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Some Thoughts About Tapering Off Psychiatric Medication

Published on December 21, 2014 under Mental Wellbeing

I keep asking myself what lessons I brought back from experiencing mania three and a half years ago.  Maybe I don’t really know.  I have this urge to go back in an attempt to integrate the things that played out in that ecstatically uncomfortable time.  I want to integrate the states of consciousness so that when they creep up on me again, I will recognize them for what they are and enter them consciously.

I feel like if I decide to interpret those situations in a powerful way, they can create a new context for my reality going forward.  I wrote a bunch of random stuff when I was in the manic state and later the psychotic state.  Now that I am in the process of tapering off my medication (supervised by my psychiatrist), my mind is again open to insights, intuitions, ideas, musing, and hunches.  I am now taking 250mg of Lithium Carbonate, 1/3 my original dose.  I was also on Zoloft.  I tapered off of that without much consequence.

I just want to see if I can do it.  Can I get off these medications?  In my experience, so far so good!

One of my motivations for wanting to taper off psychiatric drugs lies in the fact that I could relapse and have another manic or psychotic episode even if I remained on my current medications and dosages.  So in my mind, I’d rather attempt to taper off in the most safe and sane way possible in order to save my dear liver and kidneys.

Another reason is that much of my experience going through mania and psychosis had a huge spiritual component.  When I was thrown in the hospital and medicated, it felt like I was drugged back to this consensus reality that we all share.  And with that, I lost all my precious spiritual gains.  I was once again just a maggot in a dung heap.  I felt like I had to relearn how to live and exist.  It took me months to get back a regular hygiene practice.  Who knew brushing my teeth could be so hard?

And most of all, I really don’t believe that I need this stuff for the rest of my life to stay well.  I am tapering now at a time when I am doing well.  It took me three years to get my psychiatrist on board with the idea of tapering me off.  He has the perspective that if I’m doing well, why mess with a good thing?  My perspective is, now is the best time to try to reduce it down to zero.

Maybe it means that I have to take extra good care of myself, be super self-loving, and actively create happiness in the areas of my life that need attention.  Maybe I need to pay more attention to my inner state and set more intentions such that I don’t get lost in reacting to circumstances.  Maybe I need to sing loudly in my car and dance around my apartment.

Maybe I’m doing these things and there is a method to my madness.  Without my method, this methodical watching and wondering about the wonder under the skull and behind the eyes that likes to tell lies and is the surprise in disguise…

What it all comes down to is that it’s all me.  I’m doing all of this.  What is the true nature of reality?  I don’t know, but I think I had a glimpse.  I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for the bowl of curry sweet potato and carrot soup I had for lunch.  It tickled my tastebuds and my neural networks in a magical way that I couldn’t explain if I kept typing for the rest of this lifetime.  And some don’t have food.  As the sensitivity comes back, I may feel deep concern about that.

I’m 3/4 of the way there and I could fail.  My goal is to be medication free.  But what happens if I start to feel manic?  I tell you this much, that I won’t waste it.  I do not fear it.  I will embrace it.

The point of this is nothing.  There is no point to anything.  But I point to things and ascribe meaning and react to my own creation as if it foreign.  The outer reflects what’s inside me.  I know what’s inside me.  I am the hottest hell and the most peaceful heaven and everything in between.

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