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  1. Hi there, Been using antidepressants for nearly 20 years. Started with Prozac, then citalopram, escitalopram, Zoloft, Cymbalta, amitriptyline, Remeron, tried Lyrica and some others as well. Nice years ago I tried to stop cold turkey (I was taking 20 mg citralopram back then) and had the worst year of my life after that decision. Had conflicts with everyone, had terrible back pain, living was Hell. Now I'm back a tapering, because at some point it was too much: I was drinking alcohol, drinking coffee, needed 20 mg melatonin to get asleep, took L-theanine, Remeron that knocked me off, 20 mg amitriptyline and 60 mg Cymbalta. I had ED from Remeron and the others, and felt really bad. Enough was enough. So I changed things. In the last month, I eliminated everything except for the Cymbalta. I stopped alcohol, caffeine, amitriptyline, Remeron, L-theanine, and melatonin. And I started tapering off Cymbalta, going down 3 mg each week for 10 weeks, which is my objective, to be at 30 mg for winter and maybe try to taper off again next Spring. So far it's difficult. Anxiety is going through the roof, sleep is only marginally better, feel anger all the time. I take magnesium, D3 and K2 to help me, but it only helps a bit. Is my tapering strategy too fast? Any advice? Should I keep going or stabilize first, and any way to manage anxiety? Any supplement that could help? I think I was vitamin depleted from so many years of AD... Thanks
  2. Hi.. My story is, “briefly“, that I have within the past 3 years, been on... so. Much. Crap. And I am currently in withdrawal torture from hell and have been for years now. In the beginning of 2019, I had a very bad stress / anxiety reaction, and I was quickly put on medication. Benzodiazepines for two months along with starting Zoloft. Quit Benzos cold turkey (doctor’s orders) and then Zoloft was upped to 125 mg (in hindsight I am pretty sure it was because I reacted strongly to Benzo quitting). I felt completely horrible on Zoloft and tapered off over the course of 2.5 months (doctor’s orders). Then I was in complete hell and couldn’t sleep so after being “clean” for one month, I was put on 7.5 mg. Mirtazapine. I could FINALLY sleep and it did seem to help my anxiety a bit? I still had a lot of strange horrendous symptoms though but I don’t know if that was from Mirtazapine or SSRI withdrawal ...? Can a dosis of 7.5 mg. Mirtazapine cancel out severe SSRI withdrawal? Anyway - So in 2020 I was on Mirtazapine up and down weekly between 7.5 and smaller doses (doctor said I could just adjust from day to day). I ended up just completely wrecked and just lied in bed in a haze.. so they took me off Mirtazapine and started me on 60 mg. Duloxetine plus Promethazine for sleep. Total haze still, awful.. So off it again after 7 months - tapered from 60 mg. Duloxetine to 0 over 4 weeks. Then felt .... HORRIBLE (!!!) and started self medicating with Benzodiazepines while I waited for withdrawal to end for two months- until my doctor found out and said stop that. Then I was put on Pregabalin and Escitalopram 10 mg. from March 2021 until I wanted to quit (because I was a complete foggy hazy wreck on that as well). Stopped Pregabalin in May and Escitalopram in July (tapered from 10 mg. to 0 over 4 weeks). In September I tried to take a tiny dose of Escitalopram to ease the horrendous withdrawal symptoms .. but that didn’t work and I felt worse. So I just thought I’d push through this indescribable nightmare... in December however I took 1/2 pill of Benzodiazepine twice because it was so unbearable. So.. now it is 9 months since I stopped Escitalopram (/6 months since I tried a small dose for a week) and 4 months since Benzodiazepines.. I can’t describe how much of a hell it has been AND STILL IS 😔 I have constantly tried to tell myself that it WILL and MUST get better soon. And while some symptoms have gotten better, I have almost no life by now. I hardly see anyone because I just can’t due to symptoms, I hardly exercise or leave my apartment. Some days, like today, it is almost constant torture. A week ago I tried Melatonin (4.5 mg. over two days) and then I’ve tried some Valerian root pills.. somehow it’s gotten worse now. So.......... bottom line: I’m thinking about starting Mirtazapine just to ease the withdrawal symptoms and to make sure I sleep better. Right now no matter how much I sleep, I am never rested and feel like I haven’t slept for days everyday. But I am BEYOND scared that it will make everything worse, and then I have yet another drug to get free from. So yeah.. does anyone know if Mirtazapine can help SSRI withdrawal symptoms? I honestly don’t know what to do. Thanks and sorry about the long message. I feel pretty desperate. 😔 Best Louise
  3. Hello everybody. I was referred to this forum after trying to find answers about my problem on other websites for almost a year now. To somewhat quickly sum up my story. I was put on psych meds at 16 after a breakdown related to OCD. I am not sure how long I have been on Lexapro, but probably since around 2013/2014. I first started taking psych meds at 16. I was dealing with a bad APRN (who I saw for years but became worse and worse over time) who had me on 30mg of Lexapro for at least 2 to 3 years. I cannot remember how long I was on 20mg before that, and for how long. I apologize. I couldn't get a refill due to problems with my computer for an online meeting, they didn't give me enough to taper off safely (didn't even tell me to taper off or warn me about withdrawal symptoms), so I ended up having a breakdown about 3 months later, but not any cognitive issues at all. I was very paranoid and anxious, but my memory was fine along with my memory and ability to talk eloquently. I was put back on 10mg of Lexapro about 2ish weeks after the incident. I remember having a dull pain at the very top of my head for a little bit, and since that week, I've had breathing problems, sinus issues such as dryness and pain (watery mucus too, now my sinuses feel very dry recently), memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, dry mouth, chest pains, face/neck pains and a warm/tingling feeling on the left side of my face (sometimes numbness too), vomiting, throbbing headaches, high blood pressure (this has mainly gone away I think, could have been from withdrawal) jaw stiffness (my teeth would clench subconsciously while awake, that's gone away) and ear ringing. I also now have sleep apnea. I had to immediately stop taking it again due to these issues, I lasted about a week on the new dosage. It almost feels like I had a TBI without having a TBI. I don't know if the SSRI caused it or the stress of the breakdown (was put on a psych hold) and personal family problems such as my mom getting sick with cancer that eventually killed her caused it, or both. I've been feeling like this for about 10ish months now and it's not getting any better. I have sexual dysfunction problems, emotionally I feel numb, and when I try to think deeply it feels like my brain is a stalling car. My memory is also as bad as ever, and the neck/face problems are still here, I can feel them as I'm typing this. It also feels like when I speak to people, my mouth is speaking faster than my brain can think. This is something very new, and it causes me to stutter/not talk as eloquently as I used to. I used to be very well spoken and now that's gone. I can recall events in my life/childhood, but now I can no longer remember specifics of the events, such as words said. It's very odd. I've had CT/MRI scans done of my brain and neither showed real problems. I'm seeing my PCP in September because my problems are getting worse, and I'm supposed to see a neurologist in November, and I'm thinking of asking for a qEEG, SPECT, and a nerve conduction study. I'd just like some advice on what to do to feel better. Not sure if my APRN is liable for the damage done to be or not, either, but this isn't a legal forum, so I'm not expecting any advice on that front. My former APRN, who I had gone to for years, slowly became worse and worse, and got angry at my mom at times for scheduling my appointments with my APRN. When I saw my APRN again after my breakdown/psych hold, she didn't seem to care about me going off 30mg cold turkey, her not telling me to taper off of it or warning me about the problems etc. She just put me back on 10mg, and when I had to stop taking it due to my side effects, she refused to help me any further, saying she would only see me if I saw a therapist, and even when I did, she refused to talk to me about my problems because "legally I [The APRN] can't because [The APRN] doesn't see me as a client anymore". She's the one who won't see me anymore, so I don't get it at all. She was very cold and uncaring about my mom getting sick and dying of cancer, only saying "getting a job helps with anxiety" and "Medicaid is hard to get on". It's so horribly depressing to feel like you've lost what made you, you. My memory is awful, my emotions are all over the place, I stutter sometimes now when I never used to, my cognitive thinking is awful. My voice actually sounds different to me. I don't know what's going on. My personality feels so neutered. I just want some help to get a definite answer on what's causing all of this.
