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Best wishes to you, elbee.  I'm glad you're here.  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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@crashcourse  Congrats on completing your WD, and entering the new "post-zero" era of your life 👍 And thanks for taking the time to share about yourself, and about your experience with your inner critic.

 

I relate to a lot of what you wrote on many fronts. I too am just now in my 50's, and I too was a very driven, ambitious entrepreneur and had my own successful business for many years. I was "living large" as they say. And it's clear today that what drove me throughout most of my life, in fact, was my inner critic. So while the idea of releasing the harshness that plagued me for as long as I could remember was really appealing, that idea also scared the hell out of me. My entire resume and everything I knew seemed to be built upon living a critic-driven life. If I released the critic, what then would move me? For me to move away from the the critic and towards something else wasn't a leap I could make in my life . . . until I bottomed-out and had no choice. Life brought me to a place of surrender, and in a sense, life "helped" me make some new choices. 

"When the conscious mind cannot find a reason to say no, the unconscious says no in its own way." - Charlies Eistenstein,  The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

 

So, how does someone work with the critic? There are many approaches people use, and probably, different things will work for different people. Some use a purely cognitive-behavioral approach . . . recognize "bad" thoughts and replace them with "good" thoughts. Some utilize religious frameworks . . . the "critic" = the "devil" so don't listen to the devil and put your faith in "God." Some use compassion practices . . . soften the heart to soften the critic. 

 

I found the ACA program (which I referred to in my story). ACA says that the critic is born from a lack of unconditional love in childhood, and is then carried into adulthood -- directed inwardly at oneself and/or outwardly towards others. For me, that resonates. The solution in ACA is to "become your own loving parent" - to connect to one's inner child (one's inner "tenderness") and to meet that tenderness with an "inner loving parent" instead of the inner critical parent. This is called "reparenting." And while it sounds rather simple, it's not at all easy. And it sounded very strange to me at first, and I was intensely resistant. BUT, again, I was desperate so I gave it a go and I'm glad I did.

 

To be clear, I didn't not grow up in a home completely devoid of love, but the love I did receive was often inconsistent and it was highly conditional, not unconditional. And yes, some bad things happened in my childhood, too, to be sure. I personally believe very few human children escape childhood without some dents and scratches . . .  no child gets all the love and attention they really need in today's modern world. And as levels of dysfunction in the early home environment increase, the more difficulties that person will have in their adult years. Research clearly shows this. And my sense is that the more dysfunction a child experiences, generally speaking, the louder, stronger and harsher that inner critic will be in their adult years. What does it look like in adulthood when people grow up in dysfunctional homes and have a runaway inner critic? ACA says it looks like this

 

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic & Dysfunctional Family:

1.      We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

2.      We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

3.      We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

4.      We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

5.      We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

6.      We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.

7.      We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

8.      We became addicted to excitement.

9.      We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”

10.   We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).

11.   We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

12.   We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

13.   Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

14.   Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

 

The Other Laundry List – How adult children “act-out” and can become like their parents:

1.      To cover our fear of people and our dread of isolation we tragically become the very authority figures who frighten others and cause them to withdraw.

2.      To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others.

3.      We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism.

4.      We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.

5.      We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can manipulate and control in our important relationships.

6.      We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings.

7.      We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.

8.      We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.

9.      We hate people who “play” the victim and beg to be rescued.

10.   We deny that we’ve been hurt and are suppressing our emotions by the dramatic expression of “pseudo” feelings.

11.   To protect ourselves from self punishment for failing to “save” the family we project our self-hate onto others and punish them instead.

12.   We “manage” the massive amount of deprivation we feel, coming from abandonment within the home, by quickly letting go of relationships that threaten our “independence” (not too close).

13.   We refuse to admit we’ve been affected by family dysfunction or that there was dysfunction in the home or that we have internalized any of the family’s destructive attitudes and behaviors.

