Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs



19 years old, 1984
19 years old, 1984

This photo was taken about 6 months before my fall into psychiatry. I was 19 years old. I was an athlete. I swam, cycled, and ran most days and was training for a triathlon. That was a dream that never came to fruition. The psych meds can not only put weight on regardless of how you otherwise care for yourself, they also tend to make people feel gravely lethargic and vaguely sick all the time. I could not exercise as I had before. Could not. It doesn’t matter how much mental health professionals try to tell us that if we just exercised we’d be okay in the face of neurotoxic drugs that cause weight gain, because the fact is the drugs impede that capacity. This is not widely appreciated or understood and people on psych meds are again traumatized and made to feel guilty for something that is truly outside of their control as long as they are taking these medications. Exercise should be made a priority in the care of those who would be labeled with any psych diagnosis… everything should be done to avoid destroying people’s vital energy with psych drugs. Exercise is absolutely imperative for good health — mental and physical. When we lose the capacity to exercise we lose the potential for good health. Period.



This photo was taken pretty much at the height of my drug cocktail. I had gained about 95 lbs from the healthy weight I was in the first photo. I want to be clear that I do not assume that all heavy people are unhealthy or unfit, but for me this change was indicative of my failing health and wellbeing. I had always been very active and athletic and the loss of that was devastating emotionally and physically both. I found it hard to walk much, let alone do anything more strenuous than that. I still loved going on easy walks in nature, as I do now and always have. I never stopped doing that. I think that’s an indication that at my core I remained strong and untouched.

I was not well during these years. I felt flat and empty and like my life had no meaning. I slept a lot. I slept 12 hours a night in fact. I was heavily drugged and sometimes could not be roused. I also felt drugged and fuzzy headed. I did not express myself creatively as I do now and before I took drugs, too. I worked most of the time, but given I required 12 hours of sleep a night a full-time job was really far more than I could reasonably handle. Still, I did it for many years. I really don’t know how. I was a social worker in mental health social services. I learned a lot about the system. I actually worked for fairly enlightened programs that maintained philosophies of harm-reduction and minimal coercion, but even in such settings a lot of coercion happened. It’s simply endemic at this time, anywhere you go within social services. Sadly, it is how professionals are trained to interact with clients and that’s not even acknowledged or conscious for most people.



After approximately two decades on psych meds I came off a six drug cocktail in about six years. This proved to be a gargantuan task. I’ve written about that here. This post is about the time spent healing since the withdrawal was completed over three years ago.

It should be noted that I have indeed lost most of the weight I put on, but the weight loss came as a result not of trying to lose weight, but instead learning to get healthy after the insult of iatrogenic illness. This is an important distinction since weight loss diets, per se, tend to be very unhealthy and most people don’t keep the weight off because of that fact. All the changes I made to my diet were for my overall wellbeing. The weight loss was secondary and happened as a result of learning to be healthy. My diet is deeply nourishing, consisting of whole real foods with dense nutrition. I eat a lot of healthy fats and do not count calories or concern myself with portion size. By paying attention to my body’s needs these things have fallen into place naturally.

The weight is really the most superficial aspect of the global and broad healing that has occurred in my life.  It’s also the only one visible to anyone other than myself and those closest to me and so I share it because it remains a rather astonishing contrast.

I see in retrospect that some core, vital part of me was always there during the drugged years, learning and remembering much that would help me in these years of coming off meds and now being med free. I no longer believe that I “lost” my life to drugs. I do think that it’s tragic that I could not be more conscious during those years and that my body became toxic, polluted and chronically, painfully ill; and this is why I help others learn to avoid what happened to me. Still, all my experience was not lost; in fact it was stored in my body to be processed when I got free of drugs. This is one of the many ways that psych drugs are agents of trauma. Part of the healing process, for me, and clearly many others who’ve been on psych meds and come off, is one of working through layers and layers of trauma — that which was incurred prior to psych drug use as well as that which is incurred as a result of psych drug use and exposure to the dehumanizing psychiatric system. I have done this mostly through meditation and yoga. Trauma becomes embodied. Embodied therapies are very important.

As many readers know, the process of drug withdrawal made me much sicker before I started to then regain well-being. Protracted withdrawal syndromes and associated problems are much more common than most people realize.

