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notalwaysso posted a topic in Success stories: Recovery from withdrawalDear 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.