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  1. Link to Benzo Forum Thread - Shep's Journey Link to French translation (courtesy of Erell): Se libérer de la psychiatrie - Shep : « Quitter la caverne de Platon » Leaving Plato’s Cave In Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave,” a group of human beings are chained since birth in a dark cave where a fire casts shadows of the world upon the walls. The shadows are all the prisoners know to be true. But one day, a prisoner breaks free and wanders out into the world. Her eyes are blinded by the sudden blast of sunlight and she is unsure of her reality and at times, longs to be back inside the familiar darkness. But as her eyes adjust, she is in awe of this new reality — people, nature, her own reflection! When she returns to the cave, the other prisoners laugh at her story in disbelief. . . . And so I left psychiatry — a dark cave of drug dependency, incarceration, deception, violence, mystification, and social control. The empty shadows on the walls that message this non-reality based belief system of mythical “mind diseases” fade out and a beautiful new reality unfolds before me. After 30 years, success from such an experience is a process, not a singular event. There may still be some unexpected waves, but that will allow the experience of re-emerging from periods of darkness with even more skill and resilience. For me, this part of the journey is very similar to the final phase of the grieving process. As Francis Weller reminds us in the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow, grief is sacred work. It’s an important teacher and should be honored, not feared. When symptoms are viewed as teachers and guides and you walk with them with curiosity and not fear, leaving Plato’s Cave turns into a journey of adventure and skill building. My signature symptom was - and is - DP/DR (depersonalization / derealization) and the lessons taught are in mindfulness and becoming The Observer. (I wrote about The Observer in several places in my benzo thread). I still have some lingering DP/DR, but this is a symptom I carry out of the cave with me, as I'm still learning from it and no longer view it as a problem but as a valued guide. Never give up — your new world awaits you. For many of us, it’s a brutal trip. So travel lightly and listen carefully to what your teachers and guides are telling you. As painful and confusing as it is, these symptoms are here for a reason. At five years off all drugs (from 30 years use), I can now: Run 30 - 60 minutes, four days a week, along with doing yoga and strength training. Runner’s high is beautiful! Bike 30 miles a week - urban cycling is now my main transportation to and from work because of subway and bus delays due to COVID-19 Work 40 - 45 hours a week (was unemployed for around 9 months due to severe akathisia and DP/DR) See the world with 20/20 vision (with glasses) - since last August (before that, my focus was in and out and I wasn’t able to get an accurate eyeglass prescription) Read books with a high level of concentration during windows. I get lost in activities now and experience a sense of “flow” when reading, working, exercising, and playing music for hours at a time Feel music deeply to the point of being moved to tears at times Experience powerful levels of spirituality and connection with the universe Sleep a restful 6 - 7.5 hours a night most nights (Netflix is a treat when insomnia hits now because I know the insomnia wave will pass and I like the excuse to watch movies in my favorites list) About me: 52-year-old female, currently working full time, no family, studio apartment, still navigating my way back into more social situations, complicated by the city’s partial shut-down due to COVID-19. Entry into psychiatric drugs: forced “treatment” in private and state psychiatric prisons off and on from the age of 17 until 21 for so-called “psychosis.” Gaslighted into long-term drug compliance with the lie that neuroleptics are a neuro-protective agent against brain damage caused by so-called “psychosis.” Never told about dopamine supersensitivity or tardive dysphoria. Drug and label history: 30 years of neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, z-drugs, so-called “anti”-depressants, and amphetamines. Labeled with “manic depression” and “PTSD” from years of physical and sexual abuse as a child. The “chemical imbalance” myth dominated the narrative because psychiatry replicates the patriarchal and paternalistic abuses of the nuclear family (and the larger political structure) within a medicalized context. This is not an accident. This is how the system is designed. Date of last drug taken: May 22, 2015 Reason for exiting the cave: After having spent more than 25 years working low-level jobs and bouncing from here to there, I descended into cognitive decline with voices and visuals, disassociation, akathisia, and suicidal thoughts. A psychiatrist suggested another change in drugs but — too fast, too soon, leading to a nervous system crash. After being threatened with forced “treatment” in the state psychiatric prison again in early 2014, I found Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic in a random Google search on my phone. The realization I had been poisoned was enough for me to control my behavior and save myself from further “treatment.” The psychiatric system disables and kills people. That’s not an abstract concept when you’re at the receiving end of forced “treatment.” Method of coming off psychiatric drugs: cold turkey and rapid taper off a cocktail of Seroquel, Viibryd, Klonopin, Sonata, Dexedrine, and Halcion (NOTE: I do NOT recommend this method of withdrawal - I didn’t find the withdrawal forums until I was almost completely off all drugs. Stay safe and taper if at all possible). Favorite non-drug coping skills: Shep’s Toolkit. For me, the non-drug coping skills were not optional. I still refer to this list and have tons more bookmarked in folders on my laptop. Mooji and Alan Watts are still my go-to sources for calming. The un-patienting process: During recovery, I began reading a lot of anti-psychiatry literature. Dr. Phil Hickey’s article sums it up well - In Defense of Anti-Psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry gave me the language to understand and name the world around me. Dr. Thomas Szasz is a major influence in my understanding of this world. He understood the power structure of psychiatry better than anyone I've read so far. Dr. Bruce Cohen's Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness helped me understand psychiatry's political structure. Psychiatry is about power and politics, not medicine. Psychiatry is not broken. The system was designed this way. Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and cannot be reformed. It needs to be abolished. To not message this would be to condone a form of structural violence that not only has disabled and killed millions of people, it also maintains and even furthers the systemic social and economic injustices these individuals represent. I hope one day, those still trapped in Plato’s Cave will be released and the cave will be sealed shut.
  2. Wow, ok, so how to keep this short and simply while maintaining details. I was on 10mg of Viibryd for 9 months + 2 months of taper from September 2018 through July 2019. I was on half of minimum recommended maintenance dose of 20mg because after 10 days, the 10mg was high effective and my doctor is someone who is very conservative with medications. I was on the medication for depression due to a loss compounded by my career taking a scary hit. I had "agitated depression". Taper was totally uneventful - maybe a brain zap here or there when falling asleep. Nothing more. 3.5 months later, at the start of December 2019, I suddenly was hit with symptoms. First, it started with intense skin sensitivity where everything that I wore felt like an itchy wool sweater. This worsened to include stinging sensations which made me very restless, almost 24/7. At worst, it felt like I had a bad sunburn (feeling the sharp pain of skin cell nerve damage), and at best it felt like my skin was just uncomfortable. I always feel my skin to be there and requiring to be touched/rubbed to be soothed. Sometimes, it also feels like my skin is dry even though it isn't. Lastly, I have plenty of days where it feels like my skin is on fire. While the stinging has subsided for the most part, the other sensations continue. Unfortunately, these are not the worst of my symptoms. I've developed other debilitating symptoms which include days long sessions of jitteriness. It feels like I have had way too much coffee, and at times, I can feel my jaw chattering. I also get tingling in my head and upper spine that sometimes feels like tickling and this also lasts days. Sometimes the tingling is so bad, that I take a vibrating massager and hold it to the back of my neck to vibrate my brain, which temporarily soothes the tingling. All of this is of course accompanied by restlessness. I just want to squirm, either to relieve skin sensations or because I am jittery. A couple of times, the restlessness has gotten so bad that I felt like I was going to explode out of my body. I live in NYC and have access to really great doctors through my mother, but no one has really been able to help. I have had a brain MRI which showed no issues. I have had a skin biopsy, which was also clear (no signs of nerve damage). I have also had approximately 2 dozen blood tests checking for everything from hormone levels, to mast cell activation, to toxicity - all normal. Lastly, I have tried many medications, none of which hit the spot. Gabapentin for skin sensations was not useful at low doses and caused its own side effects. Valium/Xanax help with restlessness but not with jitteriness and skin sensations. Propranolol helps with jitteriness but not with the other symptoms. Low dose buspirone helped with the skin sensations but was not effective otherwise. My doctor does not deny that there could be a biochemical issue as a result of the Viibryd, but says we have to treat this as anxiety, regardless of the cause. The one thing we haven't tried is reinstatement, but it's now been 13 months, and she is against that. The symptoms are definitely getting worse not better. Any ideas? Thank you all!
  3. Here's my story: Looking to wean down off zyprexa and eventually ziibryd (SSRI), I have only been on these kind of meds since Aug 2021. Hoping to get off sooner than later. Battling some anxiety, restlessness and feeling numb, no emotion, not who I was before all this happened. Peace! I got Covid in August 2021, didn't sleep the whole time I had it. About 10-12 days in I went into what they call psychosis. I told people in the Emergency Room that God took His Spirit from me, I tried to jump out of the car, had severe severe anxiety at that time too. The ER put me out and I woke up the next day, they admitted me to the mental health floor. They put me on numerous drugs, so many I can't remember them all. I was sleeping at night due to the heavy medications, I was still agitated and battled anxiety. I know one medicine I was on was risperidone, resteril, a sleeping medicine and adavan as needed for anxiety. I was there for 7-8 days and then release to home. I was then seen by family doctor, she knew me because we lived in same neighborhood, she could tell I wasn't myself. She then wanted to ween me off of the risperidone, over the course of a week. That drug was horrible and I my body didn't like coming off of it, so much so that I was scared of people including my own family, I felt like I was on the "bad side". Had suicidal thoughts. I then was sent to another ER and went to a mental health facility and was there for 3 weeks. I was on risperidone and zoloft and mid way they switched me to zyprexa. After 3 weeks I got discharged and started 20 mg zyprexa in October and 150mg zoloft. I was also give trazadone for sleep if I needed it, well I quit taking that because the zyprexa helped with sleep. I have been at home since October and am now on 5mg of Zyprexa and 20 mg viibryd. I take several supplements- vitamin C, Magnesium, zinc, B complex, vitamin D3, omega 3 fish oil. My gut health probably isn't where it should be. Really do good to exercise everyday and eat healthy for the most part. I have to force myself to exercise. I used to really enjoy working out, hiking and etc. I have not felt myself since this whole thing started. I don't have any real desires, emotion. Looking to wean off zyprexa even more.
  4. ADMIN NOTE moved initial posts from Mission of Surviving Antidepressants Hello. What do you exactly mean "if the symptoms are from and adverse or paradoxical reaction to medication, the medication has to be gradually withdrawn for recovery."? Is three to four months of gradual withdrawel enough? Thats what I did.
  5. I am a grandmother of 5. My two adult daughters walked out of my life almost 7 years ago and I haven't seen them or the kids. After going through the worst hell you can imagine I finally found a doctor that put me on the right meds, but after two years I can't deal with the side effects any longer. Horrible dreams, excessive weakness and staying away from people as much as possible. The meds relieved the crying, shaking and general sadness but I'm ready to get my life back. I've come off Buscar and am now weaning off Viibryd. I'm 68 and this has not been easy. I raised my three children alone with zero help from their father but that was nothing compared to the difficulty of discontinuing the meds. I pray I never use them again. God bless you.
  6. Hello Everyone! I feel like I am joining this community as part of the "last mile" of my journey to finally kick these SSRI in the teeth and I am excited to share and interact with everyone. At the same time, I'm incredibly scared as my support system (excluding my wife) doesn't believe that I should be off meds. I am from a family of physicians and my psychiatrist is very stuck in the "chemical imbalance" theory, as is my family. Yup... just like everyone else I started getting medicated as a kid as part of the ADHD brigade, and then I was diagnosed with OCD (while taking ritalin of course). I am sure I took a bunch of SSRI as part of my regiment, but I don't remember specifics. ADHD faded away (or wasn't really there to start with) as I stopped believing it was a problem. And at about 21, anxiety started to fade in. Over the past 15 years (36 now), I've been on viibryd, zoloft , lexapro, and now trintelix. Interestingly, I never did truly feel like I had the anxiety kicked. The biggest problem for me with the SSRIs has been anhedonia, lack of emotion, and loss of libido. After a time, these became untenable in my marriage -- and life just was not that fun... and at the time I was on 200Mg of Zoloft. I figured it was time to look for a change. I never really tried to change the underlying behaviors causing anxiety -- I mean I did CBT, Meditation, etc, but really never got into the deeper stuff. I never really realized that meds might not be a long term fix. So my psychiatrist thought we would taper off and switch to something else. And so I tapered off of 200Mg of Zoloft successfully, and said no more SSRIs. It took 8 months to get off of Zoloft, and I was doing really well for about 5 months with really no issues. And then COVID hit. And then I had to move. Then my job became incredibly lonely. Specifically my wife and I are both starting businesses so there is a ton of stress there. So I started panicking, and not sleeping, and just having general anxiety. But at that point, I had made a choice to never be reliant on the SSRI, and I still have that resolve. This time I starred taking a dose of Trintelix with the purpose of learning how to deal with my anxiety. That was about 4.5 months ago. Of course my psych has tried to push it up and up. Which I went along with and made me miserable. At one point I was at 15mg. So I've dropped it down to 5mg which is the minimum dose. And here I am for the last 1.5 months. At the same time I've been on Trintelix, I've been working through a program called "Unwinding Anxiety" which is a program by a MD/PHD psychiatrist named Judson Brewer and have had tremendous results. After all 5Mg of Trintellix is supposed to be subclinical, right? I've had 3, 4, and 5 day windows -- and many days I have windows of many hours. This while things really haven't resolved that completely --- - wife still starting her business and pre-revenue - savings is going down - getting my business on track - COVID - US election craziness So here I am on that last 5Mg of Trintellix. Sex drive is gone. I do have emotions and feelings. Couple things I could use some thoughts on if anyone would be so kind to weigh in: 1. I've been in a bit of a panic the past few days. I've been sick (physically) and anxiety kicks up then. I've read part of Unhinged and a few chapters of Anatomy of an Epidemic. One of the scariest idea is that these SSRI's do actually work. What if they do, and I have altered my brain chemistry enough that I can't do more than 5-6 moths without them anymore. The Anatomy book might refute this idea or I might missed a central point. But anyone else been scared by that too? 2. Has anyone felt like Anxiety and self improvement has become a major part of their identity? As my mind quiets down, I get really scared and don't know where to go with it. Almost don't know who I am without the anxiety/meds. Thanks! -paradine7
  7. Hello all, after much reading and looking around I finally mustered the courage and concentration to post my account. It all Started around August of 2016. My doctor had put me on Viibryd due to the sexual side effects that I had experienced from being on Trintellix. I have to say, I really did well on Trintellix . Everything was coming together. I think I was in a really good place in my life and everything felt like it was going to fall into place sooner or later. During this period I remember having an overwhelming sense of optimism. So believing that antidepressants are harmless off I went onto my next one, Viibryd Boy, little did I know the hell that would ensue. Shortly thereafter I started to experience hair falling out. Then the hip, and joint paint. All the while feeling like a numb zombie the entire time. I talked to my doctor about the side effects. She stated the hair loss was not a known side effect of the Viibryd therefore it was not possible. The joint and the hip pain she said would go away just like the extreme gastro side effects I had in the beginning. She recommended I go to the “therapeutic” dose which was 40 mg. Me being the good little guinea pig I was, I obliged. This only spiraled into further and stronger side effects. The straw that broke the camels back was that one day I started to feel severe burns in my skin. It really felt like my skin was burning, not just an itchy rash but actual burning sensations. All over my arms, back, and scalp. I had enough! At this point I said to myself I would no longer take whatever this poison was, I simply couldn’t. I was terrified. So at that moment I decided that no withdrawal could be worse than the hell I had been through in the past 2 months of taking Viibryd. So I decided that the best thing to do was to quit all antidepressants, cold turkey. Boy do I regret that dearly. I think it was a couple of days after my last dose that I began to experience erectile dysfunction. I didn’t really begin experiencing any real withdrawal symptoms until after about 3 weeks. Then it all hit me hard like a ton of bricks. First was the eye problems/pain. For me I couldn’t see out of my contact lenses anymore. It’s almost as if my eyeball had swollen, I remember the contact lenses would just not fit, it felt like they were just dancing around my eye. I could not get them to stabilize and I just couldn’t see properly. I think for me, aside from the horrible anxiety, this was the most devastating symptom. I know I experienced at least a dozen symptoms simultaeously these are only a few of them. - Hair loss - Not being able to see in low light - dozens of eye floaters - sensitivity to loud noises - Seeing Halos - Erectile dysfunction - constant brain fog - memory loss - carpel tunnel like symptoms - pins and needles under my feet, legs, and arms - hand pain In the cold - dizziness/off balance And the the list goes on and on but these We’re the lasting side effects. I’m happy to report that most of these symptoms have greatly diminished. Had this been a couple of months ago I would’ve said many were completely gone. However, it appears that I was experiencing what is referred to on this site as a window. Fast forward 2 years and I was inpatient I’m the psych ward for suicidal ideation. This hospitalization further taught me that doctors really don’t know what the hell theyre doing, especially when it comes to psychiatry. It has been over 2 years since my last dose of Viibryd and I’m still dealing w/ the overwhelming withdrawals symptom till this day. Some days are better some days are worse, but I can definitely agree w/ the windows and waves. So here I am reaching out to you guys because I thought by now I would be completely healed. Sadly I have to report that I have not. Furthermore, I have to say I am so impressed w/ the layout, organization, and overall insight of those that contribute to this forum. I feel like I finally understand what is happening to me and I am compelled to share my experience. I also hope to find answers and serve as support for those going through this hellish journey! May we all heal and be restored to our previous lives.
  8. angielynn78ii Over the last 10 years I’ve been on antidepressants. At different stages I was on Pristiq, Celexa, Cymbalta, Viibryd and Prozac. I was also on Lamictal and Klonopin. I am proud to say that I am currently free of all prescription medications. I took my last dose of Prozac 27 days ago. I’m surviving but I look forward to thriving. I could say so much and really want to share more but currently I just don’t have the energy or clarity. I will write again when able.
  9. Hello, I’ve been taking Viibryd 40 mg. several years for depression. I’m concerned that it is not working as well as it has until recently ( last month or so). When I miss a dose for more than a day, I get the alarming ‘brain zaps’ and brain fog. So, I asked my GP Dr. if I could try Cymbalta to see how it would work. He gave me the script for Cymbalta 60 mg. and had it filled. Im hesitate to switch since I’m not sure how this will go. My thought was that there should be a titration period from Viibryd to Cymbalta since my previous changes were titrationed. But, he said to just stop the Viibryd and start the Cymbalta the next day. This is what scares me. So, I’m curious if anyone has had any experience with these two drugs and if so, what was your experience. My other concern is that if I’m to eventually stop antidepressants in the future, the brain zaps will never leave and I don’t think that I could handle it. This thought is from others experiences that I’ve read about on the web. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and or experiences.
  10. I want to get off Saphris. I was taking 2.5 mg and tried to taper it down over the course of four months, went with three-quarter to one half to one quarter. Became suicidal and so anxious that I almost had several panic attacks. Was manic, and I'm not bipolar. Felt pressure to do things, mostly react with extreme emotions. Went back up to one. Now want to taper down and desperately want to get off of this hellish drug. I also take lamictal (300 mg), Viibryd (40 mg), and Mirtazipine (7.5 mg). I want off of all of them and am horrified at how long it is going to take me. I so want to hurry my taper. I also just quit drinking, after tapering down on alcohol over the course of a week. I've been an alcoholic for years. I am now, today, two days sober. I am going to remain sober. My diagnosis is Depression and Generalized Anxiety disorder. One thing I've noticed is that I have so much rage over the doctors who put me on all of these meds - they just kept shoving more and more meds at me, and never told me about the scary side effects. I want to sue one in particular. The other thing I've noted is that I just hate myself for letting them put me on the meds. My mother said, when she learned of all that I am on: You dropped the ball! She was horrified, and rightly so. I am horrified at myself. Like I said, I hate myself for letting this happen. So mad for ruining my life. So there's this rage and horror at the doctor and at myself. There is also this manic anxiety and decision making problems for myself, problems that I worsen by my anxious reactions. I've been back on a whole dose for a while, but every few days I get scared, and try to take only 75% of a dose. It's not really working out for me. For the last two days, I have felt very suicidal. It's nuts. This is not me. I don't know what to do. That's why I've come here. I am desperate, and very, very afraid. I hope that I've done this intro thread right...
  11. Hello community, Thank you all for this wonderful resource! I have been reading this website since long before I made the decision to start Viibryd, and it is a wealth of information. Because I was recently diagnosed with posterior subcapsular cataracts that were likely either caused or exacerbated by the Viibryd, and because the benefits are not enough to justify continuing this damage to my eyes, I have decided to start planning the weaning off process. I would like advice about rate and timing since I need to try to do this faster than would normally be recommended. Quick psychiatric background: I went through betrayal trauma due to discovering my husband’s infidelity and was diagnosed with PTS, anxiety, and depression. After several years of herbal and natural mood-related supplements, I still felt many symptoms and received the same diagnoses again. So, against my normally holistic approach to health and healing, I decided to start an SSRI. I got the Pathway Genomics psychiatric pharmacogenomic panel, and the results were that Viibryd was the only SSRI that my body might potentially tolerate. My original plan was to take the Viibryd for a couple of years to get through separation, divorce, moving, etc, and then to taper off slowly using the recommended 5- 10% per month or so method. But a few months ago, my optometrist found cataracts, and I went to two separate ophthalmologists to confirm. There is plenty of scientific literature about research that has shown that SSRIs cause cataracts, and incidentally it was listed under the “rare” side effects in some Viibryd studies. So, I need to try to find a way to wean off faster, within a few months if possible. I need to stop the excess serotonin, which is what is causing the cataracts to grow. I’m wondering if I should cut the 10’s into halves to create a month or so of 15, then 10, then 5, then 0 (I could try making a second cut to get 2.5, but it might be too uneven or crumbly). Or if it would be better to taper by smaller increments (necessitating a compounding pharmacy, if it's possible) every couple of weeks instead. (I would rather avoid the cognitive difficulties of trying to make powder and capsules, liquid solution, or other methods myself.) I am aware that it is an iterative process and the need for stabilizing, updosing if necessary, etc. So, I'm thinking I'll ask my psychiatrist to request permission from the insurance company for a couple of 10's per day (current approval is one pill only per day) for the next six months or so. Other relevant info includes that the weaning ONTO Viibryd process was horrible for me (1 month 10 mg, 1 week 15 mg, then 20) with panic, severe anxiety, lightheadedness, and many other difficult symptoms. Since then, there have been a number of side effects including a period of chronic migraines, and mostly fatigue, cognitive fog, dissociation, sleeping issues, and a long list of other symptoms that I have been documenting. The anxiety and depression have been slightly better, but still not enough to be really functional, and certainly not enough considering the cataracts. I haven’t been working the past few years because of these health problems, so I can focus solely on healing during withdrawal and hopefully will be able to be productive after recovery. Also, I have continued my healthy lifestyle of organic, vegan, gluten-free diet, yoga, exercise, nature, etc. and have implemented natural modalities including acupuncture, massage, therapies, etc. So what I need help with is just the tapering off of the Viibryd as quickly as possible. I would appreciate any advice about recommended rates and timing for trying to wean off using a faster method. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to any suggestions!
  12. Hi Guys, I had a difficult childhood but rather not common! I have wonderful and spiritual parents but I was born a worrier with intense fear of the world. Who knows, maybe genetics, etc… The fears made me feel different and I didn’t develop like the standard child in the 70’s. I avoided social gatherings, had no real friends but otherwise healthy as per my pediatrician. I was aware of my fears but thought that some threats are forever when they were not and threats that I had, everyone has, which was also not the case. I kind of managed to get through life while being chastised by my parents that I was lazy, had no self-confidence, low self-esteem, etc… It came to a point where I just couldn’t see eye to eye with my parents nor with the world around me! This caused lots of anxiety, more fears, and a disconnect. Doctors, herbalists, or anything under the sun in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s were tried but everything seemed to point to my mental distress although people didn’t give any credence to these kids; either you were a top performer or you were down in the dumps, I guess. To get to the chase, at age 18, I had a panic attack in the summer and then another in the winter at age 19, followed by anxiety symptoms, which at that time were physical and left me worried as a hypochondriac… At age 20, I was becoming convinced I’ll never marry, I’ll never make it in life, and nobody really needs me. My father hates me and my friends are moving along, leaving me behind. At a cousins wedding, I had a horrific anxiety attack, which left me pacing and twitching, not knowing what the morrow will bring. Of course, my parents at that time took me serious and tried to console me, without success. To make a long story short, I was introduced to my first Psychiatrist/Butcher. After 45 minutes, I had a prescription for Prozac and Zanax, being promised I will heal and that the drugs were not addictive. His psychotherapy was worse than no therapy and after a while, I was introduced to the new phenomenon of being drugged for life. Change of meds to Paxil made no difference. I was encouraged to get married (bad advice!) while taking all the drugs. Although I was not comfortable, somewhere down the line my parents convinced me to cut medication. Off with the Xanax (too fast, of course) and tapered the paxil to 10mg (too fast, of course!). I was doing well (so to speak) until I collapsed into a more horrible depression with suicidal ideation and urges. Well, I think you can guess the rest and I won’t bore you with 10-15 useless years. Changed and added new meds. Ranging from: Paxil, Klonopin, Lithium, Zyprexa, Lamictal, Ritalin, Trileptal, Effexor XR. I was separated and made the mistake to get back before I was ready, pushed by a psychiatrist with an agenda! Started with worse anxiety, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist that introduced washout in Cornell at Westchester, NY. What a slam of a deal! Stupid people tapered me off all the drugs in a 3 week range, leaving me with panic attacks that hit the roof. Sleeping was damaged, so was I. I complained, so they reinstated Klonopin, added: Depakote, Ambien for sleep, Lexapro, Seroquel low dose for sleep, and Wellbutrin XL. I was one big mess. This happened in 2013. I was separated, to be divorced, after that incident for good. Living in my parents’ house was hell and the doctors and parents started blaming me for being not motivated and a weakling. After a few months of torture, I started seeing a psychologist that works with the “system” suggesting a new, best in the world psychiatrist for meds and he’ll do the therapy… Now my regimen has changed to: Cymbalta, Wellbutrin XL, Klonopin continued, Viibryd, Seroquel increased, and Deplin. I wasn’t doing too great and my parents suggested holistic medicine. A cortisol test confirmed the highest level of cortisol 24hr a day. I was given supplements, a diet plan, and Seriphos. The Seriphos worked like a charm and after a couple of months, I was read to even think about withdrawing from drugs. I started with Wellbutrin and went down to 75mg Regular release (from 450mg), Cymbalta to 60mg (from 120mg). Still stuck on Seroquel 200mg, Klonopin 2.5mg, and Viibryd 20mg. This is where I crashed and had to stop the withdrawal, for now. I can’t seem to break below 60mg of Cymbalta and was told by people on this forum, outside of forum that I need to go slower. I guess this is where I’m now. A short and sweat hell. After the Hospital event, where I stayed for a month behind locked doors and fortress like walls, I seemed to not respond to the drugs the same way anymore and have constant mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms. I’m working in NY as a Database Reporter and trying to keep my job despite the difficulties… I have two wonderful kids and I’m hoping and praying to G-d that things will turn around and get better. Maybe this forum will allow me to learn other people’s experiences so I’ll heal smater! I am seeing a new holistic practitioner and taking lots of supplements. I also took the 23andme genetic test showing some defects. Did multiple testing and I guess it’s a hit or miss; sometimes I’ll feel better, other times not!
  13. Hey everyone- A little history, many moons ago (about 17 years now), I was put on an antidepressant to stop my migraines. I was never depressed and never had anxiety. Over the years, I was put on several different antidepressants because the headaches would come back. Nonetheless, I haven't had a migraine in years and decided that I truly do not need to be on this drug anymore. After going through a horrific z-drug and benzo withdrawal due to mis-diagnosed insomnia (which was really probably related to the antidepressants), I learned a lot and that pretty much convinced me that I needed to work to get off the antidepressant as well. It's been almost 3 years since I went through that and successfully tapered off those drugs. I knew my CNS would be sensitive so I waited until this year to start the antidepressant withdrawal. Back in March/April, I started a taper on Viibryd 40mg. I am down to 20mg. I have been doing fairly well with a few days here and there of withdrawal symptoms but nothing major. I decided in June that once I got down to 20mg, I was going to hold there for a while to stabilize, which I have no been doing for 3 months. I have felt great to the point, I finally started doing a mild work out daily. All has been going well for several weeks, and then I started getting adrenaline dumps on Friday. Scared the living you know what out of me (although it shouldn't since I experienced this horror with benzo and z-drug withdrawal), but nonetheless, for the past 3 days, I have been experiencing adrenaline dumps, some mild burning across my chest (ironically no muscle pain in my chest or body) just burning, major stomach queasiness, and internal tremors/shaking, limb weakness, sweating, inability to focus, and of course anxiety because all of the sudden I feel like complete crap! Being that I started this taper about 6 months ago and have been holding for the last 3 months, is this normal for antidepressant withdrawal? In 2012 I had an echocardiogram on my heart and it was found to be structurally fine.I don't drink, smoke, do any kind of recreational drugs, or drink caffeine, and I have regular blood tests when I got to the doctor twice a year and all my levels have been normal, so I don't honestly think there is anything wrong with me. But historically, whenever waves hit me, I tend to lose my mind questioning what is wrong with me. I haven't been able to find much about Viibryd withdrawal. So I am grasping at straws here to know if what I am experiencing is normal. Thanks in advance!
  14. emergingfromhell

    emergingfromhell: Tips

    Hi. I'm HOPEFULLY coming out of what could be called a 7 month mental breakdown induced by antidepressant roulette ....I've read so many of your stories over the last few months (which have been the worst) and they have helped me...so I feel like I should share my experience in case anything in it can help someone else. First is a short version of what happened to me. Below that is a list of specific things that helped me. And below that, I've shared a longer version in case you'd like more details. I'm truly in awe of how behind psychiatry is. No one should have to suffer like this. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME - I was on Wellbutrin and Prozac for a few years - couldn't quite get the balance right (turns out SR and XL were getting messed up so that didn't help). I was always a little too anxious or a little too depressed. It wasn't bad, but could have been better so I thought I'd try something new. First, I got off Wellbutrin CT. Prozac alone was hell - probably bc of Wellbutrin withdrawal. Then I cross tapered Prozac with Pristiq. Pristiq worked for a month then stopped- I was in hell again - probably delayed Prozac withdrawal. Then I added Ability to the Pristiq - horrible side effects. Then I stopped those CT and I took Viibryd. Pristiq/ Ability withdrawal + Viibryd side effects, and after all I'd already been through, worse than hell. I took Klonopin and 10mg Prozac to wean off of that. I started to feel slightly human again. I got back on Wellbutrin and Prozac and felt more human. Then had to wean off the Klonopin - worse than what's worse than hell. Now I'm just on the Wellbutrin and Prozac like I was originally and I finally feel like a person again. What a nightmare - 5 withdrawals in 7 months. Anyway...I've learned some things.... THINGS I'VE LEARNED - Medicine tips: 1. Try to stay consistent with a pharmacy/manufacturer if you're taking generic bc that can make you respond differently to the medicine (I think that was a problem with my wellbutrin originally - also XL is smoother than SR and it's important to stay consistent with that as well) 2. Adding Prozac while weaning off an anti-d can really help with withdrawal 3. Wellbutrin can increase the concentration of Prozac in the body if taken together which is important to know when tweaking the dosage 4. Don't CT anything even if you're on something else or getting on something else. 5. Changing is a REAL b**** so only do it if you have to. 6. If you have to take a benzo to help with withdrawal, don't take it everyday or for too long bc you'll have another withdrawal and nothing to help with that one. Anxiety: 1. When panicking, holding ice, getting in a really hot bath, running or doing push ups can be good bc your heart is racing due to a threat it doesn't understand...when you give it a real reason to race and then take it away...your heart feels the threat is removed and will slow down a bit. Plus your mind will focus on that pain instead of on the more painful racing negative thoughts. In some messed up way, it's like a less harmful version of cutting. 