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elbee

Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use
One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org
Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020

 

At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you.

 

I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been.

 

I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life.

 

And I am still healing.

 

I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living.

 

The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe.

 

Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did.

 

Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process:

 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/

 

And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU!

 

With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process.

 

In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . .

 

In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs.

 

Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote:

 

Quote

 

I ask myself, “What’s the harm in meeting with him (aside from the crazy cost) and seeing what he has to say? Maybe he has worked with someone in my position, found a way to help them stabilize, and then, in fact, helped them get off (or at least greatly reduce) the meds? He’s an expert, right?”

 

No . . . my gut says get off the drugs & change my life -- enough snake oil. Expect to do a lot of work learning how to take better care of myself, and expect discomfort in the WD process. Accept that I will most likely experience high anxiety and maybe even panic attacks, but that perhaps I will learn how to better deal with all that. Because what is the alternative ... riding a drug merry-go-round that only gets worse for the rest of my life? (edited)

 

 

Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S.  In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety:

 

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After about 45 minutes of driving, I was overcome with the worst emotional feeling I have ever felt. I had to pull over. I was crying and screaming, and I remember realizing that I didn’t know feelings could physically hurt so much. I’ve been feeling pretty raw ever since. One thing I noticed is that this felt like a release of old, RAW emotion. And now, after having that experience, I recognize that each time I release stored emotions, my anxiety eases. (edited)

 

Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened.

 

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I’m still doing tons of “inner work.” I’m convinced that the root of my anxiety, depression, and panic attacks are due to unhealed childhood trauma. I know that some of my withdrawal symptoms are, in fact, stored trauma releasing. I have found the 12-step program, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) to be an INCREDIBLE resource in this process! I don’t think anyone escapes childhood without some dents and scratches. And if someone experiences intense family dysfunction in childhood that remains unhealed, it’s going to cause some serious problems. I know I’m going in the right direction, and that getting off the meds is essential to me fully doing this inner healing work. (edited)

 

Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do.

 

Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked.

 

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There are tons of people out there who say they have THE answer and then try to sell it (a book, a program, a retreat, a drug, spirituality, psychology, various meditation practices, etc.). One of the most important lessons I’ve been learning on this healing path is to TRUST MYSELF FIRST. If I’m looking for THE authoritative source with THE magic bullet solution, I’m chasing my tail and undermining my recovery. And of course, there are so many “healers” out there trying to sell snake oil – so sad and so infuriating! TRUSTING MYSELF FIRST has become a cornerstone of my recovery. As ACA states, the solution is to become my OWN loving parent. (edited)

 

By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others.

 

By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context.

 

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I’ve become much more conscious of my BEHAVIORAL (aka “process”) addictions -- reaching for the shelves of the “internal drug store” to numb, dissociate, and cruise on autopilot. People- pleasing, rescuing other people, drama/chaos, achievement, workaholism, codependency, dating/sex, video games, extreme exercise, social media, politics, shopping, money / materialism . . . I can use ANYTHING as a behavioral medicator to dose myself and “check out!” Thankfully now, I’m beginning to step back and see how I’ve employed “dissociative defenses” my whole life in order not to feel internal anxiety and discomfort. And to whatever degree the psych drugs worked, they were always just an additional chemical supplement to the activity-based numbing I first learned to do as a small child. My first addictions were clearly to my own internal drugs, and I’m working to withdraw from them now too. (edited)

 

A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.”

 

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I’m doing overall pretty well. I’m even getting to the point where saying that doesn’t scare me like it used to – having a fear of jinxing myself and “the other shoe dropping.” I know I will have withdrawal waves in the coming months, but my lows are less low, less frequent, and last less long. And when I’m in them, I’m better able to trust that I will once again, eventually, find my way out. I’m learning to “sit with the discomfort” when it happens and to enjoy the windows more when they open. I spend much more time these days in an “abiding ok-ness” -- an “OK” place in myself that is becoming the default instead of the exception. (edited)

 

By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life.

 

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As I have gotten off these drugs, I’ve become much more sensitized to life. Some might call this “awakening,” perhaps. The drugs dulled my senses and emotions in ways I didn’t even realize until I started getting off of them. I’m “waking up” from a lifelong slumber I have been in – and opening doors to myself that I thought the drugs had permanently closed. All sensory stimulus gets enhanced as I taper. The lights seem brighter; the sounds seem louder; the temperatures feel more intense. I can even smell in ways now that I wasn’t able to while on the drugs. With regards to emotions, I FEEL SO MUCH MORE now . . . I’m so much more emotionally alive!

 

These experiences can be incredibly uncomfortable and disorienting as I adjust to it all, and it will take time. The benefit of going slowly with the drug taper from an experiential perspective is that it allows me to adjust once again to my new undrugged reality. This “awakening” process can’t be rushed -- each person seems to have an internal “correct pace” for themselves, and each person has to discover what that pace is. (edited)

 

 

On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive.

 

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This drug taper and larger recovery process have probably become the most significant marker in my adult life. I started taking these drugs when I was 20 years old . . . almost 30 years ago. Today, I am living in a completely different consciousness. It is both exciting and terrifying. And it’s clear to me that this drug taper has been part of a larger process of awakening, of healing from childhood and societal traumas, and of becoming fully alive. I’ve no doubt the hell I experienced these past years will shape and define the course of the rest of my life.

