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  1. How's your anhedonia now?

    1. juiceberry


      im pretty sure he did iboga

  2. This key I'm referring to may also be a physical object you take that allows you to see inside yourself. It can be a powerful tool to integrate difficult life experiences and finally put them to rest. I hope you solve the riddle - life is a journey!
  3. Hello, I'm the OP who started the anhedonia thread and the subforum. There are many ways to look at anhedonia, but essentially it is losing the part of you that is connected to meaning, purpose, and love - among other things. A spiritual way to look at it is that there is a dark energy - a shadow - inside of you that wants to control you. That shadow is fear of uncertainty and the path that lies ahead of you. Normally, this shadow energy can be dispelled easily, but sometimes it is more insidious and comes on slowly or tricks you - and then it has control and you can't overpower it alone (or even sometimes with other people). In this type of situation you have to defeat the shadow energy that leeches your emotional energy (causing you to feel nothing) and that is preventing you from fulfilling your true purpose, but you can't. Not all psychological problems are like this, but the nature of this one is unique. Only you can defeat it, but you don't have the power to overcome it because that shadow has become a part of you and is infused with you, so in attacking it you are now attacking yourself. So it seems hopeless. Another way to look at it is an endless though loop that exists in your subconscious, or an "overactive part of the brain." Overanalyzing is this shadow's attempts at hiding from the future and getting rid of uncertainty, but in reality it really makes things worse. There are ways to BIND the shadow, like with certain drugs, but along with binding the shadow, you are also binding yourself in a way - it does not dispell it, and you might notice that you begin to just anger the shadow. There are other drugs that can make the shadow appear to be gone for a small period of time - spells that give you moments of freedom that you have to pay back later - like a loan. These options aren't good long-term solutions. It seems hopeless, but there is a way to get rid of it. The way the shadow energy got in was through fear and anxiety towards the future - the avoidance of the inevitability of uncertainty. The only way to dispell the shadow now is to counter this with courage, jumping into the unknown, and embracing what lies on the other side of the shadow (faith) . You have to let go and trust in God (fate / the universe). The shadow is overpowering your so you can't see the other side, and you can't use or rely on anybody to control you through this - only you can strike the blow to the shadow - you just need a special tool to allow you to separate from the shadow so that you can **** it and move on - sort of like a sword or a key. But since you can't rely on anybody else to give you the key (or sword) you have to find it. What grows in the ground Seek this key To open yourself And help you see When you do You'll be set free Sorry I have to be so mysterious but that's the way that it goes. A lot of this is still a mystery, but this is a good way to look at it.
  4. Hey guys I'm back I have read a lot about Licorice Root. Maybe you guys should give that a try? Like 450mg for a week or two or three. I've heard that it might have some interesting properties.
  5. Okay, so my anhedonia is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I am confident that this is a non-issue for me anymore
  6. Taking a look at the test results from nighthawk I do see the vitamin D deficiency that was noted with me as well. Cortisol is produced with stress (glucocorticoids), so that is not surprising, and actually there has been a lot of work recently showing the link between cortisol/glucocorticoids and the stress/anhedonic/anxiety response. Prolactin is supposed to have anti-libidinal effects, though I am not entirely sure of it's role in this whole web of interacting systems, but I believe it may have something to do with turning off certain reward circuitry to allow for maintenance, though I cannot say for sure. The key is really to realize that ultimately the anhedonia is a natural response that the brain undergoes to deprive the senses; regulating neurotransmitter systems to become more or less receptive through turning them off for a while. This is one reason that I believe that vitamin D levels are often low in those with this anhedonic syndrome - calcium ion potentials increase firing and when the brain needs to turn off, it would make sense for the body to lower vitamin D because of vitamin D's pivotal role in calcium absorption. Resentment or rebellion against the symptoms really just prolongs recovery. It sucks, but all you have to do is keep moving through them and try to get your mind on something else and to treat it sort of like a bad acid trip or something, knowing it will eventually end. For me, not knowing that it would end caused me to resent