Today I called my neuropsychologists office. It was when I met him that I decided to start the journey off meds. It was a gradual process. First he simply said he believed it was possible for some people to get off meds and he shared stories of people he had assisted with neurofeedback to free themselves from meds. He is the reason I started this journey. He planted a seed and it has now grown into a big tree.
The day of my first consultation with him I basically decided I would try to get off 5 of my meds but stay on just the Lamictal. The Kool-Aid I had drunk was strong enough to have me still believing I couldn’t be med free entirely. I definitely needed to stay on my mood-stablizer, of course. The moodstabilizer that has been proven no more effective than placebo, but I didn’t know that at the time.
I got off my antidepressant with his help in about 5 weeks. No withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. I can’t say why it was so easy. Some people have hellish times with Zoloft. I had come off Effexor before and I that was harder but not hellish either. I think that perhaps being on so many other drugs protected me from the hell some people experience when going off SSRIs and SNRIs, but I really don’t know. The fact is some lucky people come off this shit with no symptoms whatsoever. So maybe SSRIs just weren’t my nasty poison. I had problems with all the rest of the drugs.
In any case that success made me feel high. Well, the neurofeedback worked too and I simply had a really good and stable mood for the next 2 years while I tapered off the Seroquel and then got my Risperdal down from 11 mg to 3 mg. I felt good those two years. Better than I had in my whole adult life.
I quit neurofeedback at some point feeling it wasn’t any longer helping me. I still had a long way to go though. I was still on four drugs and high doses of all of them still. Quitting at that juncture was most likely a mistake because about 6 months later started feeling like shit.
I ended up taking a bit of a detour and trialed a drug or two but only for a couple of months at which point I had my hard-core conversion to live drug free. When I did the drug trials this time it was obvious the drugs messed me up worse. I decided to get off everything but I realized neurofeedback wasn’t going to be enough when I started up again and didn’t get the same results as the first time. Perhaps if I hadn’t taken that break it would have been, but when I went back I never got the great calm I had the first couple of 2 years.
So then I started researching all sorts of recovery methods and this blog was born. There are dozens of roads to recovery. I share stories of all sorts of people living drug free. Some of them do a super clean, holistic life that includes diet and nutrition, meditation and all sorts of other healing arts like I’ve chosen and others don’t. Some do a combination of one or two things, others find their own combo of things. Some people if it’s early enough in their induction into psychiatry just throw away their meds and walk away…no big changes at all!
There is no one right way. Everyone must find their own path.
I also feel strongly that it is not appropriate for everyone to withdraw from drugs if they’ve been on them for a long time. People need to have certain foundational internal strengths and usually some significant support systems on the outside as well. Withdrawal can be a dangerous business, it also doesn’t have to be.
Some day if we ever have a different infrastructure of care and drugs are not grossly misused this may no longer be an issue. But as long as people are getting drugged up to the gills instead of learning how to cope in a variety of natural ways, there will be some folk for whom withdrawal poses too many dangers to proceed safely.
Anyway. I called my doctors office today to find out the date I decided to start withdrawing from my psych meds. My consultation was on 10/23/03. My first neurofeedback appointment was on 11/11/2003. I started tapering the Zoloft at that point.
So what I discovered today is that I’ve been on my withdrawal journey for 5 years and 7 months. Longer than I had realized. It made me happy to learn that date. I’ve got a hell of a lot of will power and determination and I’m almost at the end. Can I say I’m proud of myself? Even sometimes awed with what I’ve accomplished? Well, I just said it and it’s true. I feel like I’ve found internal strengths I never knew I had. I’m still discovering them daily as well.
I suspect I’ll be done in 3 to 6 weeks—give or take a few weeks—I have no crystal ball and I’ve been wrong, oh so many times before, as you have all witnessed if you’ve been following me for any length of time.
The IV nutrient therapy is really awesome though as far as I can tell. The amount of Valium I was on had I not discovered the IVs would have easily taken another whole year to withdraw from given my condition before I started the IVs.
I’ve gotten off 15 mg in one month. With no worsening symptoms. I have 15 more mg to go, but the cocktail I’m on now is better than the one I started with so I may be able to chug along even faster…but again this is basically unchartered territory. I don’t know anyone who’s documented or reported this on the net. That has always been how I’ve found my way in the past. This method simply has not been used as much but I have talked to a few now since I’ve started.
I’m perhaps more tired, but in less pain (much less pain!!) and I sleep well. I still have nasty intermittent nausea and little appetite, but I’m okay and not getting worse. My weight seems to have stabilized, probably because I don’t move too much. I only do the exercises my physical therapist taught me to do in bed and that is really all I can handle. I also still cook quick meals now and then and very occasionally go and eat at the health food store buffet.
Oh, my mood is good too. Especially considering my physical condition. The detox has rendered me bed bound, but my will to live and thrive and DO THINGS is wonderfully alive. I am interested in doing stuff all the time. The tragedy is I can’t do most of them because of my physical condition. But now, I feel that will change too, once the drugs are all gone and the detox complete my body can actually start the real healing.
So, well, I only started this post to report on the date I began all this and look at all I’ve written!!
Anyway, it’s not over yet, but shit, that light is starting to shine brightly in my eyes.