14.   We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us.

 

My guess is you will relate to at least parts of these lists (you mentioned the drug/med use, turning into a recluse / isolation, shirking all responsibility, etc). Ultimately, only you can decide if you feel any of this relates to you, and whether or not it might be tied to your childhood. Personally, I've come to see myself all over these lists. And once I took a closer look at the dysfunction I experienced in my childhood, it became clear to me that all of these Traits arose in my life as defenses, protection, or even survival mechanisms going back to my childhood and teen years. To get by in those early times, I needed to push away and reject the tenderness and vulnerability in me (my inner child), and my inner critic reinforced this process. The critic served a very important purpose . . . to protect me as a kid - to keep me safe. Now as an adult, I can learn to do things differently and protect myself in healthier, more effective ways. I am learning to release that inner critic, and meet vulnerability (my own and others') with a new voice of love and compassion. 

 

It's not been fast, nor has it been easy. But it very much seems to be working and I'm grateful.

Here is a link to some "new in development" beginner's materials a team of us at ACA have been working on if you're interested: ACAhope.com

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

@Hanna72 and @arbor thanks for your warm thoughts and messages. The wave has lifted a bit today and I'm feeling lighter ❤️

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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  • Moderator

Elbee, thank you, deeply.

I just read your last post, and even if alcohol does not exist in my family story, the first Laundry list hit me.

You just offered me new perspectives, becoming my own loving parent.

 

So thank you for being you and for sharing your thoughts  ❤

 

Also really glad to read the wave is has lifted a bit ☀️

Edited by Erell

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

2010 : 20mg Deroxat + Bromazepam

2013: Switch from Bromazepam To Prazepam

2014-June2017 : Prazepam taper

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

+ 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

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

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55 minutes ago, elbee said:

@crashcourse  Congrats on completing your WD, and entering the new "post-zero" era of your life 👍 And thanks for taking the time to share about yourself, and about your experience with your inner critic.

 

I relate to a lot of what you wrote on many fronts. I too am just now in my 50's, and I too was a very driven, ambitious entrepreneur and had my own successful business for many years. I was "living large" as they say. And it's clear today that what drove me throughout most of my life, in fact, was my inner critic. So while the idea of releasing the harshness that plagued me for as long as I could remember was really appealing, that idea also scared the hell out of me. My entire resume and everything I knew seemed to be built upon living a critic-driven life. If I released the critic, what then would move me? For me to move away from the the critic and towards something else wasn't a leap I could make in my life . . . until I bottomed-out and had no choice. Life brought me to a place of surrender, and in a sense, life "helped" me make some new choices. 

"When the conscious mind cannot find a reason to say no, the unconscious says no in its own way." - Charlies Eistenstein,  The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

 

So, how does someone work with the critic? There are many approaches people use, and probably, different things will work for different people. Some use a purely cognitive-behavioral approach . . . recognize "bad" thoughts and replace them with "good" thoughts. Some utilize religious frameworks . . . the "critic" = the "devil" so don't listen to the devil and put your faith in "God." Some use compassion practices . . . soften the heart to soften the critic. 

 

I found the ACA program (which I referred to in my story). ACA says that the critic is born from a lack of unconditional love in childhood, and is then carried into adulthood -- directed inwardly at oneself and/or outwardly towards others. For me, that resonates. The solution in ACA is to "become your own loving parent" - to connect to one's inner child (one's inner "tenderness") and to meet that tenderness with an "inner loving parent" instead of the inner critical parent. This is called "reparenting." And while it sounds rather simple, it's not at all easy. And it sounded very strange to me at first, and I was intensely resistant. BUT, again, I was desperate so I gave it a go and I'm glad I did.

