Episode 5: How I Intentionally Used Psychiatric Medications as a Tool in my Trauma-Healing Toolbox

lindsey lockett holding a psychiatric medication in her right hand with her arm outstretched so that the pill is in focus

lindsey lockett holding a psychiatric medication in her right hand with her arm outstretched so that the pill is in focus I’m a natural-crunchy-hippie-health freak, and I caused myself to suffer with debilitating anxiety and insomnia for months because of my desire to stay “100% natural” and for fear of side effects and dependency of psychiatric medications.

In this episode, I’m sharing why I finally got to the point of asking for the help of pharmaceuticals and how I used them with purpose and intention as I excavated trauma and its resulting unhealthy coping skills, codependency, limiting beliefs, toxic thoughts, and fear. I dive into DNA mutations, pharmacogenetics, and why working with a skilled psychiatrist will yield a better, more therapeutic experience than going to the general practitioner. This episode is not intended to encourage or discourage the use of psychiatric medication; rather, it is to share my perspective, as an “anti-medication” person who finally stopped resisting the help of meds and used them to empower myself, move beyond fear, and work on healing trauma.

Show Notes

In this potentially controversial episode, I…

  • share the events that led up to me begging for the help of psychiatric medications
  • shed light on what true holistic healthcare means (hint: it’s not 100% “natural”)
  • talk about all the natural things I tried before accepting pharmaceutical help
  • clarify that psych meds are a tool in a trauma-healing toolbox; they do not heal anxiety or depression
  • discuss why we have to get over our obsession with labels when it comes to how we approach healthcare
  • share my intentional approach to use psychiatric medications temporarily and intentionally to help myself get to the root of what caused me to seek psych meds to begin with
  • discuss the importance of seeing a psychiatrist, not a general practitioner, and why pharmacogenomics can be extremely helpful in finding the right psychiatric medication — one that YOUR body can metabolize and use



[INTRO MUSIC] This is episode five. And in this episode, I’m going to dive into a potentially controversial topic: the use of psychiatric medication. Before I begin, I want to be clear that nothing I say in this episode should come off as a judgment in any way. This podcast also is not intended to encourage or discourage the use of pharmaceutical and psychiatric medications. I advise everyone to speak to their doctor or the medical professional of your choice. When making decisions about the use of any type of treatment or medicine, be it pharmaceutical or natural. I also want to preface this episode by making it really clear that I’m not a huge fan of the pharmaceutical industry. I think that doctors and the pharmaceutical industry work together, and they line their pockets with a lot of money. I think that the advertising of pharmaceutical medications on TV and on the internet should be outlawed and banned. I also don’t think that enough emphasis is placed on educating people in how to live preventative lifestyles — lifestyles that don’t require the use of pharmaceutical medications. However, I have personally found the use of psychiatric medication to be a beneficial tool in my toolbox of healing trauma. And I want to go ahead and just disclose that I’m going to be using the phrase “tool in my toolbox” a lot during this episode. Whenever I first started taking psychiatric medication, I knew within me that it was not going to be a forever thing. I knew that at that time I needed it and I vowed to myself to continue taking it for as long as I needed it, while I worked on healing the root of my issues, which was trauma. So I want to be clear that this isn’t a discussion for or against the use of pharmaceuticals or psychiatric medication. This also isn’t a discussion about alternative versus conventional medicine. I think that argument, I guess, of alternative versus conventional medicine is no different than the argument over Democrat versus Republican or Christian versus non believer. It’s a conversation that people want to be black and white, but it can’t be a black and white conversation. There’s so much gray area in politics and religion. And I don’t think health care is any different. I think most of us want to believe that these topics are black and white, but they’re not. So we have to acknowledge that. I definitely feel like, you know, there is a conventional versus alternative sort of war that goes on. I see it a lot on social media. I feel like there are camps of people and I certainly used to find myself in one of the camps. And one of the camps is the anti allopathic medicine camp. We are typically anti-vaccine, anti use of antibiotics, anti use of pharmaceuticals of any kind. The anti-allopathic medicine camp wants to use diet and supplements and energy work to bring about healing in the body. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. I have certainly found myself in that camp, and if I’m totally honest, that’s the direction I swing. But I’ve had to check myself in that over the last couple of years, because I now realize that swinging in the direction of only alternative medicine and not leaving room for the use of conventional medicine and psychiatric medications makes me fall into the thing that I really do despise, which is toxic wellness culture. And I talked a lot about toxic wellness culture in the last episode of the podcast. Toxic wellness culture says, “All prescriptions are bad. You shouldn’t use prescriptions. Everything that you need to heal yourself can be found in nourishing foods and supplements and cleanses and exercise and natural practitioners and multi-level marketing schemes, et cetera”. And yes, many of those things are great and important and they can certainly be tools that our bodies use to heal, but let’s face it. We live in human bodies and they’re not going to last forever. No matter what age we are or in what condition our physical health is, sometimes we need help from the outside. So I don’t believe either perspective — the completely conventional nor the completely alternative — aspects of healthcare are truly holistic. A truly holistic approach to health care means we consider the whole person — W H O L E. And a whole person has a body, a mind, emotions, spirituality, and an ancestral lineage. That is what comes together to form who we are as whole people. When most people hear the word holistic, they think natural and alternative medicine. They think of herbs and essential oils and homeopathics and supplements. And all of these things are certainly holistic health care. But truly holistic health care, if we’re considering the whole person, also has to include conventional, allopathic medicine. Holistic health care looks at each person as an individual and meets them where they’re at with diet, lifestyle, natural remedies and medications when needed. It seems like toxic wellness culture creates this sense of egoic pride around being able to stay 100% natural and not use any conventional forms of medicine. You know, there’s no trophies or awards that anyone gets for being able to heal the most things without conventional help, but toxic wellness culture seems to promote this idea that there’s an award at the end if you make it through your life or through an auto immune disease or a mental health breakdown without the use of conventional medicine. And this unspoken and invisible reward system causes people to compare themselves to each other, based upon how many things they’ve been able to heal in themselves or in their families without the use of pharmaceuticals. Of course, if we’re going to talk about the alternative camp, we have to talk about people who find themselves in the conventional medicine camp. And typically these people are not interested in any alternative forms of medicine. They have no interest in supplements or changing their diets are altering their lifestyles in any way. They want a pill and they want to be done with it. And then the majority of people, obviously I realize, fall somewhere in the gray area, which is the area that we’re not talking about enough. So, we have to leave room for nuance. Holistic means whole. If we’re treating a whole person, then all options have to be on the table. We can’t just say only these things are allowed. Only drugs and surgery are allowed, or only essential oils and homeopathics and vitamins are allowed. That’s not actually treating a whole person. That’s treating a person within the box that you have put yourself into. So if you’re in the alternative medicine box and you don’t allow anything else, then you’re treating yourself or others inside of that box. If you’re in the conventional medicine box, and all the other stuff is out because it’s woo woo and not scientifically backed and doesn’t have enough research, then you’ve put yourself in a conventional medicine box. I propose we get out of the boxes. And that is what holistic health care is to me. It’s getting out of the box. It’s taking off the labels and not forcing yourself to choose a side. The question is not, should I pursue alternative or conventional healthcare? The question is what is best for me and my body at this time? I believe that alternative and conventional medicines have a place in holistic health care. So with that said, I want to share some more of my story. In previous episodes, I’ve alluded to a mental health breakdown that I had in late 2018 and early 2019. And although there were a lot of events that happened in 2018 that certainly stacked on top of each other and led to this breakdown, I also don’t believe that it was solely because of those events of that year. I also believe that this breakdown occurred because of the trauma that I had endured throughout my life. And all of the events of 2018 stacked on top of the trauma I already had caused me to reach a trauma threshold and I could just no longer continue on in my life with the mindsets and patterns of behavior and the beliefs that I had about myself and about life. And I just couldn’t keep going that way without my body, literally like putting on the brakes and saying, “Hey! Whoa! Stop. I’m trying to get your intention here.” For the majority of my life, I was really asleep. And honestly, this isn’t a conversation about wokeness. But I was just asleep to my own soul pain. I was ignorant of how trauma had so deeply affected every part of my existence. Mental illness is on both sides of my family and mental illness in my family has most often been accompanied by alcohol and or addiction. So, yeah, there’s a genetic component to the mental illness and the addiction. However, I don’t believe for a minute that having a genetic tendency towards mental illness or addiction is a death sentence. I believe that we also have a choice and we don’t really understand how much of