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  1. Mod Note: See the following links which may help you to distinguish if it is withdrawal or relapse: This post and this one, distinguishing withdrawal from relapse ______________________________________________________________________________________________ I was just wondering as I am 6 years off and still suffering from horrible symptoms when is it time to say "this cannot be still withdrawl"? Howmuch longer with this repair work take or is this as good as it gets for me.
  2. Once upon a time , in a land far, far away lived a little girl called Fresh. She lived with her mummy and daddy and big sister and their dog. She was bright , sensitive , creative , a gymnast. Her parents were well meaning (if not a little dysfunctional) and Fresh had a stable life and opportunities to try many different things. Her teen years were challenging , but Fresh finished high school and went on to complete a university degree. At the end of university , Fresh felt lost. She had broken up with her long-term boyfriend , had no permanent employment or income , was applying for jobs and living in a friend's spare room. Her doctor suggested she had a depressive illness and should try an antidepressant. This was a terrific solution! Fresh felt a lot better very quickly , and continued her career path and her journey as a young woman. Fast forward twenty-five years , and Fresh was a mess (see my sig.) (yes , I am Fresh ). In September 2012 , I decided to start tapering from 120mg of Cymbalta. I intended to go from 120mg to 90mg , i.e. one 60mg tab. and one 30mg tab. After a week or so at 90mg , I accidentally forgot to put the 60mg tabs out for a few weeks , and realized later I had been taking only 30mg. I wasn't in a good space at all. But I figured I had been through the worst of it , so I'd just stay on 30mg. Bad idea. I started seeing Dr. Lucire in March 2014. I followed her advice and continued tapering at 2mg per week over 12 weeks. My last dose of Cymbalta was July 21 , 2014. This first video was taken six months after my last dose , the first time the akathisia hit me like a mack truck. http://youtu.be/0_1e0BIQVyc The second video was taken around seven weeks after the first. I like to call it "Akathisia 101". http://youtu.be/4H-oYvsjA1A I stuck it out until May at home. I had been housebound and terrified for months , and believed I could never get better from this , this is how I would be for the rest of my life. These days I'm happy to say I survived that experience , and am doing pretty well.
  3. Reading back over my neuro problems document I wrote earlier when everything started; it seems like pretty much everything can be traced back to established problems associated with tapering and withdrawal of SSRI’s. I began tapering down from 100 mg earlier this year (2015), in the spring. I went from 100 to 75 to 50 to 25, at which point I ceased taking the Zoloft. I went very slowly with the taper, with the knowledge that a fast taper could lead to withdrawal problems. I went perhaps a month between each reduction. I completely finished at the very beginning of July, I want to say July 2nd. For the month of July, I didn’t notice any problems. In the beginning of August however I started feeling an intensifying of the symptoms I already had written down in the neuro problems doc, including a depressed mood. I also had my first migraine of my life on August 8th. I had the visual aura preceding the migraine. I went to the E.R. where I got a CT scan, and was told that everything checked out fine. When my mood didn’t seem to be getting any better, I attempted to reinstate the Zoloft at 25 mg for three days on August 12-15th. I seemed to get a serotonin syndrome response from this, so I stopped taking it in the hopes that perhaps the withdrawal symptoms would clear on their own. From August 15th to October 2nd I was traveling in Europe. I was supposed to stay longer, but by October 2nd the withdrawal symptoms were getting worse and I knew I needed to go home. On October 3rd I attempted another reinstatement of the Zoloft, this time at 12.5 mg for two days and had the same problems I had earlier in August with the reinstatement. I stopped taking it again and the serotonin syndrome seemed to clear up, but by this point the withdrawal symptoms had started full force. For the entire month of October and now the beginning of November, I’ve had horrible cognitive symptoms that have kept me from being able to function normally. I have a hard time planning future events, including structuring a day plan. I have a hard time reading, writing, and speaking to people (I just can’t think of things to say, to continue conversations). Even listening