Bluejay Posted July 17, 2020 Share Posted July 17, 2020 (edited) Above is my original posting and when I first discovered this amazing forum. For me, I did not use this site to post my daily symptoms, I realized immediately in my personal journey that doing a daily post only heightened and prolonged my anxiety. So I'm sorry if some people may be offended, but I used this site to read /re-read all of the success stories which gave me hope and I never thought I'd be able to write my own, but I have recovered and after much consideration think that if my situation helps just one person, then it is worth writing. I apologize if I submit this in the wrong way, my intentions are good and pure, so be kind if I did something wrong, lol! (You can read the long version in my original post above) I was on Celexa daily between 10-20 mg over 8 years, from 2009, I tapered myself for 1.5 years and was totally off by May 2018, when I was 37. I was also on Klonopin .5 mg for 6 years on a take as needed basis. You can see my own self made taper strategy I used (don’t use it, I did not know about this website until after I took my last dose of meds) I believe I came off too quick in the end, but honestly looking back it may not have mattered and I realize that this horrible painful journey may be the most challenging and benefiting experience of my life so far, so I actually don’t regret this because I feel way more enlightened in my life and path now than I ever did before and I know it is because I came off of a mind numbing drug and struggled through it. Wow, there really is so much to write. First off, in my tapering, I would notice for about a week that I lowered my taper but then I’d feel fine. It was not until I actually got off all meds that about a few weeks after I crashed. After that for almost 6 months straight I had the feeling of not being able to breath, of crying uncontrollably several times throughout the day, being fearful greatly of the idea of death, not being able to watch tv or movies, it made me sick, feeling claustrophobic wearing sunglasses or driving with the windows up. I had to physically be near someone all of the time, I was afraid to be alone. Saying all this now makes me laugh in a sense because while I was going through it, it was so intense, suffocating and no one could relate other than this website’s members. Yet, I made it through, and if I can, you can, too. Each day was a true struggle for 6 months. It got better a little after January and it continues to get better. So the QUESTION is what did I do that helped me? BTW, I’m not trying to be preachy just what I hope one would need to hear like I did when I was in need of hope. #1. Don’t force it, be patient, time will heal you itself #2. Keep busy, doesn’t matter what it is #3. Be gentle on yourself #4. Read positive Quotes, visit funny websites, watch funny videos on youtube #5. Learn CBT #6. Have hope #7. Become the best version of yourself #8. Eat healthy #9. Take vitamins #10. Exercise #11. Get hobbies #12. Let the people you love know you love them #13. Volunteer, Focus on people other than yourself #14. Know that you are strong #15. Read self help stuff only if it helps #16. Understand that sadness and anxiety is a part of life and will always be, you just need to learn how you cope w/ it (pills don’t do it) Okay, my more in depth advice on the following if you have time to read #1. Don’t force it, be patient, time will heal you itself After I got off Celexa and Klonopin in May 2018, I was hit with immense withdrawal symptoms, and I was trying so hard during my struggle to get out of this feeling, to make it go away as fast as it could, but looking back, it is your body’s way of in a sense rebooting your brain and the idea of neuroplasticity isn’t going to happen overnight. All of these symptoms are legit and you are not crazy but in my opinion what a human body naturally does when it is exposed to harsh psycho chemicals and then readjusting to life w/out them. It’s best not to put a timetable on how your own body will work through this process. If you read these success stories, some have had success in as little as 6 months, others, years, my journey has been about 2 years and I still get moments where I get hard of breathing or anxiety, but I will talk about that later, because hey, that’s just life in a hectic modern world. I’d rather feel that than be numb like I was for almost a decade. So be patient, it will happen and slowly almost as though you don’t know it is. It’s not wrong to count the days and minutes of your symptoms and if they are lessening, etc, because honestly that is going to happen since this is so painful and excruciating, it’s hard not to do that. But know that by trying to redirect your focus to the positive moments or something else other than your symptoms, it can IME (in my experience) make it go by quicker. #2. Keep busy, doesn’t matter what it is For me, I realized immediately I had to keep busy, weird, but I spent years being a numb couch potato and when I quit the meds, I had this instant nervous energy but energy that would not let me sleep in, rest or do my previous activities of laziness, so I found hobbies like chess online. Please know while I was doing all of this, I was desperately hoping one of these hobbies/activities would make me instantly fixed and happy and normal again, but honestly I never found one thing, instead for me during this time, I realized I needed a ton of stuff to make me feel a bit better, such as going and buying something online, reading funny jokes on the internet, watching cute animal videos, reading positive quotes, gardening, going to a restaurant to eat...Like I said though, internally, I was a wreck during this and it did not seem like any of it was helping at first, but I do think that doing this stuff and keeping busy was the best medicine. I still would cry in public in restaurants, etc, so know that while I was doing all of this, it was still uncomfortable. It began to get easier and I found later that if I didn’t pack my days even w/ mindless activities, I’d feel more on edge. #3. Be gentle on yourself Don’t be cruel to yourself or punish yourself. Remember that you are doing one of the most challenging things ever, fighting biology and reprogramming your