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Wildflower0214

Identity Crisis

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Wildflower0214

SEE ALSO:

 

creating-a-new-self-after-withdrawal

 

which-me-is-the-real-me

 

I feel as if I am going through some kind of identity crisis. All of my core beliefs, I am finding it difficult to hold on to. I'm not sure if this is WD or what is happening. But it is a bit unnerving to say the least.

 

Anyone else experiencing anything like this?

 

Maybe it's just a paradigm shift.... ?

 

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Narcissus

This has been my experience with withdrawal as well. My beliefs and my sense of self have changed constantly over the past two years. Petu has described having similar experiences. Not sure what to make of it all, I'm still very much in the midst of it.

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Wildflower0214

I think WD just pushes us into a place where we have to take a serious look at what we believe. I know this has been very true for me.

 

For some reason, I always thought life needed to be fair, and that is what makes me so angry about this situation. It is unfair. It relates to me being a control freak. If life were fair, then I could control it by behaving and acting correctly to get the right result. This is not how it works. I'm 30 and still fighting this.

 

I think it is because I grew up with a father who was in military and to make it even worse he was a pilot, which only compounds the anal retentive qualities. In the military 2+2=4. Always. If it's not right, it's because your doing it wrong. I grew up with this mentality. Not beneficial.

 

Especially, when I find myself here with no answers. 2+2= .....? Who knows, no one can say. This is life. I hate the unknown. Hate it. So, this process of WD really pisses me off, for lack of better words.

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Junior

This is likely to be the result of a grief reaction.  I believe many of us in w/d grieve for what we  have lost.  Unfortunately I don't have time right now to expand on this - as I have a shift coming up in a few minutes.  I do volunteer telephone counselling related to loss and grief.  You might want to look up resources on loss and grief.  I once went through profound grief and lost my identity too. To say nothing of how the experienced changed my spiritual beliefs!

 

I'll try to pop back soon and give you more information.  Just know that in terms of grief, what you are feeling is normal and natural.

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LoveandLight

I look forward to reading, junior.

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Wildflower0214

This is likely to be the result of a grief reaction. I believe many of us in w/d grieve for what we have lost. Unfortunately I don't have time right now to expand on this - as I have a shift coming up in a few minutes. I do volunteer telephone counselling related to loss and grief. You might want to look up resources on loss and grief. I once went through profound grief and lost my identity too. To say nothing of how the experienced changed my spiritual beliefs!

 

I'll try to pop back soon and give you more information. Just know that in terms of grief, what you are feeling is normal and natural.

Really? I thought I was just not coping well.

 

I would like to discuss this further...

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Junior

I have often thought of talking about the grief side of what we experience in w/d as I really believe it adds an extra layer to what we all experience.  It's bad enough that people are put on these drugs for all sorts of spurious reasons but I really hate it when I heard they were put on them for grief.  Grief is natural and normal.  There is no chemical imbalance or illness involved.  It is just plain hard, that's all.

 

 

When people grieve they are coming to terms with what has changed in their lives. Following loss the grieving person has to relearn the world and themselves because everything has changed. Grief is not an illness. We don't 'get over' profound grief because we are changed both by our love and by the loss of our loved one. But life will eventually have meaning again, although our loss will always be part of us. Eventually we will learn to live with our loss. It is not unusual for grief to be felt over an extended period of time, even for many years.

That quote comes from the following article   http://www.grief.org.au/grief_and_bereavement_support/understanding_grief/about_grief   I thought it would be a good introduction.

So many of us find ourselves in this long-term scenario of getting off and recovery from these drugs that, to me, it is like the grief of having a chronic illness.

 

 

A bit about me:  I am 52 and married. I come from a family background of mental illness, in particular bipolar disorder (naturally occurring), and I'm a sufferer of depression and anxiety myself.

My 24 yo son has autism, ADHD (correctly diagnosed), intellectual disability, and a few months ago he was also diagnosed with the milder form of bipolar.

I was infertile and was unable to have other children, despite 7 attempts at IVF.  The infertility is the thing that affected me most as I had always wanted to be married and have a family.  I could have had a career, I have it in me, but it wasn't what I wanted. Over the journey of IVF I kept cutting off bits of myself, banished them because it was too painful to leave them there.  All my spiritual beliefs were severely challenged and, in fact, I now no longer believe what I did before IVF.  And I lost me.  I lost my identity. If I couldn't be the mother I wanted to be, and eventually take my position as a grandmother, who the hell was I?  I didn't know it then but this was part of the complicated grief process I was going through.  I needed several months of therapy to help me to reconstruct my ID, and feel ready to leave IVF behind.  It was the hardest thing I'd ever done.

