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Are We There Yet? How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take?

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Leo1983

Dont know how much evidence i need to upload. 

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Leo1983

 

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Leo1983

Also goes for benzos.

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Femme47
7 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

It appears that people haven't read the first several paragraphs of the first post of the essay.  It states right there that the essay will be upsetting and triggering to a lot of people. It contains a hard message for people to hear

I've read a couple of times your essay. Great work and a lot of valuable information. Thank you very much for your hard and excellent input!

In relation to the "hard " message, it is  "the distillation of the experience of many thousands of people collected over many many years. Personal experiences have been added to try to bring the generalizing down to a more understandable level". 

 However, it doesn't include the experience of others (however many that maybe) who didn't have the protracted withdrawal having stopped the meds and just got on with their lives rather than spending time on the internet looking for the solution and support like we do.

A husband of my friend, stopped quickly Lexapro after about a year and a half taking the meds. He is doing very well and understandably doesn't quite get the protracted withdrawal years later. And of course, he is not here to tell the story. As I imagine others in similar situations. 

Everyone is different: age, gender, metabolism, genetic make up, health problems, life's experience etc etc.

It seems, that the "hard message " of having withdrawal symptoms 5 years later if you have not tapered properly, had not taken all these variables as well as left out the people who didn't have major withdrawal problems and have not left any internet trace of what could have been a positive experience..

Thus it should be taken as a gospel.

Kind regards 

F47 

 

 

 

 

  

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Femme47
1 hour ago, Femme47 said:

Thus it should be taken as a gospel

I meant, of course, that it should Not be taken as a gospel 😊

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Leo1983

@Femme47

 

Take a watch of this. He is funny.

 

 

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Altostrata

Nobody would like to see rapid recovery from withdrawal more than the staff and long-time members of this Web site.

 

There is a wide range of reaction to psychiatric drug dosage reduction. Some people don't feel any kind of withdrawal symptoms, even with cold turkey. Others are devastated by small reductions. We don't know how often this occurs, but we think it's a substantial fraction of all people taking psychiatric drugs. This is the best guess so far

 

The same applies to the trajectory of recovery. Some people recover within a few weeks. Some recover within a few months. Others take years to recover. Nobody can predict the future of any individual.

 

It's unfortunate that this is so. It applies to the millions of people taking psychiatric drugs and the millions of people going off psychiatric drugs. For those who have difficulty with dosage reduction, the lack of knowledge in the medical profession about tapering and withdrawal symptoms is a public health problem -- and often a personal tragedy for the patient.

 

If you have difficulty tapering or have had withdrawal syndrome for more than 6 months, it's not because the universe is against you. You are in the same uncomfortable boat as millions of other people.

 

You can count on recovery being extremely slow and frustrating. We believe you might as well know it can take a long time rather than beating yourself up with anxiety every day about it.

 

I am sorry we cannot provide instant remedies for everyone here. If we knew of such remedies, we would tell everyone and close this site. Taking other drugs is a gamble, we cannot tell you what, if anything will work -- those experiments are best done with the help of a doctor, who again is unlikely to know anything about an adverse reaction if you have one. I am very sorry this is so.

 

I want to thank @brassmonkey  for writing up the initial post in this topic, having eloquently and compassionately presented a very difficult truth. Each person here on the Web site needs to learn how to accept the uncertainty of recovery. That's simply the human condition.

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Leo1983

Thankyou for that Alto.

 

I think that is a much much better explanation and certainly more evidence based.

 

It is also less scary, for us people in withdrawal and especially, those who have not had perfect tapers. 

 

Thankyou.

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Femme47

Thanks you @Leo1983 forfor the videos you've posted: encouraging! 

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Leo1983

Thats what we want and need the most!

 

Im off to bed zzzzzz.

 

Nite. 

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Altostrata
3 hours ago, Leo1983 said:

Thankyou for that Alto.

 

I think that is a much much better explanation and certainly more evidence based.

 

It is also less scary, for us people in withdrawal and especially, those who have not had perfect tapers. 

 

Thankyou.

 

The Davies paper had not been published when brassmonkey wrote the first posts in this topic. He did a superb job of pulling many threads together, answering the most frequently asked questions about healing.

 

Many people need to hear the answers over and over because it's so difficult to accept that we have little control over this condition and doctors are not going to provide a safety net. I am very grateful to brassmonkey for compiling this information so we may direct people to this thread to get their questions answered. Still, it's clear that accepting there's no quick solution is very hard for many. Please do not blame brassmonkey for the discomfort of uncertainty.

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Femme47
6 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

The Davies paper had not been published when brassmonkey wrote the first posts in this topic. He did a superb job of pulling many threads together, answering the most frequently asked questions about healing.

