Healing

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

195 posts in this topic

John, Your post has given me hope that the current trough i am in is Temporary!! I am into 18 days post my first taper of effexor. I have had some good days but yesterday...bam..I crashed, couldn't go to work! I have a stressful job dealing with sick people and can't afford to have a muddled brain. My head feels like it has pressure inside and when I turn my head everything goes swirly. My mood is low, I cried a lot yesterday. I wondered if depression is creeping back or is this the effects of tapering off effexor. My confidence is thrown and I feel trapped in my head. It is thursday morning here down under and I am going to spend time outside today. I am so pleased I have found this site,the support is great.

Annabel, you are very early into your taper.  The motto with these withdrawals are 1 step forward, 2 back.  Do not scrutinize your recovery by days.  Do it by weeks and for some by months.  I know (believe me) that months sound horrifying, but if you taper SLOWLY, the worst of it will be gone a lot sooner.  The tolerable remnants will be the symptoms gaged in months.  Not that I had any, but original disorders (IF they return) usually take a few months to return.  If these symptoms appear in days or even weeks, and especially if you never had them before, then it is highly likely that they're withdrawal.  Low mood, crying, headaches and vertigo are extremely common withdrawal symptoms.

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For some withdrawal symptoms hit after months of being off... it can be days wks or months. 

 

For me I did cold turkey I felt ok the first 6 wks.. nothing I could not handle then at six wks what I thought was the flu hit and stayed for a long time... followed by many other things.  That is cold turkey don't do it.

 

I have talked to people about this for years now and some seem to get symptoms they can't handle in days some in wks others in months... I am not saying there were no symptoms there were but nothing that made me go to bed and stay there till 6 wks. 

 

We are all different and the drugs are different too .. I am not just talking about Effexor but all the antidepressants.  Seems to my observation the longer half life drugs are more apt to have a longer time before withdrawal hits but I have not done a study on it or anything it just seems that way I could be wrong. 

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I saw the "stock market" graph from the first page of this topic, where there are ups and downs but over time things get better. Ummmmmm, that's not happening to me. January 2013 and May 2013 I experienced acute withdrawal for 6 to 10 weeks after dropping the dosage. In between those 2 drops and every since the acute withdrawal phase ended after the second drop in approximately August 2013, I have been in protracted withdrawal with no improvement. The worst symptom is severe chronic exhaustion. I get ups and downs, but I feel no improvement overall. None. I feel the same as I did in August 2013 and April 2013. I'm not even off the drug.....I'm taking 37.5mg of Effexor.

 

I've done lots of tests for thyroid and liver problems and all that. Shouldn't I be improving over time???

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I was thinking about windows and waves and thinking it's a bit like having a massive clear out of a room. During that process, it's natural to think "I don't know where to start!" or "why did I start this?".

 

We might get times where we clear out a drawer and its contents end up covering the floor (wave). Then we bag it all up and take the bags to the tip. It's clear again (window). Then we start on the next bit and the mess all comes back again. There may be a time (certainly in my experience of room sort outs, anyway!) where the room is covered in complete mess and we wonder if we will ever get the chaos sorted out (big wave) but we do.

 

As the room gets gradually cleared, sometimes it is clear before we start on the next bit and sometimes it is messy. But bit by bit, it gets sorted.

 

I find it helpful looking at it like this..it's a process. In a big wave I'm going to think, "okay, let's bag up the contents of this drawer".

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I was thinking about windows and waves and thinking it's a bit like having a massive clear out of a room. During that process, it's natural to think "I don't know where to start!" or "why did I start this?".

 

We might get times where we clear out a drawer and its contents end up covering the floor (wave). Then we bag it all up and take the bags to the tip. It's clear again (window). Then we start on the next bit and the mess all comes back again. There may be a time (certainly in my experience of room sort outs, anyway!) where the room is covered in complete mess and we wonder if we will ever get the chaos sorted out (big wave) but we do.

 

As the room gets gradually cleared, sometimes it is clear before we start on the next bit and sometimes it is messy. But bit by bit, it gets sorted.

 

I find it helpful looking at it like this..it's a process. In a big wave I'm going to think, "okay, let's bag up the contents of this drawer".

I hope it is like this in tapering maybe it is as you have some control over symptoms by how fast you taper and by what amount you taper and holding when your not feeling well...

 

This is NOT the case with too fast tapers and cold turkey there is a complete loss of control over the process it comes and takes over for an extended period of time the waves and windows coming without warning it is a completely different animal especially in the beginning... I think it imperative to have doctors explain the truth about these drugs when they hand them out and that the slow taper method be given to every one who has a pill in there hand. 