  4. Hello nicolas, 47yo, French and seeking a way to stop meds. I have been on paxil for 22years with some change during this time with effexor but always came back to paxil. in 99 my doc gave me médications for Light anxiety….. well now that i feel that paxil poop out i switched for lexapro but alter 9 months Still having symptoms tinitus, anxiety, insomnia, headach, neck pain and all. could it be withdrawal of paxil even if i stopped it for lexapro ? I bélieve i am underdosing lexapro compare to paxil but does time will make symptoms go away? thanks for reading
  5. Junglechicken

    ☼ Junglechicken

    Hi, I joined this forum today and wanted to introduce myself. All it took was a family trauma to set off my depression/anxiety (my father's inability to stop spending money he didn't have, led to no money and my having to pay for my parents housing etc.,). I have suffered from underlying depression and anxiety for many years but managed to keep a lid on it by exercising and I guess being younger and able to forget the darker stuff by clubbing and going out. Then 6 years ago hubby and I moved to Canada from the UK and I dive-bombed into hell. Daily panic attacks at home and work, I was bullied at numerous work places as well as dealing with the work pressure, feeling of isolation and no support network. Then in June I lost my job and have been more or less house bound with the exception of having to go out to do chores. Went to my doctor who prescribed Cipralex (Feb 2014) - I was on it for 18 months in total and came off it mid-September 2015 after a 3 month taper at 5mg. This happened after I had got a job at a large company (Nov 2013), and I had to take 3.5 months medical leave. Upon my return to work, I was met with resentment and disdain by my colleagues who saw it that I was just looking to get "free vacation" time. This made my life even more hellish - my Manager had wanted to get rid of me upon my return but couldn't by law. I lost my job about a year after returning to work due to redundancy. Since then I have experienced extreme fatigue (had to stop marathon training), intense muscle and joint soreness, weird dreams, tinnitus, headaches, sinusitis, pressure changes in my ears and ear pain, sub-clinical migraines, crying spells, GI issues, heightened anxiety and depression. Despite these things, doctors never seem to find anything actually wrong with me. I honestly feel as though I am in hell - I feel as though someone has taken a photocopy of me and the photocopy is a completely different person (withdrawal). The weekdays are a drag, and I dread them as my hubby is at work. I fear the worst will happen while he is away. I am a total basket case and freak out very easily if there is a withdrawal symptom I don't recognise. If I can survive this, I can survive anything.
  6. oranda - cold turkey escitalopram like a dummy, trying to figure out what to do next Hiya doods, so glad to be here. My journey started during my time in University. School and I did not get along and by my junior year, I was drowning and my friends noticed my suffering and tried their best to support me. At the beginning of senior year (2019), my friends finally convinced me to see a therapist. I was scared of medication at the time and figured it was the best way to go. It was great! Learned so much and am eternally grateful to that kind lady for helping me rebuild my foundation. Unfortunately with the whole covid thing and finishing my degree, therapy wasn't enough, so I saw a psychiatrist. Diagnosed MDD and ADHD (the latter Dx made my whole life just make sense). She started me on escitalopram (10mg) and buproprion XL (150mg). I was afraid to take stimulants so was told buproprion had some stimulant-like qualities and could help counteract sexual side effects from the escitalopram. Loved the post on that whole idea btw! This was so good for me though. Zero regrets. Looking back at old journal entries from before the meds and I don't even recognize that person anymore. I had no self-worth and my self-image/talk is heartbreaking to read now. Things got interesting when I started my career after graduating because some problems arose with respect to my ADHD. My struggles and (bad) coping mechanisms for ADHD caused anxiety and some depression too. So back to the psych and did Concerta (18mg) for a month, methylphenidate IR (10mg) for a month, and then switched to Methylphenidate SR (20mg) and was on that for idk a year? Memory bad. Stopped taking because even though the mental effects were good, the increased heart rate/physical side effects were not my friend. Tried Strattera but only lasted 2 days. Real bad side effects. Here's where things start to get interesting and my current sticky situation. Over the summer, my psych left the practice I was going to and I switched to a new one. He delightful. In telling him my story that basically my depression felt under control but my inattentive ADHD is what's causing me more problems. I said I was open to trying new things but wary of the medication roller coaster a lot of people go through. He recommended I take the GeneSight test to narrow down the list of medications to choose from. Sure thing dude. We also upped my burpropion XL to 300mg hoping it might help with the ADHD without giving me the jitters like the stimulants did. Got my results back in August, psych says lets switch from escitalopram to vilazodone. I have bad memory so I don't remember exactly why we picked that one but I remember it had something to do with vilazodone having a component to it that should help with the anxiety I sometimes have due to ADHD symptoms (aka I struggle to get started on a task because it feels insurmountable but then I get anxious because I need to do the thing to not get fired). Pysch recommended I take 5mg escitalopram for a week, then start the vilazodone. I had to wait for the new med to come in the mail and then I went on a vacation and didn't want to deal with med change on vacation so fast forward to like 2 weeks ago. Remember how memory bad? I forgot he said to taper off the escitalopram and just stopped it and started taking the vilazodone. 3 days later I realized what I had done but didn't really know what to do about it and just decided to stay the course. As you would expect, BAD, BAD withdrawal symptoms ensue. 7 days after this cold turkey switch, the brain zaps and total discomfort was so bad I was just laying in bed crying. I decided to roughly cut an escitalopram tablet and took ~2.5mg. After a long nap and allowing my body to metabolize, I felt better. Certainly not 100%, but much more manageable. Today is 11 days post cold turkey switch. Here's the thing, after talking to family and friends and researching over the last days, I think I just want to stop the SSRI altogether. Also want to try going back to 150mg buproprion and maybe even stop that too, but that's a future problem. Researching this, I found this forum and got mega scared because of the recommended 10% taper. What's a homie to do in a pickle like this? I don't feel great currently and I really don't want to induce long lasting withdrawal side effects. Current ideas for what to do, all of which I would continue buproprion 300mg and consider changing anything with that much, much later. 1. Aggressive taper - start 5mg escitalopram and do that for a 2-4 weeks, then 2.5mg for 2-4 weeks and call it a day. "easy" since I could rough cut my 10mg tablets to achieve this. - stop vilazodone Thought process here is that my body is already a little used to not having escitalopram so maybe I don't need to start all the way at the beginning. Concern here is that even though I'm mostly feeling okay now, more withdrawal side effects can develop and worsen. 2. Cautious taper - start 10mg escitaopram for 2-4 weeks to kind of reset my body to what it was earlier. Then properly 10% taper. - drop to 5mg vilazodone for one week, then stop. Assumption here that my body doesn't have much dependence on this drug yet. 3. Conservative taper - start 10mg escitaopram again - accelerated taper for vilazodone. 1-2 weeks per 10%. Again, based on the assumption I don't have much dependence, so I could do this more quickly - once done with vilazodone, properly 10% taper escitalopram. Just writing all this out has made me feel immensely better. I'm leaning towards cautious taper. I was on escitalopram for over 2 years, so I feel like I'm a solid candidate for having a harder time with withdrawal side effects. So! If anyone has heard of or gone through a weird situation like this, I'd love feedback on my above ideas. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen (read) my story.
  7. I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder over 15 years ago. As best I can recall, I was prescribed 450 mg bupropion and 20 mg Escitalopram and maybe 40 mg of Lamictal. I went off them suddenly about 8 years ago and had terrible withdrawal symptoms. A new doctor put me on a lower dosage of bupropion, about 200 mg and kept me at 20 mg Escitalopram. I became dissatisfied and found a new doctor who suggested Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which gave me some relief from my depression. A new doctor prescribed 150 mg bupropion, 20 mg Escitalopram, 4.5 mg pramipexol and a 4th I can't recall. I had been on this cocktail mix for at least 2 years. Earlier this year I began tapering, taking the medications once a week, then stopped altogether in about June. In July I began experiencing sudden vomiting spells out of the blue, lasting a full day, then going back to normal. I experienced one episode every 1 to 2 weeks for 6 episodes. Then 6 days ago I started trembling with anxiety every morning. It dissipates by the evening but I am non-functional for the entire day. My psychiatrist insists I am not going through withdrawal but is telling me to go back on a low dose of Escitalopram. I don't want to do it but need my life back. Any advice would be appreciated.