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Wildflower0214

I was put on these meds when my Mom had cancer, and for the first time in my life I had to face the fact that when my parents are gone, it's just me. So, yes, I was put on these meds for grief. I was sad and scared, not mentally ill.

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Junior

So sorry that happened to you.  You needed counselling, not drugs.  I suppose they've since told you have a 'chemical imbalance' and need to be on these things for life?

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Petunia

I feel as if I am going through some kind of identity crisis. All of my core beliefs, I am finding it difficult to hold on to.

 

I think WD just pushes us into a place where we have to take a serious look at what we believe. I know this has been very true for me.

 

 

I agree, for me, this withdrawal process has slowly been stripping me of everything I believed about myself and life.   One by one, parts of 'me' have been falling away, leaving me completely empty of any sense of being someone.

 

All the roles in life I played have been put under extreme stress by the effects of coming off these drugs too fast.  The most difficult one has been suddenly losing my ability to be the kind of mother I used to be.  This was part of my identity and now its gone and I feel lost in my relationship with my daughter.  I'm no longer smart, funny, patient, enthusiastic, optimistic, curious or good at solving problems, suddenly, my brain no longer works the way it used to, there's no stability in my experience of life, no predictability and so no enduring sense of identity.

 

There's no longer an old 'me' inside to turn to for cues about how to act or what to say, each moment now is like a new beginning, I never know what I'm going to say or do, until it actually happens.  I'm watching life play itself out through my body, there is no longer anyone in control, no identity steering this ship, but somehow, life is still happening in this new reduced fashion and so far nothing bad has happened.

 

If it wasn't so terrifying it would feel like freedom.  I used to have values and ideals and thought I knew stuff.  But now I'm realizing that I don't know anything for certain, and never really did. I had strong beliefs and knew that my beliefs were the right ones, but now there is nothing which shields me from the reality of knowing that I don't know the truth about anything, including myself.

 

I've done plenty of rambling about this very topic in my own intro thread, as Narcissus noted.  

 

I think that for some people, going through a difficult withdrawal process, can be a catalyst for deeper, transformational changes, where we let go of old ways of thinking and being that no longer work, not necessarily a bad thing, although painful to experience.....and as Junior points out, perhaps there is some grief work going on here as we struggle to let go of old concepts which used to provide comfort and security.  I'm finding that I'm grieving the loss of people in my life who are still very much alive, it seems like I am having to let go of all my relationships on some emotional level while still being in the relationship.  But its me who is dying, I am grieving my own death while still very much alive. 

 

Yes, and I found this that may or may not be helpful to read:

http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/falling-through-empty-space.html

 

Thanks for this Joannad, I've been reading through other posts on his blog too, I'm finding I relate to much of it.

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Wildflower0214

So sorry that happened to you. You needed counselling, not drugs. I suppose they've since told you have a 'chemical imbalance' and need to be on these things for life?

They told me I have PTSD. I have been traumatized. But I am dropping the D off. What makes me disordered because I survived a crazy situation. I went through about 15 years of pretty bad physical, emotional, and verbal abuse as a child/teenager. I actually held it together until my mom got cancer.

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Wildflower0214

 

 

I feel as if I am going through some kind of identity crisis. All of my core beliefs, I am finding it difficult to hold on to.

I think WD just pushes us into a place where we have to take a serious look at what we believe. I know this has been very true for me.

 

I agree, for me, this withdrawal process has slowly been stripping me of everything I believed about myself and life. One by one, parts of 'me' have been falling away, leaving me completely empty of any sense of being someone.

 

All the roles in life I played have been put under extreme stress by the effects of coming off these drugs too fast. The most difficult one has been suddenly losing my ability to be the kind of mother I used to be. This was part of my identity and now its gone and I feel lost in my relationship with my daughter. I'm no longer smart, funny, patient, enthusiastic, optimistic, curious or good at solving problems, suddenly, my brain no longer works the way it used to, there's no stability in my experience of life, no predictability and so no enduring sense of identity.

 

There's no longer an old 'me' inside to turn to for cues about how to act or what to say, each moment now is like a new beginning, I never know what I'm going to say or do, until it actually happens. I'm watching life play itself out through my body, there is no longer anyone in control, no identity steering this ship, but somehow, life is still happening in this new reduced fashion and so far nothing bad has happened.

 

If it wasn't so terrifying it would feel like freedom. I used to have values and ideals and thought I knew stuff. But now I'm realizing that I don't know anything for certain, and never really did. I had strong beliefs and knew that my beliefs were the right ones, but now there is nothing which shields me from the reality of knowing that I don't know the truth about anything, including myself.

