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The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

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Narcissus

After about two weeks of recording my moods and symptoms I've noticed an interesting correlation. One of the things I recorded was the level of 'strain' experienced each day. What I mean by this is that indescribable feeling of mounting tension (often accompanied by panic or anxiety) in the mind/body. This is the main 'effect' I associate with withdrawal. I also recorded my daily mood. It seems that on days where my level of 'strain' was highest, days where I felt most dramatically affected by withdrawal, were the days I also experienced the highest level of mood. One of the things that I should note was that on these days I experienced a high level of fluctuation in mood/symptoms as well.

 

So the pattern seems to be (at least so far) a day or two of high 'strain', during which moments of both high mood and terrible agitation are experienced, and then a four or five day period where both mood and 'strain' are relatively low, and very little joy is experienced. During these low periods I feel the most hopeless, and I have this sense of there being a a sort of 'void' in my head.

 

A simpler way to put this would be, I seem to be alternate between brief and intense periods of some kind of excess (neurological?) followed by longer and in some ways more difficult periods of deficiency/depletion.

 

What do people make of this? Has anyone noted a similar pattern?

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Barbarannamated

So the pattern seems to be (at least so far) a day or two of high 'strain', during which moments of both high mood and terrible agitation are experienced, and then a four or five day period where both mood and 'strain' are relatively low, and very little joy is experienced. During these low periods I feel the most hopeless, and I have this sense of there being a a sort of 'void' in my head.

 

A simpler way to put this would be, I seem to be alternate between brief and intense periods of some kind of excess (neurological?) followed by longer and in some ways more difficult periods of deficiency/depletion.

 

What do people make of this? Has anyone noted a similar pattern?

 

I hesitate to compare my case to others because I have overlapping medical disorders involving cortisol/adrenals, but your description resonated with me.

 

I am about 18 months post Pristiq (NOT a careful taper). The first several months during taper and 3-4 post taper were a state of 'excess' energy, both mental and physical: anxiety, akathisia, hypomania, early morning awakenings and needing little sleep, heart racing, need to be on-the-go even when I had nowhere to be, anger outbursts, etc.

 

At about 3-4 months after last dose, the morning panic/anxiety began to morph into absolute dread of VOID of life. I recognize now that dread is a form of anxiety. I was forced to retire (medical) when I was 39 and the full impact of that hit me only when off of Pristiq, 11 years later. Deficiency, depletion, dread.. all very prominent feelings for the past year along with very low energy, a void of thoughts or activity in my head, and complete HOPELESSNESS. It's far worse in the morning until early afternoon and I feel almost normal by evening although I start to get anxious about the dread of morning. The diurnal pattern is so strong that Ive had difficulty recognizing any waves or windows aside from shift from excess state to deficient state (good wording!).

 

I don't have the usual 'strains' or pressures that most people have, so I can't speak to that. However, 'freedom' / emptiness can create its own anxiety. Your correlation of void, deficiency, and hopelessness struck me. Thank you.

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Altostrata

pgd, those are very well-observed symptoms.

 

I agree with Barb, you might be tracing your own periods of high cortisol. It is stimulating. Then, when it's a bit lower, you are experiencing numbness that will gradually diminish as your nervous system heals.

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Narcissus

Alto, that makes sense. What role do we think cortisol might have in our ability to feel certain emotions? Obviously it raises stress/anxiety, but might it be a part of our ability to feel joy as well?

 

Barbara, it breaks my heart that these effects have been so long term for you. But I'm glad you were able to relate to some of my experience. I've definitely noticed a positive trend underneath all the ups and downs, and I hope that you have as well, although I'm sure it's harder when the patterns are so drawn out.

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Altostrata

Cortisol is necessary for all our daily functions and alertness. Our bodies need just the right amount.

 

Too little (usually from a disease, such as Addison's) and many systems don't work correctly, see http://www.livestrong.com/article/98505-cortisol-deficiency-symptoms/

 

Cortisol is naturally produced to mobilize us in times of stress. Then it's supposed to quickly break down and allow us to relax.

