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  1. Hey guys, My past medications: these were most recent, from the age of 15 onward: - Pristiq - 100 mg - Abilify - 15 mg - Fluoxetine - 20 mg - L-methyl folate (supplement) - Adderrall XR (in morning) - forget dosage - Adderrall , 2 throughout day - forget dosage When I was 10, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety due to an unstable home life at my Mom’s. I was diagnosed with anxiety and began taking Fluoxetine after an initial meeting with a psychologist followed by a psychiatrist. At age 15, I attempted suicide and was admitted to a teen unit at a local hospital. There, I was placed on many of the medications that would later be incredibly difficult to discontinue. By age 20, I had erectile dysfunction, weighed ≈285 pounds at 6’, couldn’t concentrate on anything, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, had severely limited vision in both eyes, slept 12 hours per night, had a constant feeling of emptiness, and had an overall feeling of not being present in my life (just kind of floating around). On March 12th, 2020 (yes, at the beginning of the pandemic), I stopped everything Cold Turkey. It probably wasn’t the smartest move, but I’m so glad I did it. I went through about 4 months of what I can only describe as hell. Vomiting, diarrhea, alternating between sleeping for 12 hours and 3 hours per night, and a rollercoaster of emotions I’d never felt before. I’m currently 185 pounds, diabetes free, updated my license yesterday to remove my vision restriction (my vision corrected), have a pretty good running/ weightlifting habit / Nutrition approach going, I just finished 2 years at a local Community College with a 3.2 overall GPA in a transfer program to a B.S. in Chemistry, and life is fantastic. Everything works well, I’m feeling real, genuine emotions for the first time in my life, and I’m thrilled to be alive. The only drawback from this whole discontinuation process is that I now can’t stay in bed for more than 6-7 hours. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, getting the vision restriction from my license removed yesterday prompted me to speak about my story (I guess you could call it a personal milestone). I’m still navigating the whole relationship, being human, and experiencing emotions part of everything but I can say that for once in my life, I’m very happy. Feel free to ask me anything. Thanks everyone, Connor
  2. Hello, This is my introduction post where I will be sharing my drug history, experience, and goals towards a drug free life. A little about me: I am a 26 years old male with interests in animals, nutrition, fitness, socializing, movies, and other things. I have been taking citalopram for 21 years and my goal is to taper off of my current 10 mg dose down to zero. I would appreciate tapering advice from anyone with experience with successful SSRI tapering, especially citalopram. Backstory: I started medication around the time I was 5 years old, just starting kindergarten. My parents had recently gotten divorced and I was taken to a child therapist and then a pediatrician. I had a lot of tantrums as a toddler, poor eye contact, trouble making decisions, and I would frequently get in trouble at preschool. At the advice of the pediatrician I was put on 40 mg of citalopram, brand Celexa, and what seemed to be at about the same time, 60 mg of dextroamphetamine, brand ProCentra. I still would get in trouble a lot at school up until high school, but I was a very happy kid. I stayed on both of these medications at the same doses till I was 17 when I successfully requested to be taken off of some medication. I tapered off of dextroamphetamine with no trouble at all. It was a little tougher to concentrate on hw, but I didn't mind. After graduating high school and starting studies at my local community college, I decided to taper off of citalopram. As with the dextroamphetamine, I worked with my pediatrician to help me taper off of the medication. I was told this would be difficult so I tapered off between spring and summer studies. I didn't notice any negative effects all the way down to 10 mg of citalopram. I felt different being on a lower dose, but I liked how it felt. Tapering from 10 mg to zero, however, did not go well. I developed pretty unbearable irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At this time I am starting my second year of community college and I am 19 / 20 years old. Besides having IBS, I had heightened senses, a bit of depression and anxiety, and I was less hyper and less enthusiastic. I became diet obsessed and tried to find food I could eat without getting bloated and or having digestive pain. I lied to my pediatrician and I said I was fine and decided to stayed off of the medication. I visited digestive doctors, got blood tests, and looked for diets to solve my problems. After about 6 months, I saw my general care doctor and asked to go back on citalopram at 10 mg. Before taking citalopram I requested to try a different medication, a tricyclic antidepressant. I can't remember why I thought this was a good idea. I started at a low dose and had unpleasant headaches among other weird feelings. After a month or so I decided to go back to citalopram. I believe I started with 5 mg and then worked my way up to 10 mg. I had almost constant headaches getting back on the medication, and driving felt different, possibly due to the medications effects on balance. I can't remember if I had headaches tapering off of the medication. After two to three weeks, I felt pretty good. At this time I believe I was entering my third year at my community college. I found my digestive system was generally okay if I ate whole foods and stayed away from cooking oils. My anxiety was still much more present than when I was taking 40 mg, and I didn't feel as happy. I have stayed on my 10 mg dose of citalopram since then. To help manage my anxiety, I meditate, stay physically active, eat as healthy as I can, and socialize as often as I can. There is so much misinformation out there, even in scientific research. I am not sure what to believe about the harms and benefits of antidepressants. I was for sure much happier on a higher dose, but I was also a kid when things were easier and I was still growing up, so its hard to say. These are very stressful times in the world, but there might never be a perfect time to try to taper off of the citalopram. I would appreciate any advice on tapering or any shared stories of similar experiences. Thanks for reading, VeganLife
  3. Link to Benzo Forum Thread - Shep's Journey Link to French translation (courtesy of Erell): Se libérer de la psychiatrie - Shep : « Quitter la caverne de Platon » 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.
