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  1. I hope this post is not too long, but I have been through the pharmaceutical wringer and I'm not being heard, believed or helped by my doctors: 2 years ago around May 2016, I had my first panic attack. ER doc rx'd Ativan .5mg 3x a day. Never said a word about dependence. After 3 weeks the script ran out and so I just stopped, and of course, all hell broke loose. Went to my PCP who dx'd me with anxiety and rx'd xanax and Effexor. After 1 night of throwing up, I stopped the Effexor. What I didn't know at the time was that the dose of xanax he prescribed was HALF the equivalent of the ativan I had been taking. He obviously knew nothing about dosage equivalencies. I could not understand why I was so very sick. I found a Pdoc who I thought was very understanding and said she could help me. She switched me to Klonopin and rx'd 25mg Zoloft, and upped the dosage to 50 mg after two weeks. After stabilizing on a whopping 3mg Klonopin, I started to cut, taking 50 mg Zoloft all the while. All during this time I was very weak and shaky, which I attributed to the benzo, but now I'm not so sure. I finished my benzo taper in Nov of last year, and really suffered very little, if any, acute, but still felt a little shaky. I then decided to come off the zoloft, as the Pdoc stated it was "very gentle" and I could just quit. Being gun shy after the benzo fiasco, I did do a short taper and came off with no issues in January of this year. Shortly after that, my leg shakiness and hand tremor went away, but I still did not connect them to Zoloft, because all the emphasis was on benzo withdrawal and how "gentle" zoloft was. In May of this year, it was clear that my mother, who had been very, very sick for very, very long, was dying. By this time, I had a new PCP and no Pdoc. Since I was extremely stressed and grieving, my PCP suggested I go back on zoloft, and I didn't see why not, so I restarted 50 mg. Immediately, I had weakness and tremor again. In August 2018, two months after my Mom died, I decided to come off the Zoloft. Still believing it was a benign drug, I once again did a fast taper of about 3 weeks. I felt fantastic off of it - no more weakness or tremor, TONS more energy - until 31 days later when it all came back full force. The trembling, weakness, and anxiety just all of a sudden came back. Finally, the penny dropped for me, and I found this site and realized it was withdrawal. I went back to my old Pdoc who laughed in my face and said withdrawal is impossible after 1 month. She told me to face the fact that I needed to be medicated and gave me the smallest dose of Lexapro. I took it for a week, but was feeling progressively worse, and I knew I didn't want her to treat me anymore. I went to my PCP and told her the whole story. She does believe me and is trying to help, but I think she's out of ideas. She did give me a DNA test for drug sensitivities, which shows me to be a slow metabolizer of most SSRIs and SNRIs, and an "intermediate" metabolizer of one SSRI, Prozac. For lack of a better answer, she put me back on 25 mg of Zoloft to attempt stabilization, but its been 3 weeks and I just keep getting worse. I now have insomnia, very high chemical anxiety, muscle twitches, no appetite, cold feet, temp changes, diarrhea and morning cortisol spikes along with the weakness and tremor. I am effectively bedridden. As of today, I have upped my dose to 37.5, but knowing that I retain high concentrations of zoloft for longer than normal, I worry about serotonin syndrome. My PCP wants to switch me to Buspirone, since my DNA test indicates I would tolerate that well, but she wants me to find a Pdoc to help with the switch, so here we go again!! I just want to stablize on something so that I can function, and then down the road a couple or few months, start the long taper that should be done. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I'm really struggling. Thanks for reading this long post.
  2. After 2 weeks on escitalopram and then 4 weeks on sertrilene, I can't say I've ever stabilized. I decreased the sertrilene 10 days ago and symptoms seem overall slightly better. I'm trying to decide whether to stay at my current dose or continue to taper.
  3. Hello all, long time reader first time poster. Firstly I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have such a place to go and receive help for what can only be described as a nightmare that thousands of people seem to go through. So here is my story which I will end with a few questions I have. As you can see from my signature, I was placed on 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) in September 2009. This is when my life was turned upside down. I was originally placed on this drug because I visited my local doctor comlaining about some anxiety that I was getting after I drank alcohol. I must say that for a period of about 8 years I was a heavy binge drinker. I was a typical 18 year old who went out every weekend and got blind drunk with his mates. This was obviously starting to take its toll on me once I hit 25 years of age and that is why I visited my doctor. Well I was in there for a total of about 10 minutes before he prescribed me 50mg of Zoloft telling me this would help with taking the edge off of my anxiety. I did what he suggested and this was the worst mistake of my life. I returned to the doctor within 10 days of starting 50mg complaining of the worst symptoms (severe agitation, anxiety and now depression). Unfortunatley I could not see the original doctor so I saw another doctor there at the time. He said I must need a higher dose and that 100mg was the normal dose he puts his patients on. He also prescribed valium to me (which I took a couple of times). The next 3 months of my life was like a horror film. I became suicidal with severe symptoms that I had never experienced before going on the drug. I seem to settle after about 3 months, but it must be said I never was without symptoms, but they were less severe. Around 12 months after starting the drug, I began to get more severe symtoms. I returned to the doctor and he once again up'd my dosage to 150mg. The next 3 months were a nightmare again, severe agitation etc. For the next 6 years I floated between 100mg and 150mg. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy to treat an apparent panic disorder; although I didn't mind the therapist, the information we went through just didn't seem to apply to me i.e. I wasn't thinking any of the ways he was suggesting was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until I started looking into more natural ways and researching antidepressants that I realised that maybe the drug could be the problem! Lightbulb moment! I have read a lot of books from authors like Peter Breggin, Joseph Glenmullen, etc. which I am sure most of you have read. I also have been doing a lot of work with a nutritionist. I had a 23andme test done and found out a couple of interesting points. I have a COMT gene mutation which means I break down adrenaline and dopamine slower and I also have a mutation in another gene which I can't remember the name of which means I break down serotonin slower. What this actually suggests to me and my nutritionist agrees is that I may have been quite toxic with levels of serotonin which was causing serotonin syndrome. Alot of my symptoms were a mirror image of serotonin syndrome (agitation etc.). So as you can see from my signature, I began tapering in February 2016. My problem now is that I seem to have hit a huge brick wall. I may have tapered a little fast and was hit with severe withdrawal symptoms which have not gone away. I have been holding at my current dose of 60mg for almost 4 months now. This past 4 months has been the worst 4 months of my life. It started with severe symptoms like pounding headaches, vomitting, insomnia, not being able to sit still (severe agitation) as well as some depression. It has progressed from there to now being just severe depression. I am not depressed about anything in particular other than the way I feel. It is like I am completely numb with emotions aside from being really upset. I have no appetite and really struggle to get through each day. I am very fatigued and lack motivation to do the most basic of things. I am pushing through it as best I can still working fulltime and excercising a couple of times a week plus playing golf on the weekend. I must say that I have a great life. I love my job, I have a beautiful wife and young son (8 months) and honestly have everything to live for. It is just these horrendous symptoms are ruining it all. So finally to my questions and looking for advice from some veterans on here. What should I do next? Should I continue to hold at 60mg until things get better, or should I continue at a 10% taper and see if things get worse or perhaps better? From previous drops, I seem to have a period of improvement on symptoms for about 2-4 weeks, and then it begins to decline until I drop again. I am not sure whether that means I should keep reducing or slow down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
