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Mariposa: still hitting a wall 3 years drug free, reaching out


Mariposa

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Hi all, 

 

Been benefiting tremendously from all your posts, advice, support, strategies and resources since 2015 through my withdrawal. Really in awe of this whole site, the collective brain power, care and dedication of underground (and on the ground) warriors. Thank you. 

 

I now know I didn't make it easy on myself with the taper.  Not having enough support, knowledge, patience. It pretty much turned my whole world upside down and inside out and provoked a deep spiritual transformation.  It will sound familiar that after almost 15 straight years on psych drugs, at 35 (now 39) I started a complete deconstruction of the life I built not just to survive withdrawal but to understand the house of cards that my life had been built on, without having had access to my emotions and without having dealt with my emotional pain during my crucial 20s and early 30s.  So my story is the familiar white-knuckling the symptoms, braving the strange new world of emotions and making the necessary changes to life to be healthier and more authentic.

 

Which brings me to today, three years after stopping all drugs. Despite all these gains, I still can't consider my story a success (yet). One big reason is the continued emotional instability, which linked to what I think is iatrogenic hormonal disruption, and possibly chronic unresolving depression. The big problem is continued suicidal ideation, which is present but manageable outside my menstrual cycle (given my history, I understand it has had its place in my coping resources, and I'm addressing that), but then becomes a nearly insurmountable problem for about 2 weeks straight leading up to it (I hate to give the DSM any legitimacy by using the term "PMDD" but I suppose that best describes it.)

 

During this time, it physically feels like my brain is inflamed, my brain is insistently and convincingly suicidal, I lose all motivation, clarity of mind, am profoundly fatigued, chronically tearful, fearful, worried and stuck in my bed for days at a time. Then, like a switch flips as soon as I get my period my brain is much clearer, for two weeks. I don't remember anything like this before the drugs, although I suppose there's a chance this is why I was diagnosed 'bipolar' as a teen. Chicken and egg...

 

I feel pretty desperate about the situation because it feels like despite all the work I've done to heal the wounds of psychiatry on my life, I can't get my life on track.  Falling into a pit and out of life for 2 weeks every month makes it impossible for me to set goals, make steps forward in life, hold down a job...which then is a cycle that sets me up for more despair and distress (you get the picture). I know that the grief and tears I have held back for so many years need time to come out, but this has become a real quality of life issue since I can't see any resolution to it. At times I'm pretty hard on myself, thinking about what I'm doing wrong or not able to see in order to help myself out of this situation.

 

It's taken me this long to single out the hormones because while I was dealing with other life issues- repressed emotions from the withdrawal, job loss, identity loss, trauma, homelessness- it was impossible to separate the hormonal cycles from emotional flashbacks and other cptsd symptoms.  I know that hormones need time to repair (mine were completely out of whack as soon as I reduced the Lamitrogine.  I remember being covered in painful back acne for the first year of my withdrawal and my periods were irregular, inconsistent and painful) but I've really reached a point where I simply don't know how to help myself through this anymore. I'm currently only taking magnesium and vitamin D as supplements. Other than that I'm managing my symptoms with pretty basic self-care- a varied, vegan diet, lots of mindfulness, relaxation, therapy, friends and staying social and active as much as I can, when I can, but as you can imagine, find myself in a pretty disconnected, unstable and isolated situation and feeling like this is not even a 'good enough' quality of life.

 

Any naturopaths, GPs, gynes or others that I've gone to are still recommending SSRIs, birth control pills or very controversial surgeries (hysterectomy) to deal with this. When I told one specialist about the continued depression and dangerous ideation, she crinkled her nose sympathetically and said, 'So sorry, wish I could do something', suggested I see an herbalist and ended the session. She was the final doctor I went to about this.

 

I have a pure stubborn streak in me to which I credit a lot of my survival, but not being able to problem solve this one is causing me nearly to panic, and at the least to be in shock that despite all my efforts I can't see a future beyond living like this, and each episode seeing suicide as a more and more rational decision. I want so much to consider my story a withdrawal success and am so angry that I seem to have come up against this wall.

 

If anyone has ANY insight, perspective, information, hope to offer, I'd deeply appreciate it.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Mariposa.

 

I know from your post that you're a problem-solver and that not being able to problem-solve withdrawal is vexing, but generally withdrawal is not susceptible to problem-solving.  The only thing that seems to work is time.  Three years out is a long time but three years, and longer, is not uncommon in protracted withdrawal.

Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS (post-acute withdrawal ...

I see you're using coping skills.  Take a look at the links in the following and see if you think any might be helpful in your situation.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

I'm not sure the articles on hormones in the following link are germane to your situation, but I include them in case they might be of some help.

Hochberg, 2003 Endocrine withdrawal syndromes. - From ...

Have you tried Omegas?

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.  

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hi Gridley, thanks so much for your reply and for the welcome. The links helped me wrap my head around important themes for me and that was helpful too. I don't know if this is the best way to reply or do the introduction, I feel sort of all over the place here.  If you have tips, please tell me!

 

I'm not sure if this is actually a PAWS situation or not? My actual 'withdrawal' symptoms clearly ended about 18-24 months after finally stopping my taper- the anxiety, terror, cortisol spikes etc. Then I was in the lion's mouth trying to understand and manage emotions that came back online and understand my childhood which took more than another year. What remains is only the hormonal issues and the suicidality. Both of these may have existed prior to getting on drugs in the first place when I was a teen, but I can't be sure. I do know I was miserably 'depressed' since a very young age.

 

I also don't know if the ongoing depression is PAWS either?  Anyone else who feels like withdrawal took the lid off an endless well of otherworldly grief? Even three years out I still cry nearly every day, and definitely every day while the hormones are in charge. Sometimes I feel like I'm crying for a long line of ancestral repressed energy, it feels so endless and deep. It's not traditional 'depression'. I just feel deep hurt, deep emotional pain. Those drugs did a hell of a job pushing issues down and away for me. But my god, there's got to be an end to it?!??!

 

One complication is that I know early trauma, in particular sexual trauma, wreaks havoc on our hormones. If anyone has more info or experience on this, especially for those on SA who were put on drugs because of symptoms of trauma, particularly childhood sexual abuse or incest? I can't tell you how FURIOUS it makes me to think of all the kids getting put on drugs for these issues, never mind how difficult it is to be seen for these issues even as an adult who knows how to advocate for herself, but that's a topic for another post probably. So I'm wondering whether healing that is the key to resolving the fluctuations?

 

The suicidality started in 2015 once I was about halfway into my taper and has been relentless since. I've been dealing with suicidal thoughts daily for three years now. Would love to hear from others who had a similar experience.

 

Gridley, I don't really know what to make of your advice, that withdrawal can't be problem solved, just give it more time. Can you say more what you mean?  I definitely understand that time is the best healer.  But I've also been actively involved in my healing every step since 2015 and it's served me well up until now and I've been able to see and address a lot of my underlying issues. I can't imagine anyone with this persistence of suicidality simply hanging on with time on their side. It's too all consuming, basically you exist to keep yourself alive, which I know sounds like a ridiculous paradox. I know many others have lost their lives in this fight and I don't want to be one of them. To be honest, I'm quite frightened and despairing, not being able to see how it is humanly possible to keep on. Being unemployed and without a reliable address adds to the complication here. But with the hormonal rollercoaster, pinning those two things down has been impossible. 

