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MemilyMose: almost 19 months off drugs, after 6 years on


MemilyMose

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I've read this forum for a little while but decided to join the conversation, as I don't have anyone in real life who fully understands. I started taking meds without doing much research or really understanding their appropriate usage, so I have to admit all of my medication-taking has been pretty haphazard, poorly managed, and minimally supervised. It was only within the past year or so that I have realized what a mess I've gotten myself into.

 

I have struggled with depression & anxiety since childhood, but started with Zoloft in 2013 during an bad depressive episode that interfered with my ability to work. For a time, it really did help me to stabilize and get back to living a semi-normal life. I stayed on the same dosage until about 2015 when I hit another mental health low while struggling with alcohol abuse. My new psychiatrist put me on Lexapro 20mg, and later added Wellbutrin to try to counteract a side effect of the Lexapro (low sex drive) which had been causing some issues in my relationship. After about 6 months I had to discontinue the Wellbutrin because it seemed to increase my anxiety and cause panic attacks. I remained on the same dose of Lexapro until this past year -- around March of 2019.


In early 2019 I went through some work and family difficulties and continued to battle alcohol abuse. I was very depressed from my circumstances, became self-destructive and quit taking medication cold turkey, almost as if to punish myself. I realize in hindsight this was not the right move, but after enough time passed, I felt like I was in too deep and should "stay the course" rather than try to go back on the meds. (I'd been wanting to quit for a long time, tired of side effects)

 

Quitting the medication made everyday life shockingly painful & difficult -- I really wasn't prepared for how bad it would be. At first, I'd wake up every morning feeling terrible physical anxiety and panic, like my whole body and mind was screaming at me. Over time, that subsided somewhat, but I began to feel other symptoms:

- mentally foggy

- difficulty communicating + some stuttering, which made social situations painful and created more anxiety

- lost all appetite, eating was very difficult and lost nearly 20 lbs

- constant feeling of dread and anxiety without any cause

- suicidal thoughts & self-harm

- just generally feeling 'off', not like myself, like my personality was gone

- inability to feel happiness, dead emotionally

 

This period from March 2019 to now (November 2020) has been a long, slow process of trying to manage my mental health without medication. It has been very up and down, with small successes followed by further lows. It is only recently (around September) that I've begun to feel real momentum, and had some stretches of happiness, peace, and optimism. Over the past year I have often considered going back on medication & weaning properly, but my recent feelings of progress have motivated me to stay the course.

This is my current approach:

- quit alcohol & marijuana

- daily meditation practice & deep breathing

- daily mood tracking/journaling (to try to identify patterns & also properly acknowledge when I have successes or good stretches)

- healthy diet

- weight lifting

- lots of sleep, naps if necessary

- supplements (fish oil, magnesium, vitamin D)

- therapy & support group

- self-help workbooks (currently working on acceptance & commitment therapy)

 

I am feeling more optimistic each month, but it's still hard to deal with setbacks. I'm hoping to join and learn from others' experiences managing without medication, as I don't have anyone in real life who understands either my desire to quit the meds or my difficulties doing so. My therapist and psychiatrists I've seen don't seem to take withdrawal seriously. Strangely, the only person who validated my experiences was my primary care provider, who told me frankly that I'd potentially struggle for years and most likely end up back on medication. I am hoping that doesn't turn out to be the case.

  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
Link to post
  • ChessieCat changed the title to MemilyMose: almost 19 months off drugs, after 6 years on
  • Moderator

Hi @MemilyMose,

 

Welcome. I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but still glad to hear how you're doing so much to improve. I have no doubt you will recover completely, especially with the way you go about it currently to try to get better. 

 

Would you mind putting your drug history in your signature? This would include supplements as well. We ask that all members do this to get a better picture of the situation and to be able to better help. This link explains how to:

How to write your signature

 

In my opinion, what your care provider told you doesn't have to be the case. People recover and often don't have to go back on the drugs, but how long it takes to get better can vary a lot. I think it's a lot about persistance and patience. Considering how you've seen some improvements by now I'm very optimistic reading about your situation. As you mention it's hard finding people who understand this situation well enough, but hopefully you can get that understanding and support here.

 

If you're interested I'll put a link that explains withdrawal syndrome a bit more. It can be good to have this knowledge especially when we're experiencing the setbacks, or the waves:

What is withdrawal syndrome

 

If you're wondering about anything, don't hesitate to ask. This introduction topic is usually the best place for that, especially questions regarding your specific situation.

