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Rhiannon

Rhi: Incremental success

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Rhiannon

I want to crow, or at least jabber excitedly, about the improvements I'm finally seeing in my health and mental/emotional wellbeing as a result of my taper. But I'm not "fully recovered from withdrawal" so I was hesitant to post in this area.

 

Then I decided what the heck. Recovery doesn't have to be all or nothing. There are all kinds of success stories. I know people will be encouraged by what I have to say, as I am encouraged by others. So here it is.

 

As you can see from my sig, I'm in the process of a very long taper off five meds, with a long time yet to go. But I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED at my improvement so far. Even though I'm still taking low doses of four psychiatric meds--I'm not sure I can find the words to describe how much better I'm doing and how happy I am at these lower doses, relative to how I was when I was taking those so-called "therapeutic" dosages.

 

Neurontin completely savaged my ability to learn and remember things. Benzos and Lamictal are still making that something of a challenge, but the Neurontin was the worst. It also gave me the lack-of-impulse-control of a two-margarita drunk, and you can imagine what that did for my personality and peoples' impressions of me. I did and said stuff even just two years ago that makes me shudder to think now and thank my lucky stars I didn't get in more trouble.

 

After I got down below 100 mg, all of this settled down a lot, especially the cognitive stuff. When I finally came all the way off Neurontin back in April, after about three months of recovery I seemed to stabilize out fully. My point is, though, I got the lion's share of my improvement not when I quit completely, but during the taper itself.

 

Now I'm experiencing something that just makes me want to shout from the rooftops: I've gotten my motivation and enthusiasm back! After 20 years on antidepressants, I had forgotten what it felt like to actually WANT to do stuff! I used to go along with stuff proposed by other people, and I enjoyed it to the extent that I could experience "enjoyment" (something ADs cripple in me), but I usually felt like I would just have soon have stayed home, and left to my own devices that's pretty much what I did. It was hard, because my poor kids wanted to get out there and experience life. Fortunately their dad and some of my friends used to take them places and give them some adventures. I just never really wanted to do much.

 

Which was weird, because before Prozac and Xanax, you couldn't keep me at home. I was always wanting to go out and do things. I was also very social, loved being with other people, got along well with them. Then for 20 years I became the opposite--agoraphobic, uncomfortable and awkward with people, socially anxious.

 

Well--I'm getting myself back! I'm still on 2.7 mg of Celexa, but the zombie effect is lifting. You have NO idea how great it feels, and I don't think words can do it justice.

 

Over about the past six months I've noticed that I'm back to being comfortable in social environments--more than comfortable, I love being with people, and people seem to enjoy me too. It's so much fun being a social human being again!

 

And for the first time in 20 years I want to do stuff! When I have a day off work, instead of hanging around the house, I want to get out and explore the world, get out and try something new, meet people, see things, do things, touch the world, feel alive, explore, have fun!

 

It's GREAT.

 

So I'm here to testify (can I get a witness?--okay, that's a southern US cultural reference, ignore it if you don't get it) that at least for me, it's been possible to get back a lot of myself, a lot of what I lost on the "meds", just by slowly and carefully lowering my doses and getting down to low doses.

 

The lower the doses go, the better I feel.

 

There's a lot of room between "all" and "nothing", and that's the room where slow tapers play out. It was my hope that by tapering extremely slowly like I have been, all the meds together like I have been, that this would happen, that I would gradually and safely emerge from the nightmare miasma of "non-me" that the drugs had trapped me in. And it's happening. After two and a half patient years of tapering, it's definitely happening.

 

For the first time in 20 years, you can't keep me at home, and I delight in social interaction. Just like how I remember myself being before they put me on the drugs.

 

I'm not even going to go into the kind of karma that people earn by stealing 20 years from someone's life just so they can make money. That's not what this is about, although I have to say I feel pretty PO'd about it.

 

I just want to say that you may not have to wait until you get to the end of your taper to enjoy a lot of benefit. And that tapering faster so you can get all the way off faster--it might not be worth the price, since tapering slow enough that you can still maintain a life and good health may turn out to be worth it when you get to a lower dose and you're functioning well enough to actually ENJOY that life and that health.

 

And I want to say that YES, it's worth it. You can get yourself back. I've heard it from others, I've seen others do it, and I'm experiencing it myself. Hang in there! it's worth it!

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Jemima

Fanastic, Rhi! This should give lots of people hope, including me.

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dalsaan

What a great post. I'm so happy for you Rhi.

 

I'm feeling much better too, have been microtapering and making better progress than

when I was doing 10% decrements.

