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Hi from Bongo


Bongo

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Not sure if this forum is the right place for me, so I thought I'd start here, and let you tell me :).

 

I am an alcoholic who's been sober 30 years.  I entered sobriety with crippling depression, anxiety, and panic.  Last 3 or 4 years of my active alcoholism I was agoraphobic.  Because I was terrified of being put into a locked ward, I never told anyone when I was hospitalized that I was suicidal.  I believe it was for this reason (and because it was 1884) that they didn't medicate me.  I was also incredibly willing and eager to do anything they suggested in order to stop feeling the way I was feeling.  Because I wasn't medicated, I was forced to find new ways to cope, deal, and live in the world.  And I did.  Took about 2 years of slow steady progress, but eventually I was free from the panic and agoraphobia.  Still suffered with some anxiety and depression from time to time, but I had a huge toolbox full of tools that allowed me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I can't even begin to state how much my life has changed since then.  I've done countless things that were never even on my radar, including traveling the world, living some of my career dreams, getting into the absolute best physical shape of my life, falling in love and getting married (after many failed relationships in sobriety)... I'm trying to keep this short, but bottom line is I'm now a completely different person than the person I was before and during my time with a bottle in my hand.

 

So.  Why am I here?  Few reasons.  First is that several times throughout my sober time I've been convinced by well meaning therapists that I needed to be on medication.  Because I suffered from the chemical imbalances I'm sure everyone here is very familiar with.  The ones I knew were BS as I was never tested for them, but anyhow... every time I had a go with the meds (I was open minded) I got a little relief from whatever was specifically ailing me, but felt way worse in other ways.  I didn't feel like me, and I much prefer the me with a very wide range of emotions, to the me that felt dulled by what what was being prescribed.  I'm thankful that I never got complety pulled in.  I tried 3 or 4 months on Prozax, Zoloft, Imipramine, and 1 or 2 others I can't remember right now.

 

Second, and more important reason I'm here is that over the past 30 years I've witnessed lots.  I'm a member of AA, and I know many, many people who chose the route of medication.  It seems to work great for them, and they sing praises and state reguarly how they wouldn't be alive if not for their medication... and I get to see these people over time.  Some get off the meds and their lives move forward.  Those who don't, start eventually falling to pieces.  Just about 100% of the time, lest those who I might not know are on medication.  I have lots and lots of friends who 10, 20, 30 years down the line are scrambling like crazy for the right combo of meds.  Freinds who've made no progress in their lives whatsoever.  Who are way worse off decades down the line, than when they started.

 

Early on in sobriety I knew some people who had way less anxiety and panic than I did, yet got themselves medicated.  They never got over their issues.  2 years down the line I was recovered, and they were on path to things getting worse....

 

So, I'm getting long winded here, and leaving lots out as there's obviously a lot I'd like to say.

 

What brought me here;  I'm a member of a very active sobriety forum.  The administrators and moderators are all on medication.  Lots of new people come on board, people with a few days or weeks sobriety, and they get recommended to see a doctor about their depression and anxiety.  It is continually stated that THAT (seeing a doctor) is the best course of action re depression/anxiety, and big surprise... those people come back after taking the advice, with prescriptions in hand.  And I let it get to me.  I know, that's totally my issue, but it hits me on a level where I feel the need to do something.  I see how antidepressent medicaiton is becoming the way to deal with anything and everything, and my passions get kicked up as I feel it's having a much larger impact on the world than most realize.

 

I've stated my experience on that website countless times, and no matter how hard I work at keeping it to "my experience only" my posts get deleted.  I've been banned once already... and I've recieved tons of messages from other members who told me they gave up sharing their experience regarding not using medication.  They too have had posts deleted, been warned, and been temporarily banned.

 

Anyhow, I just came across something at that forum that got my blood churningg again, and thought maybe it's time I find a different place to share my experiences.   Did a quick search for an anti antidepressant forum, and found this place.  Not sure if it's the right place, but I have lots of experience and hope to share.  And eureka, I struggle from time to time and could use some support still too.  I wouldn't have it any other way though.

 

Hope that all made sense :).  Don't have time to edit as I have a busy day ahead.  Hello everyone.  All thoughts welcomed.