I completed my withdrawal in February of 2010. I was one of thousands of people who develop serious protracted withdrawal issues that lead to grave disability. Still, I have not had one moment of regret for having freed myself from these drugs because my mind is clear. I have a clarity of mind that is so beautiful I can cry if I spend time thinking about it. My clarity was stolen from me for almost half my life. I have it back and even while gravely impaired I have been grateful for that.

My healing journey has entailed learning about our deeply holistic natures as human beings. Everything matters.  Our relationships with others and the planet, the food we eat, and the air we breath… how often we move our bodies and the thoughts we nurture in our minds and souls.

That is what understanding ourselves as holistic beings entails. Understanding our relationship to EVERYTHING in our environment and our bodies, what we’re born with and how it’s all connected. It’s not some sort of new age hogwash. It’s just plain and simple reality.

So, by that slow and painstaking, but ultimately joyous process of coming to understand how everything matters, I’ve been healing and bringing back well-being to this body/mind/spirit. At this point I am in many ways  better than I’ve ever been in my life.  I do still remain significantly limited in some practical ways… but at this point I’m sure the limitations are time-limited.

The ways I’ve healed myself are numerous and undeniable. I’ve healed my endometriosis. I no longer have menstrual pain and I had very severe endometriosis since I was about 16 years old. I even had repeated surgeries that were never successful.

I’ve healed severe, chronic and acute irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That too I had since I was about 16 years old. Many people who take psychiatric drugs have serious gut issues. Some of these gut issues predate psych drug use (mine did) but others are actually caused by the drugs (mine certainly got worse). In any case, healing my gut has helped all my well-being. As indicated above it’s all related. You start healing one thing and you’ll end up healing everything.

I was pre-diabetic as a result of heavy use of neuroleptics. I now have blood-sugar levels that one doctor told me would be the envy of even the healthiest people! Sadly type-two diabetes is an epidemic today. Those of us who take or have taken psych meds are high risk. It’s almost always reversible so it’s well worth learning to heal oneself.

Psoriasis, a horrible skin condition, is virtually gone. It once covered my whole body and now I have only a couple of spots left.

My hair is much thicker and shinier than any other time in my whole life. I had incredibly thin and sparse hair. It’s not luxurious even now, but the difference is amazing, striking, visible and palpable.

I’ve lost 75 lbs. My body continues to changes in multiple (positive) ways daily. Seriously. I can feel and see it change, transform, heal. It’s astonishing and lovely. It continues to communicate its needs and our partnership grows and prospers in love everyday. Our bodies are miracles, truly.

Lastly but perhaps most significantly for this particular article I’ve integrated and embraced my human nature, that first manifested in a way that got labeled “bipolar.” I “undiagnosed” myself a long time ago, but since then I’ve come to more fully understand my experience. For me it was the lovely capacity to access and delve deep into not only my own psyche, but the consciousness of humanity itself. It’s been a deeply rewarding journey to reclaim these parts of me that psychiatry almost always tragically misunderstands in the people it purports to help. It is this reclaiming that allows me to feel well even while I am still physically compromised.

I did all these things in part by having developed deep daily practices of yoga and meditation that essentially entail simply but profoundly listening to my experience. That includes learning to pay attention to my body’s needs. Psych drug withdrawal causes extreme and multiple sensitivities in some people. I discovered I had to change my diet to heal my gut and whole being.  Ultimately the practices of meditation and yoga and listening to the body in general, have allowed me to develop  a deepening understanding of the human condition in general and the nature of our reality on this planet. This has, in turn, allowed me to release anger and blame and simply come to a deep gratitude for being alive and having had every experience that has brought me to this place without regard to whether they’ve been painful or pleasant. I have learned to embrace that which I have been given. Life is messy and painful and it’s glorious, too.

I’m not fully functional still in that I cannot make plans or travel or even leave my house daily at will. It can on occasion be frustrating but not nearly as much as it once was. My spirit is well and my body continues to get better. I now walk almost daily (walking in the woods is generally so restorative that even if I can’t go out in the world otherwise, I can do my nature walk) and I also do yoga daily which continues to be my most important means of physical rehab. Being that I was bedridden for two years it’s been a miracle of rejuvenation for me.

