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hello. i'm going to attempt an introduction. i reserve any possible ambition about a coherent, comprehensive history for a potential future recovery success story. i'll do what i can for now. first and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone here at SA. THANK YOU for starting this website, for contributing, for keeping it going, for sharing, for being here, for fighting the good fight. in regards to tapering safely i did not find you in time; but since i found you it has helped immeasurably. before i found SA i'd been suffering through PW and PAWS for well over 3 years with no clear understanding of what the F was happening to me. although i had a working strategy of how to approach the embodied experience i was living, it took up a lot of energy not having an official explanation. i had a kind of makeshift, workaround idea along the lines of "maybe this is latent C-PTSD that has surfaced in the wake of SSRI cessation" and "clearly my nervous system is hypersensitive and destabilized, and i am intolerant of stress, possibly also as a result of a lifetime of chronic stress and trauma", etc. somewhat luckily these working hypotheses led me to a variety of tools that were entirely applicable to dealing with withdrawal syndrome, and so, ultimately, i was practicing many of the same non-drug coping strategies that i have since seen recommended on this site. for years i was on my own and it was trial and error. the bottom line is, it has been so much better since finding SA and knowing that i'm not alone and finally figuring out, "oh, this is what's going on!" (not that one cannot have C-PTSD / chronic stress / or the like in addition to WS, but WS is certainly also its own thing in addition to whatever underlying vulnerabilities may present) anyway -- THANK YOU to everyone for everything. i am currently in my fifth year of protracted withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome following an incorrect, too-fast taper of lexapro/escitalopram that basically amounted to CT + decades' worth of going on and off dozens of different psych drugs/cocktails, incl. most recently vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine, etc. i don't have energy or access right now to write in more detail about the long and illustrious drug history and the numerous failed attempts to get out of psychiatry (it's clear to me now that i've been in protracted withdrawal with PAWS multiple times before, but at the time i didn't know what it was and when i sought help consistently received a new and more extreme diagnosis every time; it seemed, according to psychiatry, that i was getting sicker and sicker, and would get more heavily drugged each time around -- psychiatry suffers from munchhausen by proxy in its absurd closed-loop system) bottom line -- TODAY I AM DRUG-FREE. i was first committed to a psych ward as a minor (below the age of consent), that's where i was first drugged. i clearly remember being so overmedicated that my hands were shaking non-stop, i couldn't properly hold a fork to eat or a pencil/pen to write. i fainted in the shower. i knew it was the drugs, i knew they were giving me too much, i know i said as much. i have no recollection of being listened to. my first ever "psychotic episodes" also occurred during this first ever hospitalization, subsequent to which my diagnosis was augmented to include my being labeled as "psychotic". i am convinced the sensory hallucinations were caused by the drugs they were giving me. i have spent my entire adult life thus far (approx. 17 y.o. - 42 y.o.) under the influence of psychiatric drugs. WTF. although i am currently drug-free i don't consider myself out of the woods yet as i'm still very much in recovery and reeling from the extensive physiological and psychological/existential harm. i cannot even begin to really truly process that. i don't dwell on it, i try not to think about it, really, although of course the thoughts come occasionally, but for the most part i let them pass bc my thinking is currently rather unreliable and murky, colored as it is by WS (monkey mind chatter which does not allow for proper processing). maybe one day when my cognitive/emotional/spiritual/etc. capacities are healed, if it is still relevant and required, i will mourn any loss as necessary. for now i sometimes touch upon grief (primarily on behalf of our collective loss and the tragedy of psychiatric violence afflicting countless human beings and indeed our global ecosystem as a whole) but my mind is too feeble to truly grasp the staggering atrocity / swirling galaxy of bullsh*t. for the time being i'm mostly just sorta left stunned and reeling; and sometimes in a moment of clarity i feel a call to arms and long to spring into action and up onto the barricades (etc.), but i lack the abilities for any