to music or watching t.v. is overwhelming. Overwhelming is the best word I can think of to describe any kind of stimulus to me right now. My cognitive and physical functioning is just overwhelmed with everything, and I get tired very easily. Despite being tired, it’s hard for me to shut off. I’ve spent a few nights just laying in bed for hours without being able to sleep. One thing I’ve noticed this last month is that my heart just pounds all day long. I have ringing in my ears as well, which irritates me when I’m trying to fall asleep. I get dizzy easily when I stand up too fast, which makes me feel nauseous. For the first month of this, (October) I had intense thirst all the time. The intense thirst seems to have dissipated this last week. Now however I am getting nauseous where I wasn’t before. Also food seems to have lost all appeal to me. Nothing sounds good to me to eat, and nothing tastes good. It’s hard to describe, but my taste just seems to have numbed. Other things I’ve noticed: Face hot and flushing all the time Feeling of fast heart rate Can’t concentrate or think very well Severe memory problems Sore back of the neck Headaches all the time Feeling of electricity running along my spine & arms, especially in response to music. Mentally exhausted easily when trying to read, follow conversation, watch t.v. Incredibly hard to look in people’s eyes when having a conversation, almost physically incapable sometimes, I feel like I need to close my eyes and look away. It’s physically difficult to make myself smile, or make any facial expression. Reduced affect display. Unable to remember words, sometimes unable to recognize written words Aphasia Zero interest in anything at all Living in a fog, daze, feeling drunk all the time Feeling of being frozen; i.e. not being able to plan next thing to do Utter and complete lack of confidence in ability to do anything Intense thirst has disappeared One of the best things that has happened in this last week is that my feeling of restlessness seems to have dissipated for the most part. For the better part of October 2015 I had what can only be described as intense mental restlessness. I was not content anywhere in any context, and felt that the only way to feel better was to keep moving (going from location to location, upstairs, downstairs, outside) and everywhere I felt this intense unease. I looked this up and apparently it’s called akathisia. Horrible upper back pain that radiates into my shoulder blades, chest, throat. Usually lasts for around 20 minutes to an hour of excruciating pain. Feels almost as if my throat is clenching or tightening. Constant buzzing in my ears, especially my left ear. Especially writing this and stressing myself out thinking about what a hell my life has become. Ear popping as well, they always feel like they are full, and I need to pop them, as if I’ve been in an airplane. Inability to plan even the simplest tasks in my day, where I used to make lists and successfully plan a full productive day. Now it takes weeks and months to accomplish tasks simply because I can’t plan a way to make myself do it. Every task seems insurmountable and scary. When I started stressing out, it feels like I shut down. So: January 2015: 100 mg February: 100 mg March: 75 mg April: 50 mg May: 25 mg June: 25 mg July: 0 mg, totally fine August: Just beginning of the withdrawal September: Feeling worse and worse, more of the physical side effects of withdrawal October: Mental side effects of withdrawal officially and horribly begun Akathisia Intense thirst Insomnia Ringing in ears November: Withdrawal as before December: Withdrawal symptoms diminishing January - October 2016: Increasing cognitive difficulties, apathy, October: Beginning of difficulty with facial expressions, maintaining eye contact with person I’m talking with, aphasia (difficulty understanding speech, creating speech, continuing a conversation, feels as if my brain just stops mid conversation, the only thing that feels easier is writing, although I can tell that my word choice is becoming limited and especially use of prepositions is becoming difficult, choosing the wrong word). One thing that bothers me the most is dyschronometria. I have a severely limited ability to perceive time passing, that’s become increasingly impaired. I am fairly certain that from the limited research I’ve been able to do, that I might be experiencing Psychiatric drug-induced Chronic Brain Impairment (CBI) http://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Breggin2011_ChronicBrainImpairment-Ref-for-ECT-post-140.pdf Going forward; options: Continue without SSRI’s While exercising, eating healthy, taking supplements Or start taking either fluoxetine or citalopram After