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Rhiannon

☼ Rhiannon's intro (by Rhi)

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Rhiannon

I do something like this...I call it mini-tapering in my head. I think the most important thing to be aware if is how many days out symptoms hit so you don't stack cuts too close together. And taking tiny cuts so you can move up and down with impunity. I think of it as a little motorcycle weaving through the traffic :).

Cool! I think of it as like dancing. Sort of the same thing. 

 

And I've stumbled across the same two things--how good it is to take your time at first until you get a really good sense of what your pattern is going to be, so you don't cut again too much too soon and get ahead of your body's healing pattern. Plus yes, the tiny cuts, so you can tweak as needed.

 

It's slow but I think that's what my brain wants and needs. And so far all the evidence (as far as how well I'm doing and how good I feel most of the time) is that it's working. 

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mattinsmom

Just a quick check in. I know I haven't been around much these days - funny little thing called life keeps me busy. However, I wanted to check on you and your tapers. Are you ok? Sounds it from your above posts. Office cleaned without too much angst? You a'ight?

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Rhiannon

I'm doing okay. Not great, but that's normal, since I'm cutting doses again. Also, my job is still causing me some challenges, because we're understaffed so I'm having to work five nights a week instead of just four, which leaves me only two nights a week for a social life, very frustrating.  

 

And no expectation of that changing any time soon. I've worked at this place five years and we've been fully staffed about six months of that time. The position that needs to be filled is part time and it's hard to find people who want to move out to the boonies of nowhere for a part time job. Sigh..Well, in two or three years one of the day shift people will be retiring and I'll have the option of taking his shift, I think. Maybe I'll even be almost finished tapering by then.

 

Is there really going to be a future? Will I ever be satisfied with everything about my life? (I know the answer to that last question--of course not!)

 

I've made a new friend, a woman I'm crazy about, and we've been hanging out a lot, which has been great fun. We've discussed me moving in with her eventually, because she has a room she is renting out now and her roommate won't be there forever, plus I've been wanting to find a living situation where I'm not living alone, plus the town she lives in (about half an hour from where I live and where my job is) is a lot prettier and more fun than the one where I live (but also way too expensive for me to afford by myself). So that might be happening. Except I keep getting crazy anxiety about it.

 

I think it's because back in 2005-2008 when I completely lost it and my life went totally to **** (drug-induced and withdrawal-induced) and ended up losing my house and my savings, and ended up in the hospital, and my life fell into complete chaos for a few years--I moved so many times, never knowing how I was going to take care of myself, had to give up most of my stuff, moved to three different states, was on and off different meds and in horrible fear and withdrawal, and no money--it was such a painful and chaotic time.

 

Then I landed up here, tapering, getting the med effects under control, with this job which has been stable and secure in spite of the frustrating schedule, and in my current apartment now for three and a half years. I have more security and safety than I've ever had, I think.

 

And I think the idea of moving again and having to put stuff into storage and figure out how to live in much less space, and with a housemate (so I don't have 100% control of my space)--I think it's scary and triggering because of that fear and chaos I went through. I mean it would be a little scary regardless, because change is scary and I'm an abuse survivor with complex PTSD. But I think that because this apartment is the first place I've been safe and rooted in a very long time, since the house that I lost in 2007, the idea of leaving is extra scary.

 

Well, writing that out is helpful. Interesting. Thanks for asking about me so that I could do that.

 

As far as the meds and taper, I was holding for a long time and then recently made some cuts and I'm making some more this week. Nothing drastic but it does interfere with my sleep, which makes everything else kind of wonky. But I will be holding again soon due to stuff happening in my life--working two graveyard shifts around Thanksgiving, then doing the family Christmas which we are doing early this year because nobody can get together on actual Christmas. We make a big fuss about Christmas, me and my girls, it's the only holiday in the year that we make a big deal about and pretty much our only family tradition kind of thing. We cram a lot into about two and a half days. I want to be feeling good for that. So after these cuts I'm making this week (Lamictal from 53 to 52, Valium from 1.6 to 1.58) I'm going to make one more cut in the Valium at the end of the month and hold everything else until the end of December.

 

I'm excited because by the end of January I should be down to 50 of Lamictal and I'll be able to stop dissolving and measuring that one for a while. The tablets are 100 mg, scored, so I'm going to hold at 50 for quite a while and focus on the benzos. That damned Valium is such slow going!

 

Am I ever going to finish tapering? Oh well, who knows. I feel so much better now than I did for so many years on the "therapeutic" doses. I could live like this if I had to. But I'd really like to get off the Xanax, which I have to dose every three hours, what a pain! and Valium is horrible in so many ways. So I'm going to keep on keeping on and just see how far I can get.

