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Petunia

☼ Petunia: Recovering from 13 years of antidepressant use

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grandmaD

Cheering you onwards and upwards!  So great to hear we can appreciate life eventually, again... thanks for the post!

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Petunia

Not a planned update, I logged on to find a link to send to someone, but now I'm here, might as well write something.

 

Thank you for the comments and encouragement Shep, BT and grandmaD.

 

I've come to the conclusion I'm not in a wave, I'm back at withdrawal normal and that was an extended window.  So the slow recovery continues in the same daily cycle of feeling worse in the mornings, symptoms peak around 8am and decline as the day progresses until early evening when I'm usually feeling fairly normal, often happy, relaxed and hopeful about the future, but usually very tired.

 

On some days, morning symptoms transform into a kind of apathy/depression/negative mood before lifting completely for the day. On other days I switch quite suddenly from feeling awful to feeling good.

'

Thankfully, I have no significant physical symptoms at the moment, but they have always cycled around, coming and going at random intervals.

 

The worst thing now, really is the fact that this is taking such a long time. I'm still not well enough to 'get on with my life'. The frustration and disappointment can feel unbearable at times, especially now I've had a taste of what it can be like to feel recovered and capable of living a proper life again.

 

Of course I'm grateful I'm out of the hell realm stage, and fairly certain I wont be going back there, unless I do something to set myself back. Although I get a diluted reminder of it every morning. While it lasts, there's still nothing I can do that has any effect on it. I wake up with unpleasant sensations and anxious, negative thoughts, they cast a doomy, negative spin on everything and it stays that way until .... later.

 

So, I'm still spending most of my daytime hours engaged in distracting activities and constantly reminding myself not to say, do or write various negative things, which at the time seem appropriate, but are in fact impulses fueled by the neuro-emotions of my still wonky nervous system. I seem to spend a lot of time and energy comparing my inner landscape with outer reality before doing anything. It will be nice when permanent stability has returned and I can trust my own reality again.

 

I hope this spontaneous update doesn't come across as being negative. I'm still recovering, still moving towards better in the typical up and down fashion this process moves in.

 

Its hard to imagine that recovery from anything might take years, rather than weeks or months. But for me and many others, this is what's happening... this has to be the ultimate test of faith, patience and endurance.

 

Going through this is like a major complete body, mind and spirit makeover. Everything is getting turned upside down, inside out and being given a good shake so all the unnecessary crap which used to be part of my life, is falling away.  I'm left knowing, through direct experience, exactly what's important and what isn't.

 

I would say about 90% of everything I used to spend my time, money and energy on was delusional, so many activities and rituals I'd been culturally brainwashed into believing were necessary.... but they're not.  I wouldn't recommend psyche drug withdrawal to anyone, as a catalyst for waking up to reality, but for me, this has been one positive outcome.

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Hibari

Dear Petunia,  I share your pattern of morning dread then feeling remarkably normal as they day progresses.  It is not as horrible as it has been but I do understand how much mental effort it takes to push past that experience. Currently I am focusing my efforts on addressing that morning cortisol issues.

 

I also relate to your insights on what this experience brings to the surface.  My life is transforming and it has happened first through depression, then medication and now wd.  The withdrawal part has created an inner resilience,  recognition of who or what is important and the continued attunetment to what my body is telling me daily.  The most recent reflection is on being very tired.  I want to push past this wd fatigue because I fear that time is wasting but I am trying to shift my view that this tiredness is allowing me to work on internal things. 

 

I think your perspective and determination will get you through all of this.  I believe voices like yours are so important for people starting this journey.  Please know that your journey is witnessed and respected.

 

Wishing you better and better days ahead.   H

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grandmaD

I want to thank you for your posts which I find encouraging and inspiring and is good to see others go through similar experiences and thoughts, etc so I know it is not just me, but part of the w/d process.  You have a wonderful ability to articulate what I think but cannot put into words, so thank you for that too!

 

I is absolutely crazy the way things work.  It is so easy to have a "good" day and think you have "arrived" or in your case, good days, weeks (months?  Not sure about the length!) but anyway, same idea and then bingo, you feel crap again and think you will "never arrive"!  It can change so much, even in one day as you say!

 

Like you, I am beginning to see little positive things about life, well, probably a REALLY BIG ONE, actually, especially after gong to a wedding a few days ago - about how we waste our whole life practically on things that are not important.  Life has become so simple during w/d which I initially resented with a vengeance!  I have now come to appreciate the slowness, the peace and tranquility, not having to talk all the time! and being able to just sit on the verandah and enjoy a cuppa and DO NOTHING!  I can see people do so much crap and talk a lot of crap!  I am now more aware of what I talk about when I do.  I am now wondering WHAT I will do with my life when I am recovered!

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Petunia

Thank you Hibarari and GrandmaD for visiting, your encouragement and for sharing your own insights. As horrendous as these drugs are and how grueling  the recovery process can be, its a blessing some of us are actually managing to find that silver lining which rewards us with a gift we probably would never have found otherwise.

 

A few days ago I scurried back to this site like a frightened little mouse, being driven here by the shock and confusion of a nasty little wave. As usual, it took me several days to overcome the shock, confusion, doubt and denial, until I managed to figure out what was 'going on'.

 

It was nasty because it was particularly bad for this late stage in my recovery process, but little because it didn't last very long, thank goodness.

