Category Archives: Beyond the Asanas

Hostage situation

Hostage situation

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I have come to realize that not only the pharmaceutical companies holding us hostage to meds, but many Dr.s are using our physical dependency on Rx to holds us hostage as well. One of my prescriptions needed a refill. This particular one is a compound of melatonin, one I can easily buy at the health food store, but I prefer the troche. Well the Dr. declined the refill, I called and they said I needed to be seen. Keep in mind I have been seeing her for 6 years every 3-4 months. Unable to find time to see her before my trip, a phone consult was recommended. The CC they had on file declined so the nurse called to get a new one, I asked what the cost was. 250.00!! For a phone consult for a med I can easily get at the health food store. Needless to say I said NO Thank you. This is the same Dr. who suggested I go back on the full dosage after having just spent 5 days with horrible physical withdrawals and then come see her for a plan to get off.

Seems to me the time to discuss a plan to get off is at the time they say that you need to quit taking the meds. I learned from past experience lexapro CANNOT be stopped suddenly, you must taper off and this does not guarantee there will be no ill effects.

The staff at the center in Costa Rica where I will be goin have gone over and above anything I expected to insure that this process is not only successful, but safe. They have scheduled an ekg and stress test in San Jose, I have had several phone consults along with giving them a full medical history. They have not only been diligent in the protocal, but supportive, caring and understanding. Knowledge is power and it is reassuring to me the care and attention I have received thus far.

As far as my withdrawals, I am beginning to experiences the swoosh, but it is subtle, the physical pain is almost completely gone. I am now wondering how many of my clients physical pain is due to SSRI’s effect on the CNS, specially those with no known structural issues. Could the SSRI dependency in many of my clients may be the missing link to helping them with their pain that has brought them in to see me. This will definitely be an area worth looking into and may prove to be the missing link in my ability to help them find long term and complete pain relief. But for now, it is all about me. Any lessons learned will be shared.

Through my personal experience and research I have learned that some of my phantom pain may be from the effects of the drug on my CNS. Some of the pain reminds me of the symptoms I suffered from my porcelain gallbladder and appendix and although they are gone, there is still an energetic response from the missing organs that may be due to the lexapro and the mind body connection that created the dis Ease to begin with.

I have as yet not begun to have any emotional effects from lowering my dose other then a little bit of anxiety and sadness one evening. I know that this will be a huge part of my recovery and I am ready to face my hidden emotions head on.

From listening to all the stories from others I am also realizing there is going to be some major adjustments that my family and friends are going to have to face. But I cannot carry that burden any longer and hope it will be a time of growth for them as well. They will either except me or not, but I am ready to accept and meet me.

   Friday night I found I had to make myself follow thru with plans to attend a function with a friend. My first choice was to hibernate in my safe dwelling but went and so glad I did. It is funny how sometimes the things we need the most, we are often most resistant to. My community of support is my lifeline and I am so grateful. I have come to see the more open we are to our authentic self, the more our authentic friends show up. Many were unaware that I have been medicating myself and have a dependency on an anti-depressant, and having shared my story, they have been so open to sharing their story as well. I am not alone in this, you are not alone in this. Hiding and keeping secret the struggle is what makes you feel alone.

I am not sure if addiction is the correct term or physical dependency, mainly because addiction has such a negative connotation. But it is a word, a label and which ever resonates with you, use it.

For me I see it as an addiction because I am physically dependant on it to make it thru the day. I also must say chemical imbalanced depression and situational depression are two different things that are often treated with the same medication. Situational depression can turn into a chemical imbalance because of the effect of the drugs. These drugs are not designed for long term use, but should be taken for short periods of time, if at all, along with therapy. If you are not in therapy and taking these medications then you health care provider has failed you.

We are a society looking for a quick fix, the pharmaceutical companies advertise specifically to this desire, just look at all the commercials and new diagnosis advertised to you on the TV.

It is not just happy pills, but erectile dysfunction, leaking bladder, anxiety disorders, all of which may be helped with selfcare through specific diet and exercise plans, pelvic floor work, breath work, meditation, acupuncture, energy work etc……

It is time we take responsible for our disEase and stop looking for a quick way out that is loaded with side effects, some of which may be irreversible.

Our health care system is motivated around money and it should be motivated around self care, empowering the patient thru mind body skills. Not empowering and filling the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.

My training over the last few years has been focused on self care, and it is now time for me to practice what I preach. By sharing my story, having walked this walk, I can come from a place of knowing, of understanding.

It is not a coincidence that things are unfolding the way they are. My study and work on back health, the pelvic floor and the breath along with the mind body skills training will greatly be impacted and used by me during the next few weeks, and for a life time.

I leave for Costa Rica Wednesday for a few days of play with my son and then the next step of my journey begins. Stay tune!!

Week two

Week two

10612690_720054458048698_5048218234722571387_nI am not seeing Rainbows, yet!  But I am hopeful.  One of the effects of SSRI’s are the numbing of your emotions, to the point that you don’t seem to have any.  They numb the “bad feelings” anger, sadness, fear etc….. but in doing so they also numb the Joy, the love and excitement of life.  This I have masked pretty well, Just scroll thru my facebook page, but I am ready to take off the mask and reveal the real me.  The good the bad and the ugly.  After all I am human and I have human emotions, somewhere, and I am out of practice, but believe when it is all over I will no longer be like the community in the movie The Giver, but I will be free to remember and feel.  If you have not seen the movie or read the book, do so!  It is great!

I am over pretty much over the harsh withdrawals I experienced going from 10mg to 5mg.  Going to sit on this dosage for a while so my CNS can adapt and recover.  Still find myself easy to tire, but sleeping well and waking up refreshed, which is something new for me.  I have learned that SSRI’s mess up your REM sleep which could explain my usual difficulties with mornings. 