2. Lavender oil is very calming, and smell is the only sense with a direct pathway to the amygdala which is the part of your brain associated with mood and emotions. Smells that remind you of happy times work as well. 3. Warm baths helped me more than anything. Increasing body temperature can help regulate mood. Sometimes, putting cold water on for a little helps as well bc that can help circulation and increase oxygen. Switching back and forth can help with the chills/hot flashes that come with withdrawal. 4. After bath, I put towel down on floor and did some stretches to open chest and hips bc that's where we carry a lot of grief. I recommend making it part of a morning routine. 5. Writing affirmations on paper with a pencil or pen can be therapeutic. Find words that resonate with you - simple sentences. It sounds silly, but it actually helped. 6. If people are pissing you off, but you know you shouldn't be confrontational in this state, write them letters that you don't send. 7. Fresh air really helps, even if you just open a window. 8. The mornings are the worst bc of Cortisol. 9. Google Alternate Nostril Breathing and do that for longer than feels comfortable. Also, when taking deep breaths, the exhale should be longer than the inhale and is more important, but if you do it for a really long time, make them equal so you don't get light-headed. 10. There's a good mediation app called "Insight Timer" and another called "Calm". 11. I read a book called "Love Warrior" that was a good distraction and very relatable. If you have stress relating to a toxic relationship, "Women Who Love Too Much" is also a great book. 12. Binge on a Netflix series to distract your mind. The Moth app is good for that also if watching is too hard. 13. Hugging or cuddling releases oxytocin and can really calm stress. Massages obviously help a ton as well. 14. Imagine a happy place in detail - the smells, sounds, textures etc...for a proper amount of time. Get lost there. 15. Talk to yourself and tell yourself the things you wish someone would say to you to calm you down. You'll feel crazy at first, but it helps. 16. People who've had easy experiences don't write on message boards, but there are plenty. So don't get discouraged only reading horror stories on here. They're the worst cases. 17. Focus on today. Making big changes to address the underlying issues that caused the original anxiety and depression are things to consider once you're stable. And whatever in your life is getting messed up bc of the state you're in, focus on fixing those later when you're better as well. Be honest with work, family, friends etc and hope for compassion. In the meantime, think of the next right thing to do and the next breath. One thing at a time, one moment at a time. Everything else will be much less daunting and easier to fix when your biochemistry isn't going haywire...so cut yourself some slack. Nausea: 1. Pepto can help. 2. Chocolate Boost Plus is good for when you're too nauseous to eat but need to keep weight up. Banana and peanut butter smoothies with chocolate protein powder helped me. Whole foods has a bunch of shots, smoothies etc if you can't make them. 3. Pedialite can help with dehydration. 4. Three fingers from your wrist is the pressure point for nausea. 5. Ginger helps more than you'd think. Ginger candies to suck on are good. Despite what people say, I found Ginger Ale made me more nauseous. Loved Ones: 1. It's helpful if other people can make many of the daily small decisions for you bc thinking at all can be really overwhelming. 2. Complicated conversations about politics, business etc should happen in another room. It's important to focus on simple and positive things to help your brain heal 2. Google SSRI withdrawal symptoms and show them to your loved ones so they know what to expect and so they know your behavior is the result of a chemical clusterfuck and is not reflective of a new or old you. 3. Explain to loved ones that if you sense their anxiety about your anxiety or their fear or impatience, you will feel it magnified and it will slow your recovery massively. You need to be around supportive people who will tell you you're going to be ok and keep you calm. That's crucial. From Me to You: This is only temporary. You will get through this and be yourself again, no matter how impossible that seems while you're in it. I know my story isn't very encouraging, but I really believed the new me was going to have to live like that forever, and I really didn't think I'd survive if that was the case. But I did survive and I'm here now - feeling like the old me with a new appreciation for everything, and the hope that what I went through will somehow help someone else. Here's the more detailed version if you think it might provide some useful information - about what NOT to do For a few years, I was on 300 wellbutrin and 40 prozac... I couldn't quite get the balance right for anxiety/depression, and I thought maybe being on just one drug would be a better idea. My doctor suggested I CT the wellbutrin and up my prozac from 40 to 60. I stayed on just Prozac for the month but crashed - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. I still don't know if that was wellbutrin withdrawal but, in hindsight, I suspect it may have been. I went to a new doctor who suggested I try Pristiq bc my mom does well on Effexor (strong proof that members of the same family tend to do well on the same drugs) and it was the improved version. Also bc I had done well on Cymbalta years earlier, except for the intense fatigue, she thought another SNRI might be good for me. I weaned off Prozac in a couple of weeks while taking the Pristiq. It worked really well for about a month on it's own and then I crashed again - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. Again, in hindsight, I wonder if the prozac had a delayed withdrawal bc that can happen even though doctors don't acknowledge it much. I raised the Pristiq by 25 for a couple weeks and it didn't help. Studies have shown that increased levels of Pristiq doesn't increase efficacy of the drug...it's just more to get off of later. So I went back down to 50 and my doctor then added 5mg of Ability. I had awful side effects - restlessness, jumping out of my skin, major depersonalization, etc. She suggested Rexulti which has less side effects but isn't covered by insurance and would have been 1k a month so I tried Geodon instead for three days - same class of med, same problems. So I gave up on Pristiq. Stopped CT and started 10mg of Viibryd. That's when things started to get really really bad. I basically compounded Pristiq withdrawal with Viibryd side effects. I eased up over a month to 40mg - the therapeutic dose. I woke up in a panic attack every morning, I couldn't function at all, I could barely talk or eat. I felt terrified and almost catatonic. I took 20mg at 11am and 20mg at 3/4pm, and you have to take it with food which is hell when you're that nauseous. It got a little better after 5/6 pm everyday which was strange. It also got a little better at 40mg in that my good windows would last a little longer but my bad ones were still awful and still lasted for the majority of my day. I added Valium in the morning but didn't want to get addicted so I'd go three days or so then experience increased depression when I stopped. My doctor kept telling me to be patient, that things would turn around, but after two months of feeling like I was dying everyday, unable to function and having suicidal thoughts, I lost any bit of patience I had left. He had also told me that he thought a lot of this was psychological not chemical and that I should spend more time talking to my therapist. Anyone who has been through awful side effects and/or awful withdrawal very much knows the difference between issues that can be resolved by a therapist and issues that need a good psychiatrist. The only thing I needed to talk to a therapist about at the time was the physical pain I was in due to the medicine. I saw another doctor who told me to wean off the Viibryd - that I should be feeling better by that point. I honestly thought I wouldn't make it through another withdrawal period, but the Viibryd was so bad for me that the withdrawal was actually less miserable than the side effects had been. She also told me to take Klonopin .5mg in the morning and at night. My anxiety was way worse in the morning so I took it then, but fortunately, didn't get addicted to the full 1mg a day bc I didn't take it at night. She also added Prozac - 10 up to 20 while I weaned down on Viibryd. After being off of the Viibryd for a little over a week, I needed to figure out what anti-depressant was next. I honestly felt too scared to try anything else so I added 300xl of Wellbutrin to the 20 Prozac - a little less than I was on originally - before I started all the changes. Still not finished - then I had to withdraw from the .5 Klonopin I'd been taking for a month. I cut in half for a week then half of that for 3 days. I suffered terribly that whole time and then for a few days after my last dose. I am writing you from the other side. So...I basically went through all of the hell to circle back to where I started, and I definitely didn't have it in me to get off altogether bc I know adjusting to life without meds after 16 years on them is going to be a bigger task than I have the energy for right now...but I did learn some things....
  15. Hi. This is my first post. Quick history. I had a heart issue that was treated 3 years ago. 4 months after I woke up with severe anxiety. My doctor put me on Paxil with Xanax for when I needed it. After aboutique 6 months he switched me to Lexapro which didn't work for me. He then put me on Vybriid. I worked up to 40mg. I took the Vybriid for just under 2 years and it started giving me anxiety and I always felt like I was in a daze. I was feeling better and read about some people that cut their dosage in half so I tried it. I cut from 40mg to 20mg for about 3 weeks then I saw my doctor that ok'd me trying to stop altogether. I went from 3 weeks on 20mg to ten days at 10mg to nothing. That was a few weeks before Christmas. The initial withdrawal was aweful which I kind of expected from my experience stopping Paxil. After a few weeks they subsided and I started feeling better. They last few weeks I've been feeling more anxiety and a little out of sorts. Cloudy head, some trouble sleeping. I'm hoping these symptoms are still related to the withdrawal. It's nothing I can't handle for now and I'm committed to seeing it through but my question is, Has anyone had experience quitting vybriid after 2 years? Is the way I'm feeling normal?
  16. Hey everyone! My name is Cat and I've been taking antidepressants since I was 13. I'm now 19 and I've been on more medications than I can remember, as I say in my signature. I'm currently coming off of abilify , but taking viibryd and lamictal to keep my depression /anxiety combo at bay. I'm also taking ritalin for ADHD. I really hated the side effects of the abilify - at a higher dose (15 mg) it was making me extremely fatigued, and it's made me hungry all the time at pretty much all doses, leading to significant weight gain (Over the course of taking, if I'm remembering correctly, I've gone from 150ish to about 190). I kind of quit it cold turkey do to some pharamacy mix ups and for the first few days I didn't feel any adverse effects so I asked my psychiatrist how she'd feel about me coming off of it. Her response was that she agreed that I could continue off my dose of 7.5 mg and then we'd see how I felt when it was totally out of my system. Now, however, I'm feeling like my brain is fried and foggy. Concentrating and motivating myself are becoming hard, I'm worried that I came off the drug too quickly and, as I'm in college, I'm really worried about the effects this might have on my ability to learn, do homework, and get good grades. I don't really know how to approach this site, so I guess I'll just go exploring and see what I can find! On another note, I definitely want to look at my medication history now. It's probably huge and I think it'd be interesting to share it with you all.
  17. Hello- I just have a quick question. I need some female input. I am 20 weeks off of all pysch meds (Viibryd being my last one for which it took me a year and a half to come off of). Is it normal to still experience anxiety and skipped heartbeats this far out? Being female, I have noticed that during my monthly cycle, that the anxiety gets 10 times worse for a few days and then gets better for the rest of the month. My biggest anxiety issue is skipped heartbeats! They willI set my anxiety off at the drop of a dime. I am trying to get better about ignoring them (several years back I had an echo cardiogram and was told that my heart is structurally sound so that isnt really my concern) but I hate the way the feel when I catch myself feeling them. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
  18. Hey all- I have scoured the web for information on Viibryd withdrawal and have found VERY little information or I should say little to NO information. I have read the same 10-15 posts on it over and over, hoping to find something different! LOL. I am now going into my 12th week of being off of Viibryd. I have had ups and downs. Early on, I dealt with massive headaches (was originally put on antidepressants for migraine prevention 20 years ago) so I expected that, plus I know its a normal symptom. I follow a standard windows and wave pattern of 3-4 good days followed by 3-4 bad days. I am fully functional and maintain a full time job and busy family life. So I am very grateful that I have been able to cope. The last couple of weeks I have had really bad anxiety which I have been able to manage with essential oils, Isagenix Ionix, magnesium, and vitamin C. BUT it still stinks! Every now and then I get the skipped heart beats and that just flares my anxiety worse. Several years ago, I had an echocardiagram and halter monitor done and they said structurally my heart was fine. I have endured a benzo and z-drug (ativan and ambien) withdrawal but that was 4 years ago. This process is similar but different, if that makes sense. So what I am wondering from anyone who is further out in this process..are the skipped beats normal and does the anxiety get better over time? Thanks in advance!
  19. I am currently cross-tapering from Zoloft to Viibryd. I've gone from 150 to 62.5mg of zoloft and 10 to 40 mg of Viibryd over a 7-week peripd. Throughout the process I've had periods of insomnia, mood highs/lows, body exhaustion/weakness and fatigue. However, not until I went from 75 to 62.5 did it become extremely uncomfortable. My brain feels heavy, especially in the front. I've had crying jags. I'm exhausted. I'm having trouble thinking, if that makes sense. My brain feels slowed sometimes. I've started having what they call hypnagogic hallucinations--hearing things right before falling asleep or while waking up, which I had while decreasing Zoloft last year. I've been on ssri's for 25 years. I was on paxil for 13 years, and attempted to cross-taper onto Celexa over a period of a month. I literally almost lost my mind and had to go back on Paxil. I cross-tapered from Paxil onto Zoloft successfully about 7 years ago because I wanted to get pregnant. I had to use the liquid Paxil and it took months. I don't remember having much withdrawal during that one. I attempted to decrease Zoloft last year and had a near crash. I've not quite been the same since then. I will say I've not done nearly as well on zoloft as I did on paxil, but I don't want to be on a drug that is SO hard to come off. My question is...has anyone struggle with discontinuation syndrome even while cross-tapering? And if so, how long can I expect to feel this way? Will I get worse? My plan is to stay where I am until I see my prescriber at the end of the month. I can tolerate it I think as long as it doesn't get any worse. I work full time (in mental health of all fields) and I have a 5 year-old. I have some some friends that have been on medication, but none of them struggle with discontinuation like me. I just want to connect with someone who relates.
  20. Hello, New to this site. Here's my history, it's extensive and I could go into more detail if needed. Currently 33 years old and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety (occasional panic) at age 19. Started seeing psychiatrist and psychologist for on medication and CBT purposes. Was on Zoloft followed by Paxil, Celexa then Lexapro. Started with Zoloft gave me some relief but after months on this drug it just gave me too many side effects as it increased anxiety and dizziness was unbearable. Also, I was given Xanax as needed due to excessive anxiety and occasional panic attacks. During this time, I found out how common depression and anxiety were within my immediate family. This was a surprise to me and it made me confused/angry at how/why I was never told about certain health topics that obviously could have an impact on me. Why would my own parents or grandparents not mention this? One word, stigma. After Zoloft, I was switched to Paxil (worse med for me ever) as this didn't help at all. It gave me no relief and didn't help with my panic, anxiety depression as it really made me much worse. I had many irrational, negative thoughts with a lot of hopelessness mixed in wondering if it will ever get better. (Slept for days, bleak view on life) My doctor switched me to Citalopram (had some relief but too many side effects) and then Lexapro. Lexapro was given to me in my early twenties. It helped provide relief and being young and naive I thought the pill would be all I needed to change. Wrong. I wasn't knowledgeable on the topic and I developed much of this opinion due to family members beliefs. The thought process they had was just too basic as they justified this by saying when you're physically sick and have a headache you take tylenol to make it go away. This is the same concept for mental health as when you're depressed and anxious you take a pill and it will help it go away. Pills mask underlying issues and this was something that I didn't believe in at that time. I stopped seeing my psychologist early on in my treatment as I didn't like how I told all of my life stories to a "stranger" and never really felt comfortable with any of the four I saw. After feeling pretty good, I decided to taper off Lexapro and went months feeling decent. Relapsed around age 25 with depression and worsen anxiety. At this time, I went back to my PCP who said I should go back to a psychiatrist. I followed his advice.I decided to choose a different psychiatrist (due to where I was residing) and she suggested I go back on Lexapro due to how well it worked. I agreed. I hated the fact of cognitive therapy and didn't think I needed it so I decided not to engage with that practice. I stayed on Lexapro until I was 32 and a half as there were many ups and downs where my doctor prescribed different medications to try to help quell some additional anxiety/depression at certain times of the year. Mirtazapine, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta as none of these were helpful just side effect galore. From 26-30, I felt decent as I had ups and downs. The medication was working but I wasn't helping my own causes at many times by drinking a lot (lead to multiple accidents, fortunately no one including myself got hurt, alcohol masked my feelings but made them worse in the end), not eating healthy and still having the belief that a pill would help me the most and everything would go away. My beliefs started changing but out of fear and stigma I remained in my shell of comfort and decided it's better to be blah and alright then what I was like before. Wrong. My support system, family said I should go see a psychologist as I was still reluctant (due to prior disappointments) but finally decided to try it out. Best thing I did. I started to see a psychologist who really focused on working on specific behaviors, thoughts and beliefs I had. Very challenging to do but I realized through her and A LOT of reading of self help books ( I can share and if anyone wants to know) that I'm my own worst enemy. I have many distorted cognitive views, which I believe are the main reasons why my anxiety and depression peak at certain times. Many of these views were developed via nurture, my environment, growing up as my parents were complete opposites and ended up getting divorced when I was age 16. My mom does have her worries but she's a saint. We all have our issues but she's the most positive person around. I envy her outlook on life and am blessed at how I have her as my number one support system person (brother is a close second) in life. Furthermore, my father has suffered through depression and anxiety since his mid-twenties and it has really had an impact on his life. He's been on Prozac 60 mg per day as well as 5-6 mg of Xanax for his condition. When he was anxious or fearful, he became angry and emotionally/verbally violent, which was his outlet. Not healthy, tremendous impact on myself and my brother. Due to this factor, I struggled with self-esteem, self-love, self-compassion etc. and still do today. I developed much resentment and anger for him. Unfortunately, as time went on, his emotions and choices caught up for him and he lost everything. Sad but not surprising. Financially, he lost everything, and his physical health caught up to him. He had severe physical ailments (due to 2 packs a day smoking that almost killed him) and mental health issues got worse. I didn't feel empathy for his situation as I struggled with this factor for a while. He made his choices and now he must deal with them. He continued making me feel like an awful person when he was sick where I finally stopped communicating with him for 4 months. My current psychologist has helped me manage these feelings and made me realize that even though he's father, he has no right to treat me the way he does. I have worked years trying to deal with him as I have made great strides with this factor. I let his emotions have an impact on my feelings but I finally learned I have the right to decide whether or not he can do this. My father finally saw the light that he has no one and if he continues treating my brother and I the way he does he'll lose us both. Our relationship is manageable right now as I tread carefully and understand that it will never be great. I have accepted this fact. Acceptance is a powerful took when managing with depression and anxiety. I always thought I can get rid of my excessive anxiety but have learned this isn't realistic. I have learned and believe that there are many helpful skills I can use to help with my constant worry, fears and thoughts. But to be honest, anxiety and depression have been the most challenging health endeavor I have ever encountered. I have had plenty of physical issues in my young life as some have been worse than others (migraines, broken bones, open heart surgery etc.) But nothing compares to mental health. It can eat away at you at all times of the day/night. At times, I stop doing my self help skills because I feel like "I'm losing the battle" as this occurs due to my struggle of acknowledging the waves of emotions that occur on a daily basis in life. I'm doing better but I'm too hard on myself. I get overwhelmed with all the helpful tools out there that instead of trying one, I try multiple ones but it burns me out. I need to stick to some and go with it. My main focus recently has focused around acceptance, how to manage worrisome thoughts and practicing self-compassion. Self-compassion is a powerful tool as I believe working on qualities like self-kindness and mindfulness will have a positive impact on my life. I'm way too hard on myself and have poor self-esteem,self image/body (struggled body issues bulimia) self-beliefs and self-love etc. Due to these factors, I shy away from many daily things because of my fear that I'm not good enough or it will end poorly. A big area I have been reluctant to try are relationships. I haven't had a girlfriend in six years and a lot of this is because I don't believe I have much to offer, which I know isn't true. Wow, have I rambled but I believe it was necessary. As I mentioned before, I could go into even more detail. You might be wondering medication wise what has happened from 32 and a half until current 33 and a half. I decided to switch off lexapro as every summer for three years in a row I got worse depression/anxiety wise. I'm a school teacher and I struggle with time-off so these months aren't easy for me. Doctor always mentioned, if it doesn't work plenty of other choices and can always go back. I started with effexor 37.5 to 75 to 150 (second worse med for me ever) Some relief at first but made things worse anxiety wise and made me ask myself why I switched? Doctor gave me Xanax just in case and this med made me always feel like I needed it around. (Note: Never felt like I needed Xanax when on Lexapro as this has happened while on all four of these meds I tried in past year or so, still have it around when I go out) Took for 4 months in total including tapering off for less than one month while starting prozac. Really gave it time and some help self skills were helping as I felt worse, stopped self help stuff. (medication, daily thought records, journals etc.) So many tough days and being a teacher it was debilitating. Beat myself over this factor. My doctor switched me to Prozac but the withdrawal effects of effexor were the worse out of any SSRI/SNRI I have ever taken. Started to look online and noticed on this site HOW FAST my doctor tapered me off of this stuff. Has very short half life and I became really upset with my doctor and decided to switch to a new psychiatrist. Throughout the years, she has always switched or tapered at such a rapid pace and I discussed this with my support system and my psychologist how I wanted to switch to a new doctor for a while. They all said that's a good idea but I didn't do so out of comfort and fear. Change is tough for anyone but more so with people who struggle with distorted cognitive views. Prozac didn't relieve symptoms that much as I was on 20 mg, 40 mg, then 60 mg but stopped there. Was on this for 4 months and my new psychiatrist thought the older SSRI's weren't a wise route to try again so Trintellex was introduced. 5mg, 10mg, then 20 mg. On for about two plus months but side effects weren't good so tapered off and started Viibryd (third worse med ever) Viibryd didn't provide much relief. 10 mg one week, 20 mg one week, 40 mg 3 days, 20 mg one week, 10 mg one week, off. Both Trintellex and Viibryd were extremely fast acting. Most older SSRIs took time where I struggled with the brain fog and other side effects but they dissipated as time went on. These two were felt within the first week. Unfortunately due to extreme anxiety, abnormal/vivid nightmares, nausea, vomit etc. I tapered than stopped. So this leads us to last week where I saw my psychiatrist (to be correct she's an APRN who works with my psychologist's office as I thought seeing both doctors working together would work best) I told her my struggles with Viibryd and how I'm sick and tired of dealing with side effects. I have tried four different meds in a year span and none provided quality relief. She mentioned trying antipsychotics (abilify but did mention how they have rare irreversible side effects, I already knew this) anti-seizure Lamictal and TMS. To be honest, all of these options made me fearful. She was understanding and said she knows why I would want to try this path. She said use prozac if needed if you feel like the withdrawal is too much. All of these other meds she mentioned mainly work for other conditions but might work for mine as they have severe possible side effects, rare, I know but scary. I decided no, I don't want to take anything new. I'm so frustrated with nothing working that I thought I'd give my brain a rest. Even though I have been on these different meds, for the past five month I have been exercising and rating healthy, which both help my mood tremendously, especially the exercise. Most support system people (Mom, brother) thought this wasn't the best idea to get off of medication, this made me a little upset at first but realized it's alright they disagree because they;re only doing so because they care. I read all about withdrawal and discontinuation syndrome and thought I would fight through it. After four days it's been awful but this was to be expected. Dealing with brain zaps, vivid abnormal nightmares causing sleeping issues, dizzy, head tense,irritability, depersonalization etc. at times. Today, decided to take prozac as mentioned by my APRN to help with the withdrawal. In conclusion, I'm clearly just frustrated with the medication factor of treatment. I'm trying to focus on the holistic approach. I can acknowledge that I probably came off of Viibry too quickly but don't want to go back on it even though I read on here it's better to go back on it then bridge with prozac. I tried going on effexor after tapering too fast but it made it worse, which is why I'm reluctant to go back on Viibryd. I have two options I'm struggling with choosing as of right now; OPTION 1: Half of me wants to continue to fight/deal with the discontinuation symptoms (take prozac for 1-2 weeks to help), which supposedly lasts 1-3 weeks on average (could be longer months/ gulp, years for others) while using the three big skills of acceptance/manage worry rationally/self compassion to help aid the process. (Of course continue to see my psychologist each week, side note she has a baby a month ago so have been seeing someone else, not as helpful but she'll be back in 5 weeks) OPTION 2: Other half of me is thinking about going back on Lexapro and use the three main skills I mentioned. with the medication as assistance as I didn't really practice these self-help skills while I was on Lexapro before. This is my story. As mentioned, I'm open about expanding on anything in my story if asked. Sorry for its length but I'm sure it helps the reader. Any advice or suggestions would be helpful! Thank you.
