Following on from yesterday’s rant, I thought I’d try to blog something a bit more positive today. Instead of focussing on the very real struggles I’m having with the mental health system – I want talk about the kind of support that would really help instead. A few of my friends are nurses and they often feel really overwhelmed and despondent too – in a system where medication is the treatment of choice for psychosis, they feel almost as powerless as I do.

OK, so I don’t want meds. What do I want?

Respect – For me, this is key. I want people to listen to me, understand that I am an expert in my own experience and respect this. I want to feel that the people who support me see me as a fellow human being with rights, responsibilities, skills and strengths. It’s not rocket science.

Empathy – It really helps if someone who wants to be supportive to me spends a little time getting to know me and tries to see things from my point of view. It doesn’t take years of training to develop an empathic approach – but it does take a willingness to walk around in someone else’s shoes for a while and an awareness of your own beliefs and prejudices.

Space – I get really nervous in appointments with mental health professionals. I ramble and struggle to make eye contact (and I’m well aware that this doesn’t make me appear like the most ‘together’ of human beings). All I need, though, is the space to explain myself (and someone who understands the value of this space). It’s easier for me to get my words out if I know someone is listening and that they’re not typing on their computer or waiting for me to shut up.

Flexibility – Like most people, I need different types of support at different times. I work, so the typical 9-5 support structure doesn’t work well for me. I end up having to choose between my job (which gives me a real sense of purpose and solidity – central to my recovery) and accessing support. A support structure that’s flexible enough to support me whilst I’m working (and responsive enough to provide extra help when I’m unable to) … well, that would be worth its weight in gold.

Balance – The doctor/patient power differential is huge. The doctor is seen as all-knowing and all-powerful whilst the patient is often seen as vulnerable and unwell. For me, and for many people like me, a more even balance would be much more healthy. The doctor may be an expert in their field, but I’ve been training in the real world and have my own field of expertise too (that of personal experience). An atmosphere of mutual respect and collaboration work much better for me than peering up from the ditch I feel forced into.

Open-mindedness – I honestly don’t expect everyone that wants to support me to agree with the way in which I view my voices and other experiences. That’s OK – there’s no one way to see the world. What I do expect, however, is that people will keep their minds as open as possible and not try to force me to accept their beliefs above my own.

Hope – I believe I can beat this. I need the people who support me to believe it too. I’m not asking for unrealistic blue sky thinking – I’m fully aware of the risks and the difficulties involved in withdrawing from medication. What I really need is pragmatic optimism. People who are willing to help me to plan and problem-solve, without getting lost in the difficult stuff. Recovery is less of a battle if you’ve got people rooting for you (and helping out where they can)

I have lots of the skills I need to manage my voices/paranoia already – so I don’t need a teacher. What I do need is people to walk beside me, encourage me and help me keep on track when things get difficult. A friend of mine talks a lot about supporters ‘holding the hope’ for people when they are really low and unable to hold it themselves. Sometimes, in my darkest hours, I need this too.

At the moment, this isn’t something I can get from the mental health system. In the past, there have been CPNs, OTs and support workers who have been willing (and able) to offer these simple (but extremely powerful) things. So, if you’re reading this and work in the mental health system – it IS possible.

Luckily I have family, friends and co-workers that I can trust to be with me. It feels wrong that it’s down to luck when these things really should be the foundation of all support services for those who, like me, become emotionally distressed.

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It’s quite a while since my last post – which is a good sign, I think. It’s a symbol that I’ve been living my life rather than stressing over my relationship with the psychiatric system and my battle to be free of medication. By the same token, it doesn’t take a genius to draw the conclusion that – once again – all is not well in paradise.

I’m still meds-free, still working and still living the live I choose to live (YAY!). The downside is that I’m still discovering how to manage my stress levels minus the protective blanket of neuroleptics. Given that I work extremely hard and have recently taken on an MSc on top of my day job, my life is currently far from stress-free.

My voices are much more active and I’m prone to stress-induced paranoia – but my coping strategies are standing up to the tests that I’m throwing at them. Despite the odd wobble, though, I feel proud that I’ve managed to keep my head above water and avoid the major ‘relapse’ that the docs predicted was a forgone conclusion.

So, what’s got me blogging again?

My psychiatrist – having been off on maternity leave for the last 9 months – is back. Prior to yesterdays appointment, I’m lucky in that I’ve been seeing two very respectful and understanding locum consultants in her absence. All in all, my relationship with the system has been pretty neutral. We’ve agreed to disagree. They think I should be on meds. I think I shouldn’t.