 

I've done plenty of rambling about this very topic in my own intro thread, as Narcissus noted.

 

I think that for some people, going through a difficult withdrawal process, can be a catalyst for deeper, transformational changes, where we let go of old ways of thinking and being that no longer work, not necessarily a bad thing, although painful to experience.....and as Junior points out, perhaps there is some grief work going on here as we struggle to let go of old concepts which used to provide comfort and security. I'm finding that I'm grieving the loss of people in my life who are still very much alive, it seems like I am having to let go of all my relationships on some emotional level while still being in the relationship. But its me who is dying, I am grieving my own death while still very much alive.

Yes, and I found this that may or may not be helpful to read:

http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/falling-through-empty-space.html

Thanks for this Joannad, I've been reading through other posts on his blog too, I'm finding I relate to much of it.

Petu, I relate to much of what you have said. There is nothing to hold onto of myself. The memory of myself is like a shadow. I feel like I'm falling through empty space. I read this description in the blog Joanne gave a link to. It's exactly what it feels like, empty space, no firm landing place. It's highly unnerving.

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Junior

Our sense of self is fluid and is always changing.  We tend to anchor it by finding where we fit within society.  At this point, from what you have said, you don't feel that you 'fit' anywhere.

 

The thing that really helped with my ID crisis was when I was asked to think about who I WANT to be.  Might be something for you to ponder as well.

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Risperdrawlin

Hello, I read what you guys were saying, especially Post #13 by Petu, and I highly recommend this book that I read for a meditation class: http://www.amazon.com/Going-Pieces-without-Falling-Apart/dp/0767902351. In the book the author talks about the illusion of the self and that there really is no sense of self or there really is no self (I'm not sure, I think it's that there's no "self", because if you have a sense of self you have a sense of self. Maybe the sense of self is illusory). You can read the book here: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL346276M/Going_to_pieces_without_falling_apart . You will have to create an account and you may have to download the application Adobe Digital Editions in order to read the book. I just went through the process and I was able to download and read the book. Unfortunately I think the beginning of the introduction was cut off, but I think other than that it is fine. I highly recommend it. 

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LoveandLight

Thank you for the recommendation, risperdrawlin. I do think, in my opinion, that this loss of self as a side effect/med is different to the loss of sense of self that you mention. For me, the withdrawal/side effect comes with a numbing feeling, estranged from the world, like my sense of self is there but totally empty. However, what you talk about, for me anyway, feels more that without a solid sense of self, there is more a flowing, relaxed, integrated with my surroundings feelings. But what do I know, lol not sure if I can be certain on anything, even my own experience anymore. And it may be the same process in a way, I just don't know.

 

You might also enjoy 'emptiness and joyful freedom' by Greg Goode.

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btdt

 

I feel as if I am going through some kind of identity crisis. All of my core beliefs, I am finding it difficult to hold on to.

 

I think WD just pushes us into a place where we have to take a serious look at what we believe. I know this has been very true for me.

 

 

I agree, for me, this withdrawal process has slowly been stripping me of everything I believed about myself and life.   One by one, parts of 'me' have been falling away, leaving me completely empty of any sense of being someone.

 

All the roles in life I played have been put under extreme stress by the effects of coming off these drugs too fast.  The most difficult one has been suddenly losing my ability to be the kind of mother I used to be.  This was part of my identity and now its gone and I feel lost in my relationship with my daughter.  I'm no longer smart, funny, patient, enthusiastic, optimistic, curious or good at solving problems, suddenly, my brain no longer works the way it used to, there's no stability in my experience of life, no predictability and so no enduring sense of identity.

 

There's no longer an old 'me' inside to turn to for cues about how to act or what to say, each moment now is like a new beginning, I never know what I'm going to say or do, until it actually happens.  I'm watching life play itself out through my body, there is no longer anyone in control, no identity steering this ship, but somehow, life is still happening in this new reduced fashion and so far nothing bad has happened.

 

If it wasn't so terrifying it would feel like freedom.  I used to have values and ideals and thought I knew stuff.  But now I'm realizing that I don't know anything for certain, and never really did. I had strong beliefs and knew that my beliefs were the right ones, but now there is nothing which shields me from the reality of knowing that I don't know the truth about anything, including myself.

 

I've done plenty of rambling about this very topic in my own intro thread, as Narcissus noted.  