 

I am sleeping more, feel better able to cope, less vigilant, more secure etc

 

I also feel like I have a lot more personal agency, rather than just coping with life

I am more actively creating the life I want to lead.

 

Im not off yet - am on 4.5mg but I agree we should celebrate the wins, all of them and

whenever we can.

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alexjuice

I am so very proud of you, Rhi! You're an inspiration.

 

I know that the past is littered with wreckage from all you've been through -- mine is too and so is everyone else's -- and I am beyondwords happy that you have reached the mental/emotional place that you live in today.

 

You deserve all good things and there's plenty of time for you to achieve your goals.

 

I'm sorry for the time you've lost. I know how that feels too. But I am really, amazingly inspired by the work you've put into reclaiming your life. Maybe most people will not ever understand the degree of suffering and struggle this massive and soul-searching entwinement with Drugs has wrought. But we understand it here.

 

I feel happy. I am excited for you that the clouds are parting. To think that more light is still to come!

 

:-) -- happyface

 

Alex

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Aria

Rhi.

 

I am so very happy for you. We do heal. I am completely off 6 meds and my mind is clear.

 

It's so nice to feel the way I do now. I also shudder to think what I used to say or acted when blasted on the psyche drugs. My impulse control was gone and I blurted out embarrassingly awful stuff I don't do now. I still remember some of what I said. I do have a psyche drug induced neuro-muscular illness but even through it's a dreadful disease I can think clearly again''' I'll take how I am now. Having the ability to think and be ourselves is priceless. :P

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Barbarannamated

Rhi,

 

Thank you for this terrific message!

 

B

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Skyler

As you can see from my sig, I'm in the process of a very long taper off five meds, with a long time yet to go. But I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED at my improvement so far. Even though I'm still taking low doses of four psychiatric meds--I'm not sure I can find the words to describe how much better I'm doing and how happy I am at these lower doses, relative to how I was when I was taking those so-called "therapeutic" dosages.

 

There's a lot of room between "all" and "nothing", and that's the room where slow tapers play out. It was my hope that by tapering extremely slowly like I have been, all the meds together like I have been, that this would happen, that I would gradually and safely emerge from the nightmare miasma of "non-me" that the drugs had trapped me in. And it's happening. After two and a half patient years of tapering, it's definitely happening.

 

Excellent news. Speaking as someone who is tapering 3 psychotropics, going slow is the 'onliest' way. There are judicious gradations of slow, but any faster than turtle speed will drive me into a dead stop very quickly.

 

I'm using what is pretty much a step wise reduction strategy, and the ability to come off the higher more toxic doses thereby is reason enough to use this approach. Thanks for pioneering the way, so those of us who follow have a clearer path.

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Barbarannamated

"Onliest way". :D

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Rhiannon

I just want to add that it's just getting better. Even though I am now the slowest turtle in Turtleville.

 

In particular my social interaction...I haven't had that since before I started Prozac.

 

I'm comfortable with people now, I feel natural with them, I feel like they mostly like me, probably, at least enough, at least there's a place for me with them. And if I feel awkward around people it's okay, I just kinda hang out with it, pretty soon we find a way to connect. And if they aren't crazy about me, well, that's okay, I'm not always crazy about every single person I meet either.

 

The thing that's most distinctly different is that there is some kind of...well empathy's not exactly the right word, but a way of "being with" or feeling the "with"-ness of my fellow members of my species. And being able to see things from other peoples' point of view--and feeling like that matters. Something about the ADs took that away. I think it may be related to the way ADs get in the way of bonding and relationships. Something ADs screw up.

 

It's almost exciting, actually. I find myself seeking people out just because it feels so good to be a human hangin out with other humans. The hermit's not home any more (although I do enjoy my alone time, and I still need it).

 

I just have to say to those of you on this journey: hang in there. It's worth it. The turtle really does win the race. I'm excited about what I will get back next. (Hopefully some of my former cognitive sharpness, as I get down on the Lamictal and benzos further.)

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Nikki

Being the slowest turtle in turtlevilleapparently has it's rewards :D

 

Now matter how good or bad you felt, you were and continue to be an inspiration.

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

How on earth did you get down to 2.7mgs Celexa?

 

Rhi I have read alot of people share about motivation or lack-thereof. I have motivation, but I am tired all the time. I tend to grow comfortable in isolation and staying home once I get home.

 

Is it better to do one drug at a time?

