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  1. My history with medication started when I took a leave of absense from college in 2001, after my first semester. I moved back across the country, lived in a friend's dorm room, got a job, got an apartment, and decided to seek help for depression and trouble focusing. I was prescribed Ritalin. Over the years (see signature for meds), I was given meds for depression, sleep problems, ADHD, and eventually Bipolar II. In October of 2013, I left a job both over ethical concerns and because I wanted to work for myself. I lost access to the medications I was on at the time, though, because of an insurance SNAFU. By mid-2014, I was practically non-functional, though I was also trying new meds and working with a therapist. In 2015, I ended up unable to work, moving to my parent's home, and getting SSDI. Many of the meds I've tried since then (and before) gave me immediate adverse effects, or soon after I started taking them. In 2021, Lexapro was added, and that gave me constant nausea, but I was determined to stick it out. I had to use cannabis constantly in order to not feel like throwing up. Then, when I learned about laws in a couple states passing that explicitly allowed medical providers to deny care for "religious or ethical reasons," targeting queer people (I'm a trans* guy and gay), I threw temper tantrums like a two-year-old at both my therapist and mother for two days, and became extremely activated. At first I was ranting out of terror, and then angry at their lack of empathy. It was both called-for and out-of-line. Then began a flurry of activity. I felt like myself, and like I was developing good boundaries. I told people about many painful things from the past. I was also, in retrospect, not well, but when my APRN told me to stop taking Lexapro because "people say you've been acting out of character," I was livid, because I finally felt like myself again, and it was traumatizing to hear about those laws being passed and have people to tell me to calm down because it wasn't an immediate threat. I told her that sometimes when someone experiences something new, they act in a new way; it's objectively true. I don't know. I developed panic attack symptoms, had trouble regulating my body temperature, had more than the usual variations in energy level, and had a lot of sleep disturbances. My proprioception was often way off. I compulsively spent money, but in a way that made half-sense. A few months into the Lexapro, I developed some movement disorder symptoms, sort of only half-controllable unwinding stretching, triggered also by physical therapy for severe pain and stiffness in the right side of my neck. The stretching felt good, but then I got tight again. That was particularly weird. I often had very firm boundaries over the spring and summer, getting to the point of yelling when my concerns about my safety as a queer person were being thrown back in my face. Some people told me I was hard to follow, but others could follow me fine. All of my emotions were amplified. At one point I hit a wall with my fist in my mother's house, and dented it. I offered to fix it or pay to have it fixed, but that offer was rejected. In the fall, without prior warning, my family changed the locks on my place, and threw away whatever they thought was trash, and I lived in long-term Airbnbs until March. I somehow managed to close on a house in February, and started living in it in March. The place was indeed horrible, in terms of cleanlinees, but advance notice and dealing with it more directly would've been better. Of course, they don't know what my living spaces always look like. Throughout the winter and spring, I had migraines a lot of the time. In March of 2022, things got psychedelic. I've never done hallucinogens, actually. I've also never had any hallucinations or delusions... until maybe this stuff. I was in part wrapped up in fantasies about finding a way back to having my family in my life, and in part seeing patterns and thinking I had outsized influence on the world if I interacted with them right. I saw problems and became fixated on them. I was sometimes, in my thinking, straight-up delusional. I went for lots of drives, exploring patterns - real ones having to do with the development of the highway system - but why? I became very tuned-in to my emotional intelligence, and spent a lot of time dancing and acting to music, and feeling through the layers of meanings in the lyrics. I can't remember if I'd decided to stop/cut back the Xanax before or after this. In late March, I ran out of gas on the highway, without my phone, really only needed a tow truck, but since I didn't have anyone to call for help and was very amped up, I ended up involuntarily hospitalized in another state, with no way to reach anyone. First, I was in an emergency room, and got the bends very bad from something. I was lucid dreaming, and spinning around in the bed. They injected me with something, I don't know what. When I got to the hospital, I half-thought it was all a mistake and someone might come get me. I opted to be there for three days under my own power. Since I had no access to my meds, this lead to my going cold-turkey off of Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Adderall, Xanax, and Lexapro. No one evaluated me there, but they tried to get me to take something (wouldn't tell me what). I felt pretty much fine, but half-believed it must be some kind of elaborate prank, under the influence of drugs, trauma, or both. From then on, things got even weirder. I