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  1. servadei

    5 years off - My Advice

    Hey guys! Long time no hear - my signature says I'm 3 years off but this year, on 10th of July I 'celebrated' my 5 years off of AD's. I would change my signature but I don't know how - that being said I'm loving what you did with the site. I'm going to try to write this with a bit of humour, because that is my style, so if you find it a bit 'aggressive' please know this was not my intent, and the sole purpose for writing this is because I care about all of you and empathise deeply with all of you. I know how it feels when your brain feels like it's been replaced with a piece of fried chicken (even though I'm afraid that even a fried chicken is an euphemism). My story short - I cold turkeyed 10 mgs of escitalopram (some of you may know it as Lexapro). My life completely changes shortly after and I entered what was an absolute hell for me (seriously, I'm catholic and that's what my version of hell would look like). Thankfully, I am doing a lot better now and I wanted to share a couple of things I learned along the way. I still suffer from anxiety, as I did before WD, it is worse than it was but it's nowhere near WD nightmare. I am not on any kind of medication and the only supplement I use is Omega3. Here are some of the things, and if I remember something later I will edit or write in the comments. DON'T GOOGLE STUFF. For the love of God, don't do it. If you're new here, there is plenty of sound advice in topic named 'Read this first' and in my opinion that is enough. Now when I say don't google stuff I mean don't google every symptom, every emotion, every fear and thought and overanalyse it. I promise you 99.99999 % of everything you feel and experience in WD is COMPLETELY NORMAL. Imagine your brain as a very stressed person trying to find best solutions and having to run the household (your body)... of course it's going to act wacky. It's not worth stressing it out further by reading into stuff and imagining even worse case scenarios. If you want to google kittens, puppies, babies, watch pretty youtube videos or just listen to calming music be my guest. But DON'TšŸ‘ GOOGLE šŸ‘ YOUR šŸ‘ SYMPTOMS šŸ‘ TAKE IT SLOW. Your brain is working so fast your body might try to mimic that. I know my body did, and I still do it sometimes, if I'm not aware. I don't know if this happens to you but when I get stressed I breathe fast, brush my teeth fast, eat fast, comb my hair fast... as if someone put a ticking bomb on all of those things. Try to be more aware and when you notice that, take a deep breath, and start over - gently, slowly. Do everything with great care and gentleness. Your body and brain need it. When you show your brain you're not in a rush, brain will take it slowly too. I know it's a problem in WD - it feels like you have an neverending supply of adrenaline - but hey, baby steps. Try do it for 5 minutes a day. INSOMNIA. This bastard made me really mad. Sleep was the only way I could escape the WD nightmare, but it rarely came. I remember trying to fall asleep for hours, just to wake up at 4 or 5 am. not being able to fall asleep again. When I couldn't sleep, naturally, I thought about how I can't sleep. I worried and worried instead of trying to utilise that time. The best advice given to me was - if you can't fall asleep just chill. Your body will find a way to get energy from that too. Imagine you're on a beach, the sound of waves, the hot sand on your feet, warm sun, smell of salt and pine... you get it. Imagine happy (well..happyish) scenarios - I imagined what will I do after the WD is over and how I'll be able to help and understand someone. Try to occupy your thoughts as much as you can as not to fall in to the 'Oh God why can't I sleep' rabbit hole. NEURO-EMOTIONS. Don't run away from them. Don't be afraid of them. Embrace them. Cry. Scream in your pillow. Jump in utter rage. Aggressively punch the mattress. Write it down and rip the paper. Welcome your fears with open arms. Neuro emotions scared me but now I see them as a way of brain restarting itself. Like pushing random buttons to see what works and you just have to deal with it. It opened a very strong traumas for me again that antidepressants and teenage way of life buried so I had to actually face them and go through them. It was horrible, but maybe necessary? WORK OUT. Aggressive workout in the middle of WD hell? Only if you're absolutely comfortable. Otherwise, I don't recommend it. On the other hand, if you want to stay in bed all day, try to fight that urge. Try to walk at least 5 minutes (even in your small apartment, you don't have to go out), do a half a squat, lift your hands, whatever, just try to be at least little bit active. There's tons of studies that show how exercising improves mental health - there's not much to say here. CREATIVITY. At my worst I really couldn't do anything. TV was too stimulating and loud, my biggest achievement was playing Mahjong on my smartphone for 2 minutes. Everything above that and I would get extremely tired. I didn't smile, sleep, eat, I just wanted to die. Luckily, as soon as I got a bit better I've decided to do anything to not think about what I'm going through even if the bliss lasted for a second. I was baking, gardening, drawing, writing... notice how all of this is with hands. Put everything you got into feeling what you're doing with your hands. Even now when I get stressed I look around me for objects and imagine what kind of texture would they be like if I touched them. DP/DR. There are no words in human language to express how much I hated those feelings. I still do. But I've come a long way. Let's say they were at 100%. Now they're at about 50% when I'm really stressed. 