Today marks the 10 year anniversary of ending my use of psychiatric medication.
10 years ago, at the beginning of 2013, for the first time in my life, I truly began the journey of healing. By that year, I had spent over half my life at the time on large amounts of psych meds for illnesses I would later find out I had been misdiagnosed with. And that year, I decided it was time to change my life and find a more sustainable way to help myself that didn’t wreck my body and spirit.
So I spent the better part of the year meticulously changing my lifestyle and slowly reducing the doses. I learned how to be mindful of my time and surroundings. I learned how to properly nourish my body. I learned how and when to walk away from relationships and situations that were poisoning me. And I opened my heart up to the spiritual life I had shut away for so many years.
When October 31st rolled around, I was a completely different person, raw and broken still, but irrevocably changed. That was the first night in 15 years of my life that I did not take nightly psychiatric medication. And I haven’t gone back since.
Does that mean I was healed at that moment? Certainly not. I have since found much more concrete and reasonable explanations for the mental and physical challenges I face including complex-PTSD, Tourette’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And I have began practicing more appropriate tools to heal and live with them.
Life over the past 10 years has provided more trials than I ever imagined though. While I’ve taken many steps forward in healing, I have also taken some big steps backwards. And I have some huge hurdles ahead of me now. But I haven’t given up. I won’t give up. Even if I have to crawl my way forward.
The recent struggles my family has faced have been heavy. But slowly I am stepping back towards my own healing process, little bit by little bit. With my husband’s recent stroke, the topic of recovery has become front and center in our household again. And while I work tirelessly to support him in his recovery, his progress is encouraging me to focus once again on my own.
If I’ve learned anything over the past almost four decades, it’s that healing is not linear. It’s a roller coaster that I must live on. Sometimes I rapidly move up and forward, and other times I slow down or come crashing back down towards the ground again.
These cycles used to make me so angry at myself and would leave me feeling defeated. But I’m learning to work with myself again with compassion, through all the ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns that I face. And slowly but surely, the work I’m doing to heal is having an impact on my life. Even when I have days where I just have to stop everything and stay in bed, I can see the positive effects of this wild healing journey I’ve been on. Even being able to allow myself to rest when I need it is evidence of that growth.
So 10 years on, I’m still deep in the thick of things when it comes to healing. But I can see how far I have come. And I now can look the sad, broken little girl inside me in the eyes of her soul and tell her, “I’ve got you. We’re going to be okay. I will never give up on you. I love you.”