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  1. Hello World, I have been lurking here for a couple months now and decided it is time for me to join the discussion. After browsing through a couple dozen threads both in the introductions and success stories I hope that by tracking my progress that it may inspire hope to those that follow along. This site has validated many experiences that I encountered in my life that I brushed off as "other issues" -- whereas now I realize that these were and are related to Sertraline use. My story up to this point: As a child I was extremely anxious. There was a family dynamic that played into my development of anxiety, without getting too personal. I also had some health issues that were extremely embarrassing and discomforting as a child. By the time I reached my mid-teens the anxiety was reaching an all-time high as I was putting myself in new situations -- due to embarrassment over my health issues I never had many friends growing up. There was a crippling fear within me that everyone was judging me, criticizing me, making fun of me; I generally felt like I was never "good enough" for people. Eventually this culminated into unrelenting anxiety to which I finally confided to a family member I was experiencing; more of a plea for help. In a visit to my GP she advised my family to take me to the ER to be evaluated for hospitalization. Repeated I was asked about self harm, suicidal ideation, depression, etc. I reiterated many times that I have never harmed myself in anyway and had no intention of doing so. I was strictly pleading for help in dealing with this unrelenting anxiety being experienced. You can probably guess I was hospitalized. Sitting with the doctors and my parents I expressed I did not want to be medicated. We were hit with the famous "chemical imbalance" mumbo jumbo and that these medications were safe. Being a minor and hospitalized there was limited medical autonomy. This is where I started Sertraline 25mg. Without boring with details here I dabbled a little bit with lithium but did not last long. Eventually I ended up on Sertraline 100mg. There I stayed from about Mid-2012 through Approx. Dec 2018 / Jan 2019. During this time I was very stable. To be honest, I do not think I experienced a ton of side effects (or so I thought). I experienced manageable amounts of anxiety, although there were times the thought "my emotions seem very dull" crossed my mind. "Highs" were not always very high and "lows" were not very low. This got me through college well enough. I started my career post-college as well. Knowing it can be difficult to get off these "medications" I always put off tapering because of school... new job... the excuses. After years and years of being "stable" on Sertraline 100mg I confided to my ("new") GP that I thought it was time to come off. From about Mid-Dec 2018 to maybe Feb 2019 I tapered. Went from 100mg->50mg for a month, maybe 50mg-> 25mg for a month then a week or so of 25mg every other day. The experience was emotional. Essentially my entire adult life to that point was to take 100mg of Sertraline before bed. From 17 to about 25 that was my ritual. Then I crashed. Over the next couple of months I experienced debilitating anxiety. At first I thought "push through it, it is your body adapting" but as time kept passing eventually those thoughts dissipated. These thoughts became truly obsessive to the point I thought I had OCD. Any sort of critique would send me into an emotional rollercoaster. I doubted everything I did. Everything felt so flat, even things that used to bring me bliss, including hobbies, friends, sex, I felt so flat. At some point therapy became an option. This is who my true self is. Called a local mental health center and signed myself up. Over a few sessions I poured myself out to my therapist (who I still go to today) proclaiming that yes I have had anxiety my entire life but I have never felt like this. I felt like every day I was fighting for survival. Anything stimulating fired off extreme reactions: scary movies, which I used to love would create days long adrenaline rushes, for example. This continued for a few months which then coincided with a major health issue which took about six months to recover from. This led us into the Coronavirus pandemic which did no favors. During the early stages of intense panic I felt necessary to re-instate Sertraline. I could not function. After a few weeks of ramping up to Sertraline 100mg I began feeling "whole" again. This did not save a long lasting relationship that had been strained over the prior 14mo, partly due to coming off medication. In the middle of this year I met a knew partner. They are absolutely wonderful but for the first time I truly realized that I have not physically desired sexual contact in quite some time. I decided that it is likely due to Sertraline and wanted to taper off. Where We Are Today: I found this website after looking for information on sexual side effects of AD use. I noticed in 2019 after coming off Sertraline that my libido had significantly dropped, I assumed was due to the "real me" anxiety coming back. I tied many side effects back to the discontinuation of Sertraline which I will outline below. In early October after tapering from 100mg to 50mg for a few weeks, then tapering from 50mg to 25mg for a few weeks I tried to go to 12.5mg for a week (at the discretion of my psych) and ceasing. I did it for two weeks. After a few days I noticed intense w/d symptoms (brain in vice feeling, pressure in head, agitation/restlessness, increased emotional flatness, continued sexual dysfunction). After finding this site and realizing that I was apparently not one of the lucky few that can taper that quickly I decided to re-instate at approximately 6.25mg daily in attempt to see if I can stabilize there before doing anything else. I think this allows me to see if I need to move up in mg without completely re-instating. I did find some relief from re-instating to 6.25mg. Current Symptoms: Heavy anxiety emotional blunting low libido / ed -- I have a mental desire for sex (as I know what it "was" on Zoloft the first time, but virtually no physical desire or ability) some agitation/restlessness cortisol spikes in morning (from this site, this is what I think I am experiencing. I sometimes wake up and feel UP with some adrenaline). Very obsessive thoughts I am thankful that my sleep for the most part has not been impacted. What am I doing now? Regular use of: ~200mg magnesium omega 3 fish oil (1000mg, I think) multi-vitamin (I know I know...) regular exercise 3-4x/wk CBT therapy low dose of sildenafil as needed Remind myself that these are side effects of medication use and discontinuation. These feelings are not me. Closing thoughts After finding some relief re-instating at 6.25mg I plan on sticking out here for quite a bit of time, at least 2mo. This will allow me to determine if I need to start the taper say at 12.5mg instead of 6.25mg. If w/d symptoms get worse over this time then I know I may need to bump up. A time frame of at least 2mo allows me to see if I get any delayed onset symptoms. As this journey begins on SA I look forward to journaling my experience. Those who have documented their success (whether through a success thread or long term introductions which lead to suns) have inspired me to believe truly that these symptoms will go away. We all want them to go away today but there are many examples here of people who have suffered for a long time who are back to their full lives. I'd wager a lot of money that most who start threads here and disappear recover. So again, while I am about 8.5 years in (about 7 on Sertraline, 1.5 on/off) I am thankful for this site. Much of what I am going through and what I have gone through has been repeatedly validated by hundreds and hundreds (thousands?) of other members documenting their experiences. It is such a relief that there are many others who understand the anguish these "medications" cause.
  2. Hi there 😀 I was on 150mg Zoloft for 8 months in 2017, then on 20mg Paxil for 6 months in 2018, then 60mg Buspirone for 6 months in 2018, and then back on 150mg Zoloft in 2019- all for PTSD. I came off of the Zoloft over the course of a month as recommended by my GP (way too fast I know now!) and had horrible withdrawals for a few months so my GP prescribed me Paxil for a month. I did not want to go back on Zoloft because it was making me so tired. I finished my month of Paxil in June 2020. I’ve had horrible hot flashes and chills since then. I’ve read the temperature dysregulation thread on here and am comforted in knowing this is a common withdrawal effect, especially since I was worried that I potentially had COVID. The thing that surprised me, however, is that I was extremely tired on Paxil and that 5 months after I discontinued it, I still am. With Zoloft, I wasn’t tired anymore a few days after going off it. With Zoloft, I was confused as to why I was so tired so I got bloodwork done and my hematocrit was low. I would get bloodwork done now except every time I do it makes my withdrawals much worse (has anyone else experienced this?). Has anyone had fatigue last this long post-SSRI discontinuation? If so, did it slowly go away? I am graduating as a veterinarian in June and do not see how I can practice feeling like this, which is very sad considering how hard I worked to get here. Thanks in advanced!
