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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/12/2020 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    I've decided to come back to write an update on how I'm doing. Last time I posted was 3 years ago when I was 8 months into my withdrawals. I will post a link to my post 3 years ago. To sum it up 3 years ago I was having feelings of depression, hopelessness, inability to feel emotions and I felt like nothing excited me in life. The inability to experience emotions and the ability to experience excitement took a long time to come back. It was sort of a gradual process. I would say I felt perfectly fine after around 3 years of withdrawing from citalopram. Keep in mind that I had only taken it for around 4 years and varying doses between 10-20 mg. After 2 years of withdrawing I felt a lot better, and I could clearly see the patterns of windows and waves. However, now thinking back the years I was withdrawing was quite a constant struggle. I wish I could tell you to do this and that etc. but I've come to the conclusion that the biggest healer is time and that it really gets better. I've been really fortunate to have great friends that have always been there for me when I needed someone to talk to. I also spent a lot of time in the gym and did everyday normal stuff like going to school. I was able to maintain quite a normal life and still progress in my life even though I wasn't feeling well all the time. Right now in my life I have 1 year left of my master's degree in my business school, I'm exercising a lot, I'm dating a new great girl, I have great friends and overall my life feels great. The most important thing though is that my mental health is great now. I don't get depressed any more than a normal person, I don't suffer from an inability to feel emotions or feel a lack of excitement in my life. I could go on to tell more about my life, but I don't think it's necessary since the message is that I feel cured now. My heart truly goes out to anyone suffering from these withdrawals. My years withdrawing destroyed many of my relationships and made my whole life a constant struggle. I remember at my worst constantly checking these forums and constantly thinking about starting to take antidepressants again. It truly felt like I was trapped. I wish everyone that is suffering from these withdrawals to know that it truly gets better with time! I also hope that more people that have gotten trough these withdrawals would come back to write their stories. I remember these stories being really helpful while I was withdrawing and I probably read all of them. That is the biggest reason I decided to come back and post. Take care! The link to my previous post 3 years ago (8 months into withdrawals) https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15408-boomshakalaka-my-journey-of-becoming-a-better-person/?tab=comments#comment-297353
  2. 5 points
    CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST YAYAYAY! Now I was at 0..........Not so fast. This is where the real challenge came for me. A few days later I felt absolutely awful. I would puke all day. I combated it by using tums. I actually had knew this might happen as I had a conversation with a friend and she said that they prescribe the same drugs to dogs and if they come off them too fast they puke. Low and behold I started puking my guts out. But it gave me time to think.... why would my body want to puke all of a sudden. An increase in pH level of my stomach acid. So I used tums to neutralize this spike and it was the only day I had to, thankfully! What I learned is this drug acts like a PPI's (proton pump inhibitor) Mine being suppressed for over 4000 days and now being able to function normal increased my pH too much and that is why I started puking. I wish I would of had pH tests done on my stomach acid pre/post to see the results. I had roughly a 2-3 month window of feeling well after this. After that "Honeymoon" period I got crushed by symptoms. Post acute withdrawals I could barely function and these hit way harder than the acute withdrawals I had. This is when I joined SA as I thought I would never get through it. But I kept leaning on the success stories and that people went through and got through it! For over a year from May 2019 to May 2020 roughly. I got absolutely crushed. I experienced every symptom on the list minus brain zaps. My muscles would twitch randomly, vertigo, anxiety, depression , flu like symptoms, tinnitus(all day), headaches(all day), complete loss of libido,fire going through my veins, terrible nightmares,suicidal ideations, blurred vision, inability to focus, anhedonia, metallic taste in my mouth, crushing fatigue, my skin would shed at excessive rates, brain fog(I literally could not add 2 + 2 in my head), loss of memory and hallucinations. These symptoms came and went, cycling for over a year. This picture is from January of 2020. I was getting smashed with headaches/tinnitus on and off for over a year. The further I got away from my last dose the more spaced out they became. These two symptoms and fatigue were the ones that pushed me to the absolute limit. They would not stop, but there was zero chance I was letting this get the better of me. They are almost gone now!!! I listened to 1000's of hours of motivational videos on youtube. They are what got me through this constant onslaught of headaches/ringing ears. I would turn the music louder so I couldn't hear my ears ring and this was my relief. I am a Journeyman Electrician by trade and I was unable to go back into that field at this time as I could not bear the challenge of having to make critical decisions. I ended up taking another job for 55% of the pay for almost the entire year as I healed. I am very fortunate that I was able to work while going through this as I know many aren't and I can see exactly why. I was so close to quitting my job and living off money I had saved up and if it got worse I would of used my line of credit and lived off of it till I was capable of working again. I told myself 1 year I can make 1 year and ill get through this. I hit one year and was feeling way better than when I made that original statement. So now I tell myself 2 years. I took my last dose ever of this poison on February 12, 2019. I am just past 17 months and every month I feel better than the last and symptoms just keep dropping off the list. When I was in the worst pain of my life I never thought this was possible. Do not listen to your mind, you will get through this. Feed your mind positive thoughts and your body healthy foods. The window and waves pattern is exactly how I healed. At the start the waves were way longer than the windows. This slowly but surely reversed its tide. I now have way more windows than waves. I am not 100% as I still get headaches and tinnitus. These happen very little compared to when I had them 24 hrs a day for many months. I only dreamed of feeling this well a year ago. It is now reality Coming off of this medication made me realize how much a zombie I was on it. I was unable to cry or feel emotions except extreme rage. Since coming off of it. I am now able to cry I get goosebumps from certain situations in life now which is amazingly refreshing . I can now look at other human beings and see their emotions and understand what they are feeling. I was such a zombie that I did not feel anything different when someone was crying or smiling. The best way I can describe it is I was on autopilot and was so damn close to being this way for my entire life. So all these health conditions that pushed me to my mental limit are truly a blessing in disguise as it forced me to get off this poison and finally feel real emotions again. I can now be out in nature and feel connected to the world I always had masseuses/physiotherapists ask me to relax and not be so tense. I did not know any better that my muscles were always contracted from this medication and it was a struggle for my body to heal with my muscle being contracted all the time and limited blood flow to go in to the muscles. Another big one was the clotting of my blood. My blood would not clot while on the medication. Now it clots normal after coming off of it. All these subtle things that I did not notice as I was so zombied on the medication but were little signs I wish I knew to look for. Yes, I am angry that I had to go through this. But anger does no good. I want to help as many people as I can. I know for a fact I would of not been able to get through it without this forum! After all these health conditions, blood tests, surgeries and numerous doctor visits not one doctor even considered it being the medication. They all knew I was on it. These drugs are extremely powerful and very challenging to get off of. You can do it though, I am proof! Keep pushing your best days are ahead of you!! The past is there for you to learn from! If you dwell on the past you will never enjoy your future. Always remember everyday that passes is one day closer to being healed I love you all! You will get through this! Never stop smiling!!!
  3. 4 points
    Above is my original posting and when I first discovered this amazing forum. For me, I did not use this site to post my daily symptoms, I realized immediately in my personal journey that doing a daily post only heightened and prolonged my anxiety. So I'm sorry if some people may be offended, but I used this site to read /re-read all of the success stories which gave me hope and I never thought I'd be able to write my own, but I have recovered and after much consideration think that if my situation helps just one person, then it is worth writing. I apologize if I submit this in the wrong way, my intentions are good and pure, so be kind if I did something wrong, lol! (You can read the long version in my original post above) I was on Celexa daily between 10-20 mg over 8 years, from 2009, I tapered myself for 1.5 years and was totally off by May 2018, when I was 37. I was also on Klonopin .5 mg for 6 years on a take as needed basis. You can see my own self made taper strategy I used (don’t use it, I did not know about this website until after I took my last dose of meds) I believe I came off too quick in the end, but honestly looking back it may not have mattered and I realize that this horrible painful journey may be the most challenging and benefiting experience of my life so far, so I actually don’t regret this because I feel way more enlightened in my life and path now than I ever did before and I know it is because I came off of a mind numbing drug and struggled through it. Wow, there really is so much to write. First off, in my tapering, I would notice for about a week that I lowered my taper but then I’d feel fine. It was not until I actually got off all meds that about a few weeks after I crashed. After that for almost 6 months straight I had the feeling of not being able to breath, of crying uncontrollably several times throughout the day, being fearful greatly of the idea of death, not being able to watch tv or movies, it made me sick, feeling claustrophobic wearing sunglasses or driving with the windows up. I had to physically be near someone all of the time, I was afraid to be alone. Saying all this now makes me laugh in a sense because while I was going through it, it was so intense, suffocating and no one could relate other than this website’s members. Yet, I made it through, and if I can, you can, too. Each day was a true struggle for 6 months. It got better a little after January and it continues to get better. So the QUESTION is what did I do that helped me? BTW, I’m not trying to be preachy just what I hope one would need to hear like I did when I was in need of hope. #1. Don’t force it, be patient, time will heal you itself #2. Keep busy, doesn’t matter what it is #3. Be gentle on yourself #4. Read positive Quotes, visit funny websites, watch funny videos on youtube #5. Learn CBT #6. Have hope #7. Become the best version of yourself #8. Eat healthy #9. Take vitamins #10. Exercise #11. Get hobbies #12. Let the people you love know you love them #13. Volunteer, Focus on people other than yourself #14. Know that you are strong #15. Read self help stuff only if it helps #16. Understand that sadness and anxiety is a part of life and will always be, you just need to learn how you cope w/ it (pills don’t do it) Okay, my more in depth advice on the following if you have time to read #1. Don’t force it, be patient, time will heal you itself After I got off Celexa and Klonopin in May 2018, I was hit with immense withdrawal symptoms, and I was trying so hard during my struggle to get out of this feeling, to make it go away as fast as it could, but looking back, it is your body’s way of in a sense rebooting your brain and the idea of neuroplasticity isn’t going to happen overnight. All of these symptoms are legit and you are not crazy but in my opinion what a human body naturally does when it is exposed to harsh psycho chemicals and then readjusting to life w/out them. It’s best not to put a timetable on how your own body will work through this process. If you read these success stories, some have had success in as little as 6 months, others, years, my journey has been about 2 years and I still get moments where I get hard of breathing or anxiety, but I will talk about that later, because hey, that’s just life in a hectic modern world. I’d rather feel that than be numb like I was for almost a decade. So be patient, it will happen and slowly almost as though you don’t know it is. It’s not wrong to count the days and minutes of your symptoms and if they are lessening, etc, because honestly that is going to happen since this is so painful and excruciating, it’s hard not to do that. But know that by trying to redirect your focus to the positive moments or something else other than your symptoms, it can IME (in my experience) make it go by quicker. #2. Keep busy, doesn’t matter what it is For me, I realized immediately I had to keep busy, weird, but I spent years being a numb couch potato and when I quit the meds, I had this instant nervous energy but energy that would not let me sleep in, rest or do my previous activities of laziness, so I found hobbies like chess online. Please know while I was doing all of this, I was desperately hoping one of these hobbies/activities would make me instantly fixed and happy and normal again, but honestly I never found one thing, instead for me during this time, I realized I needed a ton of stuff to make me feel a bit better, such as going and buying something online, reading funny jokes on the internet, watching cute animal videos, reading positive quotes, gardening, going to a restaurant to eat...Like I said though, internally, I was a wreck during this and it did not seem like any of it was helping at first, but I do think that doing this stuff and keeping busy was the best medicine. I still would cry in public in restaurants, etc, so know that while I was doing all of this, it was still uncomfortable. It began to get easier and I found later that if I didn’t pack my days even w/ mindless activities, I’d feel more on edge. #3. Be gentle on yourself Don’t be cruel to yourself or punish yourself. Remember that you are doing one of the most challenging things ever, fighting biology and reprogramming your brain and it’s functioning. You have to know that your journey will be your own one and you can take advice from others, but you are the one on this path, so just be kind to yourself. You are your greatest possession. One day you'll look back and this will all be a fuzzy memory as it is beginning to be for me. It will happen because you’ve already taken that step to get