#5253 – Interview with Monica Cassani

Edited by Jerry Katz

Monica Cassani‘s renowned website is www.beyondmeds.com. We talk about the possibility of living without psychiatric medications, the implications, and Monica’s personal story of withdrawal from meds.

Tracks:

0:00 – 4:35 Introduction to Monica Cassani. Monica talks about the possibility of living without psychiatric medications and the need to sometimes live with them to some degree. The nature of safe withdrawal.

4:35 – 11:21 The radical decision to stand up to the authority of psychiatry. Non-compliance: care and support needed, especially from the psychiatrist. “It shouldn’t be viewed as non-compliance.” It should be a right to get off drugs or to explore an alternative. Currently, people don’t have a choice. There’s no infrastructure to support options to standard psychiatric care.

11:21 – 15:20 Monica’s attempt to educate people as a first step toward building the infrastructure, with an emphasis on solutions. Programs that support non-medicinal approaches. Self-care with meditation and other avenues. Challenge in building infrastructure while allowing for wide flexibility.

15:20 – 18:00 Nature of finding a psychiatrist that will support “non-compliance.” “It’s inherently coercive to say ‘This is your only option’ to a vulnerable person.

18:00 – 23:58 The massive journey toward getting off psychiatric medication. It’s not for everyone. There’s a wide spectrum of motivations and experiences associated with coming off drugs and so one has to be careful about following someone else’s journey. Monica talks about how getting off meds is associated with her spiritual and human awakening and what she was like prior to that, including her work as a social worker and what was revealed to her about psychiatry.

23:58 – 35:19 Society doesn’t want to feel, thinking life has to be happy. Being non-compliant is about taking responsibility. Monica’s story starting from high school years. Response to psychedelics treated as illness rather than spiritual emergence. Completing the journey mostly by herself even while seeking help and putting up with demands of psychiatry. Changing social work direction toward mental illness and learning about the right to autonomy. Her work life while on meds. The nature of Monica’s healing then and now.

35:19 – 40:07 The withdrawal process as a dark night of the soul. Monica’s withdrawal experience described. Like “normal” anxiety on steroids. Now all the radical reactions are healed.

40:07 – 43:30 Monica’s husband’s support during her withdrawal period. Nature of coming out of the withdrawal, including how it is happening in the present day.

43:30 – 47:37 Monica holding the gap between people off meds and still taking meds. The need to look differently at people labeled mentally ill, especially by the spiritual community. Conclusion.

47:37 – 53:00 Song “I Am Free” by Prosad. www.prosadmusic.com/

Monica Cassani www.beyondmeds.com

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