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  1. Hi All, I'm feeling so fortunate to have stumbled upon this site. I've read several books, research papers, and blogs over the past two months. I haven't had a chance to do a signature or proper intro yet, but will get to that as soon as I can. I'm tapering prozac and lamictal and down to 20 mg and 150 mg, respectively, and so far so good. There are weird symptoms that I wonder if others have experienced and will get to that later. Right now I'm wondering if anyone has found something to ease the alcohol cravings? While the prozac was at 40 mg beginning of August, and it's down by half, I feel like such a lush still. While it is a relief to know it's probably due to the bleeping prozac, I don't want to keep drinking a 6 pack of 9% beer on weekend nights...sometimes during the week too. Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
  2. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  3. StillSinging

    My journey to be off psych drugs

    I always took my medication without thinking really. I had a psychotic episode (due to insomnia, stress, and anxiety most likely) after Christmas in 2007. I was 13. I had been taking Lexapro for a few months. My M.D. prescribed it for me. I don't quite remember why. I think I might probably have been depressed and anxious. I only now realize that taking the Lexapro could very well have caused the insomnia and resultant delusions. Anyway, I had a breakdown. I was seen by a psych. She (Dr. S.) prescribed Lamotrigine. It seemed to quell the delusions. I was back at school, medicated and delusion free. Over the years I developed fatigue, irritability, and apathy. I kept taking the drugs. For fatigue, I was prescribed Bupropion (Wellbutrin). I can't remember if it helped or not. I did develop hypomanic episodes at some point which further supported my bipolar 2 diagnosis. I would also have bouts of depression. Not the crying kind. Just apathy and mild anhedonia. I say mild because I still did some things I loved such as piano, art, singing. I did eventually lose my passion for art though. It showed up now and then sometimes. I always was told by my mother "It will get better", and "It won't always be this way." It didnt comfort me much. Though, looking back, it did get better. Eventually. It took around a decade. But I'm not off meds yet. I moved with my parents to a smaller comfy house in 2014 and joined our local Orthodox Church, met some loving, supportive people and made a really good friend. It did get better. But I still didn't know that there was an alternative for taking medication. I took my meds. I needed them. Or I thought I did. So did my mother. Now, my mother really has been with me all way. She's taking psych drugs too since I was in first grade for depression and anxiety. I went to 2 mental institutes. Thankfully never the hospital psych ward. I know a lot of you on here have been. From what I hear it's not fun and can be traumatic. I remember the people I met at the institutes. Broken, struggling people trying to get by and looking for a little hope. I connected with them. I still miss them and hope they're still fighting. I have a long story so I'll cut it up some in chunks. This is my first post. I'll write later about my experience at college (traumatic) and other things. I have some funny memories too so I'll put those in there as well. Don't give up! Anyone's welcome to share their experiences and stories too. -StillSinging
  4. I started my tapering off yesterday. I've done tapering before but only to prepare for a newer prescription. This time I have decided to taper off of everything. I am feeling the withdrawal symptoms but am determined to muddle through them. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow and will tell him what I am doing. It's very scary to me because I don't know what to expect because I've been on something or another for the past 27 years.
  5. I’ve been taking anti-depressants and a mood stabilizer for 20+ years. I want to wean off duloxetine first. I’ve experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms when I failed to get a refill about 3 years ago. After about 2 days not taking duloxetine I was in full blown withdrawal and it was a flipping nightmare. That experience led me to believe I would never be able to not use the drug. I am to the point of being tired of dry mouth, dry eye, constipation and sweating. This may not be a good time to wean as I’m planning my daughter’s wedding for next fall and going to school part time. I will be 59 in 2018. Finding this forum is a godsend for me and hope I can be active even if I’m unable to start a taper right away. I’m really scared that I will never feel like the self I was before taking these drugs. I’m not even sure if I remember, which is even scarier and causes some anxiety if I focus on it too much. Thanks.
  6. I want to get off Saphris. I was taking 2.5 mg and tried to taper it down over the course of four months, went with three-quarter to one half to one quarter. Became suicidal and so anxious that I almost had several panic attacks. Was manic, and I'm not bipolar. Felt pressure to do things, mostly react with extreme emotions. Went back up to one. Now want to taper down and desperately want to get off of this hellish drug. I also take lamictal (300 mg), Viibryd (40 mg), and Mirtazipine (7.5 mg). I want off of all of them and am horrified at how long it is going to take me. I so want to hurry my taper. I also just quit drinking, after tapering down on alcohol over the course of a week. I've been an alcoholic for years. I am now, today, two days sober. I am going to remain sober. My diagnosis is Depression and Generalized Anxiety disorder. One thing I've noticed is that I have so much rage over the doctors who put me on all of these meds - they just kept shoving more and more meds at me, and never told me about the scary side effects. I want to sue one in particular. The other thing I've noted is that I just hate myself for letting them put me on the meds. My mother said, when she learned of all that I am on: You dropped the ball! She was horrified, and rightly so. I am horrified at myself. Like I said, I hate myself for letting this happen. So mad for ruining my life. So there's this rage and horror at the doctor and at myself. There is also this manic anxiety and decision making problems for myself, problems that I worsen by my anxious reactions. I've been back on a whole dose for a while, but every few days I get scared, and try to take only 75% of a dose. It's not really working out for me. For the last two days, I have felt very suicidal. It's nuts. This is not me. I don't know what to do. That's why I've come here. I am desperate, and very, very afraid. I hope that I've done this intro thread right...
