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


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On 12/5/2020 at 11:09 AM, ariellab said:

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.

 

Thanks, Ariellab. Yes, I think it's vital for positive neuroplasticity to occur to frame it this way. Because our healing depends so much on neuroplasticity, it's important to feed the right wolf (to borrow from one of my favorite stories - The Story of Two Wolves).

 

 

On 12/5/2020 at 11:09 AM, ariellab said:

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.

 

You are spot on with this post. Thank you for writing it. 

 

The first person I saw write about un-patienting using that very term was Alto. I'd been using terms such as "de-programing," since psychiatry is a secular cult. But I like the term un-patienting better because it shoots an arrow straight at psychiatrists' identity as "doctor" and calls them out for their hypocrisy.  Cartesian dualism is problematic in many ways even in legitimate fields of medicine, but for psychiatry, you are correct - "the concept of 'the patient' is a harmful binary." Very well said! 

 

 

 

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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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

The Two Wolves yay! That's a great classic. ❤️

 

The un-patienting I was hoping to describe was broader, where I layered the problem of systemic patient identity self-erasure, with the "who am I with x,y,z health burden" form of identity hijacking, which can happen after a long convalescence after a surgery or trying to keep afloat of a chronic pain in one's day to day. I had ignorant GPs throw Zoloft and Paxil at me. Same experience for me in the end, but different skies to shake my fist at I guess. Later in life I had really helpful psychotherapists and psychiatrists for things not related to anxiety or depression. I'm grateful they were there to help.

 

But yeah, I hear you. There are definitely huge failures by doctors surrounding their approach to depression and anxiety. We're living proof. The pharmaceutical tie-ins are megatons greater in surface area and risk of harm. Plus, they (prescribing doctors) seem terribly sloppy and tone deaf with the molecules, swinging them as zirconia-crusted gold-painted hammers. Based on the one-sided communication and credibility withholding we've seen, the cult analogy is there, with an untouchable Leader one is told to kneel before, especially to sip the kool-aid to restore a "chemical imbalance". No don't look at the man behind the curtain moving patients to drugs that are on-patent with whatever word$ they$ can think$ of!

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21 hours ago, ariellab said:

The un-patienting I was hoping to describe was broader, where I layered the problem of systemic patient identity self-erasure, with the "who am I with x,y,z health burden" form of identity hijacking, which can happen after a long convalescence after a surgery or trying to keep afloat of a chronic pain in one's day to day.  I had ignorant GPs throw Zoloft and Paxil at me.

 

I like this broader definition, especially within the context of the use of psychiatric numbing agents to deal with aspects of human suffering in which, if the brain and soul are left undrugged, can lead to powerful states of awareness and healing. The Western view of sickness as weakness has always been problematic and speaks to what you're saying as "burden" within one's identity. It's a burden to the individual but a goldmine to a system that profits. 

 

 

21 hours ago, ariellab said:

There are definitely huge failures by doctors surrounding their approach to depression and anxiety.

 

True. I think there's also the problem of putting doctors in the position of having to deal with the fallout from late-stage capitalism, patriarchy, and other forms of oppressions. Doctors are twice as likely to kill themselves as the general public (Doctors' Suicide Rate Highest of Any Profession). 

 

Strange world we live in! 

 

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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Hi Shep,

I just wanted to say thankyou for all the support you have provided to both me and the community.

I'm glad to see you are continuing to see improvements :)

I was wondering how your sleep is going?

Is it within normal range now? 7-8 hours?

6.01.20 - 6.02.20: Seroquel/Quetiapine 25mg

7.02.20 - 13.02.20: Attempted CT ran into extreme rebound insomnia

13.02.20 - 04.07.20Reinstated and holding Seroquel/Quetiapine 13.5mg, 1mg Circadin 

Began Tapering of Seroquel

04.07.20 - Quetiapine 13mg 12.07.20 - Quetiapine 12.5mg 20.07.20 - Quetiapine 12mg 28.07.20 - Quetiapine 11.5mg

02.08.20 - Quetiapine 11.mg 06.08.20 - Quetiapine 10.5mg 10.08.20 - Quetiapine 10mg 15.08.20 Quetiapine 9.5mg