The effects on the nervous system and immune system, could explain so many physical issues I have been dealing with.  One that comes to mind is the fullness in my throat and difficulty swallowing, which we have been looking to the thyroid as the culprit, yet thyroid scans are not concerning to the endocrinologist.  The visible fullness, and the difficulty swallowing have been a concern for me, my Dr and friends who have noticed it.  Maybe this will subside.  The weight gain and struggle to keep it off began shortly after I began the meds.  Never even gave it a thought that the lexapro was the culprit.  So here is to hoping that I can get my weigh under control.

I am also hopeful that some of my phantom pains will go away as the en nervous system heals.  It is quite amazing all the problems these drugs can create.

I am finding that being around to many people is a bit overwhelming for me. I cannot explain it, but I know when it is time to go, and so I do.  Remember Self Care is key, not other care. So I retreat back to my little safety nest.  I have several projects that are getting my attention, in short spurts, but spurts none the less.  This is helpful, as it soft music and still that silly game of 2048.  If you have not tried it I suggest you do so.  LOL  Walking is generally my release as is my private yoga practice, but it is too hot to walk.  To all my private clients, I have had to put on hold, I am living what I preach!  Self care! Take this time to practice self care with the skills I have given you! 

Today I have set up my far infrared Sauna, I read that this can help.  Will let you know.  I leave for Costa Rica with my son on Wednesday and then will extend my stay at a treatment facility.  the staff has been so supportive to help me prepare for this next part of the journey. Just the fact that they are taking this so seriously and are so understanding has been helpful.  But to know that I will be in a safe and nurturing environment is huge.

  I will need to get an EKG and stress test as well as blood work.  The SSRI’s effect the Q wave by lengthening it and they want to see what, if any effects the drug has had on my heart.  it also messes with immune system and white blood cell counts and….well google it.   The list are many.  I will continue to keep you updated and have asked for others to share their story with SSRI’s so that I can then share them here with you.  Share your story here for others!

 

 

 

 

 

SSRI’s vs other “addictive” drugs

SSRI’s vs other “addictive” drugs

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What is drug addiction or abuse?  According to the NCADD, national council on alcoholism and drug dependence

Signs and symptoms of Drug Dependence:

Drug dependence involves all the symptoms of drug abuse, but also involves another element: physical dependence.

1. Tolerance:  Tolerance means that, over time, you need more drugs to feel the same effects.  Do they use more drugs now than they used before?  Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?

2. Withdrawal:  As the effect of the drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms:  anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches.  Do they use drugs to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning?  Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction.

In severe cases, withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation.  These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with addiction.

3. Loss of Control:  Using more drugs than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.

4. Desire to Stop, But Can’t:  They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.

5. Neglecting Other Activities:  They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends, exercising or going to the gym, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs.

6. Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus:  They spend a lot of time using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects.  They have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of drugs.

7. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences:  They continue to use drugs even though they know it’s causing problems.  As an example, person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making problems worse, or causing health problems, but they continue to use.

 

Below are two lists of withdrawal symptoms. The first list is the emotional withdrawal symptoms produced by all drugs. You can experience them whether you have physical withdrawal symptoms or not. The second list is the physical withdrawal symptoms that usually occur with alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers.

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Social isolation

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremor
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol and tranquilizers produce the most dangerous physical withdrawal. Suddenly stopping alcohol or tranquilizers can lead to seizures, strokes, or heart attacks in high risk patients. A medically supervised detox can minimize your withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of dangerous complications. Some of the dangerous symptoms of alcohol and tranquillizer withdrawal are:

  • Grand mal seizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

The CVS pharmacy web site says

Withdrawal symptoms are different based on what you used. Symptoms may include:

  • Marijuana—loss of appetite, chills, weight loss, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, irritability, feeling restless or nervous
  • Alcohol—shaking, hallucinations, seizures, confusion, anxiety, sweating, nausea
  • Barbiturates—weakness, tremors, hallucinations, lack of appetite, seizures
  • Opioids—abdominal pain or cramps, muscle aches, panic, tremors, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, irritability, goose pimples, runny nose, drug craving, inability to sleep, yawning
  • Benzodiazepines—abdominal pain or cramps, fast heartbeat, vomiting, tremors, seizures, anxiety
  • Cocaine—anxiety, feeling tired, depression
  • Amphetamines—depression, irritability, sleeping too much, muscle aches, abdominal pain

Nothing about SSRI’s, but here is a very comprehensive list specifically for lexapro.  Still they are labeled non addictive? 

Drug withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur upon the abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of medications or recreational drugs.

In order to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical or mental dependence. This happens after consuming one or more substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed.   wikipedia

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Anorexia – No longer having a desire to eat.

Lexapro withdrawal – Apothous Stomatitis – Painful red and swollen open sores on a mucus membrane of the mouth commonly called a canker sore.

Lexapro withdrawal – Ataxia – Loss of the ability to move the body with coordination.

Lexapro withdrawal – Arterial Fibrillation – A condition of abnormal twitching of the muscles in the blood vessels that moves the oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The unusual twitching is rapid and irregular and replaces the normal rhythm of contraction of the muscle, which sometimes causes a lack of circulation and pulse.

Lexapro withdrawal – Blood Cholesterol Increased – An abnormal condition where there is a greater amount in the blood of the oily/fatty substances known as cholesterol. Cholesterol is a necessary part of living cells (along with proteins and carbohydrates). Because cholesterol only slightly dissolves in water, it can build up on the walls of the blood vessels, therefore blocking/decreasing the amount of blood flow, which causes blood pressure to go up. If not corrected, this condition is associated with coronary artery disease.

Lexapro withdrawal – Blood Creatinine Increased – A greater than normal number of creatinine or muscular chemical waste molecules in the blood. Creatinine plays a major role in energy production in muscles. Since creatinine levels are normally maintained by the kidneys, Blood Creatinine Increased is an indicator of kidney malfunction or failure.

