Off Psychiatric Drugs After Fourteen Years


This week I celebrate my six month anniversary off of psychiatric drugs. Over the course of fourteen years, I have been on Prozac, Lithium, Lamictal, Zyprexa, Paxil, Zoloft, Ativan, Seroquel, Depakote, Wellbutrin, Klonopin, Geodon, Abilify, and probably others.

I was first prescribed Prozac by my GP when I was 18. It was my freshman year at Yale during finals; I was paralyzed by anxiety and couldn’t study. Prozac freed me up from the anxiety and I finished with As and one B that semester. I was pretty crushed about that B, because as a first-generation Bangladeshi American girl with an immigrant father who was a professor at an elite liberal arts college, coming from a culture in which higher formal education is highly valued and also means freedom, pursuing higher education and doing well in school was what I cared about most in my life. My parents had left Bangladesh and settled in the US for a better life for their kids – when they were around the age of 18, their education had been interrupted by genocide.

Prozac clearly changed my personality, but I didn’t mind. I loved it. I had always been really shy, and with the newfound confidence and loss of inhibitions I learned to sparkle in ways I never could before, and also how to draw attention to myself and develop a big personality. But along with the sparkle there were unseen, unexpected effects. My memory of this time period is blurry, but during sophomore year I think I tried to come off because my dad didn’t think it was wise for me to be on the drug forever. I then experienced the deepest feelings of numbing, cloud-over-my-head-that-wouldn’t-lift depression I had ever felt in my life, including suicidal thoughts that overcame me with their persistent and intrusive nature.

I now strongly believe that this was a drug withdrawal response. Prozac withdrawal, compounded by my existential identity confusion as a 19-year-old plus a breakup with my first “boyfriend” (a summer fling with another Yalie).

As I wrote in a previous blog, I was then hospitalized multiple times and forced to withdraw from Yale (I had to reapply five times to get back in and get my degree). I was heavily drugged despite my desperate pleas that the drugs were making me worse. I felt dead inside, but Lithium was touted as the only thing that could ‘cure’ me, so I learned to resign myself.

And then I reached the point where I knew I could no longer live that way and not lose myself. So I tried to come off the drugs without clinical support, and things got worse. I started hearing voices. I went into altered states of consciousness and lived on a plane of sleeplessness and madness and divinity, with feelings of cosmic consciousness and nightmares that I had never experienced in my life before.

During periods of trying to come off psychiatric drugs, I have twice had to take medical leave from non-profit mental health jobs where I held leadership positions. I sought clinical support to come off, from psychiatrists in the community mental health system and from psychiatrists working at prestigious universities. All refused to give me clinical support. Instead, they gave me more pills, or tried to discourage me, or halfheartedly agreed but had no idea what they were doing and didn’t really seem to care.

I suffered through trying to come off psychiatric drugs by myself – working through waking-nightmare states, working through headaches and flu-like symptoms, working through being unable to sleep. In 2012, I found a therapist who believed in me. He helped me deprogram myself from psychiatry’s messages that I had a chronic illness and needed the drugs to survive. I also found an amazing mindfulness coach who helped me. I developed a strong network of friends and professional support. But I still could not find a psychiatrist to help me come off.

When I tried to come off in 2012, I again had the sleeplessness and the nightmare visions and the altered states of reality, but this time I had more tools, more information and support, and an important reframe – I was not sick. I experienced the world differently than ‘the norm,’ but other people experienced the world this way too. I started thinking more and more about chemical withdrawal psychosis, a concept that I first discovered in Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic.

In the fall of 2012 I came to study at a Masters in Counseling Psychology program at CIIS, and in 2013, I finally found an integrative psychiatrist in San Francisco who helped me come off psychiatric drugs in two years. She heard me. She was hesitant about the coming off process, but she always said to me, “Naas, I trust your intuition and I don’t worry about you.”

Even though there were times she actually did worry about me, she treated me with the utmost compassion and respect. She offered her clinical perspective, and we figured it out together – what would be medically safe, what would be the right pace. How to process the feelings, insights, personality changes, and forgotten memories of my life (I had lost much of my long term memory). With her Jungian training, she helped me understand the periods of altered consciousness with greater depth and an appreciation for their significance to my personal life and my broader life processes. I also found a therapist who helped me make sense of things, not only in my everyday life, but in the context of my waking-dream and nightmare periods and my fantasy and daydreaming life.

It was not an easy process. In 2014, while in graduate school, I managed a withdrawal process with my psychiatrist but I couldn’t come all the way off. It was too intense. I tried again in the winter of 2015. I was on 900 mg of Lithium and 3 mg of Abilify. By February of 2016, I was completely off of everything.

My parents didn’t believe I could come off the drugs, even though my dad wanted that so badly for me. I think my mom was too scared to see me come off, as she had witnessed more of my periods of altered states than my dad had. Even though I lost connection with them in many ways, my parents were ALWAYS spiritually and financially supportive. Many of my friends didn’t believe I could come off – they had seen me struggle through too much while trying to come off, and they’d also had to bear the brunt of my personality changes and intensity and chaos. But my partner of three years knew I could come off, and I am forever indebted to him for sticking with me though it.

I can’t say that life is easy now. But I am much happier, because I feel myself, I feel my feelings, I feel in touch with my deep spiritual creativity. I feel my body, and I am returning to myself while carving a new identity with all my experiences.

I am still being flooded by memories, which is glorious, heartwarming, bittersweet, intensely sad, and sometimes traumatic. I have a lot of dental work that needs to be completed now – I think some psychiatric drugs rot your teeth like meth does. I neglected my body health for a long time because I stopped caring. For me, it was too hard to take care of my body while on drugs that had taken it over. I gained 60 pounds on psychiatric drugs, developed acne when I’d had really clear skin before, and I lost a lot of hair. I tried to maintain a healthy diet and regimen but it was too big a fight. I know it’s not impossible, but for me it was just too hard. I had stopped looking at my face in the mirror for a long, long time.

A HUGE part of coming off psychiatric drugs was believing that I could do it. There were so many messages I had been fed – from clinicians and society and even peers – that said I couldn’t. I had to dismiss all of that.

I don’t think I ever had bipolar disorder. I think psychiatry gave it to me. I am in Recovery from forced psychiatric drugging, psychiatric chemical withdrawal and psychiatric abuse. Life is still hard sometimes. I recognize certain aspects of myself that make it hard – I am moody and have a generous heart, so I get really upset by harshness and violence in the world. And I observe a lot, so I witness a lot of harshness and violence in the world.