 

To be clear, I didn't not grow up in a home completely devoid of love, but the love I did receive was often inconsistent and it was highly conditional, not unconditional. And yes, some bad things happened in my childhood, too, to be sure. I personally believe very few human children escape childhood without some dents and scratches . . .  no child gets all the love and attention they really need in today's modern world. And as levels of dysfunction in the early home environment increase, the more difficulties that person will have in their adult years. Research clearly shows this. And my sense is that the more dysfunction a child experiences, generally speaking, the louder, stronger and harsher that inner critic will be in their adult years. What does it look like in adulthood when people grow up in dysfunctional homes and have a runaway inner critic? ACA says it looks like this

 

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic & Dysfunctional Family:

1.      We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

2.      We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

3.      We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

4.      We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

5.      We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

6.      We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.

7.      We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

8.      We became addicted to excitement.

9.      We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”

10.   We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).

11.   We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

12.   We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

13.   Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

14.   Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

 

The Other Laundry List – How adult children “act-out” and can become like their parents:

1.      To cover our fear of people and our dread of isolation we tragically become the very authority figures who frighten others and cause them to withdraw.

2.      To avoid becoming enmeshed and entangled with other people and losing ourselves in the process, we become rigidly self-sufficient. We disdain the approval of others.

3.      We frighten people with our anger and threat of belittling criticism.

4.      We dominate others and abandon them before they can abandon us or we avoid relationships with dependent people altogether. To avoid being hurt, we isolate and dissociate and thereby abandon ourselves.

5.      We live life from the standpoint of a victimizer, and are attracted to people we can manipulate and control in our important relationships.

6.      We are irresponsible and self-centered. Our inflated sense of self-worth and self-importance prevents us from seeing our deficiencies and shortcomings.

7.      We make others feel guilty when they attempt to assert themselves.

8.      We inhibit our fear by staying deadened and numb.

9.      We hate people who “play” the victim and beg to be rescued.

10.   We deny that we’ve been hurt and are suppressing our emotions by the dramatic expression of “pseudo” feelings.

11.   To protect ourselves from self punishment for failing to “save” the family we project our self-hate onto others and punish them instead.

12.   We “manage” the massive amount of deprivation we feel, coming from abandonment within the home, by quickly letting go of relationships that threaten our “independence” (not too close).

13.   We refuse to admit we’ve been affected by family dysfunction or that there was dysfunction in the home or that we have internalized any of the family’s destructive attitudes and behaviors.

14.   We act as if we are nothing like the dependent people who raised us.

 

My guess is you will relate to at least parts of these lists (you mentioned the drug/med use, turning into a recluse / isolation, shirking all responsibility, etc). Ultimately, only you can decide if you feel any of this relates to you, and whether or not it might be tied to your childhood. Personally, I've come to see myself all over these lists. And once I took a closer look at the dysfunction I experienced in my childhood, it became clear to me that all of these Traits arose in my life as defenses, protection, or even survival mechanisms going back to my childhood and teen years. To get by in those early times, I needed to push away and reject the tenderness and vulnerability in me (my inner child), and my inner critic reinforced this process. The critic served a very important purpose . . . to protect me as a kid - to keep me safe. Now as an adult, I can learn to do things differently and protect myself in healthier, more effective ways. I am learning to release that inner critic, and meet vulnerability (my own and others') with a new voice of love and compassion. 

 

It's not been fast, nor has it been easy. But it very much seems to be working and I'm grateful.

Here is a link to some "new in development" beginner's materials a team of us at ACA have been working on if you're interested: ACAhope.com

Thank you Elbee...This is like written for me. I just couldn't put my words and questions for you on paper as my inner critic is raging together with strong WD wave. It's hard to tell what is what. 

And I've wanted to spare you from it since you mentioned your own wave. I'm glad to hear that you're dealing with it well and getting better.