Do you mind me asking what symptoms you're struggling with currently? 
 

Edited by Sunnyday

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

Link to post

Hi @Sunnyday,

 

Thank you so much for your response, the links, and your confidence in my potential to improve-- it really helps to hear. While it was validating that my doctor took my withdrawal symptoms seriously, it was pretty terrifying to hear that she expected such a grim and negative outlook for me. It's good to hear some alternate perspectives, especially because I personally have been feeling some positive momentum lately.

 

These days, the main symptoms I struggle with are:

  • Very low appetite - I'm under weight, and eating feels like a chore. I try to log calories to make sure I'm eating enough every day, but some days it's very hard to hit the mark.
  • Foggy thoughts & trouble concentrating
  • Very oversensitive to stress, causing out-of-control emotions, impulsiveness, urge to self-harm, physical symptoms like trembling & stomach aches

When I'm in a more prolonged low period, I also feel dissociative, cannot feel much pleasure, and alternate between feeling hyperemotional/full of dread and then very "flat" emotionally. Luckily those periods have been fewer and further between.

 

In terms of questions, a few things I've been wondering are..

  • Since I've been off of the meds for 19 months already, is it even likely that these symptoms are withdrawal-related? Or is it more likely that I'm simply seeing the resurgence of the underlying issues that caused me to seek medication in the first place?
  • Is it worth trying to discuss these symptoms with therapists / psychiatrists? So far, that has not been fruitful for me. I have been seeing a therapist biweekly throughout this time, and she does not believe that withdrawal symptoms could last longer than a few weeks (and has occasionally suggested I resume medications). I value her help very much, but can't help but feel she's overlooking a big part of my experience.
  • Are there any resources for improving appetite?

I think I've updated my signature the right way-- please let me know if that's not the case! Again, thank you very much for the response.

  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
Link to post
  • Moderator
manymoretodays

Hi MemilyMose, and welcome aboard. @MemilyMose

 

As far as your questions go:

Yes, we see a protrated withdrawal syndrome frequently.  So at 19 months off of medications, likely that this is what is going on now.

Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS(post acute withdrawal syndrome)

Withdrawal or relapse? Or something else?

 

You might also enjoy this topic:  Are We There Yet? How Long Is Withdrawal going to take?

You'll see a table of contents, in the first post ^, so you can click on that to get to the topics relevant for you.  This one was written by one of our moderators, based on observations, after working with many others to help them with tapering and withdrawal.

 

And then, we strongly encourage members to begin to learn and practice non-drug coping skills as well.  These can help deal with some of the problems that you might have sought psychiatric care for in the first place. 

We're not fans of the "chemical imbalance myth here".  And it sounds like you may have already figured out that medication(s) were not all too effective in treating, some basic human responses.

Again, chemical imbalance is a myth. Stop the lies, please.

 

You might be able to work with your therapist still.  To begin to learn and practice further non-drug coping for some behaviors that you'd like to change.  And I know we have an article, that is good to share with therapists.......I'll have to find it later though.  I'm just not finding it right now.

 

And yes, it may be of benefit to continue with someone that you know and have mutual respect with.  You can also opt for someone new, if you'd like.

And in my opinion, there is no reason that you need to convince your therapist of anything.  They are paid to help you.  You should be an equal partner in the endeavor. 

You can always opt for a new therapist too, if this one is just not helpful for you. 

 

I don't know why you would want to see a psychiatrist at all.  Unless you find one, that is not so focused on using drug(s) for just about anything.

 

.....and WD(withdrawal) symptoms run the gamut:

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD symptom checklist

 

In our Symptoms and Self Care forum, you'll find a huge collection of various non-drug coping practices.  As well as many of the symptoms that you may still be experiencing with WD(withdrawal).

I'll just give you one topic link, now.......and this one has a whole indexed list in the first post, that you might find helpful.

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

I don't think, that I've gotten to all your questions today, but wanted to get your second post approved.  I'll try to return, as soon as possible, or another moderator or member may jump in as well.

 

This is your introduction/journal page where you have now introduced yourself to the community, you can ask questions here , give updates, and just keep a record of your  withdrawal journey too.

 

And eat MemilyMose!  What is your present weight in relation to your height?

 

Welcome, welcome!