 

Three days ago, Wednesday was the worst. I was revisited by the worst of all symptoms, although a mild dose of it. I was desperately pacing around outside, searching the internet for 'answers' and laying in my little patch of grass, trying to ground the energies which I later realized were my old enemy akathisia.

 

Its a huge shock to realize that this far out, without any clear cause, symptoms can get bad.... not as bad as the worst, but still more than what I expected I would experience again. I estimate the intensity of them rose to about 60% of the worst and for a few days they were lasting well into the afternoon at that intensity, it was an awful blast from the past which I wasn't prepared for, no matter how much I've learned about windows and waves.

 

The frustrating thing about this one is that I suspect I may have caused it, but can't be sure unless I repeat what I did, which I don't want to do.

 

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago I decided to try drinking a real cup of tea again, the kind with actual caffeine in. The obvious question is why. Why would I want to do this if I've been managing for so long without it? I thought about it and came up with two reasons. One is that its my most ancient ritual/addiction, with roots traveling back through generations of British ancestry. The old cuppa tea is like the glue which held together the structure and function of existence for as long as I can remember and has been an almost guaranteed cure for everything including boredom, mood drops, mild headaches and social ambiguity. Its that thing English people do when they don't know what else to do. Having a cup of tea has always been a guaranteed source of comfort, grounding and general okness generator through most of my life and I wanted it back.

 

I also wanted to be able to use what I hoped would be a harmless substance again as a tool for improving my experience of life when it slipped below what I thought was an 'appropriate' level of comfort/pleasure. I don't like feeling even the slightest measure of crappiness and even though I'm much recovered, I hate having to experience regular daily mood drops with periods of apathy and inertia when there's things I need to be doing in order to maintain the few positive changes I've made over the recent months.

 

Having a cup of tea gave me that little boost I needed to get me off the couch to make yet another batch of fresh vegetable juice, or to start working on this weeks spread sheets for the online game group I became 'president' of.

 

It wasn't a lot of caffeine, and not even every day. Just one very weak cup..... tea bag in, pour water, take teabag out, no jiggling or squeezing, just hot, watery milk really, with a bit of honey. It seemed to be ok, because I was getting none of the instant repercussions I got all the previous times I tried it. No instant rise in anxiety, no disruptions to sleep, no obvious negative consequences seemed to be happening this time. It was doubly great because not only could I have a normal cuppa tea again, it was evidence that I really was getting better..... a lot better, I was well on my way to being back to 'normal' and being able to rejoin regular society again, the one where you can walk into any establishment and benefit from the refreshment which is almost always available and which probably 95% of the population can safely drink.

 

But after about a week of this, I noticed a subtle new symptom arising, my brain would occasionally have these little glitches which lasted a few seconds. I would be doing something which took some concentration and suddenly it was as if someone had flicked the switch off and instantly my perception and all cognitive function would be gone. For a few seconds I would be left with no recognition of what anything was or meant. 

 

Then old symptoms started returning with a vengeance. Morning became an exercise in trying to distract from, and endure the torturous physical sensations, negative thought spirals, difficult emotions and dark moods which I was waking with. Hoplelessness/desperation quickly replaced the peaceful enthusiasm for life which had become my norm for large chunks of the day.

 

Half way into this wave it occurred to me it might be the caffeine, so I stopped. But Wednesday was still my worst day, even though I hadn't had any caffeine for about 48 hours. But Thursday wasn't so awful, yesterday was fairly bearable and I was beginning to breathe again..... those big relieving breaths that seem to happen when you realize the danger is finally over and life might be about to get back to normal again, which for me means withdrawal normal, a new kind of life which is teaching me about acceptance, awareness, courage and hope.

 

I don't know if it was the caffeine or not, but if it was, its served to wake me up to the realization of just how sensitive I've become and how careful I still have to be. Being this far out.... almost 4 years drug free, I would expect I would be able to have a weak cup of tea once a day, but apparently not.

 

Its my birthday today, I'm 50 something, not sure exactly, these kinds of rituals and record keeping have lost their meaning and value for me. Today is the only reality and very little of it relates to anything which happened in the past or might happen in the future. Thinking about the fact that I've been living this particular life for X amount of years is pointless. Right now is my only reality and right now I'm alive, symptom free, comfortable and have all my basic survival needs being met. I'm not even thinking of it as a birthday gift, its not something we should hope to experience for one day of the year, it should be a lifetime gift, one we can expect to accompany us for the majority of our time in a human body.

 

I don't know what went wrong with humanity to cause so many of us to eventually turn to harmful substances to get relief from what seems to be a normal level of discomfort and uneasiness which characterizes most human lives. As a species, we seem to have gone wrong somewhere along the line, it would be a shame if we became extinct because of it, because as a species, we also have the potential for being so much more than we already are.

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apace41

Petu,

 

Beautiful post. I'm glad you are coming out of the mini-wave.

 

Happy Birthday!

 

Andy

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brassmonkey

Happy birthday Petu. There looks to be some interesting things in that long post, but I'm not concentrating enough to make it through ATM.

 

(((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))))

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LexAnger

Fabulous post with many profound thoughts!

Happy birthday dear petunia! The real birth of a brand new life, goodbye forever to the misery drug years!

