A Psychiatrist Searches for Sanity in a Crazy World

For OpEdNews: Michael David Morrissey, author of The Transparent Conspiracy

Review of  The  Most  Revolutionary  Act:  Memoir  of  an  American  Refugee

This is a frightening book. Much of it reads like a thriller, but unfortunately it is a true story. Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a woman (despite the unusual first name) and a psychiatrist, describes her 15-year long mental, emotional and physical ordeal resulting from her involvement in leftist activist politics in Seattle, Washington.

Beginning in 1986, says Bramhall, “for some unknown reason, some faceless higher-up in one of the eleven federal agencies that spy on American citizens decided I posed a threat to national security,” and from then on she was subjected to phone harassment, wiretaps, break-ins, and even attempts on her life. Since she was never able to prove any of this (and how does one prove it?), she was also confronted with the disbelief of her own professional colleagues, who were quick to diagnose her as “psychotic” and gave her the choice of losing her medical license or spending a week in a locked ward at a mental hospital for observation. She chose the latter, though she continued to be misdiagnosed and over-medicated, which exacerbated her mental torment and had serious physical side-effects that lasted for years afterward.

Bramhall learned the hard way that her fellow medical professionals were the last people in the world she could be honest with about her feelings of persecution:

“The moment I mentioned the CIA, my psychiatrist decided I was psychotic and refused to listen anything else I said… Nelson’s erroneous diagnosis stemmed from pure political naiveté. He had no reason to come in contact with political or union activists, unemployed whistleblowers or the low-income street people that the police, and, I believed, U.S. intelligence, recruited as informants. Nevertheless, I had no confidence in any of my colleagues to objectively assess my mental state. I practiced in a totally different world from other Seattle psychiatrists, who automatically turned away patients who couldn’t afford their one hundred dollar fee.”

Read more at A Psychiatrist Searches for Sanity in a Crazy World

NOTE:  The title of this post is a quote from anarchist labor activist Rosa Luxemburg



  1. Hi Claire, good article! I find myself in a modern day version of her ordeal. My colleagues are some of the last people I would seek help. Many physicians within specific cultures harbor stereotypes about women, race and mental illness. These prejudices and acts of discrimination result in downright harm to patients.

    The mental health system lacks supervision and there are few treatment protocols. There are significant number of patients in mental institutions–mostly women and minorities–that don’t belonged there but are now dependent on this system for life.

    I wonder if that is was the intent. I believe doctor over diagnosis mental illness when they do not understand patient complaints and under diagnosis those with real mental health issues.

    The problem is many doctors in mental health are in dire need of mental health themselves. Some belong in the mental institutions they are committing patients to and many seduce their patients.

    Medicine is as corrupt as politics with a significant number of corrupt, dishonest and incompetent physicians.


  2. Goodness! I just needed to read this review to already feel a chill in the spine… >.<; Brr… To even think this kind of things can happen to whoever isn't on the "Friends" list of these people… Thanks a bunch for the info! I'll reblog it to pass the voice of this book!


    1. Thanks, Krikli! I feel the same chill, but it has developed into more of a burning determination to resist. They don’t want us to believe ANYTHING their targets say, so simply documenting and sharing that belief in ways that show we are unshakeable is more of a victory than we realize.


  3. Utterly fascinating and horrifying, and the comments just as riveting, since I had no idea of this story, though i apparently live in the same country as this heroine…

    How do I find Stuart Bramhall’s. blog???… I’m particularly interested in her work as I too am appalled at the use of psychiatric drugs on children who too often just need their parents undivided love and attention, and I still write parenting articles, – also my husband is a member of one of NZ’s largest health boards and I’d like him to know about her work….

    Keep up your wonderful work, Claire, love Valerie


    1. I’m so glad for your interest, Valerie. I’m going to make this quick because this is the 4th answer I’ve tried to send you and I keep getting kicked off. Okay – just click on the article link – it should take you right to her blog. Let me know if it doesn’t.
      love, Claire


    1. Thank-YOU, Jeff. It’s an honor to be of modest use by just cutting and pasting other people’s hard work.

      People should know, too, that New Zealand’s psychiatrists found no credence in the diagnosis of their American peers. Instead, they welcomed Dr. Bramhall as an asset. For 15 years she has maintained a successful practice in that country, where she has been a leading figure in the national rejection of the insidious marriage of the big drug companies and psychiatry. She has been particularly effective in defending children from the abuse of toxic drugs.


      1. Thanks for the glowing endorsement, Claire. Just to correct the record, I worked in psychiatry for 8 1/2 years here in New Zealand. I’ve been retired for nearly 4 years now (I came in 2002).

        There is virtually no private psychiatric practice in New Zealand. I worked for the government in the New Zealand national health service. The NHS provides free health care for all New Zealanders regardless of income (as happens in all industrialized countries except the US).

        I also need to make it clear I have a very low national profile in the psychiatric arena. Apart from people who follow my blog, I doubt that many Kiwis are aware of my views on the misuse of psychiatric drugs in children.


      2. I’m sorry! I based my statement on the list of radio shows you were on, paper(s) you wrote, and your reply .to a comment I made on your blog re yours and New Zealand’s long standing opposition to drug companies.
        I see that I was careless in assuming what I should have taken care to verify (so much for being an award-winning journalist – damn reporters!)
        Do you think it would be better for me to just remove that part of my reply to Jeff? Or shall I leave it up with your correction?
        It’s your call. Again, please accept my apologies.


      3. No worries, Claire. I can understand the confusion. The medical system operates quite differently here than it does in the US. Psychiatrists are required to participate in peer review (i.e. allowing other psychiatrists to review their practice) in order to maintain their medical license. This means they are more likely to be influenced by each other – rather than drug reps – in their clinical practice. I have participated in several different peer review groups, and most of the psychiatrists in them regarded American psychiatrists as reckless and over aggressive in their use of psychotropic medication – particularly in children.

        However it’s not really a “national” attitude against psychotropic drugs. It’s my impression there is very little knowledge or interest of the issue outside of mental health circles.

        It’s fine to leave your comment up there along with the correction.


      4. Will do. In addition to correcting my errors, your comments provide useful additional info. You’re right – I can’t think of anyone I know who’s knowledgeable re the details of respective systems of nationalized health care. We don’t know how it actually works in people’s daily lives, as in “I woke up with a toothache so the first thing I did was X”.
        Anyway, sorry again for my errors and thanks for taking the time to clarify them.
        Peace out.


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