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  1. Hello, I am new here. I really appreciate everyone posting their stories, struggles or successes. It helps me understands what I have been through WAY better. I was on paroxetine(20 mg) for 11 years for social anxiety. I was told by my psychiatrist that it would be "a vitamin I take for the rest of my life". Little did I know it would rob me off all my emotions in life. Over the last 11 years I have had a decent amount of "we dont know why this happens" health conditions. I now look back and blame alot of it on this drug. Since coming off of this drug my health conditions have improved, but some of the withdrawal symptoms kick my butt here and there. Reading the success stories, I know these will get better with time. So I am keeping my nutrition dialed in and my attitude positive. Thanks!
  2. Hello! I'm Patientflower. 27, female, yoga enthusiast, amateur artist, 2 dogs, was gainfully employed until 2 months ago when I stopped Lexapro cold turkey and had a nervous breakdown at work. Now going through withdrawals, "windows and waves" History: Throughout my adult life my biggest struggle is INSOMNIA. Most people don't believe me when I say I get 3-4 hrs of sleep on work nights, but I have my Fitbit data to back me up. Tried several sedatives and either they didn't work or made me too sedated to function the next day. I wrecked my car after a night of no sleep despite taking Ambien so I don't mess around with any sleep meds. My parents put me on Prozac at age 17. I wish they wouldn't have, as my only mood issues were normal teenage stuff- anxieties about grades and boys. It worked like a charm though to shut off most of my emotions. I was mostly fine through college and functioned well. Stayed on Prozac until 23 when it didn't seem to be working anymore when I started working full time in advertising/PR. Started/stopped/started/tweaked Lexapro numerous times starting at age 23. Weirdly enough, a side effect of this was that I lost most of my hair due to the shock to my body (telogen effluvium.) Every time I tried to stop Lexapro from age 23-27 my depression and anxiety would "resurface" according to my doctor, I'd lose a ton of hair, and I'd go back on it. Everytime I changed doses or stopped it I'd lose handfuls of hair (about 50 percent of my remaining density) It wasn't until years of this that my dermatologist connected the dots and determined this as the cause for my hair loss after ruling out everything else possible. At age 27, I experienced the worst job stress of my life. (And also a mostly bald head.) At the time I was sleeping 3-4 hours a night on work nights. I was on the Lexapro but still in a terrible place despite therapy, nutrition, exercise. The doctor added Rexulti to make the Lexapro work better, Remeron to make me sleep, and Adderall to help me perform better at my stressful job. I took them all out of desperation. Nothing seemed to get better, although the Adderall helped me get more and more work done. Eventually I stopped eating or sleeping entirely though so I stopped the Adderall, with some slight depressive withdrawal symptoms, and then stopped the Rexulti and Remeron with no issues. The Lexapro was an entirely different ball game. After figuring out that it's been the cause of my hairloss and hasn't benefited me mentally, I wanted off of it, fast. I didn't know about tapering and when I stopped it I had a mental breakdown at work. I was signed off for a couple weeks on FMLA. Since I've been on antidepressants or tampering with the dosages, I feel my brain has never had a chance to normalize since 17. 17 is a pivital time for brain development. worry the damage is permanent. I'm on day 59 of no Lexapro and having a very bad time. I'm here to join the forum and get some hope that things will get better! I don't know if anyone here is like me (chronically started and stopped antidepressants numerous times and messed up their brain chemistry.) Wishing love and healing to everyone, Patientflower
  3. Cocopuffz17

    Erell: struggling with paroxetine

    Yes, it absolutely mind blowing that they give prescriptions for everything. How did we as humans survive the hardest times when there was nothing man made on this planet? But now we can’t leave our house without 20 allergies. I separated my shoulder and was told I needed two prescriptions. I took the papers, but never filled them. Injury healed faster than any other blunt force injury I have received from rugby. Hmmmmm I also went to the doc about having shortness of breath. Instantly said I have asthma and prescribed a puffer. Odd... I’ve played sports for 20 years and never had this issue before. I didn’t get the puffer and haven’t had that issue since that one event. I also have a keloid scar on my shoulder from about 10 years ago. It would get so big that a seatbelt would irritate it. I would go get steroid injections. It would reduce in size for a few months and repeated this step 5-6 times. I changed my nutrition and came off this medication and wow the keloid is almost flat with my skin. So you tell me. I eliminated the inflammation in my body which was causing this and my body took care of it. Another big one for me is my autoimmune disease which I have struggled with for 4 years. Doctors want to hit it with steroids or immunosuppressants. I refused. But I come off this medication and change my nutrition and boom hair starts growing back. I strongly believe medication is over prescribed and causing more long term health issues than the short term benefit it is providing. Yes, it absolutely mind blowing that they give prescriptions for everything. How did we as humans survive the hardest times when there was nothing man made on this planet? But now we can’t leave our house without 20 allergies. I separated my shoulder and was told I needed two prescriptions. I took the papers, but never filled them. Injury healed faster than any other blunt force injury I have received from rugby. Hmmmmm I also went to the doc about having shortness of breath. Instantly said I have asthma and prescribed a puffer. Odd... I’ve played sports for 20 years and never had this issue before. I didn’t get the puffer and haven’t had that issue since that one event. I also have a keloid scar on my shoulder from about 10 years ago. It would get so big that a seatbelt would irritate it. I would go get steroid injections. It would reduce in size for a few months and repeated this step 5-6 times. I changed my nutrition and came off this medication and wow the keloid is almost flat with my skin. So you tell me. I eliminated the inflammation in my body which was causing this and my body took care of it. Another big one for me is my autoimmune disease which I have struggled with for 4 years. Doctors want to hit it with steroids or immunosuppressants. I refused. But I come off this medication and change my nutrition and boom hair starts growing back. I strongly believe medication is over prescribed and causing more long term health issues than the short term benefit it is providing.