which point I can attempt another taper after stabilizing December 2015: I don’t have any obligations that I need to do before January, so at this point the best option seems to be sticking it out without SSRI’s. I feel that I’ve made progress (at least emotionally, cognitively I don’t feel the same progress), and that this progress will continue. Reasons why: I only took Sertraline for 2 years, albeit at 100 mg. This is still not the highest dose given. I did a relatively slow taper (although from continuing research I’ve noticed that many people attempt even slower tapers) I am young, 24. And with younger patients, Dr. Healy has noted that recovery is more likely (within 1 to 4 years). I am already seeing progress (thirst has disappeared, intense akathisia (mental as opposed to physical) has dissipated, depressed mood has for the most part disappeared (time between episodes of intense despair longer and longer), as for intense anxiety (heart rate seems to be more regular, morning anxiety not as bad). I am cautiously optimistic at this point. Now, October 2016: Before this all started, I was quite competent. I can get references from friends / family, I was doing well in school (finishing a Psychology degree until this started, was even able to get A’s in two classes in Spring of this year while I was going through withdrawal). I was very socially aware as well, never had any problem with social cues, creating meaningful relationships. Now perhaps due in part to a lack of confidence, I’m having a very difficult time maintaining meaningful relationships. I'm sorry for the disjointed introduction, I'm having a harder and harder time writing a coherent message, and I just wanted to start involving myself in the discussions here. I thought might as well share this document that I've begun to trace the development of this horror this last year.
  4. Hi. So my story with SSRIs goes like this: About 5 years ago I started Paxil (12.5 CR mg) I took this successfully (helped me sleep which was great!) for about a year. Then quit faster than I should have, but was able to get off of it for a year while I was pregnant. I did have a bad withdrawal, but it was probably only 2-4 weeks. And only severe for 2. After my son was born I developed insomnia and postpartum depression. I was absolutely miserable. So my doctor prescribed Zoloft. It really helped the depression, but after 3-6 months I found my anxiety increased and insomnia came back. So... back to Paxil I went. 10 mg. Since I was realizing how much I hated the sexual side effects, I soon started taking it sparingly (every other day), after about a year? The past 2 years I have been on it, but I have tried to taper off, only taking it when I noticed my mood swing - every 2-4 days. I even got down to 5mg at this rate for a few months. Thought that I was pretty much off of it at this point. Again, the insomnia came back (about 6 months ago) So I tried xanax to help. Didn't like taking that every night, so used sporadically. I was prescribed Trazodone to help me sleep in mid-Novemver. Again, took it every other night at half dose (25 mg). It helped me sleep. Then I started getting dizzy - but also quit Paxil in early December. I took Trazedone at 25 mg for 7-10 days straight and when I just got dizzier during the day I quit. Cold turkey. But I had been taking it for such a short time I didn't think it would be an issue? And I don't know if it was or if the Paxil withdrawal. Hard to know what did what. I then stupidly took 5HTP (100mg) for two days last week. But then I decided to stop any seratonin anything. I have an appointment with a psychiatric nurse for the first time every tomorrow. I don't know what to do. The first couple weeks I had the more classic paxil withdrawal symptoms. This last couple weeks have been an entirely different animal. Panic attacks like I've never experienced before. Insomnia again. I feel like i've been on a roller coaster of every symptom. Depersonalization, shaking, nausea, vertigo, vision problems, tight chest, breathing issues. Ups and downs like crazy. Last night I got NO sleep. the last 3 days my doctor told me to take 25 mg xanax 3x daily to help with the symptoms. The last couple days it helped with the panic but today I"m just so sleep deprived I can't think straight. and I feel the anxiety has taken on a darker depressive tone. I feel hopeless. and I am scared and I don't know what to do. I don't know what the psych will tell me tomorrow or what I should do. Should I get back on an SSRI to taper back? Or try to pull through and just get medication to sleep? Everything goes to hell when I have bad bouts of insomnia. Otherwise I feel the anxiety I had pre-medication was not that bad. HELP!
