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Gettingunstuck Intro to the group


gettingunstuck

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Hi All,

This is my introduction to the site.

 

I’ve taken Prozac for about the last 4-5 years. I tapered off it slowly and stopped it completely at the end of December. The physical symptoms weren’t too bad. Before I started on the Prozac, I had been taking Lexapro. The physical symptoms from that withdrawal were pretty bad but I think I withdrew too quickly. Several years before that I had been taking Zoloft. The physical symptoms from that withdrawal were probably the worst, but I stopped cold turkey.

 

It’s my opinion that when the doctor started me on the Zoloft, it began a long road of altering the chemicals in my brain and now I’m trying to get back to normal. I think I definitely have some faulty thinking patterns which cause my depression and I’m sure they started from childhood, but I don’t think antidepressants are helping me with those thinking patterns. If anything, I think they made the problem worse because when I was taking them, I stopped working on the thinking patterns for the most part. When I did start working on them, I felt as if my memory was poor and my thinking was fuzzy, so I just never stuck with anything.

 

Why did I stop taking the antidepressants? The physical symptoms just got to be too much. The last time I talked to the doctor about getting off of them because of the physical symptoms, she loaded me up with samples of Pristiq. I really decided I’d had enough. I never took the Pristiq, I tapered off the Prozac with the help of a nutritionist and acupuncturist, and I really started focusing on mindfulness. I’m still dealing with the thinking patterns and possibly even withdrawal, and that’s why I’m here. This looks like a really supportive well-informed community. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to be part of it.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi gettingunstuck,

 

welcome to the forum.

 

You'll find lots of helpful advice and support here.

 

Are you having any withdrawal symptoms at the moment?

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Hi Basildev. Actually, I'm not quite sure. I don't know if I'm still withdrawing or if I'm just slipping into depression. Another symptom is fatigue. I don't know if that's withdrawal or if depression itself is causing fatigue. Also, I'm wondering if there are other issues going on with me right now that are causing me to be depressed that I need to get to the bottom of. So, I've been reading quite a bit in the discussions to try to piece together what's going on. Thanks for the welcome!

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Gettingunstuck.

 

You have a good plan. What was your tapering schedule off Prozac?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi gettingunstuck,

 

Your symptoms could be related to all three of those things. I think the best thing to do is to start to create a symptoms diary to record how you're feeling each day.

 

For example, my main issues is sleep. So I have an excel spreadsheet on which I record the number of hours I sleep each night. Ant the end of each week I create a graph and it shows me how I'm progressing.

 

It's hard to know when you're in the thick of things, so the only way to know is to write it down.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Altostrata,

My tapering schedule was (as I remember it) as follows:

 

I was on 20 mg of Prozac initially. Every few weeks I would cut down very slowly. So I might have been taking about 18 mg, then 15, and I think I finally hit 10 after about a year. Each time I started to feel depressed, I just stopped the tapering. I was at 10 for the longest time, then started to cut down again by about 2 mg every few months. Even at a very low dose of about 2 mg I still felt as if it was causing the physical symptoms. Once I stopped altogether I had dizziness and some nausea for a few weeks. But eventually better sleep returned, better digestion, and less fuzzy-thinking. Even my eyesight improved.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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Basildev,

 

The fatigue has definitely gotten worse and I'm feeling less in control of my emotions. The daily journal is a great idea and I will start keeping track of the fatigue and mood.

 

It's interesting how just reading some of research that others have posted on this site lifts my spirits a bit. I think it gives me hope that I can once and for all be free of antidepressants.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Administrator

You might be having an SSRI hangover, as you've guessed. What we see is the nervous system very gradually repatterns itself, moving towards normal.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I know everyone is different, but I thought Prozac was supposed to leave your body quickly. If that's the case, why would I still be having these issues after being off of it completely for over 4 months? My own personal guess is that I got used to SSRIs being on and of them for really about 13-14 years. Now, I'm trying to get my brain back to a healthy state. I guess I need to read other's posts to see how long it's taking.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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Welcome! I hope you are doing well with your mindfulness. I, like you, feel that ads only stopped me from working on my thought patterns, so in that way they were hurting. I hope you find the community helpful!

