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Apathy, anhedonia, emotional numbness, emotional anesthesia

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Pearlsky

I have total apathy and am unable to feel or think anything at all. My mind feels deadened as though I have no brain cells. I can’t function. I’m existing in a reality of horrors. I’ve lost my self and all memory of what life is. I don’t know my own name or what I look like. I can’t feel my body. I live with my family and can’t recognize them or the home in which I’ve lived my whole life. I forgot how to communicate with other people. Everything and everyone looks unreal to me. It is overwhelming to keep my eyes open. I always feel like I’m asleep. I can only get through the most basic functions every day - eating and sleeping to keep me alive. I don’t know how I’m still here. I’m of no use. I don’t know anything that I can do. My mind is completely blank and I can’t come up with any ideas. Does anyone else feel like this?

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serotoninsyndromesufferer

What are your dreams when you experience deep emotional numbness? I'm in this situation now and my dreams are really weird. They are just images and sounds, I don't feel anything when dreaming.

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Adili13

This is by far my worst symptom lately. Feels like I haven’t felt a human emotion in 3 days. I’d almost rather be filled with anxiety and depression than this

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crashcourse
On 12/19/2018 at 2:25 PM, Tanha said:

I found an interesting site where several studies are linked about ssri/snri causing tardive anhedonia and tardive dysphoria

 

 

Thank you for this. Will be important to read this as I progress with tapering. I feel anhedonia, apathy, PSSD while on AD. I presume these will last a long time, especially after reading the stories in this thread. I simply hope I'll be the outlier, not that I have high hopes. 

I won't write my symptoms here; since this has been mentioned by others in the thread, and I won't be contributing anything new. Best of luck to all.

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crashcourse

@Altostrata  I've just read this paper which suggests that SSRI's are more like to cause apathy than non SSRIs. Here's the link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989833/

 

It further suggests reducing dosage of SSRI to deal with apathy or shifting to another drug. Quoting from the paper:

 

"Few empirical studies are available, but SSRI-induced indifference is likely to be under-recognized (e.g., it is characterized by low insight in those afflicted, particularly children and adolescents), have an insidious and delayed onset, be related to dosing, and completely resolve with a dose reduction or discontinuation of the SSRI. As for treatment strategies, possibilities include a dose reduction in the SSRI, augmentation with another medication, or switching from an SSRI to a non-SSRI."

 

Since I take both a SSRI and SNRI, of which I am currently tapering the SNRI (Effexor XR), is it worth considering that I first start tapering the SSRI (Citalopram).

 

My primary problem right now is loss of motivation and emotional blunting, along with sexual dysfunction. I do not have anxiety or appetite issues.

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WakeMeUp

I do not know if this has been linked here or not, but I am part of an Anhedonia Facebook group and this was a document discovered and linked today.  Excellent incredible scientific information about how SSRIs and SNRIs impact dopamine levels and can create drug-induced Anhedonia.

 

What is absolutely infuriating however is that this was written in 2006. Many people in the medical profession do not even know what Anhedonia is, and this information has been available for over a decade.

 

Who is keeping this critical info from the public? It could have saved millions from being over prescribed!

How many people could have been saved from this suffering?!?!?!

 

This must change.

 

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/8f/ca/a3/e2457a5db01aa0/US20060217394A1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0WdD1xPfnH0ixc7o-JIW1jJdtLll9y6YXnmvHOfQKk6GRoyKyg6CsiMwQ

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uncomfortablynumb

Do people usually not recover from the depersonalization and numbness?  It has been 9 months now of dissociation and being emotionless.  Have not felt amy happiness or laughed this whole time.   

Not sure if this was caused by kindling (alcohol) or trauma/life stress (death in family). Does it matter in regards to recovery?  Feel empty and brain damaged.

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Hellbutrin
On 6/30/2019 at 8:18 PM, uncomfortablynumb said:

Do people usually not recover from the depersonalization and numbness?  It has been 9 months now of dissociation and being emotionless.  Have not felt amy happiness or laughed this whole time.   

