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  1. Hi All, Been away for a while. Got into a very bad place where i could not be alone anymore and felt like my life was worthless. Got suicidal thoughts. Went to a psychiatrist. Who told me this was not only caused by withdrawal (withdrawal paroxetine 2,5 mg at that time). It was a relapse of my depression. So she convinced me to start with Fluoxetine (prozac) and to taper off the paroxetine when the prozac works. On Prozac now for 5 weeks. With 1,5 weeks on 10 mg and then upped 3,5 weeks to 20 mg. Stayed on on paroxetine 2,2 mg (1,1 ml of the liquid form) all these 5 weeks. I noticed less fear and most off my withdrawal effects improved. I sleep good but the depression is still heavy, lack of energy and not wanting to socialize or answer my phone. I am numb and have a restless feeling in my chest and extreme jaw clacking. I seriously am doubting if adding the prozac has been the right move. I feel so stupid that i agreed to give it a try. Please if anyone has a good advice let me know. Should i best come off the prozac and give the paroxetine more time ? And how to do this? Or should i give the prozac a try to kick in before tapering off paroxetine and then slowly tapering off the prozac later? thanks greetings Julia
  2. 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
  3. JamesV85 I’m looking for some help please. I was put on venlafaxine and over the course of a year, I went up to 225mg but it didn’t help so I decided to withdraw. I went from 225-150-75-37.5-25-0mg over 2 years. The last time I took a pill of 25mg was November last year. It’s been 5 months and I think I’m still in withdrawal. I did have very bad anger and rage and vertigo but that has all passed now. I now have spells of sudden exhaustion with heart palpitations and brain fog and brain zaps, cold hands and feet, poor memory and concentration just to name a few. Could I still be in withdrawal after 5 months? im due to see a doctor on Monday to have a full blood check as naturally my mind is starting to wonder if there is something else going on. i would like to hear other people’s stories of coming off this drug please and any help. Thanks
  4. NOSEXscitalopram I am a 23 years old male and I was prescribed antidepressants 2 years ago, which permanently damaged my sexuality. It was Spring 2017, after a stressful period of time caused by anemia, I began experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. I started having depersonalization, a state in which a person feels "detached" from their mind, thoughts, and emotions. I tried psychotherapy for 2 months, but it was not beneficial for me at all, therefore my next decision was to make an appointment with a private psychiatrist. He prescribed me an antidepressant called ‘Escitalopram’ (also known under the brand names of Cipralex and Lexapro) and said that these medications were well tolerated and the ‘only side effects’ that most of his patients experienced was a dry mouth. A couple of days after starting the antidepressant, my genitals became numb and my sexual functioning decreased by around 50%. I literally felt like I was 90 years old! During my second appointment, I reported this side effect to the psychiatrist, and he reacted by prescribing a different antidepressant. Unfortunately, it was causing the same problem. We then tried a third one which caused more sexual side effects. I kept taking it for about 3 weeks and decided to quit as I had had enough. My psychiatrist informed me, that I might get withdrawal symptoms which are mild and last around a week. When I discontinued the medications, I went through hell! I experienced horrible brain zaps, anxiety, sadness, shaking, insomnia, sweating, and severe problems with concentration - it all lasted about 7 weeks. Additionally, the sexual side effects still persisted at that time - I thought that it could not be possible, so I visited my GP. I had all sorts of medical tests that revealed no abnormalities. Furthermore, I got back to my psychiatrist with the issue, who said that in some cases antidepressants cause permanent sexual dysfunctions. I was terrified. Then I got referred to a urologist, who confirmed that my problem was caused by the antidepressant and unfortunately there was no treatment for it. I am now stuck with permanent damage from these medications and there is no help for me and many sufferers at all. This issue was first reported to regulators in 1991 and the first time any regulator actually confirmed the problem and requested updates of all SSRI/SNRI leaflets was the European Medication Agency in May 2019. Still, there is no research into it and many GPs say that PSSD does not exist. How horrible life can be when you have a condition, which existence is denied by pharmaceutical companies and even medical professionals. I am in an anhedonia state, which negatively affected my progress at university, and destroyed my relationship. I do not think that I will ever be able to have my own family that I have always dreamt of. Antidepressants permanently damaged my sexuality and left me suicidal. But of course, these medications are still recognized as safe and there are more and more people who are prescribed and take them worldwide.
  5. Theswedking Hi, my name is Theswedking. I have dealt with depression and other mental illnesses for 32 years. It started quite young for me. I have been through multiple professionals, tests, and diagnoses. I am going through the worst SNRI withdrawal since I started medications 22 years ago. It has lasted 2 weeks thus far. The Dr. tried tapering me down off of Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I have quit cold turkey on other medications and been done with symptoms within a week. Been tampered down I wasn't expecting much withdrawals. Was I wrong and when I did research about with that medication causing havoc, I knew I was in for some hard times.
  6. Bolouis Hi everyone - Firstly I'm so grateful for having found this forum through the podcast Let's talk withdrawal. I thought I was going mad as no one would believe the withdrawal symptoms I've been experiencing. Had I found these pages before I would have tapered much more slowly! I have suffered with depression since I was a child but no one has ever asked me about my life or explored why I might be feeling this way. Along with most people, I was told that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that could be fixed with antidepressants. Over the last few years and with the knowledge that all these meds do is numb me but I remained depressed, I started researching the topic and was gobsmacked by some of the research and information I found. So, I have been trying to get off them since 2017. I am hoping that someone can help or advise me through the awful symptoms I have been experiencing every time I try to withdraw. My symptoms are: Crippling insomnia - I have been prescribed Zopiclone short term but without this I can only manage an hour or two dozing at best Foul metallic taste in my mouth Feeling flu like - hot/cold, shivery, achy, nauseous Headaches almost permanently, pain in my face and neck Tinnitus and brain zaps Anxiety/palpitations Gastric problems, constipation/diarrhea My first proper attempt in 2017 lasted about 8 months but I became so ill that I gave up. At that time I didn't know what was wrong with me and had various blood tests and investigations only to be told there was nothing wrong. I wasn't at first depressed though (not that anyone would believe me). I think I probably became depressed through the illness so hence, I gave in and went back on the meds. I do believe I know the difference between feeling ill and depression but when you've been labelled for so many years, not even your loved ones believe you. So this is my 2nd serious attempt and I've been off now for about 5 months. Again, the symptoms have returned exactly the same as the last time but more seriously this time I became extremely anxious and agitated and ended up in A&E in March this year having planned my suicide. I was put under the Acute mental health team and a psychiatrist but of course they said I had to go back on my meds and prescribed Mirtazapine 30mg. I tried to argue my case but felt I had to give in and took it for 3 days before stopping. I have still not told them that I'm not taking it because I'm scared that they will withdraw their support. I have been signed off sick from work for 2 months now and can't imagine how I will be able to return if this continues. I am aware that I probably tapered far too quickly but I can't go back now. I have great support from my brother and sister and they've helped me research this and claim benefits. I've also been doing daily meditations and yoga for the last couple of months. I think this helps a little especially with the insomnia. I've honestly been feeling so ill and exhausted that before finding this I was seriously thinking of just going back on the meds and admitting defeat once and for all. It's just so horrible when no one believes you or takes you seriously when you're trying your best to drag yourself through each day. So, any advice would be very welcome, so sorry if went on a bit...TIA
  7. Hi, I’m currently on 150mg of Effexor-XR and 30mg of Mirtazapine. I’ve been on Effexor for 10 years, and the Mirtazapine was added around 2 and a half years ago. I spoke to my doctor about tapering off the Effexor. He suggested that I taper 37.5mg at a time. I started about 7 weeks ago. I’ve got down from 225mg in the last 7 weeks. My last 37.5 taper started 17 days ago. But the last week I have been experiencing delayed depression, irritability and heightened anxiety. I coped better during my first taper. I’m worried that I’ve slipped back into depression again. But at this stage is it normal to feel like this? It’s very confusing to know if it’s withdrawal or depression coming back. I thought the withdrawals may have been over after 17 days? I’m new to this forum, and it sounds like I have tapered Off to big of a dose. Once I have stabilised I will only taper 10% by weighing with scales. Hopefully I level out soon because I’m starting to question the process!
