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  1. Hi all, Been benefiting tremendously from all your posts, advice, support, strategies and resources since 2015 through my withdrawal. Really in awe of this whole site, the collective brain power, care and dedication of underground (and on the ground) warriors. Thank you. I now know I didn't make it easy on myself with the taper. Not having enough support, knowledge, patience. It pretty much turned my whole world upside down and inside out and provoked a deep spiritual transformation. It will sound familiar that after almost 15 straight years on psych drugs, at 35 (now 39) I started a complete deconstruction of the life I built not just to survive withdrawal but to understand the house of cards that my life had been built on, without having had access to my emotions and without having dealt with my emotional pain during my crucial 20s and early 30s. So my story is the familiar white-knuckling the symptoms, braving the strange new world of emotions and making the necessary changes to life to be healthier and more authentic. Which brings me to today, three years after stopping all drugs. Despite all these gains, I still can't consider my story a success (yet). One big reason is the continued emotional instability, which linked to what I think is iatrogenic hormonal disruption, and possibly chronic unresolving depression. The big problem is continued suicidal ideation, which is present but manageable outside my menstrual cycle (given my history, I understand it has had its place in my coping resources, and I'm addressing that), but then becomes a nearly insurmountable problem for about 2 weeks straight leading up to it (I hate to give the DSM any legitimacy by using the term "PMDD" but I suppose that best describes it.) During this time, it physically feels like my brain is inflamed, my brain is insistently and convincingly suicidal, I lose all motivation, clarity of mind, am profoundly fatigued, chronically tearful, fearful, worried and stuck in my bed for days at a time. Then, like a switch flips as soon as I get my period my brain is much clearer, for two weeks. I don't remember anything like this before the drugs, although I suppose there's a chance this is why I was diagnosed 'bipolar' as a teen. Chicken and egg... I feel pretty desperate about the situation because it feels like despite all the work I've done to heal the wounds of psychiatry on my life, I can't get my life on track. Falling into a pit and out of life for 2 weeks every month makes it impossible for me to set goals, make steps forward in life, hold down a job...which then is a cycle that sets me up for more despair and distress (you get the picture). I know that the grief and tears I have held back for so many years need time to come out, but this has become a real quality of life issue since I can't see any resolution to it. At times I'm pretty hard on myself, thinking about what I'm doing wrong or not able to see in order to help myself out of this situation. It's taken me this long to single out the hormones because while I was dealing with other life issues- repressed emotions from the withdrawal, job loss, identity loss, trauma, homelessness- it was impossible to separate the hormonal cycles from emotional flashbacks and other cptsd symptoms. I know that hormones need time to repair (mine were completely out of whack as soon as I reduced the Lamitrogine. I remember being covered in painful back acne for the first year of my withdrawal and my periods were irregular, inconsistent and painful) but I've really reached a point where I simply don't know how to help myself through this anymore. I'm currently only taking magnesium and vitamin D as supplements. Other than that I'm managing my symptoms with pretty basic self-care- a varied, vegan diet, lots of mindfulness, relaxation, therapy, friends and staying social and active as much as I can, when I can, but as you can imagine, find myself in a pretty disconnected, unstable and isolated situation and feeling like this is not even a 'good enough' quality of life. Any naturopaths, GPs, gynes or others that I've gone to are still recommending SSRIs, birth control pills or very controversial surgeries (hysterectomy) to deal with this. When I told one specialist about the continued depression and dangerous ideation, she crinkled her nose sympathetically and said, 'So sorry, wish I could do something', suggested I see an herbalist and ended the session. She was the final doctor I went to about this. I have a pure stubborn streak in me to which I credit a lot of my survival, but not being able to problem solve this one is causing me nearly to panic, and at the least to be in shock that despite all my efforts I can't see a future beyond living like this, and each episode seeing suicide as a more and more rational decision. I want so much to consider my story a withdrawal success and am so angry that I seem to have come up against this wall. If anyone has ANY insight, perspective, information, hope to offer, I'd deeply appreciate it.
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