Lexapro withdrawal – Blood in Stool – The blood that is in your bowel movement usually comes from any place along your digestive tract (from your mouth to your anus). The stool can appear black and foul-smelling (usually from the upper part of your digestive tract) or red or maroon-colored (usually from the large intestine area). Hemorrhoids are the usual cause for blood in the bowels.
8. Lexapro withdrawal – Bundle Branch Block Right – These are specialized cells in the upper right heart chamber and are the heart’s pacemaker. They send electrical signals to the heart that keeps it beating or contracting regularly. Normally the signal goes to the lower heart chambers at the same time through the bundle of His (hiss) on both the left and right sides of the heart, so the lower chambers contract at the same time. When the bundle is damaged on the right side, the signal does not fire at the same time as the left, which changes the pace of blood flow. This can lead to a person fainting.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Cardiac Failure – A heart disorder where the heart does not function as usual and may completely stop working.

Lexapro withdrawal – Cardiac Failure Congestive – The body is asking for the heart to supply more blood than it is capable of producing and maintaining. Normally, a body can tolerate an increased amount of work for quite some time. The condition is characterized by weakness, shortness of breath, and a fluid build-up in the body tissues causing swelling.

Lexapro withdrawal – Cold Sweat – The skin is clammy and moist and you feel chilled. This is a reaction to a shock or pain as well as to fear and nervousness.

Lexapro withdrawal – Colitis – A condition where the large intestine becomes irritated from the use of the drug.

Lexapro withdrawal – Coronary Artery Disease – A condition where the blood vessels that mainly carry the blood away from the heart become clogged up or narrowed usually by fatty deposits. The first symptom is pain spreading from the upper left body caused by not enough oxygen reaching the heart.

Lexapro withdrawal – Dehydration – An extreme loss of water from the body or the organs of the body as in sickness or not drinking enough fluids.

Lexapro withdrawal – Diplopia – The condition where a person is looking a one object and instead of normally seeing just the one object he sees two. This is also call double vision.

Lexapro withdrawal – Diverticulitis – There are pouches or sacs on the inside of the intestines that look like fingers. This increases the area for the body to absorb nutrients as they pass through the intestines. These sacs become irritated and swollen and end up trapping waste that would normally be eliminated, causing pain and constipation.

Lexapro withdrawal – Dysarthria – The inability to control the mouth muscles when forming words so the words are not clearly spoken and heard.

Lexapro withdrawal – Dyslipidemia – The normal fat metabolism in the blood is interfered with.

Lexapro withdrawal – Dysphagia – Trouble swallowing or the inability to swallow.

Lexapro withdrawal – Ecchymosis – When a blood vessel breaks and creates a purple discoloration of the skin.

Lexapro withdrawal – Edema – An abnormal build up of excess fluids in the cells, tissues, and the spaces between the tissues creating swelling.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Edema Peripheral – The abnormal build up of fluids in the tissues of the ankles and legs causing painless swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. If you squeeze the swollen area it leaves an indentation on the skin for a few minutes.

Lexapro withdrawal – Ejaculation Delayed – The man is not able to release sperm either during sexual intercourse or with manual stimulation in the presence of his sexual partner in spite of his wish to do so.

Lexapro withdrawal – Ejaculation Dysfunction – A condition where the man has one or more of the following symptoms: He is not able to have an erection, not able to have an orgasm, has a decreased interest in sex, is sexually inhibited, or it is painful to ejaculate sperm.

Lexapro withdrawal – Erectile Dysfunction – Incapable of having sexual intercourse. Even though a man desires sex he is inhibited in his sexual activity and is unable to have or maintain an erection of the penis.

Lexapro withdrawal – Erythema – a skin redness caused by the swelling with blood of the tiny blood vessels of the skin as in burns.

Lexapro withdrawal – Erythematous Rash – Redness of the skin from the swelling of the tiny blood vessels with skin irritation (itching, burning, tingling, pain) and breakouts (eruptions).

Lexapro withdrawal – Esophageal Stenosis Acquired – The tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach narrows.

Lexapro withdrawal – Exfoliative Dermatitis – The unusual and not normal condition of scaling and shedding of the skin cells. The skin is usually red colored.

Lexapro withdrawal – Face Edema – The tissues of the face become swollen.

Lexapro withdrawal – Feeling Jittery – A physical sensation of nervous unease.

Lexapro withdrawal – Gastric Irritation – An inflamed and sore stomach.

Lexapro withdrawal – Gastric Ulcer – An open, irritated, and infected sore in the wall of the stomach.

Lexapro withdrawal – Gingivitis – Sore, swollen and red gums in the mouth that bleed easily.

Lexapro withdrawal – Glaucoma – The delicate nerve to the eye, the optic nerve, becomes easily damaged with the build-up of excess fluid pressure within the eyeball. The first sign of glaucoma is loss of peripheral (side) vision. It can progress to total blindness.

Lexapro withdrawal – Hepatic Steatosis – Excessive amounts of fat in the liver.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Hyperhidrosis – The triggering of an excess of sweat being produced on the soles of the feet, the palms, or the underarms which can cause embarrassment or losing grip on a pen or other items.

Lexapro withdrawal – Hyperkeratosis – An abnormal enlargement of the skin tissues causing the skin cells to increase in size.

Lexapro withdrawal – Hyperlipidemia – An abnormally high number of fat cells in the blood.

Lexapro withdrawal – Hypertriglyceridemia – Too many triglycerides in the blood.
Triglycerides are three fatty acids bound together in one molecule stored by the body and available to create high levels of energy when used.

Lexapro withdrawal – Hypoesthesia – A partial loss of sensation or general loss of awareness.

