33 posts in this topic

I am writing this as an addendum to My Story which details what ADs did to my life and discusses to a degree how I got my life back. However, I am writing this to elaborate on what certain problems where posed both physically and logistically after I stopped taking medications. Please keep in mind that I went COLD TURKEY and did not taper, which differentiates me from many people on here; also my story took place over 10 years ago, so my memory is not is 100% clear which means it is hard for me to apply a quantitative number to aspects of my physical recovery.

 

In 2002 I quit cold turkey from a drug cocktail that included an Antidepressant (Celexa), an Antipsychotic (Zyprexa), an Anticonvulsant (Depakote), a Benzo (Ativan), a Z-Drug (Ambien) and a prescription diet pill (Phenteramine – given to me by my pdoc to lose the 60 pounds of weight I gained from the other weight gaining medications).

 

The physical ramifications of quitting cold turkey where hard core, and lasted to the best of my recollection in hard core form for six months. These were: insomnia, exhaustion, akathesia, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting, total loss of appetite and over-sensitivity to certain substances. There were also mental symptoms: overwhelming memories, mania, depression, over-emotional reactions to certain situations (e.g. crying or extreme anger) and PTSD from the whole ordeal.

 

It is important to note that many of these symptoms continued to linger in a much lesser form for several years. I know that many of you would like a firm number of how long I suffered, but I cannot put a number on it because I started my recovery in 2002 – 10 years ago. This is further complicated by the fact that to get through the exhaustion from WD, I smoked cigarettes anywhere from one to one and a half packs for many years after. Since smoking can mimic some of the symptoms of WD (loss of appetite, headaches, mania, anger) it is hard to delineate what was what. However, I do believe that smoking provided mental focus that I would not have had otherwise. I finally quit smoking in 2007, five years after stopping meds. It was an odd thing, I just stopped one day and no longer wanted to smoke anymore. Maybe this was a sign of my recovery, but it may also have been a reaction to the fact that because of NY laws and my husband, if I needed to smoke I had to go outside. Smoking outside in the rain or cold was getting stupid. I do believe that part of this was a sign of final recovery – I didn’t need to mask symptoms anymore. So if this is true, and I had to put a number on it – I would say I battled with minor symptoms and PTSD for five years

 

So what problems was I left with after drugs had stolen my life? And how did I regain control? Here is a list:

 

Weight Gain

A ruined job history

A ruined credit history from filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Over $20K in debt to the IRS plus two tax liens

PTSD

Estrangement from my family

 

I was fully aware of the PTSD, and would think on occasion of reaching out to a therapist. However, because the whole ordeal left me extremely suspicious of the whole field of mental health, I declined to reach out to anyone.

 

So based on this list, I will try to tackle how I recovered in each area:

 

1) Weight Gain: I lost my appetite during WD and I also became a huge walker. In one year I lost sixty pounds with little effort. I did eat, but I ate very small meals, 200 kcal 3-5 times a day, mostly high protein and I ate an apple a day and I drank a TON of herbal tea.

 

2) A ruined job history: I had been fired from three high paying jobs, all in IT. I had no references, a job gap of four years, but I had good computer and office skills so I reached out to temporary agencies. I worked as a temp for many years, in the NY/NJ area only taking jobs at Fortune 500 companies. I built up my resume this way. Today, I list those jobs as “contract” and I explain that I liked the flexibility of “contract work” and that I was in the process of getting married and building a home with my husband, no one questions it.

 

3) A ruined credit history: I got a copy of all three of my credit reports and joined a credit law forum. I found that there were many examples where creditors where breaking either or both the FCRA or FDCPA laws on my credit report. I also hired an attorney. The attorney got 50% of it cleared up, I got the other 50% cleared up myself by tenacious letter writing and disputing with the Credit Bureaus. The forum I used had a great database of creditors who gave people with Bankruptcy on their reports a card with a small credit line; I applied to all of these and rebuilt my credit this way. When I married my husband in 2005, he added me as an authorized user to his accounts, giving me a longer and stronger credit history.