  5. Kevroeques


    Hello, all! I've been a lurker for about two months, and I want to start by stating that I'm very thankful for this forum, it's moderators, everybody who posts and the wealth of information and experience within that helps so many people, including myself, through this dizzying inferno of medically induced purgatory. I'll second by stating that I'm not an avid user of social media or discussion forums, so I apologize in advance if I seem not to reply timely or anything- I've discovered this site through mostly google results and decided it's time to enter the discussion. A bit about me: I had my first major panic attack in August 2013. I was with friends awaiting a party in Manhattan sipping wine, just biding time by stating at my phone. I had been offered a few bumps of cocaine- nothing I had ever done habitually, but was no stranger to on the odd Friday or Saturday night. I suddenly noticed my phone looked bizarre and my heart was racing. I was instantly swept into a mode that has changed my life in a terrible, recurring way. I had subsequent attacks that sent me to the ER and doctor's offices. After an EKG and blood tests, it was decided that I was indeed suffering from recurring panic attacks. I was offered buspirone which I took briefly- for only 3 weeks- before deciding I was better off just learning to control it. And control it I did, for two years. It caused unneeded strain and some avoidance, but I was usually good enough hiding in a bathroom stall or what have you for five minutes or so, and I'd be right as rain. I apologize if I'm talking more about my disorder here than my meds, but I feel it's important being that we often need to relate to eachother completely in why we took antidepressants as much as when we came off of them. Anyway, this past summer of 2015, I noticed changes. I had started a new seasonal job in November 2014 and the season ended early in late spring 2015, leaving me stagnant on unemployment until the next season started. I decided in the summer to visit friends in Virginia. The second I stepped off the train, I was greeted by a slow, almost aura-like startup of a panic attack. It was so bad I had to sit on a couch and close my eyes for a bit while my friends just waited for me to re-emerge. I did so, and we all went out for a beer and a bite- and it happened again! I quieted myself in a bathroom and finally calmed fully. I thought it was just the excitement of the trip and sauntered on. Well, I continued having strings of long-lasting panic attacks multiple times a day. If I was out in the summer heat, it was definite. If we went out in a group of friends, it was definite. One night it was so bad, I ran out of my friend's house and walked in the pitch dark of rural VA for almost two hours, calling my mother to calm me down (as she had suffered from panic induced anxiety in the 80's and still does, but always managed it without therapy or meds). We decided it was time to seek medical help. For brevity, I ended up seeking a therapist and psychiatrist who could help me. It was becoming chronic and debilitating, and I feared I wouldn't be able to return to work. And indeed, shortly before my first appointment, I had started work and had 2 weeks of constant panic attacks which led to a spectacular breakdown that would affect my cognition and coordination in such a way that a leave of absence was necessary. My pdoc prescribed escitalopram without hesitation. He issued no warnings about the difficulty of onset, and warned me of "minor" side effects. His only poignant statement was that it could take a few weeks to reach therapeutic effect. I went through over a month of complete mental discomfort and constant panic and fatigue before I got any relief at all- but it's not what I thought it would be. I was still getting panic attacks, but with less frequency- only now I also had lethargy, apathy, drunken vision, fatigue, depression with suicidal ideation, and the list goes on. It was horrible. Not only was I disappointed, but I was much worse off than I was a month prior, and I was now stuck on medication without an easy way out. At the doctor's request, I stayed on for an additional two months without any relief. I was becoming further agitated, addled, and depressed. I was now in a state of hopeless despair. I told him I refused to be on the medication for even one more month and requested a taper plan. He requested 10mg Prozac to mitigate the withdrawal for a month, which I abided. I felt A TICK better on the low dose of Prozac, but still far from functional. After a month of it, I asked my pdoc for a taper and he assured me I could come off it without any problems. Well, here I am. The first few weeks were riddled with sudden worsening of panic, dizziness, tension, uncomfortable fatigue and depression just to name a few. I had steeled myself for it, but my inner soliloquy couldn't save me from the enduring horror. Time stands still when your