  3. Hello. I have been on zoloft (200mg) and buspar (15mg) daily for 8 years to manage anxiety. A couple of months ago I took a round of metronidazole and ciprofloxacin for 10 days for a gut infection. Soon afterwards I developed very severe akathisia (mental and physical), and it has been the worst thing I have ever felt in my life. Luckily I have been getting short windows since then and the akathisia isn't always present anymore, so I feel like I will most likely recover. Before this I had planned on microtapering my meds down at like 2-5% of current dose per month. But now I am afraid. I am afraid of staying on the meds and perhaps developing akathisia from them down the line. I am afraid of tapering and developing withdrawal akathisia. And I am afraid of getting off and maybe developing tardive akathisia... I know everyone heals eventually. But I honestly don't think I could take feeling like that for years. I really don't know what I should do...
  4. Hi, all-- I am so grateful to have found this site. It is helpful to know that I'm not alone. This is my first post, I will try my best to be succinct. I'm a 42 y/o female. I've been on Zoloft for 12 years, anywhere from 50mg daily to 175mg. I'd say my average over the years is probably around 125mg daily. My signature has a breakdown of my history. I've also taken klonopin during this time, but I take it PRN as I have never agreed with the doc suggestions to take this med multiple times daily. So in terms of my average klonopin dosing, during acute anxiety or hospitalization I take it multiple times daily but otherwise I take it maybe once or twice a month (more or less). My pills are 0.5, but I have a sensitive system so I take one quarter of that or maybe a half. A full pill usually means I am heading into a major depressive episode or something pretty difficult is going on. I smoked marijuana for about 7 years, but had to stop that in July 2020 due to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Lastly, I began a magnesium supplement around July 2020, and it has greatly helped with daily anxiety. The difference has been pronounced for me. For the past five/six years or so, I noticed that I occasionally got facial tics when I wake up in the morning. They were small, brief, and random, usually my jaw jiggling or shutting, or my eyes shutting closed due to my cheeks lifting. I thought it might be the Zoloft, but I didn't look into it too much. Well, now I've looked into it and I'm terrified. For the past 6 months, I'd say, the tics have started to happen during the course of the day and not just when I wake up in the morning. A couple of days ago, I was lying in bed and my throat/esophagus just started twitching up and down a few times-- that one was scary. I have an HMO, so I am in the process of seeking out a holistic psychiatrist on my own. I've seen the list on this site, that's been very helpful! I have a few questions for anyone that can help: In your experience, is it okay to have a long-distance psych? Does it make a difference? I'd rather see someone who knows what they're doing and is far, far away than someone close by who doesn't know or believe in patient-centered care. How might this hamper care? Do the TD symptoms indicate that I should follow a quicker taper? Or is this a matter of doing the 10% and then waiting/hoping that TD symptoms don't get worse? Can klonopin cause TD? I haven't seen anything about this, but I'd love to hear others' experiences. I will ask my psych the same thing, but are there any supplements that folks here recommend to help with the taper? I've tried tapering once before back in 2011-2013 (I thought I was tapering slowly, but given the info we have now I can see I was most definitely not going slowly. I was also following bad advice about taking my SSRI "every other day" to even out the amount of med in my bloodstream), and had what I now recognize to be an acute and quickly-manifesting depressive episode as a result of withdrawal. I understand that everyone's body is different, but any experiences with supplements is very welcome. Of course I am impatient to get off of this drug which could now be causing me a lot of harm. I have done loads and loads of work with therapists on my PTSD and depression, but the Zoloft did help me with that at the beginning, very much. I have so many conflicting feelings, but fear overrides them all because I would very much love to retain my ability to swallow and chew voluntarily (the cosmetic fears are also there, but to a lesser degree). I am a Buddhist and humanist and practice daily in one way or another, but as I'm sure many of us know a strong depression can and will obliterate reason, faith, belief, you name it. Thankfully I have a wife who shares my beliefs, and she is a rock. Thank you so much for any help. I am terrified of this journey, but I am very heartened that at least I have others to share it with.
  5. Hello Everyone! I feel like I am joining this community as part of the "last mile" of my journey to finally kick these SSRI in the teeth and I am excited to share and interact with everyone. At the same time, I'm incredibly scared as my support system (excluding my wife) doesn't believe that I should be off meds. I am from a family of physicians and my psychiatrist is very stuck in the "chemical imbalance" theory, as is my family. Yup... just like everyone else I started getting medicated as a kid as part of the ADHD brigade, and then I was diagnosed with OCD (while taking ritalin of course). I am sure I took a bunch of SSRI as part of my regiment, but I don't remember specifics. ADHD faded away (or wasn't really there to start with) as I stopped believing it was a problem. And at about 21, anxiety started to fade in. Over the past 15 years (36 now), I've been on viibryd, zoloft , lexapro, and now trintelix. Interestingly, I never did truly feel like I had the anxiety kicked. The biggest problem for me with the SSRIs has been anhedonia, lack of emotion, and loss of libido. After a time, these became untenable in my marriage -- and life just was not that fun... and at the time I was on 200Mg of Zoloft. I figured it was time to look for a change. I never really tried to change the underlying behaviors causing anxiety -- I mean I did CBT, Meditation, etc, but really never got into the deeper stuff. I never really realized that meds might not be a long term fix. So my psychiatrist thought we would taper off and switch to something else. And so I tapered off of 200Mg of Zoloft successfully, and said no more SSRIs. It took 8 months to get off of Zoloft, and I was doing really well for about 5 months with really no issues. And then COVID hit. And then I had to move. Then my job became incredibly lonely. Specifically my wife and I are both starting businesses so there is a ton of stress there. So I started panicking, and not sleeping, and just having general anxiety. But at that point, I had made a choice to never be reliant on the SSRI, and I still have that resolve. This time I starred taking a dose of Trintelix with the purpose of learning how to deal with my anxiety. That was about 4.5 months ago. Of course my psych has tried to push it up and up. Which I went along with and made me miserable. At one point I was at 15mg. So I've dropped it down to 5mg which is the minimum dose. And here I am for the last 1.5 months. At the same time I've been on Trintelix, I've been working through a program called "Unwinding Anxiety" which is a program by a MD/PHD psychiatrist named Judson Brewer and have had tremendous results. After all 5Mg of Trintellix is supposed to be subclinical, right? I've had 3, 4, and 5 day windows -- and many days I have windows of many hours. This while things really haven't resolved that completely --- - wife still starting her business and pre-revenue - savings is going down - getting my business on track - COVID - US election craziness So here I am on that last 5Mg of Trintellix. Sex drive is gone. I do have emotions and feelings. Couple things I could use some thoughts on if anyone would be so kind to weigh in: 1. I've been in a bit of a panic the past few days. I've been sick (physically) and anxiety kicks up then. I've read part of Unhinged and a few chapters of Anatomy of an Epidemic. One of the scariest idea is that these SSRI's do actually work. What if they do, and I have altered my brain chemistry enough that I can't do more than 5-6 moths without them anymore. The Anatomy book might refute this idea or I might missed a central point. But anyone else been scared by that too? 2. Has anyone felt like Anxiety and self improvement has become a major part of their identity? As my mind quiets down, I get really scared and don't know where to go with it. Almost don't know who I am without the anxiety/meds. Thanks! -paradine7