kind of follow-through, which can be distressing as i think, "i'm not doing my part to save my fellow suffererers out there!" in these moments i have to remind myself that first i have to get better, and for now i just gotta hang on to my own life raft, bc that's pretty much all i can do, and most of the time it's a tall order as is, at least for now. i have to tell myself that what i cannot currently comprehend, is not currently my job. i try to do the tasks i am able to do, that is what is for me to do here and now. for example: currently i am able to shower once a week, sometimes twice a week. i am able to do a gentle yoga session about once a week. leaving the house is very difficult, but i manage to get out about twice a week. i am able to do my own grocery shopping (usually once a week), which brings me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. i am able to cook for myself (i've been on a self-designed, tried-and-true nutritional regimen for a couple of years now, which works quite well for me); nourishing myself is a vital part of my day and one of the few ways i'm able to actively engage with life on a daily basis. there are many, many things i'm unable to do and many, many ways in which i'm functionally disabled. i don't feel like getting into that now. in this moment i'd like to focus on markers of progress. for example: here i am, writing an introduction post. i have not posted here before bc writing and verbal communication, esp. disembodied/virtual kind without being in the physical presence of the other person, is something that has been extremely difficult for me in withdrawal and continues to be very, very challenging. so this is really hard and scary right now; and at the same time it is a marker of progress that i am able to be here writing this at all, since for so long i have not been able to and now i'm giving it a try. we'll see how it goes. these days i feel like i'm in my little WS groove. doing my thing, doing the best i can. i tell myself that this too shall pass -- based on the accounts of people on this site and the many success stories, it's possible to recover and heal. i trust that this is true; which means that there's a finite number of WS days/hours/moments (that number is unknown and unknowable, i call it X). and so it follows that every single day/hour/moment of WS-related suffering is 1 down, X to go and brings me that much closer to the conclusion. this is my way of conceptualizing the unpleasantness and discomfort as healing-in-process. instead of thinking of it as "i'm still sick" (which connotates stuck-ness and static state), reminding myself "i'm continously healing" (which conveys movement and development and some notion of constructive progress). it's very, very hard. i do feel like things are getting better ... lately one of the odd things about feeling better is that the WS symptoms have decreased somewhat in intensity, and now that some of the WS symptoms are less extreme, it's as though it's less clear to me that they are indeed WS symptoms. i sometimes find myself thinking, "wait, what if this particular thing is no longer WS and now this is just 'me'?" overall i tell myself that this line of thinking is still WS, as these are "anxiety thoughts" and fear-based, and i pay them as little mind as possible. it's a strange sign of progress that as WS is gradually lessening in intensity the lines between "syndrome" and "self" seem to be blurring more and more. this is, of course, compounded by an underlying all-pervasive tension around the question, "who am i?" at this point i accept that i have no idea who i am. i don't know who i am now, i don't know who i was before, i don't know who i will be after. my sense of identity is flimsy at best, i have difficulty with any sense of continuity or understanding "me", "my life", or anything along those lines. it's okay. i'm not sure my sense of self has ever been that strong to begin with. i don't know where i'll be dumped at the end of this fun-house-mirror-lined chute of WS bizarro-world ... it's kinda funny sometimes, when i think about it. it's all so absurd. all these illusions and so many people out there running around all serious and self-important and convinced of what's "real". maybe i'll feel like that one day, who knows? ... (feel free to skip to the end of the book, eh?) anyway. i don't have much more to say for now. this is the most words i've used in any one sitting in any context possibly in years. i mostly don't like social contact due to conventions/exigencies of verbal communication (i don't mind context of shared social presence as long as there is no speaking/conversation involved) and so i spend most of my time alone. i'm actually surprised this many words have come out of me! and now i'm babbling, i've got the feeling this is all very messy. but the most important part is: ABSTRACT hello. thank you. i'm here. ain't that a trip with love, "me" 1996-2018: various polypharmacy combinations incl. SSRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzodiazepines, stimulants, etc. (approx. 