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A desperate update, opinions appreciated

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Duende, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Let me ask you this, then. If someone you knew came to you with all these symptoms, and all their tests were normal, what would you think was wrong?

    I know it’s harder to see when you’re ‘in’ it, but you are actually a very typical, common case. All of your symptoms are from generalized anxiety disorder, and I’ve already explained many times what is going on, and how to treat it. Everything you need is already in this thread.

    But if you can’t think greater than you feel, you will stay stuck.

    You are stuck in a stress state, and in that state the brain tends to close down to new information. It will also make you think more anxiety producing thoughts, because in nature you’d have a better chance of survival.

    Go back and read the posts you wrote before, do you see the similarities? You are constantly feeding the stress cycle by allowing yourself to think stressful thoughts.

    At this point, you are no different than an addict. Except you aren’t addicted to a drug, but rather a substance your body is producing.
    It craves the anxiety state because its chemistry has changed to accommodate it.

    Even though you say you hate how you feel, you keep driving back towards that state with how you’re thinking and acting. It’s a classical addiction cycle. If you want to break the cycle you have to stop the cycle. Once you do that you will heal, both mentally and physically.
    JanAtheCPA, Duende and HattieNC like this.
  2. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    Hi RogueWave.

    You can talk me louder, but not clearer. I understand everything perfectly, and I feel in my heart that what you say is true. And I greatly appreciate your efforts, and the exceptional dedication you have given me.

    But before giving my leap of faith, there is something that has me stuck, and as I trust you, I must ask you this last question: do you think that the medications I took may have caused all this by completely damaging my nervous system? I read something so so terrifying that I can not ignore it, that sertraline has been linked to induce Parkinson's.

    This week I have manifested new symptoms including tremor, and others. And I'm going crazy! I know that this disease progresses much more slowly.

    However, there is something that totally intrigues me again and again, and it is the following: of all the people I know who have taken drugs of this type, I get the impression that people less "mentally complicated" and not so scared, are those that withdraw from antidepressants without problems.

    I would greatly appreciate your vision on this, it would help me to focus. I just do not know if all this is happening is real damage to toxic drugs, or I created it myself. When I clarify this point, I promise that I will leave you alone without further "but"s and "if"s.
  3. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    You are always welcome to ask questions, just read them over before you hit ‘post reply’, and imagine it was someone other than you writing it. That will help determine where you are ‘at.’

    I’ll probably have a longer answer later, but my question now would be ‘what were you experiencing that caused them to prescribe that medication in the first place?’ Do you remember your symptoms? I’d be willing to bet at least some of them are the ones you are experiencing now, except now they have multiplied in intensity (on top of your body producing new ones).

    Do you have any family history of MS, Parkinson’s, or anything similar?

    Also, it sounds like you’ve already had all the required testing anyways..? And it’s all come
    up negative, over and over, correct?

    I highly, highly doubt it’s Parkinson’s, or a lingering side effect of the meds. I don’t want to be negligent here, so I can’t make a definitive diagnosis. You have to rely on your doctors for that.

    Just keep in mind, your brain and body are so used to running on adrenaline, your cells have actually changed to accommodate it. As I mentioned before, this is no different than being exposed to any other substance (like alcohol, drugs, etc). Sooner or later, the body adapts to those substances being in your system on a regular basis, and addiction occurs.

    When you try and withdraw from the substance, the body/brain will tend to crave it. The alcoholic ends up with an incredible urge to drink. Someone dealing with long-term anxiety will tend to start to think and act in a way to cause more stress hormones to release. The urge is no different from a biochemical perspective. So be always aware of your brain searching for an excuse to worry.

    So for example you start to read all this stuff, feel a tiny bit of hope, and maybe a little bit better....then next thing you know you find yourself going ‘what if...?’ And you’re back on the computer, researching until 3 am, not sleeping, and your body is once again pumping out adrenaline....and you’re back to square one.

    Do you see the cycle in yourself more clearly now?

