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To those still in the depth of the dark night of protracted psych drug w/drawal syndrome http://wp.me/p5nnb-9A6


GiaK
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new post that some might find helpful
 

A long time friend/reader who is still in the worst ugly phase of protracted withdrawal sent me a note the other day. In it he was talking about how he could not come to terms with everything he’d lost. He cannot stop grieving. He feels cheated. He had been an athlete and competent parent and a successful professional in his field. He was prescribed a benzodiazepine for a first time incident with acute anxiety (had no history of prior psychiatric issues or treatment). He took said benzo for only 2 months and he was one of the not unheard of number of folks who react as if they’ve been on meds for decades, like me, when he discontinued it. He’s been ill for 5 years now and is unable to work, parent in a meaningful way or exercise. I understand his sense of loss. It is nothing short of completely devastating. I still struggle with not being able to do many things people generally take for granted as well. I still am learning what I shared with him.

 

I thought I would share part of my response here for others who still find themselves in this dark quagmire.

Ah…it’s the grieving and the inability to accept what has happened that is most likely hurting you most at this point. But, that does eventually give…hang with it…feel it. It’s okay to have all that ugly **** and just stew in it as long as you need to because eventually we do have to come to terms with the fact that this is it…this is our life. And while we can’t control much of what is happening to us we can in time come to have a different attitude about it. That, though, happens in its own time and it’s no good to blame yourself or try to make it happen any faster. Knowing it will give though…can help it ease…just think about the fact that it can and will give. I’m sure you’ve had moments of that already…tiny glimmers maybe…but remember those…they will help transform the experience.

I still go into high resistance places and I hurt more when I’m there. I’ve been sick close to a decade…and I’m not as bad as I was…but I’m sure as hell am still gravely disabled. I do trust that LIFE works in me…and if I let it life will continue to reveal it’s wonder…and that is my source of comfort…

 

 

I have a friend who studies the neurology of awakening to the nature of reality and consciousness. He often has said to me that the brain remembers the good stuff. This is another way of thinking ofneuroplasticity. If we get to a place where we accept and are okay with things just as they are, our brain likes that…it remembers and does all it can to get back there. In this way we can trust that if we do things to help us accept and find goodness in life, even now, in the darkness, our brain will, in effect continue to conspire to get to those glimmers of hope and joy we sometimes see and feel.

 

I have learned that even in the midst of great suffering I can find joy. In the darkest corners now I see how life is good. I am profoundly grateful for my neuroplastic brain which will help me continue on this path.

 

For my recovery story so far see: Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs

 

This is how I became ill by psychiatric treatment:  The aftermath of polypsychopharmacology: my story on Dr. David Healy’s site –this is the most complete short synopsis of having been grossly over-drugged and my path to drug freedom.

 

For those of you who are facing illness:  Information and inspiration for the chronically ill

 

For a post on our amazing plastic brains see: Neuroplasticity: enormous implications for anyone who has been labeled with a psychiatric illness

 

And for information on safer withdrawal methods and care once in withdrawal see: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

 

original post with photos etc: http://wp.me/p5nnb-9A6

 

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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Wonderful as always.

 

Also interesting to me because that whole Gupta system for limbic retraining that I got? The one thing I use the most consistently (and to the most effect) from it is a meditation called Soften and Flow that's about just being with whatever's going on for you and not resisting it.  (In fact he uses the expression "welcome it, like a guest into your home. It cannot hurt you now.")

 

That single thing is so useful to me all the time. I don't do that meditation every single day, but at least four or five times a week. And it's part of the limbic retraining, which is based on neuroplasticity. So yeah. Cool.

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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I am reading your story.....such a great read, so far, gives hope to me, who suffers from anhedonia daily since March of this year. Although it's a long way to long term recovery, I hope I am someday able to be that success story like you. :) At least your life is better now.

I am off of all meds as of May 20th, 2013, after 5 weeks on Zoloft and a 4 week taper. Still experiencing: moderate anhedonia & PSSD, I am otherwise mostly healed. 

 

2.1 years off of medication. 

 

"If I walk away, don't hate me. I've got to see where the pain will take me.

 

I found no angels...I found myself."

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Dear, sweet, GiaK!

 

Please, if you can, keep coming here very often and post these things.

