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  1. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  2. I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
  3. Hello everybody, i hope everyone is well. i would like to thank altostrata for this website and i also want to thank whoever volunteers, so thank you. anyways, i am almost fully recovered from the harmful effects of risperidone. I did not think i would recover, all in all it took 14 months to feel "normal." Here's a link of my first topic if you want more of a perspective on how i used to be: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12502-risperdalhater-my-risperdal-story-and-how-it-has-affected-my-life/#entry234527 I took risperidone for about 3 weeks, i recall starting off with 2mg doses daily then after a few days i complained about drowsiness and feeling weird so they lowered the dose to 1mg then after a few more days they worked their way up to 3mg daily and a long with that i received a long acting 7mg injection which can be taken once a month (as i recall). towards the end of me taking the drug i started feeling very very drowsy and i recall saying in a pathetic weak voice "I don't like this, i want to stop", so i dumped the risperidone in the trash and never took it again, i stopped cold turkey. the next week and a half or so i went through the worst experience of my life until that point. i had: - constant shakiness - could barely sleep - extreme sadness - seemingly a complete absence of happiness - serious muscular fatigue and weak blood flow these all disappeared after that week and a half except for the muscular fatigue and weak blood flow. the sadness/blah feeling got better at an extremely slow pace. libido died of course (pretty common with risperidone). thankfully i did not grow breasts or lactate like some of the victims of risperidone, perhaps they took it longer or took a higher dose. month 1-10 i was a fatigued wreck, people asked me why i looked so sad, i had to force my smiles etc. month 8-10 or so (as i recall) got slightly better but nothing big, just slight improvements. month 10.5 = more slight improvements in energy. nothing to be excited about though. month 11-14 is when the healing starting picking up its pace. i was hopeless at one point. i don't care if you've been on the drug for years, i still sincerely believe you will get better, just get off of the drug. taking this drug is not how a human being is supposed to live. so i started supplementing with niacin and my blood flow was better, i know because when i was at the gym i could actually get a muscle pump again, it wasn't that great but it was there. when someone is lifting weights, their blood is supposed to flow and the muscle that you're using will get filled with blood and become more vascular, i did not have this except for before i took risperidone. i've been lifting weights for 5 years, gym rat level; that being said, i could tell something was wrong when my blood flow became weak. don't worry about libido, it will return as long as you avoid those crap drugs. i personally put any drug in the category of "crap" whether it is prescribed by a doctor or not. i heard that when you show low libido, zinc can be a link.... yes i did try to make that rhyme. get your blood tested, i have heard that medicines can deplete certain vitamins/minerals. again, please get your blood tested. recovery won't happen overnight no matter how many methods you use to help yourself. supplements that helped me: Natural vitality calm magnesium: it's a powdered form of magnesium and has worked better than any magnesium i've tried. Melatonin __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ if you need help or advice, feel free to message me. at this point it has been 14 months and i am recovered, everything is back to normal. check your blood, supplement with what you need, eat good food, exercise. thanks for reading everyone.
  4. Hey warriors! Posting here for informational and support purposes. 2017 I was started on 25 mg of Sertraline. A couple of side effects beginning the medication but as I continued it, I felt great. Hadn't had a panic attack in 10 months and was enjoying life. After being on the med for 10 months I went to the ER with a Kidney Infection and was treated with CIPRO (anti biotic). After taking 2 doses of the CIPRO along with still being on my Sertraline, I had a reaction to the medications and it sent me into horrific panic. I stopped the CIPRO immediately but it seemed like every time I took my Sertraline after that, I would have horrific panic attacks. So bad I drove myself to the hospital 3 separate times begging them to find out what was wrong with me. I was sent home every single time with "its just panic attacks". I made an appointment with my Psych doctor and tried to explain to him how horrible I was feeling and he insisted I increase my dose and brushed me off like it was no concern and sent me on my way. At that point, being discouraged and not well educated about abruptly stopping anti depressants I decided I was no longer going to take Sertraline. Then, the withdraws hit. The first 3 months were hell on earth for me. Crawling out of my own skin, vomiting, digestive issues, extreme anxiety, dizzy, brain fog, tremors, jolting out of a dead sleep, muscle aches and weakness, weight loss and lack of appetite etc... After the 3 months my symptoms seemed to subside a little and have not been as intense but now I am 10 months off after quitting cold turkey and still suffer. Recently I have experienced Intrusive Thoughts and extreme OCD which I have NEVER experience in my life. Has anyone gone through or is going through a similar experience? Do we heal (especially from going cold turkey)? Are there any recommendations for help or advice? I have lost 35 lbs in 10 months, have severe digestive issues, anxiety almost all day everyday that is now intensified by 100, depressed and just all in all feeling very low and losing hope that I will never get back to how I was before this horrific experience. Looking forward to hearing opinions. Love and light your way ❤️