 

And I promise I will continue to come back and keep making updates in my process. I will write my entire “recovery story” when I get fully to “the other side” of this drug withdrawal. I will continue to find new ways to reach out to others who are suffering as I continue to get stronger. (edited)

 

 

So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever?

 

  • No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long.
  • Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided.
  • Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here.
  • Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free.
  • Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime.
  • Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps.
  • The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now.

 

Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials.

 

I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.”

 

Thank you for witnessing my healing.

 

 

Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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MarieR

This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing!


MarieR

started 20 mg escitalopram 2011

failed CT attempt 2014 (4 months off)

back on 20 mg escitalopram 2014

began too fast taper (dr. recommendation, didn't know better) Jan. 2019

Taper: 3/4 of pill 4 weeks, 1/2 of pill 2 weeks and 1/4 of pill for 2 weeks

Off meds Mar. 7, 2019

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Gridley

@elbee Thanks for posting this, and congratulations.  You are an inspiration.


Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Began taper using Brassmonkey slide Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Current from Sept.23, 2020 at 0.05mg

Taper is 99.75% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .33mg


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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Cocopuffz17

Amazing!! Congrats and all the best in continued healing :)!!! 


I follow The Plant Paradox lifestyle by Dr.Gundry. This lifestyle has given me my life back and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. It has enabled me to finally get off of this medication and truly live my life. Nutrition is the key to health!!!!! 

 

2008 to 2019  - 20 mg Paroxetine

 

Attempted 2 CT's around the 5-6 year mark. Were absolutely terrible and reinstated. Was never explained by the doctor the seriousness of the short half life of this drug. 

 

2017 - Attempted a tapered discontinuation of this drug and reinstated after being unsuccessful.

 

2019 - Feb. 12 - After a three month taper I am off of paroxetine. The 3 months were terrible, awful withdrawal feelings. I followed the doctors guidelines for the reduction of this drug and now know it was way too fast. 
 

2019 - Oct. 12 - 8 months off paroxetine. 75% improvement since coming off the drug. Definitely have had tons of challenges along the way. Let’s go!!!! 

 

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brassmonkey

Elbee-- it has been an amazing experience to be involved with your journey from the outside. Thank you for taking the time to put such thought into writing your success story to share that journey with us. I am so excited for your new life, direction and inner peace and wish you many more successful years.

 

Brassmonkey


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Pina

Congratulation. You've done a great job. :)


0 - 0 - 0 since 08.07.2018, 1 - 0 - 0 = 0,11 mg  since 21.05.2018, 2 - 0 - 0 = 0,22 mg since 01.05.2018, 3 - 0 - 0 = 0,33 mg since 09.04.2018, 3 - 1 - 0 = 0,45 mg since  04.03.2018, 3 - 2 - 0 = 0,56mg since 30.01.2018, 3 - 3 - 0 = 0,6666mg since 29.12.2017,  4 - 3 - 0 = 0,777mg since 18.09.2017, 4 - 4 - 0 = 0,8888 mg since 02.09.2017 

Cymbalta 120 mg 2011 - 2013. July 2013 I started to weaning off Cymbalta. 5 - 10 % from the last dose every 4 weeks, sometimes I must wait longer for the next reducting step. 

(Summer 2011  burn out with a severe depressive episode)

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waves12

Thank you for your amazing story I have followed your journey and got lots of hope from you. I am still suffering with very bad anxiety 4 years out now. Last two years have had a very hard emotional time and it's still going on and has no doubt delayed my healing. I feel worse now then ever sadly. 

If you have any help with chronic anxiety tips it would be great. 

I really don't know how to get better any more and feeling pretty broken. 

So happy you are doing well. 

Waves 


Various antipressants from 1991 to 2016, Sertraline and many switches over the years.

Last AD's taken:

Citalopram for two weeks only May 2016  to June 2016, last AD taken and CT'd.

2012 to May 2016 Duloxitine 60mg. Doctor switched to Citalopram 20mg May 2016.

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Shep

Wonderful success story, Elbee, and so beautiful written! Thank you for sharing your journey to healing with us. 


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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elbee

@MarieR @Cocopuffz17 @Pina thanks for taking the time to read my success story, and for sharing your well wishes 👍🙂

 

@Gridley @brassmonkey @Shep thank you again for all of your support, inspiration, and courage over the years! I appreciate all you've done, and thank you for dropping by to read my success story. You are all saving lives 🙏❤️

 

@waves12 thank you too, for reading and witnessing my story. I'm sorry to hear you are still struggling with anxiety. As I'm sure you know, there are many "tips" that can and do help relieve anxiety in the short term, but I never found any magic bullets that "cure" it. For me, it's been a matter of fundamentally changing how it is I care for myself not only physically, but intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, too. What in my story can you relate to in how it is you've approached caring for yourself . . . emotionally in particular? Can you relate to the idea of having an inner critic? 

 


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Frogie

What a beautiful story and very beautiful closure to your journey. 
Thank you so much for sharing!


PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal and Prilosec from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3

 Xanax 1mg three times a day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) three times a day to .003 grams three times a day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!!