 

I agree with you about these drugs running normal brain interference. There is a missing link in the brain somehow that affects our thinking. :blink:

 

I know I've got the Missing Link Syndrome. :lol:

 

Bless your heart :D

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strawberry17

I've just read this post Rhi and it's great, I feel so happy for you, I remember a point in my taper where I was aware that I was feeling "joy" again, in my children, Zoloft and Prozac had killed that joy.

 

By the way, I thought I was the slowest turtle in turleville tapering off my one drug :lol:

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SaltedGingkoNuts

I've just read this post Rhi and it's great, I feel so happy for you, I remember a point in my taper where I was aware that I was feeling "joy" again, in my children, Zoloft and Prozac had killed that joy.

 

By the way, I thought I was the slowest turtle in turleville tapering off my one drug :lol:

 

Strawberry17:

 

I just followed the link to your blog. Wow, it certainly has been a LONG process for you. I can only PRAY that when I begin my taper it won't be as long. Your blog is a FANTASTIC resource for anyone dealing with SSRI Discontinuation. Very informational! People will be able to connect with you in so many ways!

Thanks so much for sharing your testimony, it will be a help to many, many people.

 

-Sincerely, Tim :D

 

Am also attaching My story

AntiDepressant Nightmare Complete Edited.pdf

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strawberry17

Thank you Tim, hopefully your journey will be a lot more straightforward than mine.

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Nikki

Strawberry when you said you felt "joy" coming back which had been killed off, did you mean being on AD's killed off the joy or the WD killed off joy?

 

If you could talk to me about this I would appreciate it. I have shared many times on the site about not being able to find happiness. Your statement plucked a chord with me.

 

Is it possible that the meds are keeping me in a state of a lack of happiness/joy.

 

I remember when I first started them, they got rid of anxiety and depression and joy came back.

 

Have been wondering alot about this lately. Forgot how to have fun.

 

Hugs

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Jemima

Great news, Rhi. I'm getting close to the end of my journey through Antidepressant Hell, and I'm also finding pleasure in being with people again. I'm not all the way back, but I can see it from here.

 

More power and joy to you!

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ladybugqt

Thank u for this post. Inspiring is not a strong enough word! I am a physical & emotional mess & it's good to see light at the end of the tunnel!

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SaltedGingkoNuts

Thank you Tim, hopefully your journey will be a lot more straightforward than mine.

Hello Strawberry:

 

My journey has been a confusing one, for sure. Currently at a low-point, for sure.

 

After reinstating the Prozac, it's taken a while to know whether or not I'm feeling the same as I did before going Cold Turkey. My symptoms related to withdrawal have generally subsided - I believe - but I now deal with all-consuming pain related to my long-time diabetes (I assume).

I didn't really experience neuropathic pain before going Cold Turkey, now it's come on with a vengeance. I experience burning/freezing feet, severely painful lower-legs, arms, hands, head-aches, muscle fasciculations. Research shows that Prozac does not protect people from diabetic neuropathy pain.

So, I guess it was just God's timing that tied together my Prozac (and benzodiazapem) withdrawals with the introduction to neuropathic pain.

And of course: what therapies are recommended for neuropathy? Different antidepressants/anticonvulsants/opioids. Well, I'm not taking any more.

Since I've already abandoned much hope of ever stopping the Prozac, I'm investigating other therapies to deal with the neuropathy. 

 

We'll see how it goes.

 

-Salted

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Azgirl

Rhi this is so inspiring, you give me hope that the "want" to get out and explore will return :) I'm so happy for you..

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WhoAmI

Wow Rhi, you have the patience of a saint. I hope I have the will power to do what you've done.

 

Congratulations!

:D

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theelt712

I'm happy for you Rhi, gives us inspiration to the rest of us who are seeing incremental success. :)

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alex

GOOOOOOD!

We are the man on the moon, the pioneers...we're gonna beat Big Pharma!

 

Hugs, A.

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catw66

I love this story because you are someone else who put up with a lot for a lot of years like I did. I think the last 12 years for me, I got more and more socially isolated, but still managed to get out and connect here and there have relationships and friendships, but as time has gone on, it's been a challenge with the chronic fatigue, apathy, and severe depression.

 

I am happy you are seeing that all of this is worth it and your experience is certainly useful to others.

 

I made a lot of bad decisions while on Lamictal myself and I cringe when I look back as well. I stopped it due to the cognitive problems but they never really went away.

 

I think I haven't felt comfortable around other people a lot for a long time due to I feel I've been in my own private hell and I have to retreat and get my rest too much of the time and I started to feel very different from most other people in a weird way. I couldn't figure out what was going on.

