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brassmonkey

Tao of the Brassmonkey

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jen84
On 5/7/2018 at 12:29 PM, brassmonkey said:

 

Anhedonia can be a real relationship challenge.  I went through that for quite some time.  I learned that even though I couldn't call up or experience the feelings they were still there inside, just not accessible.  At the time I had been happily married for 33 years but couldn't summon up any of the feelings I had for my wife.  I mentioned this, and it lead to several "late night discussions".  Once we both understood that it was a manifestation of the drugs things started to improve.  After I had been tapering off of the Paxil for a while the feelings slowly started to show themselves, until, now I am more in love with her then ever.  We celebrated number 39 a couple of months ago.  It's a big test of a relationship, but if the feelings are true in the first place and both people trust each other it is something that can be gotten through and make the relationship all the stronger.

First of all, congrats on your successful taper! You give hope to so many of us.

 

thank you so much for sharing this Brass monkey. I am relieved to read your success story, and even more relieved to read that you and your wife got through this together. Thank you!

 

I will be trying your slide taper soon, and am hoping that will help ease the anxiety for me. 

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brassmonkey

WDNormal

 

I see WDnormal as the overall baseline of where you are in general. The place you are when you're not feeling good, but you're not feeling bad. Sorta a rolling average of the past couple of months between the windows and waves.  Watching the level of WDnormal is a good indicator that things are improving.  Over time you should be seeing a raising of the standard for WDnormal.  So how you're feeling now is better than say six months ago. It changes very slowly but is a really good indicator.

 

 Many people have the idea that stability is feeling good again, when in fact it's feeling the same level of blah day after day with no big swings to the better or bad. When a person does a decrease in dose there will be a corresponding increase in WD symptoms over the next few days.  These symptoms will resolve themselves over the following several weeks and return the person to a slightly raised baseline of discomfort. The time frame and severity are dependent on a huge number of factors and end up being unique to each individual.  But the pattern remains.  This is why paying attention to your WDnormal is very important.  It is also referred to as listening to your body.  After a decrease in dose and the symptoms have resolved to WDnormal the person then should wait a couple of more weeks to let things really settle out (there are a lot of little unfelt changer still going on) before considering doing their next drop.

 

During that waiting time people may think that they're not doing anything and want to get on with it.  When in fact doing nothing is very proactive.  It's those little unfelt things that need to be finished up before the next step can be taken.  It's letting the glue harden, the paint dry, the cement cure.  The things that need to be complete before the path is safe to walk on again.  If these details are ignored then they start to pile up and compound each other, then somewhere down the line the foundation slips out from under us and the whole thing collapses.

 

As good as it gets for that moment.  WDnormal is a sliding scale of reference for tracking overall improvements in one’s condition. As you're learning this is a very slow process and at first changes in WDnormal are very small and slow in coming. As time passes and one’s body heals those changes become more pronounced and more frequent. But it can be frustratingly slow at first.

 

I'll bore you with a bit of my history, so you can see how I came up with the idea of WDnormal.  Many people find the time frames upsetting but I truly advocate going very slowly.   I'm one of the "lucky ones" in that I was only been on one drug, all be it for 23 years, which makes things a lot easier to sort out. I originally started on Paxil for Spontaneous Outbursts of Violent Anger and it really helped.  In reality I should have been through counseling instead of being drugged, but that's an irrelevant part of the story.  After many years on the drug it wasn't working as well so I updosed.  That helped sorta but a few years later I needed to updose again.  That helped for a few months, then I started downhill.  It took several years and becoming totally messed up to figure out I was in severe tolerance, or what we lovingly call "poopout".

 

Just making the decision to do something about it was a terrifying experience but after 18 years of being drugged, my marriage on the rocks and about to lose everything (probably even my life) I decided to do something about it.  Again, I was lucky and found a site called PaxilProgress before I made any changes. That started the entire process.  I liked the idea of the 10% taper but made a couple of modifications to make it gentler and started with that.

 

Nothing happened. I felt as bad as I had been.  Six weeks passed, and I did my second drop. Nothing happened, except maybe I felt a bit worse.  This pattern kept up for about 18 months.  When one day it hit me, "I hadn't felt as crappy for the past several weeks".  It took another six months before I again noticed that things had improved.  During this whole time all I could do was move doggedly forward making the best of it and learning to put up with and work around the symptoms.  I really had no other choice.

