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On 8/18/2018 at 2:41 AM, thecowisback said:

when you recovered was it gradual? i'm nearly 18 months out and the thought of at least another 18 months feeling like this is unbearable. i wondered if you had any sort of turning point when you noticed a big change, or was it case of 3 steps forward, 1 step back kind of thing? 

 

Hello,

 

For me it has been the gradual improvement via the 2 steps forward 1 step back for the most part.  There were really bad times that lasted a long time but once I was through them I knew I had made some progress toward feeling better.  Ups and downs could happen hourly and daily, and then I would be in continuous suffering for weeks and weeks and then I would finally catch a break and usually feel like I had improved. There is no systematic process in how we heal from this syndrome and that is what makes it so hard.  But that also means that you could start feeling better tomorrow!  So don’t look so far into the future and think that you will feel then as you do now because there is no way you can know that, and your break could come at any time.  If you can, try to stay focused on the present moment and making the best of today that you can.  You just need to do that for enough days and the healing will happen and the improvements will start to show up.

 

I hope that you will feel healing very soon,

 

Pug

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pug

Hello Everyone,

 

Although I don’t visit on a regular basis, when I do come back I like to read through random introductory threads.  I do this to make sure that I don’t forget all of those that are suffering from this terrible syndrome, and to see if there is anything that I can do to help.  It also helps to ensure that I realize how far I have come and it gives me great hope to know that those who are pouring their hearts out about their struggles and the suffering they are enduring will also recover and look back on this experience and be so proud of all they have accomplished.  So I am not out of touch with the heavy burden and great challenge that so many here are facing at this moment.

 

One thing that becomes very obvious to me now, that I could not see when I was in the midst of recovery, was just how difficult it is to think straight while trying to navigate the waters of withdrawal, and how desperately we want to make sense of the process.  If only I could transport you into the future so that you could see how you will be and how you will feel once you have really started to recover from this experience, it would fill your heart with hope!  I guess in a sense that is what I am trying to do when I post on this success thread, and that is to give you a little insight into the future, your future as someone who will have recovered a great deal and is living life again.  I am going to post some thoughts that come to me when I read through your threads with my hope being that these thoughts will be an encouragement to you.  Here they are:

 

Rest assured that you are in the right place for “knowledgeable” help.  Most doctors and therapists have no knowledge or very limited knowledge of withdrawal and recovery.  Alto and the moderators on the other hand are intimately familiar with the process and have a massive amount of experience to share with you.  They also don’t have the same ego and “I already know all the answers” mindset that many docs and psychs have.  So the folks here are more objective about the process and how to help you through.  I did not have a doctor that I trusted, but even if I had, I would still have gotten a second opinion here.  So you are here; in the right place; congratulations!  That is one less worry for your tired, aching brain.

 

Accept that there are no quick fixes and that this may be a long process.  I know that this is the last thing that you want to hear, it certainly was for me. Of course no one knows how long it will take you and you may be fortunate to have minimal suffering or recover more quickly than expected.  But just knowing that if you put in enough time you will eventually start feeling better and overcome this syndrome is very encouraging.  You just have to keep going!

 

You can take more suffering and misery than you can imagine.  Somehow we find the strength and courage to persevere through the most challenging and dark days.  I remember suffering day after day for what seemed endless.  Thousands of times I told myself I could not take it any longer, I was done, I was going to quit the process and give up.  But then I would think, “what if tomorrow is the day that I start feeling better?” and I just had to keep going another minute, hour and day to see if things might change; the success stories said that it would, so I held on just a little longer and in the end that is what made the difference, because one day I did wake up and things were a little different, a little better.

 

Your situation is unique, but it also is not.  In one sense we are very unique in many aspects such as our individual biology, our age, how long we were on medication, what kind, etc., etc., but we are also very much the same.  We want reassurance, we want to know that we will heal, we are desperate to know if we will be the one person left to suffer in never ending withdrawal, because, perhaps our situation is so special that it won’t be possible for us to recover?  We focus too much on the uniqueness of our situation but discount the one overriding commonality; we will heal!  That is what is really important to focus on; that others are healing or have healed and that means it is possible for us to do the same, regardless of the differences of our situations.  Focus on that part by reading success stories and believing the words of those further along the path: you will heal!  Think of the millions of people who have taken antidepressants and benzos over the last several decades, if none of them had healed we would be hearing about it in a big way.  But they recovered and moved on with their life, and you will too.

