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  1. Anybody had any experience with this controversial therapy, good or bad?
  2. Hi, new member here. This forum is a God-send. A few years ago I was casually put on Cipralex (a.k.a Lexapro) within 15 minutes of talking to a shrink and stayed on it for 2 years. Although I tapered off it slowly, I had a panic attack for the first time in my life when I went off it, followed by a period of mild anxiety, then all of a sudden many months later I was hit with a variety of bizarre physical and psychological symptoms such as electromagnetic sensitivity, brain fog, a bizarre and persistent throbbing sensation in the right side of my head, a nervous tick in my right eyebrow, hyperacusis, rage, and suicidal thoughts. Psychiatrists and psychologists passed it all off as extreme stress and anxiety (They all said "You developed a new psychological illness, anxiety, and it's merely a coincidence that you developed it after going off the medicine. Your symptoms are all psychosomatic.") I have resisted being put back on SSRIs and chose to trust my instincts, insisting that these symptoms are clearly related to the Cipralex. Online readings and seeing the feedback of others who withdrew from antidepressants have given me the reassurance to continue on my journey of healing naturally, without falling back into the cobwebs of the psycho-pharmaceutical industry. I was merely a little bit sad when I visited a shrink and needed to talk to someone, not endure a journey of medical hell. I am so happy to have come across a compassionate and immensely useful forum to help me continue my brave healing journey which, essentially, I am undertaking on my own. I have endured several recent months of indescribable agony. Some of the coping techniques that are helping me out at the moment include adding a little apple cider vinegar and honey to water first thing in the morning, supplements (rhodiola rosea in the morning and magnesium before sleep), Reiki, deep breathing, walking, and Somatic Experiencing (a form of alternative therapy to relieve mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on perceived body sensations), as well as chewing gum (helps a lot with the need to grind my teeth which is one of my withdrawal symptoms). I have also cut out gluten, coffee and alcohol from my diet. I also bought a teddy bear recently and holding it helps in anxious moments and makes me feel that I am not alone. Prayer is helpful too as it is immensely reassuring to turn to a higher power for help. I have ups and downs on this healing journey and I am literally trying everything to help me out. If anyone has been on Cipralex and has any other tips that can help me in my withdrawal process I'd be most grateful if you could please share them. May we all recover soon from our withdrawal experiences 🙏
  3. Hello, my name is Bia, I'm from Brazil and I'm only 16!! I don't know much about this forum and since I'm brazilian my english knowledge is limited, so if I'm doing something wrong please let me know 😄😄 It's been 7months since I started taking Paroxetine, and happened that I forgot to take for two days and I know after reading about I realized that I'm having 'brain zaps'. The reason why I'm here is to know if, when you start taking your medication again the symptoms will stop?? I'm a teenager who needs to study for high school and these brain zaps really distract me... my mom is already mad at me for forgetting to take the pills I don't have anything to do I really need some help right now to know that everything is going to be okay 🙁🙁
  4. Hi I was on lexapro 10 mg for 6 years. I tapered off starting Feb 2017 following my doctors advice. I took 5 mg for 2 weeks then 5 mg every other day for 1 week then stopped completely. 3 days after my last dose the brain zaps started. Now after 8 weeks I have a continuous feeling like a sparkler is firing off in my brain, all day long. Sometimes it is more intense than other times, but it never goes away. It feels like a shower of sparks is swirling around in my brain, it is so hard to describe. It is not in my ears, but in my brain. I went back to my doctor to see if I should go back on and taper off more slowly. He said no, to just try to ignore it like you would ignore a back ache. I tried ignoring it for 2 weeks then returned to him, he referred me to a neurologist. Today I saw the neurologist who looked at me with wide eyes and said he never heard of this. He said he will order a test of brain waves but doubts it will show anything. His suggestion is to go back on the 10 mg to see if it goes away. My question is: is 8 weeks too long to be off it to reintroduce the drug and then taper off slower? I have read that reinstating the drug will get rid of symptoms IF YOU DO IT IMMEDIATELY. I am afraid that after 8 weeks, it could make it worse. I just want to be off the drug. I never had these sensations before using this drug. I don't know what is causing them and