here. #4. Read positive Quotes, visit funny websites, watch funny videos For me this was the thing I did daily and multiple times in the day. I specifically found this site called www.dumpaday.com where funny memes, funny pics and inspirational quotes were posted several times a day. I was a nut about going to this site daily. I was trying to boost any feelings of happiness and I think over time this was really good for me. I did so much research on how to feel better, etc, and it will hurt your head researching too many self help things, so take a break and try to find things that are humorous to read/watch. I know that for a while I was pretty numb, even looking at cute puppies playing could not make me smile, but know that eventually your brain will come out of it’s haze. I kinda think it’s like you are retraining your brain on how to be, so again, it will take time, recondition it with all of the best positive stuff you can and just be patient. You are re-inventing yourself and I believe you’ll be an even better person after this experience, because I feel so. #5. Learn CBT Okay, this really should be #1, but nevertheless, I took six months of therapy with a real certified CBT counselor...some therapists are not truly CBT certified, doesn’t mean they can’t help but look them up on https://www.nacbt.org/certified-members/. The original therapist I was going to use said she was certified and then after a few sessions it was not helping and I found out she did not have the training so I found the 1 out 2 people in my large city who was. If you can’t get this type of therapy, then please read the following two books and do the homework: (When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns M.D. ) and (The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns) Go easy on these at first, I tried to do too much too fast and it was overload and increased my anxiety...it will truly redirect your thinking patterns, no joke. I am a perfectionist so my therapist told me he had no doubt I’d get better because I took it super serious, but I have had major improvements because I took it seriously and had faith in it. For example, leading up to right before I went on these meds ten years ago, I would state in my head over and over, “I hate myself, I feel depressed, I hate my life.” that stuck w/ me and even intensified after getting off the meds, just uncontrollable thoughts of negativity that would pop in my head the moment I woke up and be w/ me every sec. I have OCD! Anyways, w/ CBT, I was able to realize and notice when I would have these thoughts or really any negative type of thinking and then I would be able to work through it in my mind . “Well, am I really depressed? No, I am just tired, ok, I’m just tired.” It has been the best thing in my life for trying to think better. I still use and you will for your entire life if you read these books and do the practices because in order to be successful at it you need to know how to properly identify your thoughts. Now I forget which ones are which such as ‘all or nothing thinking’, etc, but I am able to recognize that I am having cognitive distortions. One major cognitive distortion is” I will never get better from my withdrawal, I will always have to be on meds, I am weak.” Anyways, those were my initial thoughts going into my first therapy sessions and it has truly turned my life around, please look into it, you can retrain your thoughts! Also on a side note, something that one of the therapists told me that actually made sense was that anxiety is looking towards the future while depression is looking at the past. So if I feel like either of those emotions, I then try to think what am I doing, trying to control what has not happened yet which is producing anxiety or trying to understand the past which is making me depressed? Anyways, it made these two emotions/feelings seem like they had less control over me once I looked at them from that angle. Also the therapist said that anxiety is just like being excited, and if you look at it that way, it is survivable. Look up Eckhart Tolle, on living in the now, it’s hard to, but I think essential. #6. Have hope It is so hard to have hope when your entire world and feeling turns topsy turvy, but remember to have faith and hope that things will get better. I was in my sisters backyard one day during the initial withdrawal symptoms and I remember looking up at the trees and the sky thinking my life was over. A few months ago I was back at her house looking at those same trees and the sky thinking how amazing life is and I realized that not just a few years earlier, I thought my life was ruined and I’d never get better, so please know, it will if you work at it. And it will be even better because you worked at it. I think I am proud of myself because I stuck it out. It was so much easier to get back on the meds, my doctors are still surprised I’m not on them and I love that and they even ask how I did it, because they see too many people they prescribe these to rather than prescribing healthy living like exercise and stress reduction. Know you will be better off of these horrible drugs and free. The best things in life are the hardest things to work towards, but the most rewarding. #7. Become the best version of yourself This happened slowly during my struggle with withdrawal, but in a way I started trying to work on myself and reinvent myself because the me on antidepressants was a sad person, a person I love so dearly and wish I could hug and tell that hey it’s going to be okay, but nevertheless, a person who wanted to change but did not know how. So I worked on becoming the best version I could manage, this meant doing things I was scared of and doing things I neglected in the past. I began working out, mostly because of my back injury, but I kept up w/ it, started cooking healthy meals myself and getting good at it, but I remember I’d have the worst anxiety cooking and be so scared in the kitchen, now w/ COVID lock down, I’ve made every meal since March 13th and no issues. So working on areas to improve yourself will benefit you and it will also enhance your relationships w/ others. While I was working on improving myself, and instead of trying to control my relationship w/ my partner, an amazing thing actually, happened, we became closer than ever before and I know it was because I worked on me and tried to make myself happy first rather than rely on another to make me better and happy. #8. Eat healthy This can’ be overstated, bad food just makes you feel bad. Feed your brain and body good stuff, veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, healthy fats, dark chocolate, green teas, bone broth...you get it. #9. Take vitamins I take a multi, plus a fish oil pill and a magnesium/calcium/vitamin d combo and a probiotic. I can definitely tell when I don’t have my probiotic. These vitamins give me energy. #10. Exercise I could tell once COVID hit and I slacked from going to the gym that I felt more stir crazy, I think it definitely helps lower stress and anxiety. I began swimming at the beginning of this journey and I think the cool water was helpful. At first I would just walk around my block because I would be so amped up and jittery and unable to calm down and be clear headed. Now, I am super clear headed, I am working on my art more, very detailed, time consuming realistic portraits, things not too doable during withdrawal but point is, you’ll get back to normal , so even easy walks are healthy for the brain to redirect and for your nerves. I walked so much, lol! #11. Get hobbies Try to find things that are positive to devote your time to, I paint, draw, make jewelry, write poetry, play chess, watch tv, podcasts, go for walks, garden, read, listen to music...spotify...make your own playlists, it’s awesome!!! There really isn’t one thing I found that I love totally and that gives me intense joy, but doing a variety of these things is fun and positive. #12. Let the people you love know you love them I found that connecting to people was really helpful, talking w/ them and learning from their struggles and how they learned to cope w/ life to give me perspective. W/ my withdrawal and back injury I feel like it gave me an experience which gave me a new perspective to realize that life is fleeting and can be gone in a minute. To me, nothing matters more than the people I love and that are close to me. Showing them I cared for them helped me feel more peace. #13. Volunteer, Focus on people other than yourself For a while I volunteered at the zoo because I was trying so hard to find ways to feel better. In the end I realize it was a really cool experience I’d never had tried before but it wasn’t me, however, I think helping others is essential. Instead, I help kids now and I’m inspired by their young spunky energy and it’s easy to forget your own woes when you are with young people because they are so fun and carefree. #14. Know that you are strong Remember that you took the first step to get here. Keep reminding yourself that you are strong and can do this. I would tell myself negative thoughts like I was scared that I’d be weak and get back on the meds. Be kind to yourself if you have these thoughts, it’s going to happen. Also, I realized in a way that myself as I was on the antidepressants was in the mindset that I was a victim. I realized that a lot of my thinking made me believe I was one and after I realized this mindset, I hated having this idea that I am a victim. It made me seem weak. I actually forgot about that until writing this, but in the beginning when I was coming to terms w/ my negative thinking, one major issue was I must have along the way in a sick sense liked being a victim, or woe is me kinda person. I tried hard to redirect that and shed that. So even if you were weak and got on meds, you can become strong and change. You can change, you are not that same person. #15. Read self help stuff only if it helps I read tons of self help books (the two I mentioned about CBT are the best) but after a while, it was exhausting and sometimes gave me more anxiety, so learn to pace yourself on this info. You don’t have to know everything all at once. #16. Understand that sadness and anxiety is a part of life and will always be, you just need to learn how you cope w/ it (pills don’t do it) And remember, even when you are healed, you will have stressful days where you have anxiety or you may have a memory and get depressed. You can’t be unhuman. Being unhuman is what I did for ten years on a pill, where things were bland and still horrible. Now, I have total range of my feelings and my mind and it is not inhibited or altered by a drug. Thinking you are never going to ever feel sad, anxiety or depression again is not realistic, you will, because that is part of our human makeup, but I’d much rather feel a few days of sadness or anxiety vs the person I was on these meds. These pills are unreasonable, they try to eliminate some of the very core things that make us who we are, our emotions and reactions to them. I regretted going on these meds, but I cannot take that back, however, I do not regret the pain I suffered while getting off of them, because it made me WAKE up, it made me feel again, think again and realize that I am in control of my life, not a pill. That is priceless and worth the time and suffering of going through all that withdrawal is about. I rambled enough, but please know you can and will get better, just have hope and be patient. YOU WILL GET BETTER...
  4. 3 points
    Introduction topic: ☼-mranxious-3-months-off-effexor-xr-6-years-on Heyyyyyy 😊 I am alive !!!!!! Out there living a life that I am proud of and comfortable with. Pheww I am one of the blessed ones to have breached the other side and lived to talk about and YOU WILL TOO !! That was one hell of a ride. One that is FAR FAR FAR in the rearview mirror 🙃 If you have read my story, you will know that I went through literally the most traumatic event in my life and that was "Effexor Withdrawal". From start to finish I was unsure I would make it through this time, but here I am and let me tell you "Its a process". This will not happen overnight...BUT if you make the right moves, eat healthy and take your vitamins, time will heal, only time BUT everything you do in the mean time will make the difference in the end. Here is what I did : -Increased Omega 3:6:9 daily -Lots of purified water -Maximize sleep if you can and set a goof environment to be able to sleep(No sleeping drugs) -eliminated processed foods and to a whole food plant based lifestyle(THE BIGGEST GAME CHANGER for me and healer I believe* -Cut out all toxic people -light walks/bikes/swims daily(Key word "light". -meditation- daily(Prayer as well daily) -Church -daily mantras "I will heal" "I will get better" "I am getting better" -Reading books, occupying my time -Multivitamin and mineral support tablet I went from being a very anxious person once off Effexor for months and months of withdrawal , to now years later, a fully functional human being again 😎 I fully believe that in order to fully heal, you need to be fully off any pharmatheuticals (Per doctors orders of course, my disclosure) ughh 😋 Oh yes and find a good doctor that will listen to you and meet your needs "YOUR NEEDS". I have found a wonderful doctor and he is all about my plant life and healing and he is all about me living my best life drug free. Whatever you are going through right now, just know it gets so much better. It can takes months to years to recover. Realize this is your journey and a special one. Myself personally believes that god has transformed my old life into my new life and I can't be ever more thankful and grateful. One hell of a adventure but "hey" I love who I am more now and have grown exponentially since this ordeal. I have days where I cry happy tears over the smallest things, butterfly on a flower, old person smiling, to the breeze blowing off the lake , to the food on my plate. I never appreciated it before Effexor and I took it for granted, now it just happens and i love it 😊 I guess it all depends how you look at it, but when things get grim and they will, come back here, read my story and just know you are all in good hands😊 The effort you put out now in the throws of this awful withdrawal, will eventually become the reward you see in your future !!!!! YOU ARE GOING TO RECOVER MY FRIENDS, ALL OF YOU !!!! STAY CALM AND SOLDIER ON, stay safe and always consult your doctor before making any moves and if they don't listen to you : FIND A NEW ONE !!!! But always stay in close touch with them please 😎 This website has been a game changer and so are all the admins* Beautiful hard working volunteers 🧡💛💚💜💖 *Taper, taper, taper your mediction , this is most important, don't rush a taper just because you start feeling good. It will catch up to you, stay the course 😎 or possibly suffer grave setbacks * *Feel free to message me* MR. A
  5. 3 points
    Just bit if a little update.... So my wave ended about a week ago so back to sleeping as I have been, 5 to 7 hours a night. Was the worst wave I’ve had in a very long time so glad it’s over. Bit reluctant to say this but since it ended I’ve been feeling the best I’ve felt in this journey and nearly symptom free to the point where I don’t really even feel like I’m in wd at the moment. It’s actually been weird feeling this good. Hopefully it continues but it’s wd so bound to have more waves but do feel like I’ve gone up another level in my recovery after a good few months of standing still. Will probably enter a wave now after the above! But thought would document feeling this good and it may even give some hope to others going through this that it does get better.