Not sure if this was caused by kindling (alcohol) or trauma/life stress (death in family). Does it matter in regards to recovery?  Feel empty and brain damaged.

Following

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Abdullah
On 4/23/2019 at 8:41 PM, Pearlsky said:

I have total apathy and am unable to feel or think anything at all. My mind feels deadened as though I have no brain cells. I can’t function. I’m existing in a reality of horrors. I’ve lost my self and all memory of what life is. I don’t know my own name or what I look like. I can’t feel my body. I live with my family and can’t recognize them or the home in which I’ve lived my whole life. I forgot how to communicate with other people. Everything and everyone looks unreal to me. It is overwhelming to keep my eyes open. I always feel like I’m asleep. I can only get through the most basic functions every day - eating and sleeping to keep me alive. I don’t know how I’m still here. I’m of no use. I don’t know anything that I can do. My mind is completely blank and I can’t come up with any ideas. Does anyone else feel like this?

Same

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SouthernFreeze
On 7/1/2019 at 1:18 PM, uncomfortablynumb said:

Do people usually not recover from the depersonalization and numbness?  It has been 9 months now of dissociation and being emotionless.  Have not felt amy happiness or laughed this whole time.   

Not sure if this was caused by kindling (alcohol) or trauma/life stress (death in family). Does it matter in regards to recovery?  Feel empty and brain damaged.

Not sure I can answer your question but if its any help I kind of went through the same thing. I feel like I have myself back (mostly) now, so I think it will eventually happen for you. 

 

It was like not knowing yourself becomes your identity and then you gradually accept that as being who you are, and then without really noticing it, overtime you have developed a personality again. 

 

Not sure if that makes sense.

 

I guess for me it helped not to reminence of how I used to be or could have been without the drug and just take things as they come each day. 

 

I also have alcohol problems, it definitely doesn't help but don't let it deter you. I used to drink and then have meth weed ecstasy, anything you put in front of me. A lot of the stories on here a worse than mine though and they have had no previous recreational drug problems. 

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Bamo
Posted (edited)

3 months ago I took Ludiomila 10g (Tricyclic) for 5 days, then I stopped taking them because it made my emotions numb and gave me sexual dysfunction.

my sexual dysfunction has noticeably improved since 28th of December it is almost back to normal. but my emotions are still numb I can't feel love, fear, happiness and sadness.

is it possible for Tricyclics do permanent damage in just 5 days ? is there any recovery story from emotional numbness ?

Edited by manymoretodays
reduced font size from 20 to 14, for ease of reading

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Bamo, and welcome,

I went ahead and added your initial, first post, here........to a topic that might help.

Please start an introduction topic here.

Unlikely, that you've had permanent damage.  And wonderful that you have seem some improvement in symptoms of WD(withdrawal) and the possible adverse effects of the drug you took.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

moderator manymoretodays(mmt)

 

Edited by manymoretodays
could be recovering from adverse drug effects too, added to my comment

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Bamo

I was wrong it wasn't 10g it was 10mg of ludiomil? is there any thing I can do about my emotions ?

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Snorky
On 6/19/2019 at 8:03 PM, WakeMeUp said:

I do not know if this has been linked here or not, but I am part of an Anhedonia Facebook group and this was a document discovered and linked today.  Excellent incredible scientific information about how SSRIs and SNRIs impact dopamine levels and can create drug-induced Anhedonia.

 

What is absolutely infuriating however is that this was written in 2006. Many people in the medical profession do not even know what Anhedonia is, and this information has been available for over a decade.

 

Who is keeping this critical info from the public? It could have saved millions from being over prescribed!

How many people could have been saved from this suffering?!?!?!

 

This must change.

 

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/8f/ca/a3/e2457a5db01aa0/US20060217394A1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0WdD1xPfnH0ixc7o-JIW1jJdtLll9y6YXnmvHOfQKk6GRoyKyg6CsiMwQ

Always feared this as case. Ie “chemical basis” to the depressive/ anhedonia type sensations. No hope of recovery if this is the case, whether slow taper or CT. Bit of an elephant in room and wake up call for many on here.