  6. 2011: I was prescribed the following: Cymbalta 60 mg (arthritis). Zoloft 100 mg (anxiety). Buprenorphine 8 mg (off label for treatment resistant depression). Over a couple of years the doctor increased it to 24 mg. September 2018: Decided I wanted to try and reduce the meds. I began a rapid taper of the Bupe and was down to 12 mg by the end of November 2018. Mid December 2018: Started having severe panic attacks daily. Each morning they started at wake and lasted between 2-6 hrs. Assuming it was because of my recent Bupe reduction I increased my dose for a while. It didn’t help so I went back down again. October 2020: I've been suffering horrid, daily panic attacks for 22 months. They start each morning before I even open my eyes (severe nausea and strong sense of doom). They quickly worsen from there and last for hours before slowly lessening. Then I go through a 1-2 hour period extremely fatigued and lethargy. My doctors have been unable to diagnose me but they have treated my symptoms with various medications (listed below). They don't help much during an episode, however it does help with later anxiety and to sleep at night. There is little fight left in me I'm so tired and losing hope. I have fallen down from exhaustion and muscle deterioration many times (once I broke off two front teeth) and am too scared to leave the house (only go to the doctor each month). I stopped eating more than fruit due to severe nausea and have lost 60 lbs. In the last six months I've gotten worse with severe leg weakness and just lately started having pain up and down my left arm (spoke with doctor). Other than that I endure horrible racing thoughts, a racing heart, heart palpitations, headaches; severe nausea, a sense of doom/worry, and a numbness and tingling of extremities. I believe that I may have finally figured out what is wrong: Serotonin/Norepinephrine overload because of the Cymbalta and Zoloft mix (perhaps brought on by stress because of menopause or my quick Bupe reduction in late 2018....I recent read that opiates block re-uptake transport or something). My doctor eliminated the cause of my illness as anti-Depressant related since I had been on them for such a long time without incident. There were many other tests to no avail. So I've researched and am attempting to reduce the Cymbalta from 60 to 30 mg on my own. I started three days ago. As of now my withdrawal symptoms are tolerable (it's difficult to discern between panic and withdrawal, so I evaluate my symptoms after the daily attack). I have headaches, nausea, cognitive difficulty, muscle weakness, and depression. It is key for me that I have had some relief from my panic syndrome though. My racing heart and palpitations were practically non existent. Unfortunately yesterday I took additional Zoloft to take the edge off and it turned out to be a big mistake. Although I still didn't panic this morning, along with some other general symptoms I became extremely fatigued and lethargic (which normally doesn't happen until after the CNS attack). Side note: I am unsure where I am headed with this Cymbalta reduction. My first goal is to stop my panic attacks and stabilize myself. However if my episodes worsen or if withdrawal becomes intolerable I will reinstate the 60 mg. Something tells me that IF I am suffering panic attacks because of neurotransmitter overloads that my withdrawal symptoms might not be as serious. Is that possible? When do the symptoms of Cymbalta reduction generally peak and how long does it last? Reminder: the 11th, 12th, and 13th I took the reduced dose. Lastly, it may be that some of the recent differing symptoms are due to a recent reduction of my Estrogen patch (I have no choice. The doctor is cutting me off). I could probably go back up but could only do so for about two weeks before I'd have to start a reduction again. Any advice or encouragement will be graciously accepted. Current Prescriptions Cymbalta: 30 mg (on October 10, 2020 I reduced it from 60 mg) Zoloft: 100 mg Buprenorphine: 8 mg Atenolol 25 mg (2 times daily). Xanax: .25 mg (take half doses of .125 mg; regularly only take about two per day). Valium: 5 mg (occasional and rare; only in half doses). HRT (out of necessity I am reducing my Estrogen patch slowly). I also take have a combo patch. OTC Mag Glycinate Mag Citrate Vit D3 Chia Seed Oil
  7. I’m hoping someone here can give me some advice, I had severe Zoloft WD after stopping cold turkey and then later trying to reinstate. My symptoms included seizure like and stroke like activity, hyperthermia, chills, shaking, visual disturbance, vomiting, trouble swallowing, hair thinning/loss and more. This happened about 2.5 years ago. I have significantly improved since then but I still notice some mild symptoms when I take anything serotogenic. Unfortunately, I need some dental work now that requires anesthesia and I’m terrified. I have seen on here not to use anything with epinephrine but are there any other tips? I have a feeling full sedation will be needed/encouraged and am hoping for some specific guidance on what to use, what to avoid for anesthesia, pain relief, antibiotics, and anything else you can suggest. Thank you so much for your help! (I guess I should also add no anesthesia isn’t an option either.)
  8. Hello everyone,❤️ I am a 36 year old male. Today I will be sharing my journey through withdrawing my over 20 years use of Effexor xr 150mg. I was first giving Effexor for depression caused by a separation anxiety. This was during my high school years wile I struggled with feelings of social phobia. Effexor seemed to blunt just about any fears and anxiety I had for a number of years but as time went on more and more side effects emerged some very scary. I tollirated most of sides just from the fear of withdrawal. I had previously had failed at least 3 failed attempts and one cold turkey in 2003 for 6 months unaware of what was happening to me both physically and mentally. Doctors were clueless and just represcibed the Effexor after that 6 month ordeal indefinitely. Fast foward 2016 a had gone under a few surgical procedures for a lumbar disc herniation with the last two resulting in a fusion. Around that time 2017 2018 I was having more and more increasing side effects from effexor and felt it was no longer working. I would have exercise intolerance,moments of narcolepsy type episode's, increased nerve pain. Visual snow, poor circulation diagnosed as Reynolds syndrome and more. I decided to seek help in disscontinuing effexor and was given an option to try to reduce from 150mg to 115.5mg immediately regretted as I could not drive my vision was on a rolorcoaster and I was having moments of just needing to pass out. So I went back to 150mg. Fast forward a few weeks my physciatrist introduced zoloft at a low dose and had me try again. At this time I was determined to muscle through. During a six month cross taper to zoloft max 100mg dose. My Final dose 37.5mg of effexor was February 20, 2020 and the withdrawl have been dibilitating waves and windows ever since. Lost job, home and hoping to keep my family around. Things seemed to have gone terribly wrong on July 12, 2020. On June 13, 2020 i dropped the zoloft to 50mg. One month later I was hit with an inability to walk or maintain any strength. I decided that day to updose back to 100mg zoloft. The days that followed were complete hell and multiple ER visits. Parkasins symptoms bobbing head neck weakness studdering speech spastic gait, spine spasticity, calf muscle cramp and faciculationts just a nightmare. One of the last ER visits left me with a diagnosis of post lateral sclerosis to be determined I guess because most my weakness was in my left side. New medications added since July included 5mg Valium twice per day and 2mg tizanadine or Zanaflex 3x a day I reduced two weeks later to only 2 times a day for the sake of staying awake. I have been bedridden since July after that episode. Waves and windows still apparent but very much less because of all the other medications. Psychiatrist is continuing the withdrawal plan keeping the other medication to reduce symptoms. She feels I may have had an adverse reaction or serotonin syndrome. Holding on to hope and my faith you guys are not alone 🙏 ❤ Present Dosing Regimen: Oct 9 [v] 7am 50mg Zoloft 5mg Valium [v] 12pm 5mg Valium (v] 3pm 1mg Zanaflex( mod. note- tizanidine, muscle relaxant) [v] 8pm 2mg Zanaflex Effexor Xr 150mg for 22years, discontinued from 37.5 mg February 2020 Discontinued because of Increasing side effects - Anhedonia. Blurry vision, exercise intolerance, weird adrenal fatigue episodes, increased anxiety, left sided weakness extending to feet, increased nerve pain, weird zoom Out episodes.
