I read 'The Power of Now' a long time ago, probably shortly after it was published, I was on SSRIs at the time. While emotions are being suppressed, it makes it less likely for our 'pain body' to be triggered.
But even so, reading the book was a turning point in my life, it gave me some tools I could use to help me live more consistently in the present moment and avoid unnecessary anxiety which comes from habitual thinking about an imagined future. For a while I carried the book around with me, if seemed like it contained magic.
But going through withdrawal has taken anxiety and run away thought processes to a completely new level. When I was at my worst, my 'pain body' was all I knew of myself, it was activated all the time. I was too late to be able to reinstate and so I'm having to work with this pain body aspect of myself, learning how to face it and integrate parts of it into my whole self, and let go of what's not real, its an ongoing process.
Being in the present moment is the only way I've been able to remain sane and at times I've had to fight with everything I have to keep my thoughts from spiraling out of control into an imaginary nightmare version of the future. Its been the most difficult circumstances in which to be in 'the now', because the now contains very unpleasant sensations and the impulse is to escape from them. But withdrawal hit and it was like it was my time to 'pay the piper', no more running because running meant escaping into my thoughts, which had become nightmare versions of themselves. So being in the now has been the only way I've remained sane. By facing my present moment discomfort and letting it be there...no matter how bad it gets, that's how I avoid causing the secondary conflict, which adds fuel to the fire (more fear) and the suffering starts to decrease.
We have a topic on neuro-emotions, which suggests that the intense emotions aroused in withdrawal are in fact not real. They are obviously not part of who we normally are, but I've always questioned the idea that they are not real. To me, they have felt very real, connected to me in some way and shocking because until now, I've never had to consciously face things so hideous and unbearable about myself. If we are going to call this our 'pain body', then perhaps it isn't an original part of who we are, but something which developed over the course of our life, through experiences, since birth, but definitely attached to us, until we somehow manage to dissolve it, or at least minimize its influence over our lives.
Life would be much easier if we never had to encounter such a thing, but the idea of a previously well suppressed 'pain body' being unleashed by withdrawal works well for me.
Before my antidepressant era, I had a persistent pain body which was getting more and more difficult to ignore. I had become consciously aware of this 'negative' aspect of myself during my early 20's, through reading other self help books and by discovering my own ability to watch my thoughts and actions, but back then, I didn't understand the importance of watching without judgement, I became my own harsh critic and found myself in lots of conflict with my own natural patterns.
Not only did I have poor self esteem, a harsh inner critic, and difficulties managing my emotions, but then I became critical of myself for being this way, once I became aware of it. It took me a long time to understand that accepting reality meant also accepting what I've been conditioned to believe were the unacceptable realities about myself, including having emotions at all, ...its work in progress.
Zoloft had shut all that down to a large extent, my inner explorations, my conscious attempts to grow, heal and integrate got covered in a thick, sludgy glue-like experience. I knew my life used to be on a different path, but somehow it didn't seem important any more... I ate ice cream, watched TV and played video games at night instead of reading books and meditating.. I had become more main-stream normal.
When I was in protracted withdrawal from Effexor last year, I didn't realize what was happening. I had never felt such darkness and fear. Feelings of doom, dread, and thoughts of not being able to go on were unlike anything i had experienced before in my life. It was a truly terrifying time...
...I've always had a strong Pain Body, was totally identified with it. I think withdrawal makes the Pain Body take on heightened proportions, like King Kong! Anyway, awareness is the beginning.
I agree, whatever we call the intense emotions and sensations which are caused by withdrawal, for most of us, its impossible to remain unaware of them. The first step in solving a problem is to become aware of it... to see it, to shed some light on it. Perhaps that's what enlightenment really is, bringing things up into the light, seeing what's really part of us and what isn't and letting go of what's not, including all the scary stuff which has been hiding down there in the dark.
Tolle suffered for many many years before his brain "rewired" and reached "enlightened" state. Just like any activity physical or mental it requires years of practice. Same with Buddha, who suffered for many years before he found his path.
I very much would like to accept the now and not suffer.
If anyone can add some hints on that I would be greatful.
It can be difficult understanding how acceptance of the now leads to the end of suffering. It helps to first understand the difference between pain and suffering. We can never avoid pain, that's part of the experience of life in a physical body. Suffering, I believe is a purely human experience, we have a unique 'mind', which is able to compare different states of existence in time. We learn, through our cultural conditioning non-acceptance of the current reality in an attempt to create better and better outcomes for ourselves through life. The down side of this is that when we find ourselves in unpleasant situations, with no possible escape, our habit of non-acceptance, through our programmed mind patterns causes suffering, through conflict between the current reality, the impulse to escape and our mind locked into a loop of trying to solve an unsolvable problem.
So, to end the suffering, our mind has to be unlocked from its patterned activities and made still, so that we relax into reality, whatever it contains, there may still be pain (sensations), but with no judgement and no striving to escape, there is no longer any suffering. If the pain is emotional, it always comes to a natural conclusion if left alone and allowed to move through the body. Much of our physical pain is self resolving too, if we leave it alone. Our bodies have evolved to self heal, if given the right environment and conditions.
Acceptance of 'the now' does take a lot of practice because most of us have been locked into our conditioned past/future thought processes for years, with no awareness at all. If someone is born into a favorable life and situation, who doesn't encounter much difficulty, then there is little incentive to do the work or even step on 'the path' in the first place.
For me, I see withdrawal as life shoving me back onto a path I made the mistake of falling off by starting on SSRIs, but now I get to do the fast paced, intense course because I wasted so much time.
This thread should probably be moved to the 'finding meaning' forum, there's an Eckhart Tolle topic there already. If there is no further discussion here in the next few days I will do that.
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.
My Introduction Thread
Full Drug and Withdrawal History
Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety)
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 seem to help: High doses of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Garlic and Ginger. Taurine,
Vit D3, L-Theanine and Inositol. I'm one of the rare people who react badly to fish oil.
June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.
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