30+ different drugs over the years) 2018 - inadvertently CTed lexapro/escitalopram from 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg (over the course of 6 months, and under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist whom i trusted at the time) July 2018 - 0mg lexapro/escitalopram 2017 - 2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 70mg 2020 - 2021 - tapered off of vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine from 70mg down to 0mg (gradually but unsystematically and probably too quickly) July 2021 - 0mg vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine February 2022 - 0mg - no psychopharmaceuticals - no drugs/medications of any kind supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 2mg melatonin at 9pm
dirtvoid posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHi SA, I've lurked this site for a while for information but have decided to make myself part of the community. I have a long intensive history of psychiatric abuse, and I've finally been fighting taking my life back. I'm a 27 year old transsexual male, I reject my psychiatric diagnosis but rather identify as a traumatised neurodivergent psychiatric survivor, I will offer a brief which will inevitably be long history of my psychiatric journey and explain where I am at now. I will write it in bullet points for easier reading. - My initial diagnosis was when I was 9 Dyspraxia (a neurological motor-co-ordination problem) and Sensory Processing Disorder which led to peer alienation, problems with school, behavioural problems, and emotional and mental distress. - When I was 13, I had a scarf osteotomy (operation to remove bunions) and was prescribed 120mg of Codeine, which took my emotional pain away along with my physical pain away, I was taken off CT, and I was isolated, depressed and didn't sleep for a long time, I went through withdrawals and I didn't know what was happening to me. After this I started smoking weed. - When I was 14 I ended up under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, I had to do all this extra special educational needs stuff, I heard the message everywhere that there was something wrong with me, psychometric testing shoes I have processing speed in the bottom 1% percentile and working memory in the bottom 3 and I self-harmed and starved myself and binge drank - I was traumatised sexually. Dx Depression/Anorexia - When I was 15 I started using harder street drugs, I was traumatised violently and sexually. I got put on 40mg Prozac - 2 months later I revealed to my psychiatrist I was hearing voices and I got put on 5mg of Risperadone - I experienced Hyperprolactinemia, galactorrhea, amenorrhea and gynecomastia (rapid breast enlargement, lactation) my unusual experiences became worse, I was in severe distress, I was switched to 200mg of Seroqual, and in May 2009 tried to take my own life via laceration and overdose, I was put into adolescent psychiatric care and traumatised. My voice hearing was deemed 'non-psychotic pseudo-hallucinations' and I was taken off Seroqual over a few months. I was also given Zopiclone and Ativan. Dx: Severe Depression, Anorexia - At 16 I was drawn to self-medication/substance abuse/drug addiction - Some party drugs - Some hallucinogenics. Expereince trauma events - At 17-18 I came off Prozac and self-medicated with skunk - I pushed my mental health aside to help out an abusive friend with hers. I am diagnosed with demoid Ovary cysts and have them removed - At 18 as I transitioned into Adult Mental Health Services, I was pushed around different clinics, no follow ups, often psychiatrists ot following up I remember having a hard time after a Psych put me on trial of Setraline and after month, cancelling and disappearing leaving to me go through withdrawals. - At 19 - I self-medicated with Ketamine, Skunk, Valium and Alcohol - struggling with my mental health and numbing myself - DX Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality At 20 - (2013) I moved to Canada for university, experience new traumatic events. I was diagnosed with ADHD and put on 20mg Adderall, 2mg Ativan, 1mg Clonazepam and 7.5mg Zopiclone (taken for 2 and half months) - I didn't take as prescribed, and experienced psychosis around psychiatry spying on me and insects under my skin and crawling in my bed - terrifying and erratic unusual behaviours but for the first time started to actually thrived in school. Cold Turkey Meds, Crash and try to Overdose and Zopiclone and whiskey at Xmas and then CT 2014 - Told my psychiatrist to **** off and that I didn't want to take meds. She writes I was lying about Adderall withdrawal because there is no such