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Happy2Heal

what is this? grief? withdrawal wave? age related?

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Happy2Heal

I am trying to figure something out. Since going off the AD, I have had more access to my feelings, which is good, and of course, not always wonderful when they are uncomfortable feelings 

 

For the past several months, I've noticed that I am often in touch with a deep sadness that to me, feels like grief. I can often relate it to a loss,  but not always. Sometimes it's just kind of "there"....

 

 

I am in therapy, and while the therapist never directly asks me why I cry so much (nearly every visit) she seems to be getting frustrated with this. Frankly, it annoys me that she's never once said anything even remotely comforting when I've cried... but the sadness and tears feel like something "good", by that I mean, it feels like the way I did when my dad died (and I was first given antidepressants!)

and to me, grief is not a bad thing, but a good thing, a normal reaction to loss.

 

so in spite of the therapist not being comforting and even being annoyed, I continue to let myself cry when it feels right.

 


however, I am starting to wonder, and maybe worry a bit, that this is not "normal"

Lord knows I've had a lot of losses over the years and when I was medicated I wasn't able to grieve.

 

I wonder, is this a belated wave of withdrawal symptoms (I am now over 2 yrs completely off the AD) 

 

 

Or is this real grief that maybe  that comes with aging? (I am now of course older and losing friends, as well as all the little losses that come with aging, like loss of one's youthful appearance, loss of certain opportunities etc) I know for sure it is not "depression". 

 

The reason I need to figure out what is going on is that I'm considering seeing a grief counsellor, I think that would be more helpful than the person I'm seeing now

 

The only thing that makes me wonder if this is part ADWD "wave" type symptoms is that I have had a few short bursts of intense anger, that were typical of my early days of WD

 

 

What do you think?

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Nevertoolate

My only suggestion is to see what is triggering these emotions?

If you can pinpoint anything specific that will give you something to work with whether you decide to seek help or work through it on your own terms. 

 

Best wishes to you on your continuing journey. 

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JackieDecides
11 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

The reason I need to figure out what is going on is that I'm considering seeing a grief counsellor, I think that would be more helpful than the person I'm seeing now

 

I think you need someone new, regardless of what kind of counsellor, since you aren't feeling any support with the current one. try one that specializes in grief, since that is what you are experiencing. I think you are entitled to grieve, for all the years lost to being on and getting of the pills! 

 

and it sure could be a wave, even two years out and further.  I think waves subside very gradually, although many here have a lot more experience than I do so I'll be interested in what others have to say. 

 

I'm 4 months from being off two years  and I'm REALLY hoping this isn't the end of improvement! 

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Happy2Heal

thanks so much Jackie

 

I guess I'm hesitant to call anything a wave since posting my success story- for fear that people going thru the worst of WD recovery will misinterpret it and feel discouraged and also because I mostly feel 100% healed

but maybe I'm wrong.

 

and maybe it doesn't make sense to think that I even *could* be 100% after so many decades on so many drugs, right?

 

oh I think you're right, I need a new therapist, regardless.

 

or maybe no therapist, they are all part of a larger system that is entrenched in the medical model and even more distressing to me, using psych labels that I find harmful beyond just being stigmatizing, you know?

 

oh wow, just 4 mos til you're at 2 yrs, that's great! yes you've got a bit more to go, but I think toward the later months of recovery, the positive gains come in leaps and bounds, at least they did for me

and I believe for several others (I want to say many, but not sure that would be accurate)

 

you're getting there, and you've done such great work all along the way, coping with big changes and losses as well.

you've always kept your positive attitude :) and even when you felt really discouraged, you didn't give up.

 

there's a lot to be said for just putting one foot in front of the other day after day, regardless of how hard it is

You've done it GF!!

 

and you reach out to others and offer support along the way, and I for one, appreciate that ;)

 

 

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Happy2Heal
12 hours ago, Nevertoolate said:

My only suggestion is to see what is triggering these emotions?

If you can pinpoint anything specific that will give you something to work with whether you decide to seek help or work through it on your own terms. 

 

Best wishes to you on your continuing journey. 

thanks @Nevertoolate

 

yeh I sometimes know what the trigger is, sometimes not.

I really do think it's grief.

 

thank you so much for your input and wishes, same to you on your journey as well :)

 

 

 

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TurkeyCold

Hi, would it help you to think that it might the case that long time hidden layers of emotions show up in a manner that is reinforced by withdrawal? 

 

I myself experience strong (Neuro)emotions these days but it's definitely not all neurological and withdrawal related since I recognize a lot of my old self in it (the good and the bad). 