They key for me  is that they’ve acknowledged that I’m an adult making an informed choice about my own wellbeing, and that I’m being responsible in the way I’m handling it.

OK, so we’ve still had very incompatible views of the source of my mental distress (biological vs trauma) – but we’ve managed to put this to the background and carry on regardless. I mean, say you met someone who believed the world was flat. Your belief that it was round wouldn’t stop you going for a pint of beer and chatting about work, would it?

I’ve felt better about my relationship with the system in recent months. I’ve mentally disengaged from it, in that I don’t expect any useful support at all (and so I don’t ask for it). This means that my appointments have turned into a public relations exercise, where I’m careful to present an insightful and compliant front for the greater good.

By changing my expectations from the mental health system, I’ve felt more in control and more able to go through the motions with them. Luckily I have enough support in other parts of my life (family, friends and a private therapist) that I’m able to go elsewhere when times are tough.

In truth, if I believed I could physically disengage from mental health services I would. The problem I face, however, is that with such a risky long-standing history of being a ‘non-compliant’ patient – I have to play the game. In a year, I plan to start trying for a child. I need to show them that I’m stable, engaging and complying with treatment for them not to panic when I do get pregnant.

My fear is that they will look at my history and question my ability to be a good mother. I’m guessing pregnancy and motherhood is stressful enough without battling to prove yourself to a system that already thinks you’re enduringly ‘mentally ill’.

Playing the game was much easier when the system played fair. Yesterday, with the return of my old psych, I’m pretty sure things changed. The respectful neutrality I’d established with the previous two consultants was thrown out of the window as she made it clear that, in her eyes, I was a naughty school child who is being willfully difficult and selfish. She told me that I’m putting her in a very difficult position by not taking medication, that I’m leaving myself vulnerable to every little stress and that her team is the one that has to pick up the pieces.

Apparently there is no place for me within the service, I’m a drain on resources and she would discharge me back to my GP except that she feels this would be unfair on them and they’d struggle to ‘manage’ me. On top of this, she rarely made eye contact and was visibly hostile and seemed fed up with me.

In my defence, I tried to be understanding of the pressures she faces and acknowledged that my situation was an unusual one within the service and that this could potentially put her in a difficult position. I did stand my ground, though. I explained that I was still engaging with the services and although I’ve chosen not to take medication, I’m open to other forms of support.

This didn’t really make a difference, unfortunately. In her eyes medication is the only treatment for my ‘disorder’, and me not taking this is highly irresponsible. I think she’d feel better about it if she could see not taking medication as part of my ‘illness’ rather than a conscious choice.

My relationship with the system is a bit like a bad relationship that neither of us seems willing to call an end to. On my part, I’m very concerned that any hint of me being resistant or non-compliant with the services will bite me on the bum when I do have a child. On their part, I think they truly believe that I will have a massive breakdown and they’ll be needed to pick up the pieces in one way or another (either through an investigation if things go terribly wrong, or by reinstating meds if I come to my senses).

I know it’s up to me to call it a day, and I will as soon as I’m able to. Until then, we’ll see each other as little as possible for talks that make us both feel uncomfortable. Other than that we’ll live our lives as if we are single and that we’re not tied to each other at all.

Today I feel stuck. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get on with that living thing.

Having spent a fair amount of time planning (and worrying about) telling my psychiatrist that I’d stopped my Quetiapine, I was really glad that I had my hubbie there with me when we were waiting. My head was a confusing place to be. On one side I was hopeful that they would respect my decision and see it in a positive light, on the other I was terrified that they’d panic and assume I was ‘unwell’ and forcibly medicate me. By the time she was ready to see me my voices had got in on the act, picking up on my nerves and not missing the chance let me know I was in for it.

On my own, I have little doubt that I would have appeared much more confused and disorientated. As my anxiety levels soar, my brain has the tendency to lose hold of the thread that keeps my thoughts in line. I can struggle to think, and speak, clearly – making seem ‘unwell’ when I’m really ok (or at least I would be if I was doing something else). Anyway, as it was my hubbie’s presence grounded me and helped give me the confidence to get through the appointment intact.

We kept to our game plan (see an earlier post for more on that) and managed to sound both coherent and reasonable. We showed the necessary degree of flexibility whilst remaining firm – in that I said I’d consider a short term course of medication if I needed it in the future, but would NEVER take long term antipsychotics again. In short, considering I was a bag of nerves inside, I think we did a great job.