 

I hope with tapering you can choose when to bag it choosing when to open the next bit of crap.. in ct there is no such thing it is an extended loss of control for an extended period of time... dropping too big in too fast I think can bring on a taste of cold turkey... 

I am also concerned about what happens inside the brain of folks who go too fast or ct... I don't know but don't think it is a good thing... is how it feels has anything to do with it and the fact that use too fast and cold turkey people seem more apt to get protracted withdrawal. 

 

If knew all this before I took these drugs.. it is easy to say I would never have taken them and I would not have... but that does not help...

This helps..

I would do try the 10% drop and wait if I was ok after 6 wks ... I would do another 10% drop and keep going the first time I felt the process go off the rails I would stop and wait a good long time.. likely 12 wks before I tried to drop again.. when I did try I would drop by 5% 

 

That is what I would do if I was starting now in a taper to get off ... if I were on the drugs for months 

I would not fool around with this not one minute.  When you mess up the cost is just too high.  

If you have already messed up because you did not know any better forget about it and start with getting stable take you time and check your vitals often... then go slow.

Ask all the questions you need to have answered ask the folks who have lived it.. doctors I have talked to so far in my own care have been absolutely positively clueless. 

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Hi btdt.

 

Thanks for your reply. I was thinking more in terms of general waves and windows of recovery rather than sorting our drawer contents by tapering. I was just theorising and rambling! Thinking more in terms of what the brain might be doing while working to get back to normal, rather than what we were doing by tapering. I was thinking that the brain might be sorting out drawers in recovery but really, I have absolutely no idea!!! Just my mad musings rather than anything else.

 

I reinstated but messed up my doses and got into a bit of a tangle. I've now reinstated again at 1mg and am doing it properly this time. Been doing it 3 days. Was a bit better last night. Am going to hold at that dose and stabilise.

 

Sending my thoughts out you and everyone else. Hugs all round.

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I see what you mean yes sorting and healing is what your brain is trying to do 

keep in mind that you can control some of how you feel by tapering

and using the ideas on here to get thru rough patches if you have them...

It is best I think to never go too fast no matter how long it takes to get off the meds 

slow is the safest way from what I have seen

 

I am a bit over reactive lately I think pardon my misperception :) 

I wish you peace :)

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No problem, btdt. I completely understand why you thought that's what I meant, especially when I said 'let's bag up the contents of this drawer'! (I meant I imagined the brain deciding to bag up the contents of the drawer before deciding what to tackle next!)

 

I know your intention was to keep me and everyone else safe and there's no better intention than that.

 

I'm going to read your intro now.

 

Take care, my friend.

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Wow.  Ive been so confused over what Ive been feeling lately (waves of bad and good) I didn't realize it was all part of the process.  I thought I was relapsing completely.  I guess that's what I get for going "Cold Turkey".  7 months off.  Im learning a lot from everyone here, and Ive been a member for about an hour.  Go figure.  I have you all shedding more light on what Ive been through then my own doctor. 

 

Thank you everyone, and Good Luck..  Hugs

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Hey ho out there 

 

Hoping for an encouraging word; another sleepless night, I don't know how much longer I can take this without flipping out.  I'm all revved up for the fight, pity anyone who gets in my way!;)

 

In another wave, 5 days so far.  I can't heal without sleep, I just can't function, think, maintain, without sleep...

 

Tomorrow will be the beginning of my 6th month off 14 yrs of 0.5 Klonocide...I have learned here that perhaps what I thought of as a legthy taper of a year and a half was not long enough.  And I cannot even remember all those other ADs that I've d/c'd over the years...the last one being Remeron 5 years ago...

 

and this:Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:01 AM

Because we're so emotional, doncha know. And irrational and we get all upset about stuff that doesn't matter, like misogyny, for example, and rape, and stuff. And sometimes we just refuse to sit down and be quiet.

 
about how it is that 'older' women are the first to be medicated.  Yup, I'm an uppity b****.  And yup, I've been though hell-and today, I don't see how my life can possible get any better given the track record so far.
 
Sometimes it helps me to put my situation into the larger context of what is happening out there in the world, but since I've had this internet connection (housesitting) I think I'm suffering from TMI (too much information) and it's just overwhelming what is going on out there in the world of psych meds and society.
 
Please-how can I hunker down and take care of myself with mundane distractions (tools of capitalism, mostly) knowing what I know?

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The withdrawal experience of recovering from antidepressants is unlike anything else.  The process is non-linear and can be very confusing when you don't know what's going on.