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AliG

Petunia. It's wonderful to hear of your improvements. I'm so happy for you.

 

Like you, I have trouble wrapping my head around the sudden upsurge of symptoms that can occur after a long period of being relatively symptom free but I guess that's the nature of the beast. I have experienced this also and it can be disconcerting to say the least.

 

I look on it now as periods of intense healing. That's what I choose to believe anyway.

 

I have found Rooibos tea to be invaluable during withdrawal. It is an African tea that is naturally caffeine free. Available in the supermarkets here . It might just solve the whole tea dilemma.  :)

 

Happy Birthday !

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Cherry47

Happy Birthday Petunia (Also my late mothers birthday today, so a thoughtful day.)

 

You have been a wonderful support and inspiration to so many of us. I hope you continue to get better and better.

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Happy2Heal

happy belated birthday Petunia!

oh I can so relate to the tea thing, I love a good cuppa tea. I recently tried to drink a few cups myself and regretted it, I had an increase in anxiety and then withdrawal headaches for a few days. From that tiny bit of caffeine.

I did a water wash of my tea bag, too, because I'd read that you can rinse out most of the caffeine in reg tea by pouring hot water over it, just enough to cover it completely, and then discarding that water, as it contains most of the caff, then continuing on with adding hot water to the 'rinsed out' tea bag. So I had really really weak tea LOL

 

I drink vanilla flavored rooibos tea all day now and will make some raspberry zinger tea in a jar in the fridge (cold brew kind of thing) it's got a lot of hibiscus leaves in it, which is VERY high in anti oxidants..

here;s some info about it: http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/09/03/hibiscus-tea-the-best-beverage/

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mammaP

Hi Petu, it's lovely to see you but I am sorry that you had such an awful wave when you have been doing so well. Glad to see that it is settling down again.

Maybe caffeine is something that you will always be sensitive to now, I have decaff Tetleys, you can't tell its decaff and I 'rinse' that too by making my friends before mine and use the same tea bag. I only have it when she comes over.  Not sure if you can get it down under. 

I love builders tea, very strong with lots of sugar and a dropof milk, but havent taken had that for many years, don'tknow how I would be if I drank it now. I stopped it when I relised I was drinking 1000 calories a day with my tea and wine at night so both had to go.  :blush:   :lol:

 

I remember when you had a window and used it to cover your window to block the light, you were delighted that you had done it and were so sick at the time it was quite an achievement! And shopping at the craft store, you inspired me to think about crafting. You helped me a lot posting what you were achieving, it took so much effort and showed us all how to do it! 

 

I am so pleased that you are doing so much better, and love reading your updates.  :wub:

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Petunia

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and comments. MammaP, you made me change my brand of decaff tea :)  I've been happy with Dilmah for years, but I ran out and instead of buying more, I got Tetley instead because I was thinking about your post while I was shopping. I think I like it better.

 

I cant believe its March already. Time keeps speeding by and I'm still here with my life on hold, waiting to recover enough to be able to..... what, I don't even know what I want to do any more.

 

Mornings are still unpleasant, I'm still waking with low level panic and mild dread. Its all physical, there are very few thoughts and when those anxious ruminations do attack me, its automatic to either ignore them or quickly distract myself. But I just feel physically uncomfortable and generally vulnerable and unsafe all morning, no matter what I'm doing.

 

Then fatigue sets in during the afternoon. I become motivated, but then lack the energy. Its like a kind of CFS I think. I can manage to do maybe one or two things per day, and then I'm exhausted. Like maybe I can go out and do a little bit of grocery shopping and have a shower, and that's all my energy for the day gone.

 

Today I did some washing and now need to make a batch of vegetable juice. I know that when I'm finished I will be exhausted, so I'm putting off starting, but I need to do it because I think the fresh juices are helping me to recover, I just wish they would give me more energy.

 

This has been going on for such a long time, living has been reduced to nothing but distraction and survival. I keep thinking that I should be grateful that the intense, acute horrendous stage is over, that I survived and lived through it.

 

In a small way I am grateful, because now I have hope that its going to continue to get better and life might be good again one day. But was it ever really good before? It probably wasn't, but now I can see the possibility of it being genuinely good, but I still have an underlying fear that 'this is as good as its ever going to get'. That I'm going to be like this, with no energy or ability to do much of anything for the rest of my life.

 

I've been feeling more angry lately, which isn't like me. I get these sudden bursts of rage-like feelings, in response to something, its not random. But its way out of proportion to the situation. I don't react, but just feel it and wonder what's going on. I'm wondering if this is all the anger I've been repressing for years, coming out in little dribs and drabs.

 

Some symptoms have gone completely and others remain, but in a very mild form compared to what they were. I still get random, strange pains appear for a few hours and then disappear.

 

There's something else I've noticed lately. When I go out, I have a difficult time seeing what's around me. Its not my vision, that's fine, its like my brain is having a hard time interpreting everything, so I get the kind of feeling like I'm walking around in a thick fog, not comprehending anything fully. I can function, but I have to concentrate and really focus and its exhausting. Most things take too much energy, so I don't bother. Its sad, I used to be so much more engaged in life, just the little things. I got pleasure from simple things, like smelling a flower or watching a dog romping around. Now I don't even notice these things, its like I'm in a self protective little bubble of fog. When I do try and engage more, I get overwhelmed very easily.

