When Reducing Meds

Messily put-together-tips from personal experience on what to do during a reduction of medication.

When decreasing any amount of psychological medication, it is really important to rememeber you are not going to feel well for a while. It could be several months depending on how much reduction you need. It is important to talk to your loved ones to let them know you may seem “off” for a little while and maybe ask them to keep an eye on you incase widthdrawl symptoms get worse. You may feel more depressed, anxious, fidgety, irritable, impulsive, tired, emotional. You will most likely feel much worse before you feel better.
It is also okay to decide to go back on the medication/increase if you need to.

Practicing a lot of self care and positive self talk is essential. Having patience with yourself and being as self aware as possible when a symptom does arise is also great to help you through it. Name the emotion and where you feel it in your body. ex: “I am feeling very irritable right now. I feel a tightness in my chest, throat, and a dull ache in my forehead.This is most likely due to my medication reduction. I am going to take a nice, hot, relaxating shower to make myself feel better.”

If you end up losing your temper and snapping at someone, try your best to apologize immediately and recognize it is not their fault you are experiencing this. Recognize the emotions and thoughts you are feeling and seperate the feelings from the facts and use i statements. “John didn’t get me a glass of water, he’s a jerk (not fact).”is not helpful to you or him. Try: “John did not get me a glass of water(fact). I feel upset (fact)because it makes me feel like I am not important.”(is that true? That you’re not important just because john didnt get you a glass of water? No, it isnt and you can talk to John about how you’re feeling) Much easier to solve the issues with a partner if youre not just blaming them when you’re angry. Try sticking to “I feel… when you…because.. what i would like is…” instead of “you big jerk, you suck.” Lol

Practice more self care and maybe some mindfulness practices and meditation. Mindful eating, mindful walking, body scan meditation, etc.

Remember it is temporary and you will eventually feel better again.
And if you need to, you can always go back on them if it gets too difficult.


Assertive Rights and Responsibilities

1. I have the right to put myself first. In fact, my 1st responsibility is to myself. Only when I am meeting my own needs adequately, can I give to others freely, without expectations.
2. I have the right to be treated with respect.
3. I have the right to decide what to do with my own property, body, and time.
4. I have the right to evaluate my own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon myself.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them.
6. I have the right to make self-evaluations without worrying about what other people think.
7. I have the right to not offer reasons or excuses for justifying my behaviour.
8. I have the right to make my own decisions, to make illogical decisions AND to change my mind. I have the right to change my mind after I’ve said YES.
9. I have the right to say, “I don’t know, ” “I don’t understand,” “I don’t care.” and “I don’t want to be involved.” Without feeling inferior.
10. I have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty or selfish.
11. I have the right to ask for what I want (realizing that the other person has the right to say no).
12. I have the right to have, and express my feelings.
13. I have the right to consider my own needs and to express my needs. I have the right to ask for help.
14. I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
15. I have the right to self fulfillment.
16. I have the right to be independent.
17. I have the right to dignity and self-respect.
18. I have the right to privacy.
19. I have the right to accept, or to refuse, challenges.
20. I have the right to change.
21. I have the right to choose not to assert myself.
1. To assess my true feelings without exaggeration or under-estimating; to express my feeling(s) appropriately without demeaning someone else in the process.
2. To act in a responsible manner as much of the time as possible.
3. To think through my opinions and realize others can disagree with them.
4. To learn from mistakes, rather than punishing myself or others because of mistakes.
5. To reply as soon as possible or as soon as I am able, and without taking unreasonable amount of time.
6. To accept others’ answers respectfully.
7. To respect commitments to others as well as to myself; to allow sufficient time to fulfill commitments.
8. To think through my responses before answering.
9. To not impose my own values on others.
10. To express my needs and, if appropriate, work out a compromise.
11. To avoid “boxing in” myself or others by labelling or making judgement.
12. To acknowledge other’s choices and accomplishments.
13. To feel appropriate anger and sadness and to assert these feelings with the people involved.
14. To recognize anger, sadness, and joy, and see that these feelings do not interfere with others’ rights and responsibilities.

My needs are equal to the needs of others
My needs are different from yours and need to be respected.
My recovery is the most important thing.
I can be assertive without being aggressive.
I’m moving forward in my life despite setbacks
I have the right to my own time.
I am not alone.
I am learning to cope with problems I cannot change/fix.
I am learning who I am and I give myself permission to do that.
I’m okay with nurturing myself.
I am learning to walk away from people and situations that no longer serve me.
I will be kind to myself.