 

Thank you for sharing.

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Nikki

Rhi your posts are very inspiring for me.  Thank you for being so helpful.  I just read Alex's post on Mistakes Made During WD ~ This Post ~ and Neuro Emotions (which I mention alot).

 

These 3 Posts help put things into perspective for me.

 

The WD I am currently experiencing is not bad at all compared to WD in the past.  I think what bothers me the most is having to 'cope with myself and coach myself or my thnking".  I so much wish "I could just be."

 

I have morning anxiety (broken record) which is about fear, difficulty falling asleep, forgetfulness.

 

I have joined Weight Watcher's Online again this week.  Been Juicing eveyday for awhile now.  And I did return to the Mindful Meditation Class on Thursday evenings.  In a bad WD this may not have been possible.

 

In my heart-of-hearts I would like to see what I am like without meds. Will I have more clarity and how deeply did these meds affect me and did they actually cause more anxiety?.....I honeslty don't know.

 

Or have I gone into the zone of having to stay on something due to the problems meds have actually caused over the years.

The Problem is and was the WD

 

Thanks

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Francis

Youve written a beautiful and inspiring story. Thank you!

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Dani

I'm soooo inspired!!!!

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MrAnxious

Yah this is amazing !! You rock , keep it up my friend

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Rhiannon

Thank you to everyone for your sweet, supportive, encouraging comments. You guys are the best. This forum has been a rock for me. Alto gets All The Good Karma Points for making this place happen, and I mean that in a lighthearted way and also, as someone who believes in reincarnation and believes that the difference we each make in the world may be invisible but it is real and lasting, quite literallly.

 

The amount of harm done every time some Big Pharma corporateperson has decided to turn his eyes, to suppress data, to cherrypick patients for studies, well I could go on for pages describing all the tricks they do--it’s appalling, when you realize the stakes, in terms of human suffering, of each of those “little” decisions someone has made. And I believe that the opposite happens here, that the good done here is solid and concrete and radiates out and grows, every time someone shares their story and gives someone a hand. Every life that this forum has touched, every burden that’s been lightened a little here, radiates out and helps other lives, I’m certain of that. Perhaps it’s delusional of me to choose to believe that our decisions and acts have meaning and change the world. But it seems to be what I need to believe to live, and that's good enough for me.

 

Anyway, that probably belongs in a different section of the forum, but what I came on here to say actually was, I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, but I think I understand now why so many people just sort of fade away and don’t even write success stories. I think maybe as we get better and start to get our lives and minds and hearts back, and we begin to engage in life again, it’s not that we forget or don’t care, but when you’ve been starved for life and unable to experience happiness and real engagement in life, often for decades (which is sadly common)--and then you start to get it back--when you feel well enough to get out there and engage, the last thing you want to do is sit and write on a computer forum. (That is, “you” meaning “me.”) There’s so much to learn, so many people to talk to, so much living to be done!

 

But recovery isn’t black and white. It’s not like one day a person says, “Okay, yesterday I was sick, but today I’m all well.” We all know the roller-coaster ride of waves and windows. I’m doing well right now, but I know I will be back in the pit again, no matter how skillfully I navigate the process. So I don’t think of myself as a success story really. I’ve got a ways to go, obviously I’m not done.

 

So I think people just sort of gradually find themselves moving back into life before they really think of themselves as recovered, or ready to write a success story. I mean, I don’t know if I’m making sense, but I think I see why a lot of success stories don’t get written, and it’s not because the successes don’t happen

 

Today I stayed home, indoors, all day. (It's super cold outside right now and I'm a wuss.) I spent the entire day at home doing almost nothing--well, writing a little, catching up with some email, a bit of exercising, a bit of stretching, watching funny stuff on YouTube, watching a PD James mystery, cracking walnuts, cooking dinner, unloading and loading the dishwasher...now that I write it down I see I haven’t just been doing nothing, but I did stay home all day, because I felt like I needed the change from running around and being so active. Needed a change from being so active and doing things, needed down time. That’s crazy! When I was first in withdrawal I couldn’t get out into the world hardly at all. I still don’t do as much as I’d like to. But it’s crazy awesome that I’m so busy that I feel like I actually want to make some unstructured boring down time for myself.

 

So anyway, the journey continues. I wanted to check in with everyone. Yep, it gets better!

 

I love you guys and I’m definitely not going away. But I’m spending more time with actual 3-D life and it's very satisfying, and sometimes I'm just not around here as much because of that. I'll be back.