 

Well, there you go! long answer. :-)

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mammaP

Hi Rhi, I'm glad you have a friend that you get along so well with, they are few and far between but sometimes

you just click with someone and they become true friends for life.  

You are incredibly patient with your taper and an inspiration. It is fantastic that you are doing so well and the super

slow taper is really paying off for you.  It seems ridiculous that such tiny cuts can cause withdrawal and anyone who

hasn't experienced it just can't grasp how real that is.  I hope you don't get any withdrawal from your cuts, how great 

that would be! 

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Rhiannon

After a week of struggling with insomnia, I got nine hours of sleep last night! About five really solid hours and then broken sleep after that, but that's about as good as it ever gets for me, so I'll take it. Still having the digestive problems and reflux and nausea. If past experience is anything to go by, that will lighten up in about two more weeks but for it to really go away fully I would have to hold longer than I plan to hold (like at least a couple of months).

 

I'm grateful that the Valium taper is so predictable, even if it is incredibly slow.

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bubble

Dear Rhi,

 

as always happy to hear from you. It's amazing how understanding what is going on helps us to accept it stoically and not react with panic: oh my God, I'm not sleeping. This is the 5th night I haven't slept a wink.etc. Unlike that, you know it's part of the drill and that it will pass if you patiently accept it.

 

The key to tapering is in cultivating such attitude.

 

hugs 

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mattinsmom

Did you decide to move with your new friend? I'm not sure how soon that option was going to be available to you. I get the "feeling safe" part when considering such a big change. I am finding that staying in one place, with as safe as it has become, is starting to feel more like confinement then protection. Of course my kids are all fast approaching the moving out stage so I'm probably feeding a bit off that. Not sure I want to be in this house if they aren't here. 

 

And the med cuts? Still ok? I know you said you were going to hold until the end of December. Is the reflux/digestive issue resolving any. I think its been a couple of weeks now. I'm hoping that they have. I pray for your windows to come frequently, stay long, and be wide open.

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mattinsmom

Hey - you ok?

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Rhiannon

Hi :-)

 

Thanks for checking in on me Amy. I'm doing okay. Had a busy week last week, worked two graveyard shifts and then me and my friend drove to a place about three hours away where my son-in-law's parents had rented a lake house for the family to meet for Thanksgiving.  We got there Friday about 7 and left Sunday at 11. It was great, although short; both of my daughters were there with their partners, plus son-in-law's folks and sisters, so I got to be part of a family and group, which is really good for me. We hiked a little (it was beautiful!) and I even got the kayak out once (in spite of snow and very cold temps). 

 

Otherwise everything is just sort of rolling along. I've been "scoonching" down my meds a bit and this week I'm going to take the lamotrigine and valium down a hair more. Looks like I'll get to 50 on the lamotrigine in about three weeks, sooner than I had expected. I'm looking forward to not having to dissolve and measure that one for a while. The tablets are 100 mg and scored, so I'm going to stay at 50 for a while and just break the tablets--it has a long enough half life that any small irregularities from getting a little less than half one day will overlap and cancel when I take the other half the next day, I think. I'm really looking forward to just holding there for a few months, maybe even six months or so, while I focus on tapering the benzos. Maybe I'll even hold it longer, just going to see how it goes.

 

My older daughter has just moved from a city five hours away to a different one about an hour and a half away. I'm thrilled! 

 

I'm still planning to move to the town half an hour from here (and half an hour closer to my older daughter's new location), with my friend, but I'm not ready yet. The next few months have too much going on (holidays and a big Christmas "do" at my younger daughter's house, then going 2000 miles away to see my dad in January for the first time since my mom passed, then getting dental implants in February). I'm kind of lazily going through my stuff and getting rid of the stuff I'm less attached to or that's just gathering dust, because I'm going to have to move into a much smaller space. I'll be renting a storage unit but ideally I'd like to downsize enough that I can eventually get rid of it, it seems silly to pay to rent a space for "stuff."

 

Work is looking up too, they hired somebody, so once she gets started (this week I think) and gets trained up, I'll go back to working four ten hour shifts instead of five eights. The tens are pretty tiring and there's no time to do much else on those days, but I think overall I like them better, and since I'll be commuting about 60 miles round trip once I move, it will be better to only do that four days.

 

I'm feeling okay. Still having some tummy stuff but it seems to be a little less. Sleeping quite well for now, although I'll be cutting the Valium soon so that will change for a while. The withdrawal is still being pretty predictable, which is great, although no withdrawal at all would be even better of course. Today I'm feeling particularly good because I always feel good after being in a social/group situation like that, feeling connected to other people, cared about, included. Back to work and regular routine today though and working through next weekend with just one day off. Oh well. There will be more good times.

