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Petunia

☼ Petunia: recovering from 13 years of antidepressant use

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alex

 

Petu, so much of what you describe sounds familiar, from the various writings I've read over the years by other people going through the same kinds of changes.

 

I really think this is withdrawal, and you're going to get yourself back. You'll be changed by the experience, but you will be you.

 

Thank you Rhi, 

 

Do you know of anyone who has felt like this and then has fully recovered and regained their sense of themselves?

 

Petu, I know exactly what you are talking about, when you say that your life has changed so much that you don't even know if you are gonna eat pizza ever again.I've felt like that for months;13 now to be exact.Not only eating pizza, but living,traveling,loving,going out with friends,etc etc.

I have had that awful feeling;but it is changing "slowly" but surely.

Your attitude is very important Petu.It is a combination of patience and guts.You have to push yourself to do things, w/o overdoing it.

I have seen important improvements in the last lets say 3 months, and I have been drug free 13 months.

This is a tough challenge, but people do recover.I'm still struggling, but better, no doubt.

Have faith.

 

Hugs, A.

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Petunia

 

Your attitude is very important Petu.It is a combination of patience and guts.You have to push yourself to do things, w/o overdoing it.

 

 

Thank you Alex, I'm sorry you are going through this too, but its comforting to know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

 

I included the above quote because this is something I've been confused about for a while and I hope someone will be able to help.

 

I'm not sure what kinds of things I should push myself to do, and why.  For example, I sometimes push myself to go for a walk, even when I don't feel like it. I do this because I think walking, and the exercise is 'helping me to heal'.  But most of the time, when I push myself, when I don't really feel like it, I end up feeling worse and wishing I hadn't done it.  If I wait until I actually feel better, then its not so bad, I never actually enjoy walking or feel better after, like you are supposed to, but when I wait until I actually feel better, it doesn't make me feel worse.

 

Then there are other things, I force myself to do the things I need to, because I have to do certain things to keep living and to support my daughter, but most of the times I find it hard and stressful and it seems to make me feel worse in the short term, especially if I have to do it in the morning when I'm feeling awful.

 

I have ideas about things I would like to do, when I get better, like get back to the gym.  But I'm not even sure why I want to do that, its more because I'm wanting to regain the sense of enthusiasm, challenge and satisfaction that I got from working out, at the moment there is no enthusiasm for anything and challenges, even little ones cause a lot of stress.

 

I usually push myself to make something healthy to eat, when I really don't have the energy or mental capacity to figure it all out, it would often be easier to just make a piece of toast, but I think its better for me in the long run to endure the stress of making a decent meal, but then unfortunately, I rarely enjoy eating it because I'm overwhelmed and stressed from having just made it.

 

Last week I forced myself to get out the electric grass trimmer and do the edges at the front and start cutting the grass at the back, not because I wanted to or because of any interest in my garden, but because I needed to, it was all getting too long and it would have become a fire hazard. I had no confidence in my ability to be able to use the thing, its old and I hadn't quite figured out how it works, the last time I tried to use it, the line kept breaking and I was having a hard time getting new line to feed through.  I never used to have problems learning new things or figuring out how to do something, but now, my brain doesn't work like it used to.

 

I pushed myself to do that and was sore for several day after and very sad because it reminded me of the time when I used to love my garden and plants and creating nice living spaces.  All I seem to want at the moment is for everything to be functional and stress free and not break, I can't seem to get any joy or pleasure out of anything.

 

I feel an overwhelming responsibility of having to handle everything by myself now, I used to have confidence in my abilities, would see things as challenges and was very independent, preferring to do things for myself or organizing things myself.  But now, suddenly, I'm feeling helpless, confused, overwhelmed and scared.  The smallest of challenges triggers a stress response in my body and the longer this goes on, it feels like more damage is being done.  Is it damaging, or does it just feel that way?  Research shows that high levels of stress causes damage and illness.

 

I'm confused about what things to push myself to do because apart from eating and drinking, to keep myself alive, everything else seems quite meaningless and pointless because I get no joy from it and nothing seems to be contributing to faster healing.  I'm really quite scared to do much of anything because I have no tolerance for any kind of stress at the moment and when it hits, every time it seems to set me back a few days.

 

Its like a catch 22 situation, I want to be able to do the things which I used to enjoy, because of the fact that they used to give me pleasure and I want to feel that pleasure and happiness again.  But those things have no appeal now, because I seem to have changed my ideas about what's important and what has value, so the drive to do certain things has gone, but nothing has taken their place so its like I have nothing to believe in any more.

 

I'm not explaining this very well.  I think I'm finding it difficult finding a balance between forcing myself to be more active, without causing more stress and exhaustion, often, just thinking about doing something like going and putting gas in the car, which used to be nothing, can bring on the beginnings of panic.  So I push myself to put gas in the car, because I need to.  But should I force myself to go and do it in the morning when I'm feeling the worst, because in some way that's 'better' for me, even though it causes incredible stress, or should I wait until later in the day until its less stressful?

 

Maybe I'm asking questions which only I can answer.

 

Its very scary to realize that there are no treatments or even much understanding about antidepressant withdrawal and we really are all alone (together) on this journey.

 

I'm still in shock over how I could have been so naive to believe that I could take all these brain changing drugs for so long and there not be consequences.  Its ironic, I was the one person among my friends who refused to experiment with the illegal stuff because I didn't want to risk messing up my natural brain function.  I was obsessively anti-drugs.  I was also terrified of getting addicted to something.

 

But if its legal its safe right?  If my trusted doctor gives it to me, then its good for me right?  The systems, safe-guards and policies in our society will protect my health and welfare right?  In general, this world is a nice, good and safe place to live and I can relax and trust 'the experts' because they are mostly honest and know 'the truth'.

 

While going through divorce proceedings for 4 years, I learned some hard truth about our legal system and lawyers and various other 'professionals' who were supposed to help me navigate my way through all the property and childrens issues.  I learned that money, power and reputation buys a different kind of help.  I naively believed that if I did things 'right' and had good intentions and didn't want to hurt anyone, then everything would work out fairly....but it didn't.

 

.....Waking up to the real truth about how this world works has been just as difficult as the actual withdrawal and now, I can't seem to believe or trust anyone to know the truth about anything, including myself.

