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  1. So I've been on Seroqoil nightly for about 3-4 months. I started on 100mg and that only lasted one night. Went to 75mg and that lasted for a couple of weeks then 50mg. Last month I went down to 25mg. And about 4 wks ago I've been on 12-14mg (cutting the 50 in 1/2 then the half in 1/2.) I'm also taking Lunesta 3mg at no hr and about once a week ill need Klonopin.25 bc I have a hard time falling asleep. I've also started Celexa for anxiety during the day. So question and problem! How do I get off this Seroqoil?!? Like is aid I haven't even taking it long to begin with and I've taped to 12-14mg fine but it seems to mess with my sleep when I try and cut that in half. Don't believe I have the EXtended tablet. Help!!! If it messes with my sleep, is it only temp? I don't want to switch this to get hooked on Klonopin bc that's a nasty drug too!
  2. I have had the good fortune to confer with some of the top brain researchers in the world this past 4 years. Michael M. Merzenich who has had several PBS brain specials, Robert Sapolsky at Stanford, Daniel Amen (also many PBS brain specials) Malcom Lader in the UK and many others. Off the subject of exercise but Dr. Merzenich is considered the father of neuroplasticity research and he told me to study primates brain ability to heal they give them SSRI's then stop them. OK Exercise - none of these experts had a clue on how to heal a drug damaged brain. The one common theme was aerobic exercise. There is a great book out on this called SPARK on this. There is also the work of the Cooper Center on the benefits of aerobic exercise for anxiety and depression being better than medications. For the first 3 years I could not do any more than walk - any strenuous activity made me critically ill. I still walk a lot and more if I am in a wave (which seems to be continual) but now I have been able to do some 10 mile bike rides. Has anyone else found benefit/determent to exercise??
  3. Moderator note: link to Waterfall's members-only benzo thread - Waterfall: What dose to try now: Taking Clonazepam on AD withdrawal Wow. I feel nervous. Like I've just stepped out onto a big stage. With big lights. And the crowd beyond the edge, of the lights, of the stage, is all fuzzy and indistinct, sitting out there in the dark. Is this microphone on? I chose Waterfall for my name, because it's one of those things that can be seen from so many different perspectives. A waterfall can be seen as a wonderful thing of beauty. It can also be seen as destructive, a changing force. It can be a small trickle. I can also be a torrent. They can bring life sustaining water, or they can bring a flood. Some of the greatest waterfalls are considered some of natures greatest wonders. But close up they can also be noisy and wet. It's all in how you look at it. And which waterfall you meet. Anyway. Me. Who am I? Well. A waterfall. Pretty in my own way. And also messy. Changed by the floods and droughts of life. I'm also philosophical, apparently. And I talk a lot. Especially when I am nervous. I've struggled with anxiety since I was 5, or so I'm told. It's been there as long as I can remember. The details blur over the years, but I think the first time I also struggled with depression, that I'm aware of, was in my teens. I've always struggled. Always wondered why I felt so broken compared to everyone else. And why everything seemed extra hard for me. I was first prescribed Wellbutrin as a teen. I no longer remember what I told that doctor. Whether it was more about anxiety. Or depression. But I didn't take it. I was next prescribed Prozac when I was pregnant with my first child, at 21. I didn't take it then either. I first actually took something when I was in my twenties, I took Wellbutrin for 6-9 months. I no longer remember exactly. But other than feeling euphoric about doing something, when I first started it, I never noticed any other change. And since I wasn't supposed to take it and be pregnant, I quit, cold turkey, to become pregnant with my second child in 2010. I have always thought that I felt no symptoms after stopping. None. But now I wonder. I started a downturn in my health mid-pregnancy, beginning a sudden flare up of something akin to eczema or atopic dermatitis, in response to a cream that I had previously never reacted to. In the following months, I reacted to just about everything. Ever soap or cream or perfume I touched. I continued to struggle with general feelings of ill health, for the next several years, until I was pregnant with my 4th in 2014. The whole pregnancy was really tough. I had been pregnant three times before, but this... this time was complete misery. I told myself to survive until the baby was born. And he was. And I crashed. Hard. Really hard. I panicked. And couldn't sleep. And couldn't stay calm. And I was weak. And shaky. And so after a bit of trial and error, they put me on Clonazapam and Citalopram near the end of the year. I used the Clonazapam for a few weeks while they slowly upped the Citalopram to 40 mg. And there I stayed. It was still a struggle for quite some time, but I slowly improved. In 2016, I moved. Spring 2017, I felt like I was slipping again. Slowly feeling worse and worse, and afraid, because I was already on drugs, what would I do if I crashed now? So I went to see a different doctor. She started me on Gaba. And a few other supplements to help with sleep and general health. And then, oh, clever me, I stopped citalopram. In June. Cold turkey. Stupid. I know. I don't know anymore what I was thinking. I only remember that I thought it was a really good idea at the time. And it wasn't a planned thing. I'd missed renewing my prescription, so I hadn't taken it for about a week, so I consulted with this new doctor, and asked her if it made sense to just keep not taking it. She agreed. Gave me a prescription anyway, in case I needed some again, or if I couldn't handle it. I never took any. After that I had a decent summer. I thought all was well. I still struggled, but considering that I can't remember not struggling. Ever. I thought on the whole I was doing pretty good. Kept busy, for me anyway. I've never been able to be as busy as most people seem to be. But we went to the beach a few times. Visits to the splash pad. Some quiet days at home. Somewhere in there the new doctor started me on something called MoodRx that apparently has St. John's Wort in it. Apparently couldn't start that until I had been long enough off of the citalopram. Spent the end of the summer getting lots of veggies and berries into the freezer. Started to get a bit stressed about a visit from the in-laws. Turned my house upside-down in anticipation of their visit. And they came. And all was going well. I felt on top of the world. And then. And then I crashed. Hard. Again. Sept 18. I was spending the day with the kids and my in-laws. First I felt a bit off. But I soldiered on. I panicked in the grocery store. Felt super nauseated. But I calmed down again. Struggled off and on throughout the day until school pick-up for the kids off the bus. Then I lost it. Panicked. And couldn't calm down. Felt absolutely horrible. And I've been struggling hard ever since. Sometimes I think I'm starting to feel better. Other times I think I feel worse than ever. When it first happened, I went to the doctor a lot. We stopped the St. John's Wort stuff. Still not sure if I was having a bad reaction to it, or not. I also stopped, over time, taking everything else. At this point, the only thing I'm taking is 0.25mg of citalopram each morning, just to help me to survive. And I'm starting to try to take some vitamins and minerals again, in the hopes that it will help with some of the symptoms. At this point what makes the most sense to me, particularly in light of what I have read on this site, is that I'm suffering from withdrawal from the citalopram that I stopped back in June. And possibly made worse by a reaction to the St. John's Wort. But I really don't know what' going on. I'm scared. And I just wish I knew what was going on, and what the right thing to do was. One of the biggest things I struggle with is the fear and panic. My biggest trigger is health and physical symptoms. If I had read this site first, maybe I'd have done things differently. I like to think I would have. I also periodically have crying binges, where I just can't seem to help crying, and crying, and crying. And I'm not one who normally cries a lot. But once I've cried for a while, it seems to pass again. I've had some of the darkest, most depressed thoughts. About everything being hopeless. And pointless. Sometimes I just get irritable. One of the other major symptoms is a chest pain I have. They've already listened to my heart. Checked my blood pressure. I've had a general blood work-up twice in the last year. Once this past spring, and once last fall. Nothing came up. My iron isn't low. My blood sugar level is fine. My heart enzymes are good. But my chest hurts. This last week, my heart has started a sort of swoony/weird/almost like a flutter but not really kinda feeling. And this morning I woke up with pain in my back and neck and arm and chest. The worst I've had yet. I could barely get up this morning and I almost couldn't turn my neck. Sometimes when I did, it felt like someone was stabbing in my ear, or in my throat or chest bone. I also struggle with lot of numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. And sometimes my muscles all hurt. And sometimes my joints hurt. And I feel weak. And sometimes shaky. And did I mention panicky? And emotional? Sometimes my vision seems a little funny. Or my hearing. But it comes and then goes quickly. And is gone again. I've developed a cough, and I'm scared because I had bronchitis and strep throat 2 or 3 times last year. And that was still on the meds. And how could I forget the heart pounding? Oh, I have lots of heart pounding. Sometimes I do things, and nothing happens. But so often when I stand up. Or go up the stairs. Or wake up in the morning. Or lie down at night, my heart pounds. And pounds. I don'y know what's causing what. I just want to feel better. I've seen several different doctors. I've also seen a couple different therapists. Mostly they say there is nothing at all wrong with me, except in my head. One told me maybe it was lyme disease. Or maybe not. My main doctor wants me back on more drugs. The second lady I saw recently also wanteed me back on citalopram. I tried. I can't. If I take it. Even one 10mg pill, no matter what time of day, I wake up the following morning, early, panicking, and burning/tingling from head to toe. So my main doctor wants me to try another antidepressant. I don't want more drugs, but I'm not sure I can do without them. I just don't know what to do. Today was one of the roughest days yet. I'm in pain, and I'm panicky, and depressed and it all feels so hopeless. Since 2014, when I saw someone who gave me, for the first time, a diagnosis, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and prescription, after which I improved, my husband now believes that's the answer. My brain is broken, and I need drugs. Don't I see it? That's the only answer. So he's always pushing me to take more drugs. Take more of the clonazapam. Go back on citalopram. Get a new prescription. Just take something already! But I don't want to. Most days i can make it through with only the one Clonzapam. And that's it. But I am having a tough time. I've tried different diet options. I've tired a few different supplements. I just don't know what else to do. I don't know who's ideology to follow. So like I said. Right now, I'm taking 0.25mg Clonazapam every morning. Just to survive the day. And I don't eat dairy, or use any perfume, in order to keep the reactions in my skin to a minimum. I'm trying to take a multivitamin , plus vitamin D, a vitamin B complex, and a multi mineral. I'm most afraid of this chest/neck/back/arm pain right now. I could really use some encouragement and some help deciding which course of action to take. I've done some reading on here already and found some helpful stuff. I'm just wondering what people might have to say that's specific to my case. Feel free to point out specific threads on here that people have already written that may be helpful. And in advance, thank you. Whatever you have to offer, thank you. It's been really tough, and I can use every little bit of help I can get. And to all of you who have struggled and are struggling, I wish you all the best. I wish you health and strength. Some of you are amazing, what you've been through, or are going through, and still making it through the day, I applaud you. Some of the stuff you've dealt with sounds so much worse than what I'm dealing with. I only wish I could be half as tough as some of you are. Keep on keeping on.
