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SurvivingOnAnime: Dealing with CT from Lexapro

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SurvivingOnAnime

 

It has been nearly 4 months since I quit Lexapro cold turkey.  Before that I had been on Zoloft for a few months, and before that I had been on Celexa for about 10 years.  Nothing seemed to be working anymore, and I felt like I had been in a coma of sorts for more than a decade.  I pulled the plug, and shortly after, all hell broke loose.  Though my username might suggest otherwise, I am a 43-year-old woman.


I feel I should mention that, though I still have many symptoms, I am currently coping with these at the moment.  I am most concerned about the mental/emotional issues currently, but I will list the physical first.


My physical symptoms were/are: insomnia for about 3 wks (sleep is better now but far from ideal); numbness in my legs and arms for about 6-7 wks; electricity-like vibrations or tremors all over my body (still have these in varying intensity); tinnitus (on and off for 2 mnths, occasional now); it was very difficult to eat ( I lost about 30lbs in 2.5 mnths); intense head pressure (2.5 mnths, occasional now); pain in my ears (fairly constant still); body twitches for about 3wks; vivid dreams that wake me up several times a night (constant since the initial insomnia lessened); feeling like something was lightly crawling all over my face and the top of my head for almost 3 months; no energy for 2 months (slightly improved now); intense heat particularly in my chest (still happens 3-4 times/wk at night); confusion and difficulty concentrating (has improved quite a bit in the last month); problems with my eyes (blurry, tired) is ongoing; diarrhea (still fairly constant); dizziness (still happens but only occasional now);and  I became extremely sensitive to sound; light; smells; taste; other people’s emotions and stress (still dealing with these).  I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but typing this has been a bit exhausting.

Okay, now for the mental and emotional stuff.  I became intensely afraid of the dark for several weeks.  Thankfully that passed.  I was terrified to be alone, and I am still afraid to be left on my own for too long.  I experienced terror like I had never felt before.  I learned to sit with it and accept it without giving a narrative to it.  At first I felt at its mercy, but in January, I decided to sit with it, feel it physically while not giving it a narrative, and accept it.  I kind of spoke to it.  I said that I accepted that it was there but that it could feel free to leave at any time.  I would ride out those waves in this way.  That terror hasn’t visited me in a few weeks.

 

Anxiety has been a constant companion.  I talk to it too and treat it like I did the terror.  I can settle it down eventually, but I know it’s not done with me yet. I also wake up with panic in the middle of the night.  I decided a couple of weeks ago to not entertain any suicidal thoughts anymore.  It is not an option, and I will not do it.  I have become a bit claustrophobic, and early on, I had to keep running out of rooms or running outside.

 

I’m getting tired, so I think I’ll jump to some of my concerns and questions.  Since November, I lost my ability to daydream, and I miss that escape desperately.  Will it come back? Will any spark of creativity come back?


 I find it hard to enjoy things, but I make myself do things to keep me occupied, like crochet.  I used to be obsessed with music, but I can barely listen to it now.  I can’t really watch most tv, but I have, thankfully, been able to watch gentle anime in the evenings to settle me down for sleep.  When I get through this, I think I will have to write some sort of love letter about the genre keeping me going.  British panel shows and British painting and pottery shows I can also handle. Will I be able to enjoy tv, music, and fiction again?
I feel like I don’t remember how to be a person.  Why am I afraid to be alone with my thoughts?  Why do I worry from the morning how I will distract myself enough to get through another day? Where is any feeling of fun or enthusiasm? I focus on gratitude and am making every effort to be kind to myself.  I also make an effort to be kind to others.  I feel love for my parents and brother, and I tell them so often.  I’ve journaled about past pains and traumas and chosen to forgive those involved. So I’m trying to lay the groundwork for positivity in my brain.  But I feel like I’m in an unending existential crisis.  I have trouble making much of an effort to do things, and I often feel like there is no point.
Sadness I can feel, but happiness is elusive.  It all just takes time, right?  I guess I’m looking for hope. Sorry if this is a bit of a disorganized mess.

 

Thank you,
SurvivingOnAnime

 

Lexapro 5mg for 3 months (quit November 2019)

Lexapro 10mg for 14 months (July 2018 - Sept 2019)

Zoloft 50mg for 5 months (March 2018  - July 2018)

Celexa for 10 years (2008- March 2018)

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, SurvivingonAnime.

