If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to be convinced that psychiatric meds can be dangerous and hard to come off of. Even in normal circumstances, there is not adequate medical care available for people seeking to come off psych meds. Now that most “non-essential” medical care is harder to access, if available at all, it is more pressing to find alternative approaches that work.
We don’t know how long we will be socially distancing, but things are not likely to return to normal anytime soon. So it is important not to do anything that will create a medical emergency, like getting on psych meds in a panic, and being left to your own devices to manage dangerous effects and difficult withdrawal.
I’ve been working with individuals, families and communities for nearly 2 decades, and had to withdraw from psych meds myself when they nearly killed me in 2002. So i know first, second and third hand how dangerous they are and how nearly impossible withdrawal can be.
Each person must make their own decision, but if at all possible, please don’t get on a dangerous, dependency creating substance in a panic without considering safer options.
An estimated 1.5 billion people around the world have been asked to practice social distancing amid the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) that has caused the deaths of more than 69,000 people. The rapid spread of the disease, escalation of pulmonary symptoms, financial disruption, travel restrictions and social isolation have been cited as a catalyst for increased prevalence of mental disorders such as depression across a variety of age groups, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Magdalene Crabbe, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Sales of drugs for psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are expected to reach $27.4bn in 2020 – an increase of $717m from the previous year. Sales are then expected to increase from $27.4bn in 2020 to $40.9bn in 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%.
“Personalized treatment strategies are important for treating psychiatric disorders, which may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. Responses to therapy are highly diverse, and drugs that work for some people may not be effective for others.
“It is important that people realise that depending on pharmaceutical drugs is not necessarily the solution to the negative impact that COVID-19 will have on people’s mental health. Recovering from the worst pandemic this century has experienced so far will be achieved through a combination of approaches, including psychotherapy, physiotherapy and financial assistance.”
It’s okay to be afraid
A lot of us are afraid right now. Scared of not having adequate money or access to basic needs, housing instability, problems in our relationships, long term isolation and separation from people. The list goes on.
Even fear of the unknown and fear of death or the loss of loved ones are huge. Allow yourself to feel this, and to grieve in whatever ways you have access to. Crying a lot, sleeping a lot, needing more phone calls with friends are all completely natural responses.
Having all of these valid fears and concerns does not mean there is something wrong with you or that you need to go on psych meds.
What I’m doing
Here are some strategies and practices I am using and I can help you find ones that will work for you, specific to your situation. That’s what I have been doing in my consulting practice and at other jobs for nearly 20 years. (These will not apply to everyone, but maybe something here will inspire you).
-spending as much time as possible in nature (I’ve been peeing almost exclusively in the woods when I’m out, with few public bathrooms open)
-talking on the phone with friends (sometimes while outside, sitting against a tree, watching a river flow)
-going to sleep early whenever I feel like it, sometimes as early as 7:30! The extra sleep feels amazing.
-taking supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, cod liver oil and melatonin
-reminding myself it’s okay to be happy and feel good sometimes, even during a worldwide crisis (feeling good also has ripple effects out to the rest of the world)
-writing in my journal with pen and paper, sometimes outside
-lying down on the earth, in the sun
-hugging trees, hugging many trees in a row until my heart feels full and the trees look like beams of light (the more trees I hug, the more soothed I feel)
-putting my hands or feet in the dirt
These are the things I have been doing. How are you dealing with this if you live in a big city without access to nature? My dad lives in Brooklyn and has been going for short bike rides twice a day. Please share in the comments what is helping you, especially if you live in a city.
Some self care activities to do at home during the covid19 pandemic:
-take a bath
-listen to your favorite music
-watch your favorite you tube videos and discover new ones (I’ve been watching you tube videos on relationships that are helping my unravel and shift patterns I never would have had the time to look at otherwise)
-clean, when you’re up for it
-appreciate the change of pace
-appreciate the cool stuff to do that you usually don’t have time for
-research sources of funding whether grants, unemployment benefits (including self employment unemployment), other resources that may be available in your area such as food and herbal medicine.
–track your stimulus check if you qualify for it and haven’t gotten in yet
All of the book events for my book Freedom From Psychiatric Drugs I had scheduled for this spring were cancelled, so I applied for artist grants and self-employment unemployment. My state and city arts councils are offering grants now. Maybe yours are too?
Please, share in the comments what you are struggling with and what is helping you survive/thrive these times. And if you have a message for those who are considering going on psych meds now, but would rather try a safer, more sustainable approach, please share it below!