Take care

 

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 // Sept Hold// October 1 Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3,2 mg  // October 15 Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3,1 mg // November 1 Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 3 mg // November 10 Effexor 37,5 mg, Remeron 2,9 mg // November 20 Effexor 37,5 mg,  Remeron 2,8 mg   

Supplements :  400 mg magnesium and 1000 mg Vit C  in the evening, stopped the 3000 mg of fish oil in November

 

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My first day on this site and your story is a bullseye for me. In my 6th attempt over 20 years to get off of antidepressants. I too just started ACA so I’m very inspired by your story.  I’m in the dark days and would love to hear more about your coaching. I keep feeling like I’m in ACA but I’m dealing with this whole other thing too and don’t know how to integrate them. My ACA sponsor listens but has never been through this withdrawal. 

Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

@Erell I'm glad my wave has lifted a bit too, thanks for your kind words ☺️

 

21 hours ago, Erell said:

Elbee, thank you, deeply.

I just read your last post, and even if alcohol does not exist in my family story, the first Laundry list hit me.

You just offered me new perspectives, becoming my own loving parent.

 

"Dysfunctional homes often, but not always, include alcoholism or other forms of drug abuse. Family dysfunction can occur in homes that are rigidly religious, militaristic or punitive - or homes dominated by control, harsh judgement & perfectionism. Any type of abuse or neglect creates dysfunctional home environments, as can parental mental illness or other forms of parental disability. Persistent debt or gambling can also be signs of family dysfunction, as can issues with food such as obesity or dieting obsession." - A New Hope ACA Beginners Meeting Handbook, page 15

 

The quote above and this list below are from a project I've been working on to develop an ACA beginners handbook. The latest draft is available for free at: http://www.ACAhope.com 

 

"This checklist is derived from “Family Diagram Labels” in the ACA fellowship text, "The Big Red Book" (pages 127 & 128). Below, think about your experiences or what you have heard about all your various relatives in connection with addiction, religion, relationships, food, sex, work, etc.  Place a check next to each behavior / label that applies to one or more of your family members. While this list is not exhaustive, it can collectively help to illuminate indications of family dysfunction." - A New Hope ACA Beginners Meeting Handbook, page 17

 

“Family Labels”

✔️

alcoholic - heavy alcohol use / abuse

 

drug addict – heavy illicit substances use / abuse

 

pill popper – heavy prescriptions drug use / abuse

 

emotionally ill / mental health issues

 

chronically ill / hypochondriac

 

criminal behavior, incarceration

 

gambler – looking for “big money wins”

 

heavy debt – always borrowing money and/or gratuitous spending (likes showy “nice things”)

 

vanity –  always had a face in the mirror, intensely focused on outward appearance

 

scarcity mentality – never enough, don’t throw out anything; possibly a hoarder

 

eating issues – obesity; Bulimia and/or Anorexia; cyclical dieting

 

food pusher – great cook, food as expression of “caring” and/or “reward”

 

sexually aggressive (overtly not safe) –grabbing, touching, pinching, wresting, etc.

 

sexually suggestive (covertly not safe) – inappropriate language, exhibitionism, sexually “creepy”

 

violent – slapped, pushed, hit; glorified fighting

 

indirectly aggressive / controlling – manipulation, false kindness, passive-aggression

 

verbally abusive – harsh, critical, judgmental, threatening, demeaning

 

argumentative – will not be quiet, keeps arguments going, all-or-nothing thinking

 

workaholic – worked a lot; views work as the measure of one’s worth

 

undependable – does not follow through; promises not kept, lies

 

rigidly religious – judgmental, harsh, critical, controlling, all-or-nothing thinking

 

militaristic – punitive, harsh, rigid, perfectionistic, critical, controlling

 

racist – prejudice and antagonism against those of other races; belief one’s own race is superior

 

sexist – prejudice and antagonism towards women; belief men are superior to women

 

homophobic – prejudice and antagonism towards gay men, lesbians and bisexual (LGBTQ) people

 

worrier / neurotic  – what can go wrong will go wrong, “the sky is falling”

 

rescuer / co-dependent– caught up in other people’s drama and chaos; focused on “helping” others