  4. Hello all. I have been following on this forum for the last couple of months on and off. I have been on Citalopram for nearly 11 years. I am 25 years old now. Quick history. Always been a bit anxious. Even as a kid. Had severe migraines from age 4 till 10 , then they stopped TOLD i had ADD. Put on ritalin at 7 years old for 2 weeks. ZOMBIE! taken off Ritalin. Love life and family and friends. Quite an emotional, caring individual. FAST FORWARD....Aged 14 felt overly guilty and anxious over child hood life event. Went to doc, said i might have OCD. Put me on 60mg Citalopram. Didn't notice any difference in anything being on med. Aged 19 went cold turkey cause of OCD symptoms tried to change to another drug Mirtazapine. ANXIETY 10/10 and Panic attacks. Then back on to 60 MG after a few days after symptoms of withdrawal began. Stabilized i think within a few weeks bit still felt crap for a good while. Not 100% for next few years but ok. Can feel drug messing with me. Making me anxious for no reason. Have to keep active and busy and I'm ok. Slowly over 2 years went from 60mg to 45 mg . All good. Decide due to weird randomized anxiety, lack of tears etc that i want to come off these drugs, and i know i can. Anyway i then go from 45mg to 40mg and severe withdrawal within a week. Dropped from 50mg to 45mg within 5 weeks. Insanely nasty neuro-emotional symptoms. Only symptoms are ever really Anxiety and Panic.. Chuck in a bit of hopelessness and some depression on the side.. . . . Tend to feel better by evening almost normal .. just a bit dazed and confused. Anyway i waited it out thinking it will go. Got some nice long windows of a week or more feeling almost good way clearer than I've felt in years, more alive, more real. Things feel better! things are more beautiful. Music sounds better. Everything is more beautiful But then BOOOOOMMMM!!! Anxiety back with a vengeance. Thought i noticed waves getting shorter and windows a bit longer but not significant enough to tell, and then after 10-11 weeks after my symptoms first appeared i updosed cause i needed a break. Updose felt WEIRD.. Within 4 hours of the extra 5mg i felt hazy, cloudy and drowsy.. Had insomnia that first night , still anxious but not as intense. Next couple days slightly better - Mild, consistent anxiety but not too bad. Manage to sleep well now.. Thought i had restabilized. Day 5 after updosing felt 95% back to normal. BUT last 3 days have been crap. Anxiety back. One week after updosing. Not AS INTENSE, hasn't got that razor sharp edge to it that it had before, but uncomfortable none the less. My question to anyone out there with this kind of experience is ... Would this anxiety be caused by the withdrawal still, or the updosing of the tablets? As I've read that increasing SSRI dose can cause anxiety for the first few weeks.. And can it take a while to re-stabilize after updosing?? considering i tried to tough out the withdrawal for nearly 3 months... One more thing. No overly negative stories please. I believe and i know that i can heal from this. Kindest regards and thankyou for your responses Nick
  5. Hey everyone! Just wanted to introduce myself and let you all in on my journey and discontinuation of antidepressants. I am 28 years old and just ended an 11 year relationship with AD's. There was so much shame I felt being on these drugs. I felt like I was this great person because of the pills I was taking and nothing more. I wouldn't dare tell a soul I was taking antidepressants for fear that they would then see the pill and not me. Make sense? I said goodbye to Sertraline in November 2017. After completing yoga teacher training and having this new perspective of myself and my life, I started to actually feel the chemicals that weren't meant to be in my body. I had tried tapering off of Sertraline 3 times prior to the last over the past few years. The previous tries I would make it about a month or two before surrendering back to the pills to make myself feel better if I started feeling sad or uneasy. This time was different. VERY different. This time I started with intense research. I wanted to discontinue the dosage but this time was for real; I would do my homework and get off of these things once and for all. And what I found first broke my heart, made me angry and then gave me hope. The anger is still present when I try to find a reason 'why' people are enslaved to these prescription drugs. The research I found led me to this site, and I continue to research the effects and harms that these medications actually do to people, unbeknownst to them. The cause of our sadness is residual, stagnant energy trapped in our bodies from a traumatic event or life experience that changed our perspective of what is. When we take these medications, we are never actually dealing with the source of our problems, rather than masking it over with a clouded perception of reality. I used to love my prescriptions. Even after I would attempt to quit, that love would return after I felt 'better' taking them again. I was prescribed my first antidepressant when I was 16. I was missing a lot of school because I slept in too late. I just loved my sleep. Eventually, I was sent to the PCP to see what could be done about this sleeping problem.. Well, her answer was Citalopram (Celexa). This was the beginning of a battle I never wanted to be involved with but here I am. And P.S. the sleeping issue was not resolved in any way thereafter. To keep it short, I will just give you a brief history of how my dance with prescription drugs evolved after that: 2006 Celexa (Citalopram) 40 mg & Adderall XR 75 mg (a lot of the times more because I was heavily addicted) 2007 Citalopram & Ritalin (don't remember mg) .. soon after Vyvanse (don't remember mg) and finally to Amphetamine Salts due to unpleasant side effects from the Ritalin & Vyvanse.. ** indicates time period where Amphetamine Salts were prescribed 2008 ** Citalopram 40 mg-> Effexor XR 75 mg after a psychiatric evaluation (which I now understand was due to the medications and the effect they had on me mentally ... psh) 2009** Effexor XR 75 mg - Paxil (Paroxetine) 30 mg due to the INSANELY high cost of Effexor without insurance I was forced to wean myself off and switch 2010** Paxil 30 mg-> Sertraline 50 mg due to weight gain and lethargy 2011-2013 Sertraline 50 mg -> Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hcl) 75 mg due to sexual side effects and wanting to feel alive again 2013-2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg -> Back to Zoloft (Sertraline) 75 mg because the anxious side effects of the Wellbutrin made me uneasy and Sertraline seemed to be the only AD that had the least side effects at the time 2017 Sertraline 75 mg -> slow taper to 50 MG for two weeks -> halving the dosage & following this pattern until there was nothing -> 5 HTP 50 mg & 1200 mg Fish Oil NOW = 1200 mg Fish Oil and becoming accustomed to an Ayurvedic diet along with daily yoga practice**** this is HUGE and one of the main reasons I have remained clean from AD's Now, almost two months clean from prescription drugs I can say that there is still lots of work to be done. When you go through your teenage years and early twenties on AD's, you need to relearn how to interact and react as there is no longer that pill keeping you numb. Everything becomes real and raw. There are still days that I have my emotions consume my entire being in a negative way and I am still working on this. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. As of right now, it seems as though I am taking off from where I left off at 16 years old. This means emotionally and re actively along with maturity and sexuality. As many of you can relate, I could go on with this topic and how it has effected my entire life for ever and ever. There will be more posts that follow in regards to these drugs and how we can help each other become clean and free once again as we were made to be. Love and blessings to you all <3 we CAN do this..we are all in this together! LB Anti-depressants controlling tools of your system Making life more tolerable, making life more tolerable. The Unthinking Majority - Serj Tankian
  6. Hi everyone, I'm wanting advice on how to taper if my withdrawal symptoms are delayed - ie they occur several months after the taper is completely finished. If I have no symptoms during taper, should I proceed to the 'Fast Taper' guidelines (4 weeks x2, then 3weeks x2, then 2 weeks x2, then weekly until done)? In the past I have thought I was relapsing, and resumed the medication. Now I understand it was probably WD from too fast a taper (4 months). Any thoughts? Tikki Tikki