 

I guess full functioning will come back eventually, but its difficult to endure the length of time its taking. I get frustrated and sad and feel so helpless and then hopeless and then start to think 'Maybe I'm depressed', then I get angry because that diagnostic term even exists and is so widely accepted. Any normal person would feel these things when going through this.

 

It like the whole dysfunctional system is a kind of default cycle which everyone falls into unless they are paying attention. Normal emotions are medicalized and medicated. Then the normal process of recovery from the abnormal medications, and normal emotional reactions to it, are again medicalized and re-medicated.

 

I'm paying the heavy price now for allowing my normal human emotions to be classified as an illness, because I wanted fast relief from them. As a child, I was never taught how to manage my own feelings, by parents who were unable to handle their own feelings. Feelings were punished and so I learned to shut them away, block them, stuff them down, choke on them, do whatever I could to make them stop so I could come back out into the world and be accepted again.

 

Feelings were my dirty little secret. They were bad, they seemed to be a part of me, and so that made me bad. The opportunity to see myself as sick rather than bad was too good to pass up really. And the possibility of a medicine to cure that illness and finally make me normal and good wasn't going to be ignored.

 

None of this was my fault. I was a child who didn't get the the help and support I needed. I wasn't taught how to manage life and the feelings that come with having a human body. Now I'm paying the price of not only being neglected by my parents as a child, but also for being lied to and poisoned as an adult by my doctor.

 

I'm learning not to trust authority, not to trust people just because society generally sees them as being safe and knowledgeable. Blindly putting my wellbeing in the hands of others has very nearly cost me my life. When I was a child, I didn't have a choice, but as an adult I have choices and I'm learning the hard way how important it is to make my own self informed choices about pretty much everything. I no longer believe most of what I hear or see or read in mainstream media. To me its all profit creating, manipulative bs directed at a mostly brainwashed, gullible population.

 

So that was my update. I'm still recovering and wading through all the fallout that's been caused.

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apace41

All I can say, Petu, is WOW!  That posted really, really resonated with me.

 

It's not like things are horrific and the world is coming to an end.  It's more like a sense of purgatory -- somewhat unpleasant but waiting and distracting so that time passes until things get "better" (whatever that is).  I too have the random pains that come out of nowhere and hang around for a while, frequently disappearing as quickly as they came.  I usually have a small bout of "health anxiety" associated with those symptoms which is when the mind plays games and does the ritual "can't be withdrawal -- what else is wrong" dance.

 

 

 

There's something else I've noticed lately. When I go out, I have a difficult time seeing what's around me. Its not my vision, that's fine, its like my brain is having a hard time interpreting everything, so I get the kind of feeling like I'm walking around in a thick fog, not comprehending anything fully. I can function, but I have to concentrate and really focus and its exhausting. Most things take too much energy, so I don't bother. Its sad, I used to be so much more engaged in life, just the little things. I got pleasure from simple things, like smelling a flower or watching a dog romping around. Now I don't even notice these things, its like I'm in a self protective little bubble of fog. When I do try and engage more, I get overwhelmed very easily.

 

I really relate to this.  I consider that to be my dp/dr -- the sense that there's a fog or a barrier between me and the rest of the world.  I can process it all on an intellectual level but I can't truly engage with it in a direct fashion.  It's kind of happening around me and I'm tangential even when I'm involved.  I try to force myself to do the things that SHOULD bring joy and engagement but they really don't. I agree that it is exhausting which only serves to exacerbate the effect.

 

And, yet, I know I should be grateful.  I've been able to maintain my job and take care of all my responsibilities throughout this process.  Some days are better than others and I've probably missed out on advancement opportunities because of my lowered affect, but I'm still able to do the job and pay the bills, etc.  But, when you are in this kind of "holding pattern" it's hard to feel a whole lot of gratitude.  And then, of course, I wonder if it's my mindset -- am I making things worse by being so introspective and negative all the time?  

 

I don't know.  It's all very hard.  There are days it is easy to see to the "other side" and healing.  There are other days when it's not so easy.

 

Just keep hanging in there.  Time and hope are our biggest allies in this fight.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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Petunia

Finding myself back here on my thread because a wave washed me up here on this abandoned beach. Its comforting to read what Andy wrote a few weeks ago, thanks Andy. I wish this didn't take so long, for all of us who are still struggling and surviving after years of going through this.

 

In general, haven't been too bad. Its been like a watered down version of withdrawal worst. Same patterns, same symptoms coming and going, but at about 20% intensity most of the time. Last Thursday I had a perfectly clear window. Its been a while since I've felt 'completely' recovered, as in multi-day window, so having one day last week was a nice reminder that its possible. But once again I fell into the trap of thinking it was going to last. Windows bring a timeless quality of anchoring me firmly into the present wonderful moment and so the concept of things getting bad again doesn't occur to me, until the window cruelly closes and I'm slammed back into shock and confusion, wondering what just happened.

 

Did I cause this wave? What was the mistake I made? I decided to make some snickerdoodles. My daughter said she tried some and they were her favorite cookie. Being in Australia, I'd never heard of them, so I found a recipe and decided I would attempt something which for the past withdrawal years has been impossible.