  8. hello. i'm going to attempt an introduction. i reserve any possible ambition about a coherent, comprehensive history for a potential future recovery success story. i'll do what i can for now. first and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone here at SA. THANK YOU for starting this website, for contributing, for keeping it going, for sharing, for being here, for fighting the good fight. in regards to tapering safely i did not find you in time; but since i found you it has helped immeasurably. before i found SA i'd been suffering through PW and PAWS for well over 3 years with no clear understanding of what the F was happening to me. although i had a working strategy of how to approach the embodied experience i was living, it took up a lot of energy not having an official explanation. i had a kind of makeshift, workaround idea along the lines of "maybe this is latent C-PTSD that has surfaced in the wake of SSRI cessation" and "clearly my nervous system is hypersensitive and destabilized, and i am intolerant of stress, possibly also as a result of a lifetime of chronic stress and trauma", etc. somewhat luckily these working hypotheses led me to a variety of tools that were entirely applicable to dealing with withdrawal syndrome, and so, ultimately, i was practicing many of the same non-drug coping strategies that i have since seen recommended on this site. for years i was on my own and it was trial and error. the bottom line is, it has been so much better since finding SA and knowing that i'm not alone and finally figuring out, "oh, this is what's going on!" (not that one cannot have C-PTSD / chronic stress / or the like in addition to WS, but WS is certainly also its own thing in addition to whatever underlying vulnerabilities may present) anyway -- THANK YOU to everyone for everything. i am currently in my fifth year of protracted withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome following an incorrect, too-fast taper of lexapro/escitalopram that basically amounted to CT + decades' worth of going on and off dozens of different psych drugs/cocktails, incl. most recently vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine, etc. i don't have energy or access right now to write in more detail about the long and illustrious drug history and the numerous failed attempts to get out of psychiatry (it's clear to me now that i've been in protracted withdrawal with PAWS multiple times before, but at the time i didn't know what it was and when i sought help consistently received a new and more extreme diagnosis every time; it seemed, according to psychiatry, that i was getting sicker and sicker, and would get more heavily drugged each time around -- psychiatry suffers from munchhausen by proxy in its absurd closed-loop system) bottom line -- TODAY I AM DRUG-FREE. i was first committed to a psych ward as a minor (below the age of consent), that's where i was first drugged. i clearly remember being so overmedicated that my hands were shaking non-stop, i couldn't properly hold a fork to eat or a pencil/pen to write. i fainted in the shower. i knew it was the drugs, i knew they were giving me too much, i know i said as much. i have no recollection of being listened to. my first ever "psychotic episodes" also occurred during this first ever hospitalization, subsequent to which my diagnosis was augmented to include my being labeled as "psychotic". i am convinced the sensory hallucinations were caused by the drugs they were giving me. i have spent my entire adult life thus far (approx. 17 y.o. - 42 y.o.) under the influence of psychiatric drugs. WTF. although i am currently drug-free i don't consider myself out of the woods yet as i'm still very much in recovery and reeling from the extensive physiological and psychological/existential harm. i cannot even begin to really truly process that. i don't dwell on it, i try not to think about it, really, although of course the thoughts come occasionally, but for the most part i let them pass bc my thinking is currently rather unreliable and murky, colored as it is by WS (monkey mind chatter which does not allow for proper processing). maybe one day when my cognitive/emotional/spiritual/etc. capacities are healed, if it is still relevant and required, i will mourn any loss as necessary. for now i sometimes touch upon grief (primarily on behalf of our collective loss and the tragedy of psychiatric violence afflicting countless human beings and indeed our global ecosystem as a whole) but my mind is too feeble to truly grasp the staggering atrocity / swirling galaxy of bullsh*t. for the time being i'm mostly just sorta left stunned and reeling; and sometimes in a moment of clarity i feel a call to arms and long to spring into action and up onto the barricades (etc.), but i lack the abilities for any kind of follow-through, which can be distressing as i think, "i'm not doing my part to save my fellow suffererers out there!" in these moments i have to remind myself that first i have to get better, and for now i just gotta hang on to my own life raft, bc that's pretty much all i can do, and most of the time it's a tall order as is, at least for now. i have to tell myself that what i cannot currently comprehend, is not currently my job. i try to do the tasks i am able to do, that is what is for me to do here and now. for example: currently i am able to shower once a week, sometimes twice a week. i am able to do a gentle yoga session about once a week. leaving the house is very difficult, but i manage to get out about twice a week. i am able to do my own grocery shopping (usually once a week), which brings me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. i am able to cook for myself (i've been on a self-designed, tried-and-true nutritional regimen for a couple of years now, which works quite well for me); nourishing myself is a vital part of my day and one of the few ways i'm able to actively engage with life on a daily basis. there are many, many things i'm unable to do and many, many ways in which i'm functionally disabled. i don't feel like getting into that now. in this moment i'd like to focus on markers of progress. for example: here i am, writing an introduction post. i have not posted here before bc writing and verbal communication, esp. disembodied/virtual kind without being in the physical presence of the other person, is something that has been extremely difficult for me in withdrawal and continues to be very, very challenging. so this is really hard and scary right now; and at the same time it is a marker of progress that i am able to be here writing this at all, since for so long i have not been able to and now i'm giving it a try. we'll see how it goes. these days i feel like i'm in my little WS groove. doing my thing, doing the best i can. i tell myself that this too shall pass -- based on the accounts of people on this site and the many success stories, it's possible to recover and heal. i trust that this is true; which means that there's a finite number of WS days/hours/moments (that number is unknown and unknowable, i call it X). and so it follows that every single day/hour/moment of WS-related suffering is 1 down, X to go and brings me that much closer to the conclusion. this is my way of conceptualizing the unpleasantness and discomfort as healing-in-process. instead of thinking of it as "i'm still sick" (which connotates stuck-ness and static state), reminding myself "i'm continously healing" (which conveys movement and development and some notion of constructive progress). it's very, very hard. i do feel like things are getting better ... lately one of the odd things about feeling better is that the WS symptoms have decreased somewhat in intensity, and now that some of the WS symptoms are less extreme, it's as though it's less clear to me that they are indeed WS symptoms. i sometimes find myself thinking, "wait, what if this particular thing is no longer WS and now this is just 'me'?" overall i tell myself that this line of thinking is still WS, as these are "anxiety thoughts" and fear-based, and i pay them as little mind as possible. it's a strange sign of progress that as WS is gradually lessening in intensity the lines between "syndrome" and "self" seem to be blurring more and more. this is, of course, compounded by an underlying all-pervasive tension around the question, "who am i?" at this point i accept that i have no idea who i am. i don't know who i am now, i don't know who i was before, i don't know who i will be after. my sense of identity is flimsy at best, i have difficulty with any sense of continuity or understanding "me", "my life", or anything along those lines. it's okay. i'm not sure my sense of self has ever been that strong to begin with. i don't know where i'll be dumped at the end of this fun-house-mirror-lined chute of WS bizarro-world ... it's kinda funny sometimes, when i think about it. it's all so absurd. all these illusions and so many people out there running around all serious and self-important and convinced of what's "real". maybe i'll feel like that one day, who knows? ... (feel free to skip to the end of the book, eh?) anyway. i don't have much more to say for now. this is the most words i've used in any one sitting in any context possibly in years. i mostly don't like social contact due to conventions/exigencies of verbal communication (i don't mind context of shared social presence as long as there is no speaking/conversation involved) and so i spend most of my time alone. i'm actually surprised this many words have come out of me! and now i'm babbling, i've got the feeling this is all very messy. but the most important part is: ABSTRACT hello. thank you. i'm here. ain't that a trip with love, "me" 1996-2018: various polypharmacy combinations incl. SSRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzodiazepines, stimulants, etc. (approx. 30+ different drugs over the years) 2018 - inadvertently CTed lexapro/escitalopram from 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg (over the course of 6 months, and under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist whom i trusted at the time) July 2018 - 0mg lexapro/escitalopram 2017 - 2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 70mg 2020 - 2021 - tapered off of vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine from 70mg down to 0mg (gradually but unsystematically and probably too quickly) July 2021 - 0mg vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine February 2022 - 0mg - no psychopharmaceuticals - no drugs/medications of any kind supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 2mg melatonin at 9pm