  8. Hi, I’ve been on lexapro, Citalopram, escitalopram (same thing?) for around 20 years, with a couple of gaps where I came off the drugs successfully through tapering. The only way I can taper in my country is through cutting pills in half then quarters. No liquid forms or doses smaller than 10mg in pill form seem to be available. i was on 10mg and have always resisted all suggestions I should be on more. I suffered depression, obsession, and low mood all through my teens, got a bit better. Then I suffered panic attacks in my mid twenties that got so bad I was struggling to work or function. I went to the doctor and was put on these drugs straight away. At first they gave me a huge sense of relief, they blunted all my feelings and moods- including joy- but that was a price I was prepared to pay. I assumed the doctors knew what they were talking about and believed the stories about these new gen drugs having no major issues etc. Over time it just became part of my routine, I didn’t consider stopping, why would I? in my thirties I stopped for a bit as I was in a new relationship and I felt good. About a year passed, some bad stuff happened, and I went to the doctor with anxiety, she put me back on the drugs. i stayed on them until late last year. I have always had a drink problem. Some life stuff happened and I decided to go to AA and deal with that. I got clean but nearly lost my relationship in the process. I started seeing an anxiety specialist and decided to taper my pills. I realised I had been asking the doc about this for yeArs and she would say, let’s just get through Christmas, then let’s just get through winter. This was a cycle that took the whole year and I never got off it. I would get anxious, think how hard life was and then decide not now. When I told her I was just going to do it, as if not now, then when? I almost had to have a argument about it. i pointed out it killed my libido, it robs me of all happy sensations as well as sad, it seems to make me fat, it flatlines my creativity (I used to be a writer) etc. her response was well let’s try a different pill. My instinct is no, why would I buy more problems. In the end I just did it without discussion. I told her this week and she is just anxious I have a supply ready to go in case I need them again, on the assumption I will. Makes me more determined to not take them! I have just discovered a different doctor has put my 15 year old stepdaughter on the same drug. Of course we didn’t know patient confidentiality. She assumes she will be on them forever and they will change her life. She is a creative spirited highly strung young woman, now flat as a pan cake and she assures me 1000 times better. Deja vu anyone? I have been very anxious about withdrawals, so I have done it over 5 months. When I shifted from half to quarter pill I noticed a few days of sadness and sleep disruption. I have just tapered to nothing have not been ok. It crept in a few days ago, crying at nothing, intrusive persistent thoughts, dizziness, resentment, hopelessness, and worst of all horrible nightmares and blasting awake with my heart beating fast in complete terror out of deep sleep. It feels manageable, but I want it to pass. And want assurance it will. Especially during this lock down, I can’t afford to go nuts. It might have been a stupid time to stop, but it felt like the right time. I’m just done with it. I don’t want to talk to the doctor about it. I am convinced it’s like a cult of psych drugs and they know nothing. I’m angry about all the wasted years. Fran
  9. Hello everyone, Before I begin, I want to apologize for the length of my first post. While some of the information may seem irrelevant at first, I'm trying to provide context and useful details to be as helpful as possible. I have tried to follow the forum guidlines as much as possible, but there is a lot to read up on, so if I am missing anything or anything needs adjusted please let me know. I am a male student in my early thirties who was first prescribed Lexapro/Escitalopram when I was nineteen for situational anxiety. Following the doctor's taper advice, I went on and off it twice in my twenties. The reason I returned to the drug both times was, again, situational anxiety that became debilitating to daily life. I did not have any problems with these tapers, which were completed over a few weeks. My latest period on the drug started in late 2013. I was on this dose, Lexapro/Escitalopram 20mg, for approximately six years. Last fall, I decided I wanted to taper off for good. I was experiencing some effects such as sleeping long periods, morning anxiety, and a feeling of a constricted nasal passage in the morning that I thought might be related to the drug. More generally, being on the drug made me feel ashamed and I was coming upon a turning point in my life that had made me committed to living healthier. Given my experience with past tapers, I conceived a taper that, at the time, seemed cautious since it was a longer plan. I would alternate days and divide the dose in half every two weeks. When the dose became too small to prepare with a pill cutter, I used a pill crusher and made a water/drug solution that I administered with an oral syringe. This taper was completed from August to December 2019, over approximately four months. The negative effects I remember when tapering was some occasional irritability/emotional oversensitivity. I now realize that, given my situation, this taper was foolish and too fast. In my mind, I was just trying to do what I thought was a more careful version of the method I used in the past. In the middle of January 2020, I noticed one of my testicles was swollen. My PCP had me get an ultrasound, which indicated that I had developed a small hydrocele. A hydrocele is an accumulation of fluid that is generally harmless, but sometimes requires surgery to remove. Accompanying the hydrocele was some penile pain/burning. Although a urine test indicated that this was not from a urinary infection or STD, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic. I presume he was suspecting an infection of another kind. I began the antibiotic on February 13, and after about five to six days, I began noticing some very distressing symptoms: confusion, bad mind fog, short-term memory issues, anxiety, strange vertigo-like sensation behind the eyes, inability to feel emotions. I woke up in the middle of the night on day seven with a panic attack like none I'd ever had before. It was relatively short, but my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, which isn't a symptom associated with my past panic attacks. The symptoms I described would come in waves of a few hours and then attentuate. Around days seven and eight I also was going in out of something I would describe as a dissociative state combined with intense anxiety. It was very bizarre and unlike anything I had ever experienced berfore. I just felt disconnected from everything, the world felt corrupted, and combined with the aforementioned symptoms was very terrifying. At the time the first symptoms (mind fog, anxiety) appeared, I thought they might be connected to coming off the SSRI. This seemed logical considering that they were primarily psychological symptoms. I went online and learned for the first time about the possibility of protracted withdrawal from SSRIs. My understanding prior to this was that talk of "discontinuation/withdrawal syndrome" referred to the brain zaps/flu-like symptoms that sometimes accompany tapering. Nevertheless, on day eight of the antibiotic (February 