 

enabler – shields others from the natural consequences of their behavior; “caretaker”

 

martyr – suffers “for the benefit of others” and then wants recognition for their “sacrifices”

 

hero family role – “think positive,” go big or go home, focused on outward appearances

 

mascot family role – constant joking; humor that can be harmful; can’t deal with serious matters

 

lost child family role – loner, isolated, avoids conflict and confrontation

 

scapegoat family role – “black sheep”; seen to cause family shame and embarrassment; rule-breaker

 

 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus
20 hours ago, Musa said:

Thank you Elbee...This is like written for me. I just couldn't put my words and questions for you on paper as my inner critic is raging together with strong WD wave. It's hard to tell what is what. 

And I've wanted to spare you from it since you mentioned your own wave. I'm glad to hear that you're dealing with it well and getting better.

Take care

 

@Musa I'm glad what I wrote was useful to you. 👍 I'm sorry you are dealing with a heavy wave -- they can be so incredibly painful, frustrating and confusing. Working with my inner critic when a wave hits can feel really overwhelming -- like a "pile-on." And when a wave hits is when I most need to find gentleness, compassion, and patience for myself . . . for my inner child. It's not easy. 

I appreciate your consideration towards me, but also know that part of my recovery work has been learning to set healthy boundaries. If I'm unable to be available to others because I need to tend to myself first, I'm much more OK doing that -- and then circling back around when I'm more in a space to be supportive of others ❤️

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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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 9/18/2020 at 9:48 AM, rachie said:

My first day on this site and your story is a bullseye for me. In my 6th attempt over 20 years to get off of antidepressants. I too just started ACA so I’m very inspired by your story.  I’m in the dark days and would love to hear more about your coaching. I keep feeling like I’m in ACA but I’m dealing with this whole other thing too and don’t know how to integrate them. My ACA sponsor listens but has never been through this withdrawal.

 

@rachie Thanks for taking the time to read my story, and I'm glad it was something that resonated with you on your first day at this website. There is SO much great information here and I encourage you to explore more to find what you need.

As you probably read in what I wrote, I had a first attempt at getting off the drugs (WAY too fast, and before finding this website) that did not go well at all. Even though I pushed my taper faster than this website recommends, I eventually embraced the fact that I couldn't go faster than by body/emotions/spirit would let me go. And there times I needed to hold for longer periods, and each time I did that, it allowed me to continue forward. I just had a clear sense that the direction I needed to move with these drugs was to get off, and that's the only direction I went . . . down, never up. I just had to accept that to not go up, I had to give myself enough time to heal and re-acclimate with each drop. And I had to find trust in this process.

Most people in ACA haven't understood my process of getting off the psych drugs (thought I talk about it openly). They could support me generally, but not specifically on that issue. And there are many who are tapering who never get into the "ACA issues" and they don't relate to that aspect of my recovery. In a sense, dealing with both at the same has, at times, felt like a lonely place. Eventually, I better learned to not "go to the hardware store for a loaf of bread," as they say. I just had to keep in mind that some people can support me in some areas of my life, and others can better support me in other areas . . . and I'm grateful for the support I get when and where I get it 🙂 Please feel free to reach out to me if you're feeling in that "in-between" place if you think that would be helpful. And best of luck to you on this journey moving forward! 🙏❤️

 

 