As a mental health advocate, an academic, and a therapist (I don’t have my license yet, but have completed my graduate level training and a year as a student therapist at my practicum site), I have a lot of hope for people to come off psychiatric drugs. Not everyone finds a supportive psychiatrist to help them come off. I did. I also had the financial resources to see a private psychiatrist. I have friends who have come off psychiatric drugs without help from a psychiatrist. It is definitely possible. But also difficult. I hope that clinical medical help will become more available and accessible to everyone who wants to taper or come fully off their psychiatric drugs.

I have hopes for the field of psychiatry. I hope the field will redeem itself, and redeem its practitioners, because they do have clinical skill and the opportunity to learn more and grow. Many of them, I believe, were just taught bad science, influenced and infiltrated by Big Pharma. My psychiatrist was traditionally trained at big research universities, but she sought out extra training so her practice became truly integrative. I am colleagues with other psychiatrists, PsyDs and psychiatric nurse practitioners who have brought in alternative medicine, nutrition, mindfulness, and other holistic modalities into their clinical work. Psychiatrists have received many years of training, but unfortunately, it is my belief as a psychiatric survivor that many concepts they learned in medical school need to be unlearned.


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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Naas Siddiqui, BA, CPS, MA
naas has 15 years of experience in the mental health and substance abuse field in various capacities, including in peer support, training, research, clinical work, advocacy and strategic planning. Currently she is an academic writer and researcher with the Temple University Collaborative for Community Inclusion of People with Psychiatric Disabilities and works as the part time Cultural Competence and Linguistics Coordinator for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services System of Care federal grant. Recently, as a volunteer, she co-founded and coordinated the group Spiritual Emergence and Other Extraordinary Experiences at CIIS from January 2014-June 2016 and produced Holding the Shadow, a community collaborative social commentary theatre project for survivors of the mental health and substance abuse systems. She is especially interested in exposing, resolving, and repairing disparity and discrimination issues- racism, homophobia, sexism, classisism- in mental health and substance abuse services- including power disparities between providers of services and the people receiving services. She holds a BA in Psychology, Neuroscience Track, from Yale University, and a Masters Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from CIIS. She is a long time psychiatric survivor and is psychiatric drug free (and beyond happy and grateful about this) after 15 years of psychiatric drugging.


  1. Thank you, Naas, for your example of courage and determination in face of opposition to you coming off psychiatric medications by psychiatrists. I too believe that some psychiatrists are capable of being retrained and reprogrammed. Most are going to need to be pushed to change or lose their jobs if the culture of recovery and healing truly takes hold, which because of individuals like you and other advocates including myself who works within this terrible system keep pushing. Psychiatrists are so use to doing it one way despite mounting evidence that what they are prescribing is harmful and that the medications themselves can create the problem that it was supposed to treat. Denial, denial, denial… They have had the power so long and are stuck with really what amounts to medical malpractice. It is sad, because I do remember a time when I worked with psychiatrists who were excellent psychotherapists and did great healing work. You are an inspiration and sign of hope that people can and do come off medications and do wonderful things with their lives. Much health and personal and professional success to you in helping others to heal.

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  2. Thank you so much Naas for describing your wonderful journey out of pharmagedeon. Never ever forget that a client like yourself is worth around $7 million to the industry. It would be very unprofessional to not get you hooked. But through galliant efforts you beat the industry! Thank you, Rick

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    • Yes! I did! And me and parents dished out more than a pretty penny!!!

      Feeling good, and also dedicated to help others learn the myth. Since I have community mental health skills, therapy skills, some holistic knowledge, and lots of resources and colleagues and friends in alternative and holistic medicine, I really want to eventually create a low fee clinic with various practioners- naturopaths, nutritionists, therapists, MDs, body workers, peer supporters, fitness coaches, etc to help people come off psychiatric drugs if they choose to. Now if only I could get the $7 million do to that!!!

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  3. First, congratulations, that took a great deal of strength, perseverance and discipline.


    I have hopes for the field of psychiatry. I hope the field will redeem itself, and redeem its practitioners, because they do have clinical skill and the opportunity to learn more and grow. Many of them, I believe, were just taught bad science

    And bad language skills.

    But let’s start with “bad science” — this constitutes the fundamental principles of psychiatry, not some aberration which can be corrected. Psychiatry is predicated on the belief in “mental illness,” not as a figure of speech but as a real disease to be treated by doctors.

    I could go on but if you stick around MIA I’m sure there are others who can do a better job. I hope you do though. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of room for you outside the “medical model.”

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    • Old head- I agree with you. I also know working in community mental health for a long time, and in systems change, and going to psychology graduate school that people are in different stages around the myths- and that the myth needs to be bo debunked rapidly but also delicately, because this is a country wide and international crisis.

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  4. Thank you Naas for your testimonial. I’ve very happy for you that you were able to come off the meds after so many years of struggle and finally find the support you needed. I hate how nonchalantly many clinicians start patients on long-term psych meds with nary a thought given to how, when or if they’ll stop. I’m sure it will be a relief to finally have the time you need for self-care: healthy eating, exercise, repairing your teeth, nurturing your social connections.

    I’m a primary care nurse practitioner at a mental health clinic here in San Francisco, and I haven’t found other clinicians at my site (psychiatrists, psych NPs or pharmacologists) who are knowledgeable about or experienced in tapering patients off anti-psychotics or benzos, or motivated to follow up if the patient expresses a strong desire or interest in this. Do you have any suggestions for someone I could consult with or some online or printed resource? I’ve been trying to figure out for years how to help patients in this situation, even though it’s not officially my domain (I’m supposed to defer to the “mental health providers”). But I have yet to meet a prescribing clinician who has insight or expertise or even interest in this area.

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  5. I appreciate your sharing your powerful story with us. Your persistence is inspiring. We need more people like you to tell the full story of meds, the (sometimes) short term benefits and long term consequences. I am also someone who was hospitalized and diagnosed at a young age, but I got away from the medical model approach to my problems soon after. It’s so sad that we must protect ourselves not only from our inner struggles, but even more so from the system that claims to help us. Best Wishes Naas!

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  6. Naas, I think you’ve accurately described the struggle and the dilemmas of psychiatric drug withdrawal. Even people who want you to do it, like your father, are nevertheless worried when you run into problems, and they begin to doubt you can do it. It’s inevitable that you then begin to doubt yourself. Real healing happens, I believe, like you describe it. There’s a lot of psychic and spiritual work to do along with the drug withdrawal. Best wishes on your continued recovery.