My husband left on a trip a few days ago for ten days. It’s the first time he’s been able to leave me in over 5 years since I’ve needed close to 24 hour care. I can manage on my own for 10 days. This is wonderful.

I am now able to run errands two or three times a week rather than once or twice a month. I can talk on the phone more often and am reconnecting with loved ones I couldn’t talk to for years. I’ve also developed some of the most rewarding relationships of my life as a result of the work I’ve done while sick via the internet. I can also, now, on occasion, be social and spend time with trusted friends in person. My life is rich and full in spite of limitations. I don’t judge the ups and downs so much anymore. This is my life.  It’s a meaningful and lovely life I’m living. I am eternally grateful to be med free.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. OMG! You are beautiful. Thanx for blazing a path that I was able to follow. Your blog helped me thru my own protracted withdrawal from 20+ years of chemical cocktails. Yoga, meditation, diet and exercise are key! Wish there was more social support for coming off the chemicals. The isolation was the worst part for me.

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    • thanks dragonfly, for your comments. My hope is that since there are so many of us doing this now and speaking up that we will help catalyze the change that brings support for the next generation doing this…sadly there are many more drugged young people out there than there was when we first got medicated…

      best to you…and thanks again.

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      • Thank you for your insight I’m taking 700mg a day of seroquel and I hate it. I’m 5ft 11 and weighed 55kgs and now weigh 71kg and I’m disgusted with how I look and can hardly fit my clothes. I have had the seroquel reduced by 100 and still have sleep issues so I have to take sleep tablets too, as well as stomach tablets to be able to digest them. I have told my partner I want to stop them but I think he is scared I will have another breakdown as am I. I have lived most my life quite happily without the need if tablets until I got diagnosed with bi polar and personality disorder and stuck on tablets which were upped every few months and then swopped to lithium which gave me a mental breakdown and 6 week in hospital. How can I get off these tablets and know I will be ok doing so ? I just want to be me again, no tablets happy without worrying what each day will bring and know I won’t have a meltdown .I feel like I have been lost somewhere along the way. Sorry if this post is in the wrong place

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        • I’m sorry you’re having a rough time.

          I encourage your educating yourself so that you might become aware of options and so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not it would be wise for you to withdraw.

          I do want to point you in the direction of learning a bit about seroquel, namely, it’s NOT a good medicine for sleep at high doses. For sleep it’s much more effective at very low doses…most psychiatrists don’t actually know this so they keep upping the dose if people don’t respond to it at low doses. This is simply stupid as it ends up getting a bit agitating at higher doses.

          See: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/07/the_most_important_article_on.html

          in any case it’s information that you can share with your doctor if they are at all amenable to listening. there is good reason to decrease the seroquel if his intent was to use it as a sleeper.

          best to you.

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          • The tablets are being used to help with bpolar and personality disorder to balance me out more than sleepers as I have imovane for that. My doctor is not to bad hence why she has dropped 100 my intent is to keep getting them reduced. I do meditate when I remember lol it’s crazy to say I forget but things just go from my mind I forget where u put things five minutes ago take me a whole day to find them. I just think a healthier alternative would be benefit and to be unlabeled to. What you did rings so many bells in myself it’s not funny. Thankyou for your response Did you seem dietician help to reorganize your diet or you just chose to eat 3 meals a day and followed with yoga meditation on your own? Sorry for so many questions

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  2. Thank you for sharing your painful struggle. There is so much wrong with our current profit (at any cost) driven system. Your courage and strength are deeply touching and inspirational. My hope is that we are creating a movement that can begin to offer true alternatives to the medical model for people. Thank you

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  3. Monica – thank you so much for sharing your beautiful courageous story with us, and your pictures! I am so proud to call you a friend, knowing that your suffering has brought wisdom, help and comfort to so many thousands of people. You are a bright symbol of hope and a shining example for all of us!

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  4. Thank you Monica for your dedicated efforts to educate people about psychiatric drugs and their withdrawal effects. You have a wonderful philosophy of life. I like the fact that you illustrated one part of your journey with photos. It’s a very helpful way to show that real people are impacted by psych drugs. Patients are aware, but doctors needs to be more aware that the medications they prescribe have consequences to self esteem, employment prospects, and ability to live life to its fullest.