brain and it’s functioning. You have to know that your journey will be your own one and you can take advice from others, but you are the one on this path, so just be kind to yourself. You are your greatest possession. One day you'll look back and this will all be a fuzzy memory as it is beginning to be for me. It will happen because you’ve already taken that step to get here. #4. Read positive Quotes, visit funny websites, watch funny videos For me this was the thing I did daily and multiple times in the day. I specifically found this site called www.dumpaday.com where funny memes, funny pics and inspirational quotes were posted several times a day. I was a nut about going to this site daily. I was trying to boost any feelings of happiness and I think over time this was really good for me. I did so much research on how to feel better, etc, and it will hurt your head researching too many self help things, so take a break and try to find things that are humorous to read/watch. I know that for a while I was pretty numb, even looking at cute puppies playing could not make me smile, but know that eventually your brain will come out of it’s haze. I kinda think it’s like you are retraining your brain on how to be, so again, it will take time, recondition it with all of the best positive stuff you can and just be patient. You are re-inventing yourself and I believe you’ll be an even better person after this experience, because I feel so. #5. Learn CBT Okay, this really should be #1, but nevertheless, I took six months of therapy with a real certified CBT counselor...some therapists are not truly CBT certified, doesn’t mean they can’t help but look them up on https://www.nacbt.org/certified-members/. The original therapist I was going to use said she was certified and then after a few sessions it was not helping and I found out she did not have the training so I found the 1 out 2 people in my large city who was. If you can’t get this type of therapy, then please read the following two books and do the homework: (When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns M.D. ) and (The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns) Go easy on these at first, I tried to do too much too fast and it was overload and increased my anxiety...it will truly redirect your thinking patterns, no joke. I am a perfectionist so my therapist told me he had no doubt I’d get better because I took it super serious, but I have had major improvements because I took it seriously and had faith in it. For example, leading up to right before I went on these meds ten years ago, I would state in my head over and over, “I hate myself, I feel depressed, I hate my life.” that stuck w/ me and even intensified after getting off the meds, just uncontrollable thoughts of negativity that would pop in my head the moment I woke up and be w/ me every sec. I have OCD! Anyways, w/ CBT, I was able to realize and notice when I would have these thoughts or really any negative type of thinking and then I would be able to work through it in my mind . “Well, am I really depressed? No, I am just tired, ok, I’m just tired.” It has been the best thing in my life for trying to think better. I still use and you will for your entire life if you read these books and do the practices because in order to be successful at it you need to know how to properly identify your thoughts. Now I forget which ones are which such as ‘all or nothing thinking’, etc, but I am able to recognize that I am having cognitive distortions. One major cognitive distortion is” I will never get better from my withdrawal, I will always have to be on meds, I am weak.” Anyways, those were my initial thoughts going into my first therapy sessions and it has truly turned my life around, please look into it, you can retrain your thoughts! Also on a side note, something that one of the therapists told me that actually made sense was that anxiety is looking towards the future while depression is looking at the past. So if I feel like either of those emotions, I then try to think what am I doing, trying to control what has not happened yet which is producing anxiety or trying to understand the past which is making me depressed? Anyways, it made these two emotions/feelings seem like they had less control over me once I looked at them from that angle. Also the therapist said that anxiety is just like being excited, and if you look at it that way, it is survivable. Look up Eckhart Tolle, on living in the now, it’s hard to, but I think essential. #6. Have hope It is so hard to have hope when your entire world and feeling turns topsy turvy, but remember to have faith and hope that things will get better. I was in my sisters backyard one day during the initial withdrawal symptoms and I remember looking up at the trees and the sky thinking my life was over. A few months ago I was back at her house looking at those same trees and the sky thinking how amazing life is and I realized that not just a few years earlier, I thought my life was ruined and I’d never get better, so please know, it will if you work at it. And it will be even better because you worked at it. I think I am proud of myself because I stuck it out. It was so much easier to get back on the meds, my doctors are still surprised I’m not on them and I love that and they even ask how I did it, because they see too many people they prescribe these to rather than prescribing healthy living like exercise and stress reduction. Know you will be better off of these horrible drugs and free. The best things in life are the hardest things to work towards, but the most rewarding. #7. Become the best version of yourself This happened slowly during my struggle with withdrawal, but in a way I started trying to work on myself and reinvent myself because the me on antidepressants was a sad person, a person I love so dearly and wish I could hug and tell that hey it’s going to be okay, but nevertheless, a person who wanted to change but did not know how. So I worked on becoming the best version I could manage, this meant doing things I was scared of and doing things I neglected in the past. I began working out, mostly because of my back injury, but I kept up w/ it, started cooking healthy meals myself and getting good at it, but I remember I’d have the worst