  5. Hello Everyone, I always intended to return when I felt that my recovery was at such a stage as to be no longer the main focus of my existence. For me that was a sign of 'success'. I probably reached that point over a year ago. This was my original thread in 'Intro's and Updates'. Like others my withdrawal developed in clear stages:- Months 0-3: Nausea, sweating, increased energy etc Months 4 - 12: everything listed in my topic. Hell on earth. My topic doesn't do it justice. Months 12 onwards: The major symptoms (acute anxiety, suicidal ideation, chronic fatigue, intense rage, an inability to function at any level as a human being) are gone. Residual issues: my sleep is lighter and more broken than it was whilst on the AD's and pre AD's. Memory problems relating to name recall. Neither issue impacts my quality of life to any great degree. Today? I feel well, my pre-drug personality has been fully restored (for better and worse) and I deal with the emotional problems that first led me to the drugs with exercise and a well-practised shrug of the shoulders. If that fails the odd hour of stewing in a pot of my own self-pity never did me any harm! Those days are thankfully rare and are alleviated by a swift kick to my own ample arse😃 I always thought I'd write more in my 'success story' but my ordeal feels very much a part of my past now. Things have returned to normal... 'normal' in this case meaning being free from the maelstrom of chemically-induced madness that is acute withdrawal from an SSRI. Looking back that is the only way to accurately describe it. My only advice (if I may be so bold) is to never ever think what you are going through will stay the same. There will be deep despair and flickers of hope. There will be false dawns and genuine improvements. REGARDLESS, YOU WILL GET BETTER. It just takes time. As a wise-owl once wrote on here 'it takes at least a year' if you cold-turkey from these drugs after prolonged use. That's pretty much what it took for me to return to a sense of normality. The improvements in the 2nd year off the drugs were immeasurable. As Claire Weekes once wrote about recovery from nervous breakdown (and which equally applies to withdrawal-induced breakdown IMHO): "Once you are on the right road to recovery, recovery is inevitable, however protracted your illness may have been" If anyone has any questions I'm more than happy to answer them. I know how much I needed some perspective and reassurance when I was in the pit of despair. For those who supported me in my thread you will never know how much I needed and appreciated it. A huge heartfelt thanks. A huge thanks also to the owners and the mods who do such a selfless and brilliant job. . To everyone else. Keep going. It will come right. xxx
  6. JanCarol

    Making Activist Art

    On BlueBalu's thread, BTDT wrote: OMG B! I just started a play tonight! I was inspired by attending a theatre festival this weekend, and so many of the plays addressed real issues, like relationships, inner demons, and feminism and taking control of your life. In one play, Florence Nightingale told her cohorts to "stop taking the pills, they are only meant to control you!" (and she, Maggie Thatcher, and Jane Austen escaped the asylum!) I thought I would start a play about withdrawal. I've never written a play before, so I will need to get help from some experts, but I can visualize how it will be. It would be best to condense it into a very potent 1-act play, and might be a way to get our voices heard in a broader audience. I'm basing the characters on composites of people here - one depressed, one anxious (and abused), one "psychotic" (I call it Emergency), one chronic pain, and an Alto-like character (again, composite, of course). It will show 5 years in these peoples' lives, and at the end, they will meet on the internet and start recovery. It shows the drug rep and the doctor, and I've just written the part where everyone gets their first prescription. The next scene, a year later, people will be manifesting side effects, and get additional prescriptions. The scene after that will be 5 years, and the characters will be on multiple scripts with debilitating effects, but the pseudo-Alto character will have figured out withdrawal, and will be helping the others to take charge of their conditions. They will be talking on the internet - with some of them talking over coffee like we do here in Brisbane. It would be nice if I could bring the emotion that a play like "Love Letters" brings, where the actors read their internet posts aloud, and their stories come alive for all the others listening. The challenge is to make the characters real and engaging, to invoke the caring of the audience, and to present the material without being "preachy." To raise awareness. I have 2 playwright/directors in mind - one did a searing expose of self injury (one of her early works - confronting, not very successful - but it sure had us talking) - and the other has done plays about "encounter groups" and "body dysmorphia / anorexia disorder issues at a lingerie sales party." Both are activist-aware, and while they cannot write the play for me - I must write what I know - they can guide me to getting it published and up and running. And hopefully, making it a good script. And if I'm good enough, perhaps one will consent to cast and direct it for me! Additionally, if it is a one-act, it will tour the "festival circuit," which means that potentially thousands of people could see the performances, where if it's a full-length play, it might never be seen, except maybe at one local theatre. I know nothing about writing plays. But I hope to have a rough draft ready in 2 weeks to show these ladies at the next festival. Btdt - you are a prophet!
