Want to taper off Pristiq, makes my heart race

Posted by Native Floridian @nativefloridian, Jan 7, 2012

Has anyone successfully tapered off Pristiq? If so, what was your plan? I am considering going off this medicine. I take 50 mg per day and have done so for about 2 years. I understand there are very significant withdrawal symptoms and I would like to stop taking Pristiq because it causes my heart to race when the time release happens. I am afraid this medicine may not be good for the heart because the clinical trials state that anyone with a heart condition was not allowed to take it.

Liked by SHO101, dianenero

I began tapering by taking 3/4 of my 50 tablet every other day for one week. The second week i took 3/4 tablet every day. The third week: 1/2tablet every other day, 3/4 every other day. Today is the beginning of week four. This week i will take 1/2 tablet every day. So far, the ONLY side effect is that I FEEL GREAT!! I have had NONE of the side effects others have mentioned. And…i feel like myself again. I am interested in life again, able to keep perspective even in the midst of stressful situations, & able to feel rested after 8 hours of sleep. And believe me, with 5 amazing kids, three of whom we homeschool, one with special needs, one in college, two teenagers, etc, there is always drama and some kind of stress. This last week, we had 2 graduations, a birthday, 3 house guests, and i hosted 2 parties to celebrate. One month ago, i could not imagine how i would find the energy for even ONE of these events. But now… I feel like a champ. I will ALWAYS be grateful for having Pristiq to help my brain get back on track after multiple events over the course of 3 years put me into definite depression. However, now that i am in a better place, it was time to say good by to Pristiq. Best wishes to all who are aiming for the same goal!

Liked by dpfrehm

REPLY

I was on pristiq for a year, and 5 days ago my psychiatrist finally took me off of it! i only took 25 mg for a year (with klonopin as an emergency backup in case of sudden anxiety) and throughout the year i learned how to handle situations that i never thought i could handle on my own. i also noticed that i relied on klonopin less and less until i basically never took it anymore.
now that i am allowed to be off, i am so thankful that i was put on it, but realized that i am okay without it now! my mood began depending on myself, and didnt depend on the pill. this was also when i was making a scary transition into college (i am only 18 years old) and i am so glad i could do it.
the only problem i am having now is the withdrawal. my body is strongly affected by changes and i was wondering how long do you estimate it will last?
the first day i felt HORRIBLE. nauseous like i was going to vomit at least 5 times in one day. horrible stomach aches, constipation. it’s day 5 now and i’m feeling slightly better, the only thing is i feel so so dizzy and really don’t have motivation to do anything. i feel somewhat agitated, (not as bad as i did on day 1) my mood currently feels fine (no extreme happiness or sadness) the withdrawal is just very hard for me because i am an active runner and exerciser and i dont want to gain weight or feel sick during a workout.
the symptoms are becoming less harsh, but i still feel very hot, or very cold, somewhat nauseous, and very dizzy, kind of hazy like my head is in the clouds (unfocused)
please reply! its helpful to know someone went through or is going through the same thing i am! thank you!!
p.s. right now i am only taking the 25 mg every other day for a week. doctors orders.

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@ggmarie

Hi everyone! Well I am now 4 weeks Pristiq free! I can’t even almost express how I feel. I feel like I got my life back again. I can cry again, laugh and have energy like I used to. For me I came to realization that if I did not get off this drug it was going to do something terrible to me. And I also feel that eventually it will be pulled off the market at some point like others have. I wanted to have control over my tapering and not have to go cold turkey. Depression is a horrible thing to have but taking all of the medications can be worse. One of my son’s has been on so many different drugs for social anxiety disorder, that because he has so many side effects he decided to drug free also. I joined a gym called Planet Fitness because not only because of the weight gain associated with the medication, I know that exercise is the best medicine for my emotional and physical well being and not taking pills. After 3 years of Pristiq slavery I am hopeful again that life is good. For all of you, really be strong in your fight to get off of it. I wish I could tell you that you won’t have withdrawal symptoms but you will. I had them all and pushed through it. Was it hard? Yes…but compared to how I feel now, I am glad I did it. And finding this discussion board has helped more than anything else I have read. We are therapy for each other, the support is great and we are real people here.

