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Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


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1 hour ago, apace41 said:

I've been laying low and not posting a whole lot lately, but I had to comment on this as I'm laughing out loud thinking what the "normals" would say if they read this thread. 

 

so true!
I told a friend recently: oh I had a great morning today, I overslept!

she  thought I was being sarcastic.... LOL 

she apparently didn't believe me all the times I've told her I haven't needed an alarm clock in years, because I always wake up way before I want or need to.

 

I'm lucky that I don't have anywhere I need to be, so I am completely enjoying the extra zzzz's

 

Yes, when good sleep returns it's a VERY GOOD THING!


 

  • 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 ❤️ 
 
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Link to Benzo Forum Thread -  Shep's Journey   Leaving Plato’s Cave   In Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave,” a group of human beings are chained since birth in a dark cave where

I'm not Shep (and I don't play her on TV), but I'm pretty confident she will share my view that your next best move might be to fire your doctor.  3.5 months is NOTHING when it comes to withdrawal fro

Yes, my recovery accelerated toward the end and although I still have some mild to moderate symptoms during waves, they are also resolving. I'm going into the "rearview mirror" stage of recovery where

1 hour ago, apace41 said:

I'm looking forward to your first big oversleep, Shep.  It will be a day for celebration!

 

it will indeed be a day to celebrate!!

 

good to see you Andy!

I hope things are going well with 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 ❤️ 
 
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@Shep nevermind, I see you answered my question later. I appreciate the advice and will follow this. Thank you!

3/21/19 started Bupropion XL 150 mg

3/21/19 started Risperidone 2mg

7/7/19 start Abilify half dose 5 mg. discontinue Risperidone

7/9/19 full dose Abilify 10 mg

7/29/19 discontinued Abilify due to panicky side effects

8/2/19 Began Latuda 20 mg

8/5/19 discontinued Latuda due to similar side effects 

8/10/19 discontinued Bupropion after realizing it was causing the insomnia

From 8/10/19 no drugs whatsoever

Currently taking vitamin D, E, a probiotic and fish oil. 

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23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

I so wish I'd seen this advice back in the beginning, I lost a lot of muscle mass (and a LOT of wt too) during WD and didn't know that was going to happen (apparently the wt loss alone makes you lose muscle) I would have tried to do something with hand weights.... By the time I got into some sr classes like Bone Builders, I was already so weak. :( 

 

I'm sorry you had to go through that. It seems that a lot of people who make it through medical school are very much the teach-to-the-test learners and not very versed in common sense. I mean, some of the doctors who prescribe tricyclic antidepressants for one person for so-called "depression" are the same doctors who also prescribe tricyclic antidepressants to another patient as a muscle relaxer. When you come off that drug - no matter why you were on it - it can cause the muscles to lock up. 

 

So a slow taper while being mindful of stretching exercises along the way just makes sense. 

 

23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

anyway, you always give the best and most thoughtful advice Shep, I am so grateful for all the time that you have devoted to this forum helping others

 

❤️

 

Thanks for your kind words, Happy.

 

 

Edited by Shep
fixed typo

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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19 hours ago, Armorall said:

@Shep nevermind, I see you answered my question later. I appreciate the advice and will follow this. Thank you!

 

You're welcome. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 9/15/2020 at 9:49 AM, Shep said:

I'm going to briefly document the worst wave since I wrote my success story. But it's part of the post-zero experience and important to give voice to. 

 

I'm going to update this and call my wave over.

 

Although a lot of previous withdrawal symptoms had kicked in, this wave turned out not to be just a withdrawal wave - it was late-stage perimenopause. After skipping a number of periods this year, I started having some really severe hot flashes earlier in October, which let me know this was less about withdrawal and more about menopause. I'm 52 years old, so not unexpected. And I'm more than thrilled about not having any more periods. This is going to make the post-zero withdrawal waves a lot easier and I may see a lot more healing over the next couple of years. It's hard to say after being drugged for so long, I didn't really have a baseline to compare to when I first wrote my success story. 

 

I started taking an herbal supplement called Black Cohosh in a liquid extract form and am seeing phenomenal results. I went from feeling like I was going to spontaneously combust every 30 - 45 minutes all day and all night to not having a hot flash for up to 36 hours at a time now. And when I do periodically have one, it's very, very mild. 