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brassmonkey

This study has nothing to do with recovering from the chemically induced depression/anhedonia produced by exposure to ADs. It is rather the outline of a theory for treating these symptoms with the addition of other psychotropic drugs. A theory that we are constantly disproving and a method of treatment that we do not support.  The addition of drugs to treat symptoms of AD use has proved time an again to be the wrong answer to the situation and only causes an increase in problems, which in turn is treated by more drugs being thrown at the situation.  We frequently refer to it as the "Drug Merry-Go-Round" and it is not a valid course of treatment.

 

We have proved, to the member, that these symptoms are just as transient as any other ADWD symptom.  Given time and taper the severity of these symptoms will stabilize, decrease and eventually resolve.  As long as there is some level of the drug present in the body there will be a chance of their occurrence, but once the drug has been removed and the body allowed to recover these symptoms no longer pose a threat.

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Bamo

@brassmonkey is there an explanation why some people can't recover anhedona and pssd even after 10 years but other symptoms like anxiety, chest pain, mood swing improves faster ?

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Snorky
6 hours ago, Bamo said:

@brassmonkey is there an explanation why some people can't recover anhedona and pssd even after 10 years but other symptoms like anxiety, chest pain, mood swing improves faster ?

In my case, there was no anhedonia or palpable depression while on meds. (Loads of other adverse effects, but not these mothers?)

 

Have now has them in spades for about a month and seem to be intensifying.

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brassmonkey

Bamo- I really wish I could answer that, but no one really understands how these drugs actually affect the body or what causes the various symptoms that we experience.  

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Onmyway
11 hours ago, Bamo said:

@brassmonkey is there an explanation why some people can't recover anhedona and pssd even after 10 years but other symptoms like anxiety, chest pain, mood swing improves faster ?

Bamo, 

from my reading here, the vast majority of people improve quite a lot with most returning to normal. Part of the effect of these drugs is to make you feel hopeless but I wouldn't assume that you are not going to recover or that the number of such people who can't recover after 10 years is large. Have you looked at the success stories thread? 


OMW

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Bamo

 

2 minutes ago, Onmyway said:

Have you looked at the success stories thread? 

I have and there are a lot of people who recovered from everything but not Anhedonia and PSSD which is really discouraging 

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Snorky
32 minutes ago, Bamo said:

 

I have and there are a lot of people who recovered from everything but not Anhedonia and PSSD which is really discouraging 

Hole in one. This at least deserves more analysis and consideration in the guides and tutorials. I’ve been CT for four months now, and the intensification of such symptoms is what’s scaring the hell out of me. (No doubt feeding the anxiety and rumination etc)

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Gridley
39 minutes ago, Bamo said:

 

I have and there are a lot of people who recovered from everything but not Anhedonia and PSSD which is really discouraging 

 

The majority of people recover from everything.  Sometimes anhedonia and PSSD are the last symptoms to go.

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Onmyway
1 hour ago, Bamo said:

 

I have and there are a lot of people who recovered from everything but not Anhedonia and PSSD which is really discouraging 

Interesting, did they post success stories without having recovered from these? 
Not that it would not be allowed but it would be strange. All of the success stories I have read report recovery to close to normal. Anhedonia would not be normal. Again, there is nothing that would suggest that you would be in that boat - you're still beginning your journey. If at 5 years that hadn't changed, I'd start getting worried but worrying now can't be helpful. Worrying overall can't be helpful anyway but maybe wait until there is indication that this is not going away for years. This is a CBT technique (postpone worrying). 

 

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Onmyway
35 minutes ago, Gridley said:

 

The majority of people recover from everything.  Sometimes anhedonia and PSSD are the last symptoms to go.

Exactly, that was my reading as well. And most people recover by year 5. Some recover sooner but don't post until after for fear that it might just be a window. Many recover at a year or so. It's unpredictable for each how long it will take but we'll get there. 

