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Closing the Book on Gaslighting: On Learning My Psychiatrist of 20 Years Lost His Medical Licence

I shall close the long and gruesome history of gaslighting in my life with the following fact: my psychiatrist of almost 20 years lost his licence to practice medicine. The state of Maryland revoked it due to his egregious practices with prescribing pharmaceuticals and poor recordkeeping. In my sadness and desperation, I saw him as the embodiment of science, rationality, and logic. He was named year after year as one of the best doctors in Washington, D.C., and other physicians recommended him to me. He exuded wealth, education, privilege, and objective rigor. I clung to him like a white-coated god.

Although I’m sure he believed in his own knowledge, skills, and abilities, it turned out that his confidence was not earned. He prescribed one drug, then prescribed another to counteract the effects of the first drug, then prescribed another to counteract the effects of the counteractor. This is how I ended up on a dozen psychiatric drugs, taken every day at frequent intervals for two decades. That this continual overdose impaired my thinking, my feeling, my movement, my very ability to function and to be myself, didn’t matter to anybody. I was alive, and I was silent. The man who was my psychologist for the entire time was onboard with the drugging and never detected that the facts of my life were not only extremely unpleasant, but downright traumatic. Like my psychiatrist, he should not have been allowed to foist his totally off base conclusions upon me or any other human being.

That I survived them, on top of surviving my abusive family of origin who first inflicted the damage, astounds me. Nobody should be so put upon by the people and the institutions who are supposed to protect them and care for them. But let’s face it: rotten things happen every day, perpetrated by people who think very highly of themselves, who hold respectable jobs and earn respectable salaries.

So here’s a shout out to the far less respectable people who survive and live to tell the tale, who live to testify that sometimes the bastards get what they deserve. And in the continuing, we are stronger. We thrive with the exercise of our own power.

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