rai

Rachel’s recovery from psychiatric labelling and unnecessary treatment

After suffering abuse as a child Rachel began to hear voices while a teenager and went to a psychiatrist for help. Years of hospital and drug treatment followed. However Rachel only recovered once she rejected psychiatry and began to embrace her ‘symptoms’ as a meaningful response to childhood trauma. … [click on title to read more]

human

The normal modern human being

In the modern man, partly owing to his abnormal education during his preparatory age, and partly owing to influences due to certain causes of of the generally established abnormal conditions of modern life, the working of his psychic centres during his responsible age is almost entirely disconnected, therefore his intellectual, emotional and instinctive motor functions do not serve as a natural complement and corrective for one another, but, on the contrary, travel along different roads, which rarely meet and for this reason permit very little leisure for obtaining that, which in reality be understood by the word “consciousness”, wrongly used by modern people today. … [click on title to read more]

broken

It gets better: An email to close friends

The IT GETS BETTER collection is intended to help those who are currently dealing with the iatrogenic (medically caused) injury from psych meds…so that they might know that we can heal. It is also intended to help educate the masses to the realities that we face. Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome is real. It’s also sometimes gravely disabling. The fact is it’s largely denied in the medical community. We are routinely blamed and told that the experience is psychiatric…this leads to more drugging and sometimes forced drugging with the very drugs that have harmed us. This must end. This is #7 in the IT GETS BETTER series. … [click on title to read more]

nature

Nature vs nurture — Why biological psychiatry is so sorely misguided

Genes are not deterministic. Epigenetics explains why. This is why theories on mental illness that try to blame genes are always over-simplified. Environment and what you eat and the amount of stress or trauma one lives with all are part of the picture. Everything matters.

The genetic and biological models allows the luxury of ignoring past and present social factors, says, Gabor Mate. He calls the genetic argument a cop out.… [click on title to read more]

green

Hallucinations (it gets better!)

This might amuse some of you…or alternately relieve others as well…

When I was at the height of acute psychiatric drug withdrawal hell I once hallucinated a green fairy princess flying through my living room…she scattered green sparkly glitter as she flew…I was tickled…a high moment in the midst of the heinousness.

And just to be clear…I was well aware it was a hallucination…when one doesn’t sleep for days and weeks and months, well, one does see things that aren’t really there on occasion.

Glad such things are several years in the past now. It does get better … [click on title to read more]

solitude

The wonders of solitude

There is no species of training I ever underwent to which I owe more than to the habit of regular periods of inner solitude. Solitary we must be in life’s great hours of moral decision; solitary in pain and sorrow; solitary in old age and going forth to death. Fortunate the person who has learned what to do in solitude and brought himself to see what companionship he may discover in it – what fortitude, what content.

By a great blessing I had an aptitude for these hours of quiet reflection and grew to love them… To be alone and still and thoughtful bestowed upon me the richest joy I knew and for this priceless cultivation I shall be thankful always … [click on title to read more]

toxic_1_1_1

Toxic people

I’ve basically stayed away from labeling people whether it’s toxic, bipolar, schizophrenic, narcissistic or borderline because frankly, labeling always “others” a person. We all end up with stuff that ain’t pretty in this culture and society, which is indeed toxic. That toxicity doesn’t leave any of us untouched. I prefer to deal with our communal shit in a way that embraces it all and recognizes the sometimes very messy and also painful, but also incredibly wondrous reality of being human. Ultimately the only person we can change is ourselves. I’ve seen the power of doing that in my life. Everything changes as we do. … [click on title to read and view more]

yoga

Yogic breathing in daily life

By Sangeetha Saran Deep, thoughtful breathing is a crucial part of yoga. Proper yogic breathing is known as pranayama, which is the science and art of yogic breathing techniques. Because breathing in this way is emphasized in yoga classes, students often assume they can resume normal breathing after leaving. However, by incorporating yogic breathing into your […]

Healing

Healing can sometimes hurt

I’ve discovered that healing sometimes hurts…like when severe burns are healing it’s hell. It’s the same coming back from psych drug withdrawal syndrome, a sometimes grave and disabling iatrogenic injury. It can be a heinously awful experience. I’ve also learned that practicing surrender to that which is allows me to learn from the pain and the more I surrender the more the whole process actually makes sense. So, yes, now I intuitively know all sorts of things about healing and life and living and humanity and so I can profoundly trust what is happening most of the time even when I still feel shitty. It’s pretty darn cool. … [click on title to read and view more]

path-with-heart

Altered states in meditation

The third principle in working with altered states can be called Awareness of the Dance. When such experiences arise, the practitioner’s primary responsibility is to open to the experience with a full awareness, observing and sensing it as part of the dance of our human life.