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  7. Congratulations to you, Naas! I KNOW how much effort, time, risk, and “failure” it takes to quit psychiatric drugs. It’s not only a strenuous physical journey, it’s an uphill battle emotionally as well. I’ve got nine years “clean” this September. And, even at my most miserable, I do feel SIGNIFICANTLY better off the drugs than I did on them. The achievements in life that I’m most proud of are all the simple human growth activities which I, like most people, had taken always for granted. My comfortable, stable body is an even greater source of joy because I KNOW that I’m here and strong today in spite of EVERY POSSIBLE OBSTACLE. I too had no clinical support during my amateur cessation from psychiatric narcotics. But thanks to my family, who didn’t want me jacked up on poison either, I managed to quit it all and reverse much of the damage it directly and indirectly caused. Speaking as someone who’s a bit farther down the drug-free road, Nass, trust me, YOU WILL NEVER, EVER REGRET A LIFE WITHOUT CHEMICAL TOXICITY.

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    • J:

      I respect your perspective and I enjoy your posts. I would love nothing better than for my beautiful adult daughter to follow in your footsteps and the author of this blog by weaning herself off her psychiatric drugs. I think you and the author are both courageous and inspirations but I wanted to point out one thing about the language that you use. Many times, in private conversations with my family members and close friends, I refer to neuroleptics as ‘toxic’ or ‘poisons’ and yesterday in a meeting with a manager of a large community mental health agency which may serve my daughter I stated truthfully that in my opinion neuroleptics are ‘aging’ pills because they put our children on an early pathway to their grave. The data supports this and if you have a loved one, like I do, whose brain is habituated to ‘anti-psychotics’ (which, as most of us know, suppress the ‘symptoms’ or the states of consciousness that we lump under the category of ‘psychosis’ but which do not address the origin) is is easy to lose hope. But for all those who are stuck on these pills or who are being involuntarily treated and for those who sincerely feel that their lives have been improved by their meds, I think we should avoid inciting panic by using words like poison. Yes, there are is a grave urgency for us to educate the public and reverse the trend of over dependence on these pills but I believe we must do so responsibly. When I have used such language in the past with my daughter whose very judgement is impaired by the meds, she has gone off her meds cold turkey with disastrous effects. Many of us have found that our families cannot support a loved one through the withdrawal stage without help from the ‘system’ but even then, we often have to take the ‘system’ by the hand and walk them through the process of doing their job well. We may become resentful and impatient with the process. This may not work for everyone but many of us need the ‘system’ to succeed during withdrawal and using language that incites panic doesn’t help. Sadly, using such language with mental health care workers will be documented and used as evidence against families who are supporting a loved one. Sometimes, it will result in a ‘no contact’ order by a judge.

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      • I just love you, madmom. You are very wise, you measure your words carefully. I hate that you have to tiptoe through the system, but I’m glad you’ve educated yourself and are able to balance your emotions (for having your loved one be caught up in, and at the mercy of the system certainly engenders a whole rainbow of lovely emotions like fear, frustration, anger/rage, injustice, helplessness…) with your knowledge of how the system operates to prevent bad from getting worse. You are right; they would use it against you. They twist and pathologize; it’s what they do, and you are wise to acknowledge and remember that.

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    • i already agree. thank you. and thank you for sharing your wisdom. and congrats on being clean from psychiatric narcotics for nine years!!

      i wish we had funded 12 step models for coming off! i feel like lots of folks in AA and NA and in recovery from opiates, etc, totally get my story. i know there have been groups, but not at the level of 12 step.

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  8. Naas,

    Well done with coming off the drugs!

    I was on 12 different psychiatric drugs myself, including a majority of the same ones as you – no surprise since they are some of the most common. I came off all drugs about five years ago and have been drug free since then. Like some of your friends, I did it mostly without professional help (well actually, I was seeing a professional, but I tapered off secretly against their advice… unfortunately they weren’t the kind of supportive psychiatrist you were seeing).

    One big point of disagreement: I don’t share your hope about psychiatry – do not think the field is going to redeem itself. It is too heavily influenced by Big Pharma money, by the need to deny early childhood abuse and neglect via myths about brain diseases, via fear of ambivalence, uncertainty, and risk, and by the addictive quality of delusionally believing that one is “treating” problems by giving someone a pill, rather than understanding their story.

    What most psychiatrists do right now with diagnosing and drugging is a profitable and easy-to-perpetrate scam. Why take the hard road of helping people via long-term relationships? They can earn a lot and have a good life doing what they do with diagnosing and drugging. It’s the clients who suffer, and that’s not much motivation for most psychiatrists, who due to denial and ignorance are mostly not even aware of the harms they do.

    And a not sure what “clinical skills” you think psychiatrists have Naas, because most of them really don’t. They are just trained in identifying “symptoms” of pseudo-diagnoses and picking drugs which don’t even directly target the illusory diseases in the DSM. These are not “skills.” A real skill would be spending long periods of time really listening to what someone else is saying and developing a healing relationship with that individual. Or, learning how to engage a family and help it work out its self-destructive dynamics that are stopping one member from being able to function. These type of skills are not taught in psychiatrist training, so psychiatrists do not have them. You are right that they could have them, but most of them don’t…

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    • yes. thank you BPDTransformation. And i’m so glad you are off, and congratulations on your fifth year off. being on psychiatric drugs and coming off has been unimaginably hard (but not unimaginable to those who have done it, right!!). and yes, i agree with a lot of what you’re saying and i like your phrasing.

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  9. Naas, kudos on your sixth month anniversary. My story is quite similar to yours, the adverse effects of an antidepressant were misdiagnosed as ‘bipolar,’ resulting in a lot of drugs. All of which made me ungodly sick. I was eventually weaned from the drugs, I’ve been totally drug free for 7 years now.

    I would like to forewarn you, however, that I did, twice, suffer from a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis. And in my case, at least, the first one did not occur until about six months after I’d been weaned from the drugs. It was misdiagnosed as a ‘return of bipolar,’ so I was redrugged. I was then again withdrawn from the drugs. And again, I suffered from another drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis. The second one did not happen until about two and a half years after I was weaned off the drugs (I was too busy with work for it to happen sooner, and it happened just after my boss had to let me go, due to the destruction of the design industry by the banking industry’s housing bubble.)

    Thankfully, my second drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis was misdiagnosed as ‘adjustment disorder,’ and did not come with drugs forever. So I’ve had no further problems. But I do want to forewarn you that drug withdrawal induced manic psychoses can happen much later than the medical community confesses, and doctors absolutely will misdiagnose it as a return of the DSM disorder. I agree with you, the psychiatric practitioners have been taught a lot of misinformation, and they do a lot of misdiagnosing and massive tranquilizing to cover up their ignorance and malpractice. Stay safe, and best wishes.

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  10. 14 years on psych drugs! It seems like it would have been a lot easier for the mental health profession not to have created a drug problem in the first place. Except, in so far as, by making a health problem, the mental health professional has job security, and a guaranteed future for their business (“mental illness” manufacture)..

