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  1. "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??????????
  2. Hello to everyone ! I am a 28 years old male who suffered from anxiety and depression. In 2018 May i was put on Sertraline 100mg and upped untill 200mg in 3 months. i got rid of the anxiety but depression was still there. After 3 months i quit cold turkey did not experienced any withdrawal but depression was still there. after that the GP gave me Citalopram 40 mg which for 4 months experienced mostly side effects such as numbness, heavy brain fog, depersonalisation and lack of concentration i got sick of them so i started Lexapro10mg by myself without tapering or anything like that. I have been on Lexapro 10mg from December 2018 until April 2019 and quit cold turkey deciding to see if i can make it without them. The first month was horrible but at the beggining of May i experienced for the first time in many years a relief of everything i felt normal for about 8 hours, then by mistake when taking my supplements ( Fish Oil and Magnesium Methyfolate ) i took 0.5 mg lexapro by mistake and in about 5 hours i was back to square one. The first month i experienced the most heavy depression i have ever felt absolutely horrible could not come out of the house could not focus on anything or do anything just Dead. Now i feel much better after 2 months no depression no anxiety but i my head is like in a fish bowl i experience brain fog depersonalisation and no brain activity , anhedonia and the worst of all i cant focus to read properly. I apologise if it`s difficult to understand my writing but i find it very difficult to think. Will this ever go away ? i am really scared. I hope and wish nothing but the best to everyone out there in suffering from this. Thank you
  3. Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here, hope that I am doing everything correctly. I am recovering from fluoxetine (Prozac), I took it for about 8 months and I have been off it for about 3 months now. I have searched a lot on the internet and this forum but I was not able to find anyone who suffers from similar issues, so I was hoping for some kind of support from here Every morning, I wake up with horrible anxiety and a feeling of "depersonalization", it is kind of like sitting in the back of your head and having some kind of tunnel vision. Apathy is a big part of it and there is a weird feeling of having to supress a panic attack at any moment. The weird thing about it is that this feeling goes away in the afternoon and I feel completely fine the entire evening until I wake up the next day. I think this might be related to cortisol levels rising in the morning but I am not sure. Does anyone have similar experiences or tips to share with me? Thank you so much
  4. Hey all! This is my first post here and I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been feeling desperate for months. My question is about drug-induced derealization. I took the combo of Effexor + Valdoxan and only felt good for a month while being on them. In hindsight I almost seemed manic. Then, suddenly, I got very strong derealization that lasted for weeks. It lifted a bit for a few feeks and then came about again when I had a drink one night. I have now tapered off Effexor, I took my last pill about three weeks ago. Three days ago I also started tapering off Valdoxan. I take Oxazepam to cope with the symptoms. I feel like I broke my brain for good. The only other time I've felt derealization was when I ate a hash brownie and clearly it was too much for me. I used to be a caring and fun person before going on the antidepressants. Right now I feel like I'm just completely empty inside. I do and feel things because I know I have to, but I seriously don't care about anything at all. When I do feel emotion, it's mostly fear or worry. Has anyone else expierienced drug-induced DR? Did it go away when you started to withdraw from the drug? How do you cope with this?
  5. Hi everyone. I've been dealing with severe derealization, panic, insomnia, anxiety, depression, dizziness, vertigo, migraines, agitation, irritably etc. for 3 years now. I'm scared out of my mind. I am on geodon 20 mg 2x a day zoloft (I'm weening. Just went from 25 mg to 12.5 mg) remeon 7.5 mg 2x a day scheduled Ativan (5 mg total per day) i am at at the end of my rope. I believe be chronic insomnia is at the heart of the way I feel. I have recently come to the realization that the derealization could be coming from pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to feel better, I have started weening off Zoloft- under doc approval (had to start somewhere and this medication has never helped me). I have been on Zoloft for 13 years, since the birth of my son when I developed post pardum depression. Is it it possible that going off the Zoloft will help? Or is the derealization likely to get worse? I'm still on 12.5 mg. This is my 2nd day on 12.5 from 25 mg. I believe I went from 50 mg to 37.5 in mid July. Then only went from 37.5 to 25 mg a week ago. And started 12.5 yesterday. Is this too quick? Or should I stay on 12.5 for a couple weeks and see how I do? Sounds like medication withdrawal can certainly cause DP/DR, but is it possible that coming off of them can actually help? Will things ever get bettter? Any adcice woukd be greatly appreciated.