  4. Hi, I found this site a couple of weeks ago and have slowly been starting to wonder if what I’ve been going through the past 18 months is related to SSRI withdrawal. I managed to successfully withdraw from Lexapro at the end of 2010, after over 13 years of AD use. I had various fluctuating symptoms for a couple of months, but then apart from constant ringing in my ears and a return of occasional anxiety, I seemed to be ok. I was studying to be a chi-ball instructor, was exercising regularly, was eating healthy and was generally quite happy. After getting off Lexapro, I had been diagnosed with adult ADD and been put on medication for that. It worked well for a couple of weeks and seemed to completely cure what remained of my anxiety, but then I started to get extreme restlessness, OCD like symptoms, irritability and an increase in my sensitivity, to sounds and lights. I assumed it was a bad reaction to the stimulant medication. My life has been a confusing nightmare since the end of 2010 really, but until I found this site a couple of weeks ago, it really didn’t occur to me that my ongoing problems were being caused by a medication I stopped taking over 2 years ago. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life starting from an early age and have always been sensitive and anxious. There has been some violent crime and sexual abuse, but I seemed to be ok until I got myself into a psychologically abusive marriage. That’s when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started on Zoloft. For a couple of years it took the edge off my anxiety, but I never thought I had depression, but the Zoloft just made me feel generally numb, so I endured my marriage, for several more years until it became unbearable, tried to communicate with my ex-husband so that things would improve, but he wasn’t interested in change, he was already in his next relationship and had been for a while, I didn’t know that at the time though. Then I went through about 4 years of extremely frightening separation/divorce and ongoing court proceedings. . There were other extremely stressful things I’ve had to deal with over the last 10 years, but I’m not going to go into details. I have been thinking that what I’m going through is a combination of long term stress, anxiety/depression, a ‘dark night of the soul’, menopause and/or some kind of spiritual transformation like kundalini, because I have engaged in various spiritual practises through my life. At times its felt like my CNS is completely burned out or that I have some kind of serious hormonal imbalance, but I gave up trusting the medical profession, including psychologists after years of not being able to get any help from any of them and only ending up feeling worse and that its all my fault for not trying hard enough. I’ve had lots therapy, counselling and done various support groups over the last 15 years, nothing has been any significant help. I went back to college to study psychology and started a business, but that all fell apart when the marital abuse became worse and the divorce proceedings began. Since finding this site, I’ve stopped taking all psychotropic medication, realizing that anything which effects my brain is having an exaggerated negative effect on my recovery. For a long time I’ve noticed that even small amounts of caffeine, half a glass of wine or even an anti-histamine will have a very bad effect on me, but I was thinking it was my imagination. I can’t even eat chocolate any more without suffering the next day. I’m exhausted all the time, but it’s a weird kind of fatigue, its like a combination mental/emotional tiredness, not like anything I’ve ever felt before. I spend most of my time at home, on the internet on my bed, just doing the things I need to do to take care of myself and my teenage daughter. Its very difficult just getting out to buy a few groceries, but when I do go out, I function perfectly in a kind of dissociated way, like I’m not even in my own body, I’m watching myself like from a distance, wondering who it is that’s behaving so ‘normally’ when I’m feeling so awful. Waves of negative emotions seem to get triggered by almost everything around me and almost every thought, I try not to think about things or do much of anything so I can avoid the emotional pain that thoughts or experiences bring, its like a kind of forced meditation. This symptom was at its worst from November 2011 – August 2012, but its not as bad now, seems to be settling down, I think its improved by about 50%. Please would someone take a look at the details in my signature and give me an opinion if protracted anti-depressant withdrawal might be a factor in my current health problems which include: Waking at 5am with racing thoughts Feeling like I haven’t slept at all Nausea, shaking, dizziness, body pressure, muscle twitches Waves of negative emotion Hot/cold flashes, sweating Constant ringing in my ears Sensitive to sound, light and smells Can’t watch TV or listen to the radio because its too stimulating Most things are too stimulating now, including being around other people too long Loss of appetite and loss of weight Hair falling out Agoraphobia, mostly during the day, I’m able to go out easier late afternoon towards evening Memory problems and mental confusion Loss of confidence. Loss of interest in doing anything or going anywhere Can’t get any pleasure out of things any more Loss of hope I needed to put more detail in my signature, but that’s all that would fit. From about 2006 – 2008 I was also taking duramine (a prescription stimulant weight loss med) to try and lose all the weight I’d put on from being on SSRI meds. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to try and provide a clear picture of my situation. Thank you Petu
  5. Hi all, my name is Matt, I am a 36 year old husband and father of three whose life has been turned upside down by these drugs. Although after reading the wealth of information on this site, I feel I finally understand what is happening to me, though it doesn’t make going through it any easier. I reinstated Zoloft on May 1st and I know I probably reinstated at much too high a dose, but I unfortunately was following “doctors orders.” It has been a tough four months to say the least, and at times I feel I will be stuck this way forever. However I have gone on vacation twice in the last 4 months. The 1st one was over the Fourth of July, during that time I would say I was 50-60% of my normal self. Only to come back, get to work, and get slammed by waves again. Last week I went on an end of summer vacation with my family, this time I would say I was closer to 75-80% of normal, and hopeful this was finally the beginning of the end for me and I was stabilizing and could in a few months begin a slow taper the proper way. However this past week back home and back to work have been unbearable. Unrelentingly anxiety and akathisia from the second I wake, that eventually calms a bit at night, but sometimes not til like 8-9PM. My question would be, can being on vacation really make that big of a difference in withdrawal? I would think it was just a fluke, but it has happened twice now. But it is like, almost feeling back to normal, vs not being able to fathom making it through another day. The difference is astounding. Any thoughts would be appreciated, also should I be getting worried that I am 4 months into reinstatement and holding and not stabilizing? Thanks, this site is amazing and all these people are amazing SURVIVORS!