if they are benign. I tell my self they are not hurting my brain, that it is just my brain "coming back on line" but as they persist it is harder and harder to believe this. I really do not want to go back on, but if it is the only way to make them go away I will and then taper more slowly. Then I wonder if this counts as "time served" and if I go back on and taper more slowly, I will just have to serve this time again. Also, is it just the addicted part of me telling me to go back on, like how I used to lie to myself when quitting smoking? (By the way quitting smoking cigarettes after smoking for 10 years was infinitely easier than what I am going through with this.) I appreciate any wisdom, any body live through months of zaps? do they ever go away? are they harmful? Thank you so much
  5. Hello, I was put on Cymbalta about a year ago for PVC's along with a beta blocker. (no history of depression or anxiety diagnosis) The PVC's went away, but moderate, continuous, and unsettling dizziness seemed to take over. All diagnostic tests negative. We tried various different Beta blockers, but none took care of constant dizziness. About 2 months ago, my doctor told me to quit taking Cymbalta and gave me Lyrica instead "to see". After about a day or so, my dizziness was alittle better, but I got these wierd little "strikies" at the base of my skull with increased tinnitus..almost audible to me. ...especially later in day when I move my eyes or head. They got worse the next day so I took a Cymbalta 60mg if by chance it would help. They went away in about 6 hours and dizziness returned. I asked my doctor about the "brain zaps" (found out later that is what they were called) and he acted like I was crazy... "never heard of them" So, he has now referred me to a neurologist for "atypical migraines" which takes like 4 months to get into. In the mean time I have tried to get off of Cymbalta on my own. I have decreased dose (by removing beads) and spread doses out over a couple days for about the last month. Now it takes 2 to 3 days before these terrible brain zaps return. As far as I can tell I do not have any other symptoms of WD other than maybe difficulty to sleep. My questions are: 1. Can I expect to have more WD symptoms after the zaps go away? 2. When a person goes sorta fast or cold turkey, (Haven't taken a pill since Sunday) will the zaps get less soon....or are they with me for months? Thanks for any advice. I have found this site quite informative and really feel for the issues that these antidepressants have caused.
  6. Hi everyone, I am new here and I would greatly appreciate your help! I am sorry for my long story (with possible errors) but I just can't find anyone who can answer my questions and I desperately seek recognition and advice. If you do not want to read this long story please scroll to my questions and fears? I'm Renske, 46 years old, and I'm from the Netherlands. I have been taking 20 mg of Seroxat aka Paxil for a very long time (since I was 19) because I was diagnosed with a compulsive disorder. Seroxat worked very well for me for a long time. Mainly because I gradually gained weight (more than 25 kilos), and kept gaining (with no obvious reason, such as eating a lot or something like that) and everything was checked; bloodwork, thyroid etc , I decided a few years ago to try to phase out Seroxat. Because I already knew how difficult that would be, I did it VERY slowly, with a suspension. I was busy with this for a year. Throughout the year I was particularly affected by huge irritations and hostility. It seemed as if I had absolutely no patience and I was constantly angry. I have been very sad about this, because I was particularly unkind and impatient towards my children (8 and 11). Not physically thank God, but extreme irritation and impatience is of course also very bad. This made me feel very guilty. The phasing out eventually failed, the moment I took almost nothing anymore, because I became extremely anxious and because the obsessive thoughts came back. Because I didn't have a back-up plan, after all the effort 😞 I quickly rebuilt to the full dose. It didn't work properly anymore; so i went up to 30 mg. Still didn't work properly. What I found remarkable, though, was that the aggressive / irritated feelings greatly decreased. In consultation with a psychologist and psychiatrist I recently decided to switch to Lexapro (escitapram) although I realize that it is a matter of trying, because many SSRIs work the same (with the risk that it would not work properly again) and that they often have the same side effects (weight gain). I noticed that I had developed some sort of aversion to Seroxat, because it is apparently the most difficult drug to phase out and because it is the biggest culprit among the SSRis when it comes to weight gain. The current situation: week 1: Seroxat (paxil) I went from 30 mg to 20 mg, week 2; 20 mg of Seroxat, week 3; 10 mg Seroxat and 5 mg Escitalopram (lexapro), week 4; stop