20), it occurred to me that the antibiotic was the only new factor to be introduced during the preceding week and these symptoms were so qualitatively different than anything I had ever felt before. After looking it up online, I found reports of this particular antibiotic causing the previously mentioned side effects - anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, etc. (see https://www.medications.com/doxycycline-hyclate/39445). After learning this on the evening of day eight, I decided to quit taking the antibiotic, and within two to three days the side effects mostly subsided. The following week (February 23), the penile pain/numbness/occasional paresthesia returned. I had daily anxiety for a couple weeks worrying about this issue until the urologist did a physical examination (March 5) and assured me that everything was normal, but that the symptoms could possibly be coming from an issue with my pelvic floor muscles. She recommended that I look into pelvic floor therapy, which I have yet to look into. Since the urologist appointment, the penile symptoms have largely disappeared, which leads me to believe that they may have been psychosomatic effects combined with lingering antibiotic side effects. Most recently, over the last week (March 9-15), I've noticed a return of some of the psychological symptoms I was experiencing before while on the antibiotic, only not quite as intense: hours-long waves of anxiety, mind fog, heart pounding, memory issues. I'm just generally feeling "out of it" and not "like myself," kind of like a hangover. The last two nights I have had problems sleeping because of anxiety and heart palpitations. I am concerned with what is causing these issues. Some people who took the antibiotic I did said the side effects lasted weeks or months afterwards. This seems possible given that antibiotics can kill a lot of the "good" gut bacteria that have some relation to mood regulation. What is confusing is that some of the side effects of the antibiotic seem to overlap with those of SSRI withdrawal. So could it be that one triggered or exacerbated the other or that it is a combination of both? The last two months have been some of the hardest of my life. From being in the emergency room worried about the antibiotic damaging my brain, to worrying about having a debilitating genital issue that would ruin my ability to form a relationship or have kids, to worrying about the possibility of SSRI withdrawal, it's been one thing after the other. Currently, I'm dealing with trying to finish my semester remotely while holed up with my family because of the coronavirus situation. One family member was recently discharged from the hospital and requires a lot of constant assistance with certain medical procedures and therapies, so that has been stressing everyone out. So it is also possible that I'm just feeling burned out. In the meantime, I have started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist who is sympathetic to people weaning of antidepressants and transitioning to more wholistic therapy. She thinks it is conceivable that the issue is any or all of the things I described above, and has advised me to live as healthy as possible in the meantime. I have adjusted my diet (including adding probiotic foods), spent time walking daily, cut out caffeine, and started on fish oil, a multivitamin, and gingko biloba. Overall, my purpose for posting here is to get any kind of guidance or perspective that may be helpful. I understand this is a complex situation that doesn't have a clear response. At this point it seems my options are to wait it out or to try to reinstate the Lexapro/Escitalopram at a lower dose which seems successful for some, although from reading here it seems that at three months since the last dose I am approaching the end of the window of opportunity where that seems effective. I found a psychiatrist from the forum's "recommended doctors" section who lives close to me and seems to recognize withdrawal, so scheduling an appointment is a possibility. Finally, I want to thank the administrators and moderators of the forum for their work in selflessly providing a space for those of us in need to receive advice.
  10. Dear all, I have done all the research possible and contact all persons in the Netherlands who could help me find the answers for coping with this rollercoaster ride of tapering my last 2,5 mg of paroxetine (paxil). I managed to get in touch with a researcher in the area of tapering and withdrawal effects of anti-depressants. He was really helpful with my questions about tapering of and was so kind to share his latest upcoming publication about withdrawal effects and the importance of good guidance from our doctors. I found this article very inspirational and heart warming to know we are not alone in this battle of coming of our medications. I wanted to share this with you, thought it could be helpfull for others as well. Here is the link to the manuscript. It is still under review but already publiced at https://iipdw.org/user-knowledge-psychotropic-drug-withdrawal/ greetings Julia
  11. It has been nearly 4 months since I quit Lexapro cold turkey. Before that I had been on Zoloft for a few months, and before that I had been on Celexa for about 10 years. Nothing seemed to be working anymore, and I felt like I had been in a coma of sorts for more than a decade. I pulled the plug, and shortly after, all hell broke loose. Though my username might suggest otherwise, I am a 43-year-old woman. I feel I should mention that, though I still have many symptoms, I am currently coping with these at the moment. I am most concerned about the mental/emotional issues currently, but I will list the physical first. My physical symptoms were/are: insomnia for about 3 wks (sleep is better now but far from ideal); numbness in my legs and arms for about 6-7 wks; electricity-like vibrations or tremors all over my body (still have these in varying intensity); tinnitus (on and off for 2 mnths, occasional now); it was very difficult to eat ( I lost about 30lbs in 2.5 mnths); intense head pressure (2.5 mnths, occasional now); pain in my ears (fairly constant still); body twitches for about 3wks; vivid dreams that wake me up several times a night (constant since the initial insomnia lessened); feeling like something was lightly crawling all over my face and the top of my head for almost 3 months; no energy for 2 months (slightly improved now); intense heat particularly in my chest (still happens 3-4 times/wk at night); confusion and difficulty concentrating (has improved quite a bit in the last month); problems with my eyes (blurry, tired) is ongoing; diarrhea (still fairly constant); dizziness (still happens but only occasional now);and I became extremely sensitive to sound; light; smells; taste; other people’s emotions and stress (still dealing with these). I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but typing this has been a bit exhausting. Okay, now for the mental and emotional stuff. I became intensely afraid of the dark for several weeks. Thankfully that passed. I was terrified to be alone, and I am still afraid to be left on my own for too long. I experienced terror like I had never felt before. I learned to sit with it and accept it without giving a narrative to it. At first I felt at its mercy, but in January, I decided to sit with it, feel it physically while not giving it a narrative, and accept it. I kind of spoke to it. I said that I accepted that it was there but that it could feel free to leave at any time. I would ride out