  4. Hey! Me as well. I changed my nutrition and could not believe the difference in the way I felt. How long have you been eating Plant Paradox ?
  5. Hey there, I've been following topics on this website and it's German equivalent (adfd.org) for quite a while as a silent observer and the knowledge I gained here and there helped me tremendously. Otherwise, I would be caught deeply in the psychiatric mill these days for sure. I am 29 years old/male from Germany with a long history of depression/dysthymia/melancholia/call it whatsoever. 3 Therapies didn't get to the root and this caused me to give it a try with Duloxetin/Cymbalta in autumn 2015. The psychiatric support I had since then was lousy due to lacking knowledge and ended up in a first CT in April 2016 with 1 week of disease: brain zaps, flu, nausea, headache and so on. After then: Everything fine for a while until a mental breakdown came 4 months later and of course I reinstated the former full dose of Cymbalta. The 2 cold turkeys after were rather smooth, at the beginning always accompanied by these thoughts: "Yes, I've made it. No problem for me to get off at all." But the mental breakdown (depression, crying spells, inner emptyness) came months later. Of course I didn't reflect it that way in those years, otherwise I wouldn't have caused so much violence to my system ... November 2017 was a bit special because I started to experience maniac episodes with huge amounts of energy shooting through my body, and I finally started to sense that sth. was going fairly wrong here. I jumped off for the third time, travelled to India, had a breakdown in February 2018 but no possibility to get a new dose without travelling back to Germany, which I didn't because I am super stubborn sometimes. Instead I rushed through South India (not knowing what was happening) in a constant mode of flight and aggression, flying to Sri Lanka where I was bitten by a street dog (calming me down in a way which was good in these days). I returned to Germany in March 2018. Starting a super stressful job as a vegetarian cook in April I soon feel back into old patterns of depression and emptyness which made me trying out another SNRI (Milnacipran). This went terribly wrong because my CNS didn't tolerate the dose and a suicidal sword of thoughts caused me insomnia, terror and endless pain for weeks. I decided: No more substances. And then, after weeks, I discovered this website and adfd.org and understood what I had done all the time... About one year is over since my last dose of poison and I can assure you that I have suffered enormously. The first 4 months were a pure mental hell and I even failed to kill myself in a friends flat. The only physical effect I felt was a huge urge to eat carbohydrates and sugar, in high times I consumed 5 bars of chocolate which is about 500 gram. I was disgusted by myself day by day by day unable to change anything because the body chemistry was so unbalanced. Month 5 and 6 I experienced as maniac windows, exhausting myself, doing too much, working too much as a driver, thinking I was all through. I wasn't. In November 2018 mental clarity slowly came back, brain fog faded more and more but therefore physical problems started: Skin rash all over my back Whole body pain emanating from my brain Strong headache After waking up a feeling of being overrun by a truck Chronique Fatigue Restlessness Physical tension Phases of cognitive shutdown Of course, there are many more symptoms in this process of healing that come and go. What helped me: Acceptance Acceptance Acceptance Forgiveness Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Self-love Loving others Hope These days I am living alone after living in a flat-share became too exhausting for me, most of my social contacts have broken up and I'm fine with that. It's better this way as long I am healing. The people which helped me most are ironically people who don't know me, here a list: Alan Watts (I've listened to almost any of his talks on Youtube. Just brilliant ...) Sadghuru (Same is valid for him) Eckhart Tolle from time to time (he can be a bit exhausting) Friedrich Nietzsche Franz Kafka ("You are the task, no pupil far and wide") Eric Fromm Jiddu Krishnamurti Terence McKenna (The self-empowering talks, less the drug and mushroom stuff) Jack Kornfield Mike Hellwig (German therapist who advocates the principle of Radical Allowance) Jens Böttcher (German musician singing about love and peace) Simone Weil Tony Robbins in a certain way Jordan Peterson as a negative and desperate role model I only know one person in my surroundings who has gone through comparable suffering. He is a good friend and I talk to him from time to time. Fortunately, I have caring and loving parents. I did not always think that way about them, but they are a real gift. These days I am waving between inner peace, physical pain, enormous aggression, deep depression with suicidal thoughts and universal love. It's paradox. Nonetheless my general condition has improved a lot. When I'm not bedridden, I go swimming or do Yoga. Jogging is too intense for me most of time. Long walks in nature are a must. My diet has become super healthy and nutritious. I would consider it as a mixed approach with knowledge from the fields of whole-food-nutrition, Ayurveda and clean eating. I eat mostly vegan, some eggs and a bit fish every week. No milk and meat, no processed food, no industrial sugar. Since Sunday I am completely unemployed, until then I worked here and there but my CNS has clearly shown me that he doesn't want to be exposed to any form of stress at the moment. And the biggest insight on this journey: I have caused it, I will make it through. No one to blame, not even myself. Yours, C.