 

4) Tax Debt and Liens: After hiding from the IRS for several years, I contacted them and got on an installment plan. Because I was not working at the time I called them, my payment amount was on $185 for $20K+ in debt. I paid it faithfully for years; in October 2011 I was paid in full. Because the IRS has a law that you cannot pay more than 25% in interest and penalties of the actual tax debt, a good $10K got knocked off the total bill. But I still had two tax liens on my credit report. I did some research and found out about a service called the Tax Advocate service which is run through the IRS. I contacted my local Tax Advocate. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the details of how I argued my case to get two tax liens released, but I did and in 2005 poof they were gone from my life and my credit report. If anyone needs more info, I would be happy to answer questions later in this post.

 

5) PSTD: I just endured this, but chose to embrace anger over victimhood. I was one extremely angry person for many years and I ruminated and had nightmares for years. I often thought about writing the SHRINK who did this to me, but refrained. One thing that I learned from this whole ordeal was to trust in my instincts which was empowering and allowed me to pick and chose my relationships with people and situations that were good for me. I let go of many friends who were not healthy for me.

 

6) Estrangement from my family: In 2003 I was estranged from my entire family (father, mother and brother). Today I am by choice still estranged from by father and brother. This is because I realize it is futile to ever expect them to change and to stay in relationship with them will only hurt me. I have however, repaired my relationship with my mother. I am extremely happy to share that six months ago I convinced her to move from Illinois to New York and reclaim her life. She tapered off multiple pmeds herself around 2007 and was left with two medical conditions diabetes and downbeat nystagmus from taking lithium and depakote for many years. She lived alone, my brother who lived close by was not helping her, and she was not getting the proper medical attention so she agreed with me. Today she lives 2 miles away from me, we are extremely close and I have helped her get her life back. My husband and she adore each other.

So that is how I put the pieces of my life back after being devastated by polypharmacy. And I joined this forum because I think it is important that people know that taking these medications can be extremely harmful on so many levels.

 

I hope this information helps someone out there. Please feel free to post any questions you may have.

 

I wish all of you the best and trust that if I could restore my life which was utterly devastated by psychiatry, you can too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My god , whatever! I knew from your previous posts you were incredibly strong and focused In your battle against these drugs! I just have such immense respect and admiration for all you've been through! I really give you cudos for helping your mom get better. Does anything get you down, now that you've lived through and survived this nightmare?

 

I think when I'm having a particularly heinous day, I will look back and read your story. You're amazing! Thank you for taking the time to write all of us sufferers. It really does give us hope!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for posting your story. It's a keeper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are amazing and your story of struggle and survival in fantastic and an inspiration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should write a book Whatever!

Rosie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anything get you down, now that you've lived through and survived this nightmare?

 

You have encovered the meaning of my screen name "whatever". As in go ahead disappoint me, threaten me, "whatever" I can take it.

 

But seriously, yes things do get me down, I just try not to stay down too long.

 

You know occasionally, I think about printing out my introduction from this forum and sending it the pdoc who I had. But that seems so melodramatic to do so, and I am not in a place where I want to punish him, I just occassionally go to a place of "I think you should know what you did doctor".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he should know too - perhaps a cameo in the movie ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cameo in the movie that is hysterical! You know I have been told I look a lot like a young Helen Mirren and have also been frequently compared to Meryl Streep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good visual - THANKS - and very talented-

Funny Helen Mirren story - I went to a screening of terrible movie she did (madam of ***** house in desert) and it was so bad I walked out - she was sitting right behind me in theater -

Wasn't any big Hollywood thing - just a regular movie theatre in Rancho Mirage with industry connections -

Love Ranch was the movie - wanted to stay for Q&A but movie was sooo bad -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find hope in your story. I have the utmost respect for you and to see such a strong will is inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing! I am also in New York...May I ask what part you live in....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find hope in your story. I have the utmost respect for you and to see such a strong will is inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing! I am also in New York...May I ask what part you live in....

 

Hudson Valley. What about you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much. I appreciate you for giving me & all of us hope for recovery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing this for us.