  9. Hi anything would help. i was prescribed Zoloft, prestiuq,rexulti, lamotragene,Paxil during a 14 month period all at separate times and tapered off in 8 days. Also experiencing black mold toxicity. I’ve been off meds for almost 3 months. And out of the apartment for a month. Very desperate. I’m experiencing derealazation , massive depression and anxiety. I have no idea where to start to address these things. Psychiatrist wants to put me on Prozac and and taper in 3-4 months. Symptoms from both are conditions are similar and again don’t know where to start.
  10. hey everyone! how can i put this mildly. mom of 2 handsome boys and a wife to a husband who has stood by me through helllllllllll. life evaporated. in a heartbeat. off the offending meds now for 1.5yrs but Jesus. my symptoms are long and probably some of the worst youve ever heard. did wayyyyy too much reaching for help that is for sure and it bit me like a snake. ooof. lost my loved career and my motherhood and marriage as i had it has been ripped away. went to the behavioral help hospitals a few times. we all still live together but ive been sick so long and done so many unforgettable things. in a nut shell. not the mom i set out to be. anyway im going to take a peek around and probably just camp out in the success stories. maybe one day i can be one! i feel like ive touched the 40% healing line. maybe? symptoms that have fallen away or are fading: psychosis (gone) paranoia fading terror gone akathisia fading nightmares are rare intrusive thoughts somewhat better but how could i know for sure whem the memories are so fresh? emotional lability ehhhhh better burning feeling (now having huge windows) not being able to recognize family is getting better i can cook again (dang it lol) i can drive yay connection to family is getting better but it all feels like its been through a hail storm. feel less than (not really a symptom) constantly think (everyone knows im mentally ill) wasnt before this though sometimes it feels like someone is pulling a rubberband from the right side temple area. feel evil is getting better but still there looping words names thoughts i am missing a ton of symptoms i know but they all blur together. oh and ocd symptoms agoraphobia cannot look at myself in the mirror which is weird dp/dr hard to say bc im in so much shock for lack of better words. not sure that life will ever be ok again but im willing to find out. still struggling hard most days. my support system sucks. thanks yall! off to take the kids to soccer and other assorted Thursday activities. doing my best to ignore my symptoms problems and bad memories. i have aged 15yrs i bet any tips, chatting, and love from those who have been this bad and are better would be great...if there is a better. my brain is healing but will my broken heart? love ya- K
  11. Hi there everybody, I was put on 50 mg Zoloft two years ago for situational depression following a traumatic development in my family. I was upped to 100 mg a few months later. I complained of panic attacks (no prior history) and was switched to Lexapro. I filled the prescription but just thought "to hell with all these pills" and quit cold turkey. I experienced tiredness, some light headedness and brain zaps. I had no idea what they were or why I was having them until I eventually had the presence of mind to google if there were any side effects associated with discontinuing Setraline. I had some symptoms for a couple of months, the first three weeks or so being the worst. I was functional. I ended up going back on 50 and then 100 mg of Zoloft about six months later and was probably on it close to another year. I had a pretty serious episode of depression for a couple weeks (again, not out of the blue but triggered by some serious family stuff related to the initial trauma). When I came out of it I decided to try going off Setraline since it wasn't treating my depression effectively anyway. Following development of the initial situational depression (and PTSD?) I started self medicating with alcohol. That could have had something to do with the panic attacks, but in retrospect I think the Zoloft probably played a roll. I was and am in treatment, but continued to have an on and off pattern of alcohol use for some time. My desire to do anything in my power to address this issue was the main reason I went back on Setraline. I also felt guilty for "self prescribing" myself off of them. It's been almost six months since I've abused alcohol, and in July (following the depression) I decided to try going off of antidepressants. Surprisingly, my doctor rejected it out of hand. I've had a second conversation with her where I told her I'd made up my mind to continue to tapper off. I complained of headaches. Her attitude was like "Setraline is prescribed for headaches. You should just take your meds or stop complaining." When I first started my tapper I cut the dose by half. I had brain zaps and debilitating exhaustion and headaches. I've adopted a much slower tapper and am now, over two months later, at approximately 25mg. I have good days and bad. Fortunately, I don't have anxiety, depressions (although being exhausted and in pain is pretty effing depressing), or intrusive thoughts. Some of y'all are really going through it. I do have tension, jaw clenching, headaches, really really bad headaches sometimes, restless leg, muscle aches, muscle weakness, dizziness, lack of coordination, exhaustion, brain fog, some insomnia, weird dreams and bad dreams. And lack of appetite. And twitches sometimes, especially when I'm resting. There's more to say about my interactions with doctors. More than anything I am angry and flabbergasted that there was NO discussion or information given to me prior to using these meds about Setraline discontinuation syndrome. There was no discussion about how long it would be appropriate to be on these meds, and it is apparent that the doctors are trained to permanently treat for psychological symptoms that result from temporary circumstances/ trauma. It's SO MESSED UP.