 

 

I am not a medical professional. The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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elbee

Thanks for reading my story and for your kind words @Frogie  ☺️

 


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Musa

Dear Elbee,

Every success story is unique, inspiring and admirable but have to say that I feel yours most deeply... I have been following your posts since I have joined here. I have related to your process most because I myself am doing double work. For some time now I feel stuck and discouraged, on the point of quiting everything. Maybe I found this now not by accident or at least at important point in my process. I was wondering how you are and I am more than happy for you. Not only have you managed so much so well and I know the hardship, fear, confusion, pain.... but feels like you really experienced and know what a true Fenix is... respect and I wish you well in the future...

Thank you for all your writings and wisdom,  I hope it's okay to connect with you in the future for some advice and guidance.

 

 


2000 - 2010 variety of SSRI and Valium ( Prozac mostly 20 mg, poop out)// 2010 -2015 new variety and cocktails, Seroquel ( CT), Zoloft (CT), Lexapo

2015 - Lexapo CT, WD - hell on earth for 6 months, almost hospitalized but instead, trying out new drugs( Brintilex, Valdoxan, Abilify ),"stable" on Effexor XR 150 mg, Seroquel 75, Lamictal 100 mg, Valium 4 x 0,5 mg   

2016 - CT Lamictal, CT Seroquel, reducing Effexor XR, Valium and Clonopin occasionally

2017  - Effexor 56 mg ( 37.5 + 75 mg every second day), starting Remeron 30 mg in February

2017 Nov 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg ( dropping the 75mg every second day), Remeron 25 mg 

2017 Dec, 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, 20 mg Remeron // 2018 Mid Feb - Effexor 37,5 mg, 15 mg Remeron // 2018 March, April -  Hold

2018 May 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 13 mg // 2018 June 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg Remeron 11mg // 2018 July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 9 mg //  2018 Aug 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 7,5 mg // 2018 Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec Hold

2019 Jan 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 6,75 mg // 2019 Feb 20 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 5,5 mg // 2019 March 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,9 mg // 2019 April 22 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,5 mg // 2019 May 6  - Effexor 37,5mg, Remeron 4,2 mg // 2019 June, July, August, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec - Hold

2020 Jan 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,1 mg // Feb 15- Effexor  37,5 mg, Remeron 4 mg // Mar 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.9 mg // April & May Hold 

June 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3,8 mg // June 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.7 mg // July 1-  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.6 mg // July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.5 mg // August 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg // Remeron 3.4.// August 15 - Effexor 37,5 m, Remeron 3.3 mg    

Supplements :  Fish oil 3000mg day time , 400 mg magnesium and 1000 mg Vit C  in the evening

 

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elbee

@Musa thank you for witnessing my healing by reading my story, and thank you for sharing your kind words. Out of the ashes . . . yes, my life very much feels that way, I appreciate that metaphor. 

 

I know that place of doubt, frustration, exhaustion . . . numbness. In that stuckness, sometimes, I've felt underlying urges to both shake my fists in the air and scream, and fall to my knees and sob. The internal stifling silence is what keeps me stuck. At these times, I've tried to connect with the scared little boy inside me, and let him know "It's OK." It's OK to feel whatever feelings are stuck inside, and to let them out. It's OK to feel sad to be in this painful place. It's OK to feel angry that I was hurt by people who were supposed to have my best interests in mind. It's OK to be scared, because withdrawal and all it's effects are scary. 

 

And once that little boy inside me knows it's OK to feel, whether the feelings arise or not, I look for the next best steps. Maybe all I can do at that moment is to drink a glass of water. But I affirm myself for having got up to drink the water. Maybe I need to take a soothing bath, or journal, or call a recovery friend, or go for a drive, or lightly distract myself with a movie. As I listen to that little boy inside me, he tells me what I need. When I listen to him and act on his behalf, I feel better . . . I feel less stuck. 

 

Maybe there's a little boy or girl inside you that has something to say?

I'm open to connecting. Connecting is how we heal. 

 

Go gently Musa 🙏❤️


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Musa
13 minutes ago, elbee said:

@Musa thank you for witnessing my healing by reading my story, and thank you for sharing your kind words. Out of the ashes . . . yes, my life very much feels that way, I appreciate that metaphor. 

 

I know that place of doubt, frustration, exhaustion . . . numbness. In that stuckness, sometimes, I've felt underlying urges to both shake my fists in the air and scream, and fall to my knees and sob. The internal stifling silence is what keeps me stuck. At these times, I've tried to connect with the scared little boy inside me, and let him know "It's OK." It's OK to feel whatever feelings are stuck inside, and to let them out. It's OK to feel sad to be in this painful place. It's OK to feel angry that I was hurt by people who were supposed to have my best interests in mind. It's OK to be scared, because withdrawal and all it's effects are scary. 

 

And once that little boy inside me knows it's OK to feel, whether the feelings arise or not, I look for the next best steps. Maybe all I can do at that moment is to drink a glass of water. But I affirm myself for having got up to drink the water. Maybe I need to take a soothing bath, or journal, or call a recovery friend, or go for a drive, or lightly distract myself with a movie. As I listen to that little boy inside me, he tells me what I need. When I listen to him and act on his behalf, I feel better . . . I feel less stuck. 