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  5. Thanks Monica! I am using very similar techniques myself. Diet, zen meditation, hikes in nature, also some chi kung and yoga style streching. Earlier I have been doing kungfu and tai chi chuan as well. BTW, I don’t necassarily recommend zen as it’s often done in schools before one’s in a better condition, it’s often considered somewhat austere and advanced practice.

    I’ve also been thinking about and using ideas from neuroplasticity, willpower, habits and so on. For instance, for me it has been very beneficial to create a morning ritual with washing, little yoga and zazen and then breakfast. Also, I have an evening ritual immediately when I get home from work: out to the woods for an hour, shower, little yoga and zazen, then dinner. It has become a lot easier when it became an automatic habit.

    I also do the zazen when I’m walking in the woods, etc. It’s like I’m etching new better pathways in my brain. The effects are not always immediate like with drugs and it required lots of time and effort, but I this kind of practices can bring about more permanent change.

    Maybe it’d be cool if there was more Eastern type possibilities targeted especially for mental health, withdrawals and so on. I mean exercises similar to zazen, chi kung, yoga and so on but stripped from more esoteric stuff, maybe easier at first and so on. The mindfulness stuff is perhaps a bit like it.

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  6. Monica, I am in tears reading your love story of your healing, which goes beyond your beautiful life to include, as you said, everything. I feel you sparkling in this web of life.

    I have been following (and recommending) your blog, BeyondMeds, for almost two years now, and I remember when you didn’t have hope (or perhaps that was me) that you could find relief from the debilitating pain caused by long-term psychiatric drug use.

    Your journey and insights are deeply inspiring. So many of us, myself included, are working on healing deep pain and embracing the lives we have been given – messy, painful, traumatic, boring, exciting, mysterious, and joyful – all of it without exception. But the state of grace you describe takes a warrior to find and a gentle soul to embrace.

    I hope our paths cross some day. I appreciate your life and celebrate your healing!

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    • And on a very practical note, bless you for bringing up the issue around exercise. It is a double damn with psych meds. Maybe an exponential damn, which includes

      * Unhealthy weight gain that accompanies many of of these medications
      * Side effects that can steal the will to exercise and make it very uncomfortable during exercise (dizziness, deep fatigue, hot flashes, nausea, etc.)
      * The frustration of trying to work with a new body that doesn’t seem to be working with you
      * Discouraging research that shows little improvement in mood for those on anti-depressants who exercise (the exercise only, or exercise and talk therapy approaches showing the best outcomes)

      Metabolic disorders and weight gain are so common with some of these medications, that exercise should still be a goal, but I have tremendous compassion for the mountain that must be climbed to do so. Too bad that doesn’t burn calories.

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    • “messy, painful, traumatic, boring, exciting, mysterious, and joyful – all of it without exception.”

      I have come to love the spectrum!! We are not taught to do that…but once we can do it…well, essentially we become free.

      thanks so much for your lovely comments.

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  7. good piece, here psychiatrists pay lip service to the iatrogenic weight gain, they can even deny the metabolic changes which occur. It’s deeply painful to see articles with journalists passing negative comment about survivors weight and appearance when they have no idea as to why. Mental health workers and mags can do the diet/exercise talk but for many people it makes absolutely no difference how little they eat and how much they can manage to exercise, the meds make it a losing battle. I’ve seen women especially become suicidal because of the weight gain they’ve suffered.
    Constipation is miserable and again not taken seriously and osteoporosis is never discussed

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    • yes, it’s truly hard to wrap ones mind around what happens to the so-called mental “health” professional who cannot see what is in front of their faces. That is that the drugs so often strip all sorts of well-being from the individuals who take them.

      How can one purport to care about health at all when this is what happens to so many thousands in the care of the mental “health” industry is beyond me at this point. But this is the case throughout society now not just in mental health circles…most people are disconnected from their bodies, and the plight of the planet etc…that too is all connected.

