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mstimc

mstimc: hello from an SRI vet

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mstimc

Hi All

I was a member of Paxilprogress.org several years ago; that site and its wonderful members helped me wean off Paxil in 2009 and I remained a member until the site closed.  I have since been managing my anxiety disorder through regular therapy and using CBT tools.  I view anxiety and depression as a chronic condition like diabetes; it can't necessarily be "cured" but it can be successfully managed.  I've had my ups and downs over the years but I have to say I've had a great life. 

 

This past September, my wife and I retired early and decided to move from California to Portugal for a few years so we can explore Europe while we're healthy enough to get around.  It's a beautiful country and the people are very gracious, but I do find my anxiety has increased due to cultural changes.  I'm hoping to join a group similar to Paxilprogress where I can share my story, lend some support, and just spend some time with folks who understand what its like to live with anxiety.  Thanks!

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, mstimc.

 

I'm very glad you're doing well.  You have come to the right place.  The members and moderators are very supportive and there are several veterans of your old group on hand.

 

We moved from California to Ecuador ten years ago (like you, retirement), and along with the good things and friendly people there are definitely anxiety-causing stressors resulting from cultural changes here too.  I've heard great things about Portugal.

 

This is your Introduction thread where you can connect with other members.  We're glad you found your ways here..

 

 

 

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mstimc

Thanks for the welcome, Gridley!  I look forward to participating!

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Erell

Hello ,

 

And welcome here!

I'm so glad To discover someone that managed To tapper Paxil, thank you for sharing your success ;)

 

Portugal is a wonderful place! If you visit France and have questions, don't hesitate To ask 😊

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rola

@mstimc

hello and welcome 
I'm glad you can tell us your story with paxil. I think a lot of people here would be happy to hear it and me.
enjoy your retirement and see you soon 😊

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mstimc

Thank you Erell and Rola!  I'll be posting my story in the "Success" folder in the next day or two!

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brassmonkey

Hi Mstimc-- It's good to see another exPPer with a success story.  Welcome to the group, can't wait to read your success story.  Traveling in retirement, what a concept, just got back a few months ago from a four month around the world trip.  Off to India in a few months to photograph tigers.  Your time in Portugal sound wonderful.

 

Brassmonkey

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mstimc

Brassmonkey--great to hear from a blast from the past! 😀

 

Going to Barcelona in May and Berlin in November/December.  After that, we'd like to spend at least a month in the British Isles since I'm of Scotch and Irish descent.

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mstimc
Posted (edited)

Topic title before merging with original introduction topic:  Recovery - Where Do You Find It?

 

As a mentor and someone who has been through the hell of withdrawal and the journey of gradual recovery, I've developed my own philosophy of where recovery comes from.  I've posted something similar on specific threads, but I thought it might help to create a unique topic.  

 

The motto and main principle of Paxilprogress.org was "Freedom is in you.  You are enough.  You are your solution."  That is the key to recovery and future happiness.  We can give you support, advice and guidance.  You can adopt and practice all sorts of CBT and other coping tools.  You can see a therapist for years.  You can even go back on meds.  But unless and until you accept that the power that created your hell is also the power that can overcome it, nothing will work.  It takes time, determination and struggling to find the right path, but you can do it.  

 

I believe there are two ways to approach withdrawal and recovery: you can expect it to come from outside yourself or you can internalize recovery methods and use the power of your mind to help you recover.  An example of something outside yourself is medication.  You take medication and expect it to do something to you.  Its passive, in the sense you take no other action other than taking a pill.  I'm not militantly anti-drug; sometimes you need something to get you through a bad wave or certain situations.  But medication is not recovery; it is at best temporary mitigation of symptoms that do nothing to address the root causes of anxiety, OCD and/or depression.  Relying on external methods of recovery is haphazard and will likely fail.

 

Internally-driven recovery means changing your behaviors.   The key is internalizing thoughts, practices, and beliefs and turning them into actions.  That takes far more effort and will than taking a pill but I firmly believe it is the only effective path to lifetime recovery.  It means resolving the issues that forced you to take medication in the first place.  There are lots of resources at your disposal, from therapy to online videos to thousands of books.  The good news is there is no single correct path; you can choose what works best for you and experiment until you find what works best for you.  For me, it was a series of CBT-based practices that addressed my OCD actions, anxious thinking and hypochondria.   The practices are effective, but you need to make the effort to find them and use them. 

 

The choice is intensely personal and up to each person; you can take medications and hope they suppress the symptoms long enough to recover some balance, or you can invest the time and effort to achieve behavorial recovery, which will last a lifetime.  

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

Hi mstimc, I've merged your 2 introduction topics into the first one.

 

It might be that you thought you were posting it in a different area of the forum.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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mstimc
7 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

Hi mstimc, I've merged your 2 introduction topics into the first one.

 

It might be that you thought you were posting it in a different area of the forum.