 

Maybe there's a little boy or girl inside you that has something to say?

I'm open to connecting. Connecting is how we heal. 

 

Go gently Musa 🙏❤️

Elbee....spot on, this is exactly what I would like to connect about. My little boy has so much to say, it's hard to listen to him in strong WD and find meaning in all that pain. When I find some peace and clarity in this wave, I'll write to you. 

Thank you and take care

M


2000 - 2010 variety of SSRI and Valium ( Prozac mostly 20 mg, poop out)// 2010 -2015 new variety and cocktails, Seroquel ( CT), Zoloft (CT), Lexapo

2015 - Lexapo CT, WD - hell on earth for 6 months, almost hospitalized but instead, trying out new drugs( Brintilex, Valdoxan, Abilify ),"stable" on Effexor XR 150 mg, Seroquel 75, Lamictal 100 mg, Valium 4 x 0,5 mg   

2016 - CT Lamictal, CT Seroquel, reducing Effexor XR, Valium and Clonopin occasionally

2017  - Effexor 56 mg ( 37.5 + 75 mg every second day), starting Remeron 30 mg in February

2017 Nov 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg ( dropping the 75mg every second day), Remeron 25 mg 

2017 Dec, 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, 20 mg Remeron // 2018 Mid Feb - Effexor 37,5 mg, 15 mg Remeron // 2018 March, April -  Hold

2018 May 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 13 mg // 2018 June 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg Remeron 11mg // 2018 July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 9 mg //  2018 Aug 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 7,5 mg // 2018 Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec Hold

2019 Jan 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 6,75 mg // 2019 Feb 20 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 5,5 mg // 2019 March 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,9 mg // 2019 April 22 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,5 mg // 2019 May 6  - Effexor 37,5mg, Remeron 4,2 mg // 2019 June, July, August, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec - Hold

2020 Jan 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,1 mg // Feb 15- Effexor  37,5 mg, Remeron 4 mg // Mar 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.9 mg // April & May Hold 

June 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3,8 mg // June 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.7 mg // July 1-  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.6 mg // July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.5 mg // August 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg // Remeron 3.4.// August 15 - Effexor 37,5 m, Remeron 3.3 mg    

Supplements :  Fish oil 3000mg day time , 400 mg magnesium and 1000 mg Vit C  in the evening

 

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Naczoz

Did you have pssd?


01.12.2018 - 01.03.2019 - Took sertraline and than fluvosamine for major depression. 

 

Got SEVERE PSSD (no libido, no erections, pleasureless orgasma, total genital anesthesia, emotional numbness, lost of personality)

 

No wave and windows, no improvement so far. Just lije 1-2% in numbness in first two months post quitting. 

 

Im suicidal because of pssd. I dont believe in recovery since my state didnt improve in any significant way.

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elbee

Hi @Naczoz. I had sexual side effects the whole time while taking Zoloft. As I got off of it, my sexual energy in general has increased and all function has been normal. 


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Sheera

Loved reading this ❤️


Started Lamictal and Brintellix in November 2015

May 2016 Discontinued Lamictal 100 to 50 and then stopped completely.

October 20, 2016 discontinued Brintellex 10 to 5 then went from 5 to 0 on November 10, 2016.

 

Currently off all antidepressants

 

Current Supplements:  L-Theanine, Natural Progesterone, L-Methylfolate, Vitamin D, Omega-3's, Probiotic

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Naczoz

@elbee what kind of sexuall side effects did u had? and how long it sustained after qutting sertraline?


01.12.2018 - 01.03.2019 - Took sertraline and than fluvosamine for major depression. 

 

Got SEVERE PSSD (no libido, no erections, pleasureless orgasma, total genital anesthesia, emotional numbness, lost of personality)

 

No wave and windows, no improvement so far. Just lije 1-2% in numbness in first two months post quitting. 

 

Im suicidal because of pssd. I dont believe in recovery since my state didnt improve in any significant way.

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Malon

Thank you for sharing your story. It gives hope.

Like you I am 15 months off now but after a quite fast taper, still struggling with severe fatigue and rare panic attacs.

I agree I also have learnt a lot during this process - Self care, Spirituality, Self- and Life improvement techniques, Mindfulness, Meditation, Acceptance, Philosophy, Compassion, Desire to learn more ...

I am still at the beginning of my road and I still have to learn a lot...Trauma care (bullying), Spirituality, Self acceptance. etc.
Probably I will still suffer a lot  in the near futre but I cannot give up now. There is hope for better and maybe all the pain were there for a reason..


You have gone through so much and still found your way. Congratulations.


