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BentBuddha Recovery Success

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Hi everyone. I have recovered to at least 80% of where I used to be so that my life is pretty much a normal one in that i can function cognitively, physically and emotionally like most ppl and the remaining difficulties are not noticeable to anyone except myself.


I have a long and unusual story to tell about my journey and many will be shocked by the things I have been doing during that time and still managed to improve. I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to do the things I have done as it will almost guarentee your injury will worsen. I haven't updated my progress in here because sometimes I don't feel I have deserved the improvements I have been having in just 3years with my lifestyle choices when others go 2 or 3 times that long without the progress i've made and they have been taking care of themselves ticking all the boxes recommened for healing.


Having said all that, i have put in a lot of effort towards my healing also but mostly in the first year or 2 of my injury.


A brief introduction into how i got my injury: Exact dates and specifics of events might not be accurate as I had serious memory issues and depersonalision in the beginning.

 I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2009 and sometime in 2011 i gave in to my doctors plea to take an ssri. I knew ssri's were bad but after so long feeling flat and heavy, i was desperate. The theory was that the lift in mood would also cause a lift in energy. I stuck it out for 30days with the ssri Lexapro, but it did all sorts of strange things to my personality. I lost friends, had pain in my head, my judgments were very bad. It was actually after i stopped taking them that i had a period of actually feeling alright and being myself again except i felt a slightly improved version of myself. Things didn't upset me, i was more adventurous and confident and in general i quite liked the drug. This went on for weeks. Maybe months. Makes no sense for it to last that long but it really did. There's no mistaking the shift in yourself that an effective anti depressant causes to be experienced. It's not just a placebo chirpy mood lift. It's more than that and is an experience i know i couldn't have created for myself in my body for that long. It was just my body for some reason takes a long time to reajust. Even today, a cup of coffee will effect me for days. I'm just wired like that somehow.


But then that positive state started to slowly wear off and i noticed i was starting to get a little crabby with people. Slowly i began to lose my ability to read and retain even the information from one sentence to another. Crabby became HIGH agitation, violent nightmares, dark thoughts about everyone no matter how hard i tried to reach for anything kind or positive. I couldn't feel emotions or remember things. This i can only describe as depersonalisation. A very strange experience. I completely lost my ability to feel or express love, compassion, empathy for anyone - even my 4year old daughter who really needed it. That first year of the injury i was a monster. Coldest parent ever. I never physically hurt her but everything she did or said triggered high anger and agitation and pain in my head. I couldn't even feel regret for being like that. I had extreme sensitivity to light and sounds. My nervous system would tazer me at sudden loud noises, and torture me if neighbors had loud music or their dog was barking. Then came the vertigo. Looking downwards or upwards while not being able to see the horizon would cause me to feel like i was so drunk and dizzy that i'd skulled two bottles of Jim Beam in 5mins. I spent a lot of time hiding at home avoiding people. No one had ever heard of this injury and after having to explain chronic fatigue to them I'm sure they were thinking I was one of those people who create their own illnesses for attention or psychologically cause them by being too interested in health and reading about illnesses. Doctors treated me like an idiot who is denying their depression and arrogantly ignored the possibility their drugs could cause an injury. I was on government unemployment income, and without doctors backing up your experience you also get treated like a phony there who creates elaborate conditions to avoid looking for a job.


As if the experience wasn't horrific enough, you also have to deal with being treated like you're lying by those you need the most for support to survive. The most traumatic experience i'm still amazed that i survived. If it stayed like that with no improvement, i would be hanging from a tree about 1.5yrs ago. Just too extreme level of suffering 24/7. The nightmares were so dark and evil that even sleep was no break in suffering.


I tried a few things like fasting, a range of supplements that focussed on the brain and things like that. Mistakes i believe in hindsite. So i shifted to healing my gut with GAPS diet as i believed my gut condition to be the cause of my chronic fatigue. That helped with energy and my skin on my back and chest cleared up. I had acne for all my adult life. I found Ubiquinol in an article that was about mice who had chemically induced brain damage which improved with it, so i bought some. My blood pressure is low and this supplement also causes a dip in blood pressure so at first it was a very negative experience. But then as i stopped taking it and my blood pressure normalized i felt great. It's a source of fuel for your mitochondria so every cell in your body works better and you really feel it. I couldn't take it every day but it became a handy thing to have in the future. After about a year i had a gf and she was very patient. Sex would rattle my nervous system and bring on waves of symptoms. But as i got improvements i started to take risks and try drinking. It wasn't as good as it used to be, and the after effects were worse than before. But it wasn't an intense negative thing so i did it now and then. I learned a little trick in that i could drink bourban with coke and the caffeine would raise my blood pressure a little, so i could take ubiquinol and not feel so bad the next day. It would give me energy for 4-5days. After 1.5yrs i did this quite often. And it would throw me out of my health routine because i would eat junk food for days. The GAPS diet and Paleo diet slowly started to fade away from that time til today. NYE 2013 i was drinking and I took a massive stupid risk with my brain and smoked some Ice. Was up for 2 nights and spent the next week in a dark place. Normally a person would learn from that, but my brain was not functioning in the normal sort of way that it did before my injury. Slowly over the next year and a half the ice became something that was not once every few months, but once a week, til it became twice a week. I don't understand how or why i made those choices and i don't think they will ever make any sense to me except to guess that my impaired brain function simply wasn't able to process risk and consequences like it used to. If i thought about doing something, my brain wasn't giving me memories or information about the consequences of that choice in a way that had any impact. If it did fire a doubt, the thought had no emotion of fear and memory of suffering previously from that choice. Basically in this area and in other areas of my life, i was making the same mistakes over and over like it was the first time experiencing them. Each time, the lesson fades with it's memory.


