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Which "me" is the real me?

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MNgal1960   
MNgal1960

From what I've read, any kind of severe or repetitive trauma experienced while our brains are still developing and don't have the full ability to process information, affects how we relate to others and the world for our whole lives. It alters our brains as they develop. Of course, as small children, we are the most vulnerable to our parents as they were to theirs. Trauma can get passed down from generation to generation. But we can change this. The most useful thing I have found is a therapy called ACT.

 

I could not find a therapist to help me with this new mindfulness-based therapy called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), so I have just been doing it myself. A very easy read on mindfulness and applying it to your life is called The Happiness Trap. It's a good start for the beginner. Then I moved on to deeper stuff with guided meditations I do daily. Mine are for chronic pain, but are really for dealing with the anxiety produced by chronic pain. I have been doing this as much as I am able for many months. I feel little bit by little bit that my brain is settling down. I may soon be ready to do short meditations without the voice guiding me.

 

This is a gentle form of meditating that just observes and accepts thoughts as they come and go rather than trying to force yourself into being in some super-meditative state. There is an example of a gentle meditation on FranticWorld.com. It is under Resources and You Are Not Your Pain, the one called The Breathing Anchor. Actually, I expect all of their samples are the gentle, ACT-based meditations, but I particularly like that one.

 

MN

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Effeffexor   
Effeffexor

Neither can I. I have no idea who I was before meds. I can't remember.

Totally understand.

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Aria   
Aria

I'm surprised I haven't seen this thread before but I thought I would comment. I was on massive psychiatric drugs for over 15 years and had no idea during this time who I was, how I acted, how other people perceived me and most of all I was told repeatedly by my psychiatrist that my so-called toxic side effects were just ME, nothing else. I tapered half hazardly off the drugs because I didn't know any better but was rewarded to finding part of the old me. It was a scary thought "who am I after all these years on these drugs?" How will I be emotionally? How will my thinking be? What kind of life will I have? I think it's summed up when one of my longtime friends realized I was drug free and as she looked me in the eye she said, "Welcome back".

 

On my Success Story thread I wrote "I am pretty much the old me but no one can go through this (psychiatry, psychiatric drugging, labeling) and not be changed by it."

 

I know we morph during our lifetime, changing how we may think, how we may act but I believe there is the core of us that is somewhat finite. Because psychiatric drugs change us it is scary wondering what is underneath after all this time? I for one I'm very grateful that I was able to taper off all my drugs, endure the withdrawals and come out through the tunnel into the sun light. I feel more relaxed being drug free and I like this.

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MNgal1960   
MNgal1960

Aria, I'm so happy to hear you are pretty much the old you. It gives me hope that some day someone will say, "Welcome back'" to me.

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Gumtree   
Gumtree

Please move if in the wrong area - interested to see how others adapt.

 

I have been on antidepressants for so long (28 years) that I'm not sure who I really am without them. Now I've started tapering, I'm feeling like I'm losing my sense of self and a chemically altered version of me is walking around in my body. I'm depersonalising, detached, confused, alternating between feeling nothing (like literally not having any care or emotion about anything) OR getting strong and really visceral reactions and sudden rushes of emotion, or impulses, which are really out of character for me. I'm pretty measured and conservative generally, and not that spontaneous, so having a quick urge to throw myself off a jetty into the ocean (I didn't) or stick my foot out to trip a running child, is rather disconcerting.

I heard some people say that they want to get back to who they were before ADs because the ADs have dampened or changed their personality. The scary thing for me is that I was 19 when I started on ADs and I'm 47 now so I really don't know WHO I will be when I'm not on these drugs. Sorry for the crazy rant, I really do feel quite strange at the moment and there is nothing I can really do to snap myself out of it.

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MNgal1960   
MNgal1960

Hello Gumtree. All that stuff that's going on now is withdrawal. Your brain is adjusting and healing. It's very disturbing. It's not the real you. Yes, I can imagine it must be very scary to wonder who you will be when you come off. Everyone changes so much between age 19 and 47, whether they are medicated or not.

 

I know someone like you who was medicated most of her adult life and finally came off in her 50's. She said her mind cleared and she felt like she was finally the real her. I only knew her after the w/d, not when she was on the meds, so I can only repeat what she said. She was very happy to be off and to find her real self.

