This week, we have an interview with Monica Cassani.
Monica has seen the mental health system from both sides – as a social worker and as a person whose life was severely ruptured by psychiatric drugs. She writes critically about the system, as well as holistic pathways of healing without medication.
Monica’s website, Everything Matters Beyond Meds, is comprehensive library of information containing more than 5,000 blog posts, information articles, videos, personal experiences and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit. Her blog also deals with wider issues in the socio/political and spiritual realms as they pertain to mental health and human rights issues surrounding psychiatry.
I was keen to ask Monica about her own experiences of the psychiatric system, how a persons sensitivity can be affected by psychiatric treatment and how she helps and supports others to achieve health in body, mind and spirit.
In this episode, we discuss:
- How Monica came to be involved with the psychiatric system
- How treatment was repeatedly forced on Monica
- That the lack of information available meant that Monica felt she had no alternatives to the standard model of treatment
- That she was threatened with committal to a State Asylum
- How, because of the medications, Monica became non verbal and had difficulty walking
- The betrayal that Monica felt after trusting and being failed by the medical system
- How she has been drug free for more than 7 years after being on a substantial cocktail of five different medications for over 25 years
- That Monica became focussed on getting past the drugs and on her work and took a harm reduction approach to getting off her medications
- How Monica saw her withdrawal from the drugs as a return to her true self and felt emancipated once she was medication free
- That Monica witnessed clients struggling with the drugs and even, tragically, dying from their effects
- How Monica views hypersensitivity and its relation to her healing
- That Monica feels, in some ways, far healthier now than before the drugs but in other respects she feels that she struggles with things that others may find easy
- That hypersensitivity seems to be common in those who have taken or withdrawn from psychiatric drugs
- That most in the mental health system do not have the necessary experience to help those who have struggled with their medications
- How Monica came to set up and invest time in her blog: Everything Matters Beyond Meds
- How Monica was inspired by the work of the journalist Philip Dawdy and motivated by her husband
- How Everything Matters Beyond Meds combines science and holistic approaches in presenting options for people to support their health and wellbeing
- That Monica takes a hands off approach to helping and supporting others because she recognises the coercive nature of medical approaches and respects the right of the individual to choose for themselves
- How people taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs tend to neglect their bodies and that preparation is important before tapering off medications
- That diet is particularly important when considering withdrawing from psychiatric drugs
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