 

As far as coping skills, yes thank you for the list. I have relied on SA for so many resources and skills over the years, I'm forever grateful and keep a written list of my go-tos close by and they serve me well everyday. I have a lot of gratitude for having the opportunity to experience this life, despite not seeing a future for myself. Sometimes I sense maybe what I need is a major paradigm shift for my whole life, because right now 'surviving' feels a whole lot like a living death and I'm having trouble rationalizing it.

 

Thanks for the reminder about Omegas. Since going meat, fish and dairy free, I do get some fattys from chia and flax but I know it's not the same as fish. I'll look into substitutes that might be better.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Mariposa: Still hitting a wall 3 years drug free, reaching out, please help
  • Moderator
9 hours ago, Mariposa said:

Gridley, I don't really know what to make of your advice, that withdrawal can't be problem solved, just give it more time. Can you say more what you mean?

I just mean that withdrawal and healing from these drugs is something that is physiological and largely beyond our understanding.  I certainly don't mean to say that problem-solving isn't something you can't continue to apply to underlying issues.  But as far as understanding the withdrawal process and what's happening during the healing process, we just don't know what's going on in our brain and central nervous system during these processes.  The following illustrate what I mean.

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

AND

 

   On 12/3/2015 at 10:41 AM,  apace41 said: 
Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are trying to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were trying to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and trying to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while life is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made.  

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Yeah I guessed that’s what you meant.  I’m familiar with the quotes you sent and the waves/window and trellis imagery. I experienced these patterns but as I said those ended about 2 years in. 
 

So, how do we know what’s PAWS  and what’s actually just recovery (natural but painful inner healing that was disrupted by the drugs)? I’m not sure that ‘PAWS’ is my situation, but I understand there’s no way to really know.  
 

Getting the feeling the message is there’s not an answer to this, simply nothing to be done, just exist with this suicidality. I guess I knew that would be the answer but had a bit more hope in me there’d be some wisdom on SA I had overlooked. I did see some other posts of folks trying to endure the same. Thanks so much for taking the time Gridley. 

My heart goes out to all that may be in the same place as me, without the support or structures needed to persevere. My best to all in the continued struggle. 

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mariposa, I think the other thing Gridley is saying is that even though one set of obvious withdrawal symptoms did resolve for you 18-24 months in, it is quite possible that this suicidality you are experiencing is also part of the PAWS. We just don't know enough about what 15 years on brain-chemical-altering drugs does to the brain and what the process of UNdoing that is like and how long it takes. I think we all wish we knew what was happening and could explain it with some clarity.

 

I listened to a talk once by a survivor of traumatic brain injury, a process that took many years, and she said that she thought the suicidality that she experienced during that time was maybe something our brains do because they need us to slow down, to hunker down and minimize stimulation so that they can do the work of healing. I don't know if it's true but it has helped me be more patient with all of my own shortcomings, both suicidality and also the tremendous anxiety and agoraphobia that make it so hard for me to get out there and participate in life and take on new challenges. 

 

I guess, short version, what I'm saying is, although nobody has an answer of how to make this problem go away, it's definitely possible that it will improve or resolve itself in the future, there is no reason to assume that your healing from withdrawal is somehow all over and this is a final state for you. Take as good care of yourself as you can and be as patient as you can with your healing. I know that's not much help to hear when you're suffering like you are. Suicidality is awful. I've been there and still revisit from time to time. I'm so sorry.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Rhiannon thanks so much.  I'm glad I finally got on these boards, helps things feel more real and not all in my head (or my control).

 

Thanks for adding that about what Gridley said. I did do a lot more reflecting on PAWS and what that might mean for my situation. I don't know where I might have decided that I was fully healed and 'only' dealing now with my normal emotional stuff...it's soooo hard to tease apart what are life issues and what are stubborn chemical effects. 😕 

 

When I think about it, it takes a lot of pressure off of me for continuing to feel miserable and demotivated and not able to piece my life together yet.  I've been beating myself up about that lately. But if its true, like your friend says, that the suicidality is intentionally slowing me down, the only helpful reaction is acceptance I suppose. But I do need some base level of functionality, which I don't have during the two pms weeks.

 

 I noticed in your signature you lost everything...I'll have to go back and reread your story because I'm in a similar boat and would love to hear how you worked through that. One big problem right now that if I solved it would help a lot I think is not having a stable place to live.  Being constantly anxious and stressed about employment and housing is making it hard to override the suicidal thoughts. 

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

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18 hours ago, Mariposa said:

Anyone else who feels like withdrawal took the lid off an endless well of otherworldly grief? Even three years out I still cry nearly every day, and definitely every day while the hormones are in charge. Sometimes I feel like I'm crying for a long line of ancestral repressed energy, it feels so endless and deep. It's not traditional 'depression'. I just feel deep hurt, deep emotional pain. Those drugs did a hell of a job pushing issues down and away for me. But my god, there's got to be an end to it?!??!

yes!!! yes yes yes and yes! 

I know that I am not depressed but I feel a great well of sadness in me and I can cry and cry.

I hate the psychiatric labels but I have, I guess, what they are now calling complex PTSD, from traumas that started basically at birth and that had a profound impact on your personality, supposedly (I have no idea if that's true, I only know that I endured ongoing traumatic abuse from birth)

so I've been working with the theory that my sadness is grief, and I welcome it. I honor it.

But sometimes it does seem to be endless and I know my therapist is losing patience with me because I can not easily connect it to any one event. I can't connect it in my mind to very specific things, either, it's more of an overall sense of loss. Great loss.

 

I also look back and see that I've "lost" my entire adult life to these drugs, having been forced to take first generation anti psychotics at age 18 and having never had more brief periods when I was not on at least one, and usually 3 or 4, psych drugs.

43 yrs of my life, DRUGGED.

 

for most of that time, I didn't feel like I was truly in touch with any real emotions. Sure I felt some sadness, and some joy and everything in between but it was somehow divorced from me in a way that is almost impossible to explain. Like it was more of a thought than a feeling, and this distance between my self and my emotions got bigger and bigger as time went on.

at the same time, my world became super small, I was a virtual shut in for almost 2 decades and when I finally decided that it must be the damn drugs that had caused this sorry state of affairs, I was literally only leaving my house maybe once or twice a month, to buy food and/or to get meds (and see a dr twice a year)

 

I am now 2 years and 4 mos "post zero"

Although I feel like I am totally healed and WD is over, I can't say that for sure.
I have no idea if this tremendous sadness is WD related or "just" a back log of grief that needs to be processed.

I don't know if there is any way to determine that.

 

I am also having issues with anger and frustration, I have a low tolerance for frustration and when I get angry, I find it hard to cool down. I don't know if that's because I didn't learn to deal with these feelings because I was too drugged to actually *feel* them, or if this is a WD thing, 

if this is my brain still trying to stabilize.