  7. hello there. i registered here to search for help for symptoms that are bothering me and that came after 15mg of olanzapine for 7-8 months. generally, i've been taking olanzapine for like a year or something, i started with a 5mg dose at 2015, after some time they upped it to 10mg, and then i've had a full-blown psychotic episode and i began taking 15mg. i was hospitalized and there they gave me high doses of 5 different medications. when i came back home, things just weren't the same. okay, that didn't bother me, i was still thinking that it's only a phase. then, month after month, i realized that that "phase" is actually... something deeper, different. so i searched about it on the internet; and saw that "antipsychotics destroy brain". i stopped taking olanzapine cold turkey, which was DEFINITELY a very bad idea. at first, i was very depressed, i don't know if it lasted long enough to be called a major depressive episode, but it was severe. i was full of guilt... but, the worst of it all - i couldn't feel a damn thing. i couldn't enjoy a damn thing. i was on a winter holiday and i'm a skier, but i didn't feel anything while i was skiing. yes, i could leave a bed, but i was doing it only because i felt like the world around me would judge me and criticize me if i didn't. people are supposed to feel happy, free when they're skiing, even scared. i didn't feel anything. i realized that i stopped caring about everything, so, you could tell me a good thing - i would feel nothing (sometimes it was even hard to fake a smile, because it was even hard to move my face). you could tell me a bad thing - i would feel nothing. i had a fear of being criticized, but now, that faded too. but that's okay, to be honest, it's much easier to live without the guilt and at the same time energy to do anything about the guilt you're feeling. and i wanted to feel things. i wanted, and not only wanted, but i still want to feel things. deeply. so i started faking reactions to things... i was like - okay, imagine you're a normal person who didn't go through this kind of situation. how would a normal, rational person react ? and then i reacted that way. i still do that tho, it became some kind of a habit. my concentration is very bad. my will is very bad. i have anhedonia and apathy. my cognitive abilities are awful. but i just can't seem to care. and you know, sometimes you feel bad for not caring about things. i don't even feel bad about not caring, i just don't feel a damn thing. i had a period where i was doing better and was motivated to recover. i still want to recover, but i feel like nothing makes sense and i don't know how to get out of this nonsense. if any of you found sense, can you please tell me how ? i know it's an extremely hard and long process, but i somehow believe that it's possible. WHY ? i went to the neurologist and spent a lot of money on some neurological tests, for example magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. guess what ? IT'S NOT THE BRAIN. IT'S PSYCHE. mind. mental. !!!!!!!!!!!! at least for me. tests can't and don't lie. i believe in those tests, even tho i have all the symptoms of brain damage, i surely don't have a brain damage because i have an evidence. the tests have shown that my brain is perfectly healthy, despite my mental disorder. i don't know about you, but i can recommend checking yourself just to be sure, it can ease the pain, even if you do have a brain damage or if you don't. if you don't have enough money, there are local hospitals where you can check yourself. so that's why i accepted medications and i'm currently using 10mg of escitalopram and i started few days ago aripiprazole 5mg. i'm willing to try things. i just feel so brain-foggy and that's stopping me from doing anything. and now, i'll go and search the forum for some advices from you guys, i will write here again. thanks if you read this. ...and yeah, sorry for a really bad post, i'm not so well right now. i'm glad that i became the part of this community, the feeling that i'm not alone makes me feel better. and it's hell.
  8. I used to take two kind of antidepressants for 2 weeks. Prozac (Fluoxetine 10) and Clomopramine 10. I stopped taking them as soon as I found out they have negative sexual side-effects. It's been 60 days I haven't taken them but my libido is not like it was in the first place before taking them. I am too worried about it. I have been suicidal over it. I have read that it can be a permanent effect which drives me crazy when I think about it. I talked to my doctor but he rudely refused to give me a straight answer since I stopped taking the pills he prescribed me. I talked to other doctors too. They said my libido should have returned in 3 weeks but I can't see any improvements since then. So, my question is, if you have any experience of taking such pills, tell me how long you took them and if your libido returned after stopping taking them or not, if so, how long did you wait till your libido improved completely. Am I suffering from PSSD (Post-SRRI Sexeual Dysfunction)? if so, won't I ever get my libido back? Is there any treatment for this?
  9. Hey everyone, so I decided I'm not going to take my monthly antipsychotic injections anymore. I had it with the side effects and my psychiatrist wasn't supportive to taper me off slowly (he thought I should be on them forever). I know it's not the best decision considering the risks, but I have faith in God and my capability to overcome any side effects. I'm thankful that I didn't face any major withdrawal effects so far (except for whole body soreness for a day or two which was acceptable) and I hope it continues that way. It's almost 2 months from my last injection and the half-life of Invega Sustenna is 25 - 49 days so I definitely crossed it. I don't know if it helped, but I am taking Ratfish liver oil 15 drops twice daily. Now, I wanted to know if it would be a good idea to start taking a natural dopamine/serotonin reuptake inhibitor (Catuaba) to down-regulate my already up-regulated dopamine/serotonin receptors. The reason I suspect they up-regulated is because the Invega I was taking acts as an antagonist at both dopamine and serotonin receptors. I would like to start healing my brain to return to my former intellectual/cognitive state before starting the medication (I suspect I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar to begin with). The extra dopamine could possibly help with the motivation/focus issues as well. Do you think I'd be overloading my brain at this stage? Would the Catuaba cause me to go manic? Any thoughts are welcome (including how to overcome/bounce back/heal after stopping antipsychotics)...