 

The symptoms you describe are very typical of withdrawal from antidepressants. It's very encouraging that your sleep is improving, if  not ideal (ideal is seldom encountered in withdrawal) and that you're able to cope with your symptoms.

 

 So that you have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, I'd like to give give you some information on withdrawal and the healing process after coming off these drugs.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  

 

These explain the healing process really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

   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.  
 
 I don't know if you would want to consider a reinstatement of a very small dose of Lexapro to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  
 
Reinstatement works most predictably within 3 months of your last dose,  You are a month outride that frame, so i might work and it might not.  If you're interested in reinstatement please let me know and I will suggested a small dose.  please do  to reinstate without allowing us to suggest a dose. Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic.  If you're interested 

Losing feelings and interest in things is common in withdrawal, as is fear of being alone with your thoughts and loss of creativity. These feelings fall under the broad category of anhedonia and apathy.  I have many of these symptoms.  It is our experience the these resolve in time.  The damage is not permanent.

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium (glycinate is a good form) and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

Your coping skills are very good.  Here are some links to help with dealing with anxiety:

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Gridley,

 

Thank you so much for this information.  I will read/watch all of it.  As for reinstatement, I think I'm going to ride it out.  I know it's going to be hard, but learning about the windows/waves process, I think, will help me to remember that healing is moving forward even if it seems like the opposite.  Only a few days ago, I started weeping solidly while making a sandwich for my brother.  It made no sense at the time, but I'm coming to learn that these "neuro-emotions" just show up.  I just have to manage not being scared about what the next hour/day might bring.

 

Thank you :)

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Gridley
20 minutes ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

t made no sense at the time, but I'm coming to learn that these "neuro-emotions" just show up. 

You have  very good handle on the situation.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Another issue that causes me some distress is that I can feel the expectations of those around me and their frustration.  I'm not quite the person right now that they have known.  My family is supportive, but I think they feel like I should somehow through will power be able to just get to the finishing line. I'm not able to join in with everything they do, and sometimes I have to ask to not talk about a triggering topic or have to ask one of them to bring their intensity down if they're ranting about something.  I feel guilty and selfish because I never would have asked people to censor themselves before. Also, I'm not able to be there for others at the same level as they are needed to be there for me.

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Gridley
8 minutes ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

My family is supportive, but I think they feel like I should somehow through will power be able to just get to the finishing line.

Unfortunately, unless you're going through withdrawal, it's very difficult to understand how all-pervading the symptoms are.  Many, many members have voiced your concerns, including the guilt.  Take a look at the Relationships and Social life topic on the main page of tis site.  Here's the link:

 

Relationships and social life

 

Here's one of the threads:

Helping family understand 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Gridley,

 

Thank you for your help and replies.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Shortly after waking up today, I had another crying spell.  It always leaves me so tired.  I start thinking that I can't take this, but I know I have no choice, so I'm working on adjusting my mindset this morning.

 

Concerning things that I used to love but for some reason scare me right now, should I be trying to test these things.  Like music, I'm scared to listen to the songs I used to love, but should I be exposing myself to them? Should I be pushing my limits? 

 

Thanks

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SurvivingOnAnime

I wonder if I've made myself sound like I'm doing better than I actually am.  Feeling really needy, lonely and scared today.

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Gridley
1 hour ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

should I be exposing myself to them? Should I be pushing my limits? 

I know others on the forum like to push their limits, but I do better taking it easy on myself and being kind to myself.

 

39 minutes ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

Feeling really needy, lonely and scared today.

 

I'm sorry you're feeling low, SurvivingonAnime.  

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SurvivingOnAnime

Gridley,

 

I don't know how to do the "quoting" thing so you will see this, but I hope you do.  Thank you for always responding.  Sometimes I feel like I don't exist, so I appreciate it.  You are very kind, and I hope that you are happy and doing well.

 

Thanks :)

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Gridley
3 hours ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

I don't know how to do the "quoting" thing

 

Thanks, Surviving.  I'm happy to help.

 

To do the quoting thing, highlight the portion you want to quote from my post.  A box with "quote selection" will pop up. Click on it and I'll be notified.