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Hi, Bongo,

 

I'm a sporadic but sincere poster here. It's for more experienced members and the mods to weigh in on your post, but I will say this. I'm a 14-month member of AlAnon. My entry into AlAnon coincided with a breakdown and my being put on antidepressants. I can only share my experience, but I will tell you that I wish I knew then what I know now. Going on the ADs was the biggest mistake of my life. I was terrified of what I was feeling and essentially got talked into the meds, despite my instincts telling me it was the wrong thing to do, and my actively trying to resist it for a few weeks before I caved.

 

I credit this website, talk and other forms of therapy, and AlAnon with saving my life. Looking back, I can say with all honesty that I think the meds have only made things worse, and by that, I mean horrendous. 

 

This is not a 12-step website, but I do know there are other 12-steppers here. And I believe there are probably threads here that speak to spiritual solutions to depression and anxiety, such as AA and AlAnon have to offer.

 

Congratulations on your many years of sobriety. Well done!

04/2013 diagnoses: severe insomnia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia. PTSD (my diagnosis)

Original scripts: 30 mg mirtazapine (Remeron) (1x day), 75 mg Bupropion HCL (Wellbutrin) (2x day), and 0.5 lorazepam (1x day or as needed)

05/05/14: Onset of acute Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms after haphazard "taper" of 6-8 wks.

05/10/14: Joined this site.

05/11/14: Reinstated approx. 25 mg Wellbutrin (1x day)

05/14/14: Switched to 12.5 mg Wellbutrin (2x day)

06/28/14: Changed lorazepam dosing to .25 mg 2x a day - seems to be reducing anxiety flare-ups

07/28/14: Dosing Wellbutrin in a (home made) solution form 12.5 mg (2x day) 08/15/14: Remeron 28 25.2 22.7 20.5 18.5 16.7 15.1 13.6 mg (home made) solution

05/16/15: Have been dosing lorazepam at .5 mg in the morning, .25 mg in the afternoon, and .25 mg at bedtime. Anxiety has increased somewhat, possibly due to tolerance.

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum, Bongo!

 

As you know, we are mostly dedicated to helping people already on antidepressants and other psychiatric medications get off of them with a minimum of discomfort and disruption to their lives. While you don't fit into that group--technically speaking--I think your determination to recover from problem drinking without meds and your insights about those contacts you have who are stagnating or even deteriorating from taking meds would be very valuable experiences to share here, and not just for those who have coped with their problems by excessive drinking.  We're certainly willing to support you in your determination to stay off of meds, and your contributions to other members would be most welcome.

 

Thanks for telling us your story. Your experience of attaining sobriety without medication and exceeding your wildest dreams is inspiring all by itself!

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 the responses.  Jumped into that first post before really getting a feel for what the site is about.  Not sure how I can or will fit in, but I'll jump around a bit and read.

 

I have to admit that I question why my passion runs so deep when it comes to this subject.  Like I feel I MUST do something to help change the world and their thinking :).  I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do... hmmm.... maybe a bit of that music is still in my bones.  Gonna tell a story they'd delete over at the other forum I'm a part of.  Maybe someone can relate, or it'll inspire someone like it did me.

 

As stated in my OP, my panic attacks didn't magically disappear when I put alcohol down.  Yes, my solution to what ailed me was mostly of a spiritual nature (the 12 steps), but there was a lot of counseling, reading, and changing of habits that were an equal part.  I feel I should mention also that I don't believe in "God" as god is traditionally defined, but I do believe in a universal power that is much greater than my own.

 

Shortly after celebrating my first year sober, I felt strong enough mentally and emotionally to go on a camping trip with other people in AA.  My agoraphobia still generally kept me close to my house, this trip was in another state, and  the whole camping thing was totally new territory to me.  But facing these challenges was a big part of my recovery from the anxiety and panic, and I accepted the invitation to go.

 

First night I was alone in my tent, and around 1AM panic hit hard.  I got out of the tent and saw a woman who I didn't know very well, but respected as I knew she'd been sober a while and seemed peaceful and content.  She sensed something was wrong and called me over.  I sat with her and talked, which eased the panic a little.  I told her that one of my biggest fears was that one day the panic was going to push me over to the other side.  That I would snap.  Go crazy.  Wind up institutionalized.  I went on to tell her that while I somewhat believed my new lifestyle would heal me, I saw people in the rooms of AA who were in fact "losing it".  Even after being sober for while.  My friend Janet jumped off a roof and took her life.  My friend Hank had a nervous breakdown and wound up hospitalized.  Both had years of sober time under their belt.  I saw a few others that were struggling bigtime, and it scared me.  I felt very close to the edge.  What she told me I think changed my life.

