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  1. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  2. Most, if not all, of us on here keep notes or track symptoms, progress and tapering schedules. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could combine them all in one big AI database and have it spew out the statistically significant data? Until that comes to fruition, I wanted to share some patterns that I have tracked with my daughter’s anti-psychotic tapering progress over the last two years. Maybe others have seen similar patterns? Or can share their noticeable patterns on the specific days or weeks when they occur from a drop in dose/ taper time frame. So often in the throes of withdrawal agony we look for a way to ‘fix’ our current situation. We ruminate whether we should up dose, taper down, throw a supplement at it, add a different med …. In the hopes of making the current “pain”, better. Pretty much I have thought of all those things except throwing in the kitchen sink in an attempt to ‘make it stop’ for her. As it is often cited and discussed here on Survivingantidepressants.com, learning how to cope using non-drug techniques during these times is the best strategy. Can knowing when you are in the middle of something awful, that what you are experiencing is actually a typical pattern others have gone through and will eventually subside…be of benefit to help ‘ride the wave?' I vote, "yes it can." The pattern that I have noticed for my daughter, Glo, is what I call the “Week Three Phenomenon.” This phenomenon became more apparent as her dose became lower. Probably because she was pretty much ‘zombified’ on the higher doses and it was only when her level of alertness improved and just overall feeling better occurred that the ‘down patterns’ emerged more clearly. Week Three Phenomenon occurs between day 15 and 22 after a taper. It shows up as Emotional Spirals, (typically Anger Spirals), Crying Spells, Agitation and increased Insomnia. Week one and Week two have their share of symptoms but typically not these. Actually those weeks have more physical symptoms and less emotional symptoms. Additionally there is more “calm” in week 2. So one might think, “Ahh I made it through the rough parts of that taper” and then boom….not so much. But then by week 4…pretty much on cue for day 22 or 23…the calm returns. Maybe this is Windows and Waves but maybe it is actually repair work going on from the drop in dose. Maybe there is really a methodical way the brain heals and it impacts certain areas of the brain in succession (the amygdala, hippocampus, frontal lobe perhaps)? Similar to the old fashioned arcade Pinball Game only the “ball” pings the same areas of the brain in a repeatable fashion after a taper? I am certainly only a mother observing my daughters behaviors and actions through this process so, no expert am I. Nor do I really know what she is feeling as she does not talk much any more. However, I can count on these emotional spirals showing up on week 3 like clockwork. The other pattern I see relates to Menstruating Females. This pattern is most discernible when one is having regular periods. Glo went from amenorrhea in the beginning to irregular periods then to regular but shortened periods. But every month when she is regular her symptoms go ‘off the charts’ during ovulation. They last about 24 to 36 hours and occur mostly 14 days before the start of her next period. She has ramped up pacing (I am assuming akathisia), chewing/jaw tension, agitation, insomnia and decreased level of alertness/communication. This same pattern emerges 24 to 48 hours before she starts her period. So what happens if my sweet beautiful daughter is in Week Three of a taper and ovulation or her menstrual cycle arrives? Well, if the general public, doctors or psychiatrists were around they would lock her up in a psych ward and “med her up” (to refer to words by @puthappinessfirst) Fortunately, I will not let that happen. It is comforting to me to know these are patterns and that there is always calm after these storms; usually in the form of increased healing. She is better now than she has been at any time on this medication. She still has much healing to do. I still have patience to learn. But we are getting through to the other side of being on this poison. Peace to all who taper, Glosmom
  3. It's a simple question. What makes you feel better? Or at least, what helps you stay strong when things are at their hardest? Do you journal? Meditate? Did you change your diet? Start knitting? Who's work speaks to you? For me, I started tracking my daily happiness on a scale of 1-100. I figured if I could get myself to an average of 51, then the scale would tip just enough in the positive direction to justify a life worth living. This was such a modest goal that I found that hitting 51 over the course of a week was possible even if I had multiple crap days that clocked in at like, 23. Having something so concrete kept me grounded even if I was feeling like an emotional tilt-a-whirl. I'd love to see what everyone is doing to self-soothe, and whether or not anyone has come up with any strategies that helped them get through their day to day. Get specific! Pontificate! We're all so strong to still be here, so share what's in that unflinching will.