  9. Hello! First of all I want to thank all the beautiful heros around here, who share their storys, it helped me a lot to read the success storys again and again to stay focussed and motivated, to keep hope and not give up during the last 2,5 years. I am 35, female. Last friday I hit the 18 months mark after coming off Escitalopram for the third time in April 2020. Most people, especially professionals doubt that the physical and mental symptoms I experience are due to coming off Escitalopram and think it is all in my head. I am very exhausted of the horrible symptoms and having to fight all the time for being supported or even believed. Probably loosing my job and getting no financial support any more at the end of this month, the pressure becomes higher and higher and I am close to giving in and going back in the psychiatric system...and back on meds. I don't know what to do at the moment and hope to get some helpful advise here. Here is my whole history especially of the last about 3 years of struggling: - On holiday in Spain in 2011, while on a city tour, I had a panic attack after feeling faint. After that, I developed agoraphobia with panic attacks – something that has become manageable after psychotherapy. - Having sat the medical exam in 2012, I worked in internal medicine in a hospital setting from 2015 to 2016, with enormous workload and pressures, constant understaffing and a feeling of being out of my depth and overwhelmed while also having incredibly high expectations of myself and my care for the patients. Having reached exhaustion, the panic attacks returned 12 months into the job, and I left. - I restarted psychotherapy, and in September 2016 started taking 15mg Escitalopram (prescribed by a psychiatrist) - I stabilized quickly and took a job as an occupational GP in a very large company in November 2016. I enjoyed that job, felt valued by my colleagues and managers and did’nt feel overwhelmed. It gave me a good work-life balance, and I started volunteering at a charity offering medical support to homeless people, something I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great relationship, supportive family and friends, enjoyed being active and sporty. - In July 2017, after about 9 months, I attempted to come off the drug, having discussed it with the psychiatrist, tapering by 5mg/ per week over 2 weeks. After that, I felt unwell, was restless, anxious and had stomach issues. The psychiatrist said this was a sign I wasn’t stable enough and 15mg Escitalopram was reinstated. I stabilized and felt better. - In summer 2018, I made a second attempt to come off the drug, but tapered much more slowly. Having reached 10mg we celebrated a beautiful wedding in August 2018, and I then reduced further to 8mg before going on honeymoon in September 2018. A couple of days later I began experiencing panic attacks again, along with exhaustion. I reduced further to 6mg, but then went back up to 15mg because I felt too bad, following psychiatrist advice. I stabilized again. - In March 2019, I attempted tapering for a third time, reducing by 5mg/week over 2 weeks, because the psychiatrist thought the slow tapering might be introducing a psychological issue that was making me feel worse. During the tapering process I started experiencing symptoms, and 3 days after I reached 0mg I was completely floored, with massive physical and mental symptoms. I was unable to work for 3 months, having never been off sick in the 2.5 years before. - There was no improvement after 6 weeks, and so after taking advice from 2 psychiatrists, I started taking the medication again – increasing the dosage by 1mg every 2 days. I had to stop that at 6mg because my symptoms became too severe. - I found a psychiatrist in Berlin who is aware of withdrawal issues, and he recommended to reduce to 2.5mg, which I did in July 2019, the aim being for me to stabilize. At that dosage, I was able to work reduced hours (20-24 hours/week), but it was a constant battle and I felt unwell all the time. - I began to think that maybe I had developed an intolerance to the medication, and so after months of no improvement, I began to taper off it again, following the Horowitz-paper, and reaching 0mg in April 2020. The symptoms got continuously worse as I tapered and got more severe when I reached 0mg. I have been unable to return to work since July 2020. This is a list of my symptoms – although their intensity and the range I may be experiencing on any given day varies. While I never experienced all of them, I haven’t felt “normal” or really well. - autonomic dysregulation: stomach and gut issues (nausea, reflux, stomach cramps, abdominal tension, gut-hyperperistaltic, flatulence and many more), incontinence (in 2019, I wet myself 3 times during the night), difficulty breathing, orthostatic dysregulation, palpitations/irregular heartbeats, sweating - adrenalin rushes/overstimulation of the autonomic nervous system, even smallest stimuli can lead to a fight and flight response - emotional dysregulation: crying fits, extreme mood swings, overwhelming emotions - extreme anxiety: general, agoraphobic, social, paranoia (can’t stand someone walking behind me, feel observed and judged all the time) - depressive symptoms: feeling extremely down, hopeless, desperate, coming and going randomly - myalgia (legs, back, neck, shoulders, arms, whole body) - neuralgia (toes, fingers, earlobes, shoulders, neck…) - headache, neuropathic face, jaw and toothache - abdominal pain - tingling paresthesia (legs, neck, head) - trouble regulating temperature (very sensitive to heat or cold, feeling very hot, shivering with cold), hot flushes, hot skin and feet - extreme sweats at night - trouble swallowing - extreme sensitivity to light, sound, movement and smells, quickly overwhelmed with sensory input, driving or cycling has become difficult, often impossible - dizziness, vertigo - vivid dreams, horrible nightmares, oversleeping - restlessness, agitation - panic, flush, palpitaions, sweating, muscleache in the morning - eye-issues (trouble focusing, burning, dry feeling) - ear-issues (pain, sore feeling) - issues with perception (flickering lights, colour distortion, static items appear to be moving, the floor goes blurry, sounds where there are none) - depersonalisation, derealisation - extreme exhaustion, lack of energy and strength - brain fog, confusion, desorientation, like being on a drug (not off) - cognitive issues with memory, concentration, finding or writing words, reading, understanding - flu-like symptoms - trouble regulating stress (feel overwhelmed quickly) - trouble calming my thoughts, very intense, ruminating thoughts, interrupting cognition - flashbacks (to all kinds of situations, some totally banale) - travel sickness Trigger that provoke/intensify symptoms: - stimuli of any kind, such as light, sound, movement, noice - multitasking - driving (also being a passenger) - eating - physical activity (exercise almost impossible and has been for months, but even walks or getting dressed can overstimulate the autonimic nervous system and lead to a fight and flight response) - screen time - reading - being on the phone - music - conversation, especially talking myself - being in the sun - period and ovulation - social contact of any kind - napping during the day Of course, there have been issues in my life along the way, if that was not the case I would not have started taking Escitalopram in 2016. I struggle with anxiety, but it is something I am addressing. What I have been living through for the last 2,5 years does not compare to anything I have previously experienced, and most of the symptoms I experience I never experienced before I started to take the SSRI. The anxiety I feel since tapering is extreme, complete terror. It is, to be honest, hell. Since April 2020, it has got worse, and I alternate between days where I can cope and do things like take care of the household, go for walks or go to the supermarket, to days where I have to rest a lot, and days where I am house- and bedbound for most of the day. I have found nothing that eases the symptoms, having tried a whole range of things from homeopathy and acupuncture to food supplements (fish oil, magnesium). I meditate daily, do Yin Yoga a number of times a week, eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or have caffeine, and try to walk out in the fresh air whenever possible. I sleep and rest plenty, but nothing has led to a lasting easing of the symptoms so far. I have had a neurological checkup, including an MRI, have had my bloods and heart checked, all results were great. After all this time, I can’t help but feel huge doubt whether the path I have chosen – accept and hang in there – is the right one. I was convinced I could live without the drug, but 3 years of fighting coming off and the intensity of the symptoms have taken me to the edge of what I can suffer through. My goal to lead a normal life feels a very long way off. I am terrified that I have misjudged this and overestimated my mental health and am questioning myself and my decisions constantly. I am hoping that with your experience, you can give me your objective assessment of whether this indeed is withdrawal, and if I am right in that, if there is anything that might help with the symptoms or move the healing process forward. Thank you in advance from my deep heart for your time and advice. 🙏
  10. Hello everyone! Here is my introduction topic. Today marks one year I stopped antidepressants (Escitalopram). I have been completely symptom-free for 2 months as of March 2022, but the biggest improvement in symptoms came past month 6-7 into withdrawal, I would say last October (2021). I am aware that this is quite fast and that I was lucky, but nonetheless I wish to document my journey to give hope to everyone that's struggling, be it 2 weeks or 2 years in. Because despite my WD being short, I 100% honestly started to believe I would never ever feel "normal", let alone feel like myself again. My history with Escitalopram I wanna preface this by stating that Escitalopram helped me immensely with my initial issues in the first place. I have always been anxious and I will always be anxious. In August of 2017 however, I was put on Escitalopram 10mg when it spiraled out of control (I developed severe OCD and hypochondria (health anxiety)). Within 3 weeks, the medication allowed me to live a normal life again. As it was a success, in 2018 I stopped the medication (10mg to 5mg in june and then stopped completely). I had no withdrawal syndrome at all and spent a wonderful summer. I relapsed in October 2017 (it was OCD and not withdrawal, 100% sure), and was put back on Escitalopram 10mg in November 2018, following therapy along too. I therefore followed therapy and stayed on Escitalopram 10mg for another 2 years and 2 months from Nov 2018, up until January 2021 when my psychiatrist and I both agreed to try and stop antidepressants again as I felt much more stable and able to live without its help. From 10mg, the taper was: 5mg through Jan-Feb 2021, and then 5mg one day out of two through Feb-March, until I stopped mid-March 2021. Through the taper, I did not notice any symptom save from fatigue, but to this day I'm unsure if it was the taper or just the season (I suffer greatly from seasonal lack of sunlight!!). My withdrawal journey and symptoms A few days after my last Escitalopram dose, around March 18th 2021, my anxiety ramped up for no reason. On days 7-10 I got GI symptoms, and thought I had a stomach flu (still unsure if it was the start of WD or stomach flu!). Then a couple days later, I awoke brutally a few hours after falling asleep to full-body tremors that scared me a lot, I never had this before. This moment, for me, marked the start of my WD journey, for when I woke up later again in the morning, I felt a dread I never felt before. March-May of 2021 were atrocious. I believe it was the "acute" part of WD. I was feeling such a wide array of very physical and mental symptoms that I never had to deal with before, not even before medication when my mental issues were debilitating. I woke up every single day drenched in anxiety, filled with INSANE dread the whole day. I had huge crying bouts and intrusive thoughts, feelings of very very intense despair and helplessness. Anxiety would usually alleviate in the evenings but I was exhausted due to how my body was in flight or fight mode the whole day. My "windows" lasted a few hours, or half a day at max. My appetite was gone and I had nausea every single day on and off (else I would just not have any appetite) for