The Seen But Forgotten


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An Insight into Mental Illness and the Dangers of Current Psychiatric Practice
By Victoria Musgrave

ISBN: 978-1-84747-811-5
Published: 2008
Pages: 85
Key Themes: schizoaffective disorder, mental health system, spirituality, anti-psychiatry,



The Seen But Forgotten has been written based on nearly twenty years of personal experience of mental illness, ‘schizoaffective disorder’, as well as on many of my observations and other ideas, and related research on mental illness. It is based also on my observations of many of my friends and associates with mental illness, over the years, and their stories and experiences relayed to me. It describes some insights into some of the thoughts and feelings one can experience in certain states of mental illness. It also offers an overview of both known and other hypothetical considerations of some of the possible causes of mental illness; and includes some consideration of the medical model of the more current psychiatric practice of ‘chemical drug therapy’. The dangers and error of this practice is emphasized, and exposed are some of the serious and early death-inducing side-effects of most anti-psychotic medications, the dangers associated with the misuse of benzodiazepines, and why there is a need for more research in new directions in order for psychiatrists, researchers and drug companies to come up with safer treatments.

Also discussed within my book are some suggestions for mental health consumers, carers and mental health workers about ways for one who is suffering from mental distress or illness to try to help oneself and relieve some of their suffering, apart from relying solely on medication. It also includes a section about recovery, entitled: ‘The Hope for Recovery’; as well as the topic of recovery being discussed throughout other sections of the book; including suggestions made in the section entitled: ‘Conclusion’. Particular references are made here to some ideas related to recovery and schizophrenia, and which have helped me tremendously in my journey of getting well and more highly functioning again, as I was prior to the onset of my condition.

The topic of ‘Spirituality’ as the missing link in psychiatry is introduced briefly in a summary way in an Appendix; and makes reference to some of the work of other people, including Jeremy Griffith and the Dalai Lama. The topic introduced in this section is considered as a whole part in itself of too broad a scope to be discussed in too much detail, given our differing ideas and spiritual beliefs or leanings; and is not the main argument or purpose of my book. Thus, it has been introduced in this way, as well as by suggestions in the sections: ‘The Hope for Recovery’ and ‘Conclusion’; in the hope of encouraging further thought and consideration by the reader.

There is also at the end of my book a list of references from where the technical, scientific, medical, and psychoanalytic theories, information and terminology; has been derived to support the arguments and messages contained in my book.

About the Author

Victoria Musgrave is a Graduate Architect in Australia, and was born in 1966. She has suffered from mental illness now for nearly twenty years and wants to contribute to others, and try to help others, by sharing what she has learned as she continues to recover. As Victoria continually grows as a person, she would like to show others who may be struggling with a mental health condition, how she managed to get much better, in the hope of maybe reducing the suffering of another. Victoria graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 1993, after seven years of study, with two Bachelor degrees in Architecture. This was despite being diagnosed with a serious mental illness in 1992.

Victoria was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1992, at twenty-five years of age, after suffering a nervous breakdown from having been through some life stressors, and then a broken engagement to her then fiancé. And, she admits: she was off her head. Victoria told her psychiatrist that she was chosen to save the world. By 1993, as her life was spiraling out of control, and she suffered from her first manic episode, her initial diagnosis was then changed to schizoaffective disorder. Victoria had been in and out of hospitals ever since, both in the public and private mental health systems. It has taken her many years since then to learn about and work on her own personal journey of recovery, in order to be more successful today, at forty-two years old.

In writing The Seen But Forgotten, Victoria found the process to be extremely therapeutic and cathartic, and would like interested people to read her book – because she wants to help others who have mental illness, their families and carers – as well as let know researchers working on the medical treatments of mental illness, and mental health nurses and psychiatrists where she feels they are failing in certain areas. The arguments and opinions put forward in her book are confronting and controversial, and upsetting to the status quo of current psychiatric practice. However, this has been done decidedly in an attempt to encourage more wide spread awareness about the dangers of current psychiatric practice, and to also encourage more debate. The way Victoria was ‘treated’ and over-medicated for too long over the past ten years, nearly, on so many occasions, killed her. And, she witnessed this happen to so many other people too. Victoria even lost friends to suicide along the way.