 

Your brain is injured and all of these bizarre, weird, crazy, and insane things that are happening to you are a byproduct of your brain injury.  Most all of us experience health anxiety due to the severe and strange things that we have to endure, but the chances are that it is all related to withdrawal.  If you need reassurance see your doctor or specialist and take the tests; it can give you a sense of peace that you are not suffering some dreaded disease but are dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal. And should the tests come back with readings that are off or not normal, be careful and don’t act too quickly.  If it is life or death address it immediately, but most things can wait a bit while you get a second opinion or seek help here at SA on how to proceed.  My blood work had strange readings, my list of symptoms sounded insane, I looked and acted very, very ill, and if I had taken the advice of the doctors and therapists I saw while in heavy withdrawal, I would now be on several medications and probably worse off than when I started!  I instead chose to wait and see concerning my issues and symptoms and they have all gotten better and I am on zero drugs.  Everyone must do what they think is in their best interests, but please consider each action that you take very, very carefully and get help and advice or a second opinion from others that you trust like Alto and the Moderators here.

 

Take advantage of the success stories and information that you can find on those people that are healing and improving; it is powerful medicine! I lived on success stories for a very long time and I am not sure if I would have made it without them.  I made lists of the stories or any scraps of positive news or improvements in other peoples symptoms.  I would read them, highlight the most meaningful passages, copy them on my computer and then paste them into my journal that I kept.  I had many of them memorized and would repeat them throughout the day as I was suffering and it served both as an encouragement and a distraction.  It only makes sense to fill your time with as much encouraging and positive information as possible as you wait for your healing to become evident.  What is essential during withdrawal/recovery in my opinion is that we need to be told daily in some fashion that we will recover and make it out of the hell we are currently in.  Constantly reviewing success stories and positive healing information can do this for us and provide us with reassurance that we will heal.  Try it and see if it won’t help you make it through your days a little easier.

 

Sending out much love to all here.

 

Pug

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wantrelief

You are such an amazing person for continuing to come back here to support all of us in the midst of this difficult journey.  Your posts continue to be an inspiration to keep going even if it is feeling impossible.  Thank you so much for being here for us.

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JS11

Oh Pug,

 

I don't know you but THANK YOU so very, very much.  It is my first time on this page but I needed every ounce of your kind, encouraging words this day and will print them out for the tomorrows.  

 

I can only reiterate what WR has said.  Thank you for your inspiration.

 

take care,

JS11

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thecowisback
11 hours ago, pug said:

 

Hello,

 

For me it has been the gradual improvement via the 2 steps forward 1 step back for the most part.  There were really bad times that lasted a long time but once I was through them I knew I had made some progress toward feeling better.  Ups and downs could happen hourly and daily, and then I would be in continuous suffering for weeks and weeks and then I would finally catch a break and usually feel like I had improved. There is no systematic process in how we heal from this syndrome and that is what makes it so hard.  But that also means that you could start feeling better tomorrow!  So don’t look so far into the future and think that you will feel then as you do now because there is no way you can know that, and your break could come at any time.  If you can, try to stay focused on the present moment and making the best of today that you can.  You just need to do that for enough days and the healing will happen and the improvements will start to show up.

 

I hope that you will feel healing very soon,

 

Pug

Thankyou so much for writing. It means so much when people who have recovered stick around to tell their stories 😁

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bgoggles1

Thank you so much pug!! you have no idea how helpful you are in your thread. I read your story and your encouraging words daily. You have helped a lot of people including myself. 

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Scorpio

Hi pug

 

thank you for taking time to inspire us all with your words of hope and encouragement.  Words that are much needed to keep us going on this endless fight. 

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Hibari

Thank you Pug for sharing your hope and recovery with us.   I've bolded some of the things that jumped out at me.

 

"One thing that becomes very obvious to me now, that I could not see when I was in the midst of recovery, was just how difficult it is to think straight while trying to navigate the waters of withdrawal, and how desperately we want to make sense of the process". 

 

This is something I needed to hear.  I am always trying to make sense of the process and hearing that it's hard to do with the state of my brain. 