Lexapro withdrawal – Impaired Gastric Emptying – The contents of the stomach are not passed into the intestines as normal due to the stomach losing the muscular strength to do so.

Lexapro withdrawal – Increased White Blood cell Count – This is an increase in the number of cells in the blood that are responsible for the removal of bacteria and other unwanted particles. They fight disease and infection by enclosing foreign particles and removing them. An example of a disease that would increase white blood cell count would be Leukemia.

Lexapro withdrawal – Insomnia – Not able to fall asleep or sleeping for a shorter time than desired, thus not being able to properly rest and feeling un-refreshed. As a result, a person can become irritable, have difficulty concentrating and feel a lack of energy. This can be caused by stimulants such as by caffeine or drugs or by mental anxiety and stress. Mental stress can be communicated and relieved.

Lexapro withdrawal – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – A painful condition where the either the muscles or the nerves of the lower intestines, are not responding normally. This results in an alternating condition of diarrhea followed by constipation, back and forth.

Lexapro withdrawal – Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca – A condition where the outer coating of the eyeball is dry because of a decrease in the normal amount of tears in the eye. As a result, the eyeball and inside of the eyelid thickens and hardens sometimes causing the vision to be less sharp.

Lexapro withdrawal – Leukopenia – An unnaturally low number of white blood cells circulating in the blood.
cells circulating in the blood.

Lexapro withdrawal – Loose Stools – The bowel movement is runny instead of formed.

Lexapro withdrawal – Lower Abdominal Pain – A hurtful irritation of the nerve endings in the area of the hipbones housing the lower digestive tract. Pain usually means tissue damage.

Lexapro withdrawal – Lymphadenopathy – The lymph nodes, where the immune cells are located, become larger than is normal because of a high concentration of white blood cells.

Lexapro withdrawal – Macular Degeneration – The gradual loss of central vision, which is the sharpest vision while peripheral eyesight, is unaffected.

Lexapro withdrawal – Maculopathy – An abnormal condition of the yellow spot of the eye, which is located in the center of the inner lining of the eyeball and connected to the main nerve to the eye and is responsible for sharp vision.

Lexapro withdrawal – Mania – Unusually irrational, excessive and/or exaggerated behavior or moods ranging from enthusiasm, sexuality, gaiety, impulsiveness and irritability to violence.

Lexapro withdrawal – Melena – Abnormally darkly colored stools as a result of hemorrhaging in the digestive tract where the blood has interacted with the digestive juices creating the dark color in the bowel movement.

Lexapro withdrawal – Micturition Urgency – A sudden desire to urinate usually followed by leakage.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Mood Swings – An emotional shifting as from a state of happiness to a state of depression for a period of time.

Lexapro withdrawal – Myocardial Infarction – The blood going to the heart is delayed or stopped causing middle muscle tissue in the heart wall to die.

Lexapro withdrawal – Nasopharyngitis – Irritation, redness and swelling tissues in the nose and the tube leading from the mouth to the voice box as well as the tubes leading to the ears.

Lexapro withdrawal – Nephropathy – An abnormally functioning or diseased kidney.

Lexapro withdrawal – Nervousness – Jumpy, jittery, anxious, and troubled with an irritable temperament.

Lexapro withdrawal – Night Sweats – The water-salt, waste product the skin releases is called sweat or perspiration. With night sweats you become wide awake in the middle of the night shivering and cold and wet with your sheets/pajamas soaked in perspiration making it difficult to go back to sleep.

Lexapro withdrawal – Nightmare – Dreams that make you afraid or leave feelings of fear, terror, and upset long after waking up.

Lexapro withdrawal – Orgasm Abnormal – Unable to have an orgasm with normal sexual stimulation.

Lexapro withdrawal – Oropharyngeal Swelling – A swelling in the area from the soft part of the roof of the mouth to the back of the mouth.

Lexapro withdrawal – Pain in Extremity – A painful feeling in the legs, arms, hands, and feet.

Lexapro withdrawal – Pharyngolaryngeal Pain – Pain in the area of the respiratory tract (organs of breathing) from the throat to the voice box and above the windpipe.

Lexapro withdrawal – Photopsia – A condition where a person see lights, sparks or colors in front of your eyes.

Lexapro withdrawal – Photosensitivity Reaction – An exaggerated sunburn reaction that is not normal in proportion to the amount of exposure to the light.

Lexapro withdrawal – Pollakiuria – Urinating much more frequently than normal – as often as once every five to fifteen minutes.

Lexapro withdrawal – Pressure of Speech – A condition where the individual cannot voice his ideas fast enough with the pressure of there being not enough time to say it.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Pruritic Rash – Extremely itchy, red, swollen bumps on the skin.

Lexapro withdrawal – Pyrexia – Fever or the increase in body temperature that is usually a sign of infection.

Lexapro withdrawal – Retinal Detachment – The thin layer lining the back of the eyeball (the retina) detaches from the back of the eyeball. This thin layer is like the film of a camera because it sends the images a person views to the brain. When it detaches it causes a reduced ability to see.

Lexapro withdrawal – Rigors – Shivering or shaking of the body as if chilled, preventing normal responses.

Lexapro withdrawal – Skin Ulcer – An open sore or infected skin eruption with swelling, redness, pus, and irritation.

Lexapro withdrawal – Sleep Disorder – These are a list of sleep disorders such as teeth grinding, insomnia, jet lag, sleep walking, abnormally falling asleep during the middle of a conversation after a full night’s rest, uncontrolled body motions keeping one awake, etc.

Lexapro withdrawal – Suicide, Completed – An attempted attack on oneself that is life threatening results in death.

Lexapro withdrawal – Upper Respiratory Tract Infection – Where the organs of breathing near the mouth such as the nose and sinuses, become infected and are usually treated by antibiotics.

Lexapro withdrawal – Urinary Hesitation – Hard to start or hard to continue emptying one’s bladder.

