How to Find Other People Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs: Introducing TWP Connect

birds flying at sunrise over ocean

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!)

friends watching the sunset

Comments

I have had very weak connection here since joining.  I have reached out and people talk with me like I'm an alien or someone who is beneath them or someone not to be trusted.  I'm not selling hope here.  I'm just wanting people to connect with.  This place has not given this to me.  This is frustrating to say the least.  I really wanted to believe I could find people to identify with.  

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In reply to by CAN

Hi CAN,
We're so sorry to hear you've been having trouble connecting with others through our platform. It's definitely in its early stages, and so our hope is that in the weeks and months to come, increasingly more people join so that the community feels ever more active and engaged. In the meantime, please don't give up! Perhaps there are ways to connect with other members that will feel more sustainable and end up being more successful for you. For example, you might want to double-check to make sure that you're only connecting with people around topics/interests that they've expressed they'd like to connect around, or in ways that they've expressed the want to connect through. (As an example, maybe someone has said they only wish to connect in person with others; therefore, if you connect with them but live far away so that it isn't feasible to meet up in person, they might not be interested in pursuing a friendship with you.) Please stay in touch, CAN. You are far from alone!

Best, 

The ICI Team

Hi I just joined as I saw the Inner Compass site imbedded in the NYT article. I am sorry to have to admit that I am not able to taper as i had taken myself off my medication last June. I  do now wish I had been more informed ( or less stubborn I can only blame myself) but I am struggling quite a bit with anxiety and fear I was on Lexapro 10 mg and Wellbutrin I am hoping that I can still be involved in this site and can the support I feel i do need. I do have a LISCW I see weekly for EMDR and talk therapy and I do have a supportive family but work and life is very stressful. I am hopeful I can possibly connect with people in my situation that have some information to share as well as support. I look forward to hearing back from someone to get some direction and get started. 

Thank you 

In reply to by scaredbuthopeful1

 

Dear scaredbuthopeful1,

We wanted to follow up here with you to see if you’ve had a chance to find others on the withdrawal journey at TWP Connect? You are far from alone—and don’t give up hope! The journey off these drugs, for so many people, is far from easy. But there is light at the end of the withdrawal tunnel.

Best, The ICI Team 

 

i finally completed the application process which seemed fairly difficult. Now I’m here and scrolling through all these topics and looking for connections in my area. I now find that to be difficult also. Does everyone live on the east coast or what? And who designed this website? (Just curious). It just not “so easy” to navigate. Maybe it’s just me. 

Whatever it is, I’m in Utah and can’t be the only person here to have joined this site. Maybe I am though. It’s a high stress state for sure, and I’m fairly sure people here are taking a variety of psychotropic meds. But no one says a word. People here do not like to say they feel sick, down, unenthused, overworked. Smiles and laughter permeate everywhere. But behavior often tells me otherwise.

Maybe their meds are working for them. Who knows? My med IS NOT working for me so here I am. 

Has anyone from Utah joined here or what? Would really like to know.

 

 

 

 

In reply to by rose4953

 

Dear rose4953,

We’re sorry to hear the application process was difficult. We are working on improving it. Thanks for the feedback on our site. We’re always looking for ways to make it easier to navigate. As far as finding people in Utah, I did search and found a few. This platform just started in January of this year, so it will take some time for the word to get out more. Please check back periodically for people in your area. Thanks!

Best, The ICI Team

 

In reply to by rose4953

Yes it does seem you and a few others are pioneers!

Have you tried searching for other forums about withdrawal while you're waiting for this one to get into full swing? There is at least one completely free, extremely friendly forum-based site that has thousands of members. 

I hope others join here too, because it promises to be such a good way of connecting.

In reply to by Tikki Tikki

 

Hi Tikki Tikki,

Thanks for sharing your voice here. We do hope that this will become a useful resource and connecting tool for our members. We’re eager for folks to help us spread the word about our Connect platforms and encourage others to join!

Best,

The ICI Team

 

In reply to by Bozakc

 

Hi Bozakc,

We’re sorry to hear you’ve found the site difficult to navigate. There is indeed a lot of content here, and though we’ve done our best to organize it as clearly as possible, it’s not always easy to sort out. If you’re looking for something specific, our search page may be able to help you out. You might also find our website’s navigation page useful (which you can get to by clicking on ‘Wondering Where to Start’ on TWP’s landing page). Regarding connecting with others, we provide information about how to use TWP Connect on the home page you arrive at after you log in to your account. Have you registered and explored that page yet? . Please email us directly at hello@theinnercompass.org if you continue to have any problems!

Best,

The ICI Team