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Onmyway

For those who are fairly new to withdrawal (less than a year) it bears repeating that this will probably suck for a long while. We don't know how long for each person but it will be bad for a while. It helps to accept that. The depression/dread/anxiety/anhedonia/insomnia/nausea/DP/DR etc. will be daily guests for a long time. And it will take a long time for them to get better. BUT IT WILL GET BETTER. So accept that as well. There is no reason to believe that any of this is permanent. There is plenty of observational and anecdotal evidence that after a serious length of time of 'sucking' this does get better. It is also important to accept that this will test your resources and resilience, your relationships, your ability to care for yourself. It truly sucks! But you will get through this. You will discover strengths you didn't know you had. But first you have to accept that this will be bad for a while!

 

Worrying, wishing it wasn't so, obssessing about symptoms, being angry,  ruminating, albeit very natural WD responses, that most of us have been though are usually not very helpful. 

 

It is also important to remember that we have not yet discovered a safe magic pill to take it all away. There is no magic supplement or program that takes it all away quickly. BUT there are plenty of things that help and these forums have many many suggestions. 

 

I would like to signpost to the Non-Drug techniques thread on this forum and suggest that you try as many things there that can help. But really try them. CBT is quite helpful in helping deal with anxiety, behavioral activation therapy is helpful in fighting anhedonia. Yes, it is very very difficult to actually do these things and I am struggling a lot myself but when I manage to follow these techniques, it helps. And these techniques will be useful later as well, once you have recovered from WD. Instead of worrying about a specific issue and how it might be in the future, why not read up on one of these techniques (CBT/DBT/BAT etc.) and try it, actually try it. Buy a workbook (The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns, The Upward Spiral Workbook by Alex Korb and many others). There isn't much to lose. It can only make you better. CBT will probably not cure your PSSD but it will help you deal with the anxiety that comes with it until your body finds its way back to homeostasis. BAT is not going to cure anhedonia but it might help activate you enough to make yourself a healthy breakfast which might set a positive spiral and can push you into a window ever so slightly. Meditation might not help cure your insomnia or waking with panic attacks but it might give you 10 mins of respite. Yoga poses might not bring blissful relaxation but maybe will help you forget that pain you have in your back for even 10 min. 

 

This is incredibly hard to do and everybody here knows it. I am amazed at what some members go through every day and make it to the other side. This is probably the hardest thing we will have to do in our lives though some of us have been through very difficult things already. So every little bit helps.

 

And when you need a little bit of hope please read the success stories thread here. And the Progress thread. And most importantly, take care of yourselves. 

 

TLDR: Accept this will suck for a while; accept this will get better and you can get through it; In the meantime, use non-drug techniques as much as possible. They can only help. 

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Onmyway
1 hour ago, Snorky said:

Hole in one. This at least deserves more analysis and consideration in the guides and tutorials. I’ve been CT for four months now, and the intensification of such symptoms is what’s scaring the hell out of me. (No doubt feeding the anxiety and rumination etc)

Snorky, 4 months is a very short time in protracted withdrawal. This can take years and years (or it might not) - most success stories after severe WD I've seen normal occurs in years, rather than months. Though there are some lucky souls who are better in months. But that seems to be rarer on these forums. There are people who don't have any WD (though they are not here probably). The first time I was off CT I only had mild issues for 6 weeks or so. 

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Gridley

@Onmyway Brilliantly said, all around. 

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Snorky
11 hours ago, Onmyway said:

Snorky, 4 months is a very short time in protracted withdrawal. This can take years and years (or it might not) - most success stories after severe WD I've seen normal occurs in years, rather than months. Though there are some lucky souls who are better in months. But that seems to be rarer on these forums. There are people who don't have any WD (though they are not here probably). The first time I was off CT I only had mild issues for 6 weeks or so. 

Thanks. Appreciate your concern and get what you’re saying. To be fair, it’s not all anhedonia and depression. There are waves of physical symptoms which reoccur. (Awful head shakes, nerve pains and sensations in legs, photosensitivity and dizzy sensations) I can just about tolerate these. The reason for the angst with the anhedonia/depressive type stuff was :

 

1. Relatively late  onset during CT.

2. Intensifying and, more or less, continuous.

 

Thanks for your interest.