 

And I'm only taking 1/4 the recommended dose. 

 

I'm continuing to research Indigenous medicines because they work so well and can have far fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs. Black Cohosh may cause liver problems if used more than a year according to some of the literature, however, there's not that much research into this because doctors would prefer to prescribe Brisdelle (re-packaged Paxil) or other SSRIs for menopause. This is more than criminal with what's already known about this drug, especially Paxil Study 329. Also, according to the Rx.org site's article Medications compromising Covid Infections, "The consumption of anticholinergic drugs increases the risk of pneumonia by 1.6 to 2.5-fold" and this includes Paxil (paroxetine). 

 

All Black Cohosh does is make my pleasantly sleepy and has a nice calming effect the next day. 

 

I've set a google calendar reminder to reassess continuing with this supplement after 6 months and will likely come off within a year, just out of concern about any possible liver complications. My diet is a very clean modified Paleo diet, my weight is at the low end (I struggle to keep weight on due to my running and biking schedule), and I've started a new strength training program to address any bone loss issues, along with targeting calcium in my diet. I'm researching HIIT training (high intensity interval training) as something else that will keep me healthy and strong. 

 

Sleep is improving, along with being able to get through the day a lot easier. The dp/dr and fatigue have both decreased and cognitive skills are better than they were even before this wave. 

 

I'm convinced that menopause gives women super powers. Never underestimate a woman over 50. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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So wonderful to hear, Shep! Thanks  for the update!!

3/21/19 started Bupropion XL 150 mg

3/21/19 started Risperidone 2mg

7/7/19 start Abilify half dose 5 mg. discontinue Risperidone

7/9/19 full dose Abilify 10 mg

7/29/19 discontinued Abilify due to panicky side effects

8/2/19 Began Latuda 20 mg

8/5/19 discontinued Latuda due to similar side effects 

8/10/19 discontinued Bupropion after realizing it was causing the insomnia

From 8/10/19 no drugs whatsoever

Currently taking vitamin D, E, a probiotic and fish oil. 

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4 hours ago, Armorall said:

So wonderful to hear, Shep! Thanks  for the update!!

 

Thanks, Armorall. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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I'm convinced that menopause gives women super powers. Never underestimate a woman over 50. 

 

Couldn't agree more 😄 

An amazing and beautiful witch ❤

And you are a perfect illustration of these super powers !

 

I'm really glad to read that you feel this wave is over. And that sleep is getting better : sleep is sooo good !

 

Must confess that I'm surprised by the fact that you don't seem to be afraid of supplements/remedies : I read this as a wonderful sign of healing.

 

Take care ☀️

 

2006 : 20mg Paroxetine + Bromazepam(no specific dose) 2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Deroxat + Bromazepam

2013: Switch from Bromazepam To Prazepam

2014-June2017 : Prazepam taper

2018 to August 2019 : Paroxetine 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22nd August updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paroxetine. 

April 2020 : Paxil to Prozac bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :  7mg Fluoxetine (since 20 Aug 2020)

+ 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

(Toothpick Paroxetine from September 2020 to 17th March 2021)

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On 10/31/2020 at 3:11 PM, Erell said:

Must confess that I'm surprised by the fact that you don't seem to be afraid of supplements/remedies : I read this as a wonderful sign of healing.

 

Exactly! You are very perceptive, Erell. Yes, I was, like many people, terrified of supplements while going through the acute stages of withdrawal. My mind/body was so sensitive to anything I consumed.

 

Around a year out, I added in a bit of magnesium. And then later, glycine. And then later, high-dose vitamin C. And now Black Cohosh.

 

As you move away from acute and start feeling strong again, you start to feel like you may not only benefit from supplements, but that you can handle any upticks in symptoms that may come from the experimentation. 

 

So you're spot on that it is a wonderful sign of healing. Thanks for your post! 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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1 minute ago, Shep said:

So you're spot on that it is a wonderful sign of healing. Thanks for your post! 

