Comments by Monica Cassani

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  • actually since you’re into recommending books you might actually take a look at the one I mentioned above…it’s very well done and by an academic…I’ve actually corresponded with the author since the writing of this piece and he agreed with my critique as well…someday people will include psych survivors in the list of people most oppressed and at least he acknowledged it even if he didn’t include it explicitly in the book. Anyway, it might appease your clearly academic interest in these things.

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  • “mindfulness is not dangerous or risky IF it is properly understood in terms of what exactly it is,”

    this kind of attitude is blame the doer , meditator (patient) too…WE must be doing it wrong. Bullshit. That’s how systems keep on harming the most vulnerable…over and over again. Every human being has agency and knows what they should be doing and how. Healing is getting in that groove and learning to do it the way that makes most sense to us. We discover ourselves and no one else.

    ” … and how it can benefit different people in different ways.”

    and yes, some people should SKIP it … that’s the whole point, we’re all different

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  • you sound like a new age ad. complexity is the ugly and the wonderful…folks who are hurting need to be met where they are. this article is written for a very particular audience. going around talking gleefully about the wonderful when people are in acute pain (most of the folks I work with) is simply out of touch. I’m not arguing with what you’re saying…I’m saying that my focus is different and it’s appropriate for who I’m working with and (more importantly) for those professionals that might be working with them. People really do get harmed by those teaching mindfulness all the time. … time and place is very important. My work spans the scope of it all…lots of stuff on neuroplasticity etc…AND people still don’t make it and die and crash and burn if they’re not aware of the stuff I focused on here…and we get hurt by people who only talk about the “potential” of humanity…one must know when and where. Always.

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  • thanks for your comments! The article says explicitly more than once that this is a 24/7 deal for me…and that sitting meditation isn’t even necessary and sometimes counter-productive. My favorite mindfulness practice at the moment is ecstatic dance. I’m with you…and yeah, when I walk too…for me now it’s all the time. Eating is another great time to practice…one learns so much about food and the body that way.

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  • this argument is a silly distraction–it’s true the planet will survive but humanity is bringing about mass extinction by nature of its behavior on said planet – the crisis you speak of can be averted and altered by coming to consciousness as a species…throwing in the towel because this has happened six times is a choice you can make as well. It’s not one I’m willing to make. …planet will survive…”lower” life forms will survive… I’m with anyone who hopes to help humanity and other species to also survive and thrive all of us together.

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  • Sorry you found the article distressing. I’m playing with language and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I hope you find something you can share with others since, we do, clearly agree the topic is important. It’s nice if we can appreciate that we all carry our message in different ways to reach different people…that’s what makes human beings wonderful…we’re all different! …and there are, indeed, other people who speak to this issue in different ways. I’m not the first to speak about language in mental health and how it’s highly problematic. I’m sorry I can’t think of anyone to recommend offhand. Goodluck.

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  • You may want to check out the work of Gabor Mate…all those who abuse drugs have trauma histories as far as he’s concerned and he makes a very compelling argument. Having also worked with those with substance abuse issues most of my career I’m in complete agreement with him. People do not display addictive behaviors if they don’t have a history that includes emotional pain/trauma.

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  • I hear you humanbeing. And I feel ya too. I’m sorry you’ve dealt with such trauma. and I agree some comments and this article are pretty disturbing…

    still, we need to stay clear about facts to be as credible as possible. denying the lived experience of folks who have found marijuana to be a horribly traumatizing and destructive experience isn’t a good idea in my opinion.

    Read my comment below…you might get a kick out of it.

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  • I think alcohol is one of the most destructive and useless drugs there is. There is little to no medicinal value for example. Marijuana and cannabis have huge medicinal value…so, of course, these questions are legitimate and yes to questions 1 thru 4.

    Alcohol is a brain deadening substance and marijuana is a brain enlivening substance…it brings consciousness to people while alcohol removes consciousness…so I think that’s why alcohol is embraced. It doesn’t threaten the status quo like cannabis does.

    that psychosis is the result of the altered state that marijuana creates on occasion isn’t actually bad in and of itself…what is bad is that there are so few people who know how to help people through such potentially deeply healing crisis. (chew on that everyone!)

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  • no, it’s not bullshit and there is lots of documentation about marijuana (thc) triggering psychosis. I’m very familiar with the phenomena via the work I’ve done with clients for several decades now as well as knowing friends who’ve been impacted that way. I remain very open to appropriate use of cannabis (both thc and cbd) but to claim it doesn’t cause psychosis in some individuals is simply wrong and doesn’t help anyone’s credibility. The real risks involved need to be acknowledged if there is any hope for appropriate and safe usage for those who can benefit. CBD actually calms psychosis in many individuals and can help heal the nervous system….it need not be taken forever. That’s what is nice about herbs…they actually work with the body to heal it…but most people take both CBD and THC the way western medicine has made them think about substances…forever. Which truly isn’t the way any healing herbal medicine should be used in most cases.

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  • this appears to be a very poorly researched article. there is quite a lot of study looking at how CBD and THC interact and how they are each medicinal and when.

    I’ve spent time in CBD groups on facebook and the results for quite a lot of brain injured and neurologically damaged folk is pretty phenomenal some of the time. there is lots of evidence to it’s being very supportive to the nervous system….

    no attempt to speak how THC and CBD differ is also pretty irresponsible and suggests a complete lack of knowledge about how these substances are being used.

    in states where THC is not legal CBD is gaining ground and it certainly comes in all sorts of dosages…

    this article made very little sense to me in terms of what I’ve learned and experience among folks who use cannabis products.

    in the end these products are herbals. like all things they are not appropriate for everyone all the time but they are, at least some of the time, also saving lives. … most notably children with severe epilepsy respond very well to CBD…

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  • I’m sensitive to EMF and need to be really careful about wi-fi, phones etc. I cannot use a smart phone at all. We went back to wires for computers and don’t have cordless phones etc in our home. Made a huge difference. There are a lot of things in our environments that sensitive folks have problems with. It’s an issue of over-stimulation and it affects folks anywhere on the spectrum and also a lot of people who are drug injured by psych meds and others who deal with sensitivities associated with various chronic illnesses and autoimmune issues etc. One can develop better tolerance over time by healing issues with the body I’ve found but it’s still something some of us need to be very careful about.

    Another author here on mad in america named drug damage that acts like autism “pseudo-autism” — I noted a long time ago now that I have a lot in common with autistic folks too. Sensitivities get manifested in a lot of different ways these day.

    See: When Modern Medicine Made Me More Autistic – Mad In America


    “Pseudo-Autism” as a result of psych drug injury (another consideration in protracted withdrawal syndrome from psych meds) – Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

    Anyway, back to EMF’s not just the screens that are a problem…when I shifted to a non-attached keyboard (stopped using the keyboard that came with my laptop) … that helped me so immensely it blew my mind. I am by no means alone in this…I know lots of folks impacted like this.

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  • wow, yes, I understand all that you’re talking about. I have benefited hugely from having my mercury amalgams out as well, though I’m still involved in a very intense detox process of not just mercury but other heavy metals and fluoride and infectious bacteria, yeast and viruses from the gut etc. Metals and bad bacteria etc hang out and make matrixes (biofilms) and then it’s hard to eradicate them…but yeah, those are all things that make hypersensitivity issues worse. I don’t get too explicit about it in these circles because most people simply don’t believe it or seem ready to consider it either. I do refer to my detox process quite often on my website and have shared one or two articles touching on biofilms even here on Mad in America. Unfortunately most people do not understand how the health of our bodies impact our minds and how our environments are truly toxic especially to us sensitive folks. Thank you very much for sharing your experience Fred.

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  • you two sound like you have what is sometimes called a sacred marriage…one that challenges you both to the hilt that you may heal and grow. you both are lucky to have stuck it out and learned…and of course you’ve both lived through hell because of what your wife had to heal…my spouse too, has been extraordinarily supportive in a situation that was nothing less than hell for a long time. thank you for sharing.

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  • thanks CatNight. those are all good suggestions and you raise some important questions.
    As to the question: How can we do this better? — that underlies all the work that I do. Part of what I do is education in the hope that we will, as a community, learn and start to practice doing this better. I’ve seen some positive changes in the 10 years I’ve been doing this…we have a very long way to go.

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  • hi Brett,
    no this was not a response to anything on this site. it actually arose as a result of my last encounter with a (radically) alternative practitioner in which the same sort of stuff played out. … I did confront her and spoke very much like I did in this piece…I told her we were involved in a dance…neither of us was to blame exactly but perhaps we could learn from it…she was somewhat defensive but she did acknowledge a lack of experience…it went far better than it would have with someone in the system…that’s for sure. It felt like she was willing to learn from me.

    but to answer your question about mental health professionals perpetrating here as they do in the system…YES…I’ve seen them perpetrate all over the place and critical psych circles are sometimes the worst, because, frankly, when you have some expectation that someone is a ally and then they are energetically just as toxic as anyone in the system, it hurts in a whole new way…and it does happen a lot in my experience.

    I’ve experienced it a lot among the critical psych circle of professionals I participate in. As a survivor with professional experience I have spent a lot of time with a lot of critical psych professionals in virtual spaces…it’s not a comforting thing for me…and in fact I don’t do it so much anymore…it got to be too painful and felt like bashing my head against the wall too often. I like to take care of myself and I’m still healing. I don’t need the constant angst…though, clearly I cannot stop doing this work either… 🙂

    and again…I want to reiterate there are good, wonderful people who get it everywhere too…and I always am willing to help people get there too…if they’re willing to honestly dialogue.

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  • there are wonderful people in the world…some of them are even in the system…I know some very good people offering sanity in the midst of that chaos…

    on a side note…the two people “professionals” I’ve found most profoundly healing for myself are a massage therapist and a cranial sacral therapist…neither one of them have any conventional psychology training…I’m sure that’s one of the reasons they’re so good…but I also know and have met lovely people who do have that background…friends and colleagues mostly…not anyone I’ve worked with as a client.

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  • yeah, it’s pretty nuts to expect anyone to just completely trust random strangers the way the system expects people to…it’s counter to any reasonable self-care in fact…by nature we know very well who we can trust or not…we are intuitive beings but our conditioning has destroyed this capacity…the system encourages people to continue to ignore their insights and intuitions. the entire system is a house of cards — built on top of a mountain of bullshit.

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  • I felt like sharing another thought I had on this. A professional who saw this article on social media took issue with what I said yesterday. Today I was thinking about that and I ended up tweeting my thoughts. Here they are strung together in a paragraph:

    when you bring light to oppressive behavior it’s always those guilty of it that are triggered by it and who get all bent out of shape…. hence mental health professionals who perpetrate against the most vulnerable get pissed off – just like white people claiming they’re never racist. And to be clear, I know I’m racist…as a privileged white person in institutionalized white supremacy it’s impossible not to be… Same is true of mental health professionals who claim system isn’t inherently violent – if you don’t see it, you’re in deeper than those who do…

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  • glad to hear the work has been helpful to you. we all rely on one another (I did too) since professionals (of all kinds, including alternative folks and folks critical of psychiatry) basically know nothing at all about what we actually go through once our autonomic nervous systems are shattered.

    that is, of course, a generalization but it’s largely accurate and many of us never find a professional that is helpful to us. This is a travesty and a large part of why I continue to do this work. This dearth of help for us must change.

    My best to you on your continued efforts.

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  • if anyone is interested I did a short little post at beyond meds…it deserves much more but I don’t have the energy to put into it now. I have been noticing similarities with autism for many years…so have some of my friends. of note is one man who works with autistic folks and has this same psych drug injury manifested much like mine.

    the article at Beyond Meds:
    “Pseudo-Autism” as a result of psych drug injury (another consideration in protracted withdrawal syndrome from psych meds)

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  • oh wow, I love this. Pseudo-Autism…I noticed a long time ago in my recovery process from psych drug injury that I had much in common with folks who identify with the autistic label. I always had some manner of these issues but the drug damage put them on steroids, and yeah, added some heinous qualities to the picture. I have to say that while they are indeed challenging and awful at times there are many gifts and I continue to heal from the heinous aspects of it all.

    And yes, gut and microbiome issues are central to that picture. For me early over-use of antibiotics also played a large part as well as later multiple infections.

    Thank you so much for expressing this variant and injury from your experience. I find it very helpful and validating too.

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  • Just came upon this quote…this is what self-healing is about…it’s truly outside everything we’ve learned within this “cultural operating system.”

    from Terrence McKenna,

    “You are not naked when you take off your clothes. You still wear your religious assumptions, your prejudices, your fears, your illusions, your delusions.

    When you shed the cultural operating system, then, essentially you stand naked before the inspection of your own psyche…

    and it’s from that position, a position outside the cultural operating system, that we can begin to ask real questions about what does it mean to be human, what kind of circumstance are we caught in, and what kind of structures, if any, can we put in place to assuage the plan and accentuate the glory and the wonder that lurks, waiting for us, in this very narrow slice of time between the birth canal and the yawning grave.”

    -Terence McKenna

    yes, from that place too we can ask, “what do I need to do to heal?”

    so, yeah…it’s also a conundrum as to how people get there…good “healers” are folks who help you find that place…that’s why the presenting symptoms aren’t necessarily (though they might sometimes be) significant.

    also…no one with psych drug damage doesn’t have severe issues with sleeping…I don’t sleep like a “normal” person anymore…that’s for sure…but I go with what my body is doing and that’s okay. It’s truly a shift in perspective and paradigm.

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  • with the kind of healing we’re talking about presenting symptoms aren’t really the issue…so part of this is also making a leap…probably a leap of faith when it doesn’t make any sense…

    also, everyone’s trip is truly different…I have all sorts of “symptoms” … I don’t think in those terms anymore, however…so it’s not something I explicitly talk about all that much anymore…

    I still can’t make long term plans or commitments (even into next week, or quite often tomorrow)…why? because my body demands I do stuff to continue healing…the “symptoms” are all healing movements…it doesn’t make sense to concentrate on them beyond in the immediate moment because often the body is telling me what is next on the healing agenda…

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  • I would also go as far as to say I gave up my *self* in order to heal…surrendering is a total thing…and that is, in the end, a process too…and like you said above…everyone gets there in their own way…

    there is no right or wrong…truly…we do as we do…we watch and learn…that’s the best any of us can do.

    love to everyone here…thank you so much for this conversation.

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  • no one relies totally on themselves…we read and get data somehow…our bodies interact with our environment and gets information etc…if it be only the food we put in our bodies (food carries consciousness, too)…we are intimately connected to all things and nothing can be done in a vacuum.

    that said, I no longer seek professionals at all…of any stripe…I do stay open to whatever arises, always, however…for that is how life-force speaks to us…through all things in every moment.

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  • hear hear to intuition!! it’s amazing what the body knows when we listen…this is the source of all the mind-blowing stuff I’ve learned (and yeah, Rebel, you’re right about something you brought up earlier…this is our inheritance…it’s what we’re SUPPOSED to be…if we hadn’t had our core-selves conditioned out of us from the moment we’re born…and in this way we come out ahead of pretty much everyone in society…”normal” is a highly conditioned and unconscious state of being!)

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  • Fiachra,
    I hope you find ways to heal even with whatever it is that still plagues you…healing is not always about everything working as it once did. That is also true. My best to you that you find ways to ease the suffering you still face daily. I too have many issues I am still learning to work with and further transform…

    I also have capacities I never had before…that I am grateful for…of course it’s come at a great cost and it’s devastating to me daily to feel into the destruction that is happening everyday among us.

    I wish I knew how to help everyone. None of us know how to do that…

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  • there are many outcomes for everything always…he’s pretty unequivocal about it causing permanent damage most of the time and I can’t imagine anyone hearing that in the throes of the aftermath of a nasty withdrawal believing that it will be completely hopeless and futile to even try to get better…all of us feel that way in any case…to be told that we will be permanently injured in such a state may very well be a death sentence. I am serious about that. It’s a reckless thing to say given it’s simply not true across the board. people need to KNOW they can get better.

    I was bedridden and nonverbal and had over 50 symptoms EACH OF WHICH would have been disabling all on it’s own for a couple of years. I was homebound for about 5…I’m not some ridiculous pollyanna….i have lived through years of one of the worst tortuous hells a human being can live through. I’ve helped 1000s of people get better in the time I’ve been doing this work and healing myself. I didn’t do that by telling people they would have permanent brain damage.

    I speak explicitly about it being a brain injury but I have come to witness neuroplasticity in action far too many times…with multiple miraculous healings (my own included) to think that generalizing about permanent damage is anything other than reckless and frankly, ignorant. Though if you tell people in your care that they won’t get better I bet you’re not going to see much improvement among the people you’re supposedly trying to help.