 

You have the unique ability, surprising for someone as 'dis-abled' as you report, to see not only the trees, but the forest and plains and mountains (and the stars!) and everything that makes up the 'big picture' of what we are going through.

 

My words are clumsy.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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GiaK,

 

I'm having such a bad day and your post came at exactly the right time for me. Thank you

2001-04 Polypharmacy to include Paxil,Celexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, Depakote, Ambien, Geodon, Valium, Ativan, Haldol

03/04-11/04 Abilify

11/04-05/07 CT Abilify Non symptomatic

6/07 took Valium, began to experience altered reality and physical symptoms of withdrawal from Valium.

07/08. Abilify 2 mg, 12/08 Abilify 1 mg, 03/09 Abilify 0 mg, 03/08-06/11Altered reality but fully functional

10/12 hospitalized, Invega Depot, 2 shots discontinued, severe insomnia

6/14-10/14 flexeril, discontinued, developed insomnia; 10/14 10 mg Doxepin I week, no help with insomnia; 10/14 Remeron for two days, paradoxical reaction

Present Risperdal 1mg, clonazepam 2 mg, Restoril 15 mg. Went from .5 to 1 to 1.5 to 2mg of clonazepam in 2014. Also in 2014, tapered from 2 mg risperdal to 1.5 (fairly slowly but still too fast) and had to up dose back to 2 mg. Got liquid risperdal and started from 2 mg again.

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thanks everyone...

 

Rhi, 

I wanted to say that the guest analogy is perfect...I've posted Rumi's poem, The Guest House on the blog several times...and it's one of my inspirations...perhaps it was Gupta's too.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond

MAY 23, 2012

Posted Image

The Guest House

 

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
~ Rumi ~

 

original post: http://wp.me/p5nnb-6LL

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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I think that needs to go up on my bulletin board.

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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  • 3 months later...

Hi GiaK. Just wanted to know if you have any info about your friend thats 5 years off and still in acute withdrawal. Is he seeing improvements? Is he getting better? Is he still disabled? Sorry its just a very worrisome post

 

I would appreciate your feedback very much. Thank you

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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don't let it be worrisome Medfree...the fact is we're individuals...those of us who stay gravely ill for many years generally have auto-immune and other issues to tend to...this is why a very broad holistic approach to healing is necessary.

 

I always suggest that folks take care of themselves and remember we're all different...that's the best thing we can do...most people get better relatively quickly (as compared to those of us who are sick for several years)...we learn to cope with what we've been dealt with...and it's best not to worry about what might be.

 

My friend is coping with his situation which continues to be difficult...when we get better it takes time. 

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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.those of us who stay gravely ill for many years generally have auto-immune and other issues to tend to.

Gia,I had not seen this excellent piece until now. I'm curious about your thoughts on autoimmunity. When I allow myself to read medical "news", it appears that most illnesses are now considered "autoimmune" in nature and "AI diseases are the 10th biggest killer..." I supposedly have several systemic AI diseases but not buying into the necessary treatments yet. It's also known that SSRIs (and possibly other classes I'm not familiar with) trigger the immune system into overdrive. For that reason, I've held off on the several toxic treatments I've been prescribed (steroids, Chemo/ immunosuppressants, antimalarial). The first that antibodies showed up on lab reports was shortly after starting Zoloft. ANA indicating lupus was missed at the time (15 years ago), confirmed recently by AI specialist. I apologize that this question is very tangential for this thread and understand if you choose to not address it here. Do you have any writings that you can direct me to? Thanks for all of your contributions.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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oh, I have several auto-immune "diseases" I won't use any of the toxic treatments...no way...those are what kills quite often...there are exceptions to that, for example with autoimmune illnesses that effect the thyroid, people do need to take thyroid...... (oh and that is NOT a toxic treatment...just a necessary medication)

 

but for me and my particular conditions so far looking at gut issues and the underlying autonomic nervous system disorder and going from there is the best way to approach these things from a physical perspective...and then we need to tend to our mind/spirit too...I think these are all body/mind/spirit illnesses and EVERYTHING matters...which is how I entitled a piece at Mad in America which speaks to this too: http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/before-during-after-psychdrugs/

 

anyway...it's big overwhelming stuff for sure in many ways...I take it a minute at a time...a day is far too much.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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Thanks, Gia.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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I read some dramatic stories about AI diseases being resolved by the paleo auto-immune diet, but I don't know if the "healing" holds long term.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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diet helps a lot for a lot of people...not a cure all...I've done paleo and related diets so that I've got a highly individualized diet now -- hard core with no cheating for years now. they help a lot...sadly it's not been enough to cure me yet...but that's not really surprising...healing, as indicated above is about EVERYTHING in ones life...diet is a very important PART of the picture.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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Gia thank you for all the wonderful information that you contribute,

towards the betterment of us all.