 

I don't feel suicidal but I am 64 now but sometimes my mind skips ahead and thinks, nothing really matters and I'm gonna be dead so, like- kind there's kind of a pointlessness to life, that could possibly be considered a kind of depression, I don't know.
Those thoughts are pretty fleeting, luckily, but it shocks me how quickly my mind can go there.

I don't know what any of this means.

I can't believe that the way your worded it is so much the way that I would have done, if my brain was in better shape and I could find the words (*that*, my trouble finding words, is something I think the drugs did to me, OR, it could be age related, another thing I'll probably never know, but for now,  I prefer to think it was the drugs because I can heal from that. But I don't have a choice about aging LOL just gotta keep doing that because the alternative doesn't attract me at all LOL)

 

wow, I'm so glad you posted.

 

I was wondering if my crying spells were related to my diet, since I had been eating more fat and sugar over the holidays and sugar is very bad for my mood.

Always was, I just never realized it til I changed my diet

 

to fit in with friends and to not be a "party pooper" and well, frankly because I have a terrible sweet tooth LOL I overindulged over the holidays and am now trying to get the wt off and get back to the much better diet I was doing so well on.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just read your most recent post, oh my I am so sorry you are struggling with your living circumstances, housing and employment, those are two biggies for sure. My heart goes out to you.

heck yeh those are not small things, 

 and if I was going thru that, I think I might have more than fleeting thoughts about jumping ship, so to speak.

 

I wish there was a way I could wave a magic wand and make those stresses go away! 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post

Ohhh wow Happy2Heal thanks for writing to me. Yes, I remember the moment early in withdrawal when I was crying so hard and so deep and some distant inner wisdom offered up the word 'grief' and from that moment on I realized it had always been grief, never 'depression'. That helped me allow the tears to flow and flow and flow as they needed without feeling like I had to get my sh-- together and strategize my way out of a so-called 'depressive' hole. 

 

It also helped me realize that maybe I needed to look at things that I had been ignoring, and see if the stories I had been telling myself about my life were actually true...which is how I realized that early trauma impacts us in ways that we often don't let rise to our consciousness.  That's when I started doing these 'what if' meditations, as in, yeah, ok Mariposa I know that you SAY that doesn't bother you and doesn't impact your life, but just pretend for a minute it DID, how would your body react? And the tears and tremors that were released was my journey to the mind-body connection and the nauseating realization of what impact psychiatry had had on my life. 

 

Then I got really interested in the whole idea of grief and why it is that parts of our society aren't honoring this basic human process. And then I have grief over not having the chance to grieve due to my years with psychiatry :P  I'm still on that journey and would love to hear from others who have looked into this too. I think that grief is one of the most beautiful, magical expressions of us as human beings, how deep we love, and how deep we feel loss.

 

I can't say what will happen for you, but I had that feeling too of just general 'loss'. I absolutely could not untangle where it was coming from and sometimes I just threw my hands to the sky and told the universe, enough, I cannot hold grief that doesn't belong to me so please help me see what's mine (I had a sense of a matriarchal line of inheritance of grief). It was only through serendipitous connections and situations that I started untangling the mess; then I just had to follow the breadcrumbs as they revealed themselves to me. Who knows if I have a handle on it all, but I'm ok with a residual feeling of 'loss' that doesn't resolve...I sort of think it's part of the human condition to have a bit of that constantly.

 

It's amazing what you've done to honor yourself and recover yourself...43 years...there's just not words for it.  I'm so deeply grateful to know you and people in this community who are truly here on earth with an otherworldly strength to seek the truth. I am so so glad for you that the suicidal feelings aren't plaguing you any more. When did that shift and how did it happen?

 

I had a similar experience with the drugs...my world and mind became smaller and smaller and more rigid and isolated until I was living this bizarre, minimalist, friendless, disconnected and robotic life- totally 'functional' of course! One of the things that prompted me to get off the drugs after 15 years was the realization that I was alone but not lonely. I remember going in to my provider and saying, "I know, as a rational human being, based on the details of my life, that I SHOULD feel lonely, but I don't, is that odd?" but obviously she wasn't concerned. I also started to realize the cognitive impact of the drugs...my career wasn't moving forward, I had no hobbies anymore and I physically felt like I had a ceiling that was closing in from above me, that I couldn't see over.  I've read Breggin's work on cognitive impairment from the drugs and it resonates a lot with me.

 

As far as the anger...YES.  One of the keys to healing the damage of repressing emotions has been finding a way to express them. I have to admit, my way of doing this has not been pretty or graceful or thoughtful, but I have made massive improvements just through repetitive and relentless mindfulness and meditation practice. It does feel good to join this mess of life again, and have permission to be imperfect and contradictory and conflicted (things I couldn't access while drugged and repressed).

 

And as for the sugar, I agree that's something to watch. I did stop eating most processed sugar, which seemed like it was never going to happen, but became easier when I went dairy-free and meat free just because I think my palate changed?  So keep at it like you are, it definitely isn't something that can easily happen just by willpower.

 

I'm realizing I'm doubly grateful for these boards because it'll help me document my moods, which I've never been good at doing even though I know it would help...at the high point of my moontime cycle right now, so I have a lot to say and more optimism and ability to self-reflect and see a future, at least for the next week or 10 days...

 

Thanks again for writing me.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
  • 3 months later...

Hi all, 

 

Last I posted was before all this pandemic insanity and I've been reluctant to post anything, since most everyone's life is upside down at this point but with my mental state the way it is, I might as well try to reach out I think. The depression I'm experiencing is severe and the suicidal thoughts pretty much a constant.  Now facing this dystopian, avoidant and fearful future, it's that much harder to keep up the rationality of continuing to suffer with this. 

 

I started a separate post about taking b12 which did appear to help me quite a bit, energy, pain, mental clarity all somewhat better.  But it didn't end up being the answer to the depression and SI as I hoped.

 

I'm still relying heavily on distraction, nature, mindful awareness of my thoughts and emotions and a certain amount of detachment from my brain, if that makes any sense....I just try not to trust my thoughts or make meaning out of the depressive symptoms like tiredness and crying. I get up everyday, shower, eat well, have a routine, avoid negativity...all the good stuff. 

 

But...Now three years drug free, more and more the feelings I'm having I'm realizing are the ones I had when I was a teenager, majorly depressed, antisocial, withdrawn, etc, just before the mental health system became my 'answer'.  I know these feelings....isolated, unloved, deeply brokenhearted, suicidal...stuff from childhood that obviously affected my development and emotional wellness.  Ie, the reasons I went on the drugs originally since I basically spent my teenage years in bed sleepimg, crying or drowning my thoughts in sad music. 

 

I would love to hear from others who were put on drugs for severe depression in the first place, especially as a child.  How are you coming now that you're reducing or off the drugs?

