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  1. Hi, I’m new to this site. Eight years ago, I tapered as directed by my Doctor from Celexa (he had switched me from Paxil), but the taper was too fast. I began feeling extreme neck pain, constant brain zaps, irritability, crying spells, flu-like symptoms, ringing in my ears, noise sensitivity, anxiety, migraines, and more. I was so hell-bent on being drug-free, that I white-knuckled these symptoms in hope they would eventually subside. They never did. After 7.5 months of misery, I decided to reinstate to Prozac in hopes of easing my symptoms. However, they never did. Currently taking 25mg Pristiq, 2mg Abilify, and 300 mg GABA. It has been hell trying to get off of the Abilify. The goal is to get off of all these drugs. Fast-forward eight years, and the extreme neck pain developed into chronic back pain & inflammation. I am disabled & can’t work at the moment due to all the physical pain, as well as from PTSD, depression, & anxiety. I am 49 years old, and I was completely healthy before the withdrawal. Do these protracted withdrawal symptoms ever go away, or am I screwed for life? Any advice, guidance, support, feedback & direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading my story.
  2. I have been suffering from this unique sleeping disorder. I dream whole night continuously and wakeup exhausted every morning. Most of the people think it's any kind of psychological disorder even doctors just prescribe antidepressants and sleeping pills. Familly members are supportive but they could only give advice like wake early, do exercise. I nearly browsed the whole internet to get an ultimate cure for this problem but got nothing except "the change your routine"advice. There are many old forums where people discussed the similar problem but now they are closed without any conclusion. I have this problem from 2013 when I was searching a job During that time I felt some anxiety so went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed me 1.Clozapam 2. Paxip Cr/Citalopram. after some days i stopped it abrupty and from that day i didnot sleep a dreamless night.
  3. Brooke Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to finally be posting here. I've been lurking here and there since 2016, when I first found Surviving Antidepressants when I was considering getting off of the Effexor XR and Wellbutrin XL I'd been taking from age 15-30. Like so may of you, withdrawal was hell on Earth. I experienced everything from homicidal visions to extreme noise sensitivity to rage to a bizarre blood vessel disorder called nodular vasculitis. Combined with the tsunami of pain and trauma that came gushing out after I removed my antidepressant band aid, and I was a barely functioning, terrified mess with no psychiatric support. I was lucky, though, to have some resources outside the traditional mental health system that helped me work through my experience, and today I am proud to say that I consider myself cured of chronic depression haven't taken a prescription drug since 2016. It's taken me until now to actually participate in the forum because I needed to know that I was in a solid place. So much of the internet (I'm looking at you Twitter...) can be a triggering environment, and had to make sure that I could mentally handle it. But I trust in the work I've put in, and I'm ready! I say all this not to boast, but to wave from the distance and do my best to act as an example of success. I know that when I was in withdrawal and working through all the trauma, I would have done anything to know that there were people out there who were thriving after spending half their life on antidepressants. Instead, it felt like I was in uncharted waters. I wrote about this for the Washington Post earlier this year, and the flood of support and stories I got in response was overwhelming and heartbreaking. Anyway, happy to answer any questions, and much love to you all. Brooke
  4. masa998899 Hello. Im new here and my english is not perfect. My story is 11 years of citalopharm 20mg. I didnt have any information or support on this matter so this is what ive tried to do by myself. 2012 CT That caused me total burnout. After that i started again with 10mg. 2015 i started to smaller the dose by cutting the 10mg pill smaller and smaller by month and i stopped taking it completely after 2017 Ive had two times since then that my anxiety was so high that i got desperate and took 5mg dose only for a single day. My question is, has that set back my recovery? 2020 now and i have all kinds of wd symptoms and trying to keep living day by day. If taking that one 5mg pill means i now have CT should i just roll with it. Been 1 year now since that happened.
  5. Sycamore Hi there everyone! First of all, I want to thank the ones who made this forum, and all those who have posted – this is basically the only platform where those of us who want to quit these pills can get some understanding, information and knowledge, and this is so very important as the official information from doctors and medical sites are downright denying the truth of what it means to come off these pills. In my case I discovered it a bit too late, five and a half years into withdrawal having suffered tremendously and I really wish I knew about it sooner- it could have made it easier to understand that these reactions was not me, but reactions from a wrecked nervous system. Oh well. I will attempt to tell my story: I was taken to a doctor after a suicide attempt at age 15. I had been severely depressed for more than a year, lost 10 kilos, lost my period and generally living in a heavy darkness that never seemed to lift. After I started, 60mg of Zoloft, I remember feeling a bit better, for about 8-10 months. However, after that I got worse. I developed severe anxiety; I had anxiety to begin with, mostly panic attacks but after starting the pill I believe it got worse I got agitated, fidgety, and very nervous, and my depression also came back so the doctor increased the Zoloft up to 200 mg. Then I started getting hallucinations. The doctor put me on antipsychotics: 800 mg of Seroquel and 100 mg of Solian, as well as reducing the Zoloft to 100 mg. She did tell me, before I left her office, that my symptoms could be a reaction to Zoloft. In hindsight, I think that is exactly what it was. However, I was already deep in medication, and trusting of the therapists’ methods, so I did not see it at the time – also, I was 17 and desperate. Anyway, after begging to quit the antipsychotics – I was drowsy and sluggish, couldn’t understand what people were saying to me, couldn’t concentrate on reading and I had to quit school because of this – and gained 30 kg as well. I stopped taking them after two years of being on them. Quitting cold turkey was not smart, but no doctor or therapist supported it – actually they threatened me with not getting any treatment if I refused to take them - so that’s what I had to do. I continued Zoloft, after some years I asked to switch to a different one, Fontex (fluoxetine). This one I tapered down extremely slowly – I think I spent about two years of cutting down little by little. I had previously tried to cut them and not managed because of the debilitating symptoms, so I understood that I had to ignore my doctor’s advice and go very slowly. In November 2015, after 10 years on antidepressants I took my final dose. I was, however not aware of the withdrawal phenomenon – I interpreted everything coming as my “real” condition surfacing. I suffered bone pain, electric jolts through my body, intense headaches, pain in the collarbone, anger, mood swings, pressure on the eyeballs and an anxiety worse than I could ever have imagined – I was constantly on the edge. Akathisia, rumination (I was spinning around past mistakes that kept me paralyzed and at the same time extremely agitated and unable to do anything – at one point I didn’t leave my house for 8 months), couldn’t sit down to concentrate on anything, deep, heavy depressions that never lifted (one lasted almost two years without windows) anhedonia, depersonalization, derealization and two years after quitting, I got hypomania, and then again two years after. At the time I thought I had bipolar disorder, but after having read that mania is a symptom of withdrawal, I am thinking that maybe that was it. I don’t know. I have been working with meditation for three years which has helped a great deal. Only now, after five years, have the intense debilitating anxiety somewhat lifted, and I can at least do simple things like take walks and do shopping etc. Becoming aware of withdrawal gave me a new perspective on myself and my condition, and made it easier to treat myself with some patience and love, and of course, get some bloody hope. So a big thank you to everyone on this forum!