those waves in this way. That terror hasn’t visited me in a few weeks. Anxiety has been a constant companion. I talk to it too and treat it like I did the terror. I can settle it down eventually, but I know it’s not done with me yet. I also wake up with panic in the middle of the night. I decided a couple of weeks ago to not entertain any suicidal thoughts anymore. It is not an option, and I will not do it. I have become a bit claustrophobic, and early on, I had to keep running out of rooms or running outside. I’m getting tired, so I think I’ll jump to some of my concerns and questions. Since November, I lost my ability to daydream, and I miss that escape desperately. Will it come back? Will any spark of creativity come back? I find it hard to enjoy things, but I make myself do things to keep me occupied, like crochet. I used to be obsessed with music, but I can barely listen to it now. I can’t really watch most tv, but I have, thankfully, been able to watch gentle anime in the evenings to settle me down for sleep. When I get through this, I think I will have to write some sort of love letter about the genre keeping me going. British panel shows and British painting and pottery shows I can also handle. Will I be able to enjoy tv, music, and fiction again? I feel like I don’t remember how to be a person. Why am I afraid to be alone with my thoughts? Why do I worry from the morning how I will distract myself enough to get through another day? Where is any feeling of fun or enthusiasm? I focus on gratitude and am making every effort to be kind to myself. I also make an effort to be kind to others. I feel love for my parents and brother, and I tell them so often. I’ve journaled about past pains and traumas and chosen to forgive those involved. So I’m trying to lay the groundwork for positivity in my brain. But I feel like I’m in an unending existential crisis. I have trouble making much of an effort to do things, and I often feel like there is no point. Sadness I can feel, but happiness is elusive. It all just takes time, right? I guess I’m looking for hope. Sorry if this is a bit of a disorganized mess. Thank you, SurvivingOnAnime Lexapro 5mg for 3 months (quit November 2019) Lexapro 10mg for 14 months (July 2018 - Sept 2019) Zoloft 50mg for 5 months (March 2018 - July 2018) Celexa for 10 years (2008- March 2018)
  12. Hi all, I am writing from the BBC. The Victoria Derbyshire show in the UK are producing a short film about anti-depressant withdrawals and are looking to speak to individuals who have used local street drug dependency services for support throughout this process. If you are someone who has used the support services of street drug charities in the UK for antidepressant withdrawal and are interested in taking part, please do reach out to me via the personal messaging system . We appreciate the very sensitive nature of this difficult experience and anything spoken about will remain confidential unless otherwise agreed. Many thanks.
  13. After three misguided (via doctors) attempts at Effexor tapering, I found out the truth in the summer of 2017 and began a very slow taper from 75mg to my most recent taper of August 1st, 2019 when I reached about 50mg. Primarily I experienced fatigue and insomnia but after the August taper I started experiencing a weird anxiety-dread-panicky feeling that came and went. Since December, it's gotten worse. Despite occasional short windows (a couple of hours now and then), it seems I can't get comfortable. My large muscle groups in my upper body are always filled with "tension ache". It's maddening. Trying to take a nap is so hard, because after 15 minutes I get an intense fearful feeling in my chest (cortisol?). I want to think that this is will pass and the pain is just part of the healing process. I'm confused as to why I'm getting this reaction since I've been tapering so slowly. Any suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Kingson
  14. Hello, this is my first post, it’s nice not to just float out in space with this very difficult experience. My story is that I had been on 250 mg of Seroquel in combination with Lithium for about 8 years which kept my bipolar II in pretty good control since 2012. I then had a hypomanic episode in November 2019 (after one of the toughest years of my life, finally cutting contact with my abusive family of origin and the related trauma) that lead to my psychiatrist raising my Seroquel from 250 to 350 mg to help me sleep as I was not sleeping for 3 nights (not to control the hypomania itself). It’s an understatement to say that turned out to be a terrible misjudgment as after about 2 weeks on the significantly higher dose, I started to have severe vertigo as an adverse reaction. This same psychiatrist would not believe my adverse reaction/toxicity was due to the sudden jump in Seroquel, so I ended up switching psychiatrists after feeling talked down to and essentially abandoned. The new psychiatrist believed me and is a reasonable, compassionate person. He and I agreed I must come off Seroquel and quickly due to the vertigo toxicity which had me basically immobilized. In 3 days, I came down from 250 mg to 50 mg. The vertigo disappeared but within days after, I started to have insomnia (I am now sleeping with sleep meds), nausea and acid reflux, headaches and now about 6 weeks in to the withdrawal, the headaches are replaced by terrible dizziness and even more severe nausea, reflux has abated with help of meds. It’s really frightening and painful going through this to say the least, especially not knowing when it will improve. I work full time and have a family to take care of and my husband and I are frozen in a state of perpetual anxiety and a deep sense of crisis. Anyone experienced anything like this with Seroquel/Quetiapine or other atypical antipsychotics? Psychiatrists seem to know next to nothing about this issue. As a side note, I feel unable to raise the Seroquel level due to the severe vertigo issues I had while on it at the higher dose. Thanks in advance for pretty much any guidance or rays of hope, this is hell and I feel I’m on my own.
  15. I was on Celexa for 3 years. I started it in high school. Now I am 20 years old. It wasn't helping me anymore. I gave up on life. Quit my job and dropped out of college. I isolated myself and smoked marijuana. Didn't want to socialize with my roommates. I didn't want to go out in public because I felt mentally unstable and embarrass myself. My mood is so unpredictable that I just want to stay home alone. I became very destructive. I guess the Celexa wasn't working. My Mom thinks that Celexa was causing horrible side effects while I was on it and it was making everything worse. I tapered off 3 weeks ago. I feel the same as when I was on it but even worse now. I feel really weak mentally and totally hopeless. I don't feel like doing anything. I'm severely depressed, feel like a burden on everyone because I am. Everything is very stressful for me. I can barely feed myself. I have suicidal thoughts. I'm thinking about all the problems in my life all at once and can't stop. My brain is really slow. I have bad anxiety every morning, every day. I can't help myself get better. I'm just really stupid. I don't really enjoy anything. It's very hard to relax. Very lazy. My memory is awful. My confidence in myself is completely gone. Feel impending doom, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I am so confused. How long before the side effects from Celexa wear off? I was told it would only be 2 weeks. I don't know how much more I can take.