  21. Hey all! My name is Cat (she/he pronouns) and I'm 20 years old. I've been on medication for depression and anxiety since I was 13 (7 years, what the heck). I've tried a wide range of medications since then, but I only put about the last year in my signature, There's been a lot less switching around in those years, which I'm grateful for! Recently, my psychiatrist was going to switch me to latuda from abilify. He told me to quit taking my 5 mg dose for a week, then start the new drug. That week (last week) was absolutely hellish. I had tried to come off of abilify before due to the large amount of weight gain it's caused me, but with bad results. I didn't ask my doctor about tapering this time, though - I figured he knew what he was doing and didn't really self-advocate. Horrible depressive symptoms, brain fry, fatigue, and confusion followed me stopping abilify, and they persisted even after my psychiatrist told me to go back on 2.5 mg. Yesterday he told me to start taking 5 again, and I've been feeling a little better (less like I want to die). This entire process has solidified some doubts about medication I'd been having. I'm a psychology undergraduate student in college and the more I learn about medication, the more I realize how guess-and-check the process is and how the studies don't tend to measure real-world results. I'm thinking about trying to come off some of my medications because even though they are "working" in the sense that I'm not suicidal, having panic attacks daily, and I can function fairly well, it's been so long since I haven't been a cocktail that I'm not even sure how my mood would be like not on 4 different drugs... I don't like taking and depending on this many pills. So yeah, I'm going to look around the forums and see what I can do to learn and help myself make an informed decision
  22. Hi, everyone! I'm a 60-year-old female who has been on various antidepressants for ten years. I was originally diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. My anxiety, phobias, and general mood have greatly improved since I began taking antidepressants, and I have no wish to go off them completely. (I tried several years ago, was off all medication for a year, and simply could not adjust to life emotionally anymore, so I went back on medication. My doctor prescribed Vibryyd for me a little over a year ago because of sexual side effects from the medication I was on at the time. It worked like a charm for almost a year, and then things begin to be hit and miss, and finally my sexual response disappeared completely.I also have gained ten pounds since I have been on Vibryyd, and I believe this medication is the culprit. My doctor suggested trying 20 mg daily instead of the 40 mg that I was on, but being cautious, I decided to taper down more slowly than that. At first I used a pill-cutter and tried to adjust to what I thought would be perhaps a 36 mg dose, but I had quite a few emotional symptoms, plus a few patches of red itchy skin. I then bought a small digital scale and have been trying to weigh out the pill pieces to around 39 or 40 grams. (I have noticed that the uncut tabs are actually slightly over 40 grams). Being more precise with my dosing has so far seemed to work better for me. I would really appreciate any help and advice any of you could give me on the subject of tapering. Thank you.
  23. Hi all - It seems pretty clear that I've tapered too quickly off from Viibryd, but what now? My situation is a bit complicated because I'm on a few medications to help me sleep. My symptoms right now are severe fatigue, cognitive issues (brain fog, spaciness, lack of focus) and akathasia at night. Pretty worrisome stuff as I'm a Director at tech company and I need to be on point = / (yes, stress isn't helping my cause). I think I should reinstate, but I'm not sure if I should at 5 mg, 10 mg or higher. Please see below and thanks in advance for your help. SSRI and Adjunct History: -At age 33 started Lexapro 10 mg and from summer 2012 to summer 2014 worked great for GAD, OCD -Lexapro 10 mg seemed to "poop out," but with new symptoms of difficulty concentrating/brain fog so upped to 15 mg and then 20 mg over remainder of 2014. Anxiety was still managed but my P Doc and PCP believed it was depression symptoms (hence increase) -Added Abilify early 2015 - did not help with cognitive issues and gave me akathasia so discontinued -Cross-tapered to Viibryd 20 mg during summer 2015 - still no anxiety, but still dealing with brain fog. Side effects were worse than Lexapro with upper and lower GI issues -Over past year went up to 30 mg Viibryd - no anxiety, but still brain fog -Spring 2016 - Sleep got progressively worse which made it difficult to determine whether cognitive issues were more from lack of sleep or lack of appropriate SSRI dose -Spring 2016 tried Rexulti - no help so tapered off -Current - 0 mg Viibryd (tapered recently, though too fast) Taper: From 30 mg to 20 mg from 6/20/16 to 6/30/16 (two weeks on 20 mg) From 20 mg to 10 mg from 7/1/16 to 7/14/16 (two weeks on 10 mg) From 10 mg to 0 mg (3 days), then up to 5 mg (3 days) then 2.5 mg (2 days) and now 0 mg since 7/23/16 Additional medication history: -From ~2014 to early 2016, took 5 mg valium suppository as needed for chronic pelvic pain - able to stop due to successful physical therapy -From June 2015 to now, taking 75 mg (yes 75, not 750) gabapentin to help sleep/akathasia -From May 2016 to recently, taking 0.5 mg lorazepam for sleep (recently tapered this to 0.25 mg) -Took propranolol 20 mg for about a week in mid-July 2016 due to severe akathasia (assumed due to Viibryd withdrawal). Tapered down to 0 mg over following week -From summer 2015 to now, take 10 mg Vyvanse as needed for focus (more days than not) Current supplements: -5 mg melatonin nightly -200 mg L-Theanine x2 day -150 mg Magnesium Glycinate x2 day -5000 iu D3 1x day -1000 mg Omega 3 fish oil x1 day
  24. I was literally on this for nine days (was on 10mg for seven days then went to 20mg the next two) when i missed a dose and layed down for bed, it hadn't even been five hours after my normal medication time and as i was falling asleep I had THE MOST VIOLENT brain zaps. They were so extremely painful. I've experienced zaps before on effexor, but they were nothing like this. They started with sleep paralysis and intense, painful throbbing on my temples that started light and got more intense. As this was happening i could hear whispering... and as the throbbing became more intense so did the voices, they went from whispers to talking to screaming and then a huge shock that jolted me out of bed and almost felt like a seizure if i could describe it.. i got up and went to the bathroom to try to shake it off, and it happened again while i was awake. I took my medicine, obviously. But the next two days I had a terrible residual throbbing headache in my temples... But i decided that if this was happening after only 9 days, how would i ever get off of it in the future should i decide to? So i'm currently weaning myself off of it. I took 20mg for two days, then decreased by approx. 2.5mg every two days until i got to 10, then i went a bit slower, 2.5mg every 4 days. Last night i took 5mg and had such bad brain zaps that my boyfriend woke me up because i was screaming in my sleep. I just feel like I'm doing everything right and everything is going wrong. I understand the slow and steady thing, honestly i thought i was going slow enough.. but does it really make sense to titrate off it for three months when i was only taking it for 11 days until i started decreasing? The only other medicine i take every day is Topamax 250mg for PTSD, and clonidine .1 for anxiety. These have been the only medications I've been on for the last year. Has anyone else dealt with discontinuation syndrome so early after starting? How long does it take to wean off? My doctor doesn't have answers, he actually told me to "just stop taking it." When i told him that wasn't exactly an option, he told me to keep doing what I'm doing. After last night my head is in crushing pain again. If anyone can help me, ugh... you just don't know.
  25. Hello- I have been on an antidepressant for about 15-16 years now. I was originally put on them not to control depression or anxiety, but rather to prevent migraine headaches. Over the years, I have been switched to numerous different antidepressants for various reasons. . That was a whole other mess. When I switched from Zoloft to Viibryd, my doctor didn't bother telling me about AD withdrawal and I got hit with a tone of bricks! Ultimately, that withdrawal took me about a year before I was able to completely stop taking Zoloft. I was also on numerous meds over the years for insomnia (which I am now realizing may be due to the effects of the AD..go figure ). Nonetheless, I went through a horrible time with sleeping meds and had really bad anxiety and depression and was put on a benzo to counter the effects. I went through a horrid withdrawal from the benzo and sleeping meds. Fast forward to today, I have noticed that although I am about 16+ months out of my benzo taper, I am still experiencing a lot of side effects and I am speculating that its my 40mg of Viibryd that I am on, that is causing a good chunk of my issues. I have been waiting until I was in a good place to start a taper of my Viibryd and I think it's time. Any advice or recommendations on tapering this medication would be greatly appreciated. TIA
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