  4. This is written with a great deal of insight and personal experience. Great paper. Qual Health Res. 2016 Mar;26(4):466-81. doi: 10.1177/1049732315576496. Epub 2015 Mar 23. "I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning": An Autoethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use. Fixsen AM1. Abstract Benzodiazepines are group of drugs used mainly as sedatives, hypnotics, muscle relaxants, and anti-epileptics. Tapering off benzodiazepines is, for some users, a painful, traumatic, and protracted process. In this article, I use an autoethnographic approach, adopting the metaphor of water, to examine heuristically my experience of iatrogenic illness and recovery. I draw on personal journals and blog entries and former users' narratives to consider the particular form of biographical disruption associated with benzodiazepines and the processes involved in identity reconstruction. I emphasize the role of the online community in providing benzodiazepine users such as myself with a co-cultural community through which to share a voice and make sense of our experiences. I explain how the success stories of former users provided me with the hope that I, the "medical victim," could become the "victor" and in the process construct a new life and fresh identity. © The Author(s) 2015. KEYWORDS: Autoethnography; diaries / journals; healing; recovery; self-help; social identity; stories / storytelling PMID: 25800715 DOI:10.1177/1049732315576496
  5. Hi there This is my first post here so apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong place. I'm currently in withdrawal from citalopram which I stopped taking 18 months ago. For the first 6 to 9 months I had the windows and waves pattern. But from around 9 months off the medication onwards the windows and waves have stopped and I've been in a constant state win a number of symptoms. My symptoms are insomnia, lack of appetite stomach and bowel problems, complete emotional blunting, constant sexual dysfunction, fatigue, eyesight problems like blurred vision and some visual disterbance particularly in my left eye and there are other symptoms but those are the main ones. I'm in a constant state with these symptoms which I have been in for around a year now with no windows and waves at all. I'm just a little bit confused about why I'm not getting the windows and waves anymore and what this means or if anyone else has any experience with this? I know the windows and waves are a commonly reported part of this so I'm a bit confused about why I'm not getting this anymore. If anybody knows anything on this subject would be great to hear from you. Thanks and take care xx
  6. Hi everybody. I just signed up. I know enough about depression to fill a book. I think I'm finally putting everything together after dealing with this monster for over half of my life (I'm 51). It took a whole lot of research and my dad getting diagnosed with cancer to push me into into enough pain that I figured out I needed to talk to my depression to beat it. Once I got that ball rolling, things started making sense. Then, I discovered tardive dysphoria, or oppositional tolerance - which is basically your brain on psych drugs = a pathological syndrome. So, here I am. I felt like a zombie. I couldn't think straight. My memory was shot. My emotions were numb. Now I'm down 75 mg on my mood stabilizer. I feel better. I feel like a slowly waking zombie. I feel more stable than I did before I started tapering down. My moods were totally erratic. I couldn't predict a darn thing. I was blowing up a customers for no dang reason! So, I think I became depressed because I am a perfectionist. It is a family thing. Well, it is kind of a human thing. Problem is, if you have an idea or a plan and it doesn't work out, you get bummed. If you are a "highly sensitive person" you get really, really bummed. I was a really sensitive kid. I cried about everything. My feelings got hurt easily. I was introverted, shy, got bullied, the whole tortured soul thing. I was a really sweet kid who would do anything to make anyone happy. Problem was, I let people take advantage of me. Eventually that catches up with you. I was wondering if anyone had a similar background, who knows how to just..... let go of being perfect? Especially how to get something else, like Mom, to let go? I adore my mom...... but we're having a rough go of it right now. We are both still grieving the loss of my dad. I'm withdrawing, she knows that, and we are having a horrible time communicating. I asked her to go to counseling. On her own, or with me. My brother is actually a psychologist. Nope. She won't go. I'm going, of course. I've been in an out of therapy for the last 25 years. Mostly in therapy. So as usual, I get to figure this out. It took me a really long time to figure my crap out but I'm hoping maybe I finally did.