senses are all tied up in agonizing disarray. Within the few weeks, I saw a few windows, but was mostly engulfed in waves. Last week (around 5/16/16) I started to notice I wasn't paying attention to myself as much- as though I didn't need to. I was having some anxiety and panic, but the horror wasn't on me 24 hours like before. It was hope, and it felt great- but it didn't last. About three days later, I had sudden and very new symptoms. My ears feel pressured and full. My eyes feel pressured and crooked. My vision feels dim, and contrasting shades and colors look overwhelming (like a psychedelic effect without the fun or the consent of actually causing it with a substance). I'm lightheaded all day, yet still get brain zaps that amplify the dizziness momentarily- sometimes while still, sometimes with head or eye movement. I'm unbalanced and clumsy. It almost feels like a silent migraine without the light bursts. I living with my parents right now (bless them, they're selfless) and have woken one of them or the other almost every night this week because it's too scary to be alone- and I've never feared being solitary- but my symptoms are constant now without letup, but seem to erupt in intensity very late at night, being compounded by my insomnia and jilted internal clock. The other day I woke my mother at 2am. I was starting to cry- not the sad or confused kind, but the desperate, fearful kind. I haven't cried from fear or pain since I was 12. I decided I wanted to go to the hospital and try to get a brain scan, but all I got was an EKG and blood testing (which is all perfect). I'm now awaiting hearing from Medicaid, because I'm generally unemployed and my insurance ran out. I was partway past a consultation and psych test with a neuropsychologist when my insurance ran out. Now I have no course. I'm in limbo with my symptoms. I guess I just want answers. I can't "oh well" these symptoms. Part of me knows they're likely withdrawal in their newness and sudden, intense onset- but my cognition can't keep up when they hit hard. It's hard enough to keep a logical head throughout the day, when they're present but lower in intensity. But the sudden nature has me frightened. If I look back, nothing has gotten better at any point. In fact, I've gotten worse at almost any point and I'm fully disabled now. I don't feel good enough to see my friends- some I haven't seen in months- or my own brother who lives a bit over a mile away. Driving is scary and feels dangerous because my vision feels drunk, so I never do it anymore. And my head gets overwhelmed so fiercely so often with both physical and cognitive pressures and disarray that sometimes I can't speak and I collapse to my knees in absolute confusion and terror. I can't even find words meaningful enough to describe it, but I'm sure you're all familiar. I'm not a hypochondriac. In fact, before I had my first panic attack I rarely sought medical help and would go years without it. But now, I'm convinced I have a neurological disorder. The visual disturbances, the pressures, the mixed up senses, the cognition halting, the physical coordination problems and twitches that seem to favor the left side of my body almost exclusively. I'm terrified and won't likely be satisfied unless A) I suddenly recover in the near future to at least the state of only having anxiety and panic attacks or I get scanned by a neuro and optometrist for nervous malfunction in my brain and eyes and vet a clean bill of nervous health. It's hard to explain, but my symptoms are that sudden and that intense. Worth mention, I don't get random panic attacks anymore, but if my symptoms become inbearable I can be thrown into one. But chances are, I'm suffering from everything with a steady heart rate and a lack of epinephrine coursing my system- so I can't entirely blame momentary anxiety symptoms for a constant string of other symptoms I'm going through. I know this was lengthy and I thank anybody who took the time to read it. I guess my hopes here are to have somebody relate to me with what I'm going through and tell me what I'm experiencing is normal and I will eventually be okay. You read so much about the problem but people often stop writing at a point, so you never know if they feel better or got better. I also have a supportive family, but none save for my mother have suffered anxiety, and she never took meds so she can't understand what I'm currently going through. Some of my symptoms are hard to find specifically through searches, and this get linked to things like MS more than anxiety or SSRI withdrawal, which is scary- and we're all familiar with how little a doc knows or is willing to admit about these types of meds. It has calmed me a bit just getting this out, and I look forward to discussing anything about it with all of you. I promise I'll do my best to keep up and share any light or hope that I experience on this twisted journey! -Kevro