 

Another way to do it is to type @Gridley and a box with @Gridley will pop up.  Click on it and I'll be notified that you've posted something that you want me to see.

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Respector

@SurvivingOnAnime I just read this whole thread and I relate so much to what you're going through. I also was on celexa mostly then zoloft for a short bit then everything kind of unraveled from there. You're not alone in how you feel. Also needy lonely and scared :(

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Respector  I feel so sorry that you feel the same. This is a hard battle.  Battle may not be the right word because so much of this journey is about acceptance and patience.  When I look back at my journal entries from November and December, I can see that I'm so much better off, but these neuro-emotions can make me feel as if I've made no progress.  I have been on this forum too much today, continually seeking.  Reading success stories has helped some.

 

We can get to the other side of this.  During my brief windows, I believe this absolutely and rationally.  It seems obvious. The biggest challenge is to not trust the emotions that tell us otherwise.

 

I have reminded myself that only a few months ago I felt absolute terror and was up at night pacing the floor for hours.  But that passed.  So the rest, I believe, will pass too.  I just have trouble with patience.

 

How are you handling things?

 

Sending good thoughts your way.

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Respector

@SurvivingOnAnime I was starting to handle a bit better but then got the flu which has set me back and got me out of work and my routine. I just posted for the first time in a while in my intro topic. 

 

I agree when we are feeling better it is easier to see there is hope. I've been trying to see the fear thoughts as lies and trying to give them less weight when they come around but it is an exhausting "battle"

 

I'm so glad you have improved. Night terror is the worst. Sending you good thoughts as well 

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Maui

@SurvivingOnAnime & @Respector,

 

I have read both your stories, thank you for sharing. I'm going to start keeping track of symptoms in here more often. I noticed since being off citalopram completely for 3 weeks I'm noticing more symptoms. 

I just want all this to pass. 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Today, anxiety has just sat like a cold rock in my chest.  I've had to remind myself to just feel it physically and not come up with a reason for it.  The knowledge that it's in some ways not real helps, but still, I let it get to me today.  I've been seeing a counselor for holistic therapy, and she has given me excellent strategies to deal with these emotions as felt by my body.  For some reason today, I didn't do any of them until a short time ago. 

 

Until I started seeing her a few weeks ago, I didn't actually realize that what was happening to me was AD withdrawal.  I had looked at that possibility in November, but I didn't find any of the information that is provided here.  It was just the usual nonsense about the drugs being out of your system in a couple weeks.  I'm embarrassed to say I thought I had a kundalini awakening.  The symptoms I was having seemed to match that, and I went down a strange path. (For the record, I don't disbelieve those who have had the experience; it just wasn't what was really going on with me.)  Some of the spiritual stuff actually helped, but some of it also was making my situation worse.  My physical symptoms and sleep only started to improve once I read (through blurry eyes) Gopi Krishna's book on his experience.  He felt better (grounded) when he ate meat.  I had listened to too many YouTubers who said being vegan and existing on smoothies was the only way to wellness. (Again, I respect veganism, but eating that way seemed to make all of my symptoms worse; this is probably not true for everyone.)

 

The best thing I learned from the spiritual crowd was that I needed to connect with my body.  For a long time, I felt like I was just a brain with a body hanging off it.  Now I listen to it.  Now I actually talk to it.  Six months ago, I would not have even considered doing that.  But when my ears hurt, I tap lightly on them and say, "I'm sorry that you hurt, thank you for letting me know, I love you, please continue to heal."  I do this for any physical symptom, and more often then not, the symptom reduces in intensity or even goes away for hours. It's okay if anyone thinks I'm weird for this.  I'm mentioning it in case it might help anyone else.  I think a lot of the effectiveness of this for me has to do with my intention in that moment to accept the feeling and not kick against it.  I've spent a lot of time recently choosing to accept my situation.  When I can do that, I feel better.  But I don't always do that.  Some days are just really hard.

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SurvivingOnAnime

I'm getting the idea that too much stimulation isn't good for my nervous system healing, so I probably shouldn't be pushing my limits at the moment.  I'm also, I think, in a wave at the moment because I'm more anxious, impatient, and get stressed out over nothing at all.  I got excessively frustrated and moody over doing laundry yesterday, and I felt overwhelmed by all the snow shoveling I had to do ( I practically shook my fist at the sky over it).  This morning the sounds of my neighbors snowblowers stressed me out more than usual.  My reactions to sound had been much better for a month or so.