 

"You can take more suffering and misery than you can imagine.  Somehow we find the strength and courage to persevere through the most challenging and dark days.  I remember suffering day after day for what seemed endless.  Thousands of times I told myself I could not take it any longer, I was done, I was going to quit the process and give up.  But then I would think, “what if tomorrow is the day that I start feeling better?” and I just had to keep going another minute, hour and day to see if things might change; the success stories said that it would, so I held on just a little longer and in the end that is what made the difference, because one day I did wake up and things were a little different, a little better".

 

Even though I don't want the level of suffering and misery I have experienced, I do think it's true.  I can't believe the times I have made it through a hellish period.

 

"We want reassurance, we want to know that we will heal, we are desperate to know if we will be the one person left to suffer in never ending withdrawal, because, perhaps our situation is so special that it won’t be possible for us to recover"?  

 

Yes, I often fear that I will be the one left behind. 

 

"Your brain is injured and all of these bizarre, weird, crazy, and insane things that are happening to you are a byproduct of your brain injury.  Most all of us experience health anxiety due to the severe and strange things that we have to endure, but the chances are that it is all related to withdrawal".

 

The health anxiety can be high for me but I am trying to keep remembering my brain is injured right now and my perspective is off. 

 

Thank you again Pug.  Please keep coming back when  you can. 

 

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thecowisback

What sort of problems did you have with your vision?

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Liamb123456
23 hours ago, thecowisback said:

What sort of problems did you have with your vision?

I have fuzzy vision what do you have 

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thecowisback

my husband has blurred vision, eye pain, dry eyes, tunnel vision and sees shapes in his vision sometimes.

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mirage

@pug THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU!!! 

 

To have you come back and reassure us that healing will happen, is one of the kindest things anyone can do. It is amazing how these symptoms can cause one to be so doubtful and so VERY scared!  I could get through anything prior to this. I was always able to tell myself, "this too shall pass" or to not take anything to an extreme. Never have I ever had anxiety. All of these symptoms are so foreign to me. The, day after day, strong hold they have on us is so rough and tough. 

 

I have many days that I just feel odd and not well. Hard to describe. Did you experience that? Also the not being able to think is horrible. I actually walked out of my walgreens yesterday and, for a split second, couldn't recognize where I was. When I say a split second, I mean that. It was a whim that came over me and then went away as I walked to my car. That split second pause in my brain, really gave me a scare. 

 

One day at a time, right? Sometimes, one hour at a time. 

 

Congratulation on being back friend. I look forward to being where you are and to be able to come back and help. 

 

Many blessings. 

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Liamb123456

Hey pug question about bloating did your bloating just get worse out no we're like just distended more and pressure even after night sleep mine use too go down now it doesn't just keeps staying the same even after I fast for 48 hours it still stayed the same just wondering if yours was like that as I'm started think I've done server damage to my digestive system 

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Hopetobefree

Hi Pug,

 

I just wanted to thank you for posting your success story and coming back to answer all of our worries and anxieties. I think you are an amazing person to go through what you went through and want to come back to give us hope. Im hoping to do the same one day. Ive printed out your story and read over weekly, sometimes daily when im in the throes of a bad wave. It has given me some light in the darkest of times especially since you were on Zoloft for so long and cold turkey. I did a too fast taper from a high dose of Lexapro so ive been in hell since Feb this year. Today has been one of those days where a new symptom has popped up and made me question my sanity and whether this is just how i am forever. I came here to read your recent post and it helped reaffirm things in a positive way again. So once again thank you.

Best wishes,

Hope

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musk

 

Hello Pug, I hope you are enjoying your new life more and more.

If you here again, I would appreciate it if you told anything about this. In your story you say
this:

 

"on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness"

In the 2.5 years that you were very sick, were there new symptoms that appeared a quite long time after leaving the medications? It is just now that I have seen some new symptoms, and I do not like to think that it is a disease.

 

Many thanks

 

 

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nicolantana

thanks Pug ! (too worn out currently yo write anything more in depth, but your efforts are much appreciated)

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gigi63

Pug, you are a gift from God. You articulate to us in such a compassionate yet truth filled way.  You indeed know the journey.  I do come to you as one of the regular people I look to for a success story.  I look to your words and am so thankful you come back to encourage each of us , just when we need it most. 

 

I am so so pleased you are doing so well. I thank the Living God for your continued healing. How encouraging!!!!  

 

Onward we travel, it’s hard to stay in the present moment at times. This is a patience producer like WOW!!!!

 

Thank you!