  16. Hi, I am a 24 year old female from Montreal, Canada. I keep my childhood close to my heart as it is evidence of life being enjoyable. At age 12, I was diagnosed with O.C.D. and after a year or two of therapy, I was able to rid myself of most of my obsessional behaviours. At age 13, entering high school, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression, and was quickly put on anti-depressants. The following decade of my life consisted of continuous suffering (unwavering depression, hospital stays, self harm, suicidal tendencies, crisis after crisis, chain smoking cigarettes, chronic weed smoker, overweight, risky behaviour, terrible relationship with parents, couldn't work or go to school, ect). I was on anti-depressants /anti-anxiety /anti-psychotic/ sleeping aid medication during puberty and after. In 2016, after a decade of suffering, and realizing the two constants in my life have been meds and suffering, I started questioning the mental health system and what I have been told, and fed. 3 years later, here I am, almost off of my 10-year-long relationship with Cipralex(SSRI) (from ten years of 40mg to now, 5mg). I was lucky enough to find somebody online who is incredibly experienced and knowledgable about weening off of meds, and who has helped me taper safely. I am also very lucky to have parents who would do anything for me and support my journey and healing in every way possible. Since then I have been reducing my dosages every few months very slowly with little withdrawal symptoms, and it has been going really well. I started feeling hope that I never thought would be possible. Up until now. A couple of months ago, I dropped my dosage of Cipralex from 5mg to 4mg and within two weeks started feeling waves of panic that I had not felt in years. One night, I felt the surge of panic, and eventually fell asleep after several hours of struggling. I woke up the next day and I was still in panic. The following 3 or 4 days I was stuck in this panic. There are no words to describe how horrific it feels to be trapped in what I thought could only last an hour maximum. (Disclaimer: I have a deep fear of "going insane". At this point, when I speak of "insanity", I am describing the experience of being pulled away from the normal reality I am ''used'' to. But, if there wasn't a sense of complete terror, I probably would mind it less. Stuck in terror is now how I define my understanding of "insanity".) It has been several months now (3 or 4) that I am experiencing the most horrific episodes of complete terror. The feeling of a nightmare doubled down under the weight of the realization that this is as real as it gets, there is no waking up from this horror, there is no waking up in relief. This is it. It's similar to in a nightmare, I feel the presence of something evil, I'm afraid to look over my shoulder, I'm afraid I'll see it, I am completely on edge. "Derealization" and "depersonalization" happening heavily. How I feel in a storm of terror, my entire understanding of reality is Doom. Something right behind me, the imminent danger, something horribly, horribly dangerous is here. Right here. And something terrible, catastrophic, EVIL, is going to happen, is happening and will get worse. I am going to snap. My personal hell tailored to my exact dread and fears. It is not like a normal sense of panic, or dread. I have had countless panic attacks previously. This... every single fibre of my being is shrieking in terror. There is not a crack of light. The whole entire game is different. My body is spiking with the threat of death, evil, “insanity”. My mind is trapped. I am trapped. It feels like there is a pressure on the back of my head but from the inside, something urging to get out, to escape. Screaming, desperate, shocked. Nightmares end in relief. There is no end to this, there is no waking up in relief. Death is part of the terror, so I cannot end my life. My brain, my mind, my spirit, in danger, threatened by Imminent Doom. Trapped. Panic. Unreal panic. Inconceivable panic. Fire in my stomach. Then ice. Then fire. Dizzy from panic. It feels like I am being sucked away into Hell. My inner voice fades. Vision unable to coordinate with mind, I am sinking into my skull, into darkness. Reality is not safe. No where to hide. NO WHERE TO HIDE. My body cannot handle such terror so it trembles uncontrollably. Knees knocking together. I could release all bodily fluids from how terrified I am. Gagging, I sometimes puke. I can't look at my mom or dad without being sent further into torture, they seem wildly unfamiliar and really, really distant. They cant help. Nobody can save me. Praying to God, any God. My hands gripping my clothing, pulling. Jaw locked, clenching. Can't close my eyes. Can't keep them open. No options. My mind, my Being, terror ripping through Everything. All of this is not accounting for when I wake up from sleep in Terror. In that, my attachment to my 24 years of life, my identity, my name and hands and vision, my beliefs, my parents, my entire concept of what it is to be Me, my inner self and outer self, is unretrievable. The fear has no way of being calmed, effort cannot even be made, my thoughts are out of order, completely, there is a chaotic sense of disorder. Part of me wonders if I am going 'insane', or if my fate is to end up in a state of constant panic. I have a newfound perspective on my own mortality, on the fragility of my own grip on 'reality'. I don't know how to deal with these 'attacks' and something tells me I will live the rest of my life in the shadow of this clear sense of doom. It feels like I am living in a nightmare, surreal yet painfully real. I have some little windows of hope and a sense of being ''grounded''. Sometimes a few days where I am Okay. This is what I hold onto, or try to hold onto, desperately when I start feeling the terror. But when I'm really IN the state of panic, there really is nothing I can do. I feel so alone in this experience. I am currently living back with my parents (I was living on my own for a couple of years). I am back on 5mg, and don't plan to continue tapering, not for a while. Thank you for reading. I am so TERRIFIED.