  10. ADMIN NOTE I stumbled upon this and found it sensible. ("other addictions part" http://protractedbenzodiazepinewithdrawal.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/27-months/ It basically assess the agony of paws may lead to addictive behaviours (like computer, music, to name mine) which stimulate dopamine so as to make it through, and that in the long run it would possibly downregulate dopamine receptors and trigger/worsen/prolong anhedonia. What do you think about it? Is there any other people who are bound to some alienating addictive behaviours so as to ease the making through the day?
  11. ADMIN NOTE To answer the questions in the topic title, see the Success Stories in this forum. Also see reports of progress in the Introductions forum. Use search there if you're looking for a particular drug. Related topics in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization "Is it always going to be like this?" The importance of feeling good Creating a new self after withdrawal Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) What does healing from withdrawal syndrome feel like? Withdrawal dialogues & encouragement Neuro-emotions Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms Deep emotional pain and crying spells, spontaneous weeping Health anxiety, hypochondria, and obsession with symptoms  Dealing With Emotional Spirals For those who are feeling desperate or suicidal Why this topic has been closed to comments. The rate the success stories are cranking out just goes to show how long it takes to heal . I hope it's due to people healing and never looking back.
  12. apathetic

    Victim mentality

    Hello. Please, correct me if I'm wrong; but I noticed something and I wanted to share my thoughts. I see that many people have victim mentality because of horrible withdrawal effects. I completely understand where is that coming from, and I am not by any means judging your grief towards life you have lost because of those toxic substances. I used to have that victim mentality as well, in my first days of WDS and I understand the amounts of pain you are in. It's extremely difficult to, as I described the feeling, "just wake up one day and feel like you forgot who you are, and fail to recognize patterns of thinking and reasoning of your "previous personality", as well as be unable to find common sense in anything around you". At least that is how I felt. People that I talked to when I realized that what I'm experiencing is caused by meds were telling me NOT to stress about everything that happened, that it will help my brain to recover faster. I found that quite illogical and impossible; my thoughts were: "How can I not stress and grieve? I feel like my life is taken away, and I'm living in such a void that it seems like it's impossible to get any kind of life back, and at the same time for it not to feel "fake" in a way. They must be experiencing something different, their case must be less severe than mine. I will not recover". It felt like I permanently deleted some pictures from my phone, and my phone didn't have a backup; so, it felt like me completely losing memory of my personality and many, many past events is something that I just can't get back. Now, that I'm sure that you know I understand what are you going through, I will try to explain what I think is a mistake among many people going through WDS. I, of course, described just the basics of this state, because if I started describing how I felt, the post will be way, way too long and I would write it for hours. And the point of describing all of this was to tell you that I genuinely am not judging what am I about to say. So, here we go - the victim mentality. It seems like some kind of a depressive thinking pattern; I am destroyed forever, things cannot get better, everything is done, I have been a victim of psychiatric medications, they caused me all of this, I can't do anything right etc. In my opinion, those thinking patterns are lowering your already severely low motivation. What I needed a lot of time to get to understand is that I don't have to be "the previous me" to be able to accomplish things, to have a right to call myself smart, capable, deserving of love, care, compliments and to be able to generally be successful. You were mentally ill, or if you weren't, you were struggling in some way - if you weren't mentally ill/struggling, you wouldn't be given meds at the first place. I saw this as a huge loss for a long time, but that's not true. This is not a loss; this is the opportunity. It's the opportunity to build a good, satisfying and successful life. But, it takes time. So, when I go back and observe my own thinking patterns from first year of withdrawal, it seemed like I was subconsciously trying to find an excuse for not doing things. And when I say subconsciously, that is exactly what I mean. I, of course, wasn't walking around having thoughts: "oh, this is my excuse, I am doing this on purpose", blah blah blah. And when I say subconscious, I don't even mean that you are partially conscious of them! I mean that you are absolutely unconscious that this may be the case. I hope you don't understand this as me thinking you are lazy, manipulative or anything like that, because feeling like this was not, and is not a conscious decision. It maybe seemed like I was even comfortable being in that state, like I feared something in the real world so much that suffering and seeing myself as a victim (aka giving up on myself) was more comfortable than facing those fears "in the outside world", or better said - outside of this mental state. What I want to say here is that you must refuse to give up on yourself, because that is the victim mentality I am talking about. "I am helpless". No, you are not. You are helpless if you believe you are helpless, because that can bring you to the point of refusing to take any further action regarding healing. With that mentality, you will either give up easily, abandon some healing method easily because even if you try, your belief is creeping up on you, telling you that you're helpless; or you get to the point where you don't even try to do anything, because yes - you believe: "I am helpless". And that thought, that belief has its consequences, and then you fall into a cycle and because you give up easily or don't even