 

I'm having another difficult morning, maybe not as bad as yesterday though, I reduced the Seriphos from 2 capsules to 1.  I didn't sleep well last night, still awake at 2am and woke up at 6am, but the night time hot flushes and sweating have reduced.

 

Thanks for reading, any comments or suggestions are always appreciated.

 

Wishing everyone better feelings and consistent healing.

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alex

Petu, if I understood well, you are barely 4 months med. free.

I don't want to sound discouraging but you are going through the hardest part of w/d.

"Anything" you do is gonna trigger that awful feeling of anxiety-dysphoria.

"Everything" you say resonates to me.

Don't think that your symptoms are doing more harm;on the contrary, think of them as the efforts your body is making to heal.

You have to be especially strong and patient in this terrible process, knowing that every minute, every hour, every day, your resilient body is healing.

I tell you this because I have been where you are now, pure hell, period.Just a few months ago I wasn't able to do the simplest things that everybody takes for granted like watching tv, or reading the papers, exercise, going out and interact with people...all that triggered the awful anxiety-dysphoria feelings.Today, I can do that, and more, and even enjoy when I'm having a good window. "it does get better" I can assure you that. I am better, despite the fact that my personal situation is very difficult and I am 60 yrs old man.

 

Healing process takes time;you are in early withdrawal.Don't push yourself too hard, be gentle to yourself, take exquisite care of yourself, listen to your healing body,accept your symptoms as the way that your body is healing itself.

You have to put yourself in "survival mode": trying your best to EAT, DRINK, REST.

Don't expect to find joy in anything you do right now.

It will SLOWLY come back.

I really believe we wil be stronger, wiser, healthier people after going through this ordeal; and, MED.FREE!!

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Petunia

Petu, if I understood well, you are barely 4 months med. free.

I don't want to sound discouraging but you are going through the hardest part of w/d.

 

Yes and no, my medication history (and stress history) has been complicated, I think that's why I get so confused and despondent, I've been 'suffering' for almost 2 years.  I just wrote a whole lot more to explain it, but then lost it, basically, I've been off anti-depressants since May, 2010,  but I've been taking small amounts of other things, randomly, trying to control symptoms on and off until May this year, not realizing that it may have been slowing my recovery.

 

Thank you Alex for reminding me that I may in fact be 'at the beginning' of real healing, as difficult as that is to accept.

 

But I don't think I'm at the worst,  my symptoms were the worst between November 2011 and June 2012, but I was also under an incredible amount of stress due to life circumstances.

 

Thank you also for being able to relate to my current experiences and for explaining how you have improved, that does give me hope.  I'm so glad you are starting to feel better and can enjoy yourself at times, recovery stories we can relate to are so important to help keep the hope alive.

 

I've had a stressful and trauma filled life, it seems like I've been in survival mode, one way or another for most of my 51 years, but now, finally, I should be able to relax and have a nice life.  I have a safe, secure home, I'm not being abused by anyone, I don't have to do anything I don't want to do in order to survive, I'm medication free and I have enough money to buy what I need.  But my body still feels like its under threat.

 

I also haven't been able to watch TV for a long time.  Occasionally I try, but something comes on which arouses huge, negative emotions.  Most of the time its the commercials, I can now see them as blatant manipulation, trying to push our emotions in order to make us buy things we don't need.  That's all I see.... the manipulations, which I never used to even be aware of.  I can't watch the news or read about it, because I see that as being another constructed reality, selected from the billions of available stories, chosen to manipulate us and keep us in a state of subtle fear, so we are more easily controlled.

 

I can't ever imagine wanting to watch TV again, the whole concept of sitting in front of something which brainwashes me with a false reality, for the purpose of social control, is actually terrifying now.  Whenever I put the TV on these days, I seem to get a choice of several men, of various shapes and ages, telling me how to cook dinner for my family in a way that makes me a better person than I already am.  (Cooking shows).

 

I don't really have a family any more, just a daughter who isn't home very much these days.  Even when I did have a family, it wasn't like the families on TV. Maybe that's the whole point of families on TV, they're unrealistic images that we are supposed to aspire to be like, by buying lots of stuff, products, pills, services, to keep the economy going and money flowing in the 'right' direction.... up.

 

I had better stop, my cynicism is leaking out.

 

I just listened these. Trying to look at this from a spiritual perspective often seems kinder and more meaningful than just feeling like I've been a victim, been taken advantage of or have made a bunch of bad decisions.

 

(the futility of struggle)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_GN0BLUQmE

 

(the end of fear)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v31R_xU9TPU

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Petunia

I didn't take any Seriphos last night or this morning.

 

I got tired earlier and fell asleep about 10pm.  I don't remember dreaming, but sweating/hot flashes increased and I woke several times.  Woke up at 5:30 with the usual symptoms, maybe slightly worse for about an hour, but nothing significant.

 

I'm concluding that they weren't helping with daytime symptoms and may have been making them worse, they reduced sweating/hot flashes, but I was getting much less sleep due to staying awake later.

 

So I'm leaving them off for now, which is disappointing because they sounded so promising.

 

My dad is going into hospital today for his bypass surgery, he is waiting to hear from the hospital that a bed is available so we can go.

 

He has been scheduled and cancelled three times so far, the last time he was re-scheduled they didn't advise him until right before we were about to leave for the hospital.

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Petunia

My dad got out of surgery a few hours ago and is doing ok, but the stress of the the last 36 hours has taken its toll on me.  Last night my dizziness and dp/dr was worse than its ever been.  This morning all my symptoms were extreme and it was very frightening to be feeling like that and yet have to remain strong and together for my family.  A few years ago, something like this wouldn't have been so bad because I knew that I could always take something (xanax or inderal) to calm me down so I could get through what I needed to do, but I can't risk taking anything now.  Not having a 'safety net' is terrifying. Mum took a quarter of a sleeping pill, so she slept well and woke up late.

 

My mum insisted on driving home from the hospital yesterday afternoon, she is in her 80's and her reactions aren't as fast as they used to be and she drives too fast, so that didn't help my nerves.  She knows she drives too fast, but she blames it on the car.  Thankfully my sister is coming to the hospital tomorrow, so she will most likely drive and help, she has her own emotional issues and health problems though.