 

Here is a video which helps make sense out of what may be happening as the nervous system recovers in its own unique way.

 

Healing from Antidepressants:  Patterns of Recovery

 

 

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I just had a conversation on my thread with MammaP in which she told me I was having a wave.  In previous tapers, I have not (or don't remember) having a wave so long after a drop in dose.

 

My waves would always appear a day or so after a drop in dose.  This happened a good six weeks later.

 

Trying to figure out what triggered it. I think it may have been a total lack of sleep that went on for two weeks, and prior to that my daughter had the seizure and the follow up after that.  (She is benzo free ;) )

 

Haw this happened to anyone else?  Where a wave comes on long after a drop in dose?

 

The depression was terrible and then it morphed into anxiety and depression.  It was so bad I contacted a Psychopharmacologist

a few of my friends see.

 

I basically want to present my drug history and get some info and advise.  What I will do with that advise is another story.

I woke up this morning and know that I have to get off of Serzone.  Voodoo medicine.....

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I have struggled 3 weeks after dropping a dose ,I think its a mixture of the drug clearing your system and a delayed reaction usually from lack of sleep for me.

All you can do is keep paddling and you will find clear water  <_<

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Today seems like a good day to post in this topic.

 

Well, the mother of all waves has hit. It's a tsunami.

 

It's hard to say what month I'm in. I hit acute in early march but my last zoloft was mid June and I took a lorazepam at the end of June which backfired badly on me. So I think I will count withdrawal from then. That makes me 3.5-4 months out. Perhaps this is one of those typical timescales when withdrawal gets worse.

 

I've recently started getting murky windows. I'm never symptom free but I've had times when it's been less horrendous. And I've had bad waves. This wave is like the early days and almost everything is back with a vengeance. It's really, really bad.

 

Is this normal? Is it usual to get hit by an absolutely massive wave after starting the windows and waves pattern?

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Winning the waves can come and go at about any rate but I seem to recall them being in around 3 month increments sometimes for 6 wks... or so. not always as nobody told the wave it could not last more then 6wks... so it does what it wants.  I don't think there is a hard and fast rule but it seems to be to me at least that it goes in cycle maybe not predictable but a cycle non the less.  There are many variables as in what you eat other medications stress ect... try to keep things as calm as your able that should help the experience be less taxing at least wishing you peace.

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Off of benzo 10 months and remeron 4.5 months. Remeron use was 5 months with high dose of 3.75 average dose of 2mg.

I was for months in this pattern of one day horrific depression next day fair window.

 

Last couple of weeks it's began to change to depression 3rd day then again on the 5th day then went 6 days without depression Did have the usual anxiety the days without depression but depression has been the worst and most consistent.

 

For a week now the every other day wave pattern is back, seems even more intense.

Just when the shift of depression seemed favorable, I'm back to the original cycle.

I never had depression or anxiety until I last year during inter-dose WD and once I jumped off the benzos.

 

The low dose of remeron was for sleep.

Has anyone seen a similar pattern on this board? Could this be something other than WD?

 

Thx , Miami

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Has anyone seen a similar pattern on this board?

 

Yes, absolutely.

In time, your windows will get better and longer.

Recovery is not linear;I wish it was.

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Windows and waves of physical recovery have me terrified.  I notice only tiny windows of tiny physical improvements, and those improvements are only present when I am in a dimly lit, quiet room.  Then, the improvements go away again.

 

My memory is also terrible.  I can't remember things.  Long-term and short-term memories are hard to recall with crispness.  I can't understand new, complex information.

 

The crying jags and depression have me far less worried than the cognitive and physical symptoms.  For whatever reason, I KNOW that the emotions are illusions of the med, but the physical and cognitive stuff is not an illusion.  I really AM dumber than I used to be and I really DO twitch and jerk.  I'm so scared that the cognitive and physical impairments won't go away.  It's so confusing because the medication side effects are exactly the same as the withdrawal symptoms, so I don't know what I'm experiencing.

 

I was three years on low-dose TCAs, with occasional low-dose Ativan dosing.  I am one month and three weeks off meds after accidental fast taper/cold turkey.  

 

I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I eat healthy, I meditate, I don't have caffeine.  I didn't abuse my body, I didn't ever take the Ativan for fun.  I didn't know the medicines were hurting me, or I would have stopped so long ago.  They were helping my chronic pain.  Now, physical therapy seems to be helping it, and I am scared that the doctors broke the rest of my brain and body for nothing, when they should have helped me find the right physical therapy years ago.  Like I had a chance to get better naturally and they ruined it for me.