Tapering Zoloft, Dec 2014

Started Lamictal

Re-started Zoloft mid-Oct 2014, 25-50mg

Stopped Zoloft end of Sept 2014

Started Zoloft July 2014, 50mg

Stopped Prozac from 3mg May 2014

Stopped Effexor Dec '13 Started 10mg Prozac

Reinstated Effexor 15mg on Nov 2013

Stopped from 21mg on Oct 2013
Effexor 112.5mg, since Dec 2012

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I know everyone is different, but I thought Prozac was supposed to leave your body quickly. If that's the case, why would I still be having these issues after being off of it completely for over 4 months? My own personal guess is that I got used to SSRIs being on and of them for really about 13-14 years. Now, I'm trying to get my brain back to a healthy state. I guess I need to read other's posts to see how long it's taking.

 

Actually, prozac has a long half life and can take a while to get out of your system.

 

I experienced terrible fatigue while on and withdrawing from prozac. Still, today a big symptom for me.

 

Hang in there!

Started Fluoxetine Jan. 2010

Tried to go off of it in Sept. 2010

Weaned too fast and was back on it by Nov. 2010

Didn't work as good the second time around.

Started to wean again in Nov. 2011 and was off for good by April? 2012

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I know everyone is different, but I thought Prozac was supposed to leave your body quickly. If that's the case, why would I still be having these issues after being off of it completely for over 4 months? My own personal guess is that I got used to SSRIs being on and of them for really about 13-14 years. Now, I'm trying to get my brain back to a healthy state. I guess I need to read other's posts to see how long it's taking.

 

It's not the Prozac in your body that's the issue. That's not really relevant. The problem is that during all that time you were on the ADs, your brain remodeled itself due to the way the drugs were messing it up. It tried to rebalance things and make things normal in spite of the disruption caused by the drugs.

 

This involves changes in gene expression and the growing and remodeling of receptors and cells and all kinds of stuff in the brain. These changes did not take place overnight. They're slow changes, and physical, and not quickly reversible.

 

Now you have to undo them and regrow your healthy brain as much as possible. This just takes time.

 

But it sounds like you did a good slow taper, so you probably didn't introduce a lot more trouble and chaos from the taper itself. Hopefully it won't take your brain too long to rebalance and heal itself and undo the changes and redo new, healthier changes. It can still take longer than you want or expect, though. In fact I suspect that even with a slow taper it takes a couple of years (more or less depending on age, health, etc) to really get things back to some semblance of normal. Unfortunately nobody has actually studied this so we don't actually know how long it takes.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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It makes sense that it will take time due to the changes in my brain. I find it pretty scary, and a couple of years sounds really disturbing. I'm currently in menopause and my life certainly isn't where I want it to be, but I'm committed to working on this and getting healthy. Thanks, again for everyone's support and insight.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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This posting may not be in the right spot, but I am wondering if anyone else has felt as if they lost their ability to laugh really hard when on or coming off ADs. I think laughter is such an important expression and I've read its health benefits. It's not that I don't find things funny. I just seem to not have the ability to laugh.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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I thought I did too for a long time, but it came back. Especially if I'm tired, lying on the floor and watching a funny movie. Hudgens

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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Thanks, Hudgens. Good to hear. :)

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Gettingunstuck,

 

I moved your post re your emotional numbness to your Intro because it's about you and your journey through antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Here's a topic from the 'Symptoms and self-care' discussion that you might be interested in reading:

 

Anhedonia, Apathy, and Demotivation

 

I'm personally still suffering from emotional numbness after nearly seventeen months out from a too-quick taper from Lexapro. There have been windows from time to time and a lessening of the numbness recently, but I'm not quite back to being myself. It's my understanding that normal emotions are the last thing to come back as the brain heals, but they do come back, so hang on. Being around people, particularly in social situations, seems to have helped me a lot.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Thanks for moving my post, Jemima. It makes sense. I'm reading the discussion from the link you posted and can't believe how much some of these experiences are exactly like my own. I pretty much knew the numbness was the ADs affect, but always thought the feelings of depression post AD were due to depression returning, and not withdrawal. I, too, have felt like I could laugh at something one minute and take a mood plummet the next.