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Hi! This is a very enlightening chat, I have been off Pristiq for 3 weeks now, weened from 100 to 50 then stop. On day three I was getting a long needed massage and when asked to turn over into my stomach, I began spinning like I was inside a barrel rolling down a hill and got that overwhelming heat wave and started vomiting uncontrollably! My husband had to pick me up and I had nausea and dizzieness intermittently still. I saw the doctor after finally reading about SSRI withdrawal and He went with a viral inner ear infection over SSRI discontinuation Syndrome. I also had been experiencing severe muscle aches and spasms that I wrote off as results from massage releasi ng toxins but the pain has gotten worse, coming in waves at times! All I could do on Sat was lay around with ice packs and moan like a kitten. Saw doctor again, similar symptoms are common with Statin drug intolerance so my Statin has been changed, still no acknowledgement of SSRI withdrawal. I told him how much I cried the day our city lost 4 brave fire fighters and was wondering if my emotions had been masked when on Pristiq, he pointed to my smiling drivers license picture in the front of my chart and said he thinks I need to go back on the Pristiq so I can be that smiling girl I used to be. Wrong answer, I told him, I haven’t even got the crap out of my system yet! I promised to try a different antidepressant if it looks like I really need it but it is just too soon. (My emotions have been masked for the last 4 years! The real ME is finally peaking out and speaking out again!) I look back and realize that the medical field has practiced on my body and has not always come to the right conclusions…I was put on antidepressants to treat depression symptoms that were really side effect of hypothyroidism that went untreated for years. Once treated, no adjust ments to SSRIs were made. More of these depressive symptoms have lingered and don’t you know, they are probably due to my being vitamin D deficient which was just recently diagnosed! They say depression is caused from a chemical imbalance, but hormone imbalances must also be addressed at the same time! Along these same lines, to top it off, at my annual eye exam, they discovered my bifocal line is way too high, which means I am trying to see distance with my computer reading line! The lens shop also discovered that the wrong prescription was also placed in my glasses last year! I reported problems with the glasses right away but these issues were not identified so I have suffered with chronic headaches and blurry vision for the last year! Lessons learned, don’t hesitate to read about your illnesses or symptoms, you know your body BEST and can assist the medical field in treating you as a whole person, not just one symptom at a time. Knowledge is power, it doesn’t make you a hypochondriac! If you are told it is all in your head, change doctors! We are complex beings that need at least one medical professional to coordinate all the results in order to try to see the big picture. Scream at the top of your lungs until your voice is heard and your concerns are addressed! This is the only life you have! I have lost way too much quality in my life because of misdiagnoses or medication side effects. I have prepared my husband that the real ME is coming out, good and bad, but real, the woman he fell in love with. He is looking forward to meeting ME again! Thanks for listening and for reinforcing what my soul is telling me, Getting off of Pristiq is the best thing I can do in order to live a full life again!

Liked by kdecker003

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I was taking Pristiq for about 4 months and didn’t feel like it was making a noticeable difference and I felt like it had caused me to gain weight so I decided to discontinue using it. I asked my doctor about tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms and she said it was not really necessary to wean off – I could just stop using it. I think she said this because I was on the lowest dose (50 mg). I decided to taper off a bit anyway and took it every other day for a week or two, then stopped. It didn’t even register last week that it was connected, but I was vomiting one night last week so violently that I had chest pains and took myself to the ER. They said my heart was fine, chalked it up to heartburn and sent me home. Now that I have read some of the posts here, I am thinking it was probably from my abruptly stopping the Pristiq after taping off for a short period of time. I have also had those weird dizzy-like sensations – not quite the “brain shocks” that I experienced years ago after stopping Paxil, but definitely noticeable. I am glad I decided to stop taking this drug.