a rough 4-6 months, which was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I'm still undoing the damage of this extreme weight loss as I type this. It is in June-July of 2021 that the physical symptoms were the hardest. I had full-body exhaustion, maybe due to the severe weight loss, I remember doing my things on auto-pilot. However, this is what helped me move forwards: even at my lowest, I was able to pull through and my body helped me move forwards despite feeling so crippled. In WD it became SO important to hold on such "reminders" and remember that I could trust myself and my body. I also developed photophobia in June-July, which lasted for 1 month and a half. It was very very weird, I had unilateral sharp eye pain upon looking at anything bright. I cannot stress enough that I never had such symptoms before ever, never had migraines etc, and it remained something isolated as I didn't have photophobia since!! In Sept-December of 2021 , I mentally felt at a much better place and much more confident in my ability to heal despite symptoms still being part of my everyday life: mostly because my appetite slowly, FINALLY came back. On a daily basis, I had to deal with headaches still, pin and needles, derealisation, tough time focusing and dizzy spells that were quite scary. I was feeling off and/or derealisation, or anxious with some intrusive thoughts. Mid-January of 2022, I realised I had no symptoms at all for a week and that my last wave was probably a few weeks ago already. Maybe a couple dizzy spells through the beginning of January, but they wore off. Another week passed. And another... and a month... and here I am now, 2 months after what I consider to be my last symptoms, and one year after my last Escitalopram dose. This forum, along with the resilience I built through the past years, allowed me to brunt the force of what is to this day the hardest thing I've gone through. I kept going on because I said to myself everyday that this will pass, that healing will happen. And it did. It was slow at first. I was counting the good days, and at one point I stopped paying daily attention to how I was feeling, rather noticing the days where I felt off: they were getting rarer. I kept track of all my symptoms in a journal, and looking back I cannot believe I experienced this whole list (I haven't listed everything here else this post would be even longer lol), it sounds absolutely mental, yet here I am, at the top of a mountain I wasn't expecting to have to climb. And what a hike it was. What helped me with some of the symptoms? To deal with nausea, I paid great attention to eat more often but in small amounts and drink a lot. My GP prescribed me proteinated fruit juice as well. I would eat "bland" foods such as unseasoned rice or pasta as it gives you energy and sustenance still. The days (or hours) where the nausea gave me a break, I tried to eat varied foods. I kept a very balanced diet, and didn't cut anything save from caffeine for 2 months (without changing from what I usually ate, as I feared this would destabilise me further). When anhedonia hit me I just let the day pass, because sometimes "existing" is enough of an effort and it's okay; and I tried to not mull over the fact that even my hobbies didn't bring me joy. I tried to focus on the absolute smallest things that felt nice: the breeze from my ajar window, the feeling of fresh water as I washed my hands, the odd birds outside in the distance... It's a great habit to take, actually, to become a bit "contemplative". A shame I had to discover this when everything else felt bad, but better late than never. A warm shower would usually help my anxiety and/or crying bouts. It is the simplest yet most efficient thing honestly now that I remember it. Restorative yoga was also helpful sometimes (I never tried yoga before WD and it is one good habit I took during my journey!) Repeating to myself that things come and go, including the hardships. Radical acceptance was a great read (I ought to find the link to the specific post again, I'll edit this later). And now... I can now drink coffee/alcohol just like before (I never abused it!). I can focus on and write my thesis, read complicated theoretical books, hold a conversation without feeling alien, hell I'm even less shy than before, I eat in great amounts and I have almost put back all the weight I lost. I just feel... profoundly normal. Back in my shoes. I think my outlook on life changed a bit. It became more optimistic, more appreciative mostly because I coped with the atrocious feelings of withdrawal by focusing on the small things (when you've got nothing else...); and/or repeating to myself what people said on this forum and what I came to learn as I progressed, which is that healing eventually happens and that good days and bad days will always alternate, even if sometimes one part overpowers the others. Eventually, it evens out, and it's worth it when you look back at what you've been through. Thanks everyone on SurvivingAntidepressants for making this possible - with your support, your advice, your journeys. We'll all get there and I hope from the bottom of my heart that all of you feel the relief that I got the chance to feel very soon. If you're struggling and reading this: you're insanely strong for having soldiered on every single difficult day in your life. I'm just an internet stranger, but I'm proud of you, and I want to promise you that better days are ahead.
  11. Hi Everyone, I am just going to jump right into this. I developed anxiety 4 years ago after having several life crisis in a months time. My mom was diagnosed w Dementia. My little sister was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.A childhood friend died in his sleep from heart failure. I tipped over from the stress. I went to my GP and she started throwing AD's at me to help silence the anxiety. The AD's only made me worse. I went to the ER one night after experiencing my first panic attack The ER Dr gave me a script for Ativan. I took it for four weeks and then stopped because I was feeling much better. A few days later my world turned on it's axis. I didn't know what was happening. My anxiety was worse, I was pacing, heart racing, Panic attacks daily.... I went to my GP and she said I needed to see a Psychiatrist. To get in to see anyone was 3 months. I started to spiral. I had no idea I was in withdrawal! I ended up in the hospital to get help for my anxiety. I was put on Effexor (75mg)and Klonopin (.25mg). I stabilized and was sent home. I did really well on Effexor. After 4 months on Klonopin I started to slowly taper off. I tapered over 3 months. The taper went pretty well. I was cutting and weighing my pills. 8 months after that I felt good and talked to my Psychiatrist about tapering off of the Effexor. She strongly recommended to go slow and we did. I tapered for almost 7 months. To be honest, the Klonopin was easier to come off of than the Effexor. She put me on Prozac before my last cut of Effexor. Tapered off of the Prozac over 3/ months. I still had some anxiety but it was tolerable. It felt AMAZING to be free of AD'S and the Benzo....then COVID hit and my mom passed away. Anxiety came back w a vengeance. I ended up back in the hospital after a very bad reaction to Zoloft. My new psychiatrist kept telling me to "push through," the first 3 months. I was back on Klonopin but now it was.50mg twice a day.The hospital took me cold turkey off of Zoloft and started me on Remeron and Trazadone. The next day they added clonidine. The klonodine didn't agree w my system at all and I was taken off of that in two days. They released me from the hospital 5 days later. I lasted two weeks on Remeron. I was so disoriented, confused, high anxiety and felt like I could become violent on them so they weaned me off of that over 4 days and put me back on Prozac. Prozac didn't help my anxiety, I had constant headaches for months! I did get an MRI and it was normal. I started to feel more and more depressed on it. I was on Prozac for maybe two months when my psychiatrist took me off of that (tapered over 6 weeks) and put me on Lexapro. I had to have back surgery during this. I did NOT take a single pain med out of fear of making my WD worse. At first I thought the Lexapro was helping? I was still having breakthrough anxiety so he bumped it up. My Psychiatrist retired and a new woman came in to take his place until they could find a new one. She bumped my Lexapro up to 25mg when I told her I was having major anxiety rushes, my face would get bright red, I wasn't sleeping very well. That increased dosage was the worst! I was like a zombie but w heightened anxiety. I couldn't work, I would sit at my desk and space off for hours! I felt awful. So, she told me to start tapering off of the Lexapro (4 weeks total! I knew better...) and she wanted to cross taper me onto Effexor. I started that and boy....the depression was BRUTAL! I was not sleeping well, could hardly focus, anxiety was high, my legs felt like jelly, my head would burn, I felt my brain tingle all the time... I was nearing the end of my rope. I was desperate for a Psychiatrist that CARED. The interim Psych left and a new one came in. She wanted me off of the Effexor because she felt it was too hard to come off of and if it didn't work for me, I would be in for hell. I told her I was scared to switch AGAIN and she assured me that switching to Duoloxetine was it's "sister drug," and I shouldn't have an issue. I trusted her. The last 3 months have been.... (How do describe this hell?!) a daily battle to push through hell on earth. I am still working, I can still function, I take care of myself, my home, my dog. I am a divorced woman with a 22 year old son. I live by myself with my Rottweiler. Life is so friggin' hard when you are trying to get thorough this mess. I now have a WONDERFUL and caring Psychiatric nurse practitioner who truly cares. She is holding me on the last 10mg of Lexapro until the Effexor/Lexapro WD calms down...IF it calms down. I should tell you that I can't believe I have pushed through the last year. My symptoms have been Burning in my head, headaches, tingling in my head, mood fluctuations, burning on my skin, bloodshot eyes, pressure on my chest, sensitivity to heat, depression, sweat easily, joint pain, ringing in my ears, no motivation, grinding my teeth, feeling mentally off at times, at the beginning I couldn't sit still, short tempered, at times in the beginning of the Lexapro taper, I didn't want to talk at times...like I almost couldn't, buzzing in my body, feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, anxiety rushes...etc I am interested in this group for support and the combined knowledge from it's members. I know that NO ONE can tell me when this is going to end. What I am hoping is that someone can tell me what I am going through is normal for all of the med changes? I am honestly concerned if I am still having problems because of the Duoloxetine? My anxiety IS better since I have been on it. I get 8 hours of sleep. I don't drink. I don't use illegal drugs, don't smoke. I eat pretty healthy. I don't exercise. It's tough to get out for walks when you feel like hell and I guess I save my mental energy to work. I know I have rambled on. My mind feels like it's in a vice and also these drugs affect how well I put my thoughts into words. For the most part I am a happy and well adjusted person. I feel like the last few years have been stolen from me because I faithfully followed Dr's instructions and thought they knew best...I was so wrong. Thank you for your time. Blessings to all of you.
