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  1. Good morning. I can't sleep right now, so I am posting here. Trying to learn as fast as possible, so bear with me if this information is in another thread. Partner has reduced from 200mg buproprion & 20 mg escitalopram to 150 and 15 respectively. I understand that it is only wise to do one drug at a time. We are on day 15 since reducing the dosage and started to notice prior symptoms reoccurring to a lesser extent around day 9. They are bearable. I don't want to cause damage one way or another by making adjustments too quickly. Have read and need to continue to read more about the 10% rule. I am going to ask the doctor for a liquid form to have a more gradual taper. I understand that we need to do our own research for understanding, and that sometimes doctors can only take us so far. Should she go back on her previous doses, stabilize for a month or two, then reintroduce a taper? Does going back on the previous dosage rock the boat too much or should we taper back up? Thank you so much for your insight. I appreciate everyone's posts here, and am looking forward to further educating myself in this newfound wealth of information.
  2. Wondering if anyone has had problems with switching to liquid lexapro. i have been tapering off 5mg of lexapro (after 7 yrs at 10 mg i stopped too quickly 2 yrs ago and got very sick). over the past year i have gone from 5mg tablet to 1/4 tablet (1.25 mg) and now trying to use liquid. feeling more muscle tension, jaw clenching, carpal tunnel. i also am still dealing with gut issue. been tested for everything and all is good but 2-3 hrs after a bowel movement i can have dizziness, nausea, reflux, anxiety and increased hot flashes. days that i am constipated i have very low symptoms. tried Dr. Hinz amino acid protocol for 10 months and it was interesting, i had some very good days but ended up being very up and down on it so tapered off. it seemed to help some because once i got off it i felt better. now just trying to find some level of lex to feel ok on so i can continue with taper. i was playing around with cutting tablets up but hard to be accurate with that so my holistic dr. gave me script for the liquid. been 5 days at .70 mg and not sure if i need to go up a bit or just stay here for awhile. confusing since the muscle and gut sympoms are aggravated. when i initially went off 10 mg lex one thing i noticed was that the muscle issue and constipation went away. but then i got really sick - like really sick. so now i am perplexed as to why the muscle issue has returned. it was pretty low when i was tapering from 5 mg. had some ups and downs with it on the amino acid protocol. i am a bit freaked that my nervous system is damaged and really want to believe it can heal. it certainly has healed some. i am much better than i was a year ago when i couldnt even work. this is my first post - so alot of info. thanks!
  3. Hello everyone, Before I begin, I want to apologize for the length of my first post. While some of the information may seem irrelevant at first, I'm trying to provide context and useful details to be as helpful as possible. I have tried to follow the forum guidlines as much as possible, but there is a lot to read up on, so if I am missing anything or anything needs adjusted please let me know. I am a male student in my early thirties who was first prescribed Lexapro/Escitalopram when I was nineteen for situational anxiety. Following the doctor's taper advice, I went on and off it twice in my twenties. The reason I returned to the drug both times was, again, situational anxiety that became debilitating to daily life. I did not have any problems with these tapers, which were completed over a few weeks. My latest period on the drug started in late 2013. I was on this dose, Lexapro/Escitalopram 20mg, for approximately six years. Last fall, I decided I wanted to taper off for good. I was experiencing some effects such as sleeping long periods, morning anxiety, and a feeling of a constricted nasal passage in the morning that I thought might be related to the drug. More generally, being on the drug made me feel ashamed and I was coming upon a turning point in my life that had made me committed to living healthier. Given my experience with past tapers, I conceived a taper that, at the time, seemed cautious since it was a longer plan. I would alternate days and divide the dose in half every two weeks. When the dose became too small to prepare with a pill cutter, I used a pill crusher and made a water/drug solution that I administered with an oral syringe. This taper was completed from August to December 2019, over approximately four months. The negative effects I remember when tapering was some occasional irritability/emotional oversensitivity. I now realize that, given my situation, this taper was foolish and too fast. In my mind, I was just trying to do what I thought was a more careful version of the method I used in the past. In the middle of January 2020, I noticed one of my testicles was swollen. My PCP had me get an ultrasound, which indicated that I had developed a small hydrocele. A hydrocele is an accumulation of fluid that is generally harmless, but sometimes requires surgery to remove. Accompanying the hydrocele was some penile pain/burning. Although a urine test indicated that this was not from a urinary infection or STD, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic. I presume he was suspecting an infection of another kind. I began the antibiotic on February 13, and after about five to six days, I began noticing some very distressing symptoms: confusion, bad mind fog, short-term memory issues, anxiety, strange vertigo-like sensation behind the eyes, inability to feel emotions. I woke up in the middle of the night on day seven with a panic attack like none I'd ever had before. It was relatively short, but my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, which isn't a symptom associated with my past panic attacks. The symptoms I described would come in waves of a few hours and then attentuate. Around days seven and eight I also was going in out of something I would describe as a dissociative state combined with intense anxiety. It was very bizarre and unlike anything I had ever experienced berfore. I just felt disconnected from everything, the world felt corrupted, and combined with the aforementioned symptoms was very terrifying. At the time the first symptoms (mind fog, anxiety) appeared, I thought they might be connected to coming off the SSRI. This seemed logical considering that they were primarily psychological symptoms. I went online and learned for the first time about the possibility of protracted withdrawal from SSRIs. My understanding prior to this was that talk of "discontinuation/withdrawal syndrome" referred to the brain zaps/flu-like symptoms that sometimes accompany tapering. Nevertheless, on day eight of the antibiotic (February 20), it occurred to me that the antibiotic was the only new factor to be introduced during the preceding week and these symptoms were so qualitatively different than anything I had ever felt before. After looking it up online, I found reports of this particular antibiotic causing the previously mentioned side effects - anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, etc. (see https://www.medications.com/doxycycline-hyclate/39445). After learning this on the evening of day eight, I decided to quit taking the antibiotic, and within two to three days the side effects mostly subsided. The following week (February 23), the penile pain/numbness/occasional paresthesia returned. I had daily anxiety for a couple weeks worrying about this issue until the urologist did a physical examination (March 5) and assured me that everything was normal, but that the symptoms could possibly be coming from an issue with my pelvic floor muscles. She recommended that I look into pelvic floor therapy, which I have yet to look into. Since the urologist appointment, the penile symptoms have largely disappeared, which leads me to believe that they may have been psychosomatic effects combined with lingering antibiotic side effects. Most recently, over the last week (March 9-15), I've noticed a return of some of the psychological symptoms I was experiencing before while on the antibiotic, only not quite as intense: hours-long waves of anxiety, mind fog, heart pounding, memory issues. I'm just generally feeling "out of it" and not "like myself," kind of like a hangover. The last two nights I have had problems sleeping because of anxiety and heart palpitations. I am concerned with what is causing these issues. Some people who took the antibiotic I did said the side effects lasted weeks or months afterwards. This seems possible given that antibiotics can kill a lot of the "good" gut bacteria that have some relation to mood regulation. What is confusing is that some of the side effects of the antibiotic seem to overlap with those of SSRI withdrawal. So could it be that one triggered or exacerbated the other or that it is a combination of both? The last two months have been some of the hardest of my life. From being in the emergency room worried about the antibiotic damaging my brain, to worrying about having a debilitating genital issue that would ruin my ability to form a relationship or have kids, to worrying about the possibility of SSRI withdrawal, it's been one thing after the other. Currently, I'm dealing with trying to finish my semester remotely while holed up with my family because of the coronavirus situation. One family member was recently discharged from the hospital and requires a lot of constant assistance with certain medical procedures and therapies, so that has been stressing everyone out. So it is also possible that I'm just feeling burned out. In the meantime, I have started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist who is sympathetic to people weaning of antidepressants and transitioning to more wholistic therapy. She thinks it is conceivable that the issue is any or all of the things I described above, and has advised me to live as healthy as possible in the meantime. I have adjusted my diet (including adding probiotic foods), spent time walking daily, cut out caffeine, and started on fish oil, a multivitamin, and gingko biloba. Overall, my purpose for posting here is to get any kind of guidance or perspective that may be helpful. I understand this is a complex situation that doesn't have a clear response. At this point it seems my options are to wait it out or to try to reinstate the Lexapro/Escitalopram at a lower dose which seems successful for some, although from reading here it seems that at three months since the last dose I am approaching the end of the window of opportunity where that seems effective. I found a psychiatrist from the forum's "recommended doctors" section who lives close to me and seems to recognize withdrawal, so scheduling an appointment is a possibility. Finally, I want to thank the administrators and moderators of the forum for their work in selflessly providing a space for those of us in need to receive advice.