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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 Lonely is the perfect description. I’m always trying to figure out if it’s in my head or in my body because of all of the childhood trauma. I just reread your whole post again and so can relate. It’s both. I’m trying to find an inner comforting voice that will encourage me through this process. I have been completely off of the AD for about 2 weeks. The last taper wasn’t that hard until after the final dose (but the last taper was Remeron added when I freaked out during the previous taper and said I can’t function. Anyhow, this time I am off and I know that the only thing to do is to tough it out because it is withdrawal (I need to stop questioning that). And trust that I need to give my brain time to heal. The hardest is the level of anxiety I feel. Not wanting to go anywhere. Not feeling like I can do my work. Just feeling the constant threat of panic. And feeling broken and confused about the source (my head or withdrawal). It is comforting for me to hear your story and that it has eased. The anxiety started for me long before the meds and a crisis is what got me on the meds for the first time at almost 40. But in this withdrawal the childhood fears, panic, and true trauma have surfaced. I have cried buckets and buckets of tears. There must be some value in that. My husband said before that I never cried. I don’t think I cried at all when on the meds except when I was trying to get off. I am going to hold on to your story as a guiding light that I will get through this and get back out in to the world. Crazy thing is I have been super successful in my work throughout this, and on the inside I feel like I am barely hanging on and just want to quit. Can’t handle the pressure. Can’t believe I am getting anything done and can’t relate to or care about my successes. But I say thank you to my higher power for sustaining me even though I feel like I can’t do it. One day at a time. Thank you sooooo much for your inspiration.

 

:) Rachie    

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

@rachie Anxiety is brutal -- it can be immobilizing and exhausting. The inner critic in me drives it, whether I can "hear" that critic, or just silently feel its effects. Sometimes it still gets the best of me, and I have to accept some level of powerlessness with it . . . and find ways to take next best steps as gently as possible. Anxiety has been so fundamental in my life that working with it in new ways feels like learning a completely different way to live.

 

On 9/26/2020 at 10:11 PM, rachie said:

I have cried buckets and buckets of tears. There must be some value in that.

 

Authentic grieving can restore the power of tears. When I can meet my tears with an inner loving parent (unconditional love and compassion for myself), then I know that healing is happening. 🙏❤️

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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The one thing I am confused about is whether to go into (push) the anxiety by getting out there anyway or by not pushing too hard and laying low and letting some time pass. I have days where i push through the anxiety and I think Oh great, I am conquering this and then the next day I will have fever, wake up shaking and a whole bunch of awful which I feel is from pushing my stress response too hard while in this process. Same thing happens with too much exercise. I just don't know how to understand whether the anxiety is coming from the WD or from my head. I describe it as my panic button is physically pushed down all the time from this process. It is extreme and no amount of self talk or relaxation is going to make it go away although I do that everyday. Again with 12 step work I try turn it over to a higher power but I keep coming back to I don't know what to do (a total theme in my ACA work, my child self never knew what to do and had no one to go to). I keep having a fantasy of wanting to go to a cabin in the woods for a year to let time pass and not try to keep up with the demands of work. This is hard stuff, thankfully I have a really supportive husband. I have to drive people around in 2 days and in this state of anxiety I feel like I can't without the help of the Klonopin which I never took regularly, and worry about taking it. I took maybe 2 or 3 a month even though I feel the SSRI kept me in a state of high anxiety. I read about all these people who just shut everything down and I want to do that. Again, I don't know what is best.   

Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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15 hours ago, rachie said:

The one thing I am confused about is whether to go into (push) the anxiety by getting out there anyway or by not pushing too hard and laying low and letting some time pass. I have days where i push through the anxiety and I think Oh great, I am conquering this and then the next day I will have fever, wake up shaking and a whole bunch of awful which I feel is from pushing my stress response too hard while in this process.

 

Hi @rachie. Historically, anxiety has been something for me to "push through" or "conquer" as you described. My relationship with anxiety, however, is shifting. I've come to see my desire to "conquer" anxiety as being from the perspective of my inner critic, and that approach has not served me well. I subscribe to the belief, "That which you resist, persists," and from that vantage fighting against anxiety is going to be futile. So what do I do instead? Again, historically I would go to the all-or-nothing place, and envision myself no longer "pushing through" and then anxiety ruling my life and me becoming completely holed-in and incapacitated . . . i.e., anxiety "winning." But isn't this still from the perspective of conflict with anxiety --  "losing" against it?