thing, and that I'm an attention seeker whose at chronic risk of acting out. 2 months I go back asking for psych help because I'm struggling get put on Paxil, 20mg Ritalin and 1mg Clonazepam, I stop Paxil soon after taking - after 3 months cold turkey off meds, get put on 50mg Trazadone and then 7.5mg Zopiclone - 5 a week - experience lots of trauma events. I am diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Attend 12 step program, but can't stop drinking . Age 21 - Get refused Stimulant meds due to history of drug abuse, self-med with amphetamine/meth tablets, alcohol and coke - Physical Health rapidly declines, I start puking up blood multiple times a day, I get clean for a month but relapse and am worse than ever. I come out as Transgender and begun social transition - Doctor tells me I have 18 months to live at best. I clean up but my mental health declines and I wind up on psych-wards here and there. Everyone is worried about me and urges I 'get help' - I get put on Citalopram 40mg, Ablify 2.5mg, 200mg Trazadone - My psychiatrist just throws prescriptions at me increasing doses and changes them every 3 months, The meds just make me feel physically and mentally unwell. I stop, Ablify and Citalopram, CT and Psych gives me 100mg of Seroqual, Psych Adds 50mg Strattera Age 22 - I am off and on with sobriety still puking blood, start taking Testosterone pills - I stop Trazadone and Seroqual CT and get put on 40mg Ritalin, 50mg Remeron, 1mg of Clonazepam and 35mg of Loxapine - I move into a mad-friendly ***** punk house that is home. 2016 - I develop an abssess in my tonsil and get put on Oxycodone for a few weeks after it is removed, I stop taking Loxapine due to lactation, in and out of psych wards - usually 48 hours. I stop drinking and attend 12 step meetings. in April I am struggling so much with mental / physical health - I attempt suicide using all the leftover pills - end up in ICU. I get taken off Remeron cold and back on my way, I switch from Testosterone pills to SubQ shots low dose - Accumulation of psych med withdrawals, Post-traumatic Stress, constant transphobia, violence and invalidation of identity, along with the pressure of university - leads to serious mental distress - Ritalin gets Switched to 30mg Adderall, 300mg of Pregabalin Seroqual 50 mg is added, and 200mg Lamatical is added - I move out of my home into an anarchist sober collective. my mental health is worse than ever at this point. I attempt suicide again using all the left of meds - I end up in the ICU again. I am severely mistreated in the psych-ward. I organise a protest/performance and protest the hospital Age 23 .I cold turkey of Lamatical and Seroqual. I relapse and start injecting ketamine. I get put on 5mg Zopiclone for a month, I become preoccupied with an instrusive image of death via fentynal injection, I try to actualise this, but don't die. I get rejected by my friends/support/community and just cannot cope with the increasing and relentless serious and enduring mental health problems that have swallowed me up anymore, I start living alone, very isolated, but still at art school, where all this time I have thrived by documenting and turning my psychitaric trauma into elaborate conceptual, installation pieces and performance pieces, drawings and paintings, For those past few years when I am not at the clinic, psych-ward hospital, church basement or bed-ridden with debilitating symptoms - I have been in the studio challenging it into my art which I call Manic Expressionism / Emotional Exhibitionism. I get put into intensive 3x a week OP - DBT treatment - I develop tendonitis and chronic pain - I get put on 20mg Oxycodone, Cyclobenzoprine, my Pregabalin doubled to 600mg for 3 months, I graduate my final exhibition is an installation closet covered in my psych-notes, painted with demons and photocopies of all my sketchbooks that have documented the hell I've been through, I also make a 60 Minute film of me nodding out on Oxycodone, and sardonically thank my class for critiquing and grading my suffering for 4 years - I graduate with a 3.75 GPA. I cold turkey off the pain meds, I suffer but I feel a sense of life again and start dating and falling in love, I rebuild my friend circles. I CT off Adderall move across the country into a derelict punk house with mice and black mould, my health is worse than ever, I can't get out of bed , I get put on Suboxone and have a seizure, the pharmacy by mistake gives me hundreds of extra Clonazepam - I start taking 5-6mg a day - I start to bottom out - I experience police trauma.I go back on 30mg Adderall, My Visa ends and I go back to the U.K in horrific physical, emotional, mental and shape. Age 24 - get on 200mg Tramadol and hit a dramatic bottom at my parents house - I decide I want off pills and ask for help from the Drug and Alcohol services, I get put on 40mg of Valium