  6. @composter thank you so much for your reply. I’m trying very hard to heal - it’s been a short but very stressful ride with all of this and I’m really looking forward to getting back on my feet and moving forward. I’ve literally been forcing myself to eat and it’s really hard. Trying small pieces of bread, I seem to be ok with fruits and smoothies, broth is somewhat ok. This will pass right? Proper nutrition is so critical in the healing process. Any other suggestions for healing? I tell myself every single day that I am going to get better and it’s not going to be a long drawn out thing, I walk, I colour, I try to keep busy...socializing is still hard because of the sensory stuff. The depersonalization is very difficult for me. As is the sensory overload. I did have a major major panic attack when I was on the 100mg which was terrible - I felt like an autistic kid and that I was very highly depersonalized and very incredibly overwhelmed with everything - the air on my skin, the movement, the sights, lights, sounds...my poor brain. I have yet to go back to public transportation there since. I don’t want to have PTSD or agoraphobia! I’ve never had that before! I can still drive when I’m not feeling super depersonalized and sensitized and have gone into stores and whatnot. Not to say that it doesn’t cross my mind of the “what if’s”. It’s so scary to not be in control. Of all of this! Im trying so hard to stay grounded and positive and know that it will get better. Right?
  7. This is exactly what I have done during periods of WD-induced insomnia. The tea, the candles, the prayer, it helps so much...not necessarily with the sleep but with the mindset. @DD44 you are doing a great job trying to make behavior changes like yoga, meditation, proper nutrition, and water. Take things one step at a time. You will get through this. The easiest way to respond to people is to use the “@“ symbol and then type their username. Perhaps English is not your first language? Many members on here describe going through periods of extreme insomnia but they are still able to function. I know, during the insomnia that I have during waves, I may not get the sleep I usually need, but somehow I feel hyperactive and wired throughout the day, so it turns out okay. There’s a post by Brassmonkey about this somewhere. Please do read into the links that Gridley provided above about trying melatonin and other non-drug tools for sleep.
  8. composter

    thelegend: hoping to get there

    Hi Legend, Read through your thread just now. I’m glad you are seeing that your baseline has been improving despite having waves. This is key for boosting your morale and knowing that you are on the road to stabilizing. I, too, went through full reinstatement and the unknowns of stabilizing. For me it took a good 6 months after reinstatement to feel much more normal and where most of my symptoms subsided. I then waited another 2 months for a total of 8 months before starting my taper. Patience is key, as well as good nutrition (eat plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, cut back on processed and sugary foods), and a toolkit of self-soothing activities. My toolkit included things like daily sun exposure, self-administered foot massages, and spending time with plants either gardening or on a neighborhood walk. The natural world is immensely healing. It also helped to write notes on paper that I posted in my bedroom wall with mantras and suggestions to myself of what to do when I was in a wave. Each wave felt exactly like acute withdrawal, but they always passed, and once they did, there were improvements. This is simply just the mysterious pattern of healing that we all experience. To echo some advice I’ve heard and read about stabilization: You will know when you have stabilized. If you are still wondering if you have stabilized enough, you are not yet stable. You will know. And it can very likely take between 6-12 months. Be patient. How are you doing after the possible double-dose? I wouldn’t worry too much about it, one day is not going to throw you off too much. Hope you are well.
  9. Cocopuffz17


    No offence to your doctors, but they are taught wrong. I was told for years my nutrition was fine and was not the cause of my health issues. I changed my nutrition and have myself a healthy microbiome and boom I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life. Which gave me the courage to come off the medication(which I thought I would never ever do because I was told I needed it for life). Yes, the addiction to sugar is hard. With WDs being the hardest thing in my life to go through, eliminating sugar was the second hardest thing and the WDs from that were extremely tough, but can be done! I am proof! Xylitol is way better and recommended in the book I follow. I would spend the $15 and read the book The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry, it saved my life. It challenges everything we know about food and in the end it’s the only reason I am off my medication, my autoimmune disease is reversing and still employed full time.
  10. Cocopuffz17


    No problem, you are welcome. I know 100% nutrition changes from The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry are the only reason I am off this medication this time. I tried in the past and was not able to. Even now when my nutrition slips I pay the price with withdrawals.
  11. Yes, it absolutely is. Because without a doubt I would be back on the medication if I never seeked help/advice outside of the healthcare system. I just constantly got told it was a relapse of symptoms and that reassured me that I needed it for life... aka chemical imbalance. Which can be controlled with nutrition as your gut produces a majority 80% of your body’s serotonin. oooo that’s in Quebec I haven’t visited there. I will get there one day!