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  8. My life’s story is a 48 year tale of bitterness, suffering and sorrow trying to grow up in a dysfunctional family. Made worse by being whimsically prescribed Klonopin for a temporary sleeping disorder in 2008. I made the terrible mistake of not researching benzos because I was suffering so badly from lack of sleep that I just wanted some relief. HUGE life changing mistake! I don’t have the mental strength nor is the place to type out my horrifying journey through my hell.
    I will say that after 14 months of taking Klonopin I realized too late that my brain was rewired and I was so tranquilized I didn’t know what was happening? On December 26, 2010 I quit cold turkey and things from that point would never be the same. I have lost my relationship, my business, house, vehicles, all credit. I almost died three times from a stroke and two seizures. Experienced so many unexplainable body manifestations and aliments. My life is completely changed and I am trying with every ounce of my being to pick the pieces back up. Benzobuddies, Will Hall, Paul Gilmartin from the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, Mad In America, Audio Dharma, Light’s House, Heather Aston’s manual, and your site Monica saved my life and gives me continued strength to seek full recovery. I was also very active and fit for most of my life leading up to 2008. Right now I continue to experience numerous problems with main issues being cognitive fog, tinnitus, loss of focusing vision, back and muscle pain, numbing circulation problems, and an over all haze – out of body feeling ALL stemming from protracted withdrawal syndrome. There are others, but I am trying to manage. I feel as though I am constantly walking through the valley of fatigue! BUT there is hope and I must maintain hope through my beliefs that the universe will enlighten me and i can grow further in this holistic spiritual path I am finding so incredible even though I suffer so terribly. I was never a religious person, but I have always been spiritual and earth loving. I hope I can harness the good side of Karma and make a full recovery before I get too old.
    Thank you Monica for your unending support and passion in this journey we are all on. I also believe good can and will come of all this insanity. Lets harness the energy out there that waits with open arms for all who seek it!
    I truly love all who care to be loved!!

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  9. Brainscabs,
    it gets better…it really does…it was a dark dark ugly place for me for a long long long time…

    I wrote a little blurb on the blog just a couple of days ago…it was actually a response to someone else who was having a hard time…I’ll share it here by copying and pasting it.

    “When I was at the height of this illness (I had over 50 severe and disabling symptoms) I felt hateful, bitter and angry…and most of those emotions were caused by what some of us call “neuro-emotions” meaning they were grossly exaggerated because of the condition and the brain/neurological injury that so many of us are dealing with. Believe me I did not always deal with this iatrogenic injury with anything resembling grace.
    So, yes, I have hope for everyone. I’m not the only one who has been sick many years and recovered. I know lots of people who’ve been in the grips of hell for years and come out. Viewing this passage through illness as a dark night of the soul helps many of us. Yes, and many people (and it looks like I’m quickly becoming one of them), find that life on the other side is joyous because after living through the hell realms we’ve lived through we know we can handle anything.

    Love comes back. Joy comes back. Forgiveness comes back…

    And yes, I have hope for everyone. Though it’s often no easy ride and we don’t have crystal balls that predict the future.”

    I’ve seen countless people get better and thrive after acute withdrawal issues…if you can muster it, assume you will be one of them!

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    • Thank you Monica,

      I read through the blog at least once a day and did read your posting last Saturday. Community is what is helping me and knowing there are others out here in this crazy world working through these challenges and providing support amongst each other is the fuel for my own path towards recovery.
      I am a passionate cat person. I have four that are my life, but they are not able to stay in this apartment with me at the present time and thus are staying with my friend. They have always been there for me. They would sleep with us when we were in our houses and provided such loving comfort. I so miss that, but I am able to visit them on the weekends and it breaks my heart when I leave because they know and start meowing. I have never had children, but my animals have always served that purpose. I see your wonderful friend in your profile pic.
      Hope you are doing well during your solo time.

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  10. I’ve followed you through the years on various sites/blogs when I was looking online for help. I was on 7 psych drugs and after what seemed like years and years I tapered haphazardly off of them.

    I appreciate my clarity of mind and my life drug free.

    You have done so very much to help and educate many with your journey. Thank you, Monica.