  7. Hello everyone, I am another who was previously at another forum which has closed down. I'm very grateful that there is another good AD forum as I really don't want to be doing this alone. I already know a lot of other members here. My history in summary: 2001 Had a baby, a few days later got hit with severe anxiety and insomnia, diagnosed with post partum distress, anxiety, and hyperventilation syndrome. A psychiatrist prescribed Aropax (paroxetine), Mellaril (thioridazine - an anti-psychotic used as an anxiolytic at lower doses to cover the SSRI start-up) and zopiclone for sleep short-term. Stayed on Aropax for about six months then tapered off over a couple of months, with just a few mild withdrawal symptoms. 2003 Had second baby, repeat of above process but with Cipramil(citalopram) and midazolam for sleep. 2004 Had just got off citalopram when a very stressful situation occurred at my workplace (company was bought by two other companies and split, our part then integrated with one of the two buying companies). Spent a huge amount of energy and effort job-hunting and not coping well with the situation. Eight months of unrelenting stress later had a breakdown, similar symptoms to before, decided to go back on Aropax since it had worked well before (stupid, stupid). 2005-2006 Work situation still stressful, kept trying to taper dose down but couldn't cope below 10mg. 2007 Crashed at around 5mg, straight back to 20mg. A few months later searched the internet and found information about slow tapering. Began a slow taper which went well initially. 2008 Crashed around April after dropping from 5mg to 4.5mg. Went straight back to 5mg which didn't help. Went through a couple of months of pure hell (stupidly did not updose). Couldn't sleep, eat or keep still. Off-the-scale akathisia, didn't sleep for a whole week, couldn't keep anything down, spent my days and nights pacing around until my feet hurt and I couldn't even wear shoes. Began relaxation exercises which calmed things down enough to struggle through for a while but unable to work to support my family. Lots of pressure to get back to work. Updosed back to 10mg in June and 20mg in July. GP prescribed zopiclone for sleep, then psychiatrist prescribed Seroquel to switch over to from the zopiclone. Nasty drug, gave me big muscle twitches in my legs. Restabilised by October, tapered off Seroquel fairly quickly. Began tapering paroxetine again in December. 2009-2014 Tapered at a glacial pace, some years hardly dropped at all due to instability for months. Eventually was doing only 0.1mg drops and for a while 0.05mg drops which sound so tiny as to be ridiculous but I felt every drop. Was afraid of crashing again at 4.5mg but got through it and am now down to 3.45mg. Last drop was 0.15mg instead of 0.1mg as drops seem to be getting a little easier recently. Still very afraid of crashing. In 2011 decided I had to get out of my stressful job/career, felt like I would never get off meds as long as I stayed. The lower my dose got the more toxic the environment felt. I think the meds had helped me stay in the job by numbing me out somewhat. April 2011 was offered and took paid redundancy, 2012 back to uni to retrain as teacher, 2013-2014 unsuccessful job hunting, bits and pieces of part-time work, feeling mostly happy apart from worry about lack of income. No regrets about tossing old career in spite of not really having a new one. All in all, far too many years of having these meds in my life, rather over the whole thing by now. If you actually read all of this, you deserve a chocolate fish.
  8. Hi, I do appreciate this supportive website. My story: I had been on Celexa for anxiety for at least 10 years at doses of between 10 and 20 mg. At 15 to 20 mg at times it really seemed to help the anxiety and lift my mood. Last Dec. I went on Zoloft because the anxiety seemed to be breaking through with the Celexa. (However, I now wonder if lowering the dose on my own was actually giving me symptoms of anxiety). I went one month on 25mg Zoloft, then 50mg Zoloft for 3 months. It never seemed to really help with anxiety or low mood, and also gave me GI upset with diarrhea. I decided to stop on my own, tapering over 6 weeks. While tapering and since stopping I have been taking Fish oil and probiotic, hoping both of those supplements would help with anxiety/depression. During the taper and since stopping, I have been having additional GI problems, plus very bad histamine intolerance. Foods that I had not problem eating while on SSRI, now give me headache, dizziness (to the point where I haven't driven on the freeway for 3 months!), fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. By the way, I would occasionally have these symptoms when lowering the Celexa dose, but then it would go away soon, so I attributed it to anxiety. So weird and awful. I've done lots of reading and discovered that in some people this can happen after SSRI discontinuation. One theory is that the SSRI has acted as an anti-histamine therefore the cells in the GI tract don't need to make the DAO enzyme that breaks down histamine. So when going off the SSRI, there is nothing to break down the histamine. I am currently on a low histamine diet. Trying Quercetin and Vit. C to help with the high histamine. The glutamine/aloe vera supplement made me feel extremely fatigued so had to stop. It's been 2 months since stopping Zoloft. Of course I'm praying my body will return to normal sometime soon, and fearful this may last a long time. My primary care doctor said the body doesn't even start to feel normal until 3 months post-stopping. I would appreciate any input from folks who have had similar issues, and would love to hear some positive stories of healing from this. Needless to say, will never take SSRI again! Thank you
  9. "I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am in a state a protracted SSRI withdrawal. One of Alto's articles describes me perfectly in terms of a completely dysfunctional nervous system and paradoxical responses to most meds and even some supplements. The exaggerated alerting only allows me to sleep 3-4 hrs a night and my startle reflex is out of control (a bird chirping will send shivers down my spine). The most terrifying and unnerving symptom to me is derealization. It's as if I am in a dream 24/7. It breaks my heart not being able to truly connect with my wife, kids, family, and friends. The derealization has created a secondary self-sustaining anxiety/panic loop which compounds my other withdrawal symptoms. I feel trapped because no medicine seems to help (except for benzos which scare me) and I literally feel like I am dead waiting this out in hopes that I heal. " quoted from another member I could ever be a mother ( since there is no long term evidence on risk to unborn child). This seems laughable now. I live in complete dissociation and I'm unable to function. My depression is so bad I have hardly been able to leave my bed (psychomotor retardation). One psychiatrist said it was a relapse. But it is a different kind of despair.my nerves grated on - and a feeling that I cannot even describe. I only once tried to come off my meds, 2 years ago, my high-functioning partner said I should do without them. I couldn't function and felt constant emotional pain/sadness so went back on. I know it is hard to exctricate what is withdrawal and what is not. I went on them, off the back of mirtazipine and a depressive relapse ( from a traumtic indcident). I was still getting depressed on citalopram. This feels like a very different type of feeling. I feel pretty frightened that there is so little evidence about their long-term use. I have come off ssri's 3 times-- once at 17, once at 22 ( after 3 years) and do not remember symptoms like these. I feel, at 34, if I don't get off them now I never will but how long will this hell go on for? It's such a trap. It makes me think of the documentary of the same name, "The Trap" by Adam Curtis. He talks about antidepressants in it. Different family members of different generations have always been sceptical of the medical profession and especially drugs/pharmaceuticals. I think they had wisely, seen drugs introduced and then eventually recalled from the market and the medical professions role in this. I feel like I willingly went along with being a 20th century guinea pig. It always plagued the back of my mind that the drugs had been on the market for so little time, no-one really knew the long-term implications/behaviours of the drugs. We have no controls, I will never know what I would have been like living through my mid twenties to mid thirties without these drugs. I don't know if this nervous breakdown is due to the "truth" of my emotions repressed under the drugs or if this is withdrawal. It's scary to know that it may become protracted. I can't live like this- it's hell. I can't read up enough on pharmapsychology because I am so dissociated. I have been told that ssri's don't involve structural changes but like Joanna Moncrieff states, "we just don't know". Any help/ideas/comments??????????