    I also have never claimed to have a crystal ball and shit happens…people die coming off these neurotoxic poisons…I do not sugar coat anything and yet, I know and have seen many transformative healings…holding many possible outcomes and thus the present experience of the people we are serving is very important. People come through this and get healthy. That I know. It helps if we believe we can do it. It actually may be necessary to believe we can do it. That doesn’t also mean that some people may not…it’s simply not a reasonable generalization to talk about permanent damage being the norm.

    Oh…and I was on the drugs for 25 years…a monstrous cocktail of ALL the classes of psych drugs at higher than what is considered maximum therapeutic doses. So yeah…I’m your worst case scenario…in the above article…and yeah, my outcome was also pretty worst case scenario for some time…and I’ve found healing that blows my mind daily… everyday, my mind is blown away by what amazing healing machines we are. Amazing creatures of nature…part and parcel of all that is around us.

    And Rebel, PTSD, from forced treatment is also part of my history…that can also be transformed…it’s not an easy thing to do and I’m sorry that you too have been subject to such violence. PTSD from being heinously sick continues to be slowly transformed for me as well…once the trajectory is obvious there is some joy in the process even while some issues remain. Post Traumatic Growth really does happen…it’s really possible. I’m sorry so many people don’t have circumstances that seem to allow for such things to happen and that is why I continue this work that more people might have the resources and environments required to get healthy. Resources include everything internal within us as well as external … we need profound supports and that is largely what is lacking.

    and YES we are the only authorities on us! and that part is clearly something that is part of your process…so I say, you’re doing it right…we do, certainly, all have our own paths. And so your experience is absolutely just as valid as mine and everyone else’s going through life…

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  • I too find this repeated talk about permanent brain injury to be extremely unfortunate as well as irresponsible. It’s clear to me that many of us not only heal but transform into something healthier and more whole than we ever were before psych drugs. Forget recovery…there can be much more, much better than whatever we were before psychiatry. Please stop stripping people from having hope…you are listened to and people trust what you say. This is a destructive narrative you’re putting out there. Things are plenty bad without adding that as icing on the cake from hell. When you say people cannot get well it’s yet another injurious story…like we when we were told we had to be on drugs for the rest of our lives. That, too, was a lie.

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  • my experience with auto-immune disorders is that it’s the body screaming to get attention because of all the toxic assaults (physical, environmental, social and psychological, pharmaceutical etc etc…all really) it’s had to put up with for decades…as I listen to it’s deep wisdom I not only heal the iatrogenic damage, but the auto-immune issues, too are diminishing. I agree with Kelly. The body doesn’t make mistakes…we just don’t listen to it far too often and it will get sick when we don’t.

    To be clear: we don’t learn to listen because we are actually taught to IGNORE the body. When we learn to listen to the body once again we find that we can come into alignment with all of life in ways I sure as hell had no idea even existed until I was forced to start paying attention (once I was bedridden so sick I couldn’t move or speak)

    Once we listen we learn that the body has wisdom that far exceeds anything we learn intellectually. Incredible healing wisdom….learning to listen is key. And yes, Kelly, suggests some ways to start doing that.

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  • To refer to SSRIs as essentially no better than placebo is misleading because while it’s technically true in clinical trials or in the ways they’re referring to in such analysis as the above article — SSRIs are also very different than placebos…they are NOT inert…they are very active and they make EVERYONE feel differently (one way or another).

    People who are very depressed like to feel differently. Different can sometimes feel better even if only for a while..those folks who like it turn that difference into a “positive” placebo. Sometimes different feels much better and sometimes different feels really bad and even dangerous (think homicidal and suicidal–SSRIs are associated with both).

    The fact remains SSRIs are not inert and they will act in all manner of ways in different people. And, then of course, yeah, they also cause iatrogenic damage…often severe…placebos don’t cause long term disability and brain injury.

    The placebo meme is therefore overused and extremely misleading….it makes it sound like SSRIs do nothing at all which is absolutely not true. They are potent psychoactive and neurotoxic drugs. They can sometimes make people feel better and sometimes they make people violent, suicidal and homicidal. That’s quite a feat for something that’s referred to as a placebo, eh?

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  • also the “survivors” karis is talking about is someone I know…two people actually from Washington State…the only reason they even know I was banned from benzo buddies is because I wrote about the experience…they took the part about the amazon links and made it a big deal at the time as well…they were not members of that board so they only info they got was from me and my post…the real reason they banned me was for being critical about all drugs…which is something we all agree on here, I think…

    I wrote about benzo buddies here: if you want to take things out of context and embellish it like those other folks did…I can’t stop that.

    I’m really sorry this comment section has devolved like this. My best again to Get it Right. xo

    (I will not engage any further on this topic)

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  • the only site I’ve ever been banned from is Benzo Buddies. They banned me because I was outspoken about ALL drugs being problematic and they therefore called me anti psychiatry and found that to be offensive…

    they also used the links to amazon as a reason to block their users from linking to my site (which they’ve since stopped doing…for the last year or so they no longer block links to my site and their members do link to my site with some regularity)

    This was the reason they gave for banning me…this was cut and pasted…

    “Sorry Gianna, you are banned from using this forum!
    Your membership has been permanently suspended for refusing to remove a url to an anti-psychiatry site, from your profile. As well as a long history of moderation issues. (that site was Beyond Meds)
    This ban is not set to expire.”

    Increasing my earnings is a pretty funny way to talk about the very small amount of money that comes in. They said they wouldn’t allow links because of the Amazon links…again…I stated above how much money comes from those links.

    Also Robert Whitaker apparently didn’t have an issue with the links because they’ve not been removed. I told him I was fine with them being removed as they weren’t intended for this site when the piece was published.

    Anyway, thank you Get It Right. It’s really sad when folks attack others who are helping folks…and also trying to survive…and I don’t make enough to survive from this…not even close and I’ve not quit…I keep on doing it because it’s not a choice. It’s what I do and what I love. How lovely if we might find ways for it to sustain us financially too and support one another in doing so. So far few of us have found ways to do that. I’m not sure why it should be wrong to find ways to survive.

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  • I’m happy to take the affiliate links out of this text. I am not the editor here I did not post my article here…the piece was cut and pasted from Beyond Meds and then posted by the editor here at MiA…I don’t think either one of us thought about the links.

    Take it up with the editors here. I had not read the line you just quoted above. I have no issue with complying with Mad in America’s guidelines and the links can be removed to be in keeping with that.

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  • and yes — NO to PROTOCOLS…I totally agree with that…that’s why I put quotes around the word protocol and said it CHANGES DAILY…that is not a protocol…it’s responding to my body in every moment…

    the reader had asked me what my “protocol” was so I entertained the question by using the word ….

    we need to respond to the body…each of us as we see fit for our own body. this is one the most fundamental things I say again and again…

    none of us is alike…

    we can still learn from each other…I’ve been informed by literally thousands of people now…yes, we the people…and science and sometimes doctors too…I will get good info from all over the place…and suggest others do the same…it’s like a puzzle and every single one of us has a different puzzle to solve.

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  • we’re sharing what is working for us…that is what you seem to be suggesting. (also 93 people saw fit to share it on Facebook…it also appeared on Beyond Meds which impacts the response here…it was shared another 171 times there) … suggesting folks do find it helpful.

    this is happening in my body right now. I don’t know exactly what is happening…the science suggests what I’ve shared…it’s happening in other people too with whom I interact online in chronic illness circles

    I don’t care what is actually happening. I know I ‘m getting better…all the time and I know that this path is the one I needed to get well. It’s not necessarily for anyone else and I say that again and again.

    the fact is some people are more gravely impacted by iatrogenic injuries than others. this is not a hard fact to grasp…and it’s the reality.

    you seem to have an inherent contradiction in what you’re saying.

    I make no money whatsoever for thousands of hours I put in writing and researching. I will not apologize for affiliate links. They are such that if someone follows them and buys ANYTHING at all from Amazon I get a (tiny) percent. It doesn’t matter if anyone buys what I link to.

    I really want to know how people expect us to survive when we work full time for this movement but don’t ask for money from the hundreds of people we help.

    I find your line of reasoning insulting. It’s ridiculous as well as completely unrealistic to expect us to survive in a capitalistic society and have no source of funding. It’s more than ridiculous it’s ungrateful and hateful both as well.

    I have never charged anyone for any of the hundreds of hours I’ve spent helping folks directly one on one to heal and find freedom from psychiatry.

    You clearly don’t want me to continue healing if you won’t allow me to try to survive in the very limited ways we can do that.

    Amazon has never brought in more than $120 in a months time and generally it’s more like $50 – 100. This is my work. I have to find other ways to survive right now because Amazon is not cutting it.

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  • it’s possible, yes. I can’t know for sure (we never really do with this stuff) but I definitely was calling a lot of detox symptoms a reaction to foods…for a long time before I began to understand what was going on. Raw garlic has a very strung anti-fungal property…very strong…and so does ginger…Garlic though is actually commonly recommended as an anti-fungal with candida and you can get it in pills etc.

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  • I’ve not used that strain and certainly having a lively mix of multiple strains that our particular bodies like is very important. Again…the research cannot possibly figure out what every particular body needs nor can it research all the many thousands of different strains. Also the idea of patenting bacteria is rather ludicrous…

    The DDS-1 strain you’re is a strain of acidophilus…and acidophilus is a very friendly strain for most people and it’s almost always part of yogurt, for example…(generally an unpainted variety 😛

    But we need a whole lot more than just acidophilus in our guts if we want them to be happy. There are a lot of strains that have lots of research. I found one that was very helpful to me that way. L-plantarum. It’s in many supplements and it’s also naturally occurring in many veggie ferments.

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  • oh, another point about supplements. We can know exactly what we’re getting. When folks are hypersensitive we can feel the difference between probiotic strains. Some may trigger us while others don’t. For example being that I’ve had histamine issues I needed to find histamine degrading or histamine neutral strains rather than ones that further create histamine. I can’t control what is in a food ferment…I can know very well what it in a supplement. This knowledge is very helpful. As I am able to take in more and more probiotics my sensitivities are diminishing…I believe it’s related. 🙂

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  • fermented foods and supplements both have been helpful for me. for three years my sensitivities became so severe I couldn’t tolerate fermented foods OR probiotic supplements. I needed to heal my nervous system first which was a challenge because a healthy nervous system relies on a healthy gut!! I was in a catch-22…I used herbs to get my nervous system in a bit better condition and then I tolerated supplements BEFORE I tolerated fermented foods…I continue to use both foods and supplements because I need both at the moment. As my health continues to improve these needs will continue to evolve…anyway…just pointing out that individual needs are going to vary and in some instances supplements are very important.

    In general I’m the get everything from real whole foods gal but there are times that targeted supplementation (not just with probiotics) is critical…usually for periods of time, not forever.

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  • Me too Alex…absolutely essential. As usual those of us who are busy getting healthy can’t wait around for the research. Our bodies are wonderful instruments which will guide us to even the right strains of probiotics just for us…imagine that! It’s certainly my experience. It takes time and attention to learn to listen but the body is a wonderful guide. I can feel probiotics…almost communicate with them really. They are truly little beings that populate our guts and help or hinder us…it’s a very good thing to get to know them if we want to get healthy.

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  • Wow, that seems unnecessarily reactive. I’m not sure what an “entrenched user” is in your mind…but as a medicine I would most certainly suggest minimal usage of any cannabis product with long term maintenance use being problematic (for anyone who gave it a shot). Medicine, if used to actually HEAL shouldn’t be needed forever and in my mind if cannabis is being used in that way, then it too shouldn’t be needed beyond a time-limited healing process. I see people healing all around me…it’s a lovely thing. Options are good.

    And to be clear…I don’t consume alcohol or any form of cannabis or any other intoxicating substance (including caffeine). — at one time or another I’ve tried all of them but it’s been many years since I used any of them

    cheers man…you need some

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  • Hi Sandra,
    I agree that recommendations shouldn’t be made…about any drug, medication or herb…

    discussing how things may or may not be helpful is the way to go in general! that’s what informed consent is all about.

    having lived with severe hypersensitivities (which are finally clearing up now, five plus years out from the withdrawal) I’ve learned that recommendations are dangerous…across the board. Everyone should always be able to make decisions based on the (always) limited knowledge we have and trust their own bodies and sense, too). We never know what is best for someone else…our bodies are all too individual.

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  • Jon, as Will gets into above, the strain matters. CBD, unlike THC doesn’t cause anxiety even for folks who’ve been injured by psych meds most likely — although we can get radically sensitive to just about anything as you know. It may, though, cause sleeplessness which is just as bad and perhaps worse for that population since in the long run that would loop back into nervous system chaos…lack of sleep never a good thing. While it’s in the body, though, it’s got a very wakeful calm for many. I did some research once this piece was published. It is calming, but not sedating and for some causes insomnia even as it calms (also brings wakeful clarity, according to some accounts)…which still makes it inappropriate for the folks you’re caring for…but not for the reason indicated.

    I was shocked to learn that there are strains of marijuana where the CBD out ranks the THC 20:1 which means the THC is essentially non-existant. It’s THC that causes both the drowsiness that makes it a sleeper for some and the paranoia and psychosis like symptoms it brings out in others or the famous “high” effects that the general user gets. Rather fascinating stuff.

    This is an interesting report from a user found on this page:

    Most HELPFUL
    a year ago
    “Some reviewers report that medicine with high CBD and low THC don’t get you “high” but that isn’t the whole story. This makes it sound like the medicine doesn’t alter the user’s internal and/or external experience, which isn’t true. Many people report that these high CBD/low THC medicinals bring on immediate relaxation, a sense of well-being and a very gentle tingling sensation. This has certainly been my experience….”


    From Project CBD:

    Sleep Disorders
    In the United States, approximately 70 million people suffer from insomnia, insufficient sleep or another sleep disorder. CBD has been mistakenly described as sedating. In modest doses, CBD is mildly alerting. Cannabidiol activates the same adenosine receptors as caffeine, a stimulant. But several patients with sleep issues report that ingesting a CBD-rich tincture or extract a few hours before bedtime has a balancing effect that facilitates a good night’s sleep.

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  • Hi Zagoorey…
    I had a lot of auditory processing problems too. It is also, yet another, way the autonomic nervous system is impacted and then affects the way we perceive sound. My issues are virtually all gone. It’s not true that you cannot recover. This is what western medicine likes to tell us. The brain damage need not be permanent and simply is not in all cases. It helps to believe that you can heal and to spend time with people who have healed. That is what I’ve done and how I’ve come to know that healing is possible.

    I have not spent time in medical circles pretty much at all. I found a couple of people I could occasionally bounce questions off of who have medical degrees but who were not beholden to western medicines doom and gloom around these sorts of issues.

    What I did was approach the problem exactly as I say above. These were fear based issues that have real physiological and biological correlates, but that with observation and then taking action from what I learned I was able to heal. I can only suggest you read some of the linked to articles or if you’re not drawn to more of my work then the general advice I give everyone is simply to find that which makes sense to you…anything that gives you hope and follow it. I found that my heart knew the way out. I believe that yours very well may too. All I can say is trust and believe that you can heal and see where whatever tiny kernel of faith in that possibility brings you. I can’t help create that for you but perhaps you can see if you might consider it’s possibility. If I healed, is it possible that you might too? (I was bedridden for 2 years and couldn’t even speak for most of the time)

    I’m sorry you’re hurting and I hope you’re able to find your way out of the maze. My best to you.

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  • I’m glad it feels helpful to you sandgroper.
    I ultimately think that what the drug damage allows for is a completely unfiltered experience of primordial terror…it allows us to experience, again, unfiltered, the terror of humanity and so it’s still something that can be worked with and healed sandgroper… For me that meant and continues to mean allowing it. As counter-intuitive as that may seem — allowing and listening to it is also allowing healing. I hope you can feel better too. take care.

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  • I don’t use the word God (routinely) because I think it unnecessarily alienates a lot of people…I think God is exactly what I am talking about when I talk about all that is etc. God could care less if you name it or not IMO…but this is exactly why I avoid the word…I prefer avoiding theological discussions. 🙂

    That said you’ll see that when I post stuff from different world mythologies and religions God, does, indeed pop up quite often on the blog…in personal conversations it’s a whole different story…I will be what life force (God) needs in whatever circumstance…that means I really don’t care what words come out of my mouth as long as I communicate love.

    There we go…my non-dual understanding of the world is revealed.

