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. This is, as Mary Oliver, puts it, my “one wild and precious life.”
I retired the site late last year and didn’t know what the future of my work would be. I had become progressively ill with digestive and auto-immune issues in spite of eating and living really clean and well. I continued to deal with severe iatrogenic injury from the cocktail of psych drugs I came off of many years ago now. Drugs really do cause harm and I was about to discover that all over again.
It’s clear to me that many of us not only heal but transform into something healthier and more whole than we ever were before psych drugs. Forget recovery…there can be much more, much better than whatever we were before psychiatry. *** There is an unfortunate belief in some parts of critical psych communities that says that the brain injury that many of us sustain as a result of psychiatric drug use and withdrawal is permanent and irreversible. That we cannot heal from it. … It’s not true.
I was a psychiatric success story. My mother used to go to NAMI meetings and was able to share the wonderful news about how successful my forced and violent psychiatric treatment had been. I was working a respectable job with respectable responsibilities.The other mothers hung on every word. My psychiatrist too, believed I was a success story. He had done his job well. …
This was first published on David Healy’s site, RxIsk: Making Medicine’s Safer for All of Us, about 4 years ago. I’ve never published it on this site and thought I’d do so now so that it will be part of the archives here as well. It’s a memoir of sorts up to that point 4 years ago.
By Richard Lewis — As the benzodiazepine crisis spreads throughout the United States and other parts of the world so does the debate within the benzo victim/survivor community about important definitions of key medical terms and about safe and successful paths to healing and recovery. Does “iatrogenic benzo dependence” and “addiction” represent completely separate medical and social phenomena? If they are to have distinctly different scientific definitions, can they also (at the same time) intersect in multiple ways in people’s actual real life experience? And what is the medical and social significance of exploring these concepts and seeking unity of understanding and purpose? Before delving into the content of this debate let’s briefly review the social context from which this “Benzo Divide” has emerged.
Today is my anniversary off a huge psych drug cocktail I’d been on for 20 years. There are also additional important comments below the video. In the video I speak to the inner resources that kept me going. I want to add here that I also was privileged to have a safe home and 24/7 hour care when I was bedridden and unable to leave the house for anything at all. Both the home and the care were provided for me by my husband. No one else in my life, including most of my close family had a clue what we were dealing with. I have to believe if they did they would have done more. The fact is there is nothing in society to help those who love us to understand what we are going through. …
This will be posted in the navigation drop-down menu section for easy access. – Below this introduction are a list of the anniversary posts I’ve written each year since I came off psychiatric drugs. They are pieces that consider the entire process and what it’s meant to me.
Part of coming to understand our profound capacities to heal and transform is to first know that it’s possible. I know 1000s of folks who’ve been able to discover this now. I have met them in mental health circles and chronic illness circles both. I’ve also met them among people who’ve never suffered in these ways but were lucky enough to be born into situations where they simply learned how to do it right from the beginning. Imagine that. We can create a world where we teach children how to profoundly take care of themselves and others. …
In a nutshell the updates: The point is not to compete but to make clear that all our voices matter whether we find ourselves using psych drugs or not. Being pragmatic and recognizing that the context of every life is unique is the most important thing. Diversity is real. It’s about learning to understand that we can have what seem to be contradictory experiences and both be legit #MedicatedAndMighty or not. Yes, diversity is real…it’s not about whose experience is right or wrong… One persons medicine is another’s poison. It’s clear that people have experience of being helped by and harmed by drugs both.