Seroxat and 10 mg escitalopram. Afterwards; continue with 10 mg escitalopram. I understand that 10 mg of Lexapro (escitalopram) is approximately equal to 20 mg of Seroxat. I am now at the beginning of week 5. During these past weeks I have had the so-called and famous brain zapps, and huge sweat attacks. But the worst thing is that I am AGAIN so terribly irritated and hostile. I recognize this as a withdrawal from Seroxat, I am almost certain that this is not a side effect of building the escitalopram. Ironically, I don't have a lot of trouble with my compulsion, but all the more with my very short temper. Discussed it with the psychiatrist; she indicates that if this is a withdrawal phenomenon, it should be over in a few weeks, according to the pharmacist who makes the product. Of course I said that that is the biggest bullsh*t and that there are so many people who suffer from these symptoms for a longer period of time. She didn't really have an answer for that. She indicated that maybe it was my personality that came back. But that is nonsense; I was always gentle and kind to others. this is also not ordinary irritation due to stress or something, but it really seems like something physical that really engulfs me, just like that She suggested perhaps adding some Seroxat again? The reason why I do not believe in this is because in the past I have phased out the Seroxat very slowly and then I also had such symptoms. Why would that be different now? My questions and fears: Does anyone recognize the symptoms of irritation, impatience and hostility of phasing out the Seroxat / Paxil? How long can this take? Was this passing on? Is there anyone with whom this went away as a new drug started to work properly? I am afraid that this withdrawal phenomenon will continue to exist for a long time due to the withdrawal of Seroxat, while the Lexapro may work, can this coexist? Or is that far-fetched? I know that all anti-depressants must be phased out gradually. Would it make sense to take a little more Seroxat next to the Lexapro, so that I would phase out slower, despite using Lexapro at the same time (within safe margins of course)because the (very) slow reduction has not diminished the feelings of irritation in the past, and I am now inclined to finally stop completely with Seroxat and switch completely to Lexapro. I would be so grateful if I get some responses from people who recognize things. Again, sorry for my long story. Thanks so much in advance. Renske
  7. Hello, I’ve been taking Viibryd 40 mg. several years for depression. I’m concerned that it is not working as well as it has until recently ( last month or so). When I miss a dose for more than a day, I get the alarming ‘brain zaps’ and brain fog. So, I asked my GP Dr. if I could try Cymbalta to see how it would work. He gave me the script for Cymbalta 60 mg. and had it filled. Im hesitate to switch since I’m not sure how this will go. My thought was that there should be a titration period from Viibryd to Cymbalta since my previous changes were titrationed. But, he said to just stop the Viibryd and start the Cymbalta the next day. This is what scares me. So, I’m curious if anyone has had any experience with these two drugs and if so, what was your experience. My other concern is that if I’m to eventually stop antidepressants in the future, the brain zaps will never leave and I don’t think that I could handle it. This thought is from others experiences that I’ve read about on the web. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and or experiences.
  8. Hi all, This is my first post, but probably not my last unfortunately. I was taking Lexapro 10 MG for anxiety and dizziness of unknown origin for about 3 years. I have tapered off over a little less than 3 months. As of today, I am over 1 week off completely of the drug. I have had a whirlwind of symptoms most notably anxiety and dizziness. The dizziness has been unrelenting and it's very taxing on the mind and body to have to compensate for this. Generally, I feel disoriented and most of my dizziness centers around head movement. Some heart symptoms, but mostly attributable to anxiety (racing heartbeat, palps, etc.). I've had a history of PVCs which have been checked out before and OKed. I'm writing this specific topic to ask what your definition of a brain zap is? I've read over some time that most people seem to center around a brain zap as a sudden jolt of electricity throughout the head, or an electric like sensation. I feel like I may have been experiencing brain zaps but not necessarily in this sense. I don't feel an "electric" sensation, but I do experience sudden dizzy spells, where my head feels like it's about to fall over. These spells last maybe a few seconds and really take up that time (I.E. I can't do anything else, for those short seconds I'm in the spell). Does anyone else experience brain zaps as sudden dizziness/vertigo that subsides in seconds? Thanks for any input and good luck to everyone.