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  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I agree that emotions are constructs. You know in Buddhism and in most mind/body therapies now (many of which do, indeed, take trauma seriously) they talk about not attaching to the story line. I talk a lot about how helpful it is to reframe one’s story. Ultimately the goal is to let go of the story because, yes, not only are the emotions constructs, but so it our very sense of self! And then, yes, at a certain point no-self can certainly let go of the concept of trauma as well.

    Timing, however, is critical.

    One needs to respect people’s processes and what they actually believe at any given time because that is how one heals too…by respecting themselves…in my experience it seems there are many windows in to this human experience and they all have validity at the right time and place…more or less depending on who is evaluating them.

    thanks for the article!

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  • Oh, I’m sorry, Laurie, I’m really tired right now too so I’m not responding very cogently…here I am answering in bits. I’m not completely out of the dark either…but I wanted to say, there are people who can listen and are willing to…and I find more and more as I’m willing to hold my own pain…it’s kind of a catch-22 but in surrendering to the reality it seems to be healing me…growing me up even. I can parent those parts of myself and heal…and as I do that I meet more and more human beings who can hear me…everywhere…give it try. It’s a process…and one has to watch it unfold…there is no making it happen. Best to you.

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  • thank you Laurie…

    what I try to get across is that protocols are not possible once the system goes haywire…recovery is a personal journey. … we do need assistance, but it’s not with protocols…protocols are not generally flexible and can and do harm folks when they run into care providers who simply tell them what to do…regardless of the discipline or methods.

    the only possible protocol (and it’s simply not really one at all) is to help people in deeply meaningful ways to learn to listen….that can be done in part by someone willing to HEAR them first.

    that’s kind of it as far as I can see…and it’s really what all of humanity needs as well. we all need to learn to listen. …that would in fact put an end to the harm that has befallen us all…if we lived among a population that knew how to listen we wouldn’t be harming one another in this way to begin with.

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  • I am largely in agreement with you, yes rebel. We cannot expect anyone to get this and we do need to take care of ourselves. But we are not alone…we have each other and there are many thousands of us. And indeed, everyone is like us too in some way…in the end everyone really does need to check inside and be responsible for themselves…if a true and deep individuation and maturation is to happen in the human being…and the magic is that in that process we find connection with the entire human race and all of life and being. This process can hasten in a profound healing and transformation if we see it through.

    Eventually we do find that we have all that we need within us. At the same time we find that we all need each other as well. Paradox.

    Your comments about intuition…I’ve written a lot about that…a piece here on Mad in America: Internal Guidance

    and another related: Believe and know:

    thanks rebel…and here’s to the “funny feelings” that help us out of this maze we find ourselves in. my best to you as we continue healing, growing and learning.

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  • both/and – not – either/or … both our bodies and what happened to us and then a whole lot of other stuff too…yes, you’re right, we will never know why…holding everything in that light is good. I think it’s good to understand ourselves as beings impacted by everything about being in this animal body on this planet. Flip flopping from one extreme to another doesn’t get us anywhere. Neither will denying that our physiology (or alternately our traumatic histories) are meaningless. It all matters and none of it is meaningless and we will also never really know exactly what is going on. Everyone finds their way through the maze in different ways…sometimes underscoring one thing more than another by necessity…because that is all any one person can handle at a time. Respecting how an individual finds their way is the most important thing it seems. There are as many paths to wholeness as there are human beings.

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  • your situation is one of typical hyper-sensitivity (as well as chronic pain) that is common among folks with protracted withdrawal issues. it does diminish over time and there are many different ways of coping in the meantime. different people find different things helpful.

    the links in the above post may be helpful to explore.

    Also here is a list of posts on Beyond Meds that deal with chronic pain:

    if you scroll down the page that link brings you to you might find information that may be helpful. I found that reframing my experience while also learning coping skills helped a lot. That is in essence what I continue to do even now.

    I wish you the best. Perseverance if nothing else will get you through the worst and in time it all diminishes and we become more able to respond to what is happening to us.

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  • I just posted this on Beyond Meds Facebook page…in part as a result of this conversation:

    “I take the radical perspective that as human animals we have the capacity to know all manner of things by instinct. It is in our DNA and manifests via intuition. This is not magic. It is not a super-power. We are “psychic” by nature. It is our human inheritance. We have forgotten how to access our very nature. That is all. And as complicated as we might like to make the conundrum we are faced with right now, it’s also pretty simple. We need only pay attention.”

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  • it’s not based on just my experience but also the 1000s I have the honor to interact with online…those with both physical and mental health issues….

    the chronic illness circles have a spectrum of the entire population on them including many with psychiatric diagnosis….there is actually a lot of research that already backs this up as well…and we do read it in tandem with learning to listen to and experience our bodies and knowing instruments that can lead us in the right direction to heal.

    all the things you mention are also critically important…but not more or less. of course different people need different things at different times…that’s true. when I suggested a starting point I meant in a clinical setting where those things are considered…in the end every path is unique but all these things are parts of what make us human animals on a planet intimately intertwined with everything including the bugs in our guts.

    I personally don’t need studies to know what I know. My body knows and so do the bodies of 1000s of folks I’ve interacted. You certainly don’t have to believe us, but you will not silence us. Healing is too critically important to wait around for the establishment to get their heads on straight. Still as mentioned above I do utilize the science that is already available and there is actually quite a lot. Data helps the intuitive process. I’m not anti-science, I simply don’t rely on it alone.

    Internal guidance and intuition are real things that can lead us to what we need…and that, does, also, indeed look different for everyone. And so we may differ here and that is just fine.

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  • Thank you,
    Tending to the gut is one of the most fundamental issues that everyone who lacks general well-being, whether physically or mentally manifested can do to build a foundation of wellness.

    This doesn’t change the fact that “shit happens” in our environments bpdtransformation …what it does is help provide an internal capacity to better meet that shit.

    My own healing journey has made it profoundly clear that healing the gut and optimizing diet is a place to start in tandem with understanding trauma (what happened to us) … in tandem because they are inseparable, truly.

    Everything matters…when starting the process of unraveling how it all fits together in our own idiosyncratic lives having a healthy body matters. One cannot have a healthy body without a healthy gut.

    **as a side note, my gut’s health was destroyed by (completely unnecessary) longterm antibiotic therapy for (mild) acne in my teenage years. In my own trajectory it’s clear to me now that this set me up for everything that followed…prior to the psych meds, the antibiotics were the gateway into general dis – ease which led to drugs (psychiatric and others too) and more drugs which ended up destroying my wellbeing. It’s been in healing the gut with optimal diets and probiotics etc along with becoming drug free that I have found well-being once again.

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  • I love Dr. Judy Tsafrir … she’s a lovely human being who is willing to learn from non-MDs (there are truly very few such people…alternative or otherwise)…we’ve exchanged information on a number of occasions.

    I’m glad your daughter benefits from Orthomolecular (and I’m glad that others do too)…in the end that is what matters…that people are able to live better and healthier lives…if she is in the hands of practitioners that care about her and listen and she is happy to be there that is a wonderful thing.

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  • me neither Ted. This makes me want to cry…and it is why I don’t seek this shit out anymore. I know it’s happening. I work to do what I can in front of me…what I’m called to do in every moment…supporting and educating those who seem to find their way to me…You too are also clearly doing that which you can. I avoid masochism when I can. I think we all do what we can and we all have different gifts and skills. And so we move forward. I think you’re right in some circles it’s getting worse…I also think that more and more people are becoming aware because of the work we do…so that in other circles new ways of thinking are taking root. The split down the middle remains, though, obviously.

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  • Similarly, I’m now reading all types of credible-sounding websites and articles, all reporting with great certainty that supplements and vitamins are (1) Amazingly beneficial and absolutely essential for good health (2) Of little use, basically a waste of money (3) Totally useless and often harmful. Which is it???

    it’s none and all of those things depending on the situation…discernment is the most important thing to develop on this journey…I decided to develop my own rather than rely on professionals and it’s served me well. We really do have within the the capacity to do that…and when it’s appropriate that discernment will also let us know who to trust on those occasions a professional is called for.

    I agree, though, the information age is overwhelming and learning to take care of oneself is no small thing.

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  • and lastly I should say…I saw 3 different orthomolecular doctors…some quite well known and all of them made me ill … I gave up on that route … especically when they behaved like other psychiatrist and blamed me for the negative responses I had to the synthetic nutrients they put me on.

    so there you go…I did give it a shot. several shots. it didn’t work and I ran into some of the same ugly behavior in standard medicine…and it seems to me it’s because they were, in the end, still totally caught up in an allopathic mode of medicine that for me is unhealthy and not at all recuperative.

    I didn’t lead with that fact because I like to share what works…but the fact is my body did not like Orthomolecular supplementation at all. I got some of the popular ortho diagnosis and all that too….my body/mind/spirit had other ideas about how I should heal…and hence here I am.

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  • while some loss of nutrients in the food supply in general seems to be true there are so many intensely and densely nutritious foods that this isn’t really a sound argument for not getting most of our nutrients from diet if we so choose…it’s possible to learn to eat the right mixture of foods for ourselves…optimal diet is unique to everyone.

    that said, as Alex points out we’re all different and these foods are also not all available to everyone (for a lot of different reasons) and some people will simply have other paths to follow that doesn’t make learning to get all their nutrition from foods feel like an imperative. This is legitimate and totally fine. This is my path. One of whole foods and learning and knowing the body in this deep and intimate way. It is my path and it is what I share with others who want to know it. It is what I am coming to know on a cellular level. It is not necessary for everyone to know or experience this. It remains true for me and I’ve watched many other people heal from all sorts of illnesses. My path took me hear because I developed severe intolerances to virtually all supplements. I HAD to learn to do without and now I know it’s possible. Someone who doesn’t need to learn this won’t learn it…that’s all good. We are endlessly diverse.

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  • the issue in my mind is that what happens (too often) with supplements is that an allopathic approach to health is maintained rather than moving towards the dynamism of a more holistic approach. This is to be expected in our culture unfortunately…but the more we start understanding the whole the more supplements and drugs, too for that matter, will be used in a sane and more profoundly healing way…rather than as modes for maintenance. Our bodies can do amazing things and shouldn’t need much help from such substances if we are feeding them and tending to them appropriately from the get go. As it stands now we are relearning what our ancestors already knew. How to eat and nourish ourselves.

    I still use a couple of supplements and never say never to just about anything. My body has had to lived in a challenged capacity for many years. I do whatever it needs to heal. It’s an incredible resilient communicative animal that I am coming to deeply love.

    Learning to be in correct relationship to my body is a wonderful journey.

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  • yes, of course, I agree. I’ve needed targeted supplementation at certain junctures too. But with foundational good diets less people would ever need to resort to synthesized nutrition and I move towards being able to avoid it completely myself. Once healing is achieved much of it can be let go and in some instances all of it…that’s the point I’m making.

    herbs, too, are nutrient powerhouses. most nutritionists (in general) don’t have the foggiest idea how to use them. I eat them as a whole food. I harvest them and when I can’t get them fresh I buy them dried and organic. They remain whole real food.

    we have a lovely garden with about 10 different herbs and veggies that tend to be prolific like zucchini, green beans and tomatoes….I love the garden more than I can say.

    In the end I am always pragmatic. Sometimes psych drugs are appropriate too given the reality we live in today.

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  • yes, beautiful madmom.

    food works this way in my life too. I know most of the farmers of the food I eat. Food is love. I think this is another reason I’m not keen on supplements (though there is a place for them, no doubt) …it really takes away from what you speak to here though madmom…if the importance of food isn’t underscored too.

    and once one has a profoundly healthy diet supplements too can largely fall away for most people. This too is true.

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  • I had the same response as you did bpdtransformation. Primary “treatment” should be dictated by the person who is having difficulty. Holistic care means responding to the individual. This means everything, in some regard, is primary. But holding out one aspect of the whole as somehow more primary, does, indeed, remain problematic…and in some instances would be downright misguided… We find wholeness and health in learning to live well and how that manifests in every person will be different in every person. Diet, too, is part of learning to live well. Indeed.

    But I would agree with bpdtransformation that love and unconditional regard and clarity…states of consciousness that allow for openness so that one might actually see the whole person is fundamental…it needs to hold everything so that one might move forward with any given individual in clarity…what needs to be tended to here, today, right now? The answer to that most certainly will not always be food and diet.

    note: diet is critically important to my well-being and a good part of my work is dedicated to such work. I’m grateful inroads are being made in circles such as these, but I also have concern that over-emphasis on diet isn’t a good idea.

    I find that people get attached to whatever modes work for them and the people they work with. Given I’ve used many many modes and work with 1000s of folks using many many modes I’ve simply come to see that it’s about the individual and boy, people come up with lots of ways to get well…I’ve learned I cannot predict what that might be…watching the human find wellness is an adventure…

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  • Wow, when I came off my huge cocktail of drugs the first thing that I could say was an undeniable improvement and what I repeatedly referred to in my writing was my clarity of mind. Yes, the fuzzy thinking was the very first and for a long time the only improvement that allowed me to trust I’d done the right thing after being struck with severe protracted withdrawal issues. Without that gift of clarity I don’t think I could have made it. So this report is astonishing to me and again underscores why I continue to do the work I do that others might not be harmed as I was. That clarity even shown through the worst of neurological impairments (I couldn’t speak, for example for a couple of years) … honestly … wow.

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  • this is very cool. I’m going to point out the obvious here just in case anyone didn’t get. (you do need to go and read the article) This sort of “being with and not guiding” people is exactly what people in “psychosis” (spiritual emergence or emotional crisis) need. it’s really not a difficult concept and yet it seems to elude almost everyone in the mainstream mental illness system.

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  • thank you Sean! my exact thoughts. WTF? why is this news?

    I have known people several people made seriously permanently ill. I’ve known people who’ve needed kidney transplants and I had a client, whom I loved, die from lithium induced kidney failure. I cannot tell you how much I HATE lithium…and yet it’s still touted in some circles as the very best treatment for “bipolar disorder.”

    it’s truly a source of great pain in my heart.

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  • part of holistic thinking is embracing more not less….both/and thinking rather than either/or. Of course physical trauma is real…and it impacts the emotional/psychological and vice versa. Starting points and lenses onto the truth are endless…it means many perspectives are valid… It’s actually rather exciting. The truth is also filled with nuance…and yeah, it makes people nervous…let’s grapple with it…

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  • oh, thanks…that’s interesting way to think about it. Chewing actually triggers me in the opposite direction…and that is actually pathologized in some autistic and other such medical communities…there is an actual label with “disorder” attached to it…I don’t remember what it is, because I stay mostly away from such nonsense…anyway, yes, it’s all very interesting.

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  • thank you Alex, yes, yes, yes. It’s so nice to hear from others who understand this stuff and can articulate their own personal experience.

    “In the world of energy healing, nothing is chronic and everything is repairable. That was a huge discovery for me.” — it’s the discovery that holds back our entire medical system. What an amazing and lovely thing life is!! How amazing and lovely each and every one of us are.

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  • I have personally found that my body goes into an immune response when it’s visited by a trauma trigger. The trauma remains foundational. The immune response is secondary to a trauma in the history of the person. It would be a mistake to consider the immunological aspects without also looking at trauma. This is why there is so much auto-immune illness in circles of folks who’ve been psychiatrized.

    Gabor Mate’s work is very important here:
    Mental illness, addiction & most chronic illness is linked to childhood loss & trauma

    This sort of research so often misses the whole picture…but there are people stringing it all together finally….it just needs to get out there a little more widely. Pharmaceutical management is NOT the way to go.

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  • I didn’t actually use the word free…I don’t like that word given it’s overused and tends to devalue valuable work and I therefore avoid using it. I used the adjective freely…which is different in my mind…of course it would most likely be better to come up with a different term.

    The fact is a lot of the folks that really need our help are not only poor, they also suffer from emotional injuries that simply make monetary transactions more complicated. Frankly I think I suffer from that as well. The fact is what we need is love and when we’re talking about our mental health we don’t want to have to pay for something that is our inheritance (again LOVE)…for me this is part of the problem…

    by the way, I have no issue with you or anyone (including me) charging for our work. I will certainly be doing that in some ways in the future…I am letting things unfold, as I said. All I said was that some measure of my work would be given freely…not all of it and sometimes maybe not most of it…balance and being in alignment with that is right for us right now supersedes all else.

    I’ll try to take a look at your other articles later. I’m on hiatus (mostly) from blogging etc and I have a commitment this afternoon.

    It’s nice “chatting” with you.

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  • This is an important topic and one I struggle with. I see my work as service and feel that it’s important that some measure of it will always be offered freely.

