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  1. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  2. Hi there. I am female, 41 years old, married with an almost 18 year old. I was diagnosed in 2018 with anxiety, depression and BP2. After my diagnosis I started to see a Therapist and Psychiatrist regularly. I realized I have dealt with these mental health issues my whole life and figured medication would be my saving grace. I was wrong. They made me a zombie and I was constantly sleeping. I had a suicide attempt in late 2017 and that is what started my experience with medication. I was in-patient for 9 days and came home with an abundance of new medication (please see signature for meds). I thought this would be the right step in the right direction for me. I had another close call with suicide in late 2019 and was subsequently hospitalized for that as well. Fluctuating between depression, BP2, hypo mania and anxiety was exhausting. Husband and I decided we wanted to try for another baby so my OBGYN suggested certain drugs be out of my system, hence coming off of them. I had been wanting to stop my meds anyways because I was tired of feeling numb. Psychiatrist took me off of my Depakote cold Turkey on May 19, 2022 and I decided on June 22, 2022 to come off the rest except my Buspar. June 22, 2022 was the day my IUD came out so it was the best time to end my meds as well, against my Psychiatrists wishes. So far the withdrawals have been probably run-of-the-mill (i.e. insomnia, nightmares, headaches, irritability, sweating, dizziness, body aches). I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to rest as much as possible when I’m feeling awful (like right now, while I’m typing this).
  3. Hi everyone I'm 22 years old now. I suffered from bulimia, depression and generalized anxiety since the age of 17 and my family got me help when I was 18 after I failed my medical school exams due to my condition. I was put on several medications ( Alprazolam, Valproate, Lamotrigine, Fluoxetine) during the course of treatment. I come from a lower economic class country where psychiatric treatment is still considered a taboo and people hide it from others, the facilities available are not the best but its a work in progress. Most of the drugs I had to take, they helped me immensely and I had not much trouble tapering valproate, lamotrigine and alprazolam within a year since start of treatment. They helped me get through the second-sit of exams and after I passed I quit the first two within 2 weeks using ( 50-25-0%). Since I am in medical school I was well aware of addictive potential of benzodiazepine's, so I decided to taper alprazolam as well even though it helped my anxiety symptoms. I had panic attacks and palpitations again but I started working myself through therapy and regular exercise and sleep to ease my symptoms. For a regular person these things are a luxury of time, but if you suffer from a mental health problem you must consider a good sleep and exercise a necessity for the rest of your life and fit in other parts of your life with it, not the other way around. Around 19, I was only taking fluoxetine (20 mg ) and my symptoms got worse, as I often tried to taper it on my own ( I wanted to be off drugs asap). The doctors upped my dose instead of my concern of getting them off, and told me to take valproate, which I could take if I felt my symptoms weren't manageable as I told him I don't want to be back on meds. For four months I was on 40 mg dosage of fluoxetine and some days were quite bad and 2 years back I would've seen the doctor and he would have most likely upped my dosage again but this time I decided to be patient with myself on bad days, accepting them as part of recovery because on the good days, I didn't need any aid and slowly the ratio of good to bad days was improving. I found this blog and I started the brass monkey taper schedule with 4 weeks hold for fluoxetine, and I was done in 6 months. I had some side effects but with this method they were too mild to be cause a nuisance. I had dizziness, insomnia and weight gain (around 10 kgs) during the process. I am now drug-free for almost a year, and its lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, rest, filling my bucket before I pour from it to others, adequate rest ) that keep me going fresh and happy. I had failed attempts at tapering fluoxetine and every time I tried my symptoms became unbearable till I found this forum. I am incredibly grateful to this community and the stories that gave me strength to continue on my journey. To everyone reading this, be patient with yourself and don't compare your journey to others. Listen to your heart when it tells you NO, trust yourself to get through it and you will only see your strength in the hindsight. Love and Prayers.xx
  4. Hello, all! I've been reading the website for the better part of an hour, now, and it seems to be an invaluable resource, a scientifically-sound one, for this complicated and severely-unstudied process of stopping medication. I've been diagnosed bipolar type 2 some 8 years ago, having been under some type of treatment every day since. My diagnosis came after visiting 4 different psychiatrists (as I would not accept the diagnosis, every time a doctor would say it to me). What I am currently prescribed: - morning - 15mg Aripiprazole - morning & evening - 2.5mg Oxybutynin - morning & evening - 40mg Propranolol - evening - 400mg Quetiapine - evening - 1000mg Sodium Valproate I also have access to Clonazepam, 2mg pills, for an as-needed dosing, but I haven't taken that in a very long time, now. Since this Monday, after an absolutely horrific psychiatrist visit, I've halved all my medication... Each dose, I take at the same time, but would break up the pill in half. I've been feeling great (to be honest, I've actually been feeling, which is an accomplishment), but I want to continue this down to 0mg of each substance. I've read the topics on polysubstance stopping, but it is not clear to me what best course I should follow, given the above cocktail. Can I cold-turkey the Oxybutynin and Propranolol, and after focus on tapering off the mood stabiliser, with an end goal of doing the same with the antipsychotics? My initial train of thought was to halve each week, and I was prepared in a few weeks' time to take a vacation from work, just so I could lay in bed with withdrawal symptoms. This is based on me stopping the Quetiapine in the past (OK, some 4-5 years ago), under doctor supervision, because I had been selected for a medical trial... That process took around 2 weeks, and even if I was prescribed Ambien to sleep, it would only "knock me out" for 2-3hr, after which I'd play video games, as I couldn't sleep at all. It was a painful process, during which I spent about a week in bed, but if the process can be the same this time, I'm ready to withstand all that pain, just so I could be myself, again. Thank you all for any contributions, in advance!
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