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I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
Hi all, I have been tapering zoloft for nearly 4 years now and it has been somewhat straightforward up until now, thanks to the excellent advice here and other on-line sites. My tapering schedule has been the smallest amount I can easily measure (so now I do 0.2 g or 0.01 ml) and wait until I'm stable, then wait a bit more. I've still had nearly every WD symptom but they have generally mild enough so I can mostly function and generally go away after a week or so. Until.... Last summer I reached 9 mg and the WD symptoms (gut/sleep) were so bad and hung on for a month. Then I found an "alternative psychiatrist" who gave some supplements that relieved some symptoms but kept pushing things that I kept reacting badly to. So I stopped taking all supplements but continued to slowly taper after I felt better. On January 1, I hit 7 mg and haven't been stable since. I tried to take the previous supplements, but I think they made things worse. I seem to react badly to everything--keep getting stomach pains from all sorts of foods; I am afraid to eat sometimes. I've been getting only a few hours of sleep a night and it has been miserable. Sorry for the pity party--I really don't know what to do. Right now I'm holding at 7 mg and slowly trying one supplement at a time to see what works. But ultimately, even if I do get through this horrific time, I'm not sure it's worth tapering again. On the other hand...ugh! I just want to be free of this drug! I also worry if there would come a time when I would have to CT for some reason; being at a lower dose would reduce the risks in that case. I am very upset with psychiatry and worried for my future.
altruist posted a topic in Introductions and updates2 weeks ago, after reading about the tapering method of 10% to 5% reduction, I decided to start tapering without any local support. Every night (so far 2 weeks), I have taken out 3 beads from 60mg of Andepra capsule(the generic version of Cymbalta). A few nights ago, I got around to counting the number of beads in this capsule. In the first count I counted 556 beads and in the second, I counted 559 beads. The average amount of beads I'm calculating to be 557.5 beads. I also worked out that the 3 beads I was taking out of each capsule worked out to be 0.54% of the total number count of the beads in both counts. I have also been preparing to swap over from Andepra to Cymbalta, because I have heard that Cymbalta is easier to taper off that to taper off a generic version of it. Also, I was told that weighing the tablets helps work out the exact amount of the capsule as there is no fixed weight for each bead as each bead is individual in it's actual weight. So I told to go to a tobacco/smoke shop to buy a weigh scale, so I went to one and there were two scales available. One was $229 and too expensive and the second one was $49. I asked to guy working there to show me how reliable the cheaper scale was, and so he pulled it out from under the display counter. I weighed on of the displayed cigarette lighters and it read a reading for that, but then when I asked if it would weigh something small or miniscule like a tablet, he pulled out a matchbox and tried to weigh it. I failed to show any weight on the scales display. And then he tried to weigh a single match stick from the matchbox and that also, failed to register a reading on the weigh scale. So I am also wondering where I can get a cheap, YET, reliable weigh scale that is accurate enough to weigh individual beads in a Cymbalta capsule. Thanks for reading.
Silmarwen posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHi everyone. I got sick in 1997 with postpartum depression (I'm 40 years old now) and started taking psych meds for the first time in my life (see my signature for what kind of meds and dosis). After being sick for so many years I finally feel strong and confident enough to start a slow taper and I'm so thankful to have found this forum with so much knowledge and heartwarm people! I actually started tapering a little bit before I found this forum so I can see that I have started out a little rough with dosis cuts that have been to high and to quick, but from now on I'm going to do the 10% of current dosis taper. Oh, and I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and told him about my plans and he's onboard (also with the very slow tapering). I have had the same psyciatrist for 16 years now, ever since I was hospitalized, and he is the best! A really good doctor that really listens to me and who is really open to new ideas and theories, he never thinks he knows it all just because he is a doctor. Anyway, I reduced Cipramil (citalopram) from 40 mg to 30 mg in the end of June 2013. Still on 25 mg of Noritren (my psychiatrist has advised me to taper one drug at a time and that is also what I'm most comfortable with). Didn't feel any w/d symptoms. Around the 15th of July 2013 I reduced Cipramil to 20 mg. This time I did feel w/d symptoms. A couple of days of feeling depersonalized, kind of in a bubble. Nervous stomach coming and going, fluttering feelings in the chest/heart also coming and going. Tired for a few days but then gaining more energy. A few days of restless legs, like an electric current buzzing in my legs. It's like the symptoms shifts from day to day: like I can have two days of feeling the anxiety in my stomach and the fluttering feelings in my chest for a couple of days, then it subsides and the restless legs and nerve pain in the toes take over for a few days. Then that subsides and the nervous stomach comes back instead but not as bad as the first days. I definetely feel the symptoms getting much better already, not as strong as they were. And I feel happy even when I have the w/d symptoms and that is a big plus to me because I really fear getting depressed again (even if it's just w/d symptoms) and that is why I'm going to take the taper really slow....I don't care if I have to spend 1-2 years or longer on the tapering as long as I can have as mild w/d symptoms as possible. I probably haven't written everything I want to tell yet, kind of difficult to remember it all at once, but I will write again when things pop up along the way.