 

I think that for some people, going through a difficult withdrawal process, can be a catalyst for deeper, transformational changes, where we let go of old ways of thinking and being that no longer work, not necessarily a bad thing, although painful to experience.....and as Junior points out, perhaps there is some grief work going on here as we struggle to let go of old concepts which used to provide comfort and security.  I'm finding that I'm grieving the loss of people in my life who are still very much alive, it seems like I am having to let go of all my relationships on some emotional level while still being in the relationship.  But its me who is dying, I am grieving my own death while still very much alive. 

 

Yes, and I found this that may or may not be helpful to read:

http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/falling-through-empty-space.html

 

Thanks for this Joannad, I've been reading through other posts on his blog too, I'm finding I relate to much of it.

 

" But its me who is dying, I am grieving my own death while still very much alive. "

 

EXACTLY my experience yet I try to fake it till I make it just not making it... 

 

The old self has wilted and died... no funeral most people did not notice those that did are worried sick about me. 

 

I think this is brain damage... we can't relate... we can't recall.... we can no longer feel the things we did. 

 

I don't know where that leaves us other than alive in a completely new life...one that mostly sucks.

 

Unlike others here I don't see this as a step in the right direction of losing a old worn out defective self... not at all... this is the defective self.. and all I am left with to make the best of it. 

 

I am not buying  into this not ever... cause I don't know much but I know this much I had a life I don't now.   I know there will be people selling all sorts of what I think of as crap... new ways to think about it to put a nice spin on it... like putting sugar on horse **** ... it is still horse ****... to me. 

 

I know I have to move on as best I can with what I have left but keep the sugar off my horse **** as it is just a waste of good sugar...keep it for the kids make them some cookies I am a grown up... I know **** when I see it. 

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Petunia
I know I have to move on as best I can with what I have left but keep the sugar off my horse **** as it is just a waste of good sugar...keep it for the kids make them some cookies I am a grown up... I know **** when I see it. 

 

 

This made me smile :)  you certainly have a way with words BT

 

.... but, most of us are here in this 'finding meaning' forum, to find meaning in our suffering because it helps us to endure it, to get through it, to keep going another day and hopefully make it through to better times.

 

If considering other perspectives doesn't work for you,  then it doesn't, no one is dragging you to this thread and throwing sugar on your horse ****

 

I'm sorry this all sounds like crap to you, but I find it comforting and helpful to have the option of holding this difficult experience in a positive context.  There's no such thing as absolute truth anyway, so we may as well just do what works, and when it stops working, do something different.

 

Thank you for your book suggestion risperdrawlin, I'm going to check that out.  When I first heard the concept of the 'self' being an illusion I was intrigued because I'd consciously been searching for my 'true' self for years, and so far hadn't found anything which remained stable.

 

If our identity/self is truly an illusion, and an identity crisis is a transition period between changing from one illusory identity to a new one, what happens when the illusion is revealed and all identities drop away, leaving us with nothing to believe in about ourselves?

 

The thing that really helped with my ID crisis was when I was asked to think about who I WANT to be.  Might be something for you to ponder as well.

 

Wanting to be someone 'new' is fine, as long as we are still able to believe that 'who we are' is actually something real.  But how is is possible to function in the world once the illusory nature of our identity is revealed?  Regardless of if this was caused by drug withdrawal or spiritual practice.  Perhaps if its just a temporary symptom of withdrawal, for example experiencing DP/DR, without a spiritual context, then perhaps it will go away along with other symptoms. 

 

But if the withdrawal experience has caused us to questions some of our beliefs, and our identity was very much connected with what we believed, then I think new beliefs will naturally emerge and a new identity will develop from the new beliefs.

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Junior

 

 

The thing that really helped with my ID crisis was when I was asked to think about who I WANT to be.  Might be something for you to ponder as well.

 

Wanting to be someone 'new' is fine, as long as we are still able to believe that 'who we are' is actually something real.  But how is is possible to function in the world once the illusory nature of our identity is revealed?  Regardless of if this was caused by drug withdrawal or spiritual practice.  Perhaps if its just a temporary symptom of withdrawal, for example experiencing DP/DR, without a spiritual context, then perhaps it will go away along with other symptoms. 

 

But if the withdrawal experience has caused us to questions some of our beliefs, and our identity was very much connected with what we believed, then I think new beliefs will naturally emerge and a new identity will develop from the new beliefs.

 

All valid points.  And no-one can tell someone else what to believe or how to find inner peace.  It is personal journey.

My ID crisis occurred in a different context and much of what I learned / developed into from that time has remained with me and given me a stronger basis with which to get through w/d.  I can only offer the insights I gained back then.

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Wildflower0214

I don't think my pondering goes as deeply. I don't believe my sense of self is an illusion, and I actually have no interest in thinking about anything that abstract. I don't think I could handle it right now. :(

 

But I do know that finding some meaning in all of this is the only thing that keeps me going. It's all I have to hold on to.