 

Excess cortisol produced over a long period is wearing on the body. It can contribute to anxiety, depression, or rage.

 

An extreme effect of too much cortisol is seen in Cushing's syndrome.

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starlitegirlx

I just now took the time to read through this thread and I'm so glad it's here. I have the window/wanes cycle which is akin to hell when you have a window then hit a wane. It's really hard to not get emotionally knocked for a loop particularly if it's a bad wane after a comforting window.

 

I love the term WINDOW because when I think of it, I think of looking out and seeing beauty and bright skies and the sun and nature. It's hopeful. Wanes remind me of when the moon is going from full (waning cycle) to new again, the sky gets darker at night and has an ominous foreboding feeling.

 

With regards to the cycles, I'm reminded of when I broke my leg a decade ago. When I was recovering, I would have good days and bad ones. I had to be cautious as to what I did but that wasn't really a determined trigger. It just seemed that some days my leg would hurt so fiercely to the point I wondered if it was ever going to fully recover. Then that would pass and it would feel better. It was a lot like this only it was specific to my leg. The same thing happened when I was recovering from Lichen Planus - an autoimmune disease that was triggered by three years of prolonged stress. It was horribly bad to the point that sleep was the only way I could escape the pain of it (burning, stinging, sharp pain).

 

I documented my symptoms and different triggers and which treatments helped when and whatnot and what I discovered when I looked back over the months I had documented (didn't start documenting till about two or three months into it) was that there were these same cycles.

 

The lichen support group I was part of called them FLARES. You would feel better, the burning, pain etc would be gone or tolerable to whatever your threshold was and then it would flare up. External and internal things could trigger flares. But the cycles were very much there as I was looking through the book. There would be windows and then wanes, over time the windows got larger and the wanes got smaller. That was a bit more linear but there was still irregularity in them which scared me because I thought I would never heal or it would never go away.

 

Happy to report that I'm better from both things now. The reason I shared all this is because I think that maybe we're focusing our lens too much on withdrawal and recovery specifically and doing that can scare us a little more because what we're going through is not like recovering from a broken foot. The closest I came to dread fear of never recovering was with the lichen planus. Those cycles scared me but also that I had any good days were things I took comfort in only with this it isn't like that.

 

It's hard to take comfort in the windows of our recovery when a wane hits because it affects us in so many ways - neuro emotions alone can really send us into a downward spiral while trying to endure the wanes. However, from a body healing recovery mechanism that I'm referring to my own personal experiences from (heck even when I had PTSD decades ago there were windows and wanes), I think this is something we should take as a true sign of recovery even if it is not as smooth and linear as we would like.

 

My experience has shown me that recoveries rarely are. I think it has to do with how the body has to adapt to a new status quo. In fact, that's my theory on it. Any healing at all is like a change, and now the body has a new status quo. So maybe this new status quo throws the workings of our systems off balance and that's why we have wanes. It's like the body saying 'wait, this is different than it was. Adjust! Adjust! Adjust!' and as it adjusts to the new status quo we have the suffering effect we call wanes. Those adjustments are probably a lot like system stressors, and we all know how sensitive we are to stressors. The body has to adapt to the changes and adapting to them is not easy but probably quite the feat.

 

I think it's also why the windows get longer as we progress and have healed more - because the the adjustments need to made are less because we are closing in on our original normal and the healing isn't as dramatic because we're closer to a full recovery, kind of like how a cut stings, then the scab forms and it hurts and then when it's the scab with new skin underneath it tends to itch. That's a healing cycle. At the end, the itch is minor like some people who are further into recovery from the meds have less dramatic and shorter wanes. They're more like an itch than the burning or stinging when you first got the cut and it began healing.