  17. Hello everyone, Background: I took Escitalopram (10mg) for about 22 months starting in January 2017. I got burned out around July 2016 which led to a panic disorder which got worse until I chose to go for the meds in january 2017. So the main reason for treatment was anxiety & panic. August 2019 I decided to start tapering down, as the panic attacks had worn off for quite some time, and I wanted to get rid of the fog the Escitalopram gave me. As I saw in other introduction posts, it was suggested to add my dosages/dates in the signature so you can find them there. In short I first tapered from 10->5 mg (which I stayed on for about 2 months, and then took about 6 weeks to taper from 5 to 0mg using liquid drops. I did not experience many side or withdrawal effects during the tapering, or in the first month after discontinuation. However after about a month (half december 2019) I started to feel a sadness/emptiness which gave me a little concern. This has slowly gotten worse over the past 6 weeks where it really feels like a full depression. (vulnerable to negative emotions, sudden crying spell - I hardly ever cry/cried, racing negative thoughts, worrying about my health) which in turn leads to me getting nervous over possibly relapsing. I have been to my GP to talk about this, and she has suggested that with previous clients of her on Escitalopram, some have also experienced a 'rebound depression''. We have agreed to keep a close eye on it for the coming months to see how it resolves itself. Now what gives me a little hope is that the symptoms I'm experiencing currently are mainly depressive, whilst my inititial treatment was for anxiety and panic. I have no trouble being in crowds or outside, but instead have trouble being alone (which is pretty much the opposite of my situation before meds). What worries me is that it's getting worse, and I'm not sure what i'm in for. I hope I can find some people on here to learn from some similar experiences, possible outlook and advice if possible. Fizer
  18. Hi all, I had been taking 20mg Lexapro for about 8 years. About 3 months ago I was having a very bad bout of depression, anxiety etc. and was suggested by my doctor to change to 100mg Sertraline. In early November 2019 I CT'd the Lexapro, waited 24 hours and started taking the Sertraline (doctor's recommendation). I immediately suffered from extreme brain fog. Over the next 5 weeks the brain fog didn't ease up. I thought the brain fog was due to the Sertraline, so I stopped taking the Sertraline (fast taper over 3 weeks). I wanted to see how my mind and body would function without any medication so I did not reinstate the Lexapro (psychologist's recommendation). It has been about 4 weeks since I have stopped taking the Sertraline, and almost 3 months since I stopped taking the Lexapro. My anxiety and depression is ok (I am attending regular therapy to cope here, and have made positive life changes which has helped a lot). However, my heavy brain fog is still present, and my general concentration is far lower then what I am accustomed to. I have now come to realise that the brain fog was not caused by starting the Sertraline, but was due to withdrawal from the Lexapro. After doing some research over the past couple of weeks, and in particular reading stories about very slow tapering, it would seem going Lexapro CT was definitely the wrong choice! I am approaching 3 months out from stopping the Lexapro. I am thinking of possibly reinstating as I work as an engineer, and brain fog and lack of concentration is a major issue for me (as it would be for any job really). However, as I am almost 3 months out from taking my last dose of Lexapro, and my anxiety and depression is under control, and it is only the brain fog/concentration that is the issue, I am thinking it would probably be best if I don't reinstate, and hope that in the coming months (or even years as I have read) my brain slowly starts firing again. I guess I am looking for any form of advice about the possibility of reinstating, stabilising, and then slow tapering over a year or more (will this even cure my brain fog in the short term??), or am I best just to live with the brain fog and hope that it will fade in due time. What are some people's time frame for brain fog to disappear? Thanks everyone Dean
  19. HI, here santking, 34y "manic" diagnosed episode in 2004. treated w lithium, benzos and prozac. 1000 mg of depakote+benzos+prozac jun-ago 2004. ago-dec 750. + prozac Dec: just 500 depakote (treatment produced strong acne. treated with roaccutan between nov 2004 to oct 2006) 2005: depakote 500 (some months w 750) + prozac and benzos- (lorazepam) dec 2005 - aug 2007: depakote 500 mg aug 2007 - 2009 alternated depakote 500 mg to 250 mg jan 2010 i started with a new psychiatrist: depakote 500 mg until sep 2012 sep 2012 started depakote + antidepressants: depakote 500 + etifoxina / paroxetine and propanodol (?) (until jun 2013) jun 2013: depakote 500mg with paroxetine and propanodol. oct 2013: change paroxetine for trazadone. until Jan 2014. jan 2014: depakote 500mg and leave trazadone jan 2014-oct 2015: depakote 500 mg oct 2015: psychiatrist introduces sertraline. suicidal attempt with sertraline overdose in jan 2016. psychiatrists increases depakote to 750 mg and introduces wellburtin. jan 2016 - dec 2017: 750mg depakote + wellburtin dec 2017 consulting another psychiatrist changed wellburtin to seroquel 25 mg dec 2017 . until jun 2018: 750mg depakote and seroquel 25 mg in jul 2018 I meet the Peter BReggin's books and SA forum and start the withdrawal process. this included consuting with psycotherapist and intense researching meeting content like Icarus project, mad in america, Rachel Aviv articles and Laura Delano's Withdrawal Project (a daily reference) ago 2018: start tapering: depakote 500 mg and seroquel in 12mg dosages (cutting to half) until nov. in dec 2018 I felt the withdrawl synthoms of seroquel leaving (insomnia, vertigo, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, anxiety, fear) Jan 2019: changed depakote dosage -tablets o sprinkles- (125 mg) taking 4 pills daily. May 2019: tried tapering without scale (reducing "half" of sprinkle aprox 437 mg) causing a week of insomnia and panic. returned with 500 mg in June. Aug 2019: started tapering with scale. sep 2019: 450 mg Oct 400 mg. Nov: 375 mg (3 pills daily) DUring November I have been taking 375 mg I have been feeling intense laziness, lack of motivation and fatigue. I tried changing diet: avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and ultraprocessed foods. I had a week w insomnia and next week felt sleepness and lack of motivation (after Dec 1) RIght now I'm worried because I still feeling down and need increase energy due to personal compromises. I'm doubting if back to 400 mg or still reducing the dosage. THis based on how I'm feeling and listening the body sensations. I'm doing the tapering based on the 10% standard seeing in Breggin books, TWP and here. This is my history w psychiatry treatments and I would appreciate your help and recommendations for my case. If you need some explanations I will do it. Thank you.