Her reaction was an interesting one. It really helped that she had a definite human side to her. She didn’t seem to be hiding behind a mask of professionalism and would have been quite likable had we met in other circumstances. She spent most of the appointment with a hint of startled bunny in her eyes, visibly unsure about how to proceed. She asked about my reasoning, gave me credit for being an ‘expert patient’ and having thought it out very carefully – but also told me that I was putting myself at risk. Her attitude seemed to be the standard line of ‘it’s not if you relapse, it’s when’. She also felt that I was already showing signs of this relapse (the voices, visions and tactile sensations I’d had since withdrawing). Still, she was respectful about it and I was pleased with how things were going.

As the appointment drew to a close I really began to feel for her. Her anxiety levels seemed to rise at the same time my hubbie and I got out of our chairs to leave. It triggered a round of rapid fire questions relating to my risk history (How many admissions have I had in the past? How long has it taken for me to relapse in the past? Have I ever been violent when I’ve been ‘unwell’? Have I ever been in trouble with the police?) which carried on into the waiting room. It was as if she’d been spellbound throughout the appointment itself and suddenly realised that she’d have to justify her actions to the consultant. I left with a crisis card, a promise from my hubbie to call them if he was worried and an appointment in one months time.

Afterwards, despite the overall negative outlook of near-certain relapse, I felt like we’d won a major victory. I’d been honest with the psychiatrist, treated them with respect and in turn they’d treated me with respect. Ok, so we had very different beliefs around the nature of mental distress and the use of medication – but we were being civil and listening to one another. YAY 🙂

One thing worried me, though. The rapid-fire risk questions and a comment that she’d have to speak to the consultant about it left me with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. OK, so they hadn’t even hinted at sectioning but my psychiatric history is pretty checkered and littered with sections, relapses and assessments of me as being particularly ‘non-compliant’. What if the consultant new more about me than this SHO and had different ideas about what should be happening?

A few days later I received a call from the SHO asking me to come in for a further chat about my medication and a formal risk assessment. She wouldn’t say anything more than this, but told me that she’d just spoken to the consultant (who had been away at the time). This sent me into an internal panic. If you’ve never been subject to the Mental Health Act you’d be forgiven for thinking I was overreacting. Sensibly I knew that I was unlikely they’d section me, but still feared that it could be on the cards.

Rather than worry the week away, I used Mind’s Legal Line to check out where I stood. I found that they could technically argue the use of a section given the ‘nature’ of my condition (and my history of relapse etc) but that it wasn’t likely and could be challenged if need be. This, and the really helpful advice from people I know working in the system – including a lovely psychiatrist – helped no end. Still, as much as I tried to view the appointment as an arse-covering exercise, it was impossible to quash the anxiety that was growing within me.

By the time the appointment came round (only a few days later, thankfully) I was in an appropriately shoddy state. My voices had gotten much worse and I’d started getting unusual experiences where it felt like someone was reaching in to my mind and trying to show me things. Numbers (7-7-6) were beginning to have meaning and I was feeling ‘on the edge’. I was coping, though, and knew that the anxiety around the appointment was playing havoc with my mind, rather than any underlying illness being to blame. I had rocks to hold to though – Tai Chi, the support of friends/family and walking our dog (Daisy) all helped keep me steady.

The risk assessment appointment was a nightmare. It lasted well over 40 minutes and – following a read out list of the increased risk of death, doom and destruction that people off their meds are apparently under – I was subjected to an examination of all the things in my past that could be cause for concern – including the abuse, self harm, suicide attempts, psychosis, hospital admissions, engagement with services etc etc etc. To give the SHO her due, she seemed almost embarrassed at some points to be having to ask these things and she certainly understood how difficult it was for me.

I was struggling to concentrate, unable to look her in the eye and my voices were getting louder as the questions progressed. By the end of the appointment they were shouting so loud that I could barely hear her above the noise. I felt completely shattered, as if I’d gone ten rounds with a heavyweight boxer intent on teaching me a lesson. Had I not had the support of my hubbie and the knowledge that people can, and do, recover without medication – I think I would have given up there and then. The system felt like a huge, immovable object and I felt very small indeed.

