I don’t know how to answer a question that begins, “After you got off drugs, did you….” because it’s more than pills. I don’t know how to explain this to folks who are pill-centered and can’t seem to see beyond the pills to gain an understanding of the greater picture. Until they do, they’ll continue to ask these questions.
They’ll continue to believe that what happens is that you get off pills, and then, suddenly, you have this huge awakening. That’s not true. You don’t. Getting off psych drugs does not cause a big light bulb to turn on over your head. Getting off pills does not cause enlightenment.
Getting off pills won’t do a thing for you if you are still brainwashed and still believe the medical model. However, that’s not what usually happens. Usually, getting off pills means fewer appointments with mental health professionals. Usually, the person has fewer visits to traditional practitioners and seeks nontraditional modalities, trying out new things and new approaches, broadening her view of her life and what may have driven her to seek “help” in the first place.
She may now try out new things. She may now be asking her friends for advice rather than asking her MD-type doctor. She may try getting a pet for the very first time in her life. Maybe she tries a new type of exercise she never tried before, or travels to a new place, visiting an old friend who has moved there and invited her to stay a while.
Maybe she always suspected she might have affection for other women, but never dared try dating other women because she was too busy going to therapy appointments. Is now too late?
She decides to try a pottery class but finds it doesn’t interest her much. There, she meets an interesting man who becomes a good friend. He introduces her to a recreational drug that she tries once, but decides it’s not to her liking. She wonders why she never tried such things at a younger age.
The pottery instructor hires her to do some web designing for his art website. This is her first job in a long time. They agree on a fee for the work.
Suddenly, she realizes she is no longer addicted.
Why do I say this? What addiction am I referring to? I am NOT referring to psychiatric drugs. I am referring to psychiatric appointments such as therapist appointments, which “patients” attend dutifully and become hopelessly hooked on.
Addicted mental patients have trouble making decisions on their own. They defer to others. These others are often their therapists, but in the absence of a therapist, a “patient” who is still brainwashed, regardless of how drug-free that patient is, will defer to another she sees as authority to make decisions, and will also seek approval of that authority figure.
Making your own decisions is tough, and it’s not an easy thing to learn after leaving the System. The addiction to therapy is not an easy addiction to break. Many then leave therapy and then rely on their parents’ approval, or even grandparents, even if these folks are in their 90’s and having cognitive problems and decisions aren’t so easy for them, either.
One of my biggest “relationship” problems that I have had to face, after I got over the first few hurdles, was that in group situations I tended to brown-nose too much. Hindsight tells me that my former patient days taught me to seek approval from authority. So when I joined a group, I had that built in to my psyche, while others probably didn’t. That “approval” was a patient’s only pass, her only way to validation, the only route to “Yes, you are real.” Without it, she was not real.
Even outside the institution, outside of once-a-week therapy, having long ended appointment addiction, I often catch myself in approval-seeking mode in group situations. This will harm relationships, and might be why Facebook is not working for me very well.
Crisis-addiction is a deeper form of appointment addiction that mental patients get into when they’re hooked even worse into the System. This might include an awful lot of ambulance rides, emergency room visits, in and out of the hospital, medical crises, and getting family and friends worried. The worry is the object, of course. Unfortunately, the patient repeatedly gets the wrong type of attention. Try as she might, she can’t seem to get the right type, but she keeps trying, frustrating everyone. Usually, the patient is blamed. (I think we need to examine what’s happening in the therapy office, though.)
I remember a long time ago, in 1997 I was having many panic attacks and many emergency room visits. I was 39 years old. Looking back, from what I recall, I heard talk of “attention-seeking” from my doctors and therapist, but now of course I realize that I was asking for attention and receiving the wrong kind, again and again. Calling me “attention-seeking” and simultaneously failing to be honest with me was doing me great harm. I realized this only years later.
I had been harmed by Electroshock and was demanding to know why I was having so much trouble thinking clearly. I asked over and over What Is Wrong With My Brain? Instead of being honest and upfront with me, ALL my doctors and therapists were dishonest. They failed me miserably, telling me I was “coping poorly.” This was not true. This was the reason for the panic attacks, because of the inconsistency between what was true and staring me in the face, and what was coming out of their mouths.
When the horrible cognitive aftereffects of Electroshock finally wore off after about 18 months, the panic attacks also ended. I didn’t end up in emergency rooms much after that, nor accused of “crisis addiction” anymore.
The addiction is not pills, but much, much greater. I can’t answer the question, “When you got off psych drugs, did you…” because the point is, ending up a mental patient has very little to do with drugs. If you think it does, you are totally missing the point.