  6. Hi everyone, beware! My story is very long, I’m mostly just sharing my experience in hopes that anyone else this has happened to knows they’re not alone or crazy despite what they’re doctor says and it’s reassuring to know people have experienced this and recovered. i am new to this site so i am still getting the hang of how things work! i am a 21 year old female, a mother of two beautiful babies and married to a very amazing supportive and kind husband. Approximately two and a half weeks ago both of my children (2 yrs old and 10 months old) came down with croup, a common illness in children that causes inflammation and restricts the airways sometimes making it difficult for them to breathe. So naturally, like any mother, i became very anxious and when my son was struggling to catch a breath i began having a panic attack. i have had panic attacks in the past (maybe once a year if that?) and they never lasted longer than a few minutes at a time. Well in the middle of this panic attack i remembered that my OB had prescribed me 50 mg Zoloft after id had my daughter just Incase i were to have post partum depression because I’d had it after having my son. (It had been a very dark two months of crying spells and feeling hopeless. I’d taken Prozac for the PPD and found it odd but also great that only a few doses brought me right out of the ppd so quickly when they said it’d take a few weeks to even work, so i never took any again after that week and was fine ever since!) Typically i only take medication as a last resort, even Tylenol. i will not take it unless i absolutely need it, but in the middle of this panic attack i told myself i could take it for a few days to help me the way the Prozac did. 😑 So i took it, determined it would help me. I had just finished a z pack the day before that (I’d been sick with my children) and i now know that z pack and Zoloft have a moderate reaction together. Anyways, i awoke the next morning with my heart racing and i sweating and i could not sit still to save my life. Just pacing around the entire house standing up and then sitting back down but no matter what i did nothing could calm me down or relax me. I felt like i had just smoked a ton of crack or something! My mind was racing and there was this burning sensation beginning in my chest and just spreading and shooting through my extremities. It was constant but would intensify in waves, the panic attacks were constant too, I’ve seen alot of people who say they thought they were having a heart attack while feeling this way but i knew this wasn’t that, i knew immediately that this was from the Zoloft. But i was sure this was it, i had destroyed my brain, i was on the verge of losing it completely. But at this point I️ got horrible pains in my stomach and (TMI) i began having diarrhea followed by complete loss of appetite. My mom had come over and ended up taking me and my two kids to work with her because i was terrified to stay home alone with the kids while my husband was at work. This continued for the next three days. I became a zombie just completely consumed by my own thoughts, like there was a war going on in my own head. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, the ONLY emotions i had were dread, fear and hopelessness. I broke down when my son was looking for my approval when he did something funny and i couldn’t even force a smile. I couldn’t feel a single bit of happiness, excitement or anything towards other people even my freaking children. My mom took me to my doctor, my HR was 162 and i don’t remember my blood pressure but it was higher than normal but not dangerous and i explained everything going on and watched as he wrote down that i had general anxiety disorder and panic disorder (which is not true at all) and told me that one dose could not effect me. I began crying and told him that this WAS NOT ME. Ive never been so unstable and i told him three days ago i was completely functional and perfectly fine!!!!!! Of course I’ve struggled in the past with some depression and anxiety when things happened like a family member dying or after having a babyAfter explaining this he said maybe i am a low cyp2 producer or something like that and wrote me a prescription for Xanax to stop the panic attacks and to come back in one month. And we could look into other SSRIs 😂 yeah SURE. I didn’t even need them in the first place!! i left feeling a little better about having something that should calm me down but freaked out again when the Xanax did nothing. My heart was STILL racing, my mind wasn’t slowing down, the burning was still there in my chest but physically my body felt heavier and slower. I ended up going to the ER the next day when nothing changed where the doctor denied blood work at first and asked if I’d like to see a psychiatrist. I was mostly calm while explaining everything to her but I could just see in her face she didn’t believe a word i was saying. She told me Zoloft couldn’t do something like this and that it was just me. She was, and i quote, “98%, actually 99% sure that this is not the medication doing this.” Then proceeded to tell me maybe i am just now beginning to exhibit symptoms of panic disorder because some people don’t exhibit any symptoms until they’re in their twenties and then used PSYCHIZOPHRENIA as a freaking example 😡 and then that’s what began the intrusive thoughts. I left the hospital feeling more hopeless (aside from the random nurse who came and told me that Jesus loves me on my way out, that was encouraging) than before. I started convincing myself i was just losing my mind and it terrified me, what if i snap and hurt my kids? What if i black out and try to kill myself? What if i hurt my husband? Y’all, my family is everything to me and these thoughts were KILLING ME. The worst things i could think of just kept running through my mind over and over. Just as i was about to have my mom take me to a facility where i could be monitored or get some help or anything because i was so afraid i would just lose my mind, i got my first window. It was the first bit of hope i had felt since it all happened! And then i knew, what is happening, is not me. I finally had the ability to get out of my damn head for a little bit and i began googling and googling every single thing i was experiencing. By discovering that this exact same thing has happened to so many other people gave me great comfort, not that anyone else having to go through this is comforting but that IM NOT ALONE AND I AM NOT GOING CRAZY!!! So currently it has been 2 weeks and 4 days. The only remaining side effects are loss of appetite and waves of anxiety which trigger intrusive thoughts followed by depression. I still get some windows and distractions help a lot. But mornings are extremely hard, i wake up anxious and depressed and it takes a while to calm myself down, reading a lot of other people’s stories helps me to relax some. Driving around helps a lot too and sun light makes me feel much better. I’m hoping since it was only a single dose that i will fully be back to my regular self soon since thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and I’d love to have my appetite back so i can enjoy the food!! I guess the only plus side I’ve found to all of this is i will have a much greater appreciation for life after overcoming this and i lost 12 pounds lol i just really hope to enjoy my baby girls first Christmas with her too. Three weeks ago i loved mornings, waking up before the kids and having my coffee and enjoying tv waiting for them to get up and come play. Now i dread mornings and have constant mom guilt because i feel as though i have been failing them. I think the hardest thing has been the intrusive thoughts, it absolutely terrifies me when i have them. It just blows my mind how carelessly they prescribe this medication to people. I feel so stupid for not feeling the need to research or check what I’m actually taking and what it can do to me. I just always trusted that doctors wouldn’t prescribe anything to you that could hurt you, i know there are a lot of good doctors out there but i feel like they should be more careful with this stuff. I mean both the doctors i saw gave me a list of benzos to choose from and i just looked at them like they were crazy both times. Im not touching any of that crap again. I’ve even looked into anti biotics and those are even dangerous too!!!!