  6. Hi there This is my first post here so apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong place. I'm currently in withdrawal from citalopram which I stopped taking 18 months ago. For the first 6 to 9 months I had the windows and waves pattern. But from around 9 months off the medication onwards the windows and waves have stopped and I've been in a constant state win a number of symptoms. My symptoms are insomnia, lack of appetite stomach and bowel problems, complete emotional blunting, constant sexual dysfunction, fatigue, eyesight problems like blurred vision and some visual disterbance particularly in my left eye and there are other symptoms but those are the main ones. I'm in a constant state with these symptoms which I have been in for around a year now with no windows and waves at all. I'm just a little bit confused about why I'm not getting the windows and waves anymore and what this means or if anyone else has any experience with this? I know the windows and waves are a commonly reported part of this so I'm a bit confused about why I'm not getting this anymore. If anybody knows anything on this subject would be great to hear from you. Thanks and take care xx
  7. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Ichabod: Could somebody help? Benzo problems Hello guys, I am new here. I do apologise in advance for my English (I am italian). I would prefer not to bother you with my personal experience as it is probably similar to many others you got across, but I d need some encouragement because I am alone in this struggle. Briefly... I went on Paroxetine ten years ago for panic attacks. It helped but the side effects were brutal. I tried many times to quit it but I experienced all the withdrawal symptoms that my doctor confused with relapse and that scared me to hell and he always put me back on it. Two years ago I met a girl I felt in love with and I decided to quit it once for all, no matter what (primarily because of the sexual side effects). I asked my doctor to help me and he said to come off of it in a month (like I did the other times). I tried it again but what I felt was overwhelming. So I decided to do it by myself tapering slowly using a liquid form. It took me 7 months of pain but I really didn't know what to do and I couldn't find anybody to help while my doctor continued saying to go back on it. I felt really debilitated but after I finished tapering I noticed I was still in prolonged withdrawal. That was a shock because I was always reassured that once the drug was out of my body I would have been ok. I took my last dose on july 2019. I kept using klonopin as prescribed but I noticed I was really sick. Finally, in january, after a lot of research I found Professor Giovanni Fava who told me that I was in post acute withdrawal syndrome. It was a sort of relief being validated finally but also terrifying. I started researching and what I found out was shocking...people in withdrawal for years, pssd... it was to much. I started thinking about suicide. I was in a really bad place. Giovanni Fava's plan is to help me get rid of all this addiction so he put me on 5mg of amitriptyline in order to stabilize the situation a little bit while tapering klonopin. Then he will take me off amitriptyline . I am writing you in order to ask some encouragement and reassurance because I am completely alone (I have no family) and I don't know how long my girlfriend will stay by my side (she is getting tired of seeing me sick and she would like to plan a future. I don't blame her... plus, sex is pretty bad. I had moments when it was great followed by long periods of time when it was non existent. I don't function like I did and I really don't know if this is pssd or still withdrawal and if I will ever get back to normal). I feel betrayed by the modern medicine... if I knew what could have happened I would have never took Paxil in the first place. I came across this website and decided to write you in order to find some tips on how to go on in life and to ask you if it will ever get better. For sure I developed now sone sort of ptsd. Sorry I bothered and thank you in advance.
  8. I was incredibly ignorant and did not realise how important it was to taper off mirtazapine, and basically came off 30mg cold turkey at the start of January. I KNOW this is a huge mistake and I didn't realise it at the time and my doc didn't think anything of it either. I had no physical symptoms to speak of like a headache or dizziness or brain zaps or anything like that, so I thought I was fine. However, since coming off mirtazapine, I have had terrible anhedonia and emotional numbness, zero motivation and energy, zero appetite and significant sexual dysfunction/low libido. These were not symptoms for me during or prior to taking mirtazapine. It has almost been four months now and have seen little improvement. I am very concerned but want to stay positive. Can you please tell me if there is a way out of this for me? Thank you so much. (The one thing that helps in all of this is vitamin D3, however it seems to lose its effectiveness if I take it too many days in a row, so it's not a sustainable solution for me.)
  9. I started using Lustral 50 mg & Abilify 5 mg when it was 2012.I stopped taking my medicines for many times and I have never had any withdrawal effects on my body.But when it was 2016 Summer, after I stopped using them again (I didn't even know what tapering was in that time) I got a mania attack.It was like after 3-4 months of stopping my medicines cold turkey.After my first mania attack, my doctor thought that it was bipolar disorder and he wanted me to use Depakine.I refused using that medicine and i continued using Abilify + Lustral at same dosages.But when it was 2017 Summer, I did the same thing as I did when it was 2016 and I got a mania attack one more time.It was much more bad than the first one and I was feeling so anxious and even if I was feeling like there was no problem, I had to continue using my medicines because of my massive anxiety.My dose was always the same.I refused getting higher all the time.I was feeling like it was okay to stop using them abruptly because of the doses of my medicines.But I was completely wrong. After my second mania attack, my doctor asked me to use Depakine one more time because of my second attack.I guess he thought me that I was bipolar but I didn't have any mania history before I started using these medicines. Anyways, when it was 2018 January, after I used them for a while again, I stopped them abruptly one more time and I got withdrawal symptoms for the first time and I didn't even know it was withdrawal.I tried to go on like this for 2 months but I was feeling dizzy.I had to do something and that's why I decided to go to another psychiatrist.I tried to explain the thing I was suffering from but she couldn't understand what I was trying to say.She thought that I was anxious and depressed and she gave me Wellbutrin + Abilify 5 mg.I can't remember dose of Wellbutrin but I guess it was the lowest dose.After Wellbutrin made me angry and furious, she decided to change it to Prozac and I started to use Prozac + Abilify. It has been for 2 months like this and I started to have some jerky movements in my fingers and arms and I realized that there was a problem with my vision.(like blurred vision) I have high myopia and I've been using contact lenses for years maybe it was about it I don't know but my dizziness and light-headedness were gone.I can see now that it was about withdrawal and after she put me on these medicines I was feeling better even if these minor problems.But after 2 months I started to feel uncomfortable again and I stopped my medicines abruptly one more time. Unfortunately, I started to get the withdrawal effects again but I decided to continue like this even if I was suffering.(It was the biggest mistake which I made. ). There was no one who understood what was happening to me and I couldn't understand too.When I realized it was about withdrawal it was too late. I stopped using them when it was July 2018 and now it's April 2020.I couldn't get healed at all.I don't have anxiety or bipolar problems but I have problems with my muscles and my coordination.Jerky movements on my fingers are still on and got worse.My vision got worse too and they got worse gradually. I started to lose my hope about my healing process.What do you think about it? Is there a chance for me to get healed or is it a brain damage which is serious to get rid off? Your opinions are so important for me please let me know what you think about my situation. Thanks.