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Snorky

Other reason for anxiety is that depress/anhedonia/mental restlessness is preventing the vary activities that would otherwise be encouraged and helpful 😡

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Onmyway
1 hour ago, Snorky said:

Other reason for anxiety is that depress/anhedonia/mental restlessness is preventing the vary activities that would otherwise be encouraged and helpful 😡

Snorky, that is why BAT often works, it makes you start with simple acts that don't seem to matter so much - like walk to the corner store, and then that sets up a positive spiral of doing more things. So the first step is incredibly difficult but the payoff from it is that it breaks the pattern. And it might not always work from the first try but eventually it will work in small, almost imperceptible ways. Try it, and don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for any small achievement. It truly is an achievement now.  

 

2 hours ago, Snorky said:

Thanks. Appreciate your concern and get what you’re saying. To be fair, it’s not all anhedonia and depression. There are waves of physical symptoms which reoccur. (Awful head shakes, nerve pains and sensations in legs, photosensitivity and dizzy sensations) I can just about tolerate these. The reason for the angst with the anhedonia/depressive type stuff was :

 

1. Relatively late  onset during CT.

2. Intensifying and, more or less, continuous.

 

Thanks for your interest.

 

The nature of the specific symptoms is unimportant in WD. It is important to share in the specific threads and know that it is happening and that it has happened to other people and most importantly getting reassurance that it is WD.  The symptoms are so varied that they can be confusing and truly freak us out. At some point I had half of my body (the left half) on pins and needles for hours every day. It was scary. But knowing that others have had it helps calm one down and helps with acceptance. It is important to see what has worked for people to address those symptoms. But other than that, worrying about every specific one, and why it appears now and not three months ago and what it means and why it is not a different way is not helpful albeit a very natural reaction. And I am speaking from personal experience here. It's important to know that it is WD. It will grow and shrink, swell and retreat, it will shift shapes and colors. It's a journey. It's an unwelcome "giving" tree. It's an interesting one to observe as you experience it when you are strong enough to observe and not get sucked down into its nightmarish silt.  

 

I don't mean that the specific symptoms are unimportant in your life, it matters whether you have nausea or DP/DR or cognitive fog. But in the end, all of it is WD. The symptoms will come and go and change. Some will appear in 4 months, some will appear in 8 months; others will leave soon after and then reappear; still others will come and stay or leave quickly never to be heard from again; it is an ever changing "thing" this WD. 

 

Our body is coming back to its own and we don't know how, we don't have a clue really what all the processes are that are going in the background in our brains. SSRIs are supposed to change serotonin, but we are discovering that these are very promiscuous molecules - they also modify dopamine receptors and GABA receptors and other receptors which we don't even know about. Many people have been on multiple drugs. That complicates things even further. Not only that, but these modifications have secondary effects, and effects on hormones and perhaps even brain structure through the growth of new cells. It's a whole cascade of reactions and adaptations that the brain has made and now it has to make them back. Because the effects are so varied, symptoms come and go and affect many systems. The human body is a complex system in that small changes in one place can have sizable effect downstream i.e. impact the whole system. The brain is the most complex part of that system. But the one thing we know is that the main imperative under which the human body operates is the strive for homeostasis - a steady state. And the body and the brain will find their way back there. Unfortunately, as they fix something, other things will change and those will need to be fixed and so on. A complex system. And we will observe that through the change in symptoms - that's how our body communicates with us. The whole process will take time and patience. But the body will find its way back to homeostasis. 

 

