RILEY, Kit 1987-

Psych Med Withdrawal Tips

1x2m digital print on silk, produced for Found Festival, Testing Grounds, Melbourne, 2015

Detailed pencil drawing of a person with a smiling, cloudy dirt-monster billowing from
            their eyes. Text in image is reproduced below.


Research the risks and process of withdrawal before you begin

Change is hard! Make a plan, take it slow, and be kind to yourself

Surround yourself with supportive friends

Act normal around those with prejudicial opinions


In my years as a psychiatric patient, my experience with medications did not match the usual medical narrative, but my own narratives were routinely interpreted as evidence of further illness, not as evidence of a differing need.

Even in more open mental health communities, I often felt pressures to minimise and caveat the stories I told about myself - to reassure people, "don't worry, I know that my experience is my own problem." I think one intention with social practices such as these is to make sure no-one feels like their experiences are being erased. Although I appreciate this sentiment, I find that when I perform these repetitive speech acts in order to talk about areas of my life which are already erased by most of my society, then I act as my own eraser.

In this work, I aimed to present psychiatric alternatives without caveat or context. The banner presents no theories, describes no social contexts, and offers no ameliorating statements regarding medication or the medical model of mental illness. It simply expresses a possibility for people to try for themselves, investigate further, reject outright, or ignore altogether.

Perhaps I am not as bold now as I was then, because I apparently felt it necessary to provide the viewer with this context after all.