  4. It started in December 2018. On 17th of December I took my first (and only pill) of lexapro 10 mg. I have never taken drugs (not even alcohol). I desperetely took an AD because I was depressed and suffered from extreme anxiety attacks, due to malnutrion, being out of work and the loss of what I felt was the love of my life. I wanted talk therapy but the waiting list was so long and I got desperate. 1 pill made me suffer terrible insomnia and crazy mania. I was so afraid because I couldn't feel any emotions and I started sweating like crazy. My doctor ignored my, and after a few days without sleep I ended up in the hospital where they drugged me with Olanzapine for my anxiety. I wook up feeling even more terrible. This time I had vision problems, metallic taste in my mouth, angry violent impulses rushing in combination with being like a zombie. I was numb in the left side of my body, had poor co-ordination and couldn't move the fingers in my left hand. I told doctors this, but they didn't listen. "You really need your meds" was the answer.After 4 days on olanzapine I quit CT. During this period my health anxiety and mania around it skyrocketed. I ordered a lot of supplements to heal my brain, went to the ER asking to get my brain was damaged from the stroke. The reason I believed it was a stroke was that when I googled my symptoms "intense headache like you never experienced before" , "numbness on one side of the body", so I thought my brain One of the supplements I ordered was Mucuna Pruriens, an indian medicine with L-dopa. And with the effects of the other drugs still in my system I reacted really badly. I got this extreme euphoria from nowhere and then I totally crashed. I ended up in hospital, after trying LLLT-therapy. No doctors believed my theory that the drugs had done this, and that I got an dopamine-overdose, and now a broken reward system. At first I at least had some energy in January. But after the hospital, where they gave me a cicordinol injection along with benzos, I completely disconnected from my self. There is no now anymore, and the damage/experience is so much worse than it was when it started with Lexapro (which was an enough traumatic experience). No one has listened and only now do my family believe me, when they got to witness live how i developed tardive dyskenisia from the injection at the hospital. My lean and healthy--looking face and body, is now pluffy/swollen. I have gained weight despite excellent dietary habits. I have never before been able to gain weight, no matter what I eat. My hospital stay was in February-April. The injection was against my will, my family and doctors aswell. The doctor said I'm not psychotic. The doctors on the otherhand gave me "delusional disorder" and other labels for simply criticizing modern medicine and how telling them how sick I became because of the drugs. One of the sleeping meds made me totally loose my vision and I got muscle spasm, but the nurse's didn't bother. After the injection my neck starting twitching and I couldn't hold it straight. I could not talk. I was drooling and couldn't open my jaw. I stood drooling in front of the whole medical staff team, and they ignored me and told me to go back to my room. The doctor didn't give me any meds after that, stating, "Well you are obviously sensitive to drugs". Well, that should have been plain, given the reason I was there in the first place. During this time I also suggested to be treated with Zoloft. I think it was for 2-3 weeks, can't really remember anything from this time really. Only didn't to escape more antipsychotic poisoning and because I felt my life was already over anyways. Been free of medicines since April. 1 pill Escitalopram (10mg) December. 4 pills olanzapine (10mg) December. Sleeping meds: imovane (december-march/april). Benzos: Mitrazepan 1-2 times. Theralen, 2 times. (Really damaged me) Cicodirnol injection (don't now the dose, but low dose). Reasoning for it was that I stopped showering at the hospital. Why? Well it was traumatic to see yourself naked and in front of a mirror, and not being able to feel the water on your body... I live at home. With wellfare (thanks Sweden, but your healthcare is like the medieval ages). Every day I'm slowly loosing touch with reality.I have friends and family. A yoga teacher supporting me to go to an Indian Ayruvedic hospital in June. But my health is detoriating. I can barely move my neck (that problem I didn't have before when the worst of the injection was behind me). I have no feelings whatsoever. Anhedonia. Nothing gives me pleasure. I am against porn, but tried it to see if I react, I did react at the hospital (not a normal reaction, but something happened), no nothing. Porn was an easy test due to dopamine and how powerful it is on our brains. But nothing happens. I have no higher concioussness. No feeling of the now or my-self. This was severely damaged by the drugs in the first place, but it is just getting worse. When it all started I had racing thoughts, flashbacks, anxiety etc. And even hope when I started to improve after quitting Olanzapine. But the Mucuna Pruriens sent me back to something that is not worthy a life at all. So body has shut down. Memory. IQ. Everything declining. I have a hard time writing and coordinating everything I do. I don't know if this post belongs here, but I most say it does. Everything started with Lexapro. Got worse with Olanzapine. And finally ended me with the dopamine overload and later on injection. My background: 26 year old from Sweden. Musician, graphic designer, have master's degree in Media Production, worked as a teacher, have been a top-performer but also really anxious and low sense of self, I have not valued my self at all despite everything external going great for me. Loving, caring and really emotional. Now I'm flat and liveless. My face has changed. Eyes are dead.No curiosity for life. Deaf in one ear after the meds. I can't read or listen to music, or watch films. That was possible in the beginning before my self medication. It feels lonely. Lonely to have had such a strong reaction, not being taken seriously which made the situation much worse than it should have been. I know some of you have been on theese drugs for years, I have not, but the damage has been imense. What has happened? Can this be turned around? I am lonely in this? I just want my life back. So I wanted to share this. I should have done that in December. Maybe then I could have been warned, tapering, avoiding interactions etc. Need your support. Hope everything makes sense. I can't remember what I have written and have no energy to proof-read. / Albin
