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  1. Hello! @Elyssa143, it’s so good to hear from you! You were on my list of people to check in with. Although it saddens me greatly to hear that you’re still struggling so much sweetie 😞. What impresses me about you is how strong and loving and caring you can be in the midst of the hell you are also experiencing. You have a good understanding of being the observer of all your symptoms and trying to detach from them while living your beautiful normal grateful life. Which is key to getting through all this. 😇❤️ Because what we cling to - with the grace of God 🙏 is the knowing that this is temporary. And that with each day you are one day closer to complete healing. You know from talking to Baylissa and following her that she has counseled thousands of people who have been exactly where you are, and where I was, and they recovered, just like I did. I was also in a very protracted recovery. And things just slowly slowly started improving. but I feel your pain and exhaustion and overwhelm and my heart and prayers goes out to you. you are not damaged forever - even though our healing brain likes to tell us that. It’s still not working properly. But it will. God only knows how we survive any of this. But we do. And I’m so proud of you and the way you are handling everything. Only the truly brave and strong can do this and you are among them. 💪🏻 Nice to hear you’re able to work out again! I know for me that was a turning point when I felt like I was getting a little more energy and could start doing things like that again. glad you are holding up as best you can with all this Covid madness. My grandkids were also doing school at home, however they just opened the schools in their district again - they are thrilled to be back to school. did you say you also have puppies! How sweet that’s a fun distraction. 🐶 We are still enjoying the last gasps of summer here. it’s been beautiful. The leaves are just barely starting to turn. I need to start making my plans to go to Florida in January February. Hope I can find somewhere to stay during this Covid madness. I love Florida! 🌴🌸☀️🌈 I saved so many of the Baylissa’s messages because they helped me so much. Here’s one of them that I hope helps you too: You are stronger than you know. The fact that you are still holding on means that there is something deep within you - let's call it your human will and determination - that will see you through to recovery. If you are doubting your ability to cope, just remember how much you have already had to deal with. You may think you have no more strength to keep you going, but know that the strength always comes. No matter how intense things are or how weary or drained you may be feeling, trust that you will find ways to manage, to overcome, and to nurture yourself while you are healing. Because of this innate courage and strength, you persevere. So many people tend to give up and go back on the drug or try new ones. It takes immeasurable strength and perseverance to get through withdrawal. You are doing it. You are heroic. No matter how scared you are, how uncertain, how vulnerable you feel, you always keep going. This is what you must continue to do. Don't lose hope. Don't give up. No matter how long you have been holding on, the day will come when your healing will finally be completed. You must continue until this time arrives. Yes, one day, just when the timing is right for you, the symptoms will all abate, never to return. You will know that you are healed and you will be able to exhale and to put this experience behind you. Remember, you are stronger than you realize. Keep going. You will make it. So many hugs and love and prayers go out to you sweetie. May you feel the comfort of your angels always nearby giving you strength and hope and courage. 😇🙏. Reach out anytime you need encouragement. Judy Here’s a beautiful lake Erie sunset that we are privileged to see from our place. 😍
  2. Hi @woody1981, you'll get better ! Don't worry much about your symptoms otherwise they'll get worse. I took my last dose of Lexapro 5 months ago and I feel way better compared to the beginning. My main symptoms are brainfog and intrusive thoughts. When I try to think, I have a blank mind and when I want to stay focused, I get intrusive thoughts... My mind talks when I want it to shut and it doesn't talk when I want it to talk...I get lots of random memories without any trigger so it's a little bit scary because it keeps racing (at work, at home, when I'm having dinner, when I am watching TV...). What will help you is acceptance, it means just let things how they are without trying to control your internal experience, you can't change your emotions anyways. Become the observer of your own experience and with time, you can and WILL only get better.
  3. Hi everyone! First of all, English is not my native tongue and this is the first post I have ever written on a forum, so please bear with me. Writing this success story and sharing it with you have been a dream of mine for a long time. I never thought I would reach this milestone. I have mixed feelings posting this, as I know some of you might find it discouraging. If you are new to withdrawal, please stop reading here. This is a post for those of you who have been suffering badly for years and need proof that it's possible to recover even after a very long time. There is a brief summary in the end of this post if you can't or don't want to read the whole story. I also listed my withdrawal symptoms. Background I was on Paxil for 8,5 years (15-30 mg) and I made several quick tapers and CTs from low doses during the years. I took my last dose 11 years ago after a fairly slow taper (15 months) I started Paxil when I was 19 after having struggled with anxiety/emotional crisis for a few months. I was very skeptical of psychiatric drugs but my parents wanted me to try and I eventually got desperate enough to give in. I could just quit if it didn't help, couldn't I? I'm not going to describe in detail the long, sad and all too familiar story of what happened next. I tried to quit after five months, developed a delayed wd with intrusive thoughts and severe anxiety, and was told I was close to becoming psychotic. I gave up after half a year of the worst suffering I had ever experienced, and reinstated. I didn't believe in the broken brain-myth but I assumed my emotional problems must be far worse than I first thought and that I needed to solve those problems before coming off. A few years later I tried and failed again, same story but this time I also had severe physical symptoms. And then, after I had lost hope about myself and thinking I would be dead by now without the pills, I raised the dose from 20 mg to 30 mg, became euphoric and saw myself change into a new, much ”happier” person. I deteriorated quickly the following years, and spent more and more of my time in bed with muscle weakness and pain. I started having internal bleedings in my hands that no one could explain. I was somehow too drugged to really understand how serious my symptoms were. By now I had a decent list of ”psychiatric disorders” and had been on disability for years. I was considered a chronic case that should medicate for life, something I refused to accept. I would probably have kept deteriorating and died if I hadn't come across a forum for people struggling to quit prescription drugs. I finally understood what had happened to me. I was in the middle of my third serious attempt to quit, so I just continued to taper. I thought I would be ok if I just did a slow enough taper. I wasn't. Withdrawal hell I can go on and on and list my symptoms (see end of post) but as you all know, these lists don't do justice to the suffering. At 5 mg I started vomiting and it didn't stop. My main struggle during the following 16 months was to keep myself alive, physically. I was underweight and dehydrated, more or less completely bedridden, so nauseous and anxious that I lived minute by minute. Me and my fiancée had no support except the forum I found. I was too ill to write myself, but my fiancée did. (Mixter, if you are reading this: I honestly don't know if I would have made it without your knowledge and support. I am forever grateful.) Some people say that it's terrifying not knowing when the wd torture will end, and I agree. But the worst part for me was that I had lost hope that I could live without Paxil. I was afraid that even if I made it through the withdrawal I would still be tormented by my own mind. I wanted to live so badly, and I was afraid that I would eventually have to end my life to end the suffering. I remember sitting in my bed rocking back and forth and vomiting, or crawling around on the floor with an unbearable sense of impending doom, convinced I would have to die. The only reason I didn't raise the dose again when the wd got really bad was that my fiancée threatened to leave me if I did and I didn't want to live without her. The worst symptom I had is difficult to explain, and makes no sense to me today. I developed a severe phobia towards people, also my fiancée. I missed her so much but I couldn't handle being in the same room. I longed for people, but their presence triggered intense feelings of terror, unlike anything I had ever experienced. The intrusive thoughts, "ocd" and my extreme sensory sensitivity made it worse, but cannot completely explain the terror I felt. I was afraid that this was me without the drug and that I would have to live the rest of my life in complete isolation. This is hard for me to write about and I still have very little hope that anyone will understand what it was like to live with this intense terror for years. Then, about 11 months after my last dose, I had a few better weeks. I was still bedridden and the majority of my symptoms had not improved, but I remember being able to listen to music and eating solid food. I felt how reality and my personality was coming back, and I realised the world around me looked and felt completely different off Paxil. I started to feel glimmers of hope. Shortly after, my fiancée left me. I lost the person I loved the most, I lost my dog, I lost my home. I left without my belongings, too ill to pack, and spent the following nightmarish three years in my parents small guest room in the other end of the country, still far too ill to take care of myself. I was no longer in acute withdrawal, but many symptoms had not improved. I had stopped vomiting but the muscle weakness was still so severe that I couldn't sit up at a table and eat. I struggled with extreme sensory sensitivity, especially movements. I had to eat with my eyes closed as it was unbearable to see my hands move. I was nauseous, paranoid and hallucinating. 1,5 years off I estimated that I had about 0,2 % of my normal physical and cognitive abilities, judged from what I could and couldn't do compared to before Paxil. (automatic functions like heartbeats, breathing and so on not included.) Recovery I have to say that I saw only minor improvements the first years. 