 

Sorry this was so long. I was just thinking through it and wanted to share my experience with some recoveries (particularly the lichen planus because that was one I thought I would never recover from, had a crappy prognosis for recovery, and windows and wanes like this) to maybe give some hope and even a way to look at it in terms of the bigger picture body recovery wise than specifically focused on withdrawal recovery since withdrawal recovery has very little information to help us understand it and to give us hope.

 

I think the window/wane cycle applies to most healing cycles our body goes through but we perhaps notice them far less since withdrawal recovery is pretty horrific for most of us. But from my experience with other healing, I think the pattern is there and holds fairly true to form regarding other types of healing the body goes through, if not all.

Edited by Petu
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aberdeen

I LOVE this. It's so true, and so on board with so many peoples experiences with withdrawal. It helps to imagine the healing that must be going on while you're in a bad spot.

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starlitegirlx

I truly think it is. Even emotional recovery from PTSD after an assault or trauma. There were windows and wanes. Same pattern. Totally psychologically based with physiological aspects. Just as with my broken leg and the lichens. I think it's just the process of the body. It can even be noted in weight loss. People hit a plateau. They get pissed because they want to keep losing the weight, but what if it's the body's way of adapting. I'm not sure if it would fall into a window and wane cycle precisely. I'd have to think more in depth about it, but it is a hold from what the body perceives as a threat since weight loss 50 or more years ago could very easily have meant survival was now in jeopardy. I think this is the norm, these windows and wanes. In some cases they are very notable. In others, barely noted. But they appear to be the norm from my experience. So I just take it all in stride and sometimes think back to the PTSD or lichens recovery, how there were these same cycles. In the end, I recovered and was well again. The windows get longer and the wanes disappear.

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RebelMaven

If I can truly believe the pit of despair I have fallen in is just a wave and it will only last for a window, and the waves will get weaker and the windows smaller, then there is hope.

 

It has only been a few months since I'm off years of the drugs. I was expecting too much too soon.

 

If I can just make it through the mornings which are the worst usually.

 

Thank you for this thread.

 

Thank you for hope.

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peggy

do you still call it windows and waves when you are tapering? I updosed and am still stabilising after experiencing a few weeks of unacceptable and increasing anxiety - i get ups and downs over a day - can feel bad in the morning and then as the day progresses feel better until at night sometimes (but not always) feel almost normal. I wonder if this is windows and waves or just stabilising?

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Jemima

This is just my guess, but I think the "windows and waves" pattern applies to either a too-fast taper or cold turkey and the withdrawal syndrome that follows. (Windows and waves don't happen to me much any more. I seem to be stuck in a long term state of "the blahs", although occasionally there's an upbeat breakthrough. Hmmm...I just came across an older post by Alto saying that withdrawal syndrome can exacerbate seasonal sadness, which is something that has always gotten me down, and I do feel better on sunny days. Post #40, this topic, if you're interested in reading it). Generally, also, windows and waves are sporadic, not a regular up-and-down, daily cycle like you describe, which sounds like the typical sensitivity to cortisol that so many of us experience in withdrawal. My guess is that you made too big of a drop the last time, and therefore are experiencing a brief period of withdrawal syndrome which will go away when your updose takes full effect.

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Altostrata

If you are tapering too fast and get withdrawal symptoms, they may fluctuate in a windows and waves pattern. This leads a lot of people to ignore the warning signs of going too fast. If you continue to taper, withdrawal symptoms probably will get worse.

 

It's the nature of withdrawal symptoms to fluctuate, because the nervous system is trying to correct itself.

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basildev

Hi everyone,

 

I came across this really great explanation of how the brain heals during withdrawal. It was from the benzos forum but I think it also applies to other psych drugs.

 

Here is a section:

 

"The bottom line is this- the body has an enormous job ahead of itself trying to reset neurotransmitter levels, hormone levels, peptide levels, reverse neuronal changes….and since the body relies upon all of these things to do its work, it is truly a miracle that our bodies can sort out such a mess and set everything straight again.