  7. Hi all - new to the forum and very grateful for the members who are walking the path to get off these SSRI. I was always depressed as a child and was prescribed Lexapro in 2003. 2004: Prescribed Cipramil instead of Lexapro after going hypomanic for 6 months, and lamictal to stablise. Got diagnosed with bipolar II... 2014: Came off lamictal with no issues, stablised using a buttload of coconut oil to stablise and a paleo diet. 2004-Dec 2015 - 5mg Cipramil once a day. Noticed that Cipramil stopped working from mid 2015 and decided to stop (only lasted a week) with severe WD symptoms - dizziness, diarraha, flu like symptoms, anxiety, OCD thoughts etc.... 20 Dec 2015 - 2.5mg Cipramil a day hoping to taper by 10% per period, depending on tolerance. Am feeling kinda ambitious and want to go down 10% once a week but will most likely fall on my face, which is fine too. Been doing really well this week - I can feel below my belly button and my sex drive is coming back! Went on a boat and did want to die (One of the side effects was painful sex and really crap at travelling on boats/cars/bus). But am feeling really tired alot and a little dizzy, nothing to write home about. Need some help fro other more experience members with WD.... Q1: A friend of mine is trying to convince to try Kambo - anyone tried this? I am really skeptical and don't think I am up for it as am feeling abit fragile and in addition to being depressed I have fairly constant inflammation (eczema), never mind its like $140 per treatment (!!) http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/from-bedbound-to-fit-and-able-in-14-days-effects-of-the-amazonian-medicine-kambo-on-a-cfs-patient.22952/page-4 Q2: Also read about the prozac bridge which seems like alot less trouble, I am seeing my shrink in January should I ask for this to try? Since I have never even had prozac (I have only ever had SSRIs) so not sure?
  8. I'm planning ahead to starting to taper in the next few months but I'm not sure which med is the best to taper first. Neither drug causes me significant side effects so far as I know and I've been on both of them for over 10 yrs. I am off of Straterra as of this last February (accidental cold turkey stop and had 3 months of hell, but survived it.) Buspar I am very sensitive to - even a generic brand change is enough to give me symptoms as if I've stopped it completely. I'd appreciate any suggestions about which to do first.
  9. Cyndihb

    Cyndihb

    Hi, I'm new to this site but not new to antidepressants. I am currently trying to stabilise after Prozac pooped out after 13 yrs. Sent me into a hellish nightmare of where I'm at now. I'm afraid of getting on meds after reading the info on this site. Lexapro is helping with intense anxiety. I was originally prescribed Zyprexa for agitation and sleep. I've decreased from 10 to 5mg. I dont want to be on these meds especially after reading the withdrawal hell written here. Any words of support would be helpful. I'm not stable enough to taper anything else but just wanted you to know I appreciate your site Lexapro 15mg Lamictal 100mg Zyprexa 10 down to 5mg Clonazapam 2x daily
  10. misscathleen

    misscathleen: taper

    Hello, I'm a 39-year old mom of 2. Been on lamictal since my 3-year old was born in 2014 and when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (ppd). Wasn’t ever diagnosed with bipolar, but had bad experience with an SSRI and my pdoc suggested lamictal was the way to go. I had very mixed feelings because I was nursing, but I felt so terrible and needed something. I have two daughters and need to be available to them. I made it up to 225mgs and that’s when the last of the ppd symptoms subsided, which was morning anxiety. Been at 225mgs, taking my entire dose at night, for about 2 years. Since all this started, I’ve had moodiness around the time right before or right after my menstrual cycle, which leads me to believe my symptoms were/are due to hormonal shifts. I’ve been talking about tapering for at least a year and my pdoc finally agreed. I started to taper with the help of my pdoc in late Feb 2018. She suggested to taper from 225mgs to 200. Did that for a few weeks and felt good so I started a little more aggressive taper by myself. Moved down to 175mgs and stuck there for 2 weeks, still felt great. Tapered again to 150 and felt fine for 2-3 days and then (2 days ago) I was hit by a ton of bricks. Headaches, dizziness, weird sensations almost out of body, fogginess, morning anxiety, general feelings of blah. Last night I took 150 and then went back up to 175mgs by taking 25mgs this morning because I feel so awful. I plan to hold at 175mgs at night until otherwise suggested. I found your site a while back and it made me aware of the importance of a slow taper. But then I was feeling so great I thought I might be one of the “lucky ones” and didn’t need to taper so slowly. Apparently not! So I’m back and committed to a slow taper even though I want to be off this medicine like crazy. I’m looking forward to hearing any feedback, and I’m in need of help on how, mathematically, to taper. I get the 10% reduction over 4 weeks but the math confuses me. Thanks for reading this!