2,5 years after my last dose I remember thinking that I now had 2% of my physical and cognitive abilities, which after all, I kept telling myself, was an improvement with far more than 100% since the year before. The years went by. I never really had any windows. My improvements were very gradual, so slow that I had to wait at least six month before I felt certain that there had been an improvement at all. There are exceptions to this rule. A few symptoms cleared up rapidly and more or less completely. The symptom I feared the most, the horrible intrusive thoughts that I suffered the first times I tried to quit, was ironically one of the first symptoms to disappear. After about 3 years, I was able to be in the same room as another human being without fear. Most symptoms improved slightly, became worse again, got better, became worse again, until one day they didn't get as bad as before. And so on. The turning point It's hard to say when exactly I reached the point where I felt that I wouldn't have to kill myself even if I didn't continue to improve, but I believe it was in 2014, five years after my last dose. I would say I literally lived minute by minute during the first three of those five years, with few exceptions. I don't understand today how it was possible for me to live through that time but somehow it was. I wish I could say that I was brave and optimistic, but I wasn't. I was scared and alone. The thing I had that saved me was that I really wanted to live, and that I was lucky enough not to experience depression. I'm also a person with a lot of grit and with a somewhat autistic ability to thrive in complete solitude which I believe saved my sanity (well, whatever was left) those years when I was too ill to socialise with anyone. I remember thinking that I wished I could have been sentenced to five or ten years in prison instead, just to know that I would be free one day. I no longer feel that way. Addiction Most people don't experience this, but some of us do and I think it's important to talk about. I spent a lot of my time in recovery longing back to my Paxil-years. My life on Paxil may have been miserable in many ways‚ with self harm (I occasionally cut myself), aggression and lack of judgement, but I enjoyed being euphoric. Coming back to reality and getting used to having normal feelings again was sometimes as hard as managing the physical torture. I felt as if I had lost the beautiful world I had lived in, that I had thought was reality, and now was forced to live in a world that I recognised from growing up but now longer belonged to. Everything looked and felt so different, and I felt like a complete stranger here. I longed ”home” and had strong cravings at times and the cravings triggered some of my withdrawal symptoms, and that continued to be a big and somewhat embarrassing problem for several years. (The cravings are not gone but they are much less frekvent now) I wasn't consciously abusing Paxil, but I had built my whole life as an adult on a drug and created a fantasy-world where I could enjoy things I used to find boring, like socialising, or watching series, or other perfectly normal activities that just isn't my thing. Where I no longer felt alienated and different, where I no longer hated society, where I either was euphoric from increasing the dose, or hypomanic after tapering, and as soon as either the euphoria or hypomania was wearing off I just increased or decreased the dose, fooling myself than I was trying to quit when I was no longer even trying. The hardest part of going through withdrawal was that I knew deep down that my fantasy-world would fall apart, and it turned out I wasn't really ready to let go. I just wanted back, desperately. I had to be dragged out against my will until I was completely off Paxil and could think more clearly. I owe my life to my ex fiancée but it was a very cruel process at times. It’s hard to explain how you can love a drug that you know has ruined your life completely, but that was how I felt. It was like a once wonderful relationship that had turned abusive. When you realise what is happening you are already to weak to leave. It dosen't help that you know your loved one will kill you if you stay. I often felt like two different persons in one during recovery. The memory of Paxil-me that I still felt was the real me, and real me who I had to get to know again. It took about 7 years until I could accept that Paxil-me was gone for good. Looking at photos of Paxil-me today is more like looking at a younger sister, with a very different personality than mine, that tragically and unexpectedly died at age 28. I have stopped crying over her, but I keep a few of her belongings in a box as a memory. It breaks my heart every time people claim SSRI/SNRI can’t cause addiction. It may be rare, but I'm certainly not the only one. I guess those of us that have experienced this need to be more open about it but it's hard. Choosing reality over drugs was a question of life or death for me for a very long time, and the most difficult part of my recovery. It's the loneliest feeling, knowing that I might have to live the rest of my life unable to explain to people what I have been through. I fear that the most difficult time in my life will never be understood for what it was. Some advice regarding muscle weakness To all of you who have been suffering from debilitating muscle weakness for years, with little or no improvement, don't give up. This symptom was one of the most persistent for me and I remember feeling like my arms and legs were literally dead. I felt like I was damaged for life. I had no windows, although I had days that were worse than others. I know how it feels to be bedridden for years, locked up in your own personal prison, unable to participate in anything or do anything, even unable to write on a forum like this. But please don't give up. I finally did recover, and so can you. Try to remember what it was like being able to stand up normally, no matter how painful it is to remember what you have lost. Try to visualise yourself being able to run and jump, help your brain remember what it was like… When you finally start to see improvement, please be aware that you have probably lost most of your muscle mass and it will take time to regain it, and exercise is the only way to do that. It's not fair, but it will probably take a few years of hard work if you have been bedridden for years and developed severe back- and neck problems like I had. Even taking a walk may be very difficult, but don't let that discourage you. Try exercising in water if you have recovered enough to leave your bed. The water will carry your bodyweight and offer you some resistance. I strongly believe that exercise helps to heal brain damage. Today, I am more fit than most people my age, but it has been a very slow and gradual process. On year 4 I was able to increase my walks from five minutes, to ten. The next year from ten to fifteen, and so on …Walking have been especially hard for me and I'm not back to normal, but I have been able to walk 26 000 steps in one single day, which I think is amazing. Exercise made me worse in the beginning but I slowly got used to it and I never experience any bad reactions now days. Keep trying. A few words on diet You can't cure protracted withdrawal with a healthy diet, but it might speed up your recovery. I can't make a double blind study on myself, but I saw improvements in mood, cognitive abilities and speed of recovery after switching to a raw vegan diet in 2014. I do believe it makes my mind clearer and it makes me happier as well. If you want to try this diet, make sure to take natural (not synthetic) b12 and d3 supplements. Also try omega3 from algae instead of fish. My life today I celebrated 11 years off Paxil this spring. I lost 8,5 years of my life to Paxil, and another 10 years to recovery. Was quitting worth all the suffering? Definitely yes. Am I 100% recovered? No, I'm not, but I'm getting closer. I still struggle with some muscle weakness and cognitive problems. Walking still feels weird at times. I have a bad back and muscle twitches. Some sensitivity to light, sound and smell has remained, but it's very mild. The only symptoms that appears to be permanent are a few that resembles HPPS HPPD. My visual perceptions are still slightly distorted, but no where near what I experienced on Paxil. ( mod note- HPPD is an acronym for hallucinogenic- persisting perception disorder) I wondered for a long time if my lingering psychotic symptoms was wd or if the experience simply drove me mad, but I believe it was wd as hallucinations started shortly after my last dose and became more and more rare and ”mild” during the years (from occasional full blown visual hallucinations with eyes wide open, to waking up from sleep realising I'm hallucinating) I stopped panicking over hidden cameras and spys several years ago but I still struggle with interpersonal paranoia at times, which I actually find more difficult to deal with because it's more subtle and harder to keep at an arms length. This has improved a lot the last years though. This may seem depressing but it's not that bad. I would say I'm more than 95 % recovered and I'm staying hopeful that I will regain all of my former cognitive abilities, the only symptom that still makes me sad at times. (My problems are no longer noticeable to others, but I notice them.) I can live with back pain and a dash of madness if I have to. I even miss my visual hallucinations, the only symtom I actually enjoyed as they gave me a much needed break from reality. They were incredible beautiful too. My emotional life My personality came back to a large extent after 4,5 years, but my feelings started coming back much earlier. I regained an ability to feel ”real” emotions after about 1 year, although I can't say for sure whether I am 100% recovered or not as I don't remember what it used to be like. I do feel intense happiness and a wide range of other emotions, but I sometimes feel detached from them and from other people. I have a hard time relating to others, they seem ”overly emotional” and appears to be ”upset over nothing”. I do struggle a lot with empathy because of this. I’m sometimes puzzled over how I function on a social and emotional level now days, but whether this is my personality as an adult, the result of years of isolation/torture or Paxil itself is hard to tell. To be fair, I did have these tendencies before Paxil but these traits are much more pronounced now. Or maybe I just have a hard time taking my armour off. There were not much room for emotional needs during wd. Being a logic-driven observer was the only way I could handle the situation as I couldn’t trust which emotions was real or wd/psychosis. This is an incredible useful strategy while managing wd but I feel that I would like to become ”human” again. Just not sure how to do it as I more and more have come to believe that emotional reactions are a choice. This also means that I don't really know what to feel about everything I went through, or how to process the whole experience on an emotional level, and my attempts to figure it out with logic has failed for very obvious reasons. The happy end is just the beginning A few people I know of who were healthy and happy while I was in wd hell, have now died in cancer or become ill with no hope of recovery. I have learnt that although I have gone through a difficult time, I am also very lucky. I may no longer be gasping in awe during my short walks, crying of joy and gratitude over being alive and being able to see the birds fly, but that gratitude is always with me. The last 4-5 years have also taught me that you don't need to be completely recovered to live a deeply meaningful and happy life. I can't say that life is back to normal, because I was I teenager last time I was here. It was long ago in another life. Things will never be like that again. But I'm reaching a point where I feel like I don't regret what has been. I'm hoping for a long life and it's far too early to tell whether this journey was a bad life experience or a good and useful one. If I could choose a soundtrack for this post, then it would be Ordinary world by Duran Duran: "What has happened to it all? Crazy, some'd say Where is the life that I recognize? Gone away But I won't cry for yesterday There's an ordinary world Somehow I have to find And as I try to make my way To the ordinary world I will learn to survive" You will learn to survive too. No matter how hopeless things may seem right now, just keep going. You only have to go through this once, and your future self will be so, so grateful that you didn't give in. Being free again and being yourself is worth waiting for, even if it takes a decade, or more. One day you will be writing your own success story. I know you will. Thanks for reading this long post. You can ask me anything you want, I'm happy to help. Aurorax --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Summary and milestones: 2001: Starts Paxil at age 19. 