 

Many people need to hear the answers over and over because it's so difficult to accept that we have little control over this condition and doctors are not going to provide a safety net. I am very grateful to brassmonkey for compiling this information so we may direct people to this thread to get their questions answered. Still, it's clear that accepting there's no quick solution is very hard for many. Please do not blame brassmonkey for the discomfort of uncertainty.

I fully agree with everything you've written, Altostrata.

I, myself, referred to Brassmonkey's essays occasionally in the times of distress and looking for some answers and hope. Like you, I am very greatful for his work. In addition, it's very well written and presented.

In terms of his conclusion of the time frame of healing - which by the way, sounds like certainty rather than uncertainty you were referring in your text - I wasn't "triggered" or particularly upset since the method that had been used missed out a lot of important variables and certain condition to make it reliable enough. Speaking, of course, only for myself.

The positive that can be drawn is that tapering off the meds is a long painstaking process one that  definitely shouldn't be rushed but one eventually gets there😊. And if you're in the middle of the process, makes you think about speeding or going off CT (horrendous thing to do in my opinion).

On the other hand, it also sends a message that can be interpreted by some that if you did a quick taper/ CT than you are doomed to be suffering  still five years later. Not really helpful or necessary for someone who maybe in the throws of the withdrawal at that moment and grasping for the straws..

Wishing you all a good wherever possible 😊

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Heal95

Thank you @Altostrata from this reminder. I've had a rough stretch and was feeling pretty hopeless. 

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Altostrata

Thanks Femme47 and Heal95.

 

Cold turkey is definitely the highest-risk way to go off the drugs, potentially incurring the most severe acute withdrawal symptoms. We see many people suffering from a taper that, in hindsight, was too fast -- but what many doctors would recommend. Alternating dosages, also a favorite method of doctors, is another good way to trigger very severe withdrawal symptoms.

 

We don't know how long healing will take for any individual having gone off the drugs via cold turkey, fast tapering, or alternating doses. What we know is severe acute withdrawal symptoms are not good for your nervous system. We'd like to see people get better tapering advice from their doctors to avoid withdrawal symptoms, rather than going off drugs by any of these high-risk methods.

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Leo1983

World class. 

 

Thankyou Altostrata.

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Femme47

Thank you, Altostrata. Indeed, the ignorance of the doctors/psychiatrists in this matter is appalling. This site is a life safer. 

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Tweet

Thank you all so much for your encouragement!  

Still wondering, though, if one has been only on one drug at a fairly low dose is the recovery easier or faster?

 

 

 

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Leo1983

@TweetI guess you fall in the same category....

 

 

Know one knows.......

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Femme47
11 hours ago, Tweet said:

Thank you all so much for your encouragement!  

Still wondering, though, if one has been only on one drug at a fairly low dose is the recovery easier or faster?

 

 

 

Hi Tweet, 

This maybe my case as I was on the Lexapro for what is considered a small/undertherapeutic dose of 5mg (though in my opinion it is a bit misleading as it was still powerful for me and it depends on the individual biochemistry). 

My last stint on this was about 6 months with the additional 18, which was about 6 months short as I had to speed the process up due to the planned operation and so, unfortunately, had to "jump off " at 1mg. My tapering process was not perfect either with a lot of dose changes due to my ignorance (!). 

I've had some really tough time both physically (mainly tiredness) and emotionally. Saying that I have also had some problems with my health and interpersonal problems at that time. So, even now it is not easy to tell what caused what and probably not all the symptoms were related to the withdrawal. 

I'm now 5 months since I stopped the meds and beginning to see the light at the of the tunnel. The level of the fatigue has diminished and I don't constant physical symptoms of the anxiety. Not there yet but work in progress. Also aware that it may hit me hard at 10 months (according to Brassmonkeys essay ) so staying garded..

Unfortunately, can't tell you more at this point.

Take care 

F47

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Leo1983

I am at 9 month 3 weeks and i have been hit by one of the biggest waves i have had. 

 

Im still in it. Everything came back. Insomnia, heart racing, intrusive thoughts, doom, aches, head pressure. 

 

Could this be the 10 month wave.. who knows. 

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MaggieSmalls

Hello @brassmonkey , @ChessieCat, @Altostrata and all other people who are reading this. Feel free to leave your thoughts too!

I posted this text below in january but received no answer so far and in case you missed this I wanna post it again. I dont want to be agressive and push my post infront of others but since I read the part with adverse reaction I really cant get it out of my mind :(

 

I just came across this topic and read about "Adverse Reaction" for the first time. I hope I understood it correctly because I´m not a native speaker but there is a difference between people who react from the very first moment they are touching the drug and the people who react after stopping or tapering ?