20-30% in normal situations, because I still have an anxiety, and it's just a poopy symptom I have to accept. DR is actually what I'm feeling, DP was problematic, but now I can't remember when I truly had it. They don't occupy my life anymore, and I'm not so afraid of them as I was. My best advice about them would be: Don't be afraid. It feels like the world is falling apart but they're just symptoms of mental disorders and WD. They are absolutely harmless. The best you can do for yourself and your brain is to accept those feelings. Say it out loud: DP/DR I accept you. I know you're just symptoms of my brain working overtime and that's okay. I know my brain is trying its best to protect me and I am grateful for that. I accept you. If this post gives just a bit of hope or brings a bit of comfort to anyone - I'm so glad. I remember rereading the same success stories here over and over again when I was at my worst. They were literally ropes I hold on to. I know what you're going to is hard, but please, please, hold on. Living with this honestly means you're the bravest of the brave. Seriously, everyone here on this forum is one heck of a soldier. You don't even know how strong you are. I was pooping my pants when I was getting into college, I was still in WD... and next year I'm going to finish it. So please, hold on, and live day by day. There are probably more things I would write about, my faith being one of the most important things that helped me (and still does). I might write about it if anyone is interested, but I'm sorry I can only write from my religion's (catholic) perspective. So if anyone is interested let me know. I also run an IG page for catholics dealing with anxiety so if you're interested shoot me a message (I don't want to put it here because I think it would be considered a self-promo). I wanted to open that page for a year now - if you read my post, what was a comforting for me was imagining I could help someone some day who is going through the same stuff as I do. So I finally did it and honestly, it is a nice creative outlet. I have no doubt there will be some future gems from this page that were molded by suffering - Gold is purified by fire. **english is not my first language, so please excuse any errors.
  2. At 21 I started taking 10mg paroxetine for 8 months to combat depression, then failed trying to quit it for 4 months, mostly due to intense withdrawal symptoms, only to succeed by taking citalopram to taper it with. After that, I felt decent for 6 weeks, but, as I was making a sandwich, I suddenly endured something it would take me weeks to identify: a panic attack. In a span of minutes, I went from a sound mind to suffering from OCD, GAD and depersonalization/derealization disorder, which took me 4-5 months to identify and link back to the paroxetine use. In those months prior to obtaining that knowledge, I was obsessed with the idea I would go crazy, lose my mind and ruin the life of my family by burdening them with my problems. Every day for months on end I would scrounge through dozens of forum posts and studies relating to developing psychosis, even after my mental health professional basically mocked the idea and wanted to get rid of me as a client, thinking I was a massive hypochondriac. Another, more experienced mental health professional is now treating me for said anxiety disorders and just being taken seriously is a massive relief. My biggest worry right now is having done permanent or long-term damage to my brain, particularly relating to memory, concentration and being able to not feel like I'm playing tennis while the sun blinds me all the freaking time. I don't think the paroxetine even helped to ammeliorate my depression beyond a placebo effect. As is, I have pretty much lost the past 1,5 years of my life to depression and now anxiety disorders. I just want to be who I once was again and get on with my life. Why is this **** still the no. 1 prescribed anti-depressant in The Netherlands? Why did I comply with my mental health professional in continuing taking the medication for so long, despite me not feeling so much better on it? The thing I consider doing is taking citalopram for a couple days and see if that helps, though this time I want to be sure this doesn't expose me to new risks or puts me at the beginning of recovery from the anxiety disorders again. I've gradually improved (no longer am in a derealized state or suffer continuous inner turmoil), but, as is, it would probably take another year to attain 90% recovery. Maybe 3-5mg citalopram for 3-5 days will speed that up?
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