  10. Hey! I was 15 when I was put on Sepram (citalopram) due to depression (what I had that time was an eating disorder and guess I was depressed because of that) Anywho I ate Sepram until I was 24 on various dosages from 10-40mgs. I remember that often times when I was a teenager I'd just crash and get depression from nothing (now I realize that it was because I sometimes forgot to take my meds). I was 22 when I first unsuccesfully quit medication since I was feeling really well. I was going to university in a new town back then. Had a lot of new things going on. Well I survived for three months and then I crashed and burned. I had terrible anxiety and insommia and was tired as hell. I didn't know I was in withdrawal. I had quit my medication from 20mgs to 0 in two months as my pdoc had instructed (waaay too fast, now I know that, and it was really stupid to quit them in a period where a lot of changes happened in my life). I came back home to my parents as I was unable to function. I went to see my psychiatrist and got back on meds. I wonder why she didn't say to me that I was withdrawing and I really really must take things easy, she propably didn't know about SSRI withdrawal. I was in overdrive, I thought I had gone insane, it didn't occur to me that maybe the medication is doing all of this, it was like I had completely forgotten how my mind usually works. I got myself a job cause I thought that I must do something and not just be. I went to work after 4 months of doing nothing but pilates and qi qong and eating avocados. Everything was relatively fine though I had pretty bad anxiety and some racing thoughts and insomnia and my stress tolerance was bad. At some point I got tired and a bit depressed again and pdoc upped my dosage to 40mg. I got in to college again. I began to taper my meds again in a six month period (again way too fast). I was feeling quite low all the time, I had no motivation and everything felt futile and my condidence fell. I was a bit angry for no reason. My studies didn't go as fast I would have liked cause I was bit lethargic. I somehow managed with my low moods and anxiety. By summer 2015 I was energetic and I could FEEL. I hadn't really felt anything but anxiety and depression for years. I was interested with being around my friends. I was working fulltime and doing university exams at the same time. I was genuinenly interested in different things and life in general. I bicycled 20kms everyday and was riding almost everyday. I felt that I was ME after so many years of feeling weird. I had had social anxiety on and off during my medication, and I have gotten stressed easily. Then in the middle of the Summer 2015 i began to go on overdrive. I was hostile towards my parents. I had a met guy I got a crush on and I was mean to him and I wasnt myself. I was erratic but also very stressed and worried about everything. But I was so full of energy that I was unable to listen to me and my body. I had bad insomnia but I could go on and on without sleep. By the end of summer my new fling ended. I couldn't deal with it like normal people do as I was deep in withdrawing. My sense of security vanished. I tried to continue my studies. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat and my body couldn't hold liquid anymore. I was aggressive all the time. As studying proved to be impossible because I was unable to concentrate i tried just working. In October 2015 I started getting paranoid, I had intrusive and obsessive thoughts, I began to hate myself and felt that I'm no good and I don't deserve to live, I didn't sleep at all. I had stopped exercising in September 2015 cause I simply just couldn't do it any longer. My mother tried to get me to stretch my body and do a little pilates but I couldn't do it because I was so tense all the time. My muscles were sore and I was hurting all the time, I saw nothing but black and grey. I saw my psychiatrist few times and explained my symptoms to her but couldn't get any help except Xanax which I ate like candy. I deteriorated more and more as my insomnia grew worse. I was agitated and restless all the time, barely could walk and shivered like a leaf. My parents had no idea what to do with me. Thank god I had come back home to them when I started going nuts. I had arrythmias but I was so messed up that it didn't occur to me to go see a doctor. I had suicidal thoughts all the time. My mother couldn't leave from my side for a second. In January 2016 I could feel something zap in my brain, all of my emotions vanished. In the end my insomnia and mental state went so bad that I tried to kill myself. I was admitted to hospital and stayed there for a couple of days, somehow went back to work for a few days (I had tried to kill myself, who would go to work after that? ME). In march 2016 I tried to kill myself again with 3,8grams of propranolol. My life was hanging by a thread as my heat rate dropped too low. Again to hospital where I was put on Lyrica, Suprium, Tenox, Sepram again and Abilify. I was in the hospital for a month and when I got out I quit all medication. Now I live in a nursing home. They want me to do a bit of work and I have done some stable job few times a week. I get scared and stressed out easily. I have crying spells and sometimes I have dyskinesia and stiff neck and I find it hard to speak. Sometimes I vomit and have diarrhea and I'm fatigued. I have almost constant vertigo and inner emotional turmoil. I tried to eat different vitamins but my body couldn't handle them. Now I eat D vitamin and that is something my body can tolerate. when I exercise I begin to feel really weird and I bloat. I have had brain MRI, everything is fine. My bloodwork is fine. I have always been in good condition and exercised a lot but now I have zero muscle and it feels like my body can't build any muscle. I rarely see any dreams and if I do they are usually nightmares. I feel that my brain isn't working properly. I get this huge pressure in my head when i'm in a situation where I'd usually feel strong emotions but no emotional reaction comes out of me. I can't tolerate too much noise and some days I get irritated very very easily. Sometimes I sweat profusely and my sweat smells really bad. My sexuality is gone and I have no need to see my friends. Sometimes after exercising I get this window of wanting to see my friends and hug my parents and be close to them. I really don't like to be around people because they remind me of what i used to be. I was a talented rider, well I still am but it doesn't feel the same because now I get easily scared as I am riding. I feel very traumatized by all of this. My body triggers from almost nothing. I shiver and shake several times a day. I feel that I'm very very vulnerable and can collapse in any minute if i get too stressed. Sometimes I get an urge to kill someone. When I pet my dog I feel like killing her though I know I love her. I have suicidal thoughts, especially around people. I often want to (self harm - graphic language removed jch). I would really like to go to live at our summer cottage with my parents and just heal and hope some day I'll recover. What is the most devastating thing to me is that I have lost my creativity and I have lost myself, the spark inside of me, the thing that made me me. I have no goals left anymore except to stay alive. I know I have been stupid quitting my medication without tapering long enough and I have been stupid to strain my body as I have clearly been sick beyond measure but still tried to pull through and do my responsibilities. But I do feel that I have been ruined by psychiatry since I was put on meds at such a young age. Me and my parents were told that these meds are safe and won't do any harm and that it's safe to eat them indefinitely. I trusted what the doctor said. It never occurred to me that maybe my anxiety was the product of the meds. I had zero anxiety as a teenager but steadily during my adult years my anxiety has increased. I am very very thankful that I have parents who are willing to take care of me as long as it is needed. They hate to see me suffering, this is very hard on them. And it is very hard for me that they have to go through this with me. I really really hope that maybe after two or three years my body is healed and I can tolerate normal life again.