2001-2004: Two failed attempts to quit. 2005: Increases dose to 30 mg. Close ones concerned about me being all wired up and lacking judgement. 2006: Life is falling apart: my carrier, my health, my relationships, my cognitive abilities. My plan to taper over two years is not going well, there always seems to be a reason to raise the dose again. 2007: Increases the dose to 30 mg again but it’s no longer ”working”. I consider increasing the dose to 40 mg but that would be like saying I'm worse than ever and that's a frightening thought. 2008: Third attempt to quit. Finally realising that my ”illness” is side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Decides to make a slow taper. 2009, April: Last dose of Paxil. End of 2008 to beginning of 2010: Lost in withdrawal hell, struggling to keep myself alive. Loses my spouse, my dog and my home. 2010-2012: Still minute by minute most of the time. Bedridden. 2013: 4 years off. I have a home of my own again but struggle with household chores. Too ill to go to the grocery store. Too ill to sit up in a chair. Too ill to do anything else than surviving. Bedridden most of the time. Mourns having been gone for so many years, feels like I came back too late. No one remembers who I am off Paxil, not my parents, not my siblings. Longing back to Paxil-land. 2014: Still spend a lot of time resting in bed. Having a home is manageable but feels like running a small business. Nausea is almost gone. I can read books, browse the internet, write in my diary. I realise that I have survived coming off Paxil. Still a lot of physical symtoms but I’m happy for the first time off Paxil. I can live without drugs! 2015: I'm starting to realise the extent of the damage done by Paxil and the wd experience regarding my personality and emotional life. I no longer feel ”human”. I feel disconnected from everyone, empathy nearly gone. I feel like nothing can really bother me as long as my or others life aren't threatened. 2016- 2017: Year 7-8. I continue to improve. 2018: I have recovered enough to return to the town I had to leave, and start my new life. I don't know anyone here but it dosen't matter, I feel no need for friends. No problems taking care of household or go shopping for the things I need. I feel lika an animal released from its cage. I'm really happy. 2019: Celebrates 10 years off. Working part time from home, self employed. I can sit up in a chair without pain. I eat out, I go to the movie theatre, I travel overseas for the first time. I go to gym classes. It stills feels unreal that the person that is running with high knees, doing burpees and lifting heavy barbells is me. 2020: Life is no longer about recovery. There is so much I wan't to do that I don't even know where to start. I sometimes feel like a young adult making plans for the future. I'm less on guard and my ability to feel empathy is improving. Things that happens to me and other people have an emotional impact on me again. I recently decided to end my lone wolf lifestyle and have just found my first friends here. Feels like I'm in the beginning of a big adventure and can't wait to see what will happen next. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Symptoms are 100% resolved unless otherwise stated: Physical: Air hunger Arrhythmia (Improved but not resolved) Blurred vision Brain zaps Burning sensation in skin Chilling sensation in legs Convulsions Diarrea Digestive system ”shutting down”, unable to absorb water for 1-2 days during worst part of wd Difficulty swallowing Difficulty walking (Still feels a bit weird) Dizziness Dry eyes Exhaustion Exuding small, round wounds, mainly on my back but also arms, chest, head, face (Not from self harm or scratching) Fatigue Feeling of electricity running through my body Feels like hands and arms are gone Feels like muscles are melting (Various other painful or unpleasant sensations all over my body that I don't bother to list) Fever Flashing blue lights inside my head Flu like symptoms Fluid running from nose and mouth Freezing Headache Heart palpitations Heart racing when I’m trying to stand up on my feet Internal bleedings Involuntary movements in jaw and feet, usually when falling asleep or waking up from sleep Itching Legs kicking Loss of appetite Muscle cramps Muscle pain Muscles shaking Muscle twitching (Still have this a few times a day) Muscle tension (Greatly improved but still have this. Could be many other reasons for this though) Muscle weakness/low muscle tone (95% resolved, still comes and goes in waves) Not able to eat solid food Not able to eat fluid food Nausea, very intense and relentless for years Numbness (Still a bit numb in my toes) Out of breath Pain in stomach and chest Passing out Poor balance Poor coordination Pressure over head Restless legs Sensitivity to light, sound, motion, smell (not completely resolved but very mild) Sensation of insects crawling over my skin Shaking Shortness of breath Slurred speech Sounds echoing in head Stress intolerance Sweating Temporary hearing loss Tinnitus (Greatly improved but still there) Vomiting Weight loss Weird attacks/blackouts, not sure what this was. Seizures? First one had me crawling on the floor, my visual field was rotating back and forth and I was vomiting. Second I felt like my foot was stuck to the floor while strong electric current was running through my leg, woke up in bed later after blackout. Whole body jerks Whole body suddenly numb, can't walk Zaps in jaw and legs (still have occasional mild leg zaps) Distorted visual perception: These resembles HPPT HPPD and seem to be permanent with no improvement last years. It's very mild, except the halos (I have had my eyes checked) No prior use of hallucinogens/street drugs. Floaters (Improved) Halos (Some improvement) Seeing sparkling lights (Improved) Things moving in the corner of my eyes (Improved) Things moving in weird ways (Resolved) Trails (Improved) Visual snow (Resolved) World stills looks/feels a bit weird in a way that reminds me of ”Paxil-land” but not near as intense. This comes and goes too) Cognitive: Brain fog, it literally took me half a day to write a few sentences on a postcard. (95% resolved) Confusion, like having to think to remember whether its winter or summer right now Difficulty finding words Difficulty speaking Difficulty understanding speech Disorganised and slow speech Exaggerated three-dimensionality (Still experience this when reminded of wd-hell. Not sure this is a wd-symptom, feels more like dissociation related to the trauma) Feeling drunk in an unpleasant way Feeling like I have lost my intelligence (Still not sure if I’m 100% recovered) Impaired memory Phrases repeating themselves in head, random words and images popping up out of nowhere Panic attacks or nausea while trying to read Poor concentration, could take me half an hour to read a page in a book. Used to be a very quick reader (95% resolved) Unable to process information Unable to se TV/watch movies Emotional: Aggression Akathisia (Most likely resolved. Still pacing and moving feet and hands a lot, but the intense inner torment is gone. Maybe I'm just a fidgety person) Anxiety Crying spells Delusions Drug cravings (Still happens if I'm triggered) Feeling of impending doom Hallucinations, mainly visual Hearing ”silent” voices while resting. Not auditory hallucinations, but not ”my own” thoughts. Usually incoherent and absurd phrases. Always different ”people”. Harming self Harming others (hitting, biting) Helplessness Homicidal ideation Hopelessness Hypomania Insomnia Intrusive thoughts Irritability Mood swings Nervousness (95% resolved) Nightmares and dreams about craving drugs ”Ocd” (Improved but not resolved. I had tendencies before Paxil so could be my personality.) Panic Paranoia (Still experience mild paranoia occasionally) Phobia towards people Psychotic break with reality Rage Ruminating Screaming Strange ”panic attacks”, mostly during night Suicidal ideation Terror Waking up crying/screaming/hitting/kicking (Still happens a few times a year) Walls bending
  4. @Longroadhome : thank you for this ❤ Yes, the 'real' me is still here, I AM, everytime I breathe I AM. @Frogie : thank you dear, I hope too 🤞 --》 Maybe some of you will have ideas to help me : I find that all my usual selfcare tips are irrelevant while feeling like I have drank 1000 coffees : yet, I still think that mindfullness is important and better than diving into catastrophising thoughts. But while dealing with huge mental and physical restlessness, I don't know how to practice acceptance anymore. Distractions seems also nearly impossible as I need to move/change activities every minute. Maybe some of you have some tips that I could discover ? @Shep : you often said that DR was kind of a spiritual teacher for you. I would like to learn to see my huge restlessness as a teacher too, but I struggle cognitively to see how taking the first step. I get the sense of AAF, but while mental and physical restlessness are huge how can we "float and go on with our lives"? How can I try and learn to see my current torture as a teacher ? I'm also a huge fan of The Observer, but don't manage to practice it currently, because my mind is too confused. (Of course, no emergency, just willing to grow and learn from others). I've done some researches on SA to be inspired by people going through akathisia but read horror stories and started to think that I will be stuck in this state for years. So best for me to avoid for now. Well, I'm gonna try to vent my overstimulation by cutting overgrown weeds 😉
  5. Thank you for the reminder ☺ I also like Shep's posts about being the Observer and trying to look at symptoms with curiosity. Having a hard time to do it, but still trying ☺ @sunnysideup69 : thank you ❤ I'm really glad to know that things are getting easier for you, you deserve this relief !
  6. Erell