  6. In 2007 I was put on meds at 19 for depression. Then they decided I was bi-polar, the bi-polar where you are just really depressed. So from 2007 until November 2012 I was on a cocktail of meds. Three meds at a time. I was on abilify, wellbutrin, sequel ( only for two weeks because it made me extremely tired) Lamictal, Depakote, Effexor and so on. So what would happen is my psychiatrist would prescibe meds and I would feel better and didn't want to take them so I would stop or miss a lot of days. When I would go to see him I lied and said I was taking them and they didn't do anything so he would prescribe a different medication. It was always three at a time and I would stop or skip days of taking the medications. So this went on for 5 years. So in I believe July 2012 I was prescribed Effexor and was also on Lamictal and something else. So I was missing days as usual for months and in mid November 2012 I woke up and had this really weird detached feeling like I was in a dream, things weren't real. So I freaked out. I had been trying to get a hold of my psychiatrist and had learned within two weeks he unexpectedly retired and fled the country and no one could communicate with him. A few days later I stop the Effexor, Lamictal and whatever that drug was cold turkey. I didn't know what to do. Oh I forgot to mention, my leg went totally numb in August 2012. In early December 2012 I got double vision. So my family doctor sent me in for a MRI. I had an appointment in Cleveland on December 23rd 2012 and they diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. So I thought "this feeling" I had was caused by my ms. So in January 2013 I was put on zoloft, Lamictal and abilify. Later that summer 2013, I had a breakdown bc of being diagnosed with ms and was hospitalized. They changed my meds to abilify, zoloft and depokote, because I had been on them before. Then from that time to now I have switched meds. Zoloft was a constant and I tried, Topamax, and the invega and abilify shot. So for the past year, I have been on latuda 40mg and zoloft 200mg. I have started weening off. My doctor just started me on 20mg of Latuda to ween off. I am starting with Latuda and then zoloft. So I thought for years this feeling was due to my ms, but I am learning more and more it's most likely due to the on going meds I have been on. Hence why I am finally weening off and stopping! Can someone please give me any advice or info, thank you for any help. I was wondering if you think my derealization/ depersonalization is from the meds?? Will it go away after weening off these meds for good? Do you think it will take years to heal and get rid of this horrible dr/ dp? Is there anything else I can do to help myself go back to normal and get rid of this feeling for good? I will still be taking my ms medication which is Tecfidera. Please and input would be much appreciated, Thank You
  7. Hi, my name's Alexis, I'm a 21 years old male from France, and I made a good amount of mistakes in the past few months as it turns out. Let me start by presenting myself as the "before" me. I was always, always the happy guy. I was bullied during all of high-school (leading me to redo a year because it was to much) but this was all behind me. The bullying led me to have creepling social anxiety but other than that I was really happy with my life, I had learned to live with it and not stoping me to live a full life. I didn't like going clubbing or anything invoving a lot of people at once but going to college led me to meet people who would like the same things as me. I was never alone, I made good friends. I am -or was- the kind of guy who would like all things linked to creativity. Be it video montages about my video game "life" or a lot of writing. In college, I started playing games a lot on my pc, met a lot of great people online and so even when I was going home in my little appartment, I was never alone. I messed up one of my college years and switched from studying physics to studying computer science but that was pretty much it as for desapointments. That and my love life which was bleak at best thanks to me being really really shy (never kissed a girl yay !). I am the romantic kind of guy, and burned myself hard on a middle school crush wish led me being afraid of girls my age and what they could do to my poor heart. But I had come to terms with it. I had all my life to fix this problem after all. And things started to look better on all fronts. I started going out more (movies, friends parties at their appartments). Then came along the possibility of an abroad school in Canada. A school for 3D modeling and design in video games. I always like creating stuff on my computer. Video montages. 