  12. Hi everyone. Thank you for reading my introduction. I've had an odd initiation to psyche meds. I'm middle aged and was rather healthy prior to my breakdown. I exercised five days a week, numbers were good, was generally 'relaxed' and comfortable in my skin and had a great marriage. Then, in the summer of 2015, I decided to try meditating. I had been studying Buddhism for awhile and a book I was reading stated that, if you really want to study Buddhism, you need to start meditating. So, that's what I did. I went to our local community meditation center and began a small meditation practice. About six months into it I started getting very anxious. I had no idea why. My blood pressure went up and I was put on the first regular prescription I've ever been on: Lisinopril. The anxiety continued and began increasing. My blood pressure kept rising. I asked my doc if it could be the meditation. He said "Not possible: meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety." I started seeing a therapist (first time) and asked the same question. I received the same response. I knew I should quit meditating, but everyone I talked to said that couldn't be the issue. So I continued. In the winter of 2016 I had what I call my 'Long Night' which was actually a week of altered mental states, completely unbalanced thought patterns and anxiety that went through the roof. I kept working and tried to keep my act together, but it was very difficult. The meditation teacher at the community meditation center said I was going through something called 'Dissolution' and congratulated me. He put me in touch with a more authoritative teacher (a person widely known in meditation circles) who confirmed this. Unfortunately neither of these people were much help. I looked all over the Internet and in books for answers, but the altered states kept occurring (even without meditation), my blood pressure was through the roof, I wasn't getting any sleep and my personal life was falling apart. I kept going to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. One morning my wife asked me if I was going to work and I broke down crying. She took me to the ER. The doctor there had compassion and said he thought he knew what was wrong with me and gave me an Ativan. For the first time in months, my blood pressure went down and I felt better. I went to see a psychiatrist in the spring of 2016. He put me on Celexa and Klonopin. He gave me some Ativan for my panic attacks. The Klonopin was needed until the Celexa reached a therapeutic dose. When I was ready to get off the Klonopin he introduced Buspar. Tapered off the Klonopin (no problems). I was on both of those for about two years after I quit the Klonopin. Everything seemed OK. In January of 2019 I started getting nausea and a headache. Just low-grade stuff, but consistent. And they slowly were getting worse. By the summer of 2019, it was pretty bad. I talked to my psyche doc about coming off and he agreed. We started with the Celexa and that taper went fine; however, Buspar was another story. I tried coming off that and I got very sick: felt like I had the stomach flu. I was home for three days. And that was just by cutting Buspar down to 30 mg from 45 mg. So we reinstated and decided we'd try Lexapro. I was sick on Lexapro, but gave it a couple of months. Quit it cold-turkey. He moved me to Zoloft in January 2020 (which I had high hopes for as my wife takes it), but that also made me sick. I decided to 'ride it out' for 3 months to see if the side effects went away, but they didn't. During this time I reinstated Klonopin (0.5 mg per day) as only the Buspar was treating my anxiety. I finally decided I was done with Zoloft and tapered off. My psyche doc retired. I got a new psyche doc. He decided we should wipe the slate clean and start new. He recommended I get off the Buspar as I may be experiencing 'Serotonin Resistance'. Began tapering that this summer (July 2020) and, after three months, I am off it (last dose 9/8/2020). I feel terrible, but not all the time. Depression seems to be 'soul crushing' around lunch, but slowly gets better. I feel anxiety when I wake up, That slowly gets worse, but kind of 'ebbs and flows' throughout the day. Muscle pains, cramps, dizziness, but no problem sleeping. Seems like I have problems breathing at times, but I actually don't. I feel bloated and full most of the day, but still manage to eat a bit. My chest hurts (I have a cardiologist so my heart is fine), guts burn and stomach is as hard as a rock at times. Other times (like now), not so much. I exercise when I can (was on the treadmill yesterday and took a long walk Monday). Evening and night seem to be OK. That is when I typically exercise (summer in AZ). My wife and I watch our shows and go to bed. I took 7.5 mg of Buspar this morning just to see what would happen. It seems like I had less physical symptoms such as my stomach, chest and gut felt fine most of today. The 'soul crushing' depression came and went. For that I usually just disassociate with the feeling, watch it as a disinterested third party and it eventually goes away. At least that is what works for now. The anxiety: that remains fairly consistent. Comes and goes in waves. I've been anxious since I was a kid, so I'm kind of used to it. I feel it a lot more since I had my breakdown. The depression SUCKS! I'm not used to that at all. Buspar withdrawals SUCK! Not used to those either. My marriage is still great. It would be nice to have sex again. That is my story. Thanks, again, for your time.
  13. Hi everyone, I’m a 18 years old boy from Italy. After a moderate depressive episode, I got prescribed Zoloft 50mg and EN (delorazepam, a benzo known in only a few countries, with a very high half life) from a psychiatrist. Took the benzo till the Zoloft ticked in, then tapered it without much trouble. It has now been 9 months, I’ve been feeling a lot better than before, but I now wanted to taper. Told my psychiatrist about it, he’s alright with it, and wanted me to take half a pill (25mg) from the day after, for two months, and see how I do. I made him aware of my concern about it, told him that I saw from this website that the best way would be to taper 10% of my dosage, and I ultimately said that the most I would do is taking 37.5mg (3/4). He said he's alright with it, but I would have to wait 2 months between each dosage reduction(never heard about that, let me know the reason if you know), so that would take a long time. My main concern is that either tapering 12.5mg every 2 months or following your advice to taper 10% every couple of weeks would take a long time, I would pretty much end up tapering for as long as I've been taking it, if not more. So, is there any suggestion for tapering faster for someone who has been taking an SSRI for a relatively short time? My main idea would be to reduce 25% of my dosage every 2 weeks. Thanks everyone. Kind regards.
  14. I had sporadic anxiety issues as a teen, maybe even panic episodes, but I didn’t attribute them to a disorder (I’d never heard of such a thing at that time). I just figured I was an ‘anxious person.’ In my early 30s, sometime after my wife and I had our first child, I began having panic attacks at night. I didn’t know what they were and my fear exacerbated the problem. Panic attacks began happening during work, waiting in lines, at theaters, in my car. Eventually, I started reading books about anxiety, saw my doctor, and then started counseling. I got lots of great non-med help, but still felt like my daily life was a fight from morning to night, so I finally accepted that I needed to try medication. I started on Zoloft and was on that for a few years, maybe 5 or 6. Then I switched, with my doctor’s suggestion to Paxil, which I was on for about 7 years. I don’t know my dosage history anymore, but for the last many years I was taking 10mg a day (half a pill). I can’t remember why I made the switch. Over this time anxiety got better. The daily fight dwindled to weekly and then occasionally and I even forgot it was an issue for periods of time, though I would be reminded when I had to be up in front of people, which my job requires. With my wife’s encouragement, I decided to try to wean off Paxil and, with my doctor’s direction, did so over the course of one and half months from November to December 2019. And...everything seemed great for 4-5 months. I couldn’t believe it. I felt just like I had felt under medication-no big issue at all with anxiety (and now I didn’t have any of those pesky side effects from the meds!). But in May 2020 (about 4-5 months after I weaned off the meds) i started waking up feeling anxious-pit in the stomach, like one feels when going to give a speech. There was no ‘thought’ or actual life worry-I just felt anxious every morning. I hadn’t had that experience since I was a teen/early 20 year old. I am 45 right now. Now I wake up nearly every morning at 3:30-4:30am and cannot get back to sleep, no matter how long I lay there. I either wake with the anxiety in my stomach or, if it’s not there right away, it comes on by the time I get up. That anxious stomach feeling can go all the way until 9-11am, sometimes longer, though it eventually is gone by midday. But even though it is gone by midday, it has triggered my body and mind and I feel so susceptible to anxiety throughout my work day that I feel I have come full circle once more and am seeing every work day as a fight just to make it to the end of the day. It’s so exhausted and I feel so helpless and worry that it won’t change. The Lord is my strength and He has helped me get through, but I hope, and it’s why I came to this site, that He may have taken me to this forum to get some insight here.