Victoria is very much better today, now that she has taken some control back of her life; and has been in recovery for around three years. This has been mainly due to her own efforts; by slowly pulling away from psychiatry; and by getting counseling from a psychologist, rather than a psychiatrist. In addition, Victoria has been on a spiritual journey, which, for her, has provided a great deal of comfort, strength, hope and personal advancement. At present, and for the last six years (as well as writing The Seen But Forgotten) Victoria has been involved with a few non-government organizations doing volunteer work designing proposals for supported accommodation in Queensland; with the aim of these organizations obtaining funding to build more of this type of much needed housing, to help house adults with mental illness who may be vulnerable to homelessness, as their ageing parents may be unable to continue to care for them.

Book Extract

According to recorded history, mental illness has existed in human beings since some of the earliest known times and since the advent of industrialization. Since this time, people with mental illness have been much maligned and misunderstood, and mistreated, institutionalized and hidden away from the rest of society. It has only been a relatively recent phenomenon where those with mental illness are being better understood, taken better care of and offered more help, as well as treated with more dignity and respect. This has been indicated by the more recent advent of deinstitutionalization, since the 1980’s, and as a result of the studies, research and hard work undertaken by psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, case managers, and pharmaceutical scientists; and other allied medical field researchers. It has also been due to the fact that there are more people who have had a lived experience of mental illness and have recovered and are sharing insights, or are even still suffering from a mental illness, and are speaking out and being listened to better.

The study of mental illness is also now an area of psychiatry and psychology which is continually and progressively ‘advancing’, however, still not yet developing treatments which ‘go back to basics’ and treat the root cause and not just the symptoms, in order to promote prevention rather than treatments which often produce adverse side effects, obesity, over-sedation, and resultant early deaths from medical complications, and suicide. It seems that research is in its infancy and is still not headed in the best direction.

There is, in some instances, also a degree of corruption and cover-up going on today amongst the psychiatric associations and international drug companies. They have become industries created to support each other and make huge profits at the expense of the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. Psychiatrists, knowingly or not, mental hospitals and most of the drug treatments have, and still are in fact, killing innocent and already suffering people. Modern medicine cannot keep up with evolution and the microbiological world. For example, the constant updating of antibiotics for treatment resistant strains of bacteria (or ‘super bugs’) in diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, are looked at as occurring in people with a ‘genetic predisposition’. Similarly, this is how the occurrence of mental illness is also seen; as one having such a genetic predisposition. Doctors are starting to discover, though, that illnesses such as heart disease in fact have an infectious element (and not a genetic predisposition), that is, a bacteria in the blood, and exacerbated by factors like high blood cholesterol and smoking. There are also causes of mental illness, discussed further in PART II, however, environmental factors are more of a concern than researchers are really letting on thus far.

Concerning governments and the lack of adequate funding in Australia in mental health and mental health recovery programs (including supportive accommodation, rehabilitation, and employment for consumers), due to their self-serving hierarchy, the underlying truth is that they are not promoting a duty of care and sufficient funding to better help people with mental illness, who are at the lowest rung of the social ladder. This spotlights a major problem. However, there are many groups of people and organizations who are willing to, and actually are, working to help rectify this situation. The paternalistic culture which exists by government towards people with mental illness is one where the repression of basic needs and functions becomes inevitable. For now, this type of societal foundation is related to capitalism, alienated self-interest, greed and corruption. Repression of basic needs, such as love, does not stop where it begins. If we do not satisfy them naturally and well, then we take up substitutes often obsessively.

As part of the ‘schizophrenic’ reaction to the repression of such needs, behaviour will continue to create and promote ‘madness’; especially violence, wars and power mongers. One may ask themselves: ‘what is normal?’; ‘where is healing?’ Healing is advanced through love and cooperation. We must break the abuse cycle, or mental illness and mental health problems will continue to be a problem in our society, and in our families.