Liked by texassugsr, Lars1968

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Hi All, Just checking in . I have been drug free for four going on five months. It was hell! in the beginning but so thankful I stuck it out. You can do this! You should do this for your self. Medically still have problems from this drug.i.e. high cholesterol, weight gain, high blood pressure, but all is coming back into normal range again. I would not have been able to do it without the support and info of this web site. I would have been too scared of the side effects to do it. Reading all the info on this site helped change MY LIFE and can help save yours. GOOD LUCK!

Liked by Lars1968

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@ggmarie

Hi everyone! Well I am now 4 weeks Pristiq free! I can’t even almost express how I feel. I feel like I got my life back again. I can cry again, laugh and have energy like I used to. For me I came to realization that if I did not get off this drug it was going to do something terrible to me. And I also feel that eventually it will be pulled off the market at some point like others have. I wanted to have control over my tapering and not have to go cold turkey. Depression is a horrible thing to have but taking all of the medications can be worse. One of my son’s has been on so many different drugs for social anxiety disorder, that because he has so many side effects he decided to drug free also. I joined a gym called Planet Fitness because not only because of the weight gain associated with the medication, I know that exercise is the best medicine for my emotional and physical well being and not taking pills. After 3 years of Pristiq slavery I am hopeful again that life is good. For all of you, really be strong in your fight to get off of it. I wish I could tell you that you won’t have withdrawal symptoms but you will. I had them all and pushed through it. Was it hard? Yes…but compared to how I feel now, I am glad I did it. And finding this discussion board has helped more than anything else I have read. We are therapy for each other, the support is great and we are real people here.

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After reading your post, it just cements my feelings even more about this horrible drug. I am seeing my doc today for this first time since going off. I am telling him about this board. I had bouts of dizziness and it was not like yours but still awful. Now I am 6 weeks off Pristiq and my husband has noticed a real difference in me too. And to all of you out there reading these posts, look at the common statements we all are making. They are real and those of us that have been successful in getting of the med, it can be done!!! As texassugar said above, all the pills only mask the issues, not resolve them. As much as I love my doctor, he could have done a better job in monitoring my symptoms. This stuff and all of them are not meant for long term use. The serotonin syndrome is real, terrible and is caused by all of the drugs. Good for you Texas in your success, keep posting because it helps. We all can identify with you and we are supporting each other.

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@ggmarie

Hi everyone! Well I am now 4 weeks Pristiq free! I can’t even almost express how I feel. I feel like I got my life back again. I can cry again, laugh and have energy like I used to. For me I came to realization that if I did not get off this drug it was going to do something terrible to me. And I also feel that eventually it will be pulled off the market at some point like others have. I wanted to have control over my tapering and not have to go cold turkey. Depression is a horrible thing to have but taking all of the medications can be worse. One of my son’s has been on so many different drugs for social anxiety disorder, that because he has so many side effects he decided to drug free also. I joined a gym called Planet Fitness because not only because of the weight gain associated with the medication, I know that exercise is the best medicine for my emotional and physical well being and not taking pills. After 3 years of Pristiq slavery I am hopeful again that life is good. For all of you, really be strong in your fight to get off of it. I wish I could tell you that you won’t have withdrawal symptoms but you will. I had them all and pushed through it. Was it hard? Yes…but compared to how I feel now, I am glad I did it. And finding this discussion board has helped more than anything else I have read. We are therapy for each other, the support is great and we are real people here.

