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  1. Link to BrassMonkey's Intro topic Brassmonkey- A Success Story To some people six and a half years is a very long time to take to accomplish a goal. For me it’s been one tenth of a lifetime, one third of the time I was actively taking psych drugs and one quarter of the total time I was on Paxil. Given where I started six and a half years ago and where I am now I would gladly do it all over again if it meant regaining my life in the manner that I have. Six and a half years seems like a long time, but I can so clearly remember the night I made the decision to “do something about it” I can relive it moment by moment. At the time I couldn’t remember anything for more than a couple of seconds which makes this even more amazing. It’s been 24 some years now since I started taking Paxil. At the time I was in what I though of as a very rough place. I was in an incredibly stressful job, suffering constant pain as the result of several medical procedures and had developed some really bad anger issues. Anger was a learned response I acquired growing up, but this was getting out of hand. Counseling and learning coping techniques would have been the better course of action, but there was this new “wonder drug” on the market that would cure the ”chemical imbalance” that was causing me to lash out in such a destructive manner. And it was indeed a wonder drug. I could feel the difference just a few hours after taking the first dose. My life calmed down and things were much better for many, many years. Then one day I noticed that it wasn’t as effective as it once had been. Talking it over with my doctor we decided to up my dose. Things went back to being fine, almost. During that time there were some big changes that took place in my life. My wife and I had made some good investments and savings and were able to retire early. We went traveling and such and enjoyed life. Until one day the stock marked crashed and we lost pretty much everything. Having to come out of retirement and find a job was a very upsetting experience to say the least. Making it through the next decade plus some was quite a challenge. At first, I was very glad for the numbness that the Paxil was causing. After a while I again noticed that it was not working as well as it should, and we again upped the dose. This put me at 40mgai. It didn’t do much good. The anhedonia was taking over big time, short term memory was going away, and I hurt constantly. I’ve always enjoyed my alcohol and I started enjoying it more and more. In my mind it was helping with the physical pain and it did help distract from the day to day survival conditions we were facing. But it also was getting out of control and I started to spiral down on every front. Yes, you have to hit rock bottom before you decide to do anything about it, and I did. It finally sunk in one night just how bad I had let things become and I knew I had to do something about it. Next stop AA. But there was much more involved than the alcohol. I knew that the Paxil was not working anymore and was very sure that my doctors recommendation to “just stop taking it” was wrong. It took several weeks of researching to learn that “the drug was my problem” and I had to get off it. There was a lot of conflicting information on line and it was quite a slog getting through it. One day I happened on a site called PaxilProgress and my life changed. PaxilProgress or as I often refer to it now “Prior Place” seemed to know what they were talking about. They had reference material and a taper protocol that made sense and would work with you and give support as you worked your way off of the drug. The stories of what some of the people were going through scared the heck out of me though. I envisioned myself sitting in a chair rocking back and forth for months chanting “it’s only withdrawal, it’s only withdrawal”. My lovely wife told me, “if that’s the way it’s going to be, then we will make it through it”. I liked their idea of doing a 10% taper every four to six weeks, but it seemed to me that everyone that was trying it got hit hard with symptoms after each drop. I was struck with the idea of spreading the drop over four successive weeks and rounding it out with a hold to try and lessen the symptoms. I decided to sneak up on each 10% over several weeks and see what happened. This was later dubbed the Brassmonkey Slide Method by one of the other members. Not a whole lot happened. It was almost two and a half years of steady tapering before I noticed that things were starting to change. A year and a half after that, around the four-year mark I knew I was making progress, and the final year and a half was marked with steady improvements. Five and a half years after I started I was able to make the final taper to “0”. In the middle of all this my Prior Place life line was suddenly pulled out of my hands. I had found another site, SurvivingAntidepressants,org during a previous closure of Prior Place and renewed my account. The atmosphere was a bit different, but much more like home. The knowledge and support here has been a major key to my successful taper and recovery. The recovery story doesn’t stop at reaching “0”. In fact, it’s only beginning. Once the drugs have totally left the body it can actually start the real job of recovery. That’s why we like to wait a year before declaring a success story, and that year is up as of April 15, 2018. I’ve glossed over the meat of the taper because there is just too much to write about. The things that happened, what I learned, coping strategies and much more. Most fo which is already in my introduction thread. This post is to declare that I have succeeded in my quest to get off Paxil. I am going to start a new journal thread to talk about the details. For those who have been with me since the beginning, I want to thank you for your support and companionship during a long hard journey. Some of you have long since finished and have moved on, while others are close on my heels and will be writing your Success Stories soon. There are too many of you to name names, but each and every one of you are very dear to my heart. Those of you who have joined along the path; even though it will be rough and bumpy along the way the end destination is so worth it. Keep at it and you will make it. Your company has been invaluable. For all new ones who are joining each day: it’s very scary, rough, and painful journey but it is the only path there is to follow. In just a few short years you will all be writing your own Success Stories too, and I can’t wait to read them. I have worked with many thousands of members over the time I’ve been tapering and have yet to find one who did not have the strength, once they truly set their mind to the task, to be able to see it through to a successful conclusion. (((((((((((((((((((((HUGS TO ALL))))))))))))))))))))))) Brassmonkey
  2. Hello is anyone currently tapering off 5 mgs of zyprexa or olanzapine using brass monkey sliding scale or microtaper? How do you do it with water? Someone told me you dissolve 5mg of zyprexa in 50 mL of water and do 2.5 percent reductions for four weeks then hold for two weeks. Is anyone else doing this? Or something similar? I’m still trying to figure out how to use this site and do my introduction but I don’t know how. Please any advice on tapering would be appreciated.