started to forget to pay bills, I became convinced there was something seriously wrong with the electricity in my home, and no consequences mattered. I had total blindness to how my actions affected others. In May, I again ended up needing a tow truck (the gearshift became disengaged), without my phone. I got extremely sick in the car, got a tow truck instead of a hospital this time, but got kicked out by the driver of the tow truck because of the smell. I had auditory and mild visual hallucinations, very "creative" thoughts, and ended up taking two weeks to get back home. I simply let the car go, bought another car (but got a ticket for driving without insurance and driving an unregistered vehicle, and now have a warrant out for me in another state), worked on it a little but lost focus and bought an even more messed-up vehicle, worked on that, and then stopped caring. I developed bad chemical sensitivity for a month or a few (even my skin barrier was weird), and had movement disorder symptoms spring up after exposure to chlorine, followed by lotion and CBD oil. Could also be psychological, in part. I got a big lump on my scalp, a rash on first the left and then the right side of my neck, ingrown hairs on my knees. I had to re-wash everything I'd washed at a laundromat. I'd have to make movements in response to sounds, or feel prickling or burning in my toes response to seeing certain people, or other unknown causes. It's still happening a bit. I trashed the office space I was renting, because I had increased sensitivity in my nerves, and thought there was something corrosive going on I needed to clean up with salt, baking soda, some natural cleaning supplies, and clean cat litter, but also couldn't focus, and ended up leaving behind a massive mess and giving the owner no notice, after being two weeks late with rent, after the guy I'd hired decided he wasn't going to stick around. I've had a lot of scary physical symptoms that felt like they could become blood clots or heart attacks, but those haven't happened for months. For a while I had so much tension in my trunk area, it felt like my pelvic bones were eating themselves, all prickly. I have more feeling on my left side than my right. Usually when I wake up, some part of one or both of my hands is numb. I had a lot of strong anxiety, on and off. There's a lot I've left out. These days, I'm dissociated and flat, but also have extreme avoidance behaviors, a different kind of anxiety. My frustration/obstacle tolerance is almost nothing. I don't have a temper about it, my brain just short-circuits. Pretty much I sit around smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, and drinking filtered water with ginger in it, thoughts about my family or others swirling around, wishing I could trust new people and/or had local friends. I wish I could hand power of attorney to someone and tell them what to take care of. If I can get started on something, I manage to change my address somewhere, or make a payment plan on a credit card, or do some small thing, like pre-rinse clothes in the sink. The stuff I paid to have packed and stored, whatever was at the apartment that wasn't thrown away, I haven't been able to face and has probably been thrown out for non-payment by now. I've been to a primary care doctor twice, and have an appointment with a neurologist in October. I got basic bloodwork done and was fine; tried to get a toxin or heavy metal panel done but couldn't. Probably what I thought was toxin exposure was in fact withdrawal stuff, though. I've been trying to find a therapist who I can get to without a car and who takes my Medicare plan, but no luck so far. As far as I can tell, what's happening is CPTSD, PTSD, and polypharmacy withdrawal interacting. As weird and bad as things are, it's not like they weren't often like this even before I was ever prescribed anything. For example, I've almost never been able to care about "self-care," unless it's to make sure I'm not judged or otherwise for another's benefit. I can see a lot of "self-sabotage" in many of the things I've done, pathological narcissistic acting-out, some victim/savior/persecutor dynamics, but it all seems a bit extreme for it to be "just" trauma.
  2. Hi, My name is Ciro and I’ve been talking Paxil for 14 years. While smoking cannabis I had something like a horror trip. I’m still not sure what it was. The Paxil made me feel so much better. It was a life saver back then. In 2017 I tried to get off the Paxil. I went from 20mg to 0mg within 6 month. I got terrible panic attacks, dissociation, suicidal thoughts, emotions were out of control, but no insomnia. After 3 month I felt so bad that my doctor put me back on Paxil 20mg and I started feeling good again. In April 2021 I started a new job where I had to work night shifts. I felt good so I wanted to decrease the medication. I went from 10 to 5mg and after 3 weeks I got insomnia for the first time in my life. I could only sleep 2 hours a night. I went back on 10mg and stopped working, but after 5 month I still have insomnia. It takes me about 1 hour to fall asleep and I wake up almost every hour. My eyes don’t get heavy anymore like they do when you’re tired which is really weird. I also always dream when I sleep. I feel really exhausted and can’t do anything. I recently had Covid and feel anxiety during the day. I was thinking if I take 20 mg would it help with my insomnia or could it make it even worse? I really hope somebody has a good advice for me because my doctor only wants to prescribe more meds. I really want to feel better.
  3. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  4. I can't believe I just found this and I can't believe the scam is so good, it's even been kept from the doctors. Had one tell me today that it was just a theory and dismissed it. Anyway... 50+ male, disabled veteran (Army) 1999 - I have symptoms that indicate pre-diabetes, but my doctor diagnosed anxiety and give me this magic little 10mg pull called Lexapro. It initially makes me feel great, but the symptoms I told my doc about persisted. Not many years later I would be diagnosed diabetic type 2. 2021 - Over 20 years of a rollercoaster of different SSRIs, temporary ups, deep dark downs, and several hospitalizations I took dramatic steps. I microdosed psilocybin using the Fadiman Protocol to help me weather withdrawal. Little did I know that psilocybin is a seratonin receptor agonist and I was helping myself neurochemically by accident. I was so messed up when I started that I don't know how long it's been. 6-10 months? 2022 - My mind is clearer than it has been in a while, but I have a way to go. My primary care doc is on board and says it's like my body chemistry is resetting. It's wreaking havoc on me physically and I know my mind is still recovering, but I'm ready to start this next phase of this adventure.
  5. I made this account last year but for some reason I could never get this intro done or participate here until now. If I disappear ever, don't worry too much about me as I guess I'm just mentally incapable of following through with things or keeping in contact (maybe this is another withdrawal symptom... I don't know, my brain is ***** up right now) My (very abbreviated) history... In 2012 I was first prescribed Abilify to supplement my antidepressant. In September 2019 a new psychiatrist recommended I go off of it because of the risk of tardive dyskinesia. Two weeks after my last dose of Abilify, the akathisia hit me like a truck. I thought it was "restless legs but all over". I slept maybe two hours every OTHER night. After two weeks of this torture, I finally went to the doctor and asked her to help me with my "restless legs" and she prescribed carbidopa/levodopa, which didn't really work well, so then she prescribed Mirapex. It helped at the minimum dose, but not enough, so she increased the dose to 0.25mg, which is what I'm at today. In early 2020, the Mirapex caused a months long manic episode, after no prior history of mania, that I wasn't even aware was happening. In the midst of this, I was obsessed with figuring out what happened to me because restless legs didn't really seem to fit. Finally found akathisia, and presented this to my psychiatrist and she agreed with me about the diagnosis. She seemed doubtful that the mania was caused by Mirapex even though she had no alternative explanation, I'd never had mania before, and if you google medication-induced mania Mirapex is right there near the top of the list. Obviously I still think it was the Mirapex. The Mirapex never really took care of the akathisia completely, so since the beginning of this year I've been using medical cannabis to help because it helps me sleep through the breakthrough akathisia at night, and it does help a little at keeping it away too. The past two years have been miserable. I feel like my mind hasn't been the same since. I can't focus, I can't get anything done, I can't properly socialize... I'm just not the same. I've since attempted to taper both sertraline (my antidepressant) and Adderall, though I did it mostly at the advice of my psychiatrist. She never agrees with me about how slowly I want to taper, and I probably should have tapered the sertraline and Adderall WAY more slowly. Currently... I'm down to one medication now (plus cannabis). At my last appointment with my psychiatrist, I requested to start tapering Mirapex. She agreed and told me to take one and a half pills (instead of my normal dose of two). I proposed the slower way by using liquid but she said that the full dose is so tiny already that half a pill should do nothing to me. I knew she was wrong but I don't really have much fight in me, so tried it. Of course, that was way too large of a jump and I can't sleep now the akathisia is so bad. I don't know if this counts as withdrawal from Mirapex itself, or if the akathisia is just coming back because I'm reducing the medication that's keeping the akathisia away. I don't want Mirapex anymore because I think it's still messing with my brain (even though I'm not longer manic), which she doesn't believe it is either. Maybe my brain is just broken from the Abilify, sertraline, and Adderall still. I just want to be me again. I'm going to be trying the 10% reduction per month with Mirapex. Hopefully my psychiatrist agrees but if she doesn't I'm just going to ask for my original dose back and do it anyway. Any and all advice is super appreciated. I have no idea what's the withdrawal and what's just me and my stupid nervous system anymore, but here's what I'm concerned about right now: akathisia the (probably) inevitability of Mirapex augmentation my executive function is approximately at zero right now I'm really depressed I want to keep up with/help my family more and actually be able to work/do my job and honestly just keep up with daily life like caring properly for my pets and not living in the most cluttered non-hoarder apartment you've ever seen. I feel like I'm missing a bunch of stuff because I feel absolutely awful and the explanation above doesn't feel like it properly describes that but oh well... Questions (In no particular order) If you're familiar with Mirapex, is the 10% per month thing the right way to go? Is there any hope that I'll be able to get off of Mirapex completely? Do you have any self-care tips to make this easier on myself and my body? Are there any supplements I should add to my routine that could help? Any tests for deficiencies that I should get just to make sure I'm not low on something? Would starting to exercise help me or just add more chaos to my system? I'll probably have more questions later but it's still hard to think so I guess I'll leave this for now
  6. Hello, So I was switched from one Anti-Psychotic{s} (AP{s}) Zyprexa [Olanzapine], to another AP Abilify [Aripiprazole]. I decided to stop taking the medication between the switch as I've only been on Zyprexa for 3 months. APs have left my head as scrambled eggs and I cannot function clearly on them. Much too much Zombie. November I was put in hospital for a breakdown, given 5mg -> 7.5mg ->10mg Zyprexa over a month. Since leaving Hospital I agreed with a GP to reduce down to 5mg in one fell swoop, not knowing that this is actually very risky - since that point my sleep is not good; I seem to get only 3 hours per night and spend the remainder tossing, turning and feeling so incredibly low about life... It has been driving me slightly loopy. I reduced to 3.75/2.5mg (however I could cut them up semi-accurately) for one week and have now run out of Zyprexa except 2x 5mg tablets as the Dr switched me over and the supply ran out, so tapering is not an option.... Before I start a different AP I have decided to just stop taking APs while I have support in a family setting. I am unsure what the cut-down from 3.75mg to nothing will do to me after 3 months going from 5-7.5-10-5-3.75/2.5mg supply. I am extremely concerned having read countless horror stories. My breakdown in hospital was drug/alcohol induced but I lied about it and ended up on medication probably unsuited; I was just high and drunk. I do not feel like I have bipolarity, I do feel that the medication has made me zombified (anhedonic [sp*?]) and I am not myself anymore. Before the timeline gets too long I wanted to just stop and escape the trap of Pharma and APs. I wanted to try SSRIs for my lack of motivation especially after abuse of Cannabis (before hospital 2g/day of the super strong stuff) or just normalise without any medication to see if I can cope. The APs make it incredibly difficult to work effectively and I have been off work for too long to take something that will make concentration so difficult. This is a risk as I am unsure what the effect will be. So far I have Constipation and Amnesia after 3 hours every night. At 10mg I was sleeping most of the night; but the fallout in the mornings was awful. I have 7 days of sleeping pills prescribed to help me sleep - i might space them out to try and get a good nights rest every several days as I'm unsure if the GP (UK Doctor) will give me more. Any advice from people for me. I am taking a risk I feel but I do not know if there is another route out without prescriptions for the medicines to taper off. So the task is: ~3mg Zyprexa to 0mg (or use the 2x 5mg tablets somehow) 7x sleeping pills. Amnesia & constipation - early morning depression from 3am to 2pm. All advice welcome.