  9. Hi to everyone! A little about my story: -I was started on Effexor immediate release, 75 mg, about a year ago, in January of 2015. I wasn't even clinically depressed, I don't think - just a middle-aged lady dealing with life stuff, but coping fine, working, functioning. Had never had prior antidepressants . -Took Effexor 75 immediate release from 1/2015-5/2015, when the side effects (massive fatigue, weight gain, emotional numbness, among other issues) became intolerable. -Fast tapered 5/2015- 6/2015 over about 3-4 weeks. Did not receive adequate instructions from my therapist, just told to "taper slowly". -Terrible withdrawal symptoms for about a month, then settled down to: -daily brain zaps, usually dozens of times a day; comes on when I'm tired, haven't slept enough, about to fall asleep, or waking up. If I'm well-rested, the brain zaps are less frequent, but there hasn't been a day I haven't felt multiple, multiple zaps. -No improvement in this symptom (brain zaps) in the 8 months since I've been off Effexor -also feel continuation of the withdrawal symptom of vertigo/dizziness/mild "swishing" feeling in my head, especially when I'm not well-rested. I'm terrified that the brain zapping indicates permanent damage of some kind. I'm terrified that the damage will lead to unknown consequences in the future. I'm terrified that this will never go away. The symptoms aren't intolerable, in and of themselves; it's just the worry and the uncertainty that bother me. I'm happy to keep "waiting it out", but am losing hope. I really don't want to reinstate, but am considering doing so, in the XR formulation, as low of a dose as I can get away with, and then do a slooooooooooooowwwwww taper this time. However, I would only want to do this if there were NO WAY that these symptoms would go away without reinstatement of Effexor. So happy to have found this forum. If anyone has any experience with this situation or any advice for me, that would be awesome I'm especially wondering if anyone has had any luck with brain zaps going away after an Effexor fast taper - either waiting it out for a very long time, or success with reinstating/then slow tapering Effexor after such a long time with withdrawal symptoms. Thank you, and Happy New Year to all. Hopefully 2016 will be a better year for all of us!
  10. I have been taking Pristiq (50mg once a day) for approximately 5 years. It manages my depression fairly well, but I have had side effects of extreme sweating and muscle spasms, and maybe weight gain. I don't know if I would have gained the weight anyway but have gained a lot of weight in that time. I want to stop taking it and was advised by my physician to start tapering off by taking it every other day for 3-4 weeks and then start taking Welbutrin on the off days. I was miserable the whole time - brain zaps, severe headaches, extreme irritability. I tried taking the Welbutrin only one day and was very dizzy and nauseated so did not take it again. My dr recommended I take the Pristiq every 3rd day after 3 weeks but after 5 days I was near a breakdown, physical and emotional. He recommended I go back to my daily 50 mg for now until we figure out what else to do, I am happy to hear there is a 25mg dose because we did not know about that. What is the best way for me to start tapering from the 50 mg tablets from everyone's experience on this site?
  11. I had been on Effexor XR for fifteen years before making the decision to get off this terrible drug. My concern is that I waited too long. I was tired of the feelings if I missed a dose, the sexual side effects and the general lack of emotions. Had I know how difficult and painful this journey was going to be I would have stayed on the poison just to avoid all of the difficulty. In the beginning of coming off the drug I had all the symptoms others have described. The crying, the brain zaps, the panic attacks at night all were just the tip of the iceberg with coming off. I unfortunately came off too fast. I did the standard weaning described by my doctor from 150, 75 to 37.5. What I should have done was to open the capsules and count the beads. I also should have lengthened the time between each drop in dose. I would say after 3 months in I had it beat, I felt litter but that was short lived. I then began my journey of trying to find other alternatives. I tried Accupunture, Counseling, LDA therapy, NAC, Inositol, heavy doses of vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, omega fish oil, restore, brain octane...... I then , after 9 months off Effexor, decided to try Prozac in order to cope with life. Everything has become insurmountable and my thoughts are all negative. I have never been so pessimist as I am right now. Now only to I judge myself against all others, I internally do the same with my children and their accomplishments. Nothing is ever good enough. I feel perhaps that Effexor has damaged me somehow. My once optimistic trial and error ways have turned to a pessimistic future. My next journey is to try CBD in the hopes that I can return to some normal aspect off life. I welcome all comments, ideas, stories or pep talks to get me through!