  11. I began my journey to "quit the cure" of February 28, 2012. I wanted off of my antidepressants: Abilify 5mg, Cymbalta 60mg, and Lamictal 200mg. And I've been blogging about my journey to "quit the cure" since the beginning of March. Back at the end of June, I hit a great, big road block--I had the worst breakdown ever. I survived it; however, I didn't want to turn back on quitting the cure. But I definitely wasn't ready to continue my journey. So, I stopped blogging (mostly out of a lack of motivation), and I stopped tapering. My therapist and psychiatrist were both on maternity leave anyway, so it seemed like a good idea. At that point I was off of the Abilify and Cymbalta, left with 100mg of Lamictal per day. But during the month of July, I really worked on my faith. I've been a Christian since I was very young, and I wanted to get back to the close relationship I had had with God so many years ago. I'm not here to preach, but I will say that when my relationship with God strengthened, I felt like a stronger person period. So, I decided to call the psychiatrist who was filling in for my doctor to schedule an appointment for a dosage change. I called several times and no one called me back. Good thing I wasn't having a breakdown again. This is the part where I say, "Don't try this at home, folks." So, I got the bright idea to taper myself with everything I had left. I had a nice amount of the 100mg tabs and a nice amount of the 25mg from a previous taper. Over the course of two weeks, I tapered down to ZERO. I know that the quick taper did me no favors. However, I am here today writing this success story because I am free of antidepressants and withdrawal symptoms! It is possible to be free, but I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I hit some serious lows during the last few weeks. And that breakdown in June was no joke by itself. Still, I know God spared me the worst of it all. Miraculously, I didn't have any physical symptoms these last few weeks, just the severe mood swings. THAT was enough, please trust me. I get readers of my blog who write to me about withdrawal, Abilify withdrawal in particular. I hate not having an answer for how long withdrawal lasts. My very last post was about the fact that antidepressant withdrawal "takes as long as it takes." And still, it breaks my heart every time someone asks me whether or not the torment of withdrawal will ever end. Because while you're in it, it certainly seems like there is no end in sight. There is an end, but it seems like superhuman strength and courage is required to get there. But you can get there. Meanwhile, here's what helped me: #1 – Support: Reading stories on this forum got me prepared for antidepressant withdrawal. But it also kept me inspired and gave me a place to go back to with questions. Blogging gave me an outlet for my frustration, but the support of my followers was what made the difference. (I only wish I had had the emotional strength to write this last month.) Having a sister who was literally the Sam to my Frodo was a blessing. (If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, then you know that Frodo could not have made it without his faithful friend, Sam. Frodo carried the burden of the One Ring, while Sam carried him. This is an accurate comparison of my journey--because it was also my sister's journey.) Last but not least, was the love and strength of God which held me up and kept me from giving up--really giving up--in the end. #2 - Diet: I have lost over 30 pounds while Quitting the Cure, and still going strong! I’ve been overweight since I was a teen, and gained a ridiculous amount of weight since switching antidepressants 5 years ago. Losing 30 pounds is a big bonus in all of this. However, it was only made possible by a strict diet change. I became pescatarian and then vegan during my journey. I cut out many processed foods, and paid close attention to any food sensitivities that I had. Now, the diet change played a huge role in things. Plus, supplements helped to affect how I felt physically and emotionally this whole time. I used a multivitamin, Omega-3s, and vitamin D to help support my body while it was struggling to return to homeostasis. I also used herbal supplements and specific foods to combat withdrawal symptoms, physical and emotional. Valerian was huge with the Abilify withdrawal because I experienced serious anxiety with it. I even tried flower essence for my episode of apathy. I’m really happy to be able to put my success story on this site. I would definitely recommend a slow taper, though! It’s not fun coming off of antidepressants, but freedom from them is possible! Wishing everyone my very best, Lisa
  12. I have been consistently medicated for over two years now (2016-2018). I would like to taper off my medications, but with the high doses of lamictal and prozac I’m not sure where to start. I have had minor twitching throughout my body. Although I can’t remember when it started, my doctor thinks it’s because of the abilify. She suggested I start taking 1mg instead of 2mg. I took 1mg for two weeks then took my last dose of abilify in thr beginning of December 2018. Any advise on which I should taper first: lamictal or prozac? I say I’m terrified because even though I’ve only been medicated two years, I don’t know who I am without medication. I also am scared of the uncertainties of the withdrawal process and side effects.