 

Lots of similarities: Weight gain ~ PTSD ~ I don't know if I have a ruined job history, or maybe it do.

 

In 2010 I had to stop making payments on 3 charge cards. Discover was not at all willing to negotiate. The other two were. I didn't pay for one month and they contacted me and told me they would cut the bill in half, however, I had to make 4 payments and close the account. I did. I had to take money out of my savings, but I did it. That was a big hit financially.

 

As a result it affected my credit score. Can you please give me the name of the organization you used? I am still paying Discover and the monthly payment are low now.

 

You were focused and stood up for yourself in spite of the WD. Good for you:)

 

The job history...I may start another post. Don't want to take away from what you presented to us.

 

Happy for you and your Mom...

 

Hugs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nikki:

 

I used this forum:

 

http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?act=idx

 

It is a self help forum. Places that offer to fix your credit are scams.

 

I did utilize a lawyer, for some of it, but that is only because I good grounds for a lawsuit against the reporting agencies, And they responded in my favor when we threatened to sue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing this for us.

 

Lots of similarities: Weight gain ~ PTSD ~ I don't know if I have a ruined job history, or maybe it do.

 

In 2010 I had to stop making payments on 3 charge cards. Discover was not at all willing to negotiate. The other two were. I didn't pay for one month and they contacted me and told me they would cut the bill in half, however, I had to make 4 payments and close the account. I did. I had to take money out of my savings, but I did it. That was a big hit financially.

 

As a result it affected my credit score. Can you please give me the name of the organization you used? I am still paying Discover and the monthly payment are low now.

 

You were focused and stood up for yourself in spite of the WD. Good for you:)

 

The job history...I may start another post. Don't want to take away from what you presented to us.

 

Happy for you and your Mom...

 

Hugs

 

Geez, I wish the credit card companies would have done that for me. When I first ran into financial trouble, they all essentially told me go to hell. Ditto for my car loan (I called then and demanded they take the car, since I could no longer afford the payments. You wouldn't believe the language I used to force them to come get the car.). Of course, it's all my fault that I would go on a spending spree when I was manic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What cracks me up is that I paid off the cards in four payment. $4,000 each. Total $8,000. So here I made such huge payments and they gave me a bad rating. I never really missed a payment that one month before they contacted me I sent them $25 with a letter explaining that I lost my job and could not make large monthly payments, but I could afford to make payments not exceeding $25. They wouldn't here of it.

 

And the government bailed them out....Crazy.

 

I have been issued other credit cards but the limit is low with the exception of American Express.

 

The banks are as bad as the Pharmaceutical Companies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever...

 

Read your post again this morning and will continue to read it when I need a boost...

 

Thank you so much. You are a very, very strong person to have endured a WD like that. Your life did come together:)

 

Hugs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nikki:

 

Thank you so much Nikki. It means a lot to hear that.

 

I wish you the best in your recovery. I was 38 when I quit drugs and spent my early 40's in recovery, I realize we are close in age, it is difficult when these drugs impair you at a time in life when you are faced with some of the biggest realities and decisions one has to make.

 

Stay in the fight, I believe in you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your page is like the Neuroemotion thread .... keep reminding myself 1) the emotions are neurointensified and 2) it IS possible to regain a life!

Thanks Whatever!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever , thats fantastic news and thank you for sharing, here's to many more happy years drug free, i wish you all the best - you deserve it xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever, i am new here so i hope you dont mind if i ask you some questions? If so, please forgive me.

 

1.) My biggest problem is depersonalisation and derealisation. I have it very sever. like i am only two eyes in the world. Like the world is 2d,..like i am not in this body or i dont recognize myself in the mirror. Its very scary. I am surprised that you can drop so many drugs at once cold turkey and dont have dp/dr. Or did you find a way out of it?

