Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 14-16, 2014
Brief Summary: In this presentation, I’ll share the experience of being labeled “Bipolar” as a fourteen-year old, where that diagnosis took me, and most importantly, how I found independence, agency, wellness, and an authentic sense of self by coming off psychotropic drugs and leaving behind psychiatric labels at the age of twenty-seven. I will also reflect on alternatives that would have helped me as a young person, were my path to have gone a different way.
Outline: Intro, and discussion on what it was like to be labeled “mentally ill” as a 14-year old and how that impacted my mental-physical-emotional-social development.
Reflections on what could have been done instead to help me, instead of sending me to a psychiatrist; talking about what I truly needed at that time, as an adolescent in crisis.
How I recovered from Psychiatry
How I successfully came off psychotropic drugs
How I left behind the “mentally ill” identity
To inform people about how a person reclaims herself after being deeply dependent on the mental health system, especially after spending one’s adolescence and young adulthood as a medicated, self-identified “mentally ill” person.
To inform people about effective strategies to support a child or adolescent in the midst of an emotional crisis, from the perspective of someone who’s “been there”.
To inform people about what is not helpful to an adolescent in crisis, based on presenter’s personal experience.
To inform people about what it’s like to come off of psychotropic drugs, particularly as a young person, and how I successfully did it.
Biography: Laura Delano was first labeled “mentally ill” at the age of fourteen, when she was told she had “Bipolar disorder” and was subsequently put on Depakote and Prozac. After fighting back in high school, she eventually surrendered to the diagnosis as a freshman in college, when she embraced her psychiatric label and the belief that she needed “meds”. Laura spent the next ten years on nineteen psychiatric drugs, in and out of locked wards, outpatient programs, and intensive psychotherapy, and believed she had a life-long biochemical “disease” requiring life-long “treatment”— a belief that led her to hopelessness, isolation, and suicide. Since September 2010, she has been free from psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, and she firmly believes that the human experience should never be pathologized. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, is a blogger, editor, and consultant at www.madinamerica.com, where she has been writing about her thirteen-year journey into and out of the mental health system, and coaches people who are coming off of psychotropic drugs and reclaiming their identity from psychiatry.