  12. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  13. I dont have anything to say about myself because I have nothing to reflect on unfortunately. So I am sorry but this is a pretty heavy post. I have severely kindled myself beyond repair. Is this possible? I dont have anything left. I forgot to mention in my history that after going off my antidepressant rapidly a second time that I took benzos twice weekly along with other gaba supplements and took other supplements that raised serotonin and dopamine. Kindling everytime withdrawing from gaba meds/supplements .And not consistently taking them. I believe messing with my gaba system is what did me in. I also came off progesterone very quickly late February and that's what ended my life. After that I used benzo again once to sleep because I had complete insomnia for 4 days. I probably withdrew just from one dose. Was getting horrible sensations in my gut like terror/tickling/stabbing. Took more supplements to try to help...made it worse. The last supplement I knew it was the end. Took NAC which I have before in the past. For 5 days and I became so agitated I was beyond suicidal. The problem is I was already mildly anhedonic on meds then coming off I had more anhedonia and dp/dr. So it was hard to know what I was feeling when doing all this damage. The more changes I made the worse it got. Now I hit the end. I'm completely lobotomized but can feel this severest internal anxiety. Complete apathy.I feel Like in dying 24/7 but it's not a panic attack. Everything looks and feels exactly the same and I mean that at the severest level. And everything I do keeps making it worse. Everyday I eat, sleep, do anything...the internal Agitation and anxiety and anhedonia/brain dead feeling gets worse. I never feel comfort and dont feel anything except pain. I dont have normal anxiety anymore with physical symptoms. I do not connect at all to anything at any level. I dont know what it means to do anything. I think I've lost many connections in my brain. I have nothing to do. I look at the tv and see nothing and I mean with my mind. I cant talk about anything. I have no soul left. No recognition of who I was. I no longer get comfort out of anything at all. I don't know what i look like. I dont recognize myself..cannot see myself in the mirror like a person with dementia. I am so bored because there is nothing I can do. I cannot engage in anything. But the severe internal restlessness is the worst. If I never went off my med the second time last summer I would be so okay. Everything I do makes it worse. Even positive thoughts. Any stimulation. MRI made me 10x worse. I'm stuck in some void with severe panic and no person inside to help save me or reflect on past memories or emotions. Cant feel time at all, dont register days/nights/months. Brain doesn't register going from one place to another. It's all the same. I never relax ever. Extreme restlessness beyond anything. This last time I messed up my brain knew it was the end and i completely lost all connections. Cant use any higher thinking to help. I didnt want my life to end at 33 with a 2 year old daughter. I wish I was never put on meds in the first place. I was a highly emotional person who was sensitive. Musically inclined. I loved nature and connected to nature and animals. All that completely taken away since ive done all this. But even on antidepressants I still had me, although I was becoming less emotional over time. But emotions were still there. There is no feeling more dead than this. Theres nothing left for me to do and my brain has seen everything that has happened and cant unsee. At least in February before the coming off progesterone and then messing with those last few supplements I had something still. I could still eat with only minor problems and was working a couple days a week and slightly enjoyed going to friends house and I connected at some level with my daughter and could feel empathy. Is there anyone who can tell me what may be going on with my CNS?
  14. I took lexparo for 1.5 years, I quit taking it regularly a few months ago and started break my 10 mg into 5 mg every other day, [ I know] =/. Then when I attempted to take 10, had a bad reaction , burning allover, quit entirely 11 days ago. my doctor knows, I have an appointment on Monday to discuss what now, I started messing with my dosage because for these few months prior I had alot of heart tests, and I sort of freaked out and thought my medication might be effecting my ekg. In the end, I just have a normal variant difference, with no actual heart issue. My symptoms have been, tired, light headed and sort of sad, I haven't been really bad so far and would like to ask for help in maybe keeping to this being gone from my life. I know it was unwise not to taper. Any opinions would be appreciated, especially if you've successfully cold tapered.
  15. Hi all, new to forums. Not new to meds, 11 years and counting on Lexapro. So about 6 weeks ago I dropped dose. I probably went down too fast I realise now having read on these forums now that I should use the hyperbolic model, and drop less an less at a time the lower I go, but since the same percentage taper last time was completely smooth it didn't. cross my mind. So I went from 10mg escitalopram to 5 mg aprox one year ago. I at that point had no thought of ever tapering off the meds, I just wanted to see if I could do on less since I had been on them for so many years and felt more stable and ready to handle my GAD with other methods. . Only side effects of being on meds I've had is weight gain and the need to nap daily and they have helped me immensely I have to say. Since that taper a year ago I've noticed I'm less tired in the daytime and I've finally started being able to lose weight. Had zero issues going from 10 to 5 mg. Since I was doing really well on 5mg for en entire year (I had planned to stay on that dose for the foreseeable future), I went down by half again 6 weeks back. So to 2,5mg about. First weeks have been fine, zero difference for 5 weeks. But now the past week I've developed burning feet. My feet ache and burn all the time, day and night. I've never had this ever before. This is my only symptom. I have no brain zaps, nightmares etc, slightly more night sweats possibly but minimal. Perhaps slightly more emotional but this is mostly a good thing. Only feet burning, no other body parts have the same symptom. This is a really uncomfortable symptom. Obviously it could be from something else, I know it's a common thing for people also not on meds. So I can't be sure it's due to taper. But IF it is temporary (weeks or so) I think I can put up with it with the help of ibuprofen etc but now I'm starting to get scared that I've damaged myself permanently? Do I go up a bit to say 3mg? or do I stick it out? which is safer? 2011-Escitalopram 10mg for Severe GAD 2013- tried to start tapering off (slowly) but started having anxiety regularly on a lower dose. Tapered back up, stabilised again. 2016- Escitalopram 15mg for 6 months during rough patch in life (family death) Late 2016 tapered back to 10mg - zero issues with taper Mid 2021 tapered to Escitalopram 5mg - zero issues with taper July 2022 tapered to 2,5mg Sept 2022 started having burning feet. Started supplementing with Magnesium a couple of days ago. No other meds.
  16. Good Morning Everyone, I need some confidence despite knowing what I am going through must be withdrawal. My history; I was put on Lexapro (escitalopram) in October of 2012 after the birth of my wife and I's first child. It was a stressful delivery and that coupled with the normal stress of a first time parent and starting a new business, it sent me into anxiety and panic attacks that I had NEVER experienced before. Anyway, after speaking with our friend/family MD he recommended Lexapro. I started in October of 2012 at 10mg. After a month I began to feel better and then in Feb 2013, my MD bumped to 20mg because that was the 'normal' dose for a 28 year old, 185lb man. I obliged because I was feeling better but still not great. By mid March of 2013 I felt back to normal, better than normal actually. June of 2013 I started to feel VERY shaky and weird. It felt like it was just too much. So per the MD's advice I weaned back down to 10mg over 6 weeks time and felt fine. I had few withdrawal effects but not many for a few weeks. I stayed at 10mg from July of 2013 to April of 2014(10 months or so) and felt like 'normal'. I decided in April that I was over the weight gain, the lack of emotions, the lazy attitude and the tiredness. I felt like my anxiety was under control and the small bouts of depression I had were few and far between. I spoke with my doctor and asked if he would call in a script for Liquid Lexapro. I had read a few articles here and at PP about withdrawal and that the Liquid would make it easy to taper. He obliged and at the end of April I began to taper 1mg every 2-3 weeks. This was after my doc said I should go faster and I thought 1mg every 2-3 weeks would be a slow enough taper. (I did not know about the 10% of the previous dose every 3-6 weeks). Anyway, I tapered over 5 months or so and Oct 1 of 2014 I was done. I really didn't have many withdrawal effects while tapering. I felt a little worse the lower I got but nothing I couldn't handle. The first 8 weeks off were not awful. I had dizziness and gastro problems the first few weeks but those went away. Then, the end of Nov and Dec started and holy moly I have been hit with the worst anxiety of my life, shaky, terrible intrusive thoughts, doom and gloom even when I know everything is ok. I can cry at any moment over nothing and terrible irritableness and rage feelings. I still can't shake it. The anxiety is crippling both physically and mentally. My old anxiety before meds I could talk myself out of, this just pounds on me no matter how calm and accepting of it I am. Sleep is getting worse and I can't sit still to save my life. From what I have read, this sounds like WD but I am scared and miserable here. Any words of encouragement, success stories, similar experiences are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  17. I took escitalopram (10mg), clonazepam (0.5mg) and modafinil(10mg) for four days and then quit cold turkey 12 days ago. It was a bad decision. I am having trouble concentrating, loss of motivation, genital pain, genital numbness. Before this I had taken fluoxetine for seven months and quit in last december. Any suggestions on how I should proceed? Should I go back on the drugs and taper them slowly? I also have PCOS so I was taking finasteride (5mg) for one and half months and quit it 3 days ago(I had read that it can also cause sexual dysfunction) and currently taking diane 35(ethinyl estradiol and cyproterone acetate) along with some vitamin supplements. Also on latanoprost and timolol eye drops for glaucoma.
