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  1. Hi, I will try to keep it brief, but I am in desperate need of advice. I am a 34YO Male, my 1st bout of anxiety happened 10 years ago when I experienced a very stressful time in my life. I had my 1st child, started MBA school, and opened my own business all within a 3 month span. Had a panic attack one night, and what followed was a year of high general anxiety, with some intrusive OCDish thoughts sprinkled in. After a year I decided I would give meds a try. Tried Buspar...did nothing except make me dizzy. Tried Zoloft, and this was the magic bullet for me. Felt my anxiety lesson (after a brief increase) after about 3-4 weeks and after a few months I was back to myself. During this time I would have blips (one to two week periods when my anxiety would resurface, usually requiring a dose tweak and then would go back to normal. These would usually happen when I was eating bad, not exercising ect). At the start of my Zoloft experience I at one point got up to 150mgs, but in the last 4-5 years was on the minimum dose of 50mgs after I got generally healthier and added a multivitamin and fish oil supplement. Because of these blips, and the fact I was afraid to go back to the year of anxiety, I stayed on the Zoloft probably longer than I should have. It was 8 years later (October 2016) when I finally said, "heck I don't need these anymore". My prescription ran out and I just decided not to refill it. I went through most of the withdrawl symptoms, some brain-zaps, lots of light-headedness and dizziness, ect. That went away after about 3 weeks and for 3 months I felt great, totally off meds and totally back to normal. At the end of January this year, I started to have another "blip." I wasn't eating healthy and not exercising as much and decided I would be "proactive" and resume the Zoloft at my previous dose of 50mgs to nip it in the bud. This sent my anxiety through the roof but thought my body would adjust so I continued taking them. I was so scared of the increased anxiety though I didn't give it a fair shot and kept increasing and decreasing the dosage from 25 to 50mgs every week or so. Finally got into a p-doc and he gave me Lexapro, 5mgs for the 1st week and 10mgs after that...long story short, it did the same thing as the Zoloft and wasn't much better after 7 weeks. At this point I figured, "wow I wasn't this bad before, I will just go off of these!" Well unfortunately my month of no meds did not return me to my January self, in fact it was probably worse than on the meds! So then the doctor gave me pregabalin, which helped a little, but is crazy expensive and not covered by insurance. So on June 1st I started Paxil, 10 mgs for the 1st week and 20mgs after that, hoping the pregabalin can help me to get on them. I really want to be off meds, but don't think I am mentally able to at this point. It seems quitting the Zoloft cold turkey, then reinstating, I am much more sensitive to these drugs, does that make any sense? So I am hopeful I can eventually give a med (Paxil) enough time that my body will desensitize to it, and I can be on it for a bit to get stable again, then get off. Anybody experienced anything like this? Will my body desensitize? I am so desperate to feel normal again, I am a father of 3 (10YO Boy, 7YO Boy, 3YO Girl), a husband to an amazing wife, and they need their Dad and Husband back! What should I do? Give Paxil the time to desensitize, then get off after a few months? Is the fish-oil supplement that I still take that helped me reduce my dose of Zoloft causing me to be more sensitive? Quit everything and see what happens? Thanks in advance for reading my story and giving any advice or encouragement.
  2. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  3. This site is a go-to to reassure myself that others are traveling and have traveled this road. The discussions about emotional spirals (check) and anxiety, rumination and dread on waking up (check) and depression even worse than before medication (check) have been helpful. I am being extra mindful now of taking Mag powder in the morning and before bed. I started AA and kundalini yoga in mid-May which have both been helpful. Although I really didn't drink much, it was enough (and mostly alone, not social) and any depressant when you are coming off an antidepressant can't be helpful. Also, I changed from hatha/vinyasa yoga to kundalini yoga which is more focused on the spiritual component of yoga. I won't lie: at 4 months, I still fall daily into waves of depression and loneliness. But I do find that there are glimmers of happier times and I am getting clearer -- I hope -- about how to handle the tough times (for instance, I just now think that my beloved dog has a fever and am trying not to emotionally spiral -- ugh). I will be reading this site like mad just to remind myself that I am not alone. Farm Girl Works Tapered 75mg Sertraline March 2017 in 4weeks after 6 years mostly on with a few unsuccessful WD Stopped Sertraline April 1, 2017
  4. Hi guys, This question has to do with SSRI's and supplements. I was diagnosed with Chronic OCD in January 2015. I have been on and off medication between 2009-2015. Since 2015 I was prescribed 200mg (Sertraline/Zoloft) Daytime and 2mg Clonazepam for night time sleep. At the back-end-of 2016 I felt that I was well enough to come of all medications as I just felt able enough to cope on 100mg after a while. I did Cold Turkey for most of it before admittingly and slowly going on the lower dose of 100mg Sertraline. I was afterward sent to a Dr who specialised in withdrawing people from medications. She prescribed: - L-Carneitine (300 mg) - CoQ10 (200 mg) - N-Acetylcysteine - Vitamin C - Selenium - Magnesium. - A Gluten Free Diet. With Gluten diet, I did not stick to this religiously as some of the books advocated here on this forum. Mainly Elaine Gotschall's Breaking the Viscious Cycle. (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and the GAPS Diet advocated by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. I am very skeptical when i read over these diets but since my Dad was on the diet, whatever was in the Pantry, I ate. I wasn't religious about it though if I ordered takeout. Back on topic, I reduced the supplements to L-Carneteine and CoQ10 in combination with SSRI Zoloft/Sertraline (100mg). I found that during the time taken them, I had trouble with Cognition and motor skills, driving, runnng and excercise. I also noticed that I couldn't stop feeling dizzy although they are supposed to aide mitochondria in the brain which the Zoloft dulls down. I also noticed real bad insomnia during the time taken these aided supplements. Has anyone else had success with L-Carneteine and CoQ10 prescribed with Zoloft? It seems that people are having great success with these two supplements to rave review, I am just wondering if Carneteine or CoQ10 has worked for anyone to either reduce withdrawal symptoms off SSRIs & Zoloft or taper off completely. **Note. I have looked through the other posts here, but most vary in opinion, so I just want this question answered. Many thanks. Ryder.
  5. Bigmant64

    Bigmant64

    Hi there nead help, I'm male 54years old was on vensir (venlafaxine) 150mg until the end of December 2017,total of 10years ,Dr told me come off over 2 weeks but I did it over 2 months November -December which now I know was way too fast. January 2018was a toughish month, February March April were good felt like my old self, then come May started have windows and waves more so waves nearer end of month. June came so did the anxiety and depression worse than ever so I ended up being admitted into hospital on the 11th June . They started me back on vensir 37.5mg and after 5 hours of taking it I started burn up and lots panick attacks, they told me stick at it would pass things be OK, now adding in 5mg diazepam 3 times a day.After 4 days on 37.5mg vensir I refuse to take it so then I'm put on 15 mg of mirtazipine then after 1 week up to 30mg,the whole time I'm still having symptoms but they keep telling me to take it, takes 4_6 weeks to work omg. After 3 weeks I'm released home under care of psychiatrist taking 30mg of mirtazipine at night and 4mg of diazepamx2 day , zolpidem 10mg.After 2 weeks I had to arrange an appointment see the psychiatrist I'm feeling worse he then decided to add in brintillex with mirtazipine and 3 days later I'm feeling really ill, suicidal thoughts everything, I went to Dr was admitted again into Hospital.This time the mirtazipine is upped to 45mg and brintillex is discontinued ,stayed on 45 mg of mirtazipine until the 9th of Aug, no good days on this so psychiatrist decided to drop to 30mg and add 50 mg of zoloft,stuck this for 3 days felt really sick lots bad thoughts panic attacks, I refused to take the zoloft,next thing psychiatrist sent for me and decided to add 25mg quitiapine,I took this for a week and refused no more, so was left on 30 mg of mirtazipine 4mg diazepamx 2 a day and zolpidem for sleep. Released home on 3Rd of September under care of community mental health home team. Now on 15 mg of mirtazipine, near end of September was put on 25mg amitriptyline and mirtazipine was just dropped.After 4 weeks on amitriptyline couldn't take it any more just feeling unwell all time,amitryptiline dropped .Next thing psychiatrist gives 70 mg lofepramine (brand names: Gamanil, Lomont, and Tymelyt), I took it until 12th November another 4weeks , feeling really ill no sleep,go back see psychiatrist he wants me to change again to Reboxetine or lyrica,I refused told him I want no more. That's my medical history to date, cut a long story short I've been off antidepressants now 23days and do I feel really unwell, yes,sickness nausea is unreal can't eat much, I have 43 of withdrawal symptoms on Dr Glenmullans list,the body sensations I'm experiencing are unreal,hot cold,akathesia,ibs and my diverticulitis off the scale, anxiety and depression,it's all too much,ive been taking 6 mg diazepam every evening at 7pm,sometimes it help but last week I've been taking5mg after I take it I feel more unwell, at bedtime still taking zolpidem,sleep 3_4 hours Every day now I'm getting worse my energy levels are nearly zero can't walk very far, love the outdoors I'm feeling soon i won't be able leave the house.Every morning now I don't want get out of bed but start feel sick can't ly in bed, im very much fatigue very hard to relax just don't know what to do,I feel like I'm poisoned last 6months. Any help greatly appreciated I'm in a very dark place right now. Wish I had found this site few months ago, the medical profession havnt a clue what they're doing.
  6. Hello, (future) friends. I was hoping you might help me develop some insight into some issues in my life that may or may not be related to antidepressant withdrawal. I have become progressively more and more anxious this fall after discontinuing Zoloft last spring in a taper that I now realize was too fast and recently have been pretty much non-functional. I was on Zoloft for 3 years for OCD at a dose of 100 mg/day. In the middle of this interval, I had moved for grad school and was away from the therapist who had recommended it and the GP who prescribed it. I was getting scripts written by an NP. I was not seeing a therapist, because I was asymptomatic by this point. (This is something I regret.) By March 2018, I had not experienced OCD symptoms for a while, but I had gained a lot of weight and suspected that the Zoloft was blunting my emotions. I consulted the NP about weaning myself off the Zoloft. I left with a plan to decrement the dose and meet her later for a physical. She canceled the physical because she was sick, and I did not reschedule because I was ashamed of my weight gain. Meanwhile, I decremented my doses as originally planned without checking in: from 100 mg/day to 75/day, to 50/day to 25/day to 25 every other day, taking the last dose midway through June. Thus, my taper was over approx. 3 months. I realize in retrospect that this was way too fast, but, unfortunately, I was eager to be off the meds and I was doing fine while I was in the process of reducing the dose. I had not properly educated myself of the dangers of too fast a taper, even though I knew from my medication guide that quitting CT was a bad idea. I apologize for the lack of detailed information. I did not keep a symptom journal while reducing the dose. I do not think I experienced any physical symptoms while reducing the dose or in the aftermath. The one exception is that I may have attributed some digestive issues to keto flu when they were actually due to withdrawal (or due to a combination of the two). (I was toying with the keto diet in the later half of June, got out of ketosis when working for a camp that provided a lot of free food, then went back on keto in earnest on July 1. I stayed on keto until November. I still eat a fairly low carb diet.) So far as I recall, I had a happy summer but became extremely anxious in the fall and eventually also became depressed and developed sleep problems. Specifically, I have a proclivity to wake up in the middle of the night and have extreme difficulty getting back to sleep. Often, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I feel terrified. Thankfully, the OCD still seems to be at bay, but the combination of the anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness has made it extremely difficult for me to get any work done or even to make simple decisions. I am considering the possibility that the anxiety and depression symptoms are due to Zoloft w/d. It is also possible that I am experiencing my current symptoms primarily because of situational stressors (most of which manifested after completing the taper) and/or a hormonal imbalance (I have not menstruated since the end of September). Nevertheless, I deeply regret having been on an antidepressant in the first place. I hit a very low place a couple of weeks ago when I realized I wish I could rewind the past 3.5 years of my life. My mood got even lower, and my sleep got even worse. I had one night in which I doubt I slept at all. By morning I was delirious. After that night, I switched my plane tickets to go home early before my semester ended, which I was able to do thanks to having no teaching obligation this semester and having an understanding advisor. While I am at home I am trying my best to figure out what is happening to me. Tomorrow I am going to start an hourly journal to keep track of my symptoms, physical activity and supplement use. In the interest of comparing my experiences with those of others: (1) Did anyone on this forum experience emotional issues due to antidepressant withdrawal without experiencing any physical symptoms? (2) Did anyone experience such a long delay (a matter of months) between a (fast) taper and experiencing withdrawal symptoms? (3) For those who tapered too quickly off Zoloft, how long did it take to become mentally stable again? (4) Is there anyone who had protracted withdrawal and experienced relief from reinstating after 6 months without their SSRI? (5) I know that the timing since my fast taper and my lack of records make things difficult to deduce, but does my case sound like antidepressant withdrawal? I’m not gonna check back in until tomorrow morning - internet use at night harms my sleep - but thanks in advance to anyone who replies. Really, thanks so much.
  7. Hello community, So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months. Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline. The symptoms I currently have are: rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension) inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance) ears ringing morning depression heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer) intense dreams and nightmares head tremor Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman). Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse). I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper. I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too). Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.
  8. Hi everyone, I wish we wouldn't have to meet under these unfortunate circumstances, but here we are. I want to give a full introduction of myself and my situation in hopes that someone can please shine some light on me or atleast tell me I will be fine again, one day. I am a 24 year old female that has found herself nearly disabled by SSRIs. This is going to be long and i apologize. When i was 17-18 I smoked marijuana almost every day for 1-2 years. When I moved away to college I decided to "get my act together" and focus on school. I quit smoking cold turkey and this set the stage for a very frightening panic disorder leading me to quit school and move home becoming nearly agoraphobic for a few months. Obviously was depressed as well and spent my days sleeping to escape. After 3 months I went to the Doctor and started on Zoloft and within 2 months was back on my feet working full-time. Still had some anxiety but kept living. I stayed on Zoloft for 4 years from ages 18-22 and everything was fine. I felt emotionally cut-off but figured that was the price i had to pay to not have panic attacks. Also, I completely lost my sex drive. Because of these reasons (and my boyfriend calling me a zombie) I slowly tapered down to 25 mg and stayed on that for many months before quitting. For a few weeks after quitting a had annoying 'brain zaps' but nothing major, kept working full time and doing online college. I quit Zoloft in February 2015. Everything was fine until a year later when i started feeling 'not right'. It was during a very stressful time in my life. Working 65 hours a week and keeping good grades in very challenging nursing classes. I started feeling dizzy, off balance, pressure headaches, fatigued and a LOT of derealization (which I didn't even know was a thing at the time so I didn't know how to explain it. All i could say was massive brain fog). Not knowing what the heck was going on with me I went to the doctor after weeks and weeks of my symptoms persisting. I was told I had vertigo and tried motion sickness medicine (didn't help), I did physical therapy on my neck for months to relieve the headaches. They got better but i still felt so 'off'. Like something was missing, it almost felt like when i needed a cigarette after not smoking for 12+ hours but when i smoked it wouldn't help. Like my brain was just stuck in this weird dreamy fog. This feeling after 6 months was giving me anxiety related to my health. I knew something wasn't right but had NO idea. I mean, i thought it could be a brain tumor or something. It really started taking a toll on me. Finally, 6 months after these symptoms started my Doctor told me it was stress and seeing that I had a past history of Panic attacks he told me I needed my zoloft again or it could get out of control. Well, i certainly didn't want to relive my 'breakdown' of 2010 so I listened thinking, what the heck, if this doesn't help, then it isn't stress and its just one thing to cross of the list. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!! This started a HORRIBLE HELLISH experience that I don't know if I can come back from. July 2016- Re-enstated zoloft after being off for 1.5 years. One dose of 25 mg sent me into constant panic within hours. I was pacing the house and out of nowhere I get intrusive mental suicidal images. Scared the pants off me and off to the ER i went the next day. The ER doctor told me to keep taking it. I told him there was NO way in hell I would ever take that pill again, It was that terrifying of an experience. I had to call off work and had major insomnia for a week. My body felt like it was physically vibrating on the inside. So after that experience I go back to my doctor and he puts me on Paxil. August 2016- Took paxil for 19 days. Each day I got worse and worse. I went from working and being a good friend/girlfriend/sister/daughter to feeling no emotions except fear, despair and panic. I became horribly horribly depressed with akathisia. I had to quit my job. The intrusive thoughts were back and i was told to 'hang in there' by my doctor and that sometimes anxiety gets worse in the beginning. I was so confused because my first time on zoloft I had no start up effects that i remember. On paxil i lost my appetite, severe stomach pains, constant diarrhea, insomnia, akathisia, constant panic, intrusive thoughts, derealization, depersonalization, depression, crying, literally could not function. At this point my doctor wanted to UP the dose and I said no way! He then asked me if i wanted to go to a psych ward because my anxiety was getting out of hand. He told me to stop the paxil and gave me 90 pills of xanax. I tried the xanax 1 time. At this point i was so screwed up that 1/4 of a 0.25mg knocked me out and made me feel so depressed and like I didn't have it in me to even talk! Very sensitive. September 2016- got a referral to see a p-doc (symptoms got a little better for 2 weeks off paxil but came back with a vengance) intrusive thoughts and diarrhea went away. but was left with so many debilitating symptoms the worst was the derealization that i still didn't know how to explain. October 2016- Still having horrible symptoms, but now getting some vision changes as well (small sparkles of light in vision) saw p-doc who told me i could be bi-polar type 3. (what is that?! Anxiety runs strong in my family but not bi-polar and i wasn't having mood swings, I was catapulted into severe 24/7 anxiety HELL) November 2016- p-doc decided to start me on a low dose of celexa and buspar. I only made it 11 days on celexa before the akathisia and intrusive thoughts made me literally want to die. I added buspar on the 11th day and had a serotonin syndrome reaction with confusion, shivering, muscle jerking, goosebumps, severe anxiety, severe restlessness, zero sleep and felt like I was going to die at any given second. I have never felt so close to death in my life. My p-doc told me to quit taking everything and gave me Ativan. December 2016- p-doc doesn't know what to diagnose me with but wants to try an anticonvulsant (lamictal). I start lamictal and within 4 days my skin and eyes were burning, i had chills and a low grade fever and I freaked out because this drug can cause a deadly rash. This med also made my intrusive thoughts constant. I quit this drug and cried my eyes out for days not knowing what the hell has happened to me. I go back to the p-doc and she wants to try a liquid medication at a very low dose because I am so sensitive to everything. She said Prozac or Tegretol (another anticonvulsant) I told her i was too scared to start another SSRI, so i got Tegretol. Tegretol can also cause a LOT of deadly side effects such as a deadly skin rash, liver failure, aplastic anemia etc... I have NOT started taking the tegretol even though i was supposed to 2 weeks ago. However, i am STILL very sick from the lamictal. Holy Crap! In july i was a little dizzy with derealization and now i can't function! What i am guessing is that i was going through a protracted withdrawal from Zoloft and putting me back on it (and all these other things) just added to the fire. I feel like i am never going to get better. I just got engaged 2 days ago and cried because of how bad i've become and can't enjoy anything. My p-doc never even diagnosed me. She said i have some bi-polar traits because the SSRIs made me worse but she said it looks like severe anxiety and told me to take up to 4 ativan a day. I stay away from those because i don't need any further damage. I have been off any SSRI for about 6 weeks and the lamictal for 2 weeks. My symptoms are: Intrusive thoughts (never had before restarting zoloft) This is probably my absolute worst symptom. it is like my brain keeps trying to tell me there is danger but rationally i know there isn't any. unbelievable anxiety that isn't connected to anything. It is just here (my panic disorder of 2010 wasn't anywhere near this bad because the anxiety would end after the panic attack, this feels like constant) insomnia (never had before) cant focus on Anything/ poor concentration ( can't watch TV or lose myself in anything to distract myself) no appetite & GI problems that this creates Lost 20 pounds in the past 6 months, I have been drinking ensure plus to get in calories muscle tremors and twitches dizziness feeling disconnected seeing sparkles in vision every now and then derealization loss of pleasure, joy, contentment or any positive emotions depersonalization depression and crying (because of how drastically my life has changed) ruminations about what is happening to me not interested in anything feeling of doom terrible memory sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, commotion etc. my heart rate takes off whenever it feels like it fatigue zero sex drive ringing in ears sweaty & cold hands and feet and last but not least a fear that i am completely losing my mind. I know a lot of you have been through a lot. I don't know where else to turn. The doctors just made everything 1000x worse. I am currently not working and had to quit college. I don't feel like myself, i know i am in there deep down but all my symptoms debilitate me. Does this sound like an adverse reaction or have I all of a sudden developed a worse mental illness? I do not intend to go back to my p-doc or take any medications. I want my body to heal and go back to who i was 6 months ago. Does anyone please have any advice? I feel so alone and scared that i permanently screwed up my brain. If you are reading all of this thank you and bless you. I never even knew someone could feel so bad mentally and physically. I wish i would have never restarted zoloft in july. I don't know what to do. I need hope that this will get better.