 

2.) You have off course a truly remarkable recovering story. But when i read these stories i always get a bit sad. And i hope you dont take this the wrong way cause i mean it sincere. But you had the worst WD ever; but you didnt have a major problem (an original disorder that brought you to meds) to return to. You had mild depression if i understand your other thread correctly. So i soooooooo much like to get hope from your story. But i then get sad cause i realize that wd is 50% of mine problem. I had a big anxiety disorder with massive social anxiety and agoraphobia (didnt speak, didnt leave the house) before i started this drug for so many years. But it off course just comes back and makes me hopeless.

Did you have any problems at all with dealing with yourself, your issues,..next to wd?

 

3.) if i read your story i see you worked out, you slept in a shelter, you worked in soupkitchen. But how did you do that? I am so scared. So at the end of my nerves. Leaving my house to get the mail is a days work. I am terrified when i see a spider, hear a sudden sound or the wind blow. I am so burned out. How were you able to do all that stuff in this condition?

 

 

ABOVE all;..thanks for your story. I learned from it. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remy I believe that if you read through the entire thread many of the questions that you asked, I have answered.

 

Of course what I went through is sad. It is terribly sad and terrifying. And for many, many years I lived with a combination of sadness and anger in the pit of my heart and I trusted no one. Even writing that statement brings tears to my eyes, but it is part of my life story. When things go bad in life some of us just kick into survilalist mode. I am one of those people. I just centered my thoughts on what I needed to do to get through the horrible situations as opposed to wallowing into what was happening to me. When all had settled and I was in safe place, I paid the price of stuffing those emotions and had to spend many years healing the emotional wreckage that I ignored to get through to a place of safety.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is absolutely amazing. But obviously not to be recommended!! I tried cold turkey but it totally crippled me and with two children I just couldn't put them and my husband through it for months/years on end, I'm sure like you I would've ended up losing so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate you taking the time to read my journey. You are correct, obviously I am not endorsing employing a CT approach. In fact, I think it serves as a strong warning sign as why not go CT.

 

If anything, I want those who read my story to understand that during this difficult road, psycholocal attitude is extremely important. You have to fight to get through such an orderel. Just as in war, you cannot predict what lurks ahead, but you can committ yourself that it is me that will win and survive and not the enemy (in this case pmeds, incompetent doctors).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading your Intro and Success stories was the reason I joined this site. You faced a horrible situation head-on and still kept going through unbelievable odds. It showed others it can be done. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever you quit all this in 2002 10 years of healing from your quit time to when you wrote this.  You obviously consider yourself healed when you wrote this.  I am amazed at your clarity and strength. Congratulations. I am amazed how well you and quickly you healed I do suspect perhaps it is like child birth and the pain of it dims in time :) (just a thought) . I am curious if in some way some of the drugs were protective in keeping the damage from other drugs lower...  I know it sounds silly coming from me.  I like to know things sometimes and am curious about this. 

I will not say I know what all your drugs do in the brain but when I have a good day I could look it all up. Do you recall what the doses of you medication were and how long you took each drug. 

will make myself a list here

Celexa, Zyprexa, Depakote, Ativan, Ambien and Phentermine 

Could you give dosage and how long you were on each drug.. will give reasons to follow. 

 

Yes I am seeking a better understanding I have a relative who is polydrugged and tho I know he suffers I find it really hard to believe he can maintain the amount of drugs he takes as long as he has without becoming ill. From your list I see a few that he takes. It just hit my head do some of these drugs protect his body from some of the side effects of the other drugs he is on.  Not that I will get an answer to this by your answering my question but this is what I was thinking every body thinks he is on too many drugs for too long to ever be without them.  And the number of pills he is on scares the crap out of me so in the past few years I have stopped suggesting he try to get off anything as I joined the team of he could not possibly cope.  Now I read your story and think maybe he could...just maybe

 

Not sure but it is something to think about. Previously my thought was he would taper off one at a time and he would not live long enough to get off them all and get any clarity of mind back at all. Still may be exactly the same... hard to tell as I have no Chrystal ball.  One year ago his doctor cut his effexor in half and he is back to 150 that is just one of his drugs. I think he has been suffering from that drop for a year now and many other drugs have been added and tried.