 

I don't know if snickerdoodles have thrown me back into a wave, or if it was going to happen anyway. On Friday, I was back to withdrawal normal, made the cookies on Saturday, and shortly after that was when I started feeling awful again. For two nights I've been waking up with adrenaline surges and mornings are filled with dread and doom feelings again.

 

My body is vibrating, arms and hands buzzing, tinnitus screaming in my head and I seem to be effecting electronics around me. Its like I'm the source of chaos, but I suppose its my disrupted thinking which is making false connections.

 

I don't believe that a few home made cookies would do this. I ate 3 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. I've eaten worse than that and not been set back like this.

 

I've had no real life for about 5 years now. My life has consisted of distraction and the basics of survival, waiting until I'm consistently well enough to.... what? I don't even know what I want to do any more. I'm still waiting to build a new life after losing my marriage, business and studies.

 

My life was a bit of a sham really, even when I did have it together. I've never felt like I was living an authentic life and being on antidepressants took the edge off the anxiety which in hindsight I can see was probably a helpful message, telling me I needed to make some changes in my life. I had work to do, on my beliefs and patterns of thinking. My choices in life had been based on emotional reactions stemming from false beliefs about myself and life.

 

Like Andy wrote, I also think I should be grateful, because I've survived, I'm over the worst of it and will eventually get a second chance at life. But most of the time I feel like I'm the center of a cruel joke, being taunted by something just out of reach that I know I'm never going to be able to have. And the longer this is taking, the further out of reach everything seems to be.

 

Its difficult to be grateful for something, when at any moment it gets snatched away, the rug pulled out and I'm back floundering around, helplessly, wondering how I'm going to get through the rest of the day, hoping, praying that nothing challenging comes up, because I'm not capable of handling anything besides basic survival again today.

 

Agoraphobia is back. Agoraphobia in withdrawal can have several causes. Its not the 'usual' kind. Mine has been caused by sensory overload, feeling extremely vulnerable and unwell most of the time and as self protection. Its just safer to stay home, in a more controlled environment, where I'm not at so much risk of 'things going wrong', things which might require me to think, act, be decisive, communicate, and solve problem, all abilities I suddenly lost. Those abilities started to come back, but now, in this wave, they are gone again. There's no predictability, in my life now, I can't trust myself to be able to handle anything from one day to the next. I have no control over anything and its terrifying having to live this way.

 

Just like Andy, I worry that its my own thoughts and behavior which are fueling this ongoing cycle and that I should be doing something different. But in reality, I know I'm doing the best I can and even when I do manage to 'do better' it doesn't make any difference. These cycles continue and recovery is happening at its own crawling rate which most of the time feels like its not happening at all... until I look back and notice some progress has been made. But not enough, not for the amount of time that has passed. This is taking too long. What other kind of recovery takes years? I can't think of a punishment bad enough for the people responsible for what these drugs are doing to people.

 

I'm sorry, I'm in a wave and its effecting my perspective, negativity has engulfed me, rationality has gone and I'm stuck in a downward spiral again.

 

Probably better I delete this because its discouraging and really not helpful to anyone. But its where I'm at, its reality. This is what protracted withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can be like. This is what happens when your brain and entire system has become adapted to a toxic drug over years and then has to reverse those changes.

 

I wish I had been told the truth when I was handed that first prescription of Zoloft 20 years ago. I've lost my health, my quality of life and the security that came with believing doctors and their medicines were safe.

 

I want my health and my life back. This isn't fair, I didn't do anything to deserve this ongoing punishment. I'm a victim of a terrible crime and no one is being held accountable, this crime is barely even recognized yet and so it exacerbates my sense of victimization. No validation, no compensation and no justice in sight.

 

I don't think I'm ready for gratitude. I've still got a lot of anger and grief to process.

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ChessieCat

I think what you have written is very honest and understandable.  I find it helps me when I realise that other people are experiencing similar thoughts to me.

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Cherry47

Petunia, you write so beautifully, you are able to describe so eloquently what we are going through and what a devastating effect these drugs have had on our lives. You make it so real and believable that I want to show it to everyone out there to let people know that this is happening and we are not making it up. (A bonus would be if a few GP's actually read what you wrote.) I would love to see you published in the national newspapers, maybe one of the weekend magazines. Go for it! If they can do it in the UK.............

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direstraits

I'm so glad you didn't delete this..you're helping those of us who feel exactly the same way as you...reminding us we;re not alone in this agony...thankyou.

 

you're an inspiration to everyone here.....xxx

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brassmonkey

Now that your frustration is committed to the page leave it there and forget about it.  It's no longer yours, it's the pages.  Each time the frustration and anger arise express them in a tangible form and banish them from your life.  Write them out, burn the paper and let the universe take care of them. Go so far as making a little ceremony of it. When they try to come back tell them that you've already dealt with them and go on about your day.  Over the past months I've seen such underlying improvements in the things you write about it makes me very happy for you.  This is a turbulent time of change in your healing, but the sun keeps shining through the clouds more and more as the skies clear.  You know it's happening, you can feel it happening, let go and roll in the grass in the sunshine.

 

With a name like snickerdoodle they can't be bad for you.

 

((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))

 

Brass

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Shep

As Brassmonkey just wrote, "Now that your frustration is committed to the page, leave it there and forget about it."  

 

I find these kinds of forums a place where we can leave our pain on the page for others to help us grieve. And then we can move in. It's both individual and it's collective. 