I did manage to see a PhD psychologist of some sort who tested my memory and IQ. Tests showed fine in all areas except something called the Working Memory. The ability to hold a thought to manipuate further or add more thoughts to. Most noticeable when trying to read and follow the sentence by building it into something meaningful. And also when trying to ponder or problem solve. Everything disapears after a few seconds so contemplating anything deeply or making choices based on careful thought - impossible.


I ended up seeing a doctor privately that is a Intergrative Medicine Doctor. Pretty much what Americans would know as a Functional Medicine practitioner except not all of those have medical degrees. He got me the latest lab work on my genes, gut health, nutritional deficiencies, neurotransmitters, addrenal function, hormone levels. You name it, he mapped it. I suspected from almost the beginning that focusing on the brain wasn't the way to go. Brain health isn't isolated from health of the entire body. To really heal the brain, healing needs to come from the whole system being restored to health. I have been living with a extreme case of candida but not known it. I had a gene mutation called the MTHFR gene that reduces the bodies ability to use folate and the chain reaction of effects extends to every chemical process the body due to something called Methylation. Something too Google as it's complicated, but worth getting the test. The gene can be corrected easily by supplementing with b9 that's been methylated. I had a number of food sensitivities and was given a highly personalised treatment plan of supplements, diet and lifestyle to best improve my health. I would highly recommend anyone with an ssri injury to seek out a Functional Medicine practictioner and get the latest lab work done to take all the guess work out. Ppl on forums suggesting supplements and what not to other people without any lab work to know what's going on in their body - not good imo. Too much of some supplements can cause chain reactions elsewhere that are hard recognize as related to the supplement and ppls healing can be reversed or fragile systems can be disturbed painfully.


Amazingly most days i don't feel like i have an injury anymore. The only difficulties that remain are reading smoothly and getting overwhelmed more easily. I can feel all my feelings again pretty much and it's rare that i slip into agitation. I still have some fatigue issues but i know they come from my adrenal condition and i know how to improve that, thanks to lab work and a great doctor. I have however an ongoing battle with ice now. It's not every day or every week, but it's something that is regular and i simply haven't been able to shake. It seems to have appeared everywhere where i live and it's not going to be disapearing anytime soon. I realize logically that i couldn't possibly do anything worse to the health of my body and brain, but if i cross paths with it i get triggered and can't skake the thought of it for days. When triggered like that, every activity or topic being thought about, get's interupted by the thought of going to score and get high. It's a scary thing to be dealing with but I have some things to try like removing myself from  the area i live in and cutting ties with anyone who has anything to do with it. It means i'd be away from many of my friends and also my daughter, but being here with them is good for no one.  If i can make it through 3wks, it's a non issue. I''ve learned this from experience. The mental mind lock just doesn't come up anymore.


So the past  12 months have seen a lot of drinking, poor diet, and drug use and managing all the consequences with my wealth of knowledge about supplements and counteracting the effects with them. Without any pride intented, i really do feel i'm too clever for my own good. It's why i have felt hesitant to write about my journey as I felt i didn't deserve the healing and improvements i've gained doing the things I've done. Not while others suffering show little improvement despite living right. But it is what it is. If i didn't recieve the injury from the SSRI, my thought processess and ability to make sensible decisions would never have been so impaired and self destructive. My will power used to be rock solid, and then it became almost non existent in regards to dealing with temptations. I may have done almost everything wrong, but by the grace of God or my clever doctor, i managed to not smash my injured brain into pieces beyone repair when there was such high risk and probability of that happening. Even more amazing is that after i get a good sleep and eat well, i am healed enough to live a normal life with a job and whatever else i choose. Even better than a normal life, because i'm a walking encyclopedia now on credible information about health and can create a state of health for my body that I've never had before. I've only known life through my state of poor  health that was riddled with candida, leaky gut, food sensitities and anxiety from gluten. A body with deficiencies and riddled with problems caused by all those things and MTHFR gene defect. Poor absorption, poor gut bacteria, and poor body chemisty is all i've known since a child. What most ppl experience as normal state of health and being, i experience as an elevated state in contrast to what Ive known. When I add in meditation, yoga and an intention to be helpful and kind where it's needed - I'm in the kind of life experience I'd never have known if all the health problems and injuries didn't lead me to learn about health and to appreciate being able to feel emotions and be kind.