  10. Hello. Wanted to share my story. I am working in IT industry and in 2016 I had a very stressful work environment. I also did not have any romatic relationships for like 7 years (was 27 I think at this time). I also had severe acne in the past which left severe scars on my face. This resulted to low self esteem and after multiple rejections I stopped trying to date. Due to situation at work, I developed panic attacks and heart arythmia and even collapsed 3 times from it in public. All heart tests were showing nothing wrong and my doctor thought it was caused by stress/anxiety. I was prescribed Seroxat, but don't remeber the dosage. At first I felt great: had uplifted mood, picked up some new hobbies, heart arythmia was also gone. However, my libido was non existant and later I became tired all the time. I was sleeping long hours, but in the morning it felt like I couldn't move or get up and was feeling extremely dizzy. I overslept work meetings many times due to this. This is when I decided to stop antidepressants. I don't remember exactly how I went off it. I think I started taking decreased dosage while skipping some days entirely. I had some severe diziness when going off the drugs. I can't really remember how long I was on the drugs, about a year maybe until 2018 or so. So now its 2020, been off the drugs for 2 years or so. The post withdrawal symptoms that I experience is extreme apathy, no motivation, no drive, extremely disorganized and even more extreme memory problems. I work in software development, so there is constant learning needed. When I read some technical papers I forget everything about a week later. And it actually is for anything, not only IT related subjects. For example I have googled what hakuna matata means about 5 times in the last year and after a week I forget it again. Can't remember it now for example. I watch a lot of movies but forget the plot in a week. One of my hobbies is flying drones which involves some electric skills. I was reading so much about it but after a no flying winter I have forgotten a lot of it already even though I am actually passionate about this. My older memories from childhood which were so clear 5 years ago seems also very distant and lacking details now. Even the software projects that I developed myself and had deep knowledge of the code when actively developing it is gone after several weeks. It seems that I cannot retain information anymore. I phase out during meetings and have trouble keeping large complex systems in my memory. I can only work on a smaller scale, not grasping the whole system at any time.. Sometimes coworkers ask me a question about solution that I developed and my head is completely empty, I need like 20 minutes to sort everything in my head before I can answer initial questions. Due to this, I feel I am not progressing in my career and have to work 3 times more compared to my colleagues due to constantly having to reread material which I forgot. I also have poor organisational skills. I often don't have willpower to finish my taxes on time, to perform administrative tasks at work like planning vacations, organising meetings etc. A week or so ago I actually had a romantic encounter, but couldn't get fully erect or feel anything during the act. Before seroxat I had a very strong sex drive which is now pretty much gone. I also loved video games. But now they bore me after 5 minutes:/ Actually I was playing semi competitively in my teens/university years and I was very good at them. Now any new game I try seems not only boring but overwhelmingly complex with details that do not matter to me. I might actually have undiagnosed ADD or some other autistic spectrum disorder as I had some memory problems, brain fog and poor social skills all my life. But after stopping seroxat it seems that my problems increased tenfold:/ Now my socials skills seem to suffer more from the fact that I simply cannot remember relevant event from the past or even appropriate word and can't contribute much to the conversation. Anyone thinks this could be caused by paroxetine? For me it seems that my brain was left in some incomplete state after the drugs lol.. Any suggestions what I could try to get my life back on track? I will try to read existing posts to find answers, but there is so much information so it will take some time.
  11. Hi everyone I've suffered with post SSRI sexual dysfunction for the last 7 years. This is obviously a misleading term, as there are other side effects that aren't sexual, such as anhedonia and memory loss, poor cognitive functioning. I suffered with ED while I was on citalopram, but after I tapered off it, lost all sexuality and all the other stuff. :0( I wanted to join the forum to get some support from others sufferers, but also because I want to encourage participation in patient surveys which are forming the basis of scientific research into conditions such as PSSD, Post Accutane syndrome and Post Finasteride syndrome. I'm also trying to do my best to network to raise awareness of the condition amongst researchers. I'll leave that for now, since I guess I'd better let members and moderators get accustomed to me first. :0) I wish everyone well, especially in this increasingly difficult times, and hope we can work together to make some positive changes.
  12. Posting this to encourage you that it can be done. I didn't think I'd recover from my horrible withdrawal. I was going to try and reinstate, but it seemed like it was too late, everything was already so screwed up and it felt like was no going back at that point. I was on Effexor for 18 years. I went on it the first year it was released in the US. It's been almost 10 years now since my last dose. I gradually tapered over a two year period and I did pretty well up until I was down to less than 10 beads, and then my nervous system went totally haywire and it took years to recover. The two main problems I developed from quitting were very bad anxiety and disturbed sleep. I would wake up anxious after like two to four hours of sleep. Sometimes, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep at all. Both sleep and anxiety gradually improved, in an up and down manner. The anxiety eventually went away. Sleep improved, but I'm not the best sleeper. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was unable to tolerate cpap. I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through. On good days, I'll sleep more than six hours straight through. On bad days which aren't that often, I'll sleep less than five hours. But when I don't sleep well, I no longer freak out too much about it. I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours, but it's straight through and I wake up calmly instead of in a panic. Below are a few things that helped me. Wishing you all the best of luck with your taper and great health. 1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on another group, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself." http://nothingworks.weebly.com/ 2. For sleep, I use a sound machine. Here's the machine I originally used. Eventually I ended up making my own custom solution with an old laptop. But this machine worked well for me, and I gave one to my mother and it made a give improvement in her sleep too. Link: Lectrofan 3. Meditation. I started seriously meditating at some point during my taper, and never stopped. I try to do it twice a day everyday. I did/do it more for spiritual/religious reasons, but I've got to think that it must have helped in some way regarding anxiety and maybe even sleep too. ADMIN NOTE Tom's Introductions topic is here
  13. 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?