 

There have been kind people here who have responded to me and assured me things will clear up, but you know how it is at this phase: you can never have enough good stories, and you seek them out with a thirst.

 

I don't want to be mentally impaired and physically handicapped for the rest of my life.  My parents will get too old to take care of me and I won't be able to take care of them if I stay this way.

 

Any nice, tangible stories you all could tell me will help me stay afloat.  Thanks so much.  I feel like I just go onto different threads and beg for reassurance.

 

Every time the pins and needles happen in my feet, or hands, or head, I think, "Oh no, here it is.  Here is when it all falls asleep and I stay paralyzed forever, or get a brain aneurism and die, or end up even more brain damaged."

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Windows and waves of physical recovery have me terrified.  I notice only tiny windows of tiny physical improvements, and those improvements are only present when I am in a dimly lit, quiet room.  Then, the improvements go away again.

 

In early withdrawal, the only way I could 'survive' was by staying in my dimly lit, quiet bedroom as much as possible.  I would often need to use ear plugs to protect me from outside noises, the slightest sound would trigger adrenaline rushes. But its not like that now.  Wigglelt, you are only just over one month out, so don't worry, it can sometimes take a while before real windows start happening.  When they do, it may just be for a few minutes at a time.  It seems that everyone is different in the way they experience these patterns, but the common thread is that recovery from these drugs is rarely linear like other kinds of recovery are.  When I'm in a wave, no matter what I've learned, or what I'm being told, I'm certain that I'm never going to heal, its like all memories of recent progress are wiped away.  Its understandable that you need lots of reassurance at the moment, but when you start seeing your own patterns of recovery, especially if you document them in your intro thread, you will have something to read back through so you can remind yourself that you really are getting better, even if it doesn't feel like it in that moment.

 

I had what I now realize was my first window about a year after my 'crash'.  It came over me suddenly one afternoon.  I had been feeling awful for months, struggling through my life, trying to keep everything together but not doing a very good job, not knowing I was in withdrawal either.  Then while I was out shopping, overwhelmed with DP/DR, just wanting to get back home, but needing to buy a glue gun for my daughter, suddenly I felt completely back to normal.  I had a surge of creative energy, felt wonderful and for the next 7 hours whatever had been wrong with me was completely fixed. I got so much accomplished through the rest of the day.  But the next morning I was back to being 'broken' again.  I had my next window about 6 months later, it started in the morning and lasted most of the day. It was my birthday, so its easy to remember, I didn't do anything special apart from feel good and hope that I was finally healed from whatever had been wrong with me, I still didn't know about withdrawal at that point.  I once had a window appear when I was going through the check out at a grocery store, it was 2pm in the afternoon and suddenly for no reason I felt normal again.  I was able to go and buy a rug, which I had wanted to do for the previous several months, but just hadn't been able to manage it.  When I got home, the window had closed, so I wasn't able to move furniture and put the new rug down, it stayed rolled up, leaning against a wall for about a month,  but eventually another window came and I put the rug down.

 

My pattern seems to consist of a gradually rising baseline, with decreasing downward spikes of waves and more frequent upward spikes of small windows.  I generally feel better towards late afternoon and evening, but I don't consider that part of my windows/waves pattern.  When I'm in a wave, I often don't start to feel better until very late at night, and sometimes not at all.  Waves seem to be triggered by anything which causes increased stress on the nervous system, some kind of change, or nothing at all.  So far I haven't noticed anything which opens a window, mine have all been completely random.

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I experience windows as having a clear head, very very peaceful, experience a lot of joy. I just wonder if other people have experience windows like this but then go on to full recovery and that state of being is no longer?

 

I just wonder as been on ad's so long, I'm totally unsure of what the real me is..what she is like.

 

Thanks!

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I have moments where all of a sudden my head feels un clogged and my eyes see everything so much more clearly, like I have better than 20/20 vision. It only lasts a minute or two but it makes me hope that I could someday feel like that forever.

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I was just reading a post on the Mad in America website by Matt Samet, whom some here will know from his writing about his experiences with benzo withdrawal.

 

He mentioned a good idea regarding the windows and waves pattern (which happens in benzo withdrawal too) that if you feel you aren't likely to believe you felt better during a window, it might be worthwhile then to videotape yourself so you can see whether or not you seemed to feel better then.

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I have actually done that and I can tell you that stuff doesn't look any better.  That's why I'm so worried.      

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I'm sorry it didn't work for you WI. 

 

It is however still early days.  I wasn't seeing windows in the beginning during the acute phase of severe withdrawal, but as you know have partly recovered now, so please don't lose hope. 