 

The other thing I would point out is that Shep has ALWAYS consistently followed the SA advice regarding the addition of new supplements, i.e., start very slow and very low.  To my knowledge, she has tried supplements by using 1/4 or less of the supplements recommendation on the bottle and then titrating up if there is some benefit.  In essence, for people with sensitized nervous systems, which many/most of us coming of these meds have developed, supplements can be used on something akin to a "homeopathic" basis, where just a small bit of the supplement may be enough to test it for benefit.  Supplement use can be valuable but must be done on a very careful basis.

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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18 minutes ago, apace41 said:

 

The other thing I would point out is that Shep has ALWAYS consistently followed the SA advice regarding the addition of new supplements, i.e., start very slow and very low.  To my knowledge, she has tried supplements by using 1/4 or less of the supplements recommendation on the bottle and then titrating up if there is some benefit.  In essence, for people with sensitized nervous systems, which many/most of us coming of these meds have developed, supplements can be used on something akin to a "homeopathic" basis, where just a small bit of the supplement may be enough to test it for benefit.  Supplement use can be valuable but must be done on a very careful basis.

 

Best,

 

Andy

 

Thanks for posting this, Andy. This is so important. 

 

I'm such a believer in the "start slow and low" approach that I use a Gemini scale for supplements to get those very low doses until I know how the supplement will affect me. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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I'm so happy to read all of this shep. I had not seen this specific success thread, or if I have, I had forgotten and am happy over again. Good that you've identified menopause stuff as a potential cause for recent waves. Does sound like things should get even better from here on out. 

Aug-Dec 2015 Prozac 20mg / Dec 2015-Feb 2016 Prozac 15mg / Feb 2016-May2016 Prozac 20mg

May 2016-June 2016 15mg

June 2016-August 2016 10mg

October 2016-January 2017 15mg, alternating agitation/akathisia sets in --> cold turkey

January 2017 Clonazepam .5mg 

February 2017 Clonazepam 1mg (for a week) then .5mg morning and .25mg evening for about a month. Came down to .25mg morning and evening. 

May 1, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .125mg evening. // May 20, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .0625 evening (.3125 total).

early June .28125 // early mid june .25mg // mid june .21875 // late june .1875 // early july .15625 // early mid july .125 

mid july .09375mg // late july .0625 //early August 2017 down to .03125mg once a day, hopped off in mid August

reinstated at .0625mg late August // Oct 16 - updose to .07mg and switch to oral Rosemont solution

Nov 17 2017 reinstate Prozac .5mg // Nov 21 2017 prozac 1.6mg // Dec 18 2017  3mg prozac / fast taper off the reinstatement -- probably completely off early Oct 2018

June 2019 begin tapering off .07mg Clonazepam, Finish taper December 2019

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manymoretodays

Hi Shep,

I so love your success story, and just had not gotten around to posting here yet.  Then I read the below!

On 10/29/2020 at 6:07 AM, Shep said:

I'm convinced that menopause gives women super powers. Never underestimate a woman over 50.

 

Yes, yup, affirmative on that! 

Keep up the great work Shep.  Oh my gosh, you are a champion.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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On 11/4/2020 at 2:16 PM, bheb said:

I'm so happy to read all of this shep. I had not seen this specific success thread, or if I have, I had forgotten and am happy over again. Good that you've identified menopause stuff as a potential cause for recent waves. Does sound like things should get even better from here on out. 

 

Thanks, Bheb. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, things are getting better, especially sleep. Can't ask for more than that at this point (but I'm going to anyways! Always looking for a better baseline, even after the success story). 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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On 11/4/2020 at 11:04 PM, manymoretodays said:

Hi Shep,

I so love your success story, and just had not gotten around to posting here yet.  Then I read the below!

On 10/29/2020 at 8:07 AM, Shep said:

I'm convinced that menopause gives women super powers. Never underestimate a woman over 50. 

Yes, yup, affirmative on that! 

Keep up the great work Shep.  Oh my gosh, you are a champion.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

 

Thanks for stopping by, MMT.  I think that's my favorite line in this entire thread, LOL. It's so true! 

 

L, P, H, and G to you, too. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • 2 weeks later...