 

She instructed me to take a closer look at all these people.  She promised me that I'll find that all of them were in one way or another playing with their brain chemistry.  Either on their own by still self medicating somehow, or through a doctor's prescription.  She promised me, and I was very convincing at that fragile time in my life, that so long as I didn't interfere with my body and brain's natural healing process that I would get better.  I believed her, because I think I had no choice at that time :), but I also found in over the next few decades that she was absolutely right.

 

I watched people.  And I saw my own progress.  Again, as I said in my OP, I was healing, growing and getting better... as were many around me.  Some weren't, and over time were getting worse.  Often times I couldn't/didn't see the damage until many many years (even decades) later, but I found that what my friend told me that night was true.  Medication was lying to people.  It was telling many of them that they were fine while it was making them sicker, and destroying their lives and ambition.  I could write a book full of stories of the people I've seen this happen to.  This forum is testament to it all.

 

Not much else to say.  Just really wanted to put that out there.  As I said earlier in this post, not sure this site is for me, but I'll be checking it out for sure.  I saw lots of useful information already.  I would love to somehow get that information over to the people in that sobriety forum I keep talking about, but it won't be happening.  The slightest suggestion to not choose the route of medication is considered "medical advice", which is against forum rules, and immediately removed.  I've argued that telling someone to go a psychiatrist is medical advice as it's essentilaly a decision to medicate... and well, I can't say that there.  Bla, bla, bla.... I'm venting.  I'm done.  Wish everybody here the best.

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Wow, Bongo. That story is powerful. It both resonates with my own experience, and affirms that I can trust my instincts about my own recovery.

 

From my perspective (which is the only one I have) I think you would be a very positive contributor to this community. I would go so far as to offer that you  "qualify" anyway because of your previous experience on antidepressants. It may have been a long time ago, and only for "3 or 4 months," but from what I understand and, depending upon how you tapered off of them, you may have had to endure your own withdrawal experience perhaps without fully realizing it. At any rate, you are a survivor - that much is certain!

 

By its very premise, SA is in a very unfortunate minority. I haven't really explored many other online communities but what little I have done tells me that the opinions shared here are most unwelcome (to put it mildly) in the general populace. Like you, I hope that one day that will change. I'd like to think that this community is the prophet crying out in the wilderness who will one day be validated.

 

I don't know what I would have done had I not found SA. (In 12-step terms, it was clearly my HP who brought me here because I don't really even remember how I found it. Except that, as with AlAnon, I was in crisis, needing help, and somehow I found myself there.) It keeps me sane. It fills in the holes in my overall recovery journey. Because, like you, I can't really share my viewpoint openly in AlAnon meetings. There may be a very few individuals in whom I can confide but, even then, I end up feeling as if I have to somehow defend my "whacky ideas."

 

And nevermind talking about it to my therapist(s). Or, of course, my prescribing psychiatric NP (!) To be fair, I have actually discussed my views with my therapist(s), and they are respectful, but also clearly think I'm doing myself a huge disservice by a) trying to taper off my current meds, and B) not going to the doctor to try some new ones since my current ones clearly "aren't working." *sigh* Talking about meds with these professionals usually ends up filling me with self-doubt and anxiety that I really might be "ill" after all, but SA always brings me back to the reality that, by far, the biggest obstacles standing between me and my overall wellbeing are the meds.

 

Thankfully, there are a few members of my family who agree 100% with my viewpoint. But they seem to think that I should just be able to do a quick taper and be done with it. Only my husband fully understands.

 

I tend to mostly hang out in this thread and a little in the "Tapering" and "Symptoms and self-care" forums. I think, though, that the "Finding Meaning" forum might be a good place for a 12-step oriented thread, if there isn't already one there. Something to think about...