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Hi! Thank you for reinforcing my feelings of hope you guys. I have not only been flat emotionally for many years on Pristiq, and for a while also on Geodon, an anti psychotic med given for a label/misinterpreted diagnoses of being Bipolar, but have found that the very symptoms these meds are supposed to treat are the easiest most prevalent ones they cause me to feel! Flat emotion leads to apathy which leads to procrastination which leads to self loathing for not being able to accomplish life tasks, work or be the energetic person I used to be. I am beginning my fourth week off of Pristiq. I had a fairly productive weekend in the kitchen cooking, reorganizing cabinets, making trash on a mostly sleepless Sat night. Husband had to remind me that I slept quite a bit in my chair during the day so I really don’t need to start worrying about actually being bipolar/manic after all! these self deprecating and non productive patterns of being have become character flaws that are my ready, go to emotional and believing states because the were reinforced by my symptoms for so long. I am just starting to feel joy in my mini accomplishments and realize that the increasing energy I am feeling and putting forth on these small tasks are not signs that another certifiable psych diagnoses is surfacing, but an honest enthused effort to feel ALIVE again, no longer stepping into walls and just dreaming of what I’d like to do! Hubby is invaluable in the memory department, he has been sharing how he is beginning to see the person I used to be in the last couple of weeks. This is the positive reinforcement we all need as we work so hard to IIve and think again without so many neurotransmitters bouncing around in our brains. Until doctors recognize that this SSRI discontinuation Syndrome is for real, we will just have to continue to provide each other the support needed to succeed in rehab without these powerful medications. I encourage everyone to reach out for some counseling during this process for additional reinforcement and assistance in ‘re-framing those negative thoughts into positive self-talk. It can also be a place to deal with any resentments that may surface as the “mental fog” lifts and you begin feeling the, “life” we are intended to experience and perhaps begin to identify with what was masked when being medicated. You are a beautiful, loving being that deserves to live, love, and laugh so completely that it makes the light of your Soul blind those around you! (Especially if the only ones around are your spouse’s and kids ) , Sending a big hug to everyone!

Liked by kdecker003

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hey, I’m enjoying all your shares. I tried coming off once before and i lasted 3 months and my dr. recommended me to go back on. I’ve been taking the drug for about 1.5 years and while i’m on it I feel like a million bucks and am confident and certain with everything i do in life. It feels great, but i know that their has to come a time to finally get off of it so i decided to try once again since i was in a good place in my life. I went to a dr. who told me that weaning off pristiq was as simple as just stopping cold turkey because there wasn’t a lower dose available. As a precaution i decided to take it every other day for a few weeks. I felt great for a few months after not being on it at all but now, here I am feeling drained once again, confused, and considering going back on. Is there anyone that could share specifically how long it took them to finally recover from the withdrawal symptoms and start feeling good naturally??

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This website has been very informative. I told myself that I would not read anyone’s horror story b/c in turn I will think about the aftermath too much and decide not to wean off of it. I was on 50 mg Zoloft and Xanax for a couple of months due to having two panic attacks (anxiety) about 4 months apart and I felt like a zombie on them. I went from about two months of 50 mgs of Pristiq to 100 mg Pristiq and Klonopin (as needed). Basically been on a med to treat anxiety since February of ’13. I almost wonder if the Klonopin is more addictive than the Pristiq, but I’m in such a fog that it’s hard to tell. I have always resorted to homeopathic remedies, but read that you cannot take St. John’s Wort w/Pristiq as it is almost considered brain poisoning b/c it gives your system too much of a brain boost. I am considering weaning from Pristiq and relying on the Klonopin during the difficult moments. The Pristiq causes such fatigue and I have shallow breathing with it, making it hard to catch my breath or deep breathe. I am involved in yoga and truly enjoy it. Considering accupuncture but not sure if being on the medication while on it will be beneficial. Does anyone know or have any simple advice? Does anyone out there prefer to go the homeopathic route instead that has had any success weaning from this? God bless you all, and know you are not alone. Lean on the Lord as times like this may be His way of saying to depend on Him and His goodness and healing ability. He made us and knows us better than we know ourselves! I appreciate any recommendations….