18.08.20 Quetiapine 9mg 23.08.20 Quetiapine 8.5 27.08.20 Quetiapine 8mg 31.08.20 Quetiapine 7.75mg 02.09.20 Quetiapine 7.5mg 06.09.20 Quetiapine 7.25mg 08.09.20 Quetiapine 7mg 12.09.20 Quetiapine 6.75mg 14.09.20 Quetiapine 6.5mg 19.09.20 Quetiapine 6.25mg 21.09.20 Quetiapine 6mg 24.09.20 Quetiapine 5.75mg 01.10.20 Quetiapine 5.5mg 03.10.20 Quetiapine 5.25mg 05.10.2020 Quetiapine 5mg 09.10.2020 Quetiapine 4.75mg 12.10.2020 Quetiapine 4.5mg 14.10.2020 Quetiapine 4.25mg 17.10.2020 Quetiapine 4mg 21.10.2020 Quetiapine 3.75mg 24.10.2020 Quetiapine 3.5mg 1.11.2020 Quetiapine 3 mg 7.11.2020 Quetiapine 2.5 mgs 13.11.2020 Quetiapine 2 mg 16.11.2020 Quetiapine 1.5 mg 20.11.2020 Quetiapine 1.25mg 23.11.2020 Quetiapine 1mg 26.12.2020 Quetiapine 0.75mg 16.01.2020 Quetiapine 0.5mg 17.02.2020 Quetiapine 0.25mg 17.03.2021 Quetiapine 0.125mg 9.04.2021 Quetiapine 0!!!

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9 hours ago, senseless said:

Hi Shep,

I just wanted to say thankyou for all the support you have provided to both me and the community.

I'm glad to see you are continuing to see improvements :)

 

You're welcome, Senseless. Thank you for your kind words. 

 

9 hours ago, senseless said:

I was wondering how your sleep is going?

Is it within normal range now? 7-8 hours?

 

I'm not a huge fan of the word "normal." I'm not sure what that means after this experience!  

 

I sleep around 5 - 7 hours each night, but it's a much, much deeper, more restorative sleep now. And that's important and key. 

 

So even if not "normal," my sleep is good. 

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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JesusSavemefromWD

Hi Shep,

I admire you for what u went through..... thank you for now helping others. I was wondering how bad was your DP/DR in the beginning of quitting the drugs and how is it now? Do u still have it? I was on Zoloft 25mg 3 1/2 weeks and tapered during another 4 1/2 weeks down to zero. While tapering I experienced waves of both DR and DP. Going into zero (50 days off now) I have constant 24/7 severe DP to the point that I feel dead trapped in my own body... needless to say it is debilitating... lost my job, can’t socialize, can’t leave the house, can’t take care of my two young boys and husband.... am I ruined for life? 50 days off Zoloft after such a short time in the drug, I was expecting some improvement in DP....

August 15,16 cipralex:went CRAZY

August 28, 2020 sertraline :25mg -3&1/2weeks,tapering 4&1/2 weeks; last dose 4mg Oct 26th

March 1st: 20-25mg 5htp/day

- DPDR/crazy/ brain disconnection/ bedridden, soul despair/feeling dead;eye floaters/ tinnitus/no appetite;inner terror/ anxiety/panic attacks;mild insomnia 

4 months OFF: pure hell, I regret not reinstaining, too late to do now?

- soul despair, anxiety/fear

- brain numb/crazy/off feeling 

- housebound, barely functioning

- stronger tinnitus

- mild eye lid twitches stopped after a week of 20-25mg 5htp.

- DPDR reduced by 50% since two months ago but no further progress

- sleep & appetite are fine

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6 hours ago, JesusSavemefromWD said:

Hi Shep,

I admire you for what u went through..... thank you for now helping others. I was wondering how bad was your DP/DR in the beginning of quitting the drugs and how is it now? Do u still have it? 

 

You can see where I was when I first started here by reading my benzo thread:

 

Shep's Journey

 

And where I am now is in my first post in this thread, including this:

 

On 5/25/2020 at 10:48 AM, Shep said:

I still have some lingering DP/DR, but this is a symptom I carry out of the cave with me, as I'm still learning from it and no longer view it as a problem but as a valued guide. 

 

 

6 hours ago, JesusSavemefromWD said:

I have constant 24/7 severe DP to the point that I feel dead trapped in my own body... needless to say it is debilitating... lost my job, can’t socialize, can’t leave the house, can’t take care of my two young boys and husband.... am I ruined for life? 50 days off Zoloft after such a short time in the drug, I was expecting some improvement in DP....