 

Best, Love, Peace, Healing, and Growth,

moderator manymoretodays

p.s. your signature looks good, thank you

Edited by manymoretodays

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

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

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

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

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

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

 

Link to post
  • Moderator

@MemilyMose When I had trouble eating later in withdrawal, I allowed myself to eat whatever was appealing, more or less. If I could mainly get carbs down that's what I would do, even if I usually prefer a diet with less carbs (from a health perspective) just to get any food. So if you have anything at all that you do find easier to eat. I also found that always making sure I had snacks nearby made me eat more frequently. One suggestion is nuts since they're healthy and rich in calories. For some reason roasted ones were easier to eat for me. Maybe soups can be easier to eat as well, or a small sandwich.
If you're not doing it already, a very strict eating schedule could maybe be helpful. 
Maybe you can find something helpful in this topic:

Weight gain, weight loss, appetite changes, hunger

 

Regarding the impulsive urges to self harm I would usually try to distract myself. Distractions was actually a huge part of coping at least for me, so maybe if you can find some distractions that work for you. Maybe hobbies, people that make you happy, movies and so on.

 

Hope you're doing okay.

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

Link to post
  • Moderator
manymoretodays
21 hours ago, manymoretodays said:

You might be able to work with your therapist still.  To begin to learn and practice further non-drug coping for some behaviors that you'd like to change.  And I know we have an article, that is good to share with therapists.......I'll have to find it later though.  I'm just not finding it right now.

 

Found it. 

Guidance for Psychological Therapists: Enabling conversations with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs

The guidance means clients will be better supported to understand the difference between emotional distress, relapse and the side and withdrawal effects of psychiatric drugs.

There is a guidance booklet referenced ^, that can be accessed for free.

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

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

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

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

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

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

 

Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you both for the welcome and thoughtful responses! I have taken some time to read and digest the information, and am continuing to digest...

 

Based on what I'm reading, it does sound like what I'm dealing with is withdrawal, mostly because my symptoms are so different and so much more severe than they ever were before I got on the meds. While I bought into the chemical imbalance myth years ago when I was initially prescribed, I don't buy it anymore-- this was part of why I quit. I believe I just had some traumatic experiences and never learned to properly cope with them, and would have been much better served by learning healthy coping techniques. But there's no undoing the past 6 years! All I can do is move forward and try to learn the skills I didn't learn before.

 

I asked about seeing a psychiatrist because I wondered if it was possible to get some kind of "clinical" advice on non-drug skills for calming the nervous system, but I suppose that is not really what psychiatrists are for! At least, no psychiatrist I've ever seen has focused on non-drug techniques, and they have always been quick to recommend medication. So I think I'll shelve that idea for now :)

 

@manymoretodays, I'm currently 5'6 and 105lbs, but gaining slowly. In the past few weeks I've been trying to keep to a stricter eating schedule and log my calories, and it does help, even if some days it feels like a bit of slog. @Sunnyday Nuts are a great idea, I think "handful" snacks like that could help a lot -- anything that I can nibble on periodically between meals. 

 

And to add a personal update to my thread: I am still having a lot of "good" days, much more than I ever have in the past couple of years. Still, I struggle to keep myself from getting complacent-- once I start feeling the least bit better, I start neglecting my good habits like sleep, limiting caffeine, meditation, etc. This always ultimately results in a crash. I am trying to get better at staying mindful and noticing when I'm going down that path, so I can correct myself.

 

I read through the thread on emotional spirals, and really relate to that description. About 1-2 times a month I find myself getting triggered by something -- usually conflict in my relationship, or sad feelings about childhood/family -- and it causes a cascade of irrational emotions and impulsive behavior, then a subsequent spiral of shame/guilt. These are the periods when I find myself struggling with the urge to self-harm. It is scary for me and I feel very out of control.

 

The emotion I struggle with during these spirals isn't anger, but a very childish fear. I become very fixated on avoiding other peoples' anger & negative emotions, and have a strong impulse to run away and hide from the stressful situation. I'm lucky that my significant other is very understanding, and we've gotten better and better at pulling out of these spirals quickly and moving on. Still, I feel so guilty and ashamed about it. I've never before in my life felt or behaved this way. Prior to this period of my life, I always prided myself on being even-keeled and good at conflict resolution...

  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
Link to post
  • Moderator

Hi @MemilyMose. It is so relatable what you mention about the emotional spirals. Do you have anything to resort to when you feel the urge to self harm? Any distractions or things that can pull you out of it. If not it could be a good thing to plan for whenever it comes on, so we are ready with healthy ways of coping with those kinds of situations. Withdrawal symptoms can come on so suddenly sometimes.

