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livelifestronger: My Introduction to this wonderful forum


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Hello Everyone


My Name is Dan, and I would love to share with you my experience, recovery journey and where I am now. I would really like to also use this forum as a bit of a diary for myself with support from those who understand my situation.


So here it goes. Rewind 2016. I was stressed, depressed and anxious after enduring a job that didnt work out. After leaving, I was still struggling and I went to my GP for help. They prescribed sertraline (zoloft). This is kind of where it all begin. After a few days, my anxiety skyrocketed, horrible symptoms, and electrical feelings in my body. I was told there would be side affects, and ignorantly, I pushed through. Bit of a mistake. A few days later i was in A@E (no idea how i got there). Hallucinating, panicking, full breakdown. I was diagnosed with serotonin syndrome and was reassured the symptoms would clear after sopping the medication. Still to this day I don't know if it was serotonin syndrome or the med was just the straw that broke the camels back that triggered a psychosis. I certainly didnt experience a lot of the syndromes symptoms like temperature fluctuations, sweating etc. But anyway, I've moved passed thinking about the reasons. After the hallucinations cleared up I was left with the most horrific suicidal depression and near constant panic. Hell.


I was referred to my community mental health team who put me on mirtazapine, venlafaxine, and a side order of quetiapine. I was on all of this by 2017

I tapered the mirt, and removed the quetiapine. I was on venlafaxine 150mg. I tolerated it well.


It was the longest year and a half, but...I recovered. I RECOVERED. Still struggled with depression but I was functional, calm enjoying day to day living. I started working again, spent time with family and friends. Just normal. I couldn't be more thankful. I even managed to taper down to 0mg venlafaxine. It was a rocky ride down but I got there.


Fast forward to 2020. Pandemic time. The wheels came off. Lockdown hit. Work stopped. Everything on pause. It reminded me of that heavy void and lack of routine and purpose I endured in 2016. The conditions were ripe for a relapse. And it happened. It all came back. Heavy depression, panic all day every day. A shocked nervous system. It was a tough choice but I reinstated venlafaxine. Reaching 150mg again. I'm actually glad I have a bit of an ace in the hole, a medication that I tolerate, especially as I know SSRI's are a no go.


I stabilised 6 months in, however I continued on the medication, far longer than I should have. 2 years my longest stint. I decided to taper at about November 2021. I've done it before, easy right? I am now discovering a whole new world of struggles. I am now discovering the 'windows and waves' thanks to this site. I am so thankful they have a name and are experienced by others. I have tapered down to 75mg, and genuinely believed i was having constant depression / anxiety relapses and felt so confused that no techniques were calming me. 3 weeks of waves, followed by 2 weeks windows. Im actually really glad for these windows :) It feels like I was never ill. I see friends, play my guitar, feel good about work, and feeling proud of myself that I have made it! but the waves oh man. Then suddenly seemingly from nowhere, bam, I wake up and its all back again. Like square one (I know i'm never at square one!).


These waves and windows are a new scary experience for me. And I really hope to go on this journey with everyone here! I will keep in touch. and thanks for reading :D


Much Love



2016 - adverse reaction to sertraline, introductory dose (was diagnosed serotonin syndrome), symptoms: panic, suicidal depression, DP/DR, Akathisia like symptoms.

2017 - mirtazapine, venlafaxine, quetiapine. Venlafaxine raised to 150mg, other meds tapered to 0mg.

2018 - vast improvements, social life improved, motivation and energy returned. Found work, enjoying life. Managed to taper to 0mg venlafaxine. Medication free!

2020 - Return of anxiety and depression as a result of pandemic. Venlafaxine reinstated. Increased to 150mg. Stabilised after approx 4 months.

2022 - Longest stint on venlafaxine. Began taper in January, As of April 2022 on 75mg. Cycle of constant waves and windows since January. 18 day waves followed by approx 10 day windows.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to livelifestronger: My Introduction to this wonderful forum
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Welcome, @livelifestronger


We have a small number of people here who have had immediate adverse reactions to SSRIs, see 

Adverse reactions to an antidepressant within a few doses -- how long for recovery?


It sounds like you are among these people. Ordinarily, members here who have had an immediate ADR cannot tolerate additional drugs. We have seen their recovery is very much like that of protracted withdrawal syndrome, which is very slow and gradual.


Because of your history, it's likely your nervous system is vulnerable to withdrawal. If I were you, I'd stay at 75mg for a good long time, to allow it to settle down from your tapering. 


What was your tapering method?

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

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