 

One thing I sometimes do is to adress the emotion. Sth. like "what makes me sad? ", "what do I grief?" If there's no answer at all for a while it's probably the system recalibrating and I try to deal with it by just enduring and waiting, distracting or expressing it (by playing the piano e.g.). I hope you find a way, too.

 

You will be fine @Happy2Heal. Keep up the good work.

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FindRest

H2h, there has to be a lot of grief under what each of us is going through...for so many reasons. I think it’s perfectly understandable that this is “grief” regardless of whether or not WD is involved. It’s still grief. I think you deserve a new therapist/counselor, too. One who can empathize and support you regardless of what the cause may be. 
 

btw, you are an inspiration. 

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Happy2Heal

thank you so much @FindRest

 

I was looking thru my original thread, the introduction thread and it suddenly hit me: I lost over 4 decades of my life to these drugs

 

except for the past 2 years since I've been off, but still recovering, that is my entire adult life. and my first 18yrs were  nothing but one trauma after another (actually the traumas lasted into my mid 20s but the drugging began when I was 18)

 

 

omg, no wonder I am grieving. 

 

all those years...

gone. 

 

 

 

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FindRest

You’ve hit the nail on the head, h2h. I’m so sorry for you and all of us. So much grieving to do. But, I do believe there is a lot of strength in grieving. Hugs.

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Happy2Heal
7 minutes ago, FindRest said:

You’ve hit the nail on the head, h2h. I’m so sorry for you and all of us. So much grieving to do. But, I do believe there is a lot of strength in grieving. Hugs.

 

thank you @FindRest I was just reading your thread, you've been in nearly the same boat, I see. Oh I'm so sorry too, it's just awful what's been done to us.

 

I was diagnosed as schizophrenic when I was around 20, but that was AFTER they gave me an anti- psychotic in the clinic when I was just 18, and my actual diagnosis at that time was "adjustment reaction to adolescence" (what I really had/have was/is PTSD)

Later they decided the schizophrenic diagnosis was a bit off, because I was "too emotional" and apparently schizophrenics have a "flat affect".

so they decided I was bipolar!

and they put me on mood stabilizers (lithium at first, then others) and the older ADs (elavil mostly) 

but it was the SSRI's that I was given after my dad died 27 yrs ago, that did the most damage, in my opinion. I lost the ability to feel after that.

 

 

and now it seems as if I have a backlog of grief for the all the losses along the way- for my dad, still, even to this day, and also to a lesser degree my mother (our relationship was never good, she was incredibly abusive in every way possible) and several beloved cats...

as well as other assorted losses. 

 

 I think it's odd that I've continued to see the therapist I have now, in spite of the fact that she's never once said anything even remotely comforting when I cry. And now she's getting frustrated and voicing that frustration, although she never says it's because I'm crying. She says she doesn't know what advice to give me, because I haven't been clear about what the "problem" is.


I tell her that I'm incredibly sad and that I don't always know why. 

I think maybe I do know why a lot of the time, but as I write this, I am thinking that the reason I don't share what I am sad about is actually because she's never said one empathetic or sympathetic thing to me while I was crying. Why would I trust her with that information? I have no reason to believe that she'd understand my grief, since she can't seem to even acknowledge it.


The old me, or rather, the younger me LOL would have been embarrassed to be crying and would have shut down (which was incredibly easy to do when I was drugged, I could rarely cry at all eventually, nor feel any other emotion)

 

but  it's funny I keep seeing her and sitting there and getting choked up about something that I'm thinking, and I don't hold back the tears. I don't sob or anything like that but I let the tears flow.

 

I think when I see her again I will try to get up the courage to tell her that I think it's pretty odd that she's never once said anything comforting when I cried... and maybe ask her why that is.


I could be wrong but I think she's attributed my "progress" to her wonderful therapy skills. I have not made any "progress" at all. When I first met her I was in acute WD and I was a basket case of severe anxiety, barely able to breathe or sit still.

I saw her a few times but had to quit because as it turned out she was not associated with a prescriber and I needed one to get the meds to do my taper, so I went somewhere else for that.
But after I got off the lexapro, I decided to go back and see her, since she was at least somewhat against drugs in general. Or so she said.

 

I liked having someone to check in with on a regular basis, but she's never fit the bill as far as what I really want from a therapist. I'd really rather have like a life coach, but those are expensive and I am dirt poor with lousy insurance LOL so my options are limited and I decided I'd stick with her and see if I could make it work.

 

but now I think it may be time to move on. I don't know if grief counselling would be help or not. But it's something to look into, I guess.

 

Thanks to everyone who has posted here thus far, you've really helped me to sort this out.

 

and @FindRest  I hope your journey is as short and uneventful as possible.