  9. Hello I recently withdrew from two psychiatric medications, Zoloft (Sertraline)and Zyprexa (Olanzapine) after a 15 year forced dependency which started when I was court-ordered to take them in 1998 for depression. In Feb. 2014, I finally quit the pills for the 4th and final time. The withdrawal symptoms were quite severe, probably similar to those of heroin, only instead of the people who care for you trying to help you get off the drugs, in the case of psych meds., everyone is dead set on you continuing to stay on them. I went about 6 straight days without sleep while trying to get off the pills, constantly throwing up all over my apartment (my parents had to bring over a steam cleaner to clean up all the huge piles of vomit, while at the same time admonishing me to go back on the meds.) I developed extreme lightheadedness. When I would turn my head to look at something it would take a moment or two for my field of vision to catch up. I suffered from those brain shocks which I thought might be some suppressed memories of the many rounds of ECT that were administered to me, against my will, back in the mid 1990's. I nearly died on a couple of occasions during the withdrawal as my blood sugar levels plunged so low that I was forced to crawl to my kitchen and shove wadded-up pieces of white bread soaked in either oyster sauce, fish sauce or salad dressing (for proteins and sugars) into my mouth to avoid collapsing on the floor, but somehow I did it, I got clean. I had kicked the pills cold turkey three times previously (twice in 2004 and again for 10 months in 2005-6) only to be put back on them. The last time in 2005-6, I had been given the choice of either taking the pills and being given a bed in a local group home on a 0° F January evening or else to go rough it in a snowbank (I had been evicted from my apt. after falling a month behind in rent). The pills (Zoloft originally at 200mg that on my own advice I scaled back to 100mg at the time of my withdrawal. Zyprexa originally at 17.5mg that I had reduced to 10mg) basically ruined my health. Within a couple of years of starting on the meds in 1998, I had gone from a lithe and slender 6' tall 160 lbs man to a portly 230 pounder,, with all the weight gain going into my belly and thighs (Blech!). My cholesterol and triglyceride levels tripled. I had copious amounts of diarrhea daily. My blood pressure was absolutely wrecked. When kneeling down or squatting on my haunches, at say a grocery store or maybe a bookstore, to look at something on a low shelf, upon rising I would start to nearly black-out or swoon due to massive head rushes and would have to hold on to shelving for about a minute or so until I regained my vision and sense of balance. And from about 2006 on, I became no more than some sluggish, gorging hibernating animal that slept between 12 and 16 hours a day, sometimes as much as 20 hrs a day (watching T.V. was my only other occupation) where I would hardly more than move from my bed to the couch only to fall asleep 3 hours later for upwards of 4-6 hours, sometimes for as much as 10 hours. I was sleeping so much that when I woke, I often had no idea if it was early morning or late evening. I would have the most awful and depressing nightmares of being strapped into a dentist's chair while doctors would be cramming every conceivable pill down my throat in an attempt to kill me. The sedative-like effects of the drugs, combined with a horrible and untreated case of sleep apnea due to smoking and a severely broken nose as a teenager, left me completely fatigued all the time. I usually only left my apartment once a week to stock up on groceries. Since the harrowing experience of withdrawal, my health and spiritual well-being have greatly improved. I began a 4-6 mile a night brisk walking regiment and starting biking between 10-20 miles a day which resulted in me losing 45 lbs in 3 months. While before on the pills, I could hardly stay awake, now I can barely get to sleep. My insomnia is sometimes so bad (3-4 hrs of sleep a day, often none) that I resemble a real live? zombie (I call my condition, Inzombia) but considering how low my spirits had been on the pills, I'm just happy to live an active life again, even if I do suffer bouts of sleeplessness. I've spent several hundred hours since early last year either volunteering picking up trash from local parks and lakes or else helping out at a local thrift store and my creative spirit has flourished. I have filled something like 15 fifty page notebooks full of my poetry (both of a serious and humorous nature) and have written many short pieces of memoir, one of which is entitled In Servitude to the Devil, and is about my nearly indescribable and entirely hellish experience in 1995-1996, when for six months, I suffered from brain damage and akathisia brought on by the forced administration of Resperdine, Prozac and Paxcil. I thought I might end this piece with two short poems of mine The Psychiatrist His pills amount to fool's gold; his lab-coat: starched and anti-sceptically white He professes to be a doctor, but he's a neuro-nazi in my sight. A Reflection On Our Times So much lust and vanity under the sun Surely God is our pariah as we have our fun.
  10. Hi all, I have been struggling off and on over the last 14 years with what I thought was anxiety the whole time, but am now realizing it was more likely withdrawal from stopping antidepressants too quickly. The first SSRI I was put on was Paxil. I tapered off after 7 months because I never really liked the idea of being on an antidepressant. I started having anxiety a few months later and was switched to 50 mg of Zoloft. I tried multiple times over the next 13 or so years to stop Zoloft, but the anxiety always returned, so back on I would go. In the fall of 2015 I had a return of anxiety after reducing the Zoloft to 25mg and tried to go back to 50, but it wasn't helping, so ended up going to 150mg before I felt relief. I again tried tapering last summer and got down to 25mg and experienced increased anxiety as well as insomnia. My doctor switched me to Lexapro last October, but it only made me more anxious, so after 10 weeks he switched me to Paxil. I got up to 20mg of Paxil for 3 weeks and wasn't feeling any better, so finally decided I had enough and wanted off the antidepressants. I started tapering at the end of January down to 15mg for 2 weeks, then 10 for 2 weeks, then to 7.5, and after about a week and a half at 7.5 started feeling really anxious again. I found this site and decided to go back up to 10mg of Paxil and stabilized for about 2 weeks and then started tapering 10%. Was doing pretty well for a couple of weeks at 9mg and then started feeling a little anxiety creep in. I talked to my doctor about switching to Prozac to make the tapering hopefully easier, so a week ago this Friday I started taking 4.5 mg each of Paxil and Prozac. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, and am having a particularly difficult time right now. Feeling quite anxious and can't sleep. I took .5mg lorazepam tablet and am feeling a bit better, but not sure what to do now. I was going to switch to just 9mg of the Prozac and eliminate the Paxil tomorrow, but not sure if I should continue with the half and half mixture I have been doing or maybe even just go back to the Paxil alone? This just sucks so bad. I know I have probably screwed up my system so much with all of these changes and can only pray the damage is reversible. I was feeling pretty good earlier today, but then started feeling terrible as the evening went on. Haven't felt this bad in a while. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  11. Hello all, long time reader first time poster. Firstly I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have such a place to go and receive help for what can only be described as a nightmare that thousands of people seem to go through. So here is my story which I will end with a few questions I have. As you can see from my signature, I was placed on 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) in September 2009. This is when my life was turned upside down. I was originally placed on this drug because I visited my local doctor comlaining about some anxiety that I was getting after I drank alcohol. I must say that for a period of about 8 years I was a heavy binge drinker. I was a typical 18 year old who went out every weekend and got blind drunk with his mates. This was obviously starting to take its toll on me once I hit 25 years of age and that is why I visited my doctor. Well I was in there for a total of about 10 minutes before he prescribed me 50mg of Zoloft telling me this would help with taking the edge off of my anxiety. I did what he suggested and this was the worst mistake of my life. I returned to the doctor within 10 days of starting 50mg complaining of the worst symptoms (severe agitation, anxiety and now depression). Unfortunatley I could not see the original doctor so I saw another doctor there at the time. He said I must need a higher dose and that 100mg was the normal dose he puts his patients on. He also prescribed valium to me (which I took a couple of times). The next 3 months of my life was like a horror film. I became suicidal with severe symptoms that I had never experienced before going on the drug. I seem to settle after about 3 months, but it must be said I never was without symptoms, but they were less severe. Around 12 months after starting the drug, I began to get more severe symtoms. I returned to the doctor and he once again up'd my dosage to 150mg. The next 3 months were a nightmare again, severe agitation etc. For the next 6 years I floated between 100mg and 150mg. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy to treat an apparent panic disorder; although I didn't mind the therapist, the information we went through just didn't seem to apply to me i.e. I wasn't thinking any of the ways he was suggesting was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until I started looking into more natural ways and researching antidepressants that I realised that maybe the drug could be the problem! Lightbulb moment! I have read a lot of books from authors like Peter Breggin, Joseph Glenmullen, etc. which I am sure most of you have read. I also have been doing a lot of work with a nutritionist. I had a 23andme test done and found out a couple of interesting points. I have a COMT gene mutation which means I break down adrenaline and dopamine slower and I also have a mutation in another gene which I can't remember the name of which means I break down serotonin slower. What this actually suggests to me and my nutritionist agrees is that I may have been quite toxic with levels of serotonin which was causing serotonin syndrome. Alot of my symptoms were a mirror image of serotonin syndrome (agitation etc.). So as you can see from my signature, I began tapering in February 2016. My problem now is that I seem to have hit a huge brick wall. I may have tapered a little fast and was hit with severe withdrawal symptoms which have not gone away. I have been holding at my current dose of 60mg for almost 4 months now. This past 4 months has been the worst 4 months of my life. It started with severe symptoms like pounding headaches, vomitting, insomnia, not being able to sit still (severe agitation) as well as some depression. It has progressed from there to now being just severe depression. I am not depressed about anything in particular other than the way I feel. It is like I am completely numb with emotions aside from being really upset. I have no appetite and really struggle to get through each day. I am very fatigued and lack motivation to do the most basic of things. I am pushing through it as best I can still working fulltime and excercising a couple of times a week plus playing golf on the weekend. I must say that I have a great life. I love my job, I have a beautiful wife and young son (8 months) and honestly have everything to live for. It is just these horrendous symptoms are ruining it all. So finally to my questions and looking for advice from some veterans on here. What should I do next? Should I continue to hold at 60mg until things get better, or should I continue at a 10% taper and see if things get worse or perhaps better? From previous drops, I seem to have a period of improvement on symptoms for about 2-4 weeks, and then it begins to decline until I drop again. I am not sure whether that means I should keep reducing or slow down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
  12. David182

    David182: hello all

    Hello everyone, I’d like to start off by saying thank you. The people of this forum have inspired much hope and understanding in the ways of antidepressant medication. I am grateful. I’ve been on Zoloft since the spring of 2015. Things had been going wonderfully well. I felt like myself but disconnected/ unplugged just enough to cope far better. Better mood, alertness and mental focus were a nice change of pace. Around the end of May 2017 I’d been taking BCAAs for working out for around 2 months. One Sunday, after lifting weights and mowing the yard I took a nap and woke up feeling off. I had low blood sugar issues for about a day, I couldn’t handle warm temperatures, couldn’t sleep well, and suffered hot flashes for the next few days. For a while I though I was sick. I took an lorazepam one evening (3 days later) and an extra zoloft because of horrible anxiety. I countinued to take my now double dose with my doctor’s permission. The next 6 weeks were h*ll. I had no idea Zoloft could do such things since I had no negative effects when I started. I could write a novel (as I’m sure we all could) but I’ll try and hit the main points. About week 6 I stabilized. I hadn’t found this site yet so many mistakes were made. i only stayed at 100mg for a week or so before I jumped to 75mg (I felt too apathetic about things, needed to lower). By this point I realized it was the Zoloft causing my problems. The next few weeks were quite uncomfortable but things went really bad when working out on the 3rd week caused me to crash...hard!! I switched doctors as I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with my other one. My new P.A diagnosed me with serotonin syndrome (a short 3 day stint of trazadone while doubling my dose no doubt contributed, different doctor) she dropped me from 75mg to 25mg of Zoloft. I felt so much better and for the next two weeks got to the point of feeling amazing. Then week three came and some light cardio pushed me over the edge and I crashed again. I also noticed I would have horrible low blood sugar issues for a day or two after crashing. after a week of misery. I bumped my dose to 50mg (I found this site by then). I felt immediate improvement. I began to heal but also began feeing strong sensations of numbness/ pins and needles in my hands and feet, weakness also. I am currently 7 weeks at 50mg. I’ve been struggling with tight & weak calves / ankles since, sporadic internal tremors and fatigue. Had back spasms for a bit about a week ago but not since. I’ve begun to sleep better in the past few weeks (7 hours on a good night but not consistently). I typically wake up around 5-6 hours after falling asleep but I don’t NEED medicine to help me fall asleep anymore (a few months of needing it). I would rather keep this short but I want you all to know my history. I saw a psychiatrist tonight at the recommendation of my PA (she was surprised when my reinstatement actually helped, she was convinced I hadn’t dropped too low too fast. She is a wonderful PA and God worked through her, saved my life when I had serotonin syndrome.) The psychiatrist on the other hand... I have mixed feelings. I flat out refused any other medication. She believes my first incident was serotonin syndrome. Maybe so? BCCA actually inhibit triptophan uptake but then again my workout protein powder did have triptophan in it (I have quit taking all workout supplements months ago). The psychiatrist also thinks I’m suffering from serotonin syndrome now. (Currently weakness in legs, pins and needles in hands and feet, stiff feeling calves and maybe hands, hands and feet more susceptible to being cold) what do do you all think? Do I continue to continue to tough it out at 50mg? Is this a sign my body is too sensitized for this dose? (I was at 25mg for one month before reinstating to 50mg) I will work on my signature as soon as I figure out how to do it. Thank you for your time. I trust you all more than the medical “professionals”
  13. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  14. Hey everyone, Hope you all are doing well! So, I've been taking sertraline since I was 19. I started at 50 mg and ended up at 100 mg for a couple of years. I weaned down to 50 mg until I had a severe depressive episode at age 23 and worked up to 200 mg combined with risperdal. I came off the risperdal within a year but stayed on the sertraline. About 3 years later, I started to taper down. I went down 50 mg at one time and felt truly awful but stuck with it. I then tried a 25 mg drop but got really sick, not realizing that it was the medicine causing it. I went back to 150 until I was over my "sickness." After realizing that the withdrawals were making me sick, I tried different rates of drops over the course of a year. Sometimes 10 mg, sometimes 5 mg, sometimes 1/3 mg until I reached 100 mg. That was about a year ago; I'm now 29 and I still don't feel right. I'm anxious, fatigued, cloudy-minded and sick most of the time. So here are my questions: When should I expect to "level out?" I would like a period of feeling normal before I start back on my taper, but is that naive? Should I just keep tapering now? Furthermore, if these withdrawal side effects are permanent, shouldn't I stop tapering to prevent further damage? Any practical advice would be helpful. Thanks!
  15. rhino87

    rhino87: Taper Questions

    Hey everyone, I have a tooth infection that I'm pretty sure is spreading because I have flu-like symptoms and feel really sick. I'm about to schedule an appointment, but I'm really concerned that the antibiotic they prescribe will interact with my sertraline. I currently take 100mg daily and am very affected by interactions. Do any of you know what a safe antibiotic would be so that I can tell the dentist? Thank you in advance!
  16. I have been on Zoloft and a few other meds in between, for about 25 years. I have also been on one milligram of Klonopin every night for 5 years. My last Klonopin was in June 2018. Luckily, there is a lot of material regarding Klonopin withdrawal and it is considered a “real thing” by doctors, counselors, etc. In September 2018, I started feeling like I was fairly recovered from Klonopin withdrawal and started the Zoloft taper. My last Zoloft was September 22nd. I have had extreme bloating, ringing in my ears, severe hot flashes, anxiety and depression (way worse than before antidepressants). After about 6 weeks, the bloating subsided and hot flashes were better. I am starting to have very small windows without extreme anxiety and depression, however, it is still very rough! The frustration is that doctors are so eager to put us on these meds but no one seems to get the withdrawal issues! I couldn’t have made it this far without information I have found online and a level of faith that has kept me hanging on! One of the drugs that I have been on was Cymbalta and it almost killed me....literally. A month after I started Cymbalta I ended up in the hospital due to severe abdominal pain and throwing up. A few months later I ended up in the hospital again with the same symptoms and bowel obstruction. This happened over Thanksgiving holidays 2017. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong so they took my gallbladder. The symptoms continued and I was misdiagnosed three times! Anyway, no one ever mentioned the Cymbalta connection. By some miracle, I realized that all of this started when I began taking the Cymbalta so I stopped and my doctor put me on Trintellix. As soon as I stopped the Cymbalta, the stomach issues subsided. Anyway, it helps to connect with others who have had similar experiences! I switched doctors and haven’t mentioned withdrawing from these drugs because I dont think any of these physicians understand! I hope we can help each other!!
  17. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Wisco: Tapering off of Valium Hi everyone. I've been on a long journey with medication. I took various SSRI's from 2004-2012 (this was mainly during my adolescence) for OCD and GAD. I did not put much effort into therapy during this time and was told by multiple psychiatrists that I'd probably need to be on antidepressants for life. I tapered off 20mg of Lexapro back in 2012. It was a very quick taper and to the best of my memory my side effects were not terrible. Unfortunately I have neglected to treat my underlying anxiety disorder during these past four years and began having panic attacks around the beginning of this year. Multiple life stressors added up and resulted in me having a breakdown just days after completing my semester (about a month ago). For weeks I couldn't sleep or eat and felt like a total zombie. I was desperate and wanted to do anything I could to feel better. Thus, I went back to my old psychiatrist just over 3 weeks ago and was put on 5mg of Lexapro. I then increased to 10mg last week. My ramp-up symptoms were not terrible - dry mouth, fatigue, jaw tightness. However, as I began to naturally emerge from my breakdown (I hadn't been on medication long enough for it to start working) I questioned whether I truly wanted to be on Lexapro again. While it helped me a lot during my childhood it also created a chemical dependency that I am feeling the ramifications of to this day. I have recently started seeing an ACT therapist and he is absolutely convinced that therapy and mindfulness techniques are just as good if not better for anxiety than SSRI medications. I decided to quit Lexapro CT and took my last dose this past Friday. This meant that I had been on 5mg for 2.5 weeks and 10mg for half a week. Unfortunately, just a few days ago I started to feel spaced out and my sleep quality decreased greatly (while I haven't been sleeping great due to the stress episode, my sleep was improving quite a bit with every week). My sinuses also began to clog back up (they were bad when I first went back on meds, possibly due to a combination of a sinus infection, allergies and the meds themselves) and my ears have been ringing on and off. I was so worried that these were the beginning of withdrawal symptoms that I took a 5mg pill this morning. Now my jaw is tight again and I feel even worse. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do? I have already decided that I made a mistake by going back to my psychiatrist and don't want to be on medication anymore. I know for a fact that I was beginning to emerge from my stress episode despite the drugs, not because of them. Now going off of them has made me feel like crap again and I am wondering whether I need to taper after ramping up to 10mg in a three week timespan. I appreciate any advice and will keep everyone updated as to how I am doing.
  18. I have been off Sertraline for over four months now, after having been on it for about 3 and half years. Previous 4 years or so I had been on other medications. Is diffcult to comprehend and explain in words all that is going on, but my whole psyche has been completely overturned in these years, and I do not know to what extent the various medications have caused me this. I suffer from the severest OCD,and anxiety, and now I think depression, and sheer terror at all my subsconscious thoughts which have completely taken over my whole mind. I have been imprisoned and castigated in my own mind. It is beyond explanation what is occuring on a millisecond basis. I seem to have entered some moral vortex, whereby I feel as if I am always doing wrong. Constantly confronted with "Heaven and Hell". Constantly feeling compelled to undo things, which for example I have written like here. Damned if I do or if I don't , this doesnt explain 1% of what is going on. It has brought into the fore the reason for everything and existence. I really have no idea what is going on, terrifies me the idea that no-one can have any idea of what is going on in my head. Yet on the other hand everybody is in my head, I don't know who is in my head and who isn't. Everything I say in my head is being judged. I will not go any further for now as I am terrified of writing, and also it may not be entirely pertinent to the subject. Unfortunately it only comforts me to a certain extent to know that others are experiencing their own hell, and I feel guilty in turn for the fact "that others suffering should comfort me', as I have entered some abstract Universe which seems to have its own laws. the ridiculous thing is that in the end what seems "right and wrong" seems to be determined by feeling and not some sort of formula, and I feel guilty in turn for thinking that, and also "convinced" on the one hand that it should be formulated and on the other "know" that it isn't. One of the main reasons for writing this post was the guilt and fear of punishment, or fear of damning others, especially close ones for benefitting from reading others stories and not contributing my own. To clarify alot of this stuf was going on when I was still on the Sertraline, and perhaps, in a different way when I was on other medication, difference now is that I am that so much more fragile.
  19. Jansin

    Jansin: Zoloft

    My name is John, I'm 23 years old and I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in 2013 and was given Zoloft (Sertraline) for treatment, I took 100mg every day for about 4 years until recently I made the decision that I want to be drug-free. So one day either late 2017 or early this year around January I stopped cold turkey and also began tapering off of smoking marijuana. Over the course of this year I felt I began reacting less to everyday life, I began enjoying my hobbies and interests less and less, my short-term memory had declined, and became less and less motivated as the year went on. I attributed this to my chronic cannabis use, only recently have I realized I was horribly wrong. Come September, I woke up one day noticing that my vision wasn't quite right, not blurry, not doubled, just clear yet foggy at the same time, almost like a see-through field of static. The most notable effects being that lights and computer screens are glowing much more. This triggered what I believe to be my very first encounter with Anxiety. There had been an Elm Beetle infestation on one of the trees in the backyard of my home at the time, so I had begun to think that one of them crawled into my head and died, and the resulting gases and decomposition affected me. That quickly evolved to believing there were multiple bugs inside my head either eating me or laying eggs. I knew this was very unlikely but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking it, so then I googled my vision change, the bug theory immediately flew out the window as my new irrational fear took its place: I was almost sure I was having either a brain aneurysm, stroke, or a brain tumor, and began to panic about dying in my sleep or dying in general for the next week or so. So I cave, finally I decide to see my Psychiatrist, and after explaining all of my symptoms and fears to him he thought it best to prescribe more Sertraline and also suggested I see a therapist again. I immediately make the earliest possible appointment I could, which happened to be within the next three hours. The way the therapist almost callously dismissed my fears was actually comforting: "I doubt it's an aneurysm, you're more likely to win the lottery." he went on to explain that if I absolutely could not get over these fears that I could simply get my eyes tested, get my head scanned, get my blood tested, etc. and if I continued to worry about an aneurysm or tumor all I needed to do was remind myself: "I'm seeing a professional and we'll figure this out" "I'm eliminating the possibilities." I get my eyes checked: 20/20 vision. I get a physical (including a blood draw): Healthy. I was almost frustrated that it wasn't just a simple health issue, almost disappointed to learn that I don't actually need glasses. I just wanted to go and find a fix for this. All the while I had begun taking sertraline again. Got through the first 25mg week, then upped to 50mg (Breaking it in half, taking one half in the morning and the other half at night). I actually noticed a positive change for a bit, the anxiety being gone within the first week (but that was likely due to the advice given by the therapist), and during the second week I was actually in higher spirits, mostly more calm and was even able to crack dumb jokes and laughing felt a little more real. I knew they would work, they worked before and they seemed to be working now... Which is exactly why I stopped again. At some point you just don't want to live the rest of your life worrying about side effects or long term effects on your brain chemistry, at some point you begin to doubt that getting on this pills was ever a good idea in the first place. In 2013 I was in a long distance relationship that was strenuous and not working out. I couldn't accept that, I loved her so much, I believed she was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, the thought of losing her was making me cry and cry every morning and night to the point where I was just sad for most of my time. I foolishly believed I was clinically depressed and almost immediately sought out treatment with drugs. Only after a few sessions with a talk-therapist I was diagnosed (maybe falsely, maybe not) with Major Depressive Disorder and was soon sent to a Psychiatrist. I really liked these people, they really come off as your friend and someone who wants to know you and help you. But I just wish they talk me "SSRI's are a big commitment, try exercise and more talk therapy" or "If you aren't having thoughts of suicide then you shouldn't take them." I was never suicidal in those years, just a bit upset with my life, I really wish they warned me of the side-effects beforehand or at least tried to make me understand that they are quite possibly a lifelong commitment, but no, they gave them to me practically a month after I asked about them. I try not to blame those people, I shouldn't, and I tell myself that it was a mistake that I myself made, a choice that I could've avoided if I wasn't so ignorant to what I was getting into. I could've easily done the research beforehand, or could have simply made the right decision and ended my relationship for the better of my health, but I chose to believe something was wrong with me, something that could just be fixed with a pill. Now, 4 years later I experience suicidal thoughts for the first time in my life, I wake up every morning with it weighing over me, invasive, unrelenting, just a sheer violent desperation to escape, to put an end to the pain, the nothingness. I barely hold conversation, and almost always pause mid sentence to gather my thoughts, I sometimes forget information even seconds after receiving it. Happiness just feels... unavailable to me, I only ever feel fear, sadness, and pain. I just want to feel how I used to, I just want to be excited about anything again. I remember my world just lighting up whenever my brother would come home from school every day, I remember the time spent with my friends and loved ones being the best moments of my life. Now it all just feels like a distraction. Now the most I can feel around them is a tiny semblance of peace, just a wick of hope. It's madness, it is an actual living nightmare to be around people you love with all your heart and feel NOTHING, JUST NOTHING. Please help me, I'm so ready to be my old self again, I'm so ready to just genuinely smile. I miss my brother, I miss him so much and hes right here in the same house with me, hes always been here for me and without him I might be dead, and yet I miss him. We used to stay up hours after midnight just brainstorming about stories, jokes, or even nothing at all. We used to be able to just talk for hours, and now I barely know what to say, now I barely laugh or have any ideas... I am less of who I am and I feel like I lose more and more of me every day. I've discovered this website just today and have read about brassmonkey's 10% tapering technique. The withdrawal symptoms described here fit all too well with what I'm experiencing. I'm willing to get back 50mg of sertraline if thats the process I need to take on before I can taper off. Someone please make a plan with me, help me save my life, I can't live like this, and I also can't end it. Please. Please help me.
  20. Hi! My story, feel free to skip it, it's long - as a child I had allergy problems, was a frequent user of various antihistamine drugs, as well as corticosteroids. At 12 I had a psychotic outbreak, coupled with severe depression, outbursts of crying, apathy, I was briefly hospitalised after a suicide attempt, diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on risperidone. During the next 3 years I was put on other antipsychotics, as the risperidone wasn't making any difference, at 14 years old I was put on olanzapine, also around that time the psychosis passed and things began looking up. I was home-schooled at that time. At 15 I tried quitting cold turkey, I was told by my doctor - and that is the only doctor out of the many I've dealt with that acknowledged such thing as withdrawal existed, that is if I understood her correctly - that I had to withdraw it during the course of several months or else I could seriously harm myself. She actually didn't necessarily have to mean that, since later on I was told by other doctors that the tapering is recommended only so that the doctor can observe the patient and prevent a potential relapse (they also recommended weeks, not months long taper). So at 15 all hell broke lose, sadly since I didn't have any information to act on then, despite the whole thing seeming slightly fishy, I assumed it was the illness returning. I experienced low body temperature, psychosis, anxiety, depression, tiredness and muscle weakness. At 17 I attempted the second cold turkey withdrawal, mostly because I'd switched to Abilify and it gave me an unmanageable stomachache. That withdrawal put me out of school for a year, also I experienced severe psychosis + the other symptoms, and sinusitis. After that withdrawal I was put on amisulpride and shortly afterwards zoloft, which was my mother's suggestion, to offset the depression she assumed was caused by the drug. Things stabilised after that, I moved to London from my native country, and managed to enroll on a course. And then I tried withdrawing again, because things seemed so good. Around that time also I stumbled on a Guardian article by Joanna Montcrieff about the possibility of drug withdrawal mimicking illness. But the thought of withdrawing a drug for a year or longer seemed really outlandish, I just took a month. The third withdrawal hit me real hard, this time it was amisulpride + zoloft, I was really half conscious at that time, an extremely lethal state, I had to go back home and quit my course, I also got in debt, because higher education isn't free in the UK. So, feeling a bit desperate I decided to give the year long withdrawal a go. Because amilsulpride throughout the time I took it, was causing massive akathisia (my doctor persuaded me to stay on it because it was in his opinion so motivating), I switched to olanzapine again. I actually initially tried taking amisulpride, but the leg restlessness made me unable to sleep or do anything else for that matter, it was even worse than before. I know people suggest tapering by 10% of the previous dose, but tapering for 7 years would have driven me insane, so I just did 10% of the original dose every 2 weeks. And it worked, after 10 months my motivation, intelligence, great deal of pleasure and consciousness returned, no psychosis, just lots of nausea and some anxiety when tapering, a bit of a psychotic state somewhere along the way, but it passed quickly. Also the gastrointestinal symptoms went away, they'd been bothering me ever since that hospitalisation, and the doctors kept telling me it was most likely the leaky gut syndrome. Looking back, it was also really funny when a renown psychiatrist in this country told me about there being two groups of people suffering from schizophrenia (or taking antipsychotics), one helplessly ill, whom drugs can only calm down and who need to be constantly hospitalised and locked away, and the other drug, who thrive on these medicines, but can't live without them. I'm also fairly sure that one of those anti-allergy drugs caused the first state to begin with, it was really too similar to the later withdrawals (also scientists openly admit now to the possibility of corticosteroids causing psychosis). So now, about a year later, I'm through withdrawing the zoloft, but it has been way more painful than withdrawing olanzapine, extremely painful. No psychosis during that withdrawal, but massive allergy attacks, muscle pain, low body temperature, weakness, nausea, one anxiety attack. And towards the very end I had horrible insomnia, very little sleep for a few consecutive days, and I just had to do the silliest thing, that is, still thinking about drugs the way I'd thought before, I took 80 milligrams of hydroxyzine without checking what receptors it affected (just thought about it as a sleeping pill). It did help the insomnia, also relieved a lot of the pain, but here I am, a week after stopping the drug, and I'm getting a really bad case of deregulated histamine system. So, my questions is, has anyone here experienced a rather brutal SSRI withdrawal like this one, possibly also taking such a large dose of hydrox (which affects two of the same receptors SRRIs affect), and if and when did the post-withdrawal symptoms pass. I'm getting really bad low body temperature, fluctuating between 36.0 and 36.4, bouts of sleepiness and really unpleasant joint/muscle pain. I know histamine controls body temperature, sleep, cognition and pain sensitivity and so I've just been worried the one, but large dose of hydroxyzine has messed this up. It's been almost a week and it is probably too early to tell whether this will pass, but I can't help but worry about it. The withdrawal is still definitely better than the last time, in a month, and much worse than withdrawing the AP (when I got some intense anxiety states towards the end, but neither anything this intense during most of the time spent withdrawing or afterwards). It could be either caused by the shorter half-life of Zoloft, or the fact that it is the second and last drug and their functioning overlaps (they affect some of the same receptors, for instance they are both histamine and adrenaline agonists). Thanks in advance.