  4. I’m new to the site and looking for some guidance and insight into my taper. I started taking fluoxetine in July of 2018 for depression and anxiety. I started at 10mg a day and over a 6 month period worked up to 40mg. Over the course of the pandemic i continued to up my dosage until I got to 80mg a day in January of 2021. I also take propranolol as a migraine preventative 10mg twice a day and as needed for anxiety/panic attacks which is usually once a week. And I take dextroamphetamine XR as needed for focus, but I avoid it if I feel my anxiety is kicking back in. Sometimes I’ll take it for 4 days in a row and sometimes I won’t take it for a month. I also cut caffeine out of my diet. I’ve been in therapy since February and have developed a bunch of good coping mechanisms and lifestyle changes that made me feel like I could try going off of the SSRI’s. I’ve been going down 10mg each week since mid July, but after reading a few posts I’m wondering if that’s too fast. I’m currently down to 30mg a day. Some days are totally fine and I feel really good about the taper and some days I wake up in a totally nebulous depression. I’m currently in a sort of an emotional haze. I can’t really say I’m depressed about anything in particular which is typical of my depression. I just stop caring. Unfortunately one of my coping mechanisms for depression in the past has been to self medicate with alcohol and I feel myself slipping back into that. I’ve been so up and down though the last few weeks I don’t know if maybe this current feeling of apathy will fade away tomorrow. Right now I feel like I could just stare at a wall all day or sleep for a week. Thanks for reading.
  5. Hi everyone, this is my first post. Just want to say thank you so much to Altostrata for creating this website and spending so much time over the years to develop this as a resource. I am a 26 year old with ADHD and I take dexamphetamine 2.5mg up to three times daily so that I can manage my focus and concentration on tasks throughout the day. I am also prescribed Cymbalta 30mg. I take this every evening for anxiety. Over the years since I started it in 2015 it has helped me along in life rather well. I am in a stable job in the IT sector and have had a reasonable social life also. However the time has come to rid myself of the sexual side effects. You will see in my signature (hopefully) the timeline of my tapering. Honestly, I wish I could do it faster but I am not sure that I can. For now I have not tapered since the 26-05-21 as I have decided to stay stable for July and August. Somthing that I have noticed is that, whilst tapering, maybe about 3 weeks into a taper I feel relatively stable etc and I might have some drinks at the weekend. But I have noticed, even 3 weeks after a taper (approx) I can be such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. Has anyone else experienced this? Why would tapering cause such an effect like this? Also, does anyone have any tips on dealing with the withdrawals that come within the first week of a taper? Such as the agitation, tiredness, apathy, grogginess. Does magnesium help, if so which type?
  6. leavingorganon

    leavingorganon

    Hello all. I've been on various meds since 2005 when I was 21. I was put on Remeron because of what I now see as situational anxiety due to then-undiagnosed ADHD. I think it's time for me to leave this state and move ahead. The trigger for this desire is a recent cognitive assessment I did where I found out that things that were once easy for me intellectually are now harder, which is especially concerning for someone who's always been over-achieving and has "being smart" as an integral part of their identity. My short term memory is really bad with all of those medications, and what drove me towards doing the assessment is struggles at work that have been going on for the last three years. Though the assessment was the acute trigger, there are larger themes at play that made me really struggle the last few years. My sense of self is vague and undefined. I used to be much sharper and brighter, passionate, and awake; qualities that I feel are lost under the haze of artificial neurotransmitter modulation. I'm at an impasse that simply can't be overcome by adding a new med every few months (believe me, I tried). I feel like I'm half the person I used to be at work and at life. I crave authenticity and clarity rather than an artificial sense of (over)confidence. Despite all of that, I really feel some gratitude for the journey. I did a lot in these 15 years in spite of/because of (can't tell at this stage honestly) these meds, including getting two master's degrees and meeting really wonderful people throughout. I try to avoid an attitude of being anti psych meds as they are really helpful in some life situations. I actually don't plan on going off the ADHD med I'm currently on, and I'm even open to the idea of being on an anti-depressant in the future if needs be and I can tolerate it. I recently gave stopping Remeron a try (jumped from 3.5mg dose or thereabouts, wasn't doing accurate cutting and weighing back then), and was actually doing fine (the most salient withdrawal symptom was itchiness, which is honestly fine). This went on until sometime in the second week when the usual acute withdrawal symptoms came at me (akathisia, insomnia, nausea, etc). Before that, I experienced a lovely sense of lucidity and intellectual playfulness that made me feel 20 again. I had the loveliest conversation with my best friend, without the recent robotic disinterest that these meds seem to cause me. I decided afterwards to reinstate, get off the other problematic meds I was on first (Klonopin and Latuda), regroup, then tackle the Remeron gently. For the last few months, I've been collecting stories of people who successfully overcame this mess as well as quotes from the Baylissa's book. I've also been training my faith, acceptance, and non-resistance/non-anticipation muscles. I am currently reading Hope and Help for Your Nerves, and determined to come up with a plan with my therapist to stock up on coping skills. This endeavor is, in essence, part of a greater desire to live a life that is built around my abilities (whatever those may be after I'm done with my tapering) and interests, instead of hysterically and aggressively going after situations that are overly ambitious but ultimately destructive for me. This, to me, is the reason I went on and continued to be lulled by these meds for a decade and a half. I really don't care about material ambitions at this point; I just want a pleasant and meaningful life. I've successfully got off Klonopin after a year of (low-dosage, 0.125mg every two or three nights) last month. I've also got off Latuda this week and I'm doing generally well. I do realize that I'm still not completely clear off of these meds, so my plan is to resume my tapering etc. after some weeks. When I started, my goals were as follows: 1. Stop benzodiazepines (DONE) 2. Overcome polypharmacy 3. Stop Remeron The order of 2 and 3 doesn't matter to me, though I'm currently leaning towards stopping Remeron first as I've been on it the longest and maybe staying on Brintellix while getting off of it can lessen the withdrawal symptoms. So yeah, this is my introduction post. Thank you for reading.
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