Lexapro withdrawal – Urinary Incontinence – Urinating without intending to do so because of a weakening of the muscles in the hip area from the drug affecting the nerves or the drug blocking a persons thinking process.

Lexapro withdrawal – Urinary Retention – The inability to completely empty the bladder despite having the urge to do so. This can lead to infections or damage to the urinary organs.

Lexapro withdrawal – Urine Flow Decreased – Dehydration of the body causing a lesser flow of urine than normal with the body reabsorbing the waste.

 

Lexapro withdrawal – Urine Output Decreased – A condition where the output of urine produced in a 24-hour period is less than 500 ml.

Lexapro withdrawal – Weight Decreased – Unintentional weight loss.

Lexapro withdrawal – Weight Increased – An unusual, usually rapid weight increase

The light at the end of the tunnel

The light at the end of the tunnel

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The first week is behind me and I survived. The physically pain is barely there and my energy level is much better. I even plan on teaching yoga tomorrow. In sharing my experience thus far I have learned so much and have been encouraged by the feedback. Apparently I was not alone in being blinded to the addictive nature of SSRI’s. You would think after 16 years, I think early I said 14 but now realize it is 16, of being on this medicine with many failed attempts to get off I would have known. Well now I do, and if you are following my story, you too know.

Discontinuation syndrome or withdrawal syndrome is how many sites refer to what happens when you stop taking them. Many sights go so far as to say SSRI’s are not addictive, you are just experiencing the same symptoms that caused you to go on them to begin with.

Well, I did not have anxiety, mood swings, quick to anger and irritability when I went on the medication. I was overcome with intense grief and preoccupation with a life event that tore a hole in my heart and my family. The pain was so intense, I could not sleep, I cried all the time. I did not have any coping skills to get thru it. The Dr recommended Lexapro for depression. Now remember, there is a big difference between a chemical imbalance that creates depression and situational depression. But Dr’s are often all to quick to give you a happy pill for situational depression.

Then another Dr says you need to get off of this, you are immune to it, or this is not a good drug. So now what? I never thought to ask for help in getting off a “non-addictive” medication. After many failed attempts I fought my Dr to keep refilling the prescription. One time they refused to refill it and I knew from past experience I could not go cold turkey and after several phone calls got it reinstated.

This is dangerous!

So after yet another Dr, this time my gyno, tells me to get off I made a plan. I first did my homework and decided to change the way I was tapering off. Before, skipping a day at first and lengthening the duration. I actually would not take it until I started feeling the swoosh or a brain zap. This time I also told my family and friends. In the past I had been silent out of fear of failing and labeled crazy. I don’t even know if my kids or many of my friends even knew I was on it, come on, I am a yoga teacher!

In researching I shared every bit of information with my husband that I could find in the hopes that he would rally behind me and have some tools to deal with what was to come.

The hardest part is not the physical withdrawals, although I am here to tell you, either way you taper off, they are no picnic. But it is phase two that has me the most concerned. That usually hits me 2-4 months after my last dose and when I usually go crawling back to the bottle. But now I know that this too is a withdrawal and it is only temporary. That should help.

I spoke with my pharmacist, which Dr’s should talk to them more often, and he suggested a low dose of naltrexone 3mg to take at 9pm to help with the withdrawals, which are worse around that time. Guess what? 3 Dr.s refused saying it is for heroine or opiate addictions. Apparently there are new studies the pharmacist is privy to that the Dr’s needed to prescribe it are clueless of.

One Dr suggested I go back on the 10, and schedule an apt to come and discuss a way to safely and effectively taper down. Not just no, but hell no. I am almost thru the worst of the first cut, why would I even consider that?

I googled treatment facilities that specialize in helping people who are addicted to SSRI’s. (Yes I will use the word addicted, because if it were not, why the withdrawals?) I have had some amazing conversations with some caring and educated health care practitioners who take a holistic approach to getting off these meds. The cost and time is varied depending on location and tools used. It is reassuring that we now have this as an option to rid ourselves of this addiction. That there are supportive caring people out there with experience and tools to create a safe environment for withdrawal from SSRI’s.

I would like to share a few messages I received from my willingness to to be vulnerable and open during this journey. It is because of a dear friend that I chose to blog and be so candid, and apparently she was correct. I am helping others!

 

  • Hey! I just wanted to say hi and let u know that ur posts about addiction have hit really close to home I’ve had addiction problems all my life and since my accident have had even more problems w pain killers. I’ve gotten my self in trouble due to addiction and now have to go thru withdrw cold turkey! But if u can do it so can I, I’ve always looked up to u and think u are an amazing woman! I’ll keep u posted on my progress! Chin up!
  • Praying for you and appreciate your willingness to share the journey. The education is so vital. Thank you!!!
  • Your journaling of this experience will help so many Kim. Proud of you and love you!
  • Kim, I knew nothing about SSRI until I googled it. Keeping you in my prayers. Just hang in there, baby! I know you will pull through it and it will all be behind you. Hugs!
  • I have friends who battle addiction…I wish their attitudes were this good…might make the difference between rehab and relapse…I think I will share your story with a friend of mine very soon
  • And I was on this for 4 years! I’m surprised I did’nt hurt myself, I quit cold turkey…Thought I would lose my mind the first 2 weeks. But it is doable.
  • A friend was on Paxil for a long time, more than a decade. She now has a permanent tremor in her hands that makes basic life functions very challenging. Proud of you for taking this necessary but challenging journey.
  • Wonder if this same principle applies to Zoloft? I’ve never managed to wean off of it after 20 years.

 

And so it goes.

Here is to educating others thru our life experiences.

