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"Forest bathing" reduces cortisol, aids mood, immune system


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#1 Altostrata

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 02:56 PM

http://www.nytimes.c...lth/06real.html

The Claim: Exposure to Plants and Parks Can Boost Immunity, Lower Cortisol

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR July 5, 2010 NYTimes

THE FACTS

....for those who can take the heat and cope with the pollen, spending more time in nature might have some surprising health benefits. In a series of studies, scientists found that when people swap their concrete confines for a few hours in more natural surroundings — forests, parks and other places with plenty of trees — they experience increased immune function.

Stress reduction is one factor. But scientists also chalk it up to phytoncides, the airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect them from rotting and insects and which also seem to benefit humans.

One study published in January included data on 280 healthy people in Japan, where visiting nature parks for therapeutic effect has become a popular practice called “Shinrin-yoku,” or “forest bathing.” On one day, some people were instructed to walk through a forest or wooded area for a few hours, while others walked through a city area. On the second day, they traded places. The scientists found that being among plants produced “lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure,” among other things.

A number of other studies have shown that visiting parks and forests seems to raise levels of white blood cells, including one in 2007 in which men who took two-hour walks in a forest over two days had a 50-percent spike in levels of natural killer cells. And another found an increase in white blood cells that lasted a week in women exposed to phytoncides in forest air.

THE BOTTOM LINE

According to studies, exposure to plants and trees seems to benefit health.
_______________________________


And here's another study, from the BBC in the UK:

http://news.bbc.co.u...lth/8654350.stm

'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health'
Saturday, 1 May 2010 00:01 UK

Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim.

In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.
....

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said the research is yet further evidence that even a short period of green exercise can provide a low cost and drug-free therapy to help improve mental wellbeing.

"It's important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate."
...."
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

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#2 Altostrata

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:08 PM

From http://www.takingcha...turbulent-times , an online walk in Nature.

Take 5: If you have only 5 minutes to spare or if you can't get outside, check out this short video that immerses you in a northern Minnesota forest as spring unfolds. Created by renowned nature photographer Craig Blacklock in collaboration with the Center for Spirituality & Healing, this unique video uses guided imagery paired with verbal prompts, music, and nature sounds to lead you through a series of stress reduction exercises.

You can choose to watch the video in one of three ways:


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

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#3 Barbarannamated

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:59 PM

Very interesting - I've felt much worse living in a barren desert area of Southern California with very little green - it feels so dead especially in the hot summer - A few times I went to a golf course or small strip of green anywhere just to get some green -
Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

#4 Tom

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:58 PM

On a somewhat related subject, lately I've been hearing about "earthing," as being beneficial for one's health. Something I've been meaning to look into.
Approximately 18 years on Effexor. Tapered for more than two years. Totally off of Effexor since late Oct. 2010.

#5 Nikki

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:41 AM

I live in Jupiter Florida which is a beautiful place. I am originally from NYC. Every Saturday morning @ 9am I go to an Al-anon Meeting under the Juno Beach Pier and I immediatley feel a sense of peace. The view is gorgeous and the meetings are great. Al-Anon is for friends & families of alcoholics. Hugs

Intro: http://survivinganti...ndown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine


#6 Altostrata

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

Also see "Forest bathing" reduces cortisol, aids mood, immune system
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

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#7 Altostrata

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:58 PM

Also see Virtual "forest bathing": Guided imagery for stress relief This is fun!
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

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#8 alexjuice

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:19 PM

Has anyone been getting oustide more with Spring underway? I have restarted walking, but would like to do some 'walking in the woods'... It's going to get tougher as in a few weeks it will be very very hot without interruption until late September. Anyone have any experience?

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#9 Nikki

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

Alto that video was lovely and there are alot more to check out....Hooray for Youtube :)

Intro: http://survivinganti...ndown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine


#10 Altostrata

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

The cherry trees are blooming now on the city streets. Warm breezes waft.
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

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#11 Barbarannamated

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:43 PM

Alto, that sounds so nice. It was in the triple digits here yesterday. I've always been a summer person, but the extreme heat is stifling where I live now. It's early morning or evening activity. Everyone stays inside during day. Fortunately, I can drive just up the hill and it's about 10-20 degrees cooler. Alex, do you have areas where the temps are more tolerable? I was going thru Texas last summer and that heatwave was brutal.
Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

#12 Jemima

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:25 PM

Gardening does it for me. Just walking around the beds quirting vinegar on weeds or noting how new plants are coming along is very de-stressing. Today I planted a Black Beauty Elderberry and despite the cold weather, wet knees, and muddy hands, I definitely felt much better afterward. I'm wondering if having an arrangement of houseplants in the bedroom would do the same thing and perhaps take the edge off in the mornings? Anyone know?

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


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Success Story: http://survivinganti...r-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.

