This 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. The series will continue weekly for some time.
It is also intended to help educate the masses to the realities that we face. Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal 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.
We have no societal support when we are coming through this heinous process either…many people have no familial or community support whatsoever. This is a dangerous reality.
Please become educated. And please pass the information along in any way that makes sense, so that those of us struck with this can get the help we need and deserve.
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.
See the series here: IT GETS BETTER
#5 from the It Gets Better Series
Healing sometimes goes so slowly you don’t know if it’s happening
MARCH 30, 2010
I can’t write much about my experience anymore, my brain doesn’t work and it’s also too painful, but I’ve found others writing about it a helpful way to relay what I’m going through and I can add a bit when I do such a post. That is what I’m doing today.
My husband often calls some of my benzo friends, people who have gone through this nightmare in the past and emerged to thrive once again. He called one of these folks again a couple of nights ago. Jen is a psychologist and has helped 100s of people through what she went through at one time too.
Paul calls them because I can’t talk. Talking is stimulation which is too much for me. There are also neurological issues involved. It’s painful and terror provoking as well as nearly impossible. Only people who have been here can conceive of it, I think. Paul talks to my friends and then writes me emails because I can’t even talk to my own spouse in my own home. This is the last email Paul sent after talking to Jen:
Even if knowing this gives you no relief, the first thing to understand is that what you are experiencing is normal.
The only way, she says, of mitigating this kind of rawness is to have minimal stimulation. Find whatever is soothing (such as holding your cat, and epsom salt baths) and reduce sensory input as much as possible.
She mentioned something that might possibly be helpful at some point — though your prickliness at the moment tells me this isn’t the right time — is a “blanket wrap”. This would mean rolling you up inside the quilt we just bought. I see that something like this is recommended for people with sensory issues and also autism. I know this wouldn’t help while you are very sensitive to touch.
She has little doubt that everything you’re feeling right now is made worse by hormones. Be assured though that you will come out the other side much better. Unfortunately there aren’t any shortcuts from here to there.
The thing Jen emphasizes more than anything else is to minimize stimulation. I realize that for you this is especially difficult because of isolation and boredom. I’m sorry it’s so incredibly hard and painful.
The biggest source of stimulation now is my online activity and it is too much. In spite of getting rid of comments and ignoring all my email until virtually none comes anymore, the little I do online is still over-stimulating. Even though I do it from a horizontal position. Laptop in my lap, head propped up with a pillow.
The alternative in my mind at this point is even more isolation. I already see no one and can’t talk on the phone. In between periods of being online all I do is lie in bed. I do meditate while lying in bed, but can’t do that around the clock. I generally cook 2 or 3 times a week with lots of help from my husband, but that too is a form of stimulation that is probably more than I should do. And to be clear — a lot of help from my husband means I’m actually telling him what to do and I may come in and stir the pot and take a taste. Even that being the case, cooking is a major ordeal. I do it because I’m stubborn and I love good food and I’ve simply always cooked. It is a core part of my identity. I also need the right foods in order to heal. It’s unclear if the exhaustion that ensues is worth it or healthy. I like to think that I’m doing something productive and that means it’s healthy, but I don’t think that necessarily computes in this circumstance. This last week has gone by without my being able to rouse myself enough to give directions so that I might stir the pot, however. I’m thinking maybe I should leave it this way for a while.
In the email Paul mentions that I do two soothing things. My animals are a great source of comfort. I hold my old kitties and they purr. Their little quivering bodies against my chest is a salve. My dog too is a joy. The other thing I do is take epsom salt baths. I wrote about it here with a “recipe.“ It also temporarily eases some of the pain, fear and bizarre bodily sensations.
See the whole series here: “IT GETS BETTER”
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.
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.
During these times I speak of in the series 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.
For the entire withdrawal documented see here: Monica/Gianna’s withdrawal documented. To see how radically improved I am please visit the personal posts from this year (2014). Or you can also visit Mad in America, where there is a collection of posts I’ve written.
For a quick history in two parts read these two pieces: