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  1. 9 years ago, I was prescribed 10mg of generic Prozac after a traumatic incident in my life that left me nearly catatonic. I continued on that dose for 7 years. Approximately 2 years ago, after a stressful work situation, my primary care doctor suggested I switch my antidepressant as he thought it became ineffective after so many years. He switched me to a dosage equivalent of generic Lexapro for a short time. I complained about a spike in anxiety so he then switched me to 50 mg of generic Zoloft. Shortly thereafter, I experienced major depersonalization and brain fog. I eventually went down to 25 mg of Zoloft and, somewhere in the midst of this, I experienced some other obscure health symptoms (pressure in head, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, neck and head pain, etc). I saw many specialists who all said my health checked out. I ultimately decided I wanted off of my antidepressant and my doctor recommended halving my dose for a week, and another, then stopping. I experienced some peculiar insomnia/hypomania, agitation and flatness the first few weeks, but, overall, I faired well. It wasn’t until about 2-3 months later, I would know literal hell. I have been imploding with anxiety, trembling, not eating, experiencing an avalanche of panic attacks, and not sleeping for 24 hours at a time- during which time I have rapid, intrusive thoughts teetering on hallucinations. I can feel my nervous system destabilizing and have an overwhelming feeling of dread. It has felt as if I’m on the precipice of permanent insanity. Sunday, I went to urgent care where I was prescribed Hydroxyzine for sleep and I was told I could not experience withdrawals 2-3 months after discontinuation; I was told I was experiencing a relapse. I have never experienced this kind of insomnia and anxiety prior to antidepressants. Yesterday, I started back on 25 mg of Zoloft. Today, I was prescribed 7.5 of Mirtazapine for sleep until the Zoloft takes effect. I will eventually address tapering again, but it won’t be through the suggestions of healthcare providers. Hopefully, I can rely on another’s experience for a successful taper. For now, I feel highly skeptical and disappointed in modern practitioners. I am hoping to stabilize my nervous system soon.
  2. I'm a 60-Year-old male, ex-smoker for 30 years ~1 pack per day. Quit smoking on March 1, 2022. I started taking antidepressants in 2000. Tried various antidepressants that didn’t work (i.e. Prozac, zoloft). At some point I started taking Adderall. I can’t remember for how long and the dosage. In ~2013 I started taking 20mg Lexapro and 50mg Vyvanse, which worked like a charm. Prescription history: Lexapro 20 mg 2013 through October 2019 Lexapro 10 mg October 2019 through April 2021 Lexapro 5 mg April 2021 through March 2022 Vyvanse 50 mg 2013 through May 2022 In February I was prescribed 1mg Finasteride for hair loss, which I took for 40 days. When I realized the side effects (mainly Low Libido), which triggered my anxiety. blood test revealed low levels of Free Testosterone and Estradiol. Approximately a month later I started feeling my Tinnitus which became increasingly bothersome as time progressed. My depression and anxiety levels were becoming increasingly elevated. June 27th - I tested positive for Covid and had to stay in isolation for 7 days. This added to my depression and anxiety which became frequent panic attacks. In the beginning of July I went back on Lexapro and Vyvanse in hopes to reverse the severe reaction that I was having. I'm now on 20mg Lexapro and 50mg Vyvanse. Still experiencing brain buzz, anxiety and depression as well as dizziness and vertigo. Anybody with insights to what I am going through and advise would be greatly appreciated!!!
  3. Conner

    Conner: Help

    #1 Help. I was on lexapro 8 years. Tapered off lexapro onto Effexor in sept 2021. Couldn’t handle it. Stopped taking after 5 days. Started Zoloft. Lasted 30 days. Side effects were bad. Tapered off to pristiq. Lasted 10 days and my psychiatrist said to just stop. I was trying to give my body a break so I could start a new med. 8 days later I went back to lexapro. Took it tonight. I’ve been having slight confusion lately, mental fog, poor concentration and not in touch with reality. I’ve always had panic attacks but what I experienced was not. My brain started to get warm and I almost wanted to pass out following extreme confusion with my heart/pulse racing incredibly fast. It’s like my brain was shutting down. I was so scared thinking i was having a brain aneurysm, stroke or seizure. I called 911. Went to hospital where I got a ct scan of my head. They ruled out a tumor, stroke or seizure: they didn’t check my blood sugar or run blood work. This happened at 10pm tonight. Got back home almost 2AM and went to bed extremely scared. I woke up an hour later in state of confusion to this happening again. The docs say it’s from the meds. I’m so scared I can’t sleep bc I don’t want it to happen again. I feel like it’s more than this and I’m actually going to die from whatever this is. It’s like my brain is broke. I was perfectly fine a few months ago. Idk why the docs couldn’t find an answer to what I was experiencing. I’m so scared this is something else. I’m 34, male, good health.. active
  4. 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?
  5. Hello all .. I do not speak English so I will write and do the translation and paste the conversation here so that you may understand my words ... My story began exactly 15 years ago, I don’t know exactly whether it was a sudden fear or of my father’s death I don’t know but I was very worried and went to the psychiatrist He gave me a prescription for a variety of medicines, but I settled on Seroxat with a dose of 20 mg per day, then a year ago, I replaced Seroxat with Cipralex, a dose of 15 mg, and now I want to get rid of it because of lethargy, laziness and lack of sexual desire completely, so I started a week ago with a dose of 10 mg Cipralex and now I suffer from depression and sad feelings, by God Success
  6. Hi. I have been reading different posts on here for about a month. I want to taper off Lexapro, but I've been on it for over 10 years. In 2005, I was put on a very short, and ended up with brains apps and went back on it because I was super agitated. When I told my doctor I wanted to Lexapro, her idea was to switch me to Prozac. Initially, she was going to help me switch to 20 mg, but I knew that the equivalent was 40 mg, so I asked if we can do that and she said yes. I am on day two of switching from 20 mg of Lexapro to 40 mg of Prozac. I feel dizzy and have a UTI. I don't know if that can be caused by this medication switch. It kind of creeps me out. The test only showed barely any evidence of the UTI, but the doctor said I was experiencing symptoms so gave me an antibiotic. I am thinking about a post I read on here that suggested people try wean off their current drug rather than bridging to Prozac. So now I am kind of freaking out thinking that I should just go back on Lexapro and when I see my doctor in a week and a half ask if she will prescribe the liquid. I think I asked that in A message, but she suggested Prozac. I have wanted to wean off the drugs for a long time, but actually had resigned myself to staying on it for life. I felt like I was stuck. But then it was getting migraines, and my family doctor wanted to add another antidepressant Pamelor, for the migraines. At that point, I did not want to add any more, and so now I decided it was time to try to taper down. I have seen that on some sites it says Lexapro can cause migraines.
  7. I suffer from severe depression. I don't remember not feeling depressed (being 6 and just crying and crying). Prozac was prescribed at the age of 21. Stopped working after 6 months. One and off for years until a steady dose of well button 150 ml for years, celexa for 6 months, and eventually lexapro 20mg for the past 10 + years. I tried to taper off the lexapro last year during a very vulnerable time. Even went to a psychiatrist who gave me the 7 day taper regimen. I quickly threw in the towel and went back up to 20mg. January 2022 I decided I was in a better place and time to taper again. I went way to fast, from 20 to 10. After severe side effects with no idea why, I found this group. I slowed down my taper and found a nurse practitioner who is much more understanding with my taper. I keep a calendar of my taper which is so important. Of course I thought I'd be able to taper more quickly then I read, but absolutely no way. Not to mention after my brain has been taking this for 10 years, how can I expect it to successfully withdraw in under 1 year? Of course my n.p. wasn't so accepting of the smaller increments, but after describing my symptoms she changed her tone. Besides the mood swings, dizziness, nausea, body sweats, headaches, anxiety, diarrhea, stomach aches, depression, my sexual side effects have had me scared. Not much is mentioned about sexual side effects during tge taper process. For 10 years my inability to orgasm was the norm. The constant numbness and hypersensitivity took hours to achieve an orgasm. Now that I'm tapering, I have to figure out how to have an orgasm. I've had to increase the pressure but still struggle with numbness. I've read the forums where people never get their sexual ability back, but I will not accept that. I noticed that recently I was on 6.25 for about 3 weeks and it took less time to achieve an orgasm. But, then I decided to continue the taper with 5mg and bye bye easier orgasm. Back to my taper, I've thrown in 2 days with the 5mg during the week (spread out) And i was okay, but I started the every other day and I'm not doing so well. I may have to do 2 days 6.25 then 1 day of 5. This taper has been such a nasty roller coaster of physical and mental challenges which only motivates me more to get off of this. Once I get down to 5mg, I think I may stay there for several months before I start to taper again. If I can handle this roller coaster of tapering, I can handle my depressive symptoms once off the lexapro.
  8. Hi All, Firstly thanks for the excellent site and taking the time to review my post. History is long, so in the interest of time, 20 yrs on SSRI's (i've tried virtually all but had most luck with prozac and lexapro) with a 4 month bout of Remeron (awful w/d not helped by cross taper) and benzo's on/off for 8 years or so. Benzo: I've successfully switched from .5mg of clonazepam/day to 10mg valium and i'm now at 2mg per day. A bit more about this below. SSRI: Was on 20 mg for celexa for the last several months but completely zombified so decided it's finally time to be done with this sh1t I dropped relatively quickly per docs orders with really no impact down to 5mg celexa completely stopping the celexa and valium on May 1. Started 10 mg prozac only May 1, by May 4 really awful DR with anxiety, inability to focus, sleeplesness, headaches. Reinstated 1-2 mg valium which helped a little bit. Yesterday i tested the waters and dropped the prozac down to 5 mg to see if agitation was from that which resulted in bad anxiety, chills,and shaking. Took the other 5 g prozac and an additional 1mg valium which helped a bit. Today slightly better back at 10mg prozac and 2mg valium in the morning. I have a pdoc appointment tomorrow and really don't know what to do and not sure i trust his opinion frankly but do believe he will be fine with what i recommend. I consider these the following my options: 1.) Reinstate celexa at last dose (5mg?), drop prozac entirely after a week or 2, and keep valium, then micro taper off at 10% per 3 weeks or so. 2.) Hold steady on prozac and valium for awhile (how long?) then micro taper 3.) Something else? Any thoughts are much appreciated and i apologize for any incoherence in this post but just got back from work trip and wanted to get this out there for the educated folks to review asap. Many thanks for any input and your time!!! methuselah
  9. I tapered from 10mg to 5mg in 4 weeks. Was doing ok. 4 weeks later I got hit with 2 weeks of bad anxiety. I got better. 8 weeks after that I got hit again and it hasn’t let up. After 2 weeks of suffering I went up to 7.5mg. That was 8 days again and I’m still suffering badly. My appointment with the psychiatrist is next week. I wish I could talk to her sooner. Not sure if I should stay at 7.5mg or go to 10mg.
  10. Hello! New here! I'm going to make my story as short as I can. 3 years ago I started having panic attacks and chronic symptoms of anxiety (depersonalization, derealization, dizziness, light headeadness, burning skin sensations and a lot more). As a result I developed health anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia). After refusing antidepressants for 4 month and getting worse, I finally bit the bullet and took them. My dose was 22.5mg lexapro (one and half pill of 15mg) for around 1 year. My symptoms slowly dissipated after about 2 month and I came back to living normally, I did this in conjuction with CBT therapy and a lot of self-help books). Anyway, I never wanted to be on those meds long term as I was very skeptical of how safe they are and they actually work. So with the help of my psychiatrist I tappered off within a duration of around 6 month. The taper was okay at first but the last few doses where hard, a lot of symptoms came back but I pushed threw because I was addamant to being medication free. 4 month later of being free of meds, I started getting worse again, feeling light-headed, couldn't tolerate exercise, dp/dr and feeling generally anxious. At the time i was taking magnesium citrate, vitamin D and k2. I decided to stop the supplements thinking they might making things worse and had the worst relapse ever. Symptoms now were 10 times worse, was having daily panic attacks and disabling symptoms and could barely function. I was very confused of why that had happened. Symptoms were a lot worse than before I took lexapro. The worst symptom that I still struggle with now but on a less frequent basis is the feeling of high alertness (my visual sense is usually stronger, I feel annoyingly awake and keyed up and my body feel like having lots of nervous energy). So i bit the bullet again, this time with a new psychiatrist and went back to lexapro for 8 months (the dose was 25 mg that time). The medication barely helped that time but it made me more functional. To make a long story short, I tappered again during a duration of 4 months and now have been med free for 2 weeks. I have been seing a functional doctor now who focused on gut issues and has been helping me. My symptoms are a lot better , I am taking magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zink, vitamin d and k2 and something to kill parasites in my stomach. My question and concern is, why is this hyperalertness still happening and why it got a lot worse after antidepressant use? It is brain damage? Will it completely dissappear with time? Although I feel generally better, I still have some really bad days and wonder if there is something I could be doing to help or is this permanent. So sorry for the long story and thank you very much . ❤
  11. 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!
  12. 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
  13. Hello guys , please spare a few minutes to read it and help me with this. I am from India 25 male In April of 2019 ,during my 3rd semester break, I had a breathing issue (one side nose block )and a sleep (cycle )problem,so I went to ent doc- dx with right sinusitis (not severe ) . For the sleeping cycle issue ,he told to see psychiatry (his wife ) and she prescribed DEP®@n L combination of ( Le×@pro 5 mg + clo≠zepam 0.25 mg ) for 14 days and told to stop After stopping , I had symptoms like - heart pounding ,anxiety , concentration issues, irritability . So I expected it to go away, but it didn't .So I went to another psychiatrist after 6 month (oct 2019),and he prescribed p®@xil (p®@xidep cr 12.5 mg ) ( oct 2019 to Jan 2020) i took for 3 months. while taking this durg my irritability ,anger increased .After stopping the drug I had symptoms of acid reflux ,pounding heart , muscle twitching,anxiety ,anger issue , irritability , indigestion i couldn't eat like before my food consumption decreased,sweating at night , waking at midnight 2am ,mild erectile dysfunction , orgasm decreased slightly ,mild heat intolerance . These severe affects lasted 6 months (aug 2020) and gradually decreased ,but the following symptoms did not -anxiety ,acid reflux, sexual side affects Somehow, I graduated in 2020 Feb 2021 due to exam pressure my sleep cycle changed - anxiety increased so I decided to take it again p®@xil (p®@xidep cr 12.5 mg ) this was the biggest mistake that i have ever made. . While taking the drug I felt dizzy all the time . on 12 th day I got severe gi distress and complete sexual dysfunction that shocked me so I stopped (Feb 2021) that drug cold trukey after that I had total sexual dysfunction ,can't feel emotion,severe acid reflux, heat intolerance ,throat pain ,blurry vision ,fatigue ,muscle pain , shivering, frequent urination ,fear increased , social anxiety ,panic attack,bloating , inability to burp , indigestion,muscle twitching, heart palpitation , headache,bounding pluse , wake up at midnight , can't able to sleep at right time always varies , exercise ability decreased , anger to the peak , irritability, confusion,can't concentrate ,eyelids felt always tired ,anxiety increased . this lasted about 7 to 9 months severely (June 2021) and gradually decreased .now this is my 17 th month slightly improved i can exercise more than 20 mins but still have most of this symptoms especially total sexual dysfunction ,anxiety ,indigestion ,muscle pain , concentration problem . In my first 2 attempts I couldn't study properly and in my 3rd attempt I did some but not enough, so I failed in all my attempts. I am going to write another one this year .my problem is that i can't study for long (8hrs-10hrs) and have concentration problem .Almost wasted a year and a half of my life .i have read "withdrawal and tapering 101".i am planning to reinstate very low dose ssri ? Anyone here been through something similar and recovered ? What lab tests do I have to take ? Can anyone help me with this ? I am obsessed with my sexual dysfunction always thinking about it makes me sick . My friends passed the exam a year ago ,but I am still struggling . I shouldn't have taken antidepressants 😔 What should I do ? Plz give me some suggestions
  14. 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. 🙏
  15. 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.
  16. Hi! Thank you for including me here ❤️ I have been taking lexapro since April 2021 (went from 5 to 10 in March, then to 15 in September and increased to 20 in October). In December I realized the sedation and headaches I had been having might be due to lexapro, so I tapered off it quite fast (in 10 days from 20 to zero). Inmediately, I had huge GI issues, so I went back to lexapro 7,5 mg. In January I tried to switch to Prozac and cross tapered in 2 weeks. My GI became awful and (sorry for the detail 🙈) I begun burping nonstop, constantly, uncontrollably, every 2 seconds. I thought it was due to Prozac so after a week on Prozac (completely off lex), I quit prozac and returned to lexapro 7,5. However, my GI symptoms continue after a month and especially the burping is horrible. I have read that both lexapro and lexapro withdrawal can cause this symptom, so I don’t know whether it may be caused by having reduced the dose or by being on it… I wonder whether to wait and give my body more time time to adjust to this dose, or to try and lower the dose / taper off. Please, I would really appreciate if someone could help me. THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE
  17. I started to taper off Prozac 20mg 5/2020. I got down to 3mg 11/2020. I became depressed. Under the care of my Doctor Psychiatrist, From 12/2020 to 5/2021 I have started and stopped 5 different meds and increase and decrease Lamictal. My brain is a mess. I have had every thing from Brain zapping, brain numbing, paranoia, headaches, insomnia, muscle weakness, unexplainable fear, intrusive thought that have turned into ocd, left side of my face and eye hurt on and off, unable think clearly, slow speech, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, nausea, weight loss, I can't even name it all. On 5mg Lexapro 37.5mg lamictal, and 25mg of trazadone Started Lexapro 4/3/2021 Slow titration,, my brain is very, very drug sensitive, 4/14 7.5mg. side effects so bad, and anger, anxiety through the roof, doctor encouraged my to go up 4/30 10mg. Could not take the side effects dropped 4/10 7.5mg. Doctor said he does know if he can help me. Told me to stop Lexapro, and go on a med holiday . 4/16 Lexapro 5mg. Holding,. don't know what to do? Do I hold here for awhile. Doctor is no help. He thinks I can stop Lexapro with in 2 weeks. Since I dropped down lexapro 5mg and started L theanine and Magnesium glycinate, things are slightly better. I found a new doctor but can not get in until the end of June. Since I am so close to no drugs I would like to see if I can continue my goal of being drug free. Med history 1995? Prozac 20mg not help anxiety ? Paxil Caused anger stop Serzone More depressed 1998 St Johns wart stop 1998 Prozac 20mg 1998 trazadone 50mg took for a few months stop 2000 lexapro 20mg. 2015 taper off Lexapro, fast taper a few month crash tried to reinstate Lexapro did not work Tried Effexor, did not work stop Oct 2015 Hospital 1 week Seroquel xr 50mg Viibryd 20mg. Did not even get up to 20mg. So drugged, I could not hardly work 30 minutes after taking so dizzy. Stopped at home 12/2016 Abilify, couldn't tolerate stop 12/16 Wellbutrin couldn't tolerate stop 12/16 Stopped Seroquel xr 50mg. To nauseated and couldn't eat. Heartburn Don't remember tapering 1/2016 Prozac 20mg. slight improvement 5/2016 Lamictal 200mg. 5/2020 through 11/2020 taper Prozac down to 3mg. depression and anxiety insomnia 12/2/2020 Zoloft 12.5mg 12/13 25mg. 12/24 37.5mg 12/28 50mg. Bad side effects Felt like brain sitting on eclectic fence 4 day tapper stop 1/5/2021 up lamictal from 200mg to 300mg. 1/13 lamictal 400mg. Brain started ruminating and obsessing 1/17 lamictal 300mg. 1/22 lamictal 200mg 1/22/2021 Seroquel 50mg for sleep Became paranoid. nausea headaches 1/29 stopped 1/29/2021 Trazadone 50mg 4/25 25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg. 2/24 100mg 4/9 75mg 4/21 37.5 2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg. Became hypo manic 2/16 stopped 2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr 3/3 100mg 3/17 150mg side effects to much, arm and leg muscles became very week, nausea headaches 4/23/2021 panicked and stopped. doc not return my call Brain went crazy, paranoia ( should have learned, not to try it again) 4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg 4/14 7.5mg 4/30 10mg 5/10 7.5mg 5/16 5mg Now: 5mg Lexapro 37.5 Lamictal 25mg trazadone L theanine 200mg Magnesium glycinate 100mg Omega 3 2000mg Turmeric 1500mg .5 mg melatonin
  18. 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.
  19. Hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to start with a quick synopsis of my medical background below. I took SSRI antidepressants for 17+ years. I started with Prozac for 5 years from 15-21. Then I took Escitalopram from 22-32. Along the way I was put on Trazodone, Buspar, Ambien and Wellbutrin as well. All in an attempts to control my anxiety/depression and inability to sleep. Also a little mental history - I was bullied from about the age of 9 to the age of 16. It's pretty obvious in hindsight why I was depressed/anxious. I thought the people in this world were mean. I thought everywhere I went was an unsafe place because at this time it was. In response to this I took up boxing and working out so I could become stronger than my bullies. In all honesty it worked. As soon as I became strong and in shape I became popular out of nowhere, which was an interesting transition. Anyways, that's another story for another time. At 15 I visited the doctor because I always held things to myself because I never told my parents I was being bullied or that life outside of my bedroom sucked. They just thought I was sad/depressed. Depression also runs deep in my family. My mother has been on an extreme cocktail of antidepressants since she was about 20. Although this cocktail has been quite a rollercoaster for her as well. She thought this was the only way to help. I had no one to talk to and I felt like the world was an unsafe and scary place so when the doctor prescribed anti depressants and the anxiety disappeared I thought it was a miracle. At this time the extreme side effects didn't matter to me. The fact I lost my ability to feel empathy because I was numb didn't matter because I didn't like people enough to care to empathize with them. I thought I was going to make it in this world on my own come hell or high water. This idea set me off on a path of perfectionism, egocentrism, hedonism and drug abuse. This life is not meant to be lived alone. To make sure this story doesn't become a novel I'm going to go ahead and summarize it here. For 16 years I went on a binger of sorts. Chasing all the highs this world has to offer. Whether this be dating multiple women, chasing drugs and festival culture, chasing adrenaline highs in the form of mountain biking, power lifting or cliff diving. I kept chasing thrills to fill the emotional void left by the SSRI. I also had to be perfect at this point. I had to have a straight A's in college. A quick aside (I had a long period of alcohol addiction that ran in parallel with my SSRI usage from about 16-21). This caused me to fall behind in life so I felt like I had to catch-up quick, mixed with the perfectionism created from early bullying it caused an immense amount of anxiety in my day to day life. I wasn't allowed to rest, make a mistake or simply apologize when I was wrong. This caused insane amounts of chaos in my relationships throughout these years. Finally when I hit about 31 I decided I had enough of this chaos. A 6-year relationship and all of my life long friendships finally collapsed on me. They were built on a false human. They were built on a man that didn't exist. I see myself as two people honestly. The person that was on anti-depressants is not the same human I am off them. Honestly in my mind half the withdrawal is realizing you built a life not suitable to the person you are off the medicine. I moved to a new area and started a new life. I also quit my anti-depressants. I began hiking and looking inward. It took about 6 months from the insomnia, brain zaps, panic attacks and extreme social anxiety to subside. I managed these symptoms with extreme self inquiry. I also started walking daily. I'm running out of time to write this so let me summarize this pretty quickly here. I'm not perfectly better now. I think anxiety/depression are a part of existence now. I accept there will be days I'm tired/scared and will have panic attacks, but I've learned to sit with these emotions and understand this too shall pass. Getting of my anti-depressant also gave me my empathy back. I built closer connections with people than I've had in the past 17 years. It was extremely hard to rebuild a social support system and a new life while quitting the SSRI though. I would say overall life feels deeper now though. In summary: 1) Took SSRI's for 17+ years. Felt like a zombie. I won't say it was all bad. If you are suicidal and have no other options I would say these are better than that alternative. If you believe you have any other options though I would urge you to try them all out. 2) Quit SSRI's at 32. Created a new life. 3) Anxiety/depression still exists but I now just believe these to be a part of life as opposed to something to get rid of. 4) Found a social support system that saved me, built around the real me. Sorry for jumping around so much on this post. I was trying to work from home at the same time. So I kept jumping back into it. If anyone has any questions feel free to let me know!
  20. Day 600 (March 11th 2017) 4 months shy of my two year mark. My Introduction: - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10847-%E2%98%BC-rockingchaircat-recovery-from-psychotropic-drugs-that-were-prescribed-willy-nilly/page-1 I’m a male in my early 50’s, and I’ve been on several antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Paxil, and other psychotropics (as prescribed by the pill pushing Docs): Benzos- Xanax and Ativan, and other crap. These pills do not ‘balance your neurotransmitters”, that is a lie- for there is no balance. Instead it’s more akin to a Symphony: Every neurotransmitter has its own part to play at it’s own time and place. My taper strategy was something I came up with in desperation after trying out some boneheaded strategies involving either: A) going cold turkey and then following the advice of a medical doctor. The Route: Cold Turkey- Freak Out. Go on Benzos. Reinstate Antidepressants. Taper off Benzos. Taper off Antidepressants. Lose what’s left of my mind. Try to regain it in recovery. The Cold Turkey route resulted in my freaking out, which segued me into trying out the Benzos on the advice of a medical doctor- which worked GREAT, but only for a short time. Then they stopped working completely. After a while with more of the same useless advice of “give it a few weeks” Or “increase the dose”- I got fed up with the docs and found the website: Benzo Buddies. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=122050.0 There- I learned of the Pharmaceutical Blasphemy- of the necessity of not taking pills. Then I got better advice about how to go about weaning myself off of Benzodiazepines properly. It took a few months but I managed to wean myself off of the Benzos that I was on. Then after a couple of stable months- I decided to taper off of my antidepressant ‘slowly’, as recommended by a different doctor. But, even that was faster than I should’ve tapered-. I thought at the time that my antidepressant withdrawal would take about the same time as it took me to wean myself off of the Benzos. Boy was I wrong. It took me much longer. Which doesn’t come as a surprise now- after all I’d been on more of them for longer than I was on the Benzos. My Coping mechanisms/Strategies during my withdrawal- included the following: 1) Amino acids, 2) Beans, 3) Exercise, 4) A Full Spectrum Light, 5) Hobbies, 6) The Internet, 7) Meditation, 8) Motivation 9) Music, 10) Nature, 11) (Orgasms), 12) & Sunlight. I also found it helpful to cut out chocolate, coffee, and eventually dairy products. Chocolate left me with a severe heartburn. Coffee left me an increased level of anxiousness- cutting it out decreased my anxiety by a measurable amount. And dairy foods made me sleepy- to the point that it was a miniature nasty fatigue day. My Withdrawal Problems: 1) Anxiety 2) Depression 3) Nasty Fatigue Days 4) General Fatigue 5) Cortisol Spikes 6) Mood Swings So- what was it like for me? Hell. I cannot put it any other way- It was Hell- it was the absolute WORST thing I’ve ever had to endure. Anxiety- A general fear that dogged me constantly- from the numerous times I woke up in the middle of the night, dealing with it’s intensity during the day- and then trying to cope with my existence after work and not being too terrible an Ogre to my wife, daughter, friends, and house cats. The fear had grown, to where everything wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t even read a novel- because of fear that the fictional characters were going to encounter hardship. And the boredom, despite the almost constant anxiety waves, I was bored out of my mind. Every hour felt like a day. Every night when I couldn’t fall asleep long enough to catch rest- I stared at the ceiling and tried to get my racing heart to calm down- for hours. Ironically enough- the first few hours of most nights I could sleep- until I started to dream. And when I started to dream- the Cortisol Spikes started up. But dreams are the time when you need the rest the most. Depression- will come back with a vengeance since you don’t have a pill to push it away anymore. So you must fight it. Depression is the Enemy. Depression- Lies. It will do its utmost to deny you reality. It will tell you that it’s not worth trying. But it’s all lies. Because it IS worth it, life is worth it. It’s all worth the trouble. During the early withdrawal phase- I often thought of steering my car into a tree, but I had to fight those thoughts, what I came up with: That driving into a tree was no guarantee of the release I sought. That in fact (knowing my luck) I’d be horribly injured, out of a truck, left with a massive amount of bills to pay with no way of paying for them- and lose my house, my job, and most importantly- the medical insurance my daughter needs to survive on. I refused to let myself end that way – that would’ve been a coward’s way out. In fact- just about anything and everything depression tells you isn’t ‘worth it’: IS. Try to remember this: If depression tells you it ain’t worth it- then you know it is. Nasty Fatigue- That was something I used to get on a regular basis- every two weeks or so during my early days. A depression so extreme that it was torture to get out of bed, and all I could manage was to lie around utterly depressed with existence and stare at the wall in complete and utter despair- for hours, often days. It was an effort to get up and go to the bathroom. I would eat- but only at the behest of my wife, and even then I could only manage a half sandwich- a day. Like so many other symptoms- it’s gone, but it took a while for it to go away. It didn’t so much stop as it melted away. In the depths of it- I would sleep. But it wasn’t in the least restful sleep. And the only way out of it that I could find- was to fight it. I forced myself to get up and stay awake. Words fail me- I simply do not have the words necessary to convey how difficult it was. It was stubborn- I had to out stubborn it. General Fatigue- everything was hard. I had no energy. I went so far as to have my Thyroid hormones checked. ALL of them, not just the usual ones the docs usually pawn off onto you as being ‘comprehensive’ when it’s not. But even that checked out fine. So in the end- no matter how awful I felt about it- I just forced myself to do things. Eventually, my body stopped fighting me so vigorously – and gave in. It was an uphill battle. Cortisol Spikes- During my Benzo withdrawal- I got to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night at FULL ALERT! Often- many times a night. Every time I dreamed- I woke up in a panic. Naturally- this ended up with me not having a decent night’s sleep- so I tried to compensate by increasing my napping. That didn’t work- because invariably I’d wake up after a second or two with still MORE anxiety from another Cortisol Spike. It took me over a year before I could nap again. Alas, I still have a bit of a phobia against naps now. Eventually the Cortisol Spikes increased to the point that I simply wasn’t getting sufficient rest. And in fact I broke down several times at work in hysterics- from sleep deprivation. Most, yet not all, were when no one else was around. Mood Swings- Self Pity- was the biggest one. Which often segued into Furious Rage at the seemingly endless hours of unending mental and physical torture. So how did I endure all of this withdrawal crap? By getting my Neurotransmitter Symphony working again; and how did I do that? Read on. Windows/Waves. I too got the Waves and Windows that just about everyone gets. But along the way I learned of ways to extend the Windows, and shorten the Waves. Full Spectrum Light/Sunlight- I got a window or two even during the beginning. But they didn’t occur often enough- or for that matter long enough- I’d get a few hours once a month- maybe. But there was one thing that initiated my first several day long window: A Verilux Full Spectrum light. It helped pull me out of the winter blahs and the crippling depression that came from decreased sunlight. Now though I never had another several day window start up because of it-even so it has helped in the subsequent recovery process. I’d recommend one for your own use- but I’d also recommend following the instructions- no more than a few minutes a day at first. Why? Because we’re all photo-phobic during our early withdrawal, and you might end up with a sunburn if you’re not careful. Because you need sunlight to help you get better. Our bodies- crave it. Sunlight sets our Circadian Rhythm- that same rhythm that was thrown out of whack by the pills. It helps us release Serotonin (to wake up) and Melatonin (to fall asleep), both neurotransmitters that help us. And I use mine every day. I’ve got the tan to match. Exercise- During all of my withdrawal- I exercised. For me, in earlier days (prior to my withdrawal) I had obtained and used a small work out gym set that I placed in my garage for weight training. I’m hardly buff, let alone ripped, but it has helped keep me fairly strong. And it made for a nice routine 3x a week. Additionally I had a bicycle I used for aerobic activity 3x a week. 1x a week I just didn’t do either- but even then I did something. Usually I did yard work or went for a walk. The point is- do something, anything. Even if all you can manage is one set of pushups- DO IT! Even that little bit will do you good. Walking- Walking is Good. I preferred to do that every day (weather permitting). Walking in a natural setting- it helps. I’m lucky in that I have a pine forest in which I can skirt. And the body needs that. You NEED to get out of the house. You MUST get out and get some fresh air. You’ll hate it at first, I guarantee it. But nonetheless You NEED to do that, Every-Single-Day. (And exercise is excellent dealing with the excess energy that comes with constant anxiety attacks.) Exercise comes with it’s own built in Happy Ending: The Endorphin rush. You’ll eventually get it, and crave it enough to keep going at it. Why? Because the Endorphins are another form of Neurotransmitters that you need. Amino Acids- Along about the time I started getting hysterical due to lack of sleep I was getting desperate. I was grasping at straws- and that’s when I discovered Taurine. It, along with some magnesium- was as close to a god send for my sleep as the Happy Light was for my depression and fatigue. The first couple of weeks taking Taurine/Magnesium- I was able to turn a corner and started getting something akin to a decent night’s sleep. Not much, but even that little was better than none. Nowadays- I still get the occasional middle of the night wakefulness from a Cortisol Spike- but it’s usually after a long stretch of dreaming. And with that success- I started researching into other aminos and eventually settled upon: Tyrosine, Taurine, and Theonine. They all had one thing in common. They were/are Neurotransmitter Pre-cursors. And what is a Neurotransmitter Precursor? It’s something the body can take and create a Neurotransmitter with. Now backing up a bit- what I learned at Benzobuddies- was that our brains and bodies- are inherently Lazy. Our bodies produce a Neurotransmitter called GABA. It’s used by the brain to calm things down. When we use a Benzo- the body adapts to it and stops producing GABA. That would be one thing. But our bodies are fiendish in that after we’ve gotten used to the pill- we develop ‘tolerance’- which is to say- that the pills stop working. The tolerance is when our bodies chose to stop producing the neurotransmitter we were augmenting/replacing with by using a pill. Thus if we stop using the benzo - what little defense we have against overstimulation- isn’t there in the quantities that it was prior to the pill use. This end result creates the waves and windows we all get to ‘enjoy’ during withdrawal. Our bodies still produce the needed neurotransmitters- just not often enough or in large enough quantities. And every now and again- for I’ve no idea reasons why- for a few hours or days our bodies produce just what level of them we need to feel OK. Those are the windows. But they don’t last- and the Waves of symptoms start up again. It’s the same thing with anti-depressants. The pills cause us to stop producing enough Serotonin or Dopamine (depending on what you’ve been prescribed). So what the hell are we supposed to do when we go off the pills? We need those neurotransmitters- yet we don’t produce enough of them anymore. Taking straight neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, or GABA, is counter-productive, when what we need is to get our bodies to produce them again. So after a suitable amount of self-research- I settled on the Amino Acids that are neurotransmitter precursors. Tyrosine is used by the body to create: Dopamine. Theanine is used by the body to create: Serotonin. And Taurine is used by the body to create GABA. And the nice thing is that you won’t overdose on them. Your body will use them to make ‘just enough’. The aminos helped me immensely. They didn’t cure the problem, but they took a LOT off of the rough edges and made my recovery- tolerable. It’s gotten to the point that my body does produce the necessary neurotransmitters on it’s own- that I’ve started tapering off of the aminos I’ve been taking. And on a couple of days- I’ve forgotten to take them without noticing that I hadn’t. Meditation- During all of this- I meditated when I could. Invariably during such meditations- I fell asleep. But even that helped in its own way. It helped me learn how to suppress in a small way the anxiety that did occur- a bit of biofeedback that helped me learn to calm down and distract myself. The suppression techniques still come in handy even now on day 600, and I imagine that they’ll still be doing me good for years to come. Though in the early days I often just wrapped myself in a heavy comforter, turned on the room fan, and stared off into space for hours while sitting on the bed in the middle of the night, and I’d do the same on the weekends both during the day and night. Hobbies- Do something you enjoy- or did. Go back to it. Even if it’s a mighty burden, sit yourself down and work on your hobby. Even if it takes you an hour- to do something that you have done in seconds before- do it. Eventually- you’ll remember the fun that you had with it before. You’ll notice that by immersing yourself into it- you can ignore the pain for a bit. Naturally you’ll look forward to doing it again. Me? I work on spaceship models. And from what I’ve learned- by taking the time to do even 5 minutes a day, and doing it slow- I do a much better job on them now. See- I learned something. Internet- I spent many an hour researching these conditions that fell into my lap. Such research led me to Benzo Buddies and Surviving Antidepressants. But it also made me appreciate how wonderful that the internet can be when it comes to distracting myself from my pain. I read somewhere that we all get a dose of Dopamine when we open another interesting page on the net. Hey- whatever works. Online games- such as Lumosity- give me something to gauge my progress in such things as fine motor skills, memory skills, and Hand/Eye coordination- all of which has suffered during the worst of my withdrawal. Of late- I’ve been trying the stuff I had to cut out: Chocolate, Coffee, Dairy foods. I’m back to eating those things again, and in fact it does make feel better to be able to do so. Chocolate makes me feel good after eating a bit. Coffee makes me feel good after drinking it. I had my first slice of pizza just the other day- it felt good after eating it. (I imagine that if I eat too much of the above I won’t be feeling quite so good- after seeing what my bathroom scale has to say!) Motivation- It’s what kept me going. What kept me going? My Wife, My Daughter- they are what kept me going. (And my Mom- she made me promise to keep going too). (No Dad though- that’s another story) I was needed - my family needed me. It wasn’t much. But sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going- was the thought that they needed me. I cannot remember how many times I woke up just as it was time to get up- and simply didn’t want to keep going anymore. I didn’t want to face yet another day of constant anxiety or fear. But I got up and did it anyways. Snuggles with the wife- helped me, the physical touch was something I needed. And Snuggles releases a neurotransmitter- Oxytocin. And there were some phrases that helped motivate me through many a hard day- and they’re still something I occasionally have to fall back on when things get tough mentally: 1) Be Here Now 2) Accept 3) Pain is Mandatory- Suffering is Optional These three phrases tie in with each other. #1 Be Here Now; is the motivation that you are only in the now- and for you to not fixate upon the timeline of your withdrawal. The past is done, the future will come, but it’s best to focus on the immediate now and what you can do with it. #2 is about the immediate now- refusing to accept what’s going on in withdrawal will just make it worse. By Accepting that this is the way things are- you actually gain a sort of control over it all # 3- There is the Pain of Withdrawal- you can find ways to cope with the pain. Suffering is what comes about when you refuse to accept what is. You can choose to not be the person subjected to an endless misery of withdrawal. Yes I was in Withdrawal- but I choose to be more than a person in withdrawal- I chose instead to try and enjoy life as much as I could in between the wave crests. In both my benzo and antidepressant withdrawal blogs- I griped something fierce about it all. For that I make no apology. For I also chose to try and grab onto whatever little pleasures and triumphs I could garner when I was able to. Nature- There’s something about the forest, or even alone time next to a lake that helped me to calm down after a particularly grueling week or day. I got a few spiritual moments from the interplay of light in the clouds along with the wind in the leaves. Those few moments came at a time that I needed them. Music- I remember reading in a Science Magazine- that Music gets just about every area in the brain running. And that’s something that you need. The pills make our brains ‘soft’, music helps reboot it, it’ll evoke memories both good and bad. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh. And that’s what you need to do to get your neurotransmitters kicking in again. Beans- So what’s the big to do about beans? Gastrointestinal Health is paramount. Even though all of the other stuff I’ve listed above helped- I’ve also still had a number of problems involving Cortisol Spikes, the one thing that helped me well with that (after the Taurine) were Beans. I’ve found that the addition of a couple of tablespoons worth of Black Beans with dinner- seemed to lessen the number and frequency of Cortisol Spikes. I’m not exactly sure why this happens- though I have my suspicions. From what I understand- they’re a good source of something called Oligosaccharides. I learned about them after watching a documentary about Human Breast Milk. Apparently- Human Breast Milks’ primary ingredients include: 1) Water, 2) Fats, 3) Proteins, and 4) Oligosaccharides. So what are they? They’re a form of sugar that humans cannot digest. Now why on earth would humans produce something that babies cannot digest? Apparently the oligosaccharides are digested by a form of bacteria in the human gut- Beneficial Bacteria. The kind of bacteria that not only promotes our health in our guts but also helps us from - amongst other things- getting depressed. Long story short- Beans help you calm down and helps to prevent you from getting depression. Weird huh? Orgasms- Orgasms make you feel better. Orgasms release several feel good neurotransmitters. If you can- go for it. Hitachi wands are helpful in that regard for some folks. What’s it like for me now? I still get depressive. I still have bad days. But I’m also having good days. I’m enjoying life again. My hobbies are fun again. I’m spending time with my wife enjoying the amenities that my house and internet has to offer. (Netflix!) I’m honestly laughing again. For the longest time I forced myself to. After a while- I was able to give an honest laugh. That was a relief. Laughing- makes me feel better. Now- I can laugh spontaneously. Laughter releases Neurotransmitters. Crying- that too was near impossible for me. Now- I cry every few days. Crying- makes me feel better. I’m not up to crying spontaneously- but I’m working on it. I appreciate the time I have with my wife. I appreciate the time I have with my daughter. These times are so precious to me now. Weight loss- I still get hungry and I’m inclined to overeat if I’m not careful. Somehow I’ve still managed to lose about three pants sizes. I’ve still a ways to go, but such is a nice feeling. On the antidepressants- even mild hunger felt like I starving to death. In fact, there were times that I kept shoving food down my throat despite being so full that I was vomiting out food- but I was still famished- I couldn't achieve satiation. Now- it’s not. It’s bearable. I feel hunger, and it’s easily satisfied. I’ve lost a lot of my health due to trusting the medical doctors. I now am short one gall bladder- due to the gastrointestinal upsets my body underwent from the initial cold turkey. It was a journey of discovery for me when I found out that so many medical doctors- just don’t give a damn about folks’ suffering. Compassion Fatigue it’s called. My antidepressants- also caused me to react to allergens even more violently- I now need a CPAP to breathe at night- due to an Emergency Room visit in which some idiot botched my intubation during a visit due to a food impaction in my esophagus caused by a food allergy. During that little escapade they also managed to pierce my esophagus and I came close to needing a transfusion. And it managed to screw up my trachea too, Joy. For some reason- I find I cannot trust the Medicos as much as I did before. Why should I? They give us pills when they know they shouldn’t. During my withdrawal- I ended up going to the ER at least 6 or 7 times for things. On 5 of those visits- they gave me a scrip for Oxycodone tablets. Only two of which I put in for at the time. The other 3 I just tore up and threw away. And of those I kept- I used maybe a half dozen tablets- the rest of the contents of the bottles- I threw away. Day 600. March 11, 2017. 4 months shy of my two year mark. That’s the two year mark after tapering off of my antidepressant. That’s not including the time I spent from going cold turkey to now. Let’s see, including that turns out to be: 1048 days. Nasty. I’ve lost nearly 2 decades of my life to this crap. Thanks for nothing there Mr. Hippocratic Oath. And I’ve found that I’ve been having an issue with a short temper quite often of late. It could be a form of PTSD, it could be part of my personality that I’ve always had but never learned to control or channel. If so- then it’s past time for me to learn some anger/frustration management techniques. Which I'm doing now. Now, I'm having to relearn how to be a mature and responsible adult. It's an interesting time.
  21. I’m a man in my early 40’s. I grew up an athlete and all around good kid. I learned how to drink in my late teens within the binge drinking culture, and continued to binge drink from probably late 17 to early 40. I could rarely drink casually. I wanted to drink to feel good. I wanted to drink to get drunk. For years, I would binge maybe once or twice a week, as I was poor and still pretty physically fit. Not every day, but toward the end, I was drinking pretty much every day. I drank all through my time on SSRI’s as well. I absolutely CRAVED alcohol when I was on Lexapro. Outside of alcohol, I smoked some pot a handful of times in my late teens and early 20's, but that was a short lived phase. Around 1999, (I was in my early to mid 20’s), my Dr. put me on Paxil. I was suffering some depression following a relationship breakup. I can't recall much about it, other than I wasn't on it for long. I gained a bunch of weight and didn't think it was doing much for me. He had me quit cold turkey, and I don't believe I had many, if any withdrawal symptoms. In 2001, I got engaged to my now wife, Kim, and had some pretty major obsessive and anger issues. I was drinking more regularly at this time and I'd carried baggage into our relationship. When we would argue or fight, I'd get all wound up and become fixated on things that I couldn't let go of. I'd drive them into the ground and keep on driving them. My Dr. suggested Celexa. He either started me on 10 or 20mg, not sure. It seemed to work. In 2002-2004, a friend of mine was on Celexa too, and was switched to Lexapro because it supposedly had more of what we needed and less of what we didn't. I asked my Dr. if I could make the switch too and he switched me to Lexapro, 20mg. I tried a handful of times over the years to come off, but would become a wreck. I didn't know any better, so I tried cold turkey the first few times. Every time, I went back on. Dr's would ask me why I was trying to stop taking it and tell me that it was like a vitamin for some people, that I just needed to take it. Like a diabetic needs insulin, I had a deficiency and I needed my Lexapro, is what they'd tell me. I heard along the way that SSRI's should be tapered off of, not quit cold turkey. Somewhere in there, within the last 5 to 7 years, I went from 20mg to 10mg, by biting my pills in half. I didn't suffer too much, so I stayed at 10mg. 2013-2014, I took on a big home addition project that put me under an immense amount of stress. I was drinking heavily, and pretty much daily. When it came to an end, I decided to clean up my act. I had tried to stop drinking several times over the years, but couldn't. I went to AA meetings, but thought that 'Those People' had some serious problems, I just drank too much. In the summer of 2015, I missed a few days of my Lexapro for whatever reason, so when I started taking it again, I bit my pills in quarters and only took 5mg. I did this for a month or two and then went to zero. I felt weepy and cried from time to time and thought I was having a heart attack one day after drinking a couple of energy drinks and getting my skidloader stuck in a creek behind my house. I came inside and sat down. The feeling passed in time and I continued on. Late October of 2015, I got really drunk at a bonfire that we had for our kids birthdays. We had taken on new friends from church and homeschooling stuff, and they all looked at me like I was the odd ball. It was a party, and I was there to party. That night, I was SO sick. I slept beside the toilet on the cold tile floor. The next day or two were Hell. I got on my hands and knees and begged Jesus to take the burden of my drinking away. I'd never prayed so hard in my life. Something happened. Something changed in me. Jesus Christ answered my prayers. I completely lost my desire to binge drink. So, I quit drinking. Just after Christmas 2015, I had my 1st 'Episode'. I was stressed out about everything. I had been a complete ******* recently. Before bed one night, I was bawling because I thought we were ruining one of our sons by the way we were treating him. Yelling, and such. When I tried to go to sleep, as I'd drift off, my whole body would jolt like I was getting struck by lightning. My brain and body would jump into fight of flight mode. I was having extreme abstract intrusive thoughts and my anxiety was off the charts. I didn't know what was going on and could not get any sleep. I thought I was suffering alcohol withdrawal, or even PTSD from the home project, but I couldn't find anything on jolts and alcohol withdrawal or PTSD on the Internet. Whatever it was, I was in total mania and panic. 