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Meimeiquest

Good to hear, Rhi! I was wondering if you were too well or too sick to write :). Very glad it's the former!

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

I did wonder why I had not seen many postings from you, Rhi, and I am glad it is for this good reason. Things are definitely getting better for you and what a blessing it is. I will try to use your story to take heart in those times when I am so far down in the pit. I had no idea that I was not enjoying life while on the meds, now I see the difference. Things are really rough right now but I take heart in you saying they can get better.

 

Thanks for your inspiring post!

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starlitegirlx

Rhi, you are a teacher and an inspiration. I'm so glad you have seen some major improvements! And yes, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Fact is that documenting and sharing progress along the way can be helpful to you and others you choose to share the news with. People get it in their heads about stopping the drug being the big thing, but I think there are a few other things that are very important (which I suspect you will agree with) and even dare I say more important than getting off the drug itself at least during the course of your taper. They are:

 

1) tapering at a rate that allows you to live your life to some degree rather than be housebound or bedbound or severely limited by WD of any sort

2) noticing and acknowledging improvements along the way and giving them the just attention they deserve because they are signs of recovery and they allow you to reclaim your life to varying degrees from drugs that basically stole it.

 

You have achieved both of those things and while you are still tapering which is monumental as most people when they don't taper according to how they heal generally don't do all that well and certainly are less likely to notice the kinds of improvements you have seen when bogged down with WD.

 

You are an inspiration and a testament to why tapering according to your rate of healing is the best way to go. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is an inspiring reminder.

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Barbarannamated

Rhi,

 

I echo all that's been said by others. You are a gift to this forum and the many other people you've helped through this journey.

 

Regarding your emerging social life... how and where are you meeting people? Do you find that you're connecting more easily with people you already knew or is it more a function of getting out there and meeting new people?

 

Thanks for your great post! Wishing you continued progress.

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alex

Thank you for posting Rhi,and you do perfect sense to me.

 

Enjoy your life,A.

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Jemima

"...recovery isn’t black and white. It’s not like one day a person says, “Okay, yesterday I was sick, but today I’m all well.” We all know the roller-coaster ride of waves and windows....

 

So I think people just sort of gradually find themselves moving back into life before they really think of themselves as recovered, or ready to write a success story...."

 

Thanks for putting this into words, Rhi.  This is pretty much where I find myself as well--way better, but not home free just yet. Improvement has been gradual and, again, with the ups and downs, windows and waves, et cetera, although they are much more subtle now.  I guess I'd assumed all along that one day I'd wake up feeling like my old self, but it isn't happening that way and I'm reluctant to write a success story until my much-missed creative streak returns.

 

But I'm lots and lots better and I'm very glad to see that you are, too.

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Rhiannon

Good to hear, Rhi! I was wondering if you were too well or too sick to write :). Very glad it's the former!

 

I did wonder why I had not seen many postings from you, Rhi, and I am glad it is for this good reason. Things are definitely getting better for you and what a blessing it is. I will try to use your story to take heart in those times when I am so far down in the pit. I had no idea that I was not enjoying life while on the meds, now I see the difference. Things are really rough right now but I take heart in you saying they can get better.

 

Thanks for your inspiring post!

 

:-)

 

Yep, mostly doing pretty well. I still have the bad times, just came out of a rough period this fall in fact, but SO SO SO much better. 

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Rhiannon

Rhi, you are a teacher and an inspiration. I'm so glad you have seen some major improvements! And yes, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Fact is that documenting and sharing progress along the way can be helpful to you and others you choose to share the news with. People get it in their heads about stopping the drug being the big thing, but I think there are a few other things that are very important (which I suspect you will agree with) and even dare I say more important than getting off the drug itself at least during the course of your taper. They are:

 

1) tapering at a rate that allows you to live your life to some degree rather than be housebound or bedbound or severely limited by WD of any sort

2) noticing and acknowledging improvements along the way and giving them the just attention they deserve because they are signs of recovery and they allow you to reclaim your life to varying degrees from drugs that basically stole it.

 

 

Thank you Starlite! When I first started tapering my goal was just to be well and stable enough to work, because I have no money (lost everything during the years I was sick on the drugs) and I didn't want to end up on disability or dependent on my kids or something. But having that goal actually forced me to do number (1) above, and because of that I had to learn to do (2), and I'm so glad I ended up taking that path. Given my history, after so many attempts to quit meds in a disorganized way, without tapering, I know that if I had gone faster I would have gotten really sick. I'm glad I was forced to go slowly. 

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