 

For me, there is absolute truth...a firm place to stand, in a world that is unfair, unjust, grey, and messy, where nothing fits like it should. And I'm just trying to hold on to that truth. It is truth I have carried all of my life in my heart, and it has never meant as much as it does now. I was never able to live it before. And, I know I will come out of this with the given ability to live in the truth I have always known, but in the past have run away from. I am being stripped of everything that has kept me from it. And, it is excruciating. But, necessary. And I believe there is joy at the end of this tunnel.

 

It hasn't been the truth I question. It has been the way in which I have always packaged it. The way I thought I needed to operate in order to embrace this truth. I don't even know if that makes any sense. Lol

 

I speak for myself. I don't know what this experience means to others. But, this is what it means for me.

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btdt

".... but, most of us are here in this 'finding meaning' forum, to find meaning in our suffering because it helps us to endure it, to get through it, to keep going another day and hopefully make it through to better times.

 

If considering other perspectives doesn't work for you,  then it doesn't, no one is dragging you to this thread and throwing sugar on your horse ****

 

I'm sorry this all sounds like crap to you, but I find it comforting and helpful to have the option of holding this difficult experience in a positive context.  There's no such thing as absolute truth anyway, so we may as well just do what works, and when it stops working, do something different."

 

I have tried on many different things to get thru this process and I believe any port in a storm but at the end of it all if this is indeed the end... there is a bottom line.  Some of the things I used/tried on helped me get through it for sure like the book the power of now ... and so many other things I consider "other perspectives"  I know nobody is dragging me anywhere I never said I was being drug here.... is that a word.. drug... in that context?   I came here to offer my experience on the topic.  Whatever gets you through the night is ok by me I know how difficult this process is.  At the end of the day tho... there are some things that get pushed to the side when we are trying on other perspectives... like the drugs damaged us... to lose perspective on this I think is a loss.... or a mistake.   As while there may not be any absolute truth there are some absolute lies... told about these drugs and the withdrawal process and really there are not many people who are going to expose these lies except us who have lived it. 

There are many things that challenge a person to change  perspectives on life beliefs ...too many to list indeed but few things collapse a life indeed a personality completely like these drugs do.  That needs to be kept in perspective in my opinion. 

I may have a different take on it as I had a complete personality change while drugged only to further the collapse of identity and life when I quit.  It continues. 

While I was looking for answers and direction anything to help me through it.... 

it did not matter much where the help came from... I would grab onto anything and I did... I honor all the things that got me through the process whatever they were I am still here that was the point.  Surviving. 

However when the dust settles I am still left with a damaged life a damaged future... face to face with the fact the drugs caused this damage putting a positive spin on  it seems like a contradiction.  

I have learned things I have been changed I no  longer trust doctors like I once did... I have learned about pharma... I have learned about science I have learned about me too... while some of that has value of a certain kind.  I had a good life a good body... once I don't have either now I know the drugs I took are the cause of that loss. 

I would trade all this knowledge in a heart beat to be the person who never took these pills.  I think it is a mistake to lose perspective of this being some sort of core enlightenment... where I get on my knees and thank pharma... seems to me where some of this is going ...maybe I am wrong maybe I can't tolerate even a bit "if I did not have this drug I would not have learned to be strong in withdrawal"  cause to my mind if I did not have these drugs is the operative freedom given breath of life. 

I can't forget who I was how my mind worked how I knew who I was before the drugs... how I worked loved had sex... raised my kid... interacted... relaxed slept... swam ... 

This new self is not the old self as I struggle to get behind what is left and make the best of it... I also will not leave that old me in the dust I will honor her too with all her nativity about drugs... so many others are just like her and I don't want them to walk into this hole ... to keep that from happening I need to remember... to not buy into a drug induced stupidity... I am left with ... yes it is a fight I do every day.

I fear if we who are the knowing ones fall into a belief that this was all meant to be so we could be challenged and grow that we will not step up to the plate when the time comes to say these drugs are dangerous that what they take should not be taken.

Maybe I am doing some kind of neuro emotion thing today I can't rule that out... either.

 

I am fired up about this and maybe I should not be we can't forget if we forget who will remember.

 

I need a nap.

peace 

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Risperdrawlin

Thanks for the recommendation Joannad.

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Petunia
 At the end of the day tho... there are some things that get pushed to the side when we are trying on other perspectives... like the drugs damaged us... to lose perspective on this I think is a loss.... or a mistake.   As while there may not be any absolute truth there are some absolute lies... told about these drugs and the withdrawal process and really there are not many people who are going to expose these lies except us who have lived it. 