 

Anyway, I have a question that probably has no definitive answer, but I'm going to try anyway.  How will I know when what I am feeling is really my legitimate feeling and not a neuro-emotion?  I'm worried that, at some point, I will have to do some work on myself.  I worry that some of these strange phobias that sprouted from withdrawal might remain, and I'll have to work on them.  One strange thing that I can't quite explain: I originally went on meds due to social anxiety.  The one thing I have not had since a couple weeks after WD started is social anxiety. (I'm not complaining about that, but I used to be at ease on my own but now I am scared to be away from people.)

 

Will I be able to tell when the real me is feeling things?

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Gridley
20 hours ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

Today, anxiety has just sat like a cold rock in my chest


Here are some links to help you deal with anxiety.  Dr. Claire Weekes did pioneering work in coping with anxiety and many members have been helped by her techniques.  The last link about the restorative yoga pose has worked well for me.

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

 

20 hours ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

My physical symptoms

 

Non-drug techniques for dealing with body pain

 

 

23 minutes ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

 

I'm getting the idea that too much stimulation isn't good for my nervous system healing, so I probably shouldn't be pushing my limits at the moment.

 

 

I'm definitely of this school of thought.  Be kind to yourself.

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Colonial
20 hours ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

.  But when my ears hurt, I tap lightly on them and say, "I'm sorry that you hurt, thank you for letting me know, I love you, please continue to heal."  I do this for any physical symptom, and more often then not, the symptom reduces in intensity or even goes away for hours. It's okay if anyone thinks I'm weird for this.  I'm mentioning it in case it might help anyone else.  I think a lot of the effectiveness of this for me has to do with my intention in that moment to accept the feeling and not kick against it.

 

Our bodies react well to this!

Our bodies need to "know" that Our mental brain "understands" what it's going through, and we give it time to heal.

Our brain and bodies are in, like, and adult child relationship, the more we stress our bodies out to get in line and be symptom free...

The more Our bodies "soak up" that psychic pressure it's receiving by Our mental impulses and the worse we are.

Our bodies become like Beaker from the Muppets with His hair on fire, it's already trying to cope and now it has our negative thoughts on top of it all...

Telling it that it's not doing good enough.

Well, that only delays the healing and makes the symptoms worse.

I'm glad You belong to the crowd that does this, I think those of us who do, do better in the long run.

Thanks for sharing! 💝

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Gridley  Thank you for the info.  I will try to be kind to myself.

Hope you're having a good day. :)

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SurvivingOnAnime
1 minute ago, Colonial said:

Our bodies become like Beaker from the Muppets with His hair on fire, it's already trying to cope and now it has our negative thoughts on top of it all...

This image actually gave me a giggle today! Thank you for that.  Your words give me more confidence. :)

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SurvivingOnAnime

Not feeling good today. Started off crying and feeling hopeless.  Even though I know that I am very lucky to be able to be living with my parents through this difficult time, I got so frustrated by feeling ignored by my father that I pounded my fists on the kitchen table and continued to ugly cry.  It was gross.  And I'm pretty sure that he wasn't really doing anything wrong.

 

These past few days, with the escalation of emotions, have made me realize that I must have been in a kind of window before.  I didn't feel great, but I felt better than this.  Part of me knows that, but the memory of the better time seems hard to access at the moment.  When a little sunshine breaks through the misery again, I think I had better write down in detail everything about the experience so that I can hold on to it when I have to ride these waves.

 

I know I'm not saying anything new, and I'm not suffering more than most.  I suspect I may even be suffering a great deal less than many other people.  But this is so so exhausting.  I wish I could get to the other side of this, and I wish I could find some magic wand that could rescue everyone else going through this.  And I unrealistically and selfishly want answers to my questions.  I want to know from people who are further down the road or recovered, when did these emotions settle down?  When did they feel their emotions were really their own.  Did each wave bring new healing?  Does each bout of suffering mean that more healing is taking place.

 

I have read the neuro-emotions thread in its entirety already.  What magic words do I think I need to read?

 

Sorry to be a mess, but I thought it would be better to write these things here than torment my family members.