 

But that is something you need to rely upon. The miracle of life. The forces within us that go about doing their business automatically. Your body knows exactly what is not right. Since it cannot possibly tackle everything at once, especially with so many systems down, it works on first things first.

 

It is like a table that had all of its legs damaged. One leg gets fixed but the table still cannot stand up right. Then the leg diagonally across is fixed and the table can stand somewhat, but will fall over with the slightest touch. Then a third leg is fixed and the table is on more even footing- but still wobbly and if something is place on top the table will tilt. Finally the last leg is fixed and the table is able to stand again. However the glue may need time to cure before the table is as sturdy as it was before the legs were damaged. So while the glue is curing nothing heavy must be placed on the table.

 

This is how symptoms go. When two legs are repaired the table may be able to stand for a bit but will eventually fall again. As the body gets some things repaired it may be able to operate pretty good for an hour or day until a stressor of some sort comes along and throws it back off balance.

 

Then 3 legs are fixed but the table can still tilt. Items can be placed on the table, but if placed wrong or if they are too heavy, the table will tilt. Our bodies are now getting far enough along to have longer periods of feeling better- but if a load comes along it can tilt again. Since 3 legs are present the table does not completely fall down as it did before. While waves can be hard further out in your recovery, if you really sit down and compare your waves now to back in the beginning you will see that now you have more of a foundation, just like the table. You may tilt pretty far but do not fall down completely like you did before. However tilts can still bring on strong symptoms. All of the legs work together to keep the table upright. They all depend on each other, no one leg can do it on its own. That is how the body is.

 

Finally when the last leg is fixed you feel like it may be over- now you can stand again. But keep in mind the glue may still be soft and you should not place anything heavy on the table. So beware of high stress situations, medications, or other things that can put a load on your still fragile body.

 

 

The parts of the body affected do not come back on line evenly. Some will be restored before others- but since they all rely upon each other, as in the table analogy, some symptoms will stay steady because that area has not been addressed by the body yet. Some will wax and wane as the legs are repaired. Eventually they will become less intense and fade away. This can happen in a shorter time for some people, and take a much longer time for others. One reason for this is that we are all genetically different."

 

 

from the post here:

 

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=77803.0

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Jemima

Thanks, Basildev. What a great explanation! I think I'm still in the soft glue stage. Almost there, but don't lay anything heavy on me yet!

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Barbarannamated

GreAt analogy for how the body functions at all times: if one part is broken, weakened or shutting down, others are effected and weakened and/or compensate.

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Altoid

Yeah, exactly. "Feeling better" is only a relative term.

 

It's only in the last 6 months or so that when I'm "better," I'm feeling normal-ish. I'm 6.5 years off Paxil.

 

Just reading this thread for the first time.

I see you wrote this in 2011. I was wondering now that it's 2 years later, how are you feeling?

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Altostrata

Closer to normal all the time. But I'm 62, and now I have to deal with aging....

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dunerbug

Chiming in to say I'm 33 and I think I've got some hormonal stuff going on. Withdrawal has been hell and I was only on prozac for a little over two years in total.

 

What's weird this month is I had a really good week right before I started my cycle. Yesterday I was on the bad heavy day of my period. I cried almost all through the day and leaked everywhere (Happy Mother's Day to me)and am now in another bad wave.

 

I've noticed more frequent windows though. I'm hopeful.

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Altoid

I wanted to share something a bit different. I have been trying to find a post I read here from someone that said they had a bad wave at 5 yr. off, then all sx left, permanently, and it has been 2 yrs. and they are still fine. I cannot find that. If anyone knows where it is, please let me know.

Anyway, for some reason I had it in my mind that the name was Spikenala. This person was on the other site, PP.  I found a post from him/her. Their story was they took only a few doses of Paxil, and had a severe adverse reaction to it and quite taking it. For months they would have bad waves that lasted a week or so, then a window, then wave, until it finally stopped. That was from only a few dosed of Paxil. Obviously a few doses is not enough time for receptors to be ruined, brain damage, etc.