  7. Hey everybody, for the third time within a year (and the second time since the middle of june this year) I experienced severe effects from a (low) dose of sertraline on my stomach and it feels like this time I done fucked up. Since three weeks after that last (12,5mg) dose of sertralin (stopped the taking immediately) I'm having a burning sensation as well as a hollow pain in my stomach (not the colon or small intestine), an inability to normally digest just eaten food resulting in burping up stomach content and the feeling of a balloon trapped below the last rib on the left. In addition to that, since the beginning of week 3, I have a nearly constant urge to burp (air), but the inability to do so for most of the time, which drives me crazy! The urge gets more present if I swallow a little sth, be it water or food, and (and thats curious) when I get up, meaning my chest is in a vertical position. I know these conditions since the last time I took a sertraline pill on an empty stomach only (yeah I'm dumb for taking it just with water), but it went away after 2 weeks. Now we are in week 4. Also I had learned sth from the previous mistake and took the pill after food recently - apparently it wasnt enough...or too soon after the meal; cause here we are. To clear things up: I stopped the medication right after the first incident in mid june (was on 50mg sertralin for like 6 weeks until this date) and only wanted to cushion some withdrawal symptoms with the latest low dose in early july and then this happened. In hindsight, I should have sticked with those symptoms instead of losing 6kg in 3 weeks as a 70kg male and all the mean stuff above. I know there are several reports about heartburn etc. but can someone actually explain what's in the sertraline that effects the stomach the moment it's in it (literally felt the balloon getting infalted at that moment) - shouldnt be the active ingredient itself (since it gets absorbed later in the gut) but some other ingredients!? Does it make a difference if I break the pill in pieces? And why the hell does it say "take with or without food" in the leaflet? Does any of you had similar experiences with sertraline (zoloft)? Did it make a difference for you to take it with food, or experienced some of you the same even if they had a meal before (would bring some inner peace to me). I think I have a severe chemical-toxical induced gastritis, probalby getting chronic atm. I'm on 40mg of esomeprazol since last week, no difference since. Would you up the dose? Swallowing the endoscope tomorrow, curious and anxious at the same time about the probable certainty 😕 Thanks much for reading through this and even more gratitude for replying! PS: please forgive eventual mistakes as i am no native speaker! Michael.
  8. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  9. I was on Celexa 20 mg. for 10 months in 2015 for generalized anxiety disorder and mild/moderate depression, which hit me suddenly at age 65. Felt good enough to taper off over 32 weeks with no withdrawal problems, but 6 months after last dose, symptoms of anxiety and depression were back with a vengeance. Started Zoloft 25 mg in 2017 (probably should have gone back to Celexa). Increased dose to 50 mg within 4 months. Didn't like the way it was/wasn't working and didn't want to increase the dose. I'm really fearful of what these drugs can do. Tapered down to 12.5 mg over 19 months by 3.125 mg increments. Felt good until I hit 12.5 mg, then felt terrible and had to go back to 25 mg in August, 2019. Admittedly, I wasn't consistent in the tapering intervals. Some were 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 weeks, etc. depending on how I felt at each dose. I have been with a CBT therapist since 2017 which has really helped. Anxiety practically gone, depression is mild, but not like before. I really want to be off the Zoloft. Haven't slept well in 4 years and worry about what it's doing to my sleep patterns and who knows what else. I take supplements to help - phosphatidylserine, magnesium, omega fish oil. So.....I am now tapering again. Went from 25 mg to 21.875 over 10 weeks (decrease of 3.125 mg because that's the easiest way to cut my pills into quarters and eighths.) Just reduced again to 18.75 on April 14 and plan to stay there for 10 weeks. (My theory is it can take 4-12 weeks for an INCREASE in the dose to start working, so the reverse could also be true.) I think I'm sensitive to small changes in the doses. My question is - is 3.125 mg too large of a taper? I can slice my pills smaller with a scalpel if need be. Looking for advice about how to make this taper work so I can be successful this time. Any recommendations for doses and time line would be helpful. I don't care how long it takes, although at age 71, I don't want to take forever! Thanks so much!
  10. Hello everyone. Don't know where to start. Firstly excuse my english because it is not my native language. My first experience with psychiatric drug was with elicea in 2015 when I visited my first psychiatrist (can't remember the dose). Took it for 2 months then stopped cold turkey. Suffered severe depression and brain zaps for short period after that. I recovered. Also I took xanax occasionally then and in 2017. 2018 took xanax more often for like 3 months (never more than once a day, 0.25mg, maybe 0.50mg sometimes). Never suffered withdrawals after I quit. At least nothing that I am aware off. Fast forward to august 2018 I visited another psychiatrist and was put on calixta (mirtazapine), can't remember the dose atm. Took it until december or january when she got me off it cold turkey and put me on seroxat. Never had any problems until I started noticing double vision (ghosting) of bright letters and lights from a distance but It wasn't that bad. After like 3 months on seroxat she wanted to switch to zyprexa and diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. Keep in mind that I never suffered psychosis and was only depressed and unmotivated person. I had trouble with my insurance and needed to sorted it out first because it is an expensive drug. I quit seroxat first around april this year. Never had any problems except the double vision one. After I got my insurance in june I started Zyprexa. First I was on smaller doses (2.5mg-7.5mg) then i got to 10mg on september. I started losing interest in my hobbies and got very suicidal and depressed. She started me on zoloft around middle of october (first few days on small doses then on 25mg) and cut my zyprexa dose to 7.5mg. Around 13th of november (a week ago) I decided to quit both drugs and stop poisoning myself after a very fast tapper (few days). I am in hell since. I have lots of symptoms (most are probably from zyprexa because I took it for longer) but what I find worst is not sleeping. First I was very tired and sleepy from not sleeping but recently I am never tired and I probably don't even sleep one hour in total. It is scaring me. I always slept on my back but now I can't do that because my mouth make a weird noise and I start panicking. I am very scared and don't know what to do. I was thinking of tappering but going back to drugs scare me. I am afraid I will never sleep and my brain will detoriate. My god what have I done to myself.