Withdrawals, my experience

Withdrawals, my experience

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So what were my withdrawals like? First off they started days after I cut my dosage in half,

  • Felt like I had a bad case of the flu or perhaps Dungi fever, although I have never had it only heard about it!
  • Muscles aches, pain deep, especially in my low back,
  • restless legs,
  • headache
  • severe soar throat and gum tenderness.
  • The shakes hit Friday night, with chills, but yet so hot. They also hit me again Saturday night, but Sunday night they did not occur.
  • I felt so tired yet struggled to sleep.
  • My heart palpitations were sporadic yet the
  • fatigue and headache was continual.
  • Nothing I took seemed to relieve the pain, I just had to endure.
  • I felt very unpresent and just did not feel like me.  
  • At times I found my mouth and tongue did not cooperate.
  • I could not concentrate well enough to watch TV, draw or read and I experienced light sensitivity
  • The ringing and fullness in my ears caused a little vertigo, but not to bad and an occasional swoosh sensation

I moved from the bed to the couch to the bed and back, and that was about it for a few days. I finally had the energy to shower Monday which was long over do as I have been sweating more then normal. Today I was feeling better and started on a small project. There has been no anxiety or suicidal thoughts but my mindset was fuzzy at best and I did not feel like Kimberly. The worst were the shakes, chills and pain.

Today is day 8 and there is a little bit of low back pain, and I am taking good naps and slept well last night. My appetite has returned, as I was forcing myself to take in any nutrition. Rootbeer and banana popsicles do not provide for a healthy diet, but boy they felt good on my soar throat.

I had a dear friend come in from out of town to be with me. She cooked for me but more important she stayed present in the home, and was there when I needed her or felt like chatting or watching TV. Several friends popped in to drop off food or check on me, but grateful they understood I was not in a mind set to visit and understood the disarray of my house and myself.

I did not feel well enough to blog, read or watch TV although I did play 2048 which is a stupid numbers game that I could put down and return to with out much thought. I also have a new love of soft jazz.

I have done a lot of self reflection, more of which is to come.

Keep in mind that this is my experience and may or may not be true for you. I have also been on the meds for 16 years with many failed attempts to get off. I am tapering off by cutting my dose as opposed to skipping days, which is a different approach for me and hoping for a better outcome, even though it has been a bit challenging.

The brain zaps have eluded me so far! Thank goodness. Fingers crossed on this one. Thank you for the notes, the texts, and facebook messages. I have learned I am not alone in this journey as many of you are, have or will soon be walking down this path. I will continue to share what I learn on this journey.  My choice may be a little unconventional, but I am hopeful and looking forward to sharing it with you in the coming days.

How to support a loved one with SSRI withdrawals

How to support a loved one with SSRI withdrawals

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So the last few days have been hell, not even having the energy brain power to write. So let me fill you in. Friday night was the worst night. The shakes, shivers, and sweating hit me hard around 8:30 pm and added to the already intense muscle and joint pain. Sleep was elusive and the event repeated again on Saturday night. This resulted in horrible fatigue and general yuck the next days.

What I have learned is that there is a reason this hits at that time of day. I do not understand all the specifics, but something to do with brain function that occurs in the evening. I spoke with my pharmacist, which I wish more Dr’s would take the time to do and he recommended a protocal. And surprise, the Dr’s I have spoken to are reluctant and unwilling to try it. Most have suggested going back on the full dosages, which I refuse to do as I am almost thru this first round of withdrawals.

The dangers associated with SSRI medications are so understudied and the withdrawal from them is even more so.

Lexapro has a longer half life then most, and thus the side effects seem to be worse. I have even heard that Dr’s deny that there are withdrawals, which can make life hell for those experiencing it.  Especially if their “community of support” is told this.

One of the only things I cannot find on the internet are guidelines to help family members and friends help those going thru this experience. So I have decided to share a few tips here. But first you must share what you are doing, share the information or stories you have found of others experiences so that your family and friends will be aware. You don’t have to explain anything, just share the information you used to make your decision. Now for family and friends.

 

  1. Now is not the time to bring up or start an argument. I can tell you from experience we do not have the energy to fight your so called battle and unless it is life threatening, it can wait.
  2. This is nothing like stopping a nicotine addiction.  I have done that, and there is no comparison.
  3. Don’t make excuses for your insensitivity, or blame it on them.  If you are angry that everything you seem to say or do is wrong, you are not in full reality of the situation at hand.  Goodle SSRI withdrawal and educate yourself, your loved one does not have the energy to or desire to re educate you, assuming they did so before they started the process.  If they did not, take the time.
  4. Stop asking every few hours “How are you feeling” It can not be put into words or is anything most can possibly understand unless they have been there.
  5. Don’t judge your experience as being better or worse, if you have had an experience to share that will be helpful, do so. Just share as it helps to know you are not alone.
  6. Sometimes just being there, available is the best.
  7. Physical embrace may be helpful or it may not be accepted so don’t take it personal.
  8. Offer to cook a meal, come watch a movie or sit quietly in another room. Just knowing someone is there, nearby can be of great help and comfort
  9. Recognize that new boundaries are going to need to be set and it may at first come across as harsh, be patient.
  10. New feelings are going to arise and a person that has been on SSRI’s is so out of touch with feeling their feelings that they are going to be in practice mode. If you take it personally and react, remember that is your issue, not theirs.
  11. Love and encourage, even if you do not agree with their choices, it is their life not yours.
  12. I reserve the right to add to this list as anything else comes to mind.

For me the emotional rollercoaster has not started, it is mostly the physical discomforts, which can drain the emotional system. This is a practice of patients and self care.

I am grateful for my friends who are supporting me thru this. I have educated those close to me as best as I can, some with positive results, others fell on deaf ears. It is not the quantity but the quality of support that matters.

Next I will share my many conversations with healthcare providers and the good the bad and the ugly in the responses. I have found the greatest support from my pharmacist and the western Dr’s affiliated with the program I have chosen to attend in Costa Rica.