 

You are helping us grieve, Petunia, but you are someone who visits these dark places and then finds a way to rise about it. I've read on your thread where you've done it before and I'm sure you'll do it again.

 

And we'll want to read that part, too, and celebrate with you when the next window comes. There are moments of pain and there are moments of victory. It's in the contrast that gives us the most hope. 

 

 

I want my health and my life back. This isn't fair, I didn't do anything to deserve this ongoing punishment. I'm a victim of a terrible crime and no one is being held accountable, this crime is barely even recognized yet and so it exacerbates my sense of victimization. No validation, no compensation and no justice in sight.

 

 

This really resonates with me. I have been drugged for most of my life, since 17. And now, it's unnerving to look back at my life, at this "terrible crime". 

 

But we're only partway through the journey. I think we'll understand more as we go farther into the healing phase, so please don't give up now. I think it's healthy to go through these grieving phases and may even be a sign of healing, as it shows that your emotions are returning.

 

And with the ability to feel pain comes the long-awaited ability to feel joy.

 

Thank you for your honest narrative. It's helpful. And we hear you. 

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doggiemama

Wow !!! I can relate to all you have said,I'm just as sick of this ongoing thing that's taken over my life. How can Drs know or understand ? I can be ok and everything turns in a few minutes flat and I'm anxious and full of muscle tension the next and I don't need anything to start this.

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Altostrata

Oh, Petu, I feel for you. 

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Petunia

Thank you so much everyone, for your understanding, support and encouragement.

 

Its funny, well, not funny really, but just knowing that my miserable writing about my ongoing misery is actually helping others, is enough to make this all seem tolerable and even have some value. I feel like I've become totally and completely useless because of this. I can't do anything besides take care of myself, and I can only just do that at times. So to know I can do at least one thing which has value to someone, besides myself, is like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I just need to keep walking towards it I guess. 

 

I'm crying now, but its a good crying, with gratitude. Maybe there's a place for gratitude along side the grief and anger.

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brassmonkey

((((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))

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apace41

Its comforting to read what Andy wrote a few weeks ago, thanks Andy. I wish this didn't take so long, for all of us who are still struggling and surviving after years of going through this.

 

Petu,

 

As you said in your later post, knowing that my words were of some comfort for you makes me feel better about myself -- and, in light of the fact that so many of us desperately need to work on our "self-compassion" skills that was comforting to me.  So, take solace in the fact that you are, in fact, paying it forward in a very big way and have been for years.

 

 

 

Did I cause this wave? What was the mistake I made?

 

I so understand this thought process, Petu.  We have an understandable desire for a one-to-one linking of behavior and feeling.  "If I do this, I will feel that."  Thus, the reverse must be true as well.  "If I feel that [bad], I must have done something [fill in the blank]."  Then we cast about looking for things we might have done that created the bad feeling. It is precisely in that way that we start to inevitably "shrink our world."  For example, "I watched an episode of my favorite crime show and I felt bad afterwards... I better not watch that show anymore."  Or.... "I went out of the house to the corner market and I felt bad so I better not leave the house anymore."  You can see how it becomes insidious and greatly limiting.  The reality, in virtually all of these cases is that the feeling bad was simply going to happen due to the windows and waves of recovery.  If you did something major -- took a hit from the old crack pipe, ran a marathon, etc. -- you would know it.  These minor things -- even the dreaded snickerdoodle -- do not cause waves.  And, in addition to the limitations placed on oneself, the tendency for self-blame is apparent.  It is my belief that what is done to the brain by the meds is a form of trauma and by continuing the cycle with self-blame we reinforce the trauma and further delay our recovery.

 

 

 

I've had no real life for about 5 years now. My life has consisted of distraction and the basics of survival, waiting until I'm consistently well enough to.... what? I don't even know what I want to do any more. I'm still waiting to build a new life after losing my marriage, business and studies.

 

Yes, yes, yes.  The feeling that life has been put on hold while we wait for withdrawal to be over.  And then the questioning of "who the hell am I and what the hell will make me happy once I'm whole -- whatever that is?"  The reality is that you have not sat idly by for 5 years even though you think you have and it feels like you have done nothing during that period.  Again, this is the self-blame feature of withdrawal that is so pervasive.  Have you done all of the things you wanted to do?  NO -- not by a long shot.  But you have not done nothing so try to move off of that negative thought process.

 

 

 

Its difficult to be grateful for something, when at any moment it gets snatched away, the rug pulled out and I'm back floundering around, helplessly, wondering how I'm going to get through the rest of the day, hoping, praying that nothing challenging comes up, because I'm not capable of handling anything besides basic survival again today.

 

And yet, in your subsequent post, you found something to be grateful for.  A place to start.  A toehold.  Something to build on.  This is not the first moment of gratefulness you have had in this journey -- just the first you have focused on.  There will be more.  They are hard to find when you are swimming against the tide but they are there.

 

 

 

I worry that its my own thoughts and behavior which are fueling this ongoing cycle and that I should be doing something different. But in reality, I know I'm doing the best I can and even when I do manage to 'do better' it doesn't make any difference. These cycles continue and recovery is happening at its own crawling rate which most of the time feels like its not happening at all... until I look back and notice some progress has been made. But not enough, not for the amount of time that has passed. This is taking too long. What other kind of recovery takes years? I can't think of a punishment bad enough for the people responsible for what these drugs are doing to people.