    I personally believe that there are many different sorts of alternate economies…what you are calling the gift economy being just one. I have not found a way to directly make money via my work and there have been times when I worked up to 80 hours a week for no monetary compensation whatsoever…(no I don’t do that sort of madness anymore)…people do donate from time to time but it’s remains a very small amount in comparison to the hours worked and is not nearly enough to support oneself.

    So yes, something I often think about as I slowly re-enter the world.

    One thing is that I do see evidence of a universe that is deeply and profoundly supporting me and I am simply letting this unfold at this point…I’ve been getting my needs met in the most amazing ways…I simply don’t have expectations of where my healing comes from anymore…certainly I only “pay” with money for a tiny fraction of the support the universe offers me when it comes to my healing journey.

    With that in mind I have been able to more freely give, but also more freely make boundaries to keep myself healthy because I trust now that as I move into this sort of consciousness that things will continue to flow.

    I’m well aware that this sounds like crazy woo…but it’s my experience and it’s happening. It seems to be happening to others I communicate with as well…I sometimes think of the bible quote: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

    Neither my partner nor I have had a meaningful income for quite a while. I’m aware of my privilege in that we live in our own home and my basic needs are met. Still we need an income to maintain this stuff and things have been working out one way or another…even while being on the edge for several years now…

    I like Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics. Finding that economy is individual…just like everything else…we all find it in different ways and there is no one way to get keyed into ti…here’s something I posted on that

    I’m still learning how to make this all work…and it’s trial and error as much as anything else. I continue to have my donation button and my Amazon affiliate buttons on Beyond Meds because that too counts and I do need to eat.

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  • I hope my comments weren’t viewed as being too drug centered in your mind Matthew…I totally agree that socio-economic issues are critically important as well and that there isn’t enough commentary on them in general. All the trauma based information I post at Beyond Meds embraces this view completely.

    I agree with all your comment as well…our abusive society is rife with “racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, moral training, mass incarceration, and class exploitation” and all of those things make for a generally abusive and traumatic culture for everyone…

    Anyway, I did want to underscore that I think that without identifying how these issues are fundamental in our society we won’t get out of the rut we’re in…medicating everyone with little discernment….and thus making problems even worse.

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  • Thank you Timothy. ,
    I too think many of these points are very important and welcome them into the discussion and also, like some of the folks above, it’s clear to me that psychiatric drugs are also highly problematic and do indeed cause severe and grave disability all on their own. I’ve worked with thousands of people coming off meds now and to be clear some folks are put on these disabling medications for issues that are not even remotely psychiatric in nature and they still end up like the lot of us….disabled and crippled for at least some time.

    Also, I think there are many other factors besides what Timothy Kelly brings up…as Jon Keyes mentions our food supply is one…

    I’ve always considered Robert Whitaker’s argument to be just part of the equation and have often talked about how “everything matters” because we are, indeed, profoundly holistic beings. We like to slice things up and point the finger at this or that but the broader the picture is always better and the kaleidoscope of what comes together for each individual too varies. It’s never going to be the same thing twice.

    Our over medicalized western lives in general also have a large impact. In my own research to uncover what happened to me when I was struck gravely ill in what is vaguely called psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, it’s also clear, that excessive early use of antibiotics added to my becoming additionally sensitive to the ways that psychiatric drugs harm us in particular.

    Autoimmune issues are rampant among the folks impacted by psychiatric drug withdrawal issues which has been completely neglected as well. The medical establishment doesn’t understand autoimmune issues in any case and psychiatry will be late to the game for sure as it always is.

    I think the work of Bessel van der Kolk — The Body Keeps the Score — is hugely important. Gabor Mate is doing incredibly good work too…they start touching on some additional important things to consider.

    Because these issues are so broad and huge we need to get our information from many different disciplines.

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  • This looks incredible! thank you for sharing. Some of us are piece mealing this stuff together for ourselves with great results and sharing the info. Certainly a lot of folks when challenged and vulnerable aren’t up to figuring it out on their…you’re doing it in one place…I hope it gets replicated and tweaked/improved everywhere so that many more people can benefit from what is totally necessary. A deeply holistic approach.

    This is the program he’s talking about…copied and pasted from his site…good stuff!!

    We will accept adults 18 and up. The focus of the program is on identifying underlying core issues such
    as inflammation, methylation problems, nutritional imbalances, food allergies, sleep and lifestyle/
    behavior patterns. We emphasize skill building and empowerment. The list below provides an overview
    of what we provide:

    • 3 hours of integrative psychiatry assessment and treatment
    • 3 hours of naturopathic assessment and treatment
    • 2 sessions of IV nutrient therapy customized to individual need
    • Quantitative EEG/Brain map and introduction to Neurofeedback
    • Comprehensive laboratory assessment of blood and urine
    • Assessment of genetic profile as it relates to mental health
    • Introduction to biofeedback/heart rate variability
    • 3 hours of family systems assessment and counseling
    • 2 hours of hand on instruction in cooking and food selection
    • 2 hours of Reiki and energy medicine intuitive assessment
    • 5 sessions of instruction in mindful eating
    • 10 gourmet meals
    • 2 sessions of acupuncture
    • Q EEG/Brain map interpretation
    • Collaborative team meeting to assess and plan care
    • Aftercare with support from psychiatrist, naturopath and therapist
    • Support and instruction to enhance implementation
    • Comprehensive treatment plan with detailed instructions
    • Support, encouragement, acceptance and affection

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  • sure I agree…it has to be done if and when appropriate or need be, yes…and clearly not everyone manages this sort of thing successfully nor is everyone meant to have such a passage…life is messy and risky too, no doubt.

    I imagine Nietzsche alluded to something similar when he said “if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you” …

    I had no choice but to look long and hard into the abyss…it was my only way out and through and I truly don’t think I had a choice…this has been a matter of survival quite literally…

    Anyway, I don’t assume my experience is appropriate for everyone. It’s what I had to do and some others seem to find it helpful to hear about it so I share it. I don’t believe anything is ever true for everyone and that is why we all need to develop our own sense of discernment and live and let live.

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  • Trauma does create dramas that get played out over and over again, no doubt. Some of those dramas are exactly what is happening right now…learning to recognize all of that is very helpful actually. All human beings are subject to replay of early child programming to some extent as well…it’s just how we’re wired…those things can be recognized via many different modalities as well.

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  • Psychotherapy is one potentially appropriate method of care among many. There is no one size fits all solution to every human beings emotional distress. Learning to live well involves many different pieces that vary from individual to individual as well as within the life of any single person. In other words what we needs changes as we ourselves change and grow.

    What works for me or you or that person over there may not work for anyone else…or some bits and pieces of it may and others not.

    As soon as we believe or assume we know what is right for others (or everyone) we are flirting with coerciveness.

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  • I never saw this comment cheshirecat, sorry. St. John’s Wort is a potent herb and helpful to some folks some of the time time.

    I have personally found that I don’t process MAOIs well…and they make me sick..this includes foods and supplements and herbs that are high in natural MAOIs…St John’s Wort, therefore, messes with me pretty badly.

    It can also trigger manic like symptoms in some people…that may also be an MAOI sensitivity, I don’t know.

    I would get some tea bags with it and make a tea and sip it in tiny bits and see how you do. I also don’t generally think herbs should be used like drugs…EVERY SINGLE DAY…our bodies change…day to day and month to month and with age and with the seasons etc etc etc…

    I don’t take any herbs daily. I respond to my body daily and it’s always changing.

    allopathic medicine treats our bodies as if they were inert…that is largely what makes allopathic medicine highly toxic…really.

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  • yes, I’ve suggested exactly this before Robb…there is much talk about SSRIs and the sexual dysfunction they cause because they’re handed out like candy to everyone. The antipsychotics are (more frequently) handed out to people who have already been marginalized and those “truly” mentally ill folk can’t actually be having sex, right? It may seem like a cynical thought but I do think it’s the case. I figured out that neuroleptics affected sexual functioning many years ago but there is virtually no commentary on it unlike for the SSRIs.

    The SSRIs and benzos are routinely given to what I facetiously call the “normal neurotics,” while the other drugs are given to those of us with SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS…we don’t have sex apparently and shouldn’t.

    This is an instance in which the mass prescribing of antipsychotics for everything may actually provide some kickback…though as usual we need much more.

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  • hi cheshirecat,
    I have dealt with severe and chronic pain since coming off meds as well. I never had it before…it was created by the drug withdrawal. I actually write about this phenomena here:

    Chronic pain becomes a loop in our brains…the drugs actually make that neuron network more entrenched….the good news is we have neuroplastic brains and we can rewire back…it takes time…sometimes a lot of time but it can be done.

    There are a couple of posts on chronic pain and trauma on Beyond Meds. The link is that chronic pain IS trauma and trauma also creates pain…another loop…

    Perhaps you’ll find something helpful here:

    I watch people get better everyday. I’m in a unique position so that people tell me about their recoveries all the time. I know that we get better.

    best to you,

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  • yes, getting to the root of histamine sensitivity has made all the difference…to me and many with whom I correspond and interact with…though there are many ways to approach healing…and getting hung up on histamine can be a trap too…one can, however, use the knowledge to profoundly heal…that requires not attaching to the diagnosis, just like with psychiatry. 🙂

    professionals still understand very little about this stuff…I continue to get the most reliable info from those of us healing on the ground…we use intuition as well as science…a luxury most doctors can’t credibly apply.

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  • thank you Truth in Psychiatry and travailler-vous,
    I appreciate both your comments very much. I think that both of you, while using different language underscored something I find very important and that is non-judgment.

    I love that you, travailler-vous, framed it within the Socratic paradox as it really is a paradox. A sort of blamelessness even when things aren’t done well or even seem very wrong. It’s a hard thing to wrap our heads around but in my practice to do so I have found more and more peace.

    thank you again.

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  • great to hear you’ve found such a class.

    I actually do a lot of yoga when I do ecstatic dance…or perhaps I should say, yoga inspired movement and stretches…I sometimes call what I do self-directed body work. Therapeutic body work releases trauma from the body and cathartic emoting is the rule in such therapies. In dance too, this is very normal. It takes a while to feel safe in such settings, but once we see others release and do whatever it is their bodies need doing we find that we too can follow suit and find great healing and integration in the process.

    Yogic dance is similar…I was taking a class for while that was pretty much yogic dance as well…the teacher called it Interpretive Intuitive Yoga…it was really great…it’s no longer offered at my yoga studio…but basically it’s often what I’m doing on the ecstatic dance floor in any case, as I just said.

    I’m so grateful for all the options I have in my community…I know it’s not always easy to find stuff like this.

    I should say, however, that I started dancing in my house…all by myself…before I could go out on a regular basis. Sometimes for just a few minutes at a time (or even 30 seconds) when I had no stamina. I started listening to my body before I could move much at all…in bed…really when I started doing yoga so that I could once again stand and walk and rejoin the world. The general idea is always the same…on and off the dance floor! Learning to listen to the body.

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  • I guess I should get explicit and say that, in my experience it gets better. It gets much much better. Exponentially better in fact…the capacity for our body/minds to heal is mind-blowing.

    The process I describe above is one that aids in the process of neuroplasticity…which in my mind leads to not recovery…but transformation so that ultimately there is an opportunity to be better than ever.

    it’s sometimes called post-traumatic growth.

    The above process is just one piece of a multi-pronged healing protocol I’ve found that works for me. Everyone’s process is going to be different…but I think sharing what works with others helps us all find that path for ourselves.

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  • I experience my life as far better than I’ve ever experienced living. These sensitivities allow for an incredible life of profound joy and love. I’m very grateful to be sensitive like this most of the time though it’s not always without some frustration. Learning to live with it skillfully takes some time…but the fact is I see that at some point there will no longer be an experience of limitation attached to my experience…that’s quite clear in fact that I’m moving towards that. I do not consider my situation to be indicative of being sick at this point. I certainly have come through a time where the injurious part of this journey made me indubitably ill, but that time is over. That I have limitations, right now, I simply experience as my continued learning curve…

    Also, we are not the only ones who end up with these sensitivities…I’ve met communities of 1000s of us in chronic illness circles as well as among healthy people who’ve escaped illness and psychiatry but identify as spiritual sensitives…

    This situation we find ourselves in can be framed in multiple ways…some of those ways are profoundly liberating and thus I’ve ceased to experience myself as ill.

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  • Thanks for doing this and writing this very cogent post as well. I supported this too and featured it and then mentioned it in a couple of additional posts on my blog as well. You’re right…it’s very hard to speak out about iatrogenic illness. When we’re ill the response we get from those who disbelieve the experience can be extraordinarily painful. This is a very particular sort of activism.

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  • sometimes my nervous system which is additionally trashed from drug withdrawal actually prefers and tolerates the really strenuous sorts of yoga over the “gentle yoga”…other times not…but I found it very interesting that sometimes “gentle” yoga was anything but and my nervous system totally prefers something much more vigorous.

    I’ve talked to the instructors at my studio about it…some don’t recognize it but others seem to understand exactly what is up and say it’s not totally unusual even if not the norm.

    trashed nervous systems are generally in a state of dysregulation so there are often times when things just seem to be all backwards.

    agreed Jon, there is no set definition…all yoga helps heal…I think that more than anything trauma informed yoga is about creating a safe space for the student…that may mean different things for different people and the quality of an instructor would depend on how they managed to do that with their classes…different groups of students need different things…etc.

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  • Oh, fluffybunny, having worked with David Berceli’s exercises I discovered that yoga creates the same exact neurogenic tremors in me…our bodies do this naturally if we allow it and the exercises Berceli came up with is in lieu of the fact we’ve forgotten how to do it ourselves.

    Yoga often prompts the same releases in me now that I first experienced with Berceli’s exercises…I don’t need to use his exercises anymore because my body very nicely goes into the tremors spontaneously as needed now (often in response to yoga, as I just said). All this stuff informs the body and then the body does it’s own thing…it’s pretty cool. There are a lot of different forms now tending to trauma release.

    Emilie Conrad’s Continuum is another modality and Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine) another.

    Ecstatic dancing circles often encourage trauma release as well (though they may not use the same language, it’s what is happening) and has become my favorite source just because it’s so much fun and catharsis is encouraged…I feel so safe and nurtured in my local chapter.

    I’ve also been practicing body oriented meditations a whole lot…

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  • Vanessa,
    I’ve been able to totally self-direct my yoga for trauma…until it’s more widely understood I think we do have to do a lot of it for ourselves…but I have certainly found instructors who are very respectful of my process and accommodate my needs in their classes and so I’ve created my safe spaces with their help. I’m very lucky to have an incredible yoga studio here that is very much into service and all the instructors are incredibly generous in that way.

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  • I’ve been finding quite a lot…though some is local…some good people here in Asheville some of whom have become friends.

    here is something I appreciated that I shared on the blog that is not local:
    Yoga for trauma: reclaiming your body

    and Kaoverrii Weber is a friend of mine who was a wonderful and inspiring resource when I was rehabbing…she does webinar’s now on occasion. This is one she did a while back. I try to post when she has new webinars as they are often free and she’s wonderful:

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  • I wanted to add, I was just thinking about how the first few years of my serious yoga practice was done at home, by necessity because I was too sick to leave the house. So when the trauma started coming up I was in a safe place where I could emote as much as I needed to…I used to think about how I didn’t even want to go to classes because my needs couldn’t possibly be accommodated at that point. Anyway, that has changed and I can handle classroom settings now.

    the thing is, Krista is right, we need teachers who understand this stuff and can make safe spaces for those who have trauma held in the body…

    so, yes, it’s important to raise awareness about this. thanks again.

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  • Yoga and ecstatic dance both have been my trauma release and healing therapies…I love them both and the two practices inform one another.

    And yes, the body speaks when we cannot…what wonder…what joy. If we don’t know what to do the body will show us.

    thanks for sharing and the best to you as a yoga teacher.

    there are some really inspired teachers out there helping to heal trauma with yoga and other body oriented practices and no one is better suited for that than those us us who’ve gone through the process.

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  • Great idea Jonah and truth…

    my sharing has been a service to others and in that has been as healing to me as to anyone else…I’m very clear on this work being part of my healing process. it’s such an incredible thing really. and it can be done in any way that makes sense to you…doesn’t have to look anything like the way I’ve done it.

    thank you Jonah.

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  • I’m in general agreement with pretty much everything you said. Short articles don’t allow for side analysis of everything I say 🙂

    I like the last quote that came to me synchronistically after this post had been written…which includes this line: (teachers or others in our lives: ” can only suggest, guide, and inspire.”)

    we’re all in the same boat when it comes to interacting with one another and learning we need each other too…mimicry is, indeed, part of that at many junctures…but ultimately if we individuate successfully we bring all we learn together in a completely unique way and cannot rely on anyone else ever having done that before.