Walking away from the health centre, I felt shell shocked. We popped in to the coffee shop around the corner and spent some time taking stock. It was the first time my other half had felt the force of the psychiatric system, and we needed a bit of a rant I think. We chatted, poked holes in their statistics and reminded ourselves that I was stronger and more resilient than my medical notes showed. I needed to distance myself from being MedsNOMore the psychiatric patient/accident waiting to happen and become MedsNOMore the human being again.

For something that’s meant to be about keeping me mentally well, it’s darkly ironic that seeing my psychiatrist made feel so ill.

I’ve been hearing voices for over 10 years (and experiencing overwhelming and ‘unusual’ realities since I was 14). Although I’m still learning how to deal with alot of it, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. I thought I’d list some of the ways I’m dealing with the extra voices/visions/psychosis I’m experiencing post-meds in case they’re of use to anyone else.

Ok. Here goes …

1. Music, music, music
Singing/playing music has always been an outlet for me, helping me to express some of the terrible things I went through (and felt) as a child way before I felt able to speak about them. Over the years I’ve learnt to talk about my traumas, but music is still one of my main passions. When I’m low, listening to the right song can help me to feel comforted and understood. When my mind’s in chaos (with the voices or the beliefs) playing scales on my guitar helps to ground me. I’ve never been able to drown out the voices (they tend to get louder if I try) but listening to music help me feel connected to something.

Having said that, the wrong type of music can send my mind into a headspin. When I’m chaotic I need things that are quite predictable. When I’m feeling dissociated/disconnected I need things that are definite (rather than spacey).

2. Grounding & Safety
Part of my distress, when I’m voicey or psychotic, is about feeling vulnerable and unsafe. It’s no shock, then, that my most used coping strategies often involve some kind of grounding and safety. This might involve:

  • creating a space that feels safe (eg a corner of my house covered in posters – providing respite from the cameras I sometimes believe are in the walls)
  • being around people I trust (my hubbie, some good friends or my family)
  • carrying something tactile around with me (like a nice bit of material or a small fluffy purse that a friend gave me)
  • doing some kind of repetitive activity (making patterns with my hands/feet, rocking or Tai Chi)
  • having physical contact with something more permanent than myself (walking, being by the sea, working with clay, being close to nature)
  • being around my dog or my niece & nephew also works wonders

3. Making sense of it all
Understanding what’s behind my voices/visions/psychosis, what makes them worse and what makes them better – this has been central to me finding ways of dealing with them. Before this I felt like I was being taken over by my experiences and that I had no power or control over the situation. Now I see them as being related to what has happened, and is happening, in my life I can do things that help me feel more in control.

4. Working out what I think and feel
It can get confusing when your head is full of things that you don’t feel belong to you. It has helped me to find someone (or a diary even) to work out how I actually feel about things (and not just what the voices say). Sometimes they match, often there’s a vague similarity (ie I might feel a bit exposed and the voices are telling me that I’m literally in mortal danger) and sometimes they’re way off mark.

5. Assorted gems
It’s hard to list everything, but here are a few random gems that help me: talking to my hubbie when ‘unusual’ things happen (hearing, seeing and/or thinking things); writing it down (in a diary, post it notes, on a forum, in a song); challenging nasty voices/experiences (don’t let the b*stards get you down); eating healthily (and regularly); essential oils (especially lavender and neroli); my iPod; relaxation exercises; walking my dog in the morning; working (doing SOMETHING I love and believe in); Hearing Voices Groups (and other peer support initiatives; computer art and other forms of creativity; chilling with friends; having a life outside of my ‘madness’; finding out about recovery approaches and different ways of understanding mental distress; campaigning; working flexible hours; looking after myself and treating myself as if I matter; accepting myself (not just the bits that are socially acceptable); dancing; making post it note maps of my beliefs and experiences; learning about other people’s stories; dealing with the roots (the traumas); finding support outside of the psychiatric system; getting interests outside the psychiatric system (starting to gig was a turning point for me)

I’m not a confrontational person, by nature. I have strong principles (especially where other people’s welfare is concerned), and am not afraid to stick to them … but I have far too much stereotypically ‘english’ programming in me to relish an argument. Still, on the eve of my first meds-free appointment with my psychiatrist (read: an SHO I’d never met before, but was technically responsible for my care) I was well aware that I was less than a day away from my biggest battle yet. Sitting cross legged in the park, strategising with my hubbie, I tried to be positive – hoping that the doctor would understand my point of view and agree to work with me. Still, given that I’ve been on the receiving end of the hard edge of psychiatric compulsion, this was no easy feat.