 

A little after two years I had my first widow.  It lasted about fifteen minutes, and it wasn't until several hours later I realized it had happened.  That was the point that it sunk in that the process really did work.  Except for that window the rest of the time was heavy brain fog, DR, no short-term memory, dizziness, all the symptoms we know and loath.  Another window opened briefly a few months later, and I noticed that I wasn't as "out of it" all the time and that I was gaining a little control over the symptoms by Acknowledging them, Accepting them and letting them Float off as I went about my life.

 

Finally, after three years of tapering I felt like I was making progress. I could see that I was improved from where I had started even though I knew I was by no means better.  I also could see that I was doing better that I was just six months before.  I realized that my "base line of feeling like crap was improving or how my WD symptoms normally felt was improving.  Hence WDnormal.

 

The last two and a half years, it will be a total of five and a half for the entire taper, brought fairly steady improvement.  I was able see improvements on a month over month and sometimes week over week basis.  To the point that many people would say I'm back to normal by the way I function. The last several months I know I wasn’t because I was still taking the drug. During my time on and tapering off of paxil I have learned a huge amount about myself, life and how to deal with things.  

 

So WDnormal is a pretty easy concept once you think about it. In a nutshell it’s ”as good as it gets at that time.”  It’s not feeling really good, it’s not feeling really bad, but rather a consistent level of feeling crappy that doesn’t change a lot from day to day for weeks at a time.  The length of time involved in seeing changes in your WDnormal is the most frustrating part. The improvements don’t happen from day to day, week to week or at times month to month.  In the beginning it can take six months to a year of more just to find what your WDnormal is and another six months to a year or more to see any significant improvements.  However, it is the best baseline for noting that improvement

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elbee

Thanks for creating this essay on WDnormal, BrassMonkey. I gravitated towards the idea of WDnormal the first time I came across you using it. 

On 12/9/2018 at 3:27 PM, brassmonkey said:

I see WDnormal as the overall baseline of where you are in general.

 

That is a great minimalist definition. AND, it's so important in this process to begin finding ways to pay attention to myself without obsessing over each detail. In my withdrawal process, a lot of feelings, sensations, "intuition" is coming back online that had been deadened for many years. It can feel really overwhelming at times! But learning to pay attention to this information without getting completely overwhelmed and/or lost in the detailed nuances has been a really important part of my "recovery." To know what my WDnormal is, I have to begin re-learning the language of messages my body is telling me.

 

On 12/9/2018 at 3:27 PM, brassmonkey said:

Watching the level of WDnormal is a good indicator that things are improving.

 

This has been really important for me, too. In my various recovery communities, I've discovered that it's oftentimes much easier to see improvements in others than it is in myself. This is another reason why finding healing community is so important, like with this website . . . my fellow travelers help me see my own improvements that I can't see in myself. But as I've learned what my "WDnormal" (baseline) level is, I am in fact seeing the improvements in myself too. THANKFULLY! :)

 

On 12/9/2018 at 3:27 PM, brassmonkey said:

This is why paying attention to your WDnormal is very important.  It is also referred to as listening to your body.

 

Indeed! This falls under the umbrella term of "SELF-CARE." Unfortunately, the "experts" led me astray when it came to my mental health and well being, and I believed the lie of the "chemical imbalance" story I was told. It came to a point for me that something "clicked" and a stirring inside me said that something wasn't right. Looking back, that's when I started listening to and trusting in my body again. So I started doing a lot of research, found Whitaker's "Anatomy of an Epidemic" . . . and thankfully found this website! Ultimately, I came to the realization that I myself need to be the one who decides what is right for me in my healing process. Listening to my body (and in my case, my "inner children") has become my new compass.

 

On 12/9/2018 at 3:27 PM, brassmonkey said:

I'll bore you with a bit of my history

 

THANK YOU for "boring" me with your history! Our stories are our truth and are incredibly powerful.

 

And I appreciate you @brassmonkey sharing your experience, support, and wisdom with me and the larger community! :)

Edited by elbee

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brassmonkey

Starting tomorrow I will be going on an extended holiday.  It will involve a lot of travel to exotic places several of which I know don't have internet that will work with my devices. So for the next several months I will be pretty much unavailable.  When I get a chance now and then I will be checking in to say Hi.

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wantrelief

I hope you have a wonderful time on your holiday....it sounds very exciting!

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Rabe

Have a safe and lovely trip brassmonkey....sounds so so wonderful...and what a gift after all you have been through...to take this trip with the one who has stood beside you through it all.  It really is 

a story to be written.  Take care!!!

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