I have a pain in my heart

I’ve had a sensation of pain in my heart intermittently for years. It’s become rather frequent lately and it radiates out from my heart chakra into my whole being. I’ve been confused by this sensation for years and now that it’s stepped up quite a few notches I’m thinking about it a lot and I meditate when it overcomes me. I let myself feel it deeply and don’t struggle against it like I used to which is hard because it’s been very painful.

Today I figure it out. And as I did the pain subsided some. It’s blocked spiritual energy. It’s the energy of the mania that was triggered by hallucinogens. It’s been stifled in me ever since I took the psych drugs. My mania was profoundly spiritual and legitimately so as far as I’m concerned. Now this feeling is all the joy and love and euphoria crammed down in my being asking to be released. I have no fear that it will turn to mania, in fact I’m actively working to release the pent up energy and let in love. I sense that once I do this I will be open to feel joy and the love of the universe that can be interpreted in any way that makes sense to someone given their religious beliefs.

When I was 16 I interpreted this joy as the love of Christ. My first experience of it was not a psychotic one. I’m not attached to Christ being the only interpretation of love coming from the divine. I think all religious or spiritual people have access to this deep and profound joy and love, it doesn’t matter how it’s interpreted. I’ve heard of people simply calling it love of self.

I talked to a minister the other day about my re-emerging spirituality and he told me to trust my experience. He also quoted the bible from where it says if you look in the face of god you basically lose it—we are not created to endure the full force of the divine–at least not without adequate preparation. That is what I believe spiritual emergency is—or what is often called psychosis—looking in the face of god in whatever way you perceive god, too closely. I was an open conduit to the spiritual when I was psychotic. And now I’m being called back as the psychiatric medications that have kept me cut off from the divine are leaving my body.

I’m starting my taper again tomorrow. My new doctor has been working with me both with new supplements which support and detox and through energy medicine. I do not feel well—in fact I feel over-medicated. I’m slurring my words. It seems she has got me into a state of health to the point that the drugs are making me drunk again. It’s pretty awesome that she’s been able to bring that about.

This withdrawal will be from the Risperdal .05 mg every two days for 6 days. I’m going from .75 mg to .60 mg and then holding. I can’t wait to get off the rest of these psych drugs because I feel a profound healing coming on. A deep spiritual healing. But before it can happen more completely I need to be free from these spirit killing drugs. It’s beautiful to have a doctor who believes in this spiritual aspect of what is labeled mental illness. It’s so unusual. I remember the first time I was hospitalized and I told the psychiatrist in the hospital god was talking to me and he mocked me and then shot me up full of Haldol.

I went for a walk the other day with a woman who could’ve been my client from years ago when I worked with the “severe and persistent mentally ill.” She was so sweet and warm—yet there was a deadness in her that I recognized as familiar from the clients I worked with on heavy neuroleptics. I was so glad to walk with her as an equal and not as a social worker—she is my peer and we talked to each other as such. She is getting tardive dykinesia from her neuroleptic. I asked her how long she’s been on it and it’s been 2 decades. I asked how long she has been stable and she said 12 years. I wanted to scream. This poor woman is half dead inside for no good reason. She is on three medications for bipolar disorder and has had no symptoms in 12 years. I see that as criminal, especially since it’s clear a part of her is dead, just as I’ve been dead for many years but am now coming back to life.

I gently talked to her about talking to her doctor. “If you’ve been symptom free for 12 years maybe you don’t have to be on a toxic drug that is giving you tardive dyskinesia,” I suggested. I didn’t add she struck me as part dead too. I want to help all of us who are being over-medicated and poisoned. How can I do that? This blog is simply not enough.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

26 Responses

  1. Gianna,

    What an absolutely wonderful post.

    I believe we are spiritual beings – connected to our source and each other.

    I also believe that a ‘psychosis’ is a spiritual experience.

    This heart problem – I experienced it for the first and only time on Geodon, and coming off Geodon – I think it disconnected me from myself, and the world around me – in a spiritual sense.

    How great it was that you got to walk with this other woman.
    As an equal.

    Duane

    Like

  2. mark

    Have you read The Stormy Search for Self from Stanislav Grof? He talks about this a lot. I found it really helpful during my spiritual emergency. All the best with yours… I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    Like

  3. Gianna, it is exciting to read about what sounds like a new and meaningful journey for you. I know you will keep us all posted on how it goes. This is an important experience for all of the people who are living their daily lives with a “deadened” heart. As you know, I think that you are indeed helping a lot of people with what you write here.

    Like

  4. Gianna,
    It’s so good to see you writing about hope again! There is precious little of it in the mental health system. Glad you are back on the road to recovery. You go, girl!