 

 

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FindRest

It is incredibly sad what’s been done to us, @Happy2Heal. Your story is very similar to my own. I’ll admit that I about croaked when I read your comment about elavil! That was the first one I was ever on. Talk about nasty!!

 

I think your plan to confront your therapist about her lack of outward empathy is a good one. Her response should give you a good idea of whether or not you want to continue with her as your therapist. Changing to a new therapist is a very difficult decision. We’ve put so much time, trust, pain, effort, and hope into that relationship (oh, and $$$’s).  I hope she opens up to you and will understand how important empathy is. 

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Onmyway
On 1/25/2020 at 2:55 AM, Happy2Heal said:

I am trying to figure something out. Since going off the AD, I have had more access to my feelings, which is good, and of course, not always wonderful when they are uncomfortable feelings 

 

For the past several months, I've noticed that I am often in touch with a deep sadness that to me, feels like grief. I can often relate it to a loss,  but not always. Sometimes it's just kind of "there"....

 

 

I am in therapy, and while the therapist never directly asks me why I cry so much (nearly every visit) she seems to be getting frustrated with this. Frankly, it annoys me that she's never once said anything even remotely comforting when I've cried... but the sadness and tears feel like something "good", by that I mean, it feels like the way I did when my dad died (and I was first given antidepressants!)

and to me, grief is not a bad thing, but a good thing, a normal reaction to loss.

 

so in spite of the therapist not being comforting and even being annoyed, I continue to let myself cry when it feels right.

 


however, I am starting to wonder, and maybe worry a bit, that this is not "normal"

Lord knows I've had a lot of losses over the years and when I was medicated I wasn't able to grieve.

 

I wonder, is this a belated wave of withdrawal symptoms (I am now over 2 yrs completely off the AD) 

 

 

Or is this real grief that maybe  that comes with aging? (I am now of course older and losing friends, as well as all the little losses that come with aging, like loss of one's youthful appearance, loss of certain opportunities etc) I know for sure it is not "depression". 

 

The reason I need to figure out what is going on is that I'm considering seeing a grief counsellor, I think that would be more helpful than the person I'm seeing now

 

The only thing that makes me wonder if this is part ADWD "wave" type symptoms is that I have had a few short bursts of intense anger, that were typical of my early days of WD

 

 

What do you think?

Dear HTH, 

I'm so sorry you are going through this. It is not surprising that you are grieving for a lifetime of insults from family and the medical community. I don't know if you have the ability to consider new therapists but it might be a good idea to look into someone who specializes in trauma -  grieving can be a part of recovery from trauma and in the last decade or so this field has really taken off with many ways of approaching trauma - EMDR, Internal family systems, somatic based, attachment focused etc. therapies and others that I don't know that well. But the most progress in trauma therapy is achieved through the reparative relationship with the therapist - it's supposed to re-write over the traumatic relationships and teach new ways of relating and safety in relating. 

 

Pete Walker has a great book on complex PTSD that talks about grieving the trauma. A lot of what is in the book is also on his website if you don't want to buy it but want to see what it's about first. http://www.pete-walker.com/

 

It seems from your description that you are feeling unheard/rejected by your therapist which may be re-traumatizing. You should be taken care of by those who are supposed to take care of you. I see your posts which are caring and positive on this site and I am grateful for them. Maybe you can find someone who can provide that for you in a therapeutic environment? 

 

In my experience, trauma therapists are less drug-pushing and more respectful of the client. But again, it depends on the specific  counsellor as well. I don't know that coaches would be helpful as they don't have training but again, may depend on the person. 

 

Hope you find the help that you need. And may all the kindness you provide here come back to you manifold. 

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Happy2Heal
19 hours ago, Onmyway said:

But the most progress in trauma therapy is achieved through the reparative relationship with the therapist - it's supposed to re-write over the traumatic relationships and teach new ways of relating and safety in relating. 

thanks so much for your kind words @Onmyway and for your thoughtful the suggestions..

yes I had thought that the relationship with the therapist was supposed to be at least part of what makes therapy "work" and I just don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from her at all, but at first, that didn't matter to me too much, because she wasn't pushing drugs or forcing me to talk about past traumas, things that most other therapists did

 

but I guess just because she's not as bad as most other therapists I've had doesn't exactly make her a good one, or rather, the right one for me

 

I have very limited options with my insurance so I really can't be too picky. I may only have  literally 2 or 3 other therapists to choose from....

 

well I guess I'll see how it goes this week. 

 

it would be a huge thing for me to just be able to say that I'm not 100% satisfied with the way things are going, or to simply ask her why she sits there, silently, when I cry- which was ok, but this last time, instead of being silent, she got impatient.

 

I've told her several times that grieving is important work to me. 