  14. I wish I had discovered this forum before, I feel that it is now too late for me, I made so many mistakes out of desperation and not knowing what I was dealing with, I regret it, I don't know if my brain will return to normal after all this mess. It all started in 2010, I had just turned 17, and after years of bullying at school and depression I went to a psychiatrist who put me on 20 mg paxil, I felt good in the first two weeks, after I felt terrible, I became apathetic, without emotions, with anhedonia, without libido, depersonalized, I complained to the doctor but he said it would get better, so I supported it. after 6 months he added bupropion, he couldn't sleep, he felt panic all the time, he was going crazy, I changed the doctor, lowered paxil to 10 mg and added a benzo and amitriptyline, I felt good for a month, then everything went bad again he I removed amitriptyline and benzo and remained in paxil for another 6 months, and I felt terrible. my doctor removed the paxil in two weeks and said that I shouldn't take any more medication, hell was the withdrawal, but I endured it, I never felt the same again, anhedonia, emotional dullness, without libido, bad cognition. I noticed some small improvements over the next year, I did not know that I should have withdrawn slowly, I did not know that my brain could take years to heal. I was desperate for a cure, doctors and psychologists told me it was all psychological, after a year without medication, I took 1 month of mirtazapine, no improvement, and 1 month of trazodone, 1 month of tianeptine. Knowing what I know today I would say I had pssd, but at the time I didn't know. 2012 I managed to fall in love, but my brain still had all the symptoms of pssd, and sometimes I had erotic dreams, my cognition was better, but libido, anhedonia still very bad. 2013, sometimes I had mild moments of sexual excitement, I started drinking a lot for the next few years, I used MDD, one day and everything seemed to return to normal, except my libido, I used LSD once too, and I felt great except libido. 2014, I could watch TV, my anhedonia was better, cognition was better, sometimes I fell in love and sometimes I felt passion, but the sexual part was still very bad. 2015 and 2016 same thing as 2014 basically. 2017, I started to get desperate again, I wanted to recover my old self, I discovered the pssd forum, and I started testing drugs, I took pramipexole 0.375 mg, for a month, in the first two weeks it resolved my anhedonia but then it stopped working. I took inositol and did nothing. 2018, in January I went to an andrologist, gave me a cocktail of herbs and cialis and it didn't work. In April I took venvanse for a month, with no effect. In May I started St. John's wort, it seemed like it was healing me, everything was getting better, libido returned, genital anesthesia disappeared, so I went to a music festival, I wanted to enjoy it, (they gave me a drug pill, which I thought was mdma) , I started to feel very strange, (it was serotonergic syndrome, but I only discovered a lot afterwards), the next day my libido was very high, nymphomaniac, I had brain zaps, muscle spasms, I took the pill again, and I was very crazy, the next day I no longer had the benefits of the herb of san joao that was healing me and my pssd was worse, much more apathetic, without any libido, the serotonin syndrome got worse, I was confused, I had a seizure. I interrupted the herb, in the following 3 months, my pssd had worsened a lot, greater apathy, tinnitus and constant headache, the herb had more effect. In October 2018, I went to a clinic and took 1200mg of ibogaine, hoping to improve, it was a bad experience, despite feeling drugged for the next 3 months, but in the end I didn't get better. January 2019, I took 1800mg of servo de sao joao at night, I felt a heat in my brain that ran through my body, anhedonia and emotional dullness passed, the anesthesia in the penis disappeared, and I had a little libido, but it only lasted one one day, I tried other St. John's wort, but it never had that effect again. March 2019, for a moment I felt great libido and attraction to a person, even without taking any medication. July 2019, I tried parnate, it didn't help, October 2019 I started parnate, the first two weeks were wonderful, without anhedonia, better mood, although sexual function was not recovered, it lost the effect, except for a slightly better mood, I increased the dose up to 80mg in January, reduced it to 0 by a month, and stopped taking it. 2020, urologist prescribed, testosterone injectable every 10 days, improves erection, but did nothing for libido. Sorry, it was too long, but I tried to say everything, I think I should have given my brain time to heal on its own, as you recommend here, but I was desperate for a cure, and I was stuffed with medicines, and I interrupted the natural process, I think I messed things up a lot. mainly after the serotonin syndrome I lost almost all the little progress I made in years, I no longer have erotic dreams and I became more apathetic and I lost the 10% of libido that was still left, now I know I made a mistake, after 10 years ... my current symptoms are: no libido, apathy, emotional dullness, anhedonia, loss of penis sensitivity, and chronic tension headache. Can I still recover after all this mess?
  15. Hello, i just joined this group looking for help/information. I have been 5 months clean from Celexa / Ativan. Except for 3 ativan and 2 days in jan i took celexa again thinking ivshould go back on then realizing it doesnt fix the depression. It has been a whirlwind with no advice or understanding of what to expect. I was on it for over 10 years and maybe more..started on meds at 21 and now in my 50th. Anybody on here can tell me a bit of what to expect, how to help with the withdraals, what withdrwals they had. I know not to take any herbs. All i take is probiotics and enzymes. My stomach is a mess, my whole body sches still sense of helplessness, brain is finished zapping but it hurts and lots of ringing, shakiness. I did not get advice from a doctor. March 2109 i tried pristiq for 3 months then went back on celexa and only maybe 4 weeks did the tapering. Regret that now but its been 5 months off. Thanks for listening. Ella
  16. Hello, Everyone iam new to this forum i thougt it would be a good idea to introduce my selv. Iam actually from Germany but live in Norway. I had Panicattacks for years which lead to Antidepressants for a duration of 9 mabe 10 years or so. I have been off meds for almost 2 years now but have a really hard time. Sorry for my bad English i try as god as i can and what my Brain at times is capable of.
  17. Last August I couldn’t sleep without Xanax. I would wait sometimes until 6/7am to try and avoid the benzo. I quickly realized a problem was occurring becoming reliant on Xanax and instead of working through it, I cold turkey’ed both the maoi I’ve been on for years (Nardil) and the Xanax....biggest mistake of my life. I suffered for months with a laundry list of crazy side effects, but I was determined to “muscle through it.” Things have only gotten worse. I noticed in the fall I was sensitive to alcohol and 1 drink would throw me off for days. A few weeks ago desperate to feel better, I took Sam-E, a lot of CBD oil, and tablet of Nardil, and quickly flipped into a hypertensive crisis (likely from serotonin syndrome) in the ER with my heartrate at 140. Not good. Things escalated from there; I tried to reinstate on the Xanax occasional use, which only made things worse. Hours after each dose, I seemed to go right back into acute withdrawal; each exposure to the Xanax was more painful and crazy, including hallucinating, delirium tantrums, severe akisthesia, hypertension and unrelenting panic and anxiety. For days. Multiple ER visits and doctor appointments resulted in more benzos, making everything worse. Realizing my CNS has been kindled (subsequent withdrawals being worse and increasingly dangerous), I have since stopped the Xanax and all supplements. The acute episodes have subsided and now I’m just very shaken and confused. I’m not really working or functioning at the moment, mostly bedridden. I haven’t slept in weeks (most nights just 1-2 hours max). I feel like my life is in free fall. I seem sensitive to everything; one supplement now throws me completely off. Sugar and gluten are also major triggers. My game plan for the moment is to give my body a little time to chill. No pills, just food and water. My hope is to try to reinstate on the Nardil at a tiny dose, but I’m petrified it won’t work given how sensitive my system now is. I’ve also thought about gabapentin, given I tolerated it well before. A doctor I saw recommended lamictal. Reinstating on any benzo is clearly off the table given the paradoxical reactions I’ve had. Should I try a low dose of the Nardil or is my system kindled and now will not tolerate any of it? Should I just try something new like lamictal or gabapentin to calm things down? I need some freakin’ relief / normalcy. This is insanity. I don’t care about being off meds, I just want my life back and happy to slowly taper from there. I feel desperate. I also am trying to manage all of these big different changes going on in my personal life, it is extremely difficult to do this during withdrawal. I appreciate any ideas and input. Thx you!