    Cigale: reinstating help

    😅 I'm with you on this one : I include the tools I use and practice in my daily notes, and sometimes I'm quite amazed by all this ! It is a real full-time job 😉 It can be ambivalent sometimes : on one hand it is important to help our CNS and learn non-drug coping skills. But on the other hand, some of us (myself included) have a tendency to hope miracles from these tools, or blame ourselves if we think we don't practice 'enough'. Yes, even with selfcare our little monkey has a lot to judge 😄 That's when I try to remember to be The Observer...and The Lover : instead of judging myself while practicing or pressuring myself (which would be the opposite of selfcare), I try to see every practice or tool I try to learn as a gift I'm making to myself. And think about all the amazing skills we'll have in our pockets for the rest of our life ? ❤ We are learning together, it is very precious to have a place like SA to share our journey toward healing and joy ! I'm sorry to read you're struggling : I truly believe that heat waves can exacerbate WD symptoms. (In fact, lot of people have noted this on SA). Weather is really hot these days in France. I don't know if it could help you : Yesterday evening, I took a cold shower before going to bed and I think it helped to relax a bit. Hugs ❤
  7. Erell

    Cigale: reinstating help

    Hello dear, How are you doing ? I've taken a look to Alan Gordon's Pain recovery program : found it very interesting. Even if the subject is physical pain, I think we can apply the advices to any symptoms. The aim is to become The Observer : learning to observe our symptoms and thoughts without identifying or fearing. Slowly but surely we are learning ☺ Take care ☀️
  8. ChessieCat