I am hopeful and encouraged that this will be my last, and my successful attempt at getting of lexapro for good.

Who moved the cheese?

Who moved the cheese?

who moved the cheese?

“He knew sometimes some fear can be good. When you are afraid things are going to get worse if you don’t do something, it can prompt you into action. But it is not good when you are afraid that it keeps you from doing anything.”
Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

Who moved the Cheese?

Have you read the story? Well I am moving the cheese!

Part of getting off Lexapro is reflecting on my past failed attempts. What makes this time different? First of all, like I said, I did my homework. More importantly I shared what I learned with friends and family. In the past I feared that the outcome would be failure, seeing it as a sign of weekness, but more importantly, that others would see me as week or worse, CRAZY. I moved the Cheese, but did not tell anyone.

Ever had a loved one comment “Did you take your meds?” “Whats wrong with you, are you off your meds?” “Are you CRAZY?” Just typing these out makes me cringe as to the power of words, ignorant and unhelpful, and down right mean. But it just goes to show how uneducated our society is on mental health and the effects that certain drugs can have. Not to mention the way fear in others is often projected and the power we can sometimes give others over our feelings. Hormones, if left unchecked and out of balance, can also have devastating effects, but that is another blog.

When you are out of practice with feeling your feelings, they can be overwhelming, even frightening. For both you and those in your inner circle: family, friends and coworkers. It takes practice not to react, to learn to acknowledge how you are feeling and to realize no one is responsible for how you feel but you. To learn to feel them, not become them. Sure people can be cruel, but it is more a reflection of their story not yours. But when old wounds surface, especially when in a heightened state or dare I say unstable state, these old pains can manifest into ugly reactions.

The easy way out is to go back and numb in an effort not to rock the boat.

Should you replace the Cheese?

Is this what is best? NO! This is not self care but other care. For family members and friends it will be a test of patience, of love and yes for a while you may even feel like you need to walk on egg shells, or perhaps it will be a time for self reflection. Are you accustomed to being with someone who is detached from their emotions that you have been able to be a bit of a bully, unresponsive, with no consequences? No response of anger, sadness, frustration or fear? What if you do not like the person as he or she becomes more of his/her authentic self? That is a risk I am ready to take and I guess my family and friends will either show up for me or not.

On this journey, I vow to myself to do what is best for me. To not compromise myself in anyway in an effort to make things more comfortable for others, I will not put the cheese back. The road may be rocky for a bit, I may even come out the other end with a whole new outlook. In the past this has scared the shit out of me, but today I am not scared, I am hopeful and looking forward to feeling free as I remove my mask and come home to myself.

It may mean finding my happy place away from my everyday life. I am fortunate that at this stage of my life, no kids to chase, semi-retired and working from home, that I can do this.

Having read up on others experiences I realize that what I felt in the past were in fact with draw symptoms from the anti-depressant. This has given me a lot of peace and hope. It is temporary, but temporary does not diminish the fact that it will be a bit of struggle. I do not mean to sound negative, but I have experienced it before and it is hell. That is why I am journaling the good, the bad and the ugly of this addictive medication. Lexapro is not alone, it is all of the SSR inhibitors, paxel, celexa, lexapro etc. They all affect the production of seratonin in the brain in an unnatural way.

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs. The downs were constant light headache and fatigue, the good, I got a lot of rest and taught a yoga class so I was surrounded by some amazing people that lifted my spirits.

I would say that if you too are coming off of this addiction, it is not a time to makelife changing decisions, but simply a time to honor yourself. If other in your life decide to walk away, that it is to much to handle, this is not a reflection of you, but them. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, although it may feel like it is at times. Laughter is going to be my go to medicine along with Essential oils, acupuncture and other natural alternatives. Especially surrounding my self with people who make me laugh out loud, and smile from with in. Not those who wish to challenge me, accuse me or act out on me.

Many have shared the “Brain Zaps” and Swoosh sensation that they feel as they unmedicate. If you have never experienced this, or been around someone who is having one, it is frightening. Imagining being electrocuted in your brain. It does not last long and they come and go at will but it will stop you in your tracks. It has been suggested to me that vit B may help. I am taking Cinnamon and Coconut oil for the fatigue.

A new awareness I am having is fullness in my ears, could be that I just came back from the mountains, however I have read many accounts of vertigo when coming off. Dizziness I have noticed and think it may be the start of the Swoosh, but that is TBD.

There is a fine line between manifesting symptoms and being aware of symptoms as they occur. Having done this before it is easier for me to discern the difference. Optimism does not mean to deny. But to prepare for, to be aware of and to accept if and when they happen is what I plan on. Information is golden, if you use it correctly.

Today is Day 4 of phase 1. Phase two is the scariest and can come 2-4 months after weaning. So here is to today and here is the video, Who Moved the Cheese?

 

Getting off Anti-depressants, my journey

Getting off Anti-depressants, my journey

 

This is what Leapro did for me.  Not healthy.

This is what Lexapro did for me. Not healthy.

So the journey begins. My hope in sharing this thru my blog is two fold. To help others understand the drug and to help me get through the transition. This is a very personal journey and with the death of Robin Williams and all the sharing of post on suicide and depression, it seems appropriate.

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I want to feel the Rain

This is not a story of a chemical imbalance that led me to needing lexapro, but my inability to handle a difficult situation. There is a big difference and yet often they are treated the same. Life happens and sometimes it sucks and sometimes it is so brutally painful, but numbing does not make the situation go away, it only prolongs the effects, both emotionally and physically.  I have always been an emotional person, used to cry at the drop of a hat, sobbed thru movies and even commercials would at times set me off.  I no longer cry, can probably count on one hand how many times I have cried in the last 14 years, thinking how strong I have become, realizing how numb I have become.