Shep, I appreciate your story so much. Thank you for sharing. It gives me hope. Forgive me, I'm just curious - how could you tell that you were recovered vs it just being another wave if it had been only 2 weeks that you began experiencing full relief from WD symptoms when you posted this? Something about those 2 weeks must have felt very distinct from any windows you've ever had

Off all meds since mid June 2020

November 2020 - feeling really sick, cognitive delays, memory issues, difficulty focusing, low mood, apathy, anxiety

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15 hours ago, gizmo said:

Shep, I appreciate your story so much. Thank you for sharing. It gives me hope. Forgive me, I'm just curious - how could you tell that you were recovered vs it just being another wave if it had been only 2 weeks that you began experiencing full relief from WD symptoms when you posted this? Something about those 2 weeks must have felt very distinct from any windows you've ever had

 

Thanks for you kind words, Gizmo. I'm not sure which 2 weeks you're referring to, though. As I noted earlier in this thread, the latest wave was related to menopause, so I'm not sure that would even be considered a true withdrawal wave. But having only started to really feel healed earlier this year means my overall ability to handle major upticks in symptoms due to any cause is likely compromised, and it definitely brought out some earlier withdrawal symptoms, such as increased insomnia and dp/dr. It really does take a long time to heal to the point of being able to easily navigate other life stressors. Or to even be able to separate other stressors from withdrawal when the symptoms are so easily conflated.  It's all about building up an arsenal of coping skills to be able to float through whatever comes our way. 

 

I hope that answers your question. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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3 hours ago, Shep said:

 

Thanks for you kind words, Gizmo. I'm not sure which 2 weeks you're referring to, though. As I noted earlier in this thread, the latest wave was related to menopause, so I'm not sure that would even be considered a true withdrawal wave. But having only started to really feel healed earlier this year means my overall ability to handle major upticks in symptoms due to any cause is likely compromised, and it definitely brought out some earlier withdrawal symptoms, such as increased insomnia and dp/dr. It really does take a long time to heal to the point of being able to easily navigate other life stressors. Or to even be able to separate other stressors from withdrawal when the symptoms are so easily conflated.  It's all about building up an arsenal of coping skills to be able to float through whatever comes our way. 

 

I hope that answers your question. 

 

Hi Shep, I was referring to your initial posts in this thread where you said "Most of my recovery happened very quickly in the past few weeks" - I was curious how you were so sure it wasn't just a window that you were experiencing vs being so confident that you had been entering the light at the end of the tunnel of your recovery. Does that make sense? Like what felt different within those couple of weeks that made you know if wasn't just another window that would be followed by a wave

Off all meds since mid June 2020

November 2020 - feeling really sick, cognitive delays, memory issues, difficulty focusing, low mood, apathy, anxiety

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8 hours ago, Shep said:

and it definitely brought out some earlier withdrawal symptoms, such as increased insomnia and dp/dr.  

@Shep do you mean you still get DP/DR after 5 years?  I am scared after reading this i will have to deal with the awful DR/DP for the rest of my life :(

Cymbalta 30 mg- 60 mg 

06/2016-  10/2018 ( Cold Turkey) 

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@Shep  14 yrs on 20mg Lexapro.  Took last one aug 18, 2020.  Dealing with insomnia, high level anxiety,, with panic attacks. Which the anxiety  I’ve had most of my adult life.  Went off 14 yrs of Xanax beginning in 2018 and took my last benzo sept 2019.   I am now dealing with terrible digestive issues.  No appetite, nausea.  Spoke with my Dr today and she says no way what I’m feeling would be due to withdrawal, not this far out. ( 3 1/2 months) I do have brief windows.  Now I’m worried that it’s something permanent. I could deal with it being WD knowing someday it will end.   But concerned damage has been done.  I guess I need encouragement. Also have dealt this past 2 weeks with my husband in hospital with a brain bleed.  But he’s home now and doing well.  Hence heightened anxiety at this time. 

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44 minutes ago, Cherriekoke said:

@Shep  Spoke with my Dr today and she says no way what I’m feeling would be due to withdrawal, not this far out. ( 3 1/2 months) I do have brief windows.  Now I’m worried that it’s something permanent. 

 

I'm not Shep (and I don't play her on TV), but I'm pretty confident she will share my view that your next best move might be to fire your doctor.  3.5 months is NOTHING when it comes to withdrawal from 14 years of Xanax.  Damage has been done but not permanent damage.  Now you have to wait to allow the brain and body to heal themselves.  Self-soothing strategies and adopting an attitude of passive acceptance are among the most critical points to getting through your recovery.  The fact that you are seeing windows is encouraging as many people don't get them for quite some time.  