There is no doubt that mental illness exists, this is not the issue. It is the treatments and ideas about it that are still somewhat primitive (baseless, perhaps even cruel). Some organizations, for example, drug companies, psychiatric fraternities, and government, become bigger and more important than those for whom they were originally set up to serve; usually because large amounts of money are involved. This leads to an element of gates to corruption. Some psychologists, psychiatrists and careers believe that mental illness can develop in people from loving families. This is certainly true, and there can still exist love in dysfunctional families. It is a difficult task to maintain a truly healthily-functioning family environment all of the time. However, sometimes one may think that theirs is a loving family because they do not know anything different; for example, as a result of conditioning, a sense of loyalty, personality type, denial, et cetera. Often, the development of mental illness, or mental health problems, depends on the amount of undue stress, trauma, or even abuse, that one has gone through in their life, and over what length of time this may have occurred for problems to develop.

According to Hillman, the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) remarked:

The God’s have become diseases. To see the angel in the malady requires an eye for the invisible, a certain blinding of one eye and an opening of the other to elsewhere. It is impossible to see the angel unless you first have a notion of it; otherwise the child is simply stupid, willful or pathological.

In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted (Hillman, 1996).

Having a mental illness can be one of the most debilitating and frightening experiences that a person can face. The intense suffering involved in the experiences of the different types of mental illness for the sufferers should not ever be trivialized. There is still the associated stigma from society in general, a lack of understanding by most people, a loss of being able to function for the person with a mental illness and a substantially lessened quality of life for the person whilst they are still unwell. Worse still, sometimes when one can see no way out of their pain or does not have access to good help, suicide can be attempted and is often successful. In many cases, psychiatric drugs simply compound the problem. Some of the side effects can be severe, for example, especially from ingesting anti-psychotic drugs, that the person forced to take them gets worse and attempts suicide, often succeeding.

Understanding the thoughts and feelings and the terrible fears of someone in the midst of anxiety disorders, psychosis, depression, hallucinations or paranoia for example, is of paramount importance for careers and mental health professionals. This is needed to be able to empathize with the person and help him or her to feel safe. It is also important for mental health professionals to provide education to the person about their illness to try to help them to be able to gain some insight into their condition, utilizing only minimal doses of pharmaceutical drugs on a short term basis, whilst at the same time employing trained psychologists to provide counseling and therapy.

2 reviews for The Seen But Forgotten

  1. Jacqueline Musgrave (verified owner)

    The Seen But Forgotten is a compelling and revealing look at how many aspects of modern psychiatry in the public domain can actually do more harm than good in attempting to ‘treat’ people with mental illness. It truly shows that research in this field, including the pharmalogical approach of prescribing dangerous medications, is in many ways not taking into account a person’s body and spirit. From here, this book illustrates that a deeper and more alternative approach, including recovery-based and more spiritual concepts, is needed in order to open-up more the field of psychiatry to other ways of healing to try to avoid the chemical straight-jackets which so many people get buried under whilst being counselled and treated for a mental illness by the current medical approach of the practice of psychiatry.

  2. Lauren Mackay (verified owner)

    I read this book by Victoria after my partner and I lost his 17 year old son to suicide. It was refreshing to read in that it did not focus on recovery via the medical model but quite the contrary. The medical model failed our son who was diagnosed or rather misdiagnosed with bipolar/depression or whatever they decided to label him with. The book is enlightening to read and inspires hope surrounding recovery from Mental Illness. I take my hat of to Victoria for having the courage to write this book and to find her own road to recovery that in turn will inspire others to hopefully follow suit. Her writing style is intelligent and referenced brilliantly; compassionate and sensible and makes for a great read. I recommend this book to anyone who is either suffering from a mental illness or knows someone who is. It will truly help. Thank you Vicky and good luck. We hope to see more e-books soon!

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