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KeepingFaith's riveting introduction


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Hello all!


I've lurked around these forums on and off for a couple years now, but my current situation and the reading I've been doing on here has inspired me to commit to getting off of these stupid pills. Here's a  backstory of how I got here - please excuse the length :)


When I was 17, my then-girlfriend cheated on me. I took it pretty hard. My parents were concerned about how long I was taking to get over it; my Mom's side of the family had a history of clinical depression, and in their mind my response to what had happened wasn't proportionate. After some debate - and in spite of my objections - they took me to a psychiatrist. After maybe 20 minutes of basic questions, a seemingly dispassionate doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression and prescribed me 50mg Pristiq. I don't remember objecting much to taking the medication. I was 17, and he told me it should make me feel better in a few weeks . Who was I to argue?


I started feeling better and continued to take the medication without thinking much of it. I went off to college, and had a great first two years. For some reason, though, during one of the occasional 15-minute calls I had with my psychiatrist (I had seen him in person maybe twice), we decided to up the Pristiq to 100mg. I can't really remember why. In any case, I continued on in college and by all accounts had a fantastic experience. Looking back, I'm not sure how I accomplished what I did while I was there. During a single semester, I was president of my fraternity, captain of the varsity lacrosse team, started a small company with a few friends, and had my research accepted for presentation at the state's Federal Reserve building. I had a blast during that time. I slept a lot and missed a fair bit of class because of it, but I didn't think much of the sleeping given the nature of college.


I took a job right out of school with a company I had interned with. It was then that my sleep issues were exposed. Despite performing very well, I found myself unable to adjust to an 8-5 schedule. Even if I took melatonin and forced myself to fall asleep at 9:30-10, I would still find myself sleeping until 9-10 and missing work. This eventually led to me losing the job. After a bunch of tests and research, we guessed that the hypersomnia was a function of both mild sleep apnea and a side effect of the Pristiq. I decided to get off of the Pristiq, and my doctor gave me a tapering schedule that took about a month.


Initially I felt great and figured it was smooth sailing from there. I was able to wake up at a normal hour. However about 6 months after coming off Pristiq, I entered the worst period of paralyzing depression and anxiety I had ever experienced. You guys know what I'm talking about - constant fear and the inability to think, sleep, or do much of anything. At that point I hadn't yet found this site, and while I was pretty sure it was withdrawal from the medication and not a 'relapse' of any kind, I opted to go to a new psychiatrist because I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't go on feeling that way. Naturally, the psychiatrist told me there was no way I was still experiencing withdrawal symptoms after 6 months, that it must be a relapse. He put me on Luvox. After about a month, I felt a bit better, but felt the sleep issues coming back and for the first time experienced some sexual side effects.


He then put me back on Pristiq and added Lamictal to attempt to combat the hypersomnia. It didn't fully resolve the sleep issues, and I still experienced plenty of fatigue, but it was bearable. After a year I decided I was tired of being tired and again attempted to get off of the medications. Unfortunately the timing coincided with some extreme stress at work, and I caved after quickly starting to experience some withdrawal symptoms. I went back on the Pristiq and Lamictal for about 6 months, then switched to Trintellix 5mg in an attempt to beat the hypersomnia. This worked great for about 5 months. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a wave of depression built up and wouldn't go away. My doctor increased the dose to 10mg, then 20mg, and for the first time in my life I was legitimately suicidal. I told him this and he quickly "tapered" me off over the course of a week or so. This was last week. Now I'm back on Pristiq 50mg, and I've been prescribed Modafinil to attempt to combat sleepiness. Another doctor just gave me one of those GeneSight tests to try to find a drug that my liver is best suited to metabolize, but my research has indicated that these tests haven't really been proven to hold much weight.


Like all of you, I'm tired of being medicated. I'm tired of not feeling any emotion. I'm tired of sleeping all the time. I'm tired of switching medications and experiencing side effects that make it impossible to think and impossible to live. I'm ready to be done with all of this. I work a very stressful job and put in 60 hour weeks, and I'm sure it will be a big challenge to try to deal with that while going through withdrawal, but at this point I'm thinking it has to be worth it.


Thank you for bearing with me to this point and for letting me share my story. If you have any insight on the best course of action on tapering given that I'm in a transitional period in regards to medication, please feel free to share.




2009-2011 50mg   2011-2014 100mg  Oct 2015-Aug 2017 50mg  Feb 3 2018-Present 50mg

**Jan 2015-Aug 2015 Quickly tapered off Pristiq per psychiatrist, experienced acute debilitating anxiety and depression in early August 2015



Oct 2015-Aug 2017 100mg



Aug 2017-Dec 2017 5mg  Jan 2 2018-Jan 14 2018 10mg  Jan 15 2018-Jan 30 2018 20mg  Jan 31-Feb 2 5mg



Sept 2015-Oct 2015 ?mg

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to KeepingFaith's riveting introduction
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, KeepingFaith, and welcome to SA.  I am sorry you have been having a difficult time.  You have made a lot of dosage and drug changes, so if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, that is to be expected.  While it might be a challenge tapering while working at your job, if you taper slowly enough withdrawal symptoms can be minimized.


To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.
At Surviving Antidepressants, it is recommended that a person taper by no more than 10% of their current dose with at least a four week hold in-between decreases.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at a more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.
To get you started, and familiarized with the protocols followed by SA, I am linking a few topics so that you have a better understanding of what is recommended here. 


This link give specific tips on tapering Pristiq:

Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)


This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.








Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 22: 7.6mg

Taper is 90% complete.  


Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zinc, melatonin .3mg, anti-candida, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thanks so much for the detailed response and thoughts. I've added my medication history into the signature. I'll spend some time digging into the resources you shared. I'm nervous about this process, but the information and support here gives me some hope.


2009-2011 50mg   2011-2014 100mg  Oct 2015-Aug 2017 50mg  Feb 3 2018-Present 50mg

**Jan 2015-Aug 2015 Quickly tapered off Pristiq per psychiatrist, experienced acute debilitating anxiety and depression in early August 2015



Oct 2015-Aug 2017 100mg



Aug 2017-Dec 2017 5mg  Jan 2 2018-Jan 14 2018 10mg  Jan 15 2018-Jan 30 2018 20mg  Jan 31-Feb 2 5mg



Sept 2015-Oct 2015 ?mg

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