 

When I reflect on my life, I realize the only time I've been not dealing with depression since the age of maybe 10 (when i competley stopped smiling) was when I was medicated into being disconnected from my pain. I tend to think the drugs robbed me of the ability to sort this all out in my 20s and 30s, so now here I am, a teenager in an adult body, completely ill prepared to manage the fallout. While on drugs I managed to make a career i was proud of and get my life together to some degree.  Now, I've lost that all in recovery and while there's a part of me holding on to the idea I can rebuild, this depression is simply brutal. Not sure honestly how to live with this, literally. 

 

This realization that the same depression is back is profoundly discouraging and doesn't bode well for the recovery I am trying to hold out for. I'm exhausted from just letting the original depression re-unfold before my very eyes. Even though the mods mentioned im probably in PAWS, this all feels way too familiar to just be drug damage. 

 

If anyone can PLEASE speak to or point me to other threads where people talk about managing childhood depression post drug damage, that would be awesome. I need some help to get some perpective here. Trying my best to keep riding out this nightmare, but not sure I'm doing that well. 

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

The depression I feel and memories coming back lately have convinced me that what I'm dealing with is not PAWS, it is in fact, my 'original condition'.  So many variables, the biggest factors being a depression never treated and then 2 decades of 'freezing' my development and chance to heal that depression while on the drugs.

 

I'm left pretty debilitated, in constant emotional pain even while I go through 'normal life', that leaves me ever more exhausted with life and ready and willing to leave it.

 

If I didn't know better, I would start drugs simply to have some sort of quality of life. I'm starting to wonder whether the world as we know it is 'doable' for those of us with severe depressive tendencies, without drugs.

 

I hope this can help someone else to remind them that before they get off these drugs, to be prepared for the aftermath. I honestly don't know how one can, because there is a catch-22: while on the drugs you can't feel what you need to heal, so you don't know the issues, but in order to prepare yourself well with enough support to be successful, you need to know what you're dealing with. If anyone's figured that out, would love to know.

 

I'm entering a state of acceptance about this...the more I integrate with all my parts and look at my past self, the more I see this situation as sort of inevitable, barring some sort of 'fairy godmother' type relationship of support in my life. It's not a victim mentality; I realize I'm one of a tribe of us who are experiencing life this way. It's my sincere 'white flag' at not having the inner resources to carry this emotional burden further.

 

I give a lot of credit to this community for their encouraging narrative around PAWS and healing being inevitable. It kept me on a path to trying to endure this for a long time.

 

Now, realistically, I'm realizing how complicated human mental issues can be.  And that sometimes there is no 'endgame' to healing, it's just sort of what you're willing to/able to exist with.

 

My best to all out there.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Mariposa: still hitting a wall 3 years drug free, reaching out
  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Hi Mariposa,

 

People who have not been on ADs from a young age experience similar things to what you are going through now.  As we grow up we don't seem to be taught non drug ways to cope with life's challenges.  It is easier for the doctors to write a prescription and numb our emotions.  Things that you might find helpful to learn are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, self-soothing and relaxation/calming techniques, and general life coping skills.  My daughter has a therapist who is teaching her life coping skills and when she is confronted with a life challenge she is now better able to respond to the situation instead of reacting to it.  Learning and using all of the techniques which I've mentioned takes time and effort but it can be well worth it.

 

I'm 62 years old and learned CBT about 6 years ago and found it very helpful and wish I had learned it when I was young.  My depression was brought on by experiencing a lot of life stressors and I started on an antidepressant about 25 years ago.  If I had learnt the types of things mentioned above and also had the right counselling support, I may not have felt the need to start an AD.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
Happy2Heal

oh hon, I'm sorry you're feeling so discouraged right now, that will change.

feelings always do!

 

yes,  even after WD,  you'll have stuff to deal with, but we all do, that's life. 

 

but my goodness, what you have already gone thru, of course you've got the strength and the resources to keep going.

 

remember we only need to get thru this very moment, that's it. that's all we really have.

don't look back, you can't change the past

don't look too far ahead, the future is unknown and unknowable.

 

I really believe that everything we need is inside of us. I forget that sometimes, and try to look outside of myself for answers, but really, we have all that we need to get thru life's challenges.

 

Those of us who were harmed very early in life, we have some extra hard stuff to deal with, and it probably changed us in ways that may never totally heal, but they heal enough for us to have a good and satisfying life, to be content and at peace.

For me, I have had to accept that I'm broken in some places that maybe others are not, but then no one really gets thru life without some bumps and bruises, some worse than others.  
Someone was talking to me just the other day about a young man who fell and became paralyzed at the age of 18 and I think to myself, OMG I don't know if I could have handled that, how awful, his life was just beginning and this happens? of course we all know plenty of examples like this, but it helps to remind ourselves that as bad as our wounds may be, others have them too.

We already beat the odds by surviving some pretty rough stuff.

We are stronger than we think we are.

 

I think ChessieCat's suggestion is wonderful. CBT is a great tool. I've often heard it said that depression is a thought disorder. How we think affects what we feel. 

 

have you tried it yet?

I also think that trauma survivors have a lot of grief work to do. I think processing our losses opens up life a lot for us in ways we never dreamed were possible.

I know it has for me.

I hope it works that way for you.

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

I've just read back through some of your first posts.  Have you ever had any tests done for vitamins and minerals?  Are you getting enough iron in your diet?  It could be that there is something that you are lacking or an imbalance of something which, if addressed, might help you to feel a bit better.  Another example, vitamin D.  You could also investigate things like light-boxes-light-therapy.  It might be that you only use the light box during the bad half of the month.

 

Are you getting regular gentle exercise?  And if you can organise your month into 2 halves and prepare during the good half so that it takes some pressure off for the bad half, eg having your washing, shopping and housework reasonably up to date, that you have some easy meals made or planned and having some activities planned that you can do during the bad half.  I'm not suggesting that there is a magic cure, but there might be some small things that you can do something about which might be beneficial.

 

These are just some ideas that you might not have considered.

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Thanks @ChessieCat your reply and reading my post is deeply appreciated. This is a very caring and special community.

 

8 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Things that you might find helpful to learn are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, self-soothing and relaxation/calming techniques, and general life coping skills.  My daughter has a therapist who is teaching her life coping skills and when she is confronted with a life challenge she is now better able to respond to the situation instead of reacting to it.  Learning and using all of the techniques which I've mentioned takes time and effort but it can be well worth it.

Yes, I realize I'm one of many who are grappling with finding ways to cope naturally in a society that preferred bypassing and numbing, it's an awful outcome isn't it? Glad your daughter can cope better.

 

While I know that my posts don't tell my whole story...my journey has been long and I've looked for every single angle to address my endless emotional distress. I can tell you that I've been fighting body and soul in the last five years to overcome WD, including CBT (the list of therapies I've tried is long)....what most helped me I'd say is a committed mindfulness practice (if your daughter hasn't encountered mindfulness this might also help her) and possibly acceptance and commitment therapy. I find time everyday for meditation/quiet reflection and spiritual practice.

 

5 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Have you ever had any tests done for vitamins and minerals?  Are you getting enough iron in your diet?  It could be that there is something that you are lacking or an imbalance of something which, if addressed, might help you to feel a bit better.  Another example, vitamin D.  You could also investigate things like light-boxes-light-therapy.  It might be that you only use the light box during the bad half of the month.