    I have a great deal of trepidation about the idea of people going into psychology from mental health treatment. Generally, some kind of feel for personal and family problems is often what drives people into the field to begin with. This expansive situation complicates the resolution of such problems to the umpteenth degree, self-indulgence breeding additional self-indulgence.

    How necessary are psychologists? Well, mental patients keep them in business. Which leads to my next question. How necessary are mental patients?

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    • Frank, I agree, but I also feel that there is a role for therapists and social workers and some psychiatrists right now. i think therapists and social workers can cause harm with their pathology models and savior complexes and thinking they know what’s best for someone attitude, but as a clinician in training, and as a person who has worked in the mental health/substance abuse field in many capacities, i do recognize that there is definitely a need. People are often not held with compassion and often harmed in their communities, in their families, in their school systems, in their jobs, in life. i feel mental health systems and substance abuse systems have caused a lot of harm and damage. but i do believe and have witnessed in their power to really help people flourish and live happy, fulfilled lives. the helping communities that are successful, and the professionals who are really invested in this work, are the ones that really honor and respect the voices of those receiving services.

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  11. Well done, and thanks for telling your story so articulately! It sounds like you are yet another victim of SSRI-induced “bipolar disorder,” which led to year of “treatment” that left you far worse off than the original condition they were trying to treat! I also appreciate your description of the vague and hazy state of disinhibition that was the “positive” part of your psych drug experience. I believe this kind of “who cares what anybody things?” experience is what people find helpful about the drugs, especially people like you and me who have histories of shyness and anxiety. But that very effect, I believe, is why suicide becomes a more “reasonable” option for some users, and why extreme and bizarre forms of violence suddenly seem less foreign and repugnant to a significant minority of users.

    It also amazes me that after years of obvious failure, the psychiatric system at no time took a look at the results and said, “Jeez, she came in complaining of anxiety and now she’s totally psychotic! Where did we go wrong?” No, instead they blamed you or your “condition” for every failure they produced.

    It is a frightening prospect being sucked into such a system. I’m very glad for you that you escaped. Thanks again for sharing your story!

    —- Steve

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    • Every now and then I come by Mad in America to post. I’m one of those former psychiatric patients who originally went to her psychiatrist because of anxiety and trouble sleeping due to a car accident. Through an attorney I was able to get my mediccal records from the psychiatrist and time after time he was perplexed that he couldn’t understand what was going on to me but yet he kept changing and increasing the dosage on various strong psychiatric drugs. If I hadn’t been so out of it on all the poly drugging I would have questioned what he was doing more but it that by that time I was beyond a coherent thought. My pay back after all these 17 years of drugging? Watching the prescribing psychiatrist break down sobbing in his office after he realized he had wrongly diagnosed and only drug me for numerous years. What this any kind of payback? No it wasn’t.

      Realizing my psychiatrist could not tell the difference between severe Akathisia and Mania is in itself ridiculous. He had on his medical diploma he was a certified neurologist and yet he couldn’t tell the difference? It took a Consulting neurologist to diagnose me with Akathisia and the man said it was the worst he has ever seen in his 40 years as a physician. It scares me to write this but it happened.

      I applaud this young lady for for becoming drug free after such a long time. This is truly wonderful accomplishment. I’m glad there are forums online to help guide someone who may not have any idea how to slowly taper off their drugs and how withdrawal can exacerbate any so-called psychiatric symptoms. I have very little belief that Psychiatry will learn that they’re doing more harm than good. It’s an outdated antiquated so-called profession and in no way related to being a medical doctor at all.

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      • I have wanted to say the psychiatrist realized he had “wrongly diagnosed and wrongly drugged” me for numerous years. I wanted the last sentence to say I do not think psychiatry and the medical profession have anything in common at all.

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      • thank you aria. yes, i was so confused by the process. i would tell certain psychiatrists about side effects, and they would be like- well that’s impossible- that’s not supposed to happen with this drug.

        and make statements like every time you have a manic episode, you lose brain cells, to encourage me to stick with the psychiatric meds.

        and i am so so sorry for what happened to you.

        i feel like it’s a horrible mix of abuse of authority and misinformation, and why can’t i fix this like i’ve been taught.

        that being said, i did find a wonderful person to help me taper off who is a psychiatrist, which i know is rare, and i did have psychiatrists who helped me with their therapy skills and did listen to my complaints about side effects. i was also lucky enough to have parental and financial support in this process to afford private psychiatrists for 50 minute sessions, and not just 15 minute med checks, which i’ve experienced too in health insurance systems.

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  12. Why do people continue to use psychiatric medications, when they are not being held in custody and forced?

    It has always seemed to me that it was because they’ve been conned, because they believe it is better if one does not feel their feelings, and because these drugs have the same sort of addictive hook that alcohol and street drugs do.

    We should not see this as a major moral failing, as these drugs and the general idea of chemical escapism are promoted from all quarters.

    Congratulations on getting drug free.

    As I see it, getting people on drugs and making them into a societal scapegoat is deliberate. It stops the people who are at the bottom and otherwise marginalized from politically organized. How could people ever fight back, if they believe that they have an innate defect. It’s all an adaptation of the religious concept of Original Sin. Our society needs people it can subject to ritual humiliations, in order to keep everyone else in line.

    So until we can get people to refuse all psychiatric drugs, and alcohol and street drugs, and psychotherapy, recovery and evangelical region, we have very little chance of ever being able to do anything about the current state of affairs. As long as people are not willing to fight back, and instead seek pity, then most people will feel that those in the untouchable caste deserve no better than they have.

    The only way we can go, is to seek justice. This means suing doctors and parents, and all those who have sought to deny us a place in this world. And we need to bring about criminal prosecutions as well.

    The Institutionalization of Poverty,
    Creating an Underclass in America


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    • In my case, Nomadic, I voluntarily took the drugs because I was deceived. If I had known they were really no different than street drugs I never would have done so. I don’t even smoke or drink socially.

      Being told I had a “chemical imbalance” when I didn’t in order to make me “compliant” is disgusting. It’s almost like child molesting, because you exploit someone’s trust and vulnerable relationship to yourself in order to gain something through using him/her like chattel.

      The devil is the father of lies. According to Dr. Pies, any “well informed psychiatrist” is a son of Satan. I guess that would include him.

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  13. Thank you everyone so much for your comments of encouragement. And thank you deeply for sharing your voices in response to this post, especially the psychiatric survivors, because our voice is the marginalized voice and oppressed voice. We have to “shout” louder always.

    As a deeply spiritual and religious person, I try to write on public forums, like this one, with a tone of compassion, yet censuring wrongs, but try to maintain an essentially diplomatic tone.