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pug
On 9/3/2018 at 4:26 PM, Liamb123456 said:

Hey pug question about bloating did your bloating just get worse out no we're like just distended more and pressure even after night sleep mine use too go down now it doesn't just keeps staying the same even after I fast for 48 hours it still stayed the same just wondering if yours was like that as I'm started think I've done server damage to my digestive system 

Hello,

 

My stomach issues have been one of the most long lasting of my symptoms.  At its worst the bloating and cramping would go on for hours and hours each day.  Nothing seemed to help relieve the symptoms; trying a different diet, fasting, exercise, etc. I just had to ride it out until it finally would let up.  Time is what has helped heal this symptom and it has gotten better as I have gone along.

 

I don’t feel like I have any permanent damage and all of the terrible pain and misery was the result of withdrawal.  So many people deal with this as they are recovering and eventually get over it, but see your physician if you are unsure and ease your mind.  I chose to assume it was all related to withdrawal and that has proven to be the case for my recovery.

 

I hope you are seeing improvements.

 

Pug

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pug
On 9/18/2018 at 5:43 AM, musk said:

 

Hello Pug, I hope you are enjoying your new life more and more.

If you here again, I would appreciate it if you told anything about this. In your story you say
this:

 

"on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness"

In the 2.5 years that you were very sick, were there new symptoms that appeared a quite long time after leaving the medications? It is just now that I have seen some new symptoms, and I do not like to think that it is a disease.

 

Many thanks

 

 

Hello,

 

Yes I had new symptoms appear long after I quit taking the medication.  Things that come to mind; I was off of the meds for well over 2 years when I suddenly started having burning nipples; it really freaked me out; another time it was stabbing pains over my heart area, not easy to deal with; phantom smells showed up also, and other symptoms that I can’t recall right now.  In my experience recovery from withdrawal leaves us open to anything and for a long time after we stop the meds.

 

I assumed all my symptoms were from withdrawal and did not seek medical help or advice, but everyone is different and each person needs to decide if they are going to see a doctor about their symptoms; for their own comfort level to make sure that nothing serious is happening. But please come back here to the forum to ask for guidance or seek a second opinion before making any decisions about treatments, because in my experience doctors are only too happy to throw drugs at anything they don’t understand, and that could create a whole new set of problems.

 

I hope things are improving for you.

 

pug

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musk

Thank you from my heart, Pug. You are my tiny light inside the dark tunnel.

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Liamb123456
On 9/21/2018 at 11:01 PM, pug said:

Hello,

 

My stomach issues have been one of the most long lasting of my symptoms.  At its worst the bloating and cramping would go on for hours and hours each day.  Nothing seemed to help relieve the symptoms; trying a different diet, fasting, exercise, etc. I just had to ride it out until it finally would let up.  Time is what has helped heal this symptom and it has gotten better as I have gone along.

 

I don’t feel like I have any permanent damage and all of the terrible pain and misery was the result of withdrawal.  So many people deal with this as they are recovering and eventually get over it, but see your physician if you are unsure and ease your mind.  I chose to assume it was all related to withdrawal and that has proven to be the case for my recovery.

 

I hope you are seeing improvements.

 

Pug

Hey again pug thanks for the reply did you belly muscles feel like someone poured concrete all over them.. 

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bgoggles1

Hi pug. Did your head symptoms gradually ease and did they get worse before better? I'm just asking because my head pain is severe. Shooting nerve pain, severe pressure in the head. Did your pain travel around in your head? Thanks for your help. 

 

 

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Liamb123456

Pug did you have any food sensitivities.. I'm 13 months off started to get them this is crazy 

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Liamb123456

Pug did you have any food sensitivities.. I'm 13 months off started to get them this is crazy 

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pug
On 9/24/2018 at 11:52 AM, Liamb123456 said:

Hey again pug thanks for the reply did you belly muscles feel like someone poured concrete all over them.. 

 

Hello,

 

I do not recall that sensation.  My stomach and intestinal tract felt the pressure build from inside and push outward, although at times it felt like I had a concrete ball inside of me.

 

I hope that you see relief soon.

 

pug

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pug
On 10/4/2018 at 1:02 PM, bgoggles1 said:

Hi pug. Did your head symptoms gradually ease and did they get worse before better? I'm just asking because my head pain is severe. Shooting nerve pain, severe pressure in the head. Did your pain travel around in your head? Thanks for your help. 

