Edited by Jerry Katz
Here is the second interview with Monica Cassani. I’ve included the first one in order to complete the package.
Monica Cassani’s renowned website is www.beyondmeds.com.
0:00 – 6:27 Opening music: the song Byron Bay, by Prosad. Introduction to Monica. Review of themes from our first conversation. Healing as a process of learning to live well. Processing our emotional responses to life on this planet. Some people are more sensitive to the reality of what’s going on in the world and it can make them ill.
6:27 – 11:36 Anger and other emotions. Dealing with one’s dark side. Denial of the dark side is partly responsible for the planetary situation. When we deny our interconnectivity we suffer as does the planet. Fear of anger. Part of healing is ceasing to be afraid. Anger and withdrawal from psychiatric medications. Gratitude for anger. Managing anger skillfully.
11:36 – 22:00 The danger of the power of psychiatrists. Monica as a mental health professional. Denial within the mental health industry. Hard to not be complicit within any mental health system, even so called enlightened ones. Need to interview a psychiatrist on this topic and about power. Psychiatrists do want to help people, however if they are coming from a limited world view this could limit their ability to help to the point of denying people their civil rights. Forced psychiatric treatment as torture according the U.N. Hospitals as trauma and re-traumatizing mills.
22:00 – 24:04 Iatrogenic illness discussed: illness as the result of a physician’s action. Psychiatric diagnosis as a form of post-traumantic stress. Most people leave psychiatric more harmed than when they went in. The harm is denied by the psychiatric system and said to be part of the psychiatric diagnosis, not a real harm.
24:04 – 32:44 The acceptance and okay-ness with being ill. The acceptance of drugs. The medical industry wants you to manage illness rather than get better. Taking your health into your own hands. No separation between mental and physical illness. The social acceptance of some physical and mental illness. Mental distress as seen as unable to heal. Psychiatric drugs create chronicity. “Everybody’s sick and nobody’s expected to get well.” However, that’s not everybody’s experience. We need people who are mid-wives of the dark.
32:44 – 36:52 Stepping out of the box defined by their illness and attachment to the medical system. Monica’s experience and how her world view applies to the psychiatric industry.
36:52 – 46:25 Power of nutrition as part of Monica’s ongoing withdrawal from psychiatric medications. Probiotics discussed. Prebiotics. Curing IBS.
46:25 – 55:47 Creating community online and Monica’s personal community as well discussed. Ecstatic dance. Professionals need not be central to your community as they are often the cause to harm. A professional may or may not be necessary for a health matter. Conclusion. The song I Am Free, by Prosad, is played.
Here is the first interview with Monica, along with notes:
We talk about the possibility of living without psychiatric medications, the implications, and Monica’s personal story of withdrawal from meds.
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/