    Lb11: Effexor and Prozac

    Please note that it takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full strength in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain. It is important to be patient and try and stay as calm as possible. Worry and anxiety can cause symptoms in the body which are not related to the reinstatement. There is a diagram on this page that lists how the body can react when you are anxious. https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety.htm Over the next few days you may find that you notice every sensation in your body. It's important to try and be an impartial observer, to observe without going down the rabbit hole over every little thing you notice. Observe but don't continue to focus on it. And yes, we understand that this can be difficult to do. We strongly encouragement members to learn and use non-drug-techniques-to-cope
  9. We understand that it can be scary and overwhelming. Having experienced something bad previously makes us concerned that it is going to happen again, and that is normal for anybody. Once bitten, twice shy. I feel like that with my taper. I had a bad experience when I reduced my original dose by 50% and had bad brain fog and 2 weeks later couldn't type. SA suggested updosing which I did and 4 hours later I could type again. I'm a professional typist so had a benchmark. My bad experience has made me extremely cautious with my taper. Please note that it takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full strength in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain. It is important to be patient and try and stay as calm as possible. Worry and anxiety can cause symptoms in the body which are not related to the reinstatement. There is a diagram on this page that lists how the body can react when you are anxious. https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety.htm Over the next few days you may find that you notice every sensation in your body. It's important to try and be an impartial observer, to observe without going down the rabbit hole over every little thing you notice. Observe but don't continue to focus on it. And yes, we understand that this can be difficult to do. We strongly encouragement members to learn and use non-drug-techniques-to-cope
  10. Link to Benzo Forum Thread - Shep's Journey Leaving Plato’s Cave In Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave,” a group of human beings are chained since birth in a dark cave where a fire casts shadows of the world upon the walls. The shadows are all the prisoners know to be true. But one day, a prisoner breaks free and wanders out into the world. Her eyes are blinded by the sudden blast of sunlight and she is unsure of her reality and at times, longs to be back inside the familiar darkness. But as her eyes adjust, she is in awe of this new reality — people, nature, her own reflection! When she returns to the cave, the other prisoners laugh at her story in disbelief. . . . And so I left psychiatry — a dark cave of drug dependency, incarceration, deception, violence, mystification, and social control. The empty shadows on the walls that message this non-reality based belief system of mythical “mind diseases” fade out and a beautiful new reality unfolds before me. After 30 years, success from such an experience is a process, not a singular event. There may still be some unexpected waves, but that will allow the experience of re-emerging from periods of darkness with even more skill and resilience. For me, this part of the journey is very similar to the final phase of the grieving process. As Francis Weller reminds us in the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow, grief is sacred work. It’s an important teacher and should be honored, not feared. When symptoms are viewed as teachers and guides and you walk with them with curiosity and not fear, leaving Plato’s Cave turns into a journey of adventure and skill building. My signature symptom was - and is - DP/DR (depersonalization / derealization) and the lessons taught are in mindfulness and becoming The Observer. (I wrote about The Observer in several places in my benzo thread). I still have some lingering DP/DR, but this is a symptom I carry out of the cave with me, as I'm still learning from it and no longer view it as a problem but as a valued guide. Never give up — your new world awaits you. For many of us, it’s a brutal trip. So travel lightly and listen carefully to what your teachers and guides are telling you. As painful and confusing as it is, these symptoms are here for a reason. At five years off all drugs (from 30 years use), I can now: Run 30 - 60 minutes, four days a week, along with doing yoga and strength training. Runner’s high is beautiful! Bike 30 miles a week - urban cycling is now my main transportation to and from work because of subway and bus delays due to COVID-19 Work 40 - 45 hours a week (was unemployed for around 9 months due to severe akathisia and DP/DR) See the world with 20/20 vision (with glasses) - since last August (before that, my focus was in and out and I wasn’t able to get an accurate eyeglass prescription) Read books with a high level of concentration during windows. I get lost in activities now and experience a sense of “flow” when reading, working, exercising, and playing music for hours at a time Feel music deeply to the point of being moved to tears at times Experience powerful levels of spirituality and connection with the universe Sleep a restful 6 - 7.5 hours a night most nights (Netflix is a treat when insomnia hits now because I know the insomnia wave will pass and I like the excuse to watch movies in my favorites list) About me: 52-year-old female, currently working full time, no family, studio apartment, still navigating my way back into more social situations, complicated by the city’s partial shut-down due to COVID-19. Entry into psychiatric drugs: forced “treatment” in private and state psychiatric prisons off and on from the age of 17 until 21 for so-called “psychosis.” Gaslighted into long-term drug compliance with the lie that neuroleptics are a neuro-protective agent against brain damage caused by so-called “psychosis.” Never told about dopamine supersensitivity or tardive dysphoria. Drug and label history: 30 years of neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, z-drugs, so-called “anti”-depressants, and amphetamines. Labeled with “manic depression” and “PTSD” from years of physical and sexual abuse as a child. The “chemical imbalance” myth dominated the narrative because psychiatry replicates the patriarchal and paternalistic abuses of the nuclear family (and the larger political structure) within a medicalized context. This is not an accident. This is how the system is designed. Date of last drug taken: May 22, 2015 Reason for exiting the cave: After having spent more than 25 years working low-level jobs and bouncing from here to there, I descended into cognitive decline with voices and visuals, disassociation, akathisia, and suicidal thoughts. A psychiatrist suggested another change in drugs but — too fast, too soon, leading to a nervous system crash. After being threatened with forced “treatment” in the state psychiatric prison again in early 2014, I found Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic in a random Google search on my phone. The realization I had been poisoned was enough for me to control my behavior and save myself from further “treatment.” The psychiatric system disables and kills people. That’s not an abstract concept when you’re at the receiving end of forced “treatment.” Method of coming off psychiatric drugs: cold turkey and rapid taper off a cocktail of Seroquel, Viibryd, Klonopin, Sonata, Dexedrine, and Halcion (NOTE: I do NOT recommend this method of withdrawal - I didn’t find the withdrawal forums until I was almost completely off all drugs. Stay safe and taper if at all possible). Favorite non-drug coping skills: Shep’s Toolkit. For me, the non-drug coping skills were not optional. I still refer to this list and have tons more bookmarked in folders on my laptop. Mooji and Alan Watts are still my go-to sources for calming. The un-patienting process: During recovery, I began reading a lot of anti-psychiatry literature. Dr. Phil Hickey’s article sums it up well - In Defense of Anti-Psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry gave me the language to understand and name the world around me. Dr. Thomas Szasz is a major influence in my understanding of this world. He understood the power structure of psychiatry better than anyone I've read so far. Dr. Bruce Cohen's Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness helped me understand psychiatry's political structure. Psychiatry is about power and politics, not medicine. Psychiatry is not broken. The system was designed this way. Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and cannot be reformed. It needs to be abolished. To not message this would be to condone a form of structural violence that not only has disabled and killed millions of people, it also maintains and even furthers the systemic social and economic injustices these individuals represent. I hope one day, those still trapped in Plato’s Cave will be released and the cave will be sealed shut.
  11. I did a search and saw a handful of threads related to coping with trying to work while going through withdrawal symptoms. I wanted to start a new thread as those discussions were very brief, and it also seems broader than work. How do you manage responsibilities when you can no longer be responsible for them due to withdrawal symptoms? When I first came off prozac--from 10 mg to none, not a slow taper because I didn't know about it-- late last fall, I went through a period first of feeling good but having insomnia. In the next couple months, intense anxiety joined the insomnia, and each day was trying. I reinstated prozac for a week (20 mg) out of desperation and it just seemed to aggravate the symptoms, so I dropped it again. Since then it's been an encouraging and frustrating path of ups and downs, windows and waves, but, on the whole, progress--at least when I'm a clear-headed observer. I'm reconnecting with myself and the clearest of the windows are glorious moments feeling connected with my world and myself. Simple things like the scent of gasoline when starting up the lawnmower pull up memories and impressions from pre-psychiatry reminding me what it's like to feel alive. I believe I am regaining my humanity after being deprive of the best of it for 20 years. That is important. And while this difficult but powerful experience is unfolding, I am also trying to manage, among other things, 1) a demanding job with a lot of responsibility and expectations to work long hours under intense pressure, 2) being a husband to a wife whose career is also demanding and 3) being a father to a two-year old and five-year old. All during a global pandemic that has disrupted all of our lives. During the worst of the insomnia and anxiety, I had conversation with my management. Their response was to refer me to HR to discuss possible accomodations, including reduced hours and a shifting schedule. I raised the possibiltiy of taking extended time off--my available sick leave should cover it--but while not saying no, I didn't get the "yes, that would be okay" I had hoped for. After a few more weeks with some improvement I reported that my sleep issues had resolved themselves and have not raised it again. In the meantime, we were given a hard deadline of August for a project I'm on and my hours have actually ramped up. I need to work 60 hours a week to keep up, and having lost days due to withdrawal make that really difficult. I want to step back and focus on healing, but I don't know how. I also am worried about giving up, facing a setback in my career. And the prospect of just outright failure and letting everyone down is terrifying. Anyone else faced this sort of dilemma? Is it just getting comfortable wtih letting go? Do you worry the sacrifices for the long-term goal of healing are not worth it? How do you stay focused on the big picture? I know on the other side of this, the reward of being a complete human will have been worth it but it's hard to see how to get from point A to point B right now. I'm worried the most likely out come is I just trudge on until everything collapses, and I end up in a much worse state.
  12. Hi Snorky Before I retired, I was an analyst/auditor, so have a lot of experience assessing situations objectively. As an outside observer and considering the type, dosage, and changes in your medications, I would say all of your symptoms are WD/destabilized nervous system, exacerbated by obsessive thinking habits. Because you expend so much mental energy trying to figure out what's happening to you and why, it makes it worse. Your work is something you can control to a degree because you have an opportunity to focus outside your mind. But anxiety and WD are selfish and they don't want to give you even that. Don't give in; stake your work territory as an anxiety-free zone and give yourself permission to focus at work. Use that mental energy to focus on coping strategies instead of ruminating on the cause and effect of your symptoms. I know its hard, but you need to make the effort.
  13. rrandor