  12. Hi! I'm Britt777. I joined this site to figure out what is causing me numerous symptoms. Here is my brief story: Took Lexapro for about 3 years or more, came off of it Tried Trintillex and Brintillex, didn't like the way it made me feel Doctor then tried Fluvoxamine 100mg and took that for 7 months. He decided to add Wellbutrin (Bupropion XL 150mg) along with it. A month later I ask to stop Fluvoxamine (Luvox) because I felt like I was experiencing "depersonalization" or pretty much felt like life was not real and was a dream. So, at that appointment he told me to stop the Fluvoxamine and upped my Wellbutrin to 300mg once a day. The first day from this switch I felt great. Then the second day came... had nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, "brain zaps", increased tinnitus (ringing in the ears), blurry vision, feeling like I could pass out, headaches, head pressure, and crazy fluctuating heart rate. (Today I had a heart rate of 100 and dropped to 70 within 5 minutes without doing anything different.) This is day 7 since the switch. I just want to find out if it's withdrawal symptoms from the Fluvoxamine since he didn't advise me to taper or if it's a reaction to upping the Wellbutrin.
  13. I took my last pill 4 days ago with the intention of quitting cold Turkey. Really hoping I can make it!! Going through the whole vertigo/brain zap phase right now...no fun. One day at a time.
  14. I was literally on this for nine days (was on 10mg for seven days then went to 20mg the next two) when i missed a dose and layed down for bed, it hadn't even been five hours after my normal medication time and as i was falling asleep I had THE MOST VIOLENT brain zaps. They were so extremely painful. I've experienced zaps before on effexor, but they were nothing like this. They started with sleep paralysis and intense, painful throbbing on my temples that started light and got more intense. As this was happening i could hear whispering... and as the throbbing became more intense so did the voices, they went from whispers to talking to screaming and then a huge shock that jolted me out of bed and almost felt like a seizure if i could describe it.. i got up and went to the bathroom to try to shake it off, and it happened again while i was awake. I took my medicine, obviously. But the next two days I had a terrible residual throbbing headache in my temples... But i decided that if this was happening after only 9 days, how would i ever get off of it in the future should i decide to? So i'm currently weaning myself off of it. I took 20mg for two days, then decreased by approx. 2.5mg every two days until i got to 10, then i went a bit slower, 2.5mg every 4 days. Last night i took 5mg and had such bad brain zaps that my boyfriend woke me up because i was screaming in my sleep. I just feel like I'm doing everything right and everything is going wrong. I understand the slow and steady thing, honestly i thought i was going slow enough.. but does it really make sense to titrate off it for three months when i was only taking it for 11 days until i started decreasing? The only other medicine i take every day is Topamax 250mg for PTSD, and clonidine .1 for anxiety. These have been the only medications I've been on for the last year. Has anyone else dealt with discontinuation syndrome so early after starting? How long does it take to wean off? My doctor doesn't have answers, he actually told me to "just stop taking it." When i told him that wasn't exactly an option, he told me to keep doing what I'm doing. After last night my head is in crushing pain again. If anyone can help me, ugh... you just don't know.
  15. Hello all, I'm generally very private about my medical history and have never posted to a public forum before, and feel a little uncomfortable doing so, but I could really use some insight and reassurance BEFORE I see my health care provider tomorrow afternoon. Here is a brief background on my history: Bi Polar 1 and Bordereline Personality, Panic disorder, Past medical history: Paxil, Ativan, Lamictal, Ambilify, Probably something else I can't recall.. Current: Lithium, Trleptal, Xanax, Lexapro (Tappering), Wellbutrin I have tapered off Lexapro before only to shorty go back on it. I know that this is one of the more difficult ones to tapper off of, but this seems excessive. The tapering has been for 2 1/2 weeks. Wellbutrin was introduced as a substitute for the lexapro. As of the last 3 days, I am experiencing excruciating brain zaps, dizziness, fatigue, and a consistent and concerning muscle spasm on the right side of my face. My question is: Has anyone here been on both of these medications? Are these symptoms most likely the withdrawal from lexapro OR could this be the wellbutrin. How long did your lexapro withdrawal help for? Being that I cannot take any NSAIDS (no advil, alive etc.) is there anything you took to help alleviate this? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  16. Kilito12

    Kilito. New.