  18. Hi Everyone, A year ago I never thought I would be writing this, but I am here to tell you that HEALING IS POSSIBLE! Here is my story; I hope it helps... Like many of you on here, I was prescribed an antidepressant (the SSRI Paxil) after going through a period of prolonged stress that left me anxious and depressed (though, ironically, nothing even close to how depressed and anxious I was AFTER coming off the Paxil and going into a prolonged withdrawal). I was extremely hesitant to go on anything that would, “mess around with my brain chemistry” because I use my brain a lot in my work as a...wait for it...school psychologist! Yes, even with my deep knowledge of mental health, I still got sucked into the medication trap! I just wanted the pain to go away and, while I knew therapy was an option, I irrationally thought that my thoughts were “normal” and couldn’t be changed...who knows, maybe, as Victor Frankl once alluded, my ‘neuroses’ were a normal reaction to an abnormal world...but that’s another story and I know you guys want to get to the good part about recovery. Anyway, thankfully, I was only put on a very small dose (10mg) of Paxil and I was able to feel the benefits quickly. Because it worked, I decided to just keep taking it...and no doctor who refilled my prescription during the 10 YEARS+ that I was on it EVER suggested that I quit...they just kept writing the script; indeed, some even asked me if I wasn’t ready for a higher dose (thank God I didn’t go that route). Fast forward to winter of 2017 and I began thinking it was time to go off the Paxil for a variety of reasons including the fact that I was getting some weird side effects. My doctor at the time (just a regular GP, not a psychiatrist as here in Canada any MD can prescribe antidepressants) suggested that I take 5mg for 2 weeks then quit. I knew better than to do that, so I came up with a tapering schedule (something I cobbled together myself from a bunch of research online....but unfortunately not Surviving Antidepressants as I didn’t know of the site yet). Doctor thought I was being ridiculous to want to slow taper, but nevertheless prescribed a liquid suspension and I began dropping 1mg per week. All was OK until I got to below 5mg (half my dose)...that's when the more intense physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms appeared (head zaps, weepy, low mood, etc.)...so I decided to slow down and drop dosage every 2 weeks by 0.5mg instead. It was still hard though and the brain zaps continued, but my mood seemed OK-ish, but not really 'normal' for me. At that time, I went to see a naturopath who put me on a mood boosting supplement that has some GABA and 5-HTP and L-theanine. She also gave me St.Johns Wort to take 400mg 3x per day (total of 1200mg a day). I don’t think either of these really worked during that time and I eventually tapered off them. Anyway, I completed my taper by mid June 2018. In July 2018 I went on a 3 week trip to Morocco. I was relatively fine in July though I slept VERY poorly on the trip and overall the trip was very exhausting and it was very hot! When I got back I went into a total spiral; I could not handle even the slightest amount of mental stress or my body would have a near panic attack. It was as if my body was sort of out of control/ possesed. I won’t get into a huge story detailing the timeline and exact symptoms I had because this is not a novel, but I will say that within a matter of a couple of months I was a total mess, much like many of you. My sleep was f*#$ed, I rapidly lost my appetite and lost weight (OK, I'll admit, that was a bit of a silver lining for me...haha), and anxiety and eventually a deep depression were daily guest. I read and researched a lot to try to figure out what was going on! And that’s how I found Surviving Antidepressants and read other people’s stories and realised what was happening to me. When I spoke to my doctor about it, she dismissed the notion of protracted withdrawal, saying instead that I was just ‘relapsing’ (yeah...right...only feeling 1000% worse than I ever had BEFORE the Paxil) and offering me a different SSRI to which I said no, of course. I have to say, that while in the depths of my withdrawal and what I can only describe as a living nightmare that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (I know you guys can totally relate) I never thought I would get better. One of the worst parts was not knowing IF and WHEN I would recover. Honestly, one of the things that kept me from going back on the meds was my fear of ending up on a psych-med merry-go-round that might leave me debilitated and steal even more years of healthy, vibrant living from me. All I could do was go one day at a time, with the knowledge that some days would be better and some worse than others. I tried to keep close to people as social connections always helped. I binge watched Netflix like it was going out of style (normally I don’t watch any TV as I have lots of interests and hobbies). I also got out in nature as much as possible since I have always found that healing. Going to the gym fell off the radar as did a lot of 'self-care' stuff that I had been so good and diligent at doing BPW (before Paxil withdrawal), but I tried to accept that and forgave myself for not having the strength to keep it all up. I tried to eat (when I had an appetite) as healthy as possible; did a lot of take-out, but luckily there are healthy options available now and I would also eat whatever others were willing to feed me! Anyway, slowly slowly, things began to improve...but I am not going to lie and say that it was fast (I wish I COULD say that because lord knows, it was what I wanted desperately to hear while I was suffering through this)...It took me about a full year off the very last micro-dose to feel about 70% 'myself'. Now, 19 months off, I feel 90 to 95% 'myself' and much much stronger; somehow I even survived the death of my beloved dog 3 months ago without meds (I grieved hard and it hasn't been easy, but I accept this as part of life now). If I were to plot my 'healing' over time I think the graph would resemble the stock market graphs, with daily and weekly fluctuations, but with the overall trajectory being 'up'. I want to let you guys know you are HEROES and SO BRAVE for taking on this journey. While this process is so incredibly hard, there IS hope and recovery WILL come...our brains are ‘plastic’ and I truly liken this process as a sort of 'brain injury' that needed time to heal. Please stay strong. One day, looking at it all from the other side of this nightmare, you will be glad you made it through and are med free. Much love and strength to all.