 

Its almost 7:30pm, so I'm not feeling too bad now, I just hope I can get through another morning tomorrow and then get through the day.  When I have alarm bells going off all over my body, screaming DANGER and WARNING, making every fiber of my being want to run and escape from some non-existent threat, its very hard to override that system and convince myself that whatever is going on is healing and not harming.

 

I stopped to put fuel in the car, on the way home from my mum's house today and I couldn't remember what kind I usually put in the car, I think I put the wrong kind in.  :unsure:

 

 

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goldensun

Hi Petu

I hope your dad is ok and that you are feeling better. I know what you mean about having a "safety net", especially when the going gets tough. I have experienced the same thing, as I am reducing down on my avanza. As I use it for sleep I have an ever increasing fear that I will never be able to sleep without it.

 

It really is hard when you have to be strong for other people, especially when you aren't doing so well yourself. I think going through this journey has given me a different perspective on life. It has taught me to be more compassionate towards other peoples situations. It has also taught me not to be quick to judge other people.

 

I think you are doing an amazing job of looking after your parents, but sometimes it would be nice if someone looked after us for a change. Even in my forties, every now and then I would like to be "mothered".

 

Well, I hope you continue to improve each day and things get a little easier.

 

Take care

 

Goldensun

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Petunia

Thank you for your reply Goldensun,  my dad is doing well after his surgery, as well as expected after a triple bypass anyway.  But I'm struggling under the pressure of traveling back and forth to the hospital, which is about an hour away and trying to be strong, when inside I'm not.

 

I'm trying to be the responsible, capable person I used to be, but my brain isn't up to it, I just cant figure things out like I used to be able to do or remember things or know what to do from one minute to the next.  I think I've lost control of my ability to function properly in the world, beyond basic functioning anyway, I'm not sure how to deal with this, especially now that my family needs more support and help.

 

Yesterday, at the hospital, my dad finally decided that he wanted to have the TV connected, so he could watch it, but it wasn't a simple procedure to get it done.  A nurse pointed me in the direction of a kind of complicated vending machine down a corridor, there was pages of forms and information on top about how to contact the company and add credit.  I tried to read the machine and the information, but my brain couldn't handle it.  I was with my mum, who is in her 80's, so she didn't understand it either.

 

Three years ago, I would have just read the information and followed the instructions.  This makes me feel so helpless and scared.  My eyesight has become very bad in the last two years, so that doesn't help either.

 

My anxiety is very high, I keep feeling like I'm on the verge of panic and have to calm myself.  My mum talks all the time when we are together, often asking lots of questions, wanting constant interaction, I can't keep it up for more than half an hour, my brain gets fried and I still have to drive the car and remember how to get around the hospital.  I've never been a very social person, not into small talk and talking just for the sake of it, so this is causing added stress.  I seem to be ok if I can stay in the present moment and just focus on what's going on and my surroundings, but most of conversation seems to be about the past and the future and that increases my level of anxiety.

 

I will write more when I'm feeling better.

 

Has your sleep improved now you've been off the Seriphos longer?

 

Petu.

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alex
 I think I've lost control of my ability to function properly in the world, beyond basic functioning anyway, I'm not sure how to deal with this, especially now that my family needs more support and help.

 

Yesterday, at the hospital, my dad finally decided that he wanted to have the TV connected, so he could watch it, but it wasn't a simple procedure to get it done.  A nurse pointed me in the direction of a kind of complicated vending machine down a corridor, there was pages of forms and information on top about how to contact the company and add credit.  I tried to read the machine and the information, but my brain couldn't handle it.  I was with my mum, who is in her 80's, so she didn't understand it either.

 

Three years ago, I would have just read the information and followed the instructions.  This makes me feel so helpless and scared. 

 

My anxiety is very high, I keep feeling like I'm on the verge of panic and have to calm myself.

 

 

I know exactly the feeling Petu; it is incredible the damage that these meds. can make.

Only a few months ago, I wasn't able to do the simplest task, watch the tv, read the papers, or interact with people,even close friends, w/o getting the awful anxiety-dysphoria attack...absolutely incredible!!!

 

The good news is: IT HAS GOTTEN MUCH BETTER.

I am going through a very hard stress in my life right now, and that doesn't help.But even though, I am seeing very clear windows at times.

Then the waves come in but not as bad as they used to be.

I MUST admit it gets better but it is a very slow,scary, hellish process.

Hang in there Petu, you will see better days.

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goldensun

Hi Petu

 

I know things are tough for you right now, but I am sure things will turn around. It is the waiting game that is so tough.

 

No I did not sleep any better after coming off Seriphos. After 3 months of trying to survive on 2 hours sleep a night, I caved in and have started taking 10mg of amitriptyline. First night I managed to get 5 hours sleep and then the 2nd night I got 6 hours sleep. I was very upset that I had to resort taking more antidepressants, but it is better than surviving with no sleep.

 

The idea is that I will still be able to taper down on the Avanza, hopefully with the amitriptyline masking the withdrawals. I guess if I have to remain on the amitriptyline, it is better than remaining on 30mg of Avanza.

 

I have concluded that if I accept my situation for what it is and going with it, rather than loathing it, life will be much easier. Since I have made this mental adjustment in my head, life does not seem as difficult. My mind has been able to focus on more positive things, instead of obsessing over how awful my situation is and how powerless I am.

 

The other decision I have made is to make this an extremely long taper (about 3 years in total), so I can function, I know I will not be at my full potential, but at least I will be able to enjoy life to some degree instead of being an emotional mess.

 

The last thing I have decided to do is not spend any more money on supplements, hoping in vain that they will make a difference. I think the best weapon in this war is time.

 

Making these adjustments in my attitude towards this whole process has made a huge difference to me. I can actually sit back and see there is a world outside antidepressant withdrawal.

 

Petu I hope you get a little bit better everyday.

 

Goldensun

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Petunia

Thanks Alex, I sure hope you are right, today was another difficult and frightening day.  Today I went to the hospital with mum, sister and my daughter, so I was dealing with the complete package of dysfunction on top.  Thankfully, I know its not just me who finds the dynamic strange, because on the way home, my daughter was commenting about the various personalities and she said she finds it exhausting too.