    Homeopathy

    Shanti, this is horrible dangerous advice. Would you recommend someone go to WebMD, decide what their symptoms are, and then start taking a medicine based on what they discovered? Crazy! Equally crazy to start treating yourself for a chronic condition with homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic software has been out for decades. But like all computer software: garbage in, garbage out. Even if someone discovered a remedy that seemed to help, managing the case is at least as important or more so. The famous homeopathy, James T. Kent, wrote an article on how to follow up on a prescribed remedy. He lists about a dozen possibilities that might occur each requiring a different response by the homeopath. The Homeopath has to be an objective observer identifying _what happened and then _how to respond to what happened. The patient is like the fish in the tank who cant see the water, not able to be objective about their own symptoms. I have had _numerous_ clients start on a remedy and think its not working at first, when to me it is apparent that it is working and given more time they agree. I met a woman in a health food store who had been treating her son successfully for warts, with Thuja. But, she said, "Now he is acting weird!" I told her "Stop giving him the remedy!! It has done all it can do and now he is starting to "prove" the remedy." Cause new symptoms. When I was a newbie homeopath I went to India where I caught malaria. I tried to treat myself and took Belladonna repeatedly, thinking it was working because every morning I would wake up feeling well. Malaria typically has a 24 hour cycle. By afternoon I felt bad again. Finally I went to a Homeopathic MD who said I had been proving Belladonna, which CAUSED new symptoms, primarily a severe headache. He gave me the right remedy and I was completely cured in 3 days. Taking the wrong remedy repeatedly will Cause new or changed symptoms which can become permanently engrafted if the remedy is taken too long. A homeopathic proving is where volunteers take an unknown remedy repeatedly and when it starts Causing symptoms they have never had before they Stop taking it. These new symptoms are recorded carefully as long as they persist and develop. It is causing the symptoms that the same remedy will cure in a sick person. Like cures Like. I recommend people treat themselves for mild acute conditions and for serious acute conditions on the way to professional care, but self-treatment for chronic conditions is stupid and dangerous.
  14. Altostrata

    Jmizz: Lamictal taper suggestions

    Yes, you have to be careful to separate your anxiety from what you're feeling from the drug. Sometimes this is called developing an "observer." It's important for all of us to have an observer. Do you feel better taking all your doses in the same way? Each generic manufacturer has their own formula, with equivalent active drug (lamotrigine) in it. It's possible you reacted badly to the last generic batch, or it's possible it was a bad batch. Since you seem to be quite sensitive, any drug change may be a little bumpy. Usually this settles down in a few days.
  15. Hello dear @India, I tapered over a two month period, which I now know was probably way too fast. However, as you are experiencing sometimes it’s just going to be hell no matter how long you take to taper. I didn’t feel many effects as I was tapering at all. In fact for a few weeks after discontinuing I felt great. I think that was my soul recognizing I was free of that drug. However, very soon after that is when all hell broke loose as my brain and nervous system started the excruciatingly slow process of trying to upregulate the receptors that had gone missing during the drug years. Yes I believe healing is happening even when you taper. Because it’s allowing your brain and nervous system to deal with the changes more slowly. But that still doesn’t mean it’s easy! So keep trying to visualize everything healing and know that they are just symptoms. And the real you is the observer. I know it’s like observing a train wreck but it will and does get better! Just take it one day at a time and know that there are many who have walked your path and have recovered and made it. It took me almost 5 years after discontinuing. And I’m not saying it’s going to take you that long at all because we’re all different. I’m just saying you have to allow the process to unfold the way it will & know that there’s going to be a happy ending. Hang in there my friend. Thank you for reaching out. Sending many healing hugs and wishes 🤗❤️😘 Judith
  16. Hello dear @India, I tapered over a two month period, which I now know was probably way too fast. However, as you are experiencing sometimes it’s just going to be hell no matter how long you take to taper. I didn’t feel many effects as I was tapering at all. In fact for a few weeks after discontinuing I felt great. I think that was my soul recognizing I was free of that drug. However, very soon after that is when all hell broke loose as my brain and nervous system started the excruciatingly slow process of trying to upregulate the receptors that had gone missing during the drug years. Yes I believe healing is happening even when you taper. Because it’s allowing your brain and nervous system to deal with the changes more slowly. But that still doesn’t mean it’s easy! So keep trying to visualize everything healing and know that they are just symptoms. And the real you is the observer. I know it’s like observing a train wreck but it will and does get better! Just take it one day at a time and know that there are many who have walked your path and have recovered and made it. It took me almost 5 years after discontinuing. And I’m not saying it’s going to take you that long at all because we’re all different. I’m just saying you have to allow the process to unfold the way it will & know that there’s going to be a happy ending. Hang in there my friend. Thank you for reaching out. Sending many healing hugs and wishes 🤗❤️😘 Judith
  17. Thelongestroadhome