 

Adverse reactions from short-term use are generally a difficult ride for quite some time. The more you can distract and not spiral into catastrophic thinking, the better off you'll be. It's exhausting continuing to fight it and the collateral damage is already done. So try to rest from the thoughts that come from DP/DR. 

 

People heal from this all the time and then go onto re-build their lives quite successfully. Knowing how dangerous these drugs are means you can keep your children safe from these pill-prescribing "doctors" who are targeting children. So even as brutal as this experience is and as much as it's cost you so far, there may be some meaning, especially in the long term. Right now, DP/DR has you so hyper-focused on the present that you're unable to see the future when you've healed. 

 

Healing is not an event - it's a process. And we have a lot we can do to navigate through so that positive neuroplasticity can take root. For more, please see:

 

Healing from antidepressants: The power of neuroplasticity video (7.5 minutes)

 

And be aware of the dark side of neuroplasticity:

 

Norman Doidge - The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity video (2 minutes)

 

By continuing to dwell on the negative and give more voice to those negative thoughts, you are channeling a path in your brain. Best to avoid this by catching these thoughts early and re-directing them. Please see:

 

"Change the channel" - dealing with cognitive symptoms

 

Because you're still in the storm, you're not able to see clearly. Knowing that, I wouldn't listen to any thoughts that tell you you're "ruined for life." 

 

This is worded for benzo withdrawal, but it could easily be used for any type of withdrawal and it's one of my favorite posts of all time. 

 

Benzo Lies That Have Been Busted

 

 

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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52 minutes ago, Shep said:

Because you're still in the storm, you're not able to see clearly. Knowing that, I wouldn't listen to any thoughts that tell you you're "ruined for life." 

 

This is worded for benzo withdrawal, but it could easily be used for any type of withdrawal and it's one of my favorite posts of all time. 

 

Benzo Lies That Have Been Busted

 

Shep, this is exactly what I needed to read during this stormy and lying day.

THANK YOU ❤❤❤

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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13 hours ago, Erell said:

Shep, this is exactly what I needed to read during this stormy and lying day.

THANK YOU ❤❤❤

 

You're welcome, Erell! It is beautiful. Hope your day gets better. 

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 12/15/2020 at 6:29 AM, Shep said:

Adverse reactions from short-term use are generally a difficult ride for quite some time. The more you can distract and not spiral into catastrophic thinking, the better off you'll be. It's exhausting continuing to fight it and the collateral damage is already done. So try to rest from the thoughts that come from DP/DR. 

 

People heal from this all the time and then go onto re-build their lives quite successfully.

 

hi shep, I have read your story and think you are fantastic. my question is do you think this also applies to someone like myself I was on Zoloft for 15 years started a slow taper a year and half ago I am pregnant and when I got pregnant I got very severe morning sickness which resulted in me not being able to keep anything down. I stopped the medication at 8mg two months later when I was feeling well I tried to go back on 12.5mg pill and was thrown into akathisia. now I am suffering from this and withdrawal. I tried other meds forcefully by family after we didn't know what was going on with me like akathisia. but I now have no choice but to try to ride this out and the suffering is unbearable.

2006- started Zoloft(eventually up to 100mgs)

January 2019 - started Prozac 10mg to start tapering off Zoloft 100mg started tapering 12.5mg every month until I hit about 37.5 mg then started liquid taper of Zoloft and Prozac 

July 2020 - 8mg of Zoloft 4 mg Prozac got pregnant and had hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) stopped taking the medication because of the sickness

September 2020 - reinstated Zoloft 12.5mg 1 dose adverse reaction stopped 5 days later started lexapro .5 liquid for 6 days and 1mg 2 days ended up suicidal stopped immediately

October 2020 - started Prozac 5mg 1 week 10 mg 1 week and 15 mg days ended up so bad admitted to psych hospital where the doctor confirmed adverse reactions from withdrawal and stopped everything 

December 24 2020 - 1mg Ativan 2 times a day 5mg of zyprexa split 2.5 morning and 2.5 night

jan 14 2021 - pristiq 25mg for two weeks, not good fast taper off 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Chels said:

 

hi shep, I have read your story and think you are fantastic. my question is do you think this also applies to someone like myself I was on Zoloft for 15 years started a slow taper a year and half ago I am pregnant and when I got pregnant I got very severe morning sickness which resulted in me not being able to keep anything down. I stopped the medication at 8mg two months later when I was feeling well I tried to go back on 12.5mg pill and was thrown into akathisia. now I am suffering from this and withdrawal. I tried other meds forcefully by family after we didn't know what was going on with me like akathisia. but I now have no choice but to try to ride this out and the suffering is unbearable.