  12. Hello! I did a 3 month guided taper by my psychiatrist(25% drop per month) I now know it was WAY too fast. The WD's were extremely tough. I would say I was in a 1/10 happiness in my life. I would say now after being 8 months off paroxetine completely I am at 7/10. Everyday things get better. I do struggle with withdrawals when I do not follow my nutrition plan.
  13. Hey! So kind you are! I'll leave a link here https://www.alopeciaworld.com/forum/topics/aa-for-3-4-years-partial-au-for-1-2-years-i-have-100-regrowth-on. This is my autoimmune disease thread I have been documenting for sometime. I first realized nutrition was beneficial based on the results I got from going on a paleo diet around 3 years ago. I didn't get full success and got discouraged and resumed my old eating habits. Which led to my condition worsening again. I found a book after doing some googling and than an ad came up on leaky gut. The odd part to me was the ad was over 45 minutes long, seems odds for an ad, right? So I watched all of it and was fascinated by the info in it. The book is The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry. This guy is one of the top heart surgeons in the world and quit his job because he realized he can save more peoples lives with nutrition rather than surgery. After only 4-6 weeks of eating this way I FELT BETTER than I have ever in my whole life. Like my focus was through the roof. I never ever ever ever experienced anything like that before. This is what let me know that I would be able to come off this medication. what are the main changes you've made? I follow a lectin limited diet laid out in that book. I would say it was about a 98% change in the type of foods from my old eating habits. I completely cut out dairy, grains and alot of vegetables I used to eat(potatoes and beans). I went from a 40%-50% meat diet to rarely eating meats and when I do its a maximum of 8 oz per day and is wild caught fish 99% of the time. what are the best foods according To you? I eat a ton of olives and lots of olive oil. I get roughly 8000-10000 calories a week from this source and have been for almost a year. Lots of leafy greens (spinach, arugula, swiss chard, romaine lettuce) I keep my eating very simple. There are tons of tasty recipes, but I haven't dabbled that far in, especially someday's with WD's being overwhelming. could you write for us an example of what you eat in a day? Absolutely, here is my day. Fast 6 pm - 10 am daily, I've been doing it for almost a year 10 am - guacamole and walnuts/pecans/pistachios Noon - Leafy green and carrots 5 pm - Sorghum (Its one of a few lectin free grains) I pop it and put LOTS of olive oil and it and mix scrambled eggs in there(Omega 3 ones), 1 oz dark chocolate, garlic stuffed olives and rotate between cauliflower, broccoli and sauerkraut. Almost all of the stuff I get is organic. Alot I get at costco. The tricky part is meat. Because fish must be wild caught, not farm raised. The beef I eat needs to be grass raised and grass finished. Alot of cattle are finished with grains to fatten them up. You are eating what your meat ate and if they ate a ton of grains you are getting that through the meat you eat. Thanks, I am hoping the best for you as well! Everyday that passes is another day closer to being fully healed!
  14. It’s late and I need to get back to bed, but I thought of my friends in here and wanted to post an update for those of you who have been regularly checking in on me ( @ShiningLight, @Dejavu, @Idlehnds, @brassmonkey, @Len189 and others). I am now in week 3 of my grad school program and all things considered, things are going well. A year ago, and even 4 weeks ago in my last wave, I would have never thought this would be possible for me. Here are the things I am doing that I could not do one year ago: I am driving, I am cooking and taking care of myself, I am using screens, I am making friends, I am moving forward, etc. I am now on 8.25 mg and plan to reduce 0.25 mg every 3 weeks or so. This is because I have found my 0.5 mg drops to be detectable so I want to go even slower. I will say that I still do dwell and fixate on this whole AD withdrawal issue in general because it was simply so devastating. My strong and overcome feelings about this are not going away anytime soon. The brain truly does heal, but it takes time. The best “medicines” for me in this process have been the most fundamental and pure things in life: time, good nutrition, sunshine, plants/gardening, quality time with others, walking, and sleep. (Did I mention time?) There are no better medicines than this. A few thoughts and requests for your support: I know we are all conscious of disclosing more information about ourselves but I will say this: I am at a health sciences university where there are medical students, NP students, pharmacy students, etc. I feel uniquely situated to tell my story and educate those entering these professions about prescription drug dependence and withdrawal. But I am, as you can imagine, weak to my knees thinking about how I will develop the courage to do this. But I know I have a profound story to share, and one that must be heard by future professionals, and I have the smarts to share it in a biomedical way for them to understand. My family member MD who has fully supported me in my suffering says that these programs will often have patients give talks and share about what they have gone through, so it can definitely be set up. This family member tells me it will have a huge impact on these students to hear from me. Please do pray and send supportive thoughts my way regarding this. I do have an idea about where to get started in finding the right people on my campus to get things going, but it’ll be an added load to coordinate and prepare for this atop my already rigorous courseload. But I feel it will be cathartic and healing to do this and to educate. I need strength, courage, more strength, and more courage to do this. Thank you and much love to you.