    ☼ Thelongestroadhome: long road back with Lexapro

    Thought I would elaborate on Carl Jung and his four stages of life descriptions. I said two but it is actually four. Father Richard Rohr talks about two but borrows from Carl Jung’s theory. 1. The Athlete Stage. At this stage, we are mostly preoccupied with our looks, with the way our body looks. During this stage, we might stay for hours looking and admiring our reflection in the mirror. Our body, our looks are the most important thing to us, nothing else. 2. The Warrior Stage. During this period, this stage, our main concern is to go out there and conquer the world, to do our best, be the best and get the very best, to do what warriors do, and act like warriors act. This is a stage when we continually think of ways to get more than everybody else, a stage of comparison, of defeating those around so we can feel better because we have achieved more as the result of us being the warriors, the brave ones. 3. The Statement Stage. At this time, this stage in your life, you realize what you have achieved so far is not enough for you to feel fulfilled, to be happy… you are now looking for ways to make a difference in the world, for ways to serve those around you. You are now preoccupied with ways to start giving. You now realize what you chased after until now, money, power, possessions etc. will keep on appearing in your life but you no longer attribute them the same value as before, you no longer are attached to those things because you are now in a different stage of your life, where you know there is more to life than that. You receive them, you accept them and you are grateful, but you are ready to let go of them at any time. You are looking for ways to stop thinking only about yourself, of ways to receive and start focusing on living a life of service. All you want to do at this stage is give. You now know that giving is receiving and it is time for you to stop being selfish, egotistical and self-centered and think of ways to help those in need, to leave this world better than it was when you arrived. 4. The Stage of the Spirit. According to Jung, this will be the last stage of our life, a stage where we realize that none of those 3 stages are really who and what we are. We realize we are more than our body, we are more than our possessions, more than our friends, our country and so on. We come to the realization that we are divine beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, and not human beings having a spiritual experience. We now know this is not our home, and we are not what we thought we are. We are in this world but not of it. We are now able to observe ourselves from a different perspective. We are now capable of stepping out of our own mind, out of our own body and understand who we really are, to see things the way they are. We become the observer of our lives. We realize that we are not that which we notice but, the observer of what we notice. More than 2500 years ago, Lao Tzu was trying to teach us just that, was trying to teach us how to get to this last stage of life, this spiritual stage:
  18. Hey Jozeff, I've been thinking about you so it's great to hear from you! I'm so sorry you're having a rough time. Are you still tapering or holding at 15.5mg? I noticed you were continuously microtapering every day, and I'm wondering if that didn't maybe lead to a build up of symptoms. I would hold until you feel stable, or if you are already holding, maybe you want to ping the mods to ask what they think about reinstating to a slightly higher dosage. Keep in mind you're going through a lot right now! You just had a new baby, your wife went back to work, and your kids back to school after the long holiday. It's the season of change. I've found that trying to not identify with my thoughts and symptoms has been helpful. That is to say, I become more of an observer of what I'm going through (though not necessarily removed from what I'm feeling). For example, I might say to myself, "Yes, I feel terrible right now. I have these symptoms, a general feeling of awfulness, and I don't want to do anything and I don't think anything will help and I just want to feel better, etc. But I know giving in to these thoughts isn't going to help, so maybe I can see them for what they are, just repetitive thoughts, along with some physical sensations." I know that only works up to a point because it takes up energy that you may need for another task, and sometimes the intrusive thoughts seem to take over. At that point you need to do something very loving for yourself, accepting that you can't perform at your best all the time because you are after all human. Maybe take a rest, play a game, have a laugh without putting pressure on yourself to perform or to feel a certain way. The suicidal ideation and feeling of wanting to cry definitely sound like WD to me. I've been hit with them before and I just do my best to "withstand" them until they pass, though I've had some awful experiences in the meantime. Give yourself whatever kind of space you can (I know that's challenging with a family) so that some of these symptoms run their course. I also highly recommend doing some sort of relaxing and mindful physical movement. A lot of yoga poses can change your blood flow and mood. Here's a site showing how to do legs up the wall, a pose which helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system by getting more blood flow to the heart and head. I'm in rough wave myself, so hopefully what I've written made sense and was helpful. My dosage decrease last month had almost no symptoms, and this month's drop for whatever reason was much much worse. Hang in there and know that there are people out there thinking of you! Hugs, bunches
  19. Songbird

    Dmitry: hello

    That's a very good sign. Yes, it's very important to hold until you stabilise before beginning a taper again. This is a symptom - you might find mindfulness techniques helpful. With mindfulness, you are the observer in your mind and just watch what is going on - kind of like you're a scientist studying some phenomenon. Your goal is not to try to stop the thoughts from happening, but just let them happen without giving them any importance. Watch the thoughts as if they are clouds floating by, or cars driving past. Accept that the thoughts are there, but don’t attach any importance to them. I’ve found it can also help to give your internal negative voice a name (e.g. “doomcloud", “chatterbox", "monkey mind" or whatever name you want) so that you can separate this voice from your real self. When you are able to perceive that this voice is not “you”, it becomes easier to step back from it, to be less involved in the thoughts, and they become less frightening. I hope this makes some sense.
  20. 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.
  21. Hi, Frogie. I'm glad you are doing so well. Very pleased with your progress. I will answer your question in two parts -- first, as to my hips and second, as to withdrawal. As to the hips, I'm doing very well. Still some soreness and the legs get tired easily if I push them, but I'm seeing positive signs. This past weekend I was at my daughter's college graduation and walked all over the place and then moved her stuff out of her apartment, drove 8.5 hours home and moved stuff from her car to our house. I was tired but I figure if I can do that I'm pretty far along in terms of recovery. Now it's time to rebuild strength and range of motion so I can really start some targeted exercise to release endorphins, etc. That recovery is on track (actually pretty far ahead of anticipated schedule). I wish that withdrawal recovery was moving in the right direction at the same speed, but... a much more challenging process I'm afraid. I am still dealing with a lot of symptoms resulting from a central nervous system that has taken quite a beating over the past several years. Chief complaints remain: insomnia -- I go through periods of zero sleep nights and will have several "bad" nights in a row (2-4 hours). For the most part I get like 5-6.5 hours of sleep on most nights and while that is not optimal it certainly keeps me functional. I'd love to see sleep really start to return to "normal" levels (for me I think that is 6.5 - 7.5 hours). dizziness -- I remain "wobbly" and "unstable" on a pretty regular basis. It seems to be highly correlated with stress and I'm working on learning not to attach too much significance to the feelings. The difficulty, however, is that balance is one of our core needs so that the sense of imbalance tends to result in somewhat "hard wired" fear response. It can be unlearned but it takes a lot of work and time. detachment -- whether called dissociation, depersonalization, derealization or something else, the sense that you are an observer in your own life and that things are just happening around you (with you playing a role by rote) is difficult at times. It tends to ebb and flow and when it is at it's worst it is rather disconcerting. Another symptom that is challenging to learn to deal with and accept. anxiety -- I was never a really anxious person, although I did have some underlying tendencies regarding health anxieties. During this process I have seen a significant amplification of these anxieties despite understanding cognitively that they are illogical. For example, as I said above I moved a lot of boxes in the past several days and had been largely sedentary for a while recovering from the hip surgery. So, it is HIGHLY LOGICAL that I would have a lot of body pain today. Nevertheless, when O got the shooting pains between my shoulder blades rather than say, "ah, I overdid it on the lifting" a part of me ruminates on other health issues, "could this be my heart?" for example. I never had those kind of thought patterns while on the meds but they are rampant now after getting off the benzo and off 88% of the A/D. body pain -- I get shooting pains all over my body from my chest to my arms, head, legs, and back. Shoulders and elbows are not great either. If I wanted a diagnosis of fibromyalgia I'm confident I could get one. I recognize, however, that this is the product of a hyperstimulated nervous system and won't fully subside until the system has been able to fully settle down. So, I continue to hold at 12.5mg of sertraline as I hope that over time my system will repair and catch up to where it is supposed to be. I am fortunate in that I am still able to work a high-level stressful legal job and have not suffered (to my knowledge -- others might differ) any meaningful cognitive impairment. I am confident that pushing myself at work serves to slow the recovery process (it would be easier on a desert island with a chef), but I don't have a real choice and think the overall benefits to me of working are worth the stress on the CNS it occasionally provides. I continue to repeat the mantra -- "we all heal" -- but, to be perfectly honest, at some times it is harder to believe than at other times. One of these days I hope to be able to jump on the site and report that I've seen some serious symptom abatement. Alas, today is not yet that day. Thanks for asking, Frogie. Best, Andy
  22. Songbird