So my thinking is that there must be something else at play here that causes these symptoms. I liken it to an LDS flashback.

If a person quit taking a drug, and 5 years later was feeling pretty much normal, then a wave of sx hit them, I just don't see how they could have been feeling normal at all if the receptors were still damaged.

Just a thought.

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Altostrata

Rather than damaged receptors, I've found it more accurate to visualize post-acute withdrawal syndrome as autonomic dysregulation. The effects are generalized and when the nervous system is under stress, symptoms can reappear -- and go away again, as is common with autonomic issues.

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btdt

I came to this thread tonight hoping to gain some wisdom about 5+ years off what kind of waves were people having were they different than the previous ones.. did not find anything specific to that sadly.  So I will leave a note for the next 5+ year off seeker so they have something to read should they come here seeking. 

 

Let me count so I can be specific five years and ten months off cold turkey (after a brief failed taper and I one pill attempt to reinstate) other drugs were attempted by an neurologist to level me out they all made me worse... meripex... no I am not looking it up.. and a few others I can't recall right now... sorry don't have it in me today... 

 

I would like to say this has been a trying year with car accident and injury... broken foot a couple months later... surgery a couple months after that with seemingly continual infections the past 10 months treatment with serial antibiotics and of course pain pills ... and a reaction to a ppi.. which is known to cause depression and took a trip to an out of town doctor to have switched.. it has been a series of misadventures for almost a year.  

 

My healing body has buckled under the strain... pills and pill reactions... is that all or is this just plain and simple withdrawal kicking my ass yet again?

 

With me it is for sure difficult to sort out. I find myself in the pits again extreme fatigue and seriously down mood one that in a more naive state I would have sought help for. As it is knowing what I know I am back to holding on for dear life and doing battle once again like I did so long ago and hoped I would never have to face again. Actually I did not think I would get to the end of my life without such a battle but did naively think I would not have to do this again till I was at the end of my life... in the end the hosp gets most of us to do with as they will.  As luck would have it I did not get that luxury.  Illness and accidents can hit any of us at any time and we don't know how long those good times and good days will last... so what started out as note to others addressing possible 5 year wave in case it turns out to be common.. now turns into a not of grab all those good days or good moments to do exactly what you want to be doing as we do not know when a illness or accident will put an end to all that and we will be right back where we started.  

I say this as I have been waiting for healing for a long time... and now after this set back I think of good days I spent looking things up on this computer and helping others in withdrawal.. while perhaps admirable.. in one respect... had I known those good moments were to be short lived I am not sure that is how I would have chosen to spend my time.  

It may well be I would have done exactly as I have :) bit of die hard...

End of note 5+ year wave setting me back a very long way.  I think it possible it is not related to the past year events. 

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Petunia
I would like to say this has been a trying year with car accident and injury... broken foot a couple months later... surgery a couple months after that with seemingly continual infections the past 10 months treatment with serial antibiotics and of course pain pills ... and a reaction to a ppi.. which is known to cause depression and took a trip to an out of town doctor to have switched.. it has been a series of misadventures for almost a year.  

 

My healing body has buckled under the strain... pills and pill reactions... is that all or is this just plain and simple withdrawal kicking my ass yet again?

 

........  I think it possible it is not related to the past year events. 

 

Hi btdt,

 

I'm sorry you have been going through a rough time this last year, on top of protracted withdrawal.

 

But I'm wondering why you even question whether anything is related to the accidents, injuries and added medications.  These would have serious health consequences for someone not dealing with medication withdrawal, so for you, they would add tremendously to your stress levels and hinder the ability of your body to continue healing.

 

I hope life settles down for you now, take extra care of yourself so that healing from withdrawal can get back on track. 

 

Petu.