    If you can’t get the idea of Parkinson’s out of your head, go get every possible test for it if you haven’t already. But once it comes up negative, you have to forget this as a possible cause. Immediately.

    And even the other symptoms were due to medication side effects (which I don’t believe they are), I’d still tell you to approach it the same way . The amount of stress you are experiencing is preventing homestasis and normal functioning.
    tgirl and Marls like this.
  4. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Also, as the brilliant Dr. Low always said: ‘Self-diagnosis is sabotage.’ It will prevent you from healing.

    Go back and read what you wrote. Do you see it?

    Self-diagnosis, ‘defeatism’, over-analysis, over-dramatizing...all very common in an anxiety state, and all will continue to keep you in that state.

    Focus on changing ALL of those tendencies and you will heal much faster, because the brain will stop perceiving imaginary threats, and therefore will stop constantly pumping out stress hormones.

    Why did people heal just from reading Dr. Sarno’s books, or listening to his lecture? I always wondered this from the beginning. It wasn’t until I had own experience that I understood it’s simply because the informations and explanation from an actual doctor caused his patients to lose their fear and worry about their pain. As soon as that happened, and the people gained confidence in what he was saying, the brain stopped perceiving the pain as a threat, and the cycle stopped.

    He was truly a pioneer, and his genius won’t be recognized for probably another 10-20 years in my opinion.
  5. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    I answer all the questions below.

    I think this point is important. My first problem was concern and suspicion, simple worry about mi health, because at the time there was nothing physical. I had just had my third child, when the baby was about 6 months old and finished the most intense phase of parenting, I had just completed all my challenges and projects, and sometimes I think I was "no goals to pursue" (irony here: now I have a big one, the hardest one of my whole life by far!)

    So, I started worrying about my health and observing my body and I found several very subtle and mild things that were probably normal body parts and functions, and I went to the doctor worried (I know, I know, it was ridiculous!), the doctor was surprised and sent me (just in case) to the neurologist, and here started an escalation of anxiety and worry. I would give anything to go back to that moment and focus it in another way, with what I know now... I researched and read all about various serious diseases, mainly MS, but after clear MRI I started complaining about Parkinsons. The symptoms and worries increased slowly. Three years ago I suddenly felt the strange sensation of my left leg. And at about 3 months, followed the arm on the same side.

    At this point I accepted the medication proposed by my doctor to get me out of that state of intense anxiety and worry. Anyway, I was still functioning well, working, and enjoying vacations or events and relationships. But always with that concern. I was quite well on the medication, for 1 year, the symptoms disappeared very slowly and the worry was low level.

    My serious problems started after the medication was withdrawn (in the summer of 2017), and these are the problems I am experiencing now. Also this last week or so, there has been an escalation in physical symptoms. Certainly, I am much worse than 1 month ago, and much worse than 6 months ago, etc. I'm sure I had to withdraw the medication much more slowly but I did according to the doctor. I could also have gone back to the medication when I started to feel bad again, but I did not go back thinking that it would improve. And also because I read horrible things about these drugs (on the forum survivingantidepressants.org). I am literally trapped, and now I begin to fear for my life. I believe that my situation is very very difficult, and that a miracle only can save me.

    I think doctors do not know whats wrong with me. They are not familiar with iatrogenic damage, perhaps. But it is clear that there is something very wrong with me.
    I think this is so true. And probably this applies to any problem with the human body.
    Sometimes, I do.
    But mainly it is as if my body was unable to relax, even in the few days when my thoughts are a bit more calm and optimistic.
    The problem is that there are no definitive tests for that, the diagnosis is clinical, is not it? Even if it is not parkinsons, I feel so sick and dysfunctional. I did not know there was such a level of human suffering.

    Thanks for all that you do, RogueWave.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  6. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    2 more quick questions before I fully respond:

    Which medication specifically were you on? And what amounts?