 

I lost both of my parents while on anti-depressants and one of my beloved pets. It seems as if I'm suffering the through the grief all over again now that I'm not on ADs, and now I fear losing someone else. It's actually a really huge fear.

 

Another strange thing that's happening is I'll think of a childhood memory, and my current emotional response is unbelievably strong.

 

Thanks for your post and I will send good thoughts your way that the numbness continues to lessen for you.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in one of those moods where I wonder if I'll ever feel normal again. I just got back from an event with friends, and one comment from a friend can send me into a downward spiral. I'm hoping this is all part of the withdrawal, and that the prozac and lexapro and zoloft I took for many years actually lowered hindered my ability to handle situations, rather than I'm just a depressed person. Now, granted, the event was a situation that I just don't enjoy anymore...lots of people smoking and loud noises. But I've known these people since I was a kid, and I just can't believe that I can't handle comments anymore. So, I'm concerned that depression is going to be a part of my life, and I can't be the person I want to me. I hope someone can post and tell me that this happens, that the withdrawal hinders your ability to deal with situations, and that someday I'll be back to a better state again. I know it involves healthy habits and diet. I just want to see even some results, or have hope that I'll see results.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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I can relate to wondering I will ever feel normal again.

 

I think you will, but also, that it depends on your choices, mindset, etc. how you end up. If you want to be something, you have to aim for it and follow the path that will get you there.

Tapering Zoloft, Dec 2014

Started Lamictal

Re-started Zoloft mid-Oct 2014, 25-50mg

Stopped Zoloft end of Sept 2014

Started Zoloft July 2014, 50mg

Stopped Prozac from 3mg May 2014

Stopped Effexor Dec '13 Started 10mg Prozac

Reinstated Effexor 15mg on Nov 2013

Stopped from 21mg on Oct 2013
Effexor 112.5mg, since Dec 2012

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It seems to be pretty typical for people to hit a low point three to six months after they quit an antidepressant. Hang in there, your brain is still trying to renormalize itself. Focus on doing lifestyle kinds of things that will support you (sunlight, exercise, eating right, supportive social environments) as much as possible, and hang in there. It's going to take some time, but I really think if you can ride it out, your brain will rebalance its chemistry.

 

And some people find CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to be helpful with re-establishing their skills in coping with ups and downs in life too.

 

But mostly, although I can't promise anything, I think there's a very good chance that your brain will renormalize as long as you don't take any more of those drugs that mess up its chemistry.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Thanks for the supportive posts. In the past when I was completely off of the ADs, this is about the time where I wondered if it was really worth it and ended up going back on them. I'm trying not to do that. I need to remind myself that I didn't feel this bad even before I ever went on them back in 1999. I'm also dealing with hormone imbalances, which is causing sleep problems. So the lack of sleep is also contributing to my sinking emotional state. I see my acupuncturist tomorrow, so I'm sure he can help with the sleep issues. This has been one of the toughest weeks. I feel like I'm on a roller-coaster.

I have gone through CBT in the past, and it has really worked. But any therapist I've seen basically starts out with suggesting I go on ADs. So, I'm hoping I can get some of these imbalances under control, first, then start working on my thought patterns with or without the aid of a therapist.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • 4 weeks later...

One thing I'm still finding hard to handle is the complete drop in mood at a moment's notice and suddenly feel like crying.  This is what I was like before antidepressants, though, so I go back to thinking it's a pattern I learned growing up.  Also, does anyone else feel like even the people who are closest to you don't quite get what you're going through?  It gets to a point where I just don't want to even try to explain it to people.  You get that "you should have probably stayed on your medication" look, or you start thinking to yourself that you should have probably stayed on the medication.  How do you explain to someone who's never suffered from depression and taken medication that may have made the condition worse what you're going through?  I guess you just don't.  I guess you go along and hope you heal and someday feel normal, again, and you don't have to offer explanations to your need to withdraw from social situations at times.  Or does anyone have any advice on how to handle these situations?  I really don't want to even bring up what I'm going through to most anyone.  And I feel some pressure to continue on with the same social situations that I've had for years.  So, how do you survive them when you're going through so much emotionally?