 

We have an election tomorrow.  My mum told me that we could vote early this evening and avoid the lines, she said that her and dad did it last week and that she would take me to the place.  So I made the mistake of agreeing to let her take us.  She couldn't remember where the place was and she was driving around for ages trying to find it, in the end we gave up, I was already wanting to die from the stress of the day.  When my family gets together, everything takes 10 times as long as with normal people, no one can make a decision, they get distracted and side tracked all the time and if we are walking somewhere and someone says something, half the time they stop walking, like as if they can't walk and talk at the same time.

 

Today we were supposed to leave earlier so we could get back earlier, but we got home even later than ever.  Mum is going to go by herself tomorrow because I can't handle another day, and my sister wants to spend the day with her partner.  I don't really understand why she feels she needs to visit every day, he said he didn't need anything and even though there are friends and other family members who want to visit him, he has said he doesn't want any other visitors, they could take the pressure off mum.

 

I'm sorry, I'm venting, no need to reply, its been a rough week and I'm feeling like the stress is sending my recovery backwards.

 

I'm sorry that you have added stress in your life at the moment, is it something which is going to end?

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Petunia

The idea is that I will still be able to taper down on the Avanza, hopefully with the amitriptyline masking the withdrawals. I guess if I have to remain on the amitriptyline, it is better than remaining on 30mg of Avanza.I have concluded that if I accept my situation for what it is and going with it, rather than loathing it, life will be much easier. Since I have made this mental adjustment in my head, life does not seem as difficult. My mind has been able to focus on more positive things, instead of obsessing over how awful my situation is and how powerless I am.The other decision I have made is to make this an extremely long taper (about 3 years in total), so I can function, 

 

This makes perfect sense to me, if you can find a method where you can taper and still function in life then why not.  I can't take anything to relieve any symptoms, if I wasn't sleeping, I would just have to deal with it because everything now turns paradoxical on me, but believe me, if I could reinstate an a/d and taper slower, I would, if I could take a small dose of a benzo to relieve anxiety, I would.

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alex

I'm sorry that you have added stress in your life at the moment, is it something which is going to end?

 It's money problems;I am working on it.

 

Thank you.

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Petunia

My capacity for compassion has also increased, I believe, along with the development of patience. I've also learned to handle anxiety far better than I could before this experience. Perhaps there's something about withdrawal that's so awful a person comes out of it knowing that terrible experiences can not only be endured, they can be enlightening and lead to better things. 

 

This week's experience of traveling back and forth to the hospital with family members, while my Dad has been going through surgery has been extremely stressful while at the same time dealing with W/d, but something about it was really bothering me, and it wasn't until I read back through my thread and came across part of this reply by Jemima, that I realized what's been concerning me.

 

I used to be a compassionate and patient person.  Not judgmental, trying to find ways to understand and forgive bad behavior in people, doing my best to be part of solutions rather than problems, encouraging good while ignoring and forgiving bad..... but this experience has turned me into someone I don't like at all.

 

I have felt so many ugly emotions this past week and my patience and tolerance has been about zero, its taken every ounce of strength to not act on my bad feelings, but to continue to be helpful, supportive and cooperative.  I've felt like I've been in pure survival mode, with bombs going off all around me, but externally, I've been keeping up a calm facade, as much as possible.

 

I knew I couldn't handle it for one more day, but my Mum needed someone to go with her to the hospital again today.  I woke up, realizing this dilemma and was in such emotional agony over this conflict between wanting to be a certain kind of person, but not having the ability.

 

I'm no longer patient, understanding or compassionate.  I'm hateful, judgmental and self-absorbed.

 

I don't know how to handle this new reality about myself, its not who I am, but I can't seem to control it without it causing incredible stress.

 

Thankfully I wasn't needed today after all, and I'm so grateful because I had  decided I was going to go with my Mum regardless of the bad effect it might be having on me.  When I phoned her, she had just got back from church and was happy, told me my sister was going over later in the day,  my dad got discharged and so they were going to get him later.

 

There was no emotional surge of relief or feeling of calm or anything positive, from hearing this good news, in fact the physical stress and tension continued in my body for at least another 3 hours.

 

So I've been able to stay in bed.

 

I now have two returning symptoms - diarrhea and shoulder/back pain.

 

I don't know how I managed to survive this week, topped off by getting up early yesterday and walking down the road in the freezing cold, to try and avoid the long lines to vote.  A lot of other people had that same idea, so my daughter and I ended up standing in line for the best part of an hour anyway.  The line was already long when we arrived and they were late opening.  The last time I stood in a voting line was summer and I was in withdrawal hell and hot, yesterday I was in hell and cold.

 

But I can stay right here in bed for another 6 hours, then I have to go and pick up daughter from work.

 

About a week ago, I added CoQ10 to my supplement regime, it doesn't seem to be making any difference one way or another.

 

Now I take fish oil, magnesium citrate and liquid glycinate, 1000mg vit c.

 

Cant tolerate alcohol, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, junk food or rich foods.  I seem to crave protein and bland foods like oatmeal and rice.  I can drink a very weak cup of tea in the afternoon without any negative effect, it sometimes seems to help me get through the rest of the day.  Maybe I should stop that.

 

Since stopping the Seriphos, the constant waking during the night persists, with some hot flashes and sweating, but maybe not quite as intense as before.  I'm sleeping though, and back to falling asleep about 10pm.

 

The disturbing intrusive thoughts and images are back with a vengeance and have been building again this whole week, probably due to the added stress.

But, I made it through the worst part of another difficult day.

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Petunia

Physically, I'm feeling a little better now.  Sleeping better, not waking as often and the hot flashes/sweating are reduced.  Even my morning shaking is down to about 25% and it doesn't last as long.  I'm still getting what I call downloads of intense negative emotion from about 6am to mid-morning, which is like being in a waking nightmare, but the intensity is less than a year ago.

 

Yesterday, I went to visit my parents, now Dad is out of hospital.  I hadn't been over their house in months before his surgery, due to the general difficulty in even leaving my house.  I picked up some fruit and other groceries for them on the way over.

 

They are both doing really well and had just come back from grocery shopping themselves.  But my Dad seems to have had a bit of a personality change, he's extremely emotional, he used to be cold, emotionally withdrawn and refused to admit or express his emotional side.  Yesterday, he was crying and talking about how sad he was feeling about some things he had seen on TV and for me, it was nice to be able to comfort him, but in another way, it added to my current DR state, it was like a completely different person was inhabiting my Father's body.  But then I did some research and discovered that these kinds of changes are common after major surgery and are usually temporary.