  7. Paradox rules: life on the razor’s edge My healing process is intense and relentless. I hit crises with some regularity and I go into an altered state in which the body knows exactly what to do to take care of it and slowly the body heals. The body does know what it’s doing. Yes. Conditioned mind just needs to get out of the way. It’s taking a long time because it was gravely injured and conditioned mind has deep roots. Yes. Conditioned mind just needs to get out of the way. It’s a process. This healing process is frankly nightmarish too. No hyperbole whatsoever in that as a description. If I got creative I could write a brilliant horror script. I am serious. All that said, the process is also astonishingly beautiful. Life on the razor’s edge. I love life more than anything and this for now is my life in this body, impacted as it has been. Loving the nightmare even while struggling with it is entirely possible. Paradox rules. Messy human animal with the consciousness of all of life force Within Me. There is no safety…there is only the law of the jungle and we’re in it…surrender to the jungle. The jungle will then hold us like a mama…Dance in the jungle like every other animal…we’ve forgotten the dance of the animal… I am deeply grateful to have a place to utter these words. More about this ANIMAL BODY
  8. Hi Everyone! I consider myself the Kimmy Schmidt of internet forums, having been in seclusion for so long, but I grew tired of hiding . My disastrous dance with Big Pharma started in 2006, when I began hearing voices after months of anxiety and panic over a very traumatizing experience. Cops handcuffed me and placed me in four point restraints after I started screaming in public. The good young Doc at the local hospital they shipped me to gave me Zyprexa, never once asking if I had a family history of diabetes. I DC the drug after a week and about 5-6 months later I had another episode. 2007-2011 A true blur. 4 hospitalizations (two in 2007, one in 2008 and the last in 2011). Three months of sleeplessness due to Zyprexa withdrawal (someone in my life at that time told me that their family member discontinued cocaine in 3 days after years of abuse and I should due the same with Zyprexa - huge mistake), lost many friends due to neglecting their needs and my own, and a crazy amount of weight gain. My voices pestered me to the brink of despair. Yet, I still held on... 2011-2015 The breakthrough years. Switched from Zyprexa to Abilify without major impact on my sleep. Started working again although, not employed at this moment. After a spiritual breakthrough and addressing the demons of my past, I am on my way to permanently breaking up with Big Pharma. I attribute this breakthrough to trusting God and the guiding spirits, reading stories from those who have triumphed or in the process of triumphing over psyche drugs, and seeking support from family (although they still believe in the medical model of my so-called condition). Critical Psychiatry sites that delve into the rampant fraud and fear-mongering present in modern US Psychiatry also provided an alternative narrative to the chemical imbalance-broken forever label that my pdocs dumped on me. For the first time in years, hope blooms in my heart and mind. Will I be the same pre-drug woman? No and in many respects, I don't want to be. Those years in spite of the intensity of emotion that I felt and the warm and love in my heart, I could not take care of myself or establish healthy boundaries. Now I do a much better job of that. I don't eat as much sugar, and I have cut out caffeine and alcohol completely. I'm grateful for the victories, great and small. I want to document this journey for my brothers and sisters in the struggle and build community, because I believe in the healing power of relationships and knowledge sharing over BigPharma's so-called quickfixes. Also, I understand that I need to do the work on my own, to self-care regardless of my situation. A balancing act, for sure. Towards a drug-free me and a brighter tomorrow.
  9. Here I am, lost and Confused as usual... I was mean to the one I love and scared him away to sleep on the couch... how many more times will he be able to take my emotions? Luckily, we don't have a kid - but we do have a kitty. I am in love with my little family and the world is so harsh... I am not from here. I am from another province full of energy pillpoppers and alcoholism and cold-hearted humans. This province was opportunity to escape, and I needed it. Sometimes I get scared that I cannot escape my problems again and I want the pain to go away. I want to start over... all the time. I was too old to be adopted, but accepted into a family still. I was given a voice, but I used it to disagree. Surely I am an adult, and I should be treated like one. It is always money and no one else wants to be wrong when I'm around. I am kind. I am honest. I am an animal lover. I don't do drugs that aren't prescribed and I don't hurt anyone if I can help it. Why am I the easiest one to blame? I can take abuse, but never the emotional kind... please don't raise your voice or yell. My new mom was so quick to put me on drugs to mold me into her perfect doctor. Surely I gained