  20. Hi all, I've been off antidepressants for about three months now after 14 months on them. See end of post for full tapering schedule (if you can call it that). Note that I didn't find this resource/community until today, so unfortunately the only guidance I had on tapering was my general practitioner, which didn't work out too well... In the first 1.5 months, I experienced nausea and intrusive thoughts as well as increased general irritability. Then, those symptoms went away but I started getting new symptoms. Intermittent numbness and cold in feet which started spreading to my calves and hands/forearms. Body pain all over when waking up in the morning. One severe panic attack (first ever in my life). General feelings of panic (again, first ever despite a lifetime of anxiety). I've tracked these symptoms and am finding that the strength of these symptoms cycles; every 2-4 days, there is a strong (5x) increase in these symptoms, to the point that it can become debilitating. Have seen the doctor 3 times on this and they've run blood tests, but didn't find any other underlying causes, so he attributes it to me being too sensitive, dismissing antidepressant discontinuation given that I've been off them for more than 1 month and "symptoms don't last that long". So, after lots of frustration there, I saw an osteopath for some alternative diagnostics, and she was able to reduce some of the symptoms through cranial osteopathy. Will continue this to see if it provides lasting relief. I also did some searching on my own, and that's what brought me here. Looking forward to reading around on the forum and engaging. If anyone has any recommendations based on these issues, let me know. Thanks! Sertraline: 0mg->30mg (immediate) Held 30mg for about a month Experienced significant side effects and doctor recommended switch to citalopram 30mg->0mg (immediate; -100%) Citalopram: 0mg->10mg (held for 1 month) 10mg->20mg (+100%; held 3 months) 20mg->30mg (+50%; held 2 months) Experienced side effects so doctor recommended drop to 20mg 30mg->20mg (-33%; held 3 months) Started getting better so doctor recommended drop to 15mg 20mg->15mg (-25%; held 2.25 months) 15mg->12.5mg (-17%; held 4 days) 12.5mg->12mg (-4%; held 13 days) 12mg->11.5mg (-4%; held 1 day) 11.5mg->10mg(-13%; held 2 days) 10mg->9mg(-10%; held 2 days) 9mg->8.5mg(-6%; held 2 days) 8.5mg->8mg(-6%; held 1 day) 8mg->7.5mg(-6%; held 2 days) 7.5mg->7mg(-7%; held 2 days) Started experiencing more severe side effects so went up again 7mg->8.5mg(+21%; held 6 days) Feeling okay so started tapering again 8.5mg->7.5mg(-12%; held 5 days) Met with doctor and he told me that if I'm already under 10mg, may as well just drop to zero because I'm "prolonging the discontinuation symptoms by tapering".......... 7.5mg->0mg(-100%)
  21. First of all thank you for the support you give on this site. I am from Spain, using Google translator. I started with psychiatric medications at age 16 from panic attacks, I'm currently 37. I've been trying to quit the medications for two years. Before starting the last withdrawal I was taking: EFFEXOR XR 150 mg1-0-0; TRANKIMAZIN RETARD 1mg 1-0-1; MIRTAZAPINE 15 mg 0-0-1. In January 2019 I started withdrawing TRANKIMAZIN 0.5 mg every 15 days; at the end of the cone I did not recover from withdrawal symptoms but despite that when the withdrawal of TRANKIMAZIN ends I began with the withdrawal of EFFEXOR. I removed 0.75 mg of EFFEXOR for two months. At this point I was very tired, I had muscular stiffness in my neck and many pains and had gained a lot of weight, I decided to remove MIRTAZAPINE first to see if the symptoms described above were solved. From there I eliminate MIRTAZAPINE in just one week, five months ago. There begins the greatest abstinence hell I've ever lived; panic attacks every thirty minutes, vomiting, diarrhea, sensitivity to light and sound, itching and skin sensitivity, burning eyes, lack of appetite, muscle aches throughout the body, extreme fatigue, anhedonia, depersonalization, dizziness ... As the symptoms were intolerable, reading in this forum that a benzodiazepine can help I start with DIAZEPAM. 2.5 mg - 0 - 2.5. The benzo works and the symptoms become more tolerable. the panic attacks almost disappear and I start eating a little. From this moment I try to hold on to see if the symptoms disappear. Today, sensitivity to light and sound, skin sensitivities have improved, I have no insomnia, no vomiting or diarrhea. However, I have had to abandon all my daily activities because any effort makes me feel very sick (flu symptoms). prolonged anhedonia and depersonalization have led me to a deep depression. My life is to be asleep as long as possible because the reality is too distressing, I have no appetite, I live with demotivation and hopelessness and ideas of death. I do not know if all these symptoms are an accumulation of the different withdrawals or are due exclusively to MIRTAZAPINE. I am afraid of restoring medication because my quality of life with her was very poor, the EFFEXOR caused my personality changes and psychic changes that wreaked havoc on my life. I would like to know what you think and what you would do in these difficult times. It is very difficult in Spain to find medical support that belives my story. Thanks for your support.
  22. Valhalla

    Valhalla

    Hello, all, Is it possible to be in protracted SNRI withdrawal as well as suffering from the reappearance of seasonal affective disorder? My cortisol spikes still awaken me between 2-4am accompanied by anxiety, fear, despair and depression but I've noticed my fall/winter depression is back- just like it did prior to taking meds. Any input is appreciated.
  23. Is bupirone an activator or sedative? trying to taper off , but it's causing me real shaking,
  24. My story appears to be similar to many folks here on this forum. Reading all of these accounts has helped me accept my symptoms as a result of Zoloft, which has at least given me some piece of mind. Before I explain my timeline and struggle with getting off Zoloft, I want to bring to the forum’s attention something my psychiatrist informed me of which I have found no evidence of elsewhere. Hopefully someone can verify this. My psychiatrist explained the following: The FDA allows for a 30% upward or downward margin of error on Zoloft pills. He explained that a 50mg Sertraline (Zoloft) may have up to 65mg or as low as 38.5mg. Another example, a 25mg Sertraline may have have as much as 32.5mg and as low as 17.5mg. Can anyone validate this? If this is true, it is unimaginable. My story: I started 50mg of Zoloft in 2012 for general anxiety, social stress and general dissatisfaction. My psychiatrist at the time said “It was about as harmful as taking an aspirin.” In 2013 we increased my dose to 75mg. My psychiatrist retired in 2015 and I continued at 75mg through my general doctor’s refills. In 2018, I felt I was in a good place and tried to go cold turkey. After a couple of weeks of torture, I returned to 75mg. After learning that I should taper, and also feeling I was in a good place, I decided to reduce my dose to 50mg in July of 2019. Two weeks of intense symptoms ensued but by the end of the second week things became more manageable. I wanted to reduce the symptoms and requested (it took some convincing of my new psychiatrist) a liquid form of Sertraline in August. I reduced to 45mg but felt like I was not getting a consistent dose (sticking to the glass) and it was difficult to swallow even when mixed with water. My psychiatrist recommended that I switch to a 25mg pill + a half and a quarter of another 25mg pill bringing me to 42.5mg in September. I stayed at 42.5mg for September and October and was distracted by a series of sinus infections (antibiotics and 2 rounds of prednisone). Thinking I was ill from the infections, I did not realize most of my symptoms were Zoloft related. All of my symptoms were rationalized but my general doctors. Dizziness, light headed, extreme head pressure, headaches, persistent neck pain, fogginess, loss of appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance, loss of equilibrium, flu-like symptoms and tingles in hands...doctors all rationalized them as symptoms of sinus/ear infection and the steroids. This went on for almost 2 months, while somehow I was still functioning. Until I called my psychiatrist last week and he informed me that it might be because we switched to a smaller pill which may have 30% less than is listed on the bottle. He prescribed the 50mg for me and within 2 days I felt somewhat improved, but noticed some brain zaps and the continuation of symptoms. My psychiatrist said that 50mg may not be enough to counteract a withdrawal and that we may need to go up to 75mg to stabilize. This past Sunday (10/27) I upped my dosage to 75mg. I am feeling some improvement, but still not feeling right: light headed, light sensitivity, headaches, fogginess, inconsistent appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance and tingles in hands... So I am back where I started, 75mg, and hopefully stabilizing soon. Lots of information here from fellow “survivors” but I am scared. Shouldn’t I feel totally better? Could a couple months of enduring withdrawal make stabilizing more difficult? And most importantly, is the 30% margin of error that my psychiatrist shared with me true?? If so, we need to change that! Thank you for your time.