 

I know it feels like you have suffered something permanent but spend some time reading the success stories and you will come to see that you are not alone in what you feel, and people do heal.

 

Now I'll let the REAL Shep respond as well.

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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@apace41 Thank you so much!  Are all the digestive issues pretty normal in WD? I’m saving a lot of money on food though. Lol.  My Dr suggested putting me back on low dose Lexapro.   No way will I do that!  If I know it WILL get better then I’ll hang in there.  Thanks again.   I need success stories for sure.  

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17 minutes ago, Cherriekoke said:

@apace41 Thank you so much!  Are all the digestive issues pretty normal in WD? I’m saving a lot of money on food though. Lol.  My Dr suggested putting me back on low dose Lexapro.   No way will I do that!  If I know it WILL get better then I’ll hang in there.  Thanks again.   I need success stories for sure.  

 

Last answer on Shep's thread.  You should post questions about you on your thread so (1) it is all in a place you can easily refer to it, and (2) we don't hijack Shep's thread.  

 

Yes.  Digestive issues are frequently a problem in withdrawal.  In essence, withdrawing from a psychiatric medication screws up your central nervous system.  Since that controls just about everything in your body, just about anything in your body can go haywire in withdrawal.  Stomach issues are rampant -- see the following link:

 

Some have worse issues than others, but I am pretty confident your digestive issues are a function of the withdrawal.

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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22 hours ago, gizmo said:

Hi Shep, I was referring to your initial posts in this thread where you said "Most of my recovery happened very quickly in the past few weeks" - I was curious how you were so sure it wasn't just a window that you were experiencing vs being so confident that you had been entering the light at the end of the tunnel of your recovery. Does that make sense? Like what felt different within those couple of weeks that made you know if wasn't just another window that would be followed by a wave

 

Thanks, gizmo. I found the post you're referring to here

 

My success stories is a "success in progress" story because I don't have a baseline to refer to for guidance as to what is "normal" for me. And with a cold-turkey / rapid taper history off 6 drugs after 30 years, I knew I was well on the way to healing when my free-fall off these drugs turned into the ability to fly. The healing accelerated beyond what I'd experienced in previous windows. 

 

And I expect waves to come and go and blend into the overall aging process. I was 17 when I was locked up, drugged, and gaslighted by psychiatry. And I'm 52 now. But with age comes a greater level of acceptance and the ability to navigate adversity is high now. So it's a combination of real healing plus strong coping skills that mean things that used to really bring me down just don't affect me that much. 

 

I think just like everyone experiences withdrawal differently, everyone will approach their own success story differently. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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19 hours ago, Amira123 said:

@Shep do you mean you still get DP/DR after 5 years?  I am scared after reading this i will have to deal with the awful DR/DP for the rest of my life :(

 

Yes, dp/dr can last for years after coming off these drugs. I also had it as a side effect and even experienced levels of dp/dr prior to being drugged. 

 

But withdrawal dp/dr for me was much more intense than anything else I've experienced and it is fading out. It's by far less intense than it was when I first joined this forum. 

 

I wouldn't worry about it lasting for the rest of your life, though. It's not something that will hurt you. In fact, that are aspects of it that can help, as it numbs you from emotional pain that you may not want to deal with until you're further along in your healing.

 

Trust in your mind/body to do what's best and you can put down some of the heavy weight of worry. That's an awful lot of baggage to carry. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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15 hours ago, Cherriekoke said:

@Shep  14 yrs on 20mg Lexapro.  Took last one aug 18, 2020.  Dealing with insomnia, high level anxiety,, with panic attacks. Which the anxiety  I’ve had most of my adult life.  Went off 14 yrs of Xanax beginning in 2018 and took my last benzo sept 2019.   I am now dealing with terrible digestive issues.  No appetite, nausea.  Spoke with my Dr today and she says no way what I’m feeling would be due to withdrawal, not this far out. ( 3 1/2 months) I do have brief windows.  Now I’m worried that it’s something permanent. I could deal with it being WD knowing someday it will end.   But concerned damage has been done.  I guess I need encouragement. Also have dealt this past 2 weeks with my husband in hospital with a brain bleed.  But he’s home now and doing well.  Hence heightened anxiety at this time. 