 

 

 

Hello,

 

My head symptoms very gradually went away and during that process I had many, many back and forth, up and down worsening and improvements of symptoms.  But I knew that any improvement meant I could some day feel better if I stuck with it, and that was and is true for me and it will be for you too. So keep going!

 

I did have traveling head pain, pressure, and all manner of bizarre sensations, and it was very disturbing and scary! But it faded and got better eventually, it just take time for the healing to happen and start showing itself.

 

Wishing you the best.

 

pug

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pug
On 10/12/2018 at 2:30 PM, Liamb123456 said:

Pug did you have any food sensitivities.. I'm 13 months off started to get them this is crazy 

 

Hello,

 

I did not have any in specific, it was usually just an inability to eat much at all for a long time.  Like every other symptom it gradually got better, and is now pretty much gone.  Just keep going and eventually the food issues and other symptoms will improve.

 

I hope your symptoms improve very soon.

 

pug

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pug

Survival is progress!

 

So many times in our recovery we have the feeling that we are losing ground or at best, barely keeping even.  Terrible symptoms greet us on a daily basis; day after day until we feel completely discourage and hopeless.  There were so many times when I thought, “Why am I doing this?  Nothing changes or it changes for the worse, and I can’t remember what feeling good even feels like!”  Getting through each day was truly the hardest challenge of my life.

 

As I look back on that time, what comes to mind is something I hope will possibly help you make it through your days; that survival is progress.  If you are getting through another minute, hour, and day; you are making progress!  It doesn’t feel like it, the struggle seems endless, and the physical, mental, and emotional torment is unbelievable.  But a day will finally come when things will change, and it may be a small change, but it is a change that lets you know that you are on the road to recovery.

 

So if you are struggling today, just like so many other days, know that you are actually making progress toward your goal of recovery just by staying alive!  So what is your secret to success?  Make it through today and then make it through tomorrow.  Keep repeating that and you will heal and move on from this challenge!  So the message here is that you are making progress, keep going!

 

All the best and may you feel better very soon!

 

pug

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India
On 8/29/2018 at 11:29 PM, pug said:

You can take more suffering and misery than you can imagine.  Somehow we find the strength and courage to persevere through the most challenging and dark days.  I remember suffering day after day for what seemed endless.  Thousands of times I told myself I could not take it any longer, I was done, I was going to quit the process and give up.  But then I would think, “what if tomorrow is the day that I start feeling better?” and I just had to keep going another minute, hour and day to see if things might change; the success stories said that it would, so I held on just a little longer and in the end that is what made the difference, because one day I did wake up and things were a little different, a little better.

 

Your situation is unique, but it also is not.  In one sense we are very unique in many aspects such as our individual biology, our age, how long we were on medication, what kind, etc., etc., but we are also very much the same.  We want reassurance, we want to know that we will heal, we are desperate to know if we will be the one person left to suffer in never ending withdrawal, because, perhaps our situation is so special that it won’t be possible for us to recover?  We focus too much on the uniqueness of our situation but discount the one overriding commonality; we will heal!  That is what is really important to focus on; that others are healing or have healed and that means it is possible for us to do the same, regardless of the differences of our situations.  Focus on that part by reading success stories and believing the words of those further along the path: you will heal!  Think of the millions of people who have taken antidepressants and benzos over the last several decades, if none of them had healed we would be hearing about it in a big way.  But they recovered and moved on with their life, and you will too.

 

 

@pugReading this has meant so much to me. There is a point in every day when I feel like I simply cannot go on like this, after 4 months of relentless and extreme symptoms. Reinstatement has not worked for me so far so I just have to go through the quagmire. Stories and words like this help me beyond measure.  They are beautiful words. Words that I can hold onto.

Did you experience anger, and if so how did you deal with it? There are times when I feel overwhelmed with anger that this is happening to me and others. That these drugs have an extreme impact on people's lives.

