Psychiatric Drug Facts via :

“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Apr 3, 2011

What Was Once...

I saw my son do something I have not seen him do in a very long time yesterday.   He used both hands and picking up 2 or more dishes at a time, he loaded the dishwasher.  He has loaded the dishwasher many times;  since his crisis last summer, he has been doing it one item at a time.  Lately, he has been listening to music and sometimes singing along and dancing.   I am appreciating the return of his sense of humor, he wants to be hugged again, AND he has told me he loves me every single day; some days several times.  I did not even realize that I had not heard him say those three words, for a while--since his crisis last summer.  There have been several times where he has been thoughtful and considerate of others.  When a young man rushes to open the door for you and it is your son, there is nothing like it!  These are all little things; altogether, these 'little things' are truly marvelous.      

I attribute his renewed spirit, which brightened almost instantaneously after we talked about what happened at his last appointment at the Mental Health Clinic he goes to.  I told him I was proud of him for choosing to walk away, that doing so was an appropriate and totally understandable response to feeling uncomfortable.  He told me he felt disrespected.  I assured him that was my feeling as well, and I again told him how proud I am that he chose to walk away to protect himself.   My son does not like being in crowded or close quarters with people he does not know; he does not feel safe.  These feelings are justifiable; he needs to know as all human beings do, that what he thinks and feels is valid; and just as importantly, respected.

Some may wonder why I attribute my son's improvement to this event and our conversation about it.  It is because my son did not feel safe and so he removed himself from the situation that caused the feeling.  He was repeatedly validated when we spoke about it.  It is his right to feel safe and respected being effectively validated which resulted in an increase in his self-confidence.  This experience let him know that he can make appropriate decisions when he feels threatened; he learned that he can effectively help himself when he is feeling disrespected and needs take action to feel safe.

Isaac has decisions to make and much to do to achieve the goal he has set for himself: He wants to have his own apartment.  He thinks when the time comes, he may still need help budgeting, shopping, and keeping track of appointments; he asked me if I thought that was alright?   I think and know it is more than "alright." The fact that he has set  a realistic and achievable goal for himself, without putting limitations on achieving it; means Isaac is growing, he has hope and shows true humility in expressing the limitations he anticipates that may remain with him once he has achieved his goal.  I am privileged (so very proud) to witness my son's ability to persevere and to see a return of his "never stop trying" attitude.

I believe the biggest challenge Isaac has is meeting his need for safety.  It is when he feels threatened in any way that he regresses.   He is so painfully aware of how dangerous a place the world can be.  This requires having people he can trust, learning how to protect himself when he feels threatened.  In order for him to determine it is safe for him to leave behind the coping mechanisms he developed to survive, he will need to be validated when he protects himself when he feels threatened.  He will need to be supported in expressing his thoughts and feelings, learn effective ways to stand up for himself, to gain confidence that he can protect himself and stay safe; even if he FEELS threatened.  He will need more than his family to be trustworthy and supportive of him, to feel safe enough to leave behind the coping mechanisms he developed as a result of having his sense of safety utterly destroyed; to be willing and enabled to effectively defend himself using communication, sound judgement and to avoid those who do not respect/accept/ or are otherwise, not supportive.  He has been stuck in "fight or flight" for a very long time.  He has been mostly in "flight" since he decided shortly after going to Child Study and Treatment Center to, "Go into his head, because it was the only safe place left."

I can still hear the sense of betrayal in his voice, when he told me that what  he thought and felt was not important to the "doctor" treating him; and how the "treatment" did not help, but hurt him.  Shortly after this conversation, he was in full flight for his own protection.  Neither I, or anyone else had a meaningful conversation of any length with my boy for over two years.  He remembers but does not want to, for obvious reasons:  In a locked psychiatric facility being traumatized by the "treatment" provided and used in Drug Trials;  surrounded by people who as Isaac said, " They had no compassion for me mom; and they were supposed to be helping me!"   I wish I could "make" him feel safe.  I can not but I know that he can learn to protect himself, and now he does too.  Isaac has tried harder than anyone I have ever known to do what he wants: Simply be Isaac and be safe.

There were hospital staff who had respect, showed compassion and had genuine affection for my son---it breaks my heart that due to those who did not, these people and the kindness they showed him are not  remembered by Isaac.  Like most victims of repeated trauma, it is hard for him to access the memories of those who were loving and kind.   I am, and will forever be, extremely grateful to know of them myself; so I can remind him of them by name when he is remembering what was once....

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