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Administrator

Great question for the Family and Friends forum. Why not start a topic there?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 year later...

It’s been a long time since I’ve checked in here.  I wanted to provide an update and seek out any sort of insight anyone can provide. It’s been about 19 months since I’ve been off antidepressants completely.  I believe I’ve been doing pretty well with managing my mood with Chinese medicine, herbs, and amino acids.  I also have been eating healthy and was exercising regularly.  In the last 6 months, my mood has deteriorated.  Situations have arisen in my life, and I’ve not dealing with it well.  This is exactly how I felt when I decided to go on antidepressants in the first place, so I don’t think this is withdrawal.  What happened before was a complete loss of my sense of humor, loss of appetite, and inability to enjoy things such as music, nature, or gathering with friends.  I really don’t want to go back on antidepressants and deal with the digestive issues, apathy, lack of motivation, and fuzzy thinking.  So, I’m really feeling stuck.  Most people would tell me it’s normal to feel what I’m feeling due to the circumstances in my life right now.  And I’m sure they would be right.  But life is always going to be up and down, and I can’t always just slip into a depression every time things get tough.  I know counseling is an option, but every counselor I’ve had in the past has suggested antidepressants.  I go on them, then I start feeling better, then the counselor thinks the therapy is working, and I don’t need it anymore.  And I lose my motivation for counseling, so I stop.  Then I try to go off the antidepressants again, and end up here.  Does any of this sound familiar to anyone?   Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's really unfortunate that so many counselors have bought into the antidepressant thing. I think you might start by talking to potential counselors on the phone and telling them you have had a bad/dangerous reaction to ADs in the past and that is not an option for you and you want their help with finding other solutions. See how they respond and what they have to offer you. There's a lot of variation among counselors.

 

It's true life is up and down. Personally I think what's helpful for that is learning ways to cope, learning to use available support, learning to take care of ourselves, and working through any underlying issues we may have (from childhood or from other experiences). I don't think it makes sense to reach for a pill to fix us every time we experience normal distress in response to life situations. As you know, the pills don't actually fix anything, they just lead to more problems in the long run.

 

Are you getting daily exercise, exposure to sunlight (or therapy lights), good diet, good sleep, social support? Hugs, massage, yoga, long walks in nature? Spending time with caring friends and family? If work is stressful, can you take a little vacation or a few long weekends? I would start there, and work on finding a therapist who can help with both ways to cope in the present and maybe working on underlying issues, for permanent, real healing, not just taking a drug that will screw up your nervous system again.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Administrator

Getting, do you have any other symptoms besides this emotional anesthesia? (Which is a very common post-acute withdrawal symptom, BTW.)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Rhi, unfortunately I'm in this situation right now where I'm not getting everything I need to help me through this.  The circumstances that brought me to sink this time are preventing me from really taking care of myself like I need to.  But, finding a counselor could be something I could do at this time, and the suggestions you have for interviewing them over the phone and telling them I've had a bad reaction in the past is very helpful. 

 

Altostrata, yes, I'm having quite a few symptoms such as loss of appetite, a feeling as if there's a large hole in my chest, or sinking feeling throughout the day (especially very early morning around 3 or 4 am), crying very easily, and a lack of feeling any joy (which I guess is the emotional anesthesia). These are pretty much the same symptoms I experienced before I started taking the antidepressants, so my fear is that I truly am suffering from depression rather than withdrawal.  With that said, I know a pill can't fix this, and I really want to get through this episode without ADs.  I guess I'm just very fearful that this isn't going to go away. 

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 Most people would tell me it’s normal to feel what I’m feeling due to the circumstances in my life right now.  And I’m sure they would be right.

 

It sounds like you are having a normal human reaction to a difficult life situation, this is not an illness, it doesn't need to be cured, you need to find some strategies to manage the situation and solve the problems if possible.