  18. Hello, I quit drinking alcohol 11 years ago and a doctor at that time thought the anti depressant Zoloft would be beneficial for my "anxiety" from quitting. This is how I started using these drugs. It has taken me forever to finally quit. I'm a 43 year old male. I've quit Lexapro 2.5 mg 24 days ago and have had the worst three day stretch to date. I feel extremely tired and fatigued. I feel symptoms of brain fog, memory failures, cognitive decline, crying spells, sadness, slight headache, head pressure, eyes tired, some body ache, and slight brain zaps. I'm trying to stay positive and day to day but this is brutal. I feel like a zombie and would just want to sleep. I also have mild sleep apnea in which I have started using a cpap machine a week ago but have found no relief. I think I'm going to stop using the Cpap machine for a month to rule out the machine being the cause for recent three day stretch. I want to believe that the withdrawal symptoms are what is causing me to feel this way but I'm unsure now. I have always had some of the described symptoms on a day to day basis before. These symptoms went as far back as the last two to three years. They weren't nearly as severe. I haven't heard of anyone having the described symptoms as a result of actively taking the antidepressant drug. If this is something that can be confirmed I would feel much more at ease as I would have to wait out the withdrawal process. I guess I am looking for words of encouragement and hopefully some validation that these symptoms are from the withdrawal and this is a normal process. Last night I started myofacial exercises as an alternative to the cpap. I know it will be sometime before I see any benefit from them. I also ran 2 miles yesterday. This morning I practiced some Pranayama and will continue this daily. I'd appreciate any feedback and thank you for reading my story. Matthew
  19. Original title: feeling suicidal after making a mistake of cold turkeying lexapro/escitalopram Hi, I'm 20 years old male from Canada, and I was prescribed Cymbalta for depression back in November of 2019. I took Cymbalta on and off and didn't like it at all, it made me feel really dumb, I could stare at simple math questions and nothing would come to my mind for 5 minutes straight, I felt jittery and anxious, numbing in genital and it just wasn't helping at all, so I didn't stay on it for longer than 1-2 weeks max, and whenever I quit it, my old self would always return to normal, however Lexapro is a different story. Later down the road when my anxiety got really bad, and I was desperate so I return to my doctor and told him Cymbalta didn't work and I needed something else, he gave me Lexapro for GAD and this was around December 2020. This time I was more determined and so I took Lexapro for 2 months straight at 10 mg daily, but I believe due to my undiagnosed ADHD, all Lexapro did was made me a zombie, unable the positive feelings or negative feelings, it made me feel flatline which then got kicked out of my online course because I procrastinated the entire time and lied on my bed the entire day and didn't care about a thing, also it gave me gynecomastia (man boobs). I decided to quit Lexapro, I first cut the pill in half to 5 mg and took it for 1 week then stopping completely like an idiot, because I'm supposed to do this taper for as long as months. The first month of discontinuation was cool, I didn't notice much of withdrawal effects, but when the second month came in, everything felt as though it just flipped a switch, I couldn't focus or concentrate, I felt very brain dead, reading was impossible, my short term memory was extremely bad that my digit span went from 10 to 5 (how many numbers I can remember at once = https://timodenk.com/blog/digit-span-test-online-tool/), I lost emotions, motivation and pleasure, got PSSD (orgasm weakness), anhedonia, slow processing in information and reaction time (https://humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime, I could get 210 ms consistently prior to lexapro, now it's 210 ms one moment, and 400 ms next moment, so focus issues), very bad fatigue, and my video gaming skills went down the drain, I just felt as though my dopamine got depleted which is weird because this drug acts on serotonin. Now it's 3 months out and I still feel different, never the same again, though oddly enough, there was a window of 2 weeks where I felt completely recovered, orgasm was extremely powerful and my cognition was powerful, then after those 2 weeks, it's back to withdrawal symptoms. I just feel like it made my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms worse. I really hope within this year, everything will be back to normal.
  20. Hello! Here is my story: Started taking Lexapro in 2012 and it really helped me to function in life during a stressful time. Decided to go off Lexapro in 2017. It was a fast taper, and I ultimately ended up staying at 5mg. Acute withdrawal symptoms were brain zaps, agitation, anxiety but they subsided after the first month, and over the course of the next 6-8 months, I slept a lot. I planned to ultimately finish the withdrawal process in the future. October 2020, I started putting a withdrawal plan together. Instead, I ended up going CT on Nov. 1 when I had a dental surgery and infection. This was an impulsive decision and a poor one. I thought that I just needed to get through the first month and then I would be okay. November 25, 2020, I got vertigo out of the blue and fainted/threw up. I thought this might have something to do with the withdrawal, so I kind of freaked out and took 2.5mgs of Lexapro. This knocked me out for 24-48 hours (headache/body aches/dizziness) and I stayed in bed. Everything checked out okay with the Doctor and when I asked if this was related to the Lexapro withdrawal, she said no, told me to throw away the pills. I received a diagnosis of Benign Positional Vertigo and was given a maneuver to do. The dizziness cleared up, it lasted 2-3 weeks Late December, work was stressful. I didn't eat really well and ended up with hives. I was taking Benadryl on and off. I took Allegra one day. There was one night the last week of the year where I didn't sleep at all and this was strange for me. Work stress seemed to be getting to me, but I pushed through. January 4, I started what was to be a month long meditation retreat at home, but something went wrong. I wasn't sleeping well, I was pushing myself, I had a lot of fear and resistance. I was crying uncontrollably. I was spinning out. By the end of the week, I decided to stop the retreat and now I'm in a very strange place. I'm super alert, anxious, fearful, tightness in my chest and I am not sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time. I can't seem to calm down and I am not functioning well. I can't even imagine going back to work like this. Have an appointment with my Dr. tomorrow, and will try to possibly see a psychiatrist. My question - at just over 2 months out, do I try to reinstate at a very low dose of Lexapro, or should I try the sister drug Celexa (I think that is it)? I'm worried about how to present to my Doctor. I am trying to make the best of this, but am really very scared. Thank you for your time, Crochet
  21. Hi , I am Janet and 44 years old female living in US. I am having insomnia every year same time (July). Last year it was very bad so my doctor put me on SSRI. Lexapero . Now the issue is I took this medication all year and hard for me to withdraw. Is anyone experiencing same thing like me to have insomnia every year same time ? or someone who used Lexapro for one year and then withdraw it without any side effects. need advice please. Thanks
  22. Hi, I’m new. Here is my currently-unfolding story… My doc recently swapped my 100mg sertraline rx for 10 mg fluoxetine and advised me to not taper, to just stop taking the one and start taking the other. The rationale for stopping sertraline is that I was found to be a poor metabolizer of both SSRIs I’ve ever taken (escitalopram and sertraline) due to non functioning CYP2C19. I have found very few answers to what the resulting effect was. Was I ending up with more sertraline in my system than 100 mg would be for normal metabolizers? To complicate matters I ended up having to do a very quick taper of sertraline before I was able to get fluoxetine from the pharmacy, due to an error at the mail order pharmacy that held my prescription from being filled. As a result I tapered my dose of sertraline quickly as I was running out of medication. A second snag filling the fluoxetine rx caused me to be without any medication for a few days. Trying to switch medication while working between a local and a mail order pharmacy is difficult but I don’t have a choice on my insurance. The first week off of sertraline I felt better than I had in years. My constant tension headaches & acid reflux disappeared immediately. I got an amazing 1 night of sleep. I thought of maybe going off SSRIs entirely because I was even in a good mood. Then, I had a dizzy spell that subsided over an hour or so. I had ringing in my ears and over the next few days found it difficult to move my eyes from side to side (that’s the best I can describe it, like it took a lot of effort to physically move my eyes). I got very, very tired each afternoon and had strange dreams every night, with occasional nausea and bad acid reflux returning. I started to take 10 mg fluoxetine and my symptoms got a little better, but the effects don’t last long. I’m now going through hours of nausea and crippling fatigue. I took 3 naps today. I’m worried about being able to get through a whole day of work (my job can be very taxing and unforgiving sometimes and I’m responsible for people and that adds anxiety). Im worried that I’m going to face an indeterminate amount of time with horrible symptoms. Mostly I don’t know what to do and I don’t trust that my doctor has a great idea either of how my poor metabolizing of sertraline is going to affect this whole process of stopping it. I have spent years in therapy learning to understand and manage anxiety and I feel like I could stop SSRIs for good if only I didn’t feel physically ill. In the few moments I am not feeling sick, I don’t feel depressed. It’s the nausea, the vision problems, and waves of exhaustion that are really messing with me. Is there a roadmap for the poor metabolizer?