mental illness is nature versus nurture. How much of it is genetic and how much of it is because of trauma. I believe in my case that trauma is the greater influence in the mental health breakdown that I had over genetics. And I’m saying this as a person with parents and grandparents who have mental illness and addiction issues. So the sort of climax in my story is that after four or five months of really debilitating anxiety and insomnia and chronic physical pain, I began to formulate a suicide plan. And on March 7, 2019, I went outside in very cold weather with no coat or mittens and only wearing my pajamas. And my plan was to wander into the woods and get lost and freeze to death. By that point, I had exhausted all means of alternative medicine. But my mindset was still that the use of pharmaceuticals was bad or made me a failure or that I wouldn’t get the invisible best crunchy, non-medicated person award. Or whatever. You know, when you’re on the verge of trying to kill yourself, because you’re in so much suffering that you can’t think of another option other than death, there’s not an essential oil left to rub on it or a supplement left to try. By that point, I had been to my naturopath, 2 chiropractors, 2 massage therapists, and a shamanic healer. We had smudged the house with all the sage we could find. We had healing, crystals all over the place. I had had my chakras balanced four times. During the winter of 2018 and 2019, my husband had become a certified master Reiki healer, and he treated me daily with energy medicine. We practice acupressure, meditation, prayer, and sound healing. I was on all sorts of supplements like vitamin D and vitamin C and a B vitamin complex, GABA, 5-HTP, adaptogens like ashwagandha, and more. So by the time the state of my mental health took me outside and frigid temperatures ready to freeze to death, there was literally not one more crunchy, natural thing I could try. I was out of alternative options. So I had to get outside of the box of only considering alternative healthcare. And for those people who have followed me on my food blog, All The Nourishing Things, for a long time, it’s very apparent. I mean, even if you haven’t followed me for a long time, a quick click on my website makes it very clear that I am into natural and organic stuff. I eat organic food, local and grass fed when possible. I don’t use any toxic skincare products. I very rarely even wear makeup. I use natural remedies. It’s important to me to breathe clean air. And so I purposefully live out in the woods so that I’m not surrounded by the light pollution and sound pollution and noise pollution of the cities. I don’t use scented laundry soap, or a fabric softener. I don’t wear perfume. We grow some of our own food. It’s very clear that I’m sort of in this alternative , anti pharmaceutical camp. But again, I had exhausted all of those options. None of the alternative options are bad. Like I’m still into those things, right? Like even today in my office right now, there’s two decks of tarot cards, there’s an incense bowl, there’s a row of crystals lined up on my window sill. I’ve got a salt lamp going over in the corner and I’m sipping on dandelion root tea with oat milk. Like, I’m still into these things. But I believe there are times when we reach a point of no return where it becomes ridiculous for us to not ask for the help of the conventional medical world and the pharmaceutical industry. As much as I hate the pharmaceutical industry, really, I believe that big pharma has corrupted the US government and its politicians and its all about money and control. I really do hate that, but at the same time, I cannot deny that some really good and helpful things have come out of the pharmaceutical industry. And it’s not the individual scientists and doctors who are working in labs to develop medications who are evil. I believe that they are little kids who grew up and became doctors and scientists because they genuinely wanted to help people. It’s not like they’re sitting in labs trying to develop medications that are going to cause addiction and terrible side effects. They’re good men and women, and they truly want to help people. That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to using pharmaceuticals. I mean, we’re altering the body in a chemical way, so of course there can be consequences. But I don’t think we can just slap a label on the pharmaceutical industry and call it evil because it can serve a purpose. I think we do ourselves and our family members a disservice if we say that we can only use natural remedies and there is no place for pharmaceuticals. Or on the flip side, we do ourselves and our family members a disservice if we say that there’s only room for pharmaceutical intervention and there’s no room for natural intervention. Because if we only give ourselves the option of medication, then we’re missing out on many, many other tools that are useful and necessary, not only for our overall healthcare, but specifically for holistically healing trauma. Medication doesn’t heal trauma. Medication doesn’t even heal anxiety or depression or other mental illness. And I believe that most mental illness is a manifestation of trauma. It’s a physical and mental manifestation of trauma’s effects. We have to become aware of that and conscious of it, we have to observe it and we have to feel it and you have to heal it. Otherwise, it gets stuck. And then we get stuck in trauma loops. And for a lot of people, trauma loops looks like mental illness, like