Episode 5 – Monica Cassani

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This week, we have an interview with Monica Cassani. 

Monica has seen the mental health system from both sides – as a social worker and as a person whose life was severely ruptured by psychiatric drugs. She writes critically about the system, as well as holistic pathways of healing without medication. 

Monica’s website, Everything Matters Beyond Meds, is comprehensive library of information containing more than 5,000 blog posts, information articles, videos, personal experiences and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit. Her blog also deals with wider issues in the socio/political and spiritual realms as they pertain to mental health and human rights issues surrounding psychiatry.

I was keen to ask Monica about her own experiences of the psychiatric system, how a persons sensitivity can be affected by psychiatric treatment and how she helps and supports others to achieve health in body, mind and spirit.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Monica came to be involved with the psychiatric system
  • How treatment was repeatedly forced on Monica
  • That the lack of information available meant that Monica felt she had no alternatives to the standard model of treatment
  • That she was threatened with committal to a State Asylum
  • How, because of the medications, Monica became non verbal and had difficulty walking
  • The betrayal that Monica felt after trusting and being failed by the medical system
  • How she has been drug free for more than 7 years after being on a substantial cocktail of five different medications for over 25 years
  • That Monica became focussed on getting past the drugs and on her work and took a harm reduction approach to getting off her medications
  • How Monica saw her withdrawal from the drugs as a return to her true self and felt emancipated once she was medication free
  • That Monica witnessed clients struggling with the drugs and even, tragically, dying from their effects
  • How Monica views hypersensitivity and its relation to her healing
  • That Monica feels, in some ways, far healthier now than before the drugs but in other respects she feels that she struggles with things that others may find easy
  • That hypersensitivity seems to be common in those who have taken or withdrawn from psychiatric drugs
  • That most in the mental health system do not have the necessary experience to help those who have struggled with their medications
  • How Monica came to set up and invest time in her blog: Everything Matters Beyond Meds
  • How Monica was inspired by the work of the journalist Philip Dawdy and motivated by her husband
  • How Everything Matters Beyond Meds combines science and holistic approaches in presenting options for people to support their health and wellbeing
  • That Monica takes a hands off approach to helping  and supporting others because she recognises the coercive nature of medical approaches and respects the right of the individual to choose for themselves
  • How people taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs tend to neglect their bodies and that preparation is important before tapering off medications
  • That diet is particularly important when considering withdrawing from psychiatric drugs

Relevant Links:

Everything matters: beyond meds

Oliver Sacks helps me explain hypersensitivity

Oliver Sacks M.D.

Philip Dawdy on Madness Radio

How to Listen:

To listen on Mad in America, click here

To discuss this episode on the MIA forums, click here

To listen in iTunes, click here

To listen on YouTube, click here

To get in touch with us email: podcasts@madinamerica.com

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5 thoughts on “Episode 5 – Monica Cassani

  1. Thank you, Monica, for working as hard you do to help people with these issues.

    You were the only person who was kind enough and compassionate enough to call when I was in crisis myself and I tried to reach out to various people for help. I will never forget that.

    I hope you continue to have the strength to keep fighting. That’s all there really is in the end: The fight to make life worth living.

    God bless,
    Eric Coates

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write Eric. It was clear to me when I interviewed Monica what a compassionate, caring person she is and you have really brought that home to me. Thank you. Best wishes. James


      1. I have listened to three of the podcasts, James — Monica’s, Will’s, and Robert’s. I am happy to say that I’m acquainted with two of them (Will’s work was basically unknown to me, but not any more: thank you!).

        It is clear that you are a VERY knowledgeable host and you are very good at posing the right question and then REALLY listening to the answer. I want to thank you as well as everyone else for doing these podcasts. I live in a pretty remote location, anti-psychiatrically speaking, if you follow me. People like me depend on the willingness and the skill of people like yourself (and your interviewees) to learn not only what is happening now but also how it all developed historically. So: thank you as well. You are clearly an indispensable part of all this.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback Eric, it’s an honour and a privilege be able to talk to such knowledgable people and to be able to share the interviews with you and other listeners. I am so grateful for your feedback, its important that the podcast is a community initiative and listener feedback is a vital part of that. Best wishes and thank you. James.

    Liked by 1 person

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