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  • I’d just like to say every single one of us who’ve dealt with severe and acute withdrawal has felt very much like you do now. It seems to be very much a part of the process in fact. Every one of us has dealt with highly bizarre and gravely disabling stuff (and many many varieties of it)…I stopped trying to compare or think about who has it better or worse…it’s an exercise in futility as well as pretty delusional to think we can know that…the fact is we have all suffered really heinous ugly dark shit.

    we’ve all seen huge amounts of recovery among those impacted like we’ve been. This is all true. I’ve seen it again and again.

    may your darkness come to an end. may you find some lightness and joy again.
    love and peace to you, Monica

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  • many folks find spending time on withdrawal boards with others who’ve also gone through similar withdrawal nightmares helpful. I certainly did. I interacted with 1000s like me and found what helped me heal. It was and remains a full-time job but it’s been worth it for me.

    I don’t know whether you’ve tried that or not…

    I’ve got some commentary on how to use and find withdrawal boards in this post:

    Online support in withdrawal

    there is no one way to make it through the hell that is withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome (which it sounds like you’re dealing with) we all do have to find our own way since as you have found out the medical establishment doesn’t have a clue…still it’s often helpful to talk to others and certainly for me, spending times with folks who had healed and were thriving and moving forward helped me more than I can say…while I found my own path.

    I’m sorry you continue to suffer for the time being.

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  • right now, you’re quite right boans…it’s a dangerous system for a good many people. I write in order to help people vision and create that which doesn’t yet widely exist…

    I do think some folks are lucky and privileged enough to create such structures within their own lives, but my hope and dream and motivation for everything that I do is that we might create this for everyone because it’s what everyone deserves.

    right now, you’re right, there are powers that be that are working at making the already bad status quo more prevalent…

    that said, I believe there are just as many forces (including myself and everyone at Mad in America, and many others too) working towards something different and more enlightened…we can seek those sorts of folks out…no matter who we are or where we are and find our support among them…that’s a start to creating such for ourselves.

    thank you and best to you.

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  • hi uprising…

    your comment and my response led to a post I’ve written…It’s on Beyond Meds…not sure if it will go up here or not…but I’ll share it here:

    To see a professional or not

    it is on Mad in America now…so you can read it here now too:

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  • You’ve asked for a suggestion: Immune system issues could be associated with autoimmune illness…and autoimmune issues are pretty much at an epidemic high and often simply not recognized by the medical establishment. Autoimmune issues are also often implicated when people are sick and typical doctors don’t know what to do. You might want to google autoimmune illness and start learning about what that means. Chronic illness circles in general might be helpful too…you might take a look at Chris Kresser who has a website that helps folks with chronic illness. There are actually a lot of websites like that if you start looking.

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  • yes, thank you. We need more of this everywhere. Not just in mental health circles.

    Diet with dense nutrition is critical for all well-being. It’s a foundational part of my healing protocol and given the iatrogenic damage incurred by the psych drugs impacted far more than just my mind, I know in an intimate and immediate way how critically important everything I put in and on my body is.

    It’s not just about mental health…people are generally resistant to the fact that diet matters and that the highly processed crap that most people eat is killing them.

    We are profoundly holistic beings. Everything matters. Blah, blah blah…this is my spiel for those who don’t know.

    This is a little mantra/post I often repeat:

    “EVERYTHING matters. The body you were born with. The body you have today. Your relationships with others and the planet, the food you eat, and the air you breath…. how often you move your body and the thoughts you nurture in your mind and soul.

    That is what understanding ourselves as holistic beings entails. Understanding our relationship to EVERYTHING in our environment, 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, yes…lets keep on spreading the news…there is certainly far too much resistance to this vitally important fact.

    and YES! I’m with Jon Keyes as well…DIET is far more important than supplements…supplements should only be targeted when necessary with a goal to not need much of them really..and certainly the further I move along in my healing journey I find my body does a fine job letting me know exactly what I need. If one needs supps that’s fine, but you can’t cover up a crap diet with supplements…that will not work.

    thanks again.

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  • thanks Someone Else.
    everyone who comes through this is a hero. This is undoubtably a hero’s journey as Joseph Campbell talks about it…if nothing else an incredible opportunity to transform…I am among many heroes…everyone who shares their stories here and tells the truth that others might be spared…if there hadn’t been so many before me I, too, wouldn’t have known how to come through.

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  • I’m sorry you’re still struggling. It’s impossible to generalize 100% about any of this…there are no systematic studies that are happening…but there is a full spectrum of outcomes that is for sure…and everyone in the end is an individual…with their own trajectory…no crystal ball

    I have encountered folks in withdrawal circles who were drugged through out childhood who are now doing well. …I do know that the body/mind has the potential of being astoundingly plastic. We can heal from all sorts of egregious injuries. There is always reason for hope…I would never tell a young person who’d been on drugs they had no hope for healing…because it would be blatantly untrue.

    That does not minimize or change the fact that you continue to suffer and others do too and I am sorry for that…it continues to motivate me to help stop the drugging.

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  • You know at this point it’s exactly remarks like the one that Mark made that fuels me.

    As I said, I don’t consider myself sick anymore. I am past the dark ugliness and crippling disability…the tragic thing is that there are many 1000s of people who are still living in that darkness and disability. And many thousands of others still being medicated with the drugs that will lead to that. I know what it’s like and it is now that pain that others are still facing that motivates me.

    It is comments like Mark made that keep me going. It is such disbelief and ignorance that fuels my work so that others might not be harmed…his disbelief is just as toxic as the psychiatrists who made this happen to us. We can’t get help anywhere if even our so-called allies quite often have no idea what we’re facing…oh, yes, this fact fuels me.

    So, heck…it’s truly all good. We need to be fueled so that we stop these crimes from happening…and when they do happen so that we can get the help we need and not be faced by cruel ignorance that, yes, adds insult to injury.

    I am grateful for everything that helps me find my way…so thank you too, Mark.

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  • Yeah, it’s toxic to spend time with professionals that don’t take the gravity of these psych drug withdrawal syndromes seriously. I’ve been able to find lots of folks who can hear it now. I also don’t have relationships with professionals that are not both friendly and collegial at this point. I simply cannot deal with anything else…also I don’t consider professionals more knowledgable than the peers who I get info from…sometimes they have different info but it’s not superior in any way. I simply don’t have any expectation that professionals are going to offer any sort of meaningful help. I think it’s good for folks to develop that capacity…to not expect anything from professionals. It helps me a lot. I find help wherever it comes from and most of the time it’s not attached to a professional. On occasion it is.

    Professionals are people…like everyone…sometimes they’re helpful and sometimes they’re not…I simply don’t expect that their qualifications actually guarantees anything…that simply sets me up for disappointment because quite often they are not helpful and worse, they have also been very harmful.

    Most of the time at this point in my life I find I don’t actually need professionals (to be clear, when I do there is no hesitance to utilize them, I simply select them very carefully)…I just need to pay attention to what is going on in my body/mind…and then the universe brings me what I need in all manner of different ways…

    We can be far more self-sufficient than we are conditioned to believe!

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  • If you have food clothes and shelter provided by others because you can’t get out of bed to get it for yourself you’re on pretty shaky footing and would die without the kindness of your community. It’s nice to have autonomy as an adult and many take it for granted. Those who get ill like this from protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal often lose the capacity to care for oneself. For me it was about 4 years of needing 24 hour care…like an infant.

    You have minimized the gravity of this illness since I’ve known you.

    I am profoundly grateful for all my blessings, so yes, you’re right about the helpfulness of gratitude…and for the many people who have helped me stay alive…there are countless blessed souls that have allowed for that to happen. Certainly I would have died without them.

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  • ha! I have a post going up at midnight about this.

    I find it amusing that they’re calling our own microbiome drugs…I find it a bit ludicrous really.

    Healthy bacteria are just part of how we’re made…we have gotten unhealthy because our diets and environments and the pharma we put in our bodies have wiped out our healthy bacteria…

    bacteria are “drugs” just as good food is medicine…

    we should be ingesting all this stuff regularly as part of our diet…to call them drugs is just kind of ass-backward…

    except again, in the sense, that food is medicine…

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  • Hi kuppy,

    I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I’m like you too in that I never had a suicidal thought until drugs were on board. I can say that it’s possible to get through all that, though. It really does get better.

    As far as getting help with supplements etc… I suggest you join some online withdrawal boards if you need assistance. There really are no sure-thing supplements that help everyone and a lot of supplements can actually make things a lot worse. It’s better that you get some ongoing support and information that responds to your particular needs. I’m not in a position to do that here.

    I recommend Surviving Antidepressants

    You can also read my post on how to find support online in general. I’m not up to date on all the groups out there these days and you may want to find support in more than one place. There are additional ideas there on how to do that there.

    Online support in withdrawal

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  • glad you’re doing this work!

    yes, you’re quite right, pathology overshadows much of what is taught in most of the more enlightened programs…I’ve found that true in my forays into numerous different professional circles. We have a lot of work to do to help people understand what is going on. I have met individuals everywhere that do get it…I do think that things are changing for the better…as you saw too, you found a group of students who got it…

    One of my dreams and visions is to build bridges between folks who do understand about spiritual emergence (because they’ve actually managed their own and others but without having the misfortune of encountering psychiatry at it’s worst) and so they imagine that they are different from those with psych labels…there are a lot of people like that out there. Basically they simply lack experience with folks with labels who might be treated humanely rather than with the suppressive and oppressive measures of psychiatry.

    They can much more easily be brought about to recognize their bothers and sisters in the ranks of those who’ve been labeled and injured by psychiatry, I’ve found.

    If we can get these folks to recognize us then perhaps they’d be motivated to help others who’ve not been as fortunate as they were to avoid the dangers of psychiatry.

    Glad to see you are doing this work too…very. Thank you again.

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  • I took the Peace Ambassador Training with James O’Dea…it was an amazing three month course with weekly incredible speakers who do peace work in war zones of all kinds around the world (including the streets of our country). One of the speakers was Azim…incredible lecture by him…he’s a lovely man role-modeling exactly the kind of life I want to live. Thank you James for highlighting his inspired and beautiful presence on this earth.

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  • Tapering while cutting in tiny micro-doses is most likely the best thing given you know you have problems getting off Zyprexa. If you’re stable that’s great and you’re wise not to hurry it…that’s often what triggers upset in people, though not always.

    If you know you have a hard time with Zyprexa then you can maybe just shave a wee fraction of the pill off for some time. Measuring precisely is better and some folks use a microgram scale…basically if you taper in amounts that seem totally insignificant for the next year or two you might get off without any pain at all. I do know people who are doing that very successfully these days.

    You might take 2 to 4 weeks at every taper.

    We’re learning a lot more now than when I did it. It seems micro dosing very slowly allows the autonomic nervous system to adjust in a lot of cases.

    Also since you tapered off two other drugs already you’re really doing great. Consider this time that your nervous system is adjusting from those tapers.

    best to you.

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  • for those who need hope about the possibility of healing:

    Today on Beyond Meds is the first of the IT GETS BETTER series:

    SEE: It gets better: A Portrait of Poly Psychopharmacology

    The “It gets better” collection will be a series of republished posts from when I was gravely ill from the psych drug withdrawal process and the following protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome. So many folks out there are now going through the heinous process of finding their way through psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome and other iatrogenic injuries from psychiatric drugging.

    While many find their way through after weeks or months, for others it can take years to really get out of the deep disability and darkness it creates. I’m going to start reposting my personal pieces from those difficult days, so that people can see how far I’ve come and find hope that they too might come out of that darkness and find some peace and joy again. I know it’s possible from my own experience and from the many who have found healing and wellness again on this journey ahead of me and with me.

    During these times I was unable to sit upright in bed. I was only able to walk to the bathroom and rarely to the kitchen. My muscles became totally atrophied. I was too weak to hold a toothbrush up to my mouth and therefore went a couple of years without doing what most people consider simple acts of hygiene. I wrote with the laptop propped on my knees and my head propped up a bit with a pillow. Writing was a lifeline that helped me continue. It’s been a source of great joy to find out that my keeping this blog has helped so many others.

    This is not my reality anymore. I am up and out of bed. I practice yoga daily. I dance, I walk and I cook and run errands and do chores. I have not achieved perfect functioning. I still can’t make firm commitments or travel. Still I can enjoy many things in life and I’ve developed a deep appreciation for what I’ve been through and how much it has taught me. Life is a wondrous thing and simply being alive is a reason to be grateful as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ll post one a week for a while and see how it goes. Most of these were written from within a dark fog of various sorts of pain and hellish sensations. I will be leaving them largely unedited, so consider that when perhaps something is not clear.

    SEE: It gets better: A Portrait of Poly Psychopharmacology

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  • for those who need hope about the possibility of healing:

    Today on Beyond Meds is the first of the IT GETS BETTER series:

    The “It gets better” collection will be a series of republished posts from when I was gravely ill from the psych drug withdrawal process and the following protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome. So many folks out there are now going through the heinous process of finding their way through psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome and other iatrogenic injuries from psychiatric drugging.

    While many find their way through after weeks or months, for others it can take years to really get out of the deep disability and darkness it creates. I’m going to start reposting my personal pieces from those difficult days, so that people can see how far I’ve come and find hope that they too might come out of that darkness and find some peace and joy again. I know it’s possible from my own experience and from the many who have found healing and wellness again on this journey ahead of me and with me.

    During these times I was unable to sit upright in bed. I was only able to walk to the bathroom and rarely to the kitchen. My muscles became totally atrophied. I was too weak to hold a toothbrush up to my mouth and therefore went a couple of years without doing what most people consider simple acts of hygiene. I wrote with the laptop propped on my knees and my head propped up a bit with a pillow. Writing was a lifeline that helped me continue. It’s been a source of great joy to find out that my keeping this blog has helped so many others.

    This is not my reality anymore. I am up and out of bed. I practice yoga daily. I dance, I walk and I cook and run errands and do chores. I have not achieved perfect functioning. I still can’t make firm commitments or travel. Still I can enjoy many things in life and I’ve developed a deep appreciation for what I’ve been through and how much it has taught me. Life is a wondrous thing and simply being alive is a reason to be grateful as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ll post one a week for a while and see how it goes. Most of these were written from within a dark fog of various sorts of pain and hellish sensations. I will be leaving them largely unedited, so consider that when perhaps something is not clear.

    SEE: It gets better: A Portrait of Poly Psychopharmacology

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  • no one is suggesting that a western modern person who has shamanic sensibilities is going to look anything like an ancient one nor should they…and I’m not sure no one talks about things like cannibalism etc…in the circles I travel in no one is pretending the past was all roses…

    …what is clear though, is people who were born and wired with shaman-like consciousness had teachers in those earlier cultures and in ours that is absent. There is no one to help folks with broad consciousness to find their place in the world and work through that stuff. That is what we are trying to create, in large part with multiple alternative visions and hopefully, one day, an infrastructure of care that supports options.

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  • I share all of your concerns about the benzo use…while I’ve seen enough SSRI withdrawal to not for a second think it’s potentially any less nasty than benzos (which is another common misunderstanding) — this other extreme of using benzos to come off SSRIs is a highly problematic and potentially dangerous thing…which is why I wrote my first comment above…

    I’ve always said that pretty much anything can go for any given individual to get through the dark night which is withdrawal…I’m not opposed to very carefully using (generally micro doses) of drugs when necessary. The thing is most MDs will over-use this both in how often and how much (most doctors have no experience whatsoever in the use of micro-doses and don’t know anything about how powerfully helpful it can be) MDs are trained to prescribe and too often it’s simply their default for lack of knowing what else to do.

    In any case there is a difference between very rarely and lightly using drugs to come off drugs and speaking about it in general terms. Part of the problem, too, is the folks we see on the boards, benzo and otherwise, are not representative of who MDs see in their offices…not in terms of the full spectrum. We see more people who are severe on the boards in a few weeks than most MDs gets a chance to see in a lifetime…so everyone needs to be careful about generalizing. Some of us have exposure to many more of those who have been gravely harmed than others.

    Not everyone is harmed in this process and that’s hard for those of us who see 100s of those harmed to remember too.