 

I absolutely agree with this and don't want it to be forgotten either.  We need to do whatever it takes to survive and become well enough to continue exposing these lies.  If these things get pushed to the side in our attempts to recover, then I hope its just temporary.  I don't want to forget how damaging these drugs are and that their rise to acceptance was fueled by lies and greed.

 

But this is the 'Finding Meaning' Forum and as JDM wrote:

 

But I do know that finding some meaning in all of this is the only thing that keeps me going. It's all I have to hold on to.

 

 

We all deserve a safe space to be able to explore the ideas which provide comfort and support on our individual paths towards recovery.

 

Perhaps there is meaning in accepting reality also.  BTDT, you might like to start a topic on finding meaning through accepting reality,  maybe others will relate.

 

The Radical Acceptance page that Risperdrawlin posted above looks like it could be helpful.

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btdt

Yes your absolutely right 

my apologies. 

I have a knee jerk reaction some times a panic a fear this will all be glossed over and forget there are other issues that take priority .. actually I don't forget I can't forget think that is apparent too. 

 

Maybe some time in the future I will see "meaning" again and find it.  I hope people here do find whatever keeps them going. 

peace

 

ps thanks for the link I am not in the mood for it today. another time. 

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btdt

Petu

 

please move my post 19 23 28 to this new thread I am starting as I have enough awareness to know I have just opened a can of worms for myself could be a way out for me or something else I am not sure yet but would like to give it a shot... 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7745-finding-meaning-through-accepting-reality-or-radical-acceptance/

 

if it messes up the thread leave them you decide I am not so sure they offer much here

I put it here so others here would know what happened

peace. 

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Petunia

btdt,

I've moved your post.

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JanCarol

Oh man, what a can of worms.

 

Grief, yes.  But what I'm grieving is not a family member or a long lost friend (they are there).  I'm grieving for my potential.

 

I was such a bright young charming thing - or so I was led to believe.  I thought I could be a concert pianist, or a gifted writer.  If you asked me when I was 7 what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, "A Mommy."  But adolescence and rebellion came  and the trauma of being in my family - nothing like Petu's to be sure - of strict religion, strict rules, and I went insane to break free of that.  Insane to find a man, insane to be accepted, to be and have a friend.  Too wild, too far.  

 

That was my first identity crises.  (I call it "sanity loss" from a role playing game:  you read certain books you could gain knowledge, but you had to roll against sanity loss - you might be too mad to use the knowledge)  The loss of my Christian upbringing, and noticing that I was not so special after all.  I was just a girl, athletic, smart, but nothing special.  I lost that specialness alongside losing Jesus.

 

From there on out it's madness, whether drugged or not.  When my first marriage ended and I, at 33, realized that I would never become a mother (and my womb was going sour, rapidly becoming impossible), and I hadn't touched a piano or guitar in a decade, and I hadn't developed my writing, instead getting the "practical degree" of accounting, as per my father's wishes.  I was thankful for that degree, it made it easier to keep jobs and keep a roof over my head when I could only work 15-20 hours per week.

 

But then came the yogi, who blasted my new belief system out of the water.  To reject all belief - supposedly in Buddhism and Yoga, brings you closer to freedom, bliss, enlightenment.  But all it ever brought me was the existential crisis., deep depression:  nothing matters and what if it did?  With no belief, there was no porpoise.  I had hung my peg on finding my "porpoise" for so long, that to have it ripped away was traumatic.  And so I fell deeper down the rabbit hole and only more psych meds.

 

I was just gaining my feet - via community - when I fell in love with this Australian, left my home and community, and moved to a foreign land.  Again, grief, trauma.  I had no idea how hard it would be, I thought it was just like moving to another town - only with an accent and driving on the left side of the road.  But it was more than that.  I had a cheap phone card, I could call the States anytime and talk for hours.  But that wasn't the same as an afternoon with the girlfriends or a bonfire with the gang.

 

So another identity loss.  Cascades of identity loss.

 

THEN I found Robert Whitaker, and went OMG.  OMG.  OMG.  Who is in there?  

 

I'm still finding out, only now (after living here for 12 years) I have friends, support, health people in place, so it feels safe to look. 

 

But I've lost my identity and found a new one so many times that I'm not really sure.  I was this, I was that, I was a wife, I was an accountant, I was a spirituality, I was nothing.  