  6. 2 points
    First off, I am so incredibly thankful for this forum. I would of never ever got off this medication if I had not found this forum. A big thank you to Alto and all the mods that work hard to help everyone. A big thank you to everyone I talked to daily on here as well Here is my intro thread ☼-cocopuffz17-paroxetine-free-but-not-trouble-free When I came to this forum I had no idea what was going on with me after coming off 11 years of paroxetine use @ 20mg. I was told by my psychiatrist that this drug isn't known to cause this, I know that's not true after going through the hell of AW/PAW. My body was being ravaged by chronic fatigue, autoimmune conditions and a plethora of AW (acute withdrawal) and PAWS(post acute withdrawal) symptoms. I was terrified and did not think I could get through it at the time. But I constantly read stories of success and knew that it was possible and my mindset slowly shifted. I knew that whatever this would throw at me I would be able to take it after making that decision in my mind. Here is some back story of my battle against depression/anxiety and the war I went to with getting off this medication. In high school I struggled immensely with anxiety. I would have panic attacks almost everyday and missed a lot of school because of it. Shortly after graduating I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder/depression and told I had a chemical imbalance from a psychiatrist that I was seeing and would need an antidepressant (paroxetine) to fix this imbalance. I trusted the psychiatrist as this is what they are educated to do. Never once was nutrition ever mentioned, this will make sense later in my story. Things did get a bit better. I no longer had this terrible anxiety and could function better out in public. So this led me to believe the doctor was right and that I needed medication to function as I was told I had a chemical imbalance. Over time I slowly slid into a deeper depression and struggled with sleeping. I went to my family doctor and he said to just take sleeping pills. So I took sleeping pills to sleep. I now know this was insomnia caused by the medication. I continued my life and took my antidepressant for multiple more years before I had a health condition pop up. In 2011 I was diagnosed with having erythema multiforme. The E.R. doctor told me it was from an allergic reaction to penicillin. I believe it was caused from long term antidepressant use. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced at that point in my life. I had a full body rash that was the itchiest thing you could imagine and every time the rash hit a joint I was unable to bend that joint. It was terrifying and painful as could be. It lasted around 2 weeks. Here is a reference pic before any of these health conditions. I don't remember the exact time frame on this. But it was in the 2013-2015 range. I was feeling way better and decided that I didn't need my AD anymore. So I cold turkey'd. All hell broke loose and I literally went crazy and was uncontrollable. All my anxiety symptoms came rushing back and nothing but pure rage for everything in the world. I reinstated and everything slowly returned back to medicated normal. I tried this twice with cold turkeys, I failed hard both times. The third time I spoke with my psychiatrist and he suggested doing a taper of 3 months @ 25% per month. I made it about 1 month and had to reinstate because the "original symptoms" were too strong, which I now know were withdrawals from coming off the medication. Once again this just supported the psychiatrist's theory of the chemical imbalance and I was like okay I guess I'm on this medication for life. Late 2014 to early 2015, I was having trouble swallowing food. My tonsils were so swollen. I ended up getting a tonsillectomy in 2015. Yet another random health condition that popped up out of the blue. I blame this excessive inflammation on the medication I took long term. Fast forward to late 2015.... I started losing my hair. I ended up going to a dermatologist and he diagnosed me with alopecia. This sucked. I went into a further depression. After recording this video I immediately changed my nutrition to a paleo diet. I saw regrowth on my scalp(not full growth though). The results slowed down and I stopped eating paleo and my condition got worse. I ended up losing all my hair on my scalp and was feeling the worst I had felt in my life and slid into a deeper depression. I was not feeling like my current psychiatrist was helping me. So I asked my family doc for a referral to another psychiatrist. I got an appointment a few months later. I went to it and it just so happened there was two psychiatrists in the room. At first I was like yes! Multiple opinions! I told them I was feeling suicidal and thought about it constantly. They both agreed that this was a normal feeling and everyone feels like this at times. This was the point where I realized I was not going to receive the help I needed to get through this from these doctors. It is not normal to feel like this and absolutely ridiculous that the trained professionals can say that. I now know this was caused by my antidepressant. Shortly after this all happened my alopecia was progressing. It was going from alopecia areata to alopecia universalis. I was slowly coming to terms with having no hair on my scalp and knew I could not handle losing my eyebrows and facial hair. I lost 50% of my leg and arm hair. This is the point when I looked myself in the mirror with tears rolling down my face and said I will never let myself be this depressed again in my life. I had no idea how I was going to do it at that time. But I made myself a promise and I refused to break it. I had some success with nutrition changes when I did the paleo diet a few years prior. So this is where I started reading more on nutrition. So after doing that I started reading a lot on people who had reversed autoimmune conditions and how they did it. There were two main contenders I found. A) ImmunoSuppressants B)Nutrition changes. I refused to be on another drug. I thought I needed to be on an antidepressant for life, like hell I was going on another drug for life with all the side effects associated with it. So I chose nutrition changes. In October of 2018 I started The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry! In 6 weeks I felt the best I had ever felt in my life. This gave me the confidence to attempt another taper. So I went back to my original psychiatrist(I was still going to him as I needed prescription refills). He suggested the 3 months at 25% per month. I agreed....I just trusted the doctor for tapering as I knew nothing about it at this time. This is where the hardest year of my life is about to begin. It took almost 5 years and a lot of pain, a lot failing and a lot of learning. But I grew my hair back after being told I would just have to learn to live with it from doctors. I thought this would be the hard part....not the case. Getting off of my antidepressant was. The first drop from 20 mg to 15 mg was not bad. A slight headache. I stayed at 15 mg for 30 days. The second drop from 15 mg to 10 mg was much harder. This is when I started reading forums and found so many struggles of what people were going through and truly how hard it is to get off of these drugs. I had fevers, cold shakes(I would have a hot bath 3-4 times a day to stay warm), headaches were picking up in intensity, fatigue was starting to happen daily and insomnia. I stayed at 10 mg for 30 days The third drop was from 10 mg to 5 mg absolutely wrecked me. I had even worse insomnia, lightning bolts in my visions, headaches got worse, I was unable to focus, fatigue was even more crushing(I was sleeping 14-16 hr days), cold shakes, tinnitus, vertigo, light sensitivity(I was wearing sunglasses at night it was that rough) and lagging vision ( I would turn my head and know my head was moved but by eyes were still seeing the image from 5 seconds before). I stayed at 5 mg for 15 days. I added another drop in here.... because I was suppose to go from 5 mg to 0 mg but I felt so awful and panicked so I went to 2.5 mg for 15 days with all the same symptoms. I know this is way too fast of a taper now. I did not know at the time as I was just following my doctors instructions. CONTINUED BELOW ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
  7. 2 points
    Is there such a thing as a Dream Window? Though I am still in a rough wave, I had an amazingly peaceful dream for the first time in months. I woke at 530 am in panic and started ruminating about lost sleep, lost life, etc, thinking I was going to just lie there agonizing...and then I woke again at 745 am (the latest in months). In that short period, I had the sweetest, most peaceful dream. I was beautiful and graceful and surrounded by family and friend and really good food. There was so much good food and lots of chocolate (have given that up for now). It was glorious.
  8. 2 points
    Hey Tired, I saw your post on the Finding Meaning thread and I became concerned. You mentioned feeling lost as you are recovering from being sectioned and forced drugging and then mentioned that you just had a new memtal health assessment. I am really concerned! Part of me is screaming "danger!" for you at potentially getting sucked up into the belly of the mental health beast again. What is going on? If you want to go back it's your decision, and at the same time if you are making that decision only due to lack of alternate sources of support, let's problem solve that and get you some.