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SurvivingOnAnime

The day after my last post was better, and Tuesday was okay, and Wednesday was almost good.  Then today happened.  I had intense feelings of loneliness.  Then, I found out my dad was losing his job soon, and I cried for far too long.  He is probably going to be okay and already has a possible job offer in the works.  Rationally, I should have put this together.  I'm just glad I didn't cry in front of him.  That wouldn't have made him feel too good.

 

After having read more on this site today, I think this wave may have arrived with my period which started today.  Understanding that made the afternoon easier.  Thankfully, I tend to feel better in the evenings, and my stress started calming down at about 5pm.  The loneliness abated after an hour or so.  I am lonely, but this felt urgent and threatening, so I'm classifying this as a neuro emotion.

 

No questions today.  I'm just documenting this so I have a record.  I think I should write down the next good day I have so that it doesn't seem like there is no progress.  Because there is.  I was still able to do some work today and complete a few chores.  It may feel like Purgatory, but I must remember that today wasn't Hell.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Yesterday, my anxiety wasn't quite so bad.  I was able to do a large chunk of work.  My emotions were huge.  Even though I avoid the news, things I heard about tangentially affected me deeply.  I won't go into it because I don't want anyone reading this [even though it seems I'm mostly talking to myself] to get triggered.  I also saw the aftermath of an accident and cried intensely over that [Help came swiftly, and I think those involved will be okay].  So, I did ALOT of crying.  It was exhausting.  But the evening came, and I felt good.  I even felt happy.  That emotion has been a stranger for so long.

 

Then, I woke up today with the anxiety, and happiness was nowhere to be found.  It's been a bit rough today.  Concentrating on work is harder, and I cried buckets when my brother said something nice to me.  I am hoping to have another evening window.

 

Even though it doesn't feel real to me at the moment, I need to remember that I did feel some happiness last night.  So I will feel it again.  I felt resentful that I get a few hours where life seems possible only to have it ripped away when the next morning comes, but then I remember that I should feel grateful to have good moments at all.  I am healing.

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SurvivingOnAnime

I wish someone would talk to me.  I know there are other people more in need, but I'm feeling scared today.  I had to force myself to take a shower.  Why am I scared to take a shower again?!  I keep bringing my stress down, but it keeps ramping up.  I need reassurance.  I've read so much on here, but I want someone to tell me I'm making progress or that things are going to be okay.  I don't feel okay.  I'm sorry to be so selfish.

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Maui

Hi there,

It's ok to feel scared. Just realize its a emotion, and move on don't try to overthink.  You will get through this. You wrote you felt a little better the other day. You will continue to have good days. Trust me I know it's scary. 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Thank you @Maui.  I'm sure I'll be embarrassed about being so desperate tomorrow.  I know these feelings aren't real, but they wore me down today.

 

I hope you're doing okay.  Thank you again.

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Maui

Don't be embarrassed, it's not easy.

Send me a message anytime, if you ever want to talk. Or just need to preoccupy your mind.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Thank you @Maui. I appreciate that.  And feel free to message me if you need to talk too.  Your responses made me feel a little better right away. :) 

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Maui

Thank you

I always think it feels better when you can talk to someone. Gets your mind off the obsessive thoughts. I hope you have a good weekend!

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SurvivingOnAnime

Today is a bit of a blah day, but really, that's not such a horrible thing.  Yesterday was really really good.  Except for tearing up with frustration for two minutes, which passed, I had a non-anxious morning, and by late afternoon, I felt happy.  While I don't have much access to that feeling now, I remember that everything seemed possible; I was able to use my imagination; little things were enough to make me happy; and I was able to laugh and even be a bit mischievous.  It's like my personality was back for a bit.  My brother's birthday was yesterday, and I am so very thankful that I could be his sister again for awhile.

 

When I woke up today, I had no enthusiasm and everything seems like a trial.  My anxiety is very low, but I have an impatient restlessness.  But this is doable.  When I have a true window, I always wish that I would have detailed it more fully so I can trust that things will get better.

 

I don't know if CT people like myself have a sort of baseline in between the windows and waves, but maybe that's what this is.  Again, it's Purgatory, but that spider's thread of hope dangling above me has thickened somewhat.

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Gridley
1 hour ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

a sort of baseline in between the windows and waves,

 

Surviving,

 

I'm glad you had a good day.

