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Life before antidepressants


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Please forgive me if this is in the wrong thread. I tried to find this topic and I couldn’t find it. 

I have been on antidepressants since I was 13 years old. I had a great childhood, no trauma but when I hit middle school age, I had severe, crippling anxiety for no reason. I had panic attacks and didn’t want to go to school. Why? I have no idea! I was “popular” and involved in sports. Had the most supportive family and great friends. It got so bad with agoraphobia after 2 years of therapy and “physical” tests (i mean ALL physical tests), my parents took me to a psychiatrist who prescribed Zoloft. After several months, I was slowly able to get back to life without anxiety. 

I tapered off of Zoloft successfully after 2 years and lived a normal, anxious free life for 3 years. Fast forward to sophomore year of college, I had a severe panic attack in class (for no reason) and it put me back in that prior state of severe anxiety. 

I ended up on 10mg of Celexa and over the span of 4 months, I was able to go back to my normal life without much anxiety. 

Fast forward 4 years, Celexa “stopped working” and I started suffering agoraphobia and anxiety. My doctor then switched me to Paxil. 

Ever since then, I have been on antidepressants and had little to no anxiety (random moments but nothing I couldn’t handle). Until just recently, Celexa caused an adverse reaction and I have been sick ever since. 

I say all this to say, I do not know or remember what it’s like to live without antidepressants. I have thought my whole life that I couldn’t function without them. Even now, going through withdrawal, my mind says “should I just try to find a medication that works? You know that’s the only way you were able to live your life.”


Is there anyone out here who has been “successful” on antidepressants, failed by antidepressants and then found a new, better life without them?


I’m still so scared that I will never be able to be fully functional without them. Maybe because I started them so young and they “brought me out” of a terrible place?


I KNOW the right thing to do is to stay away from kindling (I’m lucky it hasn’t happened to me before) but since I’ve been medicated as far as I can remember, I have a really hard time. 

Thoughts? Encouragement?

Paxil 20mg - 2013-2015 (tapered to Lexapro)

Lexapro 20mg 2015 - May 19th, 2020

Celexa 10mg - May 19-May 26; Celexa 20mg - May 26-June 25; June 25-July 22; Celexa 30mg - 2 weeks leading up to July 22 - Caused adverse reactions/impending doom,panic,akathisia CT’d Celexa July 22.

Developed PGAD August 13th - brutal; Buspar added 5mg twice a day for withdrawal anxiety - August 14th-15th but didn’t help PGAD (HELPED ANXIETY)

Nortriptyline 1mL liquid - August 19th-Sep 3 - HELPED PGAD but stopped because I thought I was having bad side effects (learned it was prob withdrawal from Celexa)

Sep 4 -Lexapro 1.25mg Sep 5 -Lexapro 2.5mg helped withdrawal symptoms but caused muscle pain so I knew I messed up

Sep 6-Sep 9 - Lexapro 1.25mg (helped flu like symptoms - severe “cortisol anxiety” at all hours of the night and day. No relief unless I take ativan which I tried so hard to avoid - severe nausea (too much med)

Sep 11-Now - Celexa .5mg (liquid .25ml)
May 2020 - Ativan .25mg as needed for anxiety - schedule at .125mg 3 x’s a day (September 13-15th 2020 or so - September 21st, 2020) September 22, 2020 - skipped midday dose of Ativan -  withdrawal symptoms insomnia, leg pain (September 23,2020 - now back to .125mg 3 x’s day)

(Vaginal Valium as needed for PGAD) - Used twice since August 13th - STOPPED

09/23/20; Pink Stork Probiotic - 08/2019-Current (started for pregnancy nausea)

2010-Now - Dexilant 30mg for acid reflux

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Life before antidepressants
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It's important to learn and use life coping skills and self soothing techniques.  I'm in my early 60's and have only learned these recently.  I wish I had learned them when I was younger.


I suggest that you find a good and supportive counsellor (who doesn't "push" drugs") who can teach you these.


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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