Also, I was delighted to see that you like beloved Rumi's "The guest house".

I have loved him for so long, and this poem is my inspiration too,

as well as one on my favorites ..

Thank you for sharing it here ..

Sending you gratitude, and wishing wellness for you ..

Lexicon

Hello,
I am tapering Lorazepam, and my daily dose is 1.125 mgs.

I followed a long hold for 5 months, ( Nov-March 2019) hoping to find some stability, 

but it did not work. So I resumed my taper and hold pattern.
For the last 3 years, I have been using a daily microtaper, cutting .001mgs per day, with holds as needed.
Symptoms are head pressure, labored breathing, palpitations, abrupt surges of dizziness, this being my worst symptom for now, internal tremors, my latest nemesis, unsteadiness, anxiety, plus many other symptoms that cycle in, and cycle out consistently. Not a day passes, without grief :(

I take no other meds.

January 2013 - 15 day quick taper off 10 mgs of Lexapro, and 25 mgs of Sertraline,

at a detox clinic.

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thanks Lexicon!

I'm currently taking a class on Rumi with Andrew Harvey (a Rumi scholar)...it's very wonderful. Conducted by phone and internet...nice live classes from anywhere in the world. 

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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don't let it be worrisome Medfree...the fact is we're individuals...those of us who stay gravely ill for many years generally have auto-immune and other issues to tend to...this is why a very broad holistic approach to healing is necessary.

 

I always suggest that folks take care of themselves and remember we're all different...that's the best thing we can do...most people get better relatively quickly (as compared to those of us who are sick for several years)...we learn to cope with what we've been dealt with...and it's best not to worry about what might be.

 

My friend is coping with his situation which continues to be difficult...when we get better it takes time. 

 

Hi GiaK. Thank you for replying. How would one know if they have auto-immune diseases? What Doctors could i go see and which tests could i ask for? I would appreciate any feedback regarding this.

 

I have severe gut damage from the medication and very bad eating habbits over a many many years. I am going to try the GAPS diet to heal my gut, then i want to move over to the Anti-histamine and anti inflammatory diet. Would this help me in any way to repair my gut?

 

Im sorry to ask, but is your friend seeing improvements at all? Do you perhaps know what hes still dealing with? Physical/emotional or both? and if he has akathisia/DR/DP etc?

 

Being as young as i am i am finding it very difficult to cope with illness as i was healthy prior to all of this. I am also dealing with very incompetent Doctors here in my area and its distressing.

 

Lastly. You have seen probably thousands of cases. Does everyone recover even if it takes 10+ years or would you say some cases do indeed have some permanent damage?

 

Thank you

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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I've not been in contact with my friend recently...

 

Trying GAPS to start is a good idea...it's a very HIGH histamine diet though...and if you have reason to think you're histamine intolerant I'd go with something rather modified. 

 

Auto-immune issues are often tricky to test for...I've not bothered getting testing for most things (I've had thyroid checked routinely for example)  but I know I have several...psoriasis is an auto-immune illness and I've now developed psoriatic arthritis which is a progression...endometriosis is an auto-immune illness and I had that but have been able to largely clear it up with diet...then my body just has a lot of whacked stuff that suggests AI issues...

 

all I can suggest is that you read about AI and determine whether you want testing or not...some things are worth figuring out very clearly...others not so much as western medicine will poison you with the treatment. I can only suggest you find someone in an alternative circle of understanding these things if you need help figuring it out.

 

take care...take it a moment at a time...you have your youth working for you even though I know it sucks really badly to be sick. Hang on. 

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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I have found simply working towards foundational well-being by PAYING ATTENTION to MY body...has been more important than most testing...though on occasion testing is helpful...but needs to be determined in the context of each individuals situation. 

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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