 

More self-blame.  Note that I say these things because I am so guilty of the same process.  "Withdrawal wouldn't be that bad -- I make it worse than it has to be." Except that's just not true.  As you say you are "doing the best [you] can."  And you are making progress.  And it sucks that it takes so long for many of us.  And we've been lied to and had something important stolen from us without consent. And... and... and...

 

It goes on and on until we decide not to let it control us -- until we take back some of the control ourselves.  There are days when that is virtually impossible and days when it is much easier.  On the "good days" you work hard to build the neural pathways that will survive once you are through the process completely.  You are healing, Petu, and while it is way too slow and way too hard, you are getting there and will be there before you realize it.

 

 

Probably better I delete this because its discouraging and really not helpful to anyone. But its where I'm at, its reality. This is what protracted withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can be like. This is what happens when your brain and entire system has become adapted to a toxic drug over years and then has to reverse those changes.

 

As others have said, a thousand times no!  You need to post the bad with the good.  It is cathartic for you and instructive for all.  Withdrawal from psych meds is not some kind of frolic in the park.  It's really hard and really ugly and really sucks.  And to not tell people the truth does not allow them to prepare for the really tough times that lay ahead.  Your post was brilliant in its honesty and gave voice to the feelings so many of us have.  At times it feels like you are "letting others down" when you come on the site and say "I'm not any better."  But, that is what is real and how can the truth be bad in this context?

 

As the famous philosopher Billy Joel once said, we "love you just the way you are."

 

Best,

 

Andy

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Petunia

I'm back on my thread because I want to write about something which just happened. I've yet to read any comments posted, after I wrote last, so thank you in advance.

 

I've known for a long time that there is a difference between normal anxiety and that caused by the problems associated with recovering from antidepressant use. But today highlighted it perfectly.

 

I've been needing to renew my drivers license and have a new photo taken for it. The form has been sitting on the counter in my kitchen for about 3 weeks. The due date was just under a week away. I didn't want to do it. Previously, before withdrawal it would have been nothing but another chore to fit into my schedule and would have been done within a few days of the notice arriving. But I've been dreading having to do it and I couldn't figure out why. I was sort of waiting, hoping for a window, or at least a few days when I felt better and motivated to do it. But instead, my current wave seems to be getting worse, its been 9 days now.

 

On Sunday, I told myself I would get it done on Monday. But Monday arrived and I was a nauseous, shaking, vibrating mess for well into the afternoon. Thankfully, later in the day I managed to have a shower and wash my hair. That was one step in the process completed. Compared with what I looked like before withdrawal started, I look awful now. So I wanted to try and make an effort for a photo which is going to accompany me for the next 5 years. I sort of have this idea that in a year or 2 I'm going to be completely recovered and I wont want to keep having a visual reminder of this nightmare every time I have to take my license out for something.

 

But anyway, this morning I felt even worse than yesterday. But I knew I had to get this thing done. I didn't want to lose my license and have to....... what? I don't know, go for another driving test or something. The way I am at the moment I'm not sure I would even pass.

 

Normally, (previously) if I had to do something unpleasant, there would be anxiety triggered by thoughts of it. Like a dentist visit or an interview or something. I would imagine various scenarios which might include pain or difficult questions and the anxiety would arise.

 

But with this, I would imagine myself going and renewing my license and there was no increase in anxiety. It seemed simple and completely painless. Instead, imagining it made me confused and disoriented. It didn't make any sense. There was nothing hard about what I had to do, I just didn't want to do it because I feel so awful and I didn't want to take my awful feeling body out there into the world and do anything, especially not have to dress and behave like a normal, functioning person when inside, my body is sending me signals of danger and threat, clouding my thoughts and making even simple tasks very difficult.

 

Today was worse than yesterday, but I had washed my hair. I didn't want to waste it. I figured it would last for a day or two. But what if I felt even worse tomorrow, and the day after? I laid on my bed, listening to something on youtube, hoping that I would start to feel better as the day progressed, I usually do. But I fell asleep and woke up in a panic about an hour later, not knowing what day or time it was, scared the whole day had gone and I had missed my chance. But thankfully only an hour had passed, there was still hope.

 

Then, a few hours later, I found myself getting up, dressed, straightening my hair and going. There hadn't even been a decision, I was just doing it, with no increase in anxiety, hardly any thoughts, like as if it wasn't even me driving this ship.

 

Waiting in that government building, surrounded by images of bureaucracy and social control was unpleasant. I didn't want to be there, but I didn't feel any worse, physically. There were 2 huge TV screens with the seating arranged so almost everyone had to be facing them. I sat at the side and did my best not to watch or listen, but it was difficult not to feel assaulted by the ongoing messages of doom and gloom, disguised as news.

 

I've been there before, the last time was when I was in acute withdrawal and I took my daughter to take her driving test, that was about 4 years ago, I was much worse then, but had yet to learn anything about withdrawal or what was causing my symptoms.

 

And now I'm home again, and there's no sense of relief at all. Normally, when you accomplish something which has been difficult and anxiety provoking, there's a feeling of relief that its over. Or maybe some satisfaction at having done something challenging. But I feel exactly the same as before I left the house. If anything, I'm disappointed because my hair looks nice, but its meaningless because I'm still sick and still have no life, so what's the point.

