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julia955 Healing And Happiness IS possible!

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julia955

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So, as of right now I am 17 months completely off all medication. I consider myself fully healed and am so happy to be able to write this because I want others to know that full healing IS possible, even in extreme cases.

 

As I spoke about in my original thread, I was put on an SSRI at 5 years old for anxiety. While at first it seemed to 'help', as I got older my psychiatrist kept on raising the dose until I was essentially a zombie from about age 14-18. It caused many problems and I went from being a very social and happy kid to a sullen, antisocial, shell of what I was. I believe it also gave me bouts of depression, as I never had depression before I was on it and my most depressed periods always came after a dosage increase. It was very painful to me to think about how I had my adolescence and happiness taken from me by this drug and the people who kept me on it not seeing what it was doing to me, but I've reached a point in my life now where I can forgive and am too happy about life now and my future to dwell on that.

 

I really want others to know, if you were put on these meds before you were even old enough to consent to being on them, I understand your pain, and assure you that even in a case like this, you CAN heal, and a life without depending on these drugs IS possible. I know there likely aren't many of us but I know others like me do exist and I hope somehow you find this post and my story can help you in some way.

 

The medications I was on during this period were Zoloft and Celexa (I switched to the latter when I was 13), and I was on the highest doses of each (200mg and 40mg, respectively). 

When I was 18 years old, I had a stressful period and since it was my first time living away from home at college I started to come to some realizations about how crazy the whole thing was that I was taking these medications without even really understanding as to why I was on them still and not feeling like it was in any way my decision to take them. This was in 2014 and because I was young, and felt invincible and naive I essentially just stopped taking it (Celexa 40mg at this point). 

 

I'm not sure about how much detail is necessary here about what followed (although I'm more than happy to answer any questions anyone has and am an open book), but basically, I was ok for a couple of months, but then suffered for the next 4 years with intense, excruciating withdrawal symptoms that ranged from extremely painful physical and medical things to hellish mental symptoms. To this day it amazes me what this drug did to my system, as I never imagined that it could affect things that it affected (my blood tests from my first year of withdrawal confounded even the fancy, expensive doctors I went to). 

 

I suffered more than any teenager/young adult should ever have to suffer. I spent literally 3 years basically bedridden, in severe physical and mental pain, not knowing what was going on or if it was ever going to end. I felt like my soul was in crisis, and like I had no sense of self or purpose anymore. Growing up on these meds, I had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn't really been myself from age 5 to 18. But instead of starting over, and forming who I really was, I was unable to even do that because of the physical and mental pain I was in and inability to do anything with my life.

 

I could go on and on with more specifics, but I feel it's more important now to explain what I believe really healed me (And I do consider myself healed now-- I went from being bedridden in pain, dysfunction, and chaos, barely even able to stand and walk sometimes, and completely hopeless about life and feeling out of control, to completely healthy, functional, happy, and living my best life).

 

I think all of us who go through this suffer on a level that others can't really comprehend. But some of us may not realize that there is, in fact, an upside to this. When we're immobilized by pain, and crippled with mental symptoms like depression and anxiety, we have no choice but to just sit and be with ourselves. And this is where we find and understand who our true selves are. This might sound strange or "woo woo", but the major catalyst that really jumpstarted my healing was finding the calm within the storm. I highly recommend meditation for everyone going through this because for me it is what helped me access the part of me that was happy and calm independent of all external circumstances. The more I was able to quiet all my thoughts, the quicker I felt my healing process going. 

 

I really went through a spiritual journey, especially this past year when my healing really cemented, and I can honestly say that I've emerged not only healed, but a happier and wiser person than before this all started. I made the decision that I was going to heal, I made the decision that I was going to find happiness and joy and the life I wanted, whatever it took. I feel happier and more excited about life than I ever have (and my body and mind feel amazing). When you let go of stress, worrying, sadness, and negative thoughts, even when the situation outside you really is negative, you will be shocked at how things change.

 

This whole journey is a spiritual journey for all of us. Yes, there are physical effects from this drug, but healing really takes place when we harness the light that exists in us even when things are at their worst. It's a highly personal path, but I really believe it is possible for everyone to overcome this. Supplements can help, but the power of the mind is limitless and infinitely more rewarding.

 

Sparknotes version 

- meditate daily- quiet your mind. This is so beneficial for mental and physical health.

- be aware of your thoughts, and as best you can, limit stressful and negative thoughts. For the first few years of withdrawal, my thinking was constantly "Life is so unfair", "I'm in so much pain", "What if this never ends?", "I am in hell", "Life sucks", etc. If this process has taught me anything, it's that your thoughts do matter, more than you know. Once I started changing my thoughts, my body and mind literally started to change.