In the meantime, as has been said many times before by others wiser than me, it's important to help the system. It's important to lower stress as much as we can - at work, at home. Some of these stresses are not up to us to lower as life continues to serve shots but others are -  through the various techniques available. These can include getting off of Facebook and stopping comparing your life to your healthy peers, accepting that a WD symptom is just that, actively chosing hope. It's easier said than done as the very nature of WD is to mess with our minds and make chosing hope and chosing not to worry difficult. But that is why it's so important to really try these CBT, BAT, DBT etc techniques and apply them. That is why it's ever more important to get out of the house if it's safe (i.e. you're not dizzy etc.) and walk a lap around the block. The tip that helped me with this was "Do it even if you don't feel like it is bringing you pleasure", do it because you have to. You do all kinds of things because you have to - like get up and go to your job, wake up and make breakfast for the kids even if you'd rather be sleeping for an extra 30 min. So do this one for yourself in spite of not enjoying it or not wanting to or feeling just as crap walking as you do on the couch. I debated  getting off the couch for 3 hours yesterday before I went for a 45 min walk. It was cold and miserable and unpleasant but it helped. And when you do, remember to recognize that you did it and give yourself that mental gold star. You deserve recognition for breaking the hold of this hellish beast with even tiny steps. This will be tough for a while so you might as well give yourself the encouragement and the recognition. Yes, your high school classmate may have gotten a new promotion but you lived through 4 months of hell and survived. Kudos for that! Small blessings. 

Edited by Onmyway
fixed typos
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Snorky
1 hour ago, Onmyway said:

Snorky, that is why BAT often works, it makes you start with simple acts that don't seem to matter so much - like walk to the corner store, and then that sets up a positive spiral of doing more things. So the first step is incredibly difficult but the payoff from it is that it breaks the pattern. And it might not always work from the first try but eventually it will work in small, almost imperceptible ways. Try it, and don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for any small achievement. It truly is an achievement now.  

 

 

The nature of the specific symptoms is unimportant in WD. It is important to share in the specific threads and know that it is happening and that it has happened to other people and most importantly getting reassurance that it is WD.  The symptoms are so varied that they can be confusing and truly freak us out. At some point I had half of my body (the left half) on pins and needles for hours every day. It was scary. But knowing that others have had it helps calm one down and helps with acceptance. It is important to see what has worked for people to address those symptoms. But other than that, worrying about every specific one, and why it appears now and not three months ago and what it means and why it is not a different way is not helpful albeit a very natural reaction. And I am speaking from personal experience here. It's important to know that it is WD. It will grow and shrink, swell and retreat, it will shift shapes and colors. It's a journey. It's an unwelcome "giving" tree. It's an interesting one to observe as you experience it when you are strong enough to observe and not get sucked down into its nightmarish silt.  

 

I don't mean that the specific symptoms are unimportant in your life, it matters whether you have nausea or DP/DR or cognitive fog. But in the end, all of it is WD. The symptoms will come and go and change. Some will appear in 4 months, some will appear in 8 months; others will leave soon after and then reappear; still others will come and stay or leave quickly never to be heard from again; it is an ever changing "thing" this WD. 

 

Our body is coming back to its own and we don't know how, we don't have a clue really what all the processes are that are going in the background in our brains. SSRIs are supposed to change serotonin, but we are discovering that these are very promiscuous molecules - they also modify dopamine receptors and GABA receptors and other receptors which we don't even know about. Many people have been on multiple drugs. That complicates things even further. Not only that, but these modifications have secondary effects, and effects on hormones and perhaps even brain structure through the growth of new cells. It's a whole cascade of reactions and adaptations that the brain has made and now it has to make them back. Because the effects are so varied, symptoms come and go and affect many systems. The human body is a complex system in that small changes in one place can have sizable effect downstream i.e. impact the whole system. The brain is the most complex part of that system. But the one thing we know is that the main imperative under which the human body operates is the strive for homeostasis - a steady state. And the body and the brain will find their way back there. Unfortunately, as they fix something, other things will change and those will need to be fixed and so on. A complex system. And we will observe that through the change in symptoms - that's how our body communicates with us. The whole process will take time and patience. But the body will find its way back to homeostasis. 