 

Here are some resources to share with ignorant doctors. From CEPUK, 9/24/2020:

 

Major milestone: Royal College releases new guidance on stopping antidepressants

 

And here is the leaflet from Royal College of Psychiatry website: 

 

Stopping antidepressants

 

I'm glad you're husband is doing better. Even folks not going through withdrawal would have heightened anxiety. 

 

14 hours ago, apace41 said:

I'm not Shep (and I don't play her on TV), but I'm pretty confident she will share my view that your next best move might be to fire your doctor.  3.5 months is NOTHING when it comes to withdrawal from 14 years of Xanax.  Damage has been done but not permanent damage.  Now you have to wait to allow the brain and body to heal themselves.  Self-soothing strategies and adopting an attitude of passive acceptance are among the most critical points to getting through your recovery.  The fact that you are seeing windows is encouraging as many people don't get them for quite some time.  

 

I know it feels like you have suffered something permanent but spend some time reading the success stories and you will come to see that you are not alone in what you feel, and people do heal.

 

Now I'll let the REAL Shep respond as well.

 

LOL, the REAL Shep agrees 100% with you. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Andy. 

 

@Cherriekoke You wouldn't be having windows if you were permanently damaged. As Andy suggested, the self-soothing strategies and passive acceptance will go a long way in helping you cope and keep your endurance up. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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DP/DR, as you all know, can involve a variety of symptoms. For me it has always been the sensation of separation from my visual surroundings by a sort of invisible fog or haze, curtain, glass wall, or other descriptors that come to mind. It also involves feelings of strain or fatigue because of this curtain, which the thinking mind wants badly to open up. I started having derealization in college at age 19 many decades ago. Since then I had episodes lasting moths or years, though throughout those episodes I functioned quite normally. Much of the time the DR was just an annoyance, though still frustrating because I had no idea what was going on. And the psychiatrists I started seeing in the 1980s immediately diagnosed me with depression and gave me ADs, which looking back was not what I needed. After a rapid and ill-advised taper from Effexor and Wellbutrin in 2019, the DR has been more intense but also accompanied by higher anxiety, which is DP/DRs close associate. With help from therapists in recent years, I have discovered an almost certain connection between this dissociative disorder and a childhood of complex trauma owing to a parent with narcissistic and borderline problems.

 

The main point I want to make, however, is that for long periods of my life the DR simply went away, and whether I was taking ADs or not, doesn't seem to have made much difference. It has also helped me greatly to learn more about the physiological foundations of DP/DR and its connection to our autonomic system. I'm focusing now on non-drug treatment--talk therapy, somatic experiencing, and maybe other vegal nerve treatments. When I went off Effexor I switched back to Prozac. I'm now down to 2.0 mgs of liquid fluoxetine and holding. I know recovery is on the way.

Fluoxetine 1997-2014, 2015, 10-40 mg. GAD and DR symptoms returned  April 2013.

Bupropion 2013-14, 4 mos; Lexapro 2014; Cymbalta 2014. Gabapentin 2014; Mirtazapene 2014. Buspirone 2015.

Venlafaxine Dec. 2015 – May 2019, 150 mg, tapered to 0 in 3 weeks, May-June 2019

Bupropion Mar 2017 – July 2019 300 mg, tapered to 0 in 3 weeks, July 2019

Fluoxetine/Prozac May 2019 – present, tapered from 20 mg started Jan 2020, linear 10% every 4 wks.; tapered 6 to 4 mg June, 2, 2020; 4 to 1.8 mg Aug. 26, 2020; updose from 1.8 mg to 2.0 Nov. 16, 2020. Holding at 2.0 mg as of Mar 14,2021.

Naltrexone (for derealization) Oct/27/20, stopped after 10 days; D3 2,000 mg; Omega 3 360 EPA/240 DHA, raised to 2 capsules Mar 6, stopped Mar 13, resumed 1 capsule Mar 21; Magnesium Chelate 250, raised to 350 Feb 25, 2021, stopped Mar 13, resumed at 250 Mar 21; Inositol powder started Nov 12, 2020; CBD oil 2 ml, March 21-29, 2021; cranial electrotherapy stimulation device, self-treatments started Mar 14, 2021.