anxiety and depression. So by the time I walked down into the cold, in March of 2019, I had reached a point of no return. And I knew that I needed pharmaceutical intervention or I was going to die. The pain of crippling anxiety that I experienced wasn’t physical pain. In fact, it’s, it’s something I really struggle to put into words, but it’s the worst, most crippling pain I’ve ever felt. Yet, it’s not the sort of pain that a Tylenol or an Advil and gets rid of. Its soul pain. It’s searing, seething, mind-racing, pain and sensations that produce the literal desire to crawl out of my skin. For me, anxiety is the worst horror movie I can imagine, but it’s playing inside of my head and I couldn’t turn it off. I put myself through months of unnecessary suffering in the name of being all natural, so I could wave my banner and be like, look at me. I’m going to heal myself of severe anxiety and insomnia, and I’m going to do it all without pharmaceutical help. Do y’all understand how ridiculous that is? But yet that’s where I was. And for what? I’m not going to get a trophy for that. Nobody’s going to stand up and clap for me. I’m not going to get any gold medals. It was my own ego of wanting to stay 100% natural and wanting to do it without the help of psychiatric medications that ultimately ended up with me causing my own suffering. I was resisting the help of psychiatric medications and resistance creates suffering. Four months into mental hell in March of 2019, I had lost 20 pounds from anxiety alone. I wasn’t sleeping more than three hours a night. I was having multiple panic attacks a day. My food didn’t even taste like food anymore. I wasn’t able to function at home. I couldn’t be left alone. I wasn’t comfortable no matter what I was doing. And I couldn’t focus on anything. I tried so hard to be useful and do normal things, but I was so completely dysfunctional. And again, I had already tried supplements and oils and energy healing and chakra balancing and acupuncture and acupressure, meditation, massage, chiropractic, adaptogens. I had been there and done it all. And honestly, it was just time for the big guns. I need in psychiatric medication. Plain and simple. I needed it. And I started out by seeking it from my general practitioner and I love general practitioners. They’re really great. But unfortunately they are really untrained when it comes to treating mental health problems. They often go for really old school drugs, or they’re trying the really fancy new ones that the latest pharmaceutical rep has pushed on them. General practitioners don’t understand combining medications for mental health. Oftentimes they just write blanket prescriptions for benzodiazepines or SSRIs, that they have no idea if that person’s body can tolerate it or not. And we have a lot of people suffering and going on and coming off medications because they’re going to general practitioners who are really not skilled at treating mental health conditions. My general practitioner just didn’t have the expertise that a psychiatrist had. So she referred me to a psychiatrist, but there’s also a mental health provider crisis in the United States. The wait to actually get into the psychiatrist was over six months and I didn’t have six months, y’all. I mean I was walking out into the cold, ready to die. I didn’t have another six months to wait to get into the psychiatrist. So on March 11th, 2019, I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I will always say it was the hardest and bravest thing I’ve ever done. I checked myself into the inpatient mental health treatment at our hospital. I admitted to having a suicide plan and attempting to carry it out. And I knew going in there that I wasn’t coming out without medication. That’s what I went in there for. I was completely accepting and ready to be in that place. I didn’t have any more natural, crunchy hippy pride left. And to be honest, the natural things had failed me up to that point. I have to be completely honest about that. I know people don’t like to hear that, especially if you’re in the natural-only camp, but y’all natural doesn’t always work. I needed pharmaceutical help. And by checking myself into the hospital, I was finally able to get the help I needed. I was able to add a tool to my toolbox. And at that time, at that moment in time, it was the most important tool I had. And if I ever get half as bad as I was before, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I mean, obviously I hope that never happens, but I really did have a positive experience in inpatient mental health treatment. My favorite analogy to use actually came from my husband. And it’s the analogy of a crutch. If you were in a serious accident and broke your leg, you wouldn’t think twice about using crutches and no one would judge you for using crutches. You would have your leg put in cast and you would need to use crutches for six or eight or 10 weeks while your leg healed in the cast. And then once your leg was healed enough to take the cast off, then maybe you would graduate to a walking boot or one of those little scooters that people putter around on. And then after that you would take the walking boot off and you would go to physical therapy and you would rehab your muscles and tendons and bones and learn how to use all that again and further heal. And at a certain point, you would be able to walk without assistance most likely. But that process takes time. And that is my mindset for how I used a psychiatric medications as a tool in my trauma