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Below this introduction are a list of the anniversary posts I’ve written each year since I came off. They are pieces that consider the entire process and what it’s meant to me.
After about two decades on psych meds I came off a six drug cocktail in about six years. This proved to be a gargantuan task.
I see in retrospect that some core, vital part of me was always there during the drugged years, learning and remembering much that would help me in these years of coming off meds and now being med free. I no longer believe that I “lost” my life to drugs. I do think that it’s tragic that I could not be more conscious during those years and that my body became toxic, polluted and chronically, painfully ill; and this is why I help others learn to avoid what happened to me. Still, all my experience was not lost; in fact it was stored in my body to be processed when I got free of drugs. This is one of the many ways that psych drugs are agents of trauma. Part of the healing process, for me, and clearly many others who’ve been on psych meds and come off, is one of working through layers and layers of trauma — that which was incurred prior to psych drug use as well as that which is incurred as a result of psych drug use and exposure to the dehumanizing psychiatric system. I have done this mostly through meditation and yoga, diet and by deeply paying attention to my body. Trauma becomes embodied. The body holds the secrets to wellness. The body knows the score, as Bessel Van Der Kolk says.
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 hadn’t even conceived of as possible until I was forced to start paying attention (once I was bedridden and so sick I couldn’t move or speak…that all proved to be a powerful motivator for me. I was not going to give up)
Once we listen we learn that the body/mind/spirit has wisdom that far exceeds anything we learn intellectually. Incredible healing wisdom. Learning to listen is key. The sooner we learn to do that the better.
Below are the yearly posts
- Blog anniversary today and drug freedom — on the road to recovery (musings upon coming off, 2010)
- Living well while being sick: an anniversary post (1st anniversary 2011)
- Trying to reverse 2 years of hell with a shot in the neck (take note, those interested in PTSD and/or withdrawal syndromes) (2nd anniversary, 2012)
- 3 year anniversary of withdrawal from large psych drug cocktail: drug freedom continues (2013)
- 4 year anniversary of withdrawal from psych drug cocktail: healing continues (2014)
- Today: 5 years free from the psych drug cocktail (2015)
- My 6 year anniversary off psych drugs: How I made it through the darkest times (2016)
- History in the system and my vision for mental health on Nonduality Talk — an audio recorded two-part radio interview
And for those of you experiencing protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome see the IT GETS BETTER series.
*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well-educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.