3D scenes. Just because I could and it was a way to create from my feelings. Anyway, the school in question required a big dossier to accept postulants so I started working night and day to improve my skills in this set of themes. Digital painting, 3d modelling or even scene creations. If we had my work for my computer science class, all in all I was working 15h a day minimum. I stopped loging online to talk to my online friends as I was always working. I too started missing my college classes to continue working on this stuff. To be honest I was feeling possesed. Always always thinking about ten stuff related to the subject at the same time. Sleeping like a mad man whenever I felt like it. It started at the end of September 2015. Looking back at it I feel like the biggest moron in the universe. It all came down crashing at the start of November. It was a friday and I had a one hour QCM to take in the afternoon. I had weird feeling about a week before. Like my chest was being constrained and my heart was going to burst out. But I didn't make anything of it. I just continued working oblivious to my bodies signals. And so during this test I almost clollapsed. My head started feeling weird, I felt like ants on my hands but most of all my chest was constrained, i couldn't breathe and I was sure my heart was going to stop. I managed to hold until the end of the test and went home. Things calmed a bit but I started getting really afraid of what was happening to me (little did I know I had a panic attack like the sleep deprived mal nourished idiot that I was). The thing is I'm kind of an hypochondriac with obsessive tendencies. When something is wrong I focus on it like my life is depending on it. So during the week end I started having panic attakcs. I was having chest pain and everything. The monday, still having my chest pain and feeling like my heart was going to stop I went back to my mom's. Took 3mg of Bromazepam and my blood pressure was still through the roof. After that, I started taking benzo daily in the form of 6mg of Bromazepam throughout the day. But then I started taking more and more, eveytime I tried not taking it, a feeling of dread and iminent doom was taking me away in panic attack land. A month went by and I couldn't live without my daily benzos doses so I decided to start seeing a psy. After discussing, she prescribed me 10mg of Lexapro to take every morning. She also said to keep taking benzos while trying to slowly limit them. It was the start of December 2015. 15 days later I had cut my benzo intake to 3mg a day and I was feeling like myself again. My first thought was to stop taking benzos. So the 18th I stopped benzos all together. I was back at my mom's, my week of exams was over and I was feeling nearly normal again. Took me 3 days being on the edge but the withdrawal from benzo was over. I then fixed my eyes on my next objective : stopping meds all together. See, I'm a real proud kind of guy. I really don't like the idea of having to take meds to "survive". Even before, when I had a headache I was really reluctent to take anything to make it stop. I prefered powering through it. So taking pills was like a failure mark. I had to get rid of that. So I said to myself, you go back in classes the 4th of january. You take one week taking your Lexapro 10mg pills every two days for a week or so and then you stop. And so I did. I started going every two days somewhere around the 10th of january, stopping all together one week after that. For the next part, the timeline start getting fuzzy so bear with me for a little longer. One week after stopping everything I started feeling weird. Feelings that I would later call derealization. the world wasn't making sense anymore. Reality had become a question. But a 5 days in, as soon as it had started it stoped. I hadn't even have the time to understand what it was. Even now I can't remember what I felt like. One or two weeks later on the other hand, since got really really bad. I was hit by the worst things I ever felt all at once. Things like a massive derealization spree, emotional anhedonia and bad anxiety. At the worst of it, I had to get rid of all the sleeping pills in my appartment afraid to make a mistake. What made me survive it was me calling my mom every nigh and talking for an hour or so. She couldn't understand half of the things I felt but she helped me just survive it. Told me to start making my life a habit. Making plans for the next day and stick to them. Like going to classes or jogging for a little while. Eating better. That sort of stuff. So I did all of these. Not because I wanted but for her. One week and a half after the start of tha episode it was over. I remember one day my derealization being bad with occasionnal moments of calm and the next it feels like it was over. I can't for the life of me figure out what changed. All I know was that I was back. Then two weeks went by. My school year was already unretrievable and I couldn't go to sleep before 4am in the morning, and get up before noon was an impossible exploit. All in all my class attendance wasn't the best, but I was still able to think about the future. I am supposed to start a 4 month