    I do however want to note that I carry and hold rage. Rage towards what has been done to me. Rage towards what I have witnessed affecting my community of psychiatric survivors, and people who have been in the mental health and substance use system who have been ill-treated, disrespected, discarded, have died in the system, because of the system.

    That anger drives me to change things in the way that I can and am capable of, with the limitations put on my professional role, my age, my skin color, my gender, and my past diagnosis and history.

    That being said, I always carry unwavering hope in my heart somewhere, even though sometimes it’s hard to find.

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  14. Naas Siddiqui, I am glad that you hold rage. Actually I wouldn’t even call it that, as it makes it look like you are at fault. I am glad that you honor your rage.

    And I hope that you are one who wants to organize and take action, against Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and familial abuses.


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  15. Congratulations, Naas, I know how hard this is. The drugs started backfiring on me, too, when I was at CIIS (back in the late 90’s), and could only do a partial withdrawal while still in school and training. Sadly, my psychiatrist took me the wrong way after finishing grad school and I ended up on nine psych drugs at once before realizing that I’d hit a wall and needed to ditch them all. I recognize several from your list from my own.

    I’m not as optimistic as you are regarding psychiatry, I think, overall, there is too much misguided education and also too much corruption, deceit, and stigma, regardless of the few who perhaps ascend this. But it is the culture at this point, and it seems quite untrustworthy and dangerous, I believe.

    In any event, your accomplishment is profound and inspiring. Well done!

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    • Hi Alex! yes, withdrawing during grad school was so so so tough!!! but i did it, and i graduated! being in school and having obligations to other people as a therapist helped me stay on track and focused on self-care. i definitely was a mess in ways, but not to my clients. they were my number one priority as the time. i also tried to follow through to the best of my abilities with my volunteer and extracurricular commitments. i’m sorry that you had to go through the harsh difficulty of being over-medicated as well, but from what i remember seeing from your website, it seems like you are doing great as a practitioner.

      i do believe there is a lot of misguided education, corruption, deceit, stigma, just as you say. i have had my fair share of misguided and harmful psychiatrists. and i know a lot about the levels of individual and community harm psychiatrists have caused. some psychiatrists deserve to lose their degrees and/or lose their licenses to practice and/or be put in prison and and/or be fined. Many academics and heads of associations, who have obscured research for kickbacks from drug companies and tried to silence other academics from sharing other perspectives, deserve to lose their posts and be put in prison.

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      • Yeah, sadly it’s true, at this point, with all the very loud grievance and protests, it is so obvious there are cover-ups and alliances which have led to crimes against humanity. I’m glad and relieved it’s coming to light as it is, to clear the way for true and real healing, with none of this inane, insane, and insane-making bs attached to it, which only serves to undermine the intention to heal and grow.

        I did the bulk of my withdrawal right after graduating and some of my internship. I interrupted training to do a complete withdrawal, and that’s when I entered the system for support. This was 14-15 years ago, been on a healing path ever since. I’m 55 now, never been healthier. I’m so glad I ditched the drugs!!!!

        At that time, I still had not woken up what that was all about. I was still naïve about the system, thought it was there to help people. That’s where I got my best education and awakening, being a client in the system right after my graduate education and training, and I finally got why I had been so uncomfortable in graduate school. I did fine at CIIS, but my discomfort was telling me something was amiss, couldn’t quite put my finger on it though.

        After being a client in the system and in social services for a few years subsequent to this, I finally put it together, that these were not at all sound practices, and especially, that the social dynamics, norms, and extremely limited beliefs were actually undermining people, rather than supported them to be all they can be, and simply, themselves. I could see how it was promoting dependence and disability through stigma and marginalization. There is simply no permission to be human. It’s all about being “the right kind.” I witnessed an utter lack of tolerance for humanity in the system. It was really, really frustrating to see this, and to experience it first hand.

        The projected stigma was overwhelming and staggering, it is embedded into the system. This is how it operates, from this dualistic reality. It is in the language, expectations, beliefs, and general attitude and it translates into poor outcomes, as well as sheer frustration for clients, at the very least.

        That’s when things really got rough for me, being treated second class while withdrawing and trying to get it together so I could go back to work, that’s all I was thinking. But suddenly, I was deemed “unfit” or some such thing. And this, all from going through withdrawal, they thought I had messed myself up rather than recognizing I was going through a healing process. It was just all the stigma at work, systemically, and utterly defeating cynicism. And, extremely limited education and consciousness, seriously. I’d just had my training, I got what was so limiting about this, and why it was failing people.

        I was talking in one social service group about what I was learning at Psychic Horizons, and they wanted to start labeling me again. It was surreal–what is the norm and common knowledge in one community, tools for support and healing, is called “delusional” by the mental health community–and they are just blocks from each other, right down the street!

        Even more ironic is that what I learned at Psychic Horizons is what totally and completely saved me from all that, and where I found my healing. And they want to call what we learn there delusional??? If that don’t say it all.

        Psychic Horizons not only saved me and healed me, but it also trained me well. I was dedicated to that work, and it taught me how to clean up all this weird energy and focus it in a better way, to support my own well-being while helping others in a non-intrusive and respectful manner.

        I practiced for 11 years, up to last June, but I’m retired from private practice now. I just started a performing arts healing center, which is about to become non-profit, that’s all fallen together expediently, seems as though the universe has given me a green light on this. I’ve also been contracted as trainer and teacher for an “alternative-to-the-system” group, which starts soon. So I’ve got some good opportunities here, for which I’m really grateful.

        You know how it goes, everything serves a purpose, part of our soul journey and life purpose. It’s all fallen together, so I’m having a good time with it all now. It was like pushing many, many boulders uphill for a few years, so whew, glad that’s over!

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        • One thing I wanted to add regarding the new paradigm of healing–what I learned that was most helpful and illuminating was about “manifesting.” When I focus on what I want to manifest, then what needs to heal in order to make this happen lights up without effort, so these are our healing opportunities, to shift beliefs, perspective, and consciousness.

          In short, we can manifest healing, if we know how to drive our power of manifesting, our creative process. It was truly radical the difference between MFT training and psychic energy healing training–like, dark and light, respectively.

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  16. Your experience is enormously significant. I am quite glad to hear you will be working in the field with such insight. I had a similar experience that went on 21 years. I could not find a practitioner at all to help me, so almost did not survive. It took five years and three attempts to get off Prozac. Still suffer symptoms and we are discovering that the effects can be long lasting. ( Your statement about how to get professionals ( and the lay public in my opinion) to unlearn the myths is going to be the hardest part. Physicians no longer bother to read outside of their field of specialty and remain ignorant. Where do we start? I want to help. I was a psychiatric nurse and saw unbelievable things. Thank you for your essay your sharing your story.