We may become frightened by altered states, so that as they arise we resist and judge them: “My body is dissolving.” “I have prickles all over.” “I’m burning up.” “I’m too cold.” “The sounds are too loud.” “My senses are too intense.” “I cannot tolerate the many inner pains or waves of energy.” Through fear, aversion, and misunderstanding, we can struggle with them for a long time, trying to avoid them, change them, get through them, or make them go away, and this very resistance will keep us caught in them. … [click on title to read and view more]

drug

(Psych) Drug induced dementia — higher rates of Alzheimer’s too

This is not the first time psych drugs have been linked to dementia, but it’s certainly not something we hear about often enough. With an aging generation of people who’ve been on psych meds for their entire adult lives it’s an issue that needs to be faced. It’s yet another serious adverse effect that psychiatric drugs can cause. In this current NBC piece they are speaking only about benzodiazepines. All psych drugs have been associated with various sorts of mental decline, however. … [click on title to read and view more]

dance

There is a dance that only you know how to do

The process of learning to find that dance involves listening to the body and watching how it interacts with the environment. Listening and then responding to the music and our surroundings. In time there is no thought, there is only emptiness as the body moves seamlessly in union with the music and the energy of the room filled with other dancers.
In doing this practice one learns how to bring the dance off the floor. All life is a dance, we see. … [click on title to read and view more]

cocktail

The ever elusive but perfect psychopharmaceutical cocktail…

When psych drugs clearly do not work from the very beginning, instead of calling it quits and utilizing the many other possible natural options that exist to assist a person in mental distress and trauma there is instead a belief in some totally elusive but perfect (as well as completely deluded) med “cocktail” that simply must be discovered.

And so the med merry-go-round begins…an ever-changing combination of psychopharmaceuticals. I ended up trying over 40 drugs by the end of my psychopharm career. I was often taking 6 or 7 at once. Even for folks who find combos that are tolerable for a time generally that will change too and so med-merry-go rounds are often episodic and repeated over and over again. How many combinations can a creative MD come up with? Rather endless ones, really. It’s a never ending carrot that is dangled in the front of psychiatric patients. … [click on title to read and view more]

jack and david

What is Love? What is Trust?

Jack Kornfield and Brother David Steindl-Rast are two of my favorite men in the world (along with Gabor Mate). Love seeing them together here. At the Greater Good Gratitude Summit, the renowned authors and religious teachers define love and trust, and explore the relationship between these two critical concepts … [click on title to read and view more]

mad head

Mad in America Film Festival

Tickets are now available for purchase through our website here.

From October 9th through 12th, 2014, Mad in America will be hosting its first International Film Festival at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA. Our mission is to foster the pursuit of social justice and human rights by bringing together an international collective of voices, perspectives, and artistic presentations that challenge the current mental health system and explore alternative understandings of “mental illness.” … [click on title to read and view more]

withdrawal

When withdrawal is the hardest part (sure as heck was for me)

Benzodiazepines are the most recognized psych drugs to have serious adverse withdrawal issues and still people are harmed in the tens of thousands. SSRIs and other antidepressants and neuroleptics and “mood stabilizers” all have potentially very serious issues as well but it’s less recognized. Please get information before taking any of these drugs. One class is not necessarily worse than the other. It really depends on the individual and knowing who might be most harmed by which drugs is simply not known. It’s a game of Russian roulette to take psychiatric drugs. If you want to spin it more positively you can call it the lottery…some people are happy they took these meds and seem to come out unscathed. This is the complex reality of these drugs.