  5. 2 months ago I was prescribed 5 mg of lexapro for depression after a 10 minute discussion where all I said was basically I had low energy. I knew I was sensitive to medication so I only took 2.5mg and only a few hours later I started having side effects and decided this was not for me. I thought they would last for the time it took for lexapro to leave my system but boy was that wrong. These 2 months have been the hardest of my life. It's like the side effects come and go in waves, getting worse and worse with small "windows" of feeling sane again. They include digestive upset, at first just diarrhea but that has gone away and now I just have random projectile vomiting usually set off by something so small like even a small magnesium supplement or food that I had no problem taking before. Brain zaps after the first month,have gone away but I thought I was having seizures when they happened my whole body would shake and any head movement or stress would trigger seeing stars and blackouts it was horrifying. Now at the near 3 month mark the emotional symtoms are the worst, every morning it's like I feel my mind spiral out of control as I wake up and become more alert. It's almost like I have to make myself not think because every thought becomes reality and the thoughts are always extreme and terrifying. Sometimes I can meditate and come into reality in the evening with the help of a beta blocker but during the day it is a constant effort to just sit still and not run away or believe the paranoid thoughts and delusions that are terrifying that I even think them. Each day usually ends in hysterical crying and existential terror which exhausts me to the point that I feel some "window" of normal like other people talk about. Thankfully my family is home from work due to the coronavirus but unfortunately the psychiatric place by my home is closed. My family doesn't believe this is caused by the lexapro and I know my doctor would not either. But I've read on sites that people are tapering off it in extremely tiny doses way smaller than 2.5mg So I guess my question is how much longer until I feel normal?? I read the article on this site about how some people try to go back on their drug to get off it slower but idk if this point if I should do that or if I'm too far past the last dose and theres no one to ask because most people believe that I should be fine from the 'small's dose I took. My current physical symptoms are no appetite despite constant stomach gurgling, acid reflux, vomiting, sweating shaking tremors, the worst is the constant pounding heartbeat, at any time of of my eyes is slightly drooping and my brain and face feel like it's hot and on fire. I've tried taking extremely small doses of theanine, klonopin, and 5htp. Nothing really helps longterm because it seems these symtoms are part of withdrawal and theres nothing I can do to stop them. I hope this isnt too long and does not come across as insensitive to others who were on larger doses for a longer time. I would greatly appreciate absolutely ANY support or advice.
  6. Hello all, I am new to this forum and found it through looking up antidepressant withdrawal like many of you probably did. Here is my story in short: December/Jan 2019/2020: Lots of life circumstances all sort of happened around the same time and led to me having a couple of panic attacks and some bad insomnia (a few random nights of not sleeping at all, but no more than 2 in a row ever) as well as increased anxiety. 1/16/20: I go to see my GP, tell him about my symptoms, and walk out of there with an Rx for Lexapro 10 mg and Trazodone 50 mg. I was wary of starting the meds so I did not fill them right away. 1/18/20: I didn't sleep the night before and decide that day that I need to "do something about it" so I fill and start taking the Lexapro 10 mg and 50 mg Trazodone at night. 1/18/20-2/8/20: 10 mg Lexapro daily and Trazodone 50 mg nightly. Gradually start to experience anhedonia, decreased social interest, just feeling withdrawn. Also bad short term memory loss. Also sleep was much worse, only 4-5 hours per night. 2/9/20-3/2/20: 5 mg Lexapro daily and Trazodone 50 mg nightly. Symptoms no better. Saw psychiatrist who recommended to just stop taking the Lexapro. 3/3/20-3/12/20: Only taking 25 mg Trazodone nightly now. Sleep has improved but symptoms of anhedonia are worse than they have ever been (note: I was not really depressed before the meds, I was taking them more for anxiety/panic attacks). Also, autonomic symptoms are all over the place--I am either too hot or cold, sweating too much, dizziness, etc. Also have a constant headache and also feeling like I am having some vision changes. Also having to use the bathroom much more than usual. I am looking for advice about what to do at this point. Obviously the past is in the past but I wish I could go back to January and just tell myself never to start the meds. But I am trying to be in the present and do what I can now. I have missed days at work and am fearful of not being able to work/losing my job. Any advice would be helpful/appreciated at this point. My GP and psych will likely be of no use/help at this point.
  7. Hi guys, Long time visitor to the site, but just registered to get some answers if possible. I’ll start with my history on Lexapro. I was convinced back in 2010 I was dying from a brain tumor and got very anxious and scared of what I was feeling. I remember getting the fight or flight sensations and it terrified me and I didn’t know what was happening. Doctor prescribed 5mg lexapro and then that went to 10mg. After about 1 - 2 years on it I wanted to get off it so the doctor recommend half the tablet and taper over the course of 4weeks. Followed his instructions and did that. Maybe 6-8 weeks the withdraw set in, brain zaps feeling of doom etc etc. Doc put me on the tablets again 10mg. So I stayed on them for about 5 more years and I think at 1 point went up to 20mg for about 4 months in 2011. Mainly I’ve been on 10mg. So fast forward to 2019. My anxiety was still here and doctor wanted me on 15mg of lexapro. So I did that, April 2019 started 15mg of Lex, and then in August I decided to taper but slowly. By November 24th I was on 5.5mg of Lexapro. I tried to see if I would stabilise one this dose but come January 2020 I didn’t and began to increase to 6.6, then next week 7.7 and then I stuck on 8mg from January 25th till February 15. I started to feel more anxiety and not only that depression came and I never suffered with depression so it was strange, nothing interests me or it’s just blah feeling. I am now 9 days on lexapro 10mg again and feeing like I failed. I must mention that when I went back up to 8mg from 5.5mg dosage I’m not sure if coincidence but my legs are feeling very heavy. I still have the depression symptoms too and I’m wondering if I am still in some type of withdrawal. Any advice regarding my recent increase? Should I stay on the 10mg ? I really want to get off these meds and will follow the 10% taper from this website but I just ask when would be the time to taper? I feel like the meds are now making me depressed and loss of interest in activities and my job too. thanks for reading if you got through all that lol -Jack
  8. Hi All, What an informative site. Well done all involved. Currently I'm on 20mg Lexapro & wish to reduce it down to 15mg over the next three months. I find my concentration poor so I would I would be very grateful if you could give me information in simple terms even bullet points. I've been on Lexapro 11 years.This is my goal for 2016.