 

Today I've been alone all day, the weather is cold, windy and stormy and I've been feeling anxious and depressed, thinking about my life, my future and what to do with it.  It scares me to realize that I have no ambitions, beliefs or goals left.  I get lonely, but the thought of being in another relationship fills me with horror.  I can't imagine being able to relate to 'normal' people ever again.

 

In my dreams, when I have good dreams, I have a good life, I'm functional, sometimes happy and more like the person I used to be, or even better.  Then I wake up and realize that I'm not that person and my life isn't like that, not any more.

 

I'm recovering, or I'm in a window, physically I'm feeling better, this is good,  but its opened up a space for the psychological symptoms to grow.  If I stay physically improved, eventually I will be able to handle the cognitive stuff by making lifestyle changes that have a chance of sticking.  The constant planning and failure to carry through has stolen all my confidence.

 

I started taking Curcumin again.  I'd bought a bottle a long time ago, and it didn't seem to help, so I stopped taking it, but after my recent apparent success with taking aspirin a few times, and it seeming to help, I decided to try Curcumin again for its anti-inflammatory action.  On the bottle it says its a potent anti-oxidant for cellular health.

 

I wasn't going to go out today, didn't need to, not really.  Two months ago, knowing I didn't need to go out, would have given me a sense of relief because my daytime agoraphobia was so bad.  But today, by about lunch time, being home alone and feeling isolated was causing me to feel anxious and depressed, I wished I had somewhere I needed to go.... this is so strange, frustrating and confusing.

 

About 4pm, I was in such a state of panic, it was like I just had to get out of the house and go somewhere.....anywhere, even if it was cold and raining.  So I went to the local grocery store and bought a few things I didn't really need.  I wish I had a dog.  If I keep improving physically like I seem to be, then I will have the strength and stamina, eventually to be able to do what I need to do to get a dog and take care of it properly.  My daughter is going to Japan next year to study and the thought of living completely alone scares me.  I don't understand why because I lived alone for years at a time before I got married, even at times without pets, but maybe never not in a relationship and no pets at the same time.

 

 

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flower

I wish you could come have coffee this morning...

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Petunia

Thanks flower, I wish I could come for coffee too, it will have to be a virtual one :)

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flower

I will think of you......prayers for us all.

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Petunia

All this talk of coffee had me craving it really bad yesterday, so I impulsively made myself a small cup, half regular, half decaff, the proper machine kind with chocolate on top and heated milk.

 

It tasted bitter and made me feel a bit nauseous, but I drank it all anyway.

 

It must have done something, because about 4:30, I suddenly dragged myself off my bed, got dressed and went to visit my parents (again), second visit in 2 days.  I stayed too long and was getting waves of anxiety on and off while I was there.  The nausea lasted most of the night and I had very little appetite, I found myself feeling angry at my daughter and her boyfriend, which never happens.  I slept ok, but today has been very strange, my energy has been even lower than usual, perceptions are very off and I fell asleep this afternoon, into a kind of feverish, delirious sleep, which I kept waking from.  I rarely sleep during the day.

 

I don't know if any of that was caused by the coffee, but I wont be doing that again any time soon, I didn't even enjoy it :(

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Altostrata

Caffeine has a very long half life. Since you had this bad reaction, I would avoid it for a while if I were you.

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alex

Hello Petu; I don't know about cofee, but I wouldn't take it just for now.

There is one important thing about symptoms and that is to remember they are a sign of your body healing.

I have this strategy with symptoms: I accept them, I don't pay too much attention to them, it's not easy but with time you get used to it.

Mindfullness, very important.

Constant stress can make you very tired, so sleeping whenever you can is good.

If you are sleeping ok during the night, it is a VERY GOOD SIGN!

 

Sending good vibes ALL the way from C.R. to Australia (a place I'd love to visit) ;)

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Petunia

Sending good vibes ALL the way from C.R. to Australia (a place I'd love to visit) ;)

 

:) I would love to visit the jungles and rain forests of your part of the world, when I'm feeling better, I couldn't handle the travel right now.

 

I was born in the UK, but brought to Australia by my parents when I was 10.  I miss the woods and green hills I used to walk to.  I've never really felt 'home' here.

 

How are you doing Alex?  I think of you often and hope you are having increasingly good days.

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alex

 

Sending good vibes ALL the way from C.R. to Australia (a place I'd love to visit) ;)

 

How are you doing Alex?  I think of you often and hope you are having increasingly good days.

 

I am having increasingly good days indeed.

After 13 long months I'm seeing a lot of improvement,no doubt.

My recipe:be patient, strong, DON'T withdraw from social activity, be gentle to yourself,eat healhty,have plenty of rest, practice mindfullness, and, VERY IMPORTANT, stay away from psy medication (in my case)

 

It has been one of the scariest, toughest rides of my life, but I am AD free!! and what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger, remember that Petu.

 

Have faith, you are a strong good person; give it time, you are doing good.

It gets better, I can assure you that.

 

Yes , tropical rain forests are beautifull, but it has its problems too, now we are having an over-population of one of the most deadliest snakes in the world, the fer-de lance; people in the rural parts of the country are getting bitten, including this young man who works for me,who was bitten 8 days ago, he is at the hospital now, and recovering.The steaming jungles of Central America.... I live in the city though; no snakes here, just the kind who wear clothes and walk in two feet.... :unsure:

 

Hang in there,Petu, you're doing fine. A.

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Petunia

I’ve been thinking I need to update my thread because since being asked to moderate here at SA, I seem to have abandoned my original purpose for being here, which was to get some support through my own withdrawal process.

 

But instead of starting to write, I read through my thread from the beginning and got quite a shock at how suddenly it ‘ended’ just over a week ago.

 

Looking back, I can see a pattern, but through the process, it just seemed like random chaos and I don’t relate at all to the ‘author’ of this thread because I remember the inner turmoil I was feeling while writing, and yet most of this is quite coherent.

 

The pattern I see is one of general improvement of physical symptoms, in spite of getting regular waves, of at times a return to quite extreme symptoms.