 

What is left?  I am a wife, again.  I am a mother to a cat (she is an old girl now!).  I am passionate and interested in world events.  Natural therapies.  Surviving Antidepressants (both the act and the forum).  I care about my husband, I care about my friends, I have no problem putting others first now.  Some of you have always put others first and wonder who you are - but I am finding it is clearer to me (I was always selfish and reckless with other people) that in giving to people I am learning, and growing.

 

So there are glimmers of who I was - I may not play music, but I listen with a musician's ear.  I may not make art, but I sure do enjoy it in others.  I may not write anything except for forums and messages - but I sure appreciate fine writing when I read it.  There are glimmers of what I thought I was.  But there are losses too.  

 

 

 

Junior:   If I couldn't be the mother I wanted to be, and eventually take my position as a grandmother, who the hell was I?

 

Yeah.  That.  But I have to be glad that I, unlike Petu, didn't put any children through those decades of madness.  I might make an acceptable Mom now, but I would never have been a good one - and never will be.  What's left?

 

I've said at times that a tree is more valuable to this earth than I am.  I am a consumer, a drag on humanity.  If I could give my life to do something great, to save our biosphere, or some species of plant or animal, I would accept that porpoise in a heartbeat.  The right opportunity (or energy) has not presented itself.

 

Whew!  y'all really brought up a big one for me!

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Wildflower0214

I have no idea who I am. I can't remember who I was. This is breaking my heart. I have no idea who I will be in the other side of this. I can't remember what came before the meds, I can't remember.....

 

This is an awful awful feeling

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Jopro

 

I feel as if I am going through some kind of identity crisis. All of my core beliefs, I am finding it difficult to hold on to.

 

I think WD just pushes us into a place where we have to take a serious look at what we believe. I know this has been very true for me.

 

 

I agree, for me, this withdrawal process has slowly been stripping me of everything I believed about myself and life.   One by one, parts of 'me' have been falling away, leaving me completely empty of any sense of being someone.

 

All the roles in life I played have been put under extreme stress by the effects of coming off these drugs too fast.  The most difficult one has been suddenly losing my ability to be the kind of mother I used to be.  This was part of my identity and now its gone and I feel lost in my relationship with my daughter.  I'm no longer smart, funny, patient, enthusiastic, optimistic, curious or good at solving problems, suddenly, my brain no longer works the way it used to, there's no stability in my experience of life, no predictability and so no enduring sense of identity.

 

There's no longer an old 'me' inside to turn to for cues about how to act or what to say, each moment now is like a new beginning, I never know what I'm going to say or do, until it actually happens.  I'm watching life play itself out through my body, there is no longer anyone in control, no identity steering this ship, but somehow, life is still happening in this new reduced fashion and so far nothing bad has happened.

 

If it wasn't so terrifying it would feel like freedom.  I used to have values and ideals and thought I knew stuff.  But now I'm realizing that I don't know anything for certain, and never really did. I had strong beliefs and knew that my beliefs were the right ones, but now there is nothing which shields me from the reality of knowing that I don't know the truth about anything, including myself.

 

I've done plenty of rambling about this very topic in my own intro thread, as Narcissus noted.  

 

I think that for some people, going through a difficult withdrawal process, can be a catalyst for deeper, transformational changes, where we let go of old ways of thinking and being that no longer work, not necessarily a bad thing, although painful to experience.....and as Junior points out, perhaps there is some grief work going on here as we struggle to let go of old concepts which used to provide comfort and security.  I'm finding that I'm grieving the loss of people in my life who are still very much alive, it seems like I am having to let go of all my relationships on some emotional level while still being in the relationship.  But its me who is dying, I am grieving my own death while still very much alive. 

 

Yes, and I found this that may or may not be helpful to read:

http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/falling-through-empty-space.html

 

Thanks for this Joannad, I've been reading through other posts on his blog too, I'm finding I relate to much of it.

 

 

Petu .

 That was not rambling It was excellent!!!

I feel like Ive been taken into outer space and kicked out the craft. As you cleverly pointed out . This COULD be freedom, It could be a fresh start but its terryfing and we cant trust ourselves to do the right thing any more!! :(  :(

 Everything I ever was is lost. I can no longer relate to anyone nor do I even believe my own opinions because I don't know who I am. Everything that was me is gone.

I hang on to certain beliefs like my Christianity in the hope that I was right when I could think straight. But  I doubt everything now and that is scary

Even my family, partner daughter  and grandchildren. I go through the motion with them acting by instinct rather than love. Im sure I do love them but only very rarely do I have a spark of feeling it..

Healing for me will be complete when I have a sense of self back and not a minute before.

I could take the rest if I could have "Me"

Is it some sort of protective mode we go into so that we don't fee the pain. ...like an alternative personality?