  9. I know this community seems to be heavily in favor of getting of medicine entirely, but my anxiety and panic attacks are so bad I'd like to get into a calm state before I attempt. I have been on Lexapro for 12 years. The last few years the medicine has not seemed to work very well. My PCP and I decided to add Buspar 10mg while going from 10mg Lexapro to 5mg Lexapro. I had been feeling really well for two weeks after starting the Buspar. I went down on Lexapro and a week and a half later got extreme dizziness / off balance / coordination issues / vertigo / "wooshing" sensations. No other symtpoms. Three weeks of dealing with this I though maybe this was the Lexapro (although I was told with a Cross taper this would not happen) and went back on the Lexapro. It has been an additional three weeks and things have not improved. That's when googling lead me to this site... PCP now wants me to cross taper to Zoloft but I am incredibly afraid of making these symptoms worse. He says there should not be any withdrawl when cross tapering from SSRI to SSRI and these symptoms must be from something else and that we will do further medical testing to determine the cause. In the meantime, wants me to get settled on the Zoloft to calm my anxiety / panic / OCD around the symptoms. Then says when stable for a bit can start to slowly withdrawl the Zoloft. I feel stuck because I'm so afraid to go off the Lexapro (with or without the Zoloft!) due to these symptoms but feel stuck as I'm in a very bad place mentally but the medication is not helping the symptoms at all! I guess to summarize: Is is true that a cross taper from SSRI to SSRI should not induce any sort of withdrawl? Was that NOT that case when I had Buspar (since thats not a SSRI)? Does this sound like withdrawl, and if so, wondering why this is the only main symptom and why I've seen no improvement after six weeks.
  10. Hello! So it has been four months since my last dose of Lexapro. I’ve been experiencing pretty bad tinnitus - anyone else experiencing something similar? Anyone know how long this typically lasts?
  11. Skeeter

    Skeeter's Journey

    My signature pretty much covers my recent history. For anyone reading this, if you have a short term bout of anxiety, and your doc suggests, Xanax, PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU, read up on how hard it is to come off of it, and consider that before you ever start the med. I was put on it for short term anxiety, was on it for 4 months, and then my doc switched me from Xanax to less that half of the equivalent dose of Valium in one day (a process that should take several months, according to the Ashton Method, which most say is too fast- and I agree), so I ended up with over 50 signs and symptoms on top of the pain I already deal with on a daily basis that changed from day to day, even hour to hour. April was when I did the switch, and I did not feel human until July sometime. I am just holding now, before I am ready to start a very slow taper on my own, WITHOUT A CALENDAR! I have been on valium for a long time, but at a dose that is still at least 5mg over what I was on for muscle spasms. I would like to get back to PRN (as needed). That is the reason I am here, but if we back up to October of 2016, my doctor took me off of 3 AD's, 2 of which I had been on over 7 years. Wellbutrin (depression from chronic pain), and Trazodone (for sleep), then added Cymbalta for about a year, a clerical error, I was SUPPOSED to slowly switch from one to the other, but because I was feeling better, it got forgotten about. I had 3 episodes of Serotonin Syndrome between September and December of 2015 (was set off by minor to moderate dehydration, I was hospitalized for 3 days, and remember only parts of it, I did not sleep in those 3 days, nor did I eat, but the hospital did not pay much attention to me.. So,I was suffering from poop-out of all of the AD's, and my doc agreed to take me off of the AD's and switch for a new one, only e weeks later, he changed his mind, and refused to switch me to a new one, and gave me the name of ONE psychiatrist. I was suffering from severe anxiety first, and instead of giving me a simple AD, he thought somehow that it was SAFER to give me 2-3mg of Xanax every day (up from the 8mg of Valium I took for 7 years, a drop in the bucket compared to Xanax), then, by month 3, I started to have interdose WD. I found out my GP would prescribe an AD (Lexapro), so I started that, and within a month, i felt human again. I had severe suicidal ideation before I started Lexapro, and tht did stop the AD WD fully, I was given a choice by 2 docs, 1 saud, 12 weeks, no longer, we will remove you from 3mg/day of Xanax. Knowing this might happen, I lowered down to 2mg a day (equal to 40mg/day of Valium. Doc 2 said we switch you in one day from X to V, so of course I picked doc #2's plan. it was awful, but the best of 2 choices. I was lucky, I stayed out of the psychiatrists hands! My biggest issue right now is stopping the messages that were firmly implanted in my head after belonging to other forums, where to me they seemed to clearly be saying in their messages, as I understood them, that if you are not moving forward with your taper, you are failing yourself and prolonging your agony. Again this is the message I took from it. This made no sense to me, because if you go too quickly with tapering benzo's, you are virtually guaranteeing a trip through hell via Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome/Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). And at one forum there are seemingly hundreds of people going through PAWS. I am not saying the forum is wrong, but the only talks about going super slow I could find were years old or there was one forum that talked about taking prolonged breaks once in a while. I also read the liquid micro taper area, where the main moderator in one forum seems to be very clear in her opinion (again if I understood correctly) in saying that not tapering daily (esp taking a break for 3 days or more) seems to be greatly frowned upon... As a result, I got it stuck in my head that I am failing myself somehow by not continually forcing myself to taper when I do not feel ready to, like I am somehow hurting my body. My only remaining symptom out of over 50 at my peak is a severe sensitivity to artificial sweeteners like Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, etc. I had to stop reading one forum because of all of the horror stories, and all of the people with Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome. Seeing people talking and being so confused because they ended up with constant severe disabling symptoms leaving them bedbound for months to years, confused because they did what the forums considered a slow to average taper- following the directions laid out for them, during which they seemed to suffer greatly virtually non-stop only to end up with symptoms that ended up being MUCH worse than the taper itself( and lasting longer than the taper did!). I do not get why at that point you do not reinstate and stay on a very low dose until... I finally saw a ray of light (and felt my first hope since April!!) several days ago when I did a search on the internet named "How slow is too slow to taper off of Valium." What came up was a link from this forum called "The slowness of slow tapers", which was started by Rhiannon. It was the lightbulb moment I needed. I am only 5 pages in, it was started in 2012, and is still going. I also noticed you have a Benzo place here that I look forward to visiting!! Thank you for offering the kind of support I have been looking for this whole time, when I first stated looking for help. On other forums, I saw at least 20 comments from people on one forum who said that they cold not bear to read that forum because there were so many people suffering so awfully. Yes, all of the forums offer support, but I think that maybe with so many people suffering that maybe one might need to look at why so many people who follow the programs and taper schedules supplied end up in such a bad place for so horribly long after stopping the med. I do understand that some of these people did a cold turkey stop of the meds, but so many I found had followed a taper schedule and followed the calendar vs how they were feeling. Ashton is a great place to start, but maybe the schedules she provided prior to her passing are no longer applicable, and are possibly now far too fast for some with the understanding we now have of how the mind and body works, maybe? This is a general rhetorical question, I am not trying to slam any specific forum. I did not read just one forum, and I belonged to more than one. I want to be very clear on this! For the moderators and members offering gentle help and amazing support- thank you so much for your time!! Thank you for reading about my experience, and my questions. I feel sorry that you had to suffer through al of this...lol! UPDATE: After switching Xanax for a low dose of Valium, I had waves of symptoms that lasted until I was 20 months out from my one day switch. My doc even told me he knew the Xanax would not last long for me, and he knew would have to see someone else to get an AD. I loved my doctor, but I still have never forgotten the hell I suffered. Yes I was feeling pretty well by the time I wrote this, but it did not last