 

Thank you for sharing - I'm glad you're here. And thanks for listening. :-)

04/2013 diagnoses: severe insomnia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia. PTSD (my diagnosis)

Original scripts: 30 mg mirtazapine (Remeron) (1x day), 75 mg Bupropion HCL (Wellbutrin) (2x day), and 0.5 lorazepam (1x day or as needed)

05/05/14: Onset of acute Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms after haphazard "taper" of 6-8 wks.

05/10/14: Joined this site.

05/11/14: Reinstated approx. 25 mg Wellbutrin (1x day)

05/14/14: Switched to 12.5 mg Wellbutrin (2x day)

06/28/14: Changed lorazepam dosing to .25 mg 2x a day - seems to be reducing anxiety flare-ups

07/28/14: Dosing Wellbutrin in a (home made) solution form 12.5 mg (2x day) 08/15/14: Remeron 28 25.2 22.7 20.5 18.5 16.7 15.1 13.6 mg (home made) solution

05/16/15: Have been dosing lorazepam at .5 mg in the morning, .25 mg in the afternoon, and .25 mg at bedtime. Anxiety has increased somewhat, possibly due to tolerance.

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Bongo! What you've observed about the long term effects of psychiatric medications has actually not gone unnoticed by a few doctors and other people (like us), but there's huge pre$$ure to keep that narrative suppressed because this is an extremely profitable industry. If you haven't yet, you need to read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, which is about this subject exactly and also gives the history of how we got here. You might also check out the website "cepuk.org".  

 

And maybe Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Dr. Peter Breggin.  

 

I think you'll find lots of support and maybe some info you could use. 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I don't believe in God but I do believe that the universe sometimes puts wise people in our path and sometimes we have enough good sense to hear them.  Praise be to that woman outside your tent and welcome to SA

 

D

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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A big welcome from me too Bongo, I'm not sure of my own beliefs about how the universe organizes unlikely meetings at timely moments, but I'm glad it happened and ultimately led you here.

 

 

Last 3 or 4 years of my active alcoholism I was agoraphobic. 

 

 

I'm wondering what it was that caused your agoraphobia during the last few years you were drinking.  Were you having definite physical or psychological symptoms which were preventing you from going out, or was this part of a thought/behaviour pattern you had got into?

 

I'm curious because normally I would assume that if someone is drinking (self medicating) to treat anxiety/panic, or underlying issues,  then it would be 'working' to some extent and there would be an ability to function, but I'm not an alcoholic, so I don't know.  I have gone through stages of my life where I have used alcohol to self medicate, but I knew what I was doing and had some control.  I'm also assuming that being an alcoholic is the same as self medicating with alcohol, but just not having any ability to control it, and I might have that wrong too.

 

Some people can become agoraphobic while going through withdrawal from psyche medication, I fall into that category.  But in many cases its a bit different from the agoraphobia caused by panic attacks and can be very confusing because it can be the result of a variety of different symptoms which tend to fluctuate, occur randomly or be part of a regular daily cycle.  Protracted withdrawal from stopping cold turkey, too fast tapering or the effects of poly-drugging can be traumatic, and can cause a kind of PTSD, which can also lead to agoraphobia.

 

The generally recognized treatment for 'normal' panic disorder and agoraphobia is something I think is called graduated exposure, but this can actually cause more harm to someone who is experiencing acute withdrawal induced panic and agoraphobia.  I wont go into the details, but symptoms caused by 'wrong' thinking/behavior, can be alleviated by a change in how we think and behave, but most of the symptoms in withdrawal are caused by a damaged or stressed brain/nervous system trying to function and repair itself, so often, pushing ourselves to 'face our fears' so to speak, can often increase the already too high levels of stress and slow the recovery process.

 

 

Took about 2 years of slow steady progress, but eventually I was free from the panic and agoraphobia.  Still suffered with some anxiety and depression from time to time, but I had a huge toolbox full of tools that allowed me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

Did you suffer from panic and agoraphobia before you started drinking or were they caused by alcohol and withdrawal?  What methods did you use to get free?

 

 

 I believe it was for this reason (and because it was 1884) that they didn't medicate me.

 

I guess this is a typo, but when I read this it made me smile, I thought "I know this is going to be a good story if it spans several lifetimes" :)

 

 

I'm actually quite shocked and disappointed to learn that many recovering alcoholics end up on prescription drugs, it seems to me to defeat the whole purpose of working hard to not drink, you just exchange one damaging poison for another and pretend to be growing emotionally, but in reality, its just a different drug which is blocking out the difficult feelings.