  13. I’ve been on antidepressants since I was 13 diagnosed when I was 13 with depression and anxiety disorder. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with major depression after suicide attempt. At 27 years of age now my new doctor of just one month diagnosed me with bipolar 2, I believe solely on the fact that my mother is bipolar one and she believes I’m “genetically prone” to this disorder My medication history. First it was lexapto, then Prozac then Wellbutrin, then cymbalta and Xanax now tapering off pristiq which I personally find the worse. And now I’m put on lamictal. My doctor seems to think I can withdrawl from my pristiq (100 mg) which I’ve been on throughout a year time span, in “two weeks” and being put on 200 mgs of lamictal it should “ counteract the withdrawal “ . I’ve been out of work for a year (previously a full time teacher”. I feel like I’m losing my mind for lack of better words. I’m so desperate and truly believe big pharmaceutical agencies just want to make money off of me (us) . I’m lost and isolating myself, my life is falling apart, and I’ve never been in a worse mental state than I am now. I’m here for help and reassurance I suppose. Don’t know how much longer I can do this. -Amy
  14. Zavo

    Zavo

    Hi, I am retired 1st responder with PTSD for over 20 years. Get anxiety and Depression as well. About 2 years ago I was put on mertazapine and gained 50 pounds. Never overweight in my life. Then put on Lamotragine 200mg and duloxatine 120mg. Never felt well on any of them. Decided enough is enough. I want to see who I am without all the meds and misdiagnosis. I'm not BiPolar, dont have seizures but was given bipolar meds and told for depression. Big no, I just keep getting worse. I decided to get off all. I tried tapering Duloxatine with horrible effects..still have them. Body aches, bones ache, flu symptoms, mean and cant get out of bed. After tapering to zero counting beads I found that prozac can help. I took a genetic test and it showed severe drug interaction with Duloxatine. Now I'm on Prozac 5mg but still suffering, maybe from prozac effects, cant get out of bed, aches and pains and very tired and weak. I'm not depressed by very discouraged. I got married not long before all this, cant work, basically ruining my life. I no longer have trust in Psychiatry and find better info online from people going through this. I'm now on week 2.5 off Duloxatine and down to 100mg of Lamictal. How to cope? How there are no real rules, prozac helps bit comes with lots of problems. Anyway, I feel I'm getting there, but I need help, afraid my spouse will divorce me soon and wish I could leave me too. Thank you for all the great info this far. Zavo
  15. Greetings fellow warriors of the "Free Brain" resistance army, A great battle is underway as we take on the oppressive Evil Empire: Big Pharma and the Pdoc minions who carry out their orders. These last 3 years I have been fighting alone, David vs Goliath style, and have proved no match for the powerful chemical Agent Neuron Walkers. I personally have been battling the front in the northern frontier of the CNS (Central Nervous System) facing the Triple Threat, a legion of 3 pharmaceutical terrorists, who are trying to set up a Caliphate in my brain: Zyprexa, Lamictal, Wellbutrin. The battle must go on…but new strategies are needed. I'm grateful to have found all of you, the coalition of the willing, at this critical moment. We Shall Overcome! Ok, so time to get serious (well, relatively serious). Short version: Hi, I’m the Opal Owl, I fly by night. Starting in Dec.2012 I was put on 20mg of Zyprexa for a few weeks after a drug induced psychosis and 10 day stay in the crazy house. This was later reduced to 10mg—no side effects. About 6 months later I was put on 300mg of Wellbutrin. I had 3 withdrawal attempts from Zyprexa and Wellbutrin. All of them failed due to going cold turkey or too rapid of withdrawal—and it was horrendous. However, I was able to get down to 5mg of Zyprexa with no withdrawal effects and 150mg Wellbutrin (with some negative effects). In mid-2014 I was put on Lamictal (200mg) with the goal of discontinuing Zyprexa. Over the past 1.5 years I have reduced the Zyprexa to 1.25mg—I did 50% reductions: 5 to 2.5, 2.5 to 1.25. I have been on 1.25mg for about 2 months—no noticeable withdrawal effects (in my experience, I can get down to the tiniest of doses with no withdrawal effects. It’s only when I go off completely that all hell breaks loose). 3 weeks ago I did a 50% reduction of Lamictal to 100mg. I started feeling the withdrawal effects intensely this past week—nausea, headaches, anxiety, depression, lack of appetite. All my old friends. Last night I saw my Pdoc and he said “Big mistake!”. He said he would support me going off of Zyprexa and Wellbutrin, but not Lamictal (which he seems convinced I will have to be on for life). So, I agreed to reinstate the Lamictal. 150mg this week and then 200mg next week. Once I stable out, I will decide to take on either the Zyprexa or Wellbutrin. Zyprexa is the most evil and I’m not sure I’m ready for that battle. The Pdoc said he would put me on Seroquel 100mg (1/4 or ½ tab) to help with the, as we all know, insufferable insomnia (don’t have any experience with Seroquel—and am not aware of its soporific effects--any thoughts on this plan?). Perhaps it would be better to start with the Wellbutrin. Thoughts/suggestions/advice would be appreciated. I’m learning from this forum that I will need to settle in for a war of attrition (something my “I want it now!” personality has a very difficult time with). I gratefully await your thoughts and suggestions. Long version: December 2012, Chicago. A drug/alcohol induced manic episode (preceding the end of the Mayan calendar, and perhaps the end of the world) leading to psychosis and an eventual 10 day stay in the psych-ward (one of the most fascinating, and scary experiences of my life. I really do think most of those nurses and doctors were highly advanced AI. Has the singularity already happened? Are we indeed living in a simulation?). After a stay in solitary confinement they decided I had suffered enough (or they were done testing my psychosis-induced special powers and probing the outer limits of human sanity). I was given 20mg of Zyprexa and was almost instantly zombified. I was then bestowed with a diagnosis of Bi-Polar 1 and chemical dependency (bada bing bada bang, that diagnosis took all of 5 minutes. Though to be fair, it wasn’t the first time I received this diagnosis). A few days later I was given the boot along with my prescription for Zyprexa (signed by the Devil). Fast-forward 6 months and I’m taking 10mg of Zyprexa and 300mg of Wellbutrin. I decide, “Well, I’m glad that is