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  • Agreed AA…withdrawal issues are a sort of injury and it doesn’t necessarily matter what one does if the nervous system has been injured. One of the most common causes, it seems to me, is a med merry go-round, often for many years…switching drugs, without tapering etc…a lot of folks go through such experiences before coming off and once the nervous system has been deeply jangled there seems to be some pain in coming off no matter what one does.

    that said, everything Richard speaks to is of great importance. I do think that recovery needs to be multi-pronged and one needs to address multiple aspects of life and daily living…at various times more or less is appropriate or even possible. I couldn’t sit upright in bed for a couple of years…and that was just the way it was…I worked on other things besides exercise (for example)

    I’ve since become a huge fan of yoga and it literally rehabbed me from complete muscle atrophy, up out of bed and into the world again. I can feel it healing my nervous system as well…it’s an astonishing process to be this sensitive to what is going on in our bodies…but that is what this process allows for.

    Also, Richard…it’s clear to me as someone with a trauma history that the drugs actually create additional trauma, making those neuro pathways deeper and more intense…these drugs are, in fact, agents of trauma and so truly exacerbate pre-existing trauma issues…what that amounts to is that those of us impacted need, all the more urgently, to tend to those issues too. At this point I’m grateful to be able to heal so deeply and profoundly as a result of such excruciating rawness demanding just that…still the cost is ridiculously high and I would have liked another method had this all been understood and it’s why I’m so highly motivated to help others find other ways.

    I could go on… but I’ll just share this:

    Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma — “Drug Stress Trauma Syndrome”

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  • Instead of prescribing benzos you might consider how histamine intolerance and mast cell dysregulation are involved.

    Benzos and other psych drugs often act as anti-histamines and that is actually what is feeling helpful for a good number of folks when they take those drugs. When one uses plants (diet and supplementation) to help regulate histamine instead of pharmaceuticals we start to see a deep healing process occur.

    Benzos might in fact relieve discomfort in the present, but they’re still operating on the principle suppression. Plants seem to heal…and often aren’t needed daily and in fact some folks find rotation to be really important in order to avoid developing sensitivities. Daily use of drugs almost always becomes highly problematic. In the hyper-sensitized folks it remains simply dangerous quite often.

    I wrote about the histamine issue recently. We’re finding more and more people discovering this to be significant for them in withdrawal groups.

    this one is recent:
    Have you considered histamine intolerance associated with psych drug use and withdrawal?

    Here are a couple of others written from early on in the process of discovery that others have also found helpful.

    The histamine intolerance link and how this paleo girl went vegetarian (even vegan, for the time being)

    Histamine Intolerance: can be associated with folks getting psychiatric diagnosis

    finding non-pharmaceutical solutions seems to be critical for long lasting and profound healing…crisis intervention with pharma may indeed, on occasion be helpful, but in the long run some of the plants used can really bring about change in a way the pharmaceutical solution simply will not.

    Nigella Sativa (black seed and black seed oil)
    Holy Basil
    Olive leaf
    Stingy Nettle
    Black Cohosh
    White peony root
    (the list goes on…rotation with more than one plant seems to help a lot for some folks…others can take things more regularly…the risk of hypersensitivity is always there…some folks don’t tolerate even these gentle plants at first but as they heal can add them very successfully…)

    plants can be very potent and simply not nasty in the ways that pharmaceuticals with anti-histamine properties are…and yes, that includes benzos and SSRIs (and neuroleptics for that matter too)

    it’s a good idea to look at histamine, methylation, etc in those coming off psych meds. It’s starting to look like most folks are impacted in some way or another.

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  • it’s certainly a good conversation to get started…the problem is most psychiatrists think they know how to help people get off drugs but they really have no idea how much they need to know…so that’s another thing to learn how to talk about…what do they really know?

    most serious withdrawal issues are misunderstood to be “underlying illness” which means these doctors just stop withdrawal because they don’t know what they’re seeing and think that the very serious withdrawal issues are psychiatric.

    it’s a serious problem really.

    These are a couple of articles I’ve written about this:

    A plea to prescribing physicians and psychiatrists: please help us heal

    and then this too…speaks to this issue in general…

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  • some people are able to find non-threatening prescribers to do that sort of appropriate withdrawal, but given she is on SSI that becomes extremely difficult and often impossible. I know you probably know this already Fred, but I wanted to point it out to others. Some folks do not have the resources to get anything resembling safe or at the very least non-threatening care. A lot of people can’t imagine how awful that is…and that is part of the problem. Extraction from the system becomes nightmarishly unlikely for some too large percentage of people. And this too, is why I talk a lot about the absence of any alternative infrastructure of care. These folks have nowhere to turn right now.

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  • We do need an underground railroad at this point…yet I hope that some of what we’re doing in terms of education might change that need. I’m sorry I don’t have suggestions from afar…how to disentangle oneself from the behemoth system and all it’s tendrils is unique for everyone. I’m very sorry about your friend. Just having someone who cares is a great help. The really bad part is with clonazepam she is truly dependent on the system as any sort of abrupt withdrawal is frankly dangerous so she needs them, if for nothing else, but to get enough drug to free herself from it safely and slowly…again, I’m sorry. I’m glad she has an empathetic friend.

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  • good to hear some of your symptoms are improving.

    I’ve seen that it’s often the case that psych drugs exacerbate illnesses like MS and Lupus and other auto-immune and many other chronic illnesses in general. That’s pretty terrible given they’re routinely given to folks in such situations.

    I’m glad you’re finding a way to minimize their use.

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  • It’s been a source of great sadness to me too, that progressives and liberals, and feminists too, (all in general, with exceptions, of course) do not support the human rights of those subjected to psychiatric abuse. It’s not just sad to me, but also horrifying.

    This is one of the last fronts of blatant human rights abuses that goes unchecked by said groups.

    I wrote something about this a few years ago when I was first faced by it…in feminist circles. It’s continued to be quite distressing.

    I think it all boils down to fear, I think. Terror, really of ones own psyche. We are a people out of touch with ourselves so when that manifests more blatantly in some folks fear tells people to shut it down. By any means necessary. Drugs, force, and silence. Let’s not talk about it. And that is, of course, what the Unitarian Church is doing…it’s silencing you.

    Still, even with this fact, that we are routinely shut down, I’ve seen many people throughout all parts of society open up to what is really happening in the last many years now that I’ve been doing this work…so I am not without hope and optimism. Groups as a whole may still have issues, but individuals in all groups are opening up everywhere…I do think that the balance is slowly changing…it’s just that the balance has been seriously out of whack…so that remains for now.

    thanks for your insights Jon…talking about this is exactly what we need to do and I’m sure some other thoughtful Unitarians will read this and understand.

    I’ll share a post I wrote on this topic…quite a few years ago now…

    An open letter to liberals and feminists

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  • also, to the doctor again, as some others have now talked about in this thread, my experience too, when I very seriously sought alternatives to drugs while under the care of a psychiatrist I was not offered anything at all…it was drugs or nothing.

    The only way I was able to free myself many years later when it became clear the drugs were killing me was on my own as I could not find a doctor who knew anything about withdrawal. I’ve now networked with 1000s of people all over the world. There remains virtually no MDs that know much about withdrawal. I literally had to learn about withdrawal through my own experience and now have helped 1000s of others free themselves. —

    I know more about withdrawal now than I care to know frankly. We are living in the midst of a nightmare that the medical establishment widely denies.

    Being forced to take drugs is the experience of some very significant percentage of folks who didn’t want to take drugs. Many of those people end up gravely harmed. I am included in that group. To deny our experience doesn’t really make any sense. A whole lot of us never wanted drugs and were harmed by them…that doesn’t change the reality that other people want drugs and only drugs…and actively seek them.

    People are endlessly diverse and have many different and conflicting experiences…so we have to have space in our minds to consider many different experiences if we want to grasp what is going on broadly in society.

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  • Hey Joel,
    I hadn’t read your piece.
    I want you to know that just as psychiatrists are not a completely homogenous mass, neither are the folks you’re herding all together here as anti-psychiatry.

    I and many people like me who also frequent and/or write for this site are extremely pragmatic about reality on the ground as it is today. Meds are necessary with much more frequency than would otherwise be the case given the total and complete lack of any sort of infrastructure of care that might support meaningful alternatives. The thing is some of us have a vision of a better world — one in which the infrastructure that could support real options for choice exist…one in which the need for medications truly would be a rarity.

    I work towards that end…it doesn’t mean I don’t see what is going on here and now. It’s a very important distinction.

    I have some pieces that speak to that here:

    To my friends and readers who still take psych drugs (and to everyone on and off meds too)

    at the bottom of that post is a collection of other pieces that also deal with these issues of where we are vs. where we will hopefully move towards…a healthier and saner reality. Not being able to see shades of grey seems to be an issue on all sides of these arguments.

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  • we’re dealing with a deeply ingrained societal issue…everyone is in on this in some regards…

    that said starting with blaming the patients is ridiculous…if we look to the balance of power and authority — who has it?

    pharmaceutical companies and doctors…

    blaming vulnerable people who are trying to survive is misguided and also likely to further traumatize an already struggling group of people.

    still, we must, as this website and me and you Phil Hickey, have been doing — encourage all folks who are impacted to see that we can certainly become educated and empowered and ideally with time and education and growth and maturity learn to doctor ourselves with appropriate professional guidance and partnership when and if needed.

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  • not sure but it seems you aren’t aware that I’m the author of Beyond Meds…those posts you shared on histamine were written by me…am I right…you didn’t make the connection? anyway…thank you and I’m glad you’re finding your way back to health and well-being.

    This article was written in October of last year. I’m doing much better now…I wrote this during a setback…that happened after I found the histamine link…histamine is just a piece of the puzzle (an important piece) but…not the be all end all…not for me anyway…though perhaps it is for some.

    take care…may your health continue to improve.

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  • there is so much more than the body and what the drugs do to the body.

    everything I’ve done in my life (and every pill I popped into my mouth) has made me who I am…able to fight this fight and understand it from many different standpoints.

    I am grateful for every moment now and in wonder of the way life’s tapestry works.

    what a mystery that that which harmed me too has been what has forged me that I might help others.

    I’m perpetually in awe of how truth holds such paradox.

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  • Thank you,

    some of the psych drug withdrawal syndromes last up to a decade (of course there is everything else on the spectrum, starting with virtually no problems at all upon discontinuation).

    But yes, it’s also sometimes mentioned in the psychiatric literature…just not widely understood or recognized by the medical establishment. and there is no clear treatment either which makes matters far worse.

    I suppose most notably David Healy refers to it frequently…most doctors are still on the fence about it…even those critical of psych meds.

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  • it is very difficult, you’re right Jon…

    the articles I link to at the bottom of this piece go deeper into the issues surrounding this topic.

    We need an infrastructure of care that supports options…and the fact that we do not is why I am such a passionate advocate for change. Right now most people have no choice. Right now many of us are harmed with impunity because we are not allowed to be free agents in our care. We are not allowed to make choices and we are told they do not exist. This is all criminal.

    None of what I say diminishes the experience of the woman who wanted to make me wrong. All it does is challenge her opinion about me and others like me. An opinion that is woefully uninformed.

    If we had choices far fewer drugs would be needed and so I continue working.

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  • thanks travailler-vous,
    it’s funny that the quote you highlighted is one I pondered throughout the day. This part:

    “The energy is inherently benign…

    I was thinking that perhaps benign wasn’t quite the right word. That energy is also informative and transformative and perhaps that cannot be contained in the word “benign,” but I’m not sure.

    That which is potentially transformative, however, is generally potentially problematic in some ways too…though overall profoundly positive.

    anyway, these are things for which language is generally a rather impoverished thing.

    I do appreciate your comments and thank you.

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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.


    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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  • it certainly can be both challenging and intimidating as well as potentially traumatic to go back to see old shrinks…I don’t by any means suggest everyone do it and there are doctors I certainly would never want to see again.

    I had a good relationship with this guy and, in general, being I worked in the system as a social worker I had very professional relationships with the doctors I worked with later in my career as psych patient.

    I know how to “talk psychiatry” like a professional because of the work I did in the field. This afforded me relationships with doctors that differ from that of a lot of folks.

    in a post where I shared about talking to the psychiatrist who got me on the massive cocktail I say,

    “This sort of communicating with our old doctors is by no means appropriate for everyone. This is something I do, not something I recommend to others unless they too feel comfortable and confident that it’s something right for them. It’s simply not always possible nor is it always appropriate or safe. I support protecting ourselves and NOT retraumatizing ourselves or risking our safety in any way. That is why it depends on the person and the situation. Again, it’s not always the right thing to do. So no one need imagine I’m advocating others do this.”

    the reason I wrote that in another post was because I used to get comments from readers who talked about how horribly triggering and dangerous it would be for them to do something like that. So by all means everyone should follow their guts about this and not do anything that risks wellbeing and safety.

    I’ve had plenty of relationships with medical professionals I would never revisit ever because of how badly I was treated. I know what that is like too. And I have no interest in subjecting myself to those people ever again if I can help it.

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  • most of my healing methods are focused on healing the iatrogenic damage from the drugs…it’s about physical healing, really…so yes, I was shooting for diminishing inflammation…the drug withdrawal can cause pretty insane chronic pain and also seem to quite often exacerbate any sort of pre-existing auto-immune disease which also has a lot of inflammation involved.

    I have psoriatic arthritis as a result and it’s highly recommended that folks with any form of psoriasis not eat nightshades. It’s helped all sorts of things as far as I can tell in the pain department….not just the psoriasis and the arthritis.

    Also, quite a few clinical studies have, indeed, linked inflammation to depression too…and so it’s fair to say that people will feel better mentally too if they minimize inflammation in the body. I don’t really separate mental and physical anymore…we are profoundly holistic beings. If we don’t feel well physically it impacts the mind and vice versa…so…in the end I always seek foundational, total well-being.

    thanks very much for your comment

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  • thanks Fred.
    I haven’t had fillings removed. I only have a couple and it’s not been something that feels necessary…I’ve researched it extensively and come to that for the time being…for a long time I couldn’t make appointments or see doctors or dentists…I have yet to make it to a dentist actually and will revisit it once I manage to get in to see a holistic dentist.

    Homeopathy has at times been helpful, but generally only briefly. Those who mock homeopathy have no clue what a hypersensitive body can feel…so I do know that it can be powerful medicine.

    I’m allergic to alcohol and therefore do not do well with flower remedies…but I know that they can be very powerful as well…I have done well with flower essences in oils etc…aromatherapy is very powerful too and I’ve done a couple of posts on that.

    thank you for all your support and comments over time Fred

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  • You really don’t need to use the term…I’ve been operating on the basic underlying principles for a couple of years now without it…this was the first time I’d heard it. The fact is the theory behind it is sound and proven in my own body and the bodies of many of us who have recovered. We see it play out in wondrous beauty.

    That term is that authors alone…there are many of us already utilizing the principles without having attached any term to it at all. That is why I also linked to a prior post where I talk about the same thing without the term limbic kindling. see:

    What is significant is that we are neuroplastic and can heal the entire mind/body/spirit. The body is interconnected with all things and therefore everything in our lives, bodies, environments matter and must be considered and tended to. The short-sighted-ness an obsession with quick fixes from medicine and those who utilize medicine both deny this beautiful complexity at the expense of our healing.

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  • thank you for your comments RISN.

    can old dreams live again? I’m sure they can!

    I only have new dreams now, however 🙂 … because this has been a thoroughly transformative experience for me.

    I have come full circle. I am grateful for this life…every bit of it…such as it is. I would not be who I am without my experiences…and life is wondrous just as it is.

    So pleased to hear that your loved one also is finding freedom. thanks again.

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  • yes, and thank you.

    the isolation one faces when critically ill with withdrawal syndrome was the entry way to the darkest period of my life. The sense of abandonment only deepens the iatrogenic injury. I have seen far too many people face the same thing.

    this is one of the reasons I continue to do the work I do.

    thank you again.

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  • hi gerrilegstrom…

    I will give you a couple of links so that you can educate yourself on safer withdrawal methods.

    First: Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs

    you can download the manual there for free.

    Also Beyond Meds page with information on withdrawal in general: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

    and lastly an online support group with very good advice and support:

    Surviving Antidepressants

    those are all good places to get information about withdrawing as well as about how to find a doctor you can work with even if you have to help educate them while you learn together about withdrawal.

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  • okay, I hear that. of course we want to see the entire system upended…

    the program you were a part of sounds wonderful. would be wonderful to see such things sprout up all over the place.

    I worked in harm reduction housing programs that were somewhat like that…formerly homeless folks with psych labels…they weren’t required to be in “treatment” of any kind nor were they required to work with any of the social services team (me included). It was good. We need a whole lot more of that.