 

Some of these events have been triggered by a change in something, or an increase in stress.  Other waves appear quite random, but they could have been triggered by internal or external factors I wasn’t aware of.

 

Another pattern I notice is that when a wave of intense physical symptoms subsides, its replaced by a general low mood with an increase in depression/anhedonia.  This cycle operates on a daily schedule, as well as a schedule of several weeks.

 

Something else has occurred to me, these cycles of mood and emotion have been in place my whole life, even before medication, its just that they were very subtle and up until being medicated, I was able to overcome them quite naturally.

 

Now I’m wondering if it’s the intensity of the ‘events’ which has increased, or has my body just become more sensitive.  Its probably both and there’s no sense trying to analyze something too complex to understand anyway.

 

Once again, my sleep has settled down.  I’m falling asleep around 10pm, often while listening to audio stuff over the internet.  Sometimes I will then wake up a few hours later, but then be able to go right back to sleep and then sleep through until about 6:30.  I’m still getting some minor waves of heat and sweating during the early hours of the morning, but not enough to wake me up fully.

 

Morning cortisol surge is still happening, it peaks at around 8am, no matter what I’m doing, but its not as intense.  The shaking feeling has decreased to a vibration feeling.  I feel cold rather than freezing and most importantly, its not lasting as long during the day.  It still rarely subsides completely until evening, but the afternoon level of it now is generally more bearable.

 

At the moment I’m struggling more with feelings of depression, lack of motivation and meaning, low energy and questioning this whole business of life in general.  A few years ago, I thought I had all the answers to the questions which were important to me.  Now I’m wondering if I really know the truth about anything at all.

 

I was probably about to start asking these ‘big’ questions anyway, almost 20 years ago, when I started to notice that my marriage was nothing like what I wanted and for the first time in my life I didn’t know how to fix something.  Somehow or other I came to the conclusion that the problem was me,  after watching an advertising video, I ‘realized’ that I had an anxiety disorder and asked to be put on medication.  Before that, I was on more of a spiritual path.

 

I’m almost certain my ex-husband has a personality disorder,  that also says something about me for finding myself attracted to him.  A horrible marriage and an even worse divorce are over, but I’m not fully recovered from it yet.

 

Three years ago I stumbled into a geo-political awakening right after being diagnosed with ADHD and having a 4 year relationship end unexpectedly.  I’m over the diagnosis and the relationship, but not the awakening, that shook me to my core, my world view got completely turned upside down.

 

The back fence blew down last night in a storm and my lawn (weeds) are becoming a fire hazard again, but I’m not sure when I’m going to have the energy and confidence again to do something about either of them.

 

But I’m finally going to use the pizza pan I spontaneously bought a few months ago. I bought a frozen spinach and fetta pizza yesterday and some fresh broccoli to add to it.  My daughter is staying with her dad for a couple of days, she manages to deal with him for short periods, so the pizza is just for me and I’m almost ok with that.

 

The thing which is concerning me the most at the moment is that I can’t impulsively buy a dog, because now I have no back fence…… maybe that’s a good thing.

 

….ok, this is weird, right after I finished writing that last sentence, my back neighbor rang my door bell, he wanted to talk about arrangements for getting a new fence, he is getting some quotes.

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alex

Hello Petu,for what I've read you are getting some improvement, and that is very good despite the fact that you are barely 4 months off.

Physical symptoms are getting better, sleep (VERY IMPORTANT) is better, and cortisol surges are not as bad...

That is a positive update Petu.

You are doing what is has to be done; trying to do your best on a daily basis.

Symptoms tend to change and overlap in this process.It seems that low moods and anhedonia persist the most for obvious reason.

I know exactly what you're talking about when you mention a "bad" marriage...

Mine became a  toxic relation of such proportions, that lead me to a nasty, almost fatal major depression.

But that is way behind me, and it was a big lesson for me.

I trusted me ex-wife;BIG mistake! now, I know a little bit more about some facts in life.

But the important thing for us now is to get rid of these harmful drugs and regain our lives been stronger, wiser, better persons.And we will!!

 

We are the pioneers, the vanguard, the man on the moon....!!

 

Congratulations my dear friend, keep on walking, you are doing great.

 

Hugs, A.

 

PS: After a bad week, I'm doing better today(so far) :)

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Petunia

I'm glad you are having a better day today Alex, hopefully you are coming out of your week long wave.

 

I'm having a particularly bad day today.  Anxiety, hot flashes, sweating and shaking was up again this morning, it triggered the anxious, negative thinking.  Now my upper body has pins and needles feelings and I'm still feeling shaky.  Getting very irritated by sounds again, too.

 

After reading through my thread yesterday, I decided to try a reduced amount of vitamin B as Alto suggested.  So I took a quarter of a low dose tab with lunch,  maybe this is a reaction to that.  I'm not taking any more, hopefully I will feel better again soon.

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alex

Keep on walking, keep on wallking Petu.

This a crazy, terrible process;today, I am having a good day...36 hrs ago I was in agony.......... :unsure:

 

I am with you in my spirit.

 

Sending healing vibes. A.

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Meimeiquest

I am sorry, Petu, that this is a hard time. Thank you so much for all you contribute here!

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Petunia

Two days after my last update, I went into a wave of physical symptoms.  It started Wednesday.  I wasn’t sure until the afternoon because I always feel awful in the mornings, its just a matter of degree.  But when I was still feeling bad at mid-afternoon, I knew something was changing (again).

 

Then I got a phone call from my Mum.  Dad had got some DVD’s from the library and when he put them in his computer, nothing happened.  I could tell from the slight tone of desperation in my Mum’s voice, that things between the two of them had become a bit strained.

 

I asked a few questions, suggested a few experiments and hopefully mentioned my sister, then said I would try and get over there the next day if it still wasn’t working. 

 

Then next day I woke up shaking worse than ever.  Its not shaking like external trembling, but like there’s a constant charge of electricity zapping me from the inside, making my insides buzz/vibrate/tremble….. none of those words describe it accurately because they are all relatively neutral words, but this sensation is bad. Similar to that ‘nails on a chalkboard’ sensation.

 

Late morning the electricity went out.  The power company info line said it wasn’t going to be restored until 8pm.  This power cut was widespread covering 5 suburbs, including the one my parents live in, so I figured there was not much I could do with their computers now. 