I can see you are angry/upset right now/and/or/ I am upset right now.  I need to take a moment away from this conversation.
That is a harmful comment.  That is a hurtful comment.
Will you lower your voice?  If you cannot lower your voice, I will
have to end the conversation.
Please take a  few deep breaths – you may not realize but you’re talking “at” me.
That makes me uncomfortable.
That’s unkind.
That’s not very nice.
I don’t appreciate…
That’s personal.
Wow, that doesn’t make me feel good at all.
That’s too far.

**step down approach – what your body language, and lower your voice, space the words out.**

Remember: It’s not selfless or selfish its self care.


Day Programs in Halton Region

Note: For those not living in the Halton area, check your local community for similar free or sliding scale opportunities. 🙂



For anyone living in the Halton area, Halton Family Services is offering a 15 week Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Group September 2016 to December 2016 in Oakville, Ontario. The course has a fee and it is on a sliding scale basis. Limited space to apply soon.
Phone number: (905) 845-3811 Extension 106

Click for more info



Also, If you are in distress and need someone to talk to, there is a free hotline called COAST Crisis Outreach and Support Team. I called them once when I needed a distraction while I was taking the bus home. It helped relieve my anxiety as I was able to take my mind off of my usual paranoia and anxious thoughts about riding the bus and focus on the phone call.

Phone number: 1 (877) 825-9011

Click for more info



Oakville now offers free-walk in counselling sessions every Wednesday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. There is no appointment necessary, but be mindful that it is on a first come, first serve basis go early 🙂
Address: 1540 Cornwall Road, Oakville
Phone number: 1-877-693-4270.

Click here for more info



If you suffer from a severe mental illness and you need to learn some coping skills, the Oakville hospital has day programs for inpatients who are slowly being released back into society, as well as for outpatients who are currently living in the community but are not coping well. Your doctor can refer you to one of these programs and they are OHIP covered. The programs usually run from Monday to Friday 9:00am-2:00pm, but may vary depending on the program. For more information, please see the links below.

Click here for the listings of programs



For day programs for the elderly in Milton or Georgetown, please click here and here


Negative perceptions of you only defines you if you believe it.

Thoughts and feelings are not facts

Things people learn but still need practice on:
The biggest way someone can hurt you is if
You believe what they say (or not say). By caring about their views – their interpretation of you — you cause yourself more suffering.
You can only be who you are. And you only have so much influence on how a person sees you. The rest is up to their own perceptions and thought process. Trying to cater to everyone is literally an impossible feat. Where as one person will think you’re a 4/10 another person will think you’re 10/10. No matter what you do you may never be a 10/10 to that one person who labelled you as 4/10 and you may never be a 4/10 to someone who sees you as 10/10z Where as one person may think you are kind and generous another person will perceive that as show- offy and attention seeking. And if you try to cater to the one who thinks you’re an attention seeker they may end up seeing you as desperate. You’re attempts will be in vain.
I know all of this and still struggle with it. But sometimes writing out reminders helps.

Practice. #Mindfulness. #Meditation. #Positveselftalk. #Mentalhealthawareness

Deal with strong emotions

I watched Leo’s (from Actualized) video on how to deal with strong negative emotions. I like his straight forwardness. I believe this strategy falls into the category of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as well as some mindfulness which Buddhism often teaches.

He talks about how we are all vulnerable even if we think we’re tough, and that we need that vulnerability to get through tough times. To open our minds and stop resisting the emotions that we keep trying to snuff out. And how we can be like a conductor of electricity allowing the current of emotions to flow through without disruption or resistance. Without judgement. And like a lightning rod- that no matter how many times a lightning rod is struck over and over the rod does not get damaged. It’s fine in the end because of its low resistance. Inviting our feelings and thoughts into our minds and acknowledging their existence and accepting them is essential, and not as a means to cause more suffering but actually to reduce the suffering .
It’s the resisting that causes the psychological problems.

I also enjoyed his comment on how everyone wants a magic pill but the definition to that is avoiding emotional labour- sweeping it under the rug- and it is just avoidance, denial, and disconnection from what is real/reality. He as well as people like Sherri Van Dijk, Byron Katie and Buddhist Monk Jack Kornfield(if you’d like a few names to look up) all discuss how not to fight with reality (what we think or wish should happen vs what actually is)

Watch and find out for yourself:

Stay in the Present

“.. But even if you have pain in the present moment, it’s more tolerable if you’re living only in the present, rather than experiencing the pain of the present, the past, and the future all at once.”Sherri Van Dijk , Calming the Emotional Storm.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I’m off work on a temporary sick leave for my mental health. My doctor and therapist gave me book titles to research and I’m currently reading Sherri Van Dijk’s book on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) , Calming the Emotional Storm. I’m going to post some snippets from the book that resonates with me, and perhaps it will resonates with you as well.

Please support the author: www.sherivandijk.com

Thank you 🙂