try, your belief is automatically being fed all the time. Remind yourself that it's okay to be drained of energy to continue fighting. It's okay to be drained of energy for months. It's allowing yourself to rest and recharge your batteries. But just because you need a mental battery recharge, it doesn't automatically mean that you gave up or that there is a catastrophe waiting for you. You are just resting, and just because you have a need to do so doesn't mean that your brain is dying, shutting down; neither your brain, neither your body, neither your psyche. After all, experiencing burnouts isn't only limited to "healthy" people. The period of recharging your batteries is an awesome opportunity to learn how to take real care of yourself. How not to put too much pressure on yourself, how to develop respect towards your own self and learn what are your body and psyche comfortable with, and what they aren't comfortable with. Changing thinking patterns is a long process, because it feels like you are forcing yourself to think things you deeply believe aren't true, and it just feels wrong. But changing your unhealthy thinking pattern isn't about switching unhealthy thought with another that is perceived as a healthy one; it's about understanding and realizing WHY is your thought unhealthy. Forcing thoughts is not, and will never be a good method for solving those kind of problems. Summed up, it's hard, but I believe in every single one of you. That is all I wanted to share with this beautiful and supportive community. Give yourself some time to get better and please, don't be impatient with yourself (which is another self-care strategy you are supposed to learn in order to cope better!). I am sharing this because I think it can be beneficial. ...good luck
  13. Hello. About 6 months ago I was hospitalized and put on risperdal against my will. I was diagnosed as bi polar and given the medication over the course of 21 days, beginning with a pill and ending with two injectables. I was scheduled for a third injection three months after being released, but as the symptoms were impossible to cope with, my psychiatrist put me on abillify instead. After less than a month, I discontinued the medication completely cold turkey and I haven't been back to see him since. Here are some of the symptoms I've noticed for the past 3 months since discontinuing the medications. -akathisia -mild gynecomastia -emotional flatness -inabillity to read or retain information ( I used to read about a book a week before the medication) -increased joint pain -terrible anxiety and agoraphobia -erectile dysfunction and an empty sex drive/diminished orgasms -severe weight gain Anyways, a whole myriad of symptoms began to occur, but my main concern is permanent neurological impairment or alteration caused from this medication. I've read that these medications are actually neurotoxic, that they shrink the brain or even cause brain cells to die, all sorts of terrible stuff like that - and I'm terrified. I don't know what to do or how to cope. Is there anybody out there with similar experiences? If so, how long has it taken you to recover, if you recovered at all? I feel like I've basically been lobotomized. I'm only 23, and I couldn't imagine living life like this without some hope of getting better. Any help is appreciated. Thanks for listening.
  14. I was just feeling a little disheartened by the disparity between how many people post on this site and how many write success stories. I know that this could mean that people just don't want to return to the site because the memory of withdrawal is so painful for them once they've recovered. But it's also scary knowing that another reason for the lack of success reports could be that people have a really difficult time healing and more often times than not it takes YEARS to heal. I've been off for 6 and a half months and I'm still dealing with brutal mental symptoms, and it's discouraging that when I REALLY need to read reports from people that have recovered, and I end up reading the same 5 stories that I've already read hundreds of times. Is it possible that some people just DON'T heal from this and we need to learn to live with the new circumstances that we've been dealt? I know this post is a little depressing, but I could really use some encouragement. Thanks to any of you that can provide feedback and/or reassurance.
  15. sadandconfused

    Positive stories?

    Hello everyone, I'm doing decent with the withdrawal, better than I was anyway. I was wondering if anyone could give me some positive stories about getting their feelings back for their partner or just recovering from ssris in general? I'm feeling a little discouraged again, it's been going on two years since my feelings changed for my boyfriend after quitting Lexapro cold turkey. I guess I'm just wondering what I should be expecting? Is the hardest part over or will it still be awhile before I'm me again? We're definitely better than we were but I want so bad to go back to the way we were. I loved him more than anything and two years of feeling nothing is just so hard.
  16. Emotional blunting and lack of positive emotions has been my %100 most persistent symptoms throughout this whole process and I was just wanting to get some feedback to see if this does eventually resolve itself. I can't imagine a life where I will feel like this forever, it seems kind of pointless.
  17. Hi, I’m not sure if this topic already exists somewhere else on the site. I have been recovering from protracted antidepressant withdrawl for some time now which has caused me to have to step down from a very stressful nursing position. I have been going to therapy and walking dogs for a little while now, but I feel like it’s time for me to take the next step. I need a stable paycheck and need to find something that isn’t as stressful as managing 5 acute post op patients, but is more involved than walking dogs. Any suggestions? I have my bachelors degree in nursing. I don’t want to push myself too much because I’ve already been through the devastating experience of crashing and burning at the hospital during acute withdrawl. However at the same time, I think that I can handle a lot more than my brain thinks that it can handle, if that’s makes sense. I would love to hear what has worked for people.