AD since 2006 (16 years old). Prescribed on Citalopram, Fluoxetin(2x), Opipramol, Paroxetin. All with CT except Paroxetin (fast taper).
Last medication was Paroxetin for 3 years. Tapered fast (big mistake):
- October 2018: 10mg -> 5mg
- December 2018: 5mg -> 2,5mg
- February 2019: 2,5mg -> 1,25mg
- March 2019: 1,25mg -> 1 mg
Since May 2019: 0 mg

Supplements:
- Omega 3 (2200mg EPA + DHA )                                   - Vitamin D 2500 i.u. and Vitamin K2 100 µg           - Vitamin B12 (500 mcg)
- Zinc (8 mg)                                                                       - Magnesium-Bisglycinat (100mg elemantal Mg)   - Folat (200mcg)
16 months off. Major symptom now is severe fatigue and back pain. Link to my introduction: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/21876-malon-14-years-of-ssri-since-youth-last-was-paroxetin/?tab=comments#comment-486450

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waves12
On 8/28/2020 at 3:31 PM, elbee said:

@MarieR @Cocopuffz17 @Pina thanks for taking the time to read my success story, and for sharing your well wishes 👍🙂

 

@Gridley @brassmonkey @Shep thank you again for all of your support, inspiration, and courage over the years! I appreciate all you've done, and thank you for dropping by to read my success story. You are all saving lives 🙏❤️

 

@waves12 thank you too, for reading and witnessing my story. I'm sorry to hear you are still struggling with anxiety. As I'm sure you know, there are many "tips" that can and do help relieve anxiety in the short term, but I never found any magic bullets that "cure" it. For me, it's been a matter of fundamentally changing how it is I care for myself not only physically, but intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, too. What in my story can you relate to in how it is you've approached caring for yourself . . . emotionally in particular? Can you relate to the idea of having an inner critic? 

 

I don't think I care for myself enough and notice I don't do enough at home. Not exercising due to fear of it around anxiety and have health anxiety in the mix so became afraid to exercise and now body is suffering. Sadly I live alone and don't have many people around to see and the isolation is very hard. My whole fears and anxiety have robbed my life now and just a shell. It's been a long time to feel this loss of life. I am almost housebound with anxiety and it is very sad as I was such an active person 4 years ago. I have had a lot of trauma from childhood and whilst working  through this I feel no better.  You have put alot into your recovery and see you were able to take trips and explore many things. I am too scared to leave the house. I am in a 12 step programme too and even this is not helping me. Anxiety and depression stopped me going to mtgs before covid and just don't feel a part of the group. My lonely life is not helping and if I am honest it feels this is what is really wrong but  I can't burden my grown up son's with this as they have their own lives. The loneliness feels it will break me. I am  in my 50's and feel life is over. Surely this can't be how if ends? I felt inspired about your story but I guess we are different people. 


Various antipressants from 1991 to 2016, Sertraline and many switches over the years.

Last AD's taken:

Citalopram for two weeks only May 2016  to June 2016, last AD taken and CT'd.

2012 to May 2016 Duloxitine 60mg. Doctor switched to Citalopram 20mg May 2016.

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Longroadhome

@elbee

 

Your story made me very emotional 

it’s beautifully written from the heart. 
Well done you are amazing.  good luck in your career and life. Go live it to the full. I’ll look forward to one day reading your full story.
until then  I shall re read your success story often to remind me there is life waiting  to be lived,  I just need to keep going to get there . 
Bless you.   


October 2004 -  October 2018 Paxil 20mg

October 2018 - November 2018 15mg Paxil 

Nov 2018 -  2x50 mg Pregabalin to help with Paxil WD

December 2018 - January 2019 10mg Paxil  

January 2019 - February 2019  7.5mg Paxil crashed 

February 2019 - 8.5mg Paxil

August 2019 - stopped both meds for 2.5 days meltdown 

August 2019 -  daily: 50mg Pregabalin April 2020 45mg May 40mg June 35mg, beg July 30mg, end July 25mg

Nov 2019 - 8mg Paxil, March 2020 7.2mg April 6.5mg May 5.9mg June 5.4mg July 4.8mg

 

these dates are approximate 

 

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elbee
Posted (edited)

@Sheera thanks for stopping by and I'm glad the story was good for you ❤️

 

@Malon wow, you've been working on many changes in your life too! Fifteen months in some ways feels like a long time to me, but change and healing with these drugs is so slow, and so much patience is required. I still struggle sometimes too, for sure. And accepting how slow things go is still sometimes a challenge. I too have tried to look at my pain in the context of purpose, and I can see that one purpose has been my own self-improvement (at some pretty tremendous costs!). I hope moving forward, that my pain and process will be of some benefit to others, too, perhaps. On good days, I can see purposes like this more clearly. On not-so-good days, that perspective can get clouded and murky. thank you for reading my story, and for sharing your thoughts. ❤️

 

On 8/30/2020 at 6:52 AM, waves12 said:

I don't think I care for myself enough and notice I don't do enough at home. Not exercising due to fear of it around anxiety and have health anxiety in the mix so became afraid to exercise and now body is suffering. Sadly I live alone and don't have many people around to see and the isolation is very hard. My whole fears and anxiety have robbed my life now and just a shell. It's been a long time to feel this loss of life. I am almost housebound with anxiety and it is very sad as I was such an active person 4 years ago. I have had a lot of trauma from childhood and whilst working  through this I feel no better.  You have put alot into your recovery and see you were able to take trips and explore many things. I am too scared to leave the house. I am in a 12 step programme too and even this is not helping me. Anxiety and depression stopped me going to mtgs before covid and just don't feel a part of the group. My lonely life is not helping and if I am honest it feels this is what is really wrong but  I can't burden my grown up son's with this as they have their own lives. The loneliness feels it will break me. I am  in my 50's and feel life is over. Surely this can't be how if ends? I felt inspired about your story but I guess we are different people. 