 

In the meantime, as has been said many times before by others wiser than me, it's important to help the system. It's important to lower stress as much as we can - at work, at home. Some of these stresses are not up to us to lower as life continues to serve shots but others are -  through the various techniques available. These can include getting off of Facebook and stopping comparing your life to your healthy peers, accepting that a WD symptom is just that, actively chosing hope. It's easier said than done as the very nature of WD is to mess with our minds and make chosing hope and chosing not to worry difficult. But that is why it's so important to really try these CBT, BAT, DBT etc techniques and apply them. That is why it's ever more important to get out of the house if it's safe (i.e. you're not dizzy etc.) and walk a lap around the block. The tip that helped me with this was "Do it even if you don't feel like it is bringing you pleasure", do it because you have to. You do all kinds of things because you have to - like get up and go to your job, wake up and make breakfast for the kids even if you'd rather be sleeping for an extra 30 min. So do this one for yourself in spite of not enjoying it or not wanting to or feeling just as crap walking as you do on the couch. I debated  getting off the couch for 3 hours yesterday before I went for a 45 min walk. It was cold and miserable and unpleasant but it helped. And when you do, remember to recognize that you did it and give yourself that mental gold star. You deserve recognition for breaking the hold of this hellish beast with even tiny steps. This will be tough for a while so you might as well give yourself the encouragement and the recognition. Yes, your high school classmate may have gotten a new promotion but you lived through 4 months of hell and survived. Kudos for that! Small blessings. 

Hi O

 

Reslly grateful you’ve taken the time to provide such a constructive response. Accept the analysis, and try desperately hard not to “ruminate” about the symptoms. It’s v hard sometimes differentiating between understanding and articulation and rumination, isn’t it.

 

I equally desperately try to look forward, live one day at a time. If I overthink, it’s only because the symptoms “seem” to be deteriorating. 

 

Can you you remind me about BAT please.

 

Thank you again.

 

 

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Onmyway
55 minutes ago, Snorky said:

Hi O

 

Reslly grateful you’ve taken the time to provide such a constructive response. Accept the analysis, and try desperately hard not to “ruminate” about the symptoms. It’s v hard sometimes differentiating between understanding and articulation and rumination, isn’t it.

 

I equally desperately try to look forward, live one day at a time. If I overthink, it’s only because the symptoms “seem” to be deteriorating. 

 

Can you you remind me about BAT please.

 

Thank you again.

 

 

Hi Snorky, 

I really understand how difficult it is to get out of the silt of the symptoms and the rumination. Mental health issues are really hard precisely because they impact our coping mechanisms, the ability to step back and recognize a symptom as a symptom rather than a part of ourselves or a belief that it will be like this for ever. When you break a leg you don't think of yourself as broken, but when you are struggling with anxiety, you often think of yourself as anxious, as if anxiety is your state of being. But anxiety is not you, it is a reaction to something, it is a symptom of something. "But if we are not our psyche then what are we?" the thinking goes. So that makes getting out of this many times harder.   

 

The one thing that helps is to look at a symptom and think of it as just a current symptom - not how things will be, not who you are now and forever, not as a guest that won't ever leave. When you are able to detach yourself from the anxiety even for seconds (here observing it through mindfulness and labeling it helps), you stop the amygdala loop and activate the prefrontal cortex - the problem solving part/rational part of the brain. Do it over and over again and the amygdala loop becomes ever so slightly weaker. I love the book The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb, who talks about this. It's about small changes in day to day life that build upward spirals. He also explains how they do so using neuroscience. THere is a workbook that came out recently but I haven't had a chance to review it so can't yet recommend it but check it out if you want. 

 

BAT (Behavioral Activation Therapy) is very simple, it allows you to set small pleasurable goals. It's OK if they don't actually immediately give you pleasure. Initially, you can use things that used to give you pleasure. Then you plan to do a little bit of each every day. For example, Tuesday - take a 10 min walk, Wed - watch 3 funny YouTube videos. Over time, these help you break the thick glass of anhedonia and depression and you might do more of them. It's also helpful to build confidence - if the YouTube video made you smile even just a bit (it's OK if it didn't, that doesn't mean that you are never going to be able to smile in the future), then you get a glimmer of hope. Then build up from there. If YouTube videos are OK, then see friends next and so on. Whatever gives YOU pleasure/meaning/fun. 

 

WD will wax and wane, my insomnia got a bit better then is worse again, same with nausea and dizziness, and cognitive fog. It doesn't mean anything that some symptoms appear late and others are already gone. Trust your body. It knows what it's doing. It's healing. Note that I am not saying ignore your symptoms - if you have a sharp abdonimal pain get yourself to the A&E, if your hair is falling, get blood tests to rule out vitamin deficiencies. What I'm saying is that once you know something is caused by WD, accept it and let it be. It will go away. It will suck for a while, but it will go away. 