It´s interesting for me because I remember from the very first moment I took Paxil I reacted very heavy to this drug.

The doctor told me I can start with 40mg straight (Today I know thats unbelievable / irresponsible) so I took it in the evening and I woke up on the first night on Paxil with crazy nightmares, sweaty and the feeling of burned skin all over my body. I remember I told my girlfriend it feels like ants are all over my body and they try to burn my skin. From this moment I had all those common "WD Symptoms" . It started to feel better after about 1 month and I thought the drug is healing my disease now but I think my body just got used to the drug back then. Anyway, when I tapered all those initial symptoms came back stronger and heavier than I ever could imagine. Lots of mistakes and wrong tapering later I am here, 2 years after taking my last pill and still having huge WD symptoms. The worst is constant feeling of being hungover, drugged, derealized, tinitus / white noise and head pressure. 

 

If I suffer from Adverse Reaction, does it changes anything for me? I had windows and waves from the moment I tapered off until today. I feel everything is changing all the time and I cant say excactly how it changes or healing takes place. I can definetly say that the depressive feelings during the first 1 1/2 years after 0mg have gone / healed. My mood is very good and has improved a lot within the last 4 month. Now and then I have these depressive waves but they usually are not lasting longer then a few hours.

Thanks for your help!

Maggie

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Tweet

Leo, that sounds just like what I had with the 10 month wave.

Symptoms came back with an intensity I thought I had left behind months ago.

It can really blind side you.

It felt like it would last forever, but it WILL end. 

For me it was a couple to three weeks.

Hang in there!

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Leo1983

BRUTAL.

 

Im doing a 13hr shift at work today..Its also the hardest shift in 15 years lol. 

 

You have to laugh. Although none of this is funny. 

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Sometimes laughter is all we have. ESPECIALLY when it's REALLY. NOT. FUNNY. 

Your shift of 13 hours sounds brutal, but on the other hand your mind will be occupied 

on other things besides your misery. That can be a real advantage.

Hope it goes well for you.

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Heal95

It may be hard but try to take some comfort in reading the post. Any health professional will probably tell you that you will be recovered in weeks/months and when that doesn't come you're left feeling more panicky and anxious. 

Withdrawal is horrific. It's not easy and it's so tempting to get carried away with the 'when'. But no one knows how long it will be. Most likely it WILL take a long time. But eventually we will improve and that's something we can't forget! It's unfortunate that this has happened to us. It really really sucks big time. I wish, and I'm sure everyone here does too, that this really didn't flipping happen. But acknowledging and accepting that it has and most likely there won't be a quick fix should help you pace yourself and your expectations. It's helping me not to get too carried away with symptoms and sign of improvement because I know that it's very early days. it still makes me sad to be going through this but I'm trying not to loose sight of the reality of things. 

Another thing, I'm a Muslim and I have a strong belief in god. As a Muslim I believe that this life was designed to be a testing ground for humans. A core principal of being a Muslim is trusting god and gods wisdom. I also believe in a judgement day and know for sure that god will judge those who profit from corruption. We live in a system of capitalism. Capital is what drives things. Not human life, not justice but capital! 

Its hard and it will probably be hard for a long time and I know I will be sad and find this difficult but I pray for a day We all get better and the world is rid of this corruption and everyone who is impacted by corruption is rid of their burdens 

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crashcourse
On 3/26/2019 at 2:35 PM, brassmonkey said:

It appears that people haven't read the first several paragraphs of the first post of the essay.  It states right there that the essay will be upsetting and triggering to a lot of people. It contains a hard message for people to hear.

 

It is the distillation of the experience of many thousands of people collected over many many years. Personal experiences have been added to try to bring the generalizing down to a more understandable level. 

 

The majority of the site is devoted to trying to make people feel good and have hope.  This essay was designed to inform people of the hard truth about ADWD as the staff has learned through painful experience. It is meant to provide information that is hard to take in as gentle a manner as possible. 

This is a fantastic essay. people like me who have CT'ed know this. Btw I successfully CT'ed from a benzo, at the same time I have failed repeatedly to CT from Citalopram. This proves the point that different people have different responses to drugs. 

I don't think the essay was overtly critical or triggering. The fact that a taper could a long time is a frightening thought in itself. None of us like to, or want to hear it. But for a majority that is the truth. Just toughing it out is sometimes not enough.  The lucky ones who CT, should count their blessings.

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MaggieSmalls

Hello @Altostrata,

thanks for your reply!

Its just so surreal and unimaginable that you will ever heal though it has improved a lot.