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btdt

 

I would like to say this has been a trying year with car accident and injury... broken foot a couple months later... surgery a couple months after that with seemingly continual infections the past 10 months treatment with serial antibiotics and of course pain pills ... and a reaction to a ppi.. which is known to cause depression and took a trip to an out of town doctor to have switched.. it has been a series of misadventures for almost a year.  

 

My healing body has buckled under the strain... pills and pill reactions... is that all or is this just plain and simple withdrawal kicking my ass yet again?

 

........  I think it possible it is not related to the past year events. 

 

Hi btdt,

 

I'm sorry you have been going through a rough time this last year, on top of protracted withdrawal.

 

But I'm wondering why you even question whether anything is related to the accidents, injuries and added medications.  These would have serious health consequences for someone not dealing with medication withdrawal, so for you, they would add tremendously to your stress levels and hinder the ability of your body to continue healing.

 

I hope life settles down for you now, take extra care of yourself so that healing from withdrawal can get back on track. 

 

Petu.

 

I think I question everything and I have lived withdrawal coming back hard as hell without any trigger... think that is why I question it. Seems I have been confused and couldn't quite get my head around anything for a good spell.  Perhaps an unidentified concussion... or just withdrawal... see what I mean or pain cause I hurt myself or withdrawal... lol maybe I have nothing else to say... other than what is already apparent.. I am confused... by it all.  

 

One thing is apparent coming here has reminded me how important self care is... as I had slipped in looking after myself and had once again handed myself over to doctors as it seems needed... and I am a bit surprise it came so easily to me.  At the same time when I went by ambulance to the hosp all I could think of was no matter what get out of there... ad this to a doctor in a hurry and all my issues were missed ... I got what I wanted in my reptilian mind I got out... but it has cost me plenty in way of pain ect since.  

 

I am not sure who much withdrawal and my fear of doctor control had to do with this.. something I am sure as I do not have the trust to be locked up in hosp... I felt no pain just weird burning other sensations with a horrid headache... 

 

So I got away and woke up in agony... 

then handed myself over to docs.. at clinics where they could not lock me up.. this delay in care.. is it part me or incompetent doctors or a bit of both... complicates situation for sure. 

 

Ramifications of withdrawal on our future health and health issues can be mind boggling... as long as withdrawal is not recognized we will be at further risk I feel especially drug risk if we are hypersensitive and it appears I still am. 

 

I think you logic is logical yet it is not quite getting thru to me... and i do not know why I can't seem to jump to that thought flow.. and not sure why I can't.  interesting. 

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alex

Rather than damaged receptors, I've found it more accurate to visualize post-acute withdrawal syndrome as autonomic dysregulation. The effects are generalized and when the nervous system is under stress, symptoms can reappear -- and go away again, as is common with autonomic issues.

 Does this mean that the windows are not part of healing process but the pattern of a chronic condition??

OMG!!

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Altostrata

The windows are part of the pattern of healing. They are when your autonomic (and other) systems are working in harmony.

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alex

I have good days and bad days, but I am slowly getting closer and closer to healed.

 

I am so glad.

You deserve it.

You have shown extraordinary endurance and faith.

Despite the awful symptoms of w/d, I was thinking yesterday that all this suffering is worth it, if we finally get rid of the psychiatric meds. and its terrible consecuences.

I know so many people, including close family who are stuck on AD, getting sicker and sicker and in a iatrogenic dead end.

 

Thank you and my best wishes to you.

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bubble

I agree with Healing.

 

It's important to treat yourself gently in the midst of withdrawal syndrome. You may not be able to handle difficult situations that you've always handled before.

 

Focus on stress reduction, it's very important. Learning how to protect your nervous system from abrasive people is a good skill to learn and will serve you well in the long run.

 

Being pushed to take care of ourselves is, I guess you could say, one of the benefits of this awful condition.

This is so very true!