weight when I moved out, because I stopped having constant meals and money was a problem. It was the first time I stopped consistently taking my drugs. No one ever told me how to take them properly, and I've yet to take them at the same time until recently. I'm unsure what to do with my iron pills, but they seem to be the only ones helping. Maybe there is a reason I bought Omega 3 Fish oils and vitamins. I am a pale-skin colour-sensitive woman with major PTSD from childhood trauma... I finally removed my mother from my life - but the other snakes slowly replace her. I was never checked up on as a child, I never knew what normal was. I was never anorexic but I don't remember eating because my mother told me we were both picky. I have terrible teeth, and I'm overweight. I cut all my hair off because I make impulsive decisions... but it's growing back healthier! Just not fast enough. I've lost another job. This is the first one that got rid of me. I called in sick in my probationary period, because I was withdrawing.... And I have no help.... I don't want to go to the doctor anymore. I was free of pills and almost maybe doing okay but Effexor found its way??? And I've never felt the pain of trying to quit until now.. Hot and colds and puking all over the floor... financial issues are a big thing and my man cannot do it alone but I have no money and we are slowly diminishing. I don't want to eat when there is food, just so it'll last a bit longer... I need help but everyone is so damn quick to put the pills back in my mouth and make sure they're swallowed. I am probably a hereditary bipolar... if I would have been helped I might have done better. I started smoking a bit more pot and it gave me the confidence I needed to do research and learn... sometimes I try too hard to put together pieces of puzzles I don't understand and I start to sound crazy to anyone looking to listen or judge... I'm on my period and I'm practically anemic, so the withdraws are definitely just the cherry on top aren't they? I do my best late at night... I forgot to take a pill to wean myself off of and it was so bad. The last few days I took 3 then took the risk of 2 but managed to take 1 and live... maybe I can handle the pains if I sleep more. I don't feel like I have a reason to live, so maybe sleeping will help me catch up. I'm hungry.... I didn't think I'd write this much... or anything at all. I am thankful for this forum... thankful so many can submit stories to compare. I was an ugly child, but I was somewhat smarter than most when it came to random things. I think the fact there were too many people in the room made it harder to learn. It's hard to be a tomboy and a partial nerd when the boys want to touch you. When did becoming promiscuous get so easy? If I could take it all back, I would have stayed smart... but there were too many distractions. I think the drugs helped me even hear better and that made them so easy to take. Maybe the absence of them will influence a loss in this extra 40 pounds I carry. Maybe all of my problems were unknown withdraws from each and every new miracle drug. I smoke my weed to help me remember... I know some may disagree - but I am already damaged and I only reap the benefits. The ability to feel hunger... I only feel it when I'm starving and it's too late. Where do I go from here? I've been checked into the psychward as an adolescent many moons ago... I'm in my 20s and I don't want to be stuck there, and without my little kitty. He purrs when I cry, and makes everything okay. I even considered joining the army because I didn't mind dying, but I could never survive the time away. I think I will be okay in time... I hope it doesn't get too hard. I haven't taken any specific pill consistently, so I'm unsure of what to compare - and the doctor doesn't even know what she's giving me anymore. Oh. You're hurting? There's a drug for that. Let me write you something. Sorry for the rant. Thanks for listening... Good vibes only, please. I used to be so quick to judge and assume people want to yell DEPRESSED because it's trendy... when the 20 something years of pain is something I'd never wish on my worst enemy... I know the difference now, and all I want to do is help people. My problem is all I do is help everyone else and I'm left to pick up my own pieces that I didn't know were missing in the process.
  10. Here I am, lost and Confused as usual... I was mean to the one I love and scared him away to sleep on the couch... how many more times will he be able to take my emotions? Luckily, we don't have a kid - but we do have a kitty. I am in love with my little family and the world is so harsh... I am not from here. I am from another province full of energy pillpoppers and alcoholism and cold-hearted humans. This province was opportunity to escape, and I needed it. Sometimes I get scared that I cannot escape my problems again and I want the pain to go away. I want to start over... all the time. I was too old to be adopted, but accepted into a family still. I was given a voice, but I used it to disagree. Surely I am an adult, and I should be treated like one. It is always money and no one else wants to be wrong when I'm around. I am kind. I am honest. I