Wellness in the Woods

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© 2016-2018 Wellness in the Woods

My Story

May 28, 2017

I shared my story in front of about 20 people. I tried to be calm and not nervous but I didn’t succeed. Some people in the audience were probably thinking, “Well would you look at her! She should be on psych meds; she could have at least taken a tranquilizer before she got up there!”   I’ve been anxious about sharing my story. I’m not on any psych meds, when I was I slept better and was calmer. My diagnosis included severe depressive disorder. I was in the hospital 4 times, the first time it was a month stay and they failed to get me to take psych meds for some reason. The next times they did but it was against my will, which started my 15 year journey on psych medication.


The last time I was in the hospital about 10 years ago. I didn’t have the great support that I had the 1st time, which was one of the reasons I decided to not go back to the hospital no matter what and I haven’t. You may be saying if you need to go to the hospital you should go. This is my journey, and it doesn’t mean you have to do what I have done or agree with me.  Sometimes people need to stay on their meds for whatever reasons. I also decided I wanted to be a new creation, and leave the psych ward stays behind me, as well as the medication, doctor visits, and therapy.


From the beginning of my medication journey they tried to put me on the same therapeutic dosage that they start everybody on. I refused; my system must be more sensitive than other people. I felt terrible on the drug and thought I’d rather be crazy then feel as I did on the normal dosage. I was able to negotiate with the psych doctors and so took below the average dosage for 15 years.


I tried many times to be free of the psych med and was told by everyone that I needed it the rest of my life since I couldn’t function without it. Think what that does to your confidence you think you can’t do anything without your medication. I would be off of the med a few weeks and people around me would notice and say I can tell you’re not on your med you need to take it and so I would.


According to my research people sometimes take a psych drug and can have side effects or withdrawal such as psychotic symptoms.  They never had these before so then they go to their doctor and it’s like the doctor is saying you’re sicker than I thought and so then you go from one med to 20, or your dosage is increased.


Inserts with the meds warn how the drug can cause you to be more suicidal. For me I was the most suicidal for 6 years daily during the time I took the medication, it would be much worse when I wasn’t on the med or trying to get off the med. Before the medication I would be suicidal due to something happening, on the meds I was instantly suicidal just trying to go off them. So it seems if you are already prone to being suicidal the drug can mess up your brain making you obsess more.


About 4 years ago I went off the psych due to side effects such as seizure like symptoms. I had little support except for a friend that suggested I taper off even slower from the med, (which I did and my withdrawal was less, still my anxiety was unbearable at times). Also my mother would occasionally ask me “So what are you taking the med for or why are you still taking it?” or she would somewhat agree with me when I’d say how I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life on the medication.


For me getting off the drug was an important part of my recovery, although I am not saying I am completely recovered I don’t know if that is possible. On the med and all the different ones I tried, I rarely cried or laughed. Now I can feel again, and feel like myself again. I can also concentrate and read much better than I ever could on the medication.


I would take one med at a time then it would seem like it was wearing off so then I would tell the psychiatrist and be switched to a different one, quite a few times. I also never trusted the shrinks much and they never seemed to want to talk to me long, I just wanted to get my refill and leave. One time though I said “so the medication can damage your brain and my psychiatrist said “yes and so can stress.”


The last year I took the medication, I was in the hospital due to being suicidal they put me on a second strong drug, they wanted me to take it daily well I couldn’t get out of bed hardly I knew it was due to the med and was able to get them to let me take it as needed instead and so I did for about a year then I got rid of the drugs.


Still I was going to go back on my medication and during the 15 years I couldn’t be off the med longer than a few weeks before someone would say I can tell you’re not taking your medication you need to go back on it, and so I would. But seeds had been planted,


There was an Indian that was saying that he had a lot of peace when he decided not to take the psych meds that his doctor prescribed, and his peace continued. Someone gave me a book and in the book were recommendations for other books so I read Peter Breggin book that he wrote with another author called “Your Drug May be Your Problem…”


This book restored my confidence it was reassuring, amazingly helpful and I doubt I would ever have been able to be free of meds for this long ( 4 years ) if not for Peter Breggin and the other author. Still some people need to be on psych drugs for whatever reasons.  Someone said how she felt weak because she had to take meds. I don’t think being on psych meds is a sign of weakness nor can it take away your strengths or your spirit.


At times it’s been pure hell for me not on the medication, but I would rather suffer or try to change for the better and not on the medication and I have been happy and calm.  I am much happier free of any prescription drugs. Two people said to me “Well you were never that sick.” Well I say I have suffered a great deal.


I’ve spent much of my life being suicidal, or not that happy, or high anxiety, usually worse when trying to get off the med or not on the med. Church sermons were more effective than all my many years of therapy. It was nice if a counselor cared about me but there were some long term struggles that never got resolved in therapy.


For example sermons lead me to decide to get obsessed with happier topics.  So I am not obsessed with suicide anymore. So church sermons, developing a closer relationship with God and forgiving those that have hurt me has also helped me to be free from further suffering related to that hurt.  I already spent several years’ nearly daily dwelling and feeling badly about how some people had hurt me, and I can’t fix the past or change it, but I can let it go and the forgiving process seems the best way for me.


So for my few enemies they have continued on having a great time never acknowledging or apologizing to me, they think that it is all over.  I don’t think it is, I trust that one day they will have to answer to God and I’m glad I won’t be in their shoes.


Some recent training I took in an effort to increase my employment opportunities was uplifting, empowering.  I didn’t know everything, and the way it was all presented was much more powerful and helpful.


Through the years my mother has said things to me that no one else would say, or say something I had never thought of.   I have had challenging situations and something she said helped me to get through it and solve it put it behind me. She is an independent thinker and intelligent. She has been a terrible mother I have not even seen her much of my life, but she has apologized to me more than once for being a terrible mother and I believe that she is sincere.


Back to my conclusion dreams for my future are to be an example of one way of recovery not even the best or worst way or only way but just one way,  my strengths I have found are persistence, courage, strong will power. Recovery for me doesn’t mean having perfect mental health, but it means being successful in healing, changing, improving, and growing.


This is my attempt at sharing my journey it isn’t like most people and since we are all different we can’t live each other’s lives. Too often we don’t pray and ask God about what medications we should be taking or not taking.

One reason I choose the song what a feeling that’s played in the movie Flash dance is that she fulfills her dream, and is successful despite the odds against her.

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