 

Yes, what I wrote also applies to someone like yourself. 

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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Hi Shep, I love your story and I’m amazed by all of all the amazing work you do to help others harmed by psychiatry. I love the analogy with Plato’s Cave, and how clearly you explain the abusive and pseudoscientific foundations of psychiatry. I want to read some of the books you’ve linked but at the moment I’m already filled with too much rage towards psychiatry that if I read one more sentence about it I’ll explode. 

 

I wanted to ask you a question that has been on my mind recently, do you think one can recover from antipsychotics? 

 

I’m freaking out because when I was 14 I was forced to take an unknown drug (the cruel psychiatrist would refuse to tell me the name of the drugs because she didn’t want me to research the side effects) and I asked my mother recently what it was and she thinks it might have been an antipsychotic. I’m so angry obviously and scared because I’ve read horrible stuff about them. I don’t want to research more about the effects because I’m already extremely freaked out by what I’ve read. 

 

I’m so glad you’ve recovered and are now living a life free from psychiatry. 

Ps. Thanks for suggesting Alan Watts and Mooji, when I read your story the first time I started listening to Alan Watts and loved it. 

•august 2016- feb 2019: on and off SSRIs (fluoxetine and agomelatine) also unknown drug and clonazepam for a short amount of time 

_________________________________________________________

•January 25 2020: 50mg of setraline and clonazepam 1mg 

•March 2020: increase to 100mg of setraline

•May 2020:  stopped setraline, fast tapper 3 weeks. stopped clonazepam, according to how my psychiatrists told me. 

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6 hours ago, Istm said:

I wanted to ask you a question that has been on my mind recently, do you think one can recover from antipsychotics? 

 

I recovered, so yes, I think one can recover from antipsychotics. 

 

6 hours ago, Istm said:

I’m freaking out because when I was 14 I was forced to take an unknown drug (the cruel psychiatrist would refuse to tell me the name of the drugs because she didn’t want me to research the side effects) and I asked my mother recently what it was and she thinks it might have been an antipsychotic. I’m so angry obviously and scared because I’ve read horrible stuff about them. I don’t want to research more about the effects because I’m already extremely freaked out by what I’ve read. 

 

The most horrible effects of antipsychotics generally come from long-term use, and it doesn't sound like you were on this drug long. So I wouldn't be worried about it. Being worried about it likely will cause more stress to your nervous system than the effects of short-term use. 

 

The fact that you're already in an antipsychiatry mind-frame is a very healthy response and shows you're someone who's thinking clearly. The fact that you're scared means you're in touch with your emotions. Again, a very healthy and human response. I don't see any signs of permanent damage. 

 

 

6 hours ago, Istm said:

Ps. Thanks for suggesting Alan Watts and Mooji, when I read your story the first time I started listening to Alan Watts and loved it. 

 

You're welcome! Glad to read you're listening to them. They are a great source of truth and comfort. 

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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@shep, I spent some time reading your recovery story and all the responses over the past couple of days.  Frankly, I'm blown away by your incredibly positive attitude and acceptance of the dark and difficult aspects of withdrawal from these poisons.  I'm deeply grateful for this forum.  Most other online forums are filled with trolls, but I never see trolls here.  You've given me so much hope that I can successfully recover, so thank you for that.  Jennifer 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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21 hours ago, getofflex said:

@shep, I spent some time reading your recovery story and all the responses over the past couple of days.  Frankly, I'm blown away by your incredibly positive attitude and acceptance of the dark and difficult aspects of withdrawal from these poisons.  I'm deeply grateful for this forum.  Most other online forums are filled with trolls, but I never see trolls here.  You've given me so much hope that I can successfully recover, so thank you for that.  Jennifer 

 

Glad you're finding the site helpful! 

 

The only trolls I know come from the American Psychiatric Association. Avoid them and their messaging, and you have every reason for hope. 

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 hours ago, Shep said:

The only trolls I know come from the American Psychiatric Association. Avoid them and their messaging, and you have every reason for hope. 

Lol this made me laugh! You are absolutely correct!  I wouldn't go near any psychiatrist with a 1000 foot pole.  Jennifer 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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Thanks so much for your reply Shep! Hope you’re doing well and wishing you a happy new year! 