  12. Hello there , this by far is best blog , I haven't recently deleted all other pages or blogs talking about surviving antidepressants and I'm bound here. I have a daily routine now to read 2 or 3 success stories as a hopeful reminder;) so thank you!!!! I have been off Lexapro and Trintellix for nearly 2 month, after been on them for 6 month only . Still on a low dose of benzo rivotril to help me thru the discontinuation My story: I was an active mom of 4, Life was beautiful till I got a sudden panic attack haven't experienced in 15 years due to a traumatic scene, vulnerable rushed to psych put me on Lexapro for 3 month 20 mg (anxoety decreased by 20% but depression and ahedonia kicked in!!! Was never like that, I would say benzo helped the most, unstoppable apathy and crying) , changed psych told her the Lexapro made me more depressed and flatlined, she tapered me too quickly from 20mg to 5 mg in 4 weeks of Lexapro as well as put me on Trintellix same time going up from 5mg to 20mg ! I crashed !!!!!! All emotional symptoms intensified 10x stronger ! I reinstated back to 10mg Lexapro for about a month then started weaning down to zero in about a month (which I know now was too fast) and weaned off Trintellix too (too fast) . Still taking the benzo though , dosage changes depending on need but never exceeded the max dose. Now my symptoms are : -:compelte Ahedona , lack of zest and zero motivation (unlike the old me completly) - sleep.is fine but it's my only escape - wake up w dread kind of feeling and anxiety - nervous system on edge all the time, relaxation is forgotten word . - no physical symptoms other than headaches - ugly intrusive thoughts - unstoppable crying spells - heightened nervous system - constant Fear of Losing Control of myself is haunting me ! What I did : journal progress acupuncture (helped but only during session) neurofeedback (same as above) chiropractor (unuseful) homeopathy (not useful) naturopathy : take Omega 3 fish oil + b complex + magnesium + used 5htp (got me headaches but no good feelings) Did a hormonal test found my dhea and testosterone is high and ratio of oestrogen and progesterone is not good , doing a neurotransmitters level testing and waiting for results I feel I'm a different person completely, started to reject driving because I don't want to be alone and still am not happy, seeing my kids and being unable to engage with them is killing me Questions : -I'm confused now whether my symptoms are driving my ugly intrusive thoughts or vice versa ? - What to do ? - Helpful supplements ? - How long from your experience to healing, knowing that I have been on the meds for only 6 month ?. - Will this traumatic experience continue to haunt me ? - Is this fear of losing control normal? - benzo has been the only calming thing , I know it has it's own withdrawals but I have stopped it a few times haven't felt great wd reaction like with AD . Is it ok to continue just till my nervous system recalibrate and my happinness hormones kick in again or being on the benzo will stop the natural healing to take place ? Trying cbd oil , nothing close to the effect of a benzo My husband is pushing me to go to a psych again but im battling not to , I just want to want to LIVE again and just have peace of mind and be happy! Help !
  13. Ive been following and reading on this site for 2 months now , i FT in a month from 10 to 5 and from 5 to 0 as my WD hit me very hard after 5 months i was thinking to resume my 10mg lexapro so i can 10% taper after im stabilized again. I wanted the opinions of u guys ! Any ideo or help is welcome !!
  14. Hi all, I had been taking 20mg Lexapro for about 8 years. About 3 months ago I was having a very bad bout of depression, anxiety etc. and was suggested by my doctor to change to 100mg Sertraline. In early November 2019 I CT'd the Lexapro, waited 24 hours and started taking the Sertraline (doctor's recommendation). I immediately suffered from extreme brain fog. Over the next 5 weeks the brain fog didn't ease up. I thought the brain fog was due to the Sertraline, so I stopped taking the Sertraline (fast taper over 3 weeks). I wanted to see how my mind and body would function without any medication so I did not reinstate the Lexapro (psychologist's recommendation). It has been about 4 weeks since I have stopped taking the Sertraline, and almost 3 months since I stopped taking the Lexapro. My anxiety and depression is ok (I am attending regular therapy to cope here, and have made positive life changes which has helped a lot). However, my heavy brain fog is still present, and my general concentration is far lower then what I am accustomed to. I have now come to realise that the brain fog was not caused by starting the Sertraline, but was due to withdrawal from the Lexapro. After doing some research over the past couple of weeks, and in particular reading stories about very slow tapering, it would seem going Lexapro CT was definitely the wrong choice! I am approaching 3 months out from stopping the Lexapro. I am thinking of possibly reinstating as I work as an engineer, and brain fog and lack of concentration is a major issue for me (as it would be for any job really). However, as I am almost 3 months out from taking my last dose of Lexapro, and my anxiety and depression is under control, and it is only the brain fog/concentration that is the issue, I am thinking it would probably be best if I don't reinstate, and hope that in the coming months (or even years as I have read) my brain slowly starts firing again. I guess I am looking for any form of advice about the possibility of reinstating, stabilising, and then slow tapering over a year or more (will this even cure my brain fog in the short term??), or am I best just to live with the brain fog and hope that it will fade in due time. What are some people's time frame for brain fog to disappear? Thanks everyone Dean
  15. Hello, I have been lurking for a few days on the forum. There is some incredibly useful information here, so thank you to all who have taken the time to share your experience and wisdom. I have been on Cipralex (Lexapro) and Wellbutrin for a few years, and now want to at least reduce them because of increased migraines. I have spoken to my family doctor about this and she does not agree, but did agree to refer me to a neurologist and to a psychiatrist. However, the wait times for appointments are long. I have had to go on medical leave because I am getting 2-4 migraines a week, so I have decided to start tapering one of the antidepressants on my own. (Both Cipralex and Wellbutrin may cause migraines. I am already doing diet and lifestyle changes, but to no avail. I have tried two types of triptans, which did not help, and I would rather take less meds than more. Migraine meds plus antidepressants can lead to serotonin syndrome.) In the past, I have only made changes to medication under the supervision of a doctor, so I am feeling a bit like a renegade right now. I decided to start with the Cipralex. Last night I attempted to take 90% of my regular dose by making a liquid. I found the tablet dissolved quickly enough but it wasn't a true dissolution, and I couldn't keep the particles evenly distributed enough to feel that I got an accurate dose. I will try to get my hands on some of the Ora-Plus. When I reduced the dosage of Cipralex a few years ago (under doctor supervision), I did not taper it and experienced some withdrawal symptoms. I hope to minimize the symptoms this time.