 

@waves12 As I mentioned in my story, each of us is definitely different - a unique snowflake - and we each have our own healing path. I asked you what in my story can you relate to, because I thought we might have some similarities, as well as differences. I thought perhaps you might be able to relate to the idea of having an inner critic. I know my "inner critic" can tell me how different my situation is, that no one is like me or understands me, and how I am uniquely broken . . . probably moreso than anyone else. It tells me all the things I'm not doing right and how I should be doing more, and faster. It tells me how impossible and insurmountable everything is, and asks why it's worth even trying. It tells me no one really wants to be around me, and how I am a burden to everyone who comes close. It tells me if someone does want to be around me, it's because I'm fooling them and they don't know the "real" me. It reminds me of everything I can't do like I used to do when I wasn't focused on healing my wounds, and it tells me I will never regain any of those abilities. My critic is all-or-nothing thinking, and judgment that always takes me to the same places: shame and/or blame. 

 

You mentioned you are too scared to leave the house. I honestly don't know how I was able to go on that long trip I took. I think I was in such a state of stuck desperation I felt like if I didn't do something big I was going to die. So I put my head down and clenched my jaw and did what I had always done in life . . . pushed hard and found a way. During the worst of my withdrawal process, I was actually intensely agoraphobic and often didn't leave the house for days. In this sense, that road trip I took was counterproductive in my healing path and probably mostly "critic" driven.

 

With 12 Step programs, I tried AA and ran screaming from the rooms. I went to Alanon, and it felt like I was in a room with people who were disconnected in ways that were way too similar to my parents. ACA turned out to be a completely different 12 Step program for me, focused on trauma recovery much more than addictions recovery . . . and focused on healing through feeling much more than cognitive/behavioral approaches. One focus of ACA is coming out of isolation . . . not only physical isolation, but emotional isolation. For many adult children, this is one of the hardest things imaginable. None of this came easy to me, and all of it has been a process of finding small, incremental next best steps. 

 

I'm really glad you felt inspired with my story, and yes we are no doubt different people. But for me, recovery has involved looking at similarities in addition to differences. Similarities bring possibilities of authentic connection . . . perhaps the most important thing I had been missing my whole life. ❤️

 

@Longroadhome thank you for reading my story, and for leaving such a heartfelt comment. There is definitely more life waiting to be lived as our recovery processes slowly inch forward. I'm also finding there is more life to be lived in the moments I can stay compassionately connected with the most tender parts of myself. If you do come back to read this again, consider dropping a note from time to time, OK? Go gently 🙏❤️

 

Edited by elbee

My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Naczoz

Again @elbee - what kind of sexuall dysfunctions did u have?


01.12.2018 - 01.03.2019 - Took sertraline and than fluvosamine for major depression. 

 

Got SEVERE PSSD (no libido, no erections, pleasureless orgasma, total genital anesthesia, emotional numbness, lost of personality)

 

No wave and windows, no improvement so far. Just lije 1-2% in numbness in first two months post quitting. 

 

Im suicidal because of pssd. I dont believe in recovery since my state didnt improve in any significant way.

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Longroadhome

Maybe Albee chooses not to answer this question and we must respect that. 


October 2004 -  October 2018 Paxil 20mg

October 2018 - November 2018 15mg Paxil 

Nov 2018 -  2x50 mg Pregabalin to help with Paxil WD

December 2018 - January 2019 10mg Paxil  

January 2019 - February 2019  7.5mg Paxil crashed 

February 2019 - 8.5mg Paxil

August 2019 - stopped both meds for 2.5 days meltdown 

August 2019 -  daily: 50mg Pregabalin April 2020 45mg May 40mg June 35mg, beg July 30mg, end July 25mg

Nov 2019 - 8mg Paxil, March 2020 7.2mg April 6.5mg May 5.9mg June 5.4mg July 4.8mg

 

these dates are approximate 

 

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elbee
Posted (edited)

@Naczoz I'm not going to go into the details of all the symptoms I experienced in my withdrawal process. What I can say is that the myriad sexual side-effects I encountered while being on the drugs for 25+ years, and those I experienced during the detox process to get off of them, seem to have all mostly resolved. It may be that others experience continued or perhaps even permanent effects, but that has not been my experience. For pssd, the symptoms can be varied and extensive. If you haven't found it already, I would recommend this thread:

 

. . . and this thread:

 

 

Edited by elbee

My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Naczoz

Well I did found it. And I have pssd for two years after qutting and no progress at all..


01.12.2018 - 01.03.2019 - Took sertraline and than fluvosamine for major depression. 

 

Got SEVERE PSSD (no libido, no erections, pleasureless orgasma, total genital anesthesia, emotional numbness, lost of personality)

 

No wave and windows, no improvement so far. Just lije 1-2% in numbness in first two months post quitting. 

 

Im suicidal because of pssd. I dont believe in recovery since my state didnt improve in any significant way.

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arbor

Thank you, elbee, your story means so much to me, and that you have taken the time to share it.  It heartens me to think of people like you entering the health care world.

I'm celebrating for you,

Arbor


Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

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elbee
20 hours ago, Naczoz said:

Well I did found it. And I have pssd for two years after qutting and no progress at all..