  9. 2 points
    Hey guys! Long time no hear - my signature says I'm 3 years off but this year, on 10th of July I 'celebrated' my 5 years off of AD's. I would change my signature but I don't know how - that being said I'm loving what you did with the site. I'm going to try to write this with a bit of humour, because that is my style, so if you find it a bit 'aggressive' please know this was not my intent, and the sole purpose for writing this is because I care about all of you and empathise deeply with all of you. I know how it feels when your brain feels like it's been replaced with a piece of fried chicken (even though I'm afraid that even a fried chicken is an euphemism). My story short - I cold turkeyed 10 mgs of escitalopram (some of you may know it as Lexapro). My life completely changes shortly after and I entered what was an absolute hell for me (seriously, I'm catholic and that's what my version of hell would look like). Thankfully, I am doing a lot better now and I wanted to share a couple of things I learned along the way. I still suffer from anxiety, as I did before WD, it is worse than it was but it's nowhere near WD nightmare. I am not on any kind of medication and the only supplement I use is Omega3. Here are some of the things, and if I remember something later I will edit or write in the comments. DON'T GOOGLE STUFF. For the love of God, don't do it. If you're new here, there is plenty of sound advice in topic named 'Read this first' and in my opinion that is enough. Now when I say don't google stuff I mean don't google every symptom, every emotion, every fear and thought and overanalyse it. I promise you 99.99999 % of everything you feel and experience in WD is COMPLETELY NORMAL. Imagine your brain as a very stressed person trying to find best solutions and having to run the household (your body)... of course it's going to act wacky. It's not worth stressing it out further by reading into stuff and imagining even worse case scenarios. If you want to google kittens, puppies, babies, watch pretty youtube videos or just listen to calming music be my guest. But DON'T👏 GOOGLE 👏 YOUR 👏 SYMPTOMS 👏 TAKE IT SLOW. Your brain is working so fast your body might try to mimic that. I know my body did, and I still do it sometimes, if I'm not aware. I don't know if this happens to you but when I get stressed I breathe fast, brush my teeth fast, eat fast, comb my hair fast... as if someone put a ticking bomb on all of those things. Try to be more aware and when you notice that, take a deep breath, and start over - gently, slowly. Do everything with great care and gentleness. Your body and brain need it. When you show your brain you're not in a rush, brain will take it slowly too. I know it's a problem in WD - it feels like you have an neverending supply of adrenaline - but hey, baby steps. Try do it for 5 minutes a day. INSOMNIA. This bastard made me really mad. Sleep was the only way I could escape the WD nightmare, but it rarely came. I remember trying to fall asleep for hours, just to wake up at 4 or 5 am. not being able to fall asleep again. When I couldn't sleep, naturally, I thought about how I can't sleep. I worried and worried instead of trying to utilise that time. The best advice given to me was - if you can't fall asleep just chill. Your body will find a way to get energy from that too. Imagine you're on a beach, the sound of waves, the hot sand on your feet, warm sun, smell of salt and pine... you get it. Imagine happy (well..happyish) scenarios - I imagined what will I do after the WD is over and how I'll be able to help and understand someone. Try to occupy your thoughts as much as you can as not to fall in to the 'Oh God why can't I sleep' rabbit hole. NEURO-EMOTIONS. Don't run away from them. Don't be afraid of them. Embrace them. Cry. Scream in your pillow. Jump in utter rage. Aggressively punch the mattress. Write it down and rip the paper. Welcome your fears with open arms. Neuro emotions scared me but now I see them as a way of brain restarting itself. Like pushing random buttons to see what works and you just have to deal with it. It opened a very strong traumas for me again that antidepressants and teenage way of life buried so I had to actually face them and go through them. It was horrible, but maybe necessary? WORK OUT. Aggressive workout in the middle of WD hell? Only if you're absolutely comfortable. Otherwise, I don't recommend it. On the other hand, if you want to stay in bed all day, try to fight that urge. Try to walk at least 5 minutes (even in your small apartment, you don't have to go out), do a half a squat, lift your hands, whatever, just try to be at least little bit active. There's tons of studies that show how exercising improves mental health - there's not much to say here. CREATIVITY. At my worst I really couldn't do anything. TV was too stimulating and loud, my biggest achievement was playing Mahjong on my smartphone for 2 minutes. Everything above that and I would get extremely tired. I didn't smile, sleep, eat, I just wanted to die. Luckily, as soon as I got a bit better I've decided to do anything to not think about what I'm going through even if the bliss lasted for a second. I was baking, gardening, drawing, writing... notice how all of this is with hands. Put everything you got into feeling what you're doing with your hands. Even now when I get stressed I look around me for objects and imagine what kind of texture would they be like if I touched them. DP/DR. There are no words in human language to express how much I hated those feelings. I still do. But I've come a long way. Let's say they were at 100%. Now they're at about 50% when I'm really stressed. 20-30% in normal situations, because I still have an anxiety, and it's just a poopy symptom I have to accept. DR is actually what I'm feeling, DP was problematic, but now I can't remember when I truly had it. They don't occupy my life anymore, and I'm not so afraid of them as I was. My best advice about them would be: Don't be afraid. It feels like the world is falling apart but they're just symptoms of mental disorders and WD. They are absolutely harmless. The best you can do for yourself and your brain is to accept those feelings. Say it out loud: DP/DR I accept you. I know you're just symptoms of my brain working overtime and that's okay. I know my brain is trying its best to protect me and I am grateful for that. I accept you. If this post gives just a bit of hope or brings a bit of comfort to anyone - I'm so glad. I remember rereading the same success stories here over and over again when I was at my worst. They were literally ropes I hold on to. I know what you're going to is hard, but please, please, hold on. Living with this honestly means you're the bravest of the brave. Seriously, everyone here on this forum is one heck of a soldier. You don't even know how strong you are. I was pooping my pants when I was getting into college, I was still in WD... and next year I'm going to finish it. So please, hold on, and live day by day. There are probably more things I would write about, my faith being one of the most important things that helped me (and still does). I might write about it if anyone is interested, but I'm sorry I can only write from my religion's (catholic) perspective. So if anyone is interested let me know. I also run an IG page for catholics dealing with anxiety so if you're interested shoot me a message (I don't want to put it here because I think it would be considered a self-promo). I wanted to open that page for a year now - if you read my post, what was a comforting for me was imagining I could help someone some day who is going through the same stuff as I do. So I finally did it and honestly, it is a nice creative outlet. I have no doubt there will be some future gems from this page that were molded by suffering - Gold is purified by fire. **english is not my first language, so please excuse any errors.
  10. 2 points
    Thank you @Cocopuffz17 as always for your encouragement 🙏 Hugs to you and keep on thriving 💖 Hi @Cigale 😃 Thank you for dropping by my thread. Yes I agree about dancing, it does wonders😊 I wish you all the best in your journey 🙏 YES @sunnysideup69 Thats a window for sure😉 Hugs to you💖
  11. 2 points
    Welcome! I would encourage you to spend a lot of time exploring the threads and reading on this site. A lot of the questions you are asking are discussed at length. There's a treasure trove of information here. I am worried about you mentioning several different drugs in such a short time, including alcohol, xanax, potentially ativan... Every time you add a new drug or change a drug dose or even the method of administration (pill, liquid, etc) your nervous system gets a jolt and has to readjust itself. This is on top of the original jolt with the Prozac. Even if the reason for the new drug is trying to get other symptoms to "go away" it is still an adjustment your brain has to make. To be clear, I think you are getting good advice here regarding what to do. On top of that, I would encourage you to think about changing your relationship to these drugs. They should not be viewed as quick fixes. Sometimes people switch around drugs trying to make a bad withdrawal situation better (for example when you added the xanax--I did something similar out of desperation), but instead they get deeper and deeper into the quicksand of an iatrogenic brain injury. I don't want to see you go down that path. Just remember that making drug changes is not something to take lightly. The way you were talking about it was concerning me so I wanted to say that.
  12. 2 points
    Thank you @Erell Those words of Katy397 are so true🙏 And thank you for your kind words, all of you💖 @mustafa @Cocopuffz17 @Longestroadhome @Mimi79 @sunnysideup69
  13. 2 points
    Good morning campers. A message of hope. Encouragement to keep going, no matter how tough things seem. I am eternally grateful l didn't change or increase my meds, last wave. Thank you god! It is so hard when l feel that bad, like l don't know what to do, but l got through it with my fantastic family, SA, psych team and SE therapist. I really have the dream team now. So grateful. My psych team always let me lead and accept the "side effects" are bad enough that l don't want the risk any more. My psychiatrist (who l have only spoken to once by phone) reminded me cPTSD is psychological; and l know the body stuff needs releasing in tiny titrations, with the support of my therapist. Yes I'm a work in progress and will be all my life. Love your journey. Love life. Love yourselves. Often it's best to listen to your inner voice, no matter how quiet; and do nothing. Just be. Stay safe and remember: this too shall pass. Peace, love, sparkles; namaste. Your friend Missy x
  14. 2 points
    Yes, I totally agree. There was a span of 8 years while I was on my medication that I would just come home from work and crash. I had so many blood tests and doctor appts and nothing came back of concern. I ended up taking an iron supplement with b vitamins in it. This solved my chronic fatigue issue and now that I know more it makes so much sense why that worked.
  15. 2 points
    Thank you @sunnysideup69 for checking in on me! I really appreciate your wisdom and friendship. The WD world is pretty lonely, and sometimes seems so unreal. And I am still figuring out what works for me for self-help. When the wave is intense, meditation and even yoga seem to make things worse, which is so frustrating. Ultimately, acceptance is the one thing that gets me through each moment. Acceptance and the concept that this is happening for a reason, that I now have a unique opportunity to discover and nourish a deeper understanding of myself and the world. I hope you are continuing to do well and looking to start your taper. Huge hugs!
  16. 2 points
    I am 35, the medication I quit was Latuda and I cold turkeyed, attempted to go back on and just went off again. I had been on various medications through my adult life and childhood that I think set me up for the experience. I forgot exactly what I did but I see now that my old post says "I ended up going to 40mg for 2 weeks then 1 week 20." When I look back at the pattern, I would say that things got so bad that when things were improving I thought I was back to "normal" but it's only years later that I realize that things were a smidge slower than I thought. But some things were fast. It's such a bizarre experience. I think that by a year the big things were gone and everything had improved month by month in that year and then more and more my body regulated itself. I have forgotten so much of that period but I would say what helped was hiking, friends (ones you could be completely honest with), researching but also letting go of research and even being on this site (because I got obsessive and sometimes the reaction wasn't good). Facebook distraction. Forcing myself to eat, but changing my eating to a little bit more healthy. Working, I needed to continue to work for the structure. Having the tv on and laying down a lot helped, it helped with the loudness of my mind. Being under stimulated in general, such as having lights off. Forcing myself to do normal things even if I felt like a dead brick, like walking through stores to shop. Individual therapy. Group therapy. Not returning to the psychiatrist (there is a holistic one near me that I considered based on her attitude, more holistic approach, seems anti med a little, I always considered doing that and this gave me hope so see if that is available). Reading success stories of people experiencing hard times in their lives. Kept taking vitamins. MINDFULNESS. MINDFULNESS. MINDFULNESS. You can not think about tomorrow. Yoga and staying in surviving the moment was the best thing for me. I wasn't perfect obviously, but just kept going back to that. One other thing that really helped was eventually acting like it never happened, I know that sounds sh*tty but I stopped coming here and researching and whatever else because I had to get my mind off it. But I remember promising myself to come back in a year to update, which I believe I did. The one regret I have is not going off my birth control when this happened. I didn't want to make things worst but I don't think there could have been a worst and now I am being triggered by attempting to get off birth control. Other than that, I think I made the best decisions I could and I made it out.