all over. How about I kick these meds?” Little did I know I was already deeply entrenched in the briar patch, covered in pharmaceutical tar. So, I go cold turkey and get my first ass-kicking from the man with horns that carries the bag of unfortunate souls trapped in the vile throngs of Zyprexa (on their way to the 7th ring of hell where Mother Zyprexa sits on her throne of Lilly pills). I learn my lesson and decide that a new strategy is in order: Tapered, but rapid, withdrawal. Second ass kicking—“You think it’s going to be that easy?” chuckles the horned one. A few months later another meek attempt. This time with my secret weapon of lorazepam to fight the insomnia. Well, that worked for about a month and then another knock at my door, “Yep, good try. I’ll be taking that soul back now. Thank you very much.” So, I surrender and make a compromise: Here’s my soul back, but let me stay on the lowest possible dose. The agreement is Zyprexa 5mg and Wellbutrin 150mg. This was the second time I had made a deal with the Devil. The first was during my 2012 psychosis when I pleaded to leave the country and was granted permission, but...BUT…I had to pick up every single cigarette butt I came across. Needless to say, I have failed to live up to this promise and fear whether I will ever be able to leave my current entrapment (though I do give credit for the environmentally friendly agreement—who knew the devil could wear green?) I maintain this contract until 2014. At this point life has become painfully monotonous (Insanely, I long to return to the psychosis-induced alternative reality of the psych ward—where in addition to my secret powers, the food was great, the people were interesting, and I could make collages all day). Instead, I’m tired all the time, I’m working less than part-time, and I’m living with my grandparents at age 30. The magic and enchantment of life are gone. I’m about ready to choose “Not to be”, but I can’t quite get over the “what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?” Then a ray of light, a chance for escape. Yes, an extreme plan, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m offered a teaching job in Saudi Arabia. It pays bank. I can get out of debt, I can gain back my independence. And, with the money I earn, I can put into action my secret plan to get off all of the meds FOREVER (we’ll get to that later). Well, Saudi turns out to be a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire”. Not surprisingly, I’m miserable. I want to jump out of my 9th story apt. window into the desolate desert below, be trampled by a camel, and disappear forever beneath a giant sand dune. By the grace of the universe I’m put in contact with a Western-trained psychiatrist (mental illness is hardly acknowledged in Saudi. Therapy and psychiatry are done rather clandestinely. However, they have every modern pharmaceutical medicine, and it can all be easily acquired without a prescription). We come up with a plan: I will start taking Lamictal, wean off the Zyprexa and continue the Wellbutrin. 1.5 years later and I’m taking 200mg Lamictal, 150mg Wellbutrin and 1.25mg Zyprexa. Note: I did not do the recommended 10% tapering (wasn't aware of it). I jumped from 5mg to 2.5mg, and then 1.25mg (The smallest dose here in Saudi is 5mg, so I just cut the pill into 4 pieces). So far, I have not had any major withdrawal effects (maybe this is tempered by the Lamictal? This is what the Pdoc thought). However, I should mention that in all of my previous attempts of Zyprexa withdrawal I could get down to a very tiny dose and not feel any withdrawal effects. It was only when I quit the drug completely that hell was unleashed. I have now been on 1.25mg for about 2 months. Satisfied with my current situation, I thought I would attempt a reduction of the Lamictal. So, 3 weeks ago I once again took the 50% route and reduced my dosage from 200mg to 100mg. Things were ok until last week when I started to feel nausea, anxiety, depression, and severe headaches. Yep, my old friends were back. Just this evening I met with the psychiatrist (who I had not been in touch with for about 6 months). As mentioned above, his response was “Big Mistake!”. He said he would support me going off of Zyprexa and Wellbutrin, but not Lamictal. So, I agreed to reinstate the Lamictal up to 200mg. If I go off the Zyprexa completely, he wants to put me on Seroquel to help with the insomnia, though I'm not too keen on this proposal). I also told him about my Secret Plan, which I will now unveil to all of you. The Secret Plan: Wean myself of all my current meds in a 4 month period (goal is by April 10). Travel to the Peruvian Amazon. Participate in a 3 week Ayahuasca retreat (which requires me to be off all the meds), including a diet with medicinal plants to help with withdrawal symptoms. Face my demons and childhood traumas (that may be at the root of my mental illness and substance abuse) and see what else the Mother plant spirit has to show/teach me. Use my savings to stay in South America for 6 months in a safe place to recover and suffer through whatever withdrawal symptoms come my way, continuing to rely on plant medicine and a strict diet. A battle between Indigenous medicine and Western medicine, with hopefully the former being the victor. Return to the US free from all psych meds FOREVER. Begin life anew. He didn’t outright reject my plan, but he also didn’t see it as being an effective long term solution. And he may be right. Is this plan foolhardy? Am I setting myself up for failure again by trying to take a short cut? Is the horned man waiting for me in the jungle? Will I ever drain my soul of these demonic chemicals!? I’m slowly accepting, after reading many posts on this forum, that I may have to bunker down for a War of Attrition, rather than a war of Shock and Awe. So be it. As a lover of the Sufi poets, I’ll close with this: “You carry All the ingredients To turn your life into a nightmare (i.e. every pharmaceutical drug)- Don’t mix them! You carry all the ingredients To turn your existence into joy, Mix them, mix Them!” ~Hafiz So, that’s what I’m hoping to do—mix the right ingredients. I await your suggestions and insights; as well as strength, experience, and hope. Dream Slow, The Opal Owl
  16. I've recently reconnected with a friend from 30+ years ago. We have been spending time together once a week and we are moving foward, seeing each other more frequently. At some point I will want to share my story with them about my psych meds. When and how is the best way to do this? Full disclosure is important to both of us. I want to make sure I'm not premature in bringing it up, but don't want to wait too long risking the perception I've been holding back and not been upfront.