  15. Hi all, First off, thank you for reading this if you are! Second- nice to meet you, I really feel like I am at a dead end. So many doctors have failed me in so many ways and I'm so tired of dealing with this. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this website. Going to try to sum up my experience with my depression and treatment journey. To start, I've been anxious since I was a kid but only began to realize the weight of my debilitating depression in my late teens/early 20's. In December 2016 I began seeking treatment- therapy for a few months and eventually found a psychiatrist. He prescribed me Lexapro 10mg, since my mom is on it/has been for 10 years; but Lexapro made me feel crazy - like I couldn't be alone and I was scared to do anything and everything. Psychiatrist had me go off cold turkey after almost a full month, until my next appointment a week from then. I was the most depressed I had ever felt and it was scary but I knew it was all chemically induced from stopping the pill. A week later, first week of January 2017 he put me on 50mg of Zoloft which was soon upped to 100mg after a week of taking it. It brought me back to a neutral point emotionally, no longer wanted to die, etc. My sex drive was so low though, and i brought that up 3 more visits, when he put me on 150mg of bupropion/Welbutrin. This solved that problem and this medicine combination had me feeling myself for the first time in a very long time. But it really didn't last too long. A few months in I began getting almost daily headaches so my doctor raised my Zoloft to 150mg in July 2017. That would be lowered back to 100mg in September 2017. Much time has passed and I've been simply getting by on my meds, not paying too much mind but constantly wondering if I'm only on them because I'm physiologically dependent on them. In November 2018, I sought out therapy again, but no longer had a psychiatrist to manage my meds (I saw a few psychiatrists in the interim but they wanted to up my dosages and I felt they weren't taking into consideration any side effects I was mentioning that were now making my antidepressant experience quite miserable). In January 2019, I began experiencing absolutely debilitating migraines many times a month, and after monitoring it for over a year now I can't identify the exact triggers. In October 2019, I saw a primary care doctor for the feelings of dullness and emotional blunting I was thinking was from my meds. She upped my Bupropion to 300mg and I got a little more motivated for life again, but it was so short lived and felt very chemically induced. Like a manic constantly needing to be occupied by something, I'll be watching TV while playing a video game WHILE on instagram or something on my phone. It's wild how hard it is for my brain to just be calm since the dose has been upped. Problem is, she went out of practice literally months into seeing her. Every time I lock in a new doctor, they seem to no longer be at the healthcare facility anymore and it's so exhausting having to find a new doctor to explain all of this to every. single. time. especially when I don't even know if they're actually listening to what I have to say or if they just want to write me a script and send me on my way. In the last 2 years, I have dropped so many friends because i've lost all interest in them as people and I was kind of easily able to move on with my life and be okay with being by my lonesome. I feel less emotionally drained and less worried about social situations in general. I fight with myself about these feelings though, in my head, almost all day every day because I have never been like this. This isn't me. I don't know what I like to do anymore. I am so physically fatigued and I'm 24 and relatively a healthy individual with the exception of what I eat lol. Anyway, I hope this group can help me find some peace with this journey. Thank you if you've read this far.
  16. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  17. Hi--I'm so glad this site exists. I took my last dose of Prozac on December 15, 2018. 3 days later, what I call the Horror, began. I had been on ssri's for over 20 years during which time I had become constantly sick. It never occurred to any doctor that my illnesses were medication related. Eventually I began to link studies of the ssri's to my problems. I tapered over a 6 month span, and now realize with the discovery of SA that it was probably too quick. I'm frightened because I still don't sleep well, suffer from akinesia, bone-crunching depression, suicidal ideation, especially in the night and mornings, tinnitus, extreme weight loss, blurred vision, and obsessive ruminations. This mental state is a million times worse than anything I experienced before starting on Zoloft. At that time, my husband had been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, and during the first 2 years Zoloft did seem to help me cope. After that, it never worked the same, though the dose was consistently increased. Eventually my doctor had read that Zoloft was associated with an increased risk of stroke in those over 60, and he switched me to Prozac. Over these years I lost my hair, had an oophorectomy for cysts on my ovaries, had appendix removed, two heart attacks, and was put on Enalapril for HBP, Metformin for diabetes. I always had digestive problems during this time--including hiccups! And terrible sweating-- Three days after my last dose of Prozac, I was admitted to ER with BP of 250/150ish. Administered clonidine. Back to ER again about a week later with same high BP which had never gone down. My urine was pink. My body and mind could barely function. I was given a diagnosis of Serotonin Syndrome by the ER toxicologist. Since then I have tapered off the Ace inhibitor in 2019, and Metformin, the last dose being in March 2020. About 8 months in, it seemed I might be improving somewhat, but the final withdrawal from Metformin has set me back again. A couple of months ago, the mental nightmare had become so unrelenting I considered reinstating, but haven't. I still can't watch movies, read novels, or enjoy music the way I did. But the good news is that my blood pressure is now normal. This month I've slowly returned to my job part time after nearly a year away. Thank you for all that you all contribute here. I hope I can offer support as well. Your journeys mean a ton to me--life rafts, in fact. Zoloft: 1995 - 2015 Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from July to December) Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019 Enalapril: 2010 - 2019 Lipitor: 2017 -2017 Metformin: 2000 - 2020 Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019 Levothyroxine: 2000 - Happy to be here, Arbor
  18. Hello, I am new to the world of antidepressants but it has been a bad time. I was started on Zoloft in July and had a very bad reaction to the medicine. I was told to take 25mg daily for a week, then 50mg daily onward. Around the time I hit 50mg I started to lose my mind. I was basically set back several years mental health wise and have yet to recover. I had luckily had the foresight to have my dad take my gun before I started the medicine, because I would have killed myself if I hadn't. After explaining this to my psychiatrist, they relented and had me "taper off" the medicine by dropping to 25mg for 4 days then off it entirely. It's been about 2.5 weeks since then, and I have not been doing much better. I still have awful, dark thoughts and intrusive ones that are upsetting as well. My anxiety, which was annoying before, is now completely out of control. My personality has completely shifted. I am not the same person I was and it sucks. I can't enjoy movies, shows, video games, or anything. Every waking second is a new hell of emotional instability. Prior to the medicine, I had issues dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They would come and go and I was relatively alright. Since then, I can not relax even slightly. I have tried everything that normally works, and I am just lost. I even tried getting a medical marijuana card and the marijuana didn't help even slightly. My current life situation isn't helping, but I am unable to change it in the short and long term. Highlights include: -Being treated like dogshit in the military (out now) because my wife was an immigrant and I wasn't reenlisting, and had physical issues -Have to continually get surgery, can barely walk. Can't sit down almost at all, have to stand or lay down. Spend most of my day on my feet. -Wife borderline abusive (started my MH issues), not currently living together for a variety of reasons -Fired from job because my entire department wanted COVID-19 safety things and I was considered "the ringleader." -Denied unemployment (was owed $20,000) -Unable to live on my own due to income being too low (disability check helps but not enough). -FBI had to come and take some of my HDDs that I discovered had govt files on them that I didn't know about -Constant guilt/shame complex All that being said, I was managing things okay for the most part until Zoloft. My psychiatrist basically told me I was being dramatic because I was on it for such a short amount of time and for such a low dose, but it has completely and fundamentally destroyed me as a person. I am still experiencing things like clenching my jaw, nausea, extreme anxiety/depressive states, obsessive thoughts that loop, feelings of guilt / shame, etc. Many of these things did not exist prior to taking the Zoloft. It is supposedly "out of my system" by now, but I can still taste the metallic taste in my mouth and my jaw is in constant pain from clenching. TL;Dr I tried Zoloft for a few weeks and it has destroyed me. Looking for advice, support, and anything anyone is willing to offer. I have not been able to find where to update my signature but I will as soon as I do. Thank you!
