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  1. xyz

    The meditation thread

    hi, I thought i could start a meditation thread. not sure if this is the right place to post and if there is another thread already started on the topic. i will post more. please join me if you have a daily mindfulness practice, or if you are interested in spiritual growth. my goal is to make this thread as a resources for people who are in withdrawal. mindfulness and being in the moment present, acceptance of our current experience has been crucial in my recovery. just a disclaimer, i am a buddhist, so everything i will post about my meditation practice (that has spanned over few years), will be referred from the point of view of the buddhist teachings. but i have great respect for other religions as well, as long as one's implementation of his religious belief helps him to be kinder and more compassionate. also, english is not my native language, so pardon my gramma in advance.
  2. Dear SA members September 1, 2017 will mark one year of full withdrawal from Lexapro. ( I withdrew completely after 9 months of gradual tapering, after which I had very bad WD symptoms for about 10 months. please see my signature). I am very happy to say that things have gotten much much better, and that one year after full withdrawal I am almost symptom free! All the symptoms I had, waves, zaps, anxiety attacks, feelings of doom, insomnia, sweats, depression, are all but gone. I am enjoying a feeling of stability and well being for the first time in a couple of years. The past year has been enormously difficult. I am an older person and had my share of difficult times in life. And yet this was different, and yet taught me so much. I would like to share with you my learning and some of the processes I have been through. As you will see below, one of the main factors for my improvement was actually this forum. So, I write with deep gratitude to you people, for sharing your suffering and your knowledge, and with a profound wish for health and well-being for all of you. It IS possible to get better. Below is a list of the factors which have helped me overcome WDS. They are not necessarily in any specific order. It will be a bit long, so, I apologize in advance. I think this list just reaffirms everything I learned from this website, but still, I think it is important to hear everyone's version... 1. THIS FORUM. I stumbled into this forum accidentally, while searching the web for information about withdrawal (it was my second attempt.) I found this forum extremely important in providing information, support , ideas, and HOPE. It opened for me a new way of thinking. There were days this year when signing in and reading was a life saver. I didn't feel so alone and crazy. I guess there are other forums and sites, but SA did it for me, no doubt. My learning from this is: Get as much information as possible about your condition and symptoms! Knowing is power. Second: Don't be alone with your condition. Being alone weakens and frightens you. Sharing, asking questions, reading about others' experience is a powerful source of support. 2. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. It was one of the most powerful tools during hell time: Being in contact with my body, via daily physical activity. In my case: daily walks (with intermittent jogging) and yoga practice. This activity was very helpful to get me out of spiraling anxiety and depression. Just being outside, seeing and breathing some nature, has an enormous tranquilizing effect. Please note: DAILY! I haven't stopped daily exercise, even though I am better now, and I never will stop. I enjoy it so much. I learned to build up a strong connection with my body, as much as possible. Although our body is suffering during WD, it is one of our most powerful allies. Our body knows! 3. MINDFULNESS. Mindful meditation was also a main pillar of strength. I have been meditating for a couple of years, but this year I took up to it regularly, (meaning, first thing in the morning, everyday, for at least 15 minutes, up to 45 minutes). Its effect is not only relaxing, but it builds a consistent, stable, observing YOU that doesn't go through the emotional rollercoaster. Slowly but surely, I developed a tiny me that could say, even during the worst moments: I see that I am feeling like hell...and not identify with the bad feelings. Just observe them and let them dissolve in time. A big part of this is being kind and nonjudgmental to yourself. Learning: If anything, this horrible WDS is a golden opportunity to know and befriend yourself. Mindful meditation is something that will stay with me for good. Not only it is enormously helpful, but it is a revelation. It is no less than re-discovering yourself and the meaning of life. BTW, there is a ton of literature about the use of mindfulness in anxiety and depression. You can research the web about it. I really recommend Jon Kabat Zin. Check him out in youtube. He wrote some very good books. 