  15. Hey! I did a complete 180 on my nutrition. I came across a lifestyle outlined in the book The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry. I followed his book to reverse my autoimmune disease (alopecia). With my alopecia reversing I had the added benefit of feeling the best I ever felt in my life. So then that gave me the courage to come of this medication. The whole theory behind his book is to avoid lectins. They cause GI issues and since I have had better nutrition, any high lectin foods cause me mild to severe discomfort so I avoid them. Now I know the autoimmune diseases I have had in my life were from nutrition, but more from medication and the destructive effect it has on our gut microbiome. I literally don’t have food sensitivities to foods that used to make me break out in a full body rash after healing my leaky gut. The results are absolutely amazing.... especially considering I’ve been to numerous doctors over the last 5 years and have had no progress. The best progress I’ve had is with nutrition changes and now I am off my medication from changing the foods I consume. I do supplement as well, if you are interested but that I can post it when I get to a computer. Feel free to ask any questions!
  16. That is awesome to hear!!! I’m glad you saw improvements so fast. When I compare my two tapering attempts in my life. #1 no nutrition changes, lasted 3 weeks (one dose reduction 20mg to 15mg) before I couldn’t take it and had to go back on. #2 changed my nutrition which in turn changed my microbiome and supplemented and I am now 8 months off and no intention of ever going back on the medication! Everyday that passes is another day closer to being healed !!
  17. Cocopuffz17


    I would say cut out the whole grains. The nutrition plan I follow says they are terrible for causing inflammation in the body. Throw some millet, sorghum, or hemp seed in there instead.
  18. Well I had a 8 hr non complaint span of not following my nutrition plan on the weekend.(McDonald’s and liquor) It’s tough at times, but WDs have a habit of reminding you who the boss is. So time to dial it back in and get at it. I haven’t had insomnia in months and the last two days have been tough. Last night I got 3 hrs of sleep. Tonight has been 2 so far. I haven’t resorted to melatonin yet. Grrrrr, poor choice on my part. Live, Learn and be better! Everyday that passes is one day closer to being healed!
  19. Hi sweet Cocopuffz! Thank you for stopping by on my thread! You talk a lot about nutrition and how you have changed yours. Would you agree To explain us a bit more ? - what are the main changes you've made? - what are the best foods according To you? - could you write for us an example of what you eat in a day? Thank you so much for repeating your sentence " I love it and keep reading it 😄 Wish you my best!!!
  20. ShiningLight

    Gemma92: severely kindled

    I know it's frightening and upsetting. Just keep focusing on the basics again and again: Nutrition. Hydration. Gentle movement. Rest. Repeat. That's all you need to worry about right now. Nothing global like identity. Narrow your focus to what you can do right now. And when you get derailed, gently return to it again and again.
  21. Hello, everyone! This will be a long post, but I appreciate any advice, anecdotes, or insight the community can give me. I've never posted here, but I used to read everything I could on PP and feel like I know a lot of the people here, even though I've never spoken up/talked to them. Thank you for your stories and strength - they helped me during my worst days of withdrawal, and are helping me again now. The TL;DR version: I had three years of withdrawal windows and waves, then nothing for nearly three years after that - I was completely my old self, no symptoms. Then, this past March, I took Sudafed and have since had 4 waves. They're mild (apart from the current one, though it's still much better than my waves were several years ago) but it's still obviously a shock to deal with this again. Full story below. In late 2011, I was prescribed Abilify (2.5 mg up to 10 mg) for the off-label treatment of trichotillomania/compulsive hair-pulling by my college campus psychiatrist. I had no prior history of mental illness or anxiety, aside from mis-diagnosis of depression at age 15 (my father had just died - of course I was emotionally depressed, but for a doctor to pin it on a chemical imbalance vs. actual grief was, I now believe, malpractice. Moving on). The doctor told me it was safe to cold-turkey the Abilify when I said it wasn't helping. Obviously, I now realize she was very, very wrong - but at the time, not knowing better/being only 21, I trusted her advice and stopped the Abilify. Within a week, I got an extreme and very sudden depersonalization episode. It felt like I was watching myself in a dream, just going through the motions, and felt terrified but also numb. Then, as quickly as it came on, it stopped one night at work, and I was "back to normal." A few weeks after that, I experienced a long bout of overwhelming anxiety, sadness, sensitivity to stress, "electrical"/burning feelings in my head (that I later learned were brain zaps), nausea and loss of appetite, darkened urine despite stronger thirst, excessive sweating, and fast heart rate. All of this was worse in the mornings but, most days, would lift/ease up in the evenings, like a switch had been flipped. My "good days" still felt off, like I wasn't myself. I later realized this was the early stages of the waves and windows pattern. Four months after cold-turkeying Abilify, I became pregnant. My pregnancy actually had no real windows or waves, but instead remained at a sort of baseline below my "real normal." Like, I was sad and anxious, but functional and without "crashes" or dips. I think my brain put its healing on hold for the health of the baby - because, as soon as she was born, the waves and windows began again, and for the next year established an even clearer pattern. I kept a very detailed log throughout all this, and can clearly see that each year got better, though at the time I felt like it was taking forever. During that year I tried a lot of supplements, 5HTP and Ashwaghanda and the like, that I think delayed my recovery. So, in November 2013, I decided that I would no longer take individual amino acids/precursors, but instead would try a