 

Having people around who are being understanding and supportive is invaluable during withdrawal, so that is very good to hear. 

 

I think it's also good to try to keep in mind that these new more negative parts of the personality will go away with time. I had a very difficult time accepting my ''new'' withdrawal personality since I saw so many new and bad sides of myself. But I think if we can get through that bit we really will improve and become even better people than before, because of what we have learned and gone through.
Consoling oneself is also a really nice habit even if it can be tricky at first, so can recommend that. Especially during feelings of shame or extreme sadness, and so on. I found it becomes a bit of a second nature eventually, if done consistently enough.

 

Take care.

Edited by Sunnyday

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

Link to post

@Sunnyday It's not easy for me to distract from the self-harm urges, but I've had the most success with either exercise (running especially) or sleep. It's strange because I wouldn't expect to be able to sleep after feeling so agitated, but I'm actually usually pretty worn out after a spiral. When I wake up afterward, I feel a lot more calm and the stressful experience feels remote and more manageable.

 

A few years back I bought a book called 101 Distractions From Depression, Self-Harm (Sophia Gill) that had some interesting suggestions, including non-harmful acts to "replace" the self-harm, like drawing on myself with a pen or pressing ice cubes onto my skin. I like the idea of reducing harm, but am a little reluctant to try these -- for some reason it still feels like "giving into" or "feeding" the urge. Still, I'm keeping those ideas in my back pocket, as they're preferable to actually hurting myself. My priority is to never do that again, because the ensuing guilt and regret just feels so psychologically damaging -- it's hard not to be set back by it.

 

I really like what you say about becoming better than before-- it's true! After all of this self-reflection and difficult work, it would be hard not to come out the other side a stronger, better, more compassionate person. I'll try to keep that in mind during hard moments. This is a hard road to walk, and perhaps we shouldn't have had to walk it, but maybe we'll be better for it in the end :)

 

Take care!

 

 

  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
Link to post

Personal update: I am feeling myself in the middle of a "wave" I guess, things are a little harder in the past week or so than they have been recently. Struggling with the inability to feel pleasure, depression & hopelessness, anxiety, foggy/dissociative brain, suicidal ideation, and lots of ruminating on negative thoughts.

 

It's all tolerable, and not as bad as it was during my lowest point, but it's still hard not to be discouraged. I'd been feeling a lot of hope & progress in the past few months, and now it's hard to remember how or why I felt that way. 

 

I'm having a hard time bridging the gap between my logic and my emotions -- I have the logical wherewithal to realize that I'm experiencing a lot of irrational and unhelpful thoughts & feelings, but I'm not strong enough to fight them. Ultimately, I find myself submitting to all the negativity and letting it take me for a ride. I feel like I used to be able to take a more objective view of things, but ever since I went off the meds I'm ruled by my subjective self.

 

Still, I've been taking some good steps and want to give myself some credit:

  • Making the effort to be social & reach out to friends. During the worst of my withdrawal symptoms, I really struggled with social situations and it's been hard for me to put myself out there again.
  • Meditating a lot more frequently, multiple times a day sometimes. Focusing especially on tolerating discomfort and observing my thoughts without assigning value to them.
  • Eating well-- enough calories and pretty nutritious.
  • Been doing really well at work. Accepting challenging assignments without getting stressed, and not letting myself get rattled by unexpected deadlines.

I hope to mostly get things back on track this upcoming week. This is my game plan so far...

  • Aim for 8 hrs of sleep a night. Take naps if I feel run down in the afternoon/evening.
  • Meditate every day and work on mindfulness throughout the day.
  • Be careful with my media consumption-- try to avoid things that are too depressing & negative, and choose things that I think will lighten my mood or brighten my perspective.
  • Try not to isolate myself-- don't ignore phone calls, reach out to friends when I think of them, etc.
  • Stay busy. Pick an activity to do every evening, so that I have a plan to fall back on if I find myself bored. It's usually when I get too idle that I start ruminating. 
  • Be intentional with how I express my feelings to my significant other. It's OK (and often beneficial) to be honest with him about my struggles, but I really want to avoid venting too much. Venting doesn't seem to help, just makes me feel guilty for involving him in my problems. It's usually much better to admit that I'm feeling low, but then try to move on to a more positive activity/topic... we usually have a nice time and I feel a little better in the end.
  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
Link to post
  • Moderator

Hi @MemilyMose. I'm very sorry to hear you're in a wave. It seems like you have great things in mind to cope though, along with the things you have been doing. 