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  11. I was just recently hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar 2. They put me on Depakote and Wellbutrin while I was there. I stopped taking them the second I got out because of the research I’m doing. I don’t doubt that there is something a little “off” in my head but I REFUSE to take the meds. I am approaching it with DBT, CBT and lots of exercise, supplements, meditation and diet change. Idk if you’ve ever been hospitalized but it was awful. My friend even said that they shouldn’t have let me out yet because I wasn’t stabilized on the meds, which really made me mad.

    Just being on the meds for almost 2 weeks, I could feel my brain get foggy, I couldn’t stop eating to the point that it made me sick and I slept all the time. Everyone is just telling me I need the right combo of meds and then all will be fine, which I don’t believe. Taking them for the short time made me feel like I was eating poison. Every part of me screamed NO.

    I’m so happy I found this out now and not later. Your blog posts are very helpful for someone just starting out. Thank you so much!

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    • It’s amazing how such a huge part of the general public are totally uninformed about the toxic drugs that psychiatry and the drug companies push as the only standard of treatment for people experiencing emotional and psychological distress. They have no idea and yet will parrot the messages given to them by the drug commercials on television.

      Hang in there and listen to your gut and what it tells you, along with your research on all of this. Everything that the public knows about so-called “mental illness” is nothing but urban myths created by drug companies and pushed by psychiatrists and some psychologists. I suspect that friends and family will try to beat you down until you conform and make them comfortable once again.

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      • Thank you. I am sticking to my gut. I don’t care what anyone says, I refuse to take the poison. I feel like it’s poison. Others may not but I do. What makes it worse is the friend who said that, is studying to be a psychologist, so he knows about it and is on meds himself but he still touts it like it’s god.

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    • Congratulations. You really dodged a bullet. What a wonderful story. You’re a smart person.

      And ‘stabilized’ is just a code word for ‘tranquilized’, don’t let them use this language that elicits and conjures the imagery of real medicine where objective measurements like blood pressure, are ACTUALLY stablized, by real medical treatment. People who do that, have the actual right to use the word stablized. In ‘mental health’, they use ‘stabilize’ as code for tranquilized enough that the person shut the hell up and stopped saying and doing the things others deemed bad. Throughout ‘mental health’ you’ll see imagery and language that is designed to bring up in the reader or listener’s mind something like a bubbling cauldron of brain chemicals that aren’t ‘stable’. It’s all quackery.

      And admitting here that you stopped the drugs as soon as you got out? I say awesome, good for you. But stand by for the lecture from the ‘tapering’ squad, who will approach you and try to convince you that you should be terrified for your life just because you stopped taking a poison ASAP. I say good for you. I did it, I’d do it again.

      If you’re just starting out I recommend:









      What a great news story, thank you for coming here and telling us that this madnamerica.com site helped you right away so early in your journey into psychiatry. Everyone will be pleased.

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    • Good luck with your efforts! I use many of those same techniques (diet, exercise, meditation, etc). In fact I’ve been experimenting with them on-off style for 15 years, but during the last year and a bit more I’ve been even more serious about it. This kind of techniques can transform one’s mind and body pretty profoundly, but at the present time it also often requires plenty (I’m talking of years) of careful self-experimentation, research and of course practice to draw even some kind of a personal map of this territory. For instance, some more rigorous Eastern practices may not be suitable for curing mental problems.

      “Everyone is just telling me I need the right combo of meds and then all will be fine, which I don’t believe.”

      Yeah, sometimes I’ve been just observing the way people talk in those mental health forums. If someone, for instance, with bipolar diagnosis complains about her current state or effects of medication, soon there’ll people giving the highest solace they know of: “Hang in there! Switching meds can suck, but I know you’ll find the right medications.”

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      • And the fact is that these are drugs, not medications, and we should be honest about this. Plus they’re toxic on top of being drugs.

        As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing “medicinal” about these drugs. I realize that they’re sometimes helpful for a short time at the beginning of the difficulties and I realize that many people swear by them, but to me they’re drugs. I will not put them in my body willingly and will certainly fight if at some time in the future someone tries to force them on me. If other people want to consume them, after true and proper informed consent (which few people really ever get), it’s fine by me because I support freedom of choice; but I will not consume them. My blood pressure medicine is medicinal; psychiatric drugs are not medicinal.

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        • Exactly. The word magic of psychiatry.

