Kindness (to yourself)
Be kind to yourself
Just as you would for a loved one, extending compassion to yourself during times of difficulty or suffering is an important coping tool. Unlike self-pity, which can foster a belief in victimhood, helplessness, and an inability to cope, self-compassion is more likely to lead to feelings of empowerment, strength, and resiliency. It has the potential to enhance a sense of hope in the possibility of moving through adversity and in letting go of self-blame for perceived mistakes.
Self-compassion is especially important for anyone going through psychiatric drug withdrawal. Among those who are badly affected by the process and experiencing true distress, anecdotal reports suggest that practicing self-compassion is fundamental to coping effectively. For many people, this happens by default: they learn to care for and be compassionate with themselves during this challenging time because their withdrawal symptoms are so debilitating and unrelenting. Even those who are fortunate to have good support may find that they need even more help, so they inevitably become expert at taking care of themselves.
Commonly reported ways that people are hard on themselves during psychiatric drug withdrawal
It can be helpful to be aware when these kinds of experiences happen, but it’s just as important not to judge or self-blame if any of these habits apply. Psychiatric drug withdrawal is, for so many, hard enough as it is!
- Comparing yourself and your healing timeline with others on the withdrawal journey
- Not being able to say “no” or to establish personal boundaries
- Harshly criticizing yourself for decisions relating to taking or coming off your medications
- Not asking for help when you need it
- Blaming yourself, feeling ashamed or guilty for what’s happening to you
- Neglecting your body
Ways that people can be good to themselves
These are just a few of the ways in which people can be more kind and nurturing to themselves as they heal from psychiatric drugs. While being in withdrawal can make changing old habits more challenging, the idea is simply to go easy on yourself and accept your limitations, taking opportunities to exercise self-kindness wherever you see them.
- Speaking to yourself as you would to a dear friend
- Listening to soothing and uplifting music
- Allowing yourself to ask for help
- Establishing and maintaining personal boundaries that feel right for you
- Forgiving yourself
- Spending time in nature
- Being kind to yourself in your thoughts
- Eating healthily and moving your body
- Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal
- Finding time for yourself
- Playing with a pet
- Giving yourself permission to feel, to cry, to grieve
- Letting yourself accept and receive goodness in your life—no matter how hard times may feel
- Complimenting yourself
- Loving and honoring your body