The thing about venting I do agree with, however if you feel your thoughts are too dark it can be very important to reach out. When we keep those thoughts to ourselves I personally found it's easier for them to spiral out of control. I'd say this is especially important for the suicidal ones.
Do you still go to therapy? And do you feel like you're getting enough support there despite them not acknowledging the withdrawal? If not it might be a good idea to see if trying a different one would help, or showing them the article manymoretodays suggested before, if you think it could make them understand it better.

 

One thing I started doing after a while was to write down how I felt during my windows, so I could read it during my waves. I did this because I noticed how during every wave it was very hard for me to remember what the windows were like and made me very disheartened. Writing it down helped me remember, so despite the strong negative feelings during the waves, it was hard to completely dismiss the windows since they were always on paper. I found it to be helpful as a way to reassure myself that those days will come back, and we just have to wait out the wave until they do. Like a little letter from my happy self to my unhappy self, where I described my positive thoughts, feelings and experiences I was having.

It might not be of much help now when you are already in the wave, but can maybe be worth a try in the next window. And it will come.

 

Take care.
 

Edited by Sunnyday

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

Link to post
  • 4 weeks later...
MemilyMose

@SunnydayI am still going to therapy, although I've been unsure whether to reopen the topic of withdrawal with my therapist, try to switch to a different therapist, or just stay the course without changing anything. I am a little nervous to bring the topic up with my therapist again, because in the past she has been skeptical that going off of meds would cause these kinds of issues, and has occasionally recommended that I go back on medication to relieve anxiety/depression. I don't necessarily need my therapist to 100% validate my withdrawal symptoms -- I truly appreciate her outside perspective! -- but it does make it a little harder to discuss my experiences with her. This is something I hope to think through and make a decision about by the end of this month.

Regardless, I am still very glad to have therapy as an outlet/safety net for some of the dark thoughts.

 

Writing down feelings during "windows" is a great suggestion. I do tend to fall into the trap of assuming how I'm feeling now is how I've always felt and always will feel... which is of course silly. It's so easy to dismiss the happy times once they're over. I've been using a mood tracker app called Daylio which helps with that a bit, by letting me see my mood trends over time. I think it would be even better if I started journaling, so that I have a more vivid memory of the the windows -- like you said, a letter from my happy self to my unhappy self. Thank you for the suggestion and kind words! 

 

--

Small update for my thread:

I was off work for a few weeks for the holidays, and it was so nice not to have many external stressors. It felt much easier to stay motivated and keep my mood stable and talk myself through difficult emotions. I guess it isn't really surprising that time away from work is good for the soul :)

 

Now that the new year has started and I'm back to work, I am once again feeling the pressures of time, and frustrated with how slow my progress has been. When I first went off of meds, I knew it might be difficult and that I might take some time to bounce back to normal, but I truly expected "time" would mean a few months, maybe a year. So it's hard to see another year pass by. I know I've made progress this past year and I am proud of that, but I can't help but wish for more.

 

I've been thinking recently about an unexpected secondary effect of withdrawal -- lost confidence! This whole experience has made me lose so much confidence in myself. During the worst parts of withdrawal, I felt so weird and dissociative that I really struggled with social interactions (articulating my thoughts clearly, following conversations, using normal inflections, etc.). Now, even though those symptoms are mostly gone, I still feel very uncomfortable and ashamed of myself in social situations.

 

Similarly, I've lost a lot of confidence in my ability to interpret situations. Withdrawal caused so many outsized, irrational emotional responses to minor or nonexistent triggers, and now, I have no confidence in my ability to interpret and respond to situations appropriately. I second-guess myself constantly, and assume that all of my feelings & decisions must be wrong somehow. I think this loss of confidence has been harder to deal with than any specific symptom, and I really would like to figure out how to gain some of it back.

 

  • 2013-2015 Zoloft 100mg
  • 2016 Lexapro 20mg + Wellbutrin
  • 2017 discontinued Wellbutrin, stayed on same Lexapro dose
  • March 2019 discontinued Lexapro
  • Current Supplements: Daily fish oil (1500 EPA / 750 DHA), 200mg magnesium, 800IU Vitamin D
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