    Like

  5. Doe

    I think this is a really wonderful (and very helpful, for me) post…I saw a psychic recently who felt that my spiritual centers were blocked b/c of the drugs…I was seeing her b/c she was a medical intuitive and I wanted to see what she saw as I was withdrawing…but even before she told me this, I felt it was true…I too, miss the bliss, the spiritual ectasy the feelings of intense greatfulness to be alive and loved….I used to feel that on a regular basis…almost always after a period of darkness…looking back, I think the two were intertwined and dependent upon each other…the dark and the light working together…both sides of the same coin. I really hope to get this back….I am excited for you and I hope you continue to share these experiences with us…they are very important for us to hear.

    Oh–and I too had this pain in my heart–for years! It felt like my heart was breaking…it felt, indeed, much like heartbreak (like when you’re going through a breakup or a death)….

    I also had a trembly stomach for awhile too…when I figured out my body was trying to discharge energy, I felt less afraid of it, and less prone to pathologize it…(body trying to discharge trauma, as the youtube thing you posted recently talked about).

    Anyway, thank you so much!

    Like

  6. Doe

    Gianna,

    I too felt amazed when you mentioned it…I thought this was such an obscure thing that nobody else experienced it…in a way, just to know there are others who have felt this brings about that feeling of love and gratefulness…the kind of serendipidous feelings I used to have a lot, pre-meds.

    See how good it is that you share these things? More, more, more!

    Like

  7. Doe

    Oh…at the risk of posting too much (sorry!)…one quote that comes to my mind with meds affecting spirituality comes from Tom Waits song “Please Call Me, Baby”…. (a song about how we’re all basically ‘crazy’ and it’s part of being human) He sings “If I exorcise my demons, well my angels may go too…”.
    I feel that this is what happened with me and meds…as an attempt to get rid of my demons, I got rid of my angels in the process…

    Like

  8. She was so sweet and warm—yet there was a deadness in her that I recognized as familiar from the clients I worked with on heavy neuroleptics. I was so glad to walk with her as an equal and not as a social worker—she is my peer and we talked to each other as such. She is getting tardive dykinesia from her neuroleptic. I asked her how long she’s been on it and it’s been 2 decades. I asked how long she has been stable and she said 12 years. I wanted to scream. This poor woman is half dead inside for no good reason. She is on three medications for bipolar disorder and has had no symptoms in 12 years. I see that as criminal, especially since it’s clear a part of her is dead, just as I’ve been dead for many years but am now coming back to life.

    When I was at the psych hospital in late 2006, I met a girl just like this. She wasn’t much older than me – maybe 26 at the time – and married with two or three kids. She was on lithium, risperdal, depakote, and probably one or two other drug cocktails that I can’t recall.

    She was so pretty, Gianna, but her eyes were so lifeless. I know what you mean when you say “dead inside.” I constantly looked at her as she spoke to me, slow and controlled, as if I could see her thoughts go from her brain to her mouth. I was always sad after I finished talking with her. She was only 26 and seemed so dead already. I looked at her and thought to myself, “I don’t want this to be me.”

    I also remember my father who, after being on medications, had this zoned, space-out look in his eyes. The sparkle and mischief from his eyes were gone, never to return. This saddened me so much so the point that once he died, I was sad that I lost him but also realized that he’d been dead for quite a while.

    This is why I’m wrestling with whether I need medication or not. I don’t want to be dead alive.

    Like

  9. Sara

    I just want to say Good Luck with the taper. I’m thinking of you. You sound very ready to tackle it again. Just keep all those mind calming things you do for yourself in high gear when you start to feel bad. I know you can do it!!

    Like

  10. Gianna, I completely believe in you with this. I too, had a strange pain in my heart, it was a real pain, and one that was intermitment but always appeared to flare up at times of mourning and loss for me. This recent last few months, it has been missing, the same time I’ve been tapering the Xanax. Just yesterday, I was driving to the store and thinking how I feel “over-drugged”, like a zombie, and wondered if I took a wrong dose Xanax (higher) or something. Then today that fog is gone (has happened on and off with this taper) and I don’t feel over drugged. So thank you for getting out on “paper” what I’ve been experiencing and feel it is quite significant. I’ve always been a spiritual person, and I remember when you went back home after your trip out west, you wrote something, and I remarked that the spiritual journey and awakening would be on it’s way and harder than the med taper. I believe you’ve had a spiritual awakening, and am glad you have confidence to reduce the drugs further, and with that said, you know I say “good luck and be well” and I sincerely hope it goes well and continues to.–Stephany

    PS– sometimes, I wonder if those of us in our 40’s writing about this stuff–are just at a place 40somethings tend to be on our life journeys, questioning, asking and wanting a new spiritual growth.(meaning is it me or the meds) it’s an interesting life picking this all apart.