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FarmGirlWorks
On 9/15/2020 at 6:49 AM, Shep said:

The post-zero experience requires the lead-up skills that are learned earlier in the game. Since the best windows seem to come from the worst waves, it feels calming to the nervous system to welcome the waves, as much as possible. 

 

This is such a gem, @Shep. Was just remarking to another member here that while no longer in the thick of WD, my nervous system is easily shaken and I think I am in a soft wave after a particularly intense October thru the first week of November. Am listening to the 432kz music right now!

Edited by FarmGirlWorks
  • Prozac | late 2004-mid-2005 | CT WD in a couple months, mostly emotional
  • Sertraline 50-100mg | 11/2011-3/2014, 10/2014-3/2017
  • Sertraline fast taper March 2017, 4 weeks, OFF sertraline April 1, 2017
  • Quit alcohol May 20, 2017
  • Lifestyle changes: AA, kundalini yoga

 

"If you've seen a monster, even if it's horrible, that's evidence of divinity." – Damien Echols

 

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On 11/20/2020 at 2:00 PM, Edmunds said:

The main point I want to make, however, is that for long periods of my life the DR simply went away, and whether I was taking ADs or not, doesn't seem to have made much difference. It has also helped me greatly to learn more about the physiological foundations of DP/DR and its connection to our autonomic system. I'm focusing now on non-drug treatment--talk therapy, somatic experiencing, and maybe other vegal nerve treatments. When I went off Effexor I switched back to Prozac. I'm now down to 2.0 mgs of liquid fluoxetine and holding. I know recovery is on the way.

 

Thanks for your post, Edmunds. I'm glad you're finding ways of coping through this symptom. Yes, I think anything you can do to stimulate the vagus nerve, the more it helps the autonomic system heal. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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On 11/20/2020 at 2:33 PM, FarmGirlWorks said:

 

This is such a gem, @Shep. Was just remarking to another member here that while no longer in the thick of WD, my nervous system is easily shaken and I think I am in a soft wave after a particularly intense October thru the first week of November. Am listening to the 432kz music right now!

 

The 432 is awesome. Right now, I have this web-radio tuned to the blues station with the healing 528 Hz frequency:

 

528 Reconds.com/radio

 

I hope your "soft wave" resolves soon and results in a solid window. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Thanks for the encouragement. 

Fluoxetine 1997-2014, 2015, 10-40 mg. GAD and DR symptoms returned  April 2013.

Bupropion 2013-14, 4 mos; Lexapro 2014; Cymbalta 2014. Gabapentin 2014; Mirtazapene 2014. Buspirone 2015.

Venlafaxine Dec. 2015 – May 2019, 150 mg, tapered to 0 in 3 weeks, May-June 2019

Bupropion Mar 2017 – July 2019 300 mg, tapered to 0 in 3 weeks, July 2019

Fluoxetine/Prozac May 2019 – present, tapered from 20 mg started Jan 2020, linear 10% every 4 wks.; tapered 6 to 4 mg June, 2, 2020; 4 to 1.8 mg Aug. 26, 2020; updose from 1.8 mg to 2.0 Nov. 16, 2020. Holding at 2.0 mg as of Mar 14,2021.

Naltrexone (for derealization) Oct/27/20, stopped after 10 days; D3 2,000 mg; Omega 3 360 EPA/240 DHA, raised to 2 capsules Mar 6, stopped Mar 13, resumed 1 capsule Mar 21; Magnesium Chelate 250, raised to 350 Feb 25, 2021, stopped Mar 13, resumed at 250 Mar 21; Inositol powder started Nov 12, 2020; CBD oil 2 ml, March 21-29, 2021; cranial electrotherapy stimulation device, self-treatments started Mar 14, 2021.

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Hi Shep, I know this may seem like a frivolous question, but I'm dying here. Were you ever able to start drinking coffee again? (assuming you ever did).  I tried decaf and that even messed me up the next day (I know there is caffeine in it still, but man).  I have been able to workout for longer now on the elliptical, over the summer I couldn't get past 9 minutes before having to cease. Now I'm at 16! And doing equal amounts of pushups and situps (16) with each minute increase. But, I miss my coffee, even just the taste of it. 