I made a choice 14 years ago to numb myself from a life altering event with the use of Lexapro. I did not know much about this drug but desperate I chose this route. Little did I know that I was making a choice to numb myself in an effort to get through. It seemed like the right choice at the time and maybe it was. But this little quick fix did not make the event go away, or the consequences, it has only put them on the side burner. And here I am 14 years later, still on numbing medication and probably never fully dealing with the situation that was behind my choice to take lexapro. Would I do it again? Maybe, but with more questions asked and possibly trying other alternatives first.

As I look back on this time in my life, the drug really did not save me,I physically went down hill. It was my yoga practice that was introduced to me 4 years later. Yet I still stayed on the medication, thinking nothing of it. But as a yoga teacher it began to weigh heavy on me. So many times over the course of the last 10 years I have tried to get off of it. Always failing. I now see it partly because I was so out of practice of being in touch with my feelings, but I am also learning the withdraw of this magic pill can be more devastating then I imagined.

Feelings and emotions are an important human response and if we choose to ignore them, we are denying ourselves from our fullest potential.

I saw it as a weakness every time I had to resort back to refilling the RX, no one told me how difficult it is to get off. The last time I made it 6 months. It was after the death of my father and I could not cry, O I felt sadness but not what I believed to be the appropriate reaction. So I decided to try again. The flood of emotion first hit me at a public event, a few months after tapering off, when I ran into a friend that has always reminded me of my father, and in minutes I was a flood of tears. It felt so good to let go. I had another release a few weeks later in the theater watching the Rockets Christmas special. The Santa scene brought back a flood of emotions that needed to be released.

It was in that moment that I realized the physical harm I was doing to myself by holding on to these emotions, actually denying they existed. I was recovering from having my appendix and gall bladder removed, I have no uterus, no ovaries, I have no more organs inside of me to store these pent up feeling in. The body does not lie and I need to head my own teachings on the importance of letting go. But the flood of emotions, the despair and deep hole I found myself smothered in was too much. My family assumed, as did I, that this medication was necessary. So after 6 months, I found myself giving in.

Now two Dr. have suggested it is time to get off. The drug is not effective any longer. With much hesitation, and fear, but determination, I set the date to begin. This time however I did my research. What were others experience with getting off this med.

To my surprise, the effects of getting off were all the reasons I always went back on. Now don’t you think this is something somebody should have told me? The Dr. the pharmacist, the drug company?

I am on day 4. The fear is there, but having educated myself I am feeling a bit more hopeful. Instead of taking a full dose every other day, it was suggested I cut the dose in half. This seems to be helpful. Never, ever go cold turkey. There is some dizziness and fatigue and a vague headache, but I am honoring this. This morning the heart palpitations started, not an anxiety attack, but simply one of the side effects. Good information to have.

I have just begun, but will share this journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, and this time I will get through it. It may take 6 months to a year but I am ready.

Next I am going to explore the zen meaning of detachment “a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective vs Emotional detachment “ in psychology, refers to “inability to connect” or “mental assertiveness” I think this is the excuse I have given myself, practicing detachment, but what I am coming to find is that I was so unattached and out of touch really is a better description.

So here is to the beginning.

Art of Letting Go

Art of Letting Go

MDretreatThe most important aspect of letting go is to notice. Notice where you feel it in your physical body, and notice how good it feels when you just let go!

Apiragraha, the fifth of the Yamas means not grasping, but for the sake of simplicity lets just say the art and act of letting go.  Easier said then actually practiced.  I remember the very first time I felt this peace that comes from a practice of letting go.  It was in the early days of my yoga practice and I was in a Nia class.  The routine called for us to reach to the earth as tho we were scooping up and then extend our hand in an expression of letting go.  She gave us the visual of scooping up a butterfly and letting it go.My daughter was in the process of leaving for college and my older son was in the midst of his life struggles that I had no control.  It was at that moment as I reached to scoop up that butterfly that I imagined myself scooping up my son with my right hand, my daughter with my left and watching, In the words of one of my favorite recording artist, In the moment I was able to relax ~ let go ~ release ~ and surrender ~ relax, let go release and surrender And for a moment, all was well!   Read the rest of this entry

Niyamas a look at Saucha, yoga beyond

Niyamas a look at Saucha, yoga beyond

Niyamas can be described as the rules that need to be observed by individuals, on a more personal level. You have the ability and the power to touch the lives of everyone who you come into contact with and with everyone each of those people come into contact with. Think of the possibilities. The second of the 8 limbs of yoga are the five internal practices of Niyama (observance).

Read the rest of this entry

Registered my Assana! Yoga Alliance

Registered my Assana! Yoga Alliance
Registered my Assana!
 

O The importance  put on a piece of paper.  It becomes the end of the journey for some.  The summit, the pinnacle, and unfortunately THE END.  I see to often as the owner of a yoga studio and a yoga mentorship/studentship program.  It is because of what I see and hear in the yoga community that I see no value in the Yoga Alliance.  I have not always felt that way, even encouraged my teachers to join, I mistakenly believed it would
·      Make them better teachers
·      Allow them to get insurance
·      Allow my teachers to “train” other to teach
·      That my students cared
Nothing could be further from the truth. Read the rest of this entry

In pain and suffering, It is time to Shift and Revise,

In pain and suffering, It is time to Shift and Revise,
Pain and suffering, it is everywhere, but so is joy.  It is our true authentic self. Do you ever wonder how to rise above and become unaffected by the pain and suffering of others. Does this mean we must lose sight of compassion?
How can one not be affected and react to the negative energy while maintaining and staying in a space of peace?

It can be difficult to rise above it, not react, and stay in a place of joy, of love and acceptance.  Avoidance of people, places and things is not always possible. Many of us have to deal with pain and suffering in our homes or the workplace, but we do not have to let it define us.  You can choose which energies you wish to become a part of you and which you wish to release and be unaffected by. Read the rest of this entry