 

Acceptance is one of those things that is really easy to say but doesn't make sense until you actually do it. I was freaking out in the beginning about my insomnia which was severe. Went to the doctor many times and one time he said something simple - he said that it will not kill me, it will not make me psychotic (which was my worry) and that it would pass. It didn't pass for a while but that trust that it would go away and the acceptance relieved the secondary anxiety that I had about it and it was truly half the battle. 

 

So now, when a new symptom emerges and I am fairly certain it is WD (i.e. I am dizzy or nauseous or have tinnitus or pins and needles come back), I observe it and wait for it to leave as an unwelcome guest. Of course rumination as a symtom is harder to get through but a good technique for that is distraction. Break that loop of anxiety. Here Claire Weeks' method is helpful. 

 

I strogly suggest CBT. You are in the UK so the NHS should be able to provide you with a 16 week CBT therapy after some (4-6 months) wait. Don't worry about the wait, get yourself on the waiting list. Do the exercises. You may or may not like your therapist but just do the exercises. Every little bit helps. If you have OCD, get CBT for OCD. But let your therapist know about the other issues as well - anhedonia, depression etc. If you don't want to wait, try to get therapy cheap - training centers have cheap therapy. Usually around 15-25 pounds per session depending on your ability to pay. If you can afford it, get it privately. If you're in London I can provide more resources. 

 

This is going to be a long battle, we need all the help that we can get and all the support we can get. But the most important support and strength will have to come from you as so few understand this process. I couldn't have understood it until it happened to me. And I surely don't understand well the symptoms that I am not struggling with personally. 

 

In the meantime, we know what you are going though. You will get through this. It's hard to believe when you are in the middle of it but you will get through this. 

 

 

 

 

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Snorky

Thanks again O

 

CBT- When I returned to work after 6 weeks off, I had an appointment with our “Occupational Health Officer”. He has organised CBT sessions.

 

BAT- the problem I have is that hardly anything I used to enjoy is pleasurable. (Sport, reading, podcasts, YouTube, Xbox etc ) It’s v frustrating, not just lack of interest/pleasure, but inner rage that comes out when I try to engage with these activities. It’s weird, I have regular spikes of anger and agitation, so guess it must somehow be connected to that???

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Onmyway
47 minutes ago, Snorky said:

Thanks again O

 

CBT- When I returned to work after 6 weeks off, I had an appointment with our “Occupational Health Officer”. He has organised CBT sessions.

 

BAT- the problem I have is that hardly anything I used to enjoy is pleasurable. (Sport, reading, podcasts, YouTube, Xbox etc ) It’s v frustrating, not just lack of interest/pleasure, but inner rage that comes out when I try to engage with these activities. It’s weird, I have regular spikes of anger and agitation, so guess it must somehow be connected to that???

Yes definitely don't try to do them if they create rage, that might be counterproductive.

 

I also can't do the same things that gave me pleasure before - Facebook, comedy shows, podcasts but now I like watching some TED talks. And for some reason I've been able to watch very specificTV series (new). So maybe try new things? 

 

But rage and anger and brain blips caused by WD. They will also pass.

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Snorky
22 minutes ago, Onmyway said:

Yes definitely don't try to do them if they create rage, that might be counterproductive.

 

I also can't do the same things that gave me pleasure before - Facebook, comedy shows, podcasts but now I like watching some TED talks. And for some reason I've been able to watch very specificTV series (new). So maybe try new things? 

 

But rage and anger and brain blips caused by WD. They will also pass.

Thank you again. God bless you.

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1Day
On 1/13/2020 at 8:36 PM, brassmonkey said:

Bamo- I really wish I could answer that, but no one really understands how these drugs actually affect the body or what causes the various symptoms that we experience.  

 

Hi Brassmonkey,

 

Do you know/remember if there were stories of people recovering from PSSD and emotional numbness on the old Paxil Progress forum?

 

Thanks,

1Day

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