3/21/19 started Bupropion XL 150 mg

3/21/19 started Risperidone 2mg

7/7/19 start Abilify half dose 5 mg. discontinue Risperidone

7/9/19 full dose Abilify 10 mg

7/29/19 discontinued Abilify due to panicky side effects

8/2/19 Began Latuda 20 mg

8/5/19 discontinued Latuda due to similar side effects 

8/10/19 discontinued Bupropion after realizing it was causing the insomnia

From 8/10/19 no drugs whatsoever

Currently taking vitamin D, E, a probiotic and fish oil. 

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14 hours ago, Armorall said:

Hi Shep, I know this may seem like a frivolous question, but I'm dying here. Were you ever able to start drinking coffee again? (assuming you ever did).  I tried decaf and that even messed me up the next day (I know there is caffeine in it still, but man).  I have been able to workout for longer now on the elliptical, over the summer I couldn't get past 9 minutes before having to cease. Now I'm at 16! And doing equal amounts of pushups and situps (16) with each minute increase. But, I miss my coffee, even just the taste of it. 

 

Not a frivolous question at all. It's a question of quality of life for many!

 

I actually was enjoying a cup of coffee every morning for a long time, but when the menopause hot flashes hit, I gave it up. All of that has settled down with the use of Black Cohosh for the hot flashes, but I'm now only having a cup of coffee once in awhile. It works better that way because I'm not dependent, so even just half a cup can do the trick if I only have it once a week or so. 

 

Just like you're gradually increasing your exercise (which is great!), you may want to "taper in" coffee when you're ready. Maybe start with just 1/8 a cup. 

 

When I was testing the waters, I was adding a very small amount of an organic instant coffee into a hot cup of almond milk and making my own version of a latte. And slowly increasing the caffeine "dose" over time. 

 

I'm not sure I want to ever go back to being dependent on caffeine, though. So the once-in-a-while caffeine seems to work best for me.

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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I love how you frame things. I'm going to internalize these words :

 

Quote

...allow the experience of re-emerging from periods of darkness with even more skill and resilience.

Quote

...When symptoms are viewed as teachers and guides and you walk with them with curiosity and not fear

 

I also love this whole continuous-improvement and building-blocks approach. In this failures are not failures, but an improvement in directional accuracy and clarity to better identify things that work, vs don't work. It takes a lot of courage for listening to experience, which you also highlight.

 

This is at the top of my needs pyramid (right above TCP/IP packets), and what I believe will always pull people out of their caves:

Quote

Feel music deeply to the point of being moved to tears at times

 

Thank you thank you thank you for calling this out: The un-patienting process. This is such a huge real thing. I've gone through it twice and wow. It's one thing to have a medical system that sinks you into the identity of patient as fast as possible to get into the "system of care". It gets worse when compounded with months to years of manage-body-crisis or chronic conditions. The view of the self becomes opaque when allowed to become too corporeal. I don't know if soul is real, but it doesn't matter. I'm happy to embrace the concept for the larger understanding of identity and personhood that are closer to our truth of "we are from and in the universe", which enables and transcends the microcosm of bodies. In my experience, emptying one's self of wonder and awe to fit an identity of bone and brain to control and contextualize as a binary win/fail or healthy/not healthy, is a tremendous self-erasure. The concept of "the patient" is a harmful binary.

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Ok, thanks Shep for the advice. Yes, maybe further down the road I'll try to start tapering decaf. I love almond milk and would welcome the combination. Also, just looking for a nice hot drink over winter and I hadn't thought of that! Almond milk! Last year I was just drinking hot water to soothe myself through the winter cold. 

3/21/19 started Bupropion XL 150 mg

3/21/19 started Risperidone 2mg

7/7/19 start Abilify half dose 5 mg. discontinue Risperidone

7/9/19 full dose Abilify 10 mg

7/29/19 discontinued Abilify due to panicky side effects

8/2/19 Began Latuda 20 mg

8/5/19 discontinued Latuda due to similar side effects 

8/10/19 discontinued Bupropion after realizing it was causing the insomnia

From 8/10/19 no drugs whatsoever

Currently taking vitamin D, E, a probiotic and fish oil. 

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