed consent in these cases? If nothing else is working, does that necessarily mean that shock is the thing to do? I don’t know the answer to that. I was in a really bad state, and the doctors suggested ECT. It’s a little different story than you might hear from a lot of people. I wasn’t given large quantities of voltage, I was given micro-voltage ECT. They put me out, they used a paralytic, Inapsine I think. You wake up and you have a horrible headache. It’s a way to induce seizure and it doesn’t take a lot of voltage. So then I was staying at my folks’ house afterward, and I remember standing above the stove and not remembering how to fry an egg. After being shocked, I couldn’t even remember how to fry an egg! Luckily, by the grace of God or whatever, I don’t think I’ve had any permanent damage like a lot of people have had. The last time I received any “services” from the system was 1981. The main things I do for myself now is that I use neuroelectronic programming, which is an offshoot of biofeedback. It’s a way of training your brain waves to a relaxed state. I use self-hypnosis to relax as well, and hemispherical synchronization techniques. I also use a Chi machine, which helps me align my Chi. I take warm baths, I like massages, I like to play golf and do creative activities such as film making and art. My family also supports me and would protect me from somebody trying to put me on medication again. I am lucky that I can talk to and connect with my sister and a very close friend when I’m going through things – grief, and life experiences – that come up for everybody. I also have a number of other supports that I can turn to. I’m the Managed Care Consumer Liaison for Multnomah County. If I can get my way, maybe soon I’ll be the “Consumer/Survivor” Liaison, because I’d like to bring the word “survivor” into it, if I can. People understand the word consumer, but there are people who would prefer to use the word survivor for their issues. And I am a survivor, I don’t consume any of these products and haven’t for 20 years--thank you very much, no thank you! Basically what I do is I’m building a
consumer/survivor infrastructure into Multnomah County so that whenever decisions are made, the consumer/survivor viewpoint is there. I’m also working to help create more initiatives that have consumers and survivors involved in caring for other consumers and survivors so that we can be more involved in our self-help and self-care. This type of work is important because in any kind of place where we’re challenged as humans, where we’re having difficulty, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, the help that we get never comes from exterior sources, it always comes from within. You have to ask, is Scott Snedecor helping Scott Snedecor? I want people to realize that healing comes from within, from ourselves. For a long time the decisions in the mental health world have been made by professionals using their knowledge of empirical techniques in science. And these techniques don’t really address the soul and the spirit and the wants and needs of the people that have these sorts of problems. I was told I had a chemical imbalance and was given powerful psychiatric drugs, supposedly for the rest of my life. Well, this chemical imbalance thing is about the most wacky thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thorazine deficiency in my life. I don’t think people get Zoloft deficiencies. My current crusade is to be a healer. I want to be a healer of people, to help them learn that they are responsible for healing their souls. And I want mental health professionals, people that provide mental health services, I want them to know that we are responsible. We may consult with you from time to time, but please don’t interfere with our process, we need to do these things ourselves, from within. Scott Snedecoris currently the community reintegration specialist for the Oregon State Hospital. This story was first published at MindFreedom.org as part of the Oral History Project.
cott Snedecor is the reason we do this. Everyone who practices criminal law has a Scott
S Snedecor on his or her caseload and has to figure out what to do for the client such that the
outcome is the best that can be obtained. Between the language in the psychology field, the criminal statutes, the constitutional requirements and the facts surrounding the case and the client, figuring out how to acquire that best of all possible worlds is something between a maze with many dead ends and a minefield with the potential of case-ending explosions. This manual is designed to help you understand and use accurately the language the professionals in the field will use, avoid the dead ends and explosions and reach that most desired end with your client.
Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc. Shared Services Final Report Health Services Evaluation The Health services component was very successful, not only to the individual Programs, but to the children in their care. All of our Programs received information regarding two free opportunities that could benefit their children, Parents and their staff. One was Lens Crafter’s free
Early Vascular Alterations in SLE and RA Patients—A Steptowards Understanding the Associated CardiovascularRiskMaria Jose´ Santos1,2*, Diana Carmona-Fernandes1, Helena Canha˜o1,3, Jose´ Canas da Silva2, Joa˜o1 Rheumatology Research Unit, Instituto de Medicina Molecular da Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 2 Rheumatology Department, Hospital Garcia deOrta, Almada, Portugal