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  1. servadei

    5 years off - My Advice

    Hey guys! Long time no hear - my signature says I'm 3 years off but this year, on 10th of July I 'celebrated' my 5 years off of AD's. I would change my signature but I don't know how - that being said I'm loving what you did with the site. I'm going to try to write this with a bit of humour, because that is my style, so if you find it a bit 'aggressive' please know this was not my intent, and the sole purpose for writing this is because I care about all of you and empathise deeply with all of you. I know how it feels when your brain feels like it's been replaced with a piece of fried chicken (even though I'm afraid that even a fried chicken is an euphemism). My story short - I cold turkeyed 10 mgs of escitalopram (some of you may know it as Lexapro). My life completely changes shortly after and I entered what was an absolute hell for me (seriously, I'm catholic and that's what my version of hell would look like). Thankfully, I am doing a lot better now and I wanted to share a couple of things I learned along the way. I still suffer from anxiety, as I did before WD, it is worse than it was but it's nowhere near WD nightmare. I am not on any kind of medication and the only supplement I use is Omega3. Here are some of the things, and if I remember something later I will edit or write in the comments. DON'T GOOGLE STUFF. For the love of God, don't do it. If you're new here, there is plenty of sound advice in topic named 'Read this first' and in my opinion that is enough. Now when I say don't google stuff I mean don't google every symptom, every emotion, every fear and thought and overanalyse it. I promise you 99.99999 % of everything you feel and experience in WD is COMPLETELY NORMAL. Imagine your brain as a very stressed person trying to find best solutions and having to run the household (your body)... of course it's going to act wacky. It's not worth stressing it out further by reading into stuff and imagining even worse case scenarios. If you want to google kittens, puppies, babies, watch pretty youtube videos or just listen to calming music be my guest. But DON'T👏 GOOGLE 👏 YOUR 👏 SYMPTOMS 👏 TAKE IT SLOW. Your brain is working so fast your body might try to mimic that. I know my body did, and I still do it sometimes, if I'm not aware. I don't know if this happens to you but when I get stressed I breathe fast, brush my teeth fast, eat fast, comb my hair fast... as if someone put a ticking bomb on all of those things. Try to be more aware and when you notice that, take a deep breath, and start over - gently, slowly. Do everything with great care and gentleness. Your body and brain need it. When you show your brain you're not in a rush, brain will take it slowly too. I know it's a problem in WD - it feels like you have an neverending supply of adrenaline - but hey, baby steps. Try do it for 5 minutes a day. INSOMNIA. This bastard made me really mad. Sleep was the only way I could escape the WD nightmare, but it rarely came. I remember trying to fall asleep for hours, just to wake up at 4 or 5 am. not being able to fall asleep again. When I couldn't sleep, naturally, I thought about how I can't sleep. I worried and worried instead of trying to utilise that time. The best advice given to me was - if you can't fall asleep just chill. Your body will find a way to get energy from that too. Imagine you're on a beach, the sound of waves, the hot sand on your feet, warm sun, smell of salt and pine... you get it. Imagine happy (well..happyish) scenarios - I imagined what will I do after the WD is over and how I'll be able to help and understand someone. Try to occupy your thoughts as much as you can as not to fall in to the 'Oh God why can't I sleep' rabbit hole. NEURO-EMOTIONS. Don't run away from them. Don't be afraid of them. Embrace them. Cry. Scream in your pillow. Jump in utter rage. Aggressively punch the mattress. Write it down and rip the paper. Welcome your fears with open arms. Neuro emotions scared me but now I see them as a way of brain restarting itself. Like pushing random buttons to see what works and you just have to deal with it. It opened a very strong traumas for me again that antidepressants and teenage way of life buried so I had to actually face them and go through them. It was horrible, but maybe necessary? WORK OUT. Aggressive workout in the middle of WD hell? Only if you're absolutely comfortable. Otherwise, I don't recommend it. On the other hand, if you want to stay in bed all day, try to fight that urge. Try to walk at least 5 minutes (even in your small apartment, you don't have to go out), do a half a squat, lift your hands, whatever, just try to be at least little bit active. There's tons of studies that show how exercising improves mental health - there's not much to say here. CREATIVITY. At my worst I really couldn't do anything. TV was too stimulating and loud, my biggest achievement was playing Mahjong on my smartphone for 2 minutes. Everything above that and I would get extremely tired. I didn't smile, sleep, eat, I just wanted to die. Luckily, as soon as I got a bit better I've decided to do anything to not think about what I'm going through even if the bliss lasted for a second. I was baking, gardening, drawing, writing... notice how all of this is with hands. Put everything you got into feeling what you're doing with your hands. Even now when I get stressed I look around me for objects and imagine what kind of texture would they be like if I touched them. DP/DR. There are no words in human language to express how much I hated those feelings. I still do. But I've come a long way. Let's say they were at 100%. Now they're at about 50% when I'm really stressed. 20-30% in normal situations, because I still have an anxiety, and it's just a poopy symptom I have to accept. DR is actually what I'm feeling, DP was problematic, but now I can't remember when I truly had it. They don't occupy my life anymore, and I'm not so afraid of them as I was. My best advice about them would be: Don't be afraid. It feels like the world is falling apart but they're just symptoms of mental disorders and WD. They are absolutely harmless. The best you can do for yourself and your brain is to accept those feelings. Say it out loud: DP/DR I accept you. I know you're just symptoms of my brain working overtime and that's okay. I know my brain is trying its best to protect me and I am grateful for that. I accept you. If this post gives just a bit of hope or brings a bit of comfort to anyone - I'm so glad. I remember rereading the same success stories here over and over again when I was at my worst. They were literally ropes I hold on to. I know what you're going to is hard, but please, please, hold on. Living with this honestly means you're the bravest of the brave. Seriously, everyone here on this forum is one heck of a soldier. You don't even know how strong you are. I was pooping my pants when I was getting into college, I was still in WD... and next year I'm going to finish it. So please, hold on, and live day by day. There are probably more things I would write about, my faith being one of the most important things that helped me (and still does). I might write about it if anyone is interested, but I'm sorry I can only write from my religion's (catholic) perspective. So if anyone is interested let me know. I also run an IG page for catholics dealing with anxiety so if you're interested shoot me a message (I don't want to put it here because I think it would be considered a self-promo). I wanted to open that page for a year now - if you read my post, what was a comforting for me was imagining I could help someone some day who is going through the same stuff as I do. So I finally did it and honestly, it is a nice creative outlet. I have no doubt there will be some future gems from this page that were molded by suffering - Gold is purified by fire. **english is not my first language, so please excuse any errors.
  2. ADMIN NOTE Also see: Overwhelmed, demotivated, apathetic? Cannot get going on interest or action Creating a new self after withdrawal Post by BrassMonkey How many of you, apart from the whole gamut of other symptoms, are suffering from emotional numbness as of present? How does it manifest in your case?
  3. Hello, my name is Jonathan. I’m 21. I started taking Lexapro after being admitted into the hospital for intense panic attacks that resulted in suicidal ideology. The first dose I took of Lexapro I immediately felt this numbing/ quieting effect in my mind, like my internal dialogue was shut off, which then resulted in me feeling so removed from reality I just remember crying and staring at a wall for 2-3 hours before I eventually fell asleep. I feel like I had such adverse effects due to an overall hypersensitivity to medication which was confirmed because I also tried Wellbutrin and switching to Zoloft and both of these medications resulted in me feeling adverse effects immediately. I was on Lexapro 5mg morning 5mg night starting June 2018 and it was miserable the whole time. I felt the emotional numbing, general apathy which I expected. But the worst thing was the dissociation. It was like everything physically was numbed out. Bright light, foggy days, nature in general made me feel like I was stuck in this dream state. I often felt like I had lost all connection to myself, like I was a gathering of vague memories floating through with no meaning. This started bringing lots of panic back and crying spells multiple nights a week. I decided I wanted to come off Lexapro and I stupidly, the spring of 2019, tried cold turkey. Being so sensitive to the drug, after about 3 days I went into a 104 degree fever which lasted 15 days. Luckily my parents came into town and took me home from college. this was the start of an extremely slow taper that lasted until just recently Beginning of April 2020 where I am finally off the drug. I was hopeful for the first time in a while that things might return to normal, like before I was on the drug at all. However, I’ve been feeling a lot of the same feelings I had every time I would taper on Lexapro. Crying spells, the feeling that I am not real. All concepts have lost meaning. Space, time, memory. I wake up in the same familiar bed with the most obvious feeling that it couldn’t be farther from alright. Everything is off. I drive down the same roads I’ve been on my whole life and I can’t help but feel the fog creep in until it has covered my memories, convincing me that my reality has been manipulated and I am no longer able to see things as they truly are, or were. Color is faded. Light is surreal. Overcast days fill me with dread. I’ve lost all connection to the physical world. Those concepts of space and time bring on the most intense feelings of fear and despair. The only sensations I feel anymore, the only ones that remind me that this feels like a nightmare. It honestly feels like hell and I don’t know how to find relief. I’ve started up therapy again but talking about all these feelings make it worse. I’d rather completely numb/ distract myself in my room all day then be forced to relive all these moments. I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to feel like things are ok again. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  4. I had started this heavy headed ness in December 2018..The feeling was like someone tying strong knot around my head and its getting tighter...with NO relief in site....I ddint knw at that time , it was related to depression. So i kept hoping that it will ultimately subside after diet change, sleep patterns etc.. but nothing worked ....After 6 months of this unbearable pain.I visited psychiatrist.In our society and family , visiting psychitrist is taboo. He has Started off with amixide-h, flunil 20...it helped me ...I got recovered to some extent .But not completeely. then my doctor advised me to visit another doc at metropolitan area. so i did... he started with having galop 10 and betacap 20 ....and increased dsage gradually... I recovered but new monster arised infront of me 'ANHEDONIA/emotional blunting/numbness' ...It was making me disassociated from everyone i am closer and affecting every relations i have. Then i talked this to doctor, he changed tab to Dulexetin , buproprien and betacap for this emotional apathy .....This has really helped me in relieving some symptoms of depression ..Anhedonia but remained ... After 4-5 month of treatment , Now i am recovered to the extent but last problem for me remains. In between i tried supplements like MUCUNA pruriens for dopamine, its very effective for me with libido increase, sexual pleasure, but not helped much with anhedonia. Now i started on with AGOMELATINE for this anhedonia thing...so will update about its effectiveness after 1 -2 months. If anyone has gone through plaese reply and suggest any new thing for anhedonia...LETS beat this bastard...
  5. Good Day, I wish I could say that my withdrawal symptoms from quitting Lexapro are the worst, but quitting Xanax takes that title. I have been off Xanax for two years and six months. The first day was the worst, the first year was the worst, and I am not feeling any Xanax issues now except waking up in a cold sweat every night since 2014. Anyway, I have not looked back or taken Xanax ever again. During that entire ordeal, I was still on Lexapro. I didn't quit it also because I didn't want to do too much at once. I finally quit Lexapro on the 25th of Dec 2016. Side note: To help me quit Xanax, I was put on Seroquel and Neurontin at rehab, and I gained 20kgs in 6 months which I am still trying to lose. I have lost half of it, but for some reason, my metabolism is no longer the same. I can't lose weight after rehab. I quit Seroquel cold turkey and tapered off Nuerontin. I took it for about six months and stopped when the weight piled on. Back to why I am here: The first month after quitting Lexapro was alright. Just brain zaps and nothing else really. I thought, "Wow! Quitting these antidepressants is very easy! I should have done it earlier." I was basing my experience on Xanax, which is harder at the beginning and easier with time. I didn't expect things to begin falling apart later, and boy are they falling apart. Month two drug free was also not too bad, but it was filled with episodes of sadness. Month three became worse than month two, and I felt withdrawn and my lust for life started disappearing again. Month four was worse than month three and I felt myself losing more joy, being darker than I have ever been. Month five, my current situation, is a hot mess! My anxiety is back, my depression is back, and actually they are back and worse than ever. My obsessive thoughts are back. Oh, and my sexual urges are back, after years of thinking that I might be asexual. The problem is, my sexual urges are disconnected from my emotions, so as horny as I am, I still don't feel like having sex with my husband, and the whole thing is making me panic for several reasons. My insomnia is back. I am weepy and frustrated. My pessimism is back. I hate life right now. My face is braking out and for this last week, I have been unable to eat so I also feel awful due to that, I am sure. I could go on for days about how awful I feel right now. I have not left bed for a week! I have made music though. Actually, I started having the urge and will to create music around month 3 of quitting. Before that, I though I would never make music again. So, there are pros and cons to this quitting, more cons than pros though, currently. I was thinking of going back on Lexapro when I happened on this website. I have now changed my mind. I thought I was just getting worse and worse until I end up committing suicide, however from the posts I have read, it gets better apparently, and none of my torture is unusual. I was suppose to start a family this year but now I have doubts. I would wait a year but I am 35 in three months so... I am taking, and have been for over a year, Magnesium (a high dose), Iron Fumarate (I have severe anemia), Vitamin C (a very high dose), Probiotics, L-Theanine, Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin B12 on top, 5HTP and Valerian, camomile tea when I have the strength to make it. Mood: Very Blue. Like in the pic.
  6. Want2Want2

    Want2Want2: hello

    Hi yall, So much to say, but little time now. Will be back w/more info soon. Glad to be here. Currently struggling with ongoing apathy, indifference, just-not-caring, from initial (and fairly immediate) introduction of Zoloft in 2013. It has persisted since then whether on or off medication, although it IS dose dependent w/Prozac. Reading this forum has been instrumental in my previous tapering but only now have I created an account. So thanks to all, especially Altostrata. I know there are much more difficult symptoms, as I've had many of them in the past, but this indifference seems to have completely (permanently?) changed my personality. Preparing to discontinue current doses of 10mg Prozac and 150mg Wellbutrin, beginning in April.
  7. After close to 18 months on Citalopram, I decided to wean off the medication in August as I ascribed a feeling of mental numbness to the drug. The first week off I felt fine. Weeks 2-4 were hellish as I experienced strange tingling sensations, insomnia, depersonalisation and extreme periods of agitation. However, after close to six weeks off the drug, I still don’t feel like myself. I’m apathetic. My concentration is non-existent despite taking medication for ADHD. My brain is extremely foggy, and I don’t feel connnected to myself or those around me. Whilst I didn’t quite adhere to my discontinuation plan and admittedly weaned off Citalopram far too quickly, I didn’t expect to feel so utterly lost in myself after almost six weeks off the med. My doctor is in the process of conferring with a psychologist with regards to taking a different medication for anxiety but I’m reluctant to go back on an SSRI. Unfortunately I don’t know if I’m still struggling with SSRI withdrawal syndrome or if it’s a resurfacing of depression and/or a high level of anxiety. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced similar difficulties after discontinuing an anti-depressant and what helped you in your respective recoveries. Thanks.
  8. Hi everyone. I wonder if anyone could tell me how long it took to get your emotions/sexuality back after stopping ssris. I’m currently 17 months off sertraline and I’ve seen windows of my emotions returning, but for the most part I’m constantly empty, flat and anhedonic. I’ve been suicidal because of both this and pssd, which go hand in hand. I can’t live like this. I took the drug for 16 months in case anyone is wondering. I’m hoping someone can give me some information about when their emotions started to come back. Or, if you are 10 years out and you still have anhedonia (just like I know quite a few people who are 15-20 years off SSRIs and have both PSSD and anhedonia), do tell, because that’s useful information too. I just really want to know what I’m dealing with here.
  9. My apathy and inability to care about anything makes me too docile and easily abused by others. I have always been a nice guy, the kind of guy that seems easily abused, but I have always had enough self-love to stop people abusing me, like whenever I saw that someone was socially abusing me in whatever, I knew how to defend myself. I had something inside me to prevent me from being abused. Now the prozac-induced apathy/indifference has made me very very easy to abuse, because I just don't care. Yesterday I was with my friends, and I noticed that I was paying more than them for a shared dinner, and that is something that I would have been pissed off in the past, but yesterday I simply didn't care and I just paid more. Also, some of my friends tend to be a bit abusive sometimes to get what they want. Yesterday one of my friends liked one good-looking girl that we didn't know and he told me to go there and talk to her and then introduce him to her, because he didn't dare to go alone. That's something that I wouldn't do so easily, because I know he wouldn't do that for me, but yesterday I went there and introduced that beautiful girl to him because I just didn't care. The girl liked me more than him and wanted to talk with me (I am more attractive than him, sorry if I sound arrogant, but its just true) but I let them talking alone because I didn't care. If I didn't get paid in a part-time job that I am doing now while finishing my university degree, I wouldn't care. Someone could come and steal me my almost done engineering university degree and I probably wouldn't care neither. Someone could insult me, or said to me absolutely whatever without making me feel bad. He could even punch me in the face, and I think I wouldn't care at all. If I knew for sure that this is temporary and that in for example 6 months I will regain my ability to care, then it would be ok. But I just don't want to stay like this forever
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