healing toolbox. I saw medication as a crutch. My brain was broken and it was okay for me to use a crutch to help myself function enough to start healing my brain. I had to learn how to live again while I learned how to use my brain again. All of the shit that had led up to that point in my life, I had so much work to do that it was okay to use a crutch, to help make that work easier and even accelerate the healing process. It’s really important not to just start taking psychiatric medications randomly. I don’t recommend going to your general practitioner for psychiatric help. They just prescribed things and it’s kind of a shot in the dark, hoping that something works. It’s like throwing spaghetti on a wall and just hoping that something sticks. I really do believe that if you are going to pursue adding the tool of psychiatric medication to your toolbox, please don’t go through your general practitioner. Please get a referral to a psychiatrist. For so many reasons, but here’s a really big one. A few years ago before all of this, before I lost my shit and my mental health, I had some DNA testing done through 23 and me. I was really interested in learning about my ancestry, but more than anything, I had heard that I could acquire the raw data results from 23 and me. And send that raw data to a doctor who specialized in Nutrigenomics. I learned a really valuable piece of information. Although at the time I got the results, it was kind of a head-scratcher like, I’m not really sure what I need to do with this information. But later on, it served me really well. And the valuable piece of information I learned was that I have numerous cytochrome P 450 mutations. These are also called CYPS. The important thing about this is that up to 80% of pharmaceutical drugs and many herbs like St. John’s wort are processed on the CYP pathways. Mutated pathways alter the way our bodies metabolize things. Mutated pathways impair our body’s ability to process pharmaceuticals. So it’s important that we are aware of our mutations. One example is I can take painkillers like hydrocodone and Vicodin, but they don’t work for me at all. They don’t make me sleepy or loopy, but they also don’t relieve my pain. Why? Because hydrocodone and Vicodin are processed on the CYP 2D6 pathway, which happens to be my most mutated pathway. This genetic information also explains why SSRIs that my general practitioner tried to put me on didn’t work because SSRI are also processed on the CYP2D6 pathway. So my body doesn’t process the SSRIs correctly. Although using the natural remedies and alternative herbs and things like that, didn’t work for me, I am grateful that I had the alternative health knowledge to know that my DNA information was really important in this search for the right psychiatric tool to add to my toolbox. And I actually showed up to the inpatient mental health facility with all of my DNA information on a flash drive. That was incredibly helpful because it meant that my doctors didn’t have to take me on and off medications for weeks or months, because that’s often how the process is. You start a new medication, you build up to the dose that you need because of side effects. Then you take it for six to eight weeks and if it doesn’t work, you have to taper off of it and then you start something else and you do the process all over again. But when we have genetic information that can actually show what our body will and won’t process, then it can make that so much easier. Within 36 hours of checking myself into the hospital, I was on medications that my body could process and they started working immediately. There was no placebo effect. I saw a noticeable difference right away. So, if you’re dealing with any sort of mental health issue, I highly, highly recommend looking into pharmacogenetics. You can get pharmacogenetic testing through many reputable psychiatric offices. This testing can eliminate or speed up the stop, start, wait six weeks, stop, taper, start something else process that often happens whenever we’re just throwing different medications at anxiety and depression and don’t know whether the person’s body is going to tolerate them or not. That trial and error process is really torturous, but if you have your DNA information and it can be interpreted by a psychiatrist who knows what they’re doing, this can be really helpful. My heart’s desire is not to be on any medications at all. I still swing in the direction of the natural crunchy hippie. I really do. That’s who I am at my core. And I’m not ashamed of that at all. I also don’t judge people who don’t swing that way. If you’re into conventional medicine and not interested in herbs and natural remedies at all, great for you. My heart’s desire is not to need psychiatric medication or any medication in order to function. I want to live a preventative, healthy lifestyle. If it doesn’t come from the earth or from a plant, I really don’t want it to go into my body. But I also recognize that sometimes things in our lives happen that are beyond our control, like trauma things that we don’t choose, but we do have to choose how we react and respond to them. And if we’re stuck in a trauma loop because of past trauma in our lives, then as adults, we often don’t always choose the right response or reaction immediately. Sometimes that takes time because it takes a lot of unlearning and undoing and unraveling knots from childhood and bad karma and our lineage and all of those things. If you’re following people on social media or even have