 

Are you getting regular gentle exercise?  And if you can organise your month into 2 halves and prepare during the good half so that it takes some pressure off for the bad half, eg having your washing, shopping and housework reasonably up to date, that you have some easy meals made or planned and having some activities planned that you can do during the bad half.  I'm not suggesting that there is a magic cure, but there might be some small things that you can do something about which might be beneficial.

 

I'm so appreciative of the suggestions and you reading my posts. Thank you.  I hate to be 'that person', but yes...since Feb I've felt better after starting up a consistent regimen of B, D, mag and iron. I've even since moved myself to a place with lotsa sun and nature (no need for a light box :))and exercise daily.  I even go easy on myself during my hormonal times...life and time basically comes to a standstill and while I do my normal self-care things and even work my minimum wage job, it's a time when nothing matters outside of getting to the other side of the feelings/chemicals.

 

I know it's hard of course to get the full picture because what I write seems so helplessly despairing, but I truly am and have been implementing everything and all I know to cope, to address possible issues, to get some grounding and have a chance at life. I am able to see the beauty of life and have a lot of awe and gratitude for the wonder that is our existence, but it doesn't stop me from feeling that the walking pain disaster I'm experiencing it as, just isn't worth the struggle. There's no prize at the end  of life for having endured it, and there's no punishment for not being able to reign in a troubled and tortuous mind, after all. 

 

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post

@Happy2Heal thanks for your words of encouragement, your heartfelt sincerity is received. I wonder what makes you offer the advice of 'we all do, that's life', as it reminded me of the advice I was given as a young person to sort of suck up my depression.  I remember my mother one time advising me as a 14 yr old that if I was depressed, I was trying too hard to be happy, since life wasn't about being happy. So that's what I did all my life...turns out, you can't stuff feelings a whole lifetime! (unless I wanted to turn out like her I guess).  One thing WD did do, I suppose, is make it impossible to run from my feelings, that's for sure.

 

 

7 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

heal enough for us to have a good and satisfying life, to be content and at peace.

Yes, this is what I was hoping for, for myself. Ironically, this is the life I had built after my early mental health struggles, only to have it tumble with WD. Havent found a way to builld it back up, and mentally, I simply don't have the capacity now.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and realize how disappointed I am not to experience the simplicity and peace of what life can be, without all the struggle we put on top of ourselves that makes it unimaginably hard even to find the most basic supports like housing, but who knows, maybe there are other lifetimes :)  

 

Hope you're doing well

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Wow, it sounds like you have really taken "the bull by horns" and are doing everything possible to help yourself.  That is really great to hear.

 

The mods are very big on non drug coping techniques.  We do have some members who don't seem to understand that learning and implementing things to help themselves can make a positive difference.

 

Keep up the good work.  It's a tough road but it seems that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances you find yourself in.

 

Something that has helped me is what I got from a book called How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner:  "It's just a feeling and feelings change."

 

Just in case you haven't come across this one, which can help with other things too, not just anxiety:

  

On 4/9/2020 at 10:31 AM, brassmonkey said:

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
Happy2Heal
2 hours ago, Mariposa said:

I wonder what makes you offer the advice of 'we all do, that's life', as it reminded me of the advice I was given as a young person to sort of suck up my depression.

 

I am sorry if this sounded dismissive of your feelings and I would not tell anyone to "suck it up', that's no way to deal with feelings.

 

I do not know, really, what "depressed" means.

To me, in life, you have feelings like sadness, relief, joy, nervousness, grief, anger, etc. But when I think of the term "depressed", I think of it as being a value judgement, a way to think about how we are feeling, those negative feelings we don't want to feel.

Depression doesn't seem to be a pure emotion, but a way to label a (maybe complex?) emotional state.

 

 

in any case I am very sorry if you felt I was making light of your feelings in any way, not my intention at all.

 

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post

Hi @ChessieCatthanks again, the words of encouragement really do mean a lot

 

Yes, I do remember reading that book, maybe I'll take a look at it again...I remember thinking she was remarkable for her efforts, but unconvinced that a lifetime of enduring suicidality is any kind of worthwhile goal.  I tend to think we overvalue life sometimes, in certain situations.  There have definitely been moments I feel angry that my choices seem to be to either eeek along with my brain trying to kill me, as it were, or take some kind of violent action against myself that will leave even more pain in its wake.  Doesn't seem like a fair choice but I suppose that's the way with existential dilemmas.

 

Thanks for the AAF quote....sounds like a strategy, yes, that was super helpful in withdrawal, when the emotions were 'neuro-emotions' and all that. Now, with what I'm experiencing, trying my best to ride the waves of the depression and suicidality yes keeps me calm, but basically vegetative, sort of emotionally unresponsive.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post

Hi @Happy2Healthank you for letting me express and hearing me...I know and knew you didn't mean anything bad by what you said.  I really appreciate you sharing your perspective.  I'm sensitive to how people respond and I suppose I'm practicing speaking up because I've been too hard on myself for too long, kicking myself for never 'getting over' what is really a life-changing condition, blaming myself for being an 'overthinker' and 'chronically dissatisfied'. I lived most my life pushing through, imagining some kind of depression-free end game. Never happened.

 

That's a great point you make though, about how depression isn't a feeling.  I agree, depression isn't an emotion for me either.  I use the word to describe in general what is both an emotional and physiological feeling....there's sadness, fear and anxiety all wrapped in one (lots of crying 'for no reason') but the real kicker is living like you're physically and mentally under water, or slogging through mud or seeing everything through a dirty lens. Many days there's a pressure (from where?) that makes breathing seem hard. Things you take for granted when you're not depressed all of a sudden are painfully absent - motivation, ambition, interest, sense of connection to self, to others, tiny fascinations with sensory input, a sense of worthiness in the world, physical exhaustion- overall the sense of great EFFORT just to exist. With the trauma history on top of it, the worst days I feel like I'm walking around with an ongoing heart-attack, or a knife in my heart, just sort of living my 'normal' life everyday but with this constriction.

 

Best I can describe is that life all of a sudden becomes very mechanical. I'm very aware of having this 'body' to keep alive and take care of, and the incidental matter of being conscious, but if given the option, I would gladly fall into a deep sleep and never wake.  

 

For a long time I couldn't understand why people would tell me, yeah, but life is hard, and  what's your problem? Then I realized that the 'hard' they were talking about was not the 'hard' I was talking about.  I don't shrink from the everyday challenges of life by any means. Actually, I'm sort of pissed that this is one challenge in my life I simply can't find my way around.

 

Again, thanks for letting me share and express...no hard feelings at all on this end. Sending only kindness, in awareness of how serious this is and how precious life is.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
Happy2Heal
1 hour ago, Mariposa said:

Things you take for granted when you're not depressed all of a sudden are painfully absent - motivation, ambition, interest, sense of connection to self, to others, tiny fascinations with sensory input, a sense of worthiness in the world, physical exhaustion- overall the sense of great EFFORT just to exist. With the trauma history on top of it, the worst days I feel like I'm walking around with an ongoing heart-attack, or a knife in my heart, just sort of living my 'normal' life everyday but with this constriction.