  19. Hi everyone I'm Dane, Please scroll down to "Long story short" for antidepressant story or continue for the full picture. 43 year old gay male, from Sydney who has had a couple of years of unstable mental health after being successfully medicated on Zoloft 100mg for around 7-8 years. The dates are foggy. I notice people leave there hx (history) of medications and experiences at the bottom of the posts, if someone could advise me on how to do that, id be very appreciative. Id like to play by the rules. My main issue has always been anxiety. In 1995 I had my first horrific panic attack. And nothing has been the same. My life isn't awful or terrible. I have a lot to be grateful and thankful for, however as time goes on, I'm finding things more difficult. Ive seen this website many times, but felt it was best to join and contribute/learn. I generally have been anxious rather than depressed, however the anxiety and feeling out of control led to me feeling quite down and dark. In my 20's i climbed out of it but when any stress or changes were added like a relationship, a job, a responsibility - I would become overwhelmed with that was being asked of me and get easily stressed and feel like I couldn't cope with life's demands. This has been a common reason for my anxiety. When I hit 30 in 2008 I was really beginning to suffer. I felt very alone, I was job swapping a lot, starting jobs and quitting, very unstable and sexual experiences ramped up. Seeking out novelty and sex and also what's known as "cruising". I then started to feel difficulties just going outside. I was super anxious about even going to the local shops, it got worse and worse and had to be brought back home to live with family. I felt completely failed as a person. I felt i was a burden and couldn't understand why and what was leading me to not be able to cope with life. I developed agoraphobia. I went on Zoloft and that worked for many years. I got two degrees during that time, I graduated, i was working, had friends but never feeling 100 percent. The agoraphobia never really left me at all. Sometimes I could travel long distances and other times I couldn't leave my suburb. Its fluctuates a lot. However I learned to drive a car, and can drive locally and have a job. My issues are finding the right medication or therapist combo. Long story short: 2018 I noticed Zoloft not working as well, I had some challenges with resurfacing anxiety. Went to 200mg, no result. Went onto Lexapro (escitalopram) 20mg, no change really, some side effects. Maybe 20% better. Side note: Ive done pharmacogenomics testing for metabolism of meds (Lexapro a no go anyway). I checked into clinic to wean off it April 2019 and started Effexor at 75mg. Over the course of a year that was increased to 225mg. It would seemingly work for a time at each dose increase and then take a tumble. The other theory I have is that I'm not that depressed really. In April of this year (2020) I went back to switch to Pristiq 100 and Valdoxan was added at 25mg an evening. Pristiq was shown to perhaps work due to metabolism. At the 12 week mark id had mayve 4 or 5 days feeling great. The other times I felt speedy, emotional, numb, sedated, as if the norepinephrine side was working full force, but no the serotonin. I had the energy extreme without the mood. Not fun. I am now down to 50mg Pristiq for two weeks 4-18th of August. I have been given Seroquel 50mg XR to help with the DROP to 0 - in Australia you cannot get 25mg doses. Now Seroquel has worked as PRN but will it work coming off the Pristiq? I'm feeling very poly medicated. And feel I need a HUGE scale back. Medication Journey: 5 medications August 2020 Zoloft 100mg 2012 - 2018 (stopped working) Increased to 200mg (no effect) Escitalopram 20mg Dec 2018 - no noticeable effect except side effects Venlafaxine started April 2019: 75mg (6 weeks) 112mg (6 weeks) 150 (3 months) 187.5 (3 months) 225 (7 weeks.) Each dose increase it just kept failing after an initial boost/response Pristiq 100mg & Valdoxan 25mg (May 2020) Pristiq 50mg & Valdoxan 25mg (August 2020 - due to side effects)
  20. Dev1322

    Dev1322: Tinnitus

    I was on 20 mg of Lexapro and 1.5 mg of Xanax daily for postpartum depression. In February of 2020 I was down to 1.0 mg of Xanax. I began tapering both medicines as I was having some Serotonin Syndrome issues. Once I taped down to 15 mg and .75 mg I began having tinnitus. I am now on 100 mg of Zoloft and .25 mg of Xanax (I am tapering the Xanax still). I still have tinnitus and want any advice on what to do to help. Will it eventually go away? I have been on the 100 mg of Zoloft consistently for almost 7 weeks.
