Mental Wellness in the face of "Mental Health"

A survivor's blog.

  • Grow or "Shrink"

Is That My Cue?

Updated: Aug 11, 2018

At the very start of my anti-depressant withdrawal I scoured the internet in search of information. Google was not kind to me. My search results came up with related topics, but nothing pertinent.

Eventually I found a site called “surviving anti-depressants” http://survivingantidepressants.org

The site was an open forum with a handful of topics each with a multitude of posts by users. Most of the comments were people lamenting about their horrible symptoms and looking for advice. This was an incredible moment for me. I finally found evidence that my intuition was correct. I was not just suffering from anxiety. My symptoms were not in my head. I was in full blown withdrawal and I wasn’t the only one.

Being overexcited, I dived into the forum. The more I read, though, the sicker I began to feel. What little bit of me that was still in my body left entirely. My symptoms increased and the emotional pain became even more devastating. I was absorbing and taking on the suffering of all of these other commenters. I had absolutely no buffer, no wall, no protections, no Wei Qi. I crumbled.

I’ve since learned to be cautious about how I listen to others. I have to be in a strong, grounded, and healthy state to hear about anyone else’s feelings or experiences, no matter what the topic. Good or bad. My thin wall of protection cannot withstand any suggestion whatsoever. My Wei Qi (defensive Qi) is still weakened. I am triggered by absolutely everything. The better I feel, however, the stronger I am and the more available I can be to others. I also have to be careful about how much I share about myself. Oversharing and over revealing has a similar triggering effect as if I’m divulging a private secret against my own will. My inner disagreement erupts in symptoms.

So the years went on and I would Google about every six months or so. Each time, the homepage became filled with more and more relevant links. It's only the past few months that Google has become abundant with links about anti-depressant withdrawal. Books and articles that were written and published years ago are now first starting to appear in the results. It's as though a veil has been lifted and topic is finally pushing its way to surface. That is how I found The Withdrawal Project. https://withdrawal.theinnercompass.org

I’ve met a few fellow withdrawal sufferers through The Withdrawal Project community. It’s been wonderfully freeing to speak honestly and openly and to know I’m not alone. Being mostly healed, I’ve been able to provide some support and hope to those currently in the thick of it. I’ve gotten much stronger and comfortable with my own sharing as well. Toying with the idea of creating a film on the topic has also inspired me to be more open. I’ve “come out” a significant number of times now and each time it gets easier. As I become more steadfast and confident in my sharing, those listening become more receptive and understanding. It’s been wonderfully freeing. So incredibly freeing.

The last few weeks, I’ve become incredibly passionate about the prospects of a film project. I’ve spoken to multiple people, been gathering research, secured some crew, etc. All was moving along well. I was concerned that I might be jumping in to heavily to quickly, but I kept forging ahead as I do. Over the last 4 years I’ve really pushed myself. I’ve pushed through the symptoms, I’ve pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, I’ve pushed myself to do what I thought might help despite my personal reluctance. If I didn't push, I wouldn't have healed. Time after time I ignored my own body’s cues believing I was doing what was best for myself. Sometimes it was. Sometimes it wasn't. It’s a very delicate line. There are many times when I should not have pushed. I should have listened to myself and rested or avoided the activity that lead to a massive wave of symptoms. Other times I've become happier and healthier because I pushed! I still have yet to master this listening. It’s so hard, impossible even, to know when to yield to a cue to avoid devastation or when to push through for the sake of making myself better.

This past weekend I had a violent return of some symptoms that left me incapacitated and in an indescribable sort of pain. I was definitely hormonally triggered. I always am. But I feel there may have been more. I'm wondering if the constant talking to fellow sufferers, the research, and the incredible undertaking of the film itself finally built to a tipping point and pushed me over the edge. It was definitely on my mind. I was feeling it. My acupuncturist so very wisely advised me that it’s not good to dwell in a past illness. That this just prolongs it and keeps you from moving forward and healing fully. She's right.

Sigh. So here I sit. With this project at my fingertips waiting to be embarked upon. With my leads growing and others becoming interested. With the resources appearing and contacts being made. And now I’m questioning it all. I’m questioning the effect this project may have on my health. I’m questioning my original desire to air my dirty laundry and reveal secret parts of myself I’ve held close. Do I want to share? Will it cause an inner disagreement leading to more sickness?

I’m trying to remember my original goal in doing all of this. I want to spread awareness about the seriousness of psychiatric medications. I want people to be aware that they are not alone in their psychological suffering or withdrawals and that there is nothing wrong with them. I want people to know there is no such thing as a "chemical imbalance." I want sufferers to take their power back! I want to explore why we are experiencing such a psychological crisis, if perhaps it’s more of a spiritual crisis, and what we can do about it. I want these things and I want to approach them in the way I know how to - through film. But is this good for me? I’m checking in. I’m taking note of my cues. Trying to figure out which to concede to and which to reassure that it’s all going to be okay.