internship at the start of april and the timeline looks bleak at best. I am talking to you from the middle of another wave of derealization I guess. I feel bad now, but less bad than the last wave. I "only" have to face derealization now. Not a strong one but a snicky derealization. During the past two weeks I have been plagued with unanswerable questions like : what the point of life at the end ? What's the point of reality ? This kind of stuff. But no anhedonia. And a lot less of the need to be alone then last time. The problem is the fact that it is way longer than last time. It's the end of the second week and it has been three days now that I feel like life is a trap. I'm tired of thinking and living this crapshow of a life. My latest derealisation is that. A few time an hour I will be hit in the face by this weird thought that life is a ******* trap. And that's is weirdly not that real or something like that. Yeah I don't feel as excited as before about stuff but I guess it's not a strong anhedonia as before. And time perception is less distorted than before. Since this wave is hitting me with less strength I don't feel the small good moments inside the wave as such. The line between normal and bad is a all lot blurrier. And I'm not sure this one wave is going to end, ever. I'm afraid because I'm not sure it's normal to have waves being longer and longer (while hitting with less strength each time maybe). I'm afraid that i's not normal, nearly two month after having stopped taking lexapro for ONLY a month and a half having still these kind of symptom. But most of all I'm afraid not to be afraid of death anymore. I long the days where death was that dreadfull thing that I could be afraid of. It was my freedom to run from it. And it's my hell not to fear it that much anymore. In the hope that you can maybe reassure me. Thank you to everyone taking the time to read my too long text and my bad english.
  8. Hello everyone. I am glad this place exists. I am currently trying to get off antidepressants and have read many posts on this forum. I would appreciate any advice on my current situation. Here are the basics: March 2001 At age 18, tried marijuana and a high dose of coricidan cough & cold (dextromethorphan) along with alcohol on spring break. Experienced a 'bad trip', freaking out and thinking I was going to die. For the next couple weeks I felt 'off': experienced dissociative feelings, derealization and anxiety (feared I would never feel back to normal) April 2001 Returned to "normal"June 2001 Developed a cold, and upon taking cough medicine, the dissociative feelings returned and I had a panic attack, fearing I had brain damage from taking the drugs which was causing the feelings, along with heart palpitations, minor chest pain and shortness of breath. Went to the ER and they gave me Valium to calm down. The next day the dissociative feelings were still strong. Went to my PCP and he prescribed Paxil 20mg to anxiety. I was also given Xanax to use when the panic feelings were too strong. Along with anxiety symptoms, noticed ringing in the ears after starting Paxil. July 2001 After 6-8 weeks, the dissociative feelings lifted. I felt more normal.August 2001 Although feeling better, still had problems with anxiety and depression at night, so PCP increased Paxil dose to 30mg. After increasing dose, noticed ringing in the ears again, along with mild dizziness/vertigo and dissociative feelings. PCP assured me that these symptoms would subside in a few weeks, and that every negative feeling was a result of the anxiety disorder, while the medicine was making them go away. January 2002 Felt better and under doctor's advice, began tapering from Paxil.February 2002, Ringing in ears got worse after stopping Paxil, as did dissociative feelings and anxiety. Doc prescribed Xanax as needed. (can't remember if I went back on Paxil) December 2002 Overwhelming anxiety, dissociative feelings, depression and panic attacks return. PCP placed me on Prozac 20mg January 2003 Experiencing chest pain and tightness, panic attacks, and extremely high heart rates when exercising. Higher than normal. Anxiety still bad. Doc reassured me I would be fine and this is normal. Taking xanax almost daily to control anxiety Panic attacks became intense, and anxiety was 24/7. No relief. Had to drop out of college and come home. A few weeks later, went to PCP and he took me off Prozac and put me back on Paxil. April 2003 Anxiety, dissociative feelings and panic attacks have gotten better, but still 'on and off'. Feel okay for a week then feel bad for a week. Doc puts me on Paxil CR 50mg. August 2003 Things have improved. Feeling more 'normal.' Able to enjoy things. Went to the doc wanting to lower dose of Paxil. He put me on 12.5mg. October 2003 Switched to Zoloft 200mg because symptoms were returning Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks and able to enjoy things again. January 2005 Lowered dosage to 200mg Zoloft because of weight gain and feelings of fatigueOctober 2005 Dissociative symptoms, anxiety and depression returning. Doc takes me off Zoloft and puts me on Wellbutrin XL 300mg May 2006 Diagnosed with sleep apneaOctober 2006 Symptoms return. Doc places me on Effexor XR 150mg. After a few weeks feel back to "normal". Able to enjoy things again. September 2008 Wanted to get off medication for good. After getting my wisdom teeth out and being on Vicodin, I thought that would be a good time to do it. 2 weeks later, I freaked out and things were AWFUL. Went to the psychiatric ER and immediately restarted Effexor XR. Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks. July 2012 Begin having "episodes" where i feel lightheaded, and a "wave" feeling comes over me. This is accompanied by a significant raise in pulse and blood pressure, extreme panic and anxiety, and dissociative feelings. The episodes last about 10-15 minutes. Often times I vomit. They seem to happen after a lack of sleep, drinking lots of caffeine, or smoking too many cigarettes. Attack becomes so severe I head to the ER. They do tests, all come back negative. Over the next few months, these episodes become more frequent, and anxiety in between these episodes goes up. November 2012 Wake up in the middle night. Extreme fear and panic. Heart RACING. I call 911 and an ambulance has to come pick me up. At ER, all tests are negative and they give me xanax. Go to a psychiatrist who takes me off Effexor XR and puts me on Lexapro. Anxiety gets worse over the next two months. January 2013 Anxiety is worse than it has ever been. It is absolutely unbearable. Like a 24/7 panic attack from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. Psychiatrist puts me back on Effexor XR 150mg, and Klonopin 25mg 3x daily to keep me from freaking out. Things are AWFUL. Like a mental pain and anguish as iff someone is constantly shaking my head. I can't even describe how awful it is. March 2013 Things have not improved. Pdoc raises my dosage to 225mg of EffexorXR. After a few days, things get even WORSE. They are so bad I have to go to the ER and we decide to put me in an inpatient facility. After a couple days in there, I realize there is nothing they can do for me other than mess with medications. I got out of there after a couple days.May 2013 Things have not improved. I decide to enter a partial hospitalization program where I go in for half the day. They do all sorts of classes about mood and attitude and stuff but this is a physical feeling of mental anguish and pain, not a state of mind. They try to convince me it is a state of mind and I can talk my way out of it. Pdoc tries to increase Effexor XR dosage again. Symptoms get even WORSE. My heart rate races up to 150bpm just walking down the street. BP is up to 140/100. (normally 120/80) June 2013 We finally decide to taper me off Effexor XR and back on to Zoloft. It takes about 2 months, but I finally get off Effexor and onto Zoloft. The transfer was HELL. I would have episodes of extreme anxiety and mental pain, and moments where it felt like my brain was being electrically 'charged up.' Every night I went to bed thinking I was going to die in my sleep. I wish there was a way to describe my anguish. Now taking 200mg Zoloft and 25mg Klonopin 3x daily August 2013 Not getting better. Discover benzobuddies.org. Decide I need to get off the Klonopin. It is making me feel drugged and fatigued and unable to live life. And makes me feel like my legs are tingling and asleep all day. Begin my slow taper from Klonopin. Every time I make a cut it SUCKS... November 2013 Finally get off the Klonopin It's rough for a while, but SLOWLY gets better February 2013 At this point I am able to have moments where I'm not thinking about the anxiety/mental pain. This is a step forward. I still have dissociation and derealization, no 'clarity', mental fog, confusion, unable to organize thoughts, feeling ADHD all the time... but slowly improvingApril 2014 Feeling better. No 'painful' anxiety. Only taking 200mg Zoloft daily. Still have dissociation and derealization and anxiety and depression. Can't feel excitement, love, passion, sex drive, etc. I want to get off all medications. I have felt better since getting off effexor and Klonopin, although it has taken so long. I want to get off Zoloft, but I'm not sure when to begin. Because I am not completely better, I am afraid I will get worse if I try to taper now. But I am ALSO afraid that if I do not taper soon, I will get worse and need more medications to help. Advice??? Thank you :-) Edit: I have always been told that all these symptoms are from my anxiety disorder. After years of research, I'm wondering if the original anxiety was from the imbalance, but all these other problems are from the medications. Do I need medications to get better? Or do I need to taper off them to get better. That is my fear :-(
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