    How long in total were you on it?
  7. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    Sertraline 50 mg for 6 months, and then 100 mg for 6 months more.
    Diazepam 5 mg dayly for 1 year.
    I think this is quite normal, millions of people around the word take this pills, right?
  8. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle


    I have not had ability to participate in forum discussions very frequently (this is not due to health-related issues or anything negative - I’m feeling fantastic, doing incredibly well, and truly living the best life I’ve ever lived!), but I wanted to ask you to please, please, PLEASE stay off the antidepressant withdrawal forums. Remember everything we’ve talked about here: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/i-was-going-to-post-a-success-story-on-an-anti-depressant-withdrawal-forum.20225/ (I was going to post a success story on an anti-depressant withdrawal forum)

    Remember: injuries that healed long ago can continue to cause pain and/or other symptoms for weeks, months, years, and even decades due to TMS (which means nothing more than an overactive nervous system caused by emotions). This is essentially what central sensitization, phantom limb syndrome, etc. all are. Think about all the fibromyalgia patients on the “fibro warrior” forums, and then remember the countless individuals who have overcome fibromyalgia. The forums mean absolutely nothing, except that some individuals are experiencing symptoms and claiming they cannot heal without realizing the role the mind-body connection plays in their suffering. Do not do this to yourself! You are going to be fine!

    I’ve listened to neurologists discuss patients who took too much MDMA, and serotonin receptors being “permanently burned out” is a total myth. The same applies to antidepressants. Focus on relaxing yourself. As Steve Ozanich says, when you experience symptoms, do not panic - ask yourself why your body feels the need to experience them. What is going on in your life? Symptoms are simply an indication that you are focusing on them and/or experiencing powerful emotions, even if you don’t realize it.

    Here is what Steve himself has written to me in this topic last year:
    Here is what he said to me after I continued to visit withdrawal forums after my session with him:
    And here is his response to me when I had nasty flare ups:
    THESE DRUGS CANNOT CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE, NO MATTER WHAT THE WITHDRAWAL FORUMS (WRONGLY) CLAIM. Here’s a lovely quote I found online back when I was greatly struggling:
    While some people may take longer to heal than others, nobody should be experiencing symptoms years later, regardless of how long they did or did not taper. For those who are, it’s because of powerful emotions. Withdrawal is real, but it eventually ends, and much sooner than the people on those forums are claiming. Remember that stress itself depletes serotonin, increases cortisol, activates the sympathetic nervous system, etc. Anyone who says they took two or five years to heal - or never healed - is stuck in a cycle they can 100% get out of once they fully understand what’s actually happening and address the situation. Let yourself heal by managing your stress and response to the symptoms.

    For the record, I basically had to come off Cymbalta cold turkey (my taper was incredibly fast) because it was making me super sick, worsening as time went on. Genetic testing showed why I was so ill - my body couldn’t process the medication, and there wasn’t a great substitute for me available (this is why I wish doctors would run genetic tests before prescribing these medications, sigh). Do I recommend fast tapering or employing the cold turkey method? Definitely not. I had to be monitored very closely by loved ones to ensure I didn’t have any emotions breakdowns. But was I at risk of permanent physical, mental, and/or emotion damage? No! Your brain is safe!

    You are going to be fine. I may be gone from the forums for a bit again, but my opinion on this will not change - I believe in you. :)
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  9. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    ❤❤❤ Dorado.

    True, all so true! I know in my deepest both you and Steve are saying the truth.

    And I am so grateful to you.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Dorado likes this.
  10. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are going to be okay! And remember that you are not alone. For every horror story you’ve read, know that many of us have healed. You will, too.
    Duende, RogueWave and HattieNC like this.
  11. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    I would like to add to my story that, just after the medications were removed, I had to undergo appendicitis surgery, without complications, but it was a not very pleasant situation to go through. And that the year while I was taking the medication I decided to fix the hallux valgus on one foot, which, given my normal way of acting, I know I would not have decided unless I was on the "high" provided by the antidepressant. With this I think that my body has accumulated quite a lot trauma.
  12. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    An accumulation of trauma is the reason patients on these withdrawal forums have difficulty healing and moving on. The sympathetic nervous system was stressed out before the medication, and now the nervous system is stressed out without them. You may recall how I hadn't even read about alcoholic neuropathy yet, but I was already experiencing nerve pain after a single glass of wine or two. As my neurologist stated: my body was so stressed out, it was responding to everything like a major trauma! This applies to long-term withdrawal, too.