    LilBit: polypharmacy nightmare

    I'm wondering whether some mindfulness techniques might be helpful for this. If you are having obsessive thoughts about your health or anything else, you might find mindfulness helpful. With mindfulness, you are the observer in your mind and you just watch what is going on - kind of like you're a scientist studying some phenomenon. The idea is that the observer is objective and does not get involved in the drama or pass any judgment on it. Your goal is not to try to stop the thoughts from happening, but just let them happen without giving them any importance. Watch the thoughts as if they are clouds floating by, or cars driving past. Accept that the thoughts are there, but don’t attach any importance to them. I’ve found it can also help to give your internal negative voice a name (e.g. “doomcloud", “chatterbox", "monkey mind" or whatever name you want) so that you can separate this voice from your real self. When you are able to perceive that this voice is not “you”, it becomes easier to step back from it, get some distance from it, and observe it more objectively. Many years ago I named the negative voice in my mind the "Doomcloud”. When the negative thoughts came, I could just observe it happening and say to myself "oh, there's the Doomcloud again". This helped immensely to step back from all the negative thoughts and emotions, to be less involved in them, and by getting some distance from them, they felt less intense and not as upsetting or frightening. I hope that makes some sense!
  23. Tweet

    MikeysMum: Paxil

    MikeysMum: I remember when I felt just like you do. Now I don't anymore. It has not been that long, relatively, since you stopped the Paxil. When I was at four months I had that same "alien from another planet" feeling. I felt so "out of it". I had dropped 22 pounds in 10 weeks. I would sit there at the restaurant with my family and feel like an outside observer to the conversation. I felt so out of it, weird, disconnected. I kept thinking I was never going to get better or this was going to be the new normal for me. I was thinking I would rather die than live the rest of my life like this. I wanted to go back on something. My husband and grown sons who live with us sat me down and told me I didn't seem weird to them at all. They told me I was actually acting better than I did on the Prozac I had been on for over 20 years. This was a huge surprise, as in my mind I was convinced I was acting very bizarre. They said they were completely against me getting back on that or anything else. They liked the new me I was becoming. I felt trapped and desperate, but that made me push through, and while I'm still struggling I am getting way better and that alien feeling NEVER happens anymore. If you just can push through a few more months you will get better. Plan on it being the hardest thing you will ever endure(it has been by far for me)because it very well may be! Determine to be more stubborn than your symptoms and STICK WITH IT! The devil and your mind will play ugly tricks to scare you into quitting. In the end it will be proved all smoke and mirrors if you persevere. At 4-6 months I did a Bible study by Lew Sterret, a famous Christian horse whisperer on the subject of perseverance and that is what got me through. Each morning at 3-5 a.m. when the anxiety got me up I would do it and begin by writing down the definition of perseverance. It was so helpful just to focus on the meaning of the word perseverance. Lew gave an illustration that helped me when I wanted to panic about my circumstances. He was on a horse when it suddenly stopped. It was a good horse and never did that sort of thing. So he looked down and saw that it had barbed wire wrapped around it's 2 front legs. He could get off it to safety, getting himself out of danger but leaving it alone to panic and kill itself Tangled in that barbed wire, or he could trust it to let him use it's training to let him help it get loose. The horse, because of it's calm obedience to it's master, allowed Lew to loosen the barbed wire and cue it to lift one leg at a time out of the tangle and be freed with no injury. I sensed my Master in Heaven was asking me to do the same thing. Patiently endure and let Him get me out of this mess. Panicking was no longer an option. I needed to be still and let Him work on my mind and health. And He has been faithful. Now at almost a year I mostly have trouble with anxiety, neuroloneliness, and the old issues that were covered up rather than cured by Prozac. But the stuff you described has been gone since about month 6-7. Everyone is different, and you were on Paxil, not Prozac, but just hearing me say that will I hope make you feel better.
  24. Shep

    powerback: tapering no 2

    Don't forget the old mindfulness adage about being The Observer. As my favorite mindfulness guru Mooji puts it, "Your thoughts are just visitors and you are NOT a hotel! Don't invite them in!" Easier said than done to simply watch those thoughts pass without engaging, but I found during acute withdrawal that these thoughts were so toxic and so distressing and I was so exhausted, I simply couldn't interact with them anymore. I pretended they were obnoxious neighbors and forced myself to change the channel. "Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms Go outside and touch the grass, watch a bird, see if you can find pictures in the clouds. Ground yourself in nature. Play video games. Watch stupid videos. If you can learn to disengage from your thoughts and become an independent Observer, the weight of the world will be lifted off you. Our thoughts are our worst enemies at times.
  25. bunchesofoats

    bunchesofoats: starting 2nd citalopram taper

    Day 7 - 20mg 8% taper = 18.4mg diary Mostly ok today, though by no means great. Had a really, really hard time eating, but luckily actually managed ok without it. Had a lot of body anxiety but was able to stay in observer mode and just watch it and my thoughts without getting too caught up in it. Still it was hard to do too much (like many days). Some of my physical symptoms remind me of the summer of 2016 when I was taking St. Johns Wort and Garcinia and realized they might interact to increase serotonin too much. And before that I tried Sam-E which really didn't work with my system. Too tired atm to expand but wanted to make a note while I remember. Some of those experiences were probably what let to me trying citalopram in the first place. Tonight I switched to 10mg tablet and all liquid for the rest. I'm expecting tomorrow to be h***, and I've got a lot I need to do. I took a 0.5mg ativan preventatively. I know it'll probably be horrible tomorrow, and maybe not great over the weekend, which sucks since we're going out of town and visiting old friends and family, but I feel reasonably confident that I'll stabilize after some days. And then I'll hold at this dose for the next 3 weeks. At that point my plan is to drop down another 8%, which I'm guessing will be much smoother than the transition from 20mg because I'll already be adjusted to the liquid. One more note before I forget - I started tapering 2nd week of my menstrual cycle. The first time I tried to taper down was during my last week and holy heck was that unreasonable.
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