  17. 2 points
    Thank you for the well wishes! "Looking back, after you got off citalopram and Klonopin in May 2018, what was the pattern of your recovery? Were there phases of symptoms? How did they change?" I wrote daily journal entries for a while on my symptoms and unless I look back at those now, I feel like I can’t remember the entire process or really wish not to remember it all because it was painful. Yes, there were significant phases. Overall, it seemed like I was taking baby steps and relearning how to function independently if that makes any sense. It's as though my thoughts had become so intensely clear once I was free of the meds, and almost after about a month, I become incredibly self aware. I think almost hyper aware of myself in terms of actions and thought patterns. I never remember feeling so intense prior to how I thought while on these drugs, I was numb so this change felt too intense. With the clarity though I felt very jumbled, I don’t think this makes much sense, maybe. I analyzed every facet of my past and who I was..I literally took out the mirror and asked who was his person I had become? It was a seriously painful thing to do but I think it had to happen. Now, overtime, that has subsided. I accept how I got to be that person because if I had not, been there, I wouldn’t be here doing better. Within the first few months I experienced all of the physical symptoms of withdrawal explained in my original posts. I knew things would be intense but for me I had also just suffered two different back injuries so getting off the meds and that happened simultaneously and I think that only heightened my physical pain and mental confusion. I won’t go into too much detail but I had insomnia, difficulty breathing, dizziness, blurry vision, heightened anxiety, etc. I also was freaked out by being left alone and I dreaded coming home from work and being at home. Instead of before I could not wait to get off work and come home, I would make up ways to stay late at work because the unstructured time at home I was bored and my thoughts plagued me and I did not like being alone with them. One thing that was prolonged for months was jittery feeling as though I could not keep still, in mind and physically. I had to constantly keep busy. I felt like my mind was racing all the time, I hated it, which is why I went for walks a lot to try and get calm. Overall, nothing major solved my situation, maybe the CBT exercises were the most helpful but it was really just time and the hope that I was on the right path. I didn’t mention this in my above post, but I was all about the idea of neuroplasticity and thought if I could speed things up, so I was crazy about writing w/ my non dominant hand, and things like that, trying to challenge my brain on other levels like doing Sudoku, chess intensely. I thought being alert and attentive in those analytical ways would help in some other way, I have no idea if it helped but I was all about it. One great thing for me that happened when I stopped celexa was that I was not angry anymore, but was super chill. I was a really kind person but when I went on the meds it fueled my temper and I became very angry and hateful. I became the opposite when I stopped the meds and I am rarely angry. I also want to state that for a few months after stopping celexa I did take klonopin a few times to ease off the symptoms but I noticed that every time I talked myself into taking it, I felt like a few days later I was even worse feeling like then I had to take more, like it made my mind feel more jumbled. So in the end, for me, it was not worth taking because I felt like it set me back each time rather than actually help me get through. It was the idea that it would help me that was the hardest to break because for so long I had those pills in my purse for an emergency. I still to this day keep two w/ me and they’ve been there since october 2018...I know they expired but in a way it’s like an idea that okay, if it gets really bad I got them but honestly, I can do this w/ out them. I think the combo of klonopin and celexa increased my anger. It did seem like I would have a great week and then fall back into having bad days. Eventually the good days would happen more and eventually I guess I had many good days that I eventually stopped counting how many I had and lost count and then it just got better and I didn’t ask myself or family if I was getting better because I was better. It just happened. I’d say the 6 month and year markers were where I noticed the most progress. I’d say if you are on this journey, go with it. I had no idea that when I was stoked about my one day of feeling normal out of a sea of gray days that eventually those would keep coming, but while in the midst, it seems like it is a tease that one good day, like a reminder of what you’ll never get again, but it will happen and naturally. After about six months, I felt mentally more stable and like my thoughts were not as jittery or going a mile a minute. I began noticing I did not have to ask my family everyday if they thought I was getting better. I could go days maybe a week or more and realize I did not have major crying spells and need pep talks from my family. (when this first began I needed reassurance daily if I was getting better.) I’d say about a year in I was almost healed but I still had a lingering feeling of not being better I honestly think it is because I read way too much stuff about withdrawal and how long it takes to heal and I think it psyched me out which is why I waited so long to post this and honestly I realize I’m proud of my journey and recovery but I don’t like talking about it because it was a dark place for me and that helpless feeling really was overwhelming. I wrote a lot during that time, about how I needed to think better and not focus on my issues or that I didn’t really have issues but just ruminate in self doubt. I don’t feel that lost or confused now and I think that it is because my brain feels more calm and I think that only comes w/ time. I think when I started focusing on making my relationship w/ my partner better, I lost track about my own healing and this was the true turning point for me. I’m not saying focus on other people to heal yourself but for me, it was my focus of happiness and when I decided to be a better person for both of us it just made everything else come together. I’m a true romantic and In my experience, for me, love was the answer to healing. Take that away from me and I’ll probably be right back where I started, so…being a better person for myself had a beautiful effect for both of us. I didn’t find the same feeling of accomplishment w/ anything else on my journey like making art, reading, gardening than I did when I worked towards bettering our time together. So in a way, making sure I was staying rational, not explosive or feeding my negativity or emotional outbursts was a priority once I realized how that affected us. Of course, this did not happen until a year into recovery and really 1.5 years, because I was in no way able to do this or even maybe be aware of this when I first got off the meds. I would say I am 95% healed because life is what it is and I am not invincible to pain, loss or sadness, but I’d say I am wiser and stronger and more in control of my feelings and actions than I was even prior to beginning the meds, so I think that is a goal to keep working towards. One last thing that developed from this experience and I think was influential from CBT therapy is that I am in control to an extent of my thoughts and actions and I think that at the beginning I was only learning and telling myself that, but as things progress, I actual had moments of (in a cheesy way I’d say enlightenment) where I realized I was the one who decided if I am to be happy this day, etc, I could wake up and choose how I was going to feel that day and it was crazy powerful, something I felt I never knew how to control, etc. I really don’t know how to put it in words. I feel like this experience came 1.5 years into recovery and at this point, my daily routine has changed a lot w/ COVID so that intensity hasn’t happened in a while but it was there for several months, so I guess my point is that healing continues and it’s an interesting path and I am continuing to learn so much about myself.
  18. 2 points
    Hanna, I appreciate the kind words. I am always amazed at how kind folks are here, especially when they may be going through a very difficult time. It is a great reminder of all the amazing people here on this forum. I like your quote about patience and time, it is so true! While it is so important to be an active participant in recovery, there is a lot to be said about the power that time has in the healing process. Wishing you the best!
  19. 2 points
    Ken, It makes me very happy to hear that my story helped you today, makes sharing it all the more worth it. I remember the tough days and they are exactly just that, tough days. You have a bright future ahead and I hope you focus on that when times get tough. Stay positive the best you can, even when your brain is telling you otherwise. I look forward to reading your success story!
  20. 2 points
    Hey Alto, From my last post to now it has been a few years and I would say that life has become even more "normal" than it was a few years ago. What I mean by "normal" is, the horrendous experience of w/d continues to take a back seat to new and positive experiences, as if those negative memories are being replaced or minimized. Many days and weeks go by and I do not even think about the experience which during w/d I thought would impossible to every truly move on from. When I do think of w/d, I have a hard time remembering exactly how horrible it was. Maybe it is my mind not wanting to go there anymore or perhaps my mind simply just cannot imagine it. I think that truly "accepting" that time period as existing but refusing to let it define me or make me feel inferior in any way has been integral. Rather than feeling weaker, I feel that I am capable of dealing with anything having withstood and defeated w/d. I know a lot of people worry about the long term and question how they can ever truly move on and be "normal" or OK again but I have to say that has happened for me and I see no reason why it cannot for anyone reading this regardless of how bad things are today. Trauma is trauma and as simple as it sounds, accepting it and not running from it, at least for me, has assuaged the pain of the experience, at least for the long term. I do understand why many people do not come back and discuss their success. It can rehash some unpleasant memories and bring people back to a place they have tried to hard to get away from. I have to admit, even posting last night brought back so many memories, good and bad, but it didn't overcome me, it was just like remembering parts of a movie which is strange but innocuous. For me however, sharing my positive experience and growth outweighed the negatives of having to go back to that difficult place. As mentioned above, I have accepted what happened and I am at peace with it. It does not have control over me or make me feel weak in any way, quite the opposite actually. You are all a lot tougher than you give yourself credit for, even when it doesn't feel that way when you are at your most vulnerable during w/d. It is all about perspective for me and I keenly remember people giving me hope when I was in the thickest of it and believe it is incredibly important for me to pay it forward. Not because I am obligated to do so but because I want to and I believe a part of moving on from this experience is not being afraid to talk about it and help others along the way if possible. Positives today for me include a virtual elimination of all mental and physical symptoms that were once present virtually all day for weeks and months on end with no break. I look at the laundry list of symptoms I encountered and I cannot believe I had to deal with all of those issues at the same time. I now make it a top priority to take the best care of myself by eating as clean as I can but I am far from perfect, I still abstain from drinking but that is more of a personal choice and not taking my health for granted anymore, I try to avoid using anything that isn't natural for colds or other ailments, and I walk a lot not only for the physical health benefits but also for the mental clarity. My sleep is as good as it ever has been but I do attribute that to good sleep hygiene. Also, more "normal" to me means almost all of my "problems" (I quote the term problems because none of my current problems come close to w/d related problems so they feel petty and are embarrassing to admit as they are so trivial when compared to w/d) are typically external and much more preferable to internal w/d problems e.g. work stress, navigating marriage and parenting etc. I try to keep things in perspective and remember that everything is relative. Healing and not encountering w/d related problems doesn't mean life magically becomes perfect or absent of any problems, life is full of problems but I feel without w/d you become much more adept at dealing with those problems and moving on. I always thought, once I get better I will NEVER take anything for granted but I think once you get better, you will always take certain things for granted, it is very human to do so. Healing isn't the end of the journey, it is the beginning of a totally new one. With that said, I am extremely grateful and overjoyed to be in a position to not just lead a "normal" life, but an exceptional one. If I had to be nit picky and objective about any negatives/issues that are still pending, it would be hard for me to discern what is from w/d versus what would just be normal for me. These include: -Nervous system can be sensitive at times when clearly triggered, e.g.very sensitive to perfumes, fragrances, cleaning products (Lysol). When exposed, I feel uncomfortable, find it difficult to breathe normally, and foggy brained. I attribute this to basically being poisoned and it isn't an awful experience being exposed to those things, it is simply an inconvenience and a bit uncomfortable. I am also very sensitive to mold but I have always had allergies so I chalk that up as a part of that. All these issues subside within the hour after being removed from the exposure. -Exercise intolerance to a certain degree. I can fight through it and some runs/workouts feel better than others but typically on a bad workout I feel more drained or my body feels revved up and just uncomfortable which can trigger minor anxiety but nothing like w/d. -I have not drank alcohol in quite some time so I am unsure if I am still sensitive to that. I will tell you, my life is a lot better without it and I have zero desire to prove I can drink without issues so that is more a lifestyle change and accepting that I am better off without it. Why take on something you don't need, if life is good, don't add more problems is how I think about it. I also like reality now and view drinking as a way to alter it. Having gone through w/d, I enjoy a clear mind. Truthfully that might be it. I still take magnesium (helps me with sleep and I believe my body burns magnesium very fast), vitamin C, and a multi vitamin but that is pretty much it. I think getting nutrition via food is your best bet but I understand that can get expensive. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to read my original post and I do hope it makes people feel hopeful knowing that you can get better and that when people do, they move on with their lives and try not to look back. I don't blame them but for me it is very important to share with you all my story and if that helps a few people get through this or even just a tough point, then it is all worth it. Once again, I think it comes with accepting what happened (hard to do and not be angry but necessary to move on) and not being fearful of rehashing old memories as they are just memories, not necessarily good or bad. I am happy to answer questions but I want to say that I am not the sole authority on healing or in any way "special" because I am on the other side of w/d. I truly believe everyone, barring an unrelated or buried medical condition has the ability to get better based on my experience and interactions with people. I wish you all the best in your recovery and want you to know that I understand what you are going through is surreal but implore you to do the best you can to take care of yourself and keep the focus and perspective on the positives and your future success story. Cheers, Irish
  21. 2 points
    Hi @Dejavu Just read your post about your anger and frustration, and I can totally relate to everything you said. During my tapering process I was fuelled with anger. You can use it as a motivation and determination. The silver lining is not letting it consume you. The true feeling behind anger is hurting and frustration I think. And I believe everyone in here can relate. Don’t ever give up, you are fighting for your well being and you deserve to live your best life with content and piece 🙏 Keep moving forward, don’t look back, be thankful for that your eyes have opened to this “drug” world we live in, cause so many have not. My best wishes to you🙏