  19. Hi all, Been benefiting tremendously from all your posts, advice, support, strategies and resources since 2015 through my withdrawal. Really in awe of this whole site, the collective brain power, care and dedication of underground (and on the ground) warriors. Thank you. I now know I didn't make it easy on myself with the taper. Not having enough support, knowledge, patience. It pretty much turned my whole world upside down and inside out and provoked a deep spiritual transformation. It will sound familiar that after almost 15 straight years on psych drugs, at 35 (now 39) I started a complete deconstruction of the life I built not just to survive withdrawal but to understand the house of cards that my life had been built on, without having had access to my emotions and without having dealt with my emotional pain during my crucial 20s and early 30s. So my story is the familiar white-knuckling the symptoms, braving the strange new world of emotions and making the necessary changes to life to be healthier and more authentic. Which brings me to today, three years after stopping all drugs. Despite all these gains, I still can't consider my story a success (yet). One big reason is the continued emotional instability, which linked to what I think is iatrogenic hormonal disruption, and possibly chronic unresolving depression. The big problem is continued suicidal ideation, which is present but manageable outside my menstrual cycle (given my history, I understand it has had its place in my coping resources, and I'm addressing that), but then becomes a nearly insurmountable problem for about 2 weeks straight leading up to it (I hate to give the DSM any legitimacy by using the term "PMDD" but I suppose that best describes it.) During this time, it physically feels like my brain is inflamed, my brain is insistently and convincingly suicidal, I lose all motivation, clarity of mind, am profoundly fatigued, chronically tearful, fearful, worried and stuck in my bed for days at a time. Then, like a switch flips as soon as I get my period my brain is much clearer, for two weeks. I don't remember anything like this before the drugs, although I suppose there's a chance this is why I was diagnosed 'bipolar' as a teen. Chicken and egg... I feel pretty desperate about the situation because it feels like despite all the work I've done to heal the wounds of psychiatry on my life, I can't get my life on track. Falling into a pit and out of life for 2 weeks every month makes it impossible for me to set goals, make steps forward in life, hold down a job...which then is a cycle that sets me up for more despair and distress (you get the picture). I know that the grief and tears I have held back for so many years need time to come out, but this has become a real quality of life issue since I can't see any resolution to it. At times I'm pretty hard on myself, thinking about what I'm doing wrong or not able to see in order to help myself out of this situation. It's taken me this long to single out the hormones because while I was dealing with other life issues- repressed emotions from the withdrawal, job loss, identity loss, trauma, homelessness- it was impossible to separate the hormonal cycles from emotional flashbacks and other cptsd symptoms. I know that hormones need time to repair (mine were completely out of whack as soon as I reduced the Lamitrogine. I remember being covered in painful back acne for the first year of my withdrawal and my periods were irregular, inconsistent and painful) but I've really reached a point where I simply don't know how to help myself through this anymore. I'm currently only taking magnesium and vitamin D as supplements. Other than that I'm managing my symptoms with pretty basic self-care- a varied, vegan diet, lots of mindfulness, relaxation, therapy, friends and staying social and active as much as I can, when I can, but as you can imagine, find myself in a pretty disconnected, unstable and isolated situation and feeling like this is not even a 'good enough' quality of life. Any naturopaths, GPs, gynes or others that I've gone to are still recommending SSRIs, birth control pills or very controversial surgeries (hysterectomy) to deal with this. When I told one specialist about the continued depression and dangerous ideation, she crinkled her nose sympathetically and said, 'So sorry, wish I could do something', suggested I see an herbalist and ended the session. She was the final doctor I went to about this. I have a pure stubborn streak in me to which I credit a lot of my survival, but not being able to problem solve this one is causing me nearly to panic, and at the least to be in shock that despite all my efforts I can't see a future beyond living like this, and each episode seeing suicide as a more and more rational decision. I want so much to consider my story a withdrawal success and am so angry that I seem to have come up against this wall. If anyone has ANY insight, perspective, information, hope to offer, I'd deeply appreciate it.
  20. Reading through this forum, one serious question remains: What to do if I have depression? Should I take Antidepressents? 4 years ago I took Citalopram for 4 month and then tapered down very slowly (10% a week). Hat no serious withdrawal, but after the taper had very strong sadness which I suffered through with some valdoxane. This took a month or so and was very disturbing... If I remember correctly, I stopped the Citalopram because it gave me an inner restlessness that was uncomfortable. Now I'm again in a depressive/anxious state which is stronger than any previous episode I had. I don't sleep well (5-6h), loss of appetite and pleasure, feeling defeated. And on top of that I fear that I should not take antidepressents because of the possibility of all those nightmare withdrawals. This leaves me in a hopeless state because, well, what else could I do? Either suffer from depression or take AD and feel better now, but maybe way worse later? THATS LIKE A TRAP! Advise wellcome.
  21. Hello, Firstly thank you for this groups existence and the valued information it holds I will try to keep my story short as possible, In year 2000 I had a emergency operation, this in turn caused me my first ever panic attack, after the op I had a further panic attack and developed agoraphobia, this all developed in a very short time of only about 4 weeks at home during the operations recovery. As agoraphobia set in, I never had anxiety about going out, my body would just become stiff and in pain to the point I couldn't walk when I went out. I went to the doc, he put me on 20mg seroxat and said I have anxiety/depression/agoraphobia. ( I know i've never had depression in my life.) . At this point I had a family to feed and really blind in the knowledge of what's just happened to me, I was ill and there was a medication to use, ( no offer of therapy ) Once on paxil I was back to work in another two months, I had all the usual start up symptoms including suicidal ideology. I remained on 20mg of seroxat with no reviews for 18 years, really not many issues, although in 2016/17 I did notice some changes, libido dropped out, restless legs, more emotional, In Late 2017 I dropped my 20mg dose to 10mg in the space of 3 months, ( Big mistake I now know). Whilst fast taper I had no symptoms, and the 3 months after that the drop holding at 10mg I had no symptoms, First withdrawal symptoms was joint pain and was the only symptom I had for another 3 months, since then until today I'm slowly getting worse, with most of the well known symptoms listed. Tinittus sensitivity , reflux, bladder, Colon, gut, groin/genital, dropped heart rate, amazing head pressures, shakes/vibrations, a touch akathesia, anxiety, sleep, muscle burn, twitches, restless legs/arms, dep and derealization, the list goes on and on, I dropped sugar a year ago, tried magnesium glycinate and got up to 250mg daily, no benefit. Tried good quality fish oil, had reaction anxiety attack. My diet is pretty clean because I had reflux since 2015, and managed with no medication. I take no other medications especially whilst in withdrawals. I have small windows maybe an hour or two in the month. I've really been lucky with sleep apart from the odd period I've managed 6 hours average a night, I've been off my work and in withdrawals for 20 months. I've been on the remainder 10mg seroxat for 23 months, with the hope of stability. The last month symptoms have increased massively, mainly constant fibromalagia type pain, and severe head and ear pressure/sensitivity. With diminished sleep, Also a building and worrying development, if I get stressed or anxious, even emotional, I get some tight squeezeing pressure down the back of my head and ears, it's like a freezing spasm/vibration, I had a bad episode of this when talking with a person, it's actually temporarily froze my head and upper body for a couple of seconds. Like a mini fit, I'm feeling this tension more each day and its worrying me greatly. With this recent uptake in symptoms I'm really looking at increasing my dose, I know it could be a massive gamble, as I know and have read enough, or even a drop in dose, I would just like some experienced advice remembering the fact I've been in withdrawals 20 months and remained on a steady dose of 10mgfor 23 months. Thanks in advance for any help