  3. Current drugs: - 2012-present citalopram, currently steady at 25mg - 2020 lyrica: max 4mg/day. started tapering after 2 weeks and having worse withdrawal than from 225mg This case history must be very unusal given the low dose and short time. Has anyone heard of a similar case? Also unusual is the bad method I'm stuck with to calculate doses. Recent start and tapering of lyrica ----------------------------------- I started a microdose of lyrica January 1 2020, thinking I could test side effects and stop if they were bad. Worked up to a maximum of about 4mg/day. After 2 weeks I decided it wasn't for mej. Reduced to 70% of max dose and held 4 days but got serious withdrawal symptoms. I thought an increase might help so went up to 80% of my maximum for 2 days, symptoms got MUCH worse, then down to 75% (1 day) and 65%. I thought lyrica and citalopram might be interacting and that tapering citalopram might be easier, so I tried 20% less (25->20mg) one day. I got the worst anxiety of my life and haven't changed it again. Following that I stayed on 65% of my lyrica dose for 2 weeks while I stabilised. Now on day 5 down from 65% to 60% which has not been bad. So, tapering slowly seems best. BUT I cannot measure doses accurately because I'm dividing powder with a knife on a plate (see below). Would switch to liquid but I can only guess how much I'm taking in a day. I'd be grateful for any advice on what I should do! Or information about similar low-dose, short-term cases, or how to handle inaccurate doses. I've been advised by some to go cold turkey given the small dose and short time, and that might have been ok when I started tapering after 2 weeks, but now I've been on it 6 weeks total. I could just about handle the initial 30% drop from my maximum dose but I could not handle what happened when I raised it 10%, then lowered it again. Maybe my case will be useful to someone. If nothing else it shows you can get hooked on a very small dose. The rest of this post goes into background a little and a lot of detail about what I'm doing now, so may be of less general interest. Prior drug history ------------------ - before 2010: prozac then paroxetine then seroquel. never any real trouble getting off them. Just some anxiety/irritability. - 2012 lyrica (only) for 11 days max 225mg/day then tapered off over 5 days with bad withdrawal symptoms for about a week - 2012 mirtazapine for a couple of months, after the lyrica - 2012-present citalopram, starting near the end of the mirtazapine Why is withdrawal worse in 2020 than on a much bigger dose in 2012? ------------------------------------------------------------------- It's hard to compare the two but the current withdrawal seemed considerably worse even before I raised the dose again and made it much worse. Some ideas I had: - I'm also on citalopram now. - Use or withdrawal from lyrica in 2012 primed/changed something. - I got lucky when i went off quickly in 2012, just in time (tapering after 11 days of using it) and just fast enough (5 tapered doses) to escape worse withdrawal. - The down/up dose in first week or withdrawal made it much worse. Also changing citalopram dose for 1 day seemed clearly VERY bad. Switching to liquid ------------------- Day 1 of last taper (65->60%) was partly with liquid I got from a compounding pharmacy. I replaced about 23% of the powder with liquid. Symptoms from underdosing have been bad but less bad than raising the dose, so I aimed low, and took what should have been roughly 45% less liquid than needed (using my rough estimate at equivalance - see dosing method below for details). It was much too strong. I got more sedated than I've ever been on lyrica, lots of muscle twitches, then somewhat agitated when it wore off. I switched back to all-powder doses, and decreased the evening dose by 1/3 to compensate for the morning overdose, and from the next day remained 5% of max dose lower. This has gone surprisingly well despite the updose then decrease. I'm tempted to stay on the powder, but I can't divide into smaller amounts than 1/256 of a capsule with any accuracy at all. That means as I decrease the dose, the reduction step size will get bigger. The most recent step down (65->60%) was about 7.5% of my current dose, but that will become 15% of current dose given a few more steps etc. Also, if a shirtsleeve brushes my reference doses away I'm sunk - I'll have little idea how much to take. But if I switch to liquid, I have to guess how much to take, and try to correct for symptoms, and gradually replace powder with liquid. After the first drop in dose (100% to 70%) it seemed to take a few days for the withdrawal to really get going. If that's still true, adjusting the liquid dose up and down could easily get out of hand and be less gentle than the later, and proportionally bigger, powder decreases. So neither option is good. Powder dosing method (details) ------------------------------ The method I use to dose is awful: I divide capsule's powder into two piles of 1/2, then divide each pile agqin and again. Currently I take 1/64 + 1/128th of a capsule every morning and again at night. This has limited accuracy of course, but it gets worse; there is residue left on the plate after the division. The amount of residue has changed over time since I switched from a big knife to a razor blade, and I haven't been consistent about how much residue I leave. At one point I thought measurements would be more consistent if I kept "reference" piles of each key size: 1/32, 1/64 and 1/128. But I realise now the references are not accurate, and I'm basically eyeballing the new piles now to match the reference ones. To estimate how much my 1/128 actually is, I started a new pill, and divided it with as little residue as possible (using a razor blade, which doesn't leave much at allif you're careful). To my amazement I seem to have left about 50% of the pill as residue. Separately I began sweeping residue from another pill into a pile, which I estimated was about 30% of the pill. Another idea would be to weigh my 1/64th, but I suspect it's too little to measure accurately with any scale I can get my hands on. Potency of my powder -------------------- To make matters even worse, the capsules I'm using expired 4.5 years ago. From a short look on the net and talking with a pharmacist this might not be big deal. But also the powder sits on a plate being slowly divided for up to 2 weeks before I take it, so it may degrade somewhat.