 

 

 I'm having quite a few symptoms such as loss of appetite, a feeling as if there's a large hole in my chest, or sinking feeling throughout the day (especially very early morning around 3 or 4 am), crying very easily, and a lack of feeling any joy....... .... I know a pill can't fix this....

 

... I guess I'm just very fearful that this isn't going to go away. 

 

I don't know what has happened in your life recently, but these sensations which you mention are very common human reactions to loss and other unwanted life changes, things which have been happening to people since people existed....and we get over things and move on eventually.

 

If you can find a counselor who will support you in a natural, healthy way, that would be great.  When you say you are fearful that 'its' not going to go away, I'm assuming you mean the bad feelings.  But the way you are feeling at the moment, as you said yourself, is the normal way a person would feel in your situation.  With time, you will feel better.

 

As Alto mentioned you could be experiencing a post-acute wave of symptoms triggered by your current situation, withdrawal can leave us sensitive to stress for several years.

 

Its difficult to know what to suggest without knowing more details, but do what you can to take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself, give yourself time and reach out for non-drug help and support in any way that feels right for you.  Look through our symptoms and self care section, especially the pinned topic about dealing with emotional symptoms here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

 

You can get through this without drugs, there's no guarantee they would work now anyway.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Petu,

 

I think what I fear is that I'm not a normal person.  The ADs certainly didn't help me be normal; they just helped me deal with it.  I've always been the kind of person that reacts very strongly to situations, especially through crying.  Now that I'm not on the ADs, I'm sure it's worse.  It makes sense that the AD withdrawal is triggering an even bigger reaction to things, but I remember as a child, teenager, or young adult way before ADs I would still what some people would say is an overreaction.  Maybe I've tried to deal with this through counseling, and it never really worked because either I was with the wrong counselor, or I always started taking ADs, then lost my motivation for counseling.  So, I never worked it out.  

 

One other thing I think I'm experiencing is a reaction to the amino acids I've been taking.  I recently started taking L-tryptophan.  At first, I felt really good.  Then I started having horrible anxiety from it.  I stopped taking it for a few days, started up again at a really low dose, and the anxiety came back.  

 

Thanks for your insight.  I really want to be happy again without drugs.  Right now, I'm not feeling very positive about it.  I really appreciate all the support I get from the people here, though.  

 

 


 

 

 

 

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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This posting may not be in the right spot, but I am wondering if anyone else has felt as if they lost their ability to laugh really hard when on or coming off ADs. I think laughter is such an important expression and I've read its health benefits. It's not that I don't find things funny. I just seem to not have the ability to laugh.

I definitely have not laughed as much as I did before - but my life circumstances are likely a partial cause of it. I used to make stupid jokes and find immature things much more funny when my life was different.

 

Now I am more sensitive to others - and don't find things like funniest videos on tv very amusing at all. Coming off ssris I have never enjoyed seeing videos like that esp when people get hurt. 

 

I still laugh at bathroom humor. I know. Last vestige of childishness I refuse to relinquish.

 

Some things I find funny - like Ugly Face Returns (EdBassmaster) on youtube. Even if I do not laugh out loud, I find it funny. 

 

Like Sex in the City, Carrie asks if she will ever laugh again - her friends say of course - when something is really really funny. And she did - when Charlotte Pouhkeepsied in her pants after yoga - she had accidentally allowed Mexico water into her mouth when showering.

 

So yes - when something is really really funny.

I'M A WEANER!  :D 
atavan PRN ,Paxil approx 20 yrs ago for major depression
Switched to Klonopin PRN through to current
Paxil wore out
Changed to Effexor 
Depakote added
enormous weight gain - flat affect - led to depression - dropped depakote
Dropped Effexor, changed to Paxil 
PDoc added mixed salts amphetamines for ADHD - took for 2 yrs - was ok at first but had to cut as symptoms too intense -  then the crash was too much. STOPPED
Vyvanse started in 2013 (APRIL) - more smooth than IR amphetamine tabs---Have not used vyvanse daily in full amt since May 2013 

Paxil CT withdrawal 10/2012  :wacko:  Klonopin CT WD

Switched Klonopin to Xanax prn  - too strong

WD CT from XANAX after taking for a while - it was awful but can be done if you hold on!