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    • Thank you Rosie. And thank you for sharing a small part of your story. Yes, let’s connect! I am in a period rest, nourishment and self-care, while balancing some obligations and stresses of daily life. But I want to connect soon! your expertise is so needed- the expertise of coming off, and the expertise of being a clinician. Thank you for being, like me, open and vulnerable- we are paving the way so other voices can be heard!

      <3 <3 <3

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  17. As an addendum I would like to add something about spirituality. I am hesitant to write this because many people might be quick to want to negate this…As a child I had contact with something greater than myself that would give me contact to another world and help me. I keep quiet about this as a child, because when I mentioned it to adults it immediately was shot down and turned into the worry of a medical condition- as I remember. My guide disappeared as I lost belief in her and as others invalidated her from the start, but when she came back she could no longer speak to me with clarity of vision, because by then I had already been forced drugged and changed, and unable to receive her messages with clear understanding. That being said, I think it’s important to understand reality from many different lenses and cultural perspectives. I do believe my challenging altered states came from visionary access as a child that was negated by society and further damaged by psychiatric medication, hospitalization a, and labeling. Call my crazy or call me inspired. I’ve been called both before.

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  18. This article I wrote in Mad In America on coming off psychiatric is the very watered down version, because it’s on this public forum. The nightmares I went through psychologically are not presented in this article, and the consequences in real life of becoming a bipolar patient and what it really did to my life are not written here- The true victimization, and violence (emotional and physical), I faced are not in this story. Many long-time psychiatric survivors know all this already- so I decided not to repeat it in my story, somewhat for redundancy’s sake, and why re-traumatize? When I write for public forums like Mad In America, I always have to give a very watered down version. One day I will be able to write everything. But not today. And never on a public internet forum, unfortunately.

    To give you a small understanding-
    I’ve gone missing several times on the streets in my life, in unsafe and altered circumstances from chemical withdrawal psychosis since 2004 when I first tried to come off Lithium. I don’t remember all that happened in the hospitals and crisis response centers either, for a reason. People are familiar with the alcoholic black out. I experienced many black outs. People are familiar with dissociation and PTSD symptoms and “forgetting” traumatic memories for protective purposes. I experience dissociation, symptoms of PTSD, and have remembered many traumas, but I’m sure have “forgotten” a few. But I have also been blessed in that I have spent many years in self-study in psychology, spirituality and wellness, and have had a lot of peer support in my life.

    I am glad to be alive. Something bigger than me is protecting me. Because I’m still alive. I attribute some of my protection and strength to my ancestors who were killed in the genocide in Bangladesh (1971), including my great grandfather- an altruistic doctor who was shot and killed in public by the West Pakistani army, and to the strong spiritual communities I have been a part of, and to my mom and dad’s daily Muslim prayer.

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  19. I know and hold many stories of harm from Yale mental health services quietly and with confidentiality and honor. My story is not an isolated incident.

    I do not know this writer- but she has a beautiful and insightful analytical and heartfelt perspective on race and the mental health system- also a Yalie and a person of color like me. I feel we share many commonalities, from reading her story:

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  20. This was an article I wrote in the Yale Daily News about the difficulty getting re-admitted after being forced to medically withdraw. I was originally Class ’04. I graduated in ’07.

    I was treated as sub human by Dr. Eric Millman who made the call and dismissed me me from the University. I also hold Dr. Lorraine Siggins, the head psychiatrist at Yale Mental Health accountable for all these tragedies and the many more untold stories of harm.

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    • Thank you, Naas, for your post as brings up a topic and population close to my heart, young adults, my favorite age group. Adolescence and young adulthood is an important developmental stage where often mental health diagnoses start. Hormones, body changes, psychologically and physical separation from parents and family, finding one’s identity, relationships and going to college and working. Wanting to be an adult but still needing guidance and direction. Full of dreams and idealism. It is a tough time for many young adults to go off to college from home. That separation is scary for many and forced into a new way of life. There needs to be resources within colleges to help with this issue. Unfortunately what happens is if get on the radar of the college, one often will be “forced” to get psychotherapy and medication, the standard treatment protocol. They want some assurance that students are not a harm to themselves or others. Unfortunately, psychotherapy and medication can be a further source of isolation and disconnection for students leading to further deterioration and possibly lifetime of disability. Colleges need to take more responsibility as institution of taking care of young adults to keep sources of connection and care for their students, i.e. support groups, education about taking care of oneself mentally and physically and mentoring. Discarding the students who do not fit the standard 4 year plan is not okay. As long as paying the tuition which is astronomical these days, colleges should not be renouncing their responsibility.

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      • Thank you so much for sharing this viewpoint knowledgeispower. I really do feel everything you wrote is accurate for me and others I know who have been put into this situation. It saddens me that colleges that have good names, that give you degrees that land you good jobs (i feel there is no denying that) and that cost an arm and leg would care so little about members of their student body, and have such little sensitivity to the ‘going to college for the first time’ issues.

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    • Hi Naas,

      I know what it’s like coming off psychiatric drugs. I did come off them – but I was climbing the wall for years with problems I had never experienced before. When I came off Lithium I developed a new extraverted personality which worked quite well to a certain extent.

      Coming off modecate depot was gruesome but when I stopped it – the involuntary movements stopped and I could function again.

      My main acute withdrawal problem was becoming overwhelmed with anxiety. So I did deals with myself to combat this i.e. I would stop preoccupying for a number of hours (only). But after a number of hours the anxiety would be gone.

      Some years later my Psychiatrist praised me for recovering and asked me how I did it. I told him that the drugs themselves had been the problem. That they had disabled me and had caused my suicidal episodes.

      The next time I saw him he told me he was going away on a Sabbatical to Canada. He went to Ontario.

      I was back in Ireland in August this year and I had a walk through the University which now stretches several miles up the local river. I eventually came upon a massive Building dedicated to Biotechnical Research.

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      • Fiachra- I am so glad you are off. And thank you for sharing a little bit of your story. I feel it is immensely painful and isolating, what we had to go through, and so scary that biotech in collusion with doctors is continuing to create this. I feel though now- that we can start to do these things less in isolation- now that the myth finally is being busted on a larger scale. I’m very much in deep gratitude to the anti-psychiatry movement pioneers who started paving the path.

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  21. Racism, profit over people, and other-ing and stigmatizing, so sadly are foundational and a huge part of the fabric of the United States of America we call home. The biomedical psychiatry industry sustains itself on racism, other-ing stigma, and profit over people.

    I’m sharing a personal blog post here (with some new edits here to add context) reflecting on how this value system in the US has deeply hurt my life and continues to hurt others.