 

Regarding baselines, this is what we call WDnormal.  The following was written by one of our moderators, Brassmonkey.  I compiled several posts on the subject, so this is a little disjointed but will give you a good idea of baseline.

 

WD NORMAL
WDnormal is not feeling good (wish that it was) but rather an average feeling of suckatude that takes for ever to slowly show any improvement. This is a frustratingly slow process, but it does work.  I recall it wasn't until I was into the third year of my taper before I started to recognize that improvements were happening and the WDnormal baseline was creeping up.  It can't be rushed and any attempt to hurry it along will only end up slowing it down.  All told it sounds like you're in a wonderful situation to be handling this horror and understand what needs to be done to get through.  Hang in there and things will get better.
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It's a very confusing, convoluted and shifting area. It's the true definition of "the only constant thing is change".  WDnormal is the average feeling over a frustratingly long period of time. At the beginning of a taper it's hard to really see any long term improvements for the first six months or so, and even them they can be very slight. The time period from one slide to the next is not long enough to see any change, good or bad, that really counts in the long run. Over the course of time the level of WDnormal will slowly rise as we heal and things improve.  I've found that it's best not to expect anything with a slide, but rather to accept what I get each time with the knowledge that over time things will get better.  The moment when you can look back and truly say "I feel better than I did six months ago" is so sweet.  You're on the right path, now it's just a waiting game.

 

To use a bad surfing example, we are looking at the mid-line in a long series of troughs and crests.  We want to keep our board as close to the mid line as possible, but understand that we will get above it or below from time to time, but by applying  our skills be can get back to it for a smooth ride.  We try to keep our board in the calm area just in front of the white water for the fastest ride.  If we get too far from the white water the ride is slower and smoother but if we go the other way and get caught in the break we may have to hang on for dear life.  more

 

I see WDnormal as the overall baseline of where you are in general. The place you are when you're not feeling good, but you're not feeling bad. Sorta a rolling average of the past couple of months between the windows and waves.  Watching the level of WDnormal is a good indicator that things are improving.  Over time you should be seeing a raising of the standard for WDnormal.  So how you're feeling now is better than say six months ago. It changes very slowly but is a really good indicator.

 

 Many people have the idea that stability is feeling good again, when in fact it's feeling the same level of blah day after day with no big swings to the better or bad. When a person does a drop in dose there will be a corresponding increase in WD symptoms over the next few days.  These symptoms will resolve themselves over the following several weeks and return the person to a slightly raised baseline of discomfort. The time frame and severity are dependent on a huge number of factors and end up being unique to each individual.  But the pattern remains.  This is why paying attention to your WDnormal is very important.  It is also referred to as listening to your body.  After a drop in dose and the symptoms have resolved to WDnormal the person then should wait a couple of more weeks to let things really settle out (there are a lot of little unfelt changer still going on) before considering doing their next drop.

 

During that waiting time people may think that they're not doing anything and want to get on with it.  When in fact doing nothing is very proactive.  It's those little unfelt things that need to be finished up before the next step can be taken.  It's letting the glue harden, the paint dry, the cement cure.  The things that need to be complete before the path is safe to walk on again.  If these details are ignored then they start to pile up and compound each other, then somewhere down the line the foundation slips out from under us and the whole thing collapses.
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1. No.  this brings up the subject of "WDnromal", which is the average state of feeling bad during a taper.  Each drop will trigger some "acute symptoms" which should resolve themselves over the course of a few weeks. Leaving you back to just a steady state of feeling bad.  Improvements in that steady state (WDnormal) appear over time and mark the healing that is happening.

2. Symptoms have a mind of their own and will come and go as they see fit.  It's very hard to try and find patterns to them.  During the early stages of a taper the body is adjusting to the idea of the taper and the symptoms will be more unpredictable.  It's not uncommon to have a good week followed by a worse week.  If the symptoms become debilitating then it's time to worry, and slow things down.

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SurvivingOnAnime

 @Gridley Thank you for this.  These explanations of WD Normal make a lot of sense.  Also,  the emotional changes are so darn weird.  An hour ago, I heard some really good news about someone I know, and I was able to cry with relief, but at the same time, I can't feel happy about it.  It's very weird.  But I won't stress about it.