Thanks for being here you make it look easy or possible at least thank you for that it is important.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever, Thank you for sharing! How long were you on psy meds before you CT?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone! Thank you for replying to my thread. I'm back.

 

Here is a brief story of what I went through.

 

In 2012 I took a job which looked promising, AT FIRST. I was a Manager of IT Projects. But quickly this turned into a nightmare. 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. The woman who I worked for was demanding, to say the least. I quickly learned that everyone hated her. I had migraines everyday. One day, I had asked to leave one hour early. She fired me.

 

I WAS HAPPY!

 

Then came ankle surgery. It took eight months to heal. I couldn't drive for three months and had to take the bus to Physical Therapy. After three months of PT, I quit although I needed more. I had a consultation with my MD. He agreed with me and told me that I cannot do cardio, but I could weight lift all I wanted - except for ankle raises. So I joined a local gym and went there everday.

 

In 2014 I had a stroke. It was so bad they didn't think I would live or if I lived I wouldn't have the quality of life. I recovered 95% percent. I was hospitalized for two months, the second month I went into a rehabilitation hospital. I entered not knowing where I lived, couldn't identify objects, couldn't speak properly. I left walking, talking, they were anazed by my successful recovery.

 

There were many reasons that I had a stroke. But the number one reason is my "Mother". If you read what I wrote, I said we best friends.

 

Well, I learned that she was a pathological liar. She was nice to my face, but as soon as I left she said vicious lies about me. She advocated that I should divorce my Husband. She thought that if I were divorced, I would get the house and she can move in with me. I discovered this one month before I had the stroke. My "Mother" is the type of people who makes friends easily. But then she decides that there is something wrong with them. I doubt there is a resident of her apartment complex that likes her. She would befriend one of them and then one month later unfriend them. Also, she is an alcoholic and abuzer of Xanax.

 

I stopped talking to her officially when I was in the hospital. My Husband told me he had two conversations with her, to let her know my status. Both conversations contradicted one another. In one she said I was drug dealer. And she went as far as calling my ballet studio to let them know I had a stroke (I later learned). I am not a drug dealer.

 

During my hospitalization at the rehab center I told my Husband never to call her again. She knew I was at the rehab center and she tried calling me, but she didn't have the HIPPA number. Which is just a number where you can screen calls.

 

Because of my "Mother" who advised me to seek

psychiatristic help 14 years ago. I hold her responsible for what I went through. Yes, I take personal responsibility for what happened because I listened to the psychiatrist for five years. But, she was the person who suggested it in the first place. It is funny, because we had the same psychiatrist and she went on and on at how good he was and then one day he was evil.

 

The only family member I keep in touch with it my Aunt. She lived with my Mother and the same thing happened to her. They were friends since childhood. But when she was in her 70's when my Mother invited her to live with her. After six months she said the same thing she says about me. My Aunt is the most loving person you will ever meet. If it weren't for her as I was growing up, and the fact that I spent most of my time in ballet class - I would not be the brave person

I became.

 

So I am back, and I don't want anyone here to go what I went through. Anyone who is struggling to get off the drugs you or your loved one was put on, I am here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is amazing, Whatever. I wondered what had happened to you. Welcome back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever, you are incredible. I read your Success Story and went back and read your Intro. Your story of survival is profound. 

 

I also came off of a cocktail of 6 drugs, almost all cold turkey or rapid taper after 30 years use. A lot of 2013 is a complete blur of things I'm not proud of, including destroying my career. I'm currently working menial jobs and dealing with life in a large inner city housing complex while dealing with recovery issues. 

 

Your story gives me so much hope and something to hold onto. Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome story . Has the fatigue decreased if so how long do you think it took for it to go away ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dunno if you're still visiting SA but your whole story is inspirational to me. I'm 27 now. Two years ago I lost everything and also did put on a lot of weight too. I'm a rider but can't do that anymore since my body is wrecked right now. I'm nowhere near healthy as I went a bit overboard with everything. If you could get your life back, maybe I can too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now