- journal. Writing down your thoughts can be very cathartic and can even help purge negativity that could be holding you back. Also, as counterintuitive as it may sound, you can even "fake" journal, i.e. write as if you have already healed, write as if you are happy and healthy. 

- Something I didn't mention in the full post, but VERY important-- when it comes to supplements, start one at a time, and start at a low dose. I know this is mentioned on this site many times, but I didn't take it seriously. I can't tell you how many months I literally lost because my SUPPLEMENTS were giving me symptoms that I thought were just part of the withdrawal, but were actually from the supplements I thought were supposed to help my withdrawal! As Altostrata is always saying, our bodies are very sensitized when in withdrawal and we can have seriously adverse reactions to things that seem super benign. Fish oil, for example, gave me heart palpitations. Ashwagandha, a 'gentle herb' that I had only read good things about, gave me major joint pain and digestive issues. PLEASE start supplements one at a time, at a low dose, wait a couple weeks and see how you're reacting to them. Everyone is different, and only you know what works and doesn't work for you. Keep track of what you're taking and don't fall into the trap of thinking "Oh, it's just a natural supplement, that can't be causing anything". That's how I used to think too and I went through even more pain because of it.

 

There were times that I thought because my brain had developed on these drugs and I was on them so long, I'd never heal. But I did, and I'm in an even better place than I think I would have been if I hadn't gone through this. I am a genuinely happy person, I've formed deep connections with people, I have hope for my life and feel so happy and secure on my path, and I have really learned to appreciate the little things. Most importantly, I learned the importance of my thoughts and how they really affect all aspects of my life. I believe we are all meant to have a happy and healthy life, and it's possible to reclaim that right even when things seem utterly hopeless and bleak. Remember that you have more power than you know. We are a greater and more powerful force than these drugs are!

 

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Oliver1974

Excellent post in every way. Thank you 

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DavidxRoss

Hi julia. Can you elaborate a bit about how long exactly were you ok after stopping CT? and what does it mean exactly? Did you notice any changes in your mood during first few months?

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wantrelief

This is such a beautiful post, Julia.....thank you for sharing your recovery story and your insights.

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julia955
5 hours ago, DavidxRoss said:

Hi julia. Can you elaborate a bit about how long exactly were you ok after stopping CT? and what does it mean exactly? Did you notice any changes in your mood during first few months?

 

Well, if you count from the first time I ever tried to withdraw, that was about 6 years ago. However, I was constantly reinstating and at this point it's been almost 18 months since I've taken anything. And I would say at the 14 month mark my symptoms were dramatically better to the point I could function almost as well as before I withdrew, and at this point I consider myself recovered.

 

Unfortunately it's impossible for me to know what exactly I did that helped me heal because I did so many things. And many of the things I tried made me feel worse but I don't know if that was part of the healing process or not. I believe the most important factors were time, a complete change of mindset, meditation, and the 'four essentials' as my mom always reminded me to stay on top of haha: hydration, nutrition, rest, and movement. The beginning of this year I reached a turning point where I prioritized lowering stress as much as possible and staying happy, and whatever I needed to do to do that, I'd do. Because I couldn't do much of anything, I really feel like I started to have a spiritual experience where I trusted completely that I was going to heal and this experience was going to serve an important purpose for my life. That filled me with peace even when I was physically uncomfortable. This was very unexpected and rewarding for me because prior to this I had spent a lot of my life and withdrawal as a cynic and pessimist who didn't believe that my thoughts had any affect on my life. This experience has shown me firsthand that a change in thinking and belief can really change what happens to your body and promote healing.

 

Another thing that I didn't mention is that, very recently I discovered I can tolerate vitamins which to me was a sign that my nervous system has come out of a hypersensitive state. I basically wanted to experiment with a multivitamin and although the first 3 days I took it I had some worsening of symptoms, then that went away and I actually started to feel better and much more energetic. It was a really positive sign for me. I have read that sometimes when someone has a deficiency there are worsening of symptoms before they get better. Unfortunately in withdrawal the worsening is just too extreme with us to stick with it but I do think a lot of us have deficiencies just because of how stressful this is on the body and the fact that apparently these drugs can deplete things. But it's tough to weigh the benefits vs risks when taking them. 