 

Thanks again. 😀

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SurvivingOnAnime

I'm writing this just to keep track of where I'm at right now.

 

I've been living a weird half life this past week or so.  In the evening, I can laugh a bit, use my imagination, and have positive feelings.  It's so frustrating to wake up without them.  But anger and sadness are always on tap.  I guess the feel-good chemicals are needed for other things during the day?  I don't really get it, but that's the theory I'm working on right now.

 

I feel that my negative emotions are less volatile now.  I cry a bit too quickly, but it only lasts a few minutes.  Today, I'm actually really angry about some things, but I'm able to get perspective.  These things I would be angry about normally anyway. 

 

My skin is suffering still from my recent indulgence: something from Taco Bell.  Since late November, I have not had caffeine, fast food, alcohol, soda of any kind, or much sugar (with the exception of a tiny glass of fruit juice occasionally).  My skin hasn't been great, but when I threw caution to the wind for a few bites of junk food, man did it give me problems. 

 

My body has been more achy lately, and I feel like it wanted me to take a break from walking for a couple days.  I miss walking, and I hope to feel up to it tomorrow.

 

I get enough sleep, but I still wake up more often than I'd like.  I'm not complaining.  People here are really suffering with insomnia, so to complain about this would make me a bit of a jerk.  But I did have horrible insomnia in November and December.  I've kept a consistent schedule and am able to fall asleep between 10:30 and 11 each night.  I watch anime until I start to drift off.  I think this works because of the f.lux program on my computer that changes the light quality on my laptop.  When I start to nod off, I turn the computer off, and I'm asleep usually within 15 minutes.  I stop drinking water at 7 to lessen the tendency to wake up to go to the bathroom, but I still usually wake up for that purpose.

 

The anxiety is so much less.  Sometimes a thought triggers some, and it rises up suddenly, but I can settle it within a couple minutes these days.  I still usually have a sort of tight restlessness inside, but I do my best to ignore it.  I know that it will probably be gone by 6 or 7pm.

 

When people talk about having to focus on work and how they feel it helps them, I have to agree.  I had to work really hard on my focus.  You may not be able to tell from the typos and mistakes in these posts, but I am the content editor/copywriter for my mother's book series.  In order to not totally tank our family's income, I had to work on my focus in order to get my work done so we could release books.  Yesterday, we launched the third book since I started this withdrawal hell.  It was difficult, but it gives me some sense of pride.  I've actually been able to work better than when I was on the ADs.

 

Once I was able to claw my way to some focus, I started learning Japanese (the Hiragana alphabet first).  I figured since I was watching so much anime, I might as well continue with the theme.  I didn't have enthusiasm when I started, but I had a vague interest.  When you don't have the positive emotions, I think you have to grab on to the smallest interest.  I think it helps your brain.

 

I still have a ways to go.  There's much that I haven't been able to bring back into my life yet.  I still have irrational thoughts, weird fears, and supercharged impatience.  I have moments of hopelessness, but all suicidal urges left in early February and have not returned.  I'm afraid to watch anything emotional or stressful and I still feel too insecure to listen to music I liked.  But I believe more and more that this is temporary, and we are all healing.

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leavingorganon

SOA,

For what it's worth, I think you write beautifully and shouldn't worry about typos and such. You write clearly and perfectly in my opinion.  

 

I'm mid-way through tapering one of the meds I'm on, so there's still a journey ahead of me. I look forward to your updates, and find them somehow encouraging. This is not to place pressure on you to always report "progress" strictly, I understand completely how unpredictable this whole thing is. 

 

I do notice a similar pattern to yours in terms of how different my emotional profile is between morning and night. Anxiety and dread can get awful for me in the morning, but things seem to settle down at night. Though I'm also dealing with drug interactions rather than just withdrawal, so maybe it's really different.

 

What anime do you enjoy watching these days?

 

I have fond memories of the original Fruits Basket series. Its warmth helped me tremendously during some tough time I was going through back in college. I'm looking forward to watch the remake one day. I also love Kino no Tabi because of how dreamy and philosophical it can get, and Azumanga Daioh, which is just a really funny slice-of-life series. And oh, Evengelion (especially the End of Evangelion) but that's definitely not something to watch while withdrawing haha.  

 

I hope you continue to feel better. 

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