 

You know, except for 2 short trial of AD when I was younger, I have only been on meds a few years, and only in my 50's. But I'll share that my 40's were a time of discovering the "real me" anyway. I began to shed trying to be what others wanted me to be and find who I really was. Looking at your signature, you diet and meditation is going to help you tremendously as the real you comes out. And I think you're going to like her! :)

 

MN

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Gumtree   
Gumtree

Thanks so much for your encouragement MN, it really has been an awful time, in particular the last couple of weeks. I'm going to have to adjust my taper as I think it's too much even though it's only 5%. I'm currently holding another week and feel I'm evening out a bit. You look like you're on a hell of a journey too - take care, and thanks again

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MNgal1960   
MNgal1960

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, Gumtree. I think holding is good idea. I'm going to hold another week myself. We can do this. One day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time, actually, but we'll get there.

 

MN

 

P.S. You have the cutest avatar ever!

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Bcdrugfree   
Bcdrugfree

I've taper for 2months after six years cipralex use 20mg. I've Been off the drugs for 2 months now. I feel the waves and windows are still there. But I can feel my emotions coming back my compassion and feel more alive. Well see how it goes definitely battling. But I can't rely on ssri to mask the real issues for my anxiety anymore. Good luck and accept the fact things will eventually change:)

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Bcdrugfree   
Bcdrugfree

I've taper for 2months after six years cipralex use 20mg. I've Been off the drugs for 2 months now. I feel the waves and windows are still there. But I can feel my emotions coming back my compassion and feel more alive. Well see how it goes definitely battling. But I can't rely on ssri to mask the real issues for my anxiety anymore. Good luck and accept the fact things will eventually change:)

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MNgal1960   
MNgal1960

Congratulations on getting off the drugs, Bc!!

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Ryder   
Ryder

The real you is probably best summed up as what you are not. Who you are now will be different in 6 months time. You had a photo of yourself with a haircut and a pair of shoes and you were thinking what was I doing 5 years ago, oh gawsh. That still wasn't you. The anxious you is not you. The Euphoric you ain't you. 

 

Whatever the body does or moves it does on its own. Heart pumps blood. I take it your not breathing for yourself 16 hours per day. Digestive system is working on its own accord, and the nervous system is doing the same. So when you get a little nervous, irritable, angry, frustrated or sad inside you will see its not you. Just like if someone to ask you to show yourself, you would probably point to your body. But the body ain't saying it is you. It is you saying stating that yes I am this body. You need the body to experience, but you can lose all sorts of limbs and vital organs can be removed and replaced they are still not you. Just like when You were a kid I would open the radio up to see who is inside. There is no one inside.

Even your thoughts you knew nothing about till they came and challenged who you thought you were.

 

So by you claiming the body as you, or your thoughts even. That's when trouble come. 

 

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Starboy17   
Starboy17

Hi all,

 

Over the last  15months of being on remeron (mirtazaine) and suffering on a scale that is immeasurable I would often wonder if the meds would alter my personality entirely, I know I've only been on them a much shorter duration than others here -But damn these little pills have really done a number on me.  The tapering process is frustrating, infuriating, and down right unbelievable! I decided to see a new psychiatrist last month and having suffered a year already I ensured that he understood my goal is to be med free, thankfully he was happy for me to do that (couldn't care if he didn't) But I have been considering like a lot of people here, what I'm to do with my life?, particularly I find myself asking the question do I really want to finish my law degree? but I guess in the end I've decided to just finish it and get a qualification and I'm certain I can make myself useful in whatever capacity that may be.  I think that pretty good advice for all of us.  Additionally I think its no different for anyone, whether you're on meds of not, bloom where you are planted, if you don't know who you are or what you are, maybe just give it a go, whatever that maybe, too much analysing isn't really productive in my experience,

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PatriciaVP   
PatriciaVP

This topic caught my attention and refused to let go. Who is the real me? The woman on drugs, this wretch in withdrawal or someone entirely different? Someone here made a good point when they said that the real "us" are the people we are in this moment. The people we were a moment ago are gone, and there is no promise of tomorrow.

 

That can be hard to take when you're stuck to your couch paralyzed by raging symptoms. When a simple grocery run or load of laundry feels painfully overwhelming. We have to believe this will pass and the real us will come out.

 

I think, though, that this fails to give our withdrawal selves enough credit. She could give up and go back on the pills, but she doesn't. She could end it all, but she goes on. She is courageous. Facing the merciless onslaught of unthinkable pain, she endures. Maybe she's not the super woman she once was, but there's food in the house and clothes on people's backs in spite of the gargantuan effort it took to get it there.

 

When we wish our withdrawal selves away, we fail to recognize all that we are in this moment. An incredible human being deserving of our compassion, patience and even admiration.

 

We are only who we are in this moment and that person is AWESOME!

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