  11. Female. Anxious disposition even as child. Did well making friends and enjoying life as a child. Struggled with getting to sleep though, due to worries. Displayed some ocd behaviour in teens ( maybe even before). Took and E aged 16 - big mistake. This exacerbated my anxiety and induced subsequent panic attacks. Age 19 ish ( 2001) was put on seroxat (not sure on dosage -it a strange time; experienced a lot of weird goings on with feeling weird, insomnia, - cant remember if this was before or on starting seroxat). started to feel better while on Seroxat. After a year or two, ( age 21) the doc, due to reports of suicidal behaviour on seroxat, decided to swap me to Citalopram ( 20mg i think). On starting Citalopram, I became very suicidal! Not sure why I wasn't swapped back but I perservered and must have evened out. Took Citalopram for 2 years and I felt good. Met my, now, husbandat 23 and thought life was brill and I did not need Citalopram anymore. Didn't follow any kind of tapering ( didnt know I needed to) and must have stopped cold turkey. Felt very suicidal so went back on Citalopram and evened out again. Must have cut fown to 10 mg and stayed on this for 4 years, functioning well. I did my degree. Am a bit of a perfectionist so worked very hard ( too hard), as well as working 16 hours. End of 4th year at Uni, I was burnt out. Overloaded, overwhelmed, run diwn physically and mentally. A 'nervous breakdown' ensued. I tried to go back to uni to finish the last couple of months but couldn't. I finished my dissertation abd transferred my degree so I still gained a 1st class degree but was very ill. I, nearly straight after became pregnant. I, however, suffered a horrid missed miscarriage at 13 weeks. I had told the docs that I thought something was wrong, 5 weeks earlier, but was dismissed. I took 2 months off work and was a mess. The doctor gave me diazepam and zopiclone which helped me ride the worst. Somehow I survived and became pregnant again not long after. Pregnancy was hard ( pains and bleeding) but I lasted. When my baby was born, it was tricky ( so much new to learn; I developed some ocd habits to help me feel in control but it was ok. Things leveled out. I was still on 10 mg Citalopram ( docs aware of this). I was doing well. I had snother baby a couple of years later, aged 29. Pregnancy was s bit better than the previous one but I still had bleeding, so was nervous but it was ok. I continued on 10 mg of Citalopram and was doing ok. When my son was 1 though, I took on too much. ( Lots of voluntary work with high expectations and serious responsibilities. I juggled trying to be a good mum, with several voluntary roles, housekeeping, got a small part time job too. over this time, for some reason i was slowly tapering Citalopram down ( no guidance really other than from the doc that you can take them every other day (? Is this where things started to go wrong?). I thought I was doing ok, although on reflection I was burning the candle at both ends. At the age of 32 I began to experience sciatica and fatigue. Doc suggested I try coming off the pill. This didn't help. This got worse until I developed severe abdominal pain/ heavy periods/ Nausea/ severe IBS - doc queried cfs but i was not yet referred. I was probably taking 5 mg of citalopram a couple of times a week ( not great I now realise as not steady) but as much as I was feeling physically crap, I was still functioning I stopped the Citalopram and took nothing for 10 months. The voluntary work took on another level; I imploded and had a 'nervous breakdown' ( I had a ridiculous amount of stress which was causing me to struggle with sleep and I was beginning to get suicidal ideation and brain fog before this, on top of the other physical issues, then a stressful voluntary work event sent me into a breakdown ( crying/ anxious/ ocd/ sleeplessness/ some kind of sleep apnea where id wake up gasping for breath.. I was put back onto Citalopram. I quit all voluntary work. I requested to start what i thought was low - 5mg. They pushed me to go to 10, saying 5 was ridiculous. At the same time, it was thought I may have endometriosis, so in 2017, aged 35 I had a laparoscopy operation to check; it was not. I think the operation and anaesthetic helped finish me off. The Citalopram made me increading suicidal to the point where I had suicidal ideation 24/7. i was somehow still getting sleep at this point but obe day was so suidsl, I went to A&E. Saw a psychiatrist for the first time in my life ( aged 35). Was tild to stip Citalopram strainght away. Discussed alternatives ( antipsychotics/ Mirtazipine, other ssris etc). I took nothing fir a week then another team of psychiatrists advised on possible meds. It was decided I would try Sertraline ( another Ssri??? why did i do that) I started it on 12.5 mg ( much to dismay of psychiatrists) but I was not given time to level out; They kept bumping up dose so i would get to the 'theraputic' dose of 50mg. Another level of Hell ensured which I hadn't yet visited. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, jitters, suicidsl ideation in the extreme, depression, muscle twitching, increased brain fog, intrusive thoughts, rapid weight loss, hellish insomnia. This on top of the fatigue and pain and ibs i was already experiencing. Despite my reaction, I was told to persist; I think they thought it wss my normal behaviour ( never felt this bad even when I wss 18 before starting Seroxat). Things levelled a bit after about 3 1/2 months. I was able to function a bit and go to my part time work and look after the home but it was tough. I developped tinnitus on Sertraline and had increasing brain fog. I also now suffered from depersonalisation and still had IBS and fatigue and body pain. In November last yesr, Another doc suggested i try the fodmap diet. i tried this and after 2 months it was very apparent that I had a gluten intolerance. Stopping gluten cleared up my IBS and most of the body pain. I still however battled with increasing brain fog and fatigue and severe depersonalisation to the point i couldnt go out at times and battled with it on the way to/ at work. Sertraline was not for me. I decided to cut down. the only advice id had about tapering was every other day from my doc but I thought Id do it slower. i cut miniscule amounts off from April 17, no real structure. I did this slowly but without checking i was stabilising, from April to August when i got to about 25mg. July and August, my brain fog became unbearable; unable to do shopping, unable to have a proper conversation, overwhelmed by simple questions, I became hypersensitive to light and sound. I often wore shades even on cloudy days ( looking back, noide and light sensitivity started with sertraline). I wore earplugs to limit noise at home with loud children. I became snappy due to loud noises. July August this got worse and worse but I was still functioning. I began doing sertraline every other day at 25 mg in August I think, maybe before then BAM one night in early September I had severe anxiety and total insomnia. This was relentless. I was desperate. I needed advice. Do i go back? Stop? go down? even dose to take each day. I was severely suicidal and devepped what seemed to be fit type episodes where i would be breathless, painful stomach, weird tingly head, palpitations, neck pain and lower back pain, loss of appetite, feeling flu like, becoming extremely dehydrated to the point i would guzzle water down cup after cup, My body contorted in painand tension, I eould then becime cold snd shiver. these episodes could last a couple of minutes but up to 16 hours at times. i was desperate for advise. over September/ early october, I visited A&E 4 times, desperately suicidal; I spoke to my doctor, I spoke to the nhs 111 line, I paid to dpeak to a psychiatrist but NO ONE would advise me, passing me round like a hot potato, telling me to do CBT and wait fir an appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist in december! I wouldn't live until then! I stayed with my mum as I felt so out of control with these fit type things ( including one where paramedics came and I was growling/ disorientated/ confused/ dehydrated so my eyeballs snd skin were dry- I was agressive ( never been like this in my life). I didnt want to be near my family due to my behaviour so I stayed with my mum for a few days. she lives in another county. I went to A&E there and they listened to me and made me feel worthwhile. they referred me to their home treatment team, who visited me but once again were unwilling to discuss specifics of medication. i was given zopiclone and diazepam. my husband and i didnt know what to do. we saw this website but I was still confused. I 'evened' out the 25 mg every other day dose to 12.5 in September. This may have made things worse, not sure which is why i wanted advice. The home treatment team managed to get my appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist movef to early october. I saw her and she laughed at my idea that it was withdrawal. she suggested I try an snri or mirtazapine. After reading this site, I wad reluctant. I am still referred with that team of psychiatrists but another appointment is in 2 months and they just want to throw more meds at me without showing any understanding of withdrawal. 5 weeks ago at an extreme point, before seeing the psychiatrist, I stopped Sertraline. I have been off it for 5 weeks. The fits seem to have all but stopped. but my anxiety is through the roof. I have severe stomach pain, reactions to shsmpoo, brain buzzy feeling whch zaps at times, particularly with high pitched loud noises. my sensitivity to sound is horrendous, as are my emotions and sensitivity to stress. I am overwhelmed by anxiety and ocd type ruminating thoughts about the situation and about my children's health. I am in sick leave from work since 2 months ago, as is my husband ( to look after me and the children). I have managed to taper off zopiclone and my sleep varies depending on my anxiety at night ( minutes up to 6 hours, broken sleep). I took dome diazepam but the ladt dose in September affected my breathing and I became severely breathless for 4 hours andmy gums bled so i haven't taken it since. I have applied for pip disability living allowance. we are shortly going to have no miney coming in and do t know if and my husband will be able to go back to work or if he will be fired ( I assume i will). I read this site but felt I couldnt reinstate as I never felt good on Sertraline. what now? do I try to ride it out? So suicidal and hopeless at times. Do I reinstate to citalopram instead? Do i try something else? Low dose mood stabiliser/ antipsychotic? Ps, I was referred a month ago to the ME/ Cfs people for diagnosis. Still waiting to hear.