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Two months off med is still considered early? I'm just SO new at all of this that I am still not used to the timeframes, either.

 

Thanks, US. You are so unflinchingly supportive that I am humbled.

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Not a problem at all WI.  I feel for you, remembering how scared I was when I got TD symptoms. I hate that anyone winds up in this position.

 

As to time frames, for some two months can be early, unfortunately.  Not everyone is like this, it depends on various things.  No one can really say how long a person's situation will go on though, so maybe I should have phrased that differently, as for all I know you could feel totally fine tomorrow. I honestly very much hope and pray you do feel fine tomorrow.

 

I keep forgetting my situation is more complicated too in that two months off ADs I was still on other drugs giving me problems.  So my time frame dragged on a lot longer because of those added drugs--but I still had withdrawal while on them. It took a while to get to a window, maybe because of those drugs.

 

Once I was drug free though improvements started coming faster.  You having been exposed to much less than I was in all likelihood should make for a faster recovery than mine.  Just don't get discouraged if it does take time.  Like I said about that recovered guy, it took him a while to for it to stop.  So don't go declaring this permanent at two months.   

 

I hope this is making sense, at the present moment I'm pretty tired. 

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Can anyone explain the clear head, feels like 20/20 vision in windows a feeling of harmony. I never really experienced that before and all my yrs on meds. Many people here seem to experience windows in this way.

 

Edit: I'm struggling to explain myself at the moment. Ok, so I understand that the windows are the brain and system in homeostatis/balance - yes? But what I cannot understand, is why it would be lol. Haven't felt so good ever as in these windows..not high just perfect balance..really. And it seems to be the same experience of a window as a lot of people.

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A window is the most liberating experience imaginable. I won't get one for at least another year (I have yet to taper off my reinstated dose of Prozac) but a few weeks before I had a day long window and life was better in every conceivable degree. I saw the film Garden State for the first time and laughed and cried and really related to it (the main character comes of a psychoactive drug regimen and relearns how to feel.)

 

Looking back at that experience fills me with the hope and drive to continue. I will get more windows as time goes on and eventually find a window that doesn't end.

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How do you know it will be a year? I experienced a window a few weeks back on reinstatement! X

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I had a three day cognitive window, prob my best one, but this wave feels like my worst one.

 

Please, why?

 

I have been making involuntary noises and lots of body flapping, frighteningly reminiscent of people I have seen who suffer autism.

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It is different for everyone, but my first windows were very, very hard to recognize. They did not even last a full day and I was not symptom-free during the windows. I merely had slightly lowered symptoms for an hour or so. These were partial windows, but they were still windows.

 

I would say pay attention to any teeny, tiny improvement and to any teeny, tiny moment that is even slightly better. I expected windows to be these giant, amazing, clear things, but what I've found is that they're muddy and dirty, with the dirt get cleaned off bit by bit.

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Aw thanks wiggleit for the info. You hit the nail right on the head for me. I expience these small windows. For me I just assumed these small periods were my symptoms waxing and waning. Like today when I woke up my symptoms were not that bad but I was still thinking about them. But then in the afternoon I felt the symptoms picking up again, e.g, the anxiety, negative thinking, low mood, and depersonalization. I've been off meds for almost 4 months and I really hope to see bigger windows soon. I'd also like to ask is having windows a good sign in terms of recovery being near? Thanks

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I am still in early, acute withdrawal, so I cannot say how close or far away recovery is, but I will say that each time some more dirt gets brushed off my window, it makes me realize that everyone really is telling the truth when they say recovery is possible. :)

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My windows, at 6 months out, are definitely not clear. My understanding is that windows will become longer and more clear, and waves shorter. At this point, it almost seems just the opposite to me. Hopefully with time, this will come to pass. I had hoped at 6 months to start seeing some REAL improvement, but I guess that is not to be quite yet. Hopefully soon...

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It's comforting to think the waves and elusive (at the moment) windows are all part of the process of your brain getting back to normal.

 

That's exactly what is happening. Because antidepressants change brain functioning by destroying serotonin receptors, recovery goes in fits and starts as these receptors regenerate. (From what I've read, this is my understanding of what getting back to health after withdrawal is all about.)

 

I'm coming up on six months post-Lexapro and I still have occasional Cortisol mornings (anxiety-provoking dreams or dread upon awakening, followed by irritability), but I'm also experiencing more often the contentment and happiness I once had before my drug-related problems began. The physical aches and pains are lessening as well.

 

As you might guess, these things take time as the body and brain heal from what amounts to a toxic invasion. So hang in there, and believe that your sense of comfort is well justified.

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