  6. I need some help.. I started taking SSRIs (lexapro,seronil,and last paxil, i had to switch every year because i developed tolerance)when i was 15-16. When I was almost 20, last April , i told the doctor (it was a student practicing) i wanted to switch meds, because i was suicidal.He ,based on my history of switching ssris, wanted to start me on high dose of antipsychotics (i already took ketipinor /seroquel 100 mg a low dose) i refused and wanted to quit paxil. He tapered me off very quickly, from 40 mg to 20 mg in one day, and from 20 mg to 10 mg to 0 in one month. Also ketipinor (seroquel) cold turkey... I developed withdrawal symptoms such as brain zaps, horrible anxiety and depression,nausea, muscle spasms, 10 kg weight loss,panic, insomnia,the list goes on forever. It was 2 weeks after quitting i first went to the doctor. They put me on a low dose Seronil / prozac but it just made me feel worse so i quit after a week. After that i had the zaps and all the other symptoms for 2,5 months before i gave up and they put me on Cipralex. I took it for 2 months but it didn't work, or minimally. Eventually most physical symptoms went away but my mental health was really bad.. They put me on Sertralin/zoloft, didnt work either. In October, 5 months after quitting, i started with Voxra/wellbutrin and finally started to feel better. I'm glad for being myself again but i live in fear of my voxra/wellbutrin stopping working.. Since its the only NDRI out there i'd have nothing to switch to. I also am TERRIFIED that the person i was those 5-6 months is the REAL ME ... The me without meds... I dont remember being that way at all before i started,sure i had anxiety but not even close to that level,and never had depression..I am TERRIFIED that it was a relapse and not withdrawals... I keep thinking,there is no way withdrawal would have lasted HALF A YEAR and surely would have continued..
  7. Hi all, I have been lurking around this forum for some time now I am presently attempting my 5th withdrawal from psychiatric drugs in 3.5 years. In March of 2012 I was taken by my friend/housemate (who coincidentally is a doctor who was doing a placement in a psych ward at the time), to the emergency room as I was presenting with symptoms of mania. I had been up for days drinking, barely sleeping or eating. Not surprisingly, I was pacing and chain smoking. By 2012, I had been drinking alcoholically for 5 years getting progressively worse, to the point that in 2013 I would binge drink for a month on and one off, drinking up to 3 bottles of wine throughout the day. I had already attended AA meetings at the time and my family, close friends, and I, were well aware that I had a drinking problem. However, my friend, who meant well, must have been very concerned and wanted to help me in the best way she knew how, by taking me to see her colleagues where I was tentatively diagnosed as Bipolar II, mixed state, rapid cycling, and put onto 10mg of Zyprexa. After this first hospitalisation, my drinking got worse and worse and I was hospitalised 12 more times (about once a month) that year. In May 2012, I entered my first open ward psych hospital and stayed for two weeks (still working as an actor and a theatre critic during the two weeks as I was able to leave the facility). I became more involved with AA but was too unstable to really engage with the program. I was drunk more than I was sober and by then, I was on Lithium as well, with a solid diagnosis of bipolar and alcohol dependence. I was put on Naltrexone to help me stop drinking too. In December of that year I emerged from a drinking binge on Christmas day and had to go to hospital to detox on Valium. After 2 days, I snuck out, got drunk and was luckily found by my family across the street in blackout, taken back to emergency, where I fell into a coma and had to be resuscitated. I was put into a locked ward for 5 days to detox and to protect me from my drinking that was about to kill me. Heavily sedated on Valium. Within 2 weeks I was in rehab. I spent 3 months in rehab sober from alcohol. I was taken of Zyprexa which gave me an odd obsession and fear of my own death and my family’s death, as well as made me slow to recall words and 10 kilos heavier. When the doc told me I would put on weight, I scoffed. I have always been weedy and struggled to put weight on. I wasn't laughing 2 months later when I couldn't button up any of my trousers anymore. Before I was taken off Zyprexa I was put on 5mg of Lexapro to deal with the morbid thoughts caused by Zyprexa. Great idea, thanks for that random state psychiatrist who kept missing my appointments as she was so busy. So, I was on 450mg slow release Lithium and eventually moved up to 10mg Lexapro, this became my "regular” dose. I am lucky, this is a relatively low amount of meds for someone as "sick" as me to have been put on. Nonetheless, a killer to get off. In May of 2013, 1 month out of rehab, I relapsed on alcohol, and had my last hurrah. 