I did a fundraiser for Amy here on this blog when she was homeless and close to death as a direct result of her use of psychotropic drugs. At that time I was accused of fabricating her for my own financial gain. Being that I was so ill and I was also worried my friend was going to die, it was a very painful time. Amy’s story is in Robert Whitaker’s book. Her astounding recovery, however is not. Here is a holiday note to her friends and family from the amazing woman that so many of you so generously helped make it across to the land of thriving with your donations. They made a massive difference at the time.
Dear Friends and Family:
I am writing to you today one year to the date of my first day without benzodiazepines and without psychiatric medication at all for the first time in 15 years and I have to say I would never have fathomed such tremendous healing in such a short period of time. On Nov. 16th, 2009, I took my last dose of poisonous, mind altering “medicine”.
One year ago, I was 84 lbs., swarming with bed bugs, alone and barely able to walk one block. I was having hypnogogia or nightime auditory hallucinations due to the withdrawal, tremors, intense paranoia, ringing in my ears, extensive food allergies, derealization, severe memory loss, uncontrollable pacing and so many more symptoms I don’t even think about anymore. It’s all like a weird nightmare I only half remember. The only bits that remain are a thickened shell, a vast wealth of knowledge on the psychopharmaceutical complex and a more introverted personality. I have come to believe that our country as we hoped would come around in the days of the New Deal will not survive its capitalistic enterprise, but in terms of my mental health, I am better than I have been in many of the years on pills because I no longer have to deal with tolerance withdrawal or toxicity.
Today I am 105 lbs., living with my partner, able to do much of what I used to physically (with some effect still on my endurance and now asthma, but 80% better) and working a part-time job that requires a high level of mental organization for The University of Michigan. A year ago I couldn’t even play a game of chess.
Selena and I recently went down to NYC to fumigate for the bedbugs before moving into our new place. We then had a bed bug sniffing dog ensure we were bed bug free. I am still not convinced they are gone after a year and a half with the monsters. Any itch or bump to me is sure evidence they have followed, not to mention both my dog and Selena have dry skin and Bo may have picked up fleas at the boarders even though I treat him and I’m sure there are carpet beetles and dust mites here, so everyone is itching! I am vacuuming and packtiting 24/7 lol.
But today I bought some basics in furniture. And decided to chill out just a little. If the buggers have come along, I decided, it’s not the end of the world. I beat the hardest addiction out there, faced death and came back to tell about it. Even if I lose everything I own, what consequence is it? We have so much more than we need, truly.
My job is ok, it’s a living for now. It’s temporary until March so I’ll be looking for something else come the Spring, or heading back to school or taking the summer to do something new. For now, I am happy to have my dog, someone to share my life with, a padded chair to sit on, a string of purple garland, and, mostly, my life and my brain. I am lucky to have gotten away with so much of me still intact. There are so many out there drugged up with pyschoactive chemicals who are never so lucky. I pray for them daily.
Come Christmas, when I become less paranoid about bugs, we may have a little suare at our place. But I hope to see all of you soon and hope you and yours are well this holiday season. Whether you are celebrating the coming of the son, the return of the sun or the endurance of light and truth, it is a magical time of year, and for the first time in three years, I will remember it well.