  21. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  22. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - SeptGirl: Weaning Off Alprazolam And Stopped Zoloft I’ve been on Zoloft (Sertaline) 50mg since the first week of June. It’s now mid August. I’ve never felt well on this drug and the doc has finally approved a weaning schedule. He said alternate 50mg one day, 25mg the next. That’s where he left it for now. Does this seem reasonable? I’m thinking this will be for two weeks then go to 25mg daily for two weeks. Would it be likely to stop after that or continue on with 12.5mg dosing for two weeks. I’m sure my doc will let me know what the continuing process will be but just trying to get thoughts on this. I want OFF this drug
  23. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Jill28: Klonopin adverse reaction Hi everyone- I’m desperate and was hoping for advice... I had been on Zoloft for 4 months and decided to taper off. Did way too quickly (1 week) and has serious anxiety and panic attacks from it. After about 6 weeks, my brain finally bounced back and I was almost back to normal. My psychiatrist convinced me to get back on my old trusty Prozac (10mg) justto keep my depression at bay. On the third day of taking Prozac, I had the most severe anxiety of my life... and I had never had anxiety other than when I came off the Zoloft. I’m at day 9 of being off and the anxiety hasn’t let up even a tad. I am miserable and can’t live this way. My face titles constantly and I can’t eat or think clearly. Any thoughts or advice is deeply welcomed.😢
  24. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  25. Hi all, New here. Was on Sertraline for 2.5 years until this Christmastime. Initially 25 then 50mg, attempted to go up to 100mg under the direction of my doctor. Suffered significant diarrhea due to this change, and so went back down to 50mg. And that is when the real issues started. Though I was not aware of what was happening. I was prescribed it during the midst of the breakup of my marriage, which started to break down due to the fact that my ex suffered significant pain on intercourse, which had meant our sex life had pretty much always been one of disappointment and difficulty. Towards the end of last year, I started to realise something wasn't right. I was in a fog, I have moved several times in the last few years as I got my life back on track. I moved to the Bay area in June. I am in the process of trying to start a new relationship, which started just before Christmas last year. I had the sudden realisation that I was having significant sexual side effects. To my horror, once I realised this, I also 'came to' and realised that this had been going on for maybe 6-8 months previously, and progressively getting worse, but I simply hadn't noticed because I had been in a complete fog. I was skipping doses... just unaware of my surroundings. I was having brain zaps, dizziness, confusion, night sweats, significantly decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, depersonalised. I remember people commenting that I seemed distant. I remember my doctor up in Fort Bragg California asking me last June if the sexual side effects were problematic and I cheerily said 'no'. When in fact they were - but I simply wasn't aware. How can that be?! Cue seeing my general practitioner, who is managing my medication here in the Bay area, plus quickly making an appointment with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist - who was the only one I could get an appointment with at short notice - told me I didn't have depression, and could stop taking the zoloft immediately. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that, and would like to taper, and was met with a response that I was the kind of person who got anxious about taking pills, and promptly asked me what I would feel comfortable with. Clearly he didn't believe in the need to taper at all. We ended up doing a taper over 2 weeks. To 25mg and then cold turkey. I then went back to my GP as I did not trust the opinion of a psychiatrist who went against everything I had read. I am working to get in with another psychiatrist, but no appointments until April. My GP has prescribed Wellbutrin, I am 2 weeks into that but honestly want nothing more to do with antidepressants. It is also making me break out into a rash and increasing anxiety. At present I am about 3 weeks in to withdrawal. I get spells of intense anxiety, partially I think due to the wellbutrin, partially due to WD. I did have anxiety before being prescribed an SSRI. My brain gets tired easily. On the positive side, I have started dreaming again - just little bits and pieces. Mostly odd/weird dreams, but dreams nonetheless. Sometimes I wake in a sweat and a panic. But if I can find a way to go back to sleep then often I wake up calmer and more in my body. The sexual side effects worsened initially, but have probably plateaued about where they were before I stopped sertraline. However, I am now aware of just how much difference there is between how I am now, and how I once was. Suddenly my memories of what it was like to have a solid erection have come back. Memories of past sexual encounters where I didn't feel ashamed and broken. And so my desire to be sexual is something I have to fight for. My new partner has been very understanding, but I have to get myself out of a mindset of shame in order to want to be sexual in any way. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I have started to be aware of birdsong, smells that I had forgotten about - woodsmoke, flowers. And I am generally more aware of myself and my environment. Like waking up from a long sleep and wondering where on earth I have been. Some sensation has returned to my genitals. But not much. Sometimes I notice what I feel is desire and attraction. But it feels weak. And erections are weak and unreliable. I have a meditation practice. I have started running and taking longish walks. I am taking fish oil with my food, and working hard to stay positive. I have a network of friends who are amazing and show up for me. At this point I am hopeful as things are early on in the WD process and I am coping. However, I am petrified that I will never get to fully enjoy sex again. It feels cruel, given that my past history was one of being a very sexual person, in a relationship with someone who couldn't give me a fun sex life, despite their best attempts. I am angry that I am in this situation. No one mentioned long-term sexual side effects or withdrawal when I was being counselled for this drug. It wasn't even mentioned as a possibility, although sexual side effects during treatment were. I will not be beaten. One way or the other I will become okay with myself again, whatever that looks like. I would very much like it to look like a regular healthy sex life and relationship again. Who knows. Maybe it will be with an asexual partner or as a Buddhist monk. But I have hope and am working to keep in a positive mindset overall. Not going into these negative thoughts, but just keeping moving at all cost. This is my journey thus far. I'm grateful to be here with you all...
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