 

that sounds so much like what I go thru from time to time: I think of it as grief. I know what it is like to have breathing feel painful and too difficult to do. I have experienced all those feelings as well.

The early trauma robbed me of ever having a "normal" life as my development was well, messed up, to put it mildly. So I have an on-going grief about that. I know I will never "get over it" and I know it will never change.    I try to come to terms with that, accept it and grieve. Grief feels like the most honest response and the more I do it, the lighter and freer I become to just live. It makes it possible for me to breathe.

at first the pain was so overwhelming I thought it would literally kill me, but it didn't. Somehow my body knew what to do, and I would let some grief out and then my body would force me to rest and recover. I'd sleep or I'd go numb and my brain would shut down for a bit. Then things would open back up and it was like the clouds clearing after a storm. It was worth waiting for, at least for me.

 

I just accept that is my life. What else can I do? I am 64 years old now, I have lived thru so much, that at my age, knowing that time is more limited, I figure, make the most of what I have.  it will all end eventually no matter what I do, why rush it?

I think I like to make comparisons to thinks like a teenager becoming paralyzed, or a young child dying of cancer, to help me see that it could be worse. That I don't have some special unheard of wounding that no one else could survive. 

We all have our ideas about these things, about what is awful and what is manageable, I guess. 

I realize that I have to accept that I don't have a choice about what I was dealt, but then, most people don't either, do they? I try to imagine that I am not the only one going thru a rough time, and I truly don't know and can't know, what someone else's challenges feel like to them. We all have our breaking point.  SO here I go, overthinking things a bit LOLI am prone to that too.


Have you read 'Out of the Darkness, Recovery from depression and suicidal pain'? the author's name is David Conroy. He writes as a survivor himself.

The book gave me a whole new perspective on depression.  The author posits that suicide happens when a person's pain exceeds that person's resources to cope with pain.

 

There are ways to decrease our perceived pain, and there are ways to increase our access to resources.

The book is a bit repetitious, if I recall correctly, but since many of the ideas in it are novel, it's helpful that he repeats them. Also many ppl reading the book may be feeling suicidal and overwhelmed so it helps to have things repeated. 

 

You are still young, and while I am afraid for you, because I know how serious these feelings can be, I also have to hold onto hope. I really truly believe that you will find your way out of this darkness and maybe not have the perfect life, or the one you think everyone else has, nor even maybe not exactly the life you want, but at least a good one, one that does not feel like a burden.

 

it's easier for me to look back and wonder why I thought certain things were so important when I was 'your age'  (OMG I feel so old suddenly LOL) 

It's like that saying, at 20 we worry what people think about us, at 40 we don't care what ppl think of us, and at 60 we realize they were never thinking about us at all-

It's like that, I think, in that the things I used to think mattered a lot, really have faded into the background for me now. I can't even imagine why I thought certain things were all that important back then.

 

I was a virtual hermit til just 3 1/2 years ago. I had no friends, my entire social life was online with ppl I'd never met and will probably never meet. I rarely left my house, except to buy food or go to the drs.  Things have changed SO Much since then, I would never ever have predicted that this was possible for me

I have hope that there are changes to your life that are not only possible, but very likely, given your drive to meet all the other challenges that have come your way.

You will find a way, I really believe it.

I know it seems dark and hopeless now but there is literally no way to know what the future holds.

 

I pray that what you are going thru now is short lived and that you see improvements soon.

If I could make it so, there is nothing I would rather do

It gives me great pain to see people suffer. Esp such kind & tender hearted folks such as yourself.

 

 

{{{gentle hugs}}}

 

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post
Happy2Heal

sorry it's Out of the Nightmare, not darkness :P

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post

oh @Happy2Heal you are great. I sense the deep heart you have and I'm just appreciating you.  Thank you.

 

yes I suspect a lot of it is grief. But how do we release that when it's been years since I've had a stable, safe place to live of my own or a sense of security economically as I jump from low paying job to job just trying to survive, or any reliably supportive people in my life? Ugh that sounds so self-pitying, where it's meant to just be factual.  Anyway, a lot of the grief came up of its own accord but now i'm in a stalemate...not the right outside conditions to care for my feelings, yet not able to create those conditions because the 'depression' makes every step forward so freakin' hard.

 

Ironically, I suspect being 'depressed' is exactly my system functioning to tell me to stop, relax, tune in and attend to my emotional needs. Maybe our disconnected modern life makes that impossible? What a vicious cycle.

 

yeah, i agree, it's sort of what we are willing to put up with - like you say, everyone has a breaking point.  To me, it feels like a pact with my Self.  As soon as I feel like there is nothing left to 'try', I'm not going to force Her (my Spirit) to endure needlessly.  I've been lucky these past few years that I always have 'that next idea' or that next friend to stay with or that next book to read or that next therapist to see....but I suppose as I see these options winding down, I know I need to start redefining what's 'next'. The COVID situation really made me look at this, since it completely limited possibilities for what new possibility I could try to see what might work.

 

I honestly don't know what people in this situation do to better it.  I do know that I have too much awareness now, of life, of society, of people, of my true inner nature, to tolerate a balancing act and call it a 'good enough life'.

 

I'm grateful for the resource you send. The book looks really interesting and informative and possibly helpful and I'll see how I can get myself a copy.

 

I can't believe you went from hermitting to where you are now! That's impressive growth. If you'd want to share more how that happened for you, i'd like to hear. If not, I completely understand. I totally get how corresponding with a suicidal person can be a downer of an activity.

 

Sending only light and love and gratitude your way.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
Happy2Heal
17 hours ago, Mariposa said:

I can't believe you went from hermitting to where you are now! That's impressive growth. If you'd want to share more how that happened for you, i'd like to hear. If not, I completely understand. I totally get how corresponding with a suicidal person can be a downer of an activity.

hi I apologize, I've only got  a few moments this morning, but I wanted to address this concern immediately, it's not a "downer" to correspond with a suicidal person.  It *can* however, be quite terrifying. Esp for those who have lost others to suicide as I have, my initial reaction is fear: the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, the fear of not doing enough, to help keep the friend alive.

but I know that your power to keep yourself alive far exceeds my power to do anything about it, and that makes me a little less fearful. Because you have a lot of strength and a lot of passion for life and I believe that you will find how to get the life you want. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is  possible, and if anyone has the determination to do it, it's you.

You've already proven that.

 

be back later, not sure when though

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post

💜 ty @Happy2Heal

 

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
Happy2Heal
On 7/6/2020 at 4:46 PM, Mariposa said:

But how do we release that when it's been years since I've had a stable, safe place to live of my own or a sense of security economically as I jump from low paying job to job just trying to survive, or any reliably supportive people in my life?

I'm going to ask some questions/say some things,  and I want you to understand, they are NOT judgements, I have been almost exactly where you are, with some of the very same issues, so what I'm about to say has applied to me. They're things I could have and probably should have,  asked myself.