•august 2016- feb 2019: on and off SSRIs (fluoxetine and agomelatine) also unknown drug and clonazepam for a short amount of time 

_________________________________________________________

•January 25 2020: 50mg of setraline and clonazepam 1mg 

•March 2020: increase to 100mg of setraline

•May 2020:  stopped setraline, fast tapper 3 weeks. stopped clonazepam, according to how my psychiatrists told me. 

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Thanks, Istm. Wishing you a happy new year, 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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  • 3 weeks later...
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I posted this article over in the "chemical imbalance lies" thread, but I also want to keep it here, too, for exploration purposes.  

 

We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. It’s Trying to Save Us

 

This article doesn't just say that the biomedical model is wrong, it says that it's doing harm in its messaging (the article conveniently leaves out the harms of biomedical "treatments"). 

 

It also neglects to connect the personal to the political (to use a Judi Chamberlin term). It was written last month, but it doesn't connect COVID, the economic fallout, and the social disruption caused by climate change, so it's a bit of an empty vessel itself. But it does at least connect the role of the autonomic nervous system in creating these types of feelings of hopelessness and despair. Considering the amount of damage these drugs do to the autonomic nervous system, is it any wonder "depression" gets worse with "treatment"?

 

While this article provides a bit of the science behind the thesis of "depression" being a type of warning signal with important information, Judi Chamberlin said it best in her book On Our Ownwhere she writes about consciousness raising

 

“Consciousness raising, on the other hand, helps people to see that their so-called symptoms are indications of real problems. The anger, which has been destructively turned inward, is freed by this recognition. Instead of believing that they have a defect in their psychic makeup (or their neurochemical system), participants learn to recognize the oppressive conditions in their daily lives.”

 

A more thorough take on these personal-to-political connections is in Judi Chamberlin's article here in a copy of a very ancient but thankfully preserved Madness Network News magazine:

 

Consciousness-Raising by Judi Chamberlin

 

Scroll down to page 8 of that PDF for her article (it's actually page 9 of the total PDF).

 

That is one of the best articles to ever come out of the psychiatric survivor's movement from the 70s. 

 

Just imagine where we'd be if we'd had THAT to guide us as opposed to what the system of psychiatry has been able to message and what's become cultural norms of drug taking and learned helplessness. What Chamberlin is writing about would actually tear down psychiatry at its core and in the process, build ourselves up by working to end the oppressions that cause our pain. 

 

The 70s Mental Patient Liberation Front and other like-minded groups understood that support is not a separate function of struggle. That the movement itself was a way of healing and bringing about political, racial, and economic change - without psychiatry or any other trained "professionals." Loren Mosher and Voyce Hendrix proved that scientifically with the Soteria Project. 

 

Anyone wonder that psychiatry isn't listening? 

 

For anyone interested, I've placed a link to the Madness Network News archiving site here in the Media section:

 

Madness Network News archiving site

 

 

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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Galmond10

@ShepYour story is the most inspiring. I've always read and followed Pug. i think because His story is similar to mine. But thank you for your story your knowledge and resources. I was 2 and half years clean from cold turkey cymbalta it was hell but mid last year when I started feeling my body changing for the better I had to go in to a unexpected spinal surgery. they put me on valium still try to come off 3 months later and it's hell. I say can I do this again because I barely made it the first time. But you story let's me know it's possible. Thank you for all your words of wisdom and insight. If you have any recommendations for I would be very appreciated. Although I still can't access your toolkit link it might be broke. Thanks

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19 hours ago, Galmond10 said:

Although I still can't access your toolkit link it might be broke.

 

Thanks for your kind words, Gladmond. The toolkit isn't broken, but you have to be signed in to access it, since it's in the benzo forum, which is a members-only part of the forum. 

 

Shep’s Toolkit.

 

 

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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Galmond10

@Shep if I may ask. I know you get tons of questions. But do you have any advice for how to handle bad cortisol spikes in the morning? Some mornings they are ok and some they are super bad.

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20 hours ago, Galmond10 said:

@Shep if I may ask. I know you get tons of questions. But do you have any advice for how to handle bad cortisol spikes in the morning? Some mornings they are ok and some they are super bad.

 

I would get up and eat a healthy breakfast first thing (high in protein and low in sugar). That will help with any drops in blood sugar from having not eaten since the previous day. Low blood sugar has a lot of the same symptoms as bad cortisol spikes.

 

Distraction is also good - "Change the channel" - dealing with cognitive symptoms.