    Hey everyone. Not sure what I'm looking for here. I guess some reassurance about how things are going for me. Been reducing citalopram (40mg) since April and now not taking anything. Serious side effects. Worst being the dizziness and electrocution down my neck and necks every time I move my eyes. Insomnia too. Hence why I'm awake at 4:30am.
  17. Twenty months ago, I stopped taking an SSRI drug (Citralopram/Celexa) that I had used for depression and pain management for 1 1/2 years. I started at a dosage of 20 and my doctor changed it to 40 after a year. Finally, tired of tremors, dull emotions and lack of motivation to do anything, I decided to stop. I didn't go cold turkey; I tapered off by halves (probably too fast) until the dosage was so low that it was ridiculous to try to halve it again. Still, the after-effects were so severe that they caused devastating impacts in my life. For me, these effects were physical (brain zaps), mental (confusion about reality; inability to focus), emotional (out-of-proportion reactions to emotions, positive or negative; depression), and spiritual (because my spirit was greatly challenged). I am not a doctor, but I've done lots of research on SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome. While on the drug, it coordinated the body's responses to emotional situations; after discontinuation of SSRIs, the brain must re-learn, through trial and error, how much chemicals and what chemicals to send the body for EACH type of emotion. Though some doctors admit that these withdrawal brain zaps exist, they don't understand them; some speculate that it is part of this "relearning" process. During the early stages of my "relearning" process, I lost 4 friendships; three are now starting to mend, but will never be at the level they were before. I became estranged from every social group I was involved with, except for a small women's group. I resigned from active participation in the neighborhood community that I live in. While my mind tried to re-balance itself whenever I felt an emotion, the intensity of my response often seemed inappropriate or “out of character” for me. People around me became confused and I became confused. I (and they) began to question my perception of reality, which only added to my confusion. But, I was NOT imagining things. I was feeling emotions that were there, emotions that the meds had masked. While my mind struggled to relearn how much chemical to send for EVERY type of emotion, my feelings were bouncing up and down and I would become extremely upset over seemingly trivial things. Some would say I “lost my mind” during this period, but I'd actually found it again. Only it wasn't working well. It was an atrophied muscle that had to exercise, but exercising subjected every one around me to my hell on earth. I had a very low tolerance for bullsh*t, or for being discounted. I called people on things they did or said that hurt me, often out of proportion to the actual event I was reacting to, but it was still a real thing I was reacting to. This did not work out well. So, I isolated. And lost friends. I am now slowly re-entering the world. I'm gardening again. I'm doing art again. I spend most of the day out of bed. I'm feeling closer to my old self, especially since also discontinuing the Vicodin. It seemed to me that it was aggravating my recovery. Though initially ceasing the Vicodin increased the brain zaps, after a week it seemed to have helped overall. There is a lot of excellent advice on this website. Here's my thoughts on how to get through this: Wait. Meditate. Slow down your life. Keep healthy. Deep breathing exercises. Drink lots of water. Keep regular bowels. Tell everyone near and dear to you what you are going through, and hope that they can be patient and understanding. Listen to your body: If it wants to sleep, then lie down, even if you woke up only an hour ago. If you are in a conversation that is upsetting you, excuse yourself and walk away. If you are struggling with depression: Some find going gluten free helps. Others find St. John's Wort helps. Have your blood work checked to see if your vitamin and minerals are in good shape. Vitamin B is important for healthy emotions. Sun is important. Therapy. Friends. Journal. I am retired, so I had the luxury of being able to totally isolate through the worst of it, about a month. It is good to enjoy yourself, but with quiet type of enjoyment. If you stimulate “happy making” chemicals in your brain, the condition will temporarily get worse because it throws the brain into overdrive of a sort; "happy makers" include: nutmeg, chocolate, anything with tryptophan in it (turkey, for example), sex, getting high, getting excited. Watch boring reruns on TV, play quiet games, read, and avoid social gatherings or stimulating conversations. I know, sounds boring, but that is the idea. As your condition improves, you can begin introducing the “highs” of life again, but slowly. If you eat a whole bar of chocolate, you may have severe brain zaps the following day, and a deep depression the day after. Been there. I truly empathize. It gets better! Slowly, but it does get better. I feel confident that I will be back to my self eventually.
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