am an animal lover. I don't do drugs that aren't prescribed and I don't hurt anyone if I can help it. Why am I the easiest one to blame? I can take abuse, but never the emotional kind... please don't raise your voice or yell. My new mom was so quick to put me on drugs to mold me into her perfect doctor. Surely I gained weight when I moved out, because I stopped having constant meals and money was a problem. It was the first time I stopped consistently taking my drugs. No one ever told me how to take them properly, and I've yet to take them at the same time until recently. I'm unsure what to do with my iron pills, but they seem to be the only ones helping. Maybe there is a reason I bought Omega 3 Fish oils and vitamins. I am a pale-skin colour-sensitive woman with major PTSD from childhood trauma... I finally removed my mother from my life - but the other snakes slowly replace her. I was never checked up on as a child, I never knew what normal was. I was never anorexic but I don't remember eating because my mother told me we were both picky. I have terrible teeth, and I'm overweight. I cut all my hair off because I make impulsive decisions... but it's growing back healthier! Just not fast enough. I've lost another job. This is the first one that got rid of me. I called in sick in my probationary period, because I was withdrawing.... And I have no help.... I don't want to go to the doctor anymore. I was free of pills and almost maybe doing okay but Effexor found its way??? And I've never felt the pain of trying to quit until now.. Hot and colds and puking all over the floor... financial issues are a big thing and my man cannot do it alone but I have no money and we are slowly diminishing. I don't want to eat when there is food, just so it'll last a bit longer... I need help but everyone is so damn quick to put the pills back in my mouth and make sure they're swallowed. I am probably a hereditary bipolar... if I would have been helped I might have done better. I started smoking a bit more pot and it gave me the confidence I needed to do research and learn... sometimes I try too hard to put together pieces of puzzles I don't understand and I start to sound crazy to anyone looking to listen or judge... I'm on my period and I'm practically anemic, so the withdraws are definitely just the cherry on top aren't they? I do my best late at night... I forgot to take a pill to wean myself off of and it was so bad. The last few days I took 3 then took the risk of 2 but managed to take 1 and live... maybe I can handle the pains if I sleep more. I don't feel like I have a reason to live, so maybe sleeping will help me catch up. I'm hungry.... I didn't think I'd write this much... or anything at all. I am thankful for this forum... thankful so many can submit stories to compare. I was an ugly child, but I was somewhat smarter than most when it came to random things. I think the fact there were too many people in the room made it harder to learn. It's hard to be a tomboy and a partial nerd when the boys want to touch you. When did becoming promiscuous get so easy? If I could take it all back, I would have stayed smart... but there were too many distractions. I think the drugs helped me even hear better and that made them so easy to take. Maybe the absence of them will influence a loss in this extra 40 pounds I carry. Maybe all of my problems were unknown withdraws from each and every new miracle drug. I smoke my weed to help me remember... I know some may disagree - but I am already damaged and I only reap the benefits. The ability to feel hunger... I only feel it when I'm starving and it's too late. Where do I go from here? I've been checked into the psychward as an adolescent many moons ago... I'm in my 20s and I don't want to be stuck there, and without my little kitty. He purrs when I cry, and makes everything okay. I even considered joining the army because I didn't mind dying, but I could never survive the time away. I think I will be okay in time... I hope it doesn't get too hard. I haven't taken any specific pill consistently, so I'm unsure of what to compare - and the doctor doesn't even know what she's giving me anymore. Oh. You're hurting? There's a drug for that. Let me write you something. Sorry for the rant. Thanks for listening... Good vibes only, please. I used to be so quick to judge and assume people want to yell DEPRESSED because it's trendy... when the 20 something years of pain is something I'd never wish on my worst enemy... I know the difference now, and all I want to do is help people. My problem is all I do is help everyone else and I'm left to pick up my own pieces that I didn't know were missing in the process.
  11. Dalalea

    Recognizing a Silver Lining

    What silver linings have you noticed during this horrible spot we find ourselves in? I'm practicing finding blessings in this mess to keep a positive attitude. I'll start! I felt so terrible when I had the actual flu in January. All of my withdrawal symptoms were competing with my flu symptoms! I feel like the flu recovery was finally happening for me and because of the horrible state I was in a few weeks ago, everything feels like a window! I'll take windows any way I can get them!