  17. I am in the midst of Lamictal withdrawal and it isn't going so well past couple of weeks. Was only doing 10% drops and when withdrawal symptoms passed would drop again. Thinking about going back up a couple of mg to stave off these awful effects? Am on 40mg, down from 45mg a fortnight ago but this drop has been absolutely awful :-( Not sure whether to go back up the full 5mg or just 2-3mg being that I am a fortnight into that. Only held the 45mg for a couple of weeks though because I was doing pretty well at that point. Am having panic attacks just sitting at home and it is reminding me of a past Zoloft withdrawal which was horrid!!
  18. I'm 45 years old. I have been on psychiatric drugs since I was 25. For years, 17, I was on Paxil 20mg and tegretol 200mg. I believed I tripped off my first depression after using ecstasy, which I think altered my brain's serotonin functioning. Four years ago I went to my gynecologist seeking help for worsening pms, as I believed perimenopause was coming into play. I failed to consult with my psychiatrist and trusted her. After a too-quick taper off of Paxil and onto Lexapro things just completely deteriorated. After 6 months I was a wreck, did another, even shorter, taper off of Lexapro back onto Paxil. But I was sunk...I think my central nervous system was wrecked. The ensuing year of onto and off of a variety of drugs was nothing short of a nightmare. Sparing all the details, I landed on the following drugs: Remeron 15mg Paxil 20mg Lamictal 125mg Pristiq 100mg Lithium 600mg Klonopin .5mg Trazodone 50mg It's criminal. A John's Hopkins psychiatrist specializing in women's hormone related mood issues said my gynecologist's cavalier actions verged on malpractice. A recent, and current, rash believe to be pityriasis rosea prompted my current psychiatrist to insist I stop Lamictal cold turkey. The dermatologist diagnosed it. He, without seeing the rash himself, is insistent. In light of what I feel is a damaged central nervous system I have decided to trust my dermatologist. That said, this situation has prompted me to consider the idea of eliminating the Lamictal. It's a start. I also believe Lamictal in some way tinkers with estrogen, something I'd like to avoid. It has been a hellish journey. I do not trust the psychiatric industry. I believe that how my case has been handled, so carelessly and without regard to actual true health, is shameful. I never, ever thought I'd be on multiple drugs like this. I am a high functioning, intelligent woman with a constitution sensitive to endocrine changes. I have been terrified of even considering touching any of this. While in the back of my mind wondering....what will happen to me after years of being on so many drugs? For the record, I have never been manic, ever. Lithium does function for me as an antidepressant. I understand that I'm somewhere on the spectrum, and because of long periods of happiness and wellbeing interrupted by 3 episodes of major depression, each with clear origins, I have been labeled bipolar2. I don't care much for labels. All I know is I'm on a serious amount of drugs. And I'm finally willing to find the courage to wrap up this bizarre ride. Lamictal first. Thanks for reading. Any encouragement or feedback gladly welcomed. Hope
  19. Hi, i'm new to this forum, so forgive me if i make mistakes, i'm still learning. I'm about two years out from withdrawing off of Paxil that i tapered down on, and about one year from one situational exposure to benzodiazepines, and two years from consistent benzodiazepine usage (the klonopin,) as i withdrew both the antidepressant and the benzodiazepine at the same time. I am drug free for an entire year. The drugs tagged in my post are also drugs i have been previously exposed to, or had other exposures in the same class of drugs, (E.g, i have also been exposed to zoloft, prozac, and pristiq in the "Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor" category over the course of 14 years, though paxil was my last exposure to an SSRI drugs.) For the sake of simplicity, i will spare the details. I am posting here today because i am struggling with a couple issues that the specialists i've seen cannot help me with, and i hope to find resources here. I have ruled out thyroid issues, cardiovascular issues, vitamin deficiency in standard ranges, and other infectious disease issues through doctors and testing. I am debating about seeing an endocrinologist, but have lost a lot of faith in medicine since my psychiatric outpatient stent and the answers for my health that continue to elude me. I have listed my main issues below: 1. Fatigue - From what i've read and am trying to understand, fatigue can be a huge factor in antidepressant and benzodiazipine post acute withdrawal because of potential effects on hormones and neurotransmitters. I've also read that amphetamine withdrawal, especially in the context of abuse can cause fatigue, but my exposure to amphetamines was a decade ago, so i don't know if that could still be a contributing factor or not? The fatigue seems to come on intermittently, i drink green tea to help with wakefulness as the fatigue can feel debilitating throughout the day, and i feel like my brain just doesn't want to function on all gears. I am also sensitive to caffeine - if i ingest more than normal it can send me into a panic attack. My intermittent benzodiazepine exposure last year was in part induced by too much coffee, but i used to drink a pot of coffee a day without too much anxiety on paxil. 2. Emotional Blunting - I know that emotional blunting is also a factor in both benzodiazepine and antidepressant use and withdrawal, but i am a little perplexed that i still feel difficulty with emotional attachment. I theorize that this may be due to the benzodiazepine withdrawal mostly, for the reason that benzodiazepines inhibit or prevent neurological recovery from trauma, from what i understand. Is it possible that my body and mind are still in a state of survival even two years out from antidepressant and benzos? I understand that the psychological trauma from years of being medicated may also play a key factor in trust and developing relationships, but that is a psychological piece that should resolve itself through counseling, CBT, once the body begins to function correctly again. My other theory is that all my exposure to drugs over the years, (especially in the context of intermittent antipsychotic and benzodiazipine exposure) has caused irreversible atrophy to the neurological circuitry that is responsible for those functions (pre-frontal cortex and frontal lobe?) I'm looking for any input, resources, or suggestions that might help with those pieces Thanks, - NR EDIT: I don't have any recreational drug exposure either, all my drug exposure has been exclusively psychiatric with the exception of alcohol on a few celebratory occasions. I have also had antibiotic exposures on three separate occasions in the past five years.