 

As a result of my experiences,my relationship with psychiatry has been severed. Similarly, I would not ever go back to a GP with a mental health problem. So shaken is my world view. Perhaps one day I will look back on this period as something profound, that perhaps in the long run it will lead to greater health. I have sworn to myself that once I get off this stuff I will never ever take another psychiatric drug again. Instinctually, I have always felt that my experiences of psychiatry had done very little to alleviate my emotional pain, and yet I kept returning; some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. I really have learnt the hard way. Perhaps, I may not have learnt if my WD had been less severe, as it was in 2005, this certainly was a factor in my acceptance of a Prozac prescription in 2007 ( after that I was on a continuous stream of psych drugs, though on one drug at a time, in the U.K, I think poly-drugging is less common than in the U.S.). I suppose none of us have control versions of our lives, a parallel universe in which we were not on the drugs, to compare our drugged years too. With PAWS ( is that what we might call it?), you have a whole host of horrific symptoms that further remove you from knowing who the drug-free 'you' is? The premise for a long time is that the drugs were tempering my depressions. I still got them, lots of them and severe too. But who knows? No one knows. Was I putting this drug into my system for no reason at all? Perhaps they never tempered the depressions at all. I will never know who I might have been, 25 years old to 35, drug free. I was told that they evened out my emotions, but who knows what they did. I could never have imagined the power of this pharmaceutical drug to devastate  my life on cessation.

 

But here it is, and here I am and that is life, isn't it?! We never know which way it's going to go. When it's thrown at you, there is no way around the mountain, you have to find a way to climb it.

 

Thank you for the hope this has given me.

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Scorpio

Hi pug

thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear those words today while unable to do anything again and gathering more symptoms. Feeling terribly defeated after having a few weeks of being able to get through each day upright today has been so hard. Once again your words give me hope to keep on going - thank you 

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FarmGirlWorks

Thank you @pug for this gem. I have copied it and mentally refer to it as I struggle through these days. You are the best for coming back and providing hope that there is an Other Side.

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Liamb123456
37 minutes ago, FarmGirlWorks said:

Thank you @pug for this gem. I have copied it and mentally refer to it as I struggle through these days. You are the best for coming back and providing hope that there is an Other Side.

What are you still struggling with symptoms wise 

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FarmGirlWorks

Hi Liamb, it is on my intro thread but basically anxiety/depression with cortisol spikes and occasional SI. The head pressure is gone right now. Hope you are okay. Feel free to message me if you need.

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India
On 10/15/2018 at 9:36 PM, pug said:

Survival is progress!

 

So many times in our recovery we have the feeling that we are losing ground or at best, barely keeping even.  Terrible symptoms greet us on a daily basis; day after day until we feel completely discourage and hopeless.  There were so many times when I thought, “Why am I doing this?  Nothing changes or it changes for the worse, and I can’t remember what feeling good even feels like!”  Getting through each day was truly the hardest challenge of my life.

 

As I look back on that time, what comes to mind is something I hope will possibly help you make it through your days; that survival is progress.  If you are getting through another minute, hour, and day; you are making progress!  It doesn’t feel like it, the struggle seems endless, and the physical, mental, and emotional torment is unbelievable.  But a day will finally come when things will change, and it may be a small change, but it is a change that lets you know that you are on the road to recovery.

 

So if you are struggling today, just like so many other days, know that you are actually making progress toward your goal of recovery just by staying alive!  So what is your secret to success?  Make it through today and then make it through tomorrow.  Keep repeating that and you will heal and move on from this challenge!  So the message here is that you are making progress, keep going!

 

All the best and may you feel better very soon!

 

pug

@jozeff 

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Sandman

Hi Pug. I am 27 years old. While being on Sertraline I experienced erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory anhedonia. After I tapered off several premature ejaculation added up to the mentioned sexual problems. I am off Sertraline for last 10 months. I am so helpless and feel suicidal. 

 

Did you have similar experience? If yes, has your condition improved?

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Peachy
On 5/29/2017 at 11:03 AM, pug said:

Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time.  I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you.  Am I completely 100% done healing?  No.  Am I so, so much better?  Oh yes!  Now for some basics:

 

Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey.  Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery).  So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once!  I am proof that given time we can heal.

 

I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free.  Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try.  I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern.  I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off.  At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end.  But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner.

 

Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves.  My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so.  I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years.  And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order:

 

Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember.  The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too.

 

Did anything help me along the way?  I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better.  Did it work?  In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better.  But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely.  I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate.  Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method.  It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies.  I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian.

 

So, what remains for me?  I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues.  If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed.  I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it.  I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness.

 

So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again.  I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!”  And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going!

 

As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign.  Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”.  Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery.  Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help.

 

All my love.

 

Pug

How long did it take for the psychological symptoms to ease, and go away for you?!

Thanks for coming back here. Your a rockstar :)

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