 

So--long answer again! but I think that's all the big news. 

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mammaP

Sounds like you had a great time Rhi, I'm glad that it went well for you. Being around people 

that love you is a great treatment for withdrawal! 

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tgirl

Rhi,

I find your thread to be of great comfort to me.

How do you stay so possitive?

And you are working a full time + job on top of everything!

Kudos to you!

Thank you for the good read!

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mattinsmom

(insert ear-to-ear grin here)

I am so glad that things are going well for you. So happy that you are making the connections with people, getting out to socialize, broadening your horizons. Look at you go.

 

I am SO PROUD of you.  

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simon

Hi Rhi

Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site. I find it inspirational. you have the knack of explaining things well in a way that I can grasp.

I hope that when I eventually get off all these chemicals, I too will get my clear mind back, up and working!

In the meantime its good to know that theres someone else who has got their life back.

 

Simon

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Rhiannon

Sounds like you had a great time Rhi, I'm glad that it went well for you. Being around people 

that love you is a great treatment for withdrawal! 

 

Boy,that is the truth. Actually I struggle a lot with loneliness and I think I spend too much time on the computer as a result, because it's some kind of connection with others. I think it's going to be really good to be living with someone else instead of alone, although I will probably miss some of the freedoms that come from having your own space. Plus the space! I'm really going to have to downsize, not sure how I'll manage.

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Rhiannon

Rhi,

I find your thread to be of great comfort to me.

How do you stay so possitive?

And you are working a full time + job on top of everything!

Kudos to you!

Thank you for the good read!

 

I am so glad to hear that tgirl, that my thread is a comfort to you! I was really in bad shape once upon a time so I think I'm good evidence that there's hope for almost anyone.

 

I seem to have an innately optimistic nature, don't know how that works but I've always been like that, although it's a lot easier when I'm feeling good, which is not always of course. Also I don't really always share when I'm struggling, believe me I do struggle. These days what I'm struggling with isn't so much the everyday coping, it's getting myself motivated to do things to move forward in life, or even just clean my bedroom for that matter. It seems to be so much easier to just coast, but then I don't like the results. 

 

I think the fact that I had no choice but to work full time has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me because it forced me to go so slow with my taper, and I think going so slow has been way better for my health. It's also given me a chance to learn what that's like so I can encourage and support other people who have to do it the same way.

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Rhiannon

(insert ear-to-ear grin here)

I am so glad that things are going well for you. So happy that you are making the connections with people, getting out to socialize, broadening your horizons. Look at you go.

 

I am SO PROUD of you.  

 

Awwwww Amy you are the BEST!!! Thank you! I'm feeling kind of crummy today. I've been really frustrated with myself lately because there is so much I need to get done and I just can't get up the "oomph" to do it, I feel like all I do is cope with whatever's right in front of me and let the rest slide. But you're right, I actually do get out a lot. I think probably no matter how much I do I will always feel like I should be doing more. My emphasis for several years has been on building a social life, and I should probably let myself appreciate how successful I've been with that, rather than just beating myself up for the things I haven't been doing with my time.

 

Anyway hugs to you lady, I appreciate you so much.

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Rhiannon

Hi Rhi

Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site. I find it inspirational. you have the knack of explaining things well in a way that I can grasp.

I hope that when I eventually get off all these chemicals, I too will get my clear mind back, up and working!

In the meantime its good to know that theres someone else who has got their life back.

 

Simon

 

Simon, you'll be delighted to see how much clearer your mind gets as you get to lower doses. I know it's frustrating to be at the beginning and feel like you have so far to go, but every step counts and every step helps. And yes, if I can manage to have a life that's worth living (which I think I finally do have), pretty much anyone can, because I really was in a bad place for quite a long time. There's so much hope for everyone. Just take it slow and hang in there.

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simon

Will do! very encouraging!

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dalsaan

You're always an inspiration. It's hard to rebuild a social life.

Hats off to you. Well done xx

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Rhiannon

Aw, thanks Dalsaan! 

 

I've actually kinda screwed myself, which is something I do periodically, by pushing my taper in spite of symptoms. It's just so frustrating that I get symptoms with such relatively small reductions. I've been kind of pushing the Lamictal because I want to get to 50 mg so I can just cut tablets and not do the whole dissolving and measuring thing with it for a while. I'm planning to hold at 50 (half a tablet per day) for a while, and focus on getting the benzos down more during that time. I think it's a good plan.

 

Only problem is, I'm getting Lamictal withdrawal symptoms now, which suck. I've been having the tummy stuff for a while. Just in the past week or so, I've been having this intense bone-crushing fatigue. At first I thought maybe my thyroid meds needed tweaking, but it doesn't feel exactly the same as when I have thyroid problems. Then I thought I was coming down with the flu or something, but that doesn't seem to be happening either. Then last night I remembered--oh yeah, a few years back when I was early in the process, there was a time when I had intense fatigue too, wasn't that Lamictal? Checked my journal, and yes, it was. 

 

Plus there seem to be a lot of reports from other people on the Internet, that Lamictal withdrawal can cause this kind of deep intense fatigue. 

 

So, well, there ya go. At least there will be an end to it. Hopefully soon. I'm planning to hold at 50 mg for six months or longer, maybe even all of 2015, so I should have time to get pretty stable as far as the Lamictal is concerned.

It does drive me nuts that I get this strong of a reaction with even the very slow taper I'm doing. Yargh!

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Rhiannon

Just started the 50 mg, using tablets now, not having to deal with dissolving the Lamictal for a while. I'm feeling okay, not great, but good enough! 

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LexAnger

Hi Rhi, hope you continue feeling well with this cut! You have been a great inspiration to me and I admire all your insight and wisdom. I'm a big fan of yours and are now following your example doing a super slow taper (0.5%cut) holding for couple of weeks. Slow taper is my only hope and by sharing your great experience in slow taper can save others life and suffering. Hats off to you for all you did to help others.

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Addax

You have been an enormous inspiration to me as well as well as an incredible source of insight and education. I know you don't feel great right now, but as you know you will soon! Even though we may never meet, I'm going to get a cake for you (and eat it for you) the day you're med free.

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mattinsmom

Hi

 

50mg - good for you! And yes, the Lamictal fatigue is a very real, and very sucky, thing. Sorry. Lots of protein and iron if you can. 

 

I hope that you have a very happy holiday. Do you have plans? Whatever you end up doing I hope that you feel great and have a blessed rest of your year. 2015 can be awesome too! Lets make that the New Years plan :)

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WinningThrough

Well done for getting down to 50mg, Rhi. I hope your symptoms settle down soon.

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Rhiannon

Thought I'd do an update. I'm still having trouble with fatigue, but it's not as bad as it was, and I had a bout of flu a couple of weeks ago and I generally get postviral fatigue anyway, so it's hard to say what's what. Hanging in there. Having some cortisol morning stuff and tummy stuff, not fun, but again, not as bad as it sometimes has been, tolerable.

 

At least the days are finally getting longer again!

 

I'm going to be out of town (visiting my dad in Texas) for about a week and I won't really have much computer access during that time, so if I'm not around, that's why.

 

Just chugging along. I wish I could say I was happy and enjoying life, but right now I'm mostly just surviving. Which is okay, I guess. I know there will be happier days, they always do come, and then go; that seems to be how life is. At least my life. 

 

Anyway, just wanted to check in.

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bubble

Hello dear Rhi,

 

I could have easily written the same thing. right down to tummy issues and cortisol mornings. Regarding days getting longer: for a few years now in December and January I monitor sunsets and sunrises and watch how days are getting longer by a minute or two. It's like a have winter mood when I just survive like nature actually, sleeping its winter sleep.

 

Visiting my family was very stressful. I stayed too long. I hope things go smoother for you.

 

Look forward to hearing from you.

 

Hugs,

Bubble

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Skyler

Hi Rhi,

 

Sorry to hear you are hitting still hitting taper bumps. I'm hoping that your visit to your Dad's includes some fun, heck, just much needed R&R.

 

Yes, the days are getting longer... the long cold time of the year here in VT, but the days are getting less dreary even as the temps decline.

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Addax

Stopping by to say "hi" and that I hope you're feeling better and that the "happier days" have arrived. It still amazes me how much waves hold that ability to convince us those happier days won't arrive despite our own experience that they always do. Waves are mean.

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chia1214

Hi Rhi - I got a cautionary question recently from cymbaltawithdrawal5600 when she read my sig. I remembered your post to me as well, cautioning me to go slow. So I am now stopping in my tracks. I really thought I was going slow. I read your sig. Can you explain how you decreased your dose through each year? I haven't read through your full intro thread yet maybe it's in there.

 

CW suggested I not taper the clonazepam along with the lamotrigine (lamictal) but I see others, including yourself, have done a multi-drug taper. My husband and I thought we had drawn up a safe, responsible taper for both drugs. But I read him of yours and CW's concerns and he is willing to help me do whatever is best.