 

 This is me just trying to s😂ort this out and maybe take a different perspective, that may or may not be helpful; just going to see where it goes, if that's ok?

to answer your question:

I don't know, do we really need life to be a certain way to grieve?

I grieved for my dad when he died for a solid year, hard painful grief, and have continued to grieve off and on since.  It was impossible to put that off, really.

as far as the grief from childhood losses, the trauma related stuff, I'm sure that it'd be nice to have some support, but I don't know that  it's necessary. So far, I've been doing all the grief work on my own. *shrug*

It's hard to find anyone willing to witness the kind of gut wrenching grief that survivors experience, and I'm not angry or bitter about that, although when I was younger, I did think it was almost absurd that ppl claimed they could not bear to listen to what I'd been thru, when I actually lived thru it. But I get it now, I see how when you go thru something, you feel like you  have more control, but when you witness something or hear about something second hand, after the fact, there's nothing you can do. I mean, of course, except be there for the person, but that is not an easy thing to do. 

 

On 7/6/2020 at 4:46 PM, Mariposa said:

I do know that I have too much awareness now, of life, of society, of people, of my true inner nature, to tolerate a balancing act and call it a 'good enough life'.

I have to confess, I don't know what you mean by this. What is this awareness? what is your "true inner nature"? can it change? has it changed in the past?   

what is wrong with a balancing act? if life is not balancing out hard things and easy things, good feelings and uncomfortable ones, what is it? are you expecting it to be all the same all the time? I honestly don't know what you mean. 

 

and if you don't want a "good enough life", what do you want? what would it take for you to get it?

 

again, these are not judgements, this last set of questions about what kind of life is wanted, that is what I am asking myself now.

 

I wasn't happy with my life, my decades of being drugged ~ and I decided to get off of them. and see what kind of life I might have.

 

I got feelings back, full force and then some!!! omg LOL WD neuro emotions and all that. it was the worst time of my life

During that time, I started to carve out a life for myself.

 

On 7/6/2020 at 4:46 PM, Mariposa said:

I can't believe you went from hermitting to where you are now! That's impressive growth. If you'd want to share more how that happened for you, i'd like to hear.

 

It didn't just happen, that's for sure, I made it happen. It was and is hard. But the pain of WD gave me the reason to make the changes. I could no longer deny that what I was doing wasnt' working for me.

I had to change and grow and it's a lot of work. I need to do still more, and when something hard comes along and I get upset about it, I try to remind myself to see it as an opportunity for growth, I try to  welcome it.

however,  I fail at that most times, at least at first. I am going thru some painful changes now and I just want to run away and hide and not deal with these things. 🙄😏
But I know, if I want to get the kind of life I have imagined for myself, I will have to do the work and go thru the hard stuff.

 

I have no idea if any of this has any relevance for you. I admit it is hard for me to put myself in your shoes- my imagination can only take me so far.

I have been dirt poor my entire adult life so that is just a fact I am used to and it doesn't bother me. I know how very little a person needs to actually exist and although I never want things to get to that point again, I know I can and will survive it. Living is a lot nicer than just existing.

 

it is hard to build up a support system, even harder given the way things are now, with the virus etc. But hard is not the same as impossible. I have no advice on this, I wish I did. I know that I am still working at building a support system myself  but at least I have a framework now. I didn't have that for the vast majority of my life. I didn't even know it was a thing LOL

 

I wish I had a copy of David Conroy's book for you, I have purchased several copies and even got one signed by the author (called and spoke with him, in fact!!) but I always give my copy away to someone I think can use it.

I will see if I can find a used copy somewhere.

 

I hope you're feeling at least a wee bit more hopeful. I hope that you are trying to live only in the present time. It helps a lot when things seem bleak to remember that we only have to get thru the next few moments, that is all we *ever* really have.

the future is unknown and unknowable.

that fact brings me both comfort and anxiety LOL But I have to look back and realize that I can live thru nearly anything just  a moment at a time.

 

and then those moments are gone and things are ok or good or great! 

that is life, as I see it.

moments.

 

I don't know if I"m making any sense.

I try not to think too deeply about these things. If I get all up in my head, my life invariably goes south fast 🙄

 

the more I stay in my body and my feelings in the present moment, the more I find myself loving life.

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Nov. 2020, loving life ❤️ 
 
Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat
7 minutes ago, Happy2Heal said:

I wish I had a copy of David Conroy's book, I have purchased several copies and got one signed by the author (called and spoke with him, in fact!!) but I always give my copy away to someone I think can use it.

I will see if I can find a used copy somewhere.

 

You can get it for Kindle at a very low price.  I think you can download the Kindle app so you can read it if you don't have a Kindle tablet:  https://www.amazon.com/Out-Nightmare-Recovery-Depression-Suicidal-ebook-dp-B0791MCC5Y/dp/B0791MCC5Y/ref=mt_other?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

@Happy2Heal you ask some great questions :) Thanks for the care you take to even read my posts and respond so thoughtfully.

 

I think you nailed it with

20 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

I try not to think too deeply about these things. If I get all up in my head, my life invariably goes south fast 🙄

 

Alas, this has always been my way.  Whatever the reason that my brain works like this (personality, WD, trauma, lack of parental bonding) I have just always been a 'big picture' thinker and I am always asking the unanswerable life questions.  Probably I make myself miserable, that's what I've always been told.  It would have served me well to find some sort of creative outlet for my angst and confusion and sense of meaninglessness but that hasn't been my path in life.

 

So I'm tempted to wax philosophical to answer all the great questions you have but I want to practice just keeping it simple and to the point. It's funny, you say you don't understand but I think actually you have the answers. Maybe in a sense I'm where you were when you were just 'existing' and I can't really see the stage beyond that. And like you say, 'existing' is no way to live.

 

The 'balancing act' is the ridiculous circus of getting some lousy job for some not-enough money for a room in a strangers house while living daily in this fog of a depression and ptsd that I can't see my way out of (even if the 'healing is happening').  I don't see alternatives to the individualist, robotic, capitalistic, disconnected lifestyle that is all I know. I've made many changes to try to exit the matrix but it seems to be everywhere. And the deep existential loneliness is simply unbearable at times. Wish I had more people like you in my life to bounce these ideas off of :)

 

I sort of understand that my thought process right now is probably colored by the ptsd. There are rare days I exist less effortfully.  I know that my core wound of an unloving mother and generations of familial rupture has me on a never-ending search for love and connection that I cannot find within myself somehow. But the pain of isolation and loneliness..I find it so ridiculous when we as humans build our lives AROUND this need, when I believe this is what we are fundamentally about as human beings. 

 

If you've ever read that book by Hari, Lost Connections, it sort of gives a good summary of how I would describe my situation.  I feel like as humans we have gone so far off our natural biological course that it only seems logical to either a)drop out of society somehow or b)drop out of life. I suspect that only if and until I can make some sort of heart connection with another human being I won't feel at home on this planet.