It will be nice when it’s made clear that all psych meds can cause similar painful and debilitating withdrawal syndromes because even though they work by different mechanisms of actions they all potentially impact the autonomic nervous system in a way that results in similar harm. … [click on title to read and view more]

intimacy

We human beings desire and long for true intimacy

On the one hand, we human beings desire and long for true intimacy, we desire to love and to be loved, probably more than anything; more than great success, or beauty, more than fame or possessions, or great wealth or anything else at all that we may feel we desire. We seem to be hard-wired for this. It just seems to be the way we are made. We long to love and be loved, we long to have true intimacy in our lives, and when we feel we do not for some reason, our lives make little sense to us and don’t feel very meaningful or fulfilling, no matter what other exciting and fascinating things they may be filled with… … [click on title to read and view more]

better

It gets better: Revisiting the withdrawal symptom list

**Most of the “symptoms” from the below post are now gone. To call them symptoms is another one of the ways language cannot do justice to experience. At one time a significant number of them were so severe they would have been disabling all on their own. In conjunction with one another they created a disability so completely acute and alienating that most people, unless they’ve experienced it, cannot imagine it. … [click on title to read and view more]

bubbles

Post-Psych Drug Libido

Originally posted on Birth of a Patient:
I am hormonally confused. No, not confused. Overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by hormones. Little molecules–that suddenly never quit–in a constant re-balancing act. And they’re all tied up with my emotions. Hormonally driven responses feel so disposable, and I think they, hormones, know this. They buddy up with the heart…

black rose

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive. … [click on title to read and view more]

red-tent

Things we don’t talk about — Red tent: the film (for women)

FREE for 24 more hours
I’m involved in my local Rent Tent group. I am finding deep healing among several largely non-professional groups in my community. My yoga community is one source, my ecstatic dance community is another, and women’s groups including the local Red Tent group is also bringing great light, joy and healing into my life.

There are ways to find healing communities that we ourselves create. Every human being can potentially create their own version and it may or may not look anything like mine or anyone else’s. I share some of the elements of mine, not so that it can be copied, but so that folks can start imagining how much more is out there besides the medical establishment that is failing so many.

Please, if what helps me doesn’t strike you as interesting or helpful, trust that your path may look completely different and still be just right. … [click on title to read and view more]

stream

Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows

Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses to flow with life, and gets stuck at the banks, that it becomes a problem. … [click on title to read and view more]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Multi-colored beets with cilantro and hemp seed pesto #foodie friday

Fresh cut beets look like candy! Roast them with garlic and onion too. Topped with cilantro and hemp seed pesto. … [click on title to read and view more]

awg_smokeysunbeams

A personal note to my readers

Someone just inquired again about contacting me personally for private correspondence. I post on Facebook every now and then about how I’m not able to do that since people often ask. Today I’m putting it here on the blog as well.

I’m sorry, I continue to not be available for personal correspondence or phone calls. I don’t have consistent energy or reliable amounts of energy and it simply sets everyone up for disappointment. That said I most likely won’t return to such open correspondence ever.

I was working up to 80 hours a week when I answered all my email and comments on the blog a few years ago…that’s simply not sustainable as all my work is done on a voluntary basis. The blogs readership has since grown considerably. So I’m sorry, it’s simply not possible to answer everyone’s inquiries.

I’ve learned to make healthy boundaries for myself. I wish that there was meaningful support for everyone out there and in fact that is why I do this work so that more people will become aware of what is going on. I do understand all too well what it’s like to feel like we don’t have enough support. I will continue to work to create a world where such support is available in the ways that I can. … [click on title to read and view more]

qigong

Between Heaven and Earth – Full Qigong Practice Session

Yesterday I did two posts on trauma and learning to heal from that through body practices. I talk about yoga and ecstatic dance in those posts. Qigong is another practice that can help profoundly.

I love that there is simply a huge multitude of methods to heal so that everyone can find what resonates and works for them personally. Of course that is a challenge for (some) professionals who always want to believe that what they have training in is what is appropriate for everyone. This is of course why the mental health system doesn’t work so well. I take great delight in the incredibly diverse healing body/mind.

I’ve been practicing Qigong from time to time lately and really love it too though I am very much a beginner still. It’s an incredibly powerful energy mover and so I do have to take it slow and carefully simply because it impacts the autonomic nervous system so profoundly and that is what is most impacted by the iatrogenic injury I’m healing from (psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome). Psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome is among other things also an incredibly traumatic event and therefore a lot of methods that help heal trauma also help heal this medically induced iatrogenic injury. … [click on title to read and view more]

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