Taking Medicines for Mental Health
My openness about my mental health challenges can lead to people asking me questions about how I have gotten through the difficult patches, and did I take medicine to help me? What are my views on medicine for mental health?
I am not a doctor or medical practitioner. I would always advise that you see a specialist and follow your own intuition based on holistic advice received. The below is my opinion from personal experience and what I have witnessed of others. It is not an expert opinion and I strongly recommend that you seek professional support, but mostly I recommend connecting to your own intuition.
My intuition has always been that I should be able to control my mind, emotions and experience of life without the need for medicine to ‘help’ me. It is within the human body to be empowered sufficiently to know how to heal, or ask for healing.
When intuition is weak it is possible to find ourselves looking to others for what to do, for another to make a choice for us. This is disempowering and weakens the power of the self to heal.
A friend of mine who suffered with depression in our mid-twenties told me that she turned away from me when I had commented that “I hoped” she would do well with her new life changes, because she needed to trust her own intuition and she felt I introduced too much doubt at that time.
She was right. It is important to connect with yourself and own your ability to heal. I would not approach someone with this comment nowadays, but at the time I was struggling to manage my own depression. I was in a world of my own ‘hope’ to ‘manage’ my suicidal obsessions, and could not hold support for another in the same space.
My intuition was put back on track when I had my head injury. All the anti-migraine medications, pain relief and anxiety drugs felt wrong to me. I wanted to know my suffering so that I could make the choices that eased it, and discover how to prevent and care for myself fully.
This path took me to healing, but has been slow and required a different kind of strength – one of compassion and nurturing, a Divinely Feminine journey.
The ‘Divine Feminine’ concept makes many uncomfortable for its gender reference and apparent judgments. I thought like that once and it kept me in despair. I discovered these qualities were: immense patience, discipline, forgiveness, acceptance, motivation, presence, darkness, depth, and courage. All were to love myself and know that I deserve to be joy-filled.
It is common to want a quick fix. To take the red tablet and wake up fixed, but in The Matrix, Neo does not awake fixed. He wakes to a new hell. Slowly he unravels this into his own solution. This is the path of intuitive healing. But it takes courage, strength, patience, perseverance and acceptance.
From my teenage years I took anti-depressants each winter to mitigate the risk of suicide in November. Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) is a chemical imbalance when there is insufficient sunlight, so I justified my medicinal use as a chemical need. The contraceptive pills I took would affect the anti-depressants, I would become more anxious.
I found myself behaving like a crazy person and questioning my intuition. The tablets worsened the self-doubt and removed my ability to navigate a self-healing path. When my panic attacks worsened in my late-twenties I took tablets to ensure that I could still sit in the office to do my job. I denied listening to my body. I did not want to admit the life changes that needed to be made – my career, my marriage, my home and attitude to myself.
I speak to so many people who tell me about their ‘chemical imbalance’. My work at Mind, the mental health charity in England, made it clear to me that people do need medical support for certain illnesses.
Medicine is not evil or bad, but it is not the solution. It may manage symptoms or behaviours, but it is not a cure. From what I have seen, labelling an illness in this way removes self-responsibility to heal. It disempowers intuition, healing and the person.
In my experience, medicine may be a short-term solution to help manage a crisis. But the medicines come with more mental health side effects. They can mask, exacerbate and confuse the symptoms of the mental health issue.
The choice to stay in the current situation, to repeat the same behaviours, thoughts, emotional patterns and life does not solve the problem. To face the darkness within and discover connection to self, the universe and living, is the process of healing. This is slow and perhaps a life’s work.
Of course, do not stop taking medication if you are on it without medical supervision. Take appropriate steps and ensure that you have support when making any such changes to your healing.
A client recently asked me about my thoughts on CBD oil for depression and pain management. For me, I do not need to be taken into my head further, but need to ground more. This is what I see in most people struggling with mental health – the mind is off on a frolic without control and a lack of connection to live an embodied life. To me, CBD or cannabis suppresses what needs to be faced and perpetuates a ‘comfort zone’ blanket around the issue.
Other clients have asked me about ayahuasca, san pedro, peyote and kambo. In the years before I left England, my last boyfriend was very interested in Dimethyltryptamine (‘DMT’) which is the psychoactive chemical in ayahuasca. I was educated at great lengths, but was never fussed and answered: “Never say never, but I won’t seek it out”.
After 4 months in Central America and a great deal of deep self-work, my meditations had taken me through some painful experiences many magical moments. I shared my sober hallucinations of swimming in bioluminescent plankton and full moon bathing in blog posts. Then by chance, a guest appeared at a retreat who suggested a place to do ayahuasca and a friend was intrigued, so in pure synchronicity we went. It was a crazy whirlwind experience and not how such an experience should be approached. However, thanks to the months of living a ‘retreat life’ it was something that could be handled.