 

It is precisely this clash with 'abrasive people' that has brought me down again. Ever since my Gestalt therapist remarked that I have difficulties dealing with people who have 'aggressive energy' as she put it, I started thinking about it and found it extremely helpful. For the time being I'm just avoiding them since I don't have better coping mechanisms but awareness is, I guess, the beginning of learning. Now it seems incredible that this simple realisation has been evading me for all 36 years of my life. I used to be so strict with myself and feel awfully bad about being such a shrinking violet. Now I'm learning to embrace the violet in me and see the importance and value of being who I am although I would maybe still prefer to be tougher. (Not maybe, I would :) I'd rather be a hammer than a nail :) But I'm learning to celebrate myself, as Walt Whitman would say.

 

Also 'being pushed to take care of ourselves' as a benefit of withdrawal is such a valuable insight. There is value and importance in the suffering we are going through. Although it has constantly been present in my consciousness that I've been on and off (mostly on) various anti-depressants for many years, and using every window to taper (but always stay on or quickly go back) I am only now doing the painful math that this has been going on for 17 years, almost half of my life!

 

After my first breakdown at 19 I read about transcendental meditation and thought how this is the very thing that would help me; my sister bought me a Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, I've been occasionally taking supplements, started doing yoga, etc. but only now when I am sprawled on the floor in agony did I go through over 100 pages of the book that has been lying on my shelf for years (and recognize and appreciate my sister's well hidden concern and love for me); only now have I started doing 15 minutes mindful breathing before sleeping and taking conscious effort of being mindful of the world around me on the way to work;  only now am I studying the benefits of taking supplements in the right way, the importance of a serious focus on tapering; only now am I religiously going up the hill and resuming my yoga classes although every cell in my body would just like to be glued to bed for what seems like for every (so we made a compromise: one day we lie, next day we push ourselves up the hill to feel that anxiety-relieving and mind clearing endorphin rush because I have learnt that you have to listen to your body and soul when it asks you for rest but not humor it completely)...

 

All of this wouldn’t happen; I wouldn't be on this forum if I haven’t been 'pushed by this awful condition'. 

Edited by Petu
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crazyhillbillyboy

This recovery pattern is allmost the same as recovery from the antibiotic  Cipro cycles of feeling down then way better than down agin but less intesnse has anyone established a timeline oof these events ?

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Jemima

There really is no single timeline. As you read through posts on this forum you'll find that withdrawal symptoms, including the windows and waves pattern, have similarities among individuals, but that the timing of ups, downs, and recovery is unique to each of us.

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tezza

In early withdrawal, when things were very bad, the first good window, I called stabilizing. It was in a way, I suppose. Then, later I would get a little better, again and would think, okay, I'm stabilized.

 

On and on over the course of almost two years, I'd feel stable from time to time and there were some waves along the way but each time I thought I was stabilized (and, again, I was in a way or for a time, might be a better phrase).

 

Stabilization doesn't mean we are completely recovered, it means we are better and more comfortable, at the time.

 

My point is it seems to happen in stages, with each stage being better to some degree. This last stabilization stage, the one I'm in now, feels almost what I think I'm supposed to feel like. I realize in a sense, it's only the windows and waves with each window gettin longer and better.

 

When I experienced windows, however, I felt stabilized in comparison to the wave. So I feel like I stabilized in stages and that it will continue to get better.

 

I've only had 'flashback waves' for about four months.

 

I don't think it takes most people as long as it did me to stabilize after reinstatement. That's probably because I tapered much too soon, about a month after a slight stabilization or maybe a window. I should have held for a few months but I didn't know.

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Nadia

Yeah... stabilization. I feel like the first two years for me were just windows and waves, whereas the past year, when I am better, I feel like I'm actually making real progress that helps me through the next wave. Before, when I hit a wave again it was like being completely toppled and having to start from zero. I'm not really sure I can quantify this, but now I feel like I'm developing real resilience. It's not simple or clear always, but things are different now for sure. I still get aggravated when I go through bad spells, but for the first time I am actually, truly confident that I'm "on the way out"!

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Altostrata

tezza, that's an excellent description of the healing process. It isn't a direct line, more of a stair step pattern.