  12. Hi Im very sensitive to all medications but especially these psychiatric drugs. Ive had them forced on me for years. Basically Im very damaged in my brain and have nervous system disorders such as POTS. I already feel that this site has helped me, after reading for a while!! Kurt T
  13. ShakeyJerr

    Healing The Limbic System

    I have been doing some research into the biology of anxiety. We're all here familiar with the cortisol spike and adrenaline, and how those biochemicals are key components of the anxiety we all feel during our recovery from antidepressant use. A friend put me on the trail of the limbic system - where these chemicals do some of their worst work. I did not know anything about the limbic system. Or why my spell-checker insists that I am spelling it wrong when I know that I am not. (Think of the spell checker as a metaphor for our damaged limbic system - it's lying to us). Here is a short definition of the limbic system: The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. Of key concern to us is the amygdala - that's where the "fight or flight" instinct is stimulated by cortisol and adrenaline. And ours are broken. Now, there is no medicine or supplement to heal the amygdala - or any other part of the limbic system (though it should be noted that the hippocampus can be stimulated by aromas, and some people have had success with aromatherapy; I myself use lavender as a calming aroma). So stop looking for a magic bullet solution. However, the amygdala can be "healed" - along with the rest of the limbic system. And the way to heal it is to remind it of your good memories and form new good memories through experiences. It sounds simplistic. It almost smacks of "fake it until you make it." But I have been putting this into practice, and I am in my first real window of recovery. The way I did it was by contacting old friends and asking them to write me emails filled with the good times of our youth, of the times where the notion of "anxious" could never be applied to me. Where I was a hopeful, outgoing, fun person. In other words - the time before I ever took one psych-med. I have added to that the practice of not avoiding doing things with friends and family. I go out, I engage, and a float through the anxiety if it comes (thank you, Dr. Claire Weekes - go get one of her books now!). I will leave things there for now and end with links to some of the articles I read that put me on this path: https://www.unlearninganxiety.com/amygdala https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-to-help-depression-by-healing-your-limbic-system/ Be well. Live. Make new memories. SJ
  14. One of my karate Senseis is also an Olympic coach at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). He coaches Paralympian velodrome cyclists, but was voted "Best Olympic Coach of 2012" (both Olympic and Paralympic). I am so lucky to know him, and learn from him. Anyway, when Sensei asks, "did you practice your kata?" I said, "Yes, in my mind." (Kata = pattern, like a dance) The other teachers scoffed at this, that I would run through my katas before falling asleep at night, feeling my stances and shapes and focusing on improving my technique, just by visualising it. Fellow students laughed and said, "I've done that, it doesn't help!" And failed to listen when I emphasized how much detail is needed to make it work. But while they were laughing at me - I was learning the katas faster, and remembering them better. The AIS Sensei was the ONLY ONE who said, "That's good, Jan! Keep it up!" Later, he told the story of how he was hooked up at the AIS to EEG and EKG, and put in a car, and run around the track while he visualized cycling the track. His body was still, but his EEG and EKG showed that he had a workout. Visualization is real, and is used in scientific and sport applications. I'm posting this because in my reading here, and in chats with other members, I've heard of a number of excellent visualisations to help with the healing process. Peggy wrote about watching a hard drive de-frag. Another said he liked to visualize our happy "Here Comes the Sun!" sun symbol next to his thread title. Or - imagines that work crews are re-engineering and rebuilding his brain and nervous system. I've heard that these kinds of visualizations are excellent in cancer - so why not for withdrawal and mental health? I know I've propagated a "road works" image that could be used like this. What other images would be helpful to imagine - in color and detail - to help your body and brain heal?
  15. Thanks so much for this forum and all of the information here! I've been on psych meds for almost 20 years. Eventually, I'll add my history in bits. Even the last 2 years of my experience is a lot to cover. I started a multi-med taper about a year and a half ago. Seroquel, Trazodone, Perphenazine, Cogentin and Trazodone. Today, I wanted to start with a hard lesson in humility and respect for these drugs that are carelessly marketed to the unhappy and anxious between episodes of Law and Order as the answer to all of our problems. Don't get me started on my Conspiracy Theory about that combination of advertising. After quick initial drops (I'll talk about in later posts), I've been pretty good about doing a slow taper, rushing it a bit as tolerated every three to six weeks, but one med at a time. I've had some withdrawal symptoms along the way, but would quickly bump back up and they'd resolve. I've tapered down to 6mg of Trazadone from 200mg. I wishfully thought I could simply drop the 6mg without a further taper. I was hoping I could be one of those folks. It's such a little amount, right? Everything I've read here has told me No, but nothing speaks better than learning the hard way. I tried to drop the last 6mg last night. Within 6 hours of missing my dose, I woke up in a sweat, full body akathisia, racing heart and a horrible feeling of panic I've all felt before when I've completely forgotten a 200mg dose. So I got up and took the dose which mostly resolved it, but I do have residual issues I know will take a few days to shake off. I am definitely one of those who will have more trouble tapering the last tiny little bit than I did at higher doses. It's shocking to me how powerful the reaction is at such a seemingly small dose. It horrifies me that I'm more aware of this even being a possibility than my psychiatrist is. I've often concerned myself with why this is, why the last tiny bit is a harder road than, in my case, the first large jumps. But the more I find out, the more I realize how simplified our understanding of how these drugs affect us is. This is how I see the journey of my med taper:
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