  25. clarknova

    Clarknova: Hello, SA!

    Hello, SA Hello, everyone. Long time lurker, but this is my first post. First of all I want to thank everyone on this site for educating me and giving me comfort through rough times. I’ve read and re-read posts and found tremendous solace in your stories. At the same time, I’m truly sorry for all your struggles. My story: I’m male, 42 years of age, I work as a TV-editor and I live in Oslo, Norway. In 2004, after touring with a band for a year and a half, I had severe panic attacks, 2-3 times a day for about 6 months. I finally saw my doctor and he put me on 10 mg of cipralex and referred me to a support group which I participated in for 2.5 years. It helped me tremendously, so I told the doctor in 2007 I was feeling better and he said I could taper down over a few weeks. This went fine and for a few years I was okay. No withdrawal that I can remember. Then, in 2010, following a break-up, I didn’t want to feel heart-broken and so I asked my doctor if I could go back on cipralex. I don’t think I was depressed, I just didn’t want to feel sad (How I wish I could go back, I'd take the natural sadness instead). I went back on 10 mg cipralex and this was fine, no severe side-effects (On the contrary, I actually enjoyed having delayed orgasms as I was often more premature when not on meds). But after a while I noticed subtle changes to my personality. I’m a musician and have made music since the age of 14, but suddenly I wasn’t interested anymore. I stopped writing songs. I also stopped crying completely, even the good cries, like when I saw Good Will Hunting or Finding Neverland. I didn’t feel very much of anything and starting thinking that this was not the way to go through life. So I told the doctor I wanted to get off the meds, and he basically said I knew how it worked now and could regulate my medication use on my own. So I did. In 2015 I tapered pretty quickly, probably over a month, and was fine for a while. A few heavy crying-spells, but nothing major. I started making music again, and sold an apartment so I had enough money to not work since I was sick of my job as a TV-editor anyway. Then, at the end of 2015, a toxic friend I was trying to avoid suddenly had a major life-crisis and was asking a lot from me in terms of help and support. I tried my best, but at the same time; this was a person I didn’t want in my life. I became very upset, not knowing what to do. I had overwhelming anxiety and ended up in the emergency room begging for valium. Having a somewhat avoidant personality, I decided the only thing I could do was to skip town. I went to my mothers and after a few days crashed completely. I felt I was a horrible person for skipping out on someone who needed me even though I wanted to distance myself from this person. I felt I had become like my late father, avoiding responsibility. I became extremely depressed. The massive anxiety made self-harm feel like a dangerous possibility and so I was brought to the emergency room and was told by the psychiatrist there that I should go back on the cipralex since that had worked for me before. I reluctantly did what she said and was back on the meds. Looking back, I realise now that this episode with the toxic friend happened while I had been off meds for about 6 months and my reaction to it could very well have been massive because of a overly sensitive CNS. Anyway, I had never been this sick. I was hanging on for dear life. Awful depression and intense anxiety. I walked and walked, and swam and swam (at the local pool) just to keep everything at bay. Mornings and evenings were worst. I saw Douglas Bloch-videos on youtube over and over again for comfort. I got some follow-up from the local psychiatric hospital and after four months, now 2016, I realised that living with my mother wasn’t doing my self-esteem much good so I moved back to my apartment in Oslo and explained to my old boss that I had had a nervous break-down and asked if I could come back to work - not do anything, not get paid, just come to the office every day. I couldn't manage even the smallest responsibilities. He was very understanding and said of course. Just being around people helped me a lot, and after a while I started helping out with scripts and some minor editing work. After a few months I was given a 50% position working from 9 to 13 every day. Slowly I got better and started working full time through 2016, 2017 and 2018. I was still on meds, but again feeling like I was too much of a Zombie I wanted to be free of them. So in early 2018 I decided to taper. I went down to 5mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in april. May and June were just horrible with depression and anxiety so I got back on them again, but then regretted it, so tapered again, same protocol - 5 mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in september, deciding to make it stick this time. And I have. It’s been just over a year. I found this site, and of course realised that I had tapered too quickly. But thinking come what may, I trudged on. In March and April of this year I got the weirdest muscle aches. It had all the hallmarks of fibromyalgia and so I was convinced I had that, but then realising it was probably withdrawal. It suddenly went away, and May, June and July were really good, I was thinking “Yeah, I beat it!”. Then, as I started work after the summer, I had 5 weeks on a very stressful project. It must have triggered something, because after it was finished I started crashing. The muscle pain came back, especially in the chest and neck, muscles hard and tight as a rock. Also my health-anxiety has slowly increased since I came off the meds, so now I’ll have weeks were I’m convinced I have a heart conditon or some form of cancer or infection. I go to the doctor a lot and he tells me I’m fine (I don’t even discuss SSRI’s with him anymore, because everytime I’ve tried he has brushed it off like so many of you are probably familiar with). And then, about a week and a half ago suddenly the muscle pain went away, but I became extremely depressed. And really suddenly too, like from one minute to the next. And it’s been fluxuating wildly ever since. Just this god awful suicidal depression. It’ll be horrible for a few hours or half a day, and then I will get a little relief. Like a nightmareish rollercoaster ride. The massive break-down of 2015 fresh in my memory like a trauma, I spiral into terrible anxiety about going back there, having to quit my job, moving back with my mother, going back to hospital, going back on cipralex just because I’ve lost all will to put up a fight against the doctors. But the little man in my head, behind the gruesome thoughts and feelings, is trying to flow with it, and I try to remember what’s really going on here - I’m in protracted withdrawal, I tapered too fast, my CNS is scrambling, I’m healing in waves and windows. As I am writing this tonight, I feel alright, but it’s sure to fluxuate again soon. I wanted to post this to tell my story, as I have found relief in all your stories. I’d like to bring updates when I can, and I’ll try to contribute to others if I feel I can add some value. In short, I hope to be a part of this community. You have all convinced me that this is indeed happening, and occasionally I have hate for my doctor for dealing me these drugs, but at the same time I know he doesn’t know any better. Everyone’s stumbling around in the dark, it seems. In 2004 there was a case for me needing medication, but in 2010 it was all my doing, not wanting to feel the effects of a break-up I took the easy route. I have to take some of the responsibility for that. I just didn’t know how powerful these drugs actually were. I know now. All the best.
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