 

@Naczoz I know how incredibly frustrating that a lack of healing can feel 😩 Opening to the grief of such loss can feel overwhelming. I hope greater healing comes your way, even if it is slow ❤️

 

@arbor Thanks for taking the time to read my story, and for sharing your encouraging words. It boosts my courage entering the health care world knowing that I have people like you in my corner ❤️


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Naczoz

@elbee in your case did? after how many years since you quit you felt that you are healing? espesially from pssd and emotional numbness/anhedonia?

 


01.12.2018 - 01.03.2019 - Took sertraline and than fluvosamine for major depression. 

 

Got SEVERE PSSD (no libido, no erections, pleasureless orgasma, total genital anesthesia, emotional numbness, lost of personality)

 

No wave and windows, no improvement so far. Just lije 1-2% in numbness in first two months post quitting. 

 

Im suicidal because of pssd. I dont believe in recovery since my state didnt improve in any significant way.

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elbee

@Naczoz Coming out of emotional numbness took a lot of consistent work on my part over the past five or so years, and it's something I will continue to work on. As I shared in my story, I think EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist helped, but more than anything, it has been the consistent day-in and day-out work I have been doing in the ACA program to open and release trapped emotions, trapped trauma and stored grief. As these things opened in layers over time, I had to adjust and learn to live more emotionally alive (self-care / reparenting). I fully believe that emotional awakening cannot happen in isolation, it happens through connection and community. For me, that community has primarily been here through this website, and through the ACA program. I also do not think it's coincidental that you asked about both a "sexual awakening" and "emotional awakening" in the same short post. I definitely feel that my emotional awakening has played a huge role in my sexual awakening. And to be clear, this awakening was NOT like a light switch that turned on. It was much more like a dimmer switch that very slowly "brightens" over time, and continues to be a source of increasing energy and illumination. 

 

My sense is that you are looking for me to tell you that everything is going to be OK, and at what point that will happen (based on what happened to me). Unfortunately, I'm not able to do that. I don't know what your future holds. I know you're probably scared, and frustrated, and perhaps angry. Of course you are. What we experience in these ways is intensely painful! What I can say is that as long as I was fixated on a "happily ever after" moment in my future when everything would be OK, I was often neglecting the small steps I needed take moment to moment that would actually get me to a better place. My recovery hasn't been a collection of a few "magic moments" . . . but  hundreds and thousands of incremental next best steps. 

Edited by elbee

My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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elbee

I've been in a wave for a few days. It's not a wave like I used to experience in completely debilitating ways, but I want to honestly acknowledge that I still have rough stretches. I can identify some of my triggers that have been activated, and I'm doing my best to gently work with them . . . and keep taking next best steps. As I wrote in my story, I am still healing. 


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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brassmonkey

Hi Elbee-- Sorry to hear about your getting hit with a wave. It's all part of the post "0" experience. there will be some ups and downs for a while, but will get better as time goes along. Hang in there, it's all part of the healing process.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Musa

Elbee,

 

Sorry to hear it and I'm sending you a short line of support.

I think you've explained it very well to your self...and even more importantly comforted your self...yes, you are still healing. 


2000 - 2010 variety of SSRI and Valium ( Prozac mostly 20 mg, poop out)// 2010 -2015 new variety and cocktails, Seroquel ( CT), Zoloft (CT), Lexapo

2015 - Lexapo CT, WD - hell on earth for 6 months, almost hospitalized but instead, trying out new drugs( Brintilex, Valdoxan, Abilify ),"stable" on Effexor XR 150 mg, Seroquel 75, Lamictal 100 mg, Valium 4 x 0,5 mg   

2016 - CT Lamictal, CT Seroquel, reducing Effexor XR, Valium and Clonopin occasionally

2017  - Effexor 56 mg ( 37.5 + 75 mg every second day), starting Remeron 30 mg in February

2017 Nov 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg ( dropping the 75mg every second day), Remeron 25 mg 

2017 Dec, 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, 20 mg Remeron // 2018 Mid Feb - Effexor 37,5 mg, 15 mg Remeron // 2018 March, April -  Hold

2018 May 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 13 mg // 2018 June 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg Remeron 11mg // 2018 July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 9 mg //  2018 Aug 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 7,5 mg // 2018 Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec Hold

2019 Jan 10 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 6,75 mg // 2019 Feb 20 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 5,5 mg // 2019 March 25 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,9 mg // 2019 April 22 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,5 mg // 2019 May 6  - Effexor 37,5mg, Remeron 4,2 mg // 2019 June, July, August, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec - Hold

2020 Jan 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 4,1 mg // Feb 15- Effexor  37,5 mg, Remeron 4 mg // Mar 15 -  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.9 mg // April & May Hold 

June 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3,8 mg // June 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.7 mg // July 1-  Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.6 mg // July 15 - Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3.5 mg // August 1 - Effexor 37,5 mg // Remeron 3.4.// August 15 - Effexor 37,5 m, Remeron 3.3 mg    

Supplements :  Fish oil 3000mg day time , 400 mg magnesium and 1000 mg Vit C  in the evening

 

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crashcourse
On 8/31/2020 at 1:56 AM, elbee said:

I thought perhaps you might be able to relate to the idea of having an inner critic. I know my "inner critic" can tell me how different my situation is, that no one is like me or understands me, and how I am uniquely broken . . . probably moreso than anyone else. It tells me all the things I'm not doing right and how I should be doing more, and faster. It tells me how impossible and insurmountable everything is, and asks why it's worth even trying. It tells me no one really wants to be around me, and how I am a burden to everyone who comes close. It tells me if someone does want to be around me, it's because I'm fooling them and they don't know the "real" me. It reminds me of everything I can't do like I used to do when I wasn't focused on healing my wounds, and it tells me I will never regain any of those abilities. My critic is all-or-nothing thinking, and judgment that always takes me to the same places: shame and/or blame. 