  11. 🙂 I'm new to the site. Couple of questions. Had a couple of bouts with GAD 18 years ago. Lexapro fixed the problem both times and stopped both times with no problems after a few months. June 2018 felt depressed. Doctor prescribed Lexapro for six months (Dec. 2018). Then quit over 11 days by skipping doses as he suggested. Some symptoms returned and we tried Zoloft the end of March 2019. Worked up to 100 mgs. by June 21 but having very loose stools. Quick 6 day taper August 22 with plans to begin Cymbalta. Just quit instead and contacted Doctor to advise her. It's now been 6 months off AD's and the first couple were ok. Began having some problems third month. Experiencing bad mornings (anxiety) and waking early. Also stomach ache and kind of dizzy sometimes. 1. Is anyone experiencing the same symptoms? 2. Can this be withdrawal after 6 months with no AD's 3. Could this be a relapse?
  12. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: in pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  13. Hi all. I have been on a combo of Risperdal and Zoloft since 2012. I reached 3mg risperdal and 200mg zoloft in early 2016, tried to taper off both starting in June of that year, and had a bout of insomnia in November, at which time I reinstated along with an additional 15mg remeron. Adding the remeron, I've learned, was a huge mistake and most likely unnecessary. Since then I've slept at most 6 hours instead of my usual 8. For the first 2 months on remeron I avoided caffeine and tobacco. Then, after picking up both again, my sleep suffered, and I eventually had nights with 2-3 hours. I've since learned that caffeine and tobacco induce the enzyme CYP1A2, which metabolizes remeron, explaining this. By abstaining from both, my sleep has returned. I have also tried shaving a sliver off my 15mg pill with no luck...getting a full night without sleep. I would like to be able to drink coffee and smoke again. That leaves me with 2 options, get off the remeron (seemingly impossible) or tolerate the lack of sleep. If I do the latter, will my sleep eventually not recover even when abstinent due to repeated withdrawals? I had been planning to use coffee and cigs only sporadically, letting my sleep return before using them again, or using only on the weekends. If I that is not sustainable, then how do you recommend I get off the remeron, given my sensitivity to even a small dose decrease? My doc has suggested trazodone as a replacement, but that med interacts with my other meds and a post about it here scared me away. Thank you so much for your help.
  14. David182

    David182: hello all

    Hello everyone, I’d like to start off by saying thank you. The people of this forum have inspired much hope and understanding in the ways of antidepressant medication. I am grateful. I’ve been on Zoloft since the spring of 2015. Things had been going wonderfully well. I felt like myself but disconnected/ unplugged just enough to cope far better. Better mood, alertness and mental focus were a nice change of pace. Around the end of May 2017 I’d been taking BCAAs for working out for around 2 months. One Sunday, after lifting weights and mowing the yard I took a nap and woke up feeling off. I had low blood sugar issues for about a day, I couldn’t handle warm temperatures, couldn’t sleep well, and suffered hot flashes for the next few days. For a while I though I was sick. I took an lorazepam one evening (3 days later) and an extra zoloft because of horrible anxiety. I countinued to take my now double dose with my doctor’s permission. The next 6 weeks were h*ll. I had no idea Zoloft could do such things since I had no negative effects when I started. I could write a novel (as I’m sure we all could) but I’ll try and hit the main points. About week 6 I stabilized. I hadn’t found this site yet so many mistakes were made. i only stayed at 100mg for a week or so before I jumped to 75mg (I felt too apathetic about things, needed to lower). By this point I realized it was the Zoloft causing my problems. The next few weeks were quite uncomfortable but things went really bad when working out on the 3rd week caused me to crash...hard!! I switched doctors as I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with my other one. My new P.A diagnosed me with serotonin syndrome (a short 3 day stint of trazadone while doubling my dose no doubt contributed, different doctor) she dropped me from 75mg to 25mg of Zoloft. I felt so much better and for the next two weeks got to the point of feeling amazing. Then week three came and some light cardio pushed me over the edge and I crashed again. I also noticed I would have horrible low blood sugar issues for a day or two after crashing. after a week of misery. I bumped my dose to 50mg (I found this site by then). I felt immediate improvement. I began to heal but also began feeing strong sensations of numbness/ pins and needles in my hands and feet, weakness also. I am currently 7 weeks at 50mg. I’ve been struggling with tight & weak calves / ankles since, sporadic internal tremors and fatigue. Had back spasms for a bit about a week ago but not since. I’ve begun to sleep better in the past few weeks (7 hours on a good night but not consistently). I typically wake up around 5-6 hours after falling asleep but I don’t NEED medicine to help me fall asleep anymore (a few months of needing it). I would rather keep this short but I want you all to know my history. I saw a psychiatrist tonight at the recommendation of my PA (she was surprised when my reinstatement actually helped, she was convinced I hadn’t dropped too low too fast. She is a wonderful PA and God worked through her, saved my life when I had serotonin syndrome.) The psychiatrist on the other hand... I have mixed feelings. I flat out refused any other medication. She believes my first incident was serotonin syndrome. Maybe so? BCCA actually inhibit triptophan uptake but then again my workout protein powder did have triptophan in it (I have quit taking all workout supplements months ago). The psychiatrist also thinks I’m suffering from serotonin syndrome now. (Currently weakness in legs, pins and needles in hands and feet, stiff feeling calves and maybe hands, hands and feet more susceptible to being cold) what do do you all think? Do I continue to continue to tough it out at 50mg? Is this a sign my body is too sensitized for this dose? (I was at 25mg for one month before reinstating to 50mg) I will work on my signature as soon as I figure out how to do it. Thank you for your time. I trust you all more than the medical “professionals”
  15. Hi all, thanks for having such an amazing and helpful forum!!! I was prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for anxiety and depression (moderate in my opinion). I started taking it. I'm so stupid... I had read about withdrawal symptoms, but I wasn't imagining it as so awful. After 5 days I got bleedings from the uterus, even though my period wasn't due. They were about as strong as a normal period, but more painful. The GP (doctor) made me stop Effexor. After 2 days I started to have the symptoms everyone reports: Crying, suicidal, self harming, fits of rage, nausea, dizziness, heart racing, trouble breathing. My GP didn't know anything about withdrawal symptoms and wanted to admit me to the psychiatric hospital. I sent him a bunch of information and finally convinced him to leave me alone and deal with it myself. I think he feels a bit guilty now, but that doesn't help me.... It's day 9 after stopping and my brain is still totally messed up. Question to you all: Do you think I need to go back on Venlafaxine and taper down slowly to prevent lasting damage to my brain? I also got some Sertraline from the GP, which I could use to switch to temporarily. I think even if the bleeding comes back, I can handle it. Iron values are ok. I had thought that after just 5 days of taking Venlafaxine, the withdrawal should be short and mild. But after reading a lot, I'm getting a bit scared. Any advice welcome! Laura PS: I really think I had a guardian angel who sent me those bleedings and made me stop before I took the medication for longer.
