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Getting Off Pharmaceuticals; Dealing With Withdrawl Symptoms

Well, I have been avoiding this topic for quite some time, as every time I talk or write about it I get super emotional, and I fear judgement. But, I know there are so many people out there struggling with the same thing, and if I can help just one person, it will be worth it.

This is my story.

When I was 15, I suffered TERRIBLE migraines. I had really been suffering for my whole life- I had my first migraine when I was two. By the time I was 15, they were keeping me from school, and my mom was getting concerned. Like any normal American family, we went to the Pediatrician. She first tried prescribing me migraine medication that you take when you actually have the migraine, Imitrex, Mobic, and any other kind you can think of- I pretty much tried them all with no relief. So, she sent me to the neurologist. He ruled out allergies- food and environmental, we did the sleep studies, and the seizure studies, and CT scans and MRI’s and found nothing. So, he explained that antidepressants have a “side effect” of helping migraine sufferers- and it would be more of a preventative. At this point, I had missed an awful lot of school, and it sounded wonderful. I was also under weight (because of digestive problems) and he said that it would help me to gain weight as well. Sounded like a miracle drug to me! And gosh was it! That first day, I felt like I was on top of the world. I remember waking up, and I wasn’t nauseous, my head felt awesome, and that was it for me. I was on could 9 with this stuff.

 

Unfortunately (and fortunately) my digestive issues were not solved by the antidepressant, and I had still developed multiple food allergies that were affecting my digestion. I could not eat anything- quite literally- as I had over 200 food allergies (that developed all within 2 weeks). I was talking to a friend in my 5th period study hall, when we had a substitute that day. The sub over heard my conversation, and to make a long story short, she had told me the same thing happened to her. (Here’s where it gets good!) She recommended me to an acupuncturist who can take food allergies away. Sounded like a bunch of rubbish to me, but once she said she enjoys pizza now every Friday night, I was in! I told my mom, we went, and my allergies were slowly, and surely, taken away. One by one. This woman saved my life, and to this day, I still see her. And I consider her a part of my family- she even came to my wedding! This was the start of my wanting to change my lifestyle. She had told me to start weaning off the medication, as it wasn’t good for me. (I had been on it about 2 years at this point.) I tried that night to cut the pill in half (I was on 10 mg- lowest dose possible) and the next day i felt AWFUL. Im talking AWFUL. I felt like I had the flu. I decided that I was in my Senior Year of High school, and I needed to finish strong without missing school, and being sick.

Like any addict, I made multiple excuses over the years to not get off this medication. I stayed on 10 mg for 5 more years. Even though I had discovered that my migraine issues were solved by a mixture of drinking a LOT of water (1 gallon per day) and going to the chiropractor (That was, and is, the biggest help!) I still didn’t want to get off this medication because i knew the withdrawal would be hell. And it was hell.

Finally, about 6 months into my marriage, I was sitting at home on the floor of my living room doing something on the internet. (Im assuming Facebook- I had just moved out of state and was terribly lonely!) Anyhow, I heard somebody say, loud and clear, “Look up the side effects”. No clue why, but I didn’t question, I went straight to Google. The list was so.long. Like 14 pages long. And a good chunk of them I could say “yes” to having them. What scared me the most was the one that said it can cause infertility, or if you DO manage to get pregnant while on this pill, there is a great possibility of your child having “severe birth defects, particularly in the arms and the legs.” I freaked out. I knew, now was the time to do it. (Besides the fact that it was recommended that one only stay on this pill for 2 years maximum.) I was scared to death I was going to have a baby with no arms or legs, or worse, never have children at all. My maternal instincts kicked in and I was hell bent to get off these pills. This was the day my Miracle Pill turned into my Demon Pill.