Liked by Lars1968

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@meow620

I was taking Pristiq for about 4 months and didn’t feel like it was making a noticeable difference and I felt like it had caused me to gain weight so I decided to discontinue using it. I asked my doctor about tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms and she said it was not really necessary to wean off – I could just stop using it. I think she said this because I was on the lowest dose (50 mg). I decided to taper off a bit anyway and took it every other day for a week or two, then stopped. It didn’t even register last week that it was connected, but I was vomiting one night last week so violently that I had chest pains and took myself to the ER. They said my heart was fine, chalked it up to heartburn and sent me home. Now that I have read some of the posts here, I am thinking it was probably from my abruptly stopping the Pristiq after taping off for a short period of time. I have also had those weird dizzy-like sensations – not quite the “brain shocks” that I experienced years ago after stopping Paxil, but definitely noticeable. I am glad I decided to stop taking this drug.

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Meow620- I’ve been on it at 50 mgs and 100 mgs for a total of 3 months. I haven’t taken the medication for 2 days. Seeing my physician for a follow up today to see what his recommendatios are to my preference of homeopathy. I too am experiencing dizzy and disoriented spells after just 2 days of discontinuation. Did you take it for anxiety and are you on anything else now? Thanks for your post and glimmer of hope to those of us who seek to do the same thing. I hope you are feeling well and a sense of relief!

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@meow620

I was taking Pristiq for about 4 months and didn’t feel like it was making a noticeable difference and I felt like it had caused me to gain weight so I decided to discontinue using it. I asked my doctor about tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms and she said it was not really necessary to wean off – I could just stop using it. I think she said this because I was on the lowest dose (50 mg). I decided to taper off a bit anyway and took it every other day for a week or two, then stopped. It didn’t even register last week that it was connected, but I was vomiting one night last week so violently that I had chest pains and took myself to the ER. They said my heart was fine, chalked it up to heartburn and sent me home. Now that I have read some of the posts here, I am thinking it was probably from my abruptly stopping the Pristiq after taping off for a short period of time. I have also had those weird dizzy-like sensations – not quite the “brain shocks” that I experienced years ago after stopping Paxil, but definitely noticeable. I am glad I decided to stop taking this drug.

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Hi! “I’m at the end of my 5th week Pristiq free! Life is improving, symptoms are decreasing, and I am continuing to attack my creative projects and my recent obsession with containing everything into organized spaces with great abandon. I hit the floors running and then fade with light headedness and muscle aches or spasms by late morning or mid afternoon. Blood pressure and blood sugars are normal when I am experiencing these “lows”. I have had two complete down days this week that were spent in total pain. I called the pharmacy to review my symptoms and see if he had any idea how long I can expect the withdrawal to last and he couldn’t say because there is not a standard answer. As suspected, we the patient will be the one’s to learn what the duration of withdrawal is and we will be teaching the medical community. The increase in my energy level and motivation to finish something I start is markedly improved on my good days as the fog continues to clear. The “old” me is returning and and it feels good. The sense of accomplishment when organizing, cleaning, or cooking
Is very satisfying and foreign feeling to me. On Pristiq, I had a difficult time getting anything done so it looks like things are on the tight track. Best of everything good to all on this this journey to become Pristiq free! Hang in there, it seems to be getting better for me!

Liked by Pixie115, Lars1968

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@meow620

I was taking Pristiq for about 4 months and didn’t feel like it was making a noticeable difference and I felt like it had caused me to gain weight so I decided to discontinue using it. I asked my doctor about tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms and she said it was not really necessary to wean off – I could just stop using it. I think she said this because I was on the lowest dose (50 mg). I decided to taper off a bit anyway and took it every other day for a week or two, then stopped. It didn’t even register last week that it was connected, but I was vomiting one night last week so violently that I had chest pains and took myself to the ER. They said my heart was fine, chalked it up to heartburn and sent me home. Now that I have read some of the posts here, I am thinking it was probably from my abruptly stopping the Pristiq after taping off for a short period of time. I have also had those weird dizzy-like sensations – not quite the “brain shocks” that I experienced years ago after stopping Paxil, but definitely noticeable. I am glad I decided to stop taking this drug.