 

Elbee it was inspiring to hear your story, and I loved the way you described your struggle. It's really an inspiration.

 

The above passage stick out for me. I have recently completed my WD from Effexor and Citalopram, about 2 months ago. Fortunately, I've not had the severe side effects I've heard from others; though I do get the odd wave every fortnight or so. The real challenge, I feel, is with my inner critic, which you so eloquently described. There may be other contributory factors, but I can't say off the bat.

 

My problem is over the years of drug use I have turned into a recluse. And now I'm unable to break free of this behaviour. I try my best to shirk all responsibilities or pass them on to someone else: my wife, son, or just don't do it.

 

Also I am unable to come back into active life. I was a successful entrepreneur, on the way up, with ambitious plans. Well, my business has gone. And now with so many years wasted my 'inner critic' keeps telling me I'll never be able to reach the goals I set so many years ago = what's the point of even trying. Of course there is a plethora of additional factors to support the argument i.e. I am no longer young (in my 50s), I've lost the drive (true), why do it and put so much pressure on myself. You get the drift.

 

I'm not even sure why I'm talking about this here, like you said each struggle is unique. But I suppose I'm looking for equivalences from you. Perhaps there is some way we can quieten the inner critic. The problem, I feel, is that the inner critic was the same voice which gave/gives people like me the courage and motivation to start a business. Paradoxically it is now hindering the return to business and an active life, since this voice keeps comparing me to my peers, who have moved much further ahead. Not a noble thought, I know, but this is how the human mind works.

 

I realise I'm rambling. Would love to hear your thoughts.


2012- Citalopram 40- Axal 0.5mg  2017- Stopped Axal CT. No WD.

2017 - Effexor XR 75 mg.

For Epilepsy:1983 - Tegral 400 mg/day  2009 - Lumark 1000 mg/day- Biotim eyedrops for glaucoma.

27 April 2019 - Effexor XR taper started. 40 beads removed - 16% - 63mg20 May - 10% - 20 beads. 57mg / 3 June - 10% - 20 beads - 51mg / 18 July - 6% -10 beads - 48mg / 20 July - 7% -10 beads- 44.5mg/ 1 Sept - 75 mg alternate days = 37.5 mg/ 14 Sept - 75 mg every 3rd day = 25mg/  22 Sept - Effexor XR stopped.

27 Oct - Tegral = 300mg. Citalopram = 30 mg. Lumark = 500mg Busron = 10 mg. Somna = 2.5 mg

1-Jan 2020 Tegral 200mg BD- Citalopram 20mg OD- Lumark 500BD

25 Apr 2020 Tegral 200 mg BD- Citalopram alternate days 20 mg and 10 mg OD - Lumark 500BD

May June 2020 Dropped to 10 mg citalopram due to drug shortages.

Early July 2020: CT'ed citalopram - nonavailability of medicine. Tegral + Lumark remains same as before.

 

 

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Hanna72

Hi elbee

Just read your story and want to congratulate you on your many successes. Loved reading it, you are a true inspiration for me. Thank you.
Sorry to hear about your current wave, there is with out a doubt in my mind a wonderful window awaits you just around the corner.

All the best to you.

 



2000/ got 20mg Paxil  for panic attacks. Many attempts to quit through out the years, without any success.

2019- January started tapering Paxil, 2019-October 10 mg Paxil , getting ready for a bridge with 10 mg Prozac  Took about 1 month during switch. Done with Paxil 2019/ November started tapering 20 mg Prozac  .Took alcohol and coffee out.2019/December 8 mg Prozac 

2020/January 4 mg Prozac 

2020/15/3 .09 mg jumped off

2020 March 16 off Prozac  Quetipine 25 mg used 1 time in 15 months, oxezapam 15 mg used 5 times 

Suppliments: Magnesium, omega 3 fish oil ( epa&dha) D vitamin 

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” Leo Tolstoy 

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elbee

@brassmonkey and @Musa thanks for your support and encouragement. Like you said Brass, "windows and waves" outside the withdrawal experience are a part of life ("ups and downs"). And I also believe that while I am still healing, those "ups and downs" will be exacerbated and accentuated. I've discovered and developed some really helpful and important tools and practices through my withdrawal process, and they still serve we well today. Sometimes it's still tough though.

 

I was concerned that I had painted too rosy a picture in my success story, but when I went back to read my story while experiencing this wave, it all still feels very true for me. Life is overall easier now, and I'm so grateful. I can hold that space as true today even while feeling more shaky. And it's also true that at times life can still feel really challenging, and I have to be very careful not to overdo things, and to keep gently working with my triggers as they arise. 


My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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