  16. I will work on my signature this evening. My immediate issue is I did a drop from 15mg of Lexapro to 10mg about two to three months back. In the past that first jump was not a problem. I had a international business trip and agreed to a final hepatitis b shot, a flu shot and decided to try some doxycycline for my rosacea. Four days later I started to get bad headaches behind my ears and at the top of my neck that even Advil was not helping with crazy sinus pain yet no mucus it almost felt like muscles squeezing (note I do have bad TMJ but this was new) then later in the week chest pain and some crying very easily. During the trip it was bad and returning went to the ER for chest pain and feeling of pressure at the base of my skull. Also before the trip stopped doxy thinking it was a reaction. Heart Ok normal cardiac enzyme and clot test head pain they said was TMJ. Started getting nocturnal panic attacks on some nights and mild agoraphobia, then I started getting prickling feelings randomly all over body mainly in the late afternoon and evening. I am not hyperventilating when this occurs. I decided to updise to 12.5 and have been there for about 10 days. It has stabilized the anxiety and crying for the most part but the burning and paresthesia and headaches are bad. Now I am scared that I am stuck with adverse reaction vs withdrawal or could this be a hepatitis b shot reaction? I have followed up with my regular doc and psych doc and had even more blood work done and all normal. I also have a condition called meralgia parenthetica and this sensory symptoms are making it really bad. I am afraid to go up to 15 and afraid to go to 10. I do have bad health anxiety and that does not help the situation! Why does the nerve stuff only occur mainly at night?
  17. I have been taking 20 mg of Lexapro for nearly 4 years now after having multiple pregnancy losses/stillborn. I began working out late last year and felt great and thought it was time to wean off this medication. I had finally accepted I'll never have another child. My family Dr gave me a timeline to wean which I thought seemed pretty quick, but did it. I was off within 2 months. Since then I've felt worse than I did when I first started taking the meds. I've had thoughts of harming myself, extreme depression, anxiety, insomnia and just feel like I have the flu all the time. I think I need to start back on meds but don't know how much to take. I just want to feel normal again. Problem is my Dr is on paternity leave until end of February. If anyone could please give me some direction I would be so grateful!
  18. Hello All, I am a college student who has been on 400mg of Wellbutrin for 5 months and 10mg of Lexapro for a bit less than six weeks. I didn't want to be put on Lexapro. I had been experiencing mild anxiety but for the most part, I was doing really well. (Sleeping and eating better, more energy, basically what one hopes for when being put on antidepressants.) In late November, my doctor insisted that I needed to start Lexapro. I pushed back and he insisted further - basically almost threatened to drop me as a client unless I took this medication but never gave a clear reason as to why. This whole thing was so suspicious that I actually researched him to see if there was any connection he may have had to the pharma industry. (Couldn't find anything.) Now, 6 weeks later, I'm not doing well at all. My anxiety hasn't decreased at all and I've been experiencing headaches and extreme fatigue. I went from sleeping 7-8 hours a night to 11 hours a night in addition to an early evening nap. I feel like a zombie. Basically, I'm very convinced this is medicine is not for me. I told me doctor all of this in an email and he essentially refused to even consider me stopping the medicine. He said that if I wanted to even discuss the subject, I needed to come in for an early appointment (I would be charged extra $50). He refused to give me any details on how to taper off Lexapro. I really don't want to see him again. Therefore, I was hoping some of you may provide me with some advice on tapering off Lexapro. Beginning in early December I took 5mg for a week and then 10 mg since then. Therefore, I've only been on 10mg for a bit over a month. I feel like tapering off by 10% every 3 weeks is a bit too extreme for my case - seeing as I've only been on it for a bit. I was considering doing a week of 7.5mg, a week of 5mg, a week of 2.5mg and then nothing. If you tapered off lexapro after being on it short term I would love to hear your advice, experience, and side effects. Thank you very much! Also, I get my Wellbutrin from my PCP so no worries about losing that prescription.
  19. Relieved to find this forum. I usually do not join things like this, but I need the support and after 10 years on Lexapro it doesn't have the same effectiveness. I have been told by my doc to cross taper to Trintillex and am too scared to start so I am going to slowly taper off.... so happy I found your history!! I tried to go from 20 to 15 to 10 mg and got really sick so I am currently at 15mg of Lex and will stay here until I am adjusted. I get stomach aches, nausea, and just feel up and down.
  20. Hello. I am new here I’ve been on antidepressants often on for several or for at least 25+ years I’m doing fairly well. my current psychiatrist wont taper me off in Annti depressants despite being on the meds for so long I’ve been through different psychiatrist over the years most not too good I found myself a natural path or holistic doctor and she help me taper off Lexapro over. A period four months but with some difficult mainly anxiety. The naturalopath has me taking supplements and cbd oil which is good for mood. I would like to get over off of my other two anti depressants but I’m gonna wait on that until I find a MD that specializes in tapering of Anti depressants I was wondering how I can find a list of good MDs that do help patients taper off I live in St. Louis Mo region thank you
  21. Hello, I'm new to the forum. I've been having a lot of trouble with sleep. This started 2 years ago (Nov. 2011) after my father passed away. I started waking up panicking every time I would start to fall asleep. I was put on 20 mg of Lexapro and 5 mg of Zyprexa. Everything stabilized and was good for 2 months until I developed a rash on my legs. I was told to stop taking the Lexapro immediately. I stayed of of it for 1 1/2 months and wasn't taking any medications. Then I started having fever like symptoms, extreme anxiety and just felt horrible. A psychiatrist introduced Zoloft to me at 50 mg. It drove me out of my mind with anxiety. At this point I was put back on 20 mg of Lexapro and my sleeping problems began again. I was given Xanex to take as needed. Every time I would start to relax and fall asleep I would become shaky, panicky and my heart would race. For the next 3 months I had no natural sleep. I was put on Seraquil, Lithium, Elaville and Trazadone. I had the startling, shaky, panicky heart racing feeling anywhere I tried to sleep except for the spare room. I stayed on 20 mg of Lexapro for quite a while, it was put up to 30 mg but it didn't help so after a few weeks I came back down to 20 mg. Then wellbutrin was introduced, that also made the anxiety terrible so that was discontinued. At this point I decided to wean myself off of the Lexapro dropping 2 1/2 mg every 2 weeks. I got down to 2 1/2 mg in March of 2013 and my anxiety became unbearable. I went back up to 5 mg of Lexapro. I was put on Prozac, stayed on it only a few weeks because of increased anxiety yet again. I remained on the 5 mg of Lexapro until October 2, 2013. At that point I hadn't taken any sleep medication in about a year. I still could only sleep in the spare room without the panicky feeling when I started to fall asleep. 10 mg of Propranolol was added 3 times a day and I dropped from the 5 mg of Lexapro to 2 1/2 mg. The panicky feeling went away when I was relaxing to fall asleep. I decided to drop down to 1 1/8 mg around Nov. 2. Things were getting better, I was able to sleep in my bedroom with my wife again without the panicky feeling when going to sleep. I was feeling great! 6 weeks into that last drop all that changed. My anxiety is horrible, I can't sleep at night without medication leaving me feeling drugged the next day. I'm back to sleeping in the spare room but I even get that startling, panicky, shaky feeling in there now. My heart pounds so hard it makes my hand go numb. Last night was horrible, I had to take 50 mg of Elaville and 50 mg of Trazadone. This is left over from the 3 months of sleeping without natural sleep when they tried so many medications to try to put me to sleep. I'm extremely upset about the progress I feel I've lost with my sleep because now I feel like I'm right back to where I've started. I just don't know what to do about my central nervous system that is triggering the fight or flight response every time I try to sleep. The only thing that works to take away that panicky feeling is xanex but I don't take it that often because I don't want an addiction problem. Thank you in advance for your ideas to help.