 

Does anyone here believe that we wont get out core personality back???

I am all for growing and changing  and learning from this but I became a born again Christian  only 6 years before I went into wd and I REALLY  liked her!!

It was the first time in my life that I liked myself!! and im 57 now.

Now... well there is nothing to like. !!!

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Petunia
 Everything I ever was is lost. I can no longer relate to anyone nor do I even believe my own opinions because I don't know who I am. Everything that was me is gone.

 

The only people I can genuinely relate to now are people on forums like this. Its like as if the unrelenting, unimaginable horror that we go through, strips away layers of protective reality, leaving us floundering around, trying to survive in terrifying realms which we have never encountered before.  There's no language to communicate these things, so we are separated from the people around us, isolated from the comfort of a loving community.  Their reality is no longer our reality, so we pretend and function from memory, hoping that one day, the nightmare will end.

 

I have memories of what it used to be like, to believe the stories I told myself about who I was, I used to believe the stories other people told about themselves too, but now, its liked I've seen or touched some deeper, awful reality which lays just below the surface of what our cultured personalities protect us from.  For me, its like my final layer of protection is gone. I am gone. Maybe not completely. Something is still here, watching, waiting, hoping, but its not me. There seems to be 2 of me.  One is quietly watching, the other is waiting, hoping and struggling.  I'm not sure which one is the real me.

 

Somehow, this withdrawal has ripped away everything I believed to be true about myself and the world around me.  My beliefs protected me, kept me locked tightly inside a safe small box where I had the illusion of some control... it was comfortable.  Over the years I'd managed to build a self identity which I mostly liked, sometimes not, I guess I had a kind of love/hate relationship with myself.  Perhaps the problem was that my identity had been built on a foundation of harmful lies and that's what needed to go first in order for something better to be built on truth.  The biggest lie, which has haunted my identity like a starving ghost is that there is something wrong with me.  This lie has taken on different flavors over the years, the last one was that I was chemically imbalanced.  The irony is, that now, after years of SSRI drugs, I probably am.

 

I don't believe my own opinions either, actually I find it almost impossible now to even form an opinion, let alone believe it.  Thoughts and ideas flow through my mind and I watch them come and go, thinking... "yes, that's possible, but I really don't know"  I don't even know who it is that's writing these words, ideas are forming, but they're not mine.  Its a struggle to make myself keep typing because I don't know anything, including why I'm here or what I'm actually doing or if there's even any point to anything.

 

I don't know if this lack of identity, meaning and purpose is just a symptom of protracted withdrawal, and 'I' will return eventually when my nervous system fixes itself, or if I'm being burned away into nothing so that something based in truth can be reborn from the empty space.

 

It probably doesn't matter either way, because there's nothing I can do to speed up the process.  Perhaps its both.

 

Does anyone here believe that we wont get out core personality back??

 

 

I've been sitting here thinking about this for a while, wondering if I should even write about what I was thinking because as I wrote previously, I don't believe my thoughts, so its impossible to believe anything.  But this is what occurred to me.

 

Even though it might not feel like it, none of us lose our personalities through this experience.  Our personality is our own unique way of 'being' in the world.  Its not a noun, its a verb.  Our personality goes into effect when we interact with anything outside of ourselves, its not something we have, its something we do.  We may start to interact in the world differently while going through withdrawal, due to the symptoms and strange sensations, but I think once the worst of it is over, we will no longer need to be so self protective.

 

But I think identity is an entirely different thing.  An identity is a set of ideas or beliefs about who we think we are. Including thinking that we are our personality.  If we really believe that we are these ideas that we have about ourselves and withdrawal proves us wrong, then it would be difficult to recreate those beliefs again.  Once we recover, we can go on to create new beliefs to live by or abandon having beliefs about ourselves altogether and live spontaneously, recreating ourselves new in each moment, based on what would be best in the current circumstances....not an easy way to live and I think most people going through withdrawal eventually create a new improved identity integrating some of the old with new strengths and values learned by going through a difficult experience.

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btdt

That was a fabulous post Petu!  Thank You. 

I am so with you on this and think some day we will either meld into something we can live with in some sense of honor for where we have been and become a solid as possible in ourselves as fluctuating entities that know there is no such thing as the safety of identity or personality as we use to know it.... just the illusion of it. 

 

I am wondering what it will be if I will ever be truly functional in any respect in relating with other people who have not been here.  To me we are a new species. 

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LoveandLight

Urgh horrible. I'm feeling maybe that the terror comes from lack of identity..

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btdt

Urgh horrible. I'm feeling maybe that the terror comes from lack of identity..

or adrenaline rushes... :0 

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