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...
On 5/25/2020 at 3:48 PM, Shep said:

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 a fire casts shadows of the world upon the walls. The shadows are all the prisoners know to be true. But one day, a prisoner breaks free and wanders out into the world. Her eyes are blinded by the sudden blast of sunlight and she is unsure of her reality and at times, longs to be back inside the familiar darkness. But as her eyes adjust, she is in awe of this new reality — people, nature, her own reflection! When she returns to the cave, the other prisoners laugh at her story in disbelief. . . .  

 


 

And so I left psychiatry — a dark cave of drug dependency, incarceration, deception, violence, mystification, and social control. The empty shadows on the walls that message this non-reality based belief system of mythical “mind diseases” fade out and a beautiful new reality unfolds before me. 

 

After 30 years, success from such an experience is a process, not a singular event. There may still be some unexpected waves, but that will allow the experience of re-emerging from periods of darkness with even more skill and resilience. For me, this part of the journey is very similar to the final phase of the grieving process. As Francis Weller reminds us in the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow, grief is sacred work. It’s an important teacher and should be honored, not feared. 

 

When symptoms are viewed as teachers and guides and you walk with them with curiosity and not fear, leaving Plato’s Cave turns into a journey of adventure and skill building. My signature symptom was - and is - DP/DR (depersonalization / derealization) and the lessons taught are in mindfulness and becoming The Observer. (I wrote about The Observer in several places in my benzo thread). 

 

I still have some lingering DP/DR, but this is a symptom I carry out of the cave with me, as I'm still learning from it and no longer view it as a problem but as a valued guide. 

 

Never give up — your new world awaits you. For many of us, it’s a brutal trip. So travel lightly and listen carefully to what your teachers and guides are telling you. As painful and confusing as it is, these symptoms are here for a reason. 

 


 

At five years off all drugs (from 30 years use), I can now: 

 

  • Run 30 - 60 minutes, four days a week, along with doing yoga and strength training. Runner’s high is beautiful! 
  • Bike 30 miles a week - urban cycling is now my main transportation to and from work because of subway and bus delays due to COVID-19
  • Work 40 - 45 hours a week (was unemployed for around 9 months due to severe akathisia and DP/DR)
  • See the world with 20/20 vision (with glasses) -  since last August (before that, my focus was in and out and I wasn’t able to get an accurate eyeglass prescription)
  • Read books with a high level of concentration during windows. I get lost in activities now and experience a sense of “flow” when reading, working, exercising, and playing music for hours at a time
  • Feel music deeply to the point of being moved to tears at times
  • Experience powerful levels of spirituality and connection with the universe
  • Sleep a restful 6 - 7.5 hours a night most nights (Netflix is a treat when insomnia hits now because I know the insomnia wave will pass and I like the excuse to watch movies in my favorites list)

 


 

About me:  52-year-old female, currently working full time, no family, studio apartment, still navigating my way back into more social situations, complicated by the city’s partial shut-down due to COVID-19.

 

Entry into psychiatric drugs: forced “treatment” in private and state psychiatric prisons off and on from the age of 17 until 21 for so-called “psychosis.”   Gaslighted into long-term drug compliance with the lie that neuroleptics are a neuro-protective agent against brain damage caused by so-called “psychosis.”  Never told about dopamine supersensitivity or tardive dysphoria

                   

Drug and label history: 30 years of neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, z-drugs, so-called “anti”-depressants, and amphetamines. Labeled with “manic depression” and “PTSD” from years of physical and sexual abuse as a child. The “chemical imbalance” myth dominated the narrative because psychiatry replicates the patriarchal and paternalistic abuses of the nuclear family (and the larger political structure) within a medicalized context. This is not an accident. This is how the system is designed. 

 

Date of last drug taken: May 22, 2015

 

Reason for exiting the cave: After having spent more than 25 years working low-level jobs and bouncing from here to there, I descended into cognitive decline with voices and visuals, disassociation, akathisia, and suicidal thoughts. A psychiatrist suggested another change in drugs but — too fast, too soon, leading to a nervous system crash. 

 

After being threatened with forced “treatment” in the state psychiatric prison again in early 2014, I found Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic in a random Google search on my phone. 

 

The realization I had been poisoned was enough for me to control my behavior and save myself from further “treatment.”  The psychiatric system disables and kills people. That’s not an abstract concept when you’re at the receiving end of forced “treatment.”

