The Journey of a Lifetime

A couple of months back someone approached me and asked if they could make a meme out of this particular quote of mine to share in a very large online withdrawal support space. The finished product ended up being a collaborative effort and I felt pretty honored to have been asked if I’m honest. No matter how much I put out into the world about my own experience and what I have learned in my years working with others, I never know what will resonate with anyone else and still feels scary for me to risk being seen.

The background image is one I took a decade ago, crossing the desert in the south-western US. The quote was taken from a much longer piece of writing I did a couple of years back about what I learned on my own withdrawal journey. Of course, each individual’s process is nuanced and nothing is as black-and-white as one quote might make it seem.

At its core though, this meme is about acceptance.

Crossing The Desert

We who walk this road of withdrawing and healing from psychiatric drugs are crossing the metaphorical desert. It’s the journey of a lifetime. There is nothing we can do to bypass or outsource the process. There is no way to avoid the work involved in getting ourselves to where we want to be.

That supplement, that herb, that practitioner, that protocol, that diet, that cleanse, that 30 or 60 or 90 day program, that fill-in-the-blank might be supportive. That’s genuinely fantastic. And, none of these things are going to save you from having to cross the desert. Your desire to have the journey be over already, your desire to have arrived already, your desire to “get back to your life” already, your desire to feel healed already are totally understandable, and yet, these wishes still won’t change what is. 

Keep Going

You can endure, though. You can survive the crossing. You can heal; in fact, you already are. You can use the journey to transform in ways you never imagined could be possible for you. Keep showing up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how small and tentative each step may feel. Keep your gaze on that glow of hope and possibly far off on the horizon. And if things have grown too dark to see it, find someone who can remind you that it’s there.

In the depths of the desert sometimes it felt impossible to imagine ever not feeling really sick. Sometimes it felt impossible to imagine ever making it all the way to 0mg. But amazing shifts began to happen for me when I stopped resisting my own experience in the present.

It was learning to relate to my present experience–to the crossing itself–in a different way, that helped me keep going. When I stopped resisting my discomfort, my fear, my doubt, my grief, my anger, my struggle, and everything else about being right where I was… there grew within me a sense of spaciousness and freedom that made it feel possible to carry on. There were no shortcuts, and that became somehow okay.

We may not have the control we want over much of what is. However we have more control than we think over how we relate to what is. Notice what begins to shift for you when you start orienting yourself toward putting your own resistance down.

You are the medicine, and you already have everything you need to heal.