  4. Hi everybody, First post and new member. I wanted to thank all of you for all the support and useful information provided on this site. I was put on Lexapro early last year, starting at 5,10,15, and 20 mg within 3 week. Side effects were horrendous for over a month. Came back down to 10mg after seeing a new doctor. Was also given Lunesta for sleep (2 mg), and ativan (.5 mg) as needed. Tried to taper off 3-4 times (on my own - foolishly), not knowing fully how powerful this drug is. I tried to tapper off too quickly, only to have a slew of WD symptoms, which made me go back to 10 mg. Finding this website was a Godsend! Your experiences, knowledge, and continuous updates provide the type of support that is very hard to find out there. I am starting the tapering process. I have made changes in my life such as getting back to being more physically and socially active, nutrition, therapy. I am happy to say that I have not used Ativan for at least 5-6 months. I hardly use Lunesta - maybe once a month or so when I need to get a good night sleep. Things have definitely been improving. I have downloaded the tapering spreadsheet, and will be using the microdose approach as I am very sensitive to medicine. Thanks again, Al
  5. hello all, thx for being here showing the way. my current doses and meds are listed in my signature... i take 68.75mg at night...one 50mg pill and the other a 25 mg pill that i try to "quater" into 6.25mg, not very succesfully! what i need help with now is finding my micro-taper rate and correct schedule, since i suck at math (failed it 2x in high school but they passed me because they pitied me for trying so hard and getting it so wrong!) i had been breaking my 25 mg pills into rough quarters but they no longer break anywhere close to 6.25 mg pieces...so i'm really suffering with the inaccurate pill splitting disaster. i'd love to try the ORA-Pro or actually this one: HUMCO 8916001 Flavor Blend 16 oz, Shape https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0773DL1XJ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1 it's way cheaper looks the same stuff to me...and do a suspension with it and see if i can get a more accurate dose, but after reading all the pages i can find on this site and benzo buddies and others i am still confused... the video on how to make a simple water titration that was for low dose naltrexone as an example showed me how to do the basics measuring 25 ml distilled water and dissolving a 25 mg pill in it for a 1mg medication per 1 ml liquid ratio. i understand that part. and as far as i got it, i would take my nightly 50mg pill of quetiapine whole as a dry pill and then draw out the 6.25mg/6.25 ml of liquid medication from the water solution and dispose of it and then drink/take orally the remainder of the liquid (18.75mg/ml) to make my current total nightly dose of 68.75mg of quetiapine. seems like i could be doing 5 mg/ml cuts instead of 6.25 if i use the solution or a suspension though...and i think i may be going to fast, or at leat the cuts are too abrupt, so i really want to do a microtaper, if someone could do the math part and then maybe i'd have a chance.☺️ where i get messed up is how to mix the ORA-pro/HUMCO suspension liquid with the (mortar and pestle crushed) 25mg pill of quetiapine and then how do i know how much to syringe out of the mixed suspension for my 18.75mg liquid portion dose? or if i did a 20mg/ml would it be easier to measure out? or if i did a microtaper of something closer to a fraction of a mg/ml every few days instead of 6.25mg cut every 4 weeks, maybe that would allow for a smoother taper and less rough withdrawals? i honestly don't even know how to divide 6.25mg by 28 days! i guess you can see why i failed math 2x! anyways... i 'd love to do the 10% (or less) reduction from the last dose as is reccomended, instead of the Ashton method of a "cut and suffer" that i've been trying to emulate...but all of the calculators and spreadsheets just serve to confuse me even more. if anyone here feels my pain and would like to point me to a "micro-taper schedule off of seroquel for dummies" chart or table that shows me exactly what to do for each day of the microtaper ...i don't know what i can offer in return! my eternal gratitude? my kidneys? lol thx again
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