Healing from this particular form of iatrogenic injury is a shocking process. It is shocking by nature of the fact that one of the hallmarks of this brain injury is a deep and profound neurological terror. This terror, held in the autonomic nervous system, manifests in a myriad number of forms from individual to individual. Even within the individual it most often shows up in numerous ways — possibly and often impacting every system of the body. (see: Protracted psych drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia: it’s autonomic nervous system dysfunction)
And so this fear creates defenses in all of the systems of the body too. On a psychological level we are defended in ways typical of complex post traumatic stress, for example. For many the drugs simply further ingrain the neuropathways that were created from previous traumas in our lives. The drugs, indeed, make our initial issues worse in this way. (See: Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma and more posts on trauma here.)
We are also impacted by hypersensitivities to foods, drugs and chemicals. Our bodies are “defending” us from foods that should in fact be good for us. This results in our not being able to take in the very nutrients we need for good health. These end up acting like true allergies in many people, manifesting hives and even anaphylactic shock sometimes. They are not imaginary. They are real biological realities. (More on food and sensitivities here.)
The immune system is impacted and so auto-immunity appears in many of us. This is the immune system attacking our own body. Again, the defenses out of control. We are in a constant state of DEFENSE.
This is only a small partial list. The list could go on and on as many of us know.
So, when we actually start to heal from this nightmare we have found ourselves in it is shocking.Our system screams NO to that which can heal us because that is the very nature of the injury. We must slowly allow our defenses to come down. We must watch this process and as we see what is happening a slow process of thawing out and then relaxation starts to occur. As we pay attention and allow what is happening to us to happen to us (because it is happening, so we might as well learn from it) we start to develop insights that help us take actions that do indeed help us heal. The healing process is truly a mystery and looks different for every one. No healing journey is repeated twice. Some will see themselves in this description and others will not because this description cannot embrace the perceptions of every healing journey. (See: What does it mean to heal?)
To be clear, all of this is deep within our bodies. We are deeply impacted biologically and physiologically and yet it is our capacity to observe that, in the end, helps us to heal most profoundly and so, this is truly an opportunity to learn about the intimate co-involvement of the body/mind/spirit.
For me healing involves all aspects of holistic wellbeing. Everything matters and so I live as though it does. My life has transformed and continues to transform in beautiful ways as a result.
- Mental health, immune response and inflammation: immune response is secondary to trauma
- Psychiatric drugs and mitochondrial damage
- Healing the body/mind with the willingness to feel
- Holding on to beliefs limits our experience of life
- Choice and emotion: a short essay with some musing
- Emotional “dysregulation” is plasticity
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*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
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.