  22. Hi everyone, Somewhere around 2012, I was put on Lexapro to try and address life-long issues of social anxiety, and newly emerging issues with GAD, including panic attacks. About four years later in mid 2016, I was starting to have more issues with panic attacks again, and decided I'd rather get off the meds than up the dose. So I spoke with my psychiatrist and started tapering. Now, I never heard of the slow taper recommended here, but I had heard that withdrawal could be brutal. So I decided to cut it by 25% every two weeks, putting me at 0 after about 8 weeks. I imagine that provoked a cringe from half of the audience, but... I felt fine. No brain zaps, akathisia, ataxia, or any of the other scary things I read about. My anxiety was a bit higher, but I expected that. I figured that was the end of it, and I could move on. The weeks went on, but my anxiety kept increasing, so I adopted meditation to address it. It wasn't easy, but it was better than nothing. Regardless, I was starting to have panic attacks almost every other day. I figured I could just fight my way through them and they'd eventually go away. Then I had some kind of super panic attack that pulled me out of sleep and racing to the ER. Pretty much ever since that night, my sleep has been an absolute disaster. Back then, I could barely get 3-4 hours a night if I was lucky. Nothing seemed to work either. Supplements? Name one, none worked. OTC sleep aids like Benadryl or Unisom? Paradoxical responder to all of them. Prescription antihistamines like hydroxyzine? Even worse, and somehow made me completely sleepless for the entire half-life. Benzos? Used sparingly, they are/were a relief, but I didn't want to get addicted, so never more than once or twice per week. Z-drugs? Helped slightly falling asleep, but that wasn't my problem. I had developed intractable and aggressive sleep maintenance insomnia. I also started having problems with chronic pain and spasms along my surface muscles mostly in my lower extremities, but also around my chest. All of that has persisted since then, but by far the most disruptive is the insomnia. I've managed to get back up to 5-6 hours according to my Fitbit Alta HR, but I still feel exhausted most of the time. And too often, I won't sleep at all and will end up reading in another room to avoid screwing up my sleep hygiene. At this point, I've gotten that to a science: pink noise, blue blockers 2 hours before bed, 300mcg melatonin 1 hour before bed, bedroom only used for sleeping, no TV or electronic devices late at night, etc. I did CBTI with a sleep psychologist, and he said I was doing everything right. But of course that won't undo neurological damage, nor will it prevent me from waking up at 4:30 AM to use the bathroom, and being unable to fall back asleep afterwards. This has taken a huge toll on my QOL, and I wish I never even heard of SSRIs. I'm not suicidal, but my sense of humor on the subject has gotten considerably darker. I used to be the kind of person who would sleep through an air-raid siren. It always took me longer to fall asleep than most (30+ minutes), but I slept like the dead. Now it feels like I wake up at the slightest provocation, and if my Fitbit is at all accurate, my slow-wave deep sleep is about half what it should be for someone my age. I briefly considered going back on Lexapro, if even just for some relief, but then I remembered it put me here in the first place, and I wouldn't give it to my worst enemy. Then I read that might not work anyway. I can't go back in time and slap the prescription out of my hand, or explain to myself about implementing a much slower taper, so I feel like I'm basically SOL. It's been almost four years, and I'm still fighting this. I've even begun watching for research that we finally discover how to manually trigger various sleep phases, and stumbled across the recent studies on the VLPO region of the brain. I'm desperate and poking at anything I can find. I'm just so tired.
  23. I found this website several months ago and have read loads of it. I tapered venlafaxine 225mgs over 6 months, finishing 7 months ago-June 2019. I realise this was too fast, but I didn't know that at the time. I also was taking Gabapentin for nerve pain, but stopped it without too much trouble in November 2019.. I had really horrible anxiety between September and December 2019, but this has lessened and been replaced by a feeling of doom in the morning especially. I did not get many symptoms for the first 2 months. I feel very fragile and cannot predict from one moment to the next how I will feel. I do not know what I would do without this website. Also I am not very familiar with computers and do not know a lot of the terminology. What are "tags" in the box above? I take magnesium citrate and fish oil each day. I don't know if it helps, but it doesn't seem to hurt, so... I am in the process of tapering lansoprazole by taking beads out of capsules and am down to 3/4 of 15mgs. I should add that I decided to taper off the venlafaxine because I started to get panic attacks in December 2018 and worked out I was probably in some sort of tolerance withdrawal from it. I got alarmed when one of my GPs suggested upping my dose to 300mgs. I wondered how high the dosage would go.......,and when it would poop out again.
  24. Hi all, I'm glad to have finally found a place that provides an explanation for everything I have been going through. Anway, let's get to it I guess. I first started taking antidepressants when I was 17 years old (2010) due to a development of Panic Disorder which I now know was caused by trauma as a child from various things, my mother dying being the main reason I suspect, she was also a drug addict so I grew up around a lot things a child shouldn't, I also had no father present. As long as I can remember I have also suffered from OCD, I obviously wasn't aware what it was as a child but the characteristics were there. I originally was started of on Zoloft for a couple of months but it had no effect, moved onto Citalopram, again didn't work. Finally I found my golden ticket, Lexapro. It provided me with the much needed relief I was seeking from my panic and compulsions/rumination. It worked great. At the beginning I don't really remember suffering many side effects except for dampened emotions and a slightly decreased libido. Since beginning on Lexapro I was on and off it a lot to be honest and from memory never experienced much difficulty withdrawing, nothing acute anyway although I did always get some brain zaps, thinking back now I always welcomed the return of a natural emotional range, It was like I could breathe again. I have not been on it full time since I started and the longest I spent off it was 2.5 - 3 years and was seemingly doing okay. I went back on medication when I went overseas at the beginning of 2018 as travelling seemed to heighten my pre-existing mental health issues, again, it worked a treat. OCD and rumination out the window! I had a bit of dramatic year in 2018 and was out partying a lot to ease the pain and by the end of the year I decided I wanted to make real change, tackle my demons head on, come off meds, get super healthy and focus hard on my acting. This is when my hell started. The first two months of 2019 were great, I was running every second day, I had started a course at uni and I was sober and enjoying it! By May my rumination and OCD skyrocketed, existential dread, a loss of purpose and hope, you name it. I was plagued by what I can only describe as feelings of tension all throughout my guts and inner body. My torso just became ( and still is ) so tight and stiff, lots of pain in my back, neck and shoulders, restricted movement, it's by far my most uncomfortable symptom, especially my diaphragm. I now know this is due to my nervous system taking such a hit by being exposed to such change so quickly but Its left me confused as I have always fast tapered and never experienced anything like this. I went back to my doctor assuming that I needed to go back on medication, my theory was the combination of