Oliver Sacks, the autonomic nervous system, and psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome

My husband, Paul Woodward, who has published quite a few essays on this blog, sometimes sends emails to me about his thoughts on my (and therefore, often, our) circumstance. Sometimes he’s incredibly helpful and insightful both. I’m sharing what he wrote to me yesterday. The below is most of the body of an email. I’ve edited out a couple of sentences that were directed to me more personally at the beginning and the end. Most of it is just as it was written. As way of introduction to those who perhaps are not familiar with this blog, the autonomic nervous system injury that Paul is referring to in myself is the one incurred by psychiatric drugs and their withdrawal. It is essentially a sort of chemical and pharmaceutical and, therefore, iatrogenic brain injury. It’s often referred to as psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome and in some people can be a severe and debilitating condition. … [click on title to read and view more]

Yoga back bends: feels yummy on the autonomic nervous system

I like to help people see how easy yoga can be. You can start with something as simple as this and see where it takes you. Being a yogi is about listening to your body and learning from it and it really doesn’t matter if you can do really complicated poses or not. Start simple and see what happens. Back bends continue to be very helpful to me …

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, protracted psych drug withdrawal, CFS, Fibromyalgia and why I still limit engagement on the internet

I introduce the work of Dan Neuffer in another post. He’s done a brilliant job documenting and explaining how the autonomic nervous system appears to be of foundational concern for CFS, ME and fibromyalgia. I made the link that it’s clear that protracted psychiatric withdrawal syndromes, too, also fall into his theory very neatly. It’s worth reading the initial post and viewing Dan’s videos that are in that post. His book is excellent too and anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the issues should read it. I’ve not seen anyone else pull together so many of the issues I think about and talk about on this blog in one dynamic whole. What a joy to find it. He understands deeply how everything matters. This holistic understanding of our natures and particularly this illness, is the cornerstone to how I’m healing. I share my healing story in the article on Mad in America here: Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Yoga back bends: feels yummy on the autonomic nervous system

I’ve been using yoga as a main source of rehabilitation and recovery since I was bedridden. I began doing yoga while still in bed. Now it continues to be a primary source of continued healing. Lately I’ve been doing backbends and while all the yoga I do feels like it profoundly helps my nervous system, these bends have really been making me think about my autonomic nervous system and how it seems to be healing it. Tending to the autonomic nervous system seems like the most important thing I’m doing in all of my recovery practices. And indeed all of my recovery practices aid in this most important endeavor. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Getting healthy means coming to balance

I had multiple infections that responded to Lyme disease treatment. I never tested positive for Lyme and gave up on doctors after that. Healing (for me) didn’t mean killing off all micro-organisms. It meant bringing balance by moving out excess of the ones making me sick and building up with other more expansive ones. These… Continue Reading →

yoga teacher training. a long time coming

Yoga saved me. Literally resurrected me out of my bed when I was totally atrophied. I could barely make it to the toilet. I didn’t leave my house for a couple of years. I started yoga by sticking a leg up in the air and rotating my ankle. Then my arm and rotating my wrist. Just that for some time, actually. Slowly, slowly I did those little bits of one or two minutes of yoga, here or there, wherever I was laying down, until I could do it while I was sitting…then sitting on a mat…and slowly slowly, I did more and more…it’s taken YEARS of being totally proactive.

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