 

So I will stop making any more decreases as of today. And I will hold for a month or two. Like you suggested. But at what rate can I expect to taper then? And only one drug at a time? Okay, since I'm asking away here, where did you get much of your information about lamictal w/d symptoms? I read a few posts up about lamictal fatigue. Is that just in w/d or is it a drug side effect for you?

 

I hope you had a good trip and visit with your dad. I took advantage of my recent window and made a 6 hour (turned into 9 hours as we drove through a snowstorm) drive to visit my first grandchild.

 

Thanks for any more taper tips. -- Chia

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Rhiannon

Well, first: It's Anniversary Day!

 

It's sort of arbitrary, since I started my tapering in late 2009 and early 2010 in kind of a bumpy way, but it was somewhere around early to mid February that I got more methodical about it, so I've picked Feb 10th as my official anniversary day.  Five years now.

 

Soon I'll come in and write a longer post about all the changes in my life and myself during that time. I'm still continually amazed, daily, by what a difference those horrible, evil drugs made. (It was not a good difference.) As I gradually get myself back I am on the one hand so angry that they stole so much from me and from my children, and on the other hand so grateful that I stumbled across the truth (that they were doing much more harm than good to me) and that I stumbled across a way to taper (very, very slowly) that has allowed me to be more functional, healthier, and happier than I ever was during the years on the drugs, and indeed than I have ever been in my life.

 

So...

:)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)

Happy Anniversary to Me!!!

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Rhiannon

Hi Rhi - I got a cautionary question recently from cymbaltawithdrawal5600 when she read my sig. I remembered your post to me as well, cautioning me to go slow. So I am now stopping in my tracks. I really thought I was going slow. I read your sig. Can you explain how you decreased your dose through each year? I haven't read through your full intro thread yet maybe it's in there.

 

CW suggested I not taper the clonazepam along with the lamotrigine (lamictal) but I see others, including yourself, have done a multi-drug taper. My husband and I thought we had drawn up a safe, responsible taper for both drugs. But I read him of yours and CW's concerns and he is willing to help me do whatever is best.

 

So I will stop making any more decreases as of today. And I will hold for a month or two. Like you suggested. But at what rate can I expect to taper then? And only one drug at a time? Okay, since I'm asking away here, where did you get much of your information about lamictal w/d symptoms? I read a few posts up about lamictal fatigue. Is that just in w/d or is it a drug side effect for you?

 

I hope you had a good trip and visit with your dad. I took advantage of my recent window and made a 6 hour (turned into 9 hours as we drove through a snowstorm) drive to visit my first grandchild.

 

Thanks for any more taper tips. -- Chia

 

Here's an old thread we had on the topic of my multidrug taper:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1070-taper-more-than-one-drug-at-a-time/

 

That was sort of early days, forum wise. Since then I have seen that in real life, most people who try to taper more than one drug at a time push it too hard and too fast and get into trouble. Also, it requires so much more self-awareness. You absolutely have to listen carefully to your body and let it be your guide. 

 

It takes time to learn what signals to listen to and sort out the signal from the noise, and I still struggle with that from time to time. 

 

To taper more than one drug at a time requires very gradual and careful self-experimentation over a long period of time so that you can sort out which med is causing which symptoms. AND you have to be willing to just hold everything if things start to go bad and you aren't sure what to adjust. AND it's not safe if you're not pretty stable to begin with IMO.

 

But as you can see it has been very successful for me and I wouldn't do it any other way. I love it.

 

HOWEVER: As you can also see, I've been tapering for five years, and I will probably be tapering for at least four more. So if you aren't willing to take it that slow, don't try it.

 

Another approach, and the one I nowadays usually advise when people need to come down off multiple drugs and want to make some progress on more than one, is to alternate. Taper one for a while, then give that one a rest and taper another one for a while, then go back and taper the first again. That's something I do, too, as part of my multidrug taper; for example right now I'm holding the Lamictal, tapering the Celexa at a glacial speed, and focusing on the benzos.

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bubble

Happy anniversary! ;)

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mammaP

Congratulations on your anniversary Rhi  :)  . 

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LexAnger

Congratulations Rhi! So proud of you! Wish we can take you to somewhere for a real celebration.

Its heart broken still for the hardest accomplishment. Hope the rest years get easier.

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chia1214

Thanks Rhi - for your replies here and on my intro thread to my taper questions. I am paying attention to your Lamictal taper, to know what bumps to watch for. Really thankful for all the time you've put into this forum. And Alto too, of course. Happy Anniversary!

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