    My withdrawal thread discussed doctors realizing these patients are essentially stuck in sympathetic mode. Symptoms like brain zaps are nothing more than overactive peripheral cranial nerves, not permanent brain damage. It’s all about balancing and managing your emotions as well as your perception of life (whatever it may be, especially when you're dealing with hurdles - challenging, stressful, fruitless, a significant effort, depressing, unlucky, etc.). It's important to focus on developing positive strategies for living your best life!

    One more thing: do not forget neuroplasticity and how the brain changes throughout your entire life. Beautiful new neural connections are forming every day. Your management and perception of life can change. Think about how much freedom you have to change your entire life today - physically, mentally, and emotionally! You are not stuck in this place forever.

    I was diagnosed with everything from OCD to major depressive disorder to agoraphobia and more. I had severe Cymbalta withdrawal. My nervous system was screwed up from years of stress, to the point that the biofeedback psychologist my neurologist wrote papers with thought might actually be nerve damage (it wasn’t). I could go on and on. And now I'm in the best place I've ever been.

    Work toward freeing yourself!
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    RogueWave likes this.
  13. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Wonderfully stated, @Dorado !! Thank you for your input. Hearing this from differing sources is a huge help to reinforcing the information.

    Plus I have an extremely busy day, and you saved me a lot of typing ;-)

    @Duende , I can’t state it any better than Dorado just did. Before asking anything else, please re-read his posts and really try to absorb the info.

    And keep in mind, when you are in constant survival mode, your brain tends to become over-analytical (as part of the survival response), and it will tend to see things from a ‘fear’ point of view. In fact we are genetically programmed to respond that way. So keep that idea in mind before buying into your own thought process as ‘reality.’
    Dorado and HattieNC like this.
  14. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    What an inspiring post! I'm going to print this paragraph and put it beside my desk at work. Thank you.
    tgirl, RogueWave and Dorado like this.
  15. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Perfectly stated, and I’ve always found neuroplasticity to be fascinating.

    It’s important to note, however, that while the brain always has the capacity to shift, it is know that neurons in the brain that ‘fire together, wire together.’ So in other words, the more a concept/thought/emotional state is re-affirmed, the more locked-in it becomes.

    That does NOT mean it can’t be changed. In fact, that’s the beauty of neuroplasticity in the first place! I’m mentioning it here in order to show that breaking the old patterns requires some work.

    When a new idea or information is introduced, the brain produces a chemical that stimulates the neurons to start producing new connections (that’s the ‘ah ha’ feeling of new information). But if those new pathways are not reinforced, they will dwindle and die within a day. When that happens, the old pattern (and therefore all the feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations) re-assert themselves and you’re back to square 1.

    And the most interesting thing is that once the cells become accustomed to a certain biochemical (and therefore emotional state), they will change their receptor sites to accommodate the change in their environment. In this way it becomes no different than any other substance addiction. But in this case, we unknowingly become addicted to substances our own body is producing.

    This is why we get ‘stuck.’ And in all honestly, while most people generally don’t change, unless there is a crisis. The body/brain will constantly seek out the environment it has become accustomed to, and the drive to stay in that state influences quite literally everything you say, think, and do. All for the desire to maintain the biochemical state is has become addicted to.

    So when you try to calm down and be rational, your brain will eventually start trying to find a reason to get more stress hormone release. So you will tend to start thinking ‘what if’s’, and overall more anxiety-producing (and therefore anxiety biochemical producing) thoughts so it can get its ‘fix.’
    Duende and Dorado like this.
  16. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    One more thing!

