Being Psychotropic Medication Free is Very Freeing

Since I have been psychotropic medication free for about a month and half, I can see everything more clearly. I am no longer living in a fog or looking through a cloudy dull lens seeing only grays and browns. My brain continues to rewire and adjust, but my brain is beginning to feel like new. My brain is becoming my own, not a synthetic brain made by man from medications that were prescribed to me for over 25 years.

Psychotropic medications act on the brain and central nervous system. They change the way chemicals in the brain called “neurotransmitters” send messages between brain cells through a synapse or crossing. Each psychotropic medication is used to treat certain “target” symptoms.

Unfortunately, we never realize until years later what damage is occurring inside our brain and body. Sometimes later becomes too late. I am not saying people with mental illness do not need medications, because many people do. I know for certain that I did and they helped me for years.

However, maybe instead of playing medication roulette for so many years, maybe before giving me new medications they should have waited until old medications were out of my systems before giving me new medications. How do we know what is causing what symptom. The truth is we do not know and prescribing medications becomes a guessing game that sometimes must be played.

Is my new medication causing the side effect I am feeling or is it from symptoms of withdrawal from going cold turkey off a different medication? How do we know? How does anyone know for sure? They don’t know. We do not now. That is a hard pill to swallow. It seems Psychiatry is nothing more than a guessing game, but a game we need nonetheless. It is a study and learn as you go process, as each person with mental illness is different.

I don’t mean to sound negative about psychiatry, because we need it. I need it and will need it for the rest of my life. However, as we all know, mental health services must improve exponentially. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way since the barbaric treatment of people with mental illness fifty plus years ago. We no longer institutionalize people for life or have the lock ’em up and throw away the key mentality or overmedicate until they are comatose. Okay, we have come a long ways since then and that makes me happy.

However, we cannot ignore that there has been a great decline in the treatment for mental health services in the past few years. Over-stretched services are failing patients time and time again. At the same time, there has been a huge increase in the number of people requiring mental health services. What came first? The chicken or the egg?

For now, I strive to remain medication free as long as possible. Please remember everyone’s journey is different and their own. This is just where I am in my bipolar journey and I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully it helps in some way.

Being psychotropic medication free is new and foreign to me after being on psychotropic medications for over 25 years. I will keep an open mind and will pay close attention to my mental health. Living with bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes has taught me many valuable lessons about life and living. I have learned to appreciate the small things in life. Keep an open mind about people and life. Take one moment at a time. Live and be present in the moment, because this moment in time is all we have and know. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.

If it is a difficult day, have hope for a better tomorrow. If it is a good day, love the moment and live for today. I pray it is a good day.


9 Replies to “Being Psychotropic Medication Free is Very Freeing”

  1. We essentially came into appropriate psychotropic medications in the late 80’s. Big improvement. Then, psychiatric hospitals began fighting for funding, prices skyrocket in the late 90’s and by the early 2000’s institutions and group living homes were being shut down. God forbid we put someone in the hospital to treat what cannot be seen! Mental health facilities have suffered the brunt of many budget cuts. They are needed. People need safe quarters while they are in crisis. Please be careful! Please enjoy yourself! And please reach out if you need help! Good days for you! ~Kim

    1. Thank you for reading and for your feedback. I greatly appreciate it. I am taking this one day at a time and I know I do not know what to expect. I am learning as I go. I am not saying I will be off medications forever, but I sure hope so. I am going to enjoy being medication free as long as I can. So far it is going well, but I cannot predict the future. There is so much they do not know about mental health. Please know I am under medical supervision. I will see my P-doc in two weeks. Hugs, Sue

      1. Good to hear! Again I want you to enjoy this time! Not worry. And please remember that being on medication doesn’t mean failure- ever. I’m so excited for you! ~Kim

  2. Please be careful. Going off meds is usually something I only contemplate when manic. I personally believe bipolar disorder requires medication. I get the frustrations with medication, it’s hard to find the “right” ones, the ones that the pros outweigh the cons. It’s hard to know what symptoms are from meds and which are from bd. But I know I’m better off for being on my meds, I remember all to well the destruction I caused before they got my meds right. again, please be careful and continue seeing your mental health provider to help monitor your symptoms.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I didn’t go off my medication myself. I was taken off my medications, two different times cold turkey. First, about a year ago, I was forced off my bipolar medication due to physical syndromes they caused. If I didn’t stop my medication I could have died. For the next year I was only on Klonopin that slowly caused me to become progressively worse until I overdosed on Klonopin. Because I overdosed on Klonopin they stopped it cold turkey at the hospital. After I realized what was happening it was too late to go back on them. I have been medication free for a month and a half and I am doing better than I ever have, except for some anxiety and insomnia and a few physical effects from Klonopin withdrawal syndrome. This is just my story and what has happened to me. Benzodiazepines, especially Klonopin are dangerous and very addictive and cause severe withdrawal even when you are using them as your body adjusts to the dosage and always requires more. I used it for two long. It damages your brain. Caused me to not be able to think. I am very happy I am off now. I have been living with bipolar for 25 years and have learned to live one day at time. Today is a good day and I take each day as it comes. Praying each day is better than the last. I am under a doctor’s care. I have an appointment with a new Psychiatrist in a couple weeks as mine retired and this is the first appointment I was able to get after my hospital visit. Please know I did not do this on my own due to frustration or anything. This is from the guidance of medical people. I did not do this without medical supervision. Thank you very much for your concern, kindness and input. I appreciate it greatly. I will let you now how it goes. Thanks for reading. Hugs, Sue

      1. Sorry to hear you had such a dangerous reaction to your bipolar meds. As far as the klonopin, I can relate. I’ve been off klonopin since 2012, it was no easy feat. I was physically addicted to it, as you said they kept upping the dose. I felt like I was always in withdrawal even when I was taking it. Out of all the meds over the years, klonopin is the one I truly wish I had never been prescribed.

      2. I agree with you. I realize now that I was in a state of withdrawal for years. It was horrific. So far my withdrawal from Klonopin is going very well. I recently just hit a really good place in my recovery from my withdrawals. It feels great. So far being medication free is going well but I will be very cautious with my symptoms and will continue to see a psychiatrist to help me and guide me even while I am med. free. Thanks for sharing your experience with Klonopin. It helps me to know others’ experience with it. So I greatly appreciate your comment. I wish I was never prescribed either. I hope you are doing well now. Much love, Sue

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