tapering 2mg every two weeks, and switch from Adderall to 70mg Lisdexamfetamine, I am bed ridden - my physical pain is at it's worst point, I am in serious mental distress, having unusual experiences and problematic behaviour - but I think you can imagine and get the point by now. I get a diagnosis of Complex Reigional Pain Syndrome and self-med with large amounts of Ketamine. At this point I am awaiting to get into detox/rehab it takes 9 months to get a bed. I briefly go back to Canada and start an intense romantic relationship. My bottoming out, becomes a live performance piece, with 10,000 empty pills in a bathtub in a gallery, and installation showcasing a mix of all my mad art. I enter Detox on the verge of death on - 70mg Lisdexamfetamine, 600mg Pregabalin, 200mg Tramadol, 4mg Valium. I am taken off Tramadol in 4 days, then in the next 3 weeks I am taken off the 4mg Valium and then 600mg Pregabalin - I was reduced to 50mg Lisdexamfetamine the first week of detox. I had seizures, I don't get as much as 15 minutes sleep for 6 weeks, and don't sleep a night for 3 months, I have journals of all the horrific things I went through - After 2 months I am taken off Lisdexamfetamine cold turkey and thing get from bad to worse. I complete my 12 weeks and am moved to secondary rehab. Age 25 - I am put on 30mg Duloxatine due to my mental health not improving after being in treatment for 4 months, I work my recovery really hard, I believe in being clean and 12 step program, I look at my self, my behaviours, I become passionate about my recovery because I just don't want to be in pain anymore. I get out of treatment I go back on 70mg Lisdexamfetamine and move back to Canada to be with my love, I make the 12 step program the centre of my world, I am happy for the first time in my life, I develop regular seizures, I cold turkey off Duloxatine and lisdexamfetamine - I experience 6 weeks of acute physical withdrawals then protracted withdrawals - my relationship gets strained - My 6 months in Canada ends I am heartbroken in England, I go back on lisdexamfetamine but stay clean, my protracted withdrawals reach an unbearable point but I just think I am suicidally depressed, and I reinstate Duloxatine and have scarily immediate relief - Age 26 - I get into my dream Grad School program - MSc in Art and Mental Health after starting my application with psych ward anecdotes 2 months after being introduced to the Power Threat Meaning Framework, Anti-Psychiatry and Critical Disability, schools of thought my life changes, I learn about the slow taper and begin 10% every 2 weeks. The symptoms are severe due to my nervous system ruptured by neurodivergence, trauma, addiction and psychitary - I have documented all of it via painting most days. I experience abusive unstable housing and have now moved every 3 months for 2 years - global pandemic, heartbreak, I thrive in my course school I am believed, my experiential knowledge is valued. I push through my withdrawals because I want to survive psychitary and emerge the other side, I want to live, even though my withdrawals are debilitating, I have hopes and dreams, I am fatigued much of the time, my exucutive functioning is shot, but I can excel in my writing and reading critical psych material, Age 27 - I just got kicked out yet another place because of my motor-disability, and was denied housing everywhere in the seaside town I tried to escape due to discimnation for me being transsexual (my IDs doesn't match) I moved back to family home and repaired the very damaged relationship - I am now housesitting for them while they are away. I'm down to 3.2mg of Duloxatine (20 beads) , I graduated my MSc with distinction which blows my mind, because some days I can't remember how to pour a glass of water and just pace in a confused delirum, unable to do tasks. My sleep has recovered from the benzo damage, I am 2 years sober and still in 12 steps - Things are tough but could be worse. I am studying a Hypnotherapy course right now. I am working on a book that will include academic mad studies papers, personal essays and all my artwork from my AD taper from I have been removing 2 beads at a time - I have windows where I start to feel alive I am day 10 into my last cut and my mood is bright, physically not too great but not sure what is my base. and plan on slow tapering the 70mg of Lisdexamfetamine once I have done the Duloxatine - There's so much more to story that's long but vague version - a lot more extraordinary both positive and negative has happened, I tried to include what I thought was important to my story, I didn't really list symptoms but it varies, and honestly I don't know what is me, what is having a body, what is the meds, what is the trauma, what is the chronic pain, what is the neurodivergence and processing/memory struggles I had before I was severely traumatised, became an