5 days of hell. Suicide attempt, rented hotel room, drinking into oblivion, became a missing person, arrested for assaulting a police office (charges dropped as they felt sorry for me thankfully), strapped to a stretcher 2 nights in a row, lying to my father's face etc. All the good stuff. Obviously my meds routine was not on the ball at this point, or at all during these benders. I was on and off. After this binge, I had attended my 2nd outpatient psych ward for 2 weeks. I got a sponsor at AA, started doing 90 meetings in 90 days, doing the steps. I got 3 months of sobriety up, slipped on August 11, 2013 and had 5 glasses of wine. These were my last 5. I have been sober from alcohol since August 12, 2013. Now, I'm just going to stop right here and tell you a bit about myself. My description paints me as very erratic, which I was in those last few years, however, that was not always the case. I was a happy child, always top of my class. I had a problem with authority in high school but I managed it in my final year and I managed to graduate well and get into the university course of my choice. I had achieved a BA Hons degree in English literature and then an MA in Journalism by 2011, with a whole lotta binging and partying in between. I travelled the world, starting in Tokyo in 2002, Canada and London in the mid-2000s, all across south-east Asia and Europe. In 2006, I volunteered in Nepal, went back in 2007 and established an NGO. I held down jobs, relationships etc. But amidst it all there were ups and downs, “tragic” break-ups, an inability to relate well with family, friends and partners, regular alcohol and recreational drug use and abuse from age 14 to 30. It's just that is got harder to keep up the charade of being normal by 2011. I just gave into the drink and drank. Thing is, I had very rarely taken prescription drugs until 2012. My family are militantly into natural therapies, yoga, meditation, and I'd always felt similarly and been very suspicious of docs and prescription meds. By 2012 I was defeated by alcohol and I felt I didn't have much choice. 3 years since I was first put on them and I often feel I have very little choice in my decision to come off them. It is my 5th attempt, each ending badly regardless of tapering or not. The only thing that is different this time is that 2 weeks ago I was told by my new psychiatrist in London (I moved here from Australia in May of this year) that after months of us talking and getting to know each other, she thinks that my initial diagnosis was wrong, that I was exhibiting signs of bipolar because of excessive alcohol use, and that she will taper me off my psychiatric meds to be sure once and for all that I am not bipolar. I think I have known for some time. While I was able to accept that I am an alcoholic (this is a genetic thing), I could never fully accept the bipolar. Not because I am in denial or any of that tripe that people like to put on us - I have been through the 12 steps, and I have tried to be as damn well honest with myself as possible, and, I was still left with this lingering doubt, hence why I have continued to try and live without the meds. I am over 2 years sober from alcohol now. I am stable in so many ways that I wasn’t in the past. I have a loving and supportive partner (my highschool sweetheart), attend regular AA meetings, have a GP, and attend regular therapy, plus I have the help of a supportive psychiatrist. I am healthy. I eat a balanced diet, do moderate exercise each day. I am attentive to my sleep patterns. It is my time to get off this stuff. It has made me slow in the head and unable to continue my job as a journalist. I worked as a legal journalist here is London but had to resign because of a lack of concentration, sleepiness etc. All side effects I NEVER had before I was on psych meds. The most I have been able to do for work over the last few years is freelance journalism and part-time nannying and tutoring. Today I had to resign from my casual nannying role as at day 3 off the withdrawal, anxiety and agoraphobia has set in and I’m becoming too manic to responsibly care for children. There is no point dragging this poor family through my sh*tty withdrawal. It is irresponsible and the kids deserve better. I will not let this get me down. I still have my online work and my meetings and that is about all I imagine I will be taking on over the next month or so, but I am not disillusioned into thinking this will only take 1 month. I know now. And, I know that this is NOT a return of my bipolar "symptoms", particularly since I never had symptoms like this before I was medicated. This is discontinuation, this is withdrawal, and it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. It has already marred years of my life and I will not allow it to drag on any further. Lol, ok, just convincing myself there. Thanks for reading, if you even made it this far. Rant over.
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