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]

Brief and lovely gentle yoga (good for the challenged nervous system too)

I found the below gentle yoga for the morning. It's also good for those of us with seriously challenged nervous systems at any time of the day. Those of us with protracted withdrawal syndrome need to be gentle and learn to listen to our bodies very carefully as we heal. Even yoga can trigger us or put us over the edge if we're not careful. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Yoga for fear/anxiety

As our bodies heals from the iatrogenic injury caused by psychiatric drugs, the process of healing the autonomic nervous system demands the continual working with fear in the body. These drugs create post traumatic stress and exacerbate that which was already in our bodies. Yoga is often helpful in the process of healing this insult to our nervous system. Yoga is wonderful for training us to be with all of the sometimes uncomfortable sensations in our body whether we’ve been injured or not. This is a skill that can help support us in our lives in many different ways. Practicing and learning to be with discomfort is an important skill to have. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

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 …

Between Heaven and Earth – Full Qigong Practice Session

Yesterday I did two posts on trauma and learning to heal from that through body practices. I talk about yoga and ecstatic dance in those posts. Qigong is another practice that can help profoundly. I love that there is simply a huge multitude of methods to heal so that everyone can find what resonates and works for them personally. Of course that is a challenge for (some) professionals who always want to believe that what they have training in is what is appropriate for everyone. This is of course why the mental health system doesn't work so well. I take great delight in the incredibly diverse healing body/mind. I've been practicing Qigong from time to time lately and really love it too though I am very much a beginner still. It's an incredibly powerful energy mover and so I do have to take it slow and carefully simply because it impacts the autonomic nervous system so profoundly and that is what is most impacted by the iatrogenic injury I'm healing from (psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome). Psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome is among other things also an incredibly traumatic event and therefore a lot of methods that help heal trauma also help heal this medically induced iatrogenic injury. … [click on title to read and view more]

Fear is life force… (in clinical circles it’s often called anxiety)

I am, now, grateful that I was forced onto what was often a heinously difficult path that psych drug withdrawal created because in the end, it was the only way for me to truly and deeply heal. The drugs weren't just a dead end for me, they were slowly driving me downhill to my spiritual death. Getting off that ugly merry-go-round involved facing far worse in the short term but on the other side now, I see a freedom that simply wouldn't have been possible if I'd stayed on those drugs. My experience is shared by many others. Again, if it's not resonant for someone, that too is okay. I do not write assuming that all I say will have meaning for everyone. We are all on different paths. … [click on title to read and view more]

“I wrote a new story for my nervous system” — neurosculpting, neuroplasticity

This is so EXCITING. I listened to this with such complete and total delight. This interview with Lisa Wimberger is, in large part, what I have been creating for myself...not even understanding all aspects, which means that listening to this interview was BRAIN CANDY too. Lisa Wimberger talks about brain candy as being part of the healing process. Psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome often results in a severe injury to the autonomic nervous system. Listen and learn. Hearing this explanation further helps and educates my own process. Again, exciting. Also anyone with any trauma issues or autonomic nervous system issues may find this helpful. Many long term chronic health issues end up involving the nervous system as they are traumatic in many ways: Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia. Yeah, they all have things in common. … [click on title to read the rest]

More sound healing and how it happens for me: Pachelbel’s Canon in D

A new theme on Beyond Meds has recently emerged as I learn to use sound, tones and music to further heal the iatrogenic brain/body/mind injury. I can feel all these things affect my autonomic nervous system in very profound ways. When we heal we are rewiring or retraining our brain...this is the essence of neuroplasticity. … [click on title to read the rest]

Brief and lovely gentle yoga (good for the challenged nervous system too)

I got up this morning wanting to go to a yoga class which I've recently been able to do on occasion. Still, the condition of my autonomic nervous system has different ideas sometimes. Even yoga can be too much and a full yoga class in the community quite often is. I decided to find something appropriate on youtube instead. I often do my own routines and don't absolutely need a class or a youtube video either, but I like finding new routines and new teachers. It really helps me stretch and grow. It also often helps to slow me down when I might otherwise rush through postures on my own. … [click on title to read the rest]

Yoga for fear/anxiety: includes video of session I did today

As my body heals from the iatrogenic injury caused by psychiatric drugs, the process of healing the autonomic nervous system demands the continual working with fear in the body. This morning I did the below yoga session. Yoga is wonderful for training us to be with the sometimes uncomfortable sensations in our body, which is a skill that can be transferred to our lives in a multiple number of ways. Practicing and learning to be with discomfort is an important skill to have. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

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