What to say when folks don’t believe how the drugs have harmed us

I wrote the below response to someone who (admitted she) couldn’t be bothered to read my post nor watch the video but felt it important to tell me that bragging about being drug free for seven years was nothing to be proud of…(LinkedIn is always the source of these sorts of comments that come my way these days…it seems people come upon the work and it simply shocks them) It was this title she was responding too: 7 yrs off psych drugs: a message to those labeled by psychiatry (video included)

I share it here so that we all might consider how to respond to such criticisms that so often come our way. We must all, of course, respond in the moment to the best of our ability. When we’ve been gravely harmed and people challenge our reality it can feel very threatening and if you’re like me, it can trigger post traumatic stress symptoms in a big way. We were harmed because of these prevailing attitudes so of course it feels awful to be challenged in these ways.

It’s worth remembering that the folks that come at us with such demeaning and sometimes cruel arguments against our experience are also feeling threatened (this woman admitted that her experience included coming off drugs and suffering for it…we all know how little support there is for doing things differently and so there are many folks like her…hurt and afraid, just like we too have been hurt and afraid). I try to speak to the part that feels threatened in these folks so that perhaps we can both feel safer with one another and come to a meeting place where dialogue can actually happen. I always try to  come to a place where real communication can happen. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s worth trusting our guts on when it’s time to bail or whether it’s worth giving it a go. 

Here it is:

“I’m pretty clear all the time about the fact that there are as many paths as there are people. Many of us need the information shared here…it’s life and death for some of us…if it’s not something that resonates with your experience there is no need for any conflict in that. Your experience is yours. Mine is mine. I get thousands of emails making it clear that the information shared at Beyond Meds is life saving to many. Those who don’t benefit from the information shared here can go elsewhere and that is the beauty in diversity. No one’s story should be silenced. 

And perhaps if you’ve not read or watched the video (more importantly the video is the real message) it’s premature to assume anything about the message shared. The drugs almost killed me and rendered me bed ridden and non-verbal for many years…those of us affected in these ways need to know there is a way to life and health again. It’s mostly denied in the medical field that this even happens and yet there are clearly 10s of thousands of us and likely more since lots of times when the crippling occurs the reason isn’t recognized. Once you spend times on the withdrawal boards like the many thousands of us it becomes clear that an epidemic of harms is happening and we have found that we have each other…this again, doesn’t change your experience. And it doesn’t diminish the harsh reality for those of us who’ve been harmed if you find our experience threatening.

A lot of people who have found themselves both needing and not needing to use medications have found this article helpful.  — To be or not to be on psych meds

Related: When we are told our experience is too ugly to be heard…

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*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

It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention. 

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. 

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters