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  1. Hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to start with a quick synopsis of my medical background below. I took SSRI antidepressants for 17+ years. I started with Prozac for 5 years from 15-21. Then I took Escitalopram from 22-32. Along the way I was put on Trazodone, Buspar, Ambien and Wellbutrin as well. All in an attempts to control my anxiety/depression and inability to sleep. Also a little mental history - I was bullied from about the age of 9 to the age of 16. It's pretty obvious in hindsight why I was depressed/anxious. I thought the people in this world were mean. I thought everywhere I went was an unsafe place because at this time it was. In response to this I took up boxing and working out so I could become stronger than my bullies. In all honesty it worked. As soon as I became strong and in shape I became popular out of nowhere, which was an interesting transition. Anyways, that's another story for another time. At 15 I visited the doctor because I always held things to myself because I never told my parents I was being bullied or that life outside of my bedroom sucked. They just thought I was sad/depressed. Depression also runs deep in my family. My mother has been on an extreme cocktail of antidepressants since she was about 20. Although this cocktail has been quite a rollercoaster for her as well. She thought this was the only way to help. I had no one to talk to and I felt like the world was an unsafe and scary place so when the doctor prescribed anti depressants and the anxiety disappeared I thought it was a miracle. At this time the extreme side effects didn't matter to me. The fact I lost my ability to feel empathy because I was numb didn't matter because I didn't like people enough to care to empathize with them. I thought I was going to make it in this world on my own come hell or high water. This idea set me off on a path of perfectionism, egocentrism, hedonism and drug abuse. This life is not meant to be lived alone. To make sure this story doesn't become a novel I'm going to go ahead and summarize it here. For 16 years I went on a binger of sorts. Chasing all the highs this world has to offer. Whether this be dating multiple women, chasing drugs and festival culture, chasing adrenaline highs in the form of mountain biking, power lifting or cliff diving. I kept chasing thrills to fill the emotional void left by the SSRI. I also had to be perfect at this point. I had to have a straight A's in college. A quick aside (I had a long period of alcohol addiction that ran in parallel with my SSRI usage from about 16-21). This caused me to fall behind in life so I felt like I had to catch-up quick, mixed with the perfectionism created from early bullying it caused an immense amount of anxiety in my day to day life. I wasn't allowed to rest, make a mistake or simply apologize when I was wrong. This caused insane amounts of chaos in my relationships throughout these years. Finally when I hit about 31 I decided I had enough of this chaos. A 6-year relationship and all of my life long friendships finally collapsed on me. They were built on a false human. They were built on a man that didn't exist. I see myself as two people honestly. The person that was on anti-depressants is not the same human I am off them. Honestly in my mind half the withdrawal is realizing you built a life not suitable to the person you are off the medicine. I moved to a new area and started a new life. I also quit my anti-depressants. I began hiking and looking inward. It took about 6 months from the insomnia, brain zaps, panic attacks and extreme social anxiety to subside. I managed these symptoms with extreme self inquiry. I also started walking daily. I'm running out of time to write this so let me summarize this pretty quickly here. I'm not perfectly better now. I think anxiety/depression are a part of existence now. I accept there will be days I'm tired/scared and will have panic attacks, but I've learned to sit with these emotions and understand this too shall pass. Getting of my anti-depressant also gave me my empathy back. I built closer connections with people than I've had in the past 17 years. It was extremely hard to rebuild a social support system and a new life while quitting the SSRI though. I would say overall life feels deeper now though. In summary: 1) Took SSRI's for 17+ years. Felt like a zombie. I won't say it was all bad. If you are suicidal and have no other options I would say these are better than that alternative. If you believe you have any other options though I would urge you to try them all out. 2) Quit SSRI's at 32. Created a new life. 3) Anxiety/depression still exists but I now just believe these to be a part of life as opposed to something to get rid of. 4) Found a social support system that saved me, built around the real me. Sorry for jumping around so much on this post. I was trying to work from home at the same time. So I kept jumping back into it. If anyone has any questions feel free to let me know!
  2. Day 600 (March 11th 2017) 4 months shy of my two year mark. My Introduction: - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10847-%E2%98%BC-rockingchaircat-recovery-from-psychotropic-drugs-that-were-prescribed-willy-nilly/page-1 I’m a male in my early 50’s, and I’ve been on several antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Paxil, and other psychotropics (as prescribed by the pill pushing Docs): Benzos- Xanax and Ativan, and other crap. These pills do not ‘balance your neurotransmitters”, that is a lie- for there is no balance. Instead it’s more akin to a Symphony: Every neurotransmitter has its own part to play at it’s own time and place. My taper strategy was something I came up with in desperation after trying out some boneheaded strategies involving either: A) going cold turkey and then following the advice of a medical doctor. The Route: Cold Turkey- Freak Out. Go on Benzos. Reinstate Antidepressants. Taper off Benzos. Taper off Antidepressants. Lose what’s left of my mind. Try to regain it in recovery. The Cold Turkey route resulted in my freaking out, which segued me into trying out the Benzos on the advice of a medical doctor- which worked GREAT, but only for a short time. Then they stopped working completely. After a while with more of the same useless advice of “give it a few weeks” Or “increase the dose”- I got fed up with the docs and found the website: Benzo Buddies. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=122050.0 There- I learned of the Pharmaceutical Blasphemy- of the necessity of not taking pills. Then I got better advice about how to go about weaning myself off of Benzodiazepines properly. It took a few months but I managed to wean myself off of the Benzos that I was on. Then after a couple of stable months- I decided to taper off of my antidepressant ‘slowly’, as recommended by a different doctor. But, even that was faster than I should’ve tapered-. I thought at the time that my antidepressant withdrawal would take about the same time as it took me to wean myself off of the Benzos. Boy was I wrong. It took me much longer. Which doesn’t come as a surprise now- after all I’d been on more of them for longer than I was on the Benzos. My Coping mechanisms/Strategies during my withdrawal- included the following: 1) Amino acids, 2) Beans, 3) Exercise, 4) A Full Spectrum Light, 5) Hobbies, 6) The Internet, 7) Meditation, 8) Motivation 9) Music, 10) Nature, 11) (Orgasms), 12) & Sunlight. I also found it helpful to cut out chocolate, coffee, and eventually dairy products. Chocolate left me with a severe heartburn. Coffee left me an increased level of anxiousness- cutting it out decreased my anxiety by a measurable amount. And dairy foods made me sleepy- to the point that it was a miniature nasty fatigue day. My Withdrawal Problems: 1) Anxiety 2) Depression 3) Nasty Fatigue Days 4) General Fatigue 5) Cortisol Spikes 6) Mood Swings So- what was it like for me? Hell. I cannot put it any other way- It was Hell- it was the absolute WORST thing I’ve ever had to endure. Anxiety- A general fear that dogged me constantly- from the numerous times I woke up in the middle of the night, dealing with it’s intensity during the day- and then trying to cope with my existence after work and not being too terrible an Ogre to my wife, daughter, friends, and house cats. The fear had grown, to where everything wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t even read a novel- because of fear that the fictional characters were going to encounter hardship. And the boredom, despite the almost constant anxiety waves, I was bored out of my mind. Every hour felt like a day. Every night when I couldn’t fall asleep long enough to catch rest- I stared at the ceiling and tried to get my racing heart to calm down- for hours. Ironically enough- the first few hours of most nights I could sleep- until I started to dream. And when I started to dream- the Cortisol Spikes started up. But dreams are the time when you need the rest the most. Depression- will come back with a vengeance since you don’t have a pill to push it away anymore. So you must fight it. Depression is the Enemy. Depression- Lies. It will do its utmost to deny you reality. It will tell you that it’s not worth trying. But it’s all lies. Because it IS worth it, life is worth it. It’s all worth the trouble. During the early withdrawal phase- I often thought of steering my car into a tree, but I had to fight those thoughts, what I came up with: That driving into a tree was no guarantee of the release I sought. That in fact (knowing my luck) I’d be horribly injured, out of a truck, left with a massive amount of bills to pay with no way of paying for them- and lose my house, my job, and most importantly- the medical insurance my daughter needs to survive on. I refused to let myself end that way – that would’ve been a coward’s way out. In fact- just about anything and everything depression tells you isn’t ‘worth it’: IS. Try to remember this: If depression tells you it ain’t worth it- then you know it is. Nasty Fatigue- That was something I used to get on a regular basis- every two weeks or so during my early days. A depression so extreme that it was torture to get out of bed, and all I could manage was to lie around utterly depressed with existence and stare at the wall in complete and utter despair- for hours, often days. It was an effort to get up and go to the bathroom. I would eat- but only at the behest of my wife, and even then I could only manage a half sandwich- a day. Like so many other symptoms- it’s gone, but it took a while for it to go away. It didn’t so much stop as it melted away. In the depths of it- I would sleep. But it wasn’t in the least restful sleep. And the only way out of it that I could find- was to fight it. I forced myself to get up and stay awake. Words fail me- I simply do not have the words necessary to convey how difficult it was. It was stubborn- I had to out stubborn it. General Fatigue- everything was hard. I had no energy. I went so far as to have my Thyroid hormones checked. ALL of them, not just the usual ones the docs usually pawn off onto you as being ‘comprehensive’ when it’s not. But even that checked out fine. So in the end- no matter how awful I felt about it- I just forced myself to do things. Eventually, my body stopped fighting me so vigorously – and gave in. It was an uphill battle. Cortisol Spikes- During my Benzo withdrawal- I got to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night at FULL ALERT! Often- many times a night. Every time I dreamed- I woke up in a panic. Naturally- this ended up with me not having a decent night’s sleep- so I tried to compensate by increasing my napping. That didn’t work- because invariably I’d wake up after a second or two with still MORE anxiety from another Cortisol Spike. It took me over a year before I could nap again. Alas, I still have a bit of a phobia against naps now. Eventually the Cortisol Spikes increased to the point that I simply wasn’t getting sufficient rest. And in fact I broke down several times at work in hysterics- from sleep deprivation. Most, yet not all, were when no one else was around. Mood Swings- Self Pity- was the biggest one. Which often segued into Furious Rage at the seemingly endless hours of unending mental and physical torture. So how did I endure all of this withdrawal crap? By getting my Neurotransmitter Symphony working again; and how did I do that? Read on. Windows/Waves. I too got the Waves and Windows that just about everyone gets. But along the way I learned of ways to extend the Windows, and shorten the Waves. Full Spectrum Light/Sunlight- I got a window or two even during the beginning. But they didn’t occur often enough- or for that matter long enough- I’d get a few hours once a month- maybe. But there was one thing that initiated my first several day long window: A Verilux Full Spectrum light. It helped pull me out of the winter blahs and the crippling depression that came from decreased sunlight. Now though I never had another several day window start up because of it-even so it has helped in the subsequent recovery process. I’d recommend one for your own use- but I’d also recommend following the instructions- no more than a few minutes a day at first. Why? Because we’re all photo-phobic during our early withdrawal, and you might end up with a sunburn if you’re not careful. Because you need sunlight to help you get better. Our bodies- crave it. Sunlight sets our Circadian Rhythm- that same rhythm that was thrown out of whack by the pills. It helps us release Serotonin (to wake up) and Melatonin (to fall asleep), both neurotransmitters that help us. And I use mine every day. I’ve got the tan to match. Exercise- During all of my withdrawal- I exercised. For me, in earlier days (prior to my withdrawal) I had obtained and used a small work out gym set that I placed in my garage for weight training. I’m hardly buff, let alone ripped, but it has helped keep me fairly strong. And it made for a nice routine 3x a week. Additionally I had a bicycle I used for aerobic activity 3x a week. 1x a week I just didn’t do either- but even then I did something. Usually I did yard work or went for a walk. The point is- do something, anything. Even if all you can manage is one set of pushups- DO IT! Even that little bit will do you good. Walking- Walking is Good. I preferred to do that every day (weather permitting). Walking in a natural setting- it helps. I’m lucky in that I have a pine forest in which I can skirt. And the body needs that. You NEED to get out of the house. You MUST get out and get some fresh air. You’ll hate it at first, I guarantee it. But nonetheless You NEED to do that, Every-Single-Day. (And exercise is excellent dealing with the excess energy that comes with constant anxiety attacks.) Exercise comes with it’s own built in Happy Ending: The Endorphin rush. You’ll eventually get it, and crave it enough to keep going at it. Why? Because the Endorphins are another form of Neurotransmitters that you need. Amino Acids- Along about the time I started getting hysterical due to lack of sleep I was getting desperate. I was grasping at straws- and that’s when I discovered Taurine. It, along with some magnesium- was as close to a god send for my sleep as the Happy Light was for my depression and fatigue. The first couple of weeks taking Taurine/Magnesium- I was able to turn a corner and started getting something akin to a decent night’s sleep. Not much, but even that little was better than none. Nowadays- I still get the occasional middle of the night wakefulness from a Cortisol Spike- but it’s usually after a long stretch of dreaming. And with that success- I started researching into other aminos and eventually settled upon: Tyrosine, Taurine, and Theonine. They all had one thing in common. They were/are Neurotransmitter Pre-cursors. And what is a Neurotransmitter Precursor? It’s something the body can take and create a Neurotransmitter with. Now backing up a bit- what I learned at Benzobuddies- was that our brains and bodies- are inherently Lazy. Our bodies produce a Neurotransmitter called GABA. It’s used by the brain to calm things down. When we use a Benzo- the body adapts to it and stops producing GABA. That would be one thing. But our bodies are fiendish in that after we’ve gotten used to the pill- we develop ‘tolerance’- which is to say- that the pills stop working. The tolerance is when our bodies chose to stop producing the neurotransmitter we were augmenting/replacing with by using a pill. Thus if we stop using the benzo - what little defense we have against overstimulation- isn’t there in the quantities that it was prior to the pill use. This end result creates the waves and windows we all get to ‘enjoy’ during withdrawal. Our bodies still produce the needed neurotransmitters- just not often enough or in large enough quantities. And every now and again- for I’ve no idea reasons why- for a few hours or days our bodies produce just what level of them we need to feel OK. Those are the windows. But they don’t last- and the Waves of symptoms start up again. It’s the same thing with anti-depressants. The pills cause us to stop producing enough Serotonin or Dopamine (depending on what you’ve been prescribed). So what the hell are we supposed to do when we go off the pills? We need those neurotransmitters- yet we don’t produce enough of them anymore. Taking straight neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, or GABA, is counter-productive, when what we need is to get our bodies to produce them again. So after a suitable amount of self-research- I settled on the Amino Acids that are neurotransmitter precursors. Tyrosine is used by the body to create: Dopamine. Theanine is used by the body to create: Serotonin. And Taurine is used by the body to create GABA. And the nice thing is that you won’t overdose on them. Your body will use them to make ‘just enough’. The aminos helped me immensely. They didn’t cure the problem, but they took a LOT off of the rough edges and made my recovery- tolerable. It’s gotten to the point that my body does produce the necessary neurotransmitters on it’s own- that I’ve started tapering off of the aminos I’ve been taking. And on a couple of days- I’ve forgotten to take them without noticing that I hadn’t. Meditation- During all of this- I meditated when I could. Invariably during such meditations- I fell asleep. But even that helped in its own way. It helped me learn how to suppress in a small way the anxiety that did occur- a bit of biofeedback that helped me learn to calm down and distract myself. The suppression techniques still come in handy even now on day 600, and I imagine that they’ll still be doing me good for years to come. Though in the early days I often just wrapped myself in a heavy comforter, turned on the room fan, and stared off into space for hours while sitting on the bed in the middle of the night, and I’d do the same on the weekends both during the day and night. Hobbies- Do something you enjoy- or did. Go back to it. Even if it’s a mighty burden, sit yourself down and work on your hobby. Even if it takes you an hour- to do something that you have done in seconds before- do it. Eventually- you’ll remember the fun that you had with it before. You’ll notice that by immersing yourself into it- you can ignore the pain for a bit. Naturally you’ll look forward to doing it again. Me? I work on spaceship models. And from what I’ve learned- by taking the time to do even 5 minutes a day, and doing it slow- I do a much better job on them now. See- I learned something. Internet- I spent many an hour researching these conditions that fell into my lap. Such research led me to Benzo Buddies and Surviving Antidepressants. But it also made me appreciate how wonderful that the internet can be when it comes to distracting myself from my pain. I read somewhere that we all get a dose of Dopamine when we open another interesting page on the net. Hey- whatever works. Online games- such as Lumosity- give me something to gauge my progress in such things as fine motor skills, memory skills, and Hand/Eye coordination- all of which has suffered during the worst of my withdrawal. Of late- I’ve been trying the stuff I had to cut out: Chocolate, Coffee, Dairy foods. I’m back to eating those things again, and in fact it does make feel better to be able to do so. Chocolate makes me feel good after eating a bit. Coffee makes me feel good after drinking it. I had my first slice of pizza just the other day- it felt good after eating it. (I imagine that if I eat too much of the above I won’t be feeling quite so good- after seeing what my bathroom scale has to say!) Motivation- It’s what kept me going. What kept me going? My Wife, My Daughter- they are what kept me going. (And my Mom- she made me promise to keep going too). (No Dad though- that’s another story) I was needed - my family needed me. It wasn’t much. But sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going- was the thought that they needed me. I cannot remember how many times I woke up just as it was time to get up- and simply didn’t want to keep going anymore. I didn’t want to face yet another day of constant anxiety or fear. But I got up and did it anyways. Snuggles with the wife- helped me, the physical touch was something I needed. And Snuggles releases a neurotransmitter- Oxytocin. And there were some phrases that helped motivate me through many a hard day- and they’re still something I occasionally have to fall back on when things get tough mentally: 1) Be Here Now 2) Accept 3) Pain is Mandatory- Suffering is Optional These three phrases tie in with each other. #1 Be Here Now; is the motivation that you are only in the now- and for you to not fixate upon the timeline of your withdrawal. The past is done, the future will come, but it’s best to focus on the immediate now and what you can do with it. #2 is about the immediate now- refusing to accept what’s going on in withdrawal will just make it worse. By Accepting that this is the way things are- you actually gain a sort of control over it all # 3- There is the Pain of Withdrawal- you can find ways to cope with the pain. Suffering is what comes about when you refuse to accept what is. You can choose to not be the person subjected to an endless misery of withdrawal. Yes I was in Withdrawal- but I choose to be more than a person in withdrawal- I chose instead to try and enjoy life as much as I could in between the wave crests. In both my benzo and antidepressant withdrawal blogs- I griped something fierce about it all. For that I make no apology. For I also chose to try and grab onto whatever little pleasures and triumphs I could garner when I was able to. Nature- There’s something about the forest, or even alone time next to a lake that helped me to calm down after a particularly grueling week or day. I got a few spiritual moments from the interplay of light in the clouds along with the wind in the leaves. Those few moments came at a time that I needed them. Music- I remember reading in a Science Magazine- that Music gets just about every area in the brain running. And that’s something that you need. The pills make our brains ‘soft’, music helps reboot it, it’ll evoke memories both good and bad. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh. And that’s what you need to do to get your neurotransmitters kicking in again. Beans- So what’s the big to do about beans? Gastrointestinal Health is paramount. Even though all of the other stuff I’ve listed above helped- I’ve also still had a number of problems involving Cortisol Spikes, the one thing that helped me well with that (after the Taurine) were Beans. I’ve found that the addition of a couple of tablespoons worth of Black Beans with dinner- seemed to lessen the number and frequency of Cortisol Spikes. I’m not exactly sure why this happens- though I have my suspicions. From what I understand- they’re a good source of something called Oligosaccharides. I learned about them after watching a documentary about Human Breast Milk. Apparently- Human Breast Milks’ primary ingredients include: 1) Water, 2) Fats, 3) Proteins, and 4) Oligosaccharides. So what are they? They’re a form of sugar that humans cannot digest. Now why on earth would humans produce something that babies cannot digest? Apparently the oligosaccharides are digested by a form of bacteria in the human gut- Beneficial Bacteria. The kind of bacteria that not only promotes our health in our guts but also helps us from - amongst other things- getting depressed. Long story short- Beans help you calm down and helps to prevent you from getting depression. Weird huh? Orgasms- Orgasms make you feel better. Orgasms release several feel good neurotransmitters. If you can- go for it. Hitachi wands are helpful in that regard for some folks. What’s it like for me now? I still get depressive. I still have bad days. But I’m also having good days. I’m enjoying life again. My hobbies are fun again. I’m spending time with my wife enjoying the amenities that my house and internet has to offer. (Netflix!) I’m honestly laughing again. For the longest time I forced myself to. After a while- I was able to give an honest laugh. That was a relief. Laughing- makes me feel better. Now- I can laugh spontaneously. Laughter releases Neurotransmitters. Crying- that too was near impossible for me. Now- I cry every few days. Crying- makes me feel better. I’m not up to crying spontaneously- but I’m working on it. I appreciate the time I have with my wife. I appreciate the time I have with my daughter. These times are so precious to me now. Weight loss- I still get hungry and I’m inclined to overeat if I’m not careful. Somehow I’ve still managed to lose about three pants sizes. I’ve still a ways to go, but such is a nice feeling. On the antidepressants- even mild hunger felt like I starving to death. In fact, there were times that I kept shoving food down my throat despite being so full that I was vomiting out food- but I was still famished- I couldn't achieve satiation. Now- it’s not. It’s bearable. I feel hunger, and it’s easily satisfied. I’ve lost a lot of my health due to trusting the medical doctors. I now am short one gall bladder- due to the gastrointestinal upsets my body underwent from the initial cold turkey. It was a journey of discovery for me when I found out that so many medical doctors- just don’t give a damn about folks’ suffering. Compassion Fatigue it’s called. My antidepressants- also caused me to react to allergens even more violently- I now need a CPAP to breathe at night- due to an Emergency Room visit in which some idiot botched my intubation during a visit due to a food impaction in my esophagus caused by a food allergy. During that little escapade they also managed to pierce my esophagus and I came close to needing a transfusion. And it managed to screw up my trachea too, Joy. For some reason- I find I cannot trust the Medicos as much as I did before. Why should I? They give us pills when they know they shouldn’t. During my withdrawal- I ended up going to the ER at least 6 or 7 times for things. On 5 of those visits- they gave me a scrip for Oxycodone tablets. Only two of which I put in for at the time. The other 3 I just tore up and threw away. And of those I kept- I used maybe a half dozen tablets- the rest of the contents of the bottles- I threw away. Day 600. March 11, 2017. 4 months shy of my two year mark. That’s the two year mark after tapering off of my antidepressant. That’s not including the time I spent from going cold turkey to now. Let’s see, including that turns out to be: 1048 days. Nasty. I’ve lost nearly 2 decades of my life to this crap. Thanks for nothing there Mr. Hippocratic Oath. And I’ve found that I’ve been having an issue with a short temper quite often of late. It could be a form of PTSD, it could be part of my personality that I’ve always had but never learned to control or channel. If so- then it’s past time for me to learn some anger/frustration management techniques. Which I'm doing now. Now, I'm having to relearn how to be a mature and responsible adult. It's an interesting time.
  3. Hello, I am a 27M. In January 2022 I was prescribed generic Bupropion 150mg XL off label for ADHD. Before this I had no major mental health issues other than mild anxiety/depression and ADHD and had never taken any psychiatric medication, or any real prescription drug beyond cold medicine and antibiotics. I did have Covid 2 months prior 11/2021. I wonder if Covid could have prompted this adverse reaction somehow. While taking the medication I experienced fatigue and slight dizziness at first. On the 6th day I experienced complete euphoria that felt like some kind of psychedelic trip. Colors were brighter, things were funnier, It felt like my brain was flooded with dopamine. On the seventh day, I continued to feel euphoric but also fell emotionally flat. I also noticed that my sexdrive was non-existent and I experienced erectile dysfunction for the first time in my life. I immediately stopped the medication. I was not made aware of problematic cold turkeying and didn't think it would be necessary after just a week of medication. Since then, I have experienced all sorts of horrific symptoms that have destroyed my life including: Severe brain fog Complete emotional Anhedonia (Music, food, movies bring zero enjoyment) Loss of inner voice Loss of inner visualization Sexual Anhedonia (feel little to zero sexual pleasure). No sex drive, or feelings of attraction POTS feeling very hot or cold. inner restlessness (mild akathisia?) random "SI" thoughts headaches that last for hours visual snow DP/DR colors appear dulled and I get tunnel vision when over stimulated. waking up many times in the night. These symptoms have all remained for the last 5 months. With some minor improvements in brain fog and some days being better than others. It feels as if my dopamine system is completely broken. I have somehow managed to continue working through all of this but my performance has seriously plummeted. Everyday is a battle. I fear for my future, my career, and my relationship. I fear that I have irreversible brain damage at the age of 27 from simply trying to resolve my ADHD. Id appreciate any advice or words of encouragement. This has by far been the worst experience of my life.
  4. I have struggled with the evil twins of depression and anxiety for all of my adult life. I'm now in my late 60s. Current meds: citalopram 40mg/day; bupropion SR 100mg/day; buspirone 20mg/day; I've been on citalopram and bupropion for many years. Buspirone was added about three years ago. Under medical guidance I tapered too fast off benzos two years ago, a hellish withdrawal experience. I'm 99% recovered and ready to chip away at the heavy load of psych meds I'm on. I'm determined to do a slow careful taper to avoid anything resembling what I went through with benzo withdrawal. I just ordered the Gem I'm not certain which med to start with. I'm thinking the citalopram dose is the most immediate concern because it's so high but I'm hoping to get feedback on SA. Thanks
  5. WARNING. This is very long and took me hours to write. I didnt know what to include. I figured more information was more information so.. Here it all is. If anyone has advice on what i should cut please do advise! TLDR is i accidentally went cold turkey off 2.5 1x week Escitalopram, have been treating it all wrong with propanolol, thc and cbd. Countless mood and physical symptoms. Believe I have kindled and made going back on impossible. Scared to wait this out incase of psychosis. Scared to reinstate. Terrified of everything and tired and unable to sleep. Okay, I dont know what to write here, so ill give a small summary background and history I took from my summary for applying for the board. My mental health and my lack of steady GP has made finding dates VERY hard and I went through a lot of patchy on off med periods so its a little unclear, sorry. I did my best to match referrals and old receipts for rough dating. History- Depression and suicidality 2003~2013. 2013, suddenly panic attacks and anxiety, went to psych, was prescribed Sertraline, unsure dose. 2013~ 2016 Sertraline - Felt no better & hated side effects so CT. Didn't notice WD. Tried Desvenfalaxine, then Fluoxetine. No improvement on depression within months like I wanted, side effects too horrible. CT off both. Tried Escitalopram, helped panic attacks. CT off all and no WD noticed. During these years I was bad, very depressed, barely left bed, would hold jobs for months and then drop. Mostly same since 2003. 2016~2019 Mental Health crisis around August 2016 led to being in and out of ER, decided reinstate medication. 40mg Escitalopram initially followed by addition of Wellbutrin, 75 up to 150mg. Escitalopram reduced to 20mg sometime btwn August 2016 and Feb 2017, then down to 10mg by July 2017. All unsupervised tapers, doctors saw my doses changing and were unphased. No WD experienced. Stabilized. Struggled with depression and anxiety, but no panic. No suicidality. 2019-2020 Started to be lax with occasionally not taking meds. Stopped Zyban cold turkey during 2020 or 2019 due to night sweats, feeling stable and feeling like it affected my memory. Ocasional forgetting to take escitalopram for a few days. Mostly stable Escitalopram at 10mg. 2020-2022 Minor depression but the best i had been, even before meds. Have not had suicidal feelings in 6 years, no panic attacks. I spent years slowly working up a reward system for myself to encourage myself to do things like shower daily, cook and eat real food. During this time none of that is an effort and I begin adding to things. I institute a cleaning schedule with WEEKLY house cleaning. I cook. I eat regularly. I exercise on and off. I feel stable and HAPPY for the first time ever. Even my hard days pale in comparison and instead of not leaving bed or eating for 30hrs my worst times are a week where my chores are a bit lax. I get a job by CHOICE. But I begin to notice through this two things - I went on Escitalopram to manage panic attacks and now im only having mild anxiety... But I have TERRIBLE emotional blunting. I can't laugh, I can‘t cry. Bad things will happen and I can feel it like a pressure under the surface. I even listen to sad things to TRY and cry and nothing. I begin to try and taper. To be honest I think I tried CT and the brainzaps put me off. Over 2020 maybe, but mostly 2021, I Taper unsupervised down to 5mg daily... then every other day I try and push it and only take meds when noticing brainzaps. I DO NOT KNOW that means withdrawal or that i am essentially entering withdrawal every few weeks. Noticing 5 is still producing annoying blunting I go down to taking 2.5 1-2x week by late 2021, only when I have brainzaps. I told doctors about this and nobody said anything, nobody said not to do this! During 2020~2021 I start to, in retrospect, have what was probably withdrawal symptoms. My Anxiety has waves and days or weeks of being moderately bad in a way I've never experienced. I latch on to certain almost intrusive worries and struggle with them a lot. I begin to obsess about finances, my weight, healthy food, calories etc. It only gets as bad as mild crying on some intermittent days tho. Its draining but liveable. This makes me more encouraged to try and not take Escitalopram as I have never found it helpful for my general anxiety and rumination and would like to find something not blunting. November through January I feel my best ever. I start a new job and have a week in January this year where I take 5mg because im struggling with anxiety, then went back down to 2.5 “as needed” Mild brain zaps in February, twice I have days where i feel derealized and dizzy, but hours later i have a migraine so unsure if withdrawal or symptons of migraine. Start to feel mildly depressed early March - My contract at my Job is up and its the first job I have managed 2 days a week at without burning out. The depression feels rational though, im worrying about ever having real money or holding down a full time job, since my “best” I still cant handle it. This still feels like my depression. I try and stick to the 2.5 because it wards off brainzaps, but i dont feel emotionally blunted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WD AND CURRENT ISSUES START HERE. 17/03 2022 Sudden HARD crash. I feel.. weird.Dizzy, so dizzy i feel like im falling over. Spacey, nauseous. I take my 2.5 but it does not improve. First panic attack in 6 years on the 19th. On 20th Tried reinstate at 5mg, just in a prayer for stability, not knowing what is happening. Maybe mild help at most. I wake up having a panic attack at 4am the 21st and cant calm down. derealization, nausea.. I see the GP on the 21st, he says my dosage was so low as to be pretty much nonexistant and taking the meds again wont give relief. I feel like im going insane because I can feel calm mentally and start having panic attacks out of nowhere. I stil feel okay emotionally but this is eating at me. Put on propanolol every 4 hrs as needed, when i first take it and the physical symptoms calm down I feel INSTANT relief and cry. 21st-But, for the first time ever I have insomnia- Ive always fallen asleep at like 2-4am and awake at 10-12, but during depression usually I am a sleep for 16hrs straight type. Im having migraine headaches, i cant keep food down. Im mixing antiemetics and propnaolol. I feel SO DIZZY i lay in bed all night feeling like im falling. I take a maxalt and manage an hour and a half sleep for the first time in two days. 22ng I begin to suspect withdrawal now. Net says 3wks so I decide to try and hold. I distract myself by cleaning, I start having hot and cold flushes. Laying in bed gives me panic attacks. I get dizzy and scared of more panic attacks and not sleeping ever again, followed by heart pounding and shaking and hot and cold flushes back to back for hours. I take two temazepam i found that expired in 2019 and feel no better, sleep an hour or so. 23rd. Messaging my mum everyday, she wants me to try CBD and THC. I get an appointment. Im starting to feel less panicky per day, only random attacks rather than back to back all day, seemingly untriggered, sudden chills and heart pounding. Except if I lay down, then I always panic. I try the couch and the floor, i try breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. I go buy Restavit. I emotionally collapse. I barely remember this so here is what I sent my mother> “ Last night was ***** at first. Hysterical crying on the floor, felt like I was dying, [partner] even went searching for valium bc i was so ***** but found none. Went to bed early and was exhausted but still could not pass out for an hour of panic(continous chills and feeling like i had been dunked in cold water and shaking and chest felt tight etc). Took the sedatives and still could not, got up and paced around for a bit which felt SO funny bc I was dizzy and struggling to walk but if I stopped I panicked so I was just stumbling back and forth around the kitchen. I went back to bed and eventually somewhere between 5am and 9am passed out and then slept until frickin 6pm. Beginning to suspect its some weird delayed onset ssri discontinuation syndrome. It kinda FEELS physically like getting brainzaps does. The fact its random out of nowhere, no trigger, cant calm myself mwntally, comes in waves, so much worse at night. I feel a lot better today. Not even taken a single beta blocker. Chest has been a bit tight all day and struggling a bit with feeling like nothing is real. Starting to have scalp crawling tingles now so hopefully not gonna be a repeat of last night.”. Prescribed THc and CBD oils. The next few days are a fog and I dont message my mum so Im unsure what happened. I know my panic attacks started to not happen I know they stopped around saturday the 26th so I stop taking propanolol. I know my insomnia sucked. I took restavit a few times during this, it helped twice and didnt twice. I started to feel okay and even good on sunday and monday. My anxiety was a 4~5 on this day from the 7~10 it had been. By 29th of March I begin my THC and CBD and am not feeling good. I take my CBD to no effect. The THC makes me feel GOOD. Not euphoric but the closest to how i felt emotionally and anxiety wise for the first time since this started. But dont even manage the 4hrs of sleep ive gotten the last few days. I think this is a BAD idea bc I start to feel BAD on the 30th and panicky again. I dont remember this week well. I have no messages during this time. I take CBD 0.125ml at 100mg per ml on 29, 30th, 31st and 0.25 on the first. Nothing, maybe minorly more anxiety. THC is a 10thc15cbd per ml mix. I take 0.25ml 29, 30th at 7:44pm AND 144 am And take a restavit and STILL can not fall asleep and feel nothing on the 30th. I try 0.5 on the first, I actually do sleep. I take 0.5 on the 02 and cant sleep at all again. I feel focused and calm and awake so I drop them both. I convince myself all the other websites are right and look to the 7th as a day all will resolve. On and off dizzyness and constant insomnia this week, falling asleep for barely 4 hrs most nights. Tummy and appetite issuesstill but no panic. My mood effects start coming in this week. I flip between total fog inability to engage with or enjoy anything zoned out on the couch for hours exhausted and existing, to crying spells of hours out of nowhere. But I can eat without nausea most days and I can do some cooking, i manage to cook two meals for mt partner. I start to notice fluey symptoms~ body aches and post nasal drip and cough. On the 6th I start thinking about giving up on holding. I cant stop sobbing hystericallt all day. take some thc at 0.25 ml and despite barely any effects on 0.5 I feel kinda high. My mood and appetite feel really good and I have mild warm and fuzzies. I crash though and cant sleep and after the come down im shaky "my nervous system is so fried. went to bed at 4, fell asleep at 1030am. slept from then till 11:40, then 12:25 to 1:30 then 1:40 to 4:30. maybe 4 and a half hours total. I feel wide awake but also tired the whole time and cant tell if im falling asleep. Im scared of benzos as a solution tho" Im beginning to be scared of how im effecting my partner and his mood and sleep as my only support. I had two good days again that week and went out one day. I am struggling emotionally more and more. I cant be alone or I spiral. I sit in my partners room on the floor while I scroll, being in a room with someone helps. I take restavit for the fifth time in two weeks on the 7th. Ive had mixed results and groggyness 12hrs later but im desperate so I take 50mg. I SLEEP. The next few days I take 25mg, I wake up every two to four hours but I manage 6 hours. Even if I take restavit at midnight I dont fall asleep till 8 am most days but SLEEP IS SWEET RELIEF. Still anhedonic and weepy. Dont manage chores this week. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Which brings us to the last few days. A fresh hell. Im struggling. Not distracting myself. Thoughts start to get worse. 10th i cry and obsess till bed time about how I will be stuck like this forever. I get stuck on the idea that even if I go back on my meds I can only work 2 days a week. I get stuck on obsessing about money. All the therapists in my area are 100~800$. How will I ever get therapy and get better. How will I ever get on disability with no proper history. 11th is my worst day yet. I cry about that some more. I cry about being stuck like this. About a two year possible taper. About why am i having WD symptoms. About fear of waiting this out and it not getting better. Fear of going back on and kindling happening bc I ***** myself up with the once a week bullsh*t. And then having to go through this anyway. About a two year taper of no emotions. About not having sleep at all without restavit no matter what I do. I take 0.25 mg of thc in the afternoon. I feel euphoric and quite high. Then I feel BAD about that. What if i have to get high every day to cope? My boyfriend has addiction history, this is wrong to do around him. Etc. I cry a LOT FOR HOURS. I finally calm down for a few hours. I have an existenstial crisis about turning 30 and only having worked part time jobs and my mental health and having not ever lived. About finally feeling like I was coping enough to keep my emotions and house i order and now this. Im inconsolable for hours and cry till mt partner falls asleep. I dont sleep. I have intrusive thoughts. I feel suicidal for the firsy time in years. I consider going to the ER, second time i consider that recently. I take THC at 1030, hoping for a nap or at least relief for a few hours. BAD BAD BAD. When it kicks in, despite being the same dose i couldnt feel two weeks ago or was happy on yesterday I start.. hallucinating, I guess? Its all the symptoms of tripping on LSD. Letters on my keyboard mildly glow, words wiggle, afterimagea when I blink. I PANIC. THC ISNT MEANT TO DO THIS. I start to shake, like intense shivering, can barely type to my partner. He comes home from work for lunch. I worry that ive induced psychosis. we talk about the hospital. Im having paranoia now, that i've induced psychosis, that if I go in theyll put me on benzos, that im never going to be okay again. I cant eat. I feel like throwing up. My stomach is bad. Hours later I calm down. I feel fragile as glass. I keep crying on and off. Im actually stable enough by 10pm to enjoy playing some games with mt partner for the first time ina week. But I cry a lot. I apply here. I read a lot. Food tastes bad still. No appetite. Feel exhausted but wired. I take half a restavit. I spend hours writing this. I argue with my mum about whether to reinstate or whether ive made things too bad for that. Ive been awake 30 hours now. Im going to take another half a restavit. I know I shouldnt. I know how much I have done wrong. I know Ill be groggy till 4pm tomorrow. I know Im in a very bad place. The panic attacks are gone, I still get mild dizzyness on and off. I still get chills. But mostly my emotions are now a mess. I have never cried this much in my life. I feel like i have no control over my thoughts and emotions. I spiral and ruminate and feel depressed the last few days. My mum wants me to go to an inpatient hospital, or talk to the ER. I am afraid of being put on benzos by someone who doesnt understand. My boyfriend wants me to hold for two more weeks, since its changing so rapidly and i have new symptoms every day and ive passed the headaches and panic attacks. I am very scared. I dont know what to do. Taking two years to taper down and having to suffer withdrawals anyway sounds like hell. The risk of kindling and the fact I didnt feel better with the 2.5 or 5 the first week scares me so much. I dont know if im more afraid of living like this for much longer in the hope it will resolve, or of trying to go on meds and that kindling and being even WORSE, or of years of suffering when i might resolve in a few more weeks when i have already made it through almost four weeks of hell. I am scared though. And this week I am suffering. And I need advice. I know I wrote a lot. Im sorry. Ive been so scared and nobody around me understands and all want me to find help from a doctor and i am so afraid the doctors will make it worse. The THC sure did and the advice to not reinstate might have.
  6. i swore i would never take an snri again after what i went through on effexor, but he suggested i try cymbalta for the chronic pain and told me that generally there are less side effects/zaps than with effexor, so i said i would give it a try. my psychologist and his super decided that i have bipolar 2 not mdd, but the pdoc waved this away and didn’t even consider mood stabilizers. when my pdoc raised my dose of cymbalta after i expressed a wish to discontinue, and wrote in my record that i display “abnormal illness behaviors” (which just means i disagree with him?), i have decided to get off the ADs once and for all.
  7. Moderator note: link to Kristine's benzo thread - Kristine: Protracted clonazepam withdrawal? Hello, I am new to this site and would firstly like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have shared their stories and support. I now know I am not alone. My story is long and complex so I will attempt to condense it. I am 43 years old and was introduced to antidepressants 10 years ago after being diagnosed with MDD, GAD and PTSD (l do not feel comfortable with labels) by my psychiatrist. During the first 8 years of treatment multiple antidepressants and other psychotropic medications were prescribed. I will fast forward to October 2015 when I attempted to end my life (I had never been suicidal prior to taking antidepressants). I had to resign from work and was hospitalised for 1 month. At the time I had been taking citalopram for a number of years and had reached the maximum dose. My intuition told me it was not helping. I wanted to stop this medication and my psychiatrist was supportive of this decision. However, it is obvious to me now that she was inexperienced and uneducated with this process. The citalopram was ceased over one week and due to severe anxiety I was commenced on seroquel and diazepam. After leaving hospital I managed to taper off the seroquel and diazepam but became increasingly unwell both mentally and physically. My psychiatrist convinced me that my mental illness had returned and I was commenced on Parnate which was increased in dose over 3 months. Instead of improving my mental and physical ailments worsened and my psychiatrist sort a second opinion. I was hospitalised again in May 2016 under the 'care' of another psychiatrist. This was the beginning of an indescribable hell where I was treated like a human lab rat. Looking back the medications he prescribed were beyond belief and I was the victim of poly pharmacy without adequte professional rational. Unfortunally, like so many others, I was vulnerable and trusted his guidance. He treated me as both an inpatient and out patient over a one year period. Over this time I was prescribed over 14 psychotropic medication some of which were abruptly ceased and crossed over with other medications. If this wasn't enough I was subjected to 15 sessions of unnessaccery ECT. Not surprisingly, I was in a zombified state, unable to function and unable to return to work. My anxiety and depression was not alleviated and I was plagued with tremors, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and migraines. By April 2017 I ceased my appointments with this psychiatrist (he had little belief in withdraw symptoms or side effects of the medication he prescribed - he resorted to blaming me) and returned to my previous psychiatrist. Over the past eight months I have the mammoth task of withdrawing from multiple medications. These include escitalopram (completed reduction), Lithium (competed reduction), clonazepam (partial reduction), bupropion (completed reduction), seroquel (completed reduction), dexamphetamine (partial reduction) and fluoxetine (no reduction). My withdrawal symptoms are horrendous and relentless. My psychiatrist has been unable to advise me along a comfortable path. She appears to be in denial and her support has mostly evaporated. I feel abandoned, alone and frightened. I was forced to seek information independently (for which I am grateful), which continues to be a hideous realisation that for years I was in a constant state of drug withdrawal, side effects and drug interaction. I also feeling very angry about my treatment. I am tapering at the 10% rate now (one medication at a time) but even though I know road ahead will be long and rocky, I feel a sense of empowerment from educating myself. What I am experiencing is common and I am finally breaking free from the clutches of psychiatry.
  8. 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.
  9. My introduction topic: Female, 26 years old. Drugs I was on: Wellbutrin (Voxra) 300mg and Escitalopram (lexapro/cipralex) 20 mg. Valium 15-20 mg very sporadically, around once a month. Numbered in case someone wants to only read specific parts: 1: Hope 2: Backround 3: Tapering 4: Symptoms 5: Improvement 6: Experiences with doctors, nurses etc etc 7: Recovered, lessons learned Post after this one is about things that helped me. 1. The first thing I want to say, because it seems like such a common feeling for people in withdrawal, is that in my honest opinion it will get better, no matter how much doubt and hopelessness you feel. I think many here have felt that we're the exception because of how much we're suffering and it's hard to believe we can get out of it. The symptoms will lessen with time. So even if the recovery in total can take years, it doesn't mean that you will feel this bad for that whole time. The eighth month is most likely not gonna be just as bad as the first or second month (This is also why it's a good idea to keep some sort of record or journal, because we don't always see the improvement until we look back). Everyone is different, so just because our own recovery doesn't look exactly like others that's not a good reason to give up on hope. It seems like the thinking is extremely skewed for many during withdrawal. It's like we hold on to negative information a lot more than people usually do, and that's also important to remember I think. Just because we think something doesn't mean it's true. 2. Went on Escitalopram 20 mg and Wellbutrin 300 mg at 17 years old. I had severe depression and it was (I thought) my last resort. The first two years they seemed to be helping, later on I noticed I wasn't myself though and strangely numb/careless which led to questionable decisions at times. After a couple of years on them I started to feel very mentally unstable for seemingly no reason at all and read about antidepressants being a potential culprit. Second year on meds I also got benzos (valium (diazepam), 2 mg but I always had to take at least 15 mg for it to help) to calm my very sudden anxiety. I somewhat knew the risk of benzos, so I was careful about not taking them too often and managed to avoid creating a dependence on them. I decided I wanted to start tapering both antidepressants when I realised they might be the issue. My (one and only good) doctor agreed with me and thought it was a good idea to start tapering. Unfortunately this doctor retired. 3. Tapering Wellbutrin: 2015 I quit the wellbutrin completely by tapering from 300 mg straight to 150 mg. Went on 150 mg for around a month, then started taking 150 mg every other day for two weeks as instructed by doctor. From what I can remember tapering wellbutrin went relatively okay for me. Tapering Escitalopram: Started tapering beginning of 2016, 5 mg at a time with 4 weeks in between every taper. So for four weeks I'd be at 15 mg, then four weeks at 10 mg and so on. Tapering this drug gave me issues almost right away, but the more I tapered the worse it got. At 5 mg I started getting the most symptoms which got worse when I quit completely. Very important thing to mention I think, is that most of these issues I had never had in the past. In case someone not in withdrawal reads this I want that to be said because I was being presented as the issue by the doctors I met, rather than the drugs being the issue. I was not a worrying person before, and I barely knew what anxiety was despite being very depressed. Unlike many with depression I did not get anxiety with it, until I started taking the drugs. 4. Here are the symptoms I wrote down when it was happening: Tooth grinding, when awake and asleep. Often lead to headache Very severe anxiety, anger, irritation, sadness, stress, restlessness, self loathing, wanting to die Suicidal thoughts daily Very tired Weight gain Difficulties falling asleep Upset stomach Severe stomach ache from the constant worrying Ache in different parts of the body, mostly legs, stomach, neck and head A lot more timid and shy, couldn't walk out the door most days and waited until it was dark out. Difficulties breathing (anxiety symptom I assume) Heart palpitations and heart flutter Sensitive to noise Very easy to cry, often for no reason Strange yawns that would never be complete. Like feeling the need to yawn and not being able to fully do it, this could go on for long periods during the day. Bad time perception and short term memory Derealisation Severe semi voluntary motor tics, mostly in feet and hands but sometimes in other parts of body. Paranoid (thinking people want to do me harm and so on) Very easily frightened, skittish Strong and impulsive self destructive urges (this was very frightening and new to me) Strong sense of losing my personality and who I am, at times it was as if I was grieving my old self Occasional bed wetting Very depressed Burning feet syndrome Burning/warm sensation in head Later on I also felt manic some days, euphoric and over active for no reason (This would explain why the doctors suspected bipolar despite me not ever showing symptoms in the past) PGAD which went away after about a month more or less, caused pain as well. 5. I would say when it started to noticeably get a little better was in the summer of 2018. In the summer of 2019 several of these symptoms were gone, for example the tooth grinding, restlessness and self loathing, among others. 6. During all this time I got no support what so ever from any hospital. I told several different doctors, nurses and therapists what was going on and no one took me seriously. One laughed in my face. Another one asked what I was doing there if I was gonna refuse medication anyway despite me expressing concern about the new symptoms. When I once chose to mention that many people experience the same thing as I did, the first and only response I got was her questioning my credibility before moving on. Later in my medical journals I could read that most of my doctors were convinced I was bipolar and I was the reason for getting sick, not the drugs. It wasn't considered once that the drugs could have caused all of this. I also lost an old close friend because they didn't believe me or supported me, simply because they had never heard of this before. The reason I mention losing friends and not being believed is because it's a huge part of experiencing withdrawal for many, I think. It makes you feel extremely lonely, disappointed and betrayed. This lack of support and not being believed is dangerous when someone is in drug withdrawal and is already often suicidal. 7. Today the only symptom that I still have to deal with is the motor tics. I suspect I will have to live with that but that's okay. It doesn't stop me from being happy and moving forward in life and I can say for the first time in a very long time that I feel genuinely happy. I have my life mostly under control. I still have to work on my social anxiety but being happy and physically healthy makes it a lot easier to work on. I no longer experience mania or depression either. The most important thing to me was that I would someday feel like my old self again, and I do feel like that today. I also felt that all this added more depth to me as a person in a good way. It forced me to improve my ability to cope on my own and finding strategies that worked for me. Life feels more easy to take on after going through withdrawal (which probably isn't worth much to hear when in the midst of it, but so valuable afterwards). I'm so thankful for this site and everyone on it. It has been the only place where people have been willing to help and understand during the worst thing I've experienced. There is more I could say but this is already very long. I'll do a second post under this one where I'll write down specific things that has helped me.
  10. Hey everyone. My name is Taylor. I’ve tried 3 different SSRIs and Wellbutrin. I’m now a month and a half off and still don’t feel right. This experience opened my mind up to so much trauma and negativity. I’ve had to move back in with my parents. Now that I can finally work, I do so all the time as a distraction. I just want to be happy and independent again. I still sometimes get intrusive thoughts or spikes of anxiety/depression. I’ve also recently been diagnosed with Covid a second time which has added a lot of stress since I feel physically awful. I’m worried this experience has ruined my life. I have no desire to reinstate so I’m trying to push through. I want to enjoy life though and not just complete tasks. Anyone else feel the same or have words of encouragement?
  11. 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.
  12. I'm female, 25. I've been on varying doses of Lexapro since I was 12 and had bad OCD. I have conflicted feelings about Lexapro overall because I believed it saved my life as a child. Since about the same age (it feels so obvious in retrospect) I've had severe, severe unexplained fatigue--sleep studies came up with nothing and I sleep 8-10 hours a night w/ an hour/hour and a half nap at midday. My libido has also taken a hit in the past year which is no fun. I read the article in the Nation and hope to begin tapering off the Lexapro very very slowly. At multiple times as my stress level has waxed and waned over the years I've jumped doses dramatically--like from 20 mg straight to 10 mg--without any problems, which I hope bodes well for this journey, but I'm not taking any chances. Since about 20yo I've also been taking bupropion (sometimes XL, SR or just normal release, or a combination of two at the same time). Right now I'm on 150 mg bupropion XL and plan to leave it there while we deal with Lexapro first. I live in Europe so it's challenging to find the right resources (what's a compounding pharmacy called in this country? ARE there any English-speaking psychiatrists to supervise me?). I don't want to be out here on my own, unmonitored, but the waitlists for psychiatrists are at least 4 months here and I feel such urgency to start my taper because I could finally be AWAKE again after 10 years. My current plan is to try to see a private psychiatrist outside of the public health system and ask them or my GP for the liquid version of Lexapro (only the 20mg/1mL version available here so I'll have to dilute). Would really appreciate any words or encouragement and/or success stories!! I must admit I'm quite scared...
  13. I was put on SSRIs when I was 10. Luvox (Fluvoxamine). I never got off them until adulthood. I guess I took it for granted that I needed them. I don't remember anyone ever suggesting that it could be anything but positive or maybe neutral. Really, I don't remember much of what I thought as a child. I grew much worse after that though people could say "that was going to happen anyway", as they do. I have traced a few severe blowups (that had fairly life-altering consequences) to medication changes around that time. My adolescence was the gradual end of any sort of comfort in and control over my own mind. But again, don't these changes sounds similar enough to normal adolescent development that they are very easily dismissed? I couldn't really explain how or why it was any different. That my stress was not of the normal variety. That my mind working worse wasn't simply due to the stress. Even as I made some headway on issues I had, things seemed to get harder. I suspected the level of anxiousness I was feeling wasn't normal. I think my whole system was in a state of hyper arousal. I had intrusive thoughts. Strange patterns of thinking. Positive emotions were blunted. Negative emotions were excruciating. I always felt unsafe because I could sense that my mind and my body had become clumsy and bad at assessing, reacting, defending. I found no pleasure in doing things or accomplishing what little I could. Grew increasingly confused. Increasingly demoralized and demotivated because the good feelings that I felt should have followed from certain pleasures and victories now felt hollow. I have a memory of walking somewhere around my neighborhood around 18 and being horrified that nothing looked real. It was like I was looking at inert paintings. This examples of derealization was just one of many terrifying, confusing experiences I was subjected to throughout my adolescence as the older adults I turned to dismissed and demeaned and blamed me for something they either directly inflicted on me or that was inflicted with their participation and complicity. I was beginning to hope in 2016 because I realized my mental state had begun to improve by leaps and bounds after my emotionally abusive brother moved away and I had less exposure to him. I could still not function though. I was slow to do things. Couldn't figure things out. Had no one who understood. I decided to gamble with coming off my meds. "If anything bad happens I can always just go back on them." I gradually lowered the doses of Wellbutrin and then Prozac over 2-3 months. It felt like nothing really changed. Then 3 months after stopping Prozac, I started to become extremely irritable and angry. Losing it and throwing things. I thought I will go back on. And I think, that was the end. My head felt like it exploded. If I thought I had trouble thinking before, it was nothing compared to what I experienced after taking the next pill. I could not sit still and be calm and think. I turned to my GP who vaguely said I should go back on and would resume to a stable state eventually. So I raised the doses, fighting through an excrucating battle because I believed at the end of the road was some bit of safety. For a year, I tormented myself for not only nothing but with the consequence of leaving myself much worse off. By the time I came off again in 2018, I knew I should be doing a slow taper. But I could not figure out anything complex myself. I could not do anything requiring fine motor skills or thinking. I thought if I didn't do it then, I never would. By July 2018, I had come off them both again. Weaning by weeks at a dose though I knew this wasn't enough. I hoped that I would just have to fight through irritability again. Maybe this time, it wouldn't be so bad since I knew it was coming. In some ways, that was true. But I didn't realize how bad it could get. I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to speak or stand up or walk or that every second would feel like an eternity or that I would never have a moment's peace or pleasure or hope. And I didn't know that after suffering through torment for years, I would be left in a state that feels, if not quite as tormenting, just as hopeless. A life devoid of pleasure or meaning. A life where every pathway to anything better is cut off. My food sensitivities developed at 6 months cessation the 2nd withdrawal (around January 2019). At least that's when they hit that I noticed. They'd probably been in the works for a long time before that. Really, even before I'd come off my meds, I think. I ate very little. The few people who saw me said they worried I would die of starvation. I wish I had. Eating most food made the constant pulsating inside shake me violently. And since 99% of the time I had to be lying down, it was not bearable. They also worsened intrusive thoughts and thought patterns which seemed very much like the beginnings of psychosis. I guessed from something I read here that I'd developed a histamine intolerance and it was a a bit easier to manage. Apples were the only thing that helped but it was only local (from this province) and even they were not a guarantee. Ones that didn't work actually made me worse even that other types of foods. An apple from an otherwise good lot that had its skin broken somewhere (those very tiny nicks you see on some) was a bad one and would make me worse. I always hoped to get good ones but rarely did. Much of the worst of my withdrawal, then and now is inextricably linked to my environment: an impossibly disorderly old house mess spilling everywhere and nowhere sanitary to put anything. This not only exacerbated chemical sensitivities which exploded in withdrawal but made me have daily meltdowns because of what as been diagnosed as 'obsessive compulsive disorder" and hyperarousal. If this was extremely distressing and soul-killing before, now in withdrawal it felt more like perpetual sexual violation. I lay in bed with labored breathing, chest pulsating heavily in a way I can't describe. A hurricane of intrusive thoughts in a brain that felt like it had shrunk to the size of a tiny crawlspace so that these thoughts would ricochet around endlessly. I tried to attempt meditation many times but it didn't help. Why would it? One of the first things you're told to do is find a comfortable space. Somewhere you feel relaxed. You might as well tell someone to practice beginner mediation in a mosh pit. In fact, trying to meditate seemed to agitate mental symptoms and worsen awareness of the physical ones. Perhaps if I was already experienced it would have been different. But I wasn't. By the time, my CNS had calmed down enough to try do anything about it again even slightly disturbing certain things would now trigger dust/mold being raised and would cause unbearable feelings. I can't really properly explain the extent to which every single process has been affected. How little I do. Am able to do. How much I've needed to further shut down my brain to deal with worrying about inevitable problems that crop up. My thinking in a calm, clean environment would probably be pretty screwed up still but if I'd had that, I probably would have been able to function and my withdrawal probably wouldn't have been hellish. One of the most important things in withdrawal is to not overstimulate your CNS. For me, the bombardment never stopped. And there was nothing I could do. Thoughts (and occasional attempts) at explaining and asking for help did little good. I was also terrified (and still am) that I would be put somewhere I might be forced to take more psychiatric medications. I even wonder if I could be coerced into it. My mind feels very loose and easy to knock over. Scared. I think it would possible that I could be bullied and shamed into thinking my entire interpretation of events had been wrong and acquiesce to more meds. Especially if I was in an even more helpless position than I am now. I am constantly tired. I can't plan and organize. I don't have a routine. I can barely make food (making healthy food that requires multiple steps is pretty much out of the question). My brain has a lot of trouble with managing different trains of thoughts and things. When I try, it triggers panic, anxiety and this exacerbates physical sensations which lead to more panic/anixety. I know my clothes often make me feel worse if they bits of dust on them. I don't know if that is because the dust in this old house carries mold spores and whatnot or it's just any dust. I also react to scents from almost anything. I've seen this is apparently called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity disorder which barely seems to be taken any more seriously than PAWS. I want to wash my clothes but the steps to doing that often just levae my brain in knots trying to think of how to position myself, move things without surfaces to put things on, keep them from getting more dust on them. And doing it leaves me exhausted. On many days, I'm too tired to even consider it. When I try to think of doing certain things, it's like my brain is being compressed and pinched and stretched. I can feel it in my face muscles and neck. It's torturous and if I push far enough it doesn't help me to do anything. I just lose it and start screaming. I want to ask for help but I know that any help rendered, I would need to explain or at least come up with some lie. I don't know how to do either. How can I say: it is likely pointless to even ask doctors about this because they deny it? How can I say: I have to decide between being cold or not wearing my coat or sweater today because whatever invisible little bits of grime that got on it make my chest feel clenched and my mind go stiff and inflexible in ways that prevents me from thinking and making decisions? I can't even sit in the living room because mold was released from an AC 2 years ago and I can't tolerate the air. I want to find out which air purifiers to get but my brain reels and shuts down trying to figure it out. Thinking about having to get them together to send them back. Figuring out where to put them. It's not the unpleasantness of the process but the fear that the process will bring everything to a screeching halt and there will be even less hope. My mother has barely held together and took care of me but she is older and been slowly collapsing. When I could finally more-or-less manage on my own (getting my own food, ordering groceries, paying bills) she stopped doing anything. I get her books and her meds and she reads and comes out to go the bathroom and make tv dinners. She had already been having emotional battles with my brother for decades before this and I had become her main source of emotional support. She lost this, faced years more of torment and also heard me say (very directly and unkindly things) terrible things when I had meltdowns. Her movement and life is restricted because I am here. She is worried about doing anything that will harm me. We switched rooms because the air in mind stopped me even from sleeping. The house is falling apart. I don't think there is any good future for either of us. I have thought of doing something to land myself in jail or psychiatric care despite the certain torture of forced meds though but think that likely I would just end up there for a time, be left worse off and then in my weakness and with a further damaged brain come back home and I know she would let me. Then I would be back to square 1 and maybe in a more volatile condition that could actually be dangerous. I have feared I would be violent many times. Both because I have so absorbed the idea that I was a bad person and didn't know what I was or wasn't capable of and because I had no idea what may be possible with the brain damage I have suffered. Suicide would solve that but leave her with terrible grief. She would be able to live at least in some manner though I suppose she might no longer want to. Reaching out to somewhere or other for some kind of help means, to me, an army of condescending, reality-denying people to whom I expose my pain and vulnerabilities after all my strength has already been drained. In all my years of experience, I know mostly people do not help. At least they haven't helped me. Maybe it works better when no one's story veers too off-script from what they know. I have thought sometimes of reinstatement. I've also thought maybe the one (I think it's an SSRI) that is suppose to calm that CNS for some people. Much of what I try to think or do is sort of violently cut down even before the thought emerges. I'm always pulled this way and that. But it goes beyond mental and I feel it in a physical way and there is unbelievable force that I can't describe. Every time I'd try to write this, I would stop because of this. I would not know what I was saying, not know the importance, be concerned with the order, the meaning and interpretation, what I was conveying, etc. Things converge into a traffic crash in my head and half thought and action. I don't have postitive thoughts about recovery. It seems usually it is people who were only on for a few years at most. People who began taking them in adulthood. People whose lives and basic functioning as human beings weren't as completely wrecked for their entire lives. I don't really feel entirely good about posting now. But it's been almost 3 years now. I might as well post something. Thank you for reading. I feel embarrassed and disspirited that I won't probably be able to absorb and implement any advice.
  14. Hi everyone, I don't really know what I'm posting for outside of support Basically I was prescribed zoloft for depression in early 2018. I agreed to take it because I was an alcoholic and my family was starting to see that something was wrong. I (regretfully) blamed my problems on depression and was tapered up to 75mg of Zoloft over the next few weeks. About 2 months after that I was in a pretty serious accident while intoxicated and ended up going to inpatient drug/alcohol rehab and I've been clean and sober since. After rehab I continued the zoloft regiment, dropping dosages down to 25mg without experiencing any downsides. In what is now one of the biggest regrets of my life in late November 2021 I stopped taking the 25mg of Zoloft assuming it would be like the other times I dropped 25mg. Felt AMAZING for a week then had an enormous crash. Complete and utter anhedonia and sexual dysfunction, which are things I had never experienced before even during my darkest days in addiction. I restarted the zoloft and tapered it over 2 months (still not great after reading the guideline here, but a lot more manageable) and added Wellbutrin. I'm currently on 300mg of Wellbturin and haven't taken zoloft in a month (schedule can be seen below). I DREAD taking the Wellbutrin, it makes me clench my jaw, the anxiety gets unbearable, and my mood is either zoned out or completely depressed. My work performance on Wellbutrin is even worse than when I was anhedonic post-zoloft. Sexual functioning improvements have also declined, it helped for about 1-2 weeks in that regard (might've been a so-called honeymoon period). At this point I see psychiatric drugs as the devil, I've never felt this awful even as a full blown active alcoholic/addict. I have no desire to go back to substance abuse to cope as I know it won't help. I've been on the Wellbutrin 8-9 weeks now and I want out, the side effects are unbearable and I don't really feel much better at all. I'm speaking to my psychiatrist who prescribed the Wellbutrin soon and am telling him I want to come off. I'm just so scared, I feel like I made this huge mistake and have been paying for it for almost 6 months now. Any support or positive stories of recovery would be deeply appreciated.
