From The Lions Mouth: A Shock Survior’s Memior

I was browsing shock books on Amazon and came across a new survivor account, From the Lion’s Mouth: Healing from Trauma, Electroshock, Scapegoating, and Grief in a Dysfunctional Family and Psychiatric System.


Of course I bought it asap. There are so few survior accounts in print, each one is a precious commodity to me. I go all Pokemon ,”gotta catch em all.”


I promise it’s not some sick hobby. I feel a little more complete every time I hear this horror story of shock told from a different perspective…a little less lost, if that makes sense.

The book was well written and engaging–I blazed through it in a couple hours. If you’re a survivor or ally or a curious lay person wth little exposures of the dark world of psychiatry, I highly recommend this book. 

Also, I think it’s important to support those brave enough to share this unpopular reality of electroshock buy buying,sharing, their work and maybe even leaving a positive reviews on Amazon 🙂


psychiatric abuse 

Child abuse 

Electroconvulsive therapy 

Keep an eye out also a hefty dose of hope as well 😉

A side note to the author should I be so lucky to have her visit my site: Thank you for sharing your story, Julia. I promise to show you some love on Amazon soon 🙂



11 thoughts on “From The Lions Mouth: A Shock Survior’s Memior

      • I agree! It’s kind of long for a meme, maybe, but I think it’s important to include the part about not being judged — because I know that whenever I talked about what had happened to me and someone questioned my reaction or the depth or amount of damage that was done to me, or suggested that I “get over it”, or commented on how “resilient or strong” I was, or judged me in some way, particularly by suggesting that I in any way deserved the treatment I was subjected to, that judgment caused me more pain and did not help me heal. I think this is probably what the PTSD theories call “secondary wounding.”


      • Totes. I’ve had very similar experiences – in some cases I’ve been more traumatized by people’s responses that the original injury. It’s so crucial that survivors be heard without judgment. In a recent episode of the Peter Breggin hour, Paula Caplan talks about vets who recovered from their trauma after just being heard. It speaks to how were wired as human beings to connect and have our experiences reflected and empathized with by others- it’s not just talk but our very physiology. Our society sucks at this and acts like its a luxury and we should just pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it. Small wonder we have the psychological problems we do.


      • Lake Alice recalled
        Last updated 05:00 21/04/2010

        JASON OXENHAM BLUE DAY BUT A GOOD DAY: Author and schizophrenia sufferer Peter Finlay will celebrate the launch of his first book tomorrow night.
        HIS BOOK has been a longer time coming than most, but then Peter Finlay’s life has not been a straightforward one.
        The Grey Lynn author will tomorrow night celebrate at the launch of his autobiographical novelette Blue Messiah, an account of his experiences with mental illness and his time in infamous psychiatric hospital Lake Alice.
        He’s been working on the book for almost 15 years but has only been well enough to get around to publishing it recently.
        The story begins in 1986 when Peter, a paranoid schizophrenic, had gone off his medication and had a “terrible fight” with police on the streets of Palmerston North.
        He was thrown into the acute unit of Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in Rangitikei where he stayed for three months.
        The institution, which has been the subject of numerous historic abuse allegations, was a scary place, says Peter.
        “The worst thing about Lake Alice was the boredom,” he says.
        He remembers being forced to stay awake, despite the heavy medication which made patients sleepy.
        “All I wanted to do was lie down or have a private shower,” he says.
        The second half of Blue Messiah covers the two years after he was discharged from Lake Alice and compares his time in the hospital with his recovery in the community.
        He says receiving occupational therapy and being able to chat for a couple of hours a week over a cup of tea with fellow sufferers made a world of difference.
        “Having something like that is all you need to get you through. It improves your quality of life.”
        Peter was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 26 and has spent the last 20 years of his life in and out of “unwellness” and various hospitals and mental health facilities.
        He says it’s been a constant struggle to establish the right medication and stay on it.
        “Once you come well again you tend to forget some of the thoughts. But I’m a happier person when I’m on medication,” he says.
        The 52-year-old Grey Lynn resident says he’s been well for the last three years and the right dose of medication has enabled him to complete the book and attend creative writing classes at the Toi Ora Live Arts Trust, the publisher of his book.
        Toi Ora manager Erwin van Asbeck says funding for the book has come from the Frozen Funds Trust.
        The trust was established in 2008 to distribute grants from a $5 million fund, originating from interest accrued on patients welfare benefits while they were institutionalised during the 1970s and 80s.
        More than half the money was returned to its owners in the 1990s and the rest is used as grants for mental health projects and services.
        Erwin says mental health has come a long way in the last 30 years, with a focus now on community care.
        “There’s much more awareness,” he says.
        “Patients don’t necessarily end up going to hospital.”
        The book is being launched tomorrow at Alleluya cafe in St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd, at 5.30pm.
        – Auckland City Harbour News


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