the symptoms and drove me crazy with the prospect that I would never feel right again. Avoid looking too much into anecdotal reports because many people will post about their symptoms that seemingly never end when they are in reality still taking some sort of psychotropic, are under unreasonable stress (such as a death in the family, toxic relationships, and so on) and have a great deal of self-doubt that may perpetuate anxiety spikes and symptoms. Looking into recovery stories as well as scientific journal articles showing recovery of all of the systems of the brain after drug-induced or stress-induced trauma gave me the hope and self-empowerment I needed to move on from the self-doubt and put away the specter of permanence once and for all. This will not work for everyone, so everyone has to find their own way of moving forward. It would be interesting to hear if other people with this syndrome are found to have low vitamin D levels
  7. Okay, so I'm on month 6 without medications. Depression (the sinking feeling of dreading getting up or doing anything) is gone, anhedonia breaks once and a while, windows are getting larger, bad days are getting less severe. I had a pretty good week last week, but this week has been sort of "fuzzy" (feel like I have poor memory and vertigo/anhedonia increasing) but everything I've read points to this being reversible. As with most perturbations of the central nervous system, it takes time to reverse. Here is another success story from a long-term anhedonia sufferer (Antti) from paxilprogress: Like I said, complete. No erections, no libido, nothing. I have had few days when PSSD lifts but it always comes back. Time between those good days gets longer and longer. Quite opposite to other symptoms. I'm 15 months off meds. It's difficult to say when anhedonia, emotional numbess, etc. went away, but during last 4 months I have only had couple of bad days. I think I had similar bad days even before taking SSRIs. So I consider myself recovered from those. Key to my recovery is definitely exercise and sports.__________________ Took 10mg Cipralex for a month in december 2009. Quit cold turkey and been off all medication after that. It was quite a ride but after 3.5 years I'm 99% recovered. Success!!
  8. I am without a doubt seeing progress - this is my fifth month free of psychotropics, and my third year of bondage to this terrible syndrome. It is remarkable how much I have discovered about this condition, and I hope that I have brought faith in the prospects of healing to everybody in this community. At times there are plateaus, and it is hard to see progress, but over long periods of time, the progress becomes clear. I do not believe that long periods of anhedonia cause the brain to destroy reward circuitry (the "use it or lose it" mentality), but rather quite the contrary - the brain attempts to bring itself back into balance, subconsciously working to mend circuits to reach a baseline euthymia in the absence of the meddling of our conscious selves. The brain will do this even if one does not actively pursue it - all a person has to do is "let go," and avoid anxiety spikes. Therapy and meditation revolves around this, and is based completely in methods to get the self to do this. Those who have spent years on thymoanesthetics report a return of emotions just as those who have only taken them for months. I know this to be true for myself, but the individual may only arrive at this conclusion through personal experimentation and research so that one's standard of evidence is satisfied.
  9. In my opinion, it appears that the brain will purposefully turn off reward circuitry while it performs maintenance on it, almost as if it is some sort of highway - the construction workers cannot work with a bunch of cars running through, so it is closed down for a period of time. In fact, I am noticing a pattern where my consciousness is forced into a part of my brain that I really do not like - an anhedonic part that bombards me with repetitive obsessive almost paranoid thinking. After an intense period of this, I am invariably given a "window" where there is a sudden release of intense relief and emotional lability that I welcome - in this state my consciousness is in the moment only. I only eat when I am hungry - when my brain gives me a reward incentive for it - I "feel" what my body needs rather than mindlessly eat or eat unhealthy food. During these periods where I feel anhedonic and obsessive, I am usually fasting. When I finally am hungry, the meal I eat taste so much better. I feel that this intermittent fasting helps re-regulate the brain's reward circuitry - only eating until you feel that you have to or would actually like to. Perhaps these intense periods of distress and anhedonia are necessary - the brain pushes one into it - so that it can build an immunity or oppositional tolerance to stress and reach it's baseline euthymia, almost like it is working out. Taking benzodiazepines and antidepressants prevents this progress, or at least slows it down (sometimes it is too intense so one might prefer to slow it down).