Given my history, I knew that telling them I’d stopped my Quetiapine altogether was likely to raise more than a few alarm bells. Although I was seriously tempted to stay silent and let them think that I was still being a ‘compliant’ patient, I wanted to take a stand and show them that – as an adult – I’m fully competent to make decisions about my own treatment (and that it’s my right to do so).

So, sitting on the grass, we came up with a plan. We talked about what we wanted out of the appointment, how best to approach the topic, how honest to be about what I was experiencing and what the consequences might be. It was really important for us, as we were in this together, to present a united and reasonable front. Here’s what we came up with:

The Intro: We decided that I’d take the initiative in mentioning my meds withdrawal, rather than waiting for them to ask what medication I was taking. Something along the lines of “I’m doing pretty well thanks. I’ve been cutting down my Quetiapine for the last year and finally stopped taking it a month ago. It’s been a bit of a challenge at times, but I have developed plenty of ways of dealing with my experiences over the past few years and we feel really positive about taking this step” – in answer to their usual ‘How are things?’ opening gambit

The Sell: I wanted to make sure they knew that I wasn’t doing my usual thing of stopping the medication out of frustration, paranoia or some desperate attempt to be ‘well’. Rather than ‘refusing essential treatment of my mental health problem’, I wanted them to understand that I saw medication as just one of a range of things that have kept me on an even keel. As I’ve reduced the meds, I’ve increased the alternatives (so I’m not just blindly walking into relapse city convinced that my magic bag will save the day). I wanted to be clear about the side effects I’ve been experiencing and explain their part in my decision, but not focus on them entirely. After all, if there was a pill that would be side effect free I’d still want to manage my madness without it if I could.

Honesty: Of all the things we talked about, deciding how honest to be with the psychiatrist was probably the most difficult. After all, it’s not just like going to your GP and saying ‘thanks for the blood pressure pills, but I’ve decided not to take them’. As much as the GP disagrees with your decision, the worst they can do is try and convince you to reconsider. As someone with a supposedly ‘severe and enduring mental illness’, I was all too aware that I might be at risk of compulsory treatment (under the Mental Health Act) if they believed my decision was part of this illness. Having been sectioned in the past, I felt very nervous about the possibility of my checkered history of hospital admissions and general non-compliance being used to justify carting me off.

Still, I knew that lying could get me into trouble later on (I’m no good at remembering which bits I’ve told and which bits I’ve glossed over). Besides which, it feels fundamentally wrong that I should have to lie to the people who are employed to support me. So, with this in mind we decided to be open and honest about the situation (including the extra voices and visions I was getting) and give the psychiatric system a chance to show us it could recognise me as a human being making an informed choice.

The only exception to this was if either me, or my hubbie, felt that they were seriously considering sectioning me. I’ve found that there are usually a few ‘tells’ when this is on the table, and would rather say ‘yes, you’ve convinced me – I’ll take the tablets. Sorry for all the fuss’ than end up on a psychiatric ward again. I’m all for taking a stand, but there ARE limits ….

My Hopes: When all’s said and done I had a pretty realistic idea of what might happen. Best case scenario (realistic) was that they would advise against it, but wait and see how it went before condemning it. Worst case scenario (realistic) was that they would view it as part of my psychosis (and/or class me as particularly high risk of a dramatic and messy relapse given my psychiatric history) and put lots of pressure on me to begin taking the meds once again.

A more extreme (and more unlikely) best case scenario was that they would welcome me taking control of my life and offer their support throughout what would really be quite a challenging time (including a support worker/nurse that would be able to provide that practical support that psychiatrists really aren’t in a position to offer). The extreme worst case scenario was that I would be sectioned, forcibly medicated and put on a community treatment order (and depot injection) to ensure that I remained ‘compliant’ in future.

I’ll write about what happened soon. As you can probably image, though, this opening gambit was a landmark for me and much more stressful than stopping the medication in the first place

Warm thoughts x

As this blog is all about my journey from being a medicated patient of the psychiatric system to a meds free individual who just happens to hear voices, see visions and have other ‘unusual’ states of mind, I thought a good place to start would be explaining the whys and wherefores. I mean, if the medication helps block out the voices I hear – why wouldn’t I want to keep on taking it?

It’s a good and reasonable question, and one I’ve asked myself a lot over the past two months. I mean, it’s not as if I’m 100% sorted – some of the things I thought I’d sorted out from my past are coming and biting me on the proverbial bum. I hear 4 voices at the mo (before the meds I heard just 1), have plenty of unusual visual experiences and am generally feeling more vulnerable than usual. Still, there IS a point to all this. I’ve been gradually reducing my dose over the past year, despite knowing that the first few months meds free might be a challenge. So, what’s driving me?