 

I used to be quite an anxious person, that was the reason I started on antidepressants in the first place. But my anxiety was caused by external events and situations, which I would worry about unnecessarily. It was a problem with my thinking and beliefs, but now its something completely different. This isn't connected with anything outside of my own body and I wish I could have my old anxiety back, that would be so easy to handle now. During my windows, I've had no fear, no anxiety and have felt completely safe and comfortable in the world.... like a new person.

 

If I could go back and live my life over again, knowing what I know now, it would have turned out much differently. But the irony is, I had to go through this, to learn what I have, and now, I'm too sick to use much of what I've learned.

 

Oh well, at least I managed to secure the privilege of being able to continue to drive for the next 5 years. Hopefully I will continue to recover and be able to put that to better use than I have been.

 

Going to read Andy's post now :)

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Petunia

Once again, thank you Andy for your kind, thoughtful and wise comments, but especially for this:
 

These minor things -- even the dreaded snickerdoodle -- do not cause waves.

... it had me laughing (out loud) for almost a minute, not something I've done in a very long time, and it felt good.

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AliG

Petunia. I'm not feeling very expressive tonight as I am in my own wave but I wanted to at least say that I understand . I have experienced very similar conditions and emotions throughout this experience. What you have written about recently and particularly today feels very familiar to me and I just want to say - you are not alone.

 

This takes so much time and patience as to be inexorably difficult but I guess in the long run - it's ultimately character building for want of a better word.

 

We are similar in that we both C/T'ed. You are ahead of me ( 4 yrs , I think) . I'm almost 3 yrs in May. There is also some family dysfunction to take into account.

 

I also have the to'ing & fro'ing of this process - never really knowing where you stand. The nature of this can be so confusing at times. It can really do your head in . I know you're strong and will make it through. If we stand strong , in the end ultimately we will win.  

 

Wishing you well ,

Ali

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AprilShowers

That's so well put Petunia. I felt exactly the same before this latest wave. I wish I had some wise thing to offer, I don't but I know how you feel and I totally sympathise. 

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apace41

If I could go back and live my life over again, knowing what I know now, it would have turned out much differently. But the irony is, I had to go through this, to learn what I have, and now, I'm too sick to use much of what I've learned.

 

I understand that, Petunia, I really do.  But, what you need to remember is that you are in a wave -- plain and simple.  And when you are out of the wave (and even though it doesn't feel like it you will be out of it soon) you will have all of the things you have learned and all of the perspective you have gained to help you rebuild your life and make it better than it was (cue the music from the 6 Million Dollar Man).

 

Choose to see that the fact that you DIDN'T get thrown back into anxiety, only into an uncertain malaise-like existence, is really a step forward because it is.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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coldturkmama

I read a lot of your thread last night....I haven't been on in quite a while. *sigh* we have so much in common! 

This has to pass...<3

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Pepita

Hi everyone here in this thread:) I just scrolled through some

of the latest posts and I just wanted to say a few words as I am just reading a very helpful book about pharma lobbiesans the danger of ADs. The revealing of things gone wrong and hidden facts in studies about ADs and all this information written by a doctor, confirming each one of our stories gives me great hope again concerning those "am I doing the right thing"- thoughts and "will it ever end" which I hace in each and every wave - just like many of you describe. Well yes, we are doing the right thing, because even when we feel miserable for a loooooooong time that feels like forever- we are cleaning our system and we give ourselves a chance of recovery AND at least we're not poisoning our bodies any more. There are sooooo many hidden stories about people committing suicide after quitting their meds, so yeah, we are real survivors:) we can be proud of what we have achieved so far and yes- it Is UNFAIR! it's not just us acting like a little tired kid, we have been fuled by a Lobby, at least I see it that way. I try not to think too mich aboit that because it just fuels the fire;) One more reason to

stay clean and to keep improving and healing - even if it takes what feels like forever. And we don't know what wohld habe happened if we'd still be taking meds. we might even have bigger problems. So yeah, eye of the tiger, let's keep improving!!!!!!:)))

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Pepita

sorry for typing errors I am typing on my iphone

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bhasski

... are sooooo many hidden stories about people committing suicide after quitting their meds, so yeah, we are real survivors:) we can be proud of what we have achieved so far and yes- it Is UNFAIR!

 

You are right . But I cannot feel the proud, its killing. I am at a family wedding of close brother... 1000 people ... and I am blank of emotions. Inside killing.

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Pepita

I know, I am also not feeling gratitude or pride all the time - I know the devastating feeling and losing hope all too well. A wedding is an emotional and exciting event, lots a people are challenging as well.. do you have someone who can accompany you and knows about your WD? At least it's socially accepted to cry at weddings, so no shame there!!!

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bhasski

I don't cry silently. Its words , hopelessness coming out vigorously with rage. Well i cried in front of my aunt when she suggested that when in need of treatment, then go for it.

 

I told what bad I had done after getting the treatment for 3 yrs. My first well earning job lost.. lost my memory.. lost my confidence... i was shouting and crying. This happens with me.

 

 

Well there are many people whom I told that I feel nothing and hopeless . But there is nobody who seems to understand. They all end up going by saying he is going thru depression and not taking meds.

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