balanced blend with all the amino acids so my body could just pick and choose what it needed, if anything. I guess I was still working off an "imbalance" theory, which I now know isn't accurate, but since my appetite was so low I figured why not try it; it would at least help my nutrition overall. It was TwinLab Amino Fuel (no longer made), a couple Tbsp a day, with magnesium citrate 2x at morning at night. Immediately, I felt better. My waves lessened in severity overall (though some were just as long/intense at times), and my windows became longer and more normal - I felt more like the "real me." 2014 saw marked improvement, and 2015 was even better. In May of 2015, I became pregnant again, and had a happy and joyful pregnancy. In 2016, I experienced a mild wave after giving birth, and another after smoking too many cigarettes at a party (I've vaped at a low mg nicotine almost constantly since 2010 or so; this was my first time smoking a lot of analog cigarettes in years). That was my last wave. I then had almost three years of complete normalcy - no waves, no symptoms at all. I was completely normal and back to my old self pre-Abilify - but even better, because I appreciated my mental stability more and had learned to accept my trichotillomania. Because, no matter how much I hate the hair-pulling, it is SO much better to have that than the hell Abilify put me through. So...that brings me to now, and why I'm posting. In March of this year (2019), I took Sudafed for 4 days for a bad cold. I'd taken a dose here and there in the past for colds, but never before like this: round-the-clock, every six hours or so (whatever the box advises), for days at a time, because it was a really severe cold and the Sudafed helped. On the fifth day, I woke up with panic, racing heart, excessive sweating, and that "the world is ending" feeling that so clearly marked my old waves. This lasted for about a week, and in retrospect was incredibly mild; it lifted around midday each day, each day was better than the previous one, and I was functional and pretty happy overall through the entire thing. Other than being blindsided that I'd had another wave after three whole years without any symptoms, I felt good. By that point, I had phased my old regimen out over the previous three years, and was back to my "pre-Abilify" habits of one to two cups of coffee a day, a couple glasses of wine once a week if that, and only taking magnesium on nights I couldn't sleep. I also hadn't used my DayLight/supplemented with vitamin D the previous winter, which I always used to do to combat seasonal fatigue. But I figured I "felt fine now" and just...didn't worry about it. My diet probably wasn't great during those three years, either, but wasn't bad - just could have been healthier, I'm sure. Maybe all this played into it, who knows. Anyway, since my old amino blend was no longer available, I went out and got something called ProSupps Amino 23 and magnesium citrate, and briefly used my regimen again - figuring, "It helped back then, it'll help now." It did ease the symptoms, and the wave lifted within a week. I figured I'd tripped something in my brain, but that it was a one-time thing and that, as long as I never took Sudafed again, I'd be fine. Stopped my regimen again, aside from occasional magnesium for trouble sleeping. In early July, I took a course of nitrofurantoin for a UTI. By the final day, I woke up with another wave feeling - anxiety, sweating, heart racing, etc. Like before, it was mild overall and lifted within the week, while I again started using my regimen, then again phased it out once the wave had passed. Then, in August, we moved out of my in-laws' house, where we'd been living for the last 1.5 years. Moving has been very hard, even though we're just a few minutes away from them - emotionally, I've felt isolated and lonely without other people constantly in the house, since my husband is working more (because now we have to handle more bills and higher rent again), and miss my dog, as well as my daughter's old school; this one is two hours earlier than her old one, and I don't do well waking up that early - she doesn't either. A lot of changes in a short time, basically. I got a fairly mild wave for about 10 days off and on upon moving in, and started my regimen again some time in there. It lifted, and I thought, "Okay, no big deal, don't worry: you just triggered something with that Sudafed thing, and now the stress of moving is triggering a wave because of that - this is a lot to deal with, but you'll be okay." Kept drinking coffee (maybe 10 oz a day or less), had occasional wine with friends, and used Amino 23 and magnesium (1x a day) any days I felt more stressed than usual. Had a couple weeks of feeling totally normal, though emotionally I was still dealing with the move/missing my in-laws' house. WHELP. For the last 5 days, I have been in a very bad wave. It's much, much better today, and overall the entire wave is still better than a lot I had several years ago - back then, it was a miracle just to care for my daughter, whereas this wave, even on my worst days (when my husband and mom had to keep me company bc I hated the thought of feeing lonely) I can still shower, have a few laughs, go out doing stuff, etc. But the weird thing is that, this wave, the feelings aren't lifting completely at night like they usually do, and I've had extreme trouble falling asleep. Rapidfire random thoughts, none of which are stressful but for some reason jolt me awake; racing heart; restless, have-to-get-up feeling, even though I was exhausted. It was like my brain just forgot how to let me go to sleep, despite every other cell in my body wanting it more than anything. I got a few hours the first 3 days and was a wreck, because I don't do well with sleep deprivation anyway; I get very emotional if I go more than a day or two without a full night. On the worst day, when I couldn't stop crying and couldn't sleep, my husband suggested CBD oil. I've never smoked or used any marijuana products, so I was nervous - especially because, since Abilify, I've become very vigilant about what I put in my body...Sudafed notwithstanding, apparently. But anyway, I tried the CBD, 10mg under the tongue 2x day, and while the results weren't amazing, it did allow me to FINALLY get sleep. Not because it made me sleepy, or even relaxed me...it just "squashed