  18. Im going to see a neurologist, who I met 6 months ago in connection with my Withdrawal symptoms - PSSD, Anhedonia and Weak urine stream along with a few others. He mentioned that he saw low dopamine as the culprit and suggested that I take dopamine agonists , and that should be able to cure my condition. I will be seeing him soon and I want to know what everyone on SA thinks of Dopamine agonists . Im 30 and I want to be able to have sex and live my life , find a partner, I don't want to spend the rest of my life in this misery and so I want to try out evert possible way of treatment that's relatively safe . Iv heard a few people recovered with dopamine agonists and so Im very tempted to go for it You guys here are an encyclopedia on withdrawal , so no place better to ask
  19. I did a search for this and didn't come up with any topics that address the potential role of dopamine in withdrawal or in depression.... do SSRIs' have any effect on dopamine levels? I was reading about zyprexa, a drug I recently took w/ "good" results (it almost immediately alleviated my most distressing symptoms at that time) I was looking more into how zyprexa works (as if anyone really knows....) but any way it says it's got some effect on dopamine as well as seratonin has any one ever had a dr tell you that you had low dopamine? I just don't know what to think any more. I know that the zyprexa made me feel a LOT better, but I am wondering now if that means I have low dopamine and if so, what can I do about it without taking dangerous drugs (of the prescription kind I mean)
  20. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice about something that I found online that REALLY scared me. I know that googling our symptoms related to withdrawal is not beneficial to our healing, but I stumbled on this information when I was trying to research foods that would help with receptor repair. It's related to anhedonia and it expresses that dopamine receptors can permanently down regulate and often times only have the ability to recycle themselves, so once they are damaged they are rendered useless. The only drug that I took was Wellbutrin and it's main mechanism of action works on dopamine so this really concerns me. This is the quote that I found that really freaks me out. "Wellbutrin tricks the brain that it doesn't need to make dopamine, and dopamine is the only chemical in the brain that once it is damaged, you never get it back." Can someone please provide me with reassurance and/or feedback on their experience with drugs that act on dopamine receptors and if they have experienced any change in their anhedonia/depression when they got more time behind them in withdrawal?
  21. Hey guys, I wanted to come back here and just pass on a few things that may help someone. My full story is in the introductions section, but I weaned off Prozac over last year (did the last bit a little too quickly) and due to a variety of factors had a few episodes of intense withdrawal symptoms over Christmas and the start of January. I reinstated at 2mg recently and am glad to report I'm doing absolutely fantastic. However, I noticed a few patterns which caused me to go into symptom mode. Number 1 was reading too many posts on the forum - I used to be a moderator on an OCD support forum and am aware of the dangers of excessive forum use! In fact it was one of the first things we'd advise newbies to the site. In the week before I reinstated, I went into a mode that I hadn't done for a long time. I was checking for success stories, reading other people's symptoms, and was preoccupied with my health for most of the day. I developed new symptoms and old patterns began to emerge. I've been practicing meditation for 2 years now. I stopped temporarily (funnily enough, just before withdrawal symptoms emerged) for a number of reasons. I forgot how wild an unobserved mind can get, and how we continually create our reality moment by moment. Thankfully I was seeing an amazing Reiki therapist once a week over the past month. He pretty much helped me drag myself out of a potentially long term situation, and helped me take responsibility for the symptoms in order to diffuse them incredibly quickly. I also became disheartened by the horror stories and the lack of success stories, but I knew on some level there was more to it. I've seen incredible recoveries over recent years from a variety of illnesses including severe mental illness, chronic pain, cancer. But as soon as I began getting too involved in the world of 'withdrawal', all of that was thrown into doubt. So I did a test. I know intellectually that my mind is a constant flux of thoughts created from my own awareness, nothing is really external or separate from us, it's all the creation and response of mind. When we know that on an experiential level, there is no reason to suffer, because you are aware that you are creating everything that appears to your consciousness. You can create anything. I mentally put out a request for real life success stories. Within about 6 hours an old friend got in touch. I havent seen her in years since we were in a psychiatric hospital, she was a bit older than me and was like a mother figure. She had been one a severe case of clinical depression, in hospital many times. Her doctors told her she was a lost cause and would be dead within the next few years. Turns out she stopped her meds three years ago, refused any medical help, found a great therapist who understood her desire not to be medicated, and she is happier than she's ever been. She is in a new relationship, has gone back to college, and has absolutely no symptoms in regards to withdrawal (she said there was at first but they didn't last intensely after she started therapy). The following day I bumped into a lady who owns a shop near me who I haven't spoke to in months. She confided that she is also medication free since last summer, after years of being on antidepressants. While things have been up and down, she was still positive, running her business, and very positive. From that day I stopped researching anything to do with illness or withdrawal, I got strict with myself in terms of observing thoughts, and detaching from as many as possible throughout the day. Letting them be there without making a 'story' out of them. Of course, the 2mg reinstatement took the edge off almost immediately, but the transformation between now and the horror I experienced a few weeks ago is unimaginable. In the midst of a crisis the smallest of things can mean the difference between a temporary episode and a wave of days or weeks of awfulness. My main withdrawal episodes lasted no more than a day or two at a time, whereas years ago they would have knocked me for six for weeks. I credit that in part to an ongoing understanding of the how the mind works and not exposing myself to negativity as much as possible, especially in such vulnerable states. Forums and the internet are a great resource, but that's just it, they are a tool and as much as it feels like it's the last thing we want to do, it's essential to spend the majority of our time in 'the world' so we get a fuller picture of it. So I guess what I mean is, don't spend time exposing your mind to anything that reaffirms sickness. People, media, tv, situations. In the psychiatric hospitals I was in in the past they had a term for it (I forget what it was), where patients who were around other patients for too long would develop similar symptoms. They would try and get people out quickly and not encourage them to become too close because the statistics for them later being diagnosed with further disorders was much higher the longer you were in there. I guess it's the same in life, we become what we fill our consciousness with. I was very aware that I was spending most of my time reading about withdrawal and thinking about what my symptoms were like day to day, rather than actually healing. Suffering is inevitable, for everyone, that is the nature of being human. But we have so, so much more power to react to it differently, and even be comfortable with it, than we ever imagine. Glimpses of this astonishing power have saved me many times, although we do need to be still enough for it to be revealed. This may or may not be of use to anyone, but I wanted to share it anyway in the hope that it may help. Love and courage to all of you who are struggling.
