Last week was my anniversary off a huge psych drug cocktail I’d been on for 20 years. After the video below there are additional links about the six-year withdrawal process, along with additional important comments.
In the video I speak to the inner resources that kept me going. I want to add here that I also was privileged to have a safe home and 24/7 hour care when I was bedridden and unable to leave the house for anything at all. Both the home and the care were provided for me by my husband. No one else in my life, including most of my close family had a clue what we were dealing with. I have to believe if they did they would have done more. The fact is there is nothing in society to help those who love us to understand what we are going through. There is a general denial by the medical establishment that this can even happen. This is something I’ve mostly been able to forgive but I don’t necessarily feel ready to spend much time with most of my family either. My mother is an exception here… she stayed in touch with my husband throughout the whole thing and was willing to do what she could. Indeed she often helped us stay afloat financially, which was, of course, critically important to staying alive. (I couldn’t speak very well for a couple of years so communicating by phone was out)
So, my husband and I came through this together. There were many times I would have preferred to be alone given how heinously isolating this experience was simply by nature of the fact that no one can even begin to fathom what we are going through… This fact was painful for both me and Paul in different ways. For more info see: The isolation and sense of abandonment many people deal with when sick with protracted withdrawal illness. Those of us who have experienced protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes will always be the only ones who can give each other that acknowledgment. And it’s likely we will continue to freak out pretty much everyone around us when it’s at it’s worst. Anyway, the fact is I would be dead without Paul’s care and so that needs to be made clear as well. He has a deep trust and faith in life too and I wouldn’t have made it without his unusual ability to maintain that in the face of what I went through. Most people would have had me institutionalized, where I certainly would have died. It is a miracle that my husband could hold this space for me. Seriously a miracle. Most folks who come off these drugs don’t become as totally disabled as I did and can still leave the house etc. Not so for me and so, yes, my husband literally kept me alive and provided the space for me to literally disintegrate so that I could come back together again as well.
One other person was a visitor during those darkest times. A woman who has become my dear friend. Sent to me from a volunteer organization to give me reiki, she could stand being with me as a witness when no one else could. Mary Joy had spent time as a chaplain in hospice and so knew how to be with people in pain. She told me once that she hadn’t seen another human being in all her time as chaplain who had to go through such an ordeal. She was completely serious. Having myself worked in hospice I know this to be true as well. It wasn’t something I would ever have concluded on my own, but since she said it and it rings true (I’ve worked in hospice too), I share it here now.
History in the system and my vision for mental health on Nonduality Talk — an audio recorded two-part radio interview
And for those of you experiencing protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome see the IT GETS BETTER series.
*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. Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.