Especially in terms of the derealisation.

All the best to everyone!

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DavidfromTexas
Posted (edited)
On 5/21/2018 at 12:05 PM, brassmonkey said:

 When a person started to take the drugs is also a factor. Neuroplasticity is again at the root of the matter.  A person’s brain and nervous system is not considered mature in a physical sense until they are about 25 years old.  Up until that time it is a developing organism and in constant flux.  Also, during those years, a person is learning the basics of socialization, relationships and building their basic belief system.  All this development is not negated by an early start on ADs, but rather slowed greatly or put on hold until after the influence of the drugs has been removed.  This is seen by many as a setback, but there has been a lot of subluminal growth going on in the interim that lays the ground work for the personal growth to happen.

 

 

SO. I have been on anti-depressants since I was 10/11 years old. I am now 30. 

I have felt MANY times that I have always arrived at certain life points and levels of maturity YEARS later than my peers, and I’ve been feeling like that A LOT recently. 

 

I am trying to get off of my medicine now, hopefully reinstatement will work and then eventually I can do a correctly timed taper. 

BUT, if and when I AM off of the meds, what does information like the quoted above mean for somebody like ME, who started taking large doses of anti-depressants right in the middle of this growing process and continued using them throughout and beyond it??

 

Edited by DavidfromTexas

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brassmonkey

It means that your will be fine.  If, like most people, you view life as a competition then you will probably be a bit behind others in some respects, but in other areas of your life you will be way ahead.  The bold passages in the last paragraph sums it up.  Because of the early start on the drugs they have had a heavy influence on your social development over the years.  Not knowing you I can't say how, but because they affect ones social interactions to a great extent they probably have kept you from learning/practicing the basics of social interaction, life planning, decision making and the like.

 

A good friend started on paxil at six year old ending up on 30mg for several years.  At 18 he decided to taper off over several years.  It was quite successful.  He was pretty socially awkward in the beginning but worked his way through things, got a job, a girlfriend, an apartment, and has been living a great life for a number of years now.

 

ADWD is only partly about getting off of the drugs in a safe manner.  An even bigger part is learning/relearning to function in the "normal world".  For people who started young this will be like repeating several grades in school.  They have been exposed to the material, but haven't fully  learned it, so they need to revisit it and try again.  For many people who started the drugs later in life it is a "second chance".  Much of their livelihood, support systems, trust in humanity and belief systems have been sorely tested and in many cases burned away in the WD/recovery process.  For everyone involved in ADWD recovery it is actually a process of rebuilding their life from the ground up.  Core beliefs usually are only shaken up but not destroyed, so there is that basis to work from.  But even those can be called into question in the process.

 

The rebuilding on ones life starts with the decision to taper off of the drugs.  All through out the process they need to be examining their beliefs, situations and goals.  It is a very hard process because ones mind is rarely clear during ADWD, and quite often the ADWD is an overriding concern.  Learning to deal with things like OCD, ruminating thoughts, insomnia, brain fog, how to get and keep employment and friends are all a lot harder, but very necessary aspects of recovery.  Because of the things we have to deal with we end up with an inner strength, self reliance and patience that will far surpass our counterparts.

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hussy

i am 2.5 months out. i had windows and waves after 3 months in withdrawal. then the windows were becoming stronger. i was at 70 percent in my good windows days around 1.5 years in withdrawal. then after that suddently i went in a bad wave and this bad wave has continued for about 1 year now. some symptoms like fatigue are getting a lot worse ovr time

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JackieDecides
On 7/25/2019 at 8:33 PM, brassmonkey said:

For many people who started the drugs later in life it is a "second chance".  Much of their livelihood, support systems, trust in humanity and belief systems have been sorely tested and in many cases burned away in the WD/recovery process.

 

Brassmonkey, your entire post was a thing of beauty. 

 

for me, I started AD as a young adult and going off in late "middle age" (cos I'm not really going to live until 114) means I lost all those years I could have built a life:  had a family, built a system of support with friends, made a career, put down roots, and learned coping skills. 

 

I just have to start over now when I am tired enough I wish I could retire. HA, I will be lucky if I ever can without having to live under a bridge. 

 

there isn't any good age to go through WD! 