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  • Pat left this comment on facebook too…this was my response:

    I agree it’s better what you were doing with peers…

    And right now cops are still doing this in my town and I feel good about what we dialogued about. I simply don’t see this as all or nothing…not black or white. There is no team like the one you were on here right now. I’m dealing with right now. I’m still largely homebound due to iatrogenic illness most of the time so I’m doing as much as I can. I had no idea if I was going to be able to make it to the meeting but I was so glad I did.

    I was grateful to have met these men who if nothing else helped me have faith in humanity…cops will always at least some of the time be involved in these issues…this was time well spent, I don’t doubt that at all.

    and Pat, to suggest that I don’t already do something other than CIT is rather ridiculous as well.

    lastly, I live in North Carolina…one of the most conservative states in the Union…things do not change over night and I’m willing to do what I can right now — not acknowledging each others accomplishments strikes me as a very sad thing.

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  • you’re right…it’s actually much harder to do anything calming with a family member…that’s really why we need professionals who know how to approach folks who’ve lost the capacity to connect with loved ones. (or in many instances never have had a connection with loved ones which tragically happens all too often as a result of trauma)

    I’ve been on both sides as well…though not with others in my family which, as I said, is clearly much more difficult. We can learn from all of it though…and that is the blessing.

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  • it should be made clear that herbs alone are not enough to stop iatrogenic injury in those folks who end up with autonomic nervous system disregulation. they can help support the body quite often, but they can also, applied without expertise further seriously harm folks. Actually, bottom line, there really is no expertise when it comes to withdrawal syndromes. We need to become the experts of our own bodies.

    not everyone has serious withdrawal issues and in those instances herbs can certainly be powerfully helpful…

    still not everyone benefits from them and many people have been harmed when sensitivities kick in. when they go to herbalists or other alt medical professionals they are often met with just as much ignorance as with regular MDs…

    anyway, as I said before, caution is always warranted.

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  • these are all mind/body illnesses…so I’m in agreement. there is a good interview on the Low Histamine Chef’s site right now

    she talks about healing her auto-immune illness and the link to trauma…

    I’m totally into meditation to rewire the brain…and in fact I also shared a similar interview on Beyond Meds the other day…it’s a program I’m doing now…it’s stringing together what I’ve been doing for years now. Lisa Winberger also has an awesome healing story

    Protracted psych drug withdrawal issues are largely autonomic nervous system dysfunctions…we CAN rewire our brains and heal…this is neuroplasticity at work.


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  • oh, yes, Jonathan…it’s a threshold thing and all sorts of things impact histamine levels…including stress and multiple things in the environment…and our own hormone cycles etc etc…

    so absolutely sometimes we can eat things that other times we cannot…I’ve learned to listen to my body in ways that are simply astonishing…you learn so much more than just what to feed it…it’s like a window into reality…and I make it an adventure that way…otherwise, it really gets to be a drag.

    and yeah…hard sell for people to eliminate so many foods, yet to heal a lot of people really benefit from doing various elimination diets and then adding foods back in as they heal…it’s no easy thing for sure…and not everyone needs to do it…but a lot of us really do.

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  • Hi Chaya,

    you asked what works and what doesn’t for those of us who’ve gone through this and you and I had a little exchange on twitter…I will share a bit of what we talked about there as you suggested.

    Folks with histamine issues (quite common with those who’ve taken psych meds) cannot eat ferments or bone broths…it’s worth being aware that it could be an issue when someone begins healing protocols that include both bone broth and ferments (and cultured foods in general) Those food items have proven to be quite hazardous for some of us who were working very hard at getting well. They are indeed very good food, but it’s worth monitoring and taking breaks from them to see if your body is continuing to like them.

    The severity of these issues with such food sensitivities can and often do diminish over time with a lot of folks being able to add back some if not all offending foods once healing has happened.

    for info on histamine issues in general see here: … I’ve since learned a lot more, but it’s an intro…

    Also, just a general caveat…some folks develop hypersensitivities such that almost all supplements, even those widely considered both benign and helpful, can cause reactions…that caveat fits in well with what you’ve already said Chaya, everyone is different and caution is always warranted when adding supplements etc.


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  • yup…I avoid doctors too. Though I’ve found 2 that I can consult when I need to…they’re partners in my care and treat me with great respect…understanding that they stand to learn as much as I do in our exchanges.

    makes me think of a post I did on how to find and work with MDs…I’ll share for those who are still learning to navigate that maze.

    We can know more about our bodies than our MDs do…trust that, develop it

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  • Just because something hasn’t been understood by science at this point doesn’t mean it’s not real…any honest scientist understands this…there is much in the natural world we simply do not yet know how to measure…

    many of us who’ve learned to care for ourselves are very much scientific in learning to apply that which works for us…unfortunately we do not have the funds of pharma to see if it’s repeatable for others…and frankly it doesn’t always matter…we’re individual enough that finding what works for us through experimentation and the scientific method is just fine by me.

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  • I want to thank everyone else for their comments…for those already made and for those to come.

    I cannot engage in comments much…it’s too exhausting so it’s likely I won’t be making many more here. I greatly appreciate all participation and I know that many of you can offer each other support so please do that.

    thank you so much for fighting this battle with me and everyone here at Mad in America.

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  • also…if zantac was helping you were probably responding to the anti-histamine that is part of those sorts of acid blockers…I’ve found Quercetin and Allerase (a digestive enzyme helpful) as they too lower histamine, but are not pharmaceuticals…

    histamine intolerance is a big under-recognized issue as well: A mini histamine intolerance round-up

    histamine can exacerbate the autonomic nervous system if you are sensitive and it seems like you might be given your response to zantac…

    good luck…I highly recommend The Low Histamine Chef if you need to learn more about histamine intolerance

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  • the heart palpitations are a very typical (if also very horrible) symptom of psychiatric drug withdrawal…it happens a lot with both benzo and antidepressant withdrawal and likely is also associated with other classes too (we simply see so many 1000s of benzo and AD cases…so it’s very clear in these instances)

    it’s part of the foundational autonomic nervous system dysfunction these drugs trigger. Healing from it, in my opinion, means many different things for different people…but generally includes all manner of holistic care…diet, meditation, exercise…etc etc…

    I’ve written about this foundational aspect here:
    Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, protracted psych drug withdrawal, CFS, Fibromyalgia and why I still limit engagement on the internet

    and here: Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia. Yeah, they all have things in common.

    mine used to keep me up for days and cause such pain that I would scream…I was afraid of the neighbors calling the cops…it’s much much less now.

    when it was dangerously out of control I sometimes (very carefully) used beta blockers to help quiet it…I haven’t needed anything like that for a couple of years now…but it’s one of the ugliest and most awful things I’ve had to deal with (among a list of far too many ugly things!)

    hang in there…it does pass.

    I find epsom salt baths and yoga both very helpful…

    Here is a yoga bit: Yoga back bends: feels yummy on the autonomic nervous system

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  • I could not help but think of a favorite line from a favorite poem as I read this…seeming contradiction is something I’m very familiar with:

    “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

    I think anyone who grapples deeply with the nature of reality finds that this is true…seeming contradictions existing simultaneously…or also, paradox being at the root of all things.

    I’ve put that poem on Beyond Meds more than once. This is the whole thing:

    thanks Chaya…

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  • hello…I simply over-extended myself…no one here did anything remotely inappropriate. My work is demanding and interacting with people is exhausting…it’s exhausting for normal healthy people to interact with 100s of readers… I am healing from a very serious autonomic nervous system injury caused by the drugs. I choose to take care of myself. That is all.

    You’re all very dear and none of you, again, did anything that lacked sensitivity.

    Take good care…all of you. We all need to do that for ourselves. Another little gift this journey of mine has given me…I will never unlearn how to listen to myself 🙂

    I’ve been practicing this for a long time now…

    Here I write about my need to care for myself…

    Brief note to my readers


    Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, protracted psych drug withdrawal, CFS, Fibromyalgia and why I still limit engagement on the internet

    again, no worries for anyone here!!

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  • Thanks to everyone here for the thoughtful discussions yesterday. I’m posting a link to a new piece from Beyond Meds which is related to the above article.

    I’m also now taking a bit of step-back from social media so I won’t be responding to more comments on this post.

    Thanks again to those of you who participated in this very lovely thread.

    A busy day after writing, “Is depression unhappiness?” (visiting choice in multiple ways)

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  • okay thanks Stuart,

    I responded in email and would certainly like to continue our conversation there but need to disengage from this thread as I continue to take care of myself. I don’t often venture out into these threads as they can be rather exhausting.

    So I’m going to share some links for readers here and then move on.

    I have never suggested people should come off meds without very careful consideration and instead often write posts about the fact that I do not think it’s wise to suggest to others that they come off of them. There is far too much pressure in some circles, I agree.

    Here are three posts in which I am explicit about this:

    Stop taking your meds, right now… (NOT!)

    and this one, in which your work is actually featured:

    Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications

    Dogmatic anti-meds stance can be dangerous

    I’m well aware that many cannot and should not face what I’ve faced. I’m grateful to have taken this on because of what I’ve been able to learn about the condition and therefore how I am able to help people learn about the risks etc. I feel this has been my vocation…I by no means recommend it for others!

    I have been profoundly lucky to have a husband who has provided a safe and healing environment while I’ve gone through something no one should ever have to go through. But since I have gone through it, I’m putting it to damn good use and will do all I can to help others make safe, wholesome and healing CHOICES…

    stopping drugs should never be imposed on anyone…ever…

    I cringe when those who are anti-med act coercive about these things…that makes us no different than those who push medications.

    of course, I do support people coming off when they choose to and personally have no regrets in spite of the great suffering I’ve endured and continue to endure. I made this choice very consciously and everyone needs a lot of information so that they might do that too.

    I offer everything i offer on the blog as information so that people can truly make informed choices. my life is a glaring example of the risks involved.

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  • thank you and yes, agreed…multiple factors, really always…

    I ended this piece too with a bit of a signature note on that message:

    I’ve personally found when it comes to well-being (mental and physical) and prevention of illness 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.

    and yes…how much and how well we rest and sleep…I did a post on Beyond meds on sleep and insomnia a day or two as well…

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  • no one is turning a blind eye. Shipko has made some absolute statements that are absolutely not proven.

    it’s not that I don’t think some people don’t completely recover…but Shipko is saying it unequivocally as though it were written in stone and must be…the fact is if everyone were given appropriate supports to learn and apply the things I and a great many of us are learning and applying those who aren’t recovering very well might start improving…

    there are very few people who can address these issues as broadly and holistically as necessary on their own and until there are professionals that can competently help people do that along with holding a space of healing hope, then yeah, we’re gonna have people not making it or taking far longer than necessary…but right now we have no proof that there is necessarily anything inherently permanent about the condition …from my view it’s a massive challenge that may very well be more than some can take…at this moment without meaningful supports

    that said:

    I have not met anyone sicker than I was. I could NOT leave the house for 2 years…this is not hyperbole…I would have collapsed like a caged animal and shielded my eyes and body had I had to be exposed to light/noise/people/stimulation of the outside world. I would have been institutionalized if met by MDs who did not understand what was wrong with me. It’s likely I’d be dead right now if that had happened.

    I have no doubt Shipko would have written me off if he’d seen me at that point. No doubt at all.

    I thank god I could not manage to get out of the house to see a doctor. I also pretty much knew it was a suicide mission to go see one…what a horror…but that is what I lived through.

    I have had to come at these issues from multiple disciplines…tryptophan and SAM-e are not gonna cut it…no way. And I’ve not met a single professional who understood the totality of how we are affected…I do have one who understands the dynamics of the foundation very well so that he’s been a great partner…and I have other great professional partners who help me with bits and pieces…

    I get the bulk of my information from peers…not just psych drug withdrawal peers but peers in the autoimmune disease and chronic illness circles too. Food intolerance circles etc…

    all systems in the body have been affected…my sweep for wellness is very very large and among many disciplines because it needs to be.

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  • yes, depression can also be seen as a food sensitivity or allergy or have other physical causes too. I am happy to view all phenomena from as many perspectives as possible…it is however, impossible to include all of them in every short essay I write. I write extensively from multiple perspectives…that is the nature of our holistic beings it’s rarely only one thing in any given individual…that much more diverse among all people.

    no one window will work for everyone always.

    thanks for your thoughts.

    working on sleep issues is almost always part of the picture for everyone. I quite agree.

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  • I recently wrote about embracing everyone on the spectrum of drugs or no drugs — I am in complete agreement…our diversity as human beings is endless…

    To my friends and readers who still take psych drugs (and to the whole spectrum of folks on and off meds too)

    also I find it ridiculous to assume because this works for me it would work for everyone and I spoke to that recently as well:

    If I can do it you can too — Really?

    I rarely make absolute statements about anything but it seems people like to read such into my writing quite often as generalizations of my experience get applied to others even when I have no intention of suggesting that. I think it’s built into the limits of language and writing and is impossible to avoid unfortunately.

    thanks very much for your comments

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  • and yes, I speak to those who work in and are subject to social service agencies…

    but I also know from my work on the internet that many folks not locked into such state funded services too have met with this reality…

    but thank god things are slowly changing…consider yourself lucky if you’ve not had to see what I’ve seen. I’d rather not have this job, frankly…but given I know what I know I do have a responsibility to help those still in this darkness find their way through. That in part requires a validation of their experience.

    Once we learn to find like minded souls it becomes easier and easier to find them…but first we need to understand the playing field.

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  • thanks Mary Anne,
    I make generalizations based on the population I work with. Those who’ve been gravely harmed and told they cannot and should not ever stop taking medications. I was in that cohort as a professional…everyone I worked with believed that!! Even as I did not believe that…that is whom I was surrounded by for over 10 years in the system. While I too was drugged struggling with all manner of cognitive dissonance.

    Social service systems are not set up in such a way to allow therapists to offer or encourage alternatives. Countless people never meet a professional such as me or yourself. And in fact I could not offer such hope to the people I worked with when I worked in the system because while I intuited somewhere deep inside what I know now…I did not know how to teach it or live it at that juncture. This is reality for far too many people. I speak and advocate now for those people who’ve never heard from anyone who believes in the inherent wisdom of our body/mind/spirits.

    I continue to meet people in withdrawal boards and on Beyond Meds facebook page who do not ever find anyone who knows what you and I seem to understand now. Of course now I know many professionals who understand these things but they are not the norm except perhaps in tiny pockets.

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  • Oh…I agree “withdrawal” symptoms often begin before any formal withdrawal starts…

    it seems to often happen as a result of what appears to be autonomic nervous system damage from drug use in general and coming on and off drugs before actually deciding to discontiue altogether…it’s often associated with folks who have multiple trials of multiple drugs coming on and off of them without titration which is often what is done when trials and drug switching is happening.

    I had multiple episodes of such drug switches.

    this is why I also do not believe that a slow taper will protect everyone. I was destined for hell because of my particular drug history and my particular body. But not everyone has these multiple switches in their histories. and even if they do problems can be mitigated with slow tapers.

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  • perhaps I should point out to those who might not know — I was BEDRIDDEN for two years. When I say that to most folks I get virtually no answer because it’s not something people can conceive of…my muscles wasted, I couldn’t even sit up…I could not brush my teeth.

    I am exponentially better now. I’m still sick but I’m also still getting better.

    My story of HOPE is here on MIA –

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

    a citizen scientist

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  • I’ve written a good number of posts that encourage people to consider that perhaps coming off drugs is not appropriate for everyone. I think that is an important thing for people to determine for a lot of reasons.

    But claiming some people are permanently damaged when there is no proof of that, again, is not responsible.

    The fact is that just because you’ve not known how to help these folks it does not follow that they cannot get well and frankly I wouldn’t want you to be overseeing my care with your attitude.

    I never claim to have a crystal ball..about recovery one way or the other…that would be wrong. But to recover, as I said elsewhere we do need to believe it’s in the realm of possibility and given you’ve worked with those who are very ill you know that we all go through phases of believing we will never get better. Not so good to have a doctor who shares that opinion. My god, I’ve seen so many now rise up from that ugliness who are now doing well.

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  • thanks Bruce,
    Buddhism does not actually conclude with “life is suffering.” Life has much suffering but Buddhism is actually a vehicle to liberation from that suffering. It believes that liberation is possible.

    While I’m not Buddhist, I do feel that my practice of embracing what is, is very Buddhist-like and it is a similar sort of road…there is as much joy as there is pain…I now shoot for equanimity. It seems to me the farther I move down this road the closer I get to something resembling that. Life is not only suffering, that is for sure.