The experience for me was magical. I received what I needed to and have consciously returned to it for how to integrate the lessons into my life. It lifted a veil and helped me shine the light on my own fears. I have worked hard for over 18 months to integrate these lessons into my daily life and heal the wounds it showed me.
Since then I have met many who took ayahuasca with their own experiences. Most sound terrifying, but also mildly addictive. As the Shaman said to me “The ceremony is the easy part, it is the integration that is the hard work”.
What is shown in the psychoactive experience is the truth of the ego and it’s darkness that limits the soul in this lifetime. If the work has not been done to face this it can be a very dangerous experience.
The integration has taken consistent application, diligence and discipline. I feel that for the optimal experience, such self-practice should be established prior to a ceremony to aid after the experience. This is about connection. Connection to the deeper self in daily living and remaining aligned to dance with the ego every day.
Would I recommend plant medicine? It is another perspective and experience. Like medications, the plants do not heal alone. Healing comes with the integration of the lessons that the plant shows in the experience. It comes back to self-responsibility and one’s own intuition to truly heal. Perhaps do not seek the plant, but follow the inner knowing and synchronicity will align.
Metaphysically mental health is a lack of connection between the physical manifestation of living and the connection to something bigger (spiritual for some). Johann Hari’s book looks at the story of anti-depressants and concluded that depression is about a lack of connection.
Mental health charities recommend various approaches to help with depression and anxiety issues. CONNECTION threads through in physical activity, peer support, giving to others, and community contributions. This is important because it builds connection with others, makes us realise that we are not ‘crazy’ or ‘unloveable’. When connecting with others we hear stories that we can relate to and it builds new solutions, hopes and direction. Whether the story is someone worse than you, or similar, it is not important. The connections are formed between people, in the heart and in the mind.
‘FOOD as Medicine’ has become increasingly discusses to improve the gut-brain connection. There has been growing research to suggest that gut imbalances can contribute to depression and anxiety issues. It is helpful to consult with a nutritionist to consider appropriate changes that can be made and whether this is compounding the feelings. A clean, healthy and balanced gut will help lift the mood and energy, which are huge problems in depression.
AROMATHERAPY has been studied for its ability to help alleviate depressive symptoms. The balance of oils and method that they are exposed to the olfactory senses will impact the benefits, but it can be very helpful to consult a homeopath, but staple smells include lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang ylang and bergamot.
MINDFULNESS has been shown in studies to prevent relapses of depression and has been recommended by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK as a recognised form of treatment for depression since 2004. Learn more about what mindfulness is here in our blog post.
This is only lightly touching on lifestyle approaches, as there are many more when considering lifestyle. From my own journey, I would recommend working with professionals to support you. Personally, I have sought holistic practitioners and healers for my own path as I have found their open-mindedness led me to more solutions. Most important is to work with someone that there is a genuine connection that holds compassion foremost.
Can we support you?
As I said, we are not mental health specialists. Each member of our team at Omega Movement have all been on our own mental health journeys. We offer alternative support to you, because we know that it is about connection. Healing is often stunted due to issues with connecting to a therapist.
Yoga Therapy with Molly (UK only)
Breathwork can ease the anxious mind and take the thoughts away from the negative cycle swarming through.
Movements can move energy and when curated in the right sequence this approach can be very nourishing and compassionate.
Molly is known for her abundant gentle and compassionate approach. She is firm and patient holding a supportive space for healing.
Integrated Sessions with Me (Nid)
MOVE, MEDITATE & METAPHYSICAL
Movement is always my go to. It shifts things I do not know are there. Plus, keeps my body healthy.
Meditation and yoga nidras are a fabulous way to ‘defrag’ the mind, clear the clutter, reorganise and retrain with a peaceful heart. Compassion and loving-kindness practices make the largest emotional shifts, but can be a hard leap when you feel so low.
Reiki healing can release energy in a calming way. Sometimes it isn’t necessary to ‘know’ the origin, but just to feel it leave.
Soul Realignment is about lifting the karma in life that perpetuates the depression. When I first did my Soul Realignment I was carrying the energy of depression from 5 past-lives, plus this one. The path to clear this negativity included changing my meditations, affirmations and gratitude practices. This is the kind of stuff covered in Soul Realignment sessions.
LAW OF ATTRACTION
Law of Attraction then rooted out little hidden habits of thought and feelings holding me back. Through the process of appreciation, creating rituals and forgiveness practices I unveiled those deeper feelings I attached identity with. As I let them go, more joy bounced into my world.
Nutritional Consultations with Megan
Clean brain-gut connection to build connection to intuition. Assess your eating habits, your nutritional input and lifestyle to ensure that you are investing in yourself to your best.
Megan specialises in nutrition and emotional changes for a compassionate guide with lifting energy in the gut.
Her sessions will support finding clarity in how to make food choices that will sustain you for a happier life.