 


#13 Rhiannon

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:19 AM

This is reminding me that I need to get out into the woods again...I went to the beach this past weekend and walked a lot along the beach and felt so much better afterwards, even slept for a long time. I go for walks in town and it's better than nothing but it's not the same as going out into the woods or to the ocean. Makes sense, really, that we would be healthiest in the environment our bodyminds evolved to be adapted to. (Which was not cities full of petrochemicals. And buildings full of fluorescent lights and polluted air.)

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" as I was told. Long and tragic story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything.

 

Now tapering, ironically (but not surprisingly) healthier and more functional than I ever was during the years on the "meds," even with withdrawal (usually fairly mild at this slow pace).

 

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 14 2011:   86 mg Neurontin   144 Lamictal,    5.5 Celexa   0.42 Xanax      1.9 mg Valium

Feb 16 2012:   10 mg Neurontin   115 Lamictal     3.7 Celexa   0.285 Xanax     2.0 Valium

Feb 22 2013:   86 Lamictal    2.05 Celexa       0.23 Xanax      1.8 Valium

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    

Now:                43                    0.625                 0.0775            1.3

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.


#14 alexjuice

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:44 AM

Alex, do you have areas where the temps are more tolerable? I was going thru Texas last summer and that heatwave was brutal.

Not entirely. It's pretty hot within 500 miles in any direction.

Evidently, the advent of air conditioning was the greatest factor in Houston's development into a metropolis. Due to the heat, in the summer nobody does anything outside except early morning or after 7pm, for the most part. Last summer was horrid. Not only did a lot of places burn, but there were occasional reports of healthy people -- I especially recall a high school football coach aged 50 -- just dropping dead from heat exposure. I hope it's more mild this year.

One exceptional thing: We have a public spring, it's pretty famous. The water stays 68 F year round which is amazing b/c the lake water is 90 plus degrees come August. I could go swim there. Also, maybe I can get out of town for a short while?? I'd like to visit the Big Sky mountain west, Montana or Idaho or something.

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#15 cymbaltawithdrawal5600

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:32 AM

Forgive if this has been posted elsewhere, but in thinking about a weird 'forest bathing' experience I had (my intro topic), I came across this: http://labyrinthlocator.com/ Oh! There's one within a few miles of me, at a Hospice! And I noted a site that mentioned that Goog maps has a locator for labyrinths. Yummy!
What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivinganti...ion/#entry50878

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

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

#16 Altostrata

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 02:10 PM

http://well.blogs.ny...nges-the-brain/

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain
By Gretchen Reynolds NY Times July 22, 2015
 

....

So for the new study, which was published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Bratman and his collaborators decided to closely scrutinize what effect a walk might have on a person’s tendency to brood.

Brooding, which is known among cognitive scientists as morbid rumination, is a mental state familiar to most of us, in which we can’t seem to stop chewing over the ways in which things are wrong with ourselves and our lives. This broken-record fretting is not healthy or helpful. It can be a precursor to depression.

....

the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk....

 


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

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#17 bluebalu86

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 03:02 PM

I can say that I find walking in nature really helpful. Whenever I feel more able, I go on walks with my mom to the local parks. One of the parks has a large forest area and I go there. There's also a nice mountain near my city, but I feel too fragile to go there right now because my mom doesn't drive and we don't have a car and have to use public transportation, which makes me feel vulnerable. But on the whole, I find nature very soothing and often wish I lived in the forest. I also find water very soothing - lakes, rivers, even city fountains. I also wish I had a garden, I love gardens and find them very therapeutic, but I live in an apartment. Maybe I can start building a small indoors garden? It's better than nothing. 


I suffer from depression, anxiety, pure-o ocd, and panic attacks since 2004. Been on multiple different psychiatric drugs since 2006. Never had a significant WD problem before, only brain zaps for a month and then I'd be fine...............Been on Cipralex (escitalopram) 15 mg and Fluanxol (flupentixol) 1 mg since Sep 2014. Stopped taking the Cipralex after a fast 20-day taper.Took the last 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 5th, 2015. Then took Seroxat (paroxetine) 10 mg for a week, and stopped it too. Severe WD started suddenly on Feb 16th. RI 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 18th, 2015. RI worked and was relatively stable for a while................April 7 - decreased Fluanxol from 1 mg to 0.5 mg and took it at this dose for a week. - BIG MISTAKE; April 13 - WD starts creeping in; April 14 - RI full dose of Fluanxol 1 mg => severe muscle twitching and jerking when trying to relax and fall asleep, overwhelming sense of doom, dread, terror, and horror, insomnia, hoping to stabilize.
Tried doing a 10% cut off Fluanxol in the end of May for a few days, but quickly updosed to full dose because the twitching returned.
Experiencing waves and windows in the following months.
Unsuccessful brief taper attempt of Fluanxol by 5% on November 1st. Symptoms hit the next day. Too scared to continue tapering, reinstate full dose.
Severe crash in November after stupidly trying a barbiturate on November 9th. Grave mistake. Sense of unshakable inescapable internal torture, like my soul is in hell being tortured, terror/horror/dread/doom (probably akathisia?) that gets especially bad when trying to relax and fall asleep, muscles twitch, jerk and move on their own, shaking, insomnia, can't eat, confusion, disorientation, brain not working normally. Never felt so bad in my entire life. Never experiment with other meds while in WD! Praying to God I stabilize and get back to my baseline.
December - things getting even worse.