  20. Hi Everyone, I'm glad this site exists. As it says in my title I'm trying to eventually come off all psychiatric medications that I'm on. I currently take: 0.375 mg Risperdal (after about 1.5 years at 2 mg) 50 mg Lamictal 100 mg Zoloft Right now I am trying to taper off of Risperdal. I just spoke to the compounding pharmacy today and should have the liquid form in three or four days for more precise tapering. My history: I entered therapy when I was 18 as a senior in high school in February 2010. I started taking Welbutrin, then added Zoloft, then stopped taking Welbutrin. In the summer of 2012, after my sophomore year of college, my psychiatrist let me decrease my dose of Zoloft from I think 100 mg to 50 mg. In March 2013, I was admitted to a mental hospital and put on Lithium, Risperdal, and Cogentin, and my dose of Zoloft was increased to 100 mg. In December 2013 I came off the Lithium cold turkey. I think I stopped taking the Cogentin (meant for shakiness/muscle spasms) then as well. So from December 2013 to June 2014 I only took 2 mg Risperdal and 100 mg Zoloft. In June 2014 I was suicidal and put on 50 mg Lamictal. In August 2014 I graduated college (George Mason University in Fairfax, VA-- Northern Virginia) and returned to the Philadelphia, PA area where I'm from. I'm currently enrolled in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program here. I meditate daily and that has helped me a lot. If you have any questions about me feel free to ask! Thanks for reading!
  21. I have been diagnosed w ptsd, major chronic depression, bipolar2, and chronic pain. I take cymbalta 120mg daily, lamictal 100mg at night and bedtime. I have seroquel 25mg bid as needed. I am experiencing hypomania, irritability, discontent, and sometimes doc thinks its a serotonin syndrome in making. I know what that feels like. I took nucynta once for pain. Got off of it right away. So, i have permission by psychiatrist to play around w my dosage for comfort. I want to taper off cymbalta and lamictal, i have decreased lamictal by 25mg, at night. I have 60mg caps of cymbalta. I took 1 on monday, tues, and wed. Today i felt headachey, and my back pain flared up. I taught my swim lessons, came home and took the other 60mg. I feel better physically. I want to lower potential for hypomania,
  22. When i try to taper off, at about the three month mark the terrible feelings of irrational fear return. i have never made it past this point. Has anyone else experienced this? My diagnosis is bi polar 1, with psychotic features in the distant past. Also, i am on lamictal and 5 mg of lexapro
  23. Hi everybody. I never joined a forum before but now it's time. I've been on AD's for about 20 years now. Always resistant to staying on them, because of flat affect and just a lot of fear of side effects. Started on maprotiline (yeah, nobody's heard of it) a tetracyclic, then tried St John's Wort, SAMe, TCM, before getting prescribed Celexa. My pattern was to stay on until I felt OK, than go off, probabl;y way too fast for my sensitive system, and crash. Aside from sadness and lack of energy/motivation, my main symptom was horrible insomnia -- I have atypical PTSD symptoms from a major trauma that included pretty much not sleeping for three weeks. Sleep is a big deal, not sleeping gives me really bad anxiety. So I went up and down on Celexa at the advice of my GP, pretty much staying below 20mg, and at one point on 5mg for quite a while and doing well. Used lorazepam periodically for sleep, and went off that really slowly without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, when I decided to go off Celexa (at the advice of a TCM doc who was supposed to be brilliant and said I didn't need it) I ran into a major stressful life event (my 19 yr old learning disabled daughter got pregnant and decided to have her baby) and crashed. In addition to the stress, it was again probably a mistake to stop 5mg cold. I didn't know. After a few weeks of hell and lots of acupuncture, I went back on but it took too long to start having an effect and... I eventually went to the ER, and was advised by the doc who advised not to go to the psych ward, and prescribed more lorazepam. Two days later I saw a PDoc for the first time. She prescribed a small dose od Zyprexa to "augment" the Celexa, and help me sleep. Which it did -- three days later I felt better and could function again. 20mg Celexa and 1.25 Zyprexa. A couple of months later when I was still up and down she added 50mg of lamictal to help me with "stability". So now on three drugs, sleeping, relatively stable. Over the next couple of years, I was able to bring the Zyprexa down to about .35mg, but couldn't get off without crashing. My PDoc called it a "homeopathic dose" and didn't try to get me off. REALLY sensitive to this stuff. Three years into this, a year ago, I had another stressful stretch, and incrreased to 1mg Zyprexa. Then I developed a tremor in my right hand. I freaked -- my dad had Parkinson's. After being in denial for 4-5 months, I finally went to a neurologist and after several tests told me it could be Parkinson's or it could be the Zyprexa. She suggested I try to switch to Seroquel that is supposedly less likely to have this side effect. Oh my, here comes the