    “the “crazy” activist- a short reflection on being able remember my life after coming off psychiatric drugs”

    When I think about my capacity, organizing strategies and behaviors, and determination for the ICC CHANGE Campaign- Diversity and Recognition in CIIS Integral Counseling Psychology- a successful campaign to expose and help unroot institutional racism that deeply harmed people of color therapists in training at my graduate school of counseling psychology – see CIIS ICC CHANGE petition – I’m realizing that a lot of the unrelenting fuel that powered me, came from reserves- really high momentum that had been stopped in its tracks. In 2003-2004 I was a lead student organizer and researcher at Yale for a transparency campaign on university investments, and an investigation of one of our university investors- a hedge fund called Farallon Capital Management, which was investing the school’s money in a very lucrative way, that had deep harmful environmental and social impact in the United States and globally. The campaign got big and extended to other schools, and got national attention and coverage. I, along with my fellow student organizers, interviewed with the Wall Street Journal and other really big papers. During the campaign- I tried to come off Lithium- which I feel had been very haphazardly prescribed to me by my psychiatrist Dr. Adam Spivack at Yale University Student Mental Health- which was then called Mental Hygiene, long before the campaign. He wouldn’t listen to my complaints that the drug had started to slow me down significantly and made me feel dead inside, and had started really effecting my schoolwork. He would not let me come off. Trying to come off Lithium cold turkey threw me into a world of altered states, not sleeping, being really sped up, hearing voices, paranoia, deep emotional instability and erratic behavior- this had never happened ever in my life before – I’m sure it has parallels to chemical withdrawal from street drugs. I was removed as a lead organizer from the campaign, which made sense. But as I eventually got put on heavy antipsychotics by Yale mental health services and psychiatrists in my treatment path, I lost access to much of my long term memory, and honestly, eventually forget much of my involvement in the campaign, -and eventually with long term usage, forget much of my life. The myth at the time of American psychiatry then and unfortunately still present now- was that my bipolar illness was coming back, off the drug. But I had never had these symptoms before. I had gone, what’s known as, psychotic. I was thrown out of school in 2004- but because of tenacity- I was re admitted after a few tries, and was able to complete at Yale. The UnFarallon investment transparency campaign I feel, fizzled, partially, I feel, from the loss of one of its main organizers.

    After I was recently finally able to get free of psychiatric drugs, after 15 years, just last February, with an integrative psychiatrist, who like no other psychiatrist, put effort into helping me come off, I had so much frozen momentum. I was able to use that momentum towards a good cause though- The ICC CHANGE campaign- Diversity and Recognition in CIIS Integral Counseling Psychology.

    I’m so glad to be off psychiatric drugs and have memories return. I hope with time that the damage the drugs did to my brain in terms of long term memory access, will completely repair. And glad that my organizing momentum that had been shut down got put into good use, once again. It also got put to good use too in 2008-2009 as well on another activist initiative, during another time I was trying to come off psychiatric drugs to return to myself and release the momentum!

    This time it was putting tons of energy and fight into integrating Peer Specialists into the Philadelphia Community Behavioral Health system as the Certified Peer Specialist Trainer and Coordinator for Philadelphia and liaison to the Philadelphia Department of a Behavioral Health. It was an incredibly huge uphill battle against mental health and substance abuse stigma. Again during this time I didn’t have proper clinical support. My psychiatrist, Dr. Claudia Baldassano at the University of Pennsylvania, refused to provide clinical support with the tapering process even though I informed her that is what I wanted to do was trying to do. She was an incredibly negligent clinician, and I struggled with deep harmful side effects of withdrawal while I continued my activist work. I have to say now I feel I have used up the unfinished momentum from the Unfarallon campaign. But have lots of wisdom from my experience. In the original blog post, which can be found here- there is a sketch of me speaking in 2003 by my friend Ralph Ferrucci who is also a political activist. Not sure what event this was- probably an anti-war rally. No blood for oil. George W’s War in Iraq.

    One of Farallon’s investments – this hedge fund that was investing billions of Yale’s money and other school’s money- was a water privatization venture in Colorado at Baca Ranch- which involved taking and destroying the land and water resources of indigenous community who lived there. We continue to see many big money repeats of plundering behavior. And we saw it happen again at Standing Rock. For any of you interested in the the Unfarallon campaign’s work- here is the campaign’s web archive-

    I feel transparency and divestment of big university money can still be a very effective way in the fight to save our planet. Also if you’re interested in reading about how the Unfarallon campaign had big impact years after it was over- this is an interesting article- Tom Steyer lives in San Francisco- he’s know as the green billionaire. Before the Unfarallon campaign it was oil and dirty energy…

    It is very much a time now both of hypocrisy and uncovering (I believe the ancient Indian texts- the Vedas – predicted this, but I haven’t closely studied the texts- a close friend told me) with our new President elect. I choose to continue to uncover the hypocrisy even though it has and will continue to make me a target of those who don’t want it exposed- those who believe in and/or are entrenched in with the value systems of racism, profit over people, other-ing and stigma.

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  22. I wanted to share a very short personal story about the formation of my core identity struggles and formative factors in my worldview, since identity politics is such a potent, relevant and important topic right now, and how people’s worldviews have developed is important to look at if there is a desire to create dialogue in these charged times. My dad liked to boast about me when I was growing up- He’s a professor, and used to tell everybody this story about me from when I was in nursery school. I went to a Friends nursery school (Quaker tradition) in a rich, white, politically progressive very small town (pop around 6,000 at the time). I got in trouble with my nursery school teacher because I was overly insistent to the other kids that it was a “mala” not a “necklace”. My first language is Bangla. My parents taught me two words in English before I went to school- “potty” and “hello”. My parents had fluency in English- but my dad didn’t want me to pick up an accent from their English. I was the shining star that faded once she went to Yale and got diagnosed by their mental health services with anxiety and depression and was kicked out of school. My grades at the time were all As, except for a B in Freshman Organic Chemistry. The first time I was involuntarily hospitalized at Yale and kicked out was a few days after the towers toppled, September 11, 2001. Wow- now I’m realizing there probably was an Islamaphobic element to me being kicked out. I have a very Muslim last name. Dr. Eric Millman, the psychiatrist who kicked me out was incredibly mean to me- treated me subhuman when he dismissed me from Yale and yelled at me. Thankfully I reapplied and stuck it out at that school, and eventually got my Bachelors.
    This about sums up my core identity and core struggles and development of my worldview. Lol. (but I guess I’m not really laughing)

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  23. Bringing up the topic of compulsive sex as a side effect of Abilify is hard as a survivor of this. i was on Abilify particularly for 12 years, and was put on dosages up to 20 mg. it was incredibly hard for me to come off Abilify, especially since most of my psychiatrists wouldn’t let me, but i finally found an integrative psychiatrist in San Francisco who supported me in coming off. So happy to be psychiatric drug free. My sexual behavior was not just formed by side effects of psychiatric drugging, but i know that that being on this psychiatric drug that was prescribed to me as treatment contributed to putting me very risky and compulsive situations with regards to sexual behavior, and this became normalized for me, and i had to deal with rape on more than one occasion as a consequence, slut shaming as a consequence, and being ostracized, and facing the consequences of hurt lovers feelings and burning bridges because i was so unpredictable. i grew up with certain values around sex – i grew up in a devout Muslim family, so this behavior had very devastating consequences as well to my relationship with my family and how they viewed me.
    figuring out healthy sexual behavior for myself and values now is really important for me, now that i’ve been psychiatric drug free for over a year. Article “Patients say Abilify turned them into compulsive gamblers and sex addicts”.