  22. 2 points
    Hey everyone, I wanted to check back in. It has been quite some time since I last stopped by but I felt it was important to sign back on and reach out. I am unsure what happened to my original handle, something about the account being locked out but I will try and sign back on that one when I can. It makes me very happy to hear my post almost 5 years ago now was so helpful. I hope everyone is doing the best they can and I want to reiterate, no matter where you are on your journey right now, it WILL get better. Best, Irish
  23. 2 points
    I wrote this to someone, and I’m placing it here, too: SI is very infrequent for me now. Do not lose hope that it will stop. It will. Someone asked me to describe SI. That is hard when I’m not experiencing it. It’s a feeling of deep despair, and the thought that nothing will ever be ok again is a big part. Constant terror was a large part of SI for me. I no longer feel terror. That is gone. I sometimes feel afraid, but it’s not terror, and it passes quickly. I’m not afraid to be alone; I’m not afraid to go out either. I still have anticipatory anxiety if I have something to do. Not all the time, but, to some degree or another, most of the times I have a commitments. SI was so perplexing — maddeningly so. I knew I didn’t want to die. I was afraid I would die in various ways, but I was also afraid of being the cause of my own death. This was so hard to understand, because I didn’t want to die. The fear that I would do that to myself was something I had never, ever thought possible. Anytime I had depression before there was never outright fear of doing something I did not want to do! I did not want to die, but the thought that I wanted to die was a very frequent intrusive thought. There were a few times I wanted to die when I had a particularly difficult day that my husband could not handle well, but most of the time what I wanted was for the emotional pain to end, and I saw no other way for that to happen. If you think about it, you will realize that is also true for you. There is another way! You must believe me. You cannot go around. Going through is the only way, and it’s hard and awful and miserable, but you must see it as a viable way. You must believe me when I say I am glad that I went through instead of around, because going around means there will never be any future. I am living in that future, and it is not yet a full life, but I do feel pleasure now; I do feel joy; I do live. I just have periodic timeouts the timing of which I have no control. I promise you, I am grateful for this life however disappointing it may be at times. This morning I made muffins. I can cook sometimes; I can enjoy a walk; I can enjoy my child. I think SI is caused by a combination of the brain being in an unnatural state AND the fact that one is “just surviving” while not experiencing any pleasure or enjoyment (anhedonia or worse). This is happening because the brain is not operating properly in the wake of the drug. The same is true of aka. In fact, my belief is that aka causes suicidal thoughts independently of it causing restlessness or pacing or a vibrating feeling in the limbs. This is based on having experienced it over and over and over for many years now. You must never cut yourself off from your future, because your future is bright. Do not let your brain tell you otherwise! Our brains are constantly talking to us even when we don’t realize it. I used to think this was something odd about me, but it’s a normal human occurrence. What the brain says to us is what can help or hurt. When we are in WD the brain says a lot of negative things. The key is to distract yourself from your negative thoughts. If you can turn your negative thoughts into less drastically negative thoughts that, too, will help. Banish “always” and “never.“ All or nothing thinking is a huge part of depression and a huge part of WD. Nothing is always or never true. You know that. Don’t let your malfunctioning brain tell you otherwise. Talk back to it! It’s maddening that this syndrome can’t be fixed by simply providing the drug again, but it’s true. The “chemical” feeling comes from the fact that you can’t make sense of your thoughts and emotions, I would say, but there may be something more to it such as depersonalization. It’s so bizarre. What you are feeling and experiencing is “normal.” It IS normal for this state of PAWS (or dysautonomia) which we call withdrawal or prolonged withdrawal syndrome. You aren’t an outlier, but it is never going to FEEL normal to you. It is absolutely logical to deduce that because you are not seeing improvement this must be permanent for you. Because our experiences with every other illness or injury have shown us that healing happens within 20 months, we can’t wrap our minds around this syndrome. I had all the same doubts as you do. Those doubts sneak in during a bad wave, too. Will I go back and forth between feeling normal and periodically declining into madness for the rest of my life? I know the answer is “No,” but it’s still hard to remember that in a bad wave. In a milder wave, I can remember it. I have seen people write the opposite of “mental issues go away first” many times. Instead, a lot of people say that they go last. I think the truth is in between. People focus most acutely on things that disturb them most, of course. Some people have aka and some don’t or at least it’s a very mild aka. When aka goes, the most terrible emotional states will go. I have seen no evidence that the longer the symptom lasts the more likely it is to be permanent. All of us will heal. ****I think that what causes very long periods of WD is re-injury. This is my focus: avoiding re-injury.**** I decided long ago that being “re-injured” is the main way that people suffer WD that lasts a long time. I combed through thread after thread on SA of all the people stating that they were having years of WD. Almost every single one had either tried to reinstate the drug, tried a new drug or had made some unfortunate mistake by taking a drug or drinking alcohol. Re-injury can happen with the use of over the counter drugs, alcohol, and of course, prescription drugs. Steroids, adrenaline based numbing agents at the dentist, and alcohol seem to be the most common substances to prolong WD, in my opinion. Dysautonomia can be slight and easily correctable by our bodies or very deep. It can take a long time to correct, but almost always the key is letting the body heal itself. Once someone is in WD and outside the safe time period for reinstatement, I feel that avoiding re-injury is the best plan, and I believe it works 99% of the time. This is what SA means by a harm reduction approach — for those who are tapering small reductions are advised and for everyone — on or off the AD — being very careful with what we put in our bodies is imperative. (Reinstatement has a place for some people soon after quitting or reducing a drug. That’s not a subject I’m addressing here.) I made a lot of mistakes before I found SA. I missed doses, I increased the AD too much, of course, and I took Zanax here and there, also on the advice of the doctor. I thought that by being careful to avoid addiction to Xanax I would avoid it’s harm. Wrong! My state of dysautonomia meant that Xanax injured me every time I used it. The same is true for when I drank wine. Eventually, I quit 150 mg of Zoloft over a very short period of time — about six weeks perhaps. I did this because I was experiencing dysautonomia. I felt so bad that I thought that the drug was causing me to feel bad. I didn’t know about SA. So, my nervous system was all ready severely compromised before I was prescribed Trazodone afterward. Taking a new prescription caused further destabilization of my nervous system, and every time I too Xanax, my system became further destabilized. Finally, I quit all prescriptions at once. I had no idea it could get worse - so much worse! Since I found SA, I have improved my health a lot by avoiding new prescriptions and alcohol, making sure the dentist gives me a non-Adrenalin numbing agent, and walking. Walking is very important for everyone, and it seems to help unless I’m in a deep wave. Maybe it helps then, but it seems as if it doesn’t. You will heal. I am living proof.
  24. 2 points
    Elyssa, I could have written that at one time. It is very, very hard to live that way day after day. I understand exactly what you are saying. Someday, you will start to see the difference between windows and waves and between shallow waves and deep waves. For now, it’s going to be hard to keep up hope, but please trust me, you will get better to the point that you start to see the hope. Describing SI is hard when I’m not experiencing it. It’s a feeling of deep despair and the thought that nothing will ever be ok again is a big part. Constant terror was a large part of SI for me. I no longer feel terror. That is gone. I sometimes feel afraid, but it’s not terror, and it passes quickly. I’m not afraid to be alone; I’m not afraid to go out either. I still have anticipatory anxiety if I have something to do. Not all the time, but, to some degree or another, most of the times I have a commitments. SI was so perplexing — maddeningly so. I knew I didn’t want to die. I was afraid I would die in various ways, but I was also afraid of being the cause of my own death. This was so hard to understand, because I didn’t want to die. The fear that I would do that to myself was something I had never, ever thought possible. Anytime I had depression before there was never outright fear of doing something I did not want to do! I did not want to die, but the thought that I wanted to die was a very frequent intrusive thought. There were a few times I wanted to die when I had a particularly difficult day that my husband could not handle well, but most of the time what I wanted was for the emotional pain to end, and I saw no other way for that to happen. There is another way, Elyssa! You must believe me. You cannot go around. Going through is the only way, and it’s hard and awful and miserable, but you must see it as a viable way. You must believe me when I say I am glad that I went through instead of around, because going around means there will never be any future. I am living in that future, and it is not yet a full life, but I do feel pleasure now; I do feel joy; I do live. I just have periodic timeouts the timing of which I have no control. I promise you, I am grateful for this life however disappointing it may be at times. This morning I made muffin. I can cook sometimes; I can enjoy a walk; I can enjoy my child. I think SI is caused by a combination of the brain being in an unnatural state AND the fact that you are “just surviving” while not experiencing any pleasure or enjoyment (anhedonia or worse). This is happening because your brain is not operating properly in the wake of the drug. The same is true of aka. In fact, my belief is that aka causes suicidal thoughts independently of it causing restlessness or pacing or a vibrating feeling in the limbs. This is based on having experienced it over and over and over for many years now. You must never cut yourself off from your future, because your future is bright. Do not let your brain tell you otherwise! Our brains are constantly talking to us even when we don’t realize it. I used to think this was something odd about me, but it’s a normal human occurrence. What the brain says to us is what can help or hurt. When we are in WD the brain says a lot of negative things. The key is to distract yourself from your negative thoughts. If you can turn your negative thoughts into less drastically negative thoughts that too will help. Banish “always” and “never.“ All or nothing thinking is a huge part of depression and a huge part of WD. Nothing is always or never true. You know that. Don’t let your malfunctioning brain tell you otherwise. Talk back to it! It’s maddening that this syndrome can’t be fixed by simply providing the drug again, but it’s true. The “chemical” feeling comes from the fact that you can’t make sense of your thoughts and emotions, I would say, but there may be something more to it such as depersonalization. It’s so bizarre. I can see that you need validation that what you are feeling and experiencing is normal. It IS normal for this state of PAWS (or dysautonomia) which we call withdrawal or prolonged withdrawal syndrome. You aren’t an outlier, but it is never going to FEEL normal to you. It is absolutely logical to deduce that because you are not seeing improvement this must be permanent for you. Because our experiences with every other illness or injury have shown us that healing happens within 20 months, we can’t wrap our minds around this syndrome. I had all the same doubts as you do. Those doubts sneak in during a bad wave, too. Will I go back and forth between feeling normal and periodically declining into madness for the rest of my life? I know the answer is “No,” but it’s still hard to remember that in a bad wave. In a milder wave, I can remember it. I have seen people write the opposite of “mental issues go away first” many times. Instead, a lot of people say that they go last. I think the truth is in between. People focus most acutely on things that disturb them most, of course. Some people have aka and some don’t or at least it’s a very mild aka. When aka goes, the most terrible emotional states will go. I have seen no evidence that the longer the symptom lasts the more likely it is to be permanent. All of us will heal. ****I think that what causes very long periods of WD is re-injury. This is my focus: avoiding re-injury.**** I decided long ago that being “re-injured” is the main way that people suffer WD that lasts a long time. I combed through thread after thread on SA of all the people stating that they were having years of WD. Almost every single one had either tried to reinstate the drug, tried a new drug or had made some unfortunate mistake by taking a drug or drinking alcohol. Re-injury can happen with the use of over the counter drugs, alcohol, and of course, prescription drugs. Steroids, adrenaline based numbing agents at the dentist, and alcohol seem to be the most common substances to prolong WD, in my opinion. Dysautonomia can be slight and easily correctable by our bodies or very deep. It can take a long time to correct, but almost always the key is letting the body heal itself. Once someone is in WD and outside the safe time period for reinstatement, I feel that avoiding re-injury is the best plan, and I believe it works 99% of the time. This is what SA means by a harm reduction approach — for those who are tapering small reductions are advised and for everyone — in or off the AD — being very careful with what we put in our bodies is imperative. (Reinstatement has a place for some people soon after quitting or reducing a drug. That’s not a subject I’m addressing here.) I made a lot of mistakes before I found SA. I missed doses, I increased the AD too much, of course, and took Zanax also on the advice of the doctor. I drank wine. I quit Zoloft. My nervous system was all ready severely compromised before I was prescribed Trazodone. Taking new prescriptions caused further destabilization of my nervous system. Finally, I quit all prescriptions at once, but since then, I have improved my health a lot by avoiding new prescriptions and alcohol, making sure the dentist gives me a non-Adrenalin numbing agent, and walking. Walking is very important for everyone, and it seems to help unless I’m in a deep wave. Maybe it helps then, but it seems as if it doesn’t. You are doing the right things, Elyssa. You are doing the right thing by taking no drugs. That alone means you will heal. I am living proof. 💜 Rosetta
  25. 1 point
    Thank you Altostrata. Merci buckets. Am already feeling better now that I've gone back to 3 daily doses.
  26. 1 point
    hello, Had a better night (4hours straight sleep). Felt a bit calmer today : still surges to escape and restlessness, but less constant, had some easier times. Grateful for this relief ! You're right, you can't always distinguish restlessness from anxiety. What was new for me was the very intense surges to escape (don't know how to describe it, it's a need to escape from body/mind), and the intensity of the restlessness in my body, wanted to jump out of my skin. Followed Altostrata's suggestion and took 7.75mg this morning. You really are angels ❤️
  27. 1 point
    Oh my goodness, having such good couple of days😊 My whole body is floating with sensations that feels so good. I have been in a battle since starting this process. That’s the only thing I knew how to survive. All my music consisted of battle songs😂 I used to box through them, uuuh not a pretty sight😅 Now, I am starting to laugh so much, I could not wait to start working, meeting my co workers. And now I am dancing in my appartement with happy little songs, with a big smile on my face🤩 I admire all of you so much. Know that we will heal. Now I will dance some more Hugs to you all💖
  28. 1 point
    Thank you! So much this....have to be really careful about not pathologising normal ups and downs. Not everything is WD.