  16. Hi, I am 31 years old, and been taking Sertraline 50mg since 2005, for generalised anxiety disorder. I attempted to taper several times in the past, all unsuccessful. In January 2018, I thought I was mentally in a good place to try and reduce the dose again. I started tapering by taking 25 mg 1 day a week(50 mg 6 days) for one month, then 25 mg for 2 days a week for another month etc. I have now been on 25mg everyday since June 2018. Initially I had occasional, mild withdrawal symptoms like vertigo and sensory sensitivities. But I had major, unexpected negative life changes and multiple bad news over the summer of 2018, and have been (understandably) more and more emotional. My anxiety has been getting more, and now it has become unbearable for me. I keep randomly crying, and feel extremely worried All. The. Time. I cannot relax or calm down, and feel a shortness of breath most of the time. Random anxiety attacks followed by diarrhea have become a regular thing. I am worried about leaving the house on my own. I am thinking about increasing the dose again, as I just can't cope with the debilitating fear and worry anymore, but then I will have suffered all these months for nothing. I thought I was in a stable point in my life when I started the taper, but now, after having dealt with a very difficult year(unrelated to the taper), I feel like now is actually the worst time for this. I have no support as all my family live abroad(and my parents&close relatives themselves could do with emotional support right now), my kids are very young and they constantly need me(and nursing a toddler is draining as it is...), we are in the process of selling our house and moving (not sure where to yet), I haven't had therapy or counselling in years and don't really have anyone to confide into... Should I just give up, go up to 50mg and try again when my life is stable? Has anybody had life events interfering with their taper like this?
  17. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  18. Hi Everyone, I’m looking for advice and support. Last February I began what I thought was a slow withdrawal from zoloft. I tapered from 150mg down to 25mg in the span of 6 months. I went to 25mg on July 1st and a little over a month later I started to notice profound feelings of helplessness/despair, monumental anxiety, increased panic attacks, and this overwhelming feeling that the ground was going to open up and swallow me. To complicate matters, I’d been taking xanax to “help” with the panic/anxiety—maybe .25 or .5mg every other day. As I can tapered the zoloft, I began to notice interdose withdrawal from the xanax. On 8/24/19, I cold-turkeyed off xanax, thinking it was doing more harm than good. After a couple weeks of Hell (becoming truly paranoid, not eating, waking up with lightning bolts through my head, nightmares, and just overall terror, I upped my zoloft to 50mg. Close to hospitalization, I called my psychiatrist and he said to go to 100mg of zoloft and start klonopin. 100mg of zoloft was too much, and so I went to 75mg, where I’ve been for the past 14 days. I am taking .25 to .5mg klonopin every morning. My question is this: How long does it take to get stable? Everyday I have intense fear/anxiety and I have developed agoraphobia. The abrupt xanax cessation brought back ptsd symptoms. I’m not working right now and very isolated. I want to begin tapering again as soon as possible because I feel like both these drugs are contributing to my intense fear/anxiety. Any suggestions/ideas are more than welcome. Thank you. (Oh, and I’ve been on zoloft for... 10 years and before that luvox, prozac for shorter stints. Also on xanax & klonopin as needed for 15 years but only recently was taking xanax frequently). Thank you so much.
  19. Dear all, I took Sertraline 50 (French name for Zoloft). for only a month and I have developped PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder) following a too fast withdrawal. I read the story of some of your members who had PGAD when they withdrew from an antidepressant and their stories looked like mine and gave me hope and I hope they can confort me and assist me because I am in a very dark place. I read the stories of Hopefull anf Broken. Are they still on the forum ? How are they doing ? Until December 2016, I had never taken any antidepressant or a benzo in my entire life. I was leading an happy life with my husband and son in the West of France. We had a chemical accident in december. I mixed 2 products while cleaning my house, bleach and a cleaning product with acid and stupidly burnt my lungs and got a toxic choc on the 27th of december. My doctor thought I was anxious afer the accident and put me on Xanax 0.25, half a pill at night. I took it for a month in January 2017 and was sent to a psychiatrist who put me on Lisanxia 10, a pill a day. I felt suicidal because i didnt understand I was suffering from the Xanax withdrawal the doctors kept changing the pill without any tappering, I stayed on Lysanxia 10, a pill a day the whole February , then another psychiatrist decided to put me on Bromazepan 6 (4 quarter a day). I stayed on Bromazepan the entire March and he put me back on Xanax, all of that cold turkey. And that how I met my worse nightmare, the Sertraline AD: I was feeling very agitated on benzos, my lungs and entire skin were burning and everybody told me it was in my head. I didn't agree so I was hospitalised againt my wish in a psychiatrist hospital. There, they made me stop my Xanax 0.25 cold turkey and put me on Sertraline 50. This happened on Easter monday 2017 (April 17 th). After 2 weeks, I was sent home and started feeling very ill, I had tremors, agitation, fatigue, shakes, flu like symptoms and suicidal thoughts. I went to see a GP who told me I could drop the Sertraline to 25 because I had only been on it for 2 weeks and I could slowly stop it. I went on the 25 pill and then I started having violent withdrawal side effects (I don't know which ones came from Xanax or from Sertraline) : My symptoms : Sensitivity to light and smells, burning skin, hyperacusis, agitation, akathisia, tinnitus and when I thought it couldn't get worse, I started peeing every 10 minutes, got a hyperactive bladder, terrible pains in my genitalias, bladder and pelvic area and the worse of it permanent arousal. Since I have kept the tinnitus in my left ear, the akatisia and PGAD. I was sent to another mental hospital at the beginning of June because I thought they could help