To make another long story short, I started cutting it down. I’m talking granules. I would shave off little tiny specs of this pill every couple of nights, and when the withdrawal got bad, I would stay where I was for a week or two until it was tolerable to shave off some more. If I never wanted babies, I would still be on that pill today. This was by far the worst experience of my life. The symptoms started off as nausea. Then the nausea got worse. Then the headaches kicked in. Then the dizziness. and about 4 months later- I was only at half a pill (a 10 mg pill, don’t forget- lowest dose possible for this medication) and the withdrawals were so bad I couldn’t take it. The nausea was still there, vertigo was present a good chunk of the time. I had developed severe anxiety- which I had never had in my life, I became agoraphobic- I couldn’t leave my apartment. I kept getting things that I called “brain zaps”- it felt like lightening was striking through my brain. I would see blue streaks of lights- almost like light sabers from Star Wars, and it felt like my brain was shrinking. Then, my eyes started shaking back and forth, my vision looked like when you go to an old movie and its shakes up and down a little- you know what I mean? It was exactly like that, but side to side- and you could see my eyeballs moving side to side. My skin started burning every time I put on pants- especially jeans, and I felt like I had bugs crawling all over me. And the worst was when I started hallucinating. It wasn’t super scary things I saw, but things that I knew weren’t really there. I couldn’t help but think how drug addicts- the real ones- were over their heavy withdrawals in a week or two tops, and that’s going cold turkey! And here I am, months down the road, and this is stuff my DOCTOR had given me. It made me angry, and its not like the pill made me high, it made me function- it made me able to leave my house, and to work, and live a normal American life. I would have been better off with cocaine, or meth- the withdrawals would have at least been over by now. (I am not endorsing the use of illegal drugs by any means! Don’t get any ideas! Just making a statement.)

I knew I needed help. I called my mom, crying, and scared, and alone (Dustin was in his internship for his current job, and I had nobody near me that I knew.) And she did the first thing she could think of. Google. The first thing that popped up was an Advertisement that I had seen before, and it looked like a scam to me (I wasn’t entirely in my correct state of mind- but who really clicks on those ads anyways?) I just didn’t buy it. She called them, and then told me to do the same- saying she would pay for everything. (Dustin’s internship was unpaid, and I didn’t really have a job at the time.) I called this mystery place- Point of Return, and talked to the founder. Her name was Alessandra, and she is person #2 that saved my life. The same thing happened to her- and to make another long story short- she ended up checking herself into rehab to get off all of her medication. She knew there must be a better way, so she teamed up with a Doctor, and they came up with natural supplements to help people get off prescription pills. It was not cheap, but it was worth every.penny. It was a mixture of things, There was a powdery stuff that helps the body to produce glutathione, its own antioxidant, as well as really great fish oil, “relax” pills to take when you are having anxiety (I still carry them to this day!) They are just a milk depeptide (and don’t worry if you are lactose intolerant- you can still take them!) and cherry juice (a specially formulated, flash pasteurized) to help your body get on a natural sleep cycle, and diet. As I changed my lifestyle to fit Point of Returns guide, my symptoms went away. I even went to the beach! In 3 months, I was completely pill free. It was the hardest, most challenging 9 months of my life, and I am still dealing with some of the effects to this day. However, I am so happy I did it, and I am a fully functioning adult, who is pill-free for almost 2 years now. I can easily say I have never felt so accomplished in all my life as the day I went to bed without taking any medication at all.

Taking this pill was the biggest mistake of my life. My mom blames herself, but it is not her fault. We just didn’t know- and the Doctors don’t tell you. We are supposed to be able to trust our Doctors, and it kills me knowing how much money that guy made off of me every month when I checked out of that pharmacy- not because I wanted to, but because I HAD to. I was stuck taking antidepressants, when I didn’t even need them. I needed water, and a chiropractor- not drugs. I had no choice but to take these pills until I had a “good time” to withdrawal. No time is good, and you need to stop making excuses, if this all sounds familiar to you. Call Point of Return, and just talk to them if you are struggling with getting off antidepressants, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, sleeping pills, benzos- anything! They aren’t pushy, and you can call them and just talk- I still do sometimes! My journey isn’t over- I was on this pill 4 times longer than I should have been, but I feel great. The only thing I have left over from that pill is I have terrible skin (which I didn’t until I started withdrawing) and I occasionally have a brain zap if something scares me (adrenal gland is the last to recover- and takes quite a while, therefore my body does not like adrenaline.) And I really hate wearing jeans (my skin doesn’t burn anymore, but I think its just a bad memory) And I feel so proud to say I am medication free. It feels so good to have my body functioning on its own, and its a feeling I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

I truly hopes this will help somebody, and that even if you are not on any pills, that you will reconsider taking them, even if your Doctor suggests it, from reading my story. If you are struggling with this, and need someone to talk to who understands- please don’t hesitate to email, or comment. I will be happy to talk to you! More importantly, call Point of Return. They understand what you are going through, and can help you get off those Demon Pills safely, and in a way where you can go about your daily life. They saved my life, and they can save yours, too.

 

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