Reflections: Journeying Back to Being With Ourselves

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Hopefully, by the time you’ve completed these exercises, you have both a better sense of some of the challenges that you face in being with difficult physical or mental/emotional experiences, as well as a better sense of some of the skills you’ve already developed for navigating those very experiences. That’s important and empowering self-knowledge to have!

During psychiatric drug withdrawal, many of us have found that slowly disconnecting from our medications has meant gradually reconnecting with and even rediscovering ourselves—including the painful and more difficult aspects of our emotional, mental and physical being. It’s not surprising; after all, challenges being with difficult internal experiences are often at the heart of why we started taking medications in the first place. The taper journey, therefore, is an opportunity to “unlearn” patterns of escaping pain that we may have become increasingly reliant on over time, and to relearn the practice of “being with” ourselves in the present—however uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or difficult that may be at any given moment.

Perhaps your taper journey, should you ultimately choose to reduce or come off, will be smooth sailing. Or perhaps there will be bumps or even giant mountains to traverse along the way. Whatever your experience may end up being, many of us found that by becoming better aware of and in touch with the darkness, difficulties, and pain that came up for us mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually during withdrawal, the deeper we began to know our authentic selves. For some of us who’d been on psychiatric drugs for many years, getting through those hard times actually helped us discover who we authentically were for the first time. And not only that, but developing practices of “being with” that pain and darkness actually allowed us to feel freer and more powerful during the course of our tapers. A lot of that freedom came from letting go of the fear of those struggles and trusting in our bodies’ capacities to heal and in our own abilities to endure in the face of obstacles.

If, through exploring these questions, you’ve realized that the notion of exploring different and new ways to “be with” yourself is something that interests you before you set off on your taper, or if in working through the second exercise you realize that there are areas where you’re lacking coping strategies, we encourage you to spend some time at our Cope, take care of yourself, and heal section, where you can explore helpful ideas and resources sourced from the layperson withdrawal community. You also might want to consider talking to folks at​​​​​​​ TWP Connect, to find support, inspiration and more ideas to springboard your own research into different approaches and strategies.

If you feel that you already have what you need in place to effectively be with yourself along the taper journey, feel free to move on to the next step.

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