  29. 1 point
    Thank you @Erell, @sunnysideup69 and @Gridley for your kind advice and support. I am so grateful for you all and this community. You have given me so much to contemplate. I had never thought of the fact that while going through WD I’m trying to master new skills that many find challenging. Also that my brain is just trying to protect me. And that I need to giving thinking a rest...and possibly replace it with some swearing 🤬 hee hee! For now I’m going to give my weary soul a rest. Some gentle yoga and legs up the wall and gratitudes for all that is good in my world. I hope you all have a good night and sweet dreams. ❤️
  30. 1 point
    Thank you @mstimcand @ChessieCat, You know, having just read through the last few posts I realise I’m actually only 19 months from zero not 31, (a whole 12 months out). My level of confusion is so heightened that even attempting to sort out the stresses I’m faced with, is clearly not possible . I’m stuck with fear and my brain is not able to think clearly. I am just going to focus on calming my nervous system for the time being. I have an appointment with a counsellor on Tuesday I will try and change them to weekly. This wave is huge, I feel like I’m back at the beginning and I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learnt and been practicing over the last year or so. Kind words are so soothing. Thank you again for being there for me, Take care.
  31. 1 point
    quick update, got off the reg tea, drinking only herbal now and it IS helping starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel
  32. 1 point
    Hey I think our pump up songs are totally poles apart 😆! I love beats to my music if I am out walking with my dog. well done for sticking by it as well. If I hadn’t of found this site I would of been immensely poly drugged. I feel blessed that we know what’s happening and why. Hope you’re doing okay 🙏
  33. 1 point
    After My previous post I was looking through some of the other posts and came across a thread called ‘Acceptance’. I realised just how much I am constantly fighting pretty much everything in my life at the moment and it really struck a chord. I am probably using up what little energy I have in this fight. I am going to explore this, even though I know it will be hard, and see how that works out. 🤓
  34. 1 point
    You don't have to decide what to do right now. It doesn't have to be Now or Never. It could just be 'not right now and reassess later,' if that's what you decide. Don't underestimate the impact of the pandemic and political instability as backdrop to all of this. It's a really hard time to be in the USA, let alone taper these horrid drugs.
  35. 1 point
    Hi Legend My guess is that while you were on vacation, your distracted mind was too busy processing your new surroundings and experiences to let your anxious feelings take over. Once you got back into a familiar environment, the distractions disappeared and the anxiety re-emerged. The good news is that your vacation shows anxiety is only as powerful as the attention you give it. If you can find some other alternative means of distraction at home, it may help.
  36. 1 point
    That’s really good news @Erell So pleased for you 😊
  37. 1 point
    Home will always be home, whatever's going on there. Glad you're doing ok 😊
  38. 1 point
    Thank you so much for replying! So when I first was off the amitriptyline, I was getting blasts of light in my eyes when sleeping. I thought those were brain zaps! I do have flashing lights/sparkly trailing lights, burning and twitching/jerking still. I did see the neurologist and he was like yup - it’s benzo and ad withdrawal and you can’t do anything about it. And that was it! The MRI was normal so he didn’t want to see me again, even though I tried to book another appointment. The funny thing is I literally had this for the first time the night before my MRI! And nothing showed up...not that I was hoping something would but it scared the hell out of me! I’m almost done weaning the Gaba supplement. I have 8 more days to go then I’m done and I do not take any more supplements. I have started the methyl vitamin b12 in very low dose because my levels were “within range” but certainly low. After the Gaba supplement is done, that will be the only thing I will be taking aside from my thyroid medication. And no, it hasn’t happened while awake thank goodness. It’s so scary to be jolted awake by this electrical pain and shaking of my head, especially almost 10 months off!
  39. 1 point
    hi miko, yes still off all meds, been off all for 38 months now, dealing with sibo and parasites at moment, all this caused by antibiotics took a couple years ago I think, treating sibo etc is more difficult than thought it would be but got a good functional nutritionist who is helping me, once is have dealth with sibo and parasites i will be writing my success story hopefully, hope you well
  40. 1 point
    Yea, I get that. But I would definitely spend the extra cash so you don't feel bad
  41. 1 point
    Interesting that you mention that. I have to steer clear of caffeine. It really messes with me. I take decaf coffee now.
  42. 1 point
    Hello dear friends and survivors. Just dropping quickly by to say, I'm 8 and a half days into a window. Feeling pretty good and normal, apart from wonky sleep sometimes and some fatigue. Am off enjoying feeling good at the moment, gotta savour it whilst I can, will drop in properly in the week to catch up. Sending you all love and hugs xxx
  43. 1 point
    I really like that you posted pics lol. I'm having a rough day so far and its cheered me up ☺. You're a legend!
  44. 1 point
    H Erell: I too have these exact moments when I want to just give in. But then I read my thread and how worse off I was before I started tapering. I tell myself, look how far I gotten, not how far I have to go. Then it clicks that soon enough I’ll be human again. And this will just be a bad (and I mean bad) dream. This is just a bump in the road. And it will smooth out soon. Hang in there🤗🤗🤗 Take care, Frogie xx
  45. 1 point
    It’s finally time. I wanted to stop back in (formerly a PaxilProgress member) and do what I should have done a while back. I want to give an extremely positive and 100% true update. I think before getting too far ahead, it’s important for me to tell you all my history. I began suffering panic attacks as a teenager after a horrific injury during a sporting event. Everything else in my life was fine, never abused, always loved, it was just one of those things that happen to everyday people. After my first panic attack I freaked out, being a kid and never experiencing anything more than the flu, I had no idea what was going on. I began missing school and suffering from what I now know to be agoraphobia caused by the panic attacks. This was extremely difficult for my family as I was always extremely outgoing, athletic, and a leader within my friends. My biggest fear was passing out in front of people and people thinking I was weak, silly to me now as an adult but being a teenager and concerned with image, this was hard for me. We were finally told that I should go to a psychiatrist, which I did and within 2 visits I was placed on Paxil, up dosing to 40 mg at the age of 15. At this age it was hard to say how much Paxil changed me since I was going through so many changes as these are such impressionable and transformative years. I got back into school and back into sports and life continued on. I was simply told by the psychiatrist, “you don’t have enough serotonin, and this will make more, it is quite common”. I was told I could probably get off by the age of 25 but for now my body needed this like…yup you guessed it, a diabetic needs insulin. I began to transform into a different person. I remained very social and lived a comfortable high school life, but I began to notice I was becoming more cold and callous. I had zero sexual drive, except when I was inebriated which was often. I would go out and get into fights, something that earned me a reputation, one I am embarrassed by now looking back. I was still very sensitive but the Paxil and the alcohol made that sensitive person go away. I often blamed being sensitive as the problem. It was at the age of vulnerability and transformation, so people just wrote the negative behavior off as youth. I was also quite charming, so I seldom was held accountable for anything I did anyways. I never was into drugs or anything like that, I just had my fun and was a bit mischievous. I had great success with the sport the caused the injury but eventually it caught up to me. Without going into too much detail, I was very good before the injury and not as good but still decent after, but my attitude was awful and anger would get the best of me and ultimately cost me a scholarship to play at the next level. My parents, both very caring and loving people, did what they thought was best for me. They had divorced right before this all started and many thought I just couldn’t handle the divorce since it got messy, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. My parents did all they could for me during the initial panic attacks. After all, your kid hiding out in the house all day is concerning. I ended up staying on Paxil between 20mg-40 mg until I was 25, attempting to get off only once around age 21 with disastrous results. I eventually started having extreme anxiety with the inability to tolerate alcohol with extreme eye pain. I went back to college and after having many crying spells behind closed doors I decided I needed to go back on or else people would start to notice. Ruminating thoughts during philosophy 101 were unrelenting, don’t quit a psych drug during a psych class either, you turn into an immediate hypochondriac. It definitely hurt damaged my CNS and I could tell this drug had a grip on me and was causing some serious damage. I felt like I was going insane. Upon graduating college, instead of searching for a serious job, I worked meaningless side project construction jobs. Now, there is nothing wrong with this type of work but everyone was baffled by this seeing as I did incredibly well in college and had a bright future. About 6 months after graduation I fell ill with a horrendous case of mono. I can truthfully say I have never been the same physically since. I also started to develop atrial fibrillation, which I feel Paxil contributed to. I finally got a “real” job and fought through the aches and pains as well as the extreme fatigue what I felt was after effects of returning to the gym too soon after having mono. I always thought it was Paxil in the back of my head but I didn’t want to experience what I did a few years back quitting so I tolerated it and moved on. I accepted it as a way of life and that pain was a part of living, plus nothing would show up when I went to the doctors on any of their tests so it was time to toughen up and just deal. Things started to look up as I had a steady girlfriend and despite working at jobs I felt were pointless and a waste of time, I paid my dues and I took my standarized entrance tests and was admitted into a top graduate program and would soon never look back at the only terrible jobs I could get post 2009 recession. It was 2011 and I felt this was my year. Maybe everything does happen for a reason and finally I was getting what I deserved. Then the bottom fell out. I wanted to feel again, I wanted to get the poison out of my system, I wanted to know who the “real” me was. I was already down to 20 mg of Paxil for the past few years so I decided to get off once and for all. I quit drinking heavily, which was no small task considering I was binge drinking quite frequently on Paxil from the age of 17. I began reducing the dosage on a “see how I feel” basis. If I felt ok for a couple weeks I would keep going, if not I would go back on. I finally got down to 5 mg and I began to feel again. It was a double edged sword. I began to feel things I had not felt in quite some time. I felt pain, I felt happiness, I just felt. With all of these new emotions it was hard to take this all in. I loved it though. I was working out feverishly training for a triathlon as well. Running, Biking, and swimming had taken over my life and for the first time in a long time I felt like things were looking great and I owed it all to getting that dirty drug out of my system. I also remembered feeling love for my then girlfriend, love like a first crush type love. I couldn’t help but ask myself, had I just been going through the motions before? Had I not felt what it was like to love, to have empathy, to understand emotions at a deep level? I did begin to experience something I had not felt in a while, crying. I had some serious crying spells but it felt great, I didn’t cry for years. Not everyone thought the new me was better and after months of fighting with my girlfriend, we decided to call things off. Once again, how to deal with these emotions? I felt like my world had turned upside down. I never knew someone could feel like this. It seemed nothing I did could make it better. I was in a 24/7 constant state of panic and survival. I tried to not scare my family but they were starting to notice. I pushed off starting school because I couldn’t focus and began having incredibly frightening thoughts. My family was bewildered as to why I would call off something I had worked so hard for and wanted so badly, like throwing out a winning lottery ticket knowingly. I found PProgress website and received news I didn’t want to hear. I was told this was going to be a horrendous battle and no other drug could mask what Paxil was doing. I didn’t want to hear it. I kept going back to the doctor and tried to be as subjective as possible trying to express my thoughts that Paxil was doing this, a tough task considering I was sweating and freaking out basically from withdrawal while I explained this all to her. Despite her only have knowing me for a month, she seemed to know what was best for me, Effexor, then Zoloft, add in some benzos and a couple false promises and you have full blown chaos in your brain. There are no words to describe what I went through, I still can’t fathom it now a days, despite living it and keeping a journal. It’s as if the brain digs deeper and deeper into a dark hole, it takes you to a place you didn’t know could exist, a place below death. I kept a journal and that really how I know it was all real, otherwise I would have never been able to remember the fear, pain, sadness, inhumane torture I went through. The doctor retired leaving me with a small tidbit of advice to go to the emergency room if things got really bad. Thanks doc, all those years of schooling really paid off. A month before I was training for a triathlon, fully employed, newly admitted to a top full time MBA