1. I don’t believe I’m Schizo-affective/Schizophrenic/Ill
Ok, so I’ve spent the last 10 years or so of my life in the psychiatric system and at times I’ve been so overwhelmed that I really have been unwell with it all – does that mean that I have a life long illness that will always be bubbling under the surface? Whilst I don’t deny that I’ve experienced (and still experience) periods of psychosis, mania and depression – I don’t see them as part of a biological illness. Instead, I see them as my attempts to make sense of a world that has been, at times, profoundly traumatising. 1 in 10 people hear voices (or there abouts), most of these aren’t unwell as a result of them. So, even though I’ve been overwhelmed and unwell in the past – does it really make sense to assume that this is my future too?

2. Side Effects City
Whilst medication has been useful to me in the past, helping me to find a foothold in my madness when I’ve felt like I’m slipping ever downwards, it’s not without its price. Over the years I’ve had extreme sedation, diabetes, oculogyric crisis (a scary form of dystonia which meant I couldn’t control my eyes for a while), weight gain, stomach problems, akathasia (inner restlessness which meant I was always moving from foot to foot), Tachycardia (a really fast heartbeat) and I’ve even lactated whilst on one of them. Compared to many other people I know, I’ve been relatively lucky. I’ve read about the links between antipsychotic usage and brain shrinkage and tardive dyskinesia (both of which are permanent) and really questioned the wisdom in putting such powerful drugs into my body if there are other ways of staying sane.

3. There ARE alternatives
Psychiatrists often draw parallels with physical illnesses such as diabetes or heart conditions when they talk about medication for mental health problems. The argument goes: If you had diabetes you’d take insulin – so why not take medication for your mental health problem? Personally, I’d want to look at the other options outside of medication (lifestyle changes, complementary therapies, dealing with the cause etc etc) rather than reaching straight for the pills. I’m not some kind of new age hippy – far from it (I’m more of a rock/metal/geek girl if I’m honest). If I needed the medication and the alternatives just didn’t make sense, I’d be first in the queue. Still, it doesn’t hurt to look more holistically at issues. Mental health problems are no different – alternatives exist and I want the chance to use them.

4. I’m in a good place right now
When I first took medication I was in a bad place. I was young, overwhelmed, scared and felt out of control. I had no idea how to deal with the world I was living in (something I believed to be part of an alien experiment). The voices eroded my self confidence and felt that much stronger and knowledgeable than I did. To top it all, I was being flooded with memories of past traumas that I wasn’t ready to deal with just yet. That was over 10 years ago. I’m not perfect, but I have found ways of coping with, and making sense of, my experiences.

I’m in a good place. I have a wonderful husband (who, despite being officially ‘normal’, has a really open mind to it all), a supportive family and some trusted friends. I have a routine (thanks to the hubbie), eat well, sleep well and get plenty of exercise (the building blocks of mental health). I’m learning the art of Tai Chi (which is wonderful for keeping me grounded) and have a whole host of tricks that help me work, rest and play even when I’m voicey as hell. My life has meaning, I have a direction and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I have off days and I’m definitely no superwoman – but if there’s ever going to be a time that’s right for me to get off the meds, this is it.

I chose to withdraw from the medication for all of these reasons, and many more. I’m not being unrealistic about it – I’ve met many people who have done similar things and survived intact – but I know it’s going to have its highs and lows. I’m seeing it as the next stage in a journey that has taken me from an acute psychiatric ward to the discovery that life has many good things to offer as well as bad.

This blog will chart some of this journey in the hope that it’ll be of use to people who are either travelling along similar paths themselves, or supporting others who are. Above and beyond this, I’ll also be sharing my experience of the psychiatric system in all this (and thinking about what needs to change for doctors to react more positively to people like me who are beginning to take control of their own lives)

Warm thoughts and smiles x

Twitter Updates

  • love coffee, but particularly loves coffee shops with free internet 7 years ago
  • is wondering whether psychiatry will ever change 7 years ago
  • is feeling strangely proud that she's still medsfree after more than a month (and not burbling in a corner) 8 years ago
  • is trying reeeally hard to concentrate, but her brain has other ideas 8 years ago
  • is really happy that her psychiatrist actually listened to her today 8 years ago

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