          ‘patient’ = person we are meddling with pretending to perform ‘medical’ procedures on, because psychiatry likes to hitch its wagon to the language of real doctors.

          ‘medication’ = in the psychiatric context, using chemicals to manipulate human behavior or feelings, if so, date rapists and bartenders should be informed of the good news, they are now ‘medical practitioners’.

          ‘diagnosis’ = psychiatric label voted into existence around the round table of the APA DSM committees, from bought and paid for big pharma operatives.

          ‘prognosis’ = psychiatric quacks and soothsayers predicting the future with their magical nonexistent powers, indoctrination, self-fulfilling prophecy.

          and on and on…. times 80.

          God Bless the amazing blood pressure science. Real science, for real medical problems of the body, demonstrable in every sense. Keep taking your blood pressure medication!!!

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        • Thanks to the both of you.

          Yes, I don’t believe they’re medicinal either. I don’t trust most of Western medicine, so, I am supposed to trust something as sketchy or as potentially harmful as this? No thank you. I don’t even take ibuprofen.

          If they help someone else, great. I am not that someone else. I have always been the one to find another way and this is what I’m doing.

          I just sent an email to my doctor regarding what I’m doing. It was short but I explained I’m taking this approach instead of the drug approach. She can’t do anything can she?

          Because that hospital was not helpful.

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          • Frankly, I wouldn’t share anything with a psychiatrist about what I do or don’t do. I would guess it depends very much on what kind of relationship you have with the doctor and how much you trust them to do right by and for you. At the very least you’ll probably receive at least some push back from the doctor about this.

            Are you under any kind of legal orders or restraints concerning your treatment? Some states have forced drugging rules which allows the system to force people to be compliant with the so-called “treatment.”

            Very few hospitals are helpful in all of this.

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  12. My advice to people when they get out of the hospital is to “fall through the cracks” and disappear from the system completely, if at all possible. They less they see of me the better I feel but that’s just my approach to things and I don’t want to force that on anyone else. I don’t want them to have any record of me at all once I step out the door of Admissions upon discharge.

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  13. It’s not a psychiatrist, it’s my regular doctor who’s in the same system as the mental hospital I went to. I have a physical problem that I have to go there for once a year, so, it shows up what meds I’m taking and anything else from any doctors in that system. She is a fantastic doctor and isn’t a pill pusher. The psych doctor I saw was just one of the hospitals.

    I am not under any legal things whatsoever. I was just wondering. I am paranoid about that sort of thing.

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  14. I loved reading this story here, but I have followed your Beyond Meds blog for almost a year and a half. I found it in February 2012 when my intuition was screaming at me to stop taking the psychiatric medications that I had taken for five years. At the time I was taking gabapentin, abilify, and lamictal, but I had taken other neuroleptics and antidepressants in the past. Reading your blog, and many other resources like it, helped me through an isolating and scary time and reaffirmed that I was doing the right thing even when those around me were skeptical. I am really glad to hear that you are doing much better. My recovery has been up and down but after 1.5 years I am now healthier and happier than I have been since I was a child, although I am left with a lot of chemical sensitivities. I consider it an acceptable trade-off for having my mind clear and my life back, but the experience has given me the wish to advocate for others and for change within the system of psychiatry.
    Thank you for writing your story!

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  15. Oh, the techniques that helped me the most were also holistic. My approaches have changed as I continue healing. Right now mostly I eat a diet based on the Paleo diet, with a focus on low-sulfur/low-thiol foods. I believe that I am highly sensitive to heavy metals, especially mercury (a neuro-toxin), but I haven’t had the money to get this properly tested yet. However, the dietary changes have worked really well. I also practice mindfulness meditation. I do exercise like biking, walking, or yoga every day. I cultivate meaningful social interaction and have severed several unhealthy relationships. Life is good, despite the obstacles I still have to overcome. People like you have helped me reach this point and I am grateful.