 

I slowly sat down on my bed as the full impact of the situation sank in.  I was alone in my house, in the midst of a horrible symptom wave, which seemed to be getting worse by the second.  I had no heat, no lights, no internet, no hot water and soon no computer once the battery died. No way to distract myself from my misery. I didn’t even have a battery operated radio any more, I had left my old one at my ex-boyfriends house in the panic of getting out of there a year ago. Not that I’m able to listen to the radio, but it would have been some kind of contact with the outside world.

 

I thought about driving to the mall to buy a radio, but then figured it would probably be closed because of no power, and then I realized the drive there would be scary because all the traffic lights would be out.  A looming sense of horror started to grow as it dawned on me just how dependent on electricity human’s have become.  A few years ago, before withdrawal set in, it most likely would have felt like an exciting challenge, to overcome the temporary hardship of having no power, but now, I just felt scared and vulnerable.

 

Thankfully it wasn’t pouring with rain, I decided to go for a walk, even though most of the time walking rarely helps and often makes me feel worse.

 

DP/DR had already increased along with the wave, so walking along the bush trail, towards the lookout tower, meeting the occasional person walking in the opposite direction felt very weird.  I felt like I had fallen into a parallel universe, one where electricity had never been invented.

 

I went home, texted Mum and asked if they had power.  She texted back saying she didn’t know because they were out, but the traffic lights weren’t working.

 

My dad isn’t supposed to be driving because he’s only 2 weeks out of major surgery so mum’s been doing the driving.  But he can’t keep his mouth closed and just let her drive, he continually picks on her driving and makes her nervous, so she makes even more mistakes. I suggested to her that she tell him that what he’s doing is making her nervous, and to ask him to stop.  But she said it was ok and that she could deal with it. 

 

So now, he’s driving again, against doctor’s orders.  When I asked him about it, he lied saying that he didn’t really have to wait 6 weeks, only until he felt mentally capable.  But I heard the 6 week instruction with my own ears, and reminded him that I had been there and heard it, but he just repeated his version of ‘the truth’, and that seemed to be the end of it.

 

Maybe its not such a big deal, but something about it really bothers me, probably just the general dynamic of my family.  I see how growing up with that model of (non) communication and subtle dishonesty has shaped me and unconsciously influenced much of my life and the choices I’ve made, leading, ultimately to the situation I’m in now.

 

For 4 days, my Father was openly expressing his fears and vulnerabilities and I was able to comfort and reassure him, telling him that expressing his feelings was healthy and natural and ultimately good for releasing the stress which contributed to his heart condition in the first place.  I was hoping he would stay that way because as strange as it was to be with him that way, I felt close to him for the first time.  It was like being with a real, complete human, rather than a caricature of a male of the species.

 

So there I was, back at home after my walk, no electricity, not knowing what to do with myself.  I got into my car to go somewhere, was starting to feel panic rising and the need to get out.  Which was very strange because usually the thought of going out fills me with panic.  I drove towards the coast, avoiding traffic lights and came to a small shopping center with power.  I went inside, not having a clue why.  I seemed to have slipped into survival mode, was looking for food that didn’t need to be cooked, completely ignoring the fact that I had shelves full of it at home.  I bought two flashlights and batteries, even though there were several at home.

 

Then I got a text message from my mum saying that they were home and had power.  I said something to the woman on checkout about the widespread power outage, she looked at me like I was nuts, said she had just left her home in the next suburb over and had power.

 

My sense of reality got even more warped, as I drove to my parents house I passed a set of traffic lights which were not working, I wondered if I was hallucinating.  It took me about half an hour to fix all 3 of my parents computer problems, nothing was really wrong, well nothing that reading the screen and following a few instructions didn’t fix.  My dad admitted that he doesn’t read the little windows that pop up, but with an attitude like he shouldn’t be expected to, and that the computer should respond directly to his thoughts.

 

Well, I got his DVD’s working and felt somewhat relieved that it would give Mum a few hours peace.  Now that he’s back to his old self, he’s gone back to being bossy and critical, and because he’s not fully well, they have been spending a lot of time at home, inside together.  Apparently, when he first came out of hospital,  he had been hugging and kissing her a lot, telling her what a wonderful wife she is.

 

Yesterday, Mum admitted to me that she’s glad he’s back to his old self, her exact words were that she couldn’t take all that mushy stuff.  I guess they really are well suited for each other, I just wonder why I got born into a family like that.

 

With nothing left to do, feeling miserable, I sat down at their kitchen table.  I didn’t want to be there.  I didn’t want to be anywhere, not even in my own skin at that moment.  I decided going home to a powerless house would be slightly more tolerable.  So I told them I really wasn’t feeling well and that I was going home.  My dad got this surprised look on his face, like as if the last 2 years of me not being well never happened and so this was highly unusual.  Mum started offering me different kinds of food.

 

I scraped up my remaining crumbs of sanity and energy and politely said my goodbyes, giving them both a hug and kiss and escaped.  On my way home I stopped and phoned the electricity info line again for an update and got a recorded message saying that there were no reported power outages in my area.  When I got home, my power was back on and I wondered if  I had imagined the whole thing, but the clocks needed resetting, so something had obviously happened.

 

My symptoms have increased since then, not that I think that strange  little string of events caused anything because I had started feeling bad the day before, but I’m sure it didn’t help.

 

The shaking, has been lasting well into the afternoons and I’ve now got upper back pain.  The whole list of original symptoms is back apart from sleeping problems, hot/cold flashes and sweating.  DP/DR is as bad as its ever been, so going grocery shopping has taken on nightmare qualities again, so I’ve been avoiding it as much as possible.

 

But in spite of having a bad week, I still managed to organize and have someone come and cut my front lawn and back weeds, before they dried out and turned into a fire hazard.  That in itself was a bit of a nightmare, making all those phone calls, trying to get someone to answer their phone and come and give me a quote. I hate using the phone anyway.  The first time I attempted it I made 6 phone calls from the classified section of my local paper.  I got to speak to one live person who didn’t do my area, one machine and the rest were no answers.  I gave up after that.  But the next day someone called me back.

 

I still have no back fence, and no quotes, but at least we are no longer surrounded by a potential fire hazard, for a few weeks at least.