  23. Hello! New here. Reddit thought this would be a more supportive place for me. I’ve been on escitalopram (brand cipralex) equivalent to Americas lexapro, for 12 years. Cipralex History Started: 2009 -2012 Reason: University, panic attacks *successfully provided relief* Stopping Attempt #1 Cold-Turkey: December 2012 Reason: never intended to be on this long-term *no serotonin withdrawal symptoms, no relapse of anxiety or depression* felt normal! Started: 2014 February Reason: back in University second semester of grad school panic attacks relapse. In abusive relationship from 2014-2018. *successful no panic attacks * Supports in 2019: Therapy Financially stable Friend/family support Going to gym/exercising Eating healthy Stopping attempt #2 taper: January 2019 Reason: in a very healthy and stable place in life- No anxiety/depression or panic attacks. Never wanted to be on SSRI this long. I decided to taper instead of cold turkey because my doctor recommended it. 6 months post-breakup from ex. Schedule: January 2019: 20mg February 2019: 15 mg March 2019: 10 mg April 2019: 5 mg *went to the emergency department and was diagnosed with serotonin withdrawal. Symptoms that brought me to the emergency department include: dizziness, feeling “drunk”, blurred vision or shaky vision, light headed. Doctor advised to go back onto 10 mg. Gave up on taper went back to 10mg. I went to the hospital because I thought something was seriously wrong with me because the first time when I did cold turkey I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms. First time learning about serotonin withdrawal. Also important to note that there were no emotional withdrawal symptoms during this time. *unsuccessful * Increased dose: July 2020 Reason: increased dose to 20mg during pandemic panic attacks relapse. Dosage increase didn’t prevent attacks. *I participated in EMDR therapy which helped my panic attacks stop* Supports in 2022: Continued therapy Breath work Yoga Journaling Financially stable healthy romantic relationship Friend/family support Eating healthy: increased animal protein, added fermented foods (kefir, sauerkraut). Limited processed/sugar foods. Naturopathic doctor supplements: vitamin d, b complex, lavender oil, NAC, l-theanine, lemon balm tea, nettle tea, magnesium. * these are medical recommendations specific to me based on my test results * also based on supporting detox from SSRI. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is sit in the morning sun and drink water before making breakfast. I also go for walks Meditation Stopping attempt #3 taper: Reason: I want to get pregnant and off this medication in general. Schedule: January 2022: 20mg February 2022: 17.5 mg March 2022: 15 mg April 2022: 12.5 mg May 2022: 10 mg June 2022: 10 mg July 2022: 7.5 mg August 2022: 5mg - 2.5mg September 1 2022: ended * I ended the taper at 2.5mg because the symptoms that I experienced back in April 2019 hit me* Current symptoms of withdrawal: 1. A “drunk” feeling, fishbowl?, dizziness, light headed, vision blurring/shaking when I look around. I have not lost my balance or got nauseated or anything like that, I just feel kind of disoriented and like I’m intoxicated simply trying to walk around my house. This is severe, I cannot drive. 2. migraines and headaches 3. My moods have definitely been crazy during the eight -month taper down— frequent/ explosive rage (not normal for me pre-ssri or while on ssri), frequent irritability, sadness upon waking. These symptoms suck but nothing is as bad as the physical symptoms listed in #1. Regarding pregnancy: physicians, psychiatrist and fertility doctor all said to me it’s “safe” to get pregnant on cipralex— The doctors said that the reason they tell women to stay on this medication during pregnancy is because; if your anxiety or depression is so bad that the risk to your mental well-being is high and the medication risk to the baby is low, it’s about cost benefit. The pharmaceutical packaging that comes with my perception states differently. ”It may harm an unborn baby. Also, babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last three months of pregnancy may rarely develop withdrawal symptoms such as feeding and breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, or constant crying”. And I can say that my anxiety and depression is not bad enough to risk any of those things to an innocent baby, it is extremely important to me to part ways with this drug. I’m not looking for anyone to try to change my mind on this point. Concerns: Some people on Reddit suggested that I tapered too quickly. The liquid form of escitalopram is not available in Canada. I also feel in disbelief that if I had of done it any slower that it wouldn’t still result in what I’m experiencing now once I got to zero. I’ve read that serotonin withdrawal can last months (upwards of six months to a year) for this “drunk-like” feeling to resolve. I am blessed in that I was able to afford to take the month off work September 2022 to try to deal with some of this serotonin withdrawal but now I’m scared a month won’t be enough. I’m feeling devastated about the information I’m reading online about ssri brain damage, it’s hard to know what’s true there’s so much conflicting information. Regarding psychiatry: Psychiatry was also completely useless at giving any kind of advice for serotonin withdrawal. Psychiatrists idea of help was to use Abilify to cope with serotonin withdrawal symptoms. Abilify is a whole other animal in my opinion. I am 100% against using another “pharmaceutical“ to cope with my withdrawal symptoms. I have tried to be as inclusive as possible of my history, experience and efforts towards healing. My main concern presently is the severity of the physical withdrawal symptoms I am experiencing.
  24. Hi everyone. New to the site and I've been on Lexapro since 2005. Mostly been on 10mg buy recently went up to 15mg for several months. What I've found is that it either isn't working for me anymore or making me feel worse. I'm functioning fairly well in that I'm holding down a management job and raising a family but I feel emotionally numb and disconnected from people in my life and anhedonic. I've read this might be a result of long term SSRI use and I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience with lexapro or any other SSRI. I'm planning to taper of slowly and get myself down to 5mg over a few months and then go from there. Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.
  25. Hello and nice to meet everyone. I have been reading as much as I can the past two days and feel like it is time to introduce myself. THANK YOU for everything you all have contributed, this site is a game changer. So many questions answered and a new journey begins. You can see my drug history and four month taper in my signature over the spring/summer (my psychiatrist at the time recommended two weeks, go figure). I had planned on a few crappy months going into this. Oh if I had only found this site first... Withdrawal didn’t kick in for at least two weeks, and slowly at first. I spent all of September and October dodging and weaving through good days and bad days, which I observed simply as “anxiety” (my original diagnosis) but with unusual physical symptoms. I journaled and kept calendar entries, mostly to record when I had to resort to Ativan (usually 0.5mg, occasionally 1mg). Other than for flight anxiety (two trips), I can count 17 times I took it over those two months, and only as a last resort. I had two sudden midnight “surges” (after feeling great) with shivers, out of control heart rate, even some diarrhea, which would last hours. I was convinced it was Serotonin Syndrome. The second one took me to urgent care the next morning for a heart checkup. A few days later a new psychiatrist then put me on Propranolol (beta blocker) as my primary concern was my heart. Propranolol immediately helped me observe and evaluate the “anxiety” I was experiencing which helped a lot. The new psychiatrist also had me stop 5-HTP after only a few weeks which was probably smart. I speak to him again this Friday, not sure what to share/ask given what I am learning here. I am now clear on the fact that I am riding waves of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety responds to the unusual feelings and emotions created by the withdrawal and adds its own icing to the cake, but I am focused on observing and not reacting, and doing my best to “ride it out”. The most unusual part of this “pattern” has been the timing of it all - usually kicking into high gear in the evenings after dark (earlier and earlier in my part of the world). I am nervous about traveling this weekend (short flight) but also realize I need to try and have as “normal” a life as I can stand under these conditions. My wife is awesome, understanding and super supportive. At 12 weeks in, I am not sure reinstatement is an option for me, even though I still have 5mg Trintellix in my drawer, and could try taking microdoses. Leaning toward a no, but I realize I may have run out of time to make that decision? I have read almost all the “required reading” but would still appreciate an opinion on that one. Also considering stopping my multivitamin, turmeric and mulberry leaf extract and taking only my “Super Omega-3 Plus” (Fish Oil) and picking up magnesium pills. I just started the Probiotic so I could drop it too, but not feeling like it would impact all of this either way? I am intrigued by the Reishi 415 blend to get some non-psychedelic mushroom love. Lastly my wife and I are thinking about therapeutic float tanks (she would love to do it again) and I have begun using our hot tub as part of my daily routine, along with many failed attempts at meditating. Anxiety was never something I handled well to begin with, and I realize now I must absolutely be on my game to dance this intricate dance. I will post any new thoughts, findings and curiosities on this thread as appropriate. I appreciate everyone’s support! PS- I opted to not use the appropriate abbreviations as I wanted to easily share this summary with family
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