me with PGAD. They put me on Risperidone for a week while they made me stop the Sertraline very fast (they made me take it every 2 days for a week then they replaced it with Anafranil 25 that I kept for a week. My tinnitus got worse and my PGAD stayed the same. I was getting sicker and sicker so the psychiatrist stopped the Anafranil and the Risperidone and I was put back on Xanax. I am now back at home, my PGAD symptoms are terrible and I am considered manic and hypocondriac. My doctor wants to put me back in a mental hospital. I can't look after my family and Iam in a very dark place with suicidal thoughts My 3 main withdrawal symptoms : high pitched tinnitus, agitation and PGAD. Pins and needles in my lower back, legs and arms when the PGAD crisis start. . MY PGAD symptoms : Overactive bladder, ongoing arousal sensations in and around the genitals, having to go to the toilets every 10 minutes, pelvic pains, Pins and needle, shaking. It is atrocious and it makes me suicidal. I take 3 Xanax 0.25 a day and a Zopiclone 7 to sleep. I cannot sit because the symptoms get worse and I can barely walk because my bladder hurts. I spend my days crying on my bed with an ice pack on my lower parts. At night I cannot sleep well because of the tinnitus. I went to see an urologist, I had a cystoscopy done and they told me it is not an interstitial cysticis and gave me Lyrica (I am scared of taking it because I fear it will make my tinnitus worse). Nobody knows this symptom in France and people think i am crazy. Thank you for reading my story. Please can you reassure me ? I am terrified and I am suffering greatly. Would it go away ? Is it a withdrawal symptom ? Thank you so much for having this site on the internet. It gave me a lot of confort. Cathyfrench (I am french so I hope my English is not too bad, my apologies for my grammatical errors)
  20. I have been off Sertraline for over four months now, after having been on it for about 3 and half years. Previous 4 years or so I had been on other medications. Is diffcult to comprehend and explain in words all that is going on, but my whole psyche has been completely overturned in these years, and I do not know to what extent the various medications have caused me this. I suffer from the severest OCD,and anxiety, and now I think depression, and sheer terror at all my subsconscious thoughts which have completely taken over my whole mind. I have been imprisoned and castigated in my own mind. It is beyond explanation what is occuring on a millisecond basis. I seem to have entered some moral vortex, whereby I feel as if I am always doing wrong. Constantly confronted with "Heaven and Hell". Constantly feeling compelled to undo things, which for example I have written like here. Damned if I do or if I don't , this doesnt explain 1% of what is going on. It has brought into the fore the reason for everything and existence. I really have no idea what is going on, terrifies me the idea that no-one can have any idea of what is going on in my head. Yet on the other hand everybody is in my head, I don't know who is in my head and who isn't. Everything I say in my head is being judged. I will not go any further for now as I am terrified of writing, and also it may not be entirely pertinent to the subject. Unfortunately it only comforts me to a certain extent to know that others are experiencing their own hell, and I feel guilty in turn for the fact "that others suffering should comfort me', as I have entered some abstract Universe which seems to have its own laws. the ridiculous thing is that in the end what seems "right and wrong" seems to be determined by feeling and not some sort of formula, and I feel guilty in turn for thinking that, and also "convinced" on the one hand that it should be formulated and on the other "know" that it isn't. One of the main reasons for writing this post was the guilt and fear of punishment, or fear of damning others, especially close ones for benefitting from reading others stories and not contributing my own. To clarify alot of this stuf was going on when I was still on the Sertraline, and perhaps, in a different way when I was on other medication, difference now is that I am that so much more fragile.
  21. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  22. Hi all. Found this site a few months ago. I am beginning to attempt getting off ADs and Benzo. I have been taking antidepressants for 17 years. I am 44. I do not work outside the home. My goal is to incorporate healthy activities (suggestions please) to help lessen the withdrawal symptoms. I am realistic about the amount of time it will take and hope everyone here can be a support system. I am married. Hubby is supportive, but doesn't really understand what is going with my body. I have really bad health anxiety currently. I was diagnosed with bipolar about 5 years ago and was put on lamictal 200mg. Wellbutrin was added shortly after. I tapered of Zoloft over about 18 months. I had my first anxiety attack exactly 2 weeks after the last dose. So we decided to stay in 25 mg. which held off the anxiety attacks since then. About 8 months ago I started having increased anxiety along with some peri menopausal symptoms. Then the health anxiety followed, probably because of all the weird symptoms I was having. I went up to 50mg on the Zoloft and taking Ativan to help me sleep. I realized I was building a tolerance to it, so I weaned myself back off and was doing fine. Then the cycle started again. New symptom (breast pain this time), then the health anxiety and back on Ativan. I only take .125mg at a time. If I don't feel much relief in about 30 minutes, I will take another one. That usually does it. Then I stop when I feel better. However a couple of weeks ago, I noticed I was having muscle twitches and jerks. Don't google that!! Now looking back I think they may be related to stopping the Ativan after taking it for several days. I really don't know. So I decided today to take a dose to see if it settles down over the next few days and go from there. 3 days ago I started a taper on the Wellbutrin 150 mg xl. My doctor wrote prescription for 100mg sr tabs...and I started taking 75 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. I am hoping this won't be too fast, but I am going to try it. I also started having stomach upset a couple of days ago with some diarrhea today. Very unusual for me. Is that possibly Ativan w/d? Thank everyone. Not sure how to add signature. Attach a file maybe?