 

If I had a lawnmower, I could cut my own grass, but my ex-husband stole both lawnmowers from our previous house.  At the time, it didn’t bother me too much, because it wasn’t in my future plans to be responsible for having to maintain another lawn, ever again. But what’s that saying about life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. 

 

Its not that I can’t afford to buy a lawnmower,  I just can’t figure out how to get one that is easy to use and then how to get it to my house.  Everything seems overwhelming and complicated now.  Putting out the garbage on a Sunday night and bringing the bins back in on a Monday feels like a major accomplishment.  How did I end up like this?  :wacko:

 

I hope I’m coming out of this wave, it feels like I might be.

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alex

Hello Petu; I wish I could express myself better in english.

But I want to tell you that you are a brave courageous woman.I know what you are going through; you feel fragile and vulnerable...even the simplest task seems overwhelming.

I have been there Petu; and it gets better, believe me.Slowly but surely.

A very good thing is that you keep struggling and doing things the best you can.

That is very good;your brain is rewiring and getting better.

It is a painful process, but we'll get to the promised land, and Med. free!!

 

Sending you healing vibes and a big hug, A.

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Petunia

Thank you Alex,

your continual support on my thread means a lot to me

(hugs)

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Jemima

Oh, Petu, your remarks about feeling overwhelmed with everyday things--like taking the trash out--bring back awful memories of early withdrawal. I went through that too, and I can certainly understand being overwhelmed about buying a lawnmower.  Every small chore just seemed so oppressive back then, ordinary things like having to put on some street clothes or heat up a can of soup.  It took me at least an hour to get dressed to go out for groceries or drugstore items and I was often too exhausted from the strain to put the things I bought where they belonged until hours later or even days later. I even cut my own hair for six months or so (and had to mail order a wig to cover up the mess) because I couldn't stand going out and sitting in a salon for an hour or so.

 

Whatever you do, don't blame yourself for being like this.  It's all due to withdrawal.  Be as easy on yourself as possible.  If you can afford to do so, have someone else cut your lawn until you feel up to it.

 

It takes awhile for this to go away, but it does gradually lessen over time and eventually just stops being a problem.

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Petunia

Thank you Jemima,

 

:) A few days ago I was looking in the mirror, trying to figure out how to cut my own hair, or what remains of it anyway.  I probably could manage to go and get it cut, that's if it was really important to me, but my appearance seems like such a low priority at the moment.

 

Yes, on some level I'm still blaming myself.  Or rather, believing that there's something else I should be doing to 'help myself'.

 

Maybe this would be easier if I could stop trying to change myself for other people and actually allow myself to be exactly the way I am...... a barely functioning mess.  Its the struggling against the reality of what is, that makes it so much worse.

 

 

 

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Mesmerized by your writing and related to it deeply.

 

Your post above, the last paragraph, caught my eye, especially this:

 

 

Its the struggling against the reality of what is, that makes it so much worse.

 

There have been some few times (I want more!) when I can clearly see that it is my judgements about reality that is the problem, my habitual way of interpreting events and situations (the head talk) that winds me up and shoots me off like a pinball, banging me around mercilessly. And then I make it worse by aimlessly (sometimes purposefully, not often) flailing about in search of relief. Sometimes I remember to try the stuff that works, sometimes not.

 

Lots of hugs!

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Rhiannon

Petu, thank you so much for your deep and eloquent sharing.  I don't always have time to read through peoples' threads but it's always so valuable when I do. I'm sorry for your suffering, but I so appreciate you sharing. I can relate to much of what you say.

 

 

Oh, Petu, your remarks about feeling overwhelmed with everyday things--like taking the trash out--bring back awful memories of early withdrawal. I went through that too, and I can certainly understand being overwhelmed about buying a lawnmower.  Every small chore just seemed so oppressive back then, ordinary things like having to put on some street clothes or heat up a can of soup.  It took me at least an hour to get dressed to go out for groceries or drugstore items and I was often too exhausted from the strain to put the things I bought where they belonged until hours later or even days later. I even cut my own hair for six months or so (and had to mail order a wig to cover up the mess) because I couldn't stand going out and sitting in a salon for an hour or so.

 

Whatever you do, don't blame yourself for being like this.  It's all due to withdrawal.  Be as easy on yourself as possible.  If you can afford to do so, have someone else cut your lawn until you feel up to it.

 

It takes awhile for this to go away, but it does gradually lessen over time and eventually just stops being a problem.

 

I still find it hard sometimes (especially during the withdrawal period after a cut) to do even really normal things. Right now I've been holding for a while and it's better and I'm taking full advantage of it--getting my car maintenance caught up, getting my teeth fixed, getting glasses, working on a resume and this whole "relocating" project. All of that would have been completely impossible for the first two years I was tapering (I could barely deal with going to work and going home)--and except right at the beginning I have not been dealing with the level of symptoms that you're having. So from my perspective over here I think you're doing amazingly well with everything.

 

And the reason I have so much to catch up on is because I rarely hold this long, so I'm rarely this functional!

 

So I guess what I'm saying is yes, please be patient with the healing process. Life will become manageable again.  It will be different, since you won't be on the meds any more, I think, probably. I suspect it will be a good difference.

 

But for now please just be good to yourself as much as you can. I think you're doing great.

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Petunia

Thanks CW and Rhi for your comments and support.

 

I think I overdid it on Wednesday, raking up grass clippings and pruning the ivy which covers what remains of my back fence.  I was only 'working' for about an hour, but I ended up feeling very weak and exhausted, shaking, almost like I was going to pass out.  This is just not me, I used to be able to work for hours in the garden without a break.  Perhaps it was because I sprayed a few weeds with roundup, although I was very careful.

 

Anyway, I got some relief today because a possible future family obligation has been resolved.  Two things actually, I'm no longer being expected to go to a huge family reunion kind of thing, because basically, for some reason, its been planned for the same day that one of my cousins is reluctantly marrying his girlfriend, so my extended family is split between who is going to what.

 

Also, my dad was actually honest when talking to his sister, who is here visiting from the UK, he admitted that I wasn't well, rather than saying that I was fine, which is what he usually does when asked about..... well, anyone really.  I might not get to see my aunt while she is here, which is upsetting, but at least she will know why.

 

 

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