January - unbearable suffering


#18 marie123

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 06:41 AM

I remember reading Alto's posts of forest bathing. Even though I haven't been feeling that great, I decided to go the New York Botanical Gardens. I haven't been there years and I have to say it was just fabulous. The tour guide mentioned there were over a million plants and trees in the gardens. We were walking for hours in the different gardens. I smelled a lot of the flowers, took pictures, it was great. There was an impressionist art exhibit with different painted flower scenes in the library there, and later you could go the gardens where the same flowers were planted. It was a great distraction and I highly recommend it.

 

Marie


10/13--10/14 Ambien   Done                                                                                  

3/14  7.5 Remeron  still taking this.                              

2/14         75 Trazodone   -    Tapered by dry cutting all the way down.

2/22/15    69 Traz

3/13/15    63 Traz

4/12/15    56 Traz

5/14/15    50 Traz

6/3/15      47 Traz

7/3/15      45 Traz

9/10/15    37 Traz

10/10/15  33 Traz, 10/24/15 30 mg 11/5/15 25 mg 11/20 12.5 mg 12/9/15 9 mg 12/22 6 mg 1/1/16 4 mg JUMPED.4/2/16 Rein 1 mg, 6/7/16 updose 2mg

8/13/16    1.1 Traz tapered from 2 mg, 10/26/16 1 mg Traz .92 mg CURRENT DOSE


#19 AmyK

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 10:46 PM

Nature, especially forests, has always been a great healer for me. Ten years ago I had a burn out, and after a few months, when I felt a bit better and slowly went back to work, I sometimes spent two days in a row during the weekend walking on paths in the woods. It lowered the heartbeats and calmed down the whole system. I became a forest addict! :)
"Forest bathing", such a great expression.

Tapering Zoloft since 2011. Current dose: 0,006 mg

 

0,009 mg 8 April 0,013 mg 25 March 0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March? 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

 

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg

2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg

2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg

2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg

2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg

2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

 

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks, then after two weeks up to 50 mg, which dose I was only on for five weeks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months on 25 mg/12 mg/18,75 mg I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the prevoius dose all the way from 17,5 mg.


#20 Lawyerliz

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 10:35 AM

Well, after reading about your gee walk I went out and chopped some sawgrass, which is the bane of Florida gardeners. Felt super fatigued when I started, and only slightly more fatigued when I stopped

#21 mammaP

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:43 AM

Not the real thing but this video is amazing. Last night my BP was high but lowered within 15 minutes of watching this. It's the best thing I've seen in ages. 

 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

See how to create a signature here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12364-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Many drugs for many years, prescribed diazepam first 1973, took occasionally. 3 or 4 tricyclics  for short periods.

1993 had a breakdown leading to 10 years of drug experiments with all classes of psych drugs.

2002  effexor. 

Tapered by counting beads from March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

 

Also tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg -hold- Feb2016 46mg  March 8 2016 45 April 44mg  May 11  43mg June 14 42mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, pro biotic.

 

My story http://survivinganti...king-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

Following every sunset is a brand new day


#22 AprilShowers

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:22 PM

Oh that's brilliant. I have that campfire thing on my YouTube favourites but I never thought to use it to calm my symptoms down. I'm going to try that tomorrow morning when my symptoms are spiked. 

I remember trying to earth myself in the last withdrawal spike I had which was in winter. Deeply unpleasant to stand barefoot on frozen ground but I was doing anything that might bring me relief. I do think it was worth it although the neighbours probably thought I was a madwoman. 


2000: Use of venlafaxine for moderate depression for two years. Tapered off with no major problems. 

2010: Venlafaxine 5 years, doses between 75-150-300. Tolerated but only partially stabilised the severe depression & escallating side effects. 

Adverse reactions to citalopram (tried before venlafaxine), sertraline & mirtazapine (tried after venlafaxine became problematic) with suicidal ideation caused. 

2014: Adverse reaction to one prozac pill which I tried to begin taking in order to stabilise the withdrawal and actually made it horrendously worse. My body & brain went on fire two hours after taking the pill and severe WD began.

Spring 2014: CEASED ALL ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Did take occasional lorazepam (two weeks at first followed by the occasional half tablet at night sometimes.

2014: WD: living hell for five months, gradually improved a little by little for almost a year and a half but with frequent heart palpitations, weakness and anxiety and very poor sleep. Struggled to do things both physically & mentally but was improving slowly. 

2015: WD relapse with full symptoms. anxiety/panic triggered beyond initial anxiety resurgence by a couple of small half doses of Lorazepam that seem to have restarted all the WD symptoms I had in the beginning & ruined all the progress I had made. 

2017: Bad reaction to propranolol beta blockers. Nervous system kindled into violent shaking like withdrawal again. Alerting system on overdrive. 

 

Current Supplements: Omega 3 & Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium & pre/probiotics.