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maki: my short journey


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Hey guys!


I found this really reassuring to find this forum. Thought I'm going crazy, though I see I'm not the only one experiencing some bad stuff! Thought I'll jot down some things about myself here and how I'm feeling.


I'm 22 and I've started having anxiety since July 2020. I've had one particular phobia which I wanted to work through on therapy and apparently talking to the psychotherapist (and simultanously moving to another city) triggered every day anxiety. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder around November 2020 and, being in the state of looking for a quick answer, I visited a psychiatrist on 1st of December and got prescribed sertraline. I started from 50mg. After a month I've gone to 75mg for two weeks and 100mg for another two weeks seeing no change (except for sexual dysfunction), so I decided to drop off of it. Reduced my dosage gradually over three weeks. No side-effects except for three brain zaps.


It was February and I was off the drugs. I felt best I've felt in months, a lot of good things happened and it encouraged me to challenge my phobia deep-dive style. Unfortunately it triggered all the debiliating symptoms I've never had before - hard dissociation and derealization. That's when I decided, on the beginning of April, to take on another med. I was prescribed escitalopram. Been taking it from around 5th of April (5mg for first week, then 10mg for 3+ weeks) and after feeling no effects I visited my psychiatrist at 11th of May telling her I want to quit. She advised me to taper... in a week. Seriously.


Then, I had a really emotional week where I needed to end a relationship with a person who triggered my phobia (not their fault, simply mine). It happened on 23rd of May. Pretty much overnight I experienced:


- blurred vision

- eye pain

- derealization

- choppy/laggy vision (like I was viewing world in low FPS)

- light sensitivity

- shortness of breath


Those were the most noticeable symptoms at the very beginning. At the beginning I thought of it as "brain fog" from sensory/emotional overload and gave it some time to pass. It didn't in two weeks and I'm a person who really worries about his mental capabilities, so I decided again... to visit a psych (on 5th of June). She recommended vortioxetine, so I started taking it (5mg for a week, 10mg after).


On 15th of June most of vision blur was gone. I was really happy and thought I'm on the good way of recovering, though still a lot of things felt off. This is the time I started to get obsessed and depressed over my symptoms, because I started noticing more and more of them. I decided to make a list so there's nothing I left out. Apart from the above-mentioned ones, I too have:

- starburst lights (especially from afar)
- letter ghosting (to the point that it's hard for me to read things which are white on black)

- slight afterimages

- "noise" in vision (very light visual snow - I've had this before, but it amplified now)

- tunnel vision


My obsession over symptoms made things wrong and things started to get blurry again. Then on 8th of July I took 0.25mg alprazolam one evening and suddenly... bluriness went down, ghosting went down a bit, choppiness went down. I noticed that me getting worked up with the symptoms worsen them, so after a few days of trying to stick to the positive attitude I saw an improvement. I've had a few days of certain symptoms come and go, but eventually it stabilized and bluriness and hard derealization were gone.


At 12th of July I visited my psychiatrist and told her about what I discovered. I also told her that the med does pretty much nothing for my anxiety, though taking it coincides with me getting better. She offered me four things: to stay on the same dosage, to increase the dosage, to switch to another med or to get off of it (pretty high spectrum...). I went with increasing the dose, so since then I'm on 15mg of vortio. Man, I don't think it was a good idea. I felt kind of numb before, but on 15mg I'm incapable of feeling joy or sadness. I feel tipsy (like my coordination worsened), I've had suicidal thoughts for a few days, I feel tired, my cognition and sharpness of mind are getting worse. I'm visiting psych this week and probably will consult tapering it off, this time slowly. 


Anyways: I notice that I'm getting better bit by bit, though I'm being discouraged everytime I see that one of my symptoms go back to it's previous state. I'm starting to get my head into "two steps forward, one step backward", however every relapse is tough. I'm just trying to float, see where the river's gonna take me. I've taken up some yoga (helped A TON at the very beginning), trying to keep my mind occupied (works good for my English skills to binge-watch House M.D. without subtitles). I see, however, that past 2+ months are all about noticing symptoms every. damn. minute. and stressing over them a lot. 


Sorry for lengthy introduction, but wanted to get this story off my mind in hope it'll make me feel betetr (and I think it does a bit). Good to be joining this forum and I wish you all very best!




2020, Dec =>  sertraline (50mg Dec, 75mg and 100mg Jan)

2021, Apr => escitalopram (10mg April/May)

2021 June - present => vortioxetine (10mg June, 15mg July)

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Forgot to mention I visited a neurologist and opthalmologist, had MRI and fundoscopy, no findings here. A bit reassuring - meaning that my head needs to rewire.

2020, Dec =>  sertraline (50mg Dec, 75mg and 100mg Jan)

2021, Apr => escitalopram (10mg April/May)

2021 June - present => vortioxetine (10mg June, 15mg July)

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @maki


It sounds like you had a series of withdrawal effects and adverse drug effects from going on, off, and changing drugs. Your nervous system may be settling down because you're no longer making drug changes.


This is a site for going off psychiatric drugs. How may we help you?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hey, thanks for accepting!


I'm wondering if I should start getting off from vortioxetine slowly, as I feel it's making me feel worse. I see changes bit by bit every day which makes my other symptoms (like vision changes) decrease, however I feel that I'm numbed by vortioxetine to the point it's hard to feel anything. I feel like starting on 10% taper method and seeing what happens. Any thoughts?

2020, Dec =>  sertraline (50mg Dec, 75mg and 100mg Jan)

2021, Apr => escitalopram (10mg April/May)

2021 June - present => vortioxetine (10mg June, 15mg July)

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