4. KINDRED SOULS. Being around people was not easy during the last year. I pretty much distanced myself from anybody that gave me, even slightly, bad vibes for whatever reason. I didn't go out to busy and noisy places. BUT I was lucky to have a couple of good and generous friends whom I told about my condition and were there for me in many ways: sharing, phoning, being with me, encouraging ..My family was a great source of hope and sense of meaning. My learning is that It was, and is, very crucial not to be alone, if at all possible. I learned to ask for help (wasn't my strong side up until then). In fact I learned to accept I NEED help from people. So, actually, this bad withdrawal trip caused me to be more close to my loved ones. 5. MEDICATION AND FOOD SUPPLEMENTS. About medications: During the course of withdrawal I also withdrew from PPI's which I was taking for 10 years ("thanks" to doctor's recommendations). So I am, for now, completely free of medications which makes me very very happy. My attitude to medications, pharma, doctors, and that whole department has changed radically. Although I realize that there are good and life=saving medications and procedures, I am now in the view that I will use them only if there is absolutely no other way. I really lost my trust in the medical system and will try to stay away from it as much as I can. I will avoid visiting a doctor as much as is in my power. I opt for alternative health care (naturopathy, chinese medication etc.) Supplements: Omega helped with brain zaps. These continued for a long while, and still pay me a little weakened visit here and there, especially before falling asleep. Magnesium helped with muscle pains at night. Taurine helped with morning anxiety. Information about supplements was obtained via SA forum. I think it is important to check on your vitamin-mineral levels and inform yourself about the benefits and effects of supplements. There is so much help obtained from supplements, and the doctors usually know nothing about it. Or dismiss it. 6. EATING WELL. My experience is that a good diet was really helpful: For me the main thing was eliminating sugars from my diet, including sugars coming from certain carbohydrates, alcohol, etc. Clearing the sugar was really powerful in stabilizing my physical-mental system. The main elements in my diet were (and remain): Vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, fish. Tons of water. 7. SLEEPING AND RESTING. For the first time in my life I had sleeping problems during WD. I never experienced this before, and therefore was terrified. I worked this out by trying all kinds of natural supplements and an occasional sleeping pill when things got really bad. For a while melatonin helped. Sometimes Valerian. Then taurin and magnesium taken together. The main thing for me was NOT TO PANIC when I couldn't sleep! I learned, like with any other symptom, that it will resolve itself after a while. I stayed away from computers before sleep, took warm showers, had tea, read good books, darkened my bedroom. Even more important, - I tried not to exert myself at work or anywhere else. Resting was crucial. Not demanding anything from myself that felt too difficult. Trying to give your body and mind as much rest as possible, is I think really important. 8. SYMPTOMS. Most of my symptoms are gone. They disappeared gradually and slowly. Still a weakened form of brain zap here and there. Nothing like before. The waves and windows grew more distant until completely gone. In the process, anxiety gave place to depression, So I had depressive bouts towards month 10 of withdrawal. At the moment I still suffer from tinnitus, which developed during tapering. I don't know whether it is withdrawal related or not. I try to ignore it. I remain quite sensitive to: loud noise, strong light, certain anxiety producing events (separations and endings of all sorts), toxic people, crowded places. ___________________________________________ So, I think this about sums it up. (I might have forgotten something) As I wrote in the beginning of this message, I now enjoy a general feeling of well being. I feel happy to have overcome this syndrome. I keep a cautious attitude though, because who knows, a "wave" may reappear at any given moment. But I feel more confident, as time goes by, that by now my body has pretty much recovered, and that I have obtained some resilience and some tools to deal with what may come. I don't feel euphoria or a feeling of "happy end" at all! Life goes on, with its setbacks and frustrations and good and happy moments, that's all. But the very dark and frightening feelings and sensations are gone. Paradoxically I can feel grateful for having learned so much, for having discovered new meanings for my life, for having been challenged and having taught myself to meet a serious challenge. And there will be more to come... Thank you again people for being here. I know a little bit about your suffering. Please hold on to hope and be patient. Things will change, as they always do. Even if you don't believe in it now. Thank you moderators for doing such an important and generous work. You made an enormous difference for me. I wish recovery for all of you. May you be healthy and safe. Much love to all Notalwaysso BTW I am not leaving the site. I feel part of this virtual community.