  12. I have been on citalopram since 2009 then it stopped working. The Dr put me on citalopram and mirtazapine combination which worked for a while then that stopped working. The Dr then put me on mirtazapine and Venlafaxine 150mg XL combination which workes for a while again ans then stopped working. The Dr put me on amitriptyline 50mg saying thay would be the best drug for me while i took 8 months to slowly remove each bead from Venlafaxine capsule to come off it. As soon as I took my last beed i went into crazy angry depression. The dr increased my dosage of amitriptyline from 50mg to 150mg but the side effects were horrible and at this point i got sick of these meds and decided to quit CT. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms and i started acting like a child and not being able to walk, had balance problems. I reinstated back to 50mg amitriptyline since april 2018 and i have been getting worse. I cannot sleep. My vision is so badly affected that i have grainy vision and floaters have increased dramatically . I see after images and it's as if the lights have been turned off. When i begin to fall asleep, i start to have dreams before i actually fall asleep and my brain keep. Waking up just before i am about to sleep. I cannot follow conversations, I mishear things all the time. I am totally dependant on others and i feel people think i have gone crazy. I don't know what to do i am getting worse and worse. I often trip, lose my balance. I hardly have any short term memory and cannot do simplest of things. I cannot even watch anything on TV as i cannot follow.it I'm having major concentration problems. I don't know how. I'm writing this. I cannot work or drive. Please you have no idea how i am putting these sentences together. I need urgent help. Please advice. I have no energy, no appetite. If I'm posting this in the wrong place, please accept my appology as I can hardly read and understand things. P
  13. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  14. Kostas

    ☼ Kostas

    Hi, I am Kostas from Athens Greece, and I would like to post my story. After suffering a burn out in my demanded post at work, not been able to eat, sleep, exhausted and non functional, was prescribed 20 mg citalopram. Started 10 mg for 1 week, and then 20. Side effects few and tolerable for 3 weeks, and then dramatic improvement and completely functional in week 8. Got them for 9 months, June 1994-march 1995. Then 10 mg for a month 5 for 2 months and off. Start relapsing after 2 months, and reinstated August 1995. 10 mg 1 week and then 20, August 95- August 96 Then tapering 6 months and off Feb 97. Very well till October 99, then relapse and reinstated 20 mg January 2000. On the drug Jan 00- September 01, Tapering 6 months, and off from March 02. Another relapse on October 03,and another reinstatement 20 mg, from October 03- October 05 Then, very slow tapering for 7 years October 05- October 12. 10mg 2006, 5 2007,2.5 2008, 2 2009, 1 2010, 0.5 2011, 0.25 2012. Off the drug from Oct 2012 till today. WD symptoms although not thought so back then, Nov 2012 slight tinnitus, till today June 2013, frequent urination and nocturia, much improved now. 2014 muscle tightness, and tired. Not too bad, but deterioration during stress. This continues on and off till today but have adjusted. June 2015 palpitations and arythmia for one month, and gone by then. October 2016,pain in the legs and shawder for a 2 months. April 2017, slight insomnia, agitation, tiredness, pain in the muscles and weak legs, agrivaded all symptoms under stress. Waves and windows till beginning of August, and improving now. Decided to try not to reinstate, since I am relatively functional 70%, but not happy with the situation! Any advice welcome!
  15. I am writing this as an addendum to My Story which details what ADs did to my life and discusses to a degree how I got my life back. However, I am writing this to elaborate on what certain problems where posed both physically and logistically after I stopped taking medications. Please keep in mind that I went COLD TURKEY and did not taper, which differentiates me from many people on here; also my story took place over 10 years ago, so my memory is not is 100% clear which means it is hard for me to apply a quantitative number to aspects of my physical recovery. In 2002 I quit cold turkey from a drug cocktail that included an Antidepressant (Celexa), an Antipsychotic (Zyprexa), an Anticonvulsant (Depakote), a Benzo (Ativan), a Z-Drug (Ambien) and a prescription diet pill (Phenteramine – given to me by my pdoc to lose the 60 pounds of weight I gained from the other weight gaining medications). The physical ramifications of quitting cold turkey where hard core, and lasted to the best of my recollection in hard core form for six months. These were: insomnia, exhaustion, akathesia, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting, total loss of appetite and over-sensitivity to certain substances. There were also mental symptoms: overwhelming memories, mania, depression, over-emotional reactions to certain situations (e.g. crying or extreme anger) and PTSD from the whole ordeal. It is important to note that many of these symptoms continued to linger in a much lesser form for several years. I know that many of you would like a firm number of how long I suffered, but I cannot put a number on it because I started my recovery in 2002 – 10 years ago. This is further complicated by the fact that to get through the exhaustion from WD, I smoked cigarettes anywhere from one to one and a half packs for many years after. Since smoking can mimic some of the symptoms of WD (loss of appetite, headaches, mania, anger) it is hard to delineate what was what. However, I do believe that smoking provided mental focus that I would not have had otherwise. I finally quit smoking in 2007, five years after stopping meds. It was an odd thing, I just stopped one day and no longer wanted to smoke anymore. Maybe this was a sign of my recovery, but it may also have been a reaction to the fact that because of NY laws and my husband, if I needed to smoke I had to go outside. Smoking outside in the rain or cold was getting stupid. I do believe that part of this was a sign of final recovery – I didn’t need to mask symptoms anymore. So if this is true, and I had to put a number on it – I would say I battled with minor symptoms and PTSD for five years So what problems was I left with after drugs had stolen my life? And how did I regain control? Here is a list: Weight Gain A ruined job history A ruined credit history from filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Over $20K in debt to the IRS plus two tax liens PTSD Estrangement from my family I was fully aware of the PTSD, and would think on occasion of reaching out to a therapist. However, because the whole ordeal left me extremely suspicious of the whole field of mental health, I declined to reach out to anyone. So based on this list, I will try to tackle how I recovered in each area: 1) Weight Gain: I lost my appetite during WD and I also became a huge walker. In one year I lost sixty pounds with little effort. I did eat, but I ate very small meals, 200 kcal 3-5 times a day, mostly high protein and I ate an apple a day and I drank a TON of herbal tea. 2) A ruined job history: I had been fired from three high paying jobs, all in IT. I had no references, a job gap of four years, but I had good computer and office skills so I reached out to temporary agencies. I worked as a temp for many years, in the NY/NJ area only taking jobs at Fortune 500 companies. I built up my resume this way. Today, I list those jobs as “contract” and I explain that I liked the flexibility of “contract work” and that I was in the process of getting married and building a home with my husband, no one questions it. 3) A ruined credit history: I got a copy of all three of my credit reports and joined a credit law forum. I found that there were many examples where creditors where breaking either or both the FCRA or FDCPA laws on my credit report. I also hired an attorney. The attorney got 50% of it cleared up, I got the other 50% cleared up myself by tenacious letter writing and disputing with the Credit Bureaus. The forum I used had a great database of creditors who gave people with Bankruptcy on their reports a card with a small credit line; I applied to all of these and rebuilt my credit this way. When I married my husband in 2005, he added me as an authorized user to his accounts, giving me a longer and stronger credit history. 4) Tax Debt and Liens: After hiding from the IRS for several years, I contacted them and got on an installment plan. Because I was not working at the time I called them, my payment amount was on $185 for $20K+ in debt. I paid it faithfully for years; in October 2011 I was paid in full. Because the IRS has a law that you cannot pay more than 25% in interest and penalties of the actual tax debt, a good $10K got knocked off the total bill. But I still had two tax liens on my credit report. I did some research and found out about a service called the Tax Advocate service which is run through the IRS. I contacted my local Tax Advocate. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the details of how I argued my case to get two tax liens released, but I did and in 2005 poof they were gone from my life and my credit report. If anyone needs more info, I would be happy to answer questions later in this post. 5) PSTD: I just endured this, but chose to embrace anger over victimhood. I was one extremely angry person for many years and I ruminated and had nightmares for years. I often thought about writing the SHRINK who did this to me, but refrained. One thing that I learned from this whole ordeal was to trust in my instincts which was empowering and allowed me to pick and chose my relationships with people and situations that were good for me. I let go of many friends who were not healthy for me. 6) Estrangement from my family: In 2003 I was estranged from my entire family (father, mother and brother). Today I am by choice still estranged from by father and brother. This is because I realize it is futile to ever expect them to change and to stay in relationship with them will only hurt me. I have however, repaired my relationship with my mother. I am extremely happy to share that six months ago I convinced her to move from Illinois to New York and reclaim her life. She tapered off multiple pmeds herself around 2007 and was left with two medical conditions diabetes and downbeat nystagmus from taking lithium and depakote for many years. She lived alone, my brother who lived close by was not helping her, and she was not getting the proper medical attention so she agreed with me. Today she lives 2 miles away from me, we are extremely close and I have helped her get her life back. My husband and she adore each other. So that is how I put the pieces of my life back after being devastated by polypharmacy. And I joined this forum because I think it is important that people know that taking these medications can be extremely harmful on so many levels. I hope this information helps someone out there. Please feel free to post any questions you may have. I wish all of you the best and trust that if I could restore my life which was utterly devastated by psychiatry, you can too.
  16. I was prescribed Citalopram (Celexa) by my doctor in London UK, when I was depressed during a period of unemployment. I took it for 3 years, taking 20mg once a day. I never felt like it did much good helping me, and it made me feel a bit spaced out, not all there. After 2 years on Citalopram I started to have some suicidal thoughts, but far more homicidal thoughts. I wanted to kill people. I had thoughts of driving head on into traffic, pushing people under trains, killing my partner, my dogs and burning the house down. I had never had these kinds of thoughts or ideas before, and was convinced they were a side-effect of the anti-depressant Citalopram which i was taking. I told my doctor about my suicidal/ homicidal thoughts and he was told me to double my dose of citalopram! I told him that the drugs were the problem, not me! I then slowly reduced my dose once each week for 10 weeks, taking the drug on alternate days, and then cutting the pill in half and only taking it on alternate days. Every time I reduced the dose I woke up the next day with cramps in my intercostal muscles? (muscles between my ribs), feeling very sore and stiff, like I'd been kicked in the ribs. I also felt quite sharp electric shock; in my neck and shoulders, and had some jerky twitches of my neck and shoulders from time to time. The symptoms went away after day or two, until the next time I reduced my dose. After 10 weeks I was off of Citalopram completely, and have been off them for 5 years now. It took about 3- 6 months for me to feel normal again after coming off of Citalopram, My life is much better without Citalopram, and I have had NO suicidal or homicidal urges or thoughts since I gave up the SSRI drug. I do not think doctors are not helping their patients by drugging them with SSRI's.
