For over a year, prior to coming to ATMC, I was on the psych med roller coaster – never improving, only getting worse. I began researching ATMC in February 2018, but it was eight months before I finally arrived in Sedona. Prior to ATMC, I attended an outpatient treatment center and a residential/inpatient treatment center where I was put on more meds and left feeling more drugged and less well. I received multiple diagnoses over the course of a year, and by the time I arrived at ATMC, I was on Latuda, Remeron, Klonopin, Lamictal, and Gabapentin. I was agitated, depressed, anxious, not sleeping, and feeling disconnected from myself and the world around me. I went from being high functioning with moderate depression (in 2017) to feeling anxious 100% of the time on meds and not functioning AT ALL. My life was crumbling all around me. I am so grateful for my family and friends who have offered unwavering support and prayers.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I tried seven (yes, seven!) antidepressants, three benzodiazapines, two mood stabilizers, and two antipsychotic medications in one year. In addition, I was trialed on other medications briefly in attempt to manage my symptoms, including withdrawal agitation and insomnia. I was a test case for pharmaceuticals. I would try a medication, have terrible side-effects, and then have more terrible side-effects coming off.
While I was making attempts to treat my symptoms with drugs, I had a gut feeling the meds were a huge part of the problem. I felt sick everyday, and deep down I knew what it was to feel healthy and well. I wanted my life back and I knew I did not want to be on so much medication, especially if it wasn’t working!
Life at ATMC was different than anything I had ever experienced. I felt understood and validated by the community. There was a strong emphasis on physical wellness in addition to psychological wellness at ATMC. The detox program was my favorite part of the day; from the sauna to massage and acupuncture, I knew I was taking steps to actually heal. The supplements were a huge part of the healing process too. I certainly brought psychological issues to ATMC, but I needed to break through the biological barrier before I was able to really process what was going on in my personal life. ATMC’s emphasis on supporting and detoxing the body is unique in this way.
At the house, there was staff available 24/7 to attend to my needs (which were many). The staff members and counselors understand that withdrawal is NOT easy and were supportive, patient, and nonjudgmental. I felt a connection to other residents, which made the experience more fulfilling.
All of the aforementioned helped me to successfully taper off of Latuda, Remeron, and half of my Klonopin in eight weeks. There was no stone left unturned when it came to my health. I would have made it even further with my medications tapers; however, an important discovery was made via the “chelation challenge” (a standard part of the detox program), which shed new light on my situation. It was discovered that I have a very high heavy metal burden (specifically mercury), which I don’t believe I would have discovered had I gone anywhere else for treatment. This was an amazing revelation. The thorough testing is an extremely helpful aspect of the program at ATMC, and this discovery will guide the next steps I take with my treatment.
After ATMC, I will continue to address the heavy metal burden and (hopefully and eventually) taper off the rest of my medications at home. I now have the tools and resources to do so. I want to thank Lotus especially for her patience in getting me to ATMC and her consistent faith in me and my well-being. To anyone struggling with psychiatric symptoms and/or complications from medications: DO NOT LOSE HOPE. ATMC is a place of hope and will help you rediscover health and redirect you on your path to wholeness. I witnessed many successful medication tapers and transformations while at the center and made significant progress on my own healing journey. Thank you ATMC!