*shrug*

 

that's what makes me think a grief counsellor might be a better fit at this point, at least they'd be used to ppl who cry, right??

😕

 

 

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Onmyway

Hi HTH, 

this all makes sense. I think asking her may be a good idea because it can perhaps also provide you a sense of control in the relationship -  reassurance that you are an active agent in this therapy. Traumatized people, like us, have had little control over things in our life and WD really intensifies it - I have never felt less in control of anything esp. myself and my feelings as in WD. You don't need more of that. You may also want to ask her how she wants to proceed - what she wants to do to help you now that you are hit with all this grief. Therapists often ask clients what the client wants but rarely do they tell you how they are going to help - what modality of therapy they want to apply, why that modality and not another etc. 

 

It will be interesting to see what she says and that can determine what you do from there. Hope that she responds in a compassionate way and that relationship grows closer. As in other relationships, the therapist-client one can get better with 'conflict' and discussion. It could have been that she had an off day, that she seemed impatient but she didn't realize it and it wasn't her intention. Or it could be that she just is not a good fit for you. 

 

Great that you are challenging her and making up your own mind about what is right for you. 

 

 

 

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JackieDecides
On 1/27/2020 at 6:17 PM, Happy2Heal said:

I guess just because she's not as bad as most other therapists I've had doesn't exactly make her a good one, or rather, the right one for me

 

it sure sounds like you want someone else and I don't blame you. 

 

I hope you find someone that is respectful of your grief rather than impatient.  it's pretty intimate work,  I don't think a feeling of warmth or compassion is too much to ask! 

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Mariposa

Happy2Heal,

 

So grateful to see your posting. We've messaged about this in other places but I wanted to be sure to reply here too. I 100% resonate with the experience of grief. For me, the drugs did a stellar job of shutting down that process and I didn't fully appreciate until recently that grief can take a long long looooong time. That what feels 'long' to me is, in the eyes of the universe, totally insignificant.  I'm on year 3 of no drugs and while I've healed a LOT, the tears are still coming in buckets.  The difference is now, when I cry, it feels so good.  Do you feel a release with the tears?

 

I definitely had to up my emotional literacy in order to make sense of the grief.  When I was first coming back to myself I would cry and cry and feel confused and disoriented by it. I had to do the separate work of learning my emotions before I could start connecting the two. Somewhere along the way I realized that the best thing for me, when I started that grief release, was to actually connect the tears to a feeling word, or a memory, so that I could be actively grieving and processing what my tears were about.  Maybe it sounds funny but sometimes that literally meant having an emotion wheel in front of me to see what might match to my present experience. I just printed one off the internet somewhere, if you want I can see if I can find a copy of the one I use. I also had to slow my life wayyyyy down so that I could catch the feelings/thoughts in the moment.  I found that when I let them slip by (they are slippery suckers especially after 15 years drugged) they would just find their way to erupt in a confusing mess later and make me feel like an emotional wreck.

 

I hope some part of my experience is helpful for you.

 

I second the recommendation for Pete Walker's work, both his CPTSD book and the Tao of Fully Feeling. I got them online and audiobook version from my public library, in case that's an option too.

 

I also echo what others have said about your therapist. After experiencing trauma as a child I found myself with a complete behavioral change, crying all the time, angry, withdrawn. At the time, I had already repressed the trauma so I remember saying to adults around me, 'I don't know, I don't know why I'm crying. Everything is 'fine'.' I think children need emotionally literate adults to make sense of their experiences, and when they don't have that, they go further down that rabbit hole of repression and creating false stories for their lives. I would hope that a therapist could help you make sense of your tears, and not make you feel alone or an irritation as you were in childhood (if that's the case). 

 

On the other hand, I totally get the idea of needing a 'witness' for tears. I also had a therapist early on who I only spoke to on the phone (because of my unstable living situation) and it wasn't a great way to connect emotionally. But I couldn't cry unless there was someone there, so I felt like she played a role in my life at the time to at least be a conduit for the tears, if that makes sense.

 

Then for a while too I realized I would never get that compassionate voice that I yearned for from a therapist.  For me it just doesn't feel like an authentic enough situation.  I had better luck in peer groups.  The more I connected to myself and the larger Energy out there, I was increasing able cry at anything and now I don't need more than a flower, or a bug, or a fork to get me going...😛

 

And 1000000% agree...speaking up in therapy for more transparency was a HUGE step for me in my healing.  Just that in itself is a tremendous action to take. Not sure if you're into that stuff, but realizing that my throat chakra was blocked, that a deep part of my pain came from the many ways in which I allowed my voice to be silenced, was an opportunity for a big opening in reviving that part of myself, which then opened other doors...

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