 

Method of coming off psychiatric drugs: cold turkey and rapid taper off a cocktail of Seroquel, Viibryd, Klonopin, Sonata, Dexedrine, and Halcion (NOTE: I do NOT recommend this method of withdrawal - I didn’t find the withdrawal forums until I was almost completely off all drugs. Stay safe and taper if at all possible).

 

Favorite non-drug coping skills: Shep’s Toolkit. For me, the non-drug coping skills were not optional. I still refer to this list and have tons more bookmarked in folders on my laptop. Mooji and Alan Watts are still my go-to sources for calming. 

 


 

The un-patienting process: During recovery, I began reading a lot of anti-psychiatry literature. Dr. Phil Hickey’s article sums it up well - In Defense of Anti-Psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry gave me the language to understand and name the world around me. Dr. Thomas Szasz is a major influence in my understanding of this world. He understood the power structure of psychiatry better than anyone I've read so far. Dr. Bruce Cohen's Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness  helped me understand psychiatry's political structure. Psychiatry is about power and politics, not medicine. 

 


 

Psychiatry is not broken. The system was designed this way. Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and cannot be reformed.  It needs to be abolished. To not message this would be to condone a form of structural violence that not only has disabled and killed millions of people, it also maintains and even furthers the systemic social and economic injustices these individuals represent. 

 

I hope one day, those still trapped in Plato’s Cave will be released and the cave will be sealed shut. 

Thank you so much for writing this, so powerfully and honestly.  I salute you.  I relate to so much of what you write.  I'm pretty much rock bottom just now - having always thought that the years in those hideous institutions were the worst life could get.  I had no idea that getting off the poisons would be even more traumatic, destructive and costly.  To have this inspiration in this moment is gold.  Thank you for being a warrior I can draw strength from in this moment.  And I will check out your toolkit.

1997   1st psychiatric appt: began medications (no record);   2002   Efexor XL, Xanax, Risperdal, Stilnoct; 2003  Efexor, Xanax, Stilnoct, Serlain;   2004   many medications (no record), but including Lithium, Diazepam, Lorazepam;   2005  Clomipramine; Imipramine; (8 sessions of Electroconvulsive Therapy, ECT);   Sept 2005 Citalopram, Quetiapine 800mg, L-Tryptophan;   2006 - 2009 Reduced L-Tryptophan and Quetiapine, finished Quetiapine Nov 2009;  Jan 2010  Began reducing Citalopram   >>>STARTED NOTICING SOMATIC SYMPTOMS (described above)>>>   2012   Citalopram, Diazepam, Zolpidem, Promethazine, Risperidone, Mirtazepine, Trazadone, Buspirone, L-Tryptophan, Chlorpromazine, Alprazolam   Sept 2012medications changed to Citalopram, Quetiapine, Diazepam, L-Tryptophan;   2015 - 2017: reduced meds until just Citalopram 60mg;   2017  1 May   Citalopram, 50mg   25 May Citalopram, 40mg   Dec 2017 - Apr 2018: Citalopram, 35mg > 30 mg >   25 mg > 20mg;   2018   1 May Citalopram 30mg,   21 May 35mg   Jun Diazepam, 2mg, increased to 6mg (3 x 2mg to assist eating)   Aug Zolpidem for 10 days   Sept Zopiclone 3.75mg;   (Nov: inpatient admission):  Dec Pregabalin 100mg added, Diazepam increased to 8mg, Citalopram increased to 40mg;   2019  Jan Citalopram 40mg, Diazepam 8mg, Pregabalin 100mg, Zopiclone 3.75mg (now reducing Zopiclone: 2.81mg on 2 May, 1.88mg on 16 May)

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You're welcome, @Harriet8. Glad that post helped. 

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 months later...

Shep, how are you doing now roughly five years on ?

 Cymbalta, Zyprexa, Seroquil, Rispiridone, Valium, Zoloft, Clonazepam,. + 1 other Benzo. Total 11 yrs.

·           April 9th 2018 Hospital. 50mg Zoloft > 0 discontinued. 6mg Clonazepam > 2.5mg over 8 weeks stay.

           October 25th 2019: Hospital:  Clonazepam Bridged 1mg > to 20mg Diazepam.

           

           Anafranil: 90mg

      
  Diazepam (V): 25th October 2019, 20mg. 22 Dec 2019 19mg. 4 April 20: 18mg,  30 September: 17.5mg , 13 November 20: 17mg 01 January 2021: 16mg,

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