really bad part -- my PDoc said I could just do a switch of Zyprexa for Seroquel at "equivalent" doses. She knows how sensitive I am and this was a BIG mistake. I switched, and totally crashed. I was supposed to then increase the Seroquel until I felt better. That lasted about two weeks when I developed akathisia. Was given Cogentin and UGH, I couldn't think, my hands trembled, I couldn't have a normal conversation and my memory went downhill. PDoc said switch back to Zyprexa so I did but now at a higher "equivalent" dose (2.5mg). Akathisia didn't go away. Tried to drop Zyprexa to 2mg and BOOM, more depression. Back up, more akathisia. My PDoc then gave up and passed me on to another PDoc (not a bad thing at this point, but I felt abandoned). Since then, I'm titrating down on Zyprexa by .05mg per week. At 2mg now and akathisia is somewhat better but I still can't relax at all, and I still don't know if the tremor is drug induced or Parkinson's. I get the 10% per month and I plan to follow that as closely as I can. I've had enough of these meds. It makes me really sad that I know it's a long road ahead to get back to a semblance of normal. I wake up every morning trembling and depressed. I eat really healthy and walk 6-9 miles a day. By mid-day I feel a bit better but can't stop obsessing about the tremor. Can't concentrate much or I get really tired. Afraid to go outside my routine because it's more stressful and the symptoms get worse. I'm looking into TMS as a way to support this process. Whoever reads this thanks for listening, it gets really lonely sometimes, I'f you're here, I'm sure you know.
  24. Hey! I've been on one SSRI or another since i was 18. I'm 37 now. I've come off Zoloft, Paxil (twice), Klonopin (i know it's not an SSRI), and now Lexapro. I was on Lexapro for about 4 years. Most SSRIs that i have been on stop working after about 3-4 years. Recently it was suggested that i might be on the bipolar spectrum. I'm mostly hypomanic. When i get depressed, I'm still hypomanic, so i have mixed states that result in severe anxiety. Everything i have ever taken has been a result of anxiety. ANYWAY. I wish i had come across this site earlier. I started having severe anxiety and panic late last year (November) while on 5mg of Lexapro ( i had dropped myself from 10mg to 5mg sometime in the last 4 years because i was sleeping all the time. 1.5 hour naps every afternoon, then another 9 hours at night). So when my anxiety went up i upped my lexapro (with a doctor's consent) to 10mg (January). Things were a little better, but not much. I went to 15mg (February). This was not good. crawling in my skin, suicidal thoughts. I lasted on 15mg for 3 weeks, then dropped to 10. I had just begun seeing a new therapist at this time. He advised that i get of Lexapro immediately. So i "tapered off". Since my base was around 5mg it was not hard to get back to 5mg (was good at 5mg by March). Then i went from 5 to zero in about 3 weeks. That sucked. I dropped off completely on Tuesday April 12. Exactly 2 weeks ago. I've had to supplement with Klonopin to deal with some of the anxiety. So i'll have to deal with coming off that again, but with a slow enough taper i know i can do it (the last time i came off Klonopin i spent 6 months tapering). I was not aware that SSRIs required the same type of taper but i should have known. My Paxil withdrawals were nightmarish. Lexapro has been pretty bad as well. The brain zaps seem to have stopped, but i still get dizzy every day. My mood swings are FAST and they suck. I had a great deal of anger and agitation when i first started tapering. That seems to have cleared up. My face gets tingly sometimes (usually my lips). As far as anxiety and depression... It comes and goes. good days and bad days. If i can stay motivated and busy, i tend to do quite a bit better. The only thing is, i can't really relax. I don't drink. I kinda wish i did (not really) Since i started coming off Lexapro, i started trying to take care of myself. I started taking Omega 3, a probiotic, and Magnesium daily. I started working out 3x a week. I try to meditate once a day. (i've been doing this for a few years). I'm here to soak up the information and maybe help if i can.
  25. Hello all. I'm 2 months off benzos after 7 years daily use (prescription) and after a hell of a 2.5 year taper. I've been on sertraline since 2006 starting at 100mg, however, during the benzo taper I got myself down to 37.5mg. The lamotrigine was added at the end of the benzo taper to help me finally jump off, to prevent seizures, ease my mind, whatever, etc. I was at 75mg at the beginning of the year and started tapering this month and am now down to 50mg. I could go into more detail about everything, but basically I'm extremely sensitive to these medicines and I need some advice and support on the best way to get off of the sertraline and lamotrigine, when to start, what method to use, etc. I'm very familiar with all the different kinds of tapering from just having got off benzos and trying nearly every method in an attempt to find anything that would work out better. Please let me know your thoughts on tapering these final 2 medicines and which to go for first. Thanks guys!
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