program, girlfriend, you name it I had it and now I was a vegetable, incapable of putting two thoughts together. “This is what it is like going mad”, I often thought to myself. Knowing full well it was the drugs, screaming this to people, but no one would listen and the louder I yelled the less responsive they became and the crazier I sounded. Even my supportive family had quickly grown tired of the excuses, and god forbid I bring up what I read on the internet. I could go on and on about the doctors and how poorly treated I was and how aloof they truly are but that’s not what this post is about. Just take the meds my family said, you are chemically imbalanced. There is nothing as soul crushing as when your family begins to lose faith in you and you go at this battle alone. You name a symptom, I had it. I went Cold Turkey essentially off of 40 mg of Paxil for 10 years then began a 6 month cocktail of everything a doctor thought was a good idea, like a guinea pig. Typing that makes me sick, makes me sick I felt my best option was to let some “professional” feed me drug cocktails not suitable for an animal. I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to be awake, and so I lay in a fog wishing life away. With my only thought, “how did I let it get to this”, praying every night before a battle for just an hour or two of sleep, praying I would wake up from this nightmare and sometimes hoping I didn’t wake up at all. You quickly begin questioning your own sanity, “well maybe I am nuts”, despite all the previous years of evidence pointing to the contrary. I began thinking one sided about my childhood, trying to identify times I displayed OCD, anxiety or depression. If you go looking for something, especially in your memory, you will give yourself enough ammunition to start a war. Here’s the secret, everyone is a little messed up. I have to tell you all, I thought I was already dead, but at that point death seemed like a gift. I crawled through days, seconds seemed an eternity. I was not functional. I did the last resort and I went to the ER and stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks. Many of the staff members were upset I was taking up a bed because I seemed fine, I had no trauma, I was articulate to them. They had no idea what I was going through and what many of you are going through. I cried when I could cry, which was daily for about 2 years. I had anger outbursts by myself, I woke up to morning anxiety that was worse than any panic attack I ever had, and I was dead inside. My body ached worse than after a half marathon, neck pain, eye pain, everything hurt. I couldn’t focus on one area because it was everywhere. I just kept dwelling on the irony of who I use to be and what I had become. I kept thinking to myself, “what if people could see me now?” I remember I cried the whole night, repeating over and over again, I will never get to be a husband or a Dad. That absolutely crushed me. I went back to a new hospital and they removed me off the cocktail I was on. They couldn’t believe someone who wasn’t DX anything besides anxiety could be put on antipsychotics and at such a high dose. I literally sat there and drooled. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of this time period. I also am not bothered about talking about any of it, it seemed like a distant nightmare that was never real. Acceptance is a big thing and eventually like anything the memory fades. Even typing that I sit with an awkward facial expression almost as to ask “did I really experience that”? Accepting what happened is the only way to move on. Not dealing blame or hatred, but allowing yourself to move on and begin life again. I quickly learned I needed to get off everything and stay off no matter what. I would rather die trying than die on these drugs drooling and disgracing my previous self. Slowly I got off everything and by May of 2012 I was what I call RAW. I was scared all day every day, but things couldn’t get any worse. I was in the hospital a total of 4 weeks and was ashamed and embarrassed. My family did a good job keeping it from other family members and my friends per my request. I hated myself for doing that to my family, I hated myself for being sick. To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t give up, I wouldn’t have blamed myself. Knowing what I know now though, that happiness to survive, I am glad I fought. If you won’t fight for yourself fight for those love you, or those that will love you in the future. Fight for those memories you will have down the road and know this will all be temporary. Where am I now? You would never guess, I would never have guessed. The whole time I had to fight my own mind telling me who goes through something like this and achieves anything? Well. I ended up getting back into my graduate program somehow after a yearlong medical leave. I started with a night class which tortured me every Wednesday night. I couldn’t focus to do homework and I THOUGHT I sounded dumb in class when I did manage a few words to say. I felt broken and my brain severely damaged. I honestly felt like the most unintelligent person, not just in that school but out of everyone I came into contact with and I felt ashamed I went back and wasted what money I had left. Homework took me hours longer than what would have previously. I kept thinking, “I don’t deserve to be here, “you’re wasting your time”. I fought, pleaded my case to stay in school against my family’s wishes for me to just get a minimum wage job and work 15 hours a week. I told them I needed a year, I could show them this is withdrawal. They let me do it and for that I thank and love them infinitely, my parents even giving me the remainder for the money I owed to continue going to school out of their 401k. I matriculated back into the full time program and 2 years later I graduated from one of the best programs in the world, and no one had a clue I was struggling. No one notices what is so obvious to us. Midterms, Finals, Internship, interviews, stress, stress, stress. At times, I thought I was going to drop dead or have a stroke. I competed well, and did very well. My damaged brain wasn’t as damaged as I thought, it was just different. My brain lied to me and yours is probably doing the same. The test scores didn’t lie, the professors didn’t lie. I developed a stutter early on in withdrawal where I would mispronounce words, the oddest thing, that is now gone entirely. I can now work through the brain fog. I honestly think our brains rewire and albeit they don’t work the exact same as before, they find a way to get the job done. I traveled around the US for interviews, as if flying wasn’t hard enough during withdrawal, hell even driving is nuts, I also went on 4 hour intense interviews. My whole mantra was, “whatever happens happens but I won’t let this beat me.” I did an internship with a company you would all know and before that I worked for another big company by chance an opening became available. I also forced myself to do jobs that were absolutely not what I wanted to be doing painting people’s houses and doing construction. You may think, this guy didn’t have it that bad if he could do any of these things, I FORCED myself and when I got home cried some more. I felt like I couldn’t talk to people, I would think about withdrawal 24/7 while I was there. One of my lowest points was eating lunch with a work crew and they all were joking around and I couldn’t find words to say to fit in, I just sat there wanting to cry, wondering how my life had gotten to this point and why I couldn’t get past it. I ended up accepting a job with a company I would have only dreamed of working for 4 years ago. I moved across the US and I am in a great, healthy relationship. Why do you I tell you this? Because I was as good as dead, sitting where you are now. I know your pain, I understand. Some may think again, well he must not have had it bad because he can do all this now, or you may be thinking, “well I’m different, my case is the worst ever”. I was a horrific case. When I was on the PProgress forum I wouldn’t tell people a lot of what I was going through because it was worse and I was scared I was experiencing things no one else was. I have been off the forums for close to 2.5 years. I had to go it alone after a while, reading the forums stopped helping me and started to become an obsession. I waited for healing to occur rather than being an active participant in my recovery. I want you all to know, you don’t have to go to a top school, or get a high paying job, and truthfully, just being alive is great to me, you just have to make a choice, a choice to start living or at the very least keep surviving, because I sure as hell know sometimes all you can do is hang on. I used those examples because you have to know you will get better, a lot better. There is no way I could have accomplished what I did if I wasn’t healing. I sleep pretty damn good, no morning anxiety, no suicidal thoughts, none of that. Every once and a while I will have a panic attack and laugh at it. I made a decision that I wasn’t going to hide anymore, I wasn’t going to let this consume me, because if I did, well I was already dead. I moved forward and went inch after inch crawling. I am 4 years into withdrawal with a little over 3 years clean from any drug. I have quit drinking. I stay away from anything than can alter me, including sleep meds of any sort. I take Magnesium to relax and to stay asleep and vitamin C, the only two things that I feel make a difference. I spent thousands on other supplements and doctors, this is the only combo that worked for me. I don’t mess around with other stuff. I hear fish oil is good, I can tolerate it but I only take it periodically as well as a good probiotic. I literally was so sensitive to everything, even a multivitamin would set me off. I am still sensitive to perfumes (cologne) and for some reason, I get goosebumps when I touch paper or in a mail room. I still get nervous at times (just about every day) but after going through what I did, that doesn’t scare me one bit. My biggest issue is not being able to work out and my body not feeling 100% coordinated. I use to train really hard. Believe it or not, about a year into withdrawal I forced myself to go to the gym every day. I was able to run and lift weights and slowly it stopped hurting but not after every bone and nerve in my body begged me to stop. I would hurt for days after but I just kept doing it. Now I can’t run more than a mile or else I will feel sick for a week after. It sucks but you know what, it will get better. My body at times feels like an 80 year old man and other times normal. I am sorry I waited this long to post, but I wanted more traction and I wanted a complete story, and I felt I was at a good enough point to give you an update. I don’t have days where I feel like I am back at day 1 and the bad ones I do have I know will be gone quickly. This is me, and this is my story. I am not ashamed of beating this, I am proud and I want others to know they are not alone. I also thought staying off these sites would help me, and it did. Don’t get me wrong, the sites did help early on, but after a while you need to take ownership of your life and move forward and focus on getting better. If this helps you, then keep going, but treat yourself and get better in real life too. Like so many others, I too disappeared upon getting better. I guess I was afraid I would stop getting better or perhaps disillusioned to think I really wasn’t that well off, but I am and I can’t deny it. This is once again another way our brains play tricks on us and prove everything is relative. During withdrawal, we yearn for what people call windows, during post withdrawal or the very end, we start to worry once again about petty things, like what’s for dinner or getting 10 more minutes of sleep. I will hang around for a couple days and answer anyone’s questions they might have at night when I get home. I owe this to each and every one of you. I had several people from the old site who may be on this site as well help me early on. If I can be a beacon of hope for anyone, I want to be. I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their fight, because you’re not. “It’s not about how you feel, it’s about still doing what you want to do despite not feeling well that will make the difference, accomplishments still feel great even when you don’t” Thank you to the many people who helped me, special thank you to Alto for committing your time to this, I know it must not be easy.
  46. 1 point
    Another better day today with symptoms laying low. They don’t go away but are manageable and I can work around them.
  47. 1 point
    yes, I agree. Last week I realized I was having hypomania for the first time since I was on my highest dose of Lexapro. I did this to myself by increasing coffee consumption, which I have now given up. again! and it went away so now I know, the way life is right now I just can't handle coffee. so we have the pandemic, which is making people who formerally had NO issues depressed and anxious! and then we have our actions, which we can control. go back to walking again, not because you "should" but because it is a way to care for yourself. we all deserve good care. 😍
  48. 1 point
    I'm glad you figured that out, @Dejavu. Sounds like that could be the culprit. I had a dodgy diet at the beginning of July, too much sugar and takeaways, and I think I've been paying for it this week. However, it could also be circumstantial in part. These times we are living through are pretty intense and stressful. And things keep changing. Stay in/ go out/ go back to work/ there's no work/ etc. This is all bound to be having an impact. Quite a few people who were doing well seem to be in waves at the moment. Hang in there and hold 😊
  49. 1 point
    Cheers, that's good to know the withdrawal symptoms are roughly the same at the lower doses. It must be very low receptor occupancy at your dosage. Well done getting that far. Hope your final journey to 0mg isn't too torturous. I'm hoping the side-effects from Prozac (excessive stimulation and brain fog) will lessen at the lower doses. 2.4mg is still about 47% receptor occupancy. 1mg is about 29%. It is kind of fascinating how monstrous these drugs are. Real witches' brew stuff. I just found out my Mum's Doctor offered her antidepressants for insomnia. She suffers from mild stress due to money worries and it's affecting her sleep. She told my Mum they're completely non-addictive. Unbelievable. Thankfully she declined.
  50. 1 point
    I am so glad for you! I believe this is true for all of us. I need to believe that. I'm so sorry - but glad you are so much better & therefore so much more able to cope. skills, you have them! 🤗
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