  7. Hi, I realise this is a peer support network but I am the mum of a young adult daughter who has had a severe reaction to Sertraline. She is currently detained against her will in a psychiatric hospital and our need for help and advice on her behalf is immediate as I am fearful about the effect of compulsory treatment while she is there. I'll attempt to draw out the relevant parts of the chaotic and traumatic last 3 months.She was prescribed 50mg Sertraline for anxiety at the beginning of February by a general practioner. After 2 weeks she returned feeling unwell this was upped to 100mg, then shortly afterwards to 150mg. On even the lowest dose she immediately experienced extreme night sweats, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. She also became withdrawn from loved ones, snappy and cold. She looked drugged. She started self-medicating with excessive alcohol and cannabis and developed hypomania. After 6 weeks, during which she left her home and long-term partner, she called the police for help and was detained in the local psychiatric hospital. They put her through cold turkey on all substances. After a week they started her on 75mg Quetiapine per day plus Lorazepam and Zopliclone as they felt her state of mind required. After 3 weeks she was released with multiple boxes of all 3 drugs. She was still remote from us. After a week of clean-living with us (parents and sister) during which she began to taper the Quetiapine and didn't take the other medication, she left home claiming she needed to recover in her own way and resumed alcohol and cannabis misuse. Two weeks later she is detained in the psychiatric hospital again, very withdrawn and with signs of delusional beliefs. On admittance she tested positive for Cannabis and Lorazepam. They have resumed 75mg Quetiapine and, after a spell of disruptive behaviour, Lorazepam. She is currently in isolation with a permanent staff member having become violent and is not engaging with anyone. Her father and I have not succeeded in convincing the hospital doctors that the Sertraline prescription lay at the root of all this. We have repeatedlyreasserted the precise timing of the onset of her problems and have referred them to this site, to The British Journal of Psychiatry <http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/195/3/211>and to Katinka Blackford Newman's "The Pill That Steals Lives". One consultant is convinced that cannabis is entirely to blame despite being told that she has used it (and alcohol) previously without the ill effects.The chief consultant is looking for signs of underlying mental illness as the root cause of her problems. If anyone has ideas ideas on persuading clinicians I would be grateful. The main questions I have at the moment are: Given that she has shown extreme sensitivity to SSRIs, how dangerous for her are the Quetiapine and Lorazepam she is currently being given? It's likely that she will be started on another antipsychotic but neither she nor I will be consulted about this beforehand, so the question really extends to psychotropic drugs in general. Is it possible to tease out the effect of the Sertraline from the effects of the subsequent cannabis and alcohol use? How likely or possible is it that she had a latent, unsymptomatic mental illness that was triggered by the SSRI? Thank you for any advice. QueenieRose
  8. Serotonin Toxicity vs. Serotonin Discontinuation Syndrome: I have had very severe chronic serotonin toxicity. Neuralgia and neuropathy developed over a 4 years period to include the entire right side of my body. Level 8-10 pain daily for 12 weeks before anyone figured it out. Given injectable IMITREX to" help" -- wrong, made it worse, could have killed me! The toxicity started wrecking my ANS: sweats, chills, loosing 1/2 - 2 lbs daily for months, high fevers, low fevers, high blood pressure, migraines, vertigo, bowel issues, at points inability to walk or voluntarily move my body. Basically, hell. The pain was so severe that I would dissociate — once for 3 whole days. Are there any resources here or elsewhere that offer in depth information about Serotonin Toxicity? The toxicity was caused by receiving TMS treatments. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. I had one round of 36 treatments 4 years ago, got me out of depression and "coincidentally" a developed neuraligia/neuropathy at the same time. Again had TMS this past December - February. The doctor who treated me is a leading researcher, psychiatrist, runs a program training other docs to give TMS treatments and I mean it -- a really a lovely woman, smart, and compassionate -- told me when I was asking if the TMS was giving me muscles spasms and increased nerve pain, "That's an issue for your neurologist." Previously she had also told me that one of the ways that TMS works, is it increases the effect of serotonin based medications. She didn't see Serotonin Syndrome sitting in front of her and asking her "What's going on here?" Today the pharmacist told me that TMS reduced the blood/brain barrier. WARNING: TMS + Venlafaxine caused serotonin toxicity for me, be cautious! Another smart compassionate and more curious woman and — my psychiatrist figured it out after I delivered her all the puzzle pieces I had been collecting. She told me to immediately stop the Imitrex and start a taper of Venalfaxine. VERY SLOWLY, though she didn't give me specifics on what slowly meant. I came up with what I thought was slow taper, and half way through had to double the length. I tapered Venlafaxine in 3 months from 225 to 0. I had taken it for 10+ years. Psych meds for 25 years. I had to, because it was quite literally killing me. But now of course, I'm ten days off and I'm feeling pretty sick: Parkinson-like movement symptoms being the chief concerning symptoms, especially when combined with the vertigo. I take a few moments to "Get going" when I want to move. And then I lurch around for another 10 seconds until my body remembers how to walk. I have the bruises to prove it! At times, just standing still my whole body shakes like a tree in the wind. I keep dropping things and have no strength in my hands. Can someone inform me what this is? Is this part of Discontinuation Syndrome? Its kinda freaking me out. I also have the usual! discontinuation symptoms! ringing ears, painful eyes, weird noises in my head, muscle twitches, nausea, diarrhea, brain fog, EMOTIONAL!, Over energized and completely fatigued. Visual disturbances. Muscle and joint pain almost everywhere. Swollen hands. Itching skin so bad I thought I was having anaphylaxis and went to the ER two days ago. Surprised I could remember all my symptoms, cause really the brain fog + zero memory issue makes it so this post took me several days to write, in several 1 hour sessions. I used to write semi-professionally. So this is actually a symptom as well. Last night, I had about 2-3 hours of uncontrollable rage (self directed violence) that was provoked by sensory overload. Embarrassing, terrifying. Is this part of Discontinuation Syndrome? I know the best remedy for "discontinuation syndrome" is reinstatement. I tried 3 mg prozac. Got nerve pain from head to toe within 4 hours (a symptom of Serotonin Toxicity). BUT, on the flip side the next day a started feeling better. My psychiatrist is going to look at all the possible SSRI and SNRIs to see which one might be possible in a micro dose. I spoke to my psychiatrist today and she suggested 20 mg non-extended release venlafaxine twice a day, with a a slower taper. I need to figure out what a slower taper would look like. I read 10% decrease per month? Is that correct? Any resources, advice on that? BUT, the thing is, I don't think any boosting of serotonin is a good idea for me right now given how extremely ill I got from serotonin toxicity. AND YET, my "discontinuation" is fairly severe, so I’ve decided to go back on. I’m choosing nerve damage because I don’t want to risk long term discontinuation syndrome. I will get myself ready to be in pain. What's worse: body wide neuropathy (nerve damage) in both CNS and ANS? Or Parkinsons like movement issues, vertigo, fits of rage, and the risk of long term discontinuation syndrome? OR??? Is there something I can do about discontinuation that will not raise Serotonin? I'm pretty freaked out by realizing I'm in between two really horrible things, and I do not know with certainty what to do. Please make any responses concise and focused on the above question. I've got major information processing issues. (In the end it took me several hours to write this post. I tried to keep it focused. THANK YOU! -------------- What I am doing: EXERCISE I am making myself go out and do gardening every day. Hard physical labor. Somehow this works for me. Can't explain it. I don't question it, though it is making my muscles sore from the work out. Figure I’m regaining the strength I lost with 4 years of nerve pain. Most days I use foam rollers and yoga therapy (my profession) to soften the rocks in my muscles. And ice baths (fabulous for my nerve pain and muscle spasms and migraines) DIET: I drink lots of water and coconut water, lemon, mint. Basic diet for past 5 months: DO EAT: above ground vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, water. DON'T EAT: grains, no fruits, no dairy, no root vegetables (EXCEPT gratefully purple potatoes, parsnips and turnips :-) ! RECENT DIET ADJUSTMENTS Reinstated coffee and it seems to help me move a bit more smoothly. :-). Added Rice and bananas as foods I can eat when I'm still horribly nauseous and ravenous simultaneously. HERBAL TINCTURES: burdock, kava, lobelia, turmeric, white willow, and valerian. CURRENT DAILY MEDS: Felodopine for High blood pressure Oxcarbazepine for nerve pain Naproxen (Aleve) as an antidepressant (anti-inflammatories do help) Levothyrozine (hypothyroid) Levothyronine (hypothyroid) Singular for asthma Medical Marijuana — PCP, neurologic and psychiatrist all endorse this. Cannabis (oral infusion in cocoanut oil 2-3 times a day and vaping) Helps with the nerve pain, anxiety and depression. Total game changer for allