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  1. Hello, my name is Sturm! I am from Austria and am looking for someone to read over my story about getting off of Effexor, since, quite frankly, I am terrified that it will last a few weeks more, or that I could get addicted to benzos (see more about that later) in the process (as the worst side effect I have atm is very bad insomnia). I hope I am posting this in the correct place. So, this is a bit of a long story. I have been taken Venlafaxine / Effexor for around 7 months (since January 2022). Around two months ago I decided to taper it (I was at 150mg). We tapered to 75mg. I don’t recall any psychological side effects from this, but I did notice muscle pain (especially from my left leg). I stayed on this for around two weeks, when I tapered again to 37,5mg. I stayed at this dosage for two weeks, and didn’t notice any psychological change besides muscle pain. I was then told I could get off Effexor, or I could take it every other day. I took it every day for a week. By this time, I noticed brain fog, but nothing extremely strong. At this point, after a week of this, I asked the psychiatrist about a prozac bridge, knowing the withdrawal effects would undoubtedly be terrible. The next day (Friday 21.07.2022) I was off Effexor and took 10mg prozac. At this point, I had a decent amount of nausea and akathisia, a reduced appetite, as well as chills, but never experienced brain zaps. The 5th day had the worst nausea. By day 7, the nausea was seemingly gone, and I thought the withdrawal was over, so I stopped taking prozac a few days later (31.07). The next few days were pretty recent, little to no nausea. By August 5th, (roughly two weeks since being off of the Effexor), I had some mild nausea, chills were back, and worst of all, I started having really bad insomnia. Despite bot having taken any prozac in 8 days, I took it again on August 7th, thinking the insomnia happened due to stopping prozac and being off of it long enough for its half life to expire, therefore allowing more of Effexor’s withdrawal effects to occur (since prozac normally suppresses most of the nasty ones). This, however, doesn’t seem to be the case, as of today, August 10th (day 19), I still am having sleep problems. I am also concerned that I could have become dependent on prozac for taking it for around 14 days. Could dependence on prozac be attained that early, or does it normally take around a month to occur? It has been nearly three weeks since I am off of Effexor. When should I expect the rest of the withdrawal to end? When should my insomnia end (before yesterday and the day before (I was proscribed lorazepam, I hadn’t gotten any sleep in three days due to the insomnia). I was proscribed lorazepam 2,5mg to help me sleep at night. Is this safe to take, or will I get addicted? The psychiatrist and nurses at the hospital where I was given this prescription said it shouldn’t be an issue unless I take this dosage for months. Do I believe them?
  2. 2013 - 50mg Zoloft 2016 - increase to 150mg Zoloft 2016 - Lamictal in addition to Zoloft 2018 - Serequel in addition to Zoloft 2019 - 5mg Abilify in addition to Zoloft 2022 - tapered off Zoloft decrease of 25mg per week over 6 weeks and then tapered off Abilify 5mg over 2 weeks. It has been 4 weeks since my last dose of Zoloft and 2 weeks since last dose of Abilify. I had no withdrawal symptoms until 4 days ago. For the last 4 days, I have had severe anxiety that is constant and will not go away. The anxiety has contributed to difficulty sleeping as well. I tapered under the supervision and guidance of my doctor. Is this anxiety a withdrawal symptom? Is this a relapse? Should I reinstate? Reinstate at a low dose? 25mg or 50mg reinstate? Is there any hope for not reinstating? I don't know what to do...I'm so scared...I had no idea coming off the meds was going to be this hard. Please help!
  3. Hi - Been on Abilify 10mg and Artane 2mg for 3 plus years now. My taper of Abilify 10mg started in February this year and took 9,8,7 and 6mg within 6 weeks. Then Took 5mg and 4mg for a month each and took 3mg for 2 weeks before stopping Artane 2mg due to eye related issues. Thats when I got some leg tremors, panicked and switched to Abilify 2mg, which was a mistake. This caused wd symptoms like dry eyes, dry mouth, insomnia, heart palpitations, tremors and anxiety which are slowly subsiding. Now I am on Abilify 2mg for close to 2 months now and waiting to get oral medication to taper at 10% of last dose every month. My question is with the oral meds, one drop equals .05ml. So how do you measure such small amounts as we progress further? Also is a detoxing diet taken occasionally a good idea?
  4. Hi. I'm new here. Here are the basics of my story. I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm working hard to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I don't want to come off the Zoloft, just the Abilify. Maybe I won't be able to, in which case I need to come to terms with that. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
  5. BestIsYetToCome13

    BestIsYetToCome13: Risperidone

    In mid May I went into the hospital after 5 days of not being able to sleep, eat or drink. I was taking black currant oil and fish oil supplements at the time but my problems didn't start until I added the multivatime Alive Max6 Potency. That's when my insomnia started along with my psychosis. I don't have any prior mental health issues or history of issues in my family. Whatever chemicals were in that supplement disturb my biology to the extreme. I was diagnosed as bipolar with mania although I explained that my issues started after taking the supplement. I was in the ward for 11 days or so, the first few days I wouldn't ear or drink. But once I found out I had to take medicine in order to get out is when I started to comply. Weeks passed and I couldn't tell just how drugged I really was. Six weeks into taking 1mg in the day and 2mg at night is when things shifted for the worse. All of the sudden I had insomnia, my thoughts were gone and my feelings as well.The side effects were so bad that I even contemplated suicide as I laid at night unable to think, unable to feel and unable to sleep. I felt dead just staring at the walls waiting for time to pass by. I quit risperidone cold turkey that day on July 8th. The next day on July 9th I went to the hospital to get help with the insomnia and to talk about how the medicine made me feel numb. Of course I had to Baker Act myself to receive treatment and I was scared to end up in the ward again. My tests came back Covid positive so I was put in ICU instead, which as bad as it sounds I find it a blessing that the test was positive. For if I had gone back to the ward surely they would have put me on more medicines. At the hospital I got seen by a psychiatrist through video chat who then changed my diagnosis to cannabis induced psychosis and changed my 3mg perscription of Risperdone to 5mg of Abilify. I took the pill only once at the hospital and was impressed that I had some thoughts come back. But upon further research I realized just how bad Abilify is as well. It's been 11 days since I quit cold turkey and my symptoms as of now are anhedonia, slow bowels, and at night when I sleep I can't tell that Im sleeping unless I have a dream. I don't know if it's some type of insomnia but I take 5mg Melatonin at night I feel my body relaxed but my mind is awake. I lay with my eyes closed but can't tell that I am sleeping or that I've slept unless I dream of something. What I have is minimal compared to the many threads I've read on this page. I'm patiently waiting for my emotions to come back and I know it's a matter of time. These pills were slowing everything down inside my body and Im glad I came to my senses and said enough is enough. Thanks to the creator of this website and to the many people that have posted their stories. It gives hope that with time and a good diet healing and recovery is possible. My only question is how do you pass time with anhedonia?
  6. I started taking MMJ two years ago to help “manage” my anxiety so I could come off of 50 mg of Amitriptyline and .50 of Klonopin. My doctor was completely on board with this as he said it’s “natural” and really wanted me off Klonopin. This past February I ended up accidentally overdosing on MMJ and started to hallucinate. I was told my metabolism must have changed and that I would have to readjust the dose. Even in my state of mind I knew that was a horrible idea and CT’ed the MMJ. I had NO idea what I was doing or what was in store for me. I was put on 2 mg of Abilify and was told that it would help “speed the withdrawal process.” I never even decreased the Amitriptyline or Klonopin the entire time I took the MMJ. I was told after a month to just stop the Abilify. I can’t even attempt to describe the terror I felt the next two months. I had de realization, depersonalization, disordered thinking, panic attacks, it goes on and on. I didn’t sleep AT ALL the first month and then the second month I was getting 1-2 hours a night. I didn’t even know that it was physically possible to go that long without sleep. I developed paradoxical insomnia as well as a fear of insomnia. I stopped the Ability after one month. I decided by the third month I would taper the Amitriptyline since I initially took it for sleep and it wasn’t helping. Did I mention I had NO idea what I was doing? I went from 50mg to 6mg in two months. I honestly was about to throw in the towel at this point and go on an antidepressant but then found this site. I knew at this point I was in PAWS from MMJ but didn’t realize cutting the Amitriptyline this fast was a contributing factor. I thought that this was my “mental illness” coming back. I increased back to 10 mg in July and am holding steady. I am currently on 10 mg Amitriptyline and .50 mg Klonopin. Seven months later I still have a lot of issues. More importantly I have a lot of hope. I worked with a wonderful hypnotist and am at the point where I don’t worry about sleep. I eat well and exercise every day. I practice gratitude and am learning to live in the moment. I still wake up every 1-2 hours a night; most nights I fall back asleep and I am grateful for that. I’m learning to observe my thoughts and use my anxiety and fear as guides. I am already the strongest person I know. I’m only starting my journey but wanted to share early hope for those that may be struggling with acceptance. I also want to thank everyone on this site, you have been a part of my journey.
  7. Hi,everyone. My name is Manny.my psiquiatrist wants me to reduce the cymbalta from 60 to 30 mgs. I know it is a 50% reduction.i should decrease only 10%.how do i taper off 10%? And how long it takes? Should i open the capsules and count the number of beads and remove that 10%? How do i ingest the 90% remaining? With water? With juice? Can i do water tritation? I take cymbalta 60,abilify 25,ativan 2.5,risperdal 7.5 mg.
  8. Took and stopped prozac and abilify with not much problem. Following ocd depression and a panic attack took them again. After a week constant panic attack and insomnia. Doctor gives lexapro(10) and zyprexa(5). A Week later i decide i have to stop. Tried tapering zyprexa but because of the ocd coming back failed badly. Took 3 months.Some kindling in the stopping process hurt me. Quit after like a 1 mg a week and at 0.6 mg. After 2 days at 0 mg i had very good energy just breathing made me smile. Then the energy decreased and 4 days later sleep problems started so i took zyprexa again 0.6 mg maybe. After two days sleep kinda stabilised so i stopped. 10 days later im worse than i started but not taking the drug is helping me cope. I pray i didnt do damage. Should i reinstate? Also currently trying to lower lexapro.
  9. Been on/off SSRIs and even a couple antipsychotics for several years. Always had some mild anxiety but major issue and reason for prescription(s) was OCD. None of the meds ever had a huge effectiveness for OCD, but within the last year or so discovered Dr. Michael Greenberg's rumination-focused ERP therapy for OCD and have learned to manage OCD using this therapy (highly recommend for others!). Have been on paxil for over a year and recently tried to taper off. Started at 40mg and went down 10mg per month, although when I got to 10mg I only stayed on for a couple weeks before stopping. Had no idea this med was notorious for withdrawals or what a problem this med is, or wouldn't have even started it. Started having very mild anxiety issues when I was sleeping while I was tapering off, but was able to go back to sleep. Kept getting worse while tapering and still while I was completely off. Symptoms peaked around week 6-7 and was having full blown panic attacks at night and eventually just all day, weird pain in the forehead like a sinus headache but from panic/stress. Had bad hand tremors, dizziness, nausea and had to miss work but eventually just went back on paxil. This time 10mg in the am and 10mg at night according to doc's orders. Now on 30mg paxil. Been back on paxil for about two weeks. Noticed immediately it helped although still have heightened anxiety and twinges of pain like a sinus headache. Feels like no one really knows how long withdrawals from paxil last; have heard 2-3 weeks, 4 months, a year, etc. Don't think its relapsing because never had panic attacks and never had problems like this getting off or switching meds. Really need to get off this med, especially because it makes me so tired which is a big reason I wanted to come off now that I have the OCD under control. Hoping to get stable again and then start tapering slowly, possibly with the liquid form so I taper in smaller increments.
  10. Hello to all! I was tapered, over a period of two months w/doctor's help, off of venlafaxine xr, buspirone, trazadone, and abilify. I had taken venlafaxine xr and abilify for 7 years and the other two for 14 years. Prior to the venlafaxine and abilify, I was on lexapro for 7 years. Considering the multiple meds and number of years of having taken them, I believe that my doctor tapered me down much too quickly. What is a real kicker is that when I contacted her to tell her I was having terrible symptoms, she diagnosed me over the phone with allergies and told me to go see my GP for further help. I did that, and he said they were all withdrawal symptoms. He assured me that time will heal me. He advised me to drink a lot of water, get exercise, and a lot of sleep. It's been over 5 months now, and I'm still symptomatic although they have reduced in minute degrees of intensity. I go from always being sick to feeling sicker and then back to being sick. My symptoms include burning, stinging, tingling skin on my arms; hot flashes (did those years ago with menopause); insomnia; lack of energy and motivation; icy-cold feeling hands, lower legs, and feet; brain-freeze feeling in the right backside of my head; and sensations of being stabbed throughout my body. The skin sensations are constant. The only thing I take now is fish oil--nothing else. When I first went off the drugs I also had terrible, intense, insatiable itching. The more I scratched, the more I itched. That has subsided, thank goodness. Has anyone experienced any similar symptoms? If so, did they eventually disappear? Did you ever experience a window? So far, I don't think I've had one. I would appreciate any help.
  11. Seroquel Abillify Wellbutrin Prozac Lexapro Zoloft Paxil Buspar Hydroxyzine Trazedone Cymbalta Lamictal Propanolol Oxcarbazepine Prazosin Xanax Celexa Amitriptylin Ambien Mirtazapine Hi, 33/F Ive been on all of the above medicines at some point or another from 2002 to recently. I have stopped them all with no withdrawl issues..... except for something very strange has happened recently. Is this withdrawl? Current Meds: Prilosec (GERD), Lasix (IIH) , Lisinopril (BP) I was taking zoloft a couple months ago, and a bit after i started that, i started mirtazapine. I had Covid around this time too. It was very mild. Biggest symptoms were being a mucus fountain, sore throat, a little bit muscle weirdness, and weird headaches, including headaches WHILE sleeping. a couple weeks later my situation changed, im in a much better, happier place (unrelated to meds), so i stopped zoloft. (I have been on zoloft before and had no withdrawl symptoms). Not long after that, i had a weird depersonalization with my hands. Now, i am a very scientific person, i do not act based upon emotions as much as i can... I have no body dysphoria. I was riding in a car on a day i was kind of tired, didnt sleep much (hard night of minecraft), and all of a sudden my hands felt like they weren't my hands. If I'm on my phone texting, my brain just goes "HEY WHY ARE THOSE FINGERS MOVING? THOSE ARENT MINE. WOW!" and my brain is amazed that they are moving every 10 seconds. It's the most disturbing thing Ive ever felt. I don't feel it if I can't see my hands, so for example, if I'm texting In the dark or at my PC. This feeling primarily happens when texting on my phone. Wearing fingerless gloves dampens the effect slightly. I've been really upset over it, and I feel my back and arms be really tense and sore, which is normal for when I'm upset . The only Injuries to happen recently was I was cut by my washing machine, and my cat scratched me. No numbness or tingling at that time. I've been going to therapy since 2003, and have only ever been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, so I am not insane. I have not gone through anything traumatic recently. If anything, I've been having a really good time this month, for the first time in years. Fearing it could be the mertazpine, i stopped it. about a week later, i started sweating profusely at night. drenched. No nightmares. no anxiety. just DRENCHED. a few days after i started to get drenched every night, i woke up SOAKING wet one day, my spine started feeling cold and numb and i had a panic attack. My muscles didnt work, it was as if i were drunk. my head was fuzzy and confused, and i stumbled BARELY into the bathtub. I managed to get into the bathtub, still clothed, and into hot water. I felt a little better, still confused. arms and spine still feel a bit weird,. I went to the ER for the first time in my life. They found nothing wrong. EKG, Chest Xray, Blood work, pee test, and they gave me an IV for hydration. while im glad its nothing seriously wrong (i guess), i am still freaked out by waking up drenched. I still get really upset being cold by being drenched. My arms and hands feel very twitchy. sometimes my legs. I had some mild tingly-ness in my fingertips for a couple days, but thats gone now. It feels the more days go on, the more twitchy i get, and IDK if its med withdrawl from mertazepine, since i only took it for a month. I LOVED the med. i slept really good and had AWESOME dreams.... I have an appt with my general dr on the 30th, but im afraid theyre going to tell me more of "we dont know whats wrong" Feeling twitchy and cold and fuzzy and panicy all the time is absolutely ruining this change in my life that is the happiest ive been in a long time. I am just -so scared-. Also for the record, i keep my house around 70F, so i dont get hot or cold due to environmental factors. I do not get hot or sweat while i am awake. I do not feel hot at night. I seem to feel a bit better as time goes on throughout the day, and im scared to sleep because i know im going to be drenched and panicing. The only thing that has seemed to have improved, is i dont know if i just got used to it or what, but when texting, i dont get a lot of the "My hands arent mine" feeling anymore. but my arms and hands still FEEL physically weird being twitchy. Im holding myself tight and having soreness in my shoulders... I am well aware that i should not be stopping meds cold turkey, but i have never had a problem before this, so i am curious if it could be the issue? Medicine withdrawl? tetanus from my washing machine? Cat scratch fever? Am i finally going crazy? I am scared. what do you all think?>
  12. Hi all, I've been following and reading the forums for awhile now, probably a few years when I finally decided I should sign up as I have unsuccessfully tried to taper off my meds twice in the past which lead to extremely severe withdrawal symptoms that landed me in the hospital both times I tried to taper off. The two times I've tried to taper off I knew nothing about how fast tapers can have such a strong effect on the nervous system. I basically CT off the first time because I knew next to nothing about tapering and the second time, I tapered off under the supervision of my then psychiatrist who also knew next to nothing about doing a slow taper. He had me skip doses every other day, make fast and drastic cuts, and basically CT me off of my meds- he basically had me do everything I wasn't supposed to. The 2nd CT taper made me have really SEVERE w/d symptoms to the point where I had a really bad manic episode, was in the hospital for 6 weeks, and was then given the label/diagnosis of bipolar- in which they added in Lithium 1800mg as they now considered me 'bipolar.' I was initially labeled/diagnosed with depression and only took Abilify, when I initially started taking psych meds. Fast forward- it's been 4 years since that hospitalization and I've slowly tapered off my Abilify and Lithium, am now on 5mg Abilify (Was on 10mg originally post-discharge from the hospital) and 600mg Lithium (originally was on 1800mg). I did taper off my Lithium (from 1800mg--> 600mg now), in my opinion too quickly which led me to have strong w/d symptoms for at least a year, but now my brain and NS are stabilized. I'm going to be tapering off slowly (learned SO MUCH from those past 2 traumatic CT tapers), I think first my Abilify then the Lithium. I am planning on doing a liquid taper b/c from what I've read from others in the layperson community, it is easier and more precise, especially when you are at very low doses. I have all the equipment including different size syringes. I even bought a jewelry scale and everything else for dry tapering, but I tried it but couldn't seem to understand exactly how to do it (not the best with math/being good with my hands). And liquid tapering w/ water seems to work well and be easier to control with for most people who's forums I've read on here. Just so that I can OK to go for the liquid, would anyone know if I could do a liquid taper for Abilify and Lithium using just water. I know it'll be a suspension not a solution, so I'm guessing it would be OK and from what I've read on here, but I just want to be on the safe side and really sure that I'm not going to be messing anything up w/ the liquid taper. Thanks for reading, and hoping and praying for everyone's taper to go smoothly and safe.
  13. Here is my intro thread: ☼-armorall-ct-from-bupropion-and-risperidone Hello everyone! I will relay all the important things that I think serve people in WD (as did me, all I ever did was read the success stories part), then if you want to read more details, there’s a more detailed account following the abridged version, lol. Dosage and Tapering: I’m a 46 year old cis-female. I took 150 mg Bupropion for roughly 4 months alongside 2mg Risperidone for 3 months then switched to 10 mg Abilify for 3 weeks then 20 mg Latuda. So basically I took an SNRI plus an antipsychotic for 4 months. All were cold-turkeyed and no one I touched, not my psychiatrist, his nurse, his resident, my therapist or my GP said anything to warn me about it. I found this site two weeks after I started having symptoms. Trying to figure out how to reinstate drugs was too tricky amongst mod discussions, so we decided that nothing was probably the best solution. Symptoms: I couldn’t sing, write/listen to music, watch TV/music, read, take my son out to parks because I was either too tired/depressed, or the activity would send me into paroxysms of anxiety. At work, I slept through all my prep periods and had to leave early/show up late often because I was so beyond tired, even after sleeping for 8 to 20 hours. I couldn’t eat, I lost 70 pounds in 3 months, I lost 50% of my hair. I had heat dysregulation that would wake me up at night (heat would roll down my body), my skin peels off like a snake. I couldn’t eat sugar or carbs or else it would hyperstimulate me or make me super sluggish. I have tinnitus in my left ear, I still feel tremors at night. If I turn suddenly, either in my sleep or awake, my heart will start to race. Eating food or taking naps will also stimulate intense anxiety. I had to wear sunglasses while using the computer because the light was too bright. I will never be able to take cold medicine, drink coffee or alcohol ever again as it will bring me back to being ridden with symptoms. Hypnic jerks, waking panic attacks, fractured sleep, intense fatigue, floaters in the eyes, sound sensitivity while sleeping, expressive aphasia, inability to exercise for more than 10 minutes because it exacerbates symptoms, I often mix up homophones, and my short term memory suffers. Sore muscles if I do things that are slightly outside of the norm (reaching for a can on a higher shelf, using an unfamiliar computer mouse, twisting my body to tie something that I don’t usually tie, different shoes) will make my muscles sore. Recovery: Month 13 - I turned my first corner. I suddenly stopped having massive anxiety/rage episodes after napping, eating or upon waking in the morning. Month 18 - I then hit another benchmark of improvement. I could workout for 30 minutes without any repercussions. Month 22 - I found myself fully recovered!!! What had happened is that a friend was DJing on the beach and we decided that was a safe enough activity to try. We walked two miles to get there, danced all night, then walked the 2 miles back to car, then I got on the phone with a friend in distress and was up until 4:30am- I got up the following day at 11am and received house guests and never felt any ill effect, no waves, nothing. I realized then that I was fully recovered. At month 22, I could: sleep more or less normally and take naps with no consequence, wake up early in the morning without effect, exercise or dance as much and as long as I wanted to, eat sweets with no effect, listen and enjoy music, movies and other media. I feel like my old vivacious self again. I can work all day, plan parties, and am very active as an activist. I am fully present to my family. My husband and I are now seeing a sexologist (highly recommended) since we had lost our sex life before in withdrawal. It’s fun! At 29 months off now, I still cannot drink coffee, juice and most likely alcohol. I also can’t eat massive amounts of starch (but I will) it makes me beyond tired. It did before WD but it is brutal now, lol. If I’m out doing some activity, I don’t notice it, but if I’m home, I’m asleep from the effects. My short term memory is slightly taxed (you know when you walk into a room and then can’t remember why you’re there? I have more of those), and I have more moments when I’m not talking rapid fire (like at work) and in a more relaxed situation (like laying in bed with my husband) where I have to search for the words I mean to say (ex. So…I was at the store and I uh…trying to remember what words represent my experience at the store). Nothing big and nothing noticeable to others. If I get too hot (while I’m asleep or during the summer sitting in the heat) my heart will start beating faster, but it doesn’t do anything to me emotionally. The biggest tip I can leave here is about “turning the corner”. When I was in withdrawal, I kept scanning and scanning people’s success stories and feeling hopeless. Like, they still list symptoms they still have and it made me feel like no one “really heals”. What I found though, in that month 13 when I turned the corner, is that turning the corner is really the most important event on your healing timeline. Of course you want to heal and feel like your old self again. But, what I learned from that corner turn makes so much of a difference in relief, that once you do it, you know you can handle everything that come after it with ease. I often tell people, don’t worry so much about gauging when you have totally made it to the other side. Just hold on until you turn that corner (which will come way earlier to you than when you completely heal), because I swear, once you do, you know you can handle the rest and you are not suffering so much. That being said, when people post their success stories and they still list some lingering symptoms (like me) know that they probably felt good enough that the bulk of their suffering is over, and that’s why they felt good enough to post. I know it’s true for me, I’m so happy to be able to be happy every single day and have energy to enjoy life and get things done. I do feel resilient and capable, and if I can’t drink coffee anymore at the expense of that, well, no biggie. Only detriment is that when I feel really tired, I have to go to bed, there’s no more pushing through it to keep working with coffee, and I’ll take that exchange over what I don’t have to suffer with anymore. Life is beautiful again, and it will be for you! - ALSO thanks to the crew here at SA, aside from trying an acupuncture/herb regimen at the very beginning of withdrawal (which was completely disastrous), I never ever took anything to try to alleviate the WD state. I think that helped me a ton even though I kept asking in the forums about various things to try and noticing how risky it was. I never ended up taking/doing any of it. Just sleep, fish oil and magnesium. That lack of tinkering with supplements, drugs and weird devices probably got me here quickly and in a solid manner. So, please hold off on those for temporary relief whenever possible, it will help your receptors come back earlier in the long run! - I encourage everyone to start dropping reviews and doing what you can to get the word out about our suffering (like sharing the movie “Medicating Normal” - I have the link you can use so people can watch the 56 minute version for free! https://www.pbs.org/video/medicating-normal-kinbho/) once you are healed or feel up to it. I am available to help you write your reviews if you want. Just contact me here or via FB. Link is in my signature. Here is a breakdown that I had on a calendar of what new symptom was showing up/then later going away month by month. Month 1: Insomnia Month 2: Tinnitus Month 3: sore muscles from slight, but unfamiliar activity Month 4: fatigue/depression Month 5: nervous stomach Month 6: getting worse, turmoil Month 7: just absolutely awful Month 8: muscle twitches at night Month 9: more depression, more muscle twitches Month 10: inner tremor Month 11: expressive aphasia Month 12: dry eyes and mouth, more head pressure Month 13: Doing better! No anxiety anymore after dinner or nap. No new symptoms! Month 14: lots of muscle soreness as I try to increase my time on elliptical to 10 minutes Month 15: I can now listen to music and watch movies Month 16: my menstrual period stopped becoming erratic and is a normal cycle can workout for 16 minutes Month 17: Can eat sweets again! No cortisol from taking a nap. Month 18: Can workout for 30 minutes! Can eat A LOT of sweets and nothing happens to me. Month 19: Workout 40 minutes, sleep well even after exercising late in the day Month 20: Average heart rate lower. Up to 1.5 hours of exercise! Can listen to music and it feel the way I did before withdrawal Month 21: Doing well! Month 22: Breakthrough! Dance and walked 4 miles, stayed up all night, still felt good the next day! Month 23: Done! Functioning and feeling normal and good. When to write success story? Extra special thanks to @Shep, @Altostrata and @Undiagnosed1 for dealing with so many questions and keeping me grounded and unmedicated. Special thanks to the following SA members for their constant positive feedback and support: @Superwoman, @mustafa, @Erell, @Glosmom, @coldturkmama, @Hanna72, @ChessieCat, @manymoretodays, @Sassenach, @DrugfreeProf Here is the long and detailed version of my account if anyone wants to read it, otherwise take care and ask all the questions and requests for support that you want! As you can see from my drug history, I started out taking Bupropion and Risperidone after practically forcing (meaning I didn’t know my rights in the hospital, I thought I *had* to do what the psychiatrist told me, I found out later I was wrong. I was hospitalized on my own decision, so I didn’t have to take anything) me to take it via the hospital psychiatrist. Interestingly enough, her reviews show that polydrugging and overdrugging were definitely her thing. One complaint said that someone’s wife was on 9 medications because of her. Anyways, so after debating with the doctor on how deadly psychiatric drugs were (and my crappy therapist calling my husband to tell him to coax me into it because “it’s the only solution”) I was on both. Two months pass and even though I was spellbound from feeling better when I first took the drug, in retrospect, I was the same or worse. What was making me nuts prior to being hospitalized was probably how crazy I was while breastfeeding. I had learned before that I really don’t do well with hormonal changes- couldn’t take the pill without it driving me crazy, couldn’t take the Mirena IUD- just made me hungry and I bled for 6 straight months while others usually lose their period using Mirena. Anyways, so when I took Bupropion and Risperidone, I guess one of the side effects of the latter is that it ups your prolactin levels (related to lactating). So, even though I quit breastfeeding because I was on psychiatric drugs, I was still as jacked up or worse on them. The wellbutrin was super activating for me, too. I remember taking it and at night my eyes just dried out into raisins and I couldn’t sleep until 3am. So later, once the risperidone built up enough, I started getting suddenly sleeping at 11pm and couldn’t stay awake if I wanted to. My psychiatrist took a blood sample two months after I started and noticed that my prolactin levels were high. The next time I saw him, he said he’s switching me to Abilify, and that I should cut the Risperidone in half, take one the next day, the other half the next, then start a half of Abilify and the other half the next day. Yeah, that’s his idea of switching me out. So, 21 days pass and I’m slowly becoming more restless. I can’t lay in bed long enough to put my son down for sleep. I go get a facial and they cover my eyes with something and I freak out and rip one eye cover open. Simultaneously, I’m becoming more lethargic. I stop caring about hanging out with my adorable toddler son. I’m a teacher so I’m off for the summer, but I keep dropping my son off at daycare instead of spending time with him. The idea of having to make him breakfast seems overwhelming. I call the resident (because I can’t just get a hold of my shrink) and the resident approves me going off it. My shrink puts me on Latuda. I have crazy insomnia, then I go off of it. I continue to have insomnia. Mind you, I’m still taking Bupropion. My therapist says that bupropion is too activating for some of her clients. I go off it immediately in hopes of sleeping. After a week, I could finally sleep on my own, no melatonin or anything. Mind you, my psychiatrist knew, my GP knew, my therapist knew- I had happened to see each and every one of them within a week of quitting. NO ONE told me going off cold turkey was dangerous. No one. A month later, I start the heck that is withdrawal. And I’m so lucky I found Surviving Antidepressants at that time, or else I would have been even more kindled. I did go back to my psychiatrist to confront him about not protecting me (the psychiatrist in the hospital *also* never said anything about cold-turkeying drugs being dangerous). He said that withdrawal only lasts two weeks and when I asked him what he thinks I should do, he said he’d prescribe me Wellbutrin again and Trazadone for my insomnia. I never saw him again. So, that was my “taper plan”! And, I was scared to death. Like many of us, my symptoms changed every month, and for the WD-addled mind, it’s so scary. Looking back, some of the changes were very benign, too, like muscle twitches. You can see it all in my history. Through all this, I read success stories over and over. I also got in touch with Michael Priebe of the Lovely Grind as well as Undiagnosed1 who had posted his story here and offered to be an ear to anyone who is struggling. Both helped me, I paid for coaching from Michael (and Baylissa for a time- yes, I talked to EVERYONE- Stuart Shipko, Ann Blake Tracy, you name it!) I know you are not supposed to cling to other people’s timelines and compare yourself to them, or stick to a designated time on when you’ll think you’d be done, but I did it anyways (and yeah, got yelled at by one of my coaches- I won’t say which one). I tried to tell them, it’s just a goal, like when people say they will lose weight by a certain time- if they don’t hit it, they just make a new goal, but it at least gives me hope. So the strange thing is, my timeline was very close to Michael and Undiagnosed1. I was suffering pretty badly about 3 months in, I wasn’t asked back to my school of employment because I was struggling so much at work, my husband served me divorce papers at 7 months in because he was done with me being a wreck in front of our kid and blaming him for my medication usage. The only thing that really saved me was Covid- the courts weren’t in session so my husband *couldn’t* divorce me. We saw a therapist and she said to take advantage of this time to see if we could heal together. With Covid outside, I was able to rest a lot at home. My husband somehow trusted me to be with our son after all that and my son and I would just lay in bed and watch cartoons together and eat or go out to the forest and explore, it was actually really nice as my body continued to buzz with withdrawal. The insomnia portion had really died down after month 5 and I was really, really tired more than that, but of course deeply depressed/anxious. My husband and I still argued, mostly it would be me waking up anxious after a name, then being frustrated from the toxic nap and us getting into it. At month 11, a new symptom was expressive aphasia (it was hard for me to respond with the right words). I was so freaked out and contacted two different people who had had it on SA. Both said they recovered from it (I eventually did, too). Miraculously, at month 12, something in me settled. Like, eating and sleeping stopped triggering such a harsh response from me. I was still pretty messed up, but the fighting stopped. I stayed on that level and taught from home that year, which was also much more relaxing of course than managing behavior and teaching in person. I stayed at that level, then at month 20, I realized I could listen to music fully and it didn’t make me anxious and I could find it pleasurable in the same way that it did before WD. Month 22 we went out dancing and I realized I was probably mostly recovered. Before, I was only doing like 10 minutes on the elliptical (exercise) machine and that was enough to bring on symptoms. Here, we parked the car almost two miles away, danced all night, walked back. Nothing happened to me, it didn’t throw me into a wave or anything. Then on the way back to our house, my friend calls in turmoil. I get on the phone with her and stay up until 4:30am, yet another thing that would have taken me out in WD. Nothing happened to me. We even had guests the next day at noon and I was fine, didn’t feel wavy or even wiped from the night/early morning before! So, I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot about symptoms. I kept a journal the whole time as well as every month I would list on a sheet as it passed, I would write down any new symptoms each month, then after month 13, started writing improvements at each month. I will leave that list in another post as I’m getting tired now. One thing I did notice, expressive aphasia was probably my worst symptom, and after I experienced that one, a month later is when I finally started to get better instead of worse. I remember Undiagnosed1 had kaleidoscope vision right before he got better. So, I wonder if you do get some crazy symptom right before you start feeling better. The biggest tip I can leave here is about “turning the corner”. When I was in withdrawal, I kept scanning and scanning people’s success stories and feeling hopeless. Like, they still list symptoms they still have and it made me feel like no one “really heals”. What I found though, in that month 13 when I turned the corner, is that turning the corner is really the most important event on your healing timeline. Of course you want to heal and feel like your old self again. But, what I learned from that corner turn makes so much of a difference in relief, that once you do it, you know you can handle everything that come after it with ease. I often tell people, don’t worry so much about gauging when you have totally made it to the other side. Just hold on until you turn that corner (which will come way earlier to you than when you completely heal), because I swear, once you do, you know you can handle the rest and you are not suffering so much. That being said, when people post their success stories and they still list some lingering symptoms (like me) know that they probably felt good enough that the bulk of their suffering is over, and that’s why they felt good enough to post. I know it’s true for me, I’m so happy to be able to be happy every single day and have energy to enjoy life and get things done. I do feel resilient and capable, and if I can’t drink coffee anymore at the expense of that, well, no biggie. Only detriment is that when I feel really tired, I have to go to bed, there’s no more pushing through it to keep working with coffee, and I’ll take that exchange over what I don’t have to suffer with anymore. Life is beautiful again, and it will be for you! So, what are my lingering symptoms? At 29 months off now, I still cannot drink coffee, juice and most likely alcohol. I do try every couple of months to drink coffee, because it was my only religion before, lol. Even decaf messes me up (not terribly, but I really don’t want to feel bad at all). I have found though that I’m much, much more peaceful and less anxious than I ever was before WD, because I was a coffee fiend in that past life. I didn’t ever believe that coffee was making me anxious, but looking back, it was. It wore me out, it made me more irritable. Nothing like withdrawal, but still. I am much more peaceful than I was back then and much less irritable. I also can’t eat massive amounts of starch (but I will) it makes me beyond tired. It did before WD but it is brutal now, lol. My short term memory is slightly taxed (you know when you walk into a room and then can’t remember why you’re there? I have more of those), and I have more moments when I’m not talking rapid fire where I have to search for the words I mean to say (So…I was at the store and I uh…(trying to remember what words represent my experience at the store). Nothing big and nothing noticeable to others. I’m really bursting over with life now, constantly enthusiastic, met all the dreams I had when I was in WD, teaching my kid soccer and music, really being there for him and my husband. Gone back to being an activist and loving it. My husband and I started seeing a sexologist (yeah, I had never heard of one either, she’s a friend of mine who was licensed recently, that’s how I knew about it- I can refer you if you want! She works with a lot of people who are suffering from PSSD), and now we are embarking on improving our sex life. I’m at 29 months out. I would have written my success story around 24 months, but I wanted to wait until I was teaching in-person full time so that I could really celebrate being in the space that was destroying me when I was suffering with withdrawal fatigue. One step or one yell too many and it was like I had lost all life and energy. I wanted to come back to the space and see how much I could finally handle it again, with all the love and energy I have for the profession and my children. But…it looks like with how often schools are closing and opening because of Covid, it may be a while before I can actually go back into the classroom (I am privileged in that I can make that choice), so I thought now, while it’s the beginning of the year, is best. I am absolutely indebted to all the staff here (which reminds me I need to make my yearly donation). Without you, I would be kindled and who knows what else. I’d like to shout out Altostrata, Shep, and so many others that helped me along the way. You are incredible and save and improve so many lives. Please please ask any and all the questions you want. I also included my facebook link in my drug history signature if you need to inbox me and it is full. As those before me, I am here to support you, and remind you that you will heal soon.
  14. Jennifer78

    Jennifer78

    Hello...I'm new to this website and I'm still not sure how this works. I'm looking for some hope I guess that's what you'd call it. I have been on meds for 15 years. Only an SSRI until probably 3 years ago. I was on Celexa 40mg, Abilify 10mg and Wellbutrin XL. I was so over medicated I felt numb and I couldn't function. I didn't know what was wrong with me & then I thought maybe it's to much medicine. I lost my health insurance on 12-01-16 so I couldn't afford all these meds so I stopped taking the Celexa & Abilify on that day. I'm still on Wellbutrin. The reason I stayed on it was I heard it would cause seizures if I cold turkey off it. I did not know I shouldn't of done that with the other 2. It will be 5 months on May 1st that I stopped other 2 meds. The only reason I went on medicine was because I lost my grandmother and I was stressed. My friend suggested I see a Dr so I did. Stupid mistake! I didn't even know Abilify was an antipsychotic until I googled it looking for answers about what was going on with me after stopping meds. I came across discontinue syndrome and then this website. Most psychical symptoms are gone and insomnia has gotten a tiny bit better but the anxiety and I guess it's depression is awful!! I don't have insurance so I can't afford to go back on the meds & go back to not functioning. I'm just wondering if I'm going to make it through this? I'm really worried. God Bless!
  15. Original topic title before reducing the length of it: I cold turkey’d too many things, the worst being Celexa, due to misdiagnosis and emotional blunting. I’m struggling. Let me preface this by saying I have had unstable mental health as far back as I can remember. I was an anxious and depressed child. I used to SH as a teenager and was put on Paxil, but I hated it and quit after a couple months. I did not use medication for any mental health reasons for at least 10 years after that. I have been told I’m bipolar by people close to me, and I think doctors eat that up and once you’re branded bipolar, that’s your identity. But that’s neither here nor there; the main takeaway from that is I was put on several different medications and hated the way I felt on all of them. My first return to psych meds was in the summer of 2015 with a diagnosis of GAD which turned into GAD and bipolar 2. I was put on Celexa 20mg. It was pretty good for a while. I was then put on Lamictal 150mg and took both, but the Lamictal made me feel like a zombie so I didn’t take that long. I kept up with the Celexa. After my gastric bypass surgery, the Celexa didn’t work as well. I was then bumped to 40mg and that’s where I stayed. I was starting to feel severely depressed, emotionally numb, and had anxiety creep back in so I was put on Wellbutrin 300mg and buspar 15mg on top of the Celexa. I took this combo for maybe a year but I was horribly noncompliant for the most part and it never really did much for me. I CT’d the buspar and Wellbutrin. I was to a point (and still am) where laughing felt like a chore. Crying is almost non existent unless it is a major sad event (death). Interest in things and smiling are difficult to come by. The only emotion I felt was rage. I was either apathetic or enraged. That’s when I was given the ultimatum to treat my bipolar disorder, as I was often verbally abusive to my SO and would have meltdowns. Jesus this is embarrassing. I finally gave in and started seeing a psych through telehealth. Big mistake, told them about my previous dx. That was enough to not even evaluate me, and I was started on some antipsychotics in addition to the Celexa. This was the beginning of a long spiral of multiple medications that ended with Latuda that made me so depressed I cried constantly. There was no tapering involved really, maybe just a two week period of dropping while introducing something else. I went through Abilify, Trileptal, Latuda, Abilify again, and Lamictal. My brain felt so fried at this point I said I’m done, and stopped taking everything except my Celexa. After stopping all of these meds I was so far depressed and anhedonic I decided I was done taking everything and needed a brain reset. I ended up taking 10mg Celexa a few weeks and then dropped to nothing after 6.5 years. After reading this forum, I realized this was probably one of my big mistakes. Now not only did I have severe mood disturbances, I felt physically sick. The physical symptoms went away after a few weeks. The last time I took Celexa was at the end of February this year. Now I am dealing with a whole host of other issues. It turns out I’m not bipolar, I have ADHD. Again, not knowing any better that I shouldn’t take anything that alters my brain, I’ve been on stimulants and back to Wellbutrin. NOTHING is helping. The anhedonia and apathy are killing me. I feel no emotion towards anyone. I am not interested in anything. Every moment is painful. ADHD meds are doing nothing for me. I guess I am looking for support. Advice. Anything. Something that tells me my brain damage isn’t permanent. Something that tells me I will feel emotions again, that I won’t think my favorite past times are a waste of time, that I will feel love towards my SO and family again. I felt emotional blunting with Celexa, but nothing like this. I don’t know what to do, and my doctor is useless when it comes to this.
  16. Hi all! My name is Barry - and I am a 40 something software engineer from Michigan. My therapeutic journey started around 2004/2005, after trying a variety of drug cocktails - paxil, pamelor, nopramin, effexor, with no success, I found a great psychiatrist who put me on a sample new drug he had recently received that had very promising results in clinical trials. The combination was 10mg of Abilify and 50mg of Pristiq [a somewhat derivative of effexor]. This combination was the miracle I needed to make it through the next 15 years of my life. Fast forward 15 years to today. I went from around 168lbs to my current weight of nearly 240. The research I have done leads me to believe that abilify has been the culprit for this weight gain; with advice to taper off. I have currently tapered down from 10mg of abilify to around 4.5-5mg daily. It has been a gradual effort, after discovering that 2.5mg increments were too much for my mind to tolerate. Instead, I tapered down 1mg every 4-6 weeks; and today I feel no different than I did when I was on the 10mg dose. I went to 4mg probably a bit too quickly after arriving at 5mg, and it made me irritable and intolerant of various stimuli around me - so I went back up to 5mg and have stayed there for around 6-7 weeks now. Has anyone had similar experiences? I hope that I can lose/shed some of these pounds I have picked up. I read that typically you want to allow a month of taper time for each year on the drug. Given that I was on around 14-15 years, I figure its going to take me a year to get off of it. It seems that it is more fickle at the last 4-5mg. Is it harder to taper the last 5 mg than it is the first 5 if you were on a 10mg dose? Does anyone know if the metabolism I had will return in some fashion to allow me to shed some weight? I have tried diets, exercising, cutting out various foods that were not the best, with no clear results - leading to obvious feelings of disappointment and such. Thanks for reading, and look forward to hearing everyone else's stories! -barry
  17. Hello, I was put on abilify this past summer and it helped my depression A LOT. I started noticing side effects and went fom 2mg to 1mg then from 1mg to 0.5mg. Abilify was causing low blood pressure, palpitations, and also interacting with the fluvoxamine I take. I really thought the drug was helping my head but destroying my body. I knew I had to stop taking it so I went from 0.5mg to 0. Immediately something was very wrong. My psychiatrist said it couldnt be from the abilify because I was on such a low dose. After my own google search I showed him that it was in fact the withdrawal causing my issues. This is te worst panic and anxiety I have ever felt, I am nauseas and have lost 10lbs, depressed isnt even the word, I am so disconnected from reality and dont even know who I am or what is going on, I can't focus, and feel completely alone. I have been researching every supplement out there and every psychiatrist who might have a magic answer. I am taking tiny pieces of xanax to survive but I am very afraid of using it long term. Its been almost 2 months since I stopped the abilify and I dont know how much longer I can live like this. The doctors want me to up my fluvoxamine intake largely because they dont undersstand that the hell I'm in is likely from abilify. Do I go back on abilify and taper off? I stopped at 0.5 which isnt even a lot. I really cant imagine taking that drug now knowing what it can do to someone. Do I just wait and pray to feel better? Do I go to the hospital? It feelts like I am holding on by a thread. I don't know when it will get better and life is passing me by. Looking forward to hearing from you all. 2002-2022 Fluvoxamine 2018-2022 Cymbalta 2018-2022 Vyvanse 2021-2022 Abilify 2022 Xanax, Klonopin -- Currently (May 2022): Stopped Abilify 0.5mg on 03/15/2022 Fluvoxamine 125mg and Xanax or Klonopin 0.5mg
  18. I have a lot of dental work that I need done. My molars are rotting and need to be pulled due to a 2 year spat of binging and purging (I stopped months ago....but no matter, the damage has been done). However, I am NOT in a good place right now for this. My body is still trying to adjust to 2 withdrawals. How do I deal with the pain that is to come?? I am freaking out right now and would love a friendly voice or two :(
  19. I had been on some form of anti-depressant and mood stabilizer/anti-psychotic since high school, 2002 or 2003. Initially I was put on Zoloft for depression which caused me to become "manic" which lead me to be put on Lithium, Abilify and Risperdal (not sure doses or when). Starting around 2008 I was put on Cymbalta and Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I got off the Cymbalta & Lamictal cold turkey on my own in 2011 and it resulted in brain-zaps and then a deep deep depression. I reluctantly got back on my meds. Beginning in 2020 (exact date I'm trying to find), my psychiatrist agreed to help me taper off my meds. I was able to get off the Cymbalta it seems fairly easily, which I have been off since the end of the Summer 2020. After getting off that I began tapering off the Lamictal ... I'm trying to find information on how much I lowered initially, etc., and don't have it right now. I do know I got down to 100mg by November 2020 and had to go back up to 150mg over the winter due to debilitating depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper: 5/18/21 (May 18) - 6/13/21 (June 13): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg/87.5/100) 6/14/21 - 6/21/21: 87.5mg each day 6/22/21 - 7/11/21: 75mg/87.5mg/75/87.5 7/12/21 - 7/26/21: 75mg each day 7/27/21 - 8/8/21: 62.5mg/75mg/62.5/75 8/9/21 - 8/30/21: 62.5mg each day 8/31/21 - 9/12/21: 50mg/62.5mg/50/62.5 9/13/21 - 9/26/21: 50 mg/day 9/27/21 - 10/10/21: 37.5mg/50mg/37.5/50 10/11/21 - 10/24/21: 37.5mg/day 10/25/21 - 11/7/21: 25mg/37.5mg/25/37.5 *On November 1, 2021, my dog and best friend of 10+ years, the Big Guy (110lb. half boxer/half mastiff), died after a brief fight with cancer... in retrospect I should have ceased tapering at this point; instead I continued my tapering in earnest and began to self medicate excessively with alcohol and cannabis 11/8/21 - 11/21/21: 25mg/day 11/22/21 - 12/5/21: 12.5mg/25mg/12.5/25 12/6/21 - 12/20/21: 12.5mg/day 12/21/21 - 12/31/21: 0mg/12.5mg/0/12.5 January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely I had no idea about this site or a couple days ago. I have been realllllly struggling this whole year but especially the past couple weeks. Some days I am so depressed I can hardly get out of bed. Some days I am "functional." I have major brain fog where I can hardly think most of the time (which is not good for my job!). I can't hardly make even the most basic decision. It is bad. I am desperate. I do not know what to do. I really don't want to get back on the Rx. I'm looking for suggestions on how to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. I have been sober (no alcohol or cannabis) since January 1st as well. I workout, do Wim Hoff breathing, garden, meditate/pray and eat mostly organic. Supplements: EMPowerPlus Lighting Sticks, 5-HTP, Vitamins C, D, B-complex (6&12) & K2, Magnesium Glyinate, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract; Just started taking St. John's Wort a couple weeks ago I don't really recall withdraw symptoms (depression) prior to my Dog being diagnosed with cancer in September 2021 (which coincides with me getting down to 50mg/day)--since he was diagnosed and then passed Nov. 1st, I have been mostly depressed. The brain fog didn't really start that I recall until ~January of this year when I was totally off -- but I could be wrong. Since November of last year, it has kind of been a blur. On another note, while not directly related to withdrawal, I am very unhappy with my current career and have been for some time. I think doing something that goes against my values and not really knowing what my purpose is has a big impact on me feeling depressed. However, right now with my brain fog and depression, I am having a really hard time doing any work whatsoever. So my purpose now is to get past these withdrawal symptoms so I can find my purpose in this world and what gift I can offer to other people. I am VERY wary of getting back on any RX and do not want to go that route if at all possible. Thank you if you read this far and I appreciate any advice on how I should proceed!! -Will
  20. Hi, I'm glad to have found SA. Here's my journey so far. Since 17 (I'm 46 now) I have had panic attacks and anxiety. I never knew what was happening to me and developed a phobia around eating in front of people for fear of embarrassing myself. I found it hard to sleep or eat. 2003 - had terrible obsessions and panic while pregnant and ended up with postpartum depression. It was horrible, my thoughts were very dark all while taking care of my newborn. I got an emergency Dr appointment and started Zoloft. It helped and after 9 months Dr told me to just stop taking it, so I did. 2012 - had constant high anxiety leading to a breakdown and suicidal ideation. I restarted Zoloft. In Nov 2014 I decided I didn't need it anymore and started a half dose taper. After coming off completely I was agitated, angry, with constant anxiety and insomnia. Restarted 50mg zoloft April 2015 and have been on it till now. After much thinking and journaling I realized my main problem is that I'd become completely obsessed with a topic, idea or person and the intensity of this obsession would lead to anxiety. The anxiety would be all encompassing, not just one panic attack but all day pacing, thinking. I couldn't keep food down or sleep. The depression would come after realizing I was now not able to function, take care of my kids or work. The Zoloft helped with this but not completely. This was a cyclical event with a baseline few months of stability in between. 2018 - when I was able to articulate this to my doctor, she said I needed something for the highs, that Zoloft was taking care of my lows. She claimed I was "probably somewhere on the bipolar spectrum" I started taking abilify. I did and do feel much more even. I have gained 20 pounds since taking it. I made some major changes in my life right at the same time I started taking abilify. I decided my religion I converted to in 1998 was no longer for me, especially the heavy focus on hell, which never helped my anxiety. I attribute my even mood working through my changing beliefs and the reasons I converted in the first place. I started making art again and found it very therapeutic. That doctor left the office soon after and I'm stuck with a new doctor who is uncaring and cold. 2022 - since January I have had really low energy, not depressed but just exhausted. After 10 years on medication, I want off and I want to lose the weight. I want to see what I'm like without it. Before finding this site, in March I decided to cut the abilify in half. It's been a great week at this dose. After some headaches, some energy has returned and I have way less problems with word retrieval. Since being told I might be bipolar, I took it to heart and started seeing myself thorough that lens. But my ups never matched up with other people's experiences on bipolar forums. I didn't talk fast or spend money, I just got really into something to an obsessive level. I'm starting to wonder if I'm letting doctors pathologicalize just me, who I am. I want work though my issues and deal with my mind naturally. I realize I shouldn't have cut the abilify in half, but I'm here now and will hold for a month and re-evaluate. Thank you for reading.
  21. I recently did a trial off abilify to to treat depression and suspected bipolar (which has since been ruled out). My dose peeked at (i believe) 20mg and i was on it for approximately two months. While using it I experienced heavy brain fog, a shortened temper, explosive anger and homicidal thoughts, all of which are extremely out of the norm for me as I don't usually get angry. I was also using a fair amount of cannabis at the time as well. Now 6+ months after tapering my does down under doctor supervision,the side effects have mostly subsided however I am still more prone to anger then before starting abilify and when I get angry its like being on abilify again and the homicidal thoughts come back and i just want to break things and yell at people none of which were really present prior to starting it. Does anyone know what could be causing this anger to persist even after going off it?
  22. Hi all, I haven't been on here for quite some time as I have been very busy with life. I guess that is a good thing? I thought that now is a good time to write my success story since I have been off Mirtazapine for well over 1 year and haven't had any symptoms related to that for 1 year also. Here is my introduction and journal I wrote to give you an idea of the journey I went through: The problem: So back in 2017 I was blighted with a severe case of anxiety, I won't go into how this was triggered as this could have been from a number of things that contributed to this happening including lifestyle, stress, partying too much, among other things. Initially i was prescribed Sertraline that literally sent me into panic after taking 1 tablet, this was then switched over to Mirt. I was prescribed Mirtazapine to relieve some of the symptoms which initially worked (It helped me sleep and get my appetite back). However as any of you on this medication will know this drug is very unpredictable and can cause all kinds of mental and physical symptoms. Withdrawing + Symptoms I was only on Mirtazapine for a total of 6 months which included 2 months of tapering (see journal for more information on this). Initially I found coming off the drug quite easy, some stomach pain, sleep pattern changes but not much more. After approximately 1 month my withdrawal symptoms began. I noticed that I was very emotionally unstable, meaning everyday worries/problems become huge anxiety triggers. This was even more worrying to me as I started to think that my inital 'anxiety' problem was starting to come back and it wasn't really the effects of Mirtazapine (I was wrong). As stated, my symptoms started at the 5th week of complete withdrawal from Mirt and lasted almost 7 months. Yes 7 months! Thats longer than I was even on the medication. They were as follows: - Severe waves of anxiety (some lasting up to 3 weeks) - Weird OCD style thoughts, totally alien and not what I'd usually be thinking about - Frequent migraines from exercising - Weird joint pains (between fingers, also in my thorax) - Rectal pain (this was very weird also, and would happen at random times) - Random nose bleeds (worse during full dose but also happening during withdrawal) There were more symptoms but I can't remember them all at this time, the anxiety however was the most problematic and painful. I kept a mood diary which allowed me to rate the severity of my anxiety and track any patterns. I also had psychotherapy privately which cost me alot, and actually wasn't useful to me due to the fact the professional was treating me for 'generalised anxiety disorder' rather than 'anti depressant withdrawal'. I cut this off during my taper which helped. I noticed that I was experiencing the typical 'waves, windows' scenario. Throughout the withdrawal process I experienced waves of anxiety approximately 5 weeks after each dose drop. This, to my knowledge, was my brain trying to re-adjust to not being medicated anymore. One thing I need to mention here is that - do not assume you are permanently screwed. I fell into this trap many times, breaking down into tears thinking "Is this how I'm gonna be forever?". This thought should be avoided, infact forcing positive thoughts to stop yourself catastrophising like this will help you get better. Recovery As it is for most, my recovery was very non-linear. I went through periods of little to no symptoms, then i could wake up with chronic anxiety and a whole host of physical symptoms to go with it. I almost gave up on my medication sobriety many times, including visits to the doctors only to be told i should re-instate. Thankfully I never re-instated once, I fully understand those of you who have re-instated though as withdrawal symptoms can be horrific and any form of relief is needed sometimes. The one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was experiencing windows of no symptoms at all, this could range from 1 hour to 2 weeks of no symptoms. I remember the moments where I was coming to the end of a window and was about to fall into another wave, this was probably the worst part of all this. The fact that I was fully aware that my window was over and i was now about to deal with a period of chronic mental and physical pain for an unconfirmed amount of time. The eureka moment for me happened at about the 7th month of withdrawal, I was still experiencing anxiety spikes but they were literally lasting only one day, followed by many weeks of calmness. I remember thinking "Wow, I totally forgot I was withdrawing from medication, its been weeks since i felt bad!". I strongly believe a point of recovery is reached when you actually forget that you have been unwell, I guess the science behind this is that new pathways have been created in the brain. Over-writing the anxious pathways our brain has trained itself to regularly follow throughout this process. Thoughts to take-away + Tips Its now been 1 year since I experienced any anxiety symptoms, I don't even get the "Am I going to have a panic attack in this situation" anymore. That's a huge leap for me as I knew when that happened, I was about to go back into the anxious loop. At times, my symptoms were so strong I was thinking about throwing it all away and just handing myself over to be hospitalised. Somehow I managed to soldier on and keep fighting.. I really feel that I am back to my normal self which I remind myself of everyday. I actually think this whole process has made me stronger mentally as I know that there isn't much worse than what I went through. Tips - Recovery is non-linear - don't set yourself a date to get better, it will happen naturally - Negative thoughts actually slowed down my recovery, consciously forcing positive thoughts reminded my brain that it was still 'normal' and not 'permanently damaged' helped alot - Positive self talk & speaking out loud to yourself allows your concerns to be aired if you are worried about what people will think - Don't read any worst case scenarios online! These will make you feel worse and actually trigger the mental symptoms - Take it as slow as you possibly can. Withdraw slowly, don't kick yourself because you still feel sh^t 6 months/2 years later. Your full recovery date is set for you, nobody else - Exercise, diet and sleep are of huge priority as they will give your brain/body what it needs to return back to it's healthy state - Track your progress and remind yourself of your 'windows'. they will become longer over time Please be aware I'm not a medical professional so any advice should only be followed through the advice of a medical professional. I'm sending positive vibes to anyone reading this who are going through recovery, KEEP GOING!
  23. Hi, I wrote my introduction on the 4th of October 2019 ☼-francisco-on-the-way-to-a-success-story At that time, I was seven months of all meds – I stated that the post was a combination of an introduction and a success story since things were on course at the time. Since that post, my mental has been put to the test like never before but it's now been around one year and 10 months since I stopped taking meds and I believe my mental health has passed the test. I was given a diagnosis of bi-polar by a consultant psychiatrist in the autumn of 2011 after years of volatility in my mental health and began taking meds six months later. I started with Lamictal (Lamotrigine) – after a few weeks on a low dose, the dose was increased – the next day I noticed a rash all over my body and stopped taking it. I was then given Abilify – I was on this over for a month or two but stopped taking it since it caused me insomnia and really intense pain in my wrists. Next, it was Olanzapine/Zyprexa (5mg) to deal with my elation – the 5mg worked well but when the dosage was increased to 10mg and 15mg, it caused nothing but depression so I went back to 5mg. I was then given Prozac to deal with the depression side of things – this however, caused me the worst depression I ever experienced. I was on it for a bit over a month until I could take no more and stopped taking it. My psychiatrist then prescribed me Venlafaxin/Effexor in September 2012 – I started at 75mg and eventually made my way up to 300mg. As the dosage increased, my depression did get better but the side affects most certainly got worse – constipation and intense sweating in bed at night. Also, I always felt the medication was causing me brain fog, despite what my psychiatrist was telling me – ‘all these meds do is treat depression’ I was told and basically, how limited intellectually I felt was in fact an actual reflection of the abilities I was born with. I was really getting fed up with the side affects and decided to do what a lot of people in my situation do – come of the meds without telling my doctor. I slowly tapered down the anti-depressant but came off the Olanazpine quite abruptly – result: disaster. The depression came back in a big way. Around this time, I remember one sleepless night lying in bed just saying to myself over and over – ‘I just want to die – I wish I had the courage to kill myself’. Went crawling back to the psychiatrist in July 2015 and told him the truth – needless to say, he was quite annoyed but prescribed me Cymbalta/Duloxetine (60mg) and agreed to reduce my dosage of Olanazpine to 2.5mg. The Cymbalta no doubt stabilized my mood at that time – I was pretty dam low, as you can imagine. Once again, I felt it was limiting me but after the volatility I had experienced, I was happy for a bit of stability. In the summer of 2017, I began to learn a lot about the affect diet and exercise can have on mental health. Up until that time, I thought I ate and exercised healthily – how wrong I was. Over the course of around a year, I completely changed my diet and exercise regime – I experimented a lot and ended up with my current diet which is essentially a Mediterranean diet – meat, dairy and eggs a few times a week but primarily plant based food – mainly unprocessed. A lot of my free time now is spent cooking and preparing food. After I started with Cymbalta and before I changed my diet and lifestyle, I felt that my depression/elation cycle was going on in the background but the medication was keeping it in check. As my dietary and lifestyle changes kicked in, I began to feel that the cycle was longer there – I was essentially stable. I got married in July 2018 to the woman who stuck with me through the diagnosis and all the mental volatility over the years. Immediately, we started trying to conceive – I really wasn’t mad about the idea of trying to conceive while I was on medication – I know that women are advised to come off meds before becoming pregnant and I wondered if my own meds could have an affect on any potential child I conceived. Did a bit of research – heard a bit about meds possibly causing fertility problems but nothing about meds causing birth defects etc. For a number of months after the wedding, we tried hard to conceive with no success. Consequently, I made the decision to start tapering. Not surprisingly, my wife was initially reluctant given what happened previously when I tried to come off meds – this shook my confidence a bit but I really believed that I could cope this time round, given the dietary and lifestyle changes I had made. Unlike the previous time, I told my psychiatrist who to my big surprise, did not object in the slightest. He initially suggested that I stop taking the 2.5mg of Olanazpine altogether – he told me that according to the research, 2.5mg has no real anti-elation effect – it only really aids moderate anxiety and sleeping. I genuinely believed that the olanzapine was indeed helping my sleep so I decided to continue taking it and instead drop the Cymbalta from 60mg to 30mg at the beginning of November, 2018. I was on the lower dosage for three months – I didn’t notice any major withdrawal affects during that period. Consequently, when I saw my psychiatrist three months later, I suggested to him that I stop taking the Cymbalta altogether – once again, to my big surprise he was very supportive. I continued to take the Olanzapine for another month – I had planned to stay on the Olanzapine for three months but given what the psychiatrist told me previously about 2.5mg not really having any anti-elation affect and given how I hadn’t experienced any major withdrawal affects up until that point, I decided to come off completely at the end of February 2019. A part of me was worried that my sleep would go to hell without the Olanzpine but once again, I really believed as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle, I would eventually enter into a natural, healthy sleeping pattern – this transpired. Also, around four or five weeks after I ceased the meds completely, I started having withdrawal effects – my nervous system reacted and consequently, I felt very edgy and jittery and my concentration levels went down significantly – obviously, work was quite difficult during this period. Also, it’s not easy to say this but my performances in the bed room were pretty mediocre during this period also (not uncommon I suppose). This was quite severe for around five weeks and then gradually started to diminish. I fully expected some withdrawal affects so they did not surprise me one bit when they came. Once again to stress the point, self-belief was hugely important at this stage – I just knew that as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle – essentially, the way I was designed by nature/evolution to eat and exercise – the withdrawal affects would pass and I would reach stability. In the year since I posted my introduction, I had to deal with an extremely stressful project at work which was further complicated by a certain pandemic, the very difficult birth of my first child and a lot of subsequent and extremely heated disagreements with my wife under very stressful circumstances – as I said above, my mental health has been put to the test but I haven't gone back on meds and have absolutely no intention of doing so. As I type this post, I’m in fact currently staying in my parent’s house following a particularly nasty exchange with my wife – in many ways, my family are great but I’ve already heard ‘I think you should be taking medication to get you through this difficult time’. I know they mean well and just want what’s best for me but they just don’t understand me and never really have. For most of my life, I’ve been miserable and it wasn’t because of some chemical balance in my brain which would have been triggered no matter what – I had to deal with some personal problems which were really inhibiting me. Like my medication, those problems have been put to bed – I’ve been married for over two years and have been a father for a year. The first year of my daughter's life has been extremely difficult for all the reasons mentioned above – it's been difficult but I've coped. My marriage is in a very bad place right now and if it does survive, it’s going to take a lot of work and compromise between my wife and I. If it doesn’t survive, I firmly believe I’ll be able to cope with all the difficulties which come with marriage breakup as long as I find the support I need – the kind of support which this forum offers – guidance from people who’ve experienced similar things. If I was still seeing a psychiatrist now, I reckon he would have drugged me up to my eye balls in an attempt to get me through this difficult time. If I wasn't taking meds and hadn't made all the lifestyle and dietary changes I made over the last couple of years, I would have completely collapsed in the face of all the adversity I've had to endure. I'm still standing, however. Life now is extremely difficult like it is for a lot of people but I've found a way to manage. Now, I want to find a good life.  I have no problem saying that I have the bi-polar gene. I experienced all the symptoms and those closest to me can verify that. However, I don’t consider myself mentally ill and do not believe that I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. As long as I live the way I was designed to live, my bi-polar gene will be completely suppressed – it simply won’t be an issue. For the most part, I believe that the symptoms I experienced were basically a reaction to all the things I was doing wrong – my diet, my exercise routine, my work environment, my learning environment, my past relationships etc. I plan to keep the potentially harmful parts of my bi-polar gene suppressed for the rest of my life and in order to do that, my life is going to be quite mundane – no substance abuse, regular moderate exercise, healthy sleeping patterns and I’m going to have to continue to spend a lot of time (but not too much time!) cooking and preparing healthy food. However, I will take ‘mundaneness’ any day of the week over mental volatility and side affects from psychiatric medication I’ve had to endure over the years. Having come through all that, the stability and strength I’ve found are all the sweeter – ‘spring would not be so welcome, if we didn’t have to go through winter’. As well as the mundane lifestyle I mentioned above, I’m also going to have find a working environment which I'm designed for. In January 2010, I had a nervous breakdown at work. The job I was doing at the time was a fairly basic office job. The company undertook a large project which I was part of which turn out to be extremely stressful for all involved and which I simply could not cope with. One day, I simply left the office and never went back – didn’t hand in my notice, didn’t tell my supervisor, didn’t tell family/friends. I went home, packed a bag and took off on a train to another city where I stayed in a hostel for a week. Subsequently, I was unemployed for three and a half years while I was trying all the medication mentioned above. Once I found the medications which stabilized me, I once again started doing similar type very basic office jobs – most were temp jobs completely unrelated to the what I studied in university and which needless to say, I didn’t exactly thrive in. These ‘go-nowhere’ jobs were all I felt capable of doing while I was on meds. I never built a career based on my university qualifications because I just felt so hindered by all the personal problems I was going through back then. I ain’t no office worker – I'm an introverted, insightful writer and researcher. In university, I received a first for my masters in International Relations. That was a hell of a long time ago but I feel I just have to get back into research once again. My own personal and fairly primitive research over the last decade or so helped me recover from a very serious mental health problem when all the so called experts were telling me that I would be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life. I would love to build a career based on writing and researching about mental health and helping people who have also been told that they will be on medication for the rest of their lives. I believe I’m on the right forum to achieve this goal and look forward to contributing to the great work which is done here going forward. Many Thanks Francisco Quote: ‘Spring would not be so welcome if we didn’t have to go through winter’   Previous Meds taken (Not all at once - Mid 2012 to July2015): Lamictal, Abilify, Olanzapine, Prozac, Venlafaxin/Effexor Side Affects: Skin rash, insomnia, worse depression, constipation, intense sweating at night, brain fog Most Recent Meds: Cymbalta (60mg), Olanzapine (2.5mg) Taper: dropped Cymbalta to 30mg for 3 months until end of Jan 2019 - stopped Cymbalta completed at the beginning of Feb 2019. Stopped Olanzapine completely at the end of Feb 2019 Withdrawal: around 4/5 weeks after ceasing meds completely, my nervous system started to react - felt very edgy, irritable and couldn’t concentrate for around 3 or 4 weeks. Have been feeling stable since despite numerous stresses in my life
  24. Hi I'll start by telling that I never wanted to take psychiatric drugs. But when I was hospitalized for "major depression and dissociation" they put me on this tragic road. After that life was never really life for me again. I am currently taking quetiapine 50 mg at night, because my NS is so damaged I almost don't sleep naturally. This apparently lets me sleep from 3 to 6 hours most nights. I don´t know how I would withdraw from this as not sleeping is the one torture I (and anyone) cannot withstand. The reason I'm writing now here, is I'm currently going to a psychiatrist (who works with Open Dialogue), he says I would be benefited by taking more drugs and does not acknowledge the adverse effects as being worrisome ("the people who get damaged are the ones on high doses for a long time"). My situation is so bad that he says they would reduce suffering and somehow allow me to do things to get well. But I can´t believe this, and I'm frightened and know that I'm probably stepping into conditions I nor my NS can take. 7/6/21 he gave me escitalopram 10 mg (to go up to 20) and aripiprazol 5 mg (to go up to 10) "switch the quetiapine for the aripiprazol". The first night I took this I vomited twice and did not sleep at all. I thought it was a mistake to just stop the quetiapine, told him and he said ok, it seems to help you sleep, we'll reduce it gradually (which is likely a month or less, as he's adviced before) Next day took the escitalopram earlier to divide the hit on the stomach and soon as I took the rest, vomited again. He was unalarmed of course, said the system has to get used to it and told to take aripiprazol in the morning, and later the others. Yesterday hours after the morning, on the street felt the same sensation as I was gonna vomit, but tried to avoid it and walked. I felt burning heat in the chest and stomach and then waves of freezing cold in my head too. It passed. I didn't take the rest and don´t want to. I don´t know what to do and how to tell him this is wrong and likely going to harm. I feel the more side effects I have to endure and then the effects I'll just turn into a complying thing "dealing" with all this, until I can´t take anymore, once again, but this time with a hardly functioning NS and already destroyed life experience. I'd appreciate if you can give me an honest opinion about the danger of taking these drugs. And maybe a suggestion of something well articulated I can give him to read to maybe start seriously considering the inhuman experiences these substances put us through, not only in high doses. Thank you for reading, it ended up quite long. I hope you are finding some wellbeing and meaning, take care.
  25. Hi Everyone - I'm new to this site and very grateful that I discovered this community! I appreciate all the work that the moderators and volunteers do - thank you so much! In the Fall of 2019, I began to descend into the worst depression of my life. I've lived with depression since I was 12 or 13 years old so I'm familiar with the ups and downs. especially the downs. I never took medication until I was in my forties when I began taking Lexapro 10 mg. It helped a little, but the depression persisted. In January 2020, my depression and ensuing suicidal ideation became so acute that I admitted myself to the hospital and was in and out of it for about a month. I was literally at one of the best hospitals in the country with some of the top doctors, but nothing helped. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I. I don't remember what medications I was prescribed while hospitalized because I barely have any memory of that time. I also underwent ECT, which caused severe short-term memory loss (a common and well-known side effect). The ECT did not improve my depression. My understanding is that it only works in about 50% of patients. When I finally left the hospital I was still extremely depressed and could barely function, and then...Covid hit, my business was decimated, and the social isolation crushed me. Needless to say, my depression did not improve. I tried many different medications and finally ended up taking Abilify 2 mg, Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg and Modafinil 200 mg. It was only when I began taking the Modafinil in the summer of 2021 that my mood and energy lifted. I was also diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in summer 2021 and began using a CPAP. Now, two years after this all started my side effects are: 50 lb. weight gain, no libido, sexual dysfunction, muscle twitches, GI issues (an extreme amount of gas), memory loss, internal restlessness, and muted emotions. All this has become intolerable to me so I've decided to begin to taper off the drugs. I have an appointment with my doctor today to discuss going off the meds. I'm nervous about her reaction. She's been very supportive and I really like her, but I know she won't be happy about my decision. I still plan on tapering off. I'm going to start by decreasing the Abilify after all of the horror stories I've been reading on lots of forums about this medication. I have good support in place and will be seeing my therapist, receiving acupuncture, working with an herbalist, using aromatherapy and flower essences. I also exercise and meditate. I plan on doing the slow 10% taper but I'm worried about possible withdrawal symptoms. If I can't successfully eliminate the use of my antidepressants and antipsychotic, I will probably try ketamine. Ketamine isn't covered by my insurance so I will have to pay out of pocket, which I'm willing to do to finally get off of these drugs!! Wish me luck and thanks for reading
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