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Wow! How scary. I hope things are better now. I am on my fourth day cold turkey off of Pristiq. My doctor told me to do this and to also just start taking my Viibryd starter pack. I was extremely nauseous yesterday and today I have leg pain so severe, I am actually scared. I don’t know if it’s Pristiq withdrawal or Viibryd side effects. While taking Viibryd, Tylenol is the only pain reliever you can safely take. It’s not working. Ugh…..

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@gunner06

This website has been very informative. I told myself that I would not read anyone’s horror story b/c in turn I will think about the aftermath too much and decide not to wean off of it. I was on 50 mg Zoloft and Xanax for a couple of months due to having two panic attacks (anxiety) about 4 months apart and I felt like a zombie on them. I went from about two months of 50 mgs of Pristiq to 100 mg Pristiq and Klonopin (as needed). Basically been on a med to treat anxiety since February of ’13. I almost wonder if the Klonopin is more addictive than the Pristiq, but I’m in such a fog that it’s hard to tell. I have always resorted to homeopathic remedies, but read that you cannot take St. John’s Wort w/Pristiq as it is almost considered brain poisoning b/c it gives your system too much of a brain boost. I am considering weaning from Pristiq and relying on the Klonopin during the difficult moments. The Pristiq causes such fatigue and I have shallow breathing with it, making it hard to catch my breath or deep breathe. I am involved in yoga and truly enjoy it. Considering accupuncture but not sure if being on the medication while on it will be beneficial. Does anyone know or have any simple advice? Does anyone out there prefer to go the homeopathic route instead that has had any success weaning from this? God bless you all, and know you are not alone. Lean on the Lord as times like this may be His way of saying to depend on Him and His goodness and healing ability. He made us and knows us better than we know ourselves! I appreciate any recommendations….

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Gunner….I was on Pristiq for 3 years and I am now at almost 3 months off. My advice to you is to do your research. I will never and I mean NEVER be on a antidepressant again. Read as many of the posts here….you will see so many common issues. I went through the withdrawal side effects and as AQUA below stated, yes there are some physical side effects left that I also am dealing with but emotionally I am in a much better place. These classifications of drugs alter your brain chemistry and with that said…educate yourself. The doctors do not know enough of how to really tell you how to taper off and I found the best support I had was this discussion board. I am so thankful for everyone and that we are supporting one another.

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@aqhagirl

Hi All, Just checking in . I have been drug free for four going on five months. It was hell! in the beginning but so thankful I stuck it out. You can do this! You should do this for your self. Medically still have problems from this drug.i.e. high cholesterol, weight gain, high blood pressure, but all is coming back into normal range again. I would not have been able to do it without the support and info of this web site. I would have been too scared of the side effects to do it. Reading all the info on this site helped change MY LIFE and can help save yours. GOOD LUCK!

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Good for you!! I am now going on 3 months off. I also have the same issues as you but it is slowly changing.

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@beconscious

Taking 50mg Pristiq for 9 months and began an alternating day taper in February.
Every 14 days I add one more day without a pill. I’m now alternating 3 days off, 1 day on. Taking it each morning. No cutting.

Symptoms are only noticeable on the first decrease/add-on of one day in the taper cycle. Some ‘brain zaps/electric feeling in the brain’. Mostly when changing focus or sudden eye movement. Not fun, but interesting. The goal is to expand to 4 days off, 1 day on until the end of May, then discontinue altogether and observe.

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Another quick update. Symptoms are less frequent physical fatigue – maybe feeling a lack of energy once or twice in a 2 week period. The brain zaps and grogginess/brain fog happen at the end of a rough week over the weekend or appear during the middle of a cognitively demanding day (multi-tasking and operating across various levels of thinking. It usually clears with a 10 minute nap or overnight. The brain tingles are intermittent but ill take these over the zombie state I was in for 8 months.

My gym routine has been interrupted for a few weeks and so I don’t know how I am doing here.

When I hit these symptoms I need to remind myself to back off, dial down the intensity and let myself rest. It’s just withdrawal and it will go away.

Liked by kdecker003

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