  22. Hello everyone! I'm sorry to have been a lurker until now. Your advice and support of each other has been a great comfort to me during my own tapering journey. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression about 2 years ago. It came out of nowhere during my menopausal years, with no personal or family history of depression, and it went undiagnosed for a few months because doctors couldn't figure out why I was so severely physically exhausted (my first and primary symptom). Every test showed I was physically healthy and fine, but obviously I wasn't. A naturopathic doctor even insisted I should take hormones, which made no sense to me since during menopause your body already can't process your natural hormone load. My mental state got worse and worse. I won't go into details, but I'm sure many of you know the kind of thoughts that road leads to. Finally I got a fantastic doctor who took time to listen. He said I was showing all the classic signs of severe depression, and said he didn't know what the root of my problems was but that the depression had to be treated NOW, and fast. I went on escitalopram (Cipralex) that same day. It was a very long and very hard pit to dig myself out of, but eventually I got there. Cipralex is a tough drug to get used to, as I imagine all antidepressants are. But I was lucky and didn't have to try various ADs to find one that worked. I know many, many people are not so lucky. It took about a year to get and stay stable, to the point where my doctor and I agreed I could start tapering off the Cipralex. I was taking 15mg daily. He suggested a 1-month reduction with alternating dosages and said Cipralex was one of the easier SSRIs to taper down. Fortunately I had discovered this site a couple months earlier 😁 and had read a lot about tapering safely. I decided to try the self-made liquid suspension method since liquid escitalopram isn't available here in Canada. The first couple of 10% tapers went well, so well in fact that I got overconfident and thought I could speed it up a bit. Big mistake of course! I crashed hard about 5 - 6 weeks into the larger reduction. I decided to ride it out, knowing from this forum that things WILL get better and that it would take my body a while to recover. It wasn't fun. Once I finally felt stable, I stayed at that dose for an extra month before trying to reduce again. Once I got to 10mg, I stopped and held there too for awhile. I started my taper a year ago at 15mg. I am down to 7mg now. I reached 7mg a few months ago and decided to hold again, because the winters here are difficult for me with the short days and little sunlight. I feel very stable though and will start another reduction in February. I plan to hold again for awhile once I get to 5mg. When I start a reduction, the effects don't kick in until 3 - 4 weeks later. This seems to be my pattern. So I reduce every 6 - 7 weeks instead of the usual 4 weeks. I still have a long way to go. I'm not in any rush, it just seems strange to need such an incredibly long time to come off a drug. I have to keep reminding myself how these drugs work and WHY it takes so long. 😐 Fortunately my doctor support this tapering plan and agrees that some people are just more sensitive to these drugs, if this plan works for me then I should keep doing it.
  23. Good Morning Everyone, I need some confidence despite knowing what I am going through must be withdrawal. My history; I was put on Lexapro (escitalopram) in October of 2012 after the birth of my wife and I's first child. It was a stressful delivery and that coupled with the normal stress of a first time parent and starting a new business, it sent me into anxiety and panic attacks that I had NEVER experienced before. Anyway, after speaking with our friend/family MD he recommended Lexapro. I started in October of 2012 at 10mg. After a month I began to feel better and then in Feb 2013, my MD bumped to 20mg because that was the 'normal' dose for a 28 year old, 185lb man. I obliged because I was feeling better but still not great. By mid March of 2013 I felt back to normal, better than normal actually. June of 2013 I started to feel VERY shaky and weird. It felt like it was just too much. So per the MD's advice I weaned back down to 10mg over 6 weeks time and felt fine. I had few withdrawal effects but not many for a few weeks. I stayed at 10mg from July of 2013 to April of 2014(10 months or so) and felt like 'normal'. I decided in April that I was over the weight gain, the lack of emotions, the lazy attitude and the tiredness. I felt like my anxiety was under control and the small bouts of depression I had were few and far between. I spoke with my doctor and asked if he would call in a script for Liquid Lexapro. I had read a few articles here and at PP about withdrawal and that the Liquid would make it easy to taper. He obliged and at the end of April I began to taper 1mg every 2-3 weeks. This was after my doc said I should go faster and I thought 1mg every 2-3 weeks would be a slow enough taper. (I did not know about the 10% of the previous dose every 3-6 weeks). Anyway, I tapered over 5 months or so and Oct 1 of 2014 I was done. I really didn't have many withdrawal effects while tapering. I felt a little worse the lower I got but nothing I couldn't handle. The first 8 weeks off were not awful. I had dizziness and gastro problems the first few weeks but those went away. Then, the end of Nov and Dec started and holy moly I have been hit with the worst anxiety of my life, shaky, terrible intrusive thoughts, doom and gloom even when I know everything is ok. I can cry at any moment over nothing and terrible irritableness and rage feelings. I still can't shake it. The anxiety is crippling both physically and mentally. My old anxiety before meds I could talk myself out of, this just pounds on me no matter how calm and accepting of it I am. Sleep is getting worse and I can't sit still to save my life. From what I have read, this sounds like WD but I am scared and miserable here. Any words of encouragement, success stories, similar experiences are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  24. Hey Everyone I am knew to this group and trying to find some understanding in what is going on with me. I recently went off Lexapro 3 months ago (was on for 6 years) I started getting very random heart flutters when I started it and that’s the main reason I went off of it. Now im experiencing weird brain crap and not just zaps. It seems to happen at night when im trying to fall asleep. It wakes me up and scares me it scares me. Some are brain zaps, some are like fireworks, some are weird sensations or noises- I feel like im loosing my mind. Any help or experience would be greatly appreciated.