  22. Hi everyone, As I've gotten better over the past 3+ years after quitting antidepressants cold turkey and having really bad problems with severe anxiety, insomnia, and other withdrawal symptoms, I've realized how important moments of happiness and contentment have been to my recovery. Of course, feeling happy or even content seemed completely impossible at first, and attaining them even now is still sometimes a challenge. But, looking back, I can see clear patterns of measurable, lasting improvement after periods during which I somehow managed to feel good. Usually, these moments involved reconnection with friends and traveling, taking time off work, and finding things to do that made me feel a sense of fulfillment, even if it was precarious and fleeting. A few months ago, I came across a fascinating article that talks about the importance of positive social connections to our health. It turns out your body turns genes off and on depending on how you subjectively experience your environment, sometimes even hours after, and this can have a tremendous impact on your physical and mental health. It is a long read, but a very worthwhile one! Here's the link: The Social Life of Genes What is SO difficult in recovering from antidepressant withdrawal is that the withdrawal makes us feel so miserable. Precisely what we are desperate to recover from is overwhelming negative physical and emotional feelings. So... what can you do? In case it helps anyone, I'll describe some of the things that helped me (often tips given on this forum). Don't expect to have big results, especially at first. The important thing is that you keep trying. Try to notice and appreciate anything resembling a positive emotion (or even neutral) as much as you can, even if it only lasts a few seconds. If you fail, don't worry... This isn't about getting it right, it's about generating more positive emotions little by little. Sometimes you can fake your way through them, sometimes they'll come to you and you'll be surprised. 1. Taking magnesium salts baths to relax. Try to concentrate on the pleasant sensation of water surrounding you, on the warmth. If it doesn't feel good, don't worry. Just think that it IS good, that it will be good again someday. 2. Look at flowers and trees and nature, really observe them. 3. Spend time with animals. 4. Smell things you like or remember liking before. Don't worry if you don't get a positive response. Just observe what it brings up in you. If it is negative, don't judge it, just let it go. 5. Reach out to others, either here or in your life, as much as you can. At the end of the day, try to find anything positive about an interaction you had, even if it seems insignificant. Don't dwell on the negative stuff. 6. Take walks, trying to be present with what is around you. 7. Listen to calming, pleasant music... don't overdo it, though. I often would get things "stuck" in my head, so if you're in the worst stages of withdrawal, start small. Maybe wind chimes, or the the sound of the ocean, and just for a very little bit. 8. Do something to help someone else, however small, and then reflect on it that night. Tell yourself you should feel good about what you did, even if you don't believe it. 9. Whenever possible, enjoy food. At first you might be having severe digestion problems. I was having strange taste distortions at first, but with time I found that treating myself to something delicious really made me feel good (just make sure it's healthy and something that won't make you feel worse... excessive sugar, etc.). One of the first things that I started feeling a desire for was food and nature. I found my body asking for things it probably really needed, like dark leafy greens and celery or fruit. 10. Have a cup of tea (something you can tolerate) or a glass of water and really concentrate on the sensations of drinking it, think about the good it does your body. 11. Spend as much time as possible NOT thinking about withdrawal. Distract yourself with books or TV shows or just looking out the window. One of the first things that I was able to enjoy was the first season of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen novels. One day I realized I was looking forward to reading a new chapter or seeing another episode, and though it was a weak feeling at first, it grew into a greater desire, which was amazing after feeling completely dead for a long time. 12. Try learning something new, without expecting any results. I started taking drawing classes, and though I often get frustrated and even break down crying when I'm doing something, I later look at what I did and see small moments of success that make me feel good. Even better is when I'm able to let go and "not think" and just let my body experience what it is doing. 13. Enlist someone to cheer you on. When you're in withdrawal, people can be incredibly critical and frustrated with your lack of progress. If you have a good friend or family member who is willing, ask them to help you. My mother forced me to go on walks and just kept repeating I was going to beat this and I was going to be OK... she really helped me survive the first few months of hell! 14. Enlist other people to help you with basic tasks or back you up with work when you're in deep crisis. I kept working at first, and I was making a lot of mistakes, so I would have someone "check my work" before I turned it in. Especially during the months I was getting very little sleep, it was a life-saver to have this support. 15. If you can, take time off work, and try to get out of your usual environment... seek out people and places that make you feel better in ANY way. 16. Allow yourself to be distracted. I got really worked up about eating, sleeping, getting better... to the point I was holding up my own progress. Somehow sometimes I would break out of that and become distracted and afterward I'd realize I had forgotten about my pain and suffering for a moment! Do not underestimate the power of distraction! Sometimes what really helped me was being around people I could not talk to about what was going on with me. It forced me to be in the moment. 17. On the flip side, also allow yourself to complain about how awful you feel with someone safe once in a while. Just let it out, and then move on. Tell the other person you don't need feedback or opinions, that you just need to vent and need a sympathetic ear. 18. At the end of the day, review your day and think of anything that was positive, however small. If there was nothing positive, congratulate yourself for having gotten through it. 19. Allow yourself small moments of giving up. Rest for a moment. Cry, think that's it, you can't take it any more. Then un-give up and keep going. Even the tiniest steps will add up to something. It's going to take time, but you're going to get better. Nadia