relationships in your real life with people who damn pharmaceutical medications and psychiatric meds and tell you to avoid them at all costs because they’re evil, that should raise huge red flags for you. It’s okay for you to use a crutch. You don’t need anybody’s permission. If you break your leg, nobody’s going to tell you that you’re addicted to the crutch. Nobody’s going to tell you that you’re going to have a problem or that you’re not healing properly because you used the crutch. The same is true for psychiatric medications. It’s okay to use them as a crutch. It’s also okay to take them indefinitely if that’s what you need to do and you and your doctor decide that. But the purpose of this podcast is I think you can tell, discussing the temporary use of psychiatric meds as a healing tool in your trauma healing toolbox. You can use it as a tool while you’re finding other healing tools to help deal with trauma, heal relationships, healing your inner child, doing shadow work, doing ancestral work, et cetera. Those tools can take a really long time to find. And in the interim, while you’re finding those tools, while you’re learning the things and doing the things, it’s okay to strategically and intentionally use psychiatric medications as one of the tools in your toolbox. Are there side effects of meds? Sure. Is there a reason to be concerned? Of course. Everyone should approach any decision to take pharmaceuticals with knowledge and information and make an informed choice. But I really was only serving my ego to try to keep avoiding these medications that really had clinical and therapeutic benefits for me. So when I finally let go of that, I was able to accept the help. I’ve said all of this and I still haven’t told you how to use pharmaceutical psychiatric medication as a tool in your toolbox for trauma healing. So that’s what I want to talk about. First and foremost, every person’s situation is unique and special. So here’s my story. When I began taking medication, I was not sleeping. I don’t know exactly what happens chemically and, uh, in the body that causes the body to resist sleep or to wake up in a panic attack or an adrenaline surge at 1am. I don’t have the science behind all that. I know there’s cortisol and different neuro-transmitters involved. And even though psychiatric medication doesn’t necessarily balance cortisol or balanced neuro-transmitters it can help to bring a nervous system that is stuck and hyperactive and overstimulated back down to baseline. It doesn’t heal the nervous system. I do want to emphasize that medication doesn’t heal. But if we’re conscious of the fact that it’s not healing us, that it’s simply buying us time or making things easier, we can still use it as a tool in our toolbox. And for me, and for really everyone, the truth is, is that nothing in our bodies can heal without sleep. So going without sleep is an extremely catabolic process. We have to sleep if we’re going to heal our minds, our bodies, our emotions, and even our spirits. I needed sleep. And at that point, I had to use medication to get it. And I have zero regrets about this. I could not even begin healing the trauma until I started sleeping. The medication for me was primarily for sleep. And then secondarily it was for bringing the level of anxiety down so that I could get back into a place of awareness. Because at this point I really was beyond like meditation and sitting in the quiet and chanting Om. Like I was beyond that. When I finally accepted the help of psychiatric medication, I also made a promise to myself that every day I was on this medication, I would do the work that I needed to do for healing trauma and getting unstuck and getting out of the trauma loops. I knew my brain had broken, like plain and simple. It was broken. There was something going on in my brain. I didn’t have the words “autonomic nervous system dysfunction” yet. I didn’t have the words “trauma loop” or “holistic trauma healing” in my vocabulary. But I knew there was definitely something going on with my brain. So while I was on the medication, I basically set aside everything else in my life that I could, and I went whole hog into the work of healing. Healing became my full-time job. I recognize the privilege that I have in saying that. I don’t take that lightly. And I know that not everyone has that luxury, but whatever, you can step away from step away from it if you choose to start taking medication for anxiety or depression and create space in your life to focus intentionally on healing. Read self help books and personal growth books. Start meditating, start journaling. I love Nicole Sachs’ JournalSpeak practice. It takes 20 minutes a day. So that’s 20 minutes that you can cut out something, you know, like scrolling on your phone and use that 20 minutes to start the JournalSpeak practice that Nicole teaches. And I will link to Nicole Sachs and her work in the show notes of the podcast. And then if you can find another 20 minutes and use that for meditation, do that. If you can find another 20 minutes to go take a walk in nature, then do that. For me intentionally using medication didn’t mean just take the pill and going on with life as I was before. It meant I took the pills, but then I also created intentional time and space for the energy of dealing with the shit. Because not dealing with the shit is what got me in the mess I was in. So I had to take time away from “normal life” and become really intentional about the time that I spent working on my healing. I spent nearly a