drug addict, and had all this iatrogenesis, I'm trying not to mourn who I could've have been, embrace the uncertainty, ride the waves. My aim is too take back my life that was stolen, and change the outcome of my future, I believe in neuro-plasticity, I'm not trying to recover any aspect of who I was before medication, but I have through my creative practice learnt to make the most out of the hand I've been dealt, and channel that anger at my oppression and being abused by psychiatry into creative means, and helping and supporting others who have also been damaged - Look forward to talking to some of you, I haven't been on a forum since I was 16. I am not always positive about it, I am so tired of tapering, and detoxing and being ill, and it's so daunting that I have such a long way to go, but I can do today, and that's all I ever need to do. If anyone is interested would love to share some of my artwork! Dirtvoid
I've been on 150mg XL Buproprion (generic Wellbutrin) for approximately 6 years. 1 month ago, I added Vyvance 50mg per day, for ADHD. It was magnificently helpful. Except the day I started it, was the day I noticed a high-pitched sound. I thought I was finally hearing "the sound of silence" since my mind was so much calmer. Took me about a month to realize/accept this was, in fact, tinnitus. The onset of which started the same day I started Vyvance. So I stopped the Vyvance cold turkey a week ago. Tinnitus isn't a recognized possibility from Vyvance, but I've just learned that it sure is for Buproprion. So I want to go off Buproprian ASAP, in the desperate hope the tinnitus will stop. I realize the chances are slim, but I can't keep taking an ototoxic drug now that I have tinnitus. I am losing my mind. I've read the threads about tapering, and about tapering off Buproprion. My question is - in the case of something like a new onset of tinnitus - is a slow taper still recommended? Or is this a case of "get off it as quickly as possible and hope for a miracle"? The idea of continuing to poison my system with a known ototoxin for over a year with a slow taper seems like insanity... However, going cold turkey might or might not also be literal insanity. AND a future of being non-medicated for both ADHD and dysthymia seems... also like insanity. Thoughts & help appreciated, thanks.
Hi all - It seems pretty clear that I've tapered too quickly off from Viibryd, but what now? My situation is a bit complicated because I'm on a few medications to help me sleep. My symptoms right now are severe fatigue, cognitive issues (brain fog, spaciness, lack of focus) and akathasia at night. Pretty worrisome stuff as I'm a Director at tech company and I need to be on point = / (yes, stress isn't helping my cause). I think I should reinstate, but I'm not sure if I should at 5 mg, 10 mg or higher. Please see below and thanks in advance for your help. SSRI and Adjunct History: -At age 33 started Lexapro 10 mg and from summer 2012 to summer 2014 worked great for GAD, OCD -Lexapro 10 mg seemed to "poop out," but with new symptoms of difficulty concentrating/brain fog so upped to 15 mg and then 20 mg over remainder of 2014. Anxiety was still managed but my P Doc and PCP believed it was depression symptoms (hence increase) -Added Abilify early 2015 - did not help with cognitive issues and gave me akathasia so discontinued -Cross-tapered to Viibryd 20 mg during summer 2015 - still no anxiety, but still dealing with brain fog. Side effects were worse than Lexapro with upper and lower GI issues -Over past year went up to 30 mg Viibryd - no anxiety, but still brain fog -Spring 2016 - Sleep got progressively worse which made it difficult to determine whether cognitive issues were more from lack of sleep or lack of appropriate SSRI dose -Spring 2016 tried Rexulti - no help so tapered off -Current - 0 mg Viibryd (tapered recently, though too fast) Taper: From 30 mg to 20 mg from 6/20/16 to 6/30/16 (two weeks on 20 mg) From 20 mg to 10 mg from 7/1/16 to 7/14/16 (two weeks on 10 mg) From 10 mg to 0 mg (3 days), then up to 5 mg (3 days) then 2.5 mg (2 days) and now 0 mg since 7/23/16 Additional medication history: -From ~2014 to early 2016, took 5 mg valium suppository as needed for chronic pelvic pain - able to stop due to successful physical therapy -From June 2015 to now, taking 75 mg (yes 75, not 750) gabapentin to help sleep/akathasia -From May 2016 to recently, taking 0.5 mg lorazepam for sleep (recently tapered this to 0.25 mg) -Took propranolol 20 mg for about a week in mid-July 2016 due to severe akathasia (assumed due to Viibryd withdrawal). Tapered down to 0 mg over following week -From summer 2015 to now, take 10 mg Vyvanse as needed for focus (more days than not) Current supplements: -5 mg melatonin nightly -200 mg L-Theanine x2 day -150 mg Magnesium Glycinate x2 day -5000 iu D3 1x day -1000 mg Omega 3 fish oil x1 day