  21. My names Noman, 21. I took Anafranil Lexapro Zoloft Venlafaxine Prozac over the course of 1 year. Now i have SSRI and SNRI withdrawl. Putting aside the other withdrawl symtpoms, the worst one it eye It feels as if I cannot open my eyes, when I do my eye muscles from my brain to my eye feel like they want to force shut, and i get this irriation. This leads to eye pressure, eye blood rush, eye weakness, eye cant focus, etc. I know for sure its withdrawl symptom because wheni went on prozac, it went away. Has anybody else experineced this, if so, is it dangeros? does it go away? please share
  22. Hi All - Glad to have found this group. I have been taking anti-depressants now for almost 20 years. I am a 45 year old female from Washington state, USA. I'm gainfully employed, in a stable marriage, have a smart, funny kid, have a good social circle with supportive friends - and you would never know by looking at me (or my fakebook profile) the struggles I've had with anti-depressant medications. It is a subject I do not talk about, except with my doctor and therapist. I am at a point in my life now where I am seriously considering tapering off - but I am scared. Here's my history (note that this entire 20 year span I have been in counseling. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. I have switched counselors a few times but for the most part going to therapy has been pretty consistent - and has been a big help). Age 19 (1994) - diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder while in college. Suffered very scary panic attacks. Given xanax - 0.5mg - I never took it. I was afraid of it. I tried to calm my nerves through exercise, prayer, meditation, chamomile tea, nutritional supplements and talk therapy. It worked on and off - but about every six months I would have an episode of panic attacks that would last for a few weeks, then would subside. Depression / mental illness does run in my family - and I made note of that. Age 26 (2000) - Got married to husband #1. After wedding started having really bad panic attacks - debilitating. I was ready for an SSRI - desperate to feel better. Primary doc put me on Zoloft 50mg. It helped. I was panic free for about 2-3 years, but was gaining weight and did not have a libido. Weaned off the zoloft rather quickly in an every other day format (dr recommended) - and within a few weeks - my panic attacks were back. Went back on Zoloft - now up to 100mg. Age 31 (2005) - Got divorced. Still on Zoloft 100mg daily. Experiencing significant weight gain. A friend told me about "zoloft gut" which freaked me out and I decided I wanted to try something different. Doc put me on Wellbutrin. Tapered off the zoloft quickly, and onto the wellbutrin (don't remember dose, sorry) - the wellbutrin was horrible for me. My emotions were all over the place. Erratic behavior, mood swings, crying spells, very irritable, heightened sensitivity. Called doc and she took me off the wellbutrin - and put me back on the zoloft - now 150mg. Age 35 (2010) - Got married to husband #2. Got pregnant. Reduced zoloft to 25mg during pregnancy. No symptoms - felt good during pregnancy Age 36 (2011) - Post pardum depression hit. Upped zoloft back to 100mg. Age 38 (2013) - Very deep depressions, cyclical - PMDD - about a week prior to menstruation would drop to suicidal ideation, lethargy - coud barely get out of bed. Very scary. Found a new doc, a Psychiatric ARNP - she suggested I switch to Lexapro - so I weaned off the zoloft and onto the lexapro. It didn't really help - still having deep dips of depression (but no mania - not bipolar). She augmented the lexapro with lamictal - that helped in the beginning. It pulled me out of the deep dips of depression. However, the side effects were brutal. Age 40 (2015) - Still on lexapro and lamictal - Cognitive issues abound - my once quick as a whip, smart, high functioning brain - was forgetting the word for simple everyday things - I'd go to open a folder on my computer, and could not remember why - I'd look at a stapler on my desk and it would take me a few seconds to think of the word "stapler". It freaked me out. I went to a new psychiatrist (as I just didn't have a good feeling about the psych ARNP) - and she said "why did you go off the zoloft in the first place". She took me off the lexapro, and put me back on zoloft 100mg. She reduced my lamictal but didn't take me off - just to see if maybe a lower dose would help with side effects. Age 41 (2016) - Cognitive issues still there, but maybe a bit less due to lesser dose of Lamictal. Decided I wanted off lamictal. Dr. weaned me off slowly - and I didn't really have withdrawals. My cognitive function improved, but it is still not back to where it was prior to taking Lamictal in the first place. Went back to taking just 100mg zoloft. Age 43 (2018) - Have experienced significant weight gain. Made the decision to have weight loss surgery. Had gastric bypass and talked to psych about the malabsorbtion issues now that my stomach has been re-routed. She suggested I go up to 200mg zoloft. I was against it - I wanted to take it down... but I trusted her, so went up to 200 mg. Age 44 (2019) - My mother passed away - we were very close. I started having troubles with alcohol (a nasty risk of gastric bypass patients you don't hear enough about). So - in 2019 I made the decision to quit drinking. Sober now for 9 months and working the AA program successfully with a sponsor. Still on 200 mg zoloft. Age 45 (current) - For about six weeks I have been feeling depressed and physically lethargic (could it beeeeeee QUARANTINE!?). My counselor screened me for depression and I scored "moderate to severe". She suggested I go see my psychiatrist in case my medication needs tweaking. So - I saw the psychiatrist (virtually). She suggested two options - I augment the 200mg zoloft with 2mg Abilify or I go on Effexor. I am VERY apprehensive to do either. I don't want to be on either - especially Abilify. Deep down I feel like I should reduce the zoloft and very slowly work towards being off anti-depressants completely - but psych tells me no. My therapist tells me to trust my gut. I am telling me to trust my gut. GOD is telling me to trust my gut. But - psychiatrist tells me no. My gut tells me I can handle it and what once worked for me is not working for me anymore. I have grown up a lot over the last 20 years. SO - I am confused. How much of this is just grief from my mother being gone and the fact we are in a quarantine? Should I trust my gut here and reduce the zoloft? feel very trapped in this viscious cycle. I am in a much more stable place today - especially with my anxiety. I have not suffered a panic attack in well over a decade. I have done extensive therapy, EMDR for some childhood trauma, my weight is stable, I am sober, and I have confidence I can handle the hard things. I feel like I just have been listening to what doctors and psychiatrists tell me to do for years out of fear and out of mistrust of myself and the "what if I'm wrong" question that's constantly in my head... I just want some honest feed back from people who have been there done that. I know the decision is ultimately in my hands but if you relate, have experiences or thoughts on this please share. I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!! -Freeburrd
  23. Mikefeelworst

    Mikefeelworst: Need help. I am so scared.

    Suffering depersonalization after Pristiq withdrawal I had been on Pristiq for a year I came off my last dose 12.5mg(1/4) pristiq.My doctor told me it was safe.Because I took it for two months. But I still starting develop depersonalization. Two weeks later, I know that I need to take it again. I called my doctor and he told me starting again from 50mg pristiq.I already took them for eight weeks. And my doctor added zoloft from 25mg to 50 mg around one week since last month 28th. My mind is blank and emotion is numb. Don't care about anything.I am just 18 years old. Now I Living like a zombie. Even I go to the gym every day. I don't know how many time it need to take to recover. Doctor don't believe me. Even my family. They think that I am thinking too much... I am really scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. I can't take care myself in the future. I need to pretend that I am fine front of them. I don't know How much time I have left. I am ready for develop to Intellectual disability.
  24. Mikefeelworst Hi everyone, I am Mike. I just joined here. I am 18 years old. I got diagnosed depression and anxiety one year ago. And I spent one year on Pristiq. When I get better, my doctor decreased it to 25mg, I remember that I spent two months on it. Then I came off it. The nightmare is begin. At the first few days I started insomnia, don't want to eat, those symptoms are not terrible. After that I starting to become a zombie.Everyday is getting worse. Emotion numb, mind blank,. So I know that I have to take it again. So I starting again on last month 1st and added zoloft on 28th until now. Now, I am still emotion numb and my brain is very bad. Few days ago I just met my doctor, I told him I 'lost emotion experience' he don't believe me. He said those symptoms is impossible to happen on me. My family don't believe me too they think that I really want to sick wtf. They think I am just depression , anxiety and think too much. I think that I have got schizophrenia negative after withdrawal. I am so scare now. My mind is blank and I scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. And I am worry that I can't take care myself in the future. I don't know is that the side effect or something. Anyone experienced exactly the same thing like me? I don't want my life end in here.
  25. Usedtolovelife I know everyone is different but can anyone tell me of their experience coming off of a high dose of Zoloft. I have been taking 150 mg for anxiety and depression for about a year. I do not want to be on it much longer as honestly I do not believe it is helping me. I of course plan to work with my doctor with regards to withdrawal but was just hoping to get some thoughts. Thank you.
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