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I am a 31 year old female 6 1/2 years into my Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.  I finished my 6 week taper of 10mg of Lexapro on the last day of May in 2014.   Within a week I was deep within acute withdrawal.  I was told by my psychiatrist that prescribed me the Lexapro to take Benadryl before he flat out refused to return any further phone calls.  I could not find a doctor who believed this was withdrawal.  They all said it was relapse or I must have a thyroid problem or gastric issues, etc.  I sifted through doctor after doctor, none of whom listened or believed me.  Was prescribed medication and supplements that made things worse so I stopped looking to Western medicine for help.   It took me 5 years to find Inner Compass Initiative's and the Withdrawal Project.  It took me slightly longer to find a physician who believed me and had heard of my condition though there was nothing she could do.  My acupuncturist's support and acupuncture itself saved my life.   I still depend on it today.


I have come an incredibly long way since my acute withdrawal and have healed in ways I did not think possible.   I had an enormous list of very severe symptoms: akathisia, extreme anxiety, terror, panic, depression, disassociation, anorexia, sensitivity to light and sound, hot flashes, muscle aches, spasms, brain zaps, electric shocks in my abdomen, muscle contractions, sweating, inability to absorb (food, water, moisturizer, information, etc.), intolerance to medications and supplements, constant nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, insomnia for month long periods, night terrors, suicidal tendencies, self harm, hyperventilating, eye spasms, loss of speech, unable to walk or hold myself up, loss of muscle control, confusion, inability to read, intolerance of stress, periods of being bedridden, unexplainable feelings and "lengthy attacks" I attribute to a broken nervous system, over sleeping, tinnitus, gagging and choking from tightness in throat, disgusted by food, heightened sensitivity to smells, dry mouth, trouble breathing, palpitations, crying, tingling, feeling of losing my mind, etc. etc. etc.


Today (January 2021) I consider myself 85% healed on average.  This varies depending upon the day.  I still have waves, some with identifiable triggers and some without.  I still do not have my previous physical and mental stamina.  What I do have is not enough for a full time job and I struggle at times with my freelance work.  I struggle with the grief of what I have lost, the worry of not making a full recovery, and the anger of being so intensely wronged.  The fact that I have come so far, however, gives me great hope.  I never thought it possible to heal as much as I have.


Things that have helped me: acupuncture, Tai Chi, Qigong, Serene Spirit Tea Pills (herbs), chiropractic, talk therapy, massage?, self education, baths with ionic magnesium and epsom salt, magnesium lotion, journaling, becoming aware of my own sensitivities, healing my old emotional traumas, connecting and talking with people who believe me, believing myself, and most importantly being honest with myself.  Keep in mind sometimes symptoms would get worse from certain treatments and would require additional acupuncture to finally move out of my body.  Things that have not helped me: supplements, vitamins in powder form or tablet form, nausea medicine (landed in the ER with an adverse reaction), Xanax (big no no!), cranio sacral (it did relieve my symptoms, but it may have caused damage as well, I'm not sure. I became dependent for a while and the relief never lasted.), biofeedback (though I only did 10 treatments because I couldn't afford the recommended 50), trying to explain my syndrome to people who just didn't get it, being belittled and berated by medical professionals, family trying to push me, self-deprecating, pushing myself to work, pushing myself beyond my limits.


I've done extensive reading and research since my syndrome hit and am appalled at the psychiatric system.  On the surface it is much more humane and compassionate than its past torturous ways.  However, it feels to me at its core is a foundation of pure financial and political motivation.  A medical science that ignores science itself, its own very studies, and its own patient outcomes to me is not a science at all.  It is a business at best, a religion at worst.  One look at the DSM and all the science falls out the window.  I have much more faith in psychology, eastern medicine, and in spiritual supports - any modality that generates lifelong healing rather than lifelong patients.


I've connected with quite a few fellow withdrawal sufferers over the years.  I have both received and given support.  Sharing what I've learned to help others through their own withdrawal journeys gives me great consolation.  I am no expert by any means.  Just a fellow PAWS sufferer.  But I have gained so much experience, knowledge, and strength over my 6.5+ year journey and it is my greatest desire to use this to help ease the suffering of others as far as I am capable.  I am happy to share more details about my experience and my means of coping if one thinks it may be beneficial.

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18 hours ago, HealingWithQi said:

cranio sacral (it did relieve my symptoms, but it may have caused damage as well, I'm not sure.

I've been having cranio-sacral therapy once a week for the past several months in the hope it will help my psychiatric drug dysregulated CNS.  Sometimes it seems to help, sometimes I really can't tell.  The version of c-s my therapist uses is of the gentler school, not the more mechanistic quasi-chiropractic variety.  


Could you explain further your view that c-s may have caused you some damage?


To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.


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Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of April 1: 6.8mg

Taper is 91% complete.  


Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zinc, melatonin .3mg, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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I'm not sure exactly what type of cranio-sacral it was that I had, but it was multiple times a week and it felt very very strong.  I almost always felt an effect from it.  Sometimes it exacerbated my symptoms.  My acupuncturist who is familiar with energy medicine has since taught me that energetic safety (Christine Schenk https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Energetic-Safety-Christine-Schenk/dp/3938429054) is of the utmost importance. And yet there is no formal training or certification for practitioners.  It's like energetic surgery, and yet does not require schooling even remotely close to what our doctors and physical surgeons must go through.  And it's invisible.  Therefore there are a lot of unknowns.  One must be careful.  She suspects I my already damaged system damaged further.  But there is no way to tell for sure.  That's why I now approach any energy medicine with caution.  I believe so whole heartedly in its effects, which means I also highly respect its capacity to do damage as well.  Just like Western medicine.

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