  23. Empirical evidence about recovery and mental health | BMC Psychiatry | Full Text I haven't completed reading this. It's a long article: 8568 words = ±18 pages = ±40mins reading time. But much shorter than a book. It appears to be quite an excellent summary / response to the status quo and accepted narratives, with a solid social grounding. The focus is largely schizophrenia, but it applies generally to other states. While many seasoned members here may know the content of the article all too well, it's a good refresher at the very least. At best I've already found a few nuggets which - when put together - joined some dots (aka neurons) in my head that needed joining. My target audience for sharing this (apart from here) would be the occasional "psychiatric footsoldier" - members of the public who have read the marketing hype, and can be quite coercive and destabilising. I think this article could potentially turn them into allies Authors: Professor Mike Slade Mike Slade (0000-0001-7020-3434) - ORCID | Connecting Research and Researchers You searched for mike slade - Mad In America Amazon.com: Mike Slade: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle Dr Eleanor Longden Eleanor Longden, PhD, Author at Mad In America Amazon.com: Eleanor Longden: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle Abstract Background Two discourses exist in mental health research and practice. The first focuses on the limitations associated with disability arising from mental disorder. The second focuses on the possibilities for living well with mental health problems. Discussion This article was prompted by a review to inform disability policy. We identify seven findings from this review: recovery is best judged by experts or using standardised assessment; few people with mental health problems recover; if a person no longer meets criteria for a mental illness, they are in remission; diagnosis is a robust basis for characterising groups and predicting need; treatment and other supports are important factors for improving outcome; the barriers to receiving effective treatment are availability, financing and client awareness; and the impact of mental illness, in particular schizophrenia, is entirely negative. We selectively review a wider range of evidence which challenge these findings, including the changing understanding of recovery, national mental health policies, systematic review methodology and undertainty, epidemiological evidence about recovery rates, reasoning biased due to assumptions about mental illness being an illness like any other, the contested nature of schizophrenia, the social construction of diagnoses, alternative explanations for psychosis experiences including the role of trauma, diagnostic over-shadowing, stigma, the technological paradigm, the treatment gap, social determinants of mental ill-health, the prevalence of voice-hearing in the general population, and the sometimes positive impact of psychosis experience in relation to perspective and purpose. Conclusion We propose an alternative seven messages which are both empirically defensible and more helpful to mental health stakeholders: Recovery is best judged by the person living with the experience; Many people with mental health problems recover; If a person no longer meets criteria for a mental illness, they are not ill; Diagnosis is not a robust foundation; Treatment is one route among many to recovery; Some people choose not to use mental health services; and the impact of mental health problems is mixed. Full Text Versions Empirical evidence about recovery and mental health | BMC Psychiatry | Full Text Empirical evidence about recovery and mental health (PubMed version) The empirical evidence about mental health and recovery: How likely, how long, what helps? (PDF Download Available)
  24. MOD NOTE: Ihateeffexor created a membership and another person helped her to type the first couple of posts. Ihateeffexor is now able to post for herself. ________________________________________________________________________________________ Hello, I am actually writing on behalf of my friend who is in a very bad shape right now. She was on effexor for 1,5 years and tapered for 3 months 45 mg to 0. She had really bad withdrawal symtoms for 2 months after the last pill but then started to feel better. A couple of weeks ago she had some alcohol and partying with friends and ever since her symtoms has come back and they are much worse now. She was ok for 3 months but the alcohol seems to have made the symtoms come back, the day after she was drunk. Is this what you call kindling? And is there a chance she will recovrr from this? She is bedridden atm. Thank you all!
  25. Hi I hope this is the correct place to post this, if not please move it to where it should go, thanks There is a Boston MA support group for people coming off psych meds, that has been meeting for awhile now. Some of the members have split off into what we are calling: NH contingent of the Boston Coming off Meds group We meet once a month in a members' home in Manchester NH, to offer each other support during this often challenging time. if you live in the area and would like to attend, please send me a private message and I will give you more information. Next meeting is set for Oct 12th at 7pm.
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