 

😉

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Alice1

Hello @Altostrata @brassmonkey

I just wanted your opinion on something .. I've spoke to a couple of therapist who've actually have gone through WD (AP & BZ) , and said that the length of time to recover has everything to do with how you react to your condition . In other words , CT or rapid taper will most likely trigger a hypersensitive state in which any additional anxiety or stress will fuel and continue .They also say that the "underlying factors" for which you took the medication are also at play , meaning , if you took SSRI's for anxiety, and have not dealt with why you have anxiety. Is it possible this might be the determining factor that affects recovery time ?  There's no doubt that CT and RT are extremely painful , but there must be a reason why some recover in 2 years and some recover in 10 .. I see glimpses of this around this sight .. People who do the right recovery work seem to get better quicker . There are some poor souls on here that have been in WD for a long time with no progress , yet when they write on here you can see the fear,and frustration in there words (and it is absolutely understandable why). I am very appreciative of you both for your time .. 

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FarmGirlWorks
On 7/25/2019 at 7:33 PM, brassmonkey said:

For many people who started the drugs later in life it is a "second chance".  Much of their livelihood, support systems, trust in humanity and belief systems have been sorely tested and in many cases burned away in the WD/recovery process.  For everyone involved in ADWD recovery it is actually a process of rebuilding their life from the ground up.  Core beliefs usually are only shaken up but not destroyed, so there is that basis to work from.  But even those can be called into question in the process.

Ah, thank you for this @brassmonkey: well said. My trust in humanity and the western medical system is decimated. Sometimes it feels slightly paranoid this near pathological distrust of doctors. Or, anyone who says "you need to see a professional about that" when we are talking about the normal range of human emotion. To me, it is an absolution of responsibility *and* the courage to listen. And, it is part of the compartmentalized world we live in.

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brassmonkey

Hi FGW-- Rebuilding trust after ADWD is one of the bigger tasks.  The lose of trust on so many fronts can be very hard to deal with, the self sufficiency that we gain through the ordeal can be very helpful.  Learning to love and be be comfortable within ourselves can be very liberating, and learning to do so is all part of that "second chance".

 

Over the years I have learned that anyone who says " you need to get professional help with that" is actually saying "I don't care what is going on with you and don't want to deal with it, it's your problem, not mine".  I have also found that people with that attitude don't belong anywhere near me.  One reason I never talk about WD problems with friends is because they will never listen.  One or two sentences in and they have taken over the "conversation" and made it about how much their latest hangnail hurts.  If they refuse to listen to me, then why should I listen to them.  It can get lonely until you become your own best friend.

 

There has been some discussion here lately about the lose of trust in the medical profession by people going through ADWD.  I don't think they are blame less by any means, but there are circumstances that indicate we need to cut them some slack.  What I'm getting at is that as part of that "second chance" the establishment of proper boundaries is required.  There are many things that the medical profession does quite well, they've saved my life on a number of occasions, but really screwed it up as well.  By placing boundaries and double checking what they recommend we can take greater control over our lives.  When it comes down to it, we are the only ones in charge of our life.  I know it is very cynical, but a healthy amount of distrust is a good thing. However, we can't distrust to the point that it is detrimental. 

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brassmonkey

Hi Alice-- Attitude is one of the major keys to recovery.  With out a positive attitude recovery can take many times longer and be a lot more unpleasant.  We see it all the time here.  People going into a taper with a positive attitude will have a much easier time of it.  If they run into a rough spot, it is easier for them to handle and usually resolves quicker.  I'm not saying that everyone should be a "Pollyanna" about it, ADWD is probably the roughest thing most people will ever go through in their lives.  The acceptance of ones "helplessness, loss of control of ones life and the lack of foreseability (fooled the spell checker with that one) makes things so much easier.

 

Most people are intimidated by the time spans involved.  Many new members expect things to happen in a one to two day period, when it has taken many of then ten to twenty years to get into the state that they are in.  When they see that it is going to take several years to taper and recover they can't accept it because that is a "huge portion" of their life, and they don't want to waste any more of it.  When in reality it is a very small part of a lifetime and will be over before you know it. I can't believe how fast my five and a half year taper went, and how only a small part of it was having acute WD.

 

Almost every first post we get from a new member begins or ends with the words "I'm so scared".  Yes it is a very scary situation, not only for the things I just mentioned, but because of the very real prospect of a very long and painful process that has to be gone through.  Overcoming that fear is quite a daunting task in itself.  But if a person can start out with the attitude of "even if this is going to be unpleasant I will get through it and I will do it as best as I can", they are miles ahead.  We have had several members who posted to that affect in their initial post, and guess what, they are miles ahead.  We run into too many members who are so paralyzed with fear that they are unable to make any informed decision, but rather react in a knee jerk fashion that causes much more harm than good.  Once people calm down and understand that there is a plan in place that will work, then they can start to make some progress.  This is sometimes seen as an "ah ha" post by people who have been struggling very hard and suddenly "see the light" and understand that it will eventually all work out.

 

So what I'm saying is "attitude is everything".

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