 

👌

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sunnysideup69

Hello there, thank you for your positive words on my thread! Hoping this post finds you well?

xxx

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mstimc
1 hour ago, sunnysideup69 said:

Hello there, thank you for your positive words on my thread! Hoping this post finds you well?

xxx

Hi Sunny

 

Thanks for checking in!  We're doing okay.  We do miss our friends and family in the States, especially during this pandemic, but Portugal seems much safer than the US right now.  The UK has its challenges as well.  Its great we have this site to support and uphold each other, especially at times like this.

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mstimc

OK, just to show that even those of us who have "recovered" can still make mistakes.  I've had a persistent pain in my side, most likely from an old ab injury as a kid, I never had treated (kids do dumb things like that).  It flares up now and then, and I usually take care of it by resting.  But we've been really active lately, so its taking longer to go away.  To help it on its way,  I hit it with Tiger Balm.  I got carried away and now I have a nice case of prickly heat from slathering on the balm.  Now I have to make sure I use the cortisone cream moderately and not be in a rush for it to go away.  Sheesh! 

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sunnysideup69
1 hour ago, mstimc said:

OK, just to show that even those of us who have "recovered" can still make mistakes.  I've had a persistent pain in my side, most likely from an old ab injury as a kid, I never had treated (kids do dumb things like that).  It flares up now and then, and I usually take care of it by resting.  But we've been really active lately, so its taking longer to go away.  To help it on its way,  I hit it with Tiger Balm.  I got carried away and now I have a nice case of prickly heat from slathering on the balm.  Now I have to make sure I use the cortisone cream moderately and not be in a rush for it to go away.  Sheesh! 

Ooh, ouch! Hoping it goes away for you soon, mstimc!

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mstimc

Thanks, Sunny!  The last couple of days, the pain has decreased.  I guess my OCD moved from the ab strain to the rash--LOL!😆

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bijay

@mstimc  Welcome, and thanks, your post about Tiger Balm made me smile.  I discovered it long ago when working in Singapore, and boy does that stuff smell!

 

I’d be interested in hearing more about the CBT approaches that worked for you, especially in regard to dealing with physical symptoms.

 

Congrats your recovery :)

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mstimc
Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, bijay said:

I'd be interested in hearing more about the CBT approaches that worked for you, especially in regard to dealing with physical symptoms.

 

Hi Bijay

 

A use different CBT tools for different things.  One thing that works for health anxiety is what my shrink calls "reality checking".  Basically, it means taking a few seconds to control my breathing and get in a calmer state, and then taking an objective look at my situation.  My current condition is an example.  I tore an ab muscle when I was 17 and never got it treated.  Its been a weak spot ever since, especially when I'm anxious.  Since we're expats living in Portugal, the COVID situation has me pretty tense.  We have a son in grad school in a hot spot (Michigan) and I'm concerned about him and other family members.  That, and sitting around during lockdown, most of the time with bad posture watching TV. contributed to my latest flare-up. 

 

A few days ago, my mind began running away with me and I started thinking I had a dread disease.  Ab pain is a symptom of all sorts of terrible diseases; just check the Internet.  I had to stop and do a reality check.  Yes, my ab hurts, but its hurt before.  And its gone on for long enough that I'd be showing other symptoms if I had something serious.  I saw a doctor to set up physical therapy, and he said its my old ab tear, too.  Looking at the reality helped me get some perspective and deal with the muscle pull as something that needs time and exercise to heal.

 

I also realize that if you search a symptom on the Internet, the worst possible caused show up first.  When I was in the depths of WD and recovery, I drove my GP nuts with one "disease" after another.  He'd always listen patiently and then explain my condition was some run-of-the-mill problem that would go away by itself or with minimal treatment.  Then I'd go home and search that cause and discover it accounts for 99% of the symptoms I was having.  Looking back, I realize how foolish some of my fears were, but they were plenty real when I was feeling them.

 

I've come to accept that, faced with something unfamiliar, my mind immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario.  But I don't need to stay there.  I let that initial panic hit and then let it lose some of its urgency.  Then I get to the mental work of doing a reality check and replace the anxious thinking with facts.  It takes effort and practice, but it does work. 
 

And one last piece of wisdom from my wife.  She told me that living my life afraid of being sick is just as bad as having a real disease.  That stuck with me.

 

 

Edited by mstimc

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bijay

@mstimc Thanks much for the advice.  I am dealing with symptoms both caused by the drug I am taking and from withdrawal, and it can be difficult to keep my eyes on the prize of one day being drug -free.  I try to do as much as I can to keep the worst-case scenarios out of my head.

 

Bty, you have a very wise wife.  Her words stick with me too!

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mstimc

Oh yeah, she’s the brains of the outfit!
 

You will be drug free and so much stronger for this experience, because you’ll know you can handle what life throws at you.  For now, just take each day as it comes knowing it’s a day closer to recovery.

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bijay

Appreciate your kind and generous words of support :)

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mstimc
Just now, bijay said:

Appreciate your kind and generous words of support :)

That’s what I’m here for!😊

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