    Please do not forget that doctors are unfortunately not perfect: think about all the patients who were told they were permanently screwed due to fibromyalgia, CRPS, spinal stenosis, carpal tunnel, back arthritis, disc issues, certain allergies, etc. Then remember how many of them healed. www.thankyoudrsarno.org is filled with these stories. There’s a reason Sarno was regarded as being “crazy” by some of his colleagues.

    This is also why Steve Ozanich says doctors can sometimes make us worse. My favorite neurologist used to tell me he was extremely concerned I’d eventually find a doctor who also believed something was wrong with me, leading me down a bad path (the biofeedback psychologist I previously mentioned ended up being that person). He begged me to stop seeing more doctors. It’s important to work with doctors who understand the mind-body connection. They don’t need to be “TMS” or Sarno experts, but they should recognize how the mind can affect the body.

    Remember how many people in specific countries claimed they had long-term whiplash after car accidents, while other countries did not experience this phenomenon at epidemic levels. Or how many people say they have foot pain even after their broken foot heals. “Permanent” withdrawal is no different. These people all healed long ago, but they continue to experience symptoms due to powerful emotions.
    Duende and RogueWave like this.
  17. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yup, it absolutely takes work, determination, and effort to change! One thought isn’t going to change someone - you 100% have to create the new habits and patterns over time.

    So yes, it must be noted that this is not an overnight process. When I say change your entire life today, I'm more referring to starting the process. Maybe cognitive behavioral therapy will get you there. Perhaps visualization and meditation. You have to do what works for you. :)
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  18. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Sertaline is an SSRI, and Diazepam is a benzodiazepine.

    SSRIs mess with Serotonin levels (and others as a result of that), and benzos mainly mess with gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA, which is the main calming neurotransmitter).

    @Dorado is correct in all his posts about this, and nothing is permanent. If you want to help the body re-balance the chemistry more quickly, then you can take supplemental L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP. These will help restore healthy serotonin and melatonin levels, since the body converts tryptohan into 5 HTP, and then into serotonin and melatonin.

    GABA levels can be balanced quicker by supplementing L-Glutamine, or GABA itself.

    All of these supplements can be bought over the counter, and it is best to take them at night, as they can make you groggy, and will help you sleep.

    But please keep in mind, this is NOT a substitute for the work you'll need to do to get out of the state you are currently in. They can just help re-balance your chemistry a bit faster.
    HattieNC likes this.
  19. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I should also note that I took numerous supplements (including the ones referenced above plus inositol, l-tyrosine, zinc, fish oil, plus MANY others - note that some supplements you may read about elsewhere cannot be mixed together, and I was not taking every single one of my numerous supplements at once), ate a "perfect" diet, completely cut out added sugar, quit drinking alcohol, exercised, etc. to help with the withdrawal. None of it seemed to help. Why? As Steve said, I had healed from the withdrawal long ago, but was stuck in a cycle of symptoms the same way someone with long-term whiplash gets stuck.

    RogueWave is correct: you've also got to do the work - which includes understanding and accepting what's truly happening, relaxing yourself, managing your emotions, and getting back to living life. These supplements are not required to heal (I would more heavily encourage meditation, exercise, and believing you are okay - all things I'd encourage in individuals without withdrawal, too, because they are simply good for you), but in certain individuals, they can alleviate some of the symptoms. Remember that supplements often require weaning, too. For me personally, if it had been many months since I got off the medication, I would be careful to not look at this as a "physical" problem that requires supplements and focus more on the meditation, exercise, and believing I am okay.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  20. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    So many people have been helpful on this site but for some reason my symptoms persist. I have times when I am fully on board with the believe that my symptoms are psychological. One thought creeps in frequently though and that is that I’ve had this for eight years, and what that could actually mean. Yep, you read this right, eight years. I experienced these symptoms before this episode and it did go away. But this bout started about eight years ago after an protracted feeling of stress over a particular issue. After much medical testing that has all come come back fine I’m at a loss. I am hoping that Roguewave can possibly chime in. Thanks!

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