 

I did unfortunately have dramatic mood issues up until this year. I was physically so uncomfortable and unable to deal with it that I was extremely angry and other times I entered deep states of depression and suicidality. Since I didn't even go on this drug for depression it really speaks volumes what it does to our brains. Other times I had severe anxiety, inability to make decisions. And at the beginning of withdrawal I think I entered a short period of mania where I spent a ton of money and couldn't think stably or rationally at all. I was filled with intense anger and sadness about the whole situation and how it made me lose years of my life and suffer so much. So my moods did really suffer and the worst were the periods of intense depression, but I'm so thankful I made it through that.

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trenace
6 hours ago, julia955 said:

 

Well, if you count from the first time I ever tried to withdraw, that was about 6 years ago. However, I was constantly reinstating and at this point it's been almost 18 months since I've taken anything. And I would say at the 14 month mark my symptoms were dramatically better to the point I could function almost as well as before I withdrew, and at this point I consider myself recovered.

 

Unfortunately it's impossible for me to know what exactly I did that helped me heal because I did so many things. And many of the things I tried made me feel worse but I don't know if that was part of the healing process or not. I believe the most important factors were time, a complete change of mindset, meditation, and the 'four essentials' as my mom always reminded me to stay on top of haha: hydration, nutrition, rest, and movement. The beginning of this year I reached a turning point where I prioritized lowering stress as much as possible and staying happy, and whatever I needed to do to do that, I'd do. Because I couldn't do much of anything, I really feel like I started to have a spiritual experience where I trusted completely that I was going to heal and this experience was going to serve an important purpose for my life. That filled me with peace even when I was physically uncomfortable. This was very unexpected and rewarding for me because prior to this I had spent a lot of my life and withdrawal as a cynic and pessimist who didn't believe that my thoughts had any affect on my life. This experience has shown me firsthand that a change in thinking and belief can really change what happens to your body and promote healing.

 

Another thing that I didn't mention is that, very recently I discovered I can tolerate vitamins which to me was a sign that my nervous system has come out of a hypersensitive state. I basically wanted to experiment with a multivitamin and although the first 3 days I took it I had some worsening of symptoms, then that went away and I actually started to feel better and much more energetic. It was a really positive sign for me. I have read that sometimes when someone has a deficiency there are worsening of symptoms before they get better. Unfortunately in withdrawal the worsening is just too extreme with us to stick with it but I do think a lot of us have deficiencies just because of how stressful this is on the body and the fact that apparently these drugs can deplete things. But it's tough to weigh the benefits vs risks when taking them. 

 

I did unfortunately have dramatic mood issues up until this year. I was physically so uncomfortable and unable to deal with it that I was extremely angry and other times I entered deep states of depression and suicidality. Since I didn't even go on this drug for depression it really speaks volumes what it does to our brains. Other times I had severe anxiety, inability to make decisions. And at the beginning of withdrawal I think I entered a short period of mania where I spent a ton of money and couldn't think stably or rationally at all. I was filled with intense anger and sadness about the whole situation and how it made me lose years of my life and suffer so much. So my moods did really suffer and the worst were the periods of intense depression, but I'm so thankful I made it through that.

Hey, awesome success it's weird how I can be so happy for someone I don't know lol. 🙃 I just wanted to say I hope you enjoy your new life, but don't go overboard with all sorts of supplements and stuff because I came out of the nervous system hypersensitivity in January too but after a course of antibiotics my symptoms all came back and I've become hypersensitive to supplements again so just be careful still. I can really relate to your mood swings and anger and everything so can't really explain how happy I am that you managed to come out of it. Goodluck with everything now and have fun you deserve it. 

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Melissa5000

Hello Julia, thank you very much for sharing your story! This is just what I need to read on a regular basis. :)

 

I read some books about how thoughts can influence your life and health. I suspect it influences my  recovery somewhat. I don't know how big the power of thoughts are. In heavy withdrawal or in a wave not much seems to help.

I notice that the longer I hold my dose after a reduction, the more positive my thoughts become.(Automatically without effort) I agree that meditation is helpfull. I take fishoil without problems now. But thanks for warning about the heart

palpitations from it. I still have to taper a lot so when I come to lower doses it might happen to me too. I'll pay attention to that. 

 

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Melissa5000

Julia, you mention you were bedridden. How long were you bedridden after you stopped 18 months ago? 

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TurkeyCold

Julia, I do highly resonate and sympathize with your initial post. So much truth in it! 

 

For the rest of your (hopefully long, long) life I wish you all the best :)

 

C. 