 

Today, I try to approach anxiety from the place of my inner loving parent instead of my inner critic. I've come to understand that my anxiety, as frustrating and painful as it is, is trying to tell me something for my benefit. I've come to understand my anxiety as my inner kids trying to speak to me, but in ways that I don't yet understand. In a sense, I see my anxiety as muffled screams and tears. To be clear, this more loving and compassionate perspective of anxiety feels almost impossible to step into when the anxiety feels overwhelming, and in those cases, I just try to be gentle with myself (my inner kids) and do the best I can. That may just involve doing basic relaxation techniques and such -- there isn't much "reparenting" going on beyond that in those moments. I have to be able to settle my nervous system a bit when triggered before I can do any deeper inner work.

 

Instead of using the word "push" (as in "push through anxiety/fear/discomfort"), I use the world "stretch." For me that works better, but that may just be me 🙂 My strengthening loving parent sets the pace in stretching . . . enough to keep expanding and exploring the world, but not so much as to retraumatize and go to a place of overwhelm. I too had fantasies of living in a monastery or in the mountains away from everyone and everything that would trigger me. And for my very deep healing these past few years, I had to, in a sense, create something for myself along those lines. People can not heal from trauma while still in the trauma . . . we need to carve out a safe place to heal. Early in my recovery, I had to do the opposite of what I had done most of my life . . . and err on the side of not stretching so much. In a sense, I had to defy the call to push. Ultimately, though we need to find ways to gently stretch to expand our sense of safety and strength in the world. ACA talks about how a sanctuary can become a prison when we don't learn how to stretch in healthy ways . . . with gentleness, humor, love and respect.

 

I think as long as you keep awakening and strengthening your inner loving parent to connect with your inner kids in nurturing, protective and guiding ways, you will discover a pace in your healing that is right for you 🙏❤️

 

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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So much acceptance. For me to try to accept the anxiety and the limitations I am living because of it is so counter to what i have always done - PUSH. I'm trying to find the loving parent in this. It's hard to hear the voice over the panicked child. I was just thinking about that right before I saw your post. Today is one of those days. Maybe it doesn't have to be the whole day (this panic). I'm a bit discouraged that I will ever get through this. I'm just 3 weeks off of my final dose. If I could get to my loving parent  I would see that it is a vulnerable time physically/emotionally/neurologically if I believe what others on this site have to say. I just keep thinking I'm getting worse. Underneath it all I don't want to give up. Today I need to take one day at a time. I really appreciate your feedback so much. I don't want to overwhelm. I hope many blessings come your way for helping out a fellow traveler who has the added issue of this AD withdrawal.    

Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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@rachie I actually hit a very rough spot yesterday morning when I woke . . . it still happens sometimes, that stuck place of fear and overwhelm. I do what I can to get back into that place of internal compassion, but sometimes the practice becomes one of acceptance of what it, as you said, and of patience. In a very intense moment, I just gently told myself it's important to not run from the fear, and that it would be OK . . . and I focused on deep breathing. It was really all I could do in that moment. I have many more tools today that I practice and use, and I used them yesterday and thankfully they helped. But wow, when I'm "stuck in the SH*T" it still sucks, no doubt! I'm grateful the tough bouts generally don't happen as often, go as deep, or last as long. 

 

You hang in there too! 🙏❤️

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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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are willing to share more of your experience I have some questions. I'm sensitive to the fact that discussing this may be too much looking back. Did you do any EMDR for the trauma? I am 5 weeks completely off the AD after 20 years and still using .5 or .25 klonopin 1 or 2x a week on the unbearable days (which it hardly touches). But for me the further I get in to this the more the panicked traumatized child is emerging. I am looking for a trauma therapist to help, and feeling desperate enough to consider going into a trauma treatment program but I don't know if it is futile if I am still heavily in withdrawal. Plus I worry about them pushing me to get back on meds. But the Agoraphobia has kicked in big time and I barley want to leave the house. I don't know if this will pass or if it is the original trauma emerging. I know you had issues with it so wondering how the passage of time helped. I am feeling somewhat desperate and trapped like the anxiety/panic/sheer avoidance of people and going anywhere is getting worse but reading other posts that might be expected 5 weeks in. Anyones insight and encouragement would be appreciated. Looking for a lifeline.  

Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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Hey @rachie, sorry to hear you are really struggling right now. I relate to a lot of what you describe as your experiences right now. The short answer is yes, I did EMDR with a very skilled trauma therapist who I felt a lot of trust with, and the EMDR was useful for me. The EMDR modality focuses not only on cutting through to release the trauma, but is also a process that works to resolve it. EMDR opened up a lot for me, and I was eventually able to take that experience and bring it into my "reparenting practice" . . . in a sense, learning to get some of the effects of EMDR trauma resolution through my own meditative practices. 

 

I think I too would have concerns that in a trauma treatment program, there may be an emphasis to medicate. I think this is something you would need to research specifically if you want to explore moving in this direction. For me, working weekly with an EMDR therapist was the support I needed, and she was also supportive of my tapering process and my desire to live drug free. I would encourage you to find a professional someone you can trust and rely on, who can support you in this process if possible. Finding a recovery community (ACA) was also important, and I found people there who may not have fully understood the taper process, but supported my recovery and were my "touchstones."

 

I'm not sure it's possible to clearly categorize what symptoms I experienced could specifically be attributed to the drug withdrawal, or to unhealed trauma arising. I came to accept (using that word loosely) that I would never really know. My sense is that it has always been both, and that the taper in a sense was removing deadening substances, and that allowed what needed to arise to arise. Ideally, people can taper slowly to help regulate this process, but this is not always possible. So we have to find other ways to help regulate.

 

Everything you are describing I experienced, that I can tell you, and that eventually the discomfort fell away. The agoraphobia (paranoia for me, too) was brutal, and scary, but over time, it eased. There were harder days, and there were easier days, and I became grateful for the easier days, and learned to better work with the harder days. I still struggle at times, human life can be hard and I'm still healing, but I'm not in that STUCK place I was, and you will heal yourself out of the very difficult places you find yourself, too.

 

I'm happy to answer some of your questions more specifically Rachie if that helps . . . feel free to DM me. 

🙏❤️

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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Thank you sooo much. I do have a few questions. I just can't figure out how to DM on the site. 

Paxil  2000 - 2002  Tried unsuccessfully to discontinue

2002 - 2010 A series of trial and error, Wellbutrin, Effexor and unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.  

2010 - 2017 Lexapro With several unsuccessful attempts to withdraw 

2012 - 2017 Lamictal Successfully withdrew Lamictal no problem

2017 - 2020 Switched to 40mg. Prozac to prepare try another Withdrawal. 

2020 - On 15mg Remeron for a few months during withdrawal

Completely off of Antidepressants since Sept. 2020

Klonipin as needed throughout the process. .25 mostly, some .5, some .125,  2 to 12 times per mo.

 

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  • 2 months later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Just a quick check-in -- my life is becoming increasingly more full, and feels like it's moving more quickly. I'm continuing on a path towards greater sustainability and generativity in my life. And I'm OK ☺️ 

 

Still, my brain continues it's healing process, old wounds still get scratched, and I still get "shaky" at times. And like all humans, I still have ups and downs. But thankfully, as the psych drug taper appears more and more distant in my rear view mirror, the painful effects of withdrawal arise less frequently, are less severe, and don't last as long. 

 

 

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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Also, I find the topic of SLEEP coming up a lot in my conversations with people. I included a link in my success story to a post I made describing my process for transforming sleep in my life (focused on self-care). I thought I would highlight that post here . . .

 

TRANSFORMING SLEEP (my long term approach through self-care): 

 

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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