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  • heretohelp,
    I find it unnecessarily alarmist too. Getting better can take a very long time but there are a lot of us figuring it out…I hope you’ll take a look at the links I posted in response to Shipko.

    it’s an individual journey and the autonomic nervous system dysregulation plays out differently for everyone, but it’s a puzzle that can be paid attention to and healed. There are a lot of us managing to do it. Please do not lose hope. To accomplish the task we must in part believe we can figure it out…otherwise we give up…it’s no small task to accomplish it.

    hang on…I’ve seen plenty of folks who’ve been sick for years improve and recover and thrive…and I’m in process…always getting better, albeit slowly…but very undeniably always moving in the right direction.

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  • Thanks for sharing your insights on Mad in America.

    I’d like to share some work I’ve done…if you’re familiar with autonomic nervous system dysregulation perhaps this will resonate…these symptoms can be worked with…it just takes a long time and a deep commitment to paying attention to the whole being. These issues can heal with a broad and holistic approach…I’ve seen it in many others and I’m in process doing it.

    Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia. Yeah, they all have things in common.

    Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, protracted psych drug withdrawal, CFS, Fibromyalgia and why I still limit engagement on the internet

    there are connections here to PTSD too which is a sort of autonomic nervous system dysregulation as well.

    I’m sorry you’ve perhaps alarmed so many people. This is an awful, terrible, horrifying journey that I would not wish on my worst enemy (I’m opposed to torture) but it is not a hopeless one.

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  • you know the thing with PTSD…get rid of the word disorder…because you’re right…we respond to horrible things in ways that are natural to human beings…

    but then you’re left with ‘post traumatic stress” which is descriptive. It says, “something bad happened to you.”

    that is unlike any other psych label which all proclaim, instead, “you have a diseased brain”

    I’ve not encountered people talking about a PTSD gene like you did…that’s unusual although not at all surprising and I’m sure there are people working on changing that…

    Something bad happened to us…to all of us. Those with other psychiatric diagnoses in general too….THAT I believe is important to understand and I guess that is why I do use the PTSD label for pragmatic reasons…some of the research on the cutting edge is damn helpful –those which looks at the body/mind connect and healing through embodiment theories and practice.

    it also provides a framework to get people to stop traumatizing their kids etc…programs are being made so that we might stop hurting people from the moment they’re born because of this understanding…our culture is traumatic.

    it’s an important thing to understand.

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  • anyway, PTSD is a very inaccurate label in many ways as are all labels, you’re right…and it’s really a garbage pail term in many ways too… I think maybe we aren’t disagreeing at all…I’m tired right now…and jumped the gun a bit in responding before more careful consideration. I need to go to bed!

    The thing is that research done by folks like Peter Levine and David Berceli are very helpful…they do not encourage drug use and and they believe in the capacity and likelihood of complete healing. As you do, as I do.

    best to you. 🙂

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  • I absolutely think that protracted withdrawal becomes complicated by PTSD with some frequency. Healing from it is not proof of anything. People can and do heal from life-times of trauma from all sources.

    If you study the work of Peter Levine and David Berceli, both experts in PTSD who believe in the possibility of not only full recovery but actual growth and transformation as a result of what people overcome you’ll find that serious (physical) illness is often a cause and source of PTSD.

    I would say you’ve managed to do that…grow as a result of the dark, dark, night you endured.

    Their work and others who specialize in viewing PTSD as they do (embodied etc) have helped me tremendously in recovering from the gross insult of drug iatrogenesis.

    Charles Whitlock MD also has written quite extensively on how psychiatric drugs are agents of trauma. We don’t have to call anything PTSD if you’d like to avoid labels (I too loathe labels), but it’s hard to deny the trauma incurred when one deals with the multiple injuries of psychiatric medications.

    Anyway, I love your work Matt and this difference in interpretation of our similiar experience doesn’t change that at all. Thank your for all you do.

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  • Thank you Nancy…that’s been a rather horrifying drama that played out on that guys website. I recently (after the whole thing had gone done) found out the guy is highly respected in some circles. I hadn’t realized that…it further adds to the sickening nature of his denial and ignorance. Not that it’s surprising really, but it still can on occasion shock me how this can be the case.

    I had left a comment too that was deleted with the rest of them…it included a link to my benzo page from Beyond Meds…It’s the most complete page documenting harm of any psych drug on the blog because there is so much documentation proving benzodiazepines are dangerous. It’s hard to accumulate so much information from so many different sources for some of the other classes of drugs still….but the fact is benzos are very well documented to cause harm

    So I’ll share for anyone who needs even more info to become convinced of the danger of benzodiazepines here is what has become a rather extensive collection of articles and stories and references to studies etc…that deal with benzos.

    I had hoped that comments could be left up…they were so damning that his delusional article appeared exactly that: delusional.

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  • Thank you Patrick…

    I wanted to document what you say about doctors using the serotonin lie routinely and as a matter of convenience, because we have Dr Daniel Carlat on record stating exactly that! In an interview for NPR he stated:

    What we don’t know is we don’t know how the medications actually work in the brain. So whereas it’s not uncommon – and I still do this, actually, when patients ask me about these medications, I’ll often say something like, well, the way Zoloft works is it increases the levels of serotonin in your brain, in your synapses, the neurons, and presumably the reason you’re depressed or anxious is that you have some sort of a deficiency. And I say that not because I really believe it, because I know that the evidence isn’t really there for us to understand the mechanism. I think I say that because patients want to know something, and they want to know that we as physicians have some basic understanding of what we’re doing when we’re prescribing medications. And they certainly don’t want to hear that a psychiatrist essentially has no idea how these medications work.

    I took that from a post Giovanna Pompele wrote for Beyond Meds:

    People don’t want to believe doctors are really lying and withholding the truth…and while I don’t think they all do that all the time…some clearly do lie while being completely aware of it and make no apologies! In fact Carlat seems to be deluded enough to think it serves a higher purpose.

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  • We’re coming off meds in droves with out without our MDs support because we want our lives back.

    MDs such as yourself should demand research and training in freeing people from the medications. We don’t have that influence.

    I’ve written a post that was entitled: A plea to prescribing physicians and psychiatrists: please help us heal see:

    The current situation is inexcusable…that we must mostly do this on our own without safe medical support. I appreciate that you are waking up to this and sharing it with others.

    The fact is if MDs want to learn there are huge collections of data on withdrawal boards on the internet. We have become experts. And in fact there has been some researchers who’ve collected information on our boards…see:

    I’m happy to consult with MDs anytime as well (and do on occasion) and I know a good number of my withdrawal colleagues would be as well. Take us up on that, please.

    Right now we hold vasts amounts of knowledge in that the sheer volume of folks we’ve worked with exceeds that of any private practice. If nothing else we could help determine what needs to be systematically studied so that it can eventually be understood and come under the guise of “evidence based.” For now we are too often dismissed because what we see everyday in 1000s of people have not been studied in randomized trials. We need you to help get our knowledge out there.

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  • 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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  • Thanks Jennifer. This is also a topic near and dear to me. The fear of death that permeates our culture in general becomes also a dangerous problem in facing the issue of suicide.

    I’ve collected several articles that look to opening dialogue as well. Perhaps some will find it helpful. See: Conversations about Suicidal Feelings

    All the pieces in that collection reframe the issue. We truly need to not fear talking about it…and more importantly not fear those who are feeling suicidal impulses. Meeting people calmly without terror at these times is the most loving, gentle and healing thing that can be done to help them through such times.

    I hadn’t heard about this man you speak of in this piece. It’s really sad that the school did not welcome you in to speak. (did you know I live in Asheville too?)

    thanks again Jennifer.

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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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  • please know I’m not assuming you think nothing is going on behind the haze…just thinking out loud about what is a common thread among those who like to judge those who are unlucky enough to go the drugged route…and that is what I’m generalizing about here. If one actually meets the person…one can communicate regardless of whether one is on drugs or not…if people don’t know this they’ve not payed attention…and it’s not our job to save every individual either. Respecting people means letting them live their lives in ways we may not want to live ours.

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  • by respecting them…we managed to get through the fog and so do lots of other folks. I think it’s insulting and unfair to imagine nothing is going on behind the haze. It’s also clearly bullshit in my experience. Do I have more clarity now? Yes, but I also found my way off the drugs and so do lots of other people. It’s a violence to force ones view on another…always.

    I avoid acting like I know better than another. Ever. Because again, I’m quite confident I do not know what is right for anyone other than myself.

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  • thank you, Richard…I’m seriously committed to yoga/meditation…I feel it’s pretty much the foundation of my recovery protocol, though as I have come to profoundly understand…as holistic beings all the pieces that we put together for wellness are very important. Diet, the company I keep, the air I breath…etc, etc.

    I think it’s important to note that the vagus nerve being distressed in heavily implicated in PTSD as well and it’s a common belief among many of us critics that most psych diagnosis are, in essence, variations of PTSD. So yoga, really, in my mind has a potential place in all mental well-being and the maintenance of resilience.

    I have quite a big collection of articles on yoga on the blog now.

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  • you’re wrong. available evidence suggests our brains are potentially highly neuroplastic and we can and do heal from these insults all the time. I’m sorry you’re in pain. I hope you get better.

    a post on neuroplasticity (scroll down for a long list of links on the topic)

    this link is for people who want to know about the amazing capacity for our brains and bodies to heal. I say hallelujah as I’ve seen so many people heal. Totally and completely.

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  • what you’re saying makes no sense. it’s those of us who are recovering that speak of recovery…we’ve been harmed and we spread the word of the toxic harm.

    the only answer would be to lie and say we don’t get better…I know 100s who are ALL BETTER…your argument is ridiculous. those of us who are ill need to know we’ll get better…it’s almost like you don’t want to know that? what is up with that?

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  • I’m not sure why you think I’m talking about still being brain damaged…it seems to me my body and brain is healing quite nicely as in the brain damage is clearing up. Neuroplasticity is both the reason why we get harmed as well as the reason we can heal. In fact I’ve been told by a researcher who looks at this stuff that those of us who are gravely harmed are more susceptible to neuroplastic changes which also means we can heal more impressively in the long run.

    I certainly cannot speak to your individual circumstance. I am sorry you are clearly suffering so deeply.

    and yes, healing is a spectrum…so maybe you read something on my site to that effect…but what I see happening everyday among many of our comrades is complete healing. And while still very symptomatic myself I also see it happening in myself…it’s rather astonishing and amazing what this body is capable of.

    I hope you find a way to peace regardless…I do also believe we can live with pain and minimize suffering…that has been how I’ve gotten this far and it’s helped my body actually get better…and at this point my process of acceptance seems to be ushering in deeper healing and I do expect wellness.

    best to you,

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  • people do heal…in worst case scenarios it can take years but they do heal…I’m far better than I was, remain super-sensitive but see that I am continuing to improve. I’ve seen others like me reach total wellness.

    being gravely and profoundly ill for years is unimaginable for most people which is why it’s widely denied.

    but for those of us struck with such illness it’s important to know that people heal…they get to the other side. I’ve seen it many times. Hang on, Jeffrey.

    here is a link to the many ways I cope with and help my body heal from my iatrogenic illness:

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  • I’ve actually sent him several emails on the subject now with lots of links and info. Not just about this particular issue about about the misuse and abuse of psychiatric drugs in general. I sent these emails as a result of having seen the video from Gary Null’s film.

    He claims, or at least at the time I sent the emails, claimed, to read every email he received even if he did not respond. In any case perhaps if he got lots and lots of emails/questions about the issue he might come around.

    He’d certainly be a great ally. So yes…lets get these questions out there. Thank you Jim

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  • Walking has been one of my most important measures of recovery, so I appreciate this post very much. For me it was walking to the mailbox for the first time after having been bedridden for 2 years…then around the block then for short hikes in the woods etc…I’m still having milestones in my walking recovery, but it, for me too, is something I must do…though it’s also a pleasure in that every step I take is one out of bed…incredible how much we take for granted before such an acute and long-term illness.

    And yes, once I got out of bed, where I had done much meditation, I brought meditation into pretty much everything I did. Walking is so deeply restorative when it’s also a meditation.

    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts.

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  • yes, Faith, thank you.
    Much of this dialogue has been chaotic and reactive which has been totally understandable but hard for those without lived experience to understand quite often…

    Your response is one that will cross boundaries I think…that’s a lovely talent to have.

    And I’m so glad you’ve underscored that forced psychiatric treatment is VIOLENCE. If people don’t understand the tragic irony inherent in that fact we will truly never resolve these issues.

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  • I’m glad that Suzy Chapman and Allen Francis have called attention to the Somatoform Disorders…that was really flying under the radar…

    I made some comments regarding this particular issue today as well and wanted to share my concerns here too as I’ve not seen them mentioned elsewhere and they’re quite significant concerns for anyone who has been on psych meds for any length of time:

    The Somatic Symptom Disorder category is also of particular concern to those who are suffering from drug iatrogenesis and particularly psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes. One of the common manifestations of debilitation when struck with withdrawal syndromes are numerous, often bizarre, acute, painful and disabling physical sensations. They include varieties of neuropathies and parasthesias. They are NOT in the patients head. And since the drug use caused these disabling symptoms more drugs to cure them is exactly the wrong way to go. This, of course, already happens. Many people are wrongly diagnosed when they start manifesting adverse reactions or acute withdrawal to drugs. They are often already disbelieved when they start reporting such adverse events.

    There is an ongoing failure to recognize the iatrogenic illness (medically induced physical illness) that these drugs actually cause very often, especially when people withdraw from them but often simply as a result of going on and off them as is routinely done in the treatment of those who are so-called “treatment resistant.” The med “merry-go-rounds” that so many people experience in psychiatric care are quite often the cause of what gets called treatment resistance. The body/mind doesn’t like having its nervous system repeatedly jacked around.

    The Somatic Symptom Disorder institutionalizes this dangerous failure to recognize the harm psych meds are causing.

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  • thank you Matt. I saw a video with your story and read what you wrote for Outdoor Magazine a few years ago. I in fact shared them both with my readers. I was wondering how you were doing now…and so were some other people who’d read about you on my blog. There was concern that you were still ill. So happy to hear you’ve found wellness.

    This post resonates for me. Especially how you talk about learning to find joy even in the dark times because, yeah, if you don’t do that the only other alternative is ending it all.

    I’m at close to 3 years post withdrawal. That followed 6 years of withdrawing from a 6 med cocktail…and much of that time I was sick too. I’ve got a long ways to go…I’m still really sick…but I can now at least appreciate the journey in many ways. This is my life…as you point out. The only one I have.

    best to you…thank you for sharing.

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  • I felt you were telling me how I should think and feel about my doctor and my relationship to him. I don’t think anyone can know anything about my doctor and my relationship to him.

    Beyond that I was simply responding to common threads in these such discussions (not just you) that suggest that prescribers are somehow sub-human or unworthy of speaking to with anything other than complete contempt.

    I didn’t really make an assumption about you per se. I simply wrote what arose in me when I read your response…I’m sorry if it offended you.

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  • When I engage with the doctor I do it precisely because I care about the people he is still treating. It’s not some sort of touchy feeling exercise to commune with him. Seeing and believing him to be evil when it’s clear to me that he is not would get us no where at all. It would only totally alienate him. I may not change him 100% but I’m sure at this point he will never prescribe quite the same way again either. Any time less aggressive prescribing is used…any time people end up on less medications… will diminish how much people are harmed. This too is harm reduction.

    It’s convenient and sometimes satisfying to imagine all these prescribers as evil. But it’s simply not the case…misunderstanding this fact can forfeit any chance of meaningful dialogue. I opt for meaningful dialogue and frankly I welcome the opportunity to dialogue with people that are not part of the choir.

    We all work where we are called to work. Talk to those we can communicate with and help. I was a professional in this field. I am skilled at communicating with other professionals. I do what I can on as many fronts as possible in this battle to educate and change what is happening with the use of psychiatric drugs.

    It’s better that we support each others unique skills rather than question their value.

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  • thanks for sharing your story Melissa. We remain in the shadows.

    I attribute most of the most serious long term withdrawal issues I have to the long-term benzo use and withdrawal. The withdrawal community that consistently resonates most are those who’ve withdrawn from benzos. It’s a very ugly and alienating experience that seems impossible for those who’ve not experienced it to grasp…which means that policies to protect others are very very slow in the making.

    I have found that people with traumatic brain injuries relate to my experience as well.

    Not everyone who comes of benzos get sick which leads doctors to make all sorts of negative and inaccurate assumptions about those who get critically ill and we are largely dismissed. The medical community has nothing to help us and often denies we even exist.

    I’ve collected an extensive list of articles and information on benzo use and withdrawal over the several years now that I’ve been dealing with acute withdrawal syndrome…that others might be able to avoid this hell:

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