down" the rapidfire thoughts and restlessness enough to where I could ignore it and drift off. Still waking up too early, but the last 2 days I've been able to fall back asleep for a few hours. And I haven't woken up in tears freaking out. Not sure if it's the CBD and/or the wave on its way out anyway, but I'll be monitoring things closely regardless. I know CBD is considered safe and doesn't have THC - I would never risk taking that for fear of a reaction - but I'm also being cautious because, had I done that with the Sudafed, I don't think I'd be having waves again. (On the other hand, it's also frustrating to still have to watch everything I put in my body...I know Sudafed is strong, and just because a drug is sold doesn't make it safe - I'm just venting my frustration, I guess, that I couldn't even treat a darn cold without my old Abilify BS rearing its head.) I'm now taking 1 Tbsp of the Amino 23, as well as 200 mg magnesium citrate in the morning and before bed. Been doing that the last week or so. It does seem to ease my symptoms considerably and help me function, especially the magnesium. I might try fish oil again because I know that and magnesium are the only supplements formally recommended here, but I'm nervous with fish oil because for some reason it tends to "key me up." Maybe it's something I should take only in windows, rather than during waves. For anyone who this posts upsets, seeing someone who had total recovery experience another wave so far out - I want to emphasize that even this current wave is MILES above where I was a few years ago. The hardest part is simply dealing with it again when I thought I was in the clear, and lamenting taking Sudafed. And for my long initial recovery, keep in mind that I had 2 pregnancies, a ton of life changes (graduating, moving a lot, marriage, kids), and supplements like 5htp that all might have very well prolonged that process. Even now, I'm far better than I was four or five years ago, and I have experienced immense healing. Please don't feel triggered or upset, because that's not my intention at all - everyone is different, and this is just my personal recovery timeline. Has anyone experienced waves after YEARS without symptoms? I know this is still related to my Abilify withdrawal, because it feels identical to those waves (just milder than a lot of them), and I know it was triggered by the Sudafed because it was immediately after I stopped using that. Not saying the move didn't genuinely upset me - just that, had it not been for the Sudafed thing, I probably wouldn't have had a wave because of the move. Also important to note, maybe, is that I tried birth control again for a couple months last year, which I hadn't tried since 2013. It made me too moody and emotional, so I quit it. Maybe that played into things, I don't know. Maybe my gradual slide into not taking as good care of myself created a perfect storm for the Sudafed to trigger a wave? I remember reading a long time ago about someone who had been symptom-free a while, then got dental work done and the anesthesia triggered a wave. So I know my story probably isn't the only one out there - I'd just love some reassurance and advice about this, and comfort that I will get better again. I mean, as frustrating as it is to experience symptoms after 3 years without any, I also take solace in knowing those three years did happen - which means I could have three years again, or five, or more...or forever, symptom-free. I'm just in a tough spot right now, worrying and doubting, being paranoid that I set myself back with something as seemingly benign as Sudafed. So any help is really appreciated, even if it's stuff I already know - hearing it again always helps. Anyway. Sorry for the long post, but I had to be thorough for my own peace of mind.
  22. JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
  23. I was fortunate when I did my fast taper and got smashed with the brunt of the withdrawals right after going to 0 that I was in school. So I barely was functional going there and just came home and slept(14+ hrs daily for almost 2 months). I know doing a proper slow taper now would of avoided the huge spike in symptoms, but like many I followed my psychiatrists instructions I’ve been employed for 7 months straight since going to zero. The key is I took a WAY less stressful job that pays almost half of what I am qualified to make. But I am willing to make the sacrifice to get through this. I have adjusted my life accordingly for financials. Although at sometimes I felt like I needed to quit my job and sell my house. This community got me through it with knowing there is a light on the other side of the tunnel!!! I had 1-2 weeks of massive fatigue at 6 months completely off the drug and used sick days/vacation time to cover those days. I’ve actually been combating fatigue with black coffee daily, 4-5 cups. I know they discourage against stimulants as people see spikes in symptoms. But the nutrition I follow states coffee is loaded with polyphenols which benefits the gut microbiome. I haven’t had any out of the normal WD symptoms while consuming it. Running out of money is tough. I know I have depleted through a lot of savings. I was fortunate enough to have a nice nest egg saved up. My advice is see what the bare minimum wage you can live on with the least amount of stress position you would be able to take.
  24. Thank you so much for posting such a detailed description of your journey through this. I am 7 months off and feel better each day, but still get massive fatigue. I agree 100% with you stating that food is the best medicine, it gives the best results. (which is the opposite of western medicine, I asked about nutrition and they always said my diet was "fine"). Personally changing my nutrition is the only reason I know I was able to come off this medication. As for your family and them rolling their eyes. I have the exact same experience. A majority of people won't understand until they go through it. I have had people critique it and they are having numerous health issues and WILL NOT CHANGE their diet. Instead they continue to take more medication and HAVE NEGATIVE results, all because a doctor told them, its always their justification. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and journey, which is now a success!!!! Awesome! Mindset and nutrition are the best medicine!!
