How to Find Other People Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs: Introducing TWP Connect
Welcome to The Withdrawal Project!
If you’re here, you might be thinking about possibly reducing one or more of your psychiatric medications—or perhaps you’re supporting or working with someone who is. Maybe you began a taper a few weeks or months ago and are experiencing surprises or difficulties. Or perhaps you’re struggling in the months or years following a cold turkey withdrawal, having realized that you, like so many others, were never given the information you needed in order to plan the safest possible taper. Or you might be one of the many people who feel healed from psychiatric drugs and who gathered some wisdom from the experience that you would gladly share with others.
Wherever you might be on the journey of reducing, coming off, or healing from psychiatric drugs (or supporting or working with someone who is), I am so glad you’re here. Our vision for ICI’s The Withdrawal Project is that it will serve as a rich, crowd-sourced library of information and resources for psychiatric drug withdrawal, a space for people affected by psychiatric drug withdrawal to share their voices, their experiences, and their wisdom, and a networking platform that facilitates the development of supportive friendships, groups, collaborations, lobbying, and activism relating to psychiatric drug withdrawal.
This last piece of the TWP puzzle—our networking platform, TWP Connect—is what I’m most excited about. Let me tell you more.
TWP Connect is a free online platform created by and for people who are thinking about, in the process of, or have past experiences with partially reducing or fully coming off psychiatric drugs. It helps us find and connect with each other online and in-person. Members can search for each other based on geographic locations, personal experiences with psychiatric drugs and drug withdrawal, and common interests, and then connect one-on-one through a messaging platform that takes them to their off-site email.
Why is TWP Connect important?
Despite the growing numbers of us around the world who are speaking out about our experiences taking and coming off psychiatric drugs (see here, here, here, and here for a few examples), one thing seems to ring true across the board: when it comes to in-person connection and community around coming off psychiatric drugs, we are still mostly living in the dark, largely isolated from one another, yearning but unable to find others in our neighborhoods and communities who’ve been through or are going through similar experiences. In fact, I hear from folks nearly every day who ask me, “Do you know anyone who’s come off meds in my town? Or even in my state? I’m desperate to connect with others. I feel so alone.”
But with so many millions of people currently taking psychiatric drugs, the reality is that we are not, in fact, alone. One can assume that there are at least two people in nearly every town who are thinking about coming off their medications, are in the process of doing so, or have previously done so, and who are looking to receive or offer help. In other words, right now, in this very moment, there are countless numbers of us living very close to one another who are eager to connect in person around this vitally important issue of psychiatric drug withdrawal… All that’s missing is a tool that can help us find each other—until now. This is exactly what TWP Connect has been built to do.
The internet has been valuable beyond measure to so many of us, serving as the one and only place to which we can turn for information, tips, validation, recognition, support and hope. But while online spaces remain a vital resource, more and more people are seeking out these in-person connections. They are eager to start mutual support groups for psychiatric drug withdrawal, or to organize discussion groups, film screenings, local lobbying efforts, and protests. But the power and abilities we each have within us to help ourselves and each other will only reach their full potential if we come together.
What is our hope for TWP Connect?
Our hope is that TWP Connect will be used as a tool for meeting and organizing to help create safe, understanding spaces where we can share, learn, hug each other, laugh, cry, scream, grieve, inspire, get inspired, strategize, create, and build together—because what we go through on this journey doesn’t have to be endured alone. And as for the broader social and political change that must happen to support true, informed choice about psychiatric drugs, along with access to means and methods of carefully withdrawing from them? Well, it isn’t going to happen without all of us first finding one another so that we can grow a strong, collective voice.
The time has come for us to find each other in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. To meet face-to-face – whether at the kitchen table, on the front porch, in the local park, at the nearby coffee shop, or on the steps of the State House. As human beings in the midst of healing from the effects of psychiatric drugs, we need this connection. Belonging in community when in the midst of life’s darkest hours is a vital part of what helps us remember what it’s like to be human—even, sometimes, to fully recognize again that we are human. Community helps us to be seen and heard, to learn and teach, to support and be supported, and to reclaim our bodies, minds, health, and a meaningful sense of being fully present in this often-times painful world.
Let’s leave behind this dark chapter of alienation and invisibility surrounding psychiatric drug withdrawal by taking action to change the world: one friendship, one support group, one public event, and one neighborhood network at a time.
Join us at TWP Connect today!
(And if you’re a family member or friend of someone coming off psychiatric medications and you’re looking to connect with others in similar circumstances, ICI Connect is for you!)