solid year just intentionally invested in my own personal growth. I said no to so much stuff — to community events and to friends. I said no to serving on boards. I said, no, even to my business. I said no to social media. Like not all the time, but I said no a hell of a lot more than I ever had before in my life. And I became very protective of my time and energy. It was so necessary because I knew that taking the medication wasn’t forever. It was the crutch while I worked on healing, my brain. If you choose to use psychiatric medication as a tool in your toolbox of holistically healing trauma, create time, create space to do the intense work of healing and personal growth. Create space and time for therapy, create space to read amazing books that are going to challenge you and help you grow and heal as person, create space to spend time in nature, to move your body in ways that you love,to just freaking lay in bed and watch Netflix, if that’s what you need to do. I mean, not all the time. Like don’t check out just watching Netflix all the time, but sometimes you just have to get a break from it all and lay in bed and watch The Office. You know what I mean? I couldn’t start taking psychiatric medications and then not take advantage of every moment that I could to start my healing process. I used these medications as a tool to help me confront trauma. And although I was getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, I was a little bit too uncomfortable and too sleep deprived to be able to start healing without the use of meds. I needed to use the meds as a tool while I worked on gathering more tools in my toolbox for confronting trauma, breaking patterns of codependency, learning new coping skills and dealing with the unhealthy coping skills that I had developed, uh, going to therapy, changing my limiting beliefs and mindsets that I had about the world. It really was one of the tools for me. So those would be my two biggest tips, if you’re going to use psychiatric medication as a tool in your toolbox. To summarize one, don’t go through your general practitioner. Go to a psychiatrist. If you can, get genetic testing done so that you can speed through the process of finding a medication that works for you. Inform yourself. Learn all of the risks and side effects that are possible with the medications that you choose. If you can, find Facebook groups or other support groups of people who are using the same medications, because everyone reacts to them differently. And sometimes one person has this weird, random reaction that maybe wasn’t recorded in a clinical trial , but it’s possible. Like anything is possible when we start influencing our body with outside chemicals. Right? If you’re going to go the route of pharmaceutical meds, don’t just show up at your GP’s office and expect that the low dose prescription of Prozac that they give you is going to be enough. I mean, maybe it is, but in my experience, we need more skilled practitioners than that. And then secondly, when you start taking that medication, make a promise to yourself that you’re going to use every single day that you’re on that med to work on dealing with the shit that got you to the place of needing that medication to begin with. However long you stay on it is up to you and in between you and your doctor. So don’t set any goals for yourself. Like I’m going to be on this medication for six months or a year or whatever. Like you don’t really have control over how long it takes you to excavate trauma and get to the root of many, many of the issues that you have that are subconscious programming and wounded inner child, and, you know, ego work and all of that. You don’t, you can’t really put a time limit on it. So be patient with yourself, be gentle with yourself, but also use every day and every moment that you have to invest in yourself, get comfortable being uncomfortable, and dive in to the books, to therapy, to support groups, to learning about codependency and breaking it, like dive into all of that, because that’s ultimately where the true healing is. It’s in confronting the thing that made us sick to begin with, which is the trauma. Ultimately using psychiatric medications is a risk versus reward thing. You have to weigh the risk. Is it less than the potential reward that you can get from taking these medications? For me the cost of not sleeping and the cost of having panic attacks all the time and being lost in that prison of my own mind and in that tumultuous sea of anxiety was way too much to pay. It wasn’t worth it for me to pay that high of a price, just to say, “Oh, I’m not taking pharmaceuticals. I can do this on my own”. Like, that’s bullshit. So weigh the risks, make an informed decision, don’t just take whatever prescription your doctor gives you and walk out. I mean, really have a conversation and inform yourself so you can make an educated choice. And then start the work. Do the work. Start healing the trauma, start digging deep, getting real, confronting all of the things that you’ve been avoiding. That’s the only way to heal. So have you found a psychiatric medications useful as a tool in your trauma healing toolbox? Have you used them as a crutch while you gathered other tools to mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically heal? If you have, I would love to hear from you and I’d love to hear your story. You can find me on Instagram @iamlindseylockett, and you can subscribe to all future episodes of this podcast at lindseylockett.com/podcast. [OUTRO MUSIC]