  15. I have depression and anxiety. My former prescribing ARNP started me on Latuda to augment sertraline (an off-label use) but I didn’t notice any effects. We then switched 150mg sertraline to 20mg trintillex from November-December and I felt good but I had eye twitching and found out it was expensive so I decided to try an ADHD medication as recommended by my prescribing ARNP. I lowered my trintillex (I think to 10mg) and started the ADHD med but I was anxious and nauseous on it so I stopped and went back up to 20mg trintillex. A few weeks after that, I started having severe symptoms (see below). I have a feeling that increasing the trintillex caused my current symptoms but Latuda is not covered by my insurance so I want to get off it as well. I know I need to titrate slowly but I don’t know which one to start with. I was working with an ARNP and we discussed starting sertraline and then decreasing trintillex but she dropped me after I asked started asking questions about and wanting to change the tapering schedule. She discouraged me from stopping the trintillex alone and said my depression would get worse. Since January 11th, I have been experiencing debilitating anxiety, crying uncontrollably (for the first two weeks), nausea, vomiting, racing heart, heat sensitivity, insomnia, stomach pain, suicidal ideation, obsessive thoughts, memory issues, cognitive issues, itching, agitation, feeling detached, irritability, waves of panic, self doubt, and constipation. My questions are as follows: Should I start decreasing the Latuda or the trintillex first? Do you think decreasing the Latuda could help my anxiety symptoms even though it didn’t seem to have a positive affect on me when I started taking it? Would it be unsafe for me to start decreasing trintillex without adding another SSRI? Would it be safe for me to start on sertraline before dropping the trintillex? To the best of my memory: 2006-2010: sertraline 2006-2007: risperidone 2010-2016: took fluoxetine and citalopram as mono therapy 2016: trial Effexor for a few months 2016-2020: escitalopram (polyrugged with Wellbutrin) 2016-2020: Wellbutrin, months on and months off May 21-Nov 21: tapered from escitalopram to sertraline 150mg August 21: trial of lamotragine (rash) August 21: started latuda (off label) at 20mg, then up to 40mg and 60mg but back down to 40mg November 21: two week taper from sertraline to trintillex 20mg, experienced eye twitching and itchiness (5mg trintillex for 5 days, day 6 decrease sertraline to 100mg, day 10 decrease sertraline to 50mg and increase trintillex to 10mg, day 14 stop sertraline, 10 days of 15mg trintillex and then up to 20mg trintillex) December 21: quick taper down on trintillex to I think 10mg and trialed dextro-amphetamine for a week, 10-40mg, anxious and nauseous (1/2 of 40mg pill in am, then 1/2 pill am and 1/2 pill pm, then 20mg am and no pm, then 20 mg am and 1/2 pm, then maybe 20 mg am and 20 mg pm) December 21: quick taper back up to 20mg trintillex, some lip and foot twitching January 22: lorazepam for a few days January 22: clonidine .1mg-.4mg per day, currently taking .1mg am and .1mg pm January 22-March 22: ashwagonda, L-theanine, and probiotics Current medications: Latuda 40mg Trintillex 20mg Clonidine .1mg am and .1mg pm Fish oil Vitamin D Levothyroxine .112mg
  16. I've been on 150mg XL Buproprion (generic Wellbutrin) for approximately 6 years. 1 month ago, I added Vyvance 50mg per day, for ADHD. It was magnificently helpful. Except the day I started it, was the day I noticed a high-pitched sound. I thought I was finally hearing "the sound of silence" since my mind was so much calmer. Took me about a month to realize/accept this was, in fact, tinnitus. The onset of which started the same day I started Vyvance. So I stopped the Vyvance cold turkey a week ago. Tinnitus isn't a recognized possibility from Vyvance, but I've just learned that it sure is for Buproprion. So I want to go off Buproprian ASAP, in the desperate hope the tinnitus will stop. I realize the chances are slim, but I can't keep taking an ototoxic drug now that I have tinnitus. I am losing my mind. I've read the threads about tapering, and about tapering off Buproprion. My question is - in the case of something like a new onset of tinnitus - is a slow taper still recommended? Or is this a case of "get off it as quickly as possible and hope for a miracle"? The idea of continuing to poison my system with a known ototoxin for over a year with a slow taper seems like insanity... However, going cold turkey might or might not also be literal insanity. AND a future of being non-medicated for both ADHD and dysthymia seems... also like insanity. Thoughts & help appreciated, thanks.
  17. My dr had me discontinue my Effexor 37.5mg/day after starting it on 12/28/21, and discontinued on 1/28/22, and immediately start Bupropion HCL 150 mg 24 HR ER on 1/29/22. Felt wonderful this past saturday, 1/29/22, felt absolutely great on sunday 1/30/22 at church, the best I had in a long time, then sunday afternoon hit, cleaned the house inside and out and the dizziness, confusion, nausea, headaches, etc... started kicking in, I felt awful, couldnt drive, no appetite, and then continued on throughout the next day, attempted to work, i work from home so I am constantly on the computer taking calls, taking pts, so my eyes constantly are moving, severe brain zaps kicked in in the morning and continued ever since, dizzyness, severe headaches, sinus pressure, inability to focus, chills, shakes, had to clock out midday this past monday due to symptoms, same yesterday, no improvement, severe constant crying, i feel like I am losing it...i am also a group member on the Facebook Group "EFFEXOR (Venlafaxine) Tapering, Discontinuation Syndrome and Protracted W/D" and they suggested I also come here to speak with someone about recommendations to reinstate due to also taking Bupropion as well. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am making myself work not to lose anymore money, my dr doesnt seem to concerned about it, have a phone appt scheduled with her tomorrow, only due to the fact i pushed for a sooner opening then my original appt this friday, I am at a complete loss and the only thing that I can deduce the cause to is Venlafaxine Withdrawal Syndrome being the cause, but hard to tell as i started Bupropion, and I am afraid my dr will just throw another med at me instead of figuring this out. The reinstatement recommendations on the Facebook Group page stated the following, " How the person quit the drug and how long he or she's been off it. If you've just quit cold-turkey 37.5 mg Effexor a few days ago, you might reinstate at 18.75." I am wanting to know what others thoughts are on all of this, this is all new to me, and I have completely frustrated and feel like i'm losing it right now. Sorry for the ramble, I make not being making much since in this post due to all my symptoms and trouble with focus, memory, etc...please bear with me. I just feel like crying all the time. :(
  18. I started 5mg lexapro 3 weeks ago and decided it wasn't for me because my anxiety wasn't too bad to begin with, and it was stopping me from reaching orgasm. My PCP prescribed me 150mg Wellbutrin to see if that worked instead, and I couldn't take more than 3 days of that as it caused extreme anxiety and borderline mania. I immediately stopped both the day after that (exactly 3 weeks on lexapro), as my PCP told me it should be fine. The next two days, I experienced terrible withdrawal symptoms and spent all day online doing research before seeing that I'll need to taper off of this medication and finding this forum. My PCP has been hard to get ahold of with scheduling, so I reinstated and began a slow taper (from 5mg to 4.3mg creating my own liquid) and flew home to be with my family. I have set up appointments with a new psychiatrist/prescriber (via Cerebral) and am hoping to have more guidance on a tapering plan. I am looking for advice and help with getting off this stuff after being on it for such a short period of time but still suffering increased anxiety, low mood, frequent crying, nausea, low appetite, tingling sensations at the base of my neck / feet / and arms, diarrhea, headaches, overheating, feeling of a racing heart rate, lightheadedness, and changes in blood pressure. I'm also having trouble sleeping, but I had pretty rough insomnia before going on lexapro. I started lexapro for some mild anxiety and depression/compassion fatigue and after experiencing 2 bad panic attacks at the beginning of October during a bug infestation in my apartment. I have never been on an SSRI or much other medication besides blood pressure meds so I'm feeling really lost.
  19. I feel fortunate to have found SA and look forward to reading and sharing experiences with others in this shared boat. I have taken antidepressants for the majority of the last 40 years, quitting everything completely in 2008, it seems that less than a year later I was taking citalprolam again, then bupoprion, and the generic Xanax. The meds seemed to keep me motivated while working and during retirement. The last few years it felt like the antidepressants were not working. Over the years I've been in an out of CBT, the last was in 2006-2008 when I withdrew from using all medication by tapering in that two year period. Just months later, a return of anxiety/anger/depression and consultation with a doctor resulted in my renewing my use of the antidepressants. Thirteen years later and I'm off most of the medication (I still take .25mg of the generic Xanax in the morning and at night.) I have been talking with a psychiatrist but for medication evaluation and not talk therapy. About two years ago when the citalopram seemed to quit working I switched to sertraline which initially seemed better. In September 2021, I had a miserable month trying paxil and then tapering it out of my system. Recently we tried increasing the Wellbutrin from 150 to 300 mg, this started feeling as bad as the paxil so I stopped taking the extra 150mg. Talking with my psychiatrist, he seemed to have run out of options. I suggested reinstating citalopram since it had been two years since it 'quit' working. The psychiatrist liked the idea and told me to go ahead and quit the all of the Wellbutrin and to begin Celexa. After analyzing where I was at I decided to quit all the Wellbutrin but to not start the Celexa. I see this as an opportunity to stay off the antidepressants and slowly taper out the Xanax. Since coming off the sertraline I've been experiencing many of the typical withdrawal symptoms most of the time. Every second or third day is 'good,' and I've been looking for resources that help me through the bumpy days. I've tried meditating before but this time it seems to have clicked and become a valuable resource. I see depression as a place, a black pond. My quest is for non-medication methods of staying away from the pond. Thanks for taking the time to read my introduction. May we all be held in compassion.
  20. I'm new around here, kind of. I've dropped in over the years and made a couple GP assisted withdrawal attempts. Back story: During a marital separation in 2000 I had a deep depressive episode, I'm fortunate to be here. I sought counseling which led to psychiatry and being started on Paxil and Ativan. Paxil worked very well, however when my wife and I got back together Paxil's sexual debilitations became apparent prompting a switch to Wellbutrin. I spent a few years on Wellbutrin as the marriage continued to devolve, but had terrible sweating episodes; which led to a switch to Effexor and minor sexual issues. Fast forward I am 14 years into a second marriage, doing well and my trusted General Practitioner is handling my Effexor in a maintenance manner. With his help (but limited experience) I have tried backing off using starter packs a couple times but quickly found coming off from 150mg in 37.5mg increments a week at a time was not going to work. Brain zaps, irritability, anxiety, returning depressive state. As I've aged, 55, ED has become an issue that the usual treatments don't adequately treat. So I taken renewed interest in tapering off and maybe getting off Effexor. I purchased gelatin caps, a pill stomper and tiny funnels from Amazon. I already had a beam scale as I am a shooter/reloader. Inexpensive digital scales are notoriously unreliable from a repeatability standpoint especially at the lower end. I've read of folks using a folded sheet of paper with a ruler printed on it to measure the length of the beads lined end to end and gradually tapering, but I already had scales. The contents of a generic 150mg Effexor is @ 470mg of beads, my scale measures in grains, 7.3gr to be exact. A 10% reduction equals 6.6gr. I started at 6.6gr for a week then eased to 6.3gr, 13% taper. At about a week minor brain zaps occurred and some mild irritability, I pushed through and after 3 weeks at 6.3gr these have subsided. BUT I find I have more expressive feelings. Not that I was ever uncaring, it was just muted/subdued in there, and Cialis has a more pronounced effectiveness for me. I was hoping to go in 10% steps of a month each; maybe I need to reevaluate and go in 5% steps of a month to 6 weeks. I'll probably try 6.1gr for a few weeks before attempting 5.8gr or 20% reduction.