  17. Aria's recovery from poly drugs. I had no idea when I walked into a psychiatrist's office 25 yrs ago the horrible labyrinth I'd entered. Slam dunked at a point in my life when I was feeling low and the loss of future possibilities taken away. Being told I was mentally ill, would never function again, needed to be on disability and poly drugged for the rest of my life repeatedly took it's toll. All this impacted my relationships with family, friends and enjoying life. The pdoc constantly added new psych drugs, changed doses and took me off the old drugs at an alarming rate. I became a morbidly obese woman who mumbled or talked rapidly and it was obvious to everyone but the pdoc I was totally messed up on something. I had Seroquel Induced Acute Pancreatitis that landed me in the hospital for quite awhile and my pdoc put in my open med chart I was crazy. I didn't know this till later but ill as I was I did notice some of my physicians were treating me oddly. One good thing about being so ill was I referred to a neurologist for chronic pain and found out my problem was profound drug induced Akathsia. This neurologist actually screamed at me, these psych drugs are killing you, they're killing you. I knew I had to get off these drugs not matter what it took and reclaim my life. At my next appointment I asked my psychiatrist why he was drugging me like this and he looked directly at me (probably for the first time in years he saw "me"). He started sobbing, loudly sobbing, "Oh God what have I done to you", over and over. I'm sitting there thinking oh crap, I don't need this. Our 15 minute med check was up and this guy calmly goes to the front desk to get the next patient and proceeds without any other fanfare. He's robot. A robot. All this in itself was mind boggling. Hell, closure?? No way. I found out I had Tardive Dyskinesia and a few other psych drug induced issues. My face was a road map with twitches and jerking that yelled hey, I'm on massive psychiatric drugs. Will my face be like this forever?? The TD has mostly gone away and I'm so grateful (the pdoc adamantly said I did not have Tardive Dyskinesia from psych drugs). Well, guess what?? The psychiatrist was wrong...horribly wrong. Other doctors, psychiatrist, therapists said you're not mentally ill and never had been. The sad but very scarey part is I'm labeled as profoundly mentally ill and that info is in my medical charts. One pdoc did this...one. I've gone through the gambit of emotions dealing with this. I will probably always be mad at this jerk for what he did to me and for what he still does to others. It affected years of my life and he was wrong. I'm a Success Story because I'm psych drug free and have been for several years. My journey was extremely difficult and I did it on my own hit or miss tapering off numerous psychiatric drugs. I endured drug withdrawals that paralyzed me month after month. Was it worth the hell of tapering? Yes, very much yes. My reward was my clarity of mind, my passions for life returned and I have hopes for my future. I mended fences with family and have made new friends. I strive everyday to be productive. I'm me but a different me because no one could go through all this and not be changed by it. (for more in-depth conversations about my struggles, coping and self awareness with surviving psychiatry please visit my ongoing thread Aria's Psych Journey http://survivinganti...psych-journey/)
  18. Hello. Here's my story: I have general anxiety disorder (GAD--self diagnosed), though I may also be bi-polar. I had a tough time in my teen years--panic attacks, confusion, fear of people, etc., never happy. My father was an alcoholic; my youngest brother died of alcoholism a year ago. I've had my own battles with alcohol, too, but I never became the two six-packs, plus a bottle of whiskey that my father consumed every day. I quit drinking four years ago. For the past year and a half I have used medical cannabis (in a legal state with a doc's evaluation), which helps with anxiety and worry, and is the best sleep aid I know. In my late thirties (I'm now 57) I started taking Prozac--in 1997 (I think)--using a bottle I got from a friend (his mother had a scrip but she didn't take it). I liked it. It took a lot of my anxiety away, and I ceased having panic attacks. I only had a month's supply so I went to my doc, talked to him about my use and he was happy to write a scrip for me--20 mg. of Paxil (my insurance did not cover Prozac). He said to me then that anti-depressants/SSRI's are to sad/anxious people what insulin is to diabetics. I know now that that line came straight from a drug rep's play book. I know now that it was wrong and, at least from the drug company's perspective, a lie. Paxil agreed with me and I continued taking it daily (20 mg.) until about two years ago. I had tried to quit it several times over the years--both cold turkey and by tapering—mostly because I had gained up to thirty pounds on it and could not, no matter how hard I tried, lose that weight (I have been a frequent aerobic exerciser since long before I started Paxil—I continue to exercise, but not as much as before). Trying to stop Paxil altogether was hell. While doing so I felt a profound depression; I cried a lot, spent time in bed during the day on weekends, was twitchy, anxious, fearful, panicky—just not myself; I even began thinking vague thoughts about suicide. I had never felt these symptoms to such an extreme before beginning anti-depressants. Long ago, before beginning Paxil, I had been sad/depressed, I'd had panic attacks and problems with social anxiety, etc., but none of these symptoms were as debilitating as what I was feeling off Paxil. Shortly after getting down to about 10 mg. of Paxil (I had been using an emory board to taper down--for about six months) I couldn't stand it any more and spoke to my psych doc. She put me on Wellbutrin (which made me too hyper, despite taking it in the morning) along with Prozac (which gave me akathisia [pacing constantly]). I gave up both after about a month or so and went on Celexa, which my wife and daughter had been on successfully. I've been taking 20 mg. of Celexa for the last two and half years. About six months ago (or so--could be less) I started to taper off Celexa, this time using sandpaper. I'd read a book called Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker and it scared me into trying to quit again. About a month and half ago I jumped from about 13 to 14 milligrams of sandpapered Celexa to ten by simply breaking the Celexa tab in half. It was easier than using the sandpaper, etc. I'd been feeling a bit odd before then, though nothing too bad, but then I began feeling the old, horrible symptoms mentioned above. They weren't that intense, really, but I'd been worrying a lot about my son going back to college (smart kid, good school, but he has emotional issues—I'm afraid of him failing), and anticipating my return to work—my job is beyond stressful (I'm a teacher). These and other stressorrs convinced me that I needed to be back on the medication. So, as of last Monday, a week ago, I've been taking my full dose again of Celexa, 20 mg., and I have felt better the last few days. BUT today I've felt horrible--two or three panic attacks, crying, a "buzzing" anxiety, a hollow feeling in my gut. I feel worse today on 20 mg of Celexa than I felt a week ago on 10 mg. of Celexa. I've imagined that I somehow forgot to fill my pill pack with Celexa for Sunday morning (today), but I don't think that was the case. Just an hour ago I took an additional ten mg of Celexa (my wife encouraged me) to get me back up to a therapeutic dose. But it scares me what I've been feeling today. As far as I know I should be feeling my old self, the self I've known for years on Paxil/Celexa. I'm scared that my long-term use of SSRI's have damaged my brain to the point that I can't return to even the me on an SSRI, much less the me pre-SSRI. I hope that this forum can help. I know that many of you are struggling with these issues, too, and I emphathise and wish you well. Perhaps I can help, too. Thank you for reading this. I hope I've been clear; if you have any questions or suggestions, please post.
  19. Hi everyone I really desperately need advice. I started 20mg of citalopram in April 2011 for situational depression. I didn't notice side effects except I completely lost the ability to cry for years. I had no idea it was drug related. I did gain some weight but other than that thought I was fine. In April of this year 2018 I decided I wanted to be off drugs. I talked to my gp and he recommended a taper that I followed. It only took about one month. I have felt like I've been in mental hell ever since. It wasn't until today that I even knew it could be withdrawal and it is thanks to this site. I have had extreme obsessions, panic attacks, bouts of rage, uncontrollable crying, suicidal ideation and what feels like a complete change in personality. I saw a psychiatrist in November 2018 because I thought I needed one. She heard my symptoms, diagnosed me with OCD, major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. She re prescribed 20mg citalopram. Almost immediately after reinstatement I had such intense heart palpitations I almost called 911, excessive sweating and severe insomnia. After 4 days I stopped the drugs. I feel trapped in a mental prison with no escape. I have no idea if I should continue drugs or suffer this withdrawal. I need help I can barely function.
  20. After successfully being on 20mg citaloprom having become depressed after the sudden death of my mother for about 8 years it pooped out sending me into dizziness,panic attacks etc for a couple of weeks then I felt fine. That was about 2 years ago. Three months later developed rash on face and diarrhoea, sleep disturbances, cramps and bruising on arms. Put on different drugs by gp none of which got rid of these symptoms then gp decided it was probably anxiety so prescribed ssri's again. Each one he tried me on I had dreadful reactions to. Sent to a psychiatrist who prescribed cipralex in drop form to build up slowly and then my hell for the past two and a half years started. From the onset of taking the drug increasing by one drop every third day I would have 24 hour panic/anxiety no appetite nausea fatigue. This went on for about three months and then what I now know as a window appeared for about a week only to plunge straight down again. That is how my life has been until last summer my gp told me I needed to see a psychologist as still suffering badly. Rang my psychiatrist to ask him and he said he felt my problems were not in the head but probably systemic so to see an endocrinologist. After various tests for adrenal thyroid etc he said all fine but felt steroid inhaler I had been on for about 4 years could be causing problems. Looked up side effects of inhaler and yes skin rash anxiety etc all matched. September last year came off the rash, cramps etc all disappeared and even put on a few of the 10 pounds weight I had lost since this started. Felt fine for a couple of weeks then crash back into another wave and that is how it has been ever since with severe waves of anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea, extreme fatigue. Then paid privately to see a gp in the hope he would help. His decision was the cipralex was aggravating me and to stop the eight drops a day immediately. I dropped a drop every two days and felt brilliant for five weeks apart from the brain zaps, nightmares,insomnia, dizziness then back came the raging anxiety, extreme fatigue, panic, nausea, loss of appetite. I have given in this morning and taken two drops of cipralex I don't know if I have done a stupid thing or not, whether it is too little or I should have just suffered for longer. Since this first started I seem incapable of taking any drugs or antibiotics without severe reaction Can anyone help?
  21. Hello, I am 55 and was on 20mg Citalopram for 12 years and began to think this is not working for me its holding me back , I knew this medication was hindering me but I continued to take it silly me so 125 days ago I stopped taking it cold turkey after a few days my mind got clear and my sex drive came back I was happy to feel normal again last time I felt that good was before the meds then bang withdrawals so I called the NHS24 and they said go back on my meds as it was that so I was shocked that this could happen as I had no idea about taper at that time so I went on 10mg for 1 month then 5mg for 5 day then stopped I know it was bad to do but I had no clue about tapering or withdrawal, all through the time taking the 10mg and 5mg I was in withdrawal , what I am left with is the central nervous system symptoms distant from life my head like there is acid running through it short term memory and insomnia is bad ,blurred vision hot dry feeling when I breathe brain needs cold oil etc tinnitus sinus twitches , I would like to add after stopping the meds I have not been anxious or depressed at all I have nothing to worry about as I know its another part of the brain that is a mess sorry for this being long winded I have little education my work has been with my hands , anyway sorry once again, I do not know to ride this storm out or reinstate to a small dose, my thinking is I did a mad thing abruptly stopping and my brain was shocked do I need to reinstate for my brain to calm down then taper, I know you might not have the answer and I am not holding anyone to account but you all here is professionals compared to my doctor this past few days I have had a window and a happy tickle in my belly along with my head feeling part of life but today its back to wave , I could ride it out but say next year I might say to myself I should have reinstated what if !! any questions no problem I have learned to open up with physical mental and sexual abuse in the past so any advice is welcomed regards Colin.
  22. Hi, I have been taking Celexa for about 8 years now and am currently tapering at 10% every 3 - 4 weeks. I have usually slept well but recently found myself taking hours to fall asleep. I have always taken my dose before bed and have recently found out that Celexa can disrupt sleep, especially in those that are suffering from protractive benzo withdrawal (something I am also dealing with after a successful taper 10 months ago and has actually gotten a lot better). On the other hand, I am on my 3rd week of my first 10% reduction of Celexa. Could it be the reduction in Celexa that is impacting my sleep or could it be that I should start trying to take my dose in the morning? I don't know much about the implications of SSRIs so any help would be much appreciated. warm regards, James
  23. After close to 18 months on Citalopram, I decided to wean off the medication in August as I ascribed a feeling of mental numbness to the drug. The first week off I felt fine. Weeks 2-4 were hellish as I experienced strange tingling sensations, insomnia, depersonalisation and extreme periods of agitation. However, after close to six weeks off the drug, I still don’t feel like myself. I’m apathetic. My concentration is non-existent despite taking medication for ADHD. My brain is extremely foggy, and I don’t feel connnected to myself or those around me. Whilst I didn’t quite adhere to my discontinuation plan and admittedly weaned off Citalopram far too quickly, I didn’t expect to feel so utterly lost in myself after almost six weeks off the med. My doctor is in the process of conferring with a psychologist with regards to taking a different medication for anxiety but I’m reluctant to go back on an SSRI. Unfortunately I don’t know if I’m still struggling with SSRI withdrawal syndrome or if it’s a resurfacing of depression and/or a high level of anxiety. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced similar difficulties after discontinuing an anti-depressant and what helped you in your respective recoveries. Thanks.
  24. Hi, I found this website from someone's post who seemed to be going through the same as what I am. Sorry if this is long but I'm not sure which info is necessary! I was taking Citolapram for alittle over 2 years, mostly 20mg but I upped to 30mg near the end. I weened off them within a week but after almost a month I went back of them (20mg). I only stayed on them for a week and then came off them cold turkey. About 7 or more weeks since, I randomly woke up one day with PGAD. It's a horrible, progressive, non-curable disorder that makes your genitals feel constantly aroused, sometimes stabbing, burning, feeling the need to pee, zap feelings and a lot of throbbing. I've had this for a month now and feels worse these past 2 days (coincidentally I was pescribed Amitriptyline 10mg but after 2 days of taking them I decided I don't want to go back to ADs - apparently PGAD is mostly caused by withdrawing from ADs) I've had so many breakdowns because of this and there is no way I can live with it, especially because it can cause spontaneous orgasms and a lot of pain which I haven't got yet. I'm so scared and my doctors have no idea about the disorder and just try to convince me it's in my head which despite my obvious symptoms and causes I'm hoping it is. My history of OCD could explain it too. Before taking ADs I had a fear of farting in public which as stupid as it sounds, kept me house-bound for years. It went away after I took ADs and started college. Then a year later I had a bad sickness bug which led me to a fear of throwing up, with that I felt sick literally every single day and not always just mildly. I had tests but nothing explained it. Then I started hearing alot about PGAD just before mine started, once mine started my sickness has completely gone (so all this time it must have been in my head which is crazy because I almost threw up it was so bad). And now I'm getting all these symptoms of PGAD constantly. But I'm still not convinced it's all in my head because it is a fact that withdrawing from ADs too fast can cause it, plus I think I have some damage in my pelvice since I went on an exercise bike during my 2nd withdrawals. This gave me what I thought was piles in my perineum which went away after a week and then came back with my PGAD. I have a huge skin tag in my perineum which fills and becomes solid if I'm too active and I start getting a pain around it (in my legs/butt cheeks). I'm thinking I've damaged my pelvic floor and that these things could be connected? Although the PGAD didn't start straight away? I'm sorry this was so long but I am so so terrified of having this disorder, it is honestly such a horrible, embarrassing, painful and hopeless thing to live with and has always been my biggest fear since I learnt about it. I have so many things that could have caused it which makes me think that maybe it isn't just in my head. It's driving me crazy and if anyone has any hope or experience like this I would really love to hear from you. Sorry again for the long post.
  25. Hi all, here is my story. I started with dizziness about 10 months ago. My doctor thought it was Vestibular migraine and put me on Celexa 20 mg for two months. Did nothing. They then weaned be off over 10 days before putting me on nortriptyline, getting up to 30 mg over three months. It started to affect me by giving me panic attacks so I weaned off of that over another month. While weaning off of the nortriptyline, once I got down to 15 mg, the doctor started me on Effexor. I started at a quarter of a 37.5 mg tablet and worked up to 37.5 mg over three weeks. I was then on 37.5 mg for two weeks and had awful side effects so started tapering off over a three-week period. Basically, I was on and off of Effexor a total of seven weeks. Then, the doctor put me on Klonopin for two weeks to try to help me come off of the Effexor. I refused to take it for more than two weeks. However, I am now 45 days off all of the medication and I'm having really bad muscle twitches, unsteadiness still, sensations of the floor feeling squishy beneath my feet and a constant feeling of like my brain is cracking. Not to mention emotional upheaval Has anyone here noticed significant improvement in recovery after short term use of these drugs? I'm terrified they permanently altered me and I won't get back to homeostasis.
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