  25. Hello. I am twenty years old and had been on antidepressants since I was ten. From then on through my teenage years, all I knew was I needed to take my medicine . Once I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, my pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist then put me on respiradone and strattera. I don't remember if I had any behavior problems or not, but my neurologist told me I would have to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I stayed on those two meds until I got into high school. My first two years of high school, I couldn't stop crying. I cried day and night. My neurologist put me on celexa. When that didn't work, my neurologist told me he could no longer help me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I saw the new psychiatrist my junior year of high school who told me I had depression and anxiety that needed to be treated. I was taken off respiradone and strattera and put on pristiq and adderall. When pristiq wouldn't work, I was switched back to celexa. So it went on, switching back and forth between antidepressants. There were so many different ones I can't remember many of them. Every time I asked my psychiatrist if the next time it would work, he assured me it would. There was no chance to talk when I saw my psychiatrist. It would result in a new prescription every time. During my senior year, I helplessly slept through every class, sometimes falling out on the floor asleep. I had a good school counselor who allowed me to pass because she knew it was the medicine and I got plenty of sleep. I also cried uncontrollably almost every day in front of everyone and it was very humiliating as I would stir up a lot of attention. My senior pictures of me showed a person with a puffed up and swollen face. I was switched to lexapro again and stayed on it my whole first year of college. Then the crying returned. During my second year, I was switched to Abilify for depression. I still trusted my psychiatrist as he again promised me it would work. Out of all my experiences with antidepressants, there is nothing that could ever have compared to this. As soon as I took the first dose of Abilify, my brain signaled to me something was very, very wrong. I began receiving no sleep. My psychiatrist put me on trazadone for that, but when I took it, my body fell completely limp, my heartbeat slowed down to almost nothing, and I went numb while my body shut itself down. I stopped it after two nights. Meanwhile, with abilify, I began spending all my time obsessing over things I would normally never touch. I believed I was an alien hybrid sent from outer space to save the planet. I also believed the human race are all aliens in disguise. Then I started going mad. I didn't want to be a human anymore. I wanted to be a supernatural creature with otherworldly capabilities. This was all extremely terrifying to me, but I couldn't stop myself. I lost my common sense as I believed these nonsensical theories. My mind was overpowering me with racing thoughts such as these listed. I couldn't think clearly. I was almost always in a state of rage. Reasoning had left me. For reasons I do not remember, I stopped Abilify by myself cold turkey. My psychiatrist had told me before that I never needed to worry about tapering because the antidepressants I took were all in the same family. He never mentioned stopping completely. Withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until a week later. My psychiatrist told me they would last 15 days. They were relatively minor, and I didn't worry much about them. However, nothing could have ever prepared me for the horror I underwent next. Every horror I could have never imagined bestowed me over the course of a month. I received no sleep. I was very lucky if I got one hour. The nights soon got from bad to worse. I developed REM sleep disorder. I was unable to tell the difference between being awake and asleep. As my mind was drifting, I jumped up in the air, screamed, swung at the air, and thrashed violently all over. In addition, my head would suddenly snap up and I would shout melancholy indistinguishable language and suck in sharp breaths. I was aware of everything, but I had no control over it, and it was very disturbing to me. Then came the uncontrollable muscle movements. My lips drew up on the sides, my mouth gaped open, my lips puckered and pouted, my teeth bared, my tongue stuck out, my neck extended, my eyes bulged, my eyebrows rose and lowered, my hands flapped, my arms swung, my knees jerked, my head jerked side to side, and my fingers extended. Shouts, grunts, moans, and gasps escaped my mouth. Several weeks went by as more horrendous symptoms appeared. Every day I was a zombie. I could only do basic human activities. I had no awareness of the passage of time. At night while drifting off, a dark shadowy presence swept over me. I was aware of where I was in real time while drifting, but I sensed a sudden danger. I jumped up alert every time. I heard a voice I believed to be God's telling me why I was like this and what I needed to do. It spoke to me relentlessly for days. When this occurred, an otherworldly and overwhelming sense of peace filled my every being. But it was always soon replaced by a terror so surreal I could not function. During this time, I could "see" my brain and I believed I was in control of what I allowed to be let in. After four days of this, I ordered the voice to "Get out!" It did and did not come back. Right after this, a veil suddenly covered my mind and I was disengaged from reality. I had no sense of where I was and I had no connection with my parents. I was always mad, crying most of the time, and my head was always jerking. I saw my psychiatrist for the last time two months ago. The doctor who had been nice to me all this time suddenly turned mean. He told me he refused to see me unless I got on medicine. By this time, I had found this site and many other websites about withdrawal. I knew I wanted to try living a better life and I was not backing down. I never took the newly prescribed anti psychotic he prescribed me. A week later, my parents, exasperated with how I was doing and on their last straw, called my psychiatrist. My dad told the psychiatrist I had read on the internet how long the withdrawal really is and the doctor spoke with me on the phone. My psychiatrist told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was describing were "all in my head" because the medicine would already be out of my system now six weeks later. He told me I needed to get on medicine right now because "I needed help". He told me my quality of life was not as good without the medicine. I was in another rage episode by this time, and unlike me, I confronted him. I said "Well why are a lot of these the same symptoms I experienced during the so-called withdrawal time?" He said he didn't know and preceded to ask me was I on drugs. I was in disbelief that anyone would ask such a thing. I have not spoken to that psychiatrist since. I am dealing currently with a lot of physical and mental symptoms but none I would describe as severe as that horrible nightmare of a month. (That month just happened to be timed perfectly with my Christmas break.) My mouth, head, and fingers jerk, but never as exaggerated as they were the first month. I dealt with extremely numb fingers, feet, and ankles up until two weeks ago. My ankles at times felt like they were hanging by a single nail. My feet, bluish-green, were so numb and swollen I had no feeling and shooting pains shot up my legs. I was extremely dizzy for so long. My gp told me I have low blood pressure. I started having panic attacks. Anxiety crept over me for no apparent reason. I cried a lot. I felt hopeless. I am dealing with apathy, anhedonia, akathisia, and cognitive problems. My memory has not been well during this whole time. I am not aware; I'm just wherever I am. I have lost perception of sight, hearing, and touch. I do things I'm supposed to do because I know that's what I've always done. I cannot connect feelings to memories; I have to rely on pictures and journals from over the years. I had to look back in my journal to refresh my memory of this whole experience which I happened to write down. I have been disconnected with myself...it was worse in the beginning. I would look at pictures of myself and couldn't connect that it was me. The whole first month of withdrawal my face was so puffed up I thought my skin would fall off. Sometimes things look bigger or smaller than they appear. My thinking ability is limited. I went to my gp again three weeks ago and I was low on vitamin D. I am currently on iron medicine, vitamin d supplements, allergy medicine, and multivitamins. Although the numbness has gone away, I am extremely faint and have weak tremors every day. At night I'm miserably exhausted. My heart is always beating fast and hard. I get chills and my body tenses up. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about any of this. I cold-turkeyed Abilify four months ago. I have managed to keep my grades up in college since then and so far have maintained a perfect attendance. Some days are harder than others, but I try to count my blessings as I've heard stories far worse than my own. I am only beginning to understand what I am dealing with. The last thing I would want is to ever take another antidepressant and hinder this process. I feel like I have a real sense of myself now and I feel more in control. I have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever go away but I try to maintain a positive attitude about it as things slowly get better. I have faced the fact that I can't change my past but I can certainly shape my future. I apologize for the long story. It is difficult to get my thoughts together.
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