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  16. Hi, I have spent the last 27 years wondering if my one manic episode at age 20 was just a fluke. Delusional and hospitalized on heavy meds for 5 weeks and months longer to recover, diagnosed with “bipolar” before bipolar was popular. Told I would be on meds the rest of my life. I stopped taking my “meds” several weeks after leaving the hospital, and thankfully my family had enough faith in me not to push me back into it. I graduated from prestigious college (the first one in my family to do so), traveled Europe, got a masters degree, married, had three sons. All the while off and on struggling with certain issues, I wondered “should I be on meds?” it wasn’t until I started researching blogs like yours a couple of years back that I stopped doubting myself and started believing. When my son with attention issued had his MD tell him (after knowing him for all of five minutes) that he should be on meds, I knew that would never happen. When I moved away from my parents three years ago, and then my father died, I started having “depersonalization” episodes. I still have them though less in frequency, I pray a lot. I am also a social worker and was drawn to your blog since you are also a social worker. I tell my patients to be on the lowest safest dose of whatever pscyh med they are on, and if that is none fine none is an option. My older brother was also mentally ill, for five years in some pretty bad places. He doesn’t take meds either and leads a nice life for the past 25 years. I believe if we had stayed on meds, life would have been very different for us. Thanks for letting me share, and thanks for sharing your story…I look forward to reading your posts

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  17. You have given me inspiration, as I am on a 5 drug cocktail. Most of of them to counteract another side effect of one of the medications I am on. I am at my wits end and don’t want to leave the house or see friends because of the weight I’ve gained. My diagnosis is BP disorder w/ PTSD and I’ve ballooned from 150 lbs to 210 lbs in a year. I am scared to go off meds, but am desperate to not be sick. I am speaking of sick in many fashions- diabetes, depressed, etc. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  18. They have destroyed my beautiful wife and after nearly ten years of quackery, I am now concerned about Chronic Brain Impairment because my sweet little girl now seems to meet everyone of the symptoms. When she isn’t in an internal fog, she recognizes this and we cannot allow her condition to worsen. A renown Architect who had a breakdown from all the pressure nearly a decade ago became their bi-polar guinea pig. Her story is much the same as I read on these pages…went from a highly athletic 100 pounds to 170 and complete inactivity without much desire to do anything. They have had her in and out of the hospital a few times and have kept her doped up on Lithium, Lamictal, Seroquel, Sapphris, Risperdal, a few more over the years I can’t recall and now have her hopped up on Geodone.

    We almost weened her off of everything ourselves a few years ago over a 6 month period and she was doing pretty good, but then got a little looney, which I think we could of handled with some valium or something and wound up in the hospital for a few days. She was almost back to normal, but since then she has been terrified to not take her pills and for some strange reason thinks the doctor that hooked her on all this stuff somehow cares. I think it is a drug dealer/user thing myself, but with this CBI situation and the corresponding irritability and anger issues, we are going to get her off of this poison once and for all. Shoot, I would rather have her smoke the Mary J and be wasted all day than what she is going through now.

    You seem to know this issue pretty well Monica and we could use any advice or help that you could offer. We are going to contact Dr. Shipko also and hopefully we can get this situation handled. Oh, and when she tapered down to almost nothing a while back, there weren’t any of the TD symptoms and all was physically well so hopefully that will not be problematic. Thank you for sharing your story and I was as appalled with what they did to you at 16 as I am with what has been done to the love of my lives. It is often tough to hide my anger and frustration, but we are not taking or listening to any BS anymore from anyone – it is over. It make take a few months to formulate a viable plan with Shipko and we will ensure that everything is in place for her to finally rid herself of this unbelievable and totally unnecessary burden.


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  19. Thank you Monica for your strength and courage to get off these TOXIC drugs and for giving hope to many others in their fight to free themselves from these drugs. People need to know what is really going on and we need to do our own research and make educated and informed decisions about our own mental/physical health and not just trust these doctors/psychiatrists to decide what’s right for us. We need as much information and support to take our health into our own hands and learn safe ways to come off these drugs and SAFE alternative treatments that work better! We need more SUCCESS stories like yours and we need to put an end to the senseless lives being lost and damage these drugs are doing.

    p.s. I lost my beautiful 16 year old niece to these drugs 7 years ago and my other 16 year old niece(her sister) has been on these drugs since the age of 7 and has had nothing but problems(both physical and mental) with ALL of them! I fear for her life and my goal is to do whatever I can to help her possibly get off these drugs. I know in my heart she would do much better without these drugs and it frustrates me to see her needlessly suffer.

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