anxiety cooking and be so scared in the kitchen, now w/ COVID lock down, I’ve made every meal since March 13th and no issues. So working on areas to improve yourself will benefit you and it will also enhance your relationships w/ others. While I was working on improving myself, and instead of trying to control my relationship w/ my partner, an amazing thing actually, happened, we became closer than ever before and I know it was because I worked on me and tried to make myself happy first rather than rely on another to make me better and happy. #8. Eat healthy This can’ be overstated, bad food just makes you feel bad. Feed your brain and body good stuff, veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, healthy fats, dark chocolate, green teas, bone broth...you get it. #9. Take vitamins I take a multi, plus a fish oil pill and a magnesium/calcium/vitamin d combo and a probiotic. I can definitely tell when I don’t have my probiotic. These vitamins give me energy. #10. Exercise I could tell once COVID hit and I slacked from going to the gym that I felt more stir crazy, I think it definitely helps lower stress and anxiety. I began swimming at the beginning of this journey and I think the cool water was helpful. At first I would just walk around my block because I would be so amped up and jittery and unable to calm down and be clear headed. Now, I am super clear headed, I am working on my art more, very detailed, time consuming realistic portraits, things not too doable during withdrawal but point is, you’ll get back to normal , so even easy walks are healthy for the brain to redirect and for your nerves. I walked so much, lol! #11. Get hobbies Try to find things that are positive to devote your time to, I paint, draw, make jewelry, write poetry, play chess, watch tv, podcasts, go for walks, garden, read, listen to music...spotify...make your own playlists, it’s awesome!!! There really isn’t one thing I found that I love totally and that gives me intense joy, but doing a variety of these things is fun and positive. #12. Let the people you love know you love them I found that connecting to people was really helpful, talking w/ them and learning from their struggles and how they learned to cope w/ life to give me perspective. W/ my withdrawal and back injury I feel like it gave me an experience which gave me a new perspective to realize that life is fleeting and can be gone in a minute. To me, nothing matters more than the people I love and that are close to me. Showing them I cared for them helped me feel more peace. #13. Volunteer, Focus on people other than yourself For a while I volunteered at the zoo because I was trying so hard to find ways to feel better. In the end I realize it was a really cool experience I’d never had tried before but it wasn’t me, however, I think helping others is essential. Instead, I help kids now and I’m inspired by their young spunky energy and it’s easy to forget your own woes when you are with young people because they are so fun and carefree. #14. Know that you are strong Remember that you took the first step to get here. Keep reminding yourself that you are strong and can do this. I would tell myself negative thoughts like I was scared that I’d be weak and get back on the meds. Be kind to yourself if you have these thoughts, it’s going to happen. Also, I realized in a way that myself as I was on the antidepressants was in the mindset that I was a victim. I realized that a lot of my thinking made me believe I was one and after I realized this mindset, I hated having this idea that I am a victim. It made me seem weak. I actually forgot about that until writing this, but in the beginning when I was coming to terms w/ my negative thinking, one major issue was I must have along the way in a sick sense liked being a victim, or woe is me kinda person. I tried hard to redirect that and shed that. So even if you were weak and got on meds, you can become strong and change. You can change, you are not that same person. #15. Read self help stuff only if it helps I read tons of self help books (the two I mentioned about CBT are the best) but after a while, it was exhausting and sometimes gave me more anxiety, so learn to pace yourself on this info. You don’t have to know everything all at once. #16. Understand that sadness and anxiety is a part of life and will always be, you just need to learn how you cope w/ it (pills don’t do it) And remember, even when you are healed, you will have stressful days where you have anxiety or you may have a memory and get depressed. You can’t be unhuman. Being unhuman is what I did for ten years on a pill, where things were bland and still horrible. Now, I have total range of my feelings and my mind and it is not inhibited or altered by a drug. Thinking you are never going to ever feel sad, anxiety or depression again is not realistic, you will, because that is part of our human makeup, but I’d much rather feel a few days of sadness or anxiety vs the person I was on these meds. These pills are unreasonable, they try to eliminate some of the very core things that make us who we are, our emotions and reactions to them. I regretted going on these meds, but I cannot take that back, however, I do not regret the pain I suffered while getting off of them, because it made me WAKE up, it made me feel again, think again and realize that I am in control of my life, not a pill. That is priceless and worth the time and suffering of going through all that withdrawal is about. I rambled enough, but please know you can and will get better, just have hope and be patient. YOU WILL GET BETTER... Edited July 17, 2020 by ChessieCat unbolded font/bolded heading/add spacing 9 My Intro Story "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." ~C.S. Lewis -8.5 years on AD -began 10 mg of Citalopram/Celexa in 2009 -began Klonopin .5 mg in 2009 (taken a few times a month to daily at times) -moved to 20 mg of Citalopram in 2011 -tapered myself for 1.5 years -Citalopram free since mid May 2018 -occasional Klonopin if major episode occurs, but really 1-4 pills a month if even, Klonopin Free 10-2018 -Dealing with physical and emotional symptoms -Currently in CBT therapy Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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