3 days and nights of this and I started having my first ever suicidal ideations, so I checked myself into the hospital. I was SO scared!!! I was there through the 2016 New Year, and given an Ambien the last night I was there. I actually slept!!! I met with a psychiatrist, therapist and my DO Dr. regularly afterward. The psych started me out on Prozac and something else that acts as a helper. Maybe Wellbutrin? I didn't like how they made me feel, so I asked to be put back on Lexapro because I knew it had worked for me before. He switched me to Lexapro, wanting me to take 20mg, but I only took 10mg because I knew I eventually wanted to get completely off the stuff. After a while, I leveled out and felt good again. I still wasn't binge drinking, but I could and would have a beer or two occasionally because I wanted the taste, not because I wanted the buzz. I had maybe 5 beers in that first year, total. Zero hard alcohol. And about the same for the next 2 years following. I can actually have a beer or two casually and not want to binge. Right now though, I am not drinking a drop of alcohol. The summer of 2018, I've really cleaned up my act. I'm back in the gym regularly, eating pretty darn healthy, not drinking and feeling pretty darn good. My 25 year class reunion was coming up in June and I got stressed or felt weird about it for whatever reason. A couple of days out from it, and I had my 2nd 'Episode'. Not quite as bad as the 1st, but pretty darn bad. Since my 1st, I had determined that it was more due to SSRI withdrawal than it was alcohol withdrawal or PTSD, so I couldn't figure this 2nd one out. I was on a steady dose of Lexapro 10mg a day and took it like clockwork. I weathered the storm that lasted about 7 days. It was almost identical to my 1st, except the brain/body jolts weren't quite as bad. I started working with a Naturopathic Dr. that has been treating our son for a few years. My Naturopathic Dr. started me on a remedy of arsenicum album and a bunch of vitamins and probiotic. I told her that one of my goals was to get completely off of Lexapro. About a month into treatment, I'd leveled out and met with my Dr. again. She asked if I still wanted to quit Lexapro and I said yes. So in July 2018, I started splitting my pills again and went from 10mg to 5mg. THIS WAS A MISTAKE!!! It was too much, too quickly. I had my 3rd 'Episode' in July or August. I had my 4th 'Episode' in mid-October. My 5th in November (Thanksgiving), and now my 6th over Christmas. They still last about 7 days, but they're getting closer together and I'm not fully recovering from the last one before I roll into the next one. I'm still on 5mg of Lexapro (but full 5mg pills now) and all of my vitamins, probiotic, and my remedy from my Naturopathic Dr. I've lost a ton of weight that yo-yo's between when I'm doing well and not doing well. When I'm in the throes of an 'Episode' I completely lose my appetite. I have to force feed myself. I wake up around 3:30 with my first jolt or adrenaline rush and extreme anxiety, unable to go back to sleep due to other jolts and abstract intrusive thoughts and extreme anxiety. I go to suicidal thoughts pretty quickly now because I'm exhausted from all of this and am going quite mad. I am completely restless and go from pacing the floors to crying and praying to God, to hugging and telling my wife how scared I am and how much I love her. I LOVE God and my family and do NOT want to kill myself. It is sickening to know how suicidal I am feeling.
  22. Hello all, I am currently undergoing Escitalopram withdrawal. My journey with ADs began in my 20’s. Even though I was a moody teenager that experienced depression, I was able to manage my symptoms until I reached my college years. Because of experimenting with MDMA (terrible mistake), I landed in a deep depression and was put on Zoloft in late 2018. I didn’t like how it made me feel and discontinued it for a few months. I was put on Escitalopram 10mg in April 2019 and I took it fully until January 2022 (~2 years 8 months). I began tapering in January 2022 and ended by February 2022. I felt fine (or so I thought!) until May when I began birth control that brought on depression and anxiety. I think the hormones triggered my sensitive CNS. I stopped the birth control in late June as soon as I realized it was big source the feelings and began feeling better - I felt a window of hope for two weeks in early July 2022. However, I later made the mistake of thinking I was recovered and drank wine two days in a row. This caused a crazy spike in anxiety the following morning. (Through this wonderful site, I now realize that is mistake and will now stay away from alcohol). That same July morning I had a tough conversation with my partner where he expressed his sadness at seeing me so emotionally distraught for months on end. For his sake and mine, I wanted to be better so badly — I spoke to a telehealth nurse practitioner and got a prescription for 5mg lexapro. Despite being AD free for 5 months, I took it in desperation. I quickly realized I made a mistake and I didn’t want to reinstate antidepressants. I only took that one dose of 5mg. When I took it I felt my anxiety lift slightly and was ok, but the following day I felt extreme morning fatigue, some nausea and anxiety again. It’s now been a week since the 5mg dose: my head hurts, I’m tired, and I feel anxious/sad. I’m catastrophizing everything. I’m worried I undid all the progress I made because of that one 5mg pill. Do you think I am kindled due to the brief reinstatement or is this a continuation of the withdrawal? I am concerned that my recovery may be prolonged due to the reinstatement mistake but I’m hopeful. All I can do is hope to heal by continuing exercise, going to therapy, and abstaining from alcohol. Thank you all for the work you do here. You’re amazing people.
  23. Hello everyone- my story began in early April when coronavirus was just shutting everything down. The quick story is I have a history of anxiety that I managed with exercise(gym)and diet, etc. When everything shut down, my anxiety went through the rough and my coping mechanisms were all hampered. I had a panic attack. My sleep was suffering. A good friend is a pcp and I reached out to her on a Saturday (April18) for help and she started me on Zoloft 100mg and buspar 10mg 2 x a day. My initial 2 days of buspar were actually only 5 mg total per day. At her request, I followed up with my pcp that Monday April 20. This PCP was new to me as mine had retired. Anyway, my sleep actually got worse when I started the meds. My PCP added trazadone 50mg as needed To help with sleep. I took that on april 20 but it did nothing so I called my new pcp on Tuesday April 21. I told her what happened and I asked could the Zoloft be affecting my sleep? I told her I had taken it at night and maybe that was the issue. Her answer was probably not and I needed to relax. She switched me to lexapro at that point. So I started 5 mg of lexapro April 22nd. she also added ambien. I took ambien for 3 nights total. I also tried trazadone maybe 2 more times as well in April. i switched my care to a psych NP as I thought it made sense. Starting in May 1st I was upped to 10 mg of lexapro. It was in May I started to think the meds were the root of my sleep issue. I was having a completely different sleep pattern than when I started the meds. Before meds it was more I couldn’t fall asleep. After meds it was I could stay asleep and it was very light sleep. So decided to taper off buspar for about a week where I took 5 mg 2x a day. I finished taking it on May 27. June 1 I asked my psych NP to come off the lexapro. He recommended I cut down to 5 mg. I did this for 2.5 weeks and at that appointment my psych NP told me I could stop. I decided to cut down to 2.5 mg for 1 week and then 1.25 for 9 days. I came off on July 4. April 18-Zoloft 100mg and 20 mg buspar April 20- trazadone 50mg April 21 - change to ambien 2.5 mg April 22- started lexapro 5 in place of zoloft April 25- stopped ambien April 27,28- tried trazadone 50 mg But stopped May 1- Lexapro 10 mg May 18- buspar reduced to 5 mg 2 x a day May 27- stopped buspar June 1- lexapro reduced to 5 mg June 3-5- trazadone - when I realized it was an SSRI I stopped. June 18- lexapro 2.5 mg June 25 - lexapro 1.25 mg July 4 - off My current withdrawal pattern seems to have windows and waves. My sleep quality seems better but duration fluctuates. Typically I sleep 4-5 hours then have a hard time falling asleep. Occasionally I have fallen back to sleep and I’ll get 7-8 hours total which is encouraging. I was having nightmares, vivid dreams and some very light sleep but that seems better. I’ve had some days with depression, anxiety, joint pains, brain fog, memory issues, ruminating thoughts, GI issues, weakness and fatigue. Things seem to fluctuate. Yesterday was a good day. I felt tired but almost normal. Today not so much. So I’m thinking waves and windows? Supplements: omega 3 1000 mg 3x a day magnesium glycinate 400-600 mg melatonin 1 mg vitamin C 1000 mg probiotics i walk 4-5 miles per day. any thoughts? thanks!