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julia955
On 11/2/2019 at 6:39 AM, trenace said:

Hey, awesome success it's weird how I can be so happy for someone I don't know lol. 🙃 I just wanted to say I hope you enjoy your new life, but don't go overboard with all sorts of supplements and stuff because I came out of the nervous system hypersensitivity in January too but after a course of antibiotics my symptoms all came back and I've become hypersensitive to supplements again so just be careful still. I can really relate to your mood swings and anger and everything so can't really explain how happy I am that you managed to come out of it. Goodluck with everything now and have fun you deserve it. 

I definitely won't. However, that's quite interesting (and horrible of course) that antibiotics set you off again. 

Everyone is different so I dont want to make any generalizations, but through all my research a theory I (and some more holistic Drs) have is that both antidepressants and antibiotics negatively affect our mitochondria and therefore our body has difficulty getting the energy it needs to deal with stressors. Vitamins (especially B vitamins, B1 specifically) can really help this but unfortunately it seems that the more someone needs them, the more a paradoxical reaction occurs where for the first few weeks we feel exponentially worse. I do feel that the kind of hypersensitivity we experience is a part of this. And thank you! I believe fully you're going to get over this too. With patience and the right conditions the body and mind can heal from this.

 

If you're interested this explains it a bit, https://www.hormonesmatter.com/energy-loss-cause-disease/ . I got really into reading all of his work towards the end of withdrawal because his theory suddenly started to make sense of all this to me. The stress of going off the drugs requires a huge amount of energy but because our whole energy system was likely damaged from the drug (or, we became deficient because our needs became so abnormally high), our body goes into crisis. I hope maybe his information can help you like it helped me towards the end! Even the peace of mind I got from understanding on a biological level what might be going on made me feel less crazy and calmed me down a bit, which is always good for healing on its own.

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julia955
On 11/2/2019 at 8:49 AM, Melissa5000 said:

Hello Julia, thank you very much for sharing your story! This is just what I need to read on a regular basis. :)

 

I read some books about how thoughts can influence your life and health. I suspect it influences my  recovery somewhat. I don't know how big the power of thoughts are. In heavy withdrawal or in a wave not much seems to help.

I notice that the longer I hold my dose after a reduction, the more positive my thoughts become.(Automatically without effort) I agree that meditation is helpfull. I take fishoil without problems now. But thanks for warning about the heart

palpitations from it. I still have to taper a lot so when I come to lower doses it might happen to me too. I'll pay attention to that. 

 

 

That is great that your 'automatic' state gets more positive, I think that's an awesome sign that you are healing :). And after this second round I would say that for the first couple months I was very sick and bedridden, then for a few months after that I was able to start doing basic things and my routine became more 'normal' (definitely not feeling anything close to good or how a person in their early 20s should, but at least I could get up every day and do basic things and errands and read and occasionally do things with friends/family). Then at the 6-7 month mark I was back in bed but mainly for depression, not physical symptoms. Ok again for a few months, then physical symptoms hit again...then at the year mark I had two months of feeling totally normal, then a setback..as you can see, the windows and waves definitely applied to me but every time I was hit with symptoms they weren't quite as bad, and every time I got better, it was much better than the last time. It was kind of a chaotic pattern but I could tell during my last 'window', I had a good feeling that the next time I felt better it would be for good because I had never had a window of feeling that normal before.

 

I can't predict the future so I don't know if in six months, a year, etc another wave will come, but I believe that if it does it will be very minor compared to what they were during my first year. I really feel in balance and safe and resilient in my body again.

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Melissa5000

Thank you very much for your answer! Your story is giving me hope. :)

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Timberline

Hi Julia! I see your location is NYC. I'm on Long Island. I find your story so inspiring. Wondering if we might be able to connect via email? Thank you so much and congrats on your beautiful new life! xo

Edited by manymoretodays
sent PM, regarding starting introduction, and using PM to exchange e-mails

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SonGoku

Hi julia, 

 

wow your story is amazing, You really earned it to live a happy life. Wish you all the best for your future...

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Cathy4
On 10/27/2019 at 12:54 PM, julia955 said:

Remember that you have more power than you know. We are a greater and more powerful force than these drugs are!

Thank you, Julia, for sharing your story.  I had no idea that for years the drugs allowed me to sort of skate by while subsisting on my negative thought patterns.  I realized a few weeks ago that I must change my thought patterns.  
 

Something I’ve been telling myself during the hardest days is “I’m stronger than these drugs.”  And then you put it more eloquently at the end of your story and I thought, “oh good, others believe this, too, and have gotten through this!!!”

 

Thank you, 

Cathy

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Heath

Thank you Julia for inspiration for us! Happy you have healed! 

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