  21. Hey all. First I just want to thank everyone for their contributions to this site. The first few weeks of my withdrawl were really scary. I didn't know what I was feeling, or if this was withdrawls at all or some kind of permanent damage I had inflicted on myself. Reading everyone's stories has really put things into context, and given me some labels to put to the symptoms I'm having, which takes some of the anxiety away. I had been on antidepressants and various sleep aides for 10+ years. For the past 6 I've been on bupropion. And during that time, I haven't really felt like myself. I felt less sharp, less social, just generally uncomfortable in my own skin. And that may be completely a coincidence. But back in April, I missed 2 days of taking my dose and was completely thrown out of whack for weeks. And I decided, I don't want to feel out of control anymore. I don't want to be entirely dependent on taking a pill to feel baseline normal. So I decided to quit. My doctor told me bupropion is one of the easier antidepressants to quit, which from reading some of your stories, might be true. But these past few months have been the worst of my life, and a far cry from the few days of minor symptoms I was told to expect. I went to a half dose for a month, 300mg to 150mg. It felt like I had the flu for about 3 days, but after that I was feeling great. And that lasted for about a week. And then it started feeling like the bupropion wasn't "lasting" as long. I'd wake up with this uncomfortable buzzing feeling in my body, which would go away after I took my pill before work. And then I started waking up in the middle of the night with the feeling. And then right before going to bed. Eventually the buzzing would start only 5 hours after taking pill. In hindsight I should have probably reinstated some (I hadn't found this site yet), or at the very least stayed at that dose longer than I did. But in my mind, I was prolonging the suffering and I was very eager to get completely off and get these withdrawls over with. In the end of June, I completely stopped taking bupropion. Once again it felt like I had the flu for a few days, and then I was feeling pretty good. And then the real withdrawls started. It's so strange how they cycle. I'd feel vastly different varieties of awful. I'd have days where I'd have really bad depersonalization, where it felt like I was buried deep inside myself not really in control of what my body was doing. I'd have stretches of days where I was so insanely fatigued it felt like I was weighed down with something. I'd have days where I just completely toxic to anyone around me. But my one constant symptom started a month into my withdrawl, and it's been hell. I've been referring to it as my "sleep anxiety", even though it feels like no anxiety I've had before. It's always taken me at least an hour laying in bed to get to sleep. And right when my mind starts switching from conscious thoughts to a dream state my body gets flooded with adrenaline. It literally in the most literal sense feels like I'm going to die. Like if I don't get up I'll have a stroke or something. And I feel like I could put up with any and all other symptoms if I could just get a good nights rest. I read the thread about cortisol spikes, which this definitely seems like a variety of. But I was already employing blackout curtains/no blue light before for my general insomnia. And I tried a variety of different supplements, there just doesn't seem to be any relief from it. But anyways, it actually stopped for about 3 weeks. And I was on the whole feeling a lot better. So good I actually decided I'd start tapering off another of my medications (chlorpromazine). I started slowly shaving off a bit of my pill every night, but with barely noticable amount my night time anxiety came back with a vengeance. I immediately started taking my full pill again, which was about 2 weeks ago, but the anxiety is worse than ever. I now realize how important it is to truly give yourself time to stabilize. I just hope it doesn't take me another 2 to 3 months to start feeling better again. Anyways, sorry for the long post. I'd been debating posting here awhile and was just having a particularly bad day, feels like I'm a raw nerve ever since I went to bed last night.
  22. Hello, I was on Wellbutrin 3oomg per day, psychiatrist changed it to 150mg, 1 per day. I poured boiling water over the 300mg tablets to dissolve and destroy. After 24 hours, the tablets has not dissolved in the boiling water, how can my digestive system break it down if it does not even dissolve in boiling water?
  23. Wellbutrin – Bupropion Tapering Journey – My Goal and Future Plans A few days ago, I signed up. I want to introduce myself to everyone and say, I'm thankful for the existence of this site, its creators and my fellow subscribers. I want to encourage and help others dealing with antidepressants. Consider me a friend! If there's anything I could do for anyone, please let me know! I want to add the following information to my history but, I’m not familiar with this site and do not know how to change my initial profile history so I thought I would enter my history as a topic. April 1990 Started Xanax after complaining to the doctor about insomnia. Dr., at the time, justified his treatment plan by stating that transient situational stress caused my anxiety. The initial dose was 3 mg/day given two times a day. The results were, it took the edge off my anxiety, my feelings numbed, it suppressed my appetite and desire for water, the sleep I got was not restful and, I lost my libido. I developed GERD and constipation so severe I became impacted, Prevacid and mineral oil were prescribed to alleviate these ailments. 1995 Started noticing that I could not remember or recall music in my head. Dr. said the symptom was psychosomatic and advised me to continue taking my meds. Did research on benzodiazepines and discovered they were for short term use only and very, very dangerous. I started tapering off Xanax secretly because I did not trust Dr.’s judgment. 1998 Notified my Dr that I was entirely off of Xanax and wanted to stay off it or any other benzodiazepine. I showed him my research which he dismissed. At no time, did said Dr. attempt to educate me or at the least suggest a treatment plan nor did he urge me to go into therapy for the prolonged withdrawal symptoms I was suffering: I could not focus and had to work extremely hard to concentrate. My emotions were mostly flat except for the underlining anger always smoldering under the surface, I couldn’t find pleasure in anything, and I felt unmotivated most, if not all the time. Out of my ignorance, confusion, and frustration, the only thing fueling my drive to continue was the self-loathing I felt because I thought I was just ‘lazy.’ 1999 Finally stopped completely taking the Xanax. My insomnia came back, I could not focus or concentrate, and debilitating fatigue that would not go away plagued me almost all the time. I felt I had no choice but to go back to the same Doctor and he prescribed Wellbutrin 75 mg IR (immediate release) mg/day given two times a day and justified himself by saying, ‘the drug acts like Speed, it will make your tiredness go away.’ The drug did INDEED stop my fatigue, and it felt like Wellbutrin “placed glasses on my myopic brain because I could once again focus’. As a result, I had more energy to function and get on with my life, but I always had that underlining anger, along with now craving sweets. I stopped taking any stool softeners or laxatives because I felt I didn’t need them anymore. 2002 Dr. increased the drug from 75 mg to 100 mg (sustained release) SR because most of my old symptoms were back including the fatigue. 2005 Dr. increased Wellbutrin from 100 mg to 150 mg SR mg/day given two times a day because most of my old symptoms were back again including the fatigue. Because my thyroid function was borderline low, I showed signs of hypothyroidism, and I was placed on 12 mcg Levothyroxine once a day for good measures. My fatigue finally went away for good. 2012 Severe diverticulitis attack and put on potent antibiotics. 2013 Another severe diverticulitis attack and again placed on potent antibiotics. Now diagnosed with IBS in addition to diverticulosis. 2013 to 2017 Took a course of high-powered antibiotics every three months for diverticulitis and IBS attacks. Started to experience unexplained hand tremors. I could no longer handle any form of stress. Started researching holistic approaches to treating my health issues. Discovered the existence of the (brain-to-gut axis) and I began to believe the medications were causing my digestive problems. Did research and used the Parkinson Disease model to explain my tremors and other symptoms I was experiencing caused by the Wellbutrin altering my dopamine levels and function. Dec 2018 My goal was to taper entirely off of the Wellbutrin and Levothyroxine, starting first with the Wellbutrin. I was on 300 mg SR Wellbutrin once per day. Started tapering process by replacing the 300 mg SR dosage with 150 mg SR, taken twice a day, having a 12-hour window between dosages. Initial holding period was 30 days. Initially, I had a period of sadness and crying spells which diminished. I started a regiment of supplements to prepare my body for the withdrawal process. Jan 2019 The next step in my tapering process was to replace the sustain release form of Wellbutrin with immediate release. To accomplish this, I took 1 and ½ IR Wellbutrin twice a day with a 12-hour window between dosages. Holding period was ten days. Next, from the evening dose, I started cutting pills, removing 1/8 from a whole 100 mg (IR) tablet which is removing around 13 mg. Initial daily drug intake amount became 150 mg SR in the morning and 138 mg, at night, keeping a 12-hour window between the dosages, as best as I can. Again, the holding window. My next tapering decrease will occur in a few days and will be 138 mg in the morning and 125 mg at night for ten days.
  24. Hello there, friends. I Have been on Lexapro 20mg and 150mg Buproprion XL since 2011. I have always developed brain zaps and dizziness even when I’m just a few hours passed my regular dosage time - though I am symptom free when I am at my normal dose and taking them at the proper time. I don’t suffer from much side effects that I am aware of, perhaps some weight gain. in general, the meds had been a literal life-saver in the early years of taking them, But I have always wanted to try going off to see how much I do or do not need these drugs long term, and because physical dependency on them feels disconcerting. This month I tried a taper for the first time. Half doses daily for a week and then half doses every other day for a week, and then fully off for a few days now - this was the recommended taper from my physician. Symptoms following the drop off were intense brain zaps, dizziness, sudden bursts of weeping, feeling like a truck hit me, feeling like my lower back or kidneys had taken a beating, intense eye weakness and eye strain, anxiety, insomnia, and disassociation. Symptoms got so bad that after a few days of being fully off, I went back to a half dose of both, which has almost immediately helped the symptoms subside (some). I am currently at half doses daily for both meds and seeking advice on whether I should go up to the full daily dose before trying a proper taper or if I should see if I can stabilize on the half doses for both. I don’t want to create a situation where I wait too long and going back up to full dose will no longer work, but being able to begin a proper taper at 10mg of Escitalopram and 75mg of Bupropion would be nice. I want to take the least painful path forward - the withdrawal symptoms were not something I want to ever feel again if I can avoid them. So if going back up to full dose is the wiser choice, even if it means double the length of my taper, I’d rather that than to try to stay lower and risk something I don’t fully understand.
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