    Like

  11. Sloopy Cowbell

    As ever, an enthralling read, Gianna!

    You’ve scooped up many things I’m been mulling over in my mind.

    I decided to go into town today. The first time in maybe two months. I took the dog and went on the train.

    Arriving in town I walked past a church. A warm but indistinct building. Suddenly, a memory came back, triggered by your blog posting of today. I used to go into that church _every_ time I was in town for some quiet contemplation and prayer.

    Back then, I’d only been on Zyprexa for just a year or two. These days though, the church – any church – draws no interest. Where once they evoked a certain fascination for me, I now find a place of worship about as enticing as the post office, or the bank. I’m sure that indifference is wholly down to the Zyprexa. God has been drugged from my life.

    I posted on a mental health mailing list a message about Dr Michael Persinger, and his research at Laurentian University into “neuro-theology”. Persinger has found he can induce religiosity by stimulating a very specific region of the brain, electromagnetically. It sounds like an interesting area of research.

    Neuroleptics presumably work in exactly the opposite way – by de-stimulating the brain – including those areas involved in the higher functions of the mind such as religious feelings. Breggin notes that neurologically, neuroleptics “suppress overall brain function”, so that’s no surprise.

    I’m so pleased you are re-starting your taper. I’m routing for you 🙂 I was chatting yesterday about psychiatric drug withdrawal and your blog with Mary Maddock, who founded Mind Freedom Ireland.

    Mary is a lovely woman. Very genuine and kind. The second edition of her autobiography – Soul Survivor: A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry – is imminent. I look forward to reading it.

    I told her about my own journey of withdrawal. She warned me that the atypical neuroleptics can be particularly hard to withdraw from. I wonder why? Perhaps it is because the receptor bindings in atypicals are by design so much stronger and targetted than the bindings formed by the older pesticide-based phenothiazines?

    I am so sad to hear of your friend now suffering from tardive dyskinesia – the disfiguring and largely permanent movement disorder caused by neuroleptics.

    I can sympathise. I think I have said before that I have a relatively mild case of T.D. caused by Zyprexa – abnormal movements of my tongue and face, but also violent jerks of my neck, and repetitive tapping motions in my fingers and feet. It’s a good thing I don’t share a bed with anyone these days – I think I would drive them to despair with my twitches and spasms!

    Perhaps one day neurologists will find a cure for the damage done to us by psychiatry. I won’t hold my breath!

    Yours,
    Sloopy!

    Like

  12. This is simply beautiful, Gianna. I wish I was there to give you a big deserving hug. I understand exactly what you are saying, and you express it so well. I will be thinking of you lots with the next taper. I wish you the very best. God (?)knows you deserve it!

    Like

  13. you need a practice that takes that energy DOWN, which is why chakra style meditation i have avoided when i was picking which method i should pick.

    lest i influence your meditation practice, still, you need a practice which takes that cosmic energy that comes from UP (the head) and lets it flow unimpeded DOWN (the hara – the center of mass of the human being, the center of the circle in that magic pic you see everywhere with a man spread out, golden ratio, etc).

    SFjane’s water method of dissolving is good, but she often uses the term if you get bored with focusing into your hara, go to the heart, or go to the 3rd eye, all that.

    i disagree with that method, at least while you’re in the beginning stages of meditation, because no matter how it’s done, it will BUILD ENERGY INTO YOUR HEAD.

    you by virtue of what is happening to you (labeled bipolar mania) have energy coming into your HEAD, your head gets hot, your mind goes somewhere else.

    however, if you have a practice that can ANCHOR YOU into your belly (hara, dan’tien’ whatevah it’s called, that point 1/2 way between your bellybutton and groin, midway in your body), if you can BREATHE FROM THERE, if you can FEEL from there, be AWARE from there, then no matter what your HEAD will do, you won’t budge!

    such was my thinking and then MY EXPERIENCE when i went down the meditation path and i have never looked back. trains of thoughts can come through my head now, i won’t be blown anywhere.

    i have smoked da chronic (as a drug virgin) twice, once at the beginning, once 6 months after beginning the practice, just to test the practice, and i didn’t move from my cushion while i spent weeks in that head tripping under the effects of THC, not once losing the awareness these are effects of a drug.

    incidentally, losing my mind under THC effects felt extremely similar (in the induced psychosis) that liquid zyprexa did to me when injected for the purpose of confining me against my will.

    anyway, the tai-chi stuff you’ll see (mailed already) is an energy building practice, but it builds into your hara (if done correctly), not into your head.

    still, you need a meditation practice that teaches you to channel energy DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, so please do yourself a favor and don’t get into chakra stuff, that is NOT for those of us who get shit channeled into us from the cosmos via our heads already. that is for those who have nothing going through their heads, so they need to raise the serpent energy from the bottom of the spine UP.

    i preached enough and i really hate doing it, but you seem determined, so i’m telling you what i know and have done to save myself from unimaginable hells invented by my uncontrolled energy floating around chaotically in my head, with no avenue of release DOWNWARD.

    i’ve promised another guy i’d make a meditation video, after more than 1 1/2 year of hardcore practice. it’s not quantity, it’s quality when it comes to sitting, so i’m sure SFjane will say i’m baby, but i’ll say baby or not, focusing your mind anywhere else but the hara when you’re bipolar is plain risky.

    Like

  14. missisyphus

    gianna,

    i have been absent for a bit but i was reading around and saw your post.

    your post was wonderful and inspirational. you may not feel well…but you sound well. there is a spiritual groundedness that is singing through and sharing what you’re seeing and experiencing is beautiful. i hope your pain in your heart turns into a joy in your heart. maybe it’s always been joy but you’re just getting the right words to interpret that feeling as joy not anxiety…the two have such similar translations, feelings-wise. when we are down, perhaps it’s easier to interpret those feelings in a not so positive light, but when insight starts to pour in…we can see…joy?

    i loved your message and hope you are well,
    suzanne

    Like

  15. As you grow stronger in spirit your way will be revealed to you. Be careful that you don’t respond to any ego ideas of saving the world, at least no just yet. It’s a beautiful expression of your heart and I’m glad you shared with me Gianna. I’m touched as usual. Continued healing to you.
    Cindy from the Yahoo group, benzo-recovery-naturally

    Like

  16. Jane

    Hello Gianna,

    Your posts as usual are pleasantly articulate and eloquent.

    I am sorry to hear of this pain in your heart. I am sure you know best how it got there. Still I can not but help to think that the pain is a symptom of the years of chemical manipulation of your feelings. The heart, at an energetic level governs your feelings. Your heart function has been manipulated by the years of drugging.

    There may be actual heart damage from so many years on those drugs. You seem to have good access to modern health care, you may want to consider having heart function tests done to rule out any problems blood pressure, valve function etc.

    If you can rule out iatrogenic heart damage and diet as causes for heart pain then you are back to looking for a deeper cause. That cause may very well be interrupted or poorly processed spiritual energy.

    You know what my solution is for dealing with energy blockages, dissolve dissolve and dissolve.

    If you dissolve your heart center you may release whatever stored emotional or spiritual energy that is stuck there and causing you pain.

    By the same token 20 years of chemical manipulation of your thoughts and feelings is going to have long term side effects on the chi of your body, mind and heart no matter what. It may take some time to process what is going on inside you.

    “I want to help all of us who are being over-medicated and poisoned. How can I do that? This blog is simply not enough.”

    Gianna, have you ever thought about making a video and putting on youtube? 😉

    One blog is not enough. It is not enough to over come a multi million dollar media advertising campaign. You would need equal exposure. You need advertisements at half time on superbowl sunday, you needs ads in Time magazine and about 100 women’s magazines. You need a slot on Oprah’s show. You need advertisements during prime time tv at night. You need to sneak in warnings into children’s magazines to offset the ads placed in them by Eli Lilly.

    The best thing you can do for the investment is to continue your writings here on this blog. You could also go dot.com about psych med WD and make video too.

    I wish you all the best and hope that you are well soon.

    Like

  17. Absolutely fabulous post, Gianna, as testified by all the helpful comments. Like you, my first mania at age 38 had me in direct contact with God, a light too bright for a mere mortal to tolerate. In fact, when I was let out from my first & only hospitalization where I’d been involuntarily committed & “put in chains” – ie 4-point restraints – oy veh! – I went straight to the library & checked out The Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna beheld the face of the Lord, a dreadful and wonderful feeling just like ours (mixed mania, actually).

    Loved what you wrote about the poorly informed and inculcated with terrible information about a woman who could’ve passed for your client. Sadly, there is no way to get through to these BRAINWASHED people.

    As I read your blog about your recovery journey I thought to myself, Yes, you are suffering but you’re having such a grand journey & fortunately you’ve come to accept it. Isn’t that called Enlightenment?

    Like

Comments are closed.