  3. Hi Everyone, I'm glad this site exists. As it says in my title I'm trying to eventually come off all psychiatric medications that I'm on. I currently take: 0.375 mg Risperdal (after about 1.5 years at 2 mg) 50 mg Lamictal 100 mg Zoloft Right now I am trying to taper off of Risperdal. I just spoke to the compounding pharmacy today and should have the liquid form in three or four days for more precise tapering. My history: I entered therapy when I was 18 as a senior in high school in February 2010. I started taking Welbutrin, then added Zoloft, then stopped taking Welbutrin. In the summer of 2012, after my sophomore year of college, my psychiatrist let me decrease my dose of Zoloft from I think 100 mg to 50 mg. In March 2013, I was admitted to a mental hospital and put on Lithium, Risperdal, and Cogentin, and my dose of Zoloft was increased to 100 mg. In December 2013 I came off the Lithium cold turkey. I think I stopped taking the Cogentin (meant for shakiness/muscle spasms) then as well. So from December 2013 to June 2014 I only took 2 mg Risperdal and 100 mg Zoloft. In June 2014 I was suicidal and put on 50 mg Lamictal. In August 2014 I graduated college (George Mason University in Fairfax, VA-- Northern Virginia) and returned to the Philadelphia, PA area where I'm from. I'm currently enrolled in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program here. I meditate daily and that has helped me a lot. If you have any questions about me feel free to ask! Thanks for reading!
  4. Hi friends, I'm grateful that this community exists. I'm now 29 years old, and feel that life has offered me a precious opportunity to try again: to live in the ways that are most meaningful to me, and to reduce my dependence on a synthetic molecule and anything else that doesn't nourish me. I was first prescribed Luvox at age 16 during what was later diagnosed as a long, recurrent viral illness (mononucleosis). At age 20 (2006), I switched to Effexor, at a dose of 75 mg XR. I've long recognized that very little is known about the effects of long-term antidepressant use, and I have aspired to take care of my body and mind as naturally and as gently as possible. I have tried twice now to discontinue Effexor. In both instances, I tapered over ~6 weeks and experienced significant withdrawal symptoms including 'brain zaps', but felt that I had the resources and momentum to weather these initial waves of difficulty. Over the course of the next 3-6 months, however, I found myself becoming increasingly depressed, sliding down a slope without the resources to gain a foothold; and experiencing waves of anxiety that often felt overpowering. After the most recent effort (November 2014-June 2015), I restarted Effexor, and found that this time 225 mg was necessary to re-establish balance. Given the history of relapses, my most recent doctor has recommended that I remain on the current dose at least 9 months (or 6 months longer) before beginning to taper. I see wisdom in that approach, as I am still finding my strength week by week, and I will be driving across the country in 4 days to relocate from Indiana, where I grew up, to the SF Bay Area. I hope also to begin work at a start-up that I regard as likely to be meaningful and challenging ("I hope", because I am told to expect an offer in the next couple days), and I want to take the long view on this, only taking each next step when I feel strong, steady, and ready. During both of my previous attempts to discontinue Effexor, I lacked professional guidance or a community walking this path with me. I know that reducing and eventually ending my dependence on Effexor will require all of my resources, and many which I have yet to develop; and I have learned how vitally important it is both to lend support to others and to accept and receive it. Sometimes it is clear to me that each of these actions, each direction of giving and receiving support, contains the other. When I am able to clearly, I know also that every breath, every step, and every action taken with awareness is an opportunity to develop the internal resources necessary to walk this path myself and to support others. There are very few things of which I feel certain; actually, if there is one, it is probably this: nothing is of greater value to me or to the world this path of healing and transformation. Thank you for sharing with me what has been most powerful, meaningful, and effective for you in this journey. Please let me know, also, how I can support you. In allowing me to listen and perhaps to share what this life is teaching me, you give me a great gift. I am happy that we are walking this path together. In gratitude, Michael * * * I initially included this in my signature; I'll include it here, and link to it from the signature. Incredibly important and valuable to me in this process has been vigorous exercise (running, racquetball, biking), yoga, and especially a daily mindfulness practice (2009-present). My intention is to bring it into every part of my daily life, so that I may act from a real understanding of what brings happiness and pain to myself and others. I regard this practice, cultivating this intention and capacity, as the basis of the solidity, clarity, and capacity to generate joy which will make it possible to rely less and less on Effexor, and to live as I wish to live. I also know that this will likely be a long path, and that I will have to grow a great deal along it. My practice has been inspired and sustained by the writings and life of Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) and the Plum Village community. So often I am lost in my intellect and my thinking struggle to return with a physical and whole-hearted presence to life in this moment. I have been moved by the simplicity and power of Thay's teachings on cultivating a joyful awareness of the body, and mind learning to sit, stand, walk, eat, and do the tasks of life in awareness. During my last attempt to discontinue Effexor, I was an aspirant to be a monk at PV, but was unable to continue for the time being. My deepest wish is to live each day guided by the intention shared by the monastics, and some day to be strong enough to join them.
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