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Zoe

How do you know if you are i one of these patterns? I was feeling pretty good for about 20 days, had a sort of relapse of about 5 days where I felt really lousy (anxiety, burning arms etc.) then about 20 days where I felt pretty good, now I'm back to feeling really anxious again. I almost feel like the antidepressant isn't working and am wondering if it needs to be increased. Though I really don't want to do that at all. It gets so frustrating when you think you are better & then bam you are back where you started.

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tompee

do people who decrease 10% every month, getting experience window and wave , too? or just person who ct or withdrawal too quick?

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John

I know that from looking through the internet, it might be tough to find someone that describes their windows and waves, then over time informs everyone that they're fully recovered.  I'm one of those people.  The reason why it's so tough to find these people are because as soon as they're recovered, they no longer want anything to do with withdrawals, anxiety, depression, or antidepressants, and I can't say I blame them.  

 

This is my second time i'm going through this, mainly because I was STUPID.  The first time I quit Effexor cold turkey, and my withdrawal first immediately consisted of mostly brain zaps, which subsided after a few weeks. 2 or 3 months later I got hit with the worst anxiety that I ever had in my life.  Nothing pre med came even close to this.  I had no idea what was going on, and so 2 months after this I reinstated the full 75 mgs.  It wasn't until 4 or 5 months after that where I began to get  windows.  As Alto and other say, at first they're short lived, but as the weeks and even months went on, they began to come on at different times and lasted longer and longer.  Sometimes you wont even realize that you feel better; I was able to realize it when the somatic symptoms were disappearing, like noticing my appetite returning, or when I would drive to work I wasnt breaking out in a cold sweat.  Also I noticed that my sleep returned to normal; I would instantly fall alseep, and stay asleep until I had to wake up.  As the months progressed, it was becoming more and more obvious that I was getting better.  You have to look at the grand scheme of things; you cant say "well last week I felt better than today, so i'm not improving."  You have to look back monthly, not daily or even weekly.  

 

I finally totally recovered, but I was still on the 75mgs of Effexor which I needed to get off of since I never needed it from the beginning.  Mind you, i've been taking this drug for about 10 years, and this drug is now being described as more difficult than Paxil to get off of, so this time I thought I was going to rid myself off of this demon drug once and for all.  I began tapering 10% every 4 weeks.  I felt delayed withdrawal symptoms ever few days to weeks, but I kept going for 2 years, until I reached halfway.  My mistake now was that I didnt listen to my body.  I wound up feeling almost exactly as I did 3 years ago.  The point is is that it's been about 4 weeks since, and I already am experiencing windows and waves, because I didnt go cold turkey.  I did reinstate about 8mgs, but thats all i'm going to reinstate.   At times the withdrawal makes me think that this will last forever.  Even today I notice a change in me for the better; I (as usual) felt good at night, woke up this morning not too bad, and so far the day has been a better one, and of course it's not totally gone, and so when I get my "spells" or if I think about it, it seems even worse, because when i'm starting to feel better, even though its not as intense, it seems to feel worse because it gives the illusion that it should be gone,and makes it all seem worse, although if I look at the overall progression, its getting better.  Do not panic and think the withdrawal will never end.  I know deep down mine will, but the waves will give you the illusion that it will not.  Try your best to ride it out and think TEMPORARY. Now i'm not fully recovered this time around yet; it's only 4 weeks and I already am having good days, I can sleep again, and my appetite's returning.  My interests are beginning to as well.  I'm now taking 50mgs, but i'll have to wait until i'm fully recovered to begin my journey again.

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MissSerene

John: Thanks for your post...it is SO encouraging. I've tapered down to half my original dose of Prozac and have been holding at current level since Jan. 11...I had a single significant window -- short -- in early January and haven't had another one since. Am feeling pretty discouraged the past few days, but your comments remind me to think 'temporary.' Keep up good work, and thanks again for sharing your positive experience.

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