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  24. don’t i know? 🙁 was on it for 12 years. and was put on doses up to 20 mg. so happy to be psychiatric drug free. at least i never gambled. personally for me being on Abilify led me to problematic and sometimes dangerous impulsivity and compulsivity in my life, and it took almost a year after total withdrawal to stabilize from the way it disrupted homeostasis in my body, brain, and psychology. it also wiped my memory and made me go psychotic from sleep deprivation during withdrawal- but at least i was able to piece parts of my life back together through the dream/nightmare like visions during these times that severely disrupted my work and personal life, and now i can relate to people who’ve done psychedelics and have developed a great capacity for mindfulness? (kind of a sarcastic comment!!). yes, so happy to be psychiatric drug free. i’m continuing to regain my memory- but now through body memory and object/people reminders.
    adverse side effects vary…Article: “Revealed: The prescription drug for depression that ‘drives users to binge on sex, gambling, shopping, and food’

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  25. Now I see myself more as a drug addict in recovery more than a person with bipolar disorder which was the main diagnosis given to me by the mental health system. My first diagnosis before Rx drugs was Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but the only drugs I took were those prescribed to me by my GP and psychiatrists. I feel like I share commonalities with many people in opioid recovery. I have spent time on the streets but not significant time. One advantage that I have is that I don’t have any desire to pick up, and I don’t have to avoid people, places and things around this trigger, because I never tried illegal substances. Another privilege I have is that I don’t have chronic unbearable pain.

    I have 1 year and 3 months in sobriety, after 15 years of psychiatric drugs. Very glad to live substance/chemical free.

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  26. I feel I can safely say that I no longer would be classified as a person with multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder as it is now called, but one could call me culturally competent, and theatrical at times, and perhaps suave.

    Please check out this new book on Marilyn Monroe and other creative geniuses- Marilyn was in the foster care system. Also look at Hershel Walker’s story. And Roseanne Barr’s story. And watch Fight Club….

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  27. Please also never forget that it was exposed in the Hoffman Report c. 2014-2015 that heads of the American Psychological Association were colluding and collaborating with the military in torture. Please also never forget that Abu Grahib happened and the torture victims. Please also never forget that activists and whistleblowers are tortured. Keep us safe. Keep us safe. Keep us safe.

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  28. interview with an MK Ultra Survivor. 🙁

    my life too. fragmented. long memory blocks. sexual access to me. more recently, sometimes people i would meet would ask me if i was an undercover cop, and i didn’t understand why- they would say i knew too much. people would just share crazy situations with me about government conspiracy and i didn’t understand why. i have incredibly fast reflexes. i have flashbacks of reconnaissance missions.

    but i am ok now.

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  29. I am a survivor of Project Monarch mind control. I have free will now. I can behave how I want. I have had a lot of fun in my life with sexual expressiveness. But I have also had to bear a lot of pain and secrets. I have decided that I don’t want to be seen as a sex object anymore- so I will not behave like one. I know that some people see my body as a commodity. And I can’t change that. I have my history. And I can’t change that. But I can influence the present and the future.
    The commodification of women’s bodies and brown women’s bodies has been going on for years and years and years in human history. It did not start in my family. It happened to me during college. I already had the capacity to dissociate as a coping mechanism though because I did suffer from childhood trauma and adversity because my father suffered from PTSD and a hard childhood himself. But it starts in some people’s families. Very sad. And very sadistic. It also happens to boys and men. Shame on the people who do this. My understanding is that it has happened to at least 2 million Americans and it continues today.

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  30. Hi Naas, I’m so thankful to have found this website and your story today. I’m in a bind and don’t know where to turn. If you have any suggestions or ways to help connect me that would be appreciated very much.

    My brother has been subject to psychiatric diagnosing, and poly-pharmacology for 20 years. Diagnosis on top of diagnosis, pills on top of pills. I was so young then, and no one heard his cries for help and to get off of the drugs. I started reconnecting with my brother this past year, after many years; it is my calling to help him now. I was writing him letters for a few years, and visited him a few months ago. He got off of the drugs himself, I think, and around the same time, he started exhibiting behavior that has gained attention from law enforcement. Last night he got arrested by local authorities, and there might be a news story on this whole situation. He did not hurt anybody physically but was harassing people with his words and online presence. I believe with all of my heart that this is a direct result from the years of multiple psychiatric drugs and withdrawal without any support. I just stayed with him a few months ago, and I can see who my brother really is; he is good. There is just so much I don’t know what he is going through and need to connect with the right people now.

    I’m not quite sure where to turn but am looking for resources and advocates to help him through this process, both Mental and Legal. Mental – to actually find real support from professionals without medications. Legal – an advocate or service to help him through the legal process. I do not want them to force him to start taking medications AGAIN. If you think you can help or direct me in any way, Please let me know and we can try to connect. Any information is appreciated. Thank you for listening.

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  31. Dalel- I wish I could help you more than I probably can right now. I’m in a space of laying low. Going through chemical detox from psychiatric drugs is a very difficult process- and many times a lot of trauma reactions that were smothered by drugs resurface – also traumatic memories and triggers resurface. For me a lot of things from years past resurfaced out of context years later, and it was very chaotic. In some places cops are getting trauma trained- but racism also can also impact policing too. I would suggest helping your brother nutritionally, and also help him identify his triggers. Some of us have trauma from bad therapy, but finding a compassionate therapist can be helpful- Maybe also when he is in a better place and feels safe he can write apologies. It terms of legal aid- perhaps a disability rights focused group could help.

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  32. Naas – Thank you for your reply! I realized after I posted that the last comment on this thread was a few years ago.

    Your comments about triggers and traumatic memories makes a lot of sense when I think about this current situation with my brother. You have very meaningful insight and experience so I appreciate you taking the time to give your advice. Everything you have mentioned will help me move forward.

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