Back to Klonopin PRN - working very hard to avoid taking it at all. 

Effexor 37.5 started 02/2013, 75mg by 03/2013, 150mg by 05/2012 (approx)  :blush:

Effexor 150mg 3/10/2014 Microtaper -3beads  :unsure:

3/11/2014-4beads ,3/12/14 - 5, 3/13/14 -6, 3/15/14 - 7, 3/18 - 8, 3/22 - 10, 3/24 - 12, 4/6 - 13, 4/7 - 14, 4/11 - 16 - on 4/19 ran out of brand took generic. Bad move. Back on brand on 4/20 and updosed 2 beads. 5/1 - 15, 5/6 - 16, 5/9 -17, 55/10 -17, 5/15 -18, 5/21 -19, 5/24 -20, 6/3 - 21, 6/6 -23, 6/13 -24,6/19- 25, 6/21 -26, 6/25 -27

6/28 -28, 6/29 -30, 7/3 -34, 7/8 -35, 7/17 -36, 7/30 -41,7/31 -42, 8/2 -43, 8/3 -44, 8/5 -45, 8/14 -48, 8/26-50, 9/24 -53, 10/24 -55, 12/1 -57, (lost the tally sheet, thus taper info for some of it), 4/19-63, 4/26-64, 4/30-65 Switched to wt reduction - now @ -.068, 7/14 -.070, August 2015 -.074, between Sept & October 10 -.077, Nov. -.078(feeling great), -.090 as of 1/10/16, down to  -.101 since January 2016 (it is now 6/24/16), -.105 as of 8/13/16
 
 

Ladies, please don't underestimate the possibility of perimenopause. The symptoms can be similar to, may intensify & in some cases mimic protracted w/d from ssri's & benzo's. 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

I think what I fear is that I'm not a normal person.  The ADs certainly didn't help me be normal; they just helped me deal with it.  I've always been the kind of person that reacts very strongly to situations, especially through crying. 

 

 

There's no such thing as a 'normal' person.  The culture we live in is constantly bombarding us with images of what it wants us to believe is normal. Its about control and manipulation, keeping us working and spending money as we try to achieve an impossible ideal.

 

Every person is a unique individual with a whole range of characteristics.  Some of us are more sensitive.  Being able to relieve stress and tension through crying is healthy, its a normal human function. It makes sense that the more sensitive among us would need to use this safety feature more often.  Unfortunately, when I was a child, I got punished for crying, I absorbed the message that there was something wrong with me for crying, so I learned to suppress it.  Apart from in certain circumstances, our society seems to echo this idea, that crying is wrong.

 

But I cried my way through most of my 20's and early 30's until ADs put a stop to it.  I read a book once called "Yesterday I Cried", by Iyanla Vanzant.  I think that's how you spell it.  I found the book very inspiring, she used to intentionally sit it the bath and cry as a form of therapy to help heal her childhood wounds.

 

One of the underlying reasons I started on ADs was in an attempt to 'be more normal'.  My natural sensitivity got relabeled with the medical diagnosis GAD, I got my 'cure', in the form of a daily pill, and I thought I was good to go.  But as most of us here have learned the hard way, its not as simple at that.  I can no longer laugh or cry since being in withdrawal.  Like you, I can feel the emotion, like sadness and I see the humor in things, but its like the function of laughing and crying don't work any more.  Although for me, they have come back for very brief periods.  I remember laughing and crying a few times over the last couple of years,  I guess its not completely broken.

 

I think that one of the purposes of life as a human is for us to learn who we really are and to become more of who we were meant to be, in all our uniqueness.  But that's often not easy when everything outside of us is giving us the message that there is something wrong with us if we don't conform to the current norms.