  24. Moderator Note: link to Moonpie's benzo thread - Moonpie: Need help Ativan weight tapering My name is Moonpie. I feel so blessed to have found this site. I was put on Ativan and BuSpar and Lexapro, one at a time for a medication thyroid mess up. For eight months my thyroid was going crazy in my anxiety was off the charts. It normalized in March and I am trying to take her off the Ativan. I'm extremely sensitive to it. I just realized I have been doing a 5 per cent reduction instead of 10 and I have still had withdrawl symptoms! I am using a file and a jeweler scale. My taper started at .069 in weight and I am down to .035 in all three doses. But I think I took a little too much off last time and for the past week I've had panic anxiety nausea and depression. I am holding this reduction on the third dose for 3 weeks now as strong symptoms started the end of last week and continue. I had labs done to see if it was thyroid and am waiting on results. My 1st question is, should I be tapering on only one dose until it goes to zero instead of doing 1 every two weeks. Because if I continue this way I will go off of all of them at the same time. I appreciate any help. Have really been discouraged and frightened With this past symptoms
  25. I am desperate for some help. My story is long, so if you read it entirely, I sincerely appreciate it. I was on SSRI's for about 18 years, since age 11. I added in wellbutrin for about the last 7 years to counteract the side effects of celexa and lexapro. Eventually I had to add in buspar because my anxiety was uncontrolled. I felt better for a while, but when it got worse, I decided to see a psychiatrist. My primary doctor had been prescribing my meds previously. The psychiatrist tried me on zoloft, lamictal, paxil, and abilify. At the end of it, I was on paxil, wellbutrin, and abilify. I had taken abilify for 10 days and had a night where I vomited 6 times; I had not vomited in about 10 years. My psychiatrist told me she felt I had serotonin syndrome and instructed me to discontinue all of my meds immediately. She gave me klonopin to get through withdrawal. I trusted her and did not know any better. I thought I would be okay. I had all of the typical withdrawal symptoms, but shortly after, started to experience new symptoms/injuries/illnesses. I started having panic attacks which I never had before. I started to have muted and painful orgasms, and then came pudendal nerve pain. I tried to reinstate antidepressants 4 months later, but they have only made me feel worse. I'm experiencing side effects I've never had before, even on AD's I've previously been on with no issues. I will attach a medication timeline and a symptom timeline. I have a new psychiatrist and he does not know how to help me except to keep trying me on medications. I'm terrified of them now, but all in the same, I know I can't stay this disabled for an indefinite amount of time. I lost my job due to dizziness/dysautonomia/swaying etc. If anyone has any advice for me, I would really appreciate it. I'm feeling very lost and alone and terrified. I saw numerous specialists who all told me I had anxiety and needed pills; not that my brain and body are injured and destabilized. As of today I am still on klonopin (0.25mg twice daily) and tapering off of lexapro 0.5mg every 4 weeks (currently at 1.5mg, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, set to decrease to 1mg on saturday 1/1/22). I cannot taper off klonopin until I'm done with the lexapro taper. April 29th- discontinued paxil (20mg) and Wellbutrin XL (150mg) May 2021- muted and painful orgasms May 2021- numbness/tingling in extremities May 2021- panic attacks started July 4, 2021- pudendal neuralgia/tailbone pain started July 2021- waves of depression started July 20, 2021- carvedilol increased from 1 q12h to 1 AM and 2 PM August 11, 2021- BPPV maneuver (half somersault)- PPPD started August 13, 2021- mouth twitching (due to Compazine) August 25, 2021- clonazepam prescribed by primary doctor August 31, 2021- jaw clenching (due to Trintellix prescribed by primary doctor) August 2021- hair falling out in clumps September 2021- dysautonomia/POTS started September 2021 (after reinstating Lexapro per psychiatrist)- RLS, migraines, tinnitus, ear ringing, constant music in my head again October 2021- rashes started October 2021- PPPD diagnosed after vestibular testing October 2021- left shoulder popping October 2021- brain fog, memory issues, trouble word recalling November 2021- muscle spasms (everywhere) November 7, 2021- left knee popping November 7, 2021- right shoulder pain November 11, 2021- right shoulder popping November 11, 2021- jaw popping November 12, 2021- cold sensation and nerve sensations coming from tailbone November 15, 2021- right shoulder pain and weakness November 16, 2021- decreased carvedilol back to 1 q12h December 9, 2021- blisters on top of hives December 10, 2021- cardiologist confirmed dysautonomia due to discontinuing antidepressants December 10, 2021- medial right knee pain December 24, 2021- pudendal neuralgia symptoms back to square one (pins and needles, burning, stabbing, hypersensitivity and severe pain) Celexa from 2003-2011 Cymbalta for 5 days in 2009- felt horrible like I was dying Celexa + Wellbutrin from 2011-2014 Lexapro + Wellbutrin from 2014- 03/2017 Lexapro + Wellbutrin + Buspar from 03/2017-2018 Lexapro + Wellbutrin + Buspar + Carvedilol (carvedilol introduced for physical forms of anxiety high BP high HR) from 2018-2020 Zoloft + Wellbutrin + Buspar + Carvedilol from Dec. 2020- Feb. 2021 Zoloft + Wellbutrin + Carvedilol + Lamotrigine (lamotrigine 2 weeks) Feb. 2021- lamotrigine caused stiff neck, increased anxiety, short term memory loss, overall floaty feeling in my head Zoloft + Wellbutrin + Carvedilol March 2021- zoloft helped with ocd and depression, but not anxiety Last dose of Zoloft April 1st Paxil + Wellbutrin + Carvedilol March 2021- April 2021- still had some anxiety with paxil April 15th, 2021- April 18th, 2021- trazodone 50mg April 19th-April 28th – Abilify added. On the 28th, up all night vomiting/diarrhea April 29th, 2021- discontinued meds cold turkey at Jaime Mendoza’s instruction (except carvedilol)- suspected serotonin syndrome 5/19/21-5/23/21 Seroquel (12.5mg)- made me very dizzy and I was already very dizzy from withdrawal (pre pppd) 6/22/21-6/30/21 Prozac (10mg)- heart was racing and pounding, chest hurt, increased blood pressure. Instructed to stop and see cardiologist: heart monitor and echocardiogram normal, cleared to take meds on 8/20 8/20/21- Pristiq er (50mg)- severe diarrhea, nausea, woke up at 1am having a panic attack, face green, eyes dilated, shaking, sweating and about to vomit 8/31/21-9/22/21 Trintellix (5mg)- jaw clenching, teeth clicking, brain zaps, increased dizziness, increased anxiety, nausea/vomiting, increased headaches, dry mouth, vivid and frightening dreams, increased panic attacks and pseudoseizures, itching, some blurry vision, gas, worsening depression, irritability 9/23/21-10/8/21 Lexapro (5mg)- Palpitations/pounding heart (mostly at night), Ear ringing, Tinnitus, Bad dizziness/off balance/increased 3pd, Nausea, Racing thoughts, Restlessness, restless leg syndrome 10/9/21-11/5/21 Lexapro (2.5mg) 11/6/21-12/3/21 Lexapro (2mg) 12/4/21-12/31/21 Lexapro (1.5mg) 1/1/21-1/28/22 Lexapro (1mg) 1/29/22-2/25/22 Lexapro (0.5mg)
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