  23. Hi all, I have been struggling off and on over the last 14 years with what I thought was anxiety the whole time, but am now realizing it was more likely withdrawal from stopping antidepressants too quickly. The first SSRI I was put on was Paxil. I tapered off after 7 months because I never really liked the idea of being on an antidepressant. I started having anxiety a few months later and was switched to 50 mg of Zoloft. I tried multiple times over the next 13 or so years to stop Zoloft, but the anxiety always returned, so back on I would go. In the fall of 2015 I had a return of anxiety after reducing the Zoloft to 25mg and tried to go back to 50, but it wasn't helping, so ended up going to 150mg before I felt relief. I again tried tapering last summer and got down to 25mg and experienced increased anxiety as well as insomnia. My doctor switched me to Lexapro last October, but it only made me more anxious, so after 10 weeks he switched me to Paxil. I got up to 20mg of Paxil for 3 weeks and wasn't feeling any better, so finally decided I had enough and wanted off the antidepressants. I started tapering at the end of January down to 15mg for 2 weeks, then 10 for 2 weeks, then to 7.5, and after about a week and a half at 7.5 started feeling really anxious again. I found this site and decided to go back up to 10mg of Paxil and stabilized for about 2 weeks and then started tapering 10%. Was doing pretty well for a couple of weeks at 9mg and then started feeling a little anxiety creep in. I talked to my doctor about switching to Prozac to make the tapering hopefully easier, so a week ago this Friday I started taking 4.5 mg each of Paxil and Prozac. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, and am having a particularly difficult time right now. Feeling quite anxious and can't sleep. I took .5mg lorazepam tablet and am feeling a bit better, but not sure what to do now. I was going to switch to just 9mg of the Prozac and eliminate the Paxil tomorrow, but not sure if I should continue with the half and half mixture I have been doing or maybe even just go back to the Paxil alone? This just sucks so bad. I know I have probably screwed up my system so much with all of these changes and can only pray the damage is reversible. I was feeling pretty good earlier today, but then started feeling terrible as the evening went on. Haven't felt this bad in a while. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  24. Hi All - Glad to have found this group. I have been taking anti-depressants now for almost 20 years. I am a 45 year old female from Washington state, USA. I'm gainfully employed, in a stable marriage, have a smart, funny kid, have a good social circle with supportive friends - and you would never know by looking at me (or my fakebook profile) the struggles I've had with anti-depressant medications. It is a subject I do not talk about, except with my doctor and therapist. I am at a point in my life now where I am seriously considering tapering off - but I am scared. Here's my history (note that this entire 20 year span I have been in counseling. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. I have switched counselors a few times but for the most part going to therapy has been pretty consistent - and has been a big help). Age 19 (1994) - diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder while in college. Suffered very scary panic attacks. Given xanax - 0.5mg - I never took it. I was afraid of it. I tried to calm my nerves through exercise, prayer, meditation, chamomile tea, nutritional supplements and talk therapy. It worked on and off - but about every six months I would have an episode of panic attacks that would last for a few weeks, then would subside. Depression / mental illness does run in my family - and I made note of that. Age 26 (2000) - Got married to husband #1. After wedding started having really bad panic attacks - debilitating. I was ready for an SSRI - desperate to feel better. Primary doc put me on Zoloft 50mg. It helped. I was panic free for about 2-3 years, but was gaining weight and did not have a libido. Weaned off the zoloft rather quickly in an every other day format (dr recommended) - and within a few weeks - my panic attacks were back. Went back on Zoloft - now up to 100mg. Age 31 (2005) - Got divorced. Still on Zoloft 100mg daily. Experiencing significant weight gain. A friend told me about "zoloft gut" which freaked me out and I decided I wanted to try something different. Doc put me on Wellbutrin. Tapered off the zoloft quickly, and onto the wellbutrin (don't remember dose, sorry) - the wellbutrin was horrible for me. My emotions were all over the place. Erratic behavior, mood swings, crying spells, very irritable, heightened sensitivity. Called doc and she took me off the wellbutrin - and put me back on the zoloft - now 150mg. Age 35 (2010) - Got married to husband #2. Got pregnant. Reduced zoloft to 25mg during pregnancy. No symptoms - felt good during pregnancy Age 36 (2011) - Post pardum depression hit. Upped zoloft back to 100mg. Age 38 (2013) - Very deep depressions, cyclical - PMDD - about a week prior to menstruation would drop to suicidal ideation, lethargy - coud barely get out of bed. Very scary. Found a new doc, a Psychiatric ARNP - she suggested I switch to Lexapro - so I weaned off the zoloft and onto the lexapro. It didn't really help - still having deep dips of depression (but no mania - not bipolar). She augmented the lexapro with lamictal - that helped in the beginning. It pulled me out of the deep dips of depression. However, the side effects were brutal. Age 40 (2015) - Still on lexapro and lamictal - Cognitive issues abound - my once quick as a whip, smart, high functioning brain - was forgetting the word for simple everyday things - I'd go to open a folder on my computer, and could not remember why - I'd look at a stapler on my desk and it would take me a few seconds to think of the word "stapler". It freaked me out. I went to a new psychiatrist (as I just didn't have a good feeling about the psych ARNP) - and she said "why did you go off the zoloft in the first place". She took me off the lexapro, and put me back on zoloft 100mg. She reduced my lamictal but didn't take me off - just to see if maybe a lower dose would help with side effects. Age 41 (2016) - Cognitive issues still there, but maybe a bit less due to lesser dose of Lamictal. Decided I wanted off lamictal. Dr. weaned me off slowly - and I didn't really have withdrawals. My cognitive function improved, but it is still not back to where it was prior to taking Lamictal in the first place. Went back to taking just 100mg zoloft. Age 43 (2018) - Have experienced significant weight gain. Made the decision to have weight loss surgery. Had gastric bypass and talked to psych about the malabsorbtion issues now that my stomach has been re-routed. She suggested I go up to 200mg zoloft. I was against it - I wanted to take it down... but I trusted her, so went up to 200 mg. Age 44 (2019) - My mother passed away - we were very close. I started having troubles with alcohol (a nasty risk of gastric bypass patients you don't hear enough about). So - in 2019 I made the decision to quit drinking. Sober now for 9 months and working the AA program successfully with a sponsor. Still on 200 mg zoloft. Age 45 (current) - For about six weeks I have been feeling depressed and physically lethargic (could it beeeeeee QUARANTINE!?). My counselor screened me for depression and I scored "moderate to severe". She suggested I go see my psychiatrist in case my medication needs tweaking. So - I saw the psychiatrist (virtually). She suggested two options - I augment the 200mg zoloft with 2mg Abilify or I go on Effexor. I am VERY apprehensive to do either. I don't want to be on either - especially Abilify. Deep down I feel like I should reduce the zoloft and very slowly work towards being off anti-depressants completely - but psych tells me no. My therapist tells me to trust my gut. I am telling me to trust my gut. GOD is telling me to trust my gut. But - psychiatrist tells me no. My gut tells me I can handle it and what once worked for me is not working for me anymore. I have grown up a lot over the last 20 years. SO - I am confused. How much of this is just grief from my mother being gone and the fact we are in a quarantine? Should I trust my gut here and reduce the zoloft? feel very trapped in this viscious cycle. I am in a much more stable place today - especially with my anxiety. I have not suffered a panic attack in well over a decade. I have done extensive therapy, EMDR for some childhood trauma, my weight is stable, I am sober, and I have confidence I can handle the hard things. I feel like I just have been listening to what doctors and psychiatrists tell me to do for years out of fear and out of mistrust of myself and the "what if I'm wrong" question that's constantly in my head... I just want some honest feed back from people who have been there done that. I know the decision is ultimately in my hands but if you relate, have experiences or thoughts on this please share. I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!! -Freeburrd
  25. My names Noman, 21. I took Anafranil Lexapro Zoloft Venlafaxine Prozac over the course of 1 year. Now i have SSRI and SNRI withdrawl. Putting aside the other withdrawl symtpoms, the worst one it eye It feels as if I cannot open my eyes, when I do my eye muscles from my brain to my eye feel like they want to force shut, and i get this irriation. This leads to eye pressure, eye blood rush, eye weakness, eye cant focus, etc. I know for sure its withdrawl symptom because wheni went on prozac, it went away. Has anybody else experineced this, if so, is it dangeros? does it go away? please share
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