 

Alto wrote something once and I can't remember if it was on my thread or someone else's.  But she suggested starting to construct a life compatible with who we naturally are.  This sounds so simple and obvious, but its nothing I had ever been encouraged to do.  My life has been about trying to change myself to fit in with an external ideal of who I should be.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention was about amino acids.  Many people in withdrawal have a similar experience with a lot of supplements, me included.  They seem to help at first, but then go paradoxical.  If something is making symptoms worse, its best not to take it or eat it or drink it or do it.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

Link to comment

 

 

I think what I fear is that I'm not a normal person.  The ADs certainly didn't help me be normal; they just helped me deal with it.  I've always been the kind of person that reacts very strongly to situations, especially through crying. 

 

 

There's no such thing as a 'normal' person.  The culture we live in is constantly bombarding us with images of what it wants us to believe is normal. Its about control and manipulation, keeping us working and spending money as we try to achieve an impossible ideal.

 

Every person is a unique individual with a whole range of characteristics.  Some of us are more sensitive.  Being able to relieve stress and tension through crying is healthy, its a normal human function. It makes sense that the more sensitive among us would need to use this safety feature more often.  Unfortunately, when I was a child, I got punished for crying, I absorbed the message that there was something wrong with me for crying, so I learned to suppress it.  Apart from in certain circumstances, our society seems to echo this idea, that crying is wrong.

 

But I cried my way through most of my 20's and early 30's until ADs put a stop to it.  I read a book once called "Yesterday I Cried", by Iyanla Vanzant.  I think that's how you spell it.  I found the book very inspiring, she used to intentionally sit it the bath and cry as a form of therapy to help heal her childhood wounds.

 

One of the underlying reasons I started on ADs was in an attempt to 'be more normal'.  My natural sensitivity got relabeled with the medical diagnosis GAD, I got my 'cure', in the form of a daily pill, and I thought I was good to go.  But as most of us here have learned the hard way, its not as simple at that.  I can no longer laugh or cry since being in withdrawal.  Like you, I can feel the emotion, like sadness and I see the humor in things, but its like the function of laughing and crying don't work any more.  Although for me, they have come back for very brief periods.  I remember laughing and crying a few times over the last couple of years,  I guess its not completely broken.

 

I think that one of the purposes of life as a human is for us to learn who we really are and to become more of who we were meant to be, in all our uniqueness.  But that's often not easy when everything outside of us is giving us the message that there is something wrong with us if we don't conform to the current norms.

 

Alto wrote something once and I can't remember if it was on my thread or someone else's.  But she suggested starting to construct a life compatible with who we naturally are.  This sounds so simple and obvious, but its nothing I had ever been encouraged to do.  My life has been about trying to change myself to fit in with an external ideal of who I should be.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention was about amino acids.  Many people in withdrawal have a similar experience with a lot of supplements, me included.  They seem to help at first, but then go paradoxical.  If something is making symptoms worse, its best not to take it or eat it or drink it or do it.

 

Petu,

 

This is very helpful.  I guess when I look around, I see others who react differently, depending on the situation.  Some get angry, some withdraw, some barrel through and try to think positively, and some cry.  I always wished I was the kind of person that barrelled through with positive thinking.  I want to be the glass half full kind of person, and have hope.  When I lose hope, that's when the depression (and more recently anxiety) kick in.  So, I guess I need to figure out a way to live in this world being the person I am, rather than trying to become someone else to fit the world. When you say you cried your way through your 20s and 30s, I can so relate.  Only with me, it started as a teenager.  I was very sensitive to criticism, and it seemed like I got criticized quite a bit from family members.  The more I cried, the more critical they became.  It was a vicious cycle.  I wish I could go back to that time and live it again with support and love on my side.  But, there's no way to do that.  

 

I did stop the amino acids.  My acupuncturist is giving me some herbs for anxiety, so I am feeling better.  And, I'm going to allow myself to cry when I need to.  

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I also wish I could go back in time and re-write my history, but like you said, there's no way to do that.  I'm happy to hear that you are now going allow yourself to cry.

 

What herbs are you taking for anxiety?  If they are helping, please would you share your experience on this thread here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/606-important-topics-about-tests-supplements-herbs-treatments/

 

You also might like to mention your response to L-tryptophan

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

Link to comment

I just posted my experience with the tryptophan and Chinese herbs.  Hopefully it can help someone here!  

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Thank you!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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