quitting substance abuse and medication had opened the floodgates to a lot of pent up unresolved trauma and overloaded my system ( I will also add from 17-21 I pretty much did 0 drugs and 21 onwards dabbled very rarely) truth is, I had every intention of feeling my emotions properly and still do but something was different this time round. I have been in physical hell for over a year now, stiff, sore, restless, you name it. I started back on Lexapro around June - July last year but I found it didn't do too much. My new psych had me try Fluoxetine for a bit but it didnt do anything at all. By the end of the year I started to come off it again and truth be told, the lower I got in dosage, the better I was feeling. I might also mention that for the majority of 2018 I was at a dose of 10mg, nothing too high. In the past when I was younger I had gone up to 20-25 but haven't been on that high of a dose consistently for a long time. I did go back up to 20 briefly last year after reinstating as I was desperate and thought the more the better but it didnt change anything. I have now been off Lexapro again for around 6 weeks, I have definitely experienced what I now know as waves and windows, I'm a pretty intuitive person and I can tell you that my mind and body scream at the idea of ingesting that drug again. I only found this website last week so I have only just found out about reinstatement and all of the things that are discussed here. Reinstatement at a low dose has crossed my mind as an option so I can begin a slower taper down the track and stabilize my symptoms however based on the fact that I stopped and started again last year without too much alleviation from the negative symptoms I feel as though I should just keep going, as tough as it is. My psychological symptoms have largely improved, I have had a slight decrease in the general tension I have talked about which is good. I also have moments where I feel real emotion which I actually like, sure it feels like I may cry sometimes (although I never really truely do) but thats all i have ever wanted for a long time, to let go off all this weight I have carried from my trauma. Anyway I thought I would get some opinions from you guys as to whether I should try reinstating or just keep fighting the good fight. I don't know if I am extremely resilient or if my symptoms are bad but not AS bad as other peoples but I have somehow managed to hold down a job, try my best at exercise, stay sober for 90 percent of the last year and work hard towards my goals. Its been so so uncomfortable, but I'm a battler and i fear if I stop I won't start again. I wonder if the worst is over? I mean I reinstated for 5 months and have honestly noticed more positive changes since stopping the medication all together once more. I am thankful for my positive mindset, at the moment I am not feeling suicidal which I was for a time, I want to be alive, I meditate a lot, write a gratitude list every day and do what I can to keep moving forward. I really really don't want to take meds again but I understand it may help... I will mention again that I have ALWAYS fast tapered under the advice of my old Psych and never had this happen before, why now? Anway, some direction may help, I'm thinking about sticking it out, im certainly not feeling comfortable but currently doing all I can besides actually taking the tablets themselves. At this point the physical is more unbearable than the mental but im pushing forward, any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks guys.
  25. Hey everyone, this is my story. About 13 or so years ago when I was 13-14 (I'm now 27) I had my very first panic attack which terrified me so bad that literally the next day I was at the doctors begging for meds, I did this because I didn't know any better and I wanted the anxiety GONE... I had health anxiety and every little pain, ache, sensation or feeling whatever it was, had me convinced I had a terminal illness and that I was dying which lead me to the panic attack after weeks of worrying about it, I should also mention I'm not sure where the worry came from because prior to that I was fine.. So I started on 50mg of Pristiq and back then I thought it would work like a benzo and relieve symptoms straight away but honestly it made my anxiety worse, I felt weird on it, for some reason death was on my mind more than ever like I would be down about the thought of me dying one day, my family dying,all these weird thoughts that I never had before and not what a typical13 -14 year old would have.. I stayed on it and for about 2 weeks I was absolutely bed ridden with intense anxiety, I could barely leave my room to pee, finally the tablet kicked in because I woke up 1 day nearly a few weeks in and my anxiety was almost completely gone, not to mention I felt a lot happier than before to, my life was back on track and I even got myself a part time job for after school at a fast food place, life was pretty great I mean I did notice I felt like I was in a dream kind of world but I didn't look to much into it, the anxiety was still there but not as intense, I found myself always getting reassurance which kind of worked but at the time I didn't realise that's such a bad thing to do and makes it worse, fast forward a few years later I was still on Pristiq 50mg, working and attending school, life felt like it use to, as I got older a pattern developed, out of know where an intrusive thought would come in my head which by the way happened a lot but normally I could disregard, however every so often the thought would be to complex and it would consume me, literally to the point where I would be bed ridden exactly like I was when it first started, this led to me having a dosage increased to 100 mg and being introduced to Zyprexa to help manage anxiety and sleep, at first I only stayed on the Zyprexa a couple weeks and never had it again as it made me to drowsy, fast forward to recently where I stopped Pristiq 100mg cold turkey purely because I couldn't afford it one week and my attitude was "I feel normal anyways I'm cured from anxiety" that lasted 6months lol, I should mention that withdrawal for the first few days was hard but I got through it but keep in mind, I was regularly attending the gym so that helped a lot and back then I never knew about withdrawal symptoms I thought it was like a week and then it's out your system, and honestly for a while in that 6 month period I actually did feel better off them because I appreciated life a lot more as I didn't feel as emotionally numb, a nice sunny day made me feel joy like never before it was so alien how magnified my feelings became, anyways after 6 months of course the health anxiety was back as well as weird physical symptoms I never had before, tingling and tightness in my head like a rubber band being squeezed, bowel and tummy issues, intense intrusive thoughts ect... Anyways I ended up back on pristiq but it wasn't like being on them before it felt different, I hated it and got hit with intense suicidal thoughts which lead me back on Zyprexa as well as pristiq, that lasted about a year until I cold turkeyed both the Zyprexa was first to go which was so hard to do omg man 😕 a few months later I cold turkeyed pristiq, if anyone out there is considering for the love of god don't cold turkey!!!! it's been a year to this day since I had a pristiq and a few months longer since Zyprexa, in the last year I've felt: depersonalisation/derealisation, intense head pressures and pains, vision problems, bowel problems to the point I had a colonoscopy to make sure I didn't have bowel cancer, I had a CTscan on my head to make sure it's not a tumour putting me through this hell, extreme anger and depression, extreme sleep problems, sex drives gone downhill a bit, I'm paranoid like it honestly feels like I'm in fight or flight 24/7.. The worse anxiety I've ever felt, the hardest symptoms I've had to deal with and this is what has lead me to join this group, I don't know if I'm hallucinating, but it feels like I can see my own thoughts in my head clearer than the real world in front of me.. I know it sounds strange, I feel trapped in my own mind I can easily ruminate over my intrusive thoughts and visualise them more than I can pay attention to the real world and I hate it will this nightmare ever end?Have I done PERMANENT damage? Sometimes the head pain hurts a lot I feel like I'm seconds from dying from the pain, like it's getting worse I constantly ask myself if I should go back on the meds and taper off but it's been so long plus I hate the meds I want nothing to do with them, any advice would be great I'm sorry for the novel
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