  25. Where to even start with this....I've been on lexapro and trazodone since June 2019. I recently moved earlier this year to a new part of the state and got a new PCP once I got here. My sleep had been pretty garbage for a few weeks. Rewind a little.....I had gone to the gym on Tuesday March 5th and had a pretty good workout. That morning I woke up at 1am feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I went to the ER and was told my potassium was low. I was also told I was hypothyroid, which later turned out to be false. After that was when I noticed a significant uptick in general anxiety and significant decrease in quality of sleep. I wasn't able to sleep more than an 2-3 hours before waking up and having to go to the bathroom. I tried most everything I knew to improve my sleep: keeping the same routine, drinking tea, taking supplements. Not much really helped. I got engaged in May and as soon as the wedding planning started everything continued to get worse. Sleep was restless and I started to have more anxiety throughout the day because of it. I was never really an anxious person (other than with stuff like public speaking and what not). But after continued worsening of my sleep and not being able to figure out anything to help I went back to my new PCP, and he put me on lexapro 10 mg and trazodone 50 mg. The trazodone would knock me out but I'd still wake up a few hours later having to go to the bathroom and just feeling like a zombie. The sleep was never restful and I continued to get more frustrated about the situation. Since I had been to this new MD twice and spoken to him for a total of less than 10 min, but he still felt confident about putting me on two meds, I decided it was time for me to find a new PCP. (I had blood work down as soon as I moved and he said "everything looked good." I got a copy of my blood work and there were a few things I was a little worried about, cholesterol levels primarily. This also made me want to find a new PCP since he didn't even take the time to discuss anything he found on the blood work. Just a little about my background, I have a master's degree in exercise physiology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, and spend a lot of free time reading about nutrition.) So because of this I decided to get an online MD, someone I follow online and look up to. The first time I talked with them, we were on the phone for almost an hour discussing my current situation and past medical history. I already felt 10x more confident in my new MD and had a lot more faith in getting through the situation. He asked me about the trazodone and if I thought it had been helping at all, I told him no. He recommended coming off it if I wanted to. At this point I had only been on it for about 10 days. I came off the 50 mg of trazodone and felt absolutely terrible that whole week. Anxiety was through the rough, I felt like I was constantly peeing, and sleep just got worse. Not to mention the heart palpitations, gastric distress, stomach cramping, jaw clenching, nasal congestion, headaches, blurred vision, change in appetite. I didn't sleep longer than 2 hours and couldn't remember the last time I had a dream. I normally had a few dreams per week and was often able to recall them. That Friday I ended up in the hospital thinking I was having a bad reaction to the lexapro since I was started out on 10mg rather than 5mg. Only later did I learn it was from quitting the trazodone. Because of this I dropped from 10mg to 5mg of lex and reinstated 50mg of trazodone. Over the next month I tried to get my exercise schedule and diet on point. Before all this started I felt like I was pretty healthy. Went to the gym 4 days a week and lifted for ~2ish hours, ate what I thought was pretty healthy, enjoyed my morning coffee every day (probably had a bit of an unhealthy relationship with that haha), didn't smoke, rarely drank, no recreational drugs. So all of this was extremely foreign to me. When I tried to start exercising more I noticed that my heart rate stayed elevated for hours after I got done working out, my sleep would be garbage that evening, and the next day always resulted in a lot more anxiety. It would take 2-3 days before I felt like I was back to this "new normal." So at this point I decided to read more about both of these medicines and really buckle down on improving my sleep, diet, and stress levels before returning to the gym. As of writing this point I haven't stepped foot in the gym since early July, which is really killing me. I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror. My body weight has dropped around 15lbs and it seems like I've lost every bit of muscle I've ever put on. I am so ready to get back into the gym and squat something but at the same time I'm also worried about never getting back to where I was physically before all this happened. Fast forward to September and I'm exactly 2 months away from getting married. My sleep has improved greatly, I can sleep for 6+ hours straight before waking up most every night, I'm having vivid dreams almost every night of the week, the side effects have decreased significantly, and I'm starting to see that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still on 5mg of lex and down to 6mg of traz. My spiritual life has improved significantly during this time. I have spent more time in my bible, more time praying, and more time listening to spiritual discussions/sermons online. My fiance is great and has been there every step of the way with me! Supporting me during those terrible days and not getting upset when I just don't feel like doing anything and only want to watch TV all afternoon. As someone who hasn't relied on people in the past for emotional support this has been a big change for me. The lack of ability to contribute as much to the wedding planning and being able to concentrate long enough to be of help has been one of the worst things. I have hated that so much of this process has fallen on her. And even though it should be one of the happiest times in our lives, right now it has this dark stain on it. I know this is a lot of rambling but I want to lay out of a few the things in the following posts that have helped me the most during this process. One thing I keep telling myself is that this is a season of life that will pass and because of it I will be able to help someone else in the future. I'm sure there's a few things that I've missed or left out during this post.
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