 

How does this relate to my drug journey? I do think the WD dropped a bomb on me psychically and spiritually....all of a sudden, within months, I was stripped of any illusion or delusion of meaning that I had previously constructed in my life, plus facing the trauma. Ironically this sort of despair was partly what had me welcoming the drugs in the first place - just to shut my insatiable mind off!! But, I just haven't gotten the grounding I need since coming off 5 years ago, and I'm not seeing the end of the hamster wheel.  I guess I don't honestly see the reasoning behind preserving any life at all cost, if I can't find a way to my own serenity.

 

It's funny because by nature I am generally a positive person, so I'm realizing how cranky and inflexible the above thoughts must seem. I obviously need an outlet for my cantankerous mind, uggh.😛

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
On 7/8/2020 at 10:16 PM, ChessieCat said:

You can get it for Kindle at a very low price.  I think you can download the Kindle app so you can read it if you don't have a Kindle tablet:  https://www.amazon.com/Out-Nightmare-Recovery-Depression-Suicidal-ebook-dp-B0791MCC5Y/dp/B0791MCC5Y/ref=mt_other?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

 

 

Thanks @ChessieCat I'll check it out...looks like theres a preview on google books. Hopefully I can find something in there.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post

Got a kindle copy of Conroy's book, thanks to you both @ChessieCat and @Happy2Heal.

 

My first impressions: I'm astonished at how completely Conroy understands and explains the suicidal mind. Also, how compassionately he treats the topic...this helped bring me a lot of relief, to understand my situation better, be kinder to myself given all the societal barriers to recovery from suicidality, less judging that I have reached a point of needing help and more clear about the strategies I've been using to survive, especially riding it out and trying to find that 'one cause' that if I solve it will bring immediate relief (I see now why I desperately sought after each 'treatment' or problem, whether hormones or diet or whatever.  All good things to adjust, but always creates more pain when it doesn't turn out to be the answer).

 

After reading more I understand a lot better his theory about emotional pain exceeding coping resources (and why I've denied that theory, as a coping mechanism in itself :P).

 

While suicidality has been a problem for me most of my life, even pre-drug, I really do think that WD creates the exact right conditions for a suicidal mind BEYOND the chemical inducement of it, in consideration of what he calls the 'aggregate theory'. For some of us the loss and disruption caused by WD is simply a perfect storm. I can and did tackle any number of life challenges that came my way after WD...but they never fixed the problem of the suicidality, and that just put me on a hamster wheel of continued depression and misery.  I also understand better now that suicidality is a normal and natural response, as a human animal, to this perceived emotional overwhelm that has endless, perhaps generational, factors.

 

I don't see the point in debating whether it's PAWS or whatever...I personally feel that the chemical suicidality I experienced is NOT what I'm experiencing now, but there's a lot of pushback on this site that any suicidality is chemical disruption or gut health and will disappear with the easing of PAWS. I can see why saying this is a strategy, of course, because it encourages people to continue to ride out the pain.

 

Personally, I would hope that more people considering getting off their drugs would understand this particular reality and danger, because climbing back out of falling in a suicidal hole not only extends for years, it's another insult to the injury of WD in the first place. As suicidality becomes ever more of a epidemic (pandemic?) in its own right, hopefully these conversations will be ongoing. 

 

Wish Conroy offered more concrete recovery measures but I'll take his book for the validation and compassion -and surprisingly, HOPE- it does offer, for now.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
9 hours ago, Mariposa said:

I personally feel that the chemical suicidality I experienced is NOT what I'm experiencing now, but there's a lot of pushback on this site that any suicidality is chemical disruption or gut health and will disappear with the easing of PAWS. I can see why saying this is a strategy, of course, because it encourages people to continue to ride out the pain.

 

We are aware that there is a reason (original condition) that people go on drugs for and sometimes as they reduce/get off their drug their original condition returns.  And we do have members questioning whether what they are experiencing is "relapse" or "withdrawal"  and advise them that if they think it is the original condition returning they have the choice of staying on the drug (and we suggest that it would be best to try and be on the lowest effective dose and the fewest number of drugs) and that whether they stay on the drug or continue tapering that it is suggested that they get suitable counseling to learn ways of coping with the original condition.

 

We also provide the following 2 links:

 

  

On 8/22/2016 at 12:35 PM, scallywag said:

 

How do I know it's withdrawal and not relapse?

 

Typically, in withdrawal symptoms such as melancholia, anxiety, and disorientation come in intense waves, sometimes only a few minutes long, which differentiates them from relapse of a psychological condition.

In withdrawal, symptoms are much more intense than the original psychological condition. People suffering from withdrawal often say things like

- "This doesn't feel like my depression."
- "I've never had symptoms like this before."
- "I feel very weird and not like myself."
- "I can't feel my feelings."

It's up to you to decide whether your body and brain are behaving "normally" as they did before you tried medication, or if you are feeling differently. No one else, not even a doctor, can determine this.

 

Also see this post.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Ok.

My fault, I just derailed my own thread with this point.

Not in a place to address this now, maybe if and after I'm suicidal pain free. My point was not original condition vs paws.

But thanks for the info @ChessieCat.

1994 age 14 on and off psych drugs, including zoloft, for severe 'depression' (which I now know is trauma and home-environment related)

2000-2007  Lithium at a 'therapeutic dose'. After several hospitalizations where they experimented with drugs and diagnoses but nothing bettered the rage/dissociation/'depression' so when I was sufficiently subdued on Lithium the doctors decided that was evidence I was bipolar

2007-2015 200 mg Lamitrogine/Lamictal and 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa.  Provider switched me to Lamitrogine as a better alternative to Lithium's known health risks. Looking back I experienced serious withdrawal depression during the switch but I imagined I was just relapsing. Citalopram/Celexa was added because I continued to be depressed and suicidal on the Lamitrogine/Lamictal but since I couldn't access my feelings, I just functioned in my life despite the background despair. 

April 2015 began taper of 10-20 mg Citalopram/Celexa at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. Could not find ANY doctor, provider or therapist who was willing to assist me but I was determined to figure out why I was feeling so 'off' and 'stuck' and 'miserable'. At that point I had made dramatic lifestyle changes, but the nagging suicidality seemed out of place and I was starting to realize my emotional life was impaired.

June 2015 Ended taper of Citalopram/Celexa (completely off celexa) and began taper of 200 mg Lamitrogine at 50% reduction every two weeks or so. I realize now I basically cold turkeyed.

September 2015 reached 12.5 mg of Lamitrogine. I realized I was in full blown withdrawal "depression" and NOT a relapse of 'mental illness' (the symptoms were so sudden and dramatic it was obviously not any kind of 'mental illness' as I had been indoctrinated to believe) so reinstated to 25mg and started a google frenzy for any information I could find

September -October 2015 held at 25 mg, severely symptomatic but unsure how to proceed to get better

October 2015- December 2016 tried my best at a 10% taper by using a liquid taper. Upended my life completely to face the symptoms (job loss, housing, sense of identity).

December 2016 ended taper of Lamitrogine (completely stopped), withdrawal symptoms acute

January 2017 drug free, withdrawal roller coaster continues

Septemberish 2018- Now Acute withdrawal symptoms ended. Now experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms complicated by original trauma healing suppressed by the drugs (hormonal disruption, suicidality, body pain)

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