Thanks for reading about my journey. I hope it doesn't inspire anyone to do anything unhealthy or risky because that wasn't my intention. My only advice to save ppl a lot of time and guesswork would be to seek out a functional medicine doctor or intergrative medicine doctor and look at restoring their their brain function as being a side effect of correcting the entire bodies functioning as a whole - not the place to exclusively focus attention on.


I'll be back to add to this after i've had success with removing this last obstacle still remaining to being free. One i picked up during all this strange chapter of life but one i couldn't put down. If I hadn't have crossed paths with it nye 2013, i think this recovery success story would be a fairy tale of fast recovery and been a new unique model available to choose from for recovery out of all the previous successful ones. I haven't seen anyone in these sections yet who've used a functional medicine approach and labwork and I think it should be seen as vital if one wants to give their brains the best chance of healing instead of just relying on rest and time to do the healing at whatever pace the bodies unknown state of health can contribute towards it. I never could accept that long unknown path to healing as being best for me, and luckily I wasn't injured until recently, in a time where health care and diagnostic technology have taken quantum leaps.


Actually, despite everything I've gone through, i feel lucky and i know I should. Lucky to be alive and to have survived something many didn't - including a friend of mine. Lucky to have had friends and family for support. Lucky not to have made my brain worse, and lucky to have access to modern information online and to a doctor who practices a model of health care that is still unheard of to most people and hard to find in Australia.



SSRI injury is a level of suffering i endured that i didn't know was even possible. Yet all i can feel about it now, is lucky.


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This is a thrilling story BentBuddha!


I see you have been a member since 2012 but diligent searching has not yet revealed your Introduction topic. If you never had one, that's great, this story is now your topic for communicating with us here. If you do remember a previous topic, (and it's name) let us know so we can 'lock' it and put a pointer to this recovery story.


I am very happy for you and it is good to see that things do not have to be "perfect" for recovery to happen! We are glad you chose the beginning of this new year to write your story.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878


July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.


Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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I am curious what your neurotransmitter test came back as?? I am also going to get my blood trested for some of the things you listed, on friday. I was sort of already on that track but now that I read this I am going to call tomorrow and see about adding some things on to the test. I'm happy to hear you are almost recovered! I have been so physically sick from this lately I've been feeling like giving up. :(

I started out on zoloft 50 mg or 20mg (can't remember at that point) and was on it for a few months then decided I didn't want to take it because of the side effects so I cold turkey'd it and then was miserable and reinstated and all my symptoms went away and I felt normal. Stayed on it for a while tried lexapro 5mg for a month or two instead to see if I had less side effects. Then switched back to zoloft 20mg I think and weaned down to 6mg and jumped off too soon because it supposedly wasn't a "therapeutic dose" and was told it would be ok. Then I was going through withdrawal again so I reinstated again after about a month I switched to prozac because it's easier to wean off of supposedly. Weaned off over 9 month from 8mg Prozac. Then two months after stopping it on September 2, 2014. I went into withdrawal.


18 months off as of March 2, 2016

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Very happy to listen this


I am also suffering from flat emotion and loss memory. could please tell me what is process and how did you



It will very helpfull for me.



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Please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you. The link is in the little blurb below this post.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878


July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.


Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in my 7th year of w/d and still recovering. Never thought it would take this long, but been on Paxil & Lamictal YEARS. Hope it will be over soon.



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  • 7 months later...

How are you doing now Bent Buddha?



November 2013- Zoloft, ( Bad reaction).

January 2014 - March 2014 Seroquel.( Quit Cold Turkey).

January2014- Mirtazapine, I was taking 15mg at one stage, reduced to 7.5mg, Pgad reactions to Mirtazapine. Doctor kept increasing it to 37.5mg, until July 2014. No improvement, experiencing panic attacks, on 37.5 mg. I had enough by October 2014. Began tapering.

October 2014- Started tapering Mirtazapine from 37.5mg.

September 2015- Down to 4mg of Mirtazapine. Crashed.

September 16th- Up dosed to 5mg. Held this dose for almost 5 months. Stabilised.

February 2016- Began tapering again. From 5mg to 4.5mg of Mirtazapine. (Rocking the boat, again)! Lol. :(

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes.......do tell more..........

Late 2023- gone to emeritus status, inactive, don't @ me, I can check who I've posted on, and I'm not really here like I used to be......thanks.

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider.  My success story:  Blue skies ahead, clear sailing


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  • 3 years later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi there,


The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?





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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