 

Maybe for some people it seems like the lesser of two evils at first. 

 

Your story is a very important one and it needs to be heard, I understand your frustration.

 

 

I watched people.  And I saw my own progress.  Again, as I said in my OP, I was healing, growing and getting better... as were many around me.  Some weren't, and over time were getting worse.  Often times I couldn't/didn't see the damage until many many years (even decades) later, but I found that what my friend told me that night was true.  Medication was lying to people.  It was telling many of them that they were fine while it was making them sicker, and destroying their lives and ambition.  I could write a book full of stories of the people I've seen this happen to.

 

 

That's a very good idea.  A book with statistics and stories comparing the difference between the lives of medicated and non-medicated recovering alcoholics.  It could begin with your own story.

 

 

 I think, though, that the "Finding Meaning" forum might be a good place for a 12-step oriented thread, if there isn't already one there. Something to think about...

 

This has been mentioned several times I think, if anyone wants to go ahead and start a topic like this, the finding meaning section would be the best place for it.

 

Petu.

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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Thanks for all the responses.  I already feel a whole lot more at home here than at that other forum. 

 

Petu, lots of great insights and questions in your post.  Questions I'll be happy to answer but I have a full day ahead today.  I will though, when I can.

 

Quick response to the cause of my agoraphobia... never pinpointed the actual cause of it, but I think it may have been initally triggered by smoking things I had no intention of ever smoking.  PCP perhaps (laced in something else I was smoking), or maybe even just some real bad experiences with marijuana.  I wasn't high when I experienced my first panic attacks, but they bore a resemblence to some of the horrible feelings I had first time I ever got high.  My panic experiences weren't the classic, I'm having a heart attack, type.  They were a bit harder to describe.  An overwhelming feeling of unreality, coupled with terror that goes beyond normal comprehension or description.  Closest I could come to describe it is possibly the feeling that accompanies a really bad nightmare, only with no cause.  Or just a ridiculous passing thought as a cause. That description though doesn't even come close to the actual feelings involved.  When they hit, it felt as though I couldn't bear existing a moment longer, and it seemed certain my mind was just going to snap.  Thankfully, that was never the case.

 

I absolutely self medicated from that point on, with both alcohol and valium, and I pretty much self medicated from the very start.  My drinking was a very conscious decision.  I was always an anxious, shy and fearful kid.  Alcohol took all that away, and did it excellently.  It only lasted about a year though.  Panic started almost a year from the date that I consciously started drinking.

 

Alcohol absolutely exacerbated the panic situation, so taking that out of my picture helped things a great deal.  Found out shortly after getting sober that processed sugar played a part also.  As for the actual agoraphobia, it was just a simple progression of the panic for me.  I didn't talk to anyone about what was going on.  I  was young and thought I was going crazy.  First panic attack was in a movie theater, so I started avoiding theaters.  Next was on the train... then NYC... and so on and so forth.  My world began to shrink, and I had to drink more, and pop more valium to be able to function at all.  When the valium and alcohol stopped working I was left with the option of killing myself or getting help.  Didn't have the guts to kill myself, and here I am 30 years later.  Not 130 years (yes, it was a typo) later, but that definitely would have made for a more fun story :).

 

Write more when I have the time.

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I'm actually quite shocked and disappointed to learn that many recovering alcoholics end up on prescription drugs, it seems to me to defeat the whole purpose of working hard to not drink, you just exchange one damaging poison for another and pretend to be growing emotionally, but in reality, its just a different drug which is blocking out the difficult feelings.

 

This is probably the main thing that is fueling my anti anti depressant passion.

 

I bring an AA meeting to a rehab every other monday.  The patients there are always very nice, thankful, and compliant.  Strangely so, but I originally thought it had something to do with the fact that it was a VA hospital and that the people were just generally kind and respectful because of their military training.  One night though, a newbie said he was feeling pretty good, but wondered if it was only because of the medication they make them take when they get there.  Realized, though I'm not 100% sure, that that is part of their protocol.  It seems very much like it is, as the group ALWAYS seems very relaxed.  Too relaxed for people in their first few weeks of sobriety.  No tapping feet, jitters, nothing... just a bunch of guys sitting and sharing calmly, slowly, and quietly...