  10. I am unsure what you mean when you say there is a "physiological change" to the brain in response to stress that results in permanent anhedonia... There are changes in the size of the hippocampus, but that is not surprising, because the hippocampus is the center by which new brain cells are proliferated, especially in the production of new memories. In depression, the brain will tend to "block out" memories of the time period, but there is no reason to assume that this is permanent. An increase in BDNF correlates with remission from depressive illness and the anhedonic syndrome described in this thread, which makes sense because the hippocampus begins proliferating cells again. Would it have been evolutionarily useful for the brain to rewire itself to be permanently anhedonic after chronic exposure to stress? The answer is obvious. Other physiological changes include changes in receptor densities in different regions of the brain as well as SERT density and enzyme production, but this is by no means permanent damage, as seen by studies where reduced receptor densities, transporter sites, and enzyme production correct themselves over a period of months. REM sleep latency corrects itself as well. The only type of damage which may become an intractable problem is axonal damage in the case of a stroke, anoxia, or massive drug overdose of a neurotoxin. Even in these cases, the brain can actively heal itself over time. The problem with depression and anxiety is that the changes that chronic stress creates to the brain through excessive secretion of glucocorticoids can take months and in severe cases years to correct (sometimes unnatural "triggers" such as drug abuse over several years can become the case that would take years to correct). The specter of permanence causes those this this terrible syndrome to become worried and anxious, and the uncertainty becomes something that they fixate on, prolonging it's natural course. Use of psychotropics may hinder progress, and many assume that their only two choices are to take medications or face the possibility of never feeling "good" again, not realizing that the antidepressants, while controlling (the) anxiety, themselves blunt emotions.
  11. What I've noticed now that I've reached month 5 of total abstinence, is that I now have windows of increasing frequency and intensity. I will feel very strange and sensitive to everything and my mind will start to race with fears and insecurities - even ridiculous ones. Sounds will sound much "crisper," louder, and more surprising. Sometimes I will get tinnitus when this happens or I will feel dizzy. This is when my brain begins to feel out of control like I am going crazy, and usually this follows from a long period or "plateau" of feeling flat for a few days. At this moment I can choose to either have a panic attack or redirect the attention/energy and let go, and it is when I let go that often this becomes a window. It feels really strange because old emotions are coming back, but they are scary when they first reappear. This can cause me to cry heavily over something ridiculous. This is good evidence that it is temporary at least and that the trend follows a sort of "punctuated equilibrium" pattern as opposed to linear change.
  12. The only real "brain damage" that is documented to be permanent (as in, it slowly returns to normal, but may become an intractable problem) would be axonal damage or loss of brain axons (such as in Parkinson's Disease). Most neurological issues are neuroadaptive, and are a result of "push pull" mechanisms like SERT and receptor densities. Please read this article that I have provided as it really can provide a lot of hope to those worried about "brain damage" caused by drugs or about "permanent chronic illnesses" which are not shown to be caused by axonal damage. The article contains a lot of scientific work that shows what I have been saying to be true and may help those of you with similar issues prevent anxiety spikes (also, something like stress does not cause neurotoxicity): http://thedea.org/neurotoxicity.html It's quite understandable that people are afraid of brain damage when they experience this sort of mental disruption; the average person has never been told that there were any other possible explanations, in spite of virtually all of us being familiar with the basic phenomenon in the form of 'needing that first cup of coffee in the morning to get going' and the like. My position is not that people don't get seriously screwed up by frequent use of MDMA; only that the cause is unlikely to be actual permanent damage. Given a break from use of a few months, even the most severely 'e-tarded' user should find themselves greatly improved as the brain slowly returns to its normal 'volume settings.' (For more information and an animation of one process of neuroadaptation, visit MDMA At Work.)
  13. Continuing to see real windows periodically - only time will tell if this will result in a full remission. I can not say with confidence that everyone will be able to pursue the same path as me, or that pharmaceuticals are never beneficial, as only the individual can assess that.
  14. It seems that there is rarely anything visible on a brain scan when it comes to anhedonia (my doctors also commented on this when in the beginning I requested a brain scan)... Once and a while there is a hormonal "imbalance," but I'm not sure that points to any damage to the hypothalamus in the traditional sense... Maybe a dysregulation of the hypothalamus would be a more appropriate way of looking at things... Vitamin D levels were severely low in my case, but that was really it. All my hormones were within the healthy ranges. I think that anhedonia is a part of a syndrome with a cluster of symptoms including dead sex drive, apathy, and occasionally things like tremors and tinnitus, but the same syndrome can be caused by many things including hormonal dysfunction, but more commonly drug use, PAWS, stress, neurological disorders, and so forth. I'm still riding on it going away eventually on it's own, but I've only comfortably arrived at that solution after coming to the conclusion that pharmaceuticals don't really get to the root of the problem or even ease the most annoying symptoms, but rather, for the most part, simply tone down anxiety.
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