 

What's more is it's becoming increasingly common within the rooms of AA.  If someone is new, depressed, and/or suffering from anxiety they're often told now that they might very well be suffering from chemical imbalances and that they were using alcohol to self medicate.  They're advised to see a psychiatrist to get a "professional" opinion.  And they're told on top of that that nobody other than a doctor can really advise them regarding this.  Hearing that puts a lit match to my adrenaline fuse.  It does it even with my writing about it.

 

I don't know what it's like in other countries, but in the US, going to a psychiatrist to talk about anxiety and depression, is essentially making a decision to medicate.  Same with going to a GP.  I've been asked more than once, am I doctor?  I won't give anybody medical advice.  I'm not an idiot.  I know how dangerous it is for someone to toss their antidepressants into the garbage.  I will however share my experience if someone is considering medication for the first time.  And as far as my qualifications to do that, I did complete a graduate program in substance abuse counseling.  I did, myself, overcome many psychologial ailments without the use of medicaton.  I do have 30 years of experience (some very intimate) with people who suffer from depression and anxiety.  I have also done tons of volunteer work in hospitals and detoxes (while in college and after), done my share of counseling and running groups, read lots and lots of literature on depression and medication... and spent years in therapy and groups myself.  I absolutely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, know how to better treat my depression and anxiety than any psychiatrist I ever met with does.  And I feel more than qualified to advise someone on the flip side of choosing the path of medication.  If they're seeking medical advice from an MD, they're not actually seeking medical advice.  They're making a decision to medicate.

 

Will get to the thing I did that helped me recover next time I get a chance to write.

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Welcome, Bongo.

 

Excellent insights!

 

Yes, as soon as you walk into a psychiatrist's office, you are subscribing to a psychiatric diagnosis and a prescription or two.

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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Want to add a quick list of some of the things that were helpful in my overcoming the agoraphobia, anxiety and depression.  Alcohol too.

  • Completely cut out processed sugar for quite a while.  I'm a little less religious about it now, but I don't add any sugar ever to anything, and probably consume less in a month than your average American does in a day.  Sugar was absolutely causing anxiety and depression in my life.
  • Practiced relaxation exercises.  Both breathing and muscle relaxing.  Reguarly.
  • Worked at becoming accepting of the panic attacks, and becoming a little less afraid them.  Knowing that I wasn't going to lose control (or my mind) was reassuring.
  • Developed a faith in a universal power greater than myself, that I choose to call god, although my definition is not the traditional.
  • Made prayer a big part of my recovery, regardless of the fact that I wasn't clear on what I was praying to.  I only knew that it was working :).
  • Incorporated prayer into my actual panic attacks, as I read that forcing 1 thought outside of the panic into the panic, is enough to take the edge off and make it bearable.
  • Followed, and still follow the spiritual guidelines laid out in the 12 steps of AA.
  • Drink lots and lots of water.  I was always dehydrated and didn't know it.
  • I exercise reguarly with both weight training and cardio.  I read many times that exercise alone has been proven to be more effective than antidepressants.
  • I do my best to fill myself with positive material.  Brainwash myself basically, by reading inspirtational and uplifting things. 
  • Do voluteer work of various sorts.  Helping others is the best way for me to get out of my own head and way.
  • I made a habit of doing positive affirmations for a while.
  • Keep journals.

And I of course I went to lots of therapy, group therapy, etc.  I attended lots of AA meetings also, though now I average only a few meetings a month.

 

Biggest part of recovery from alcohol, panic, and depression for me I believe has been the ability to be honest with myself, and completely open and willing to try new things and take suggestions.  Not a big fan of acronyms, but " 'HOW' we recover" has been an important one in my life.  Honest, Openminded, and WIlling. The people I notice who struggle most and gain the least, are the ones who are certain they know it all.  Some people seem almost incapable of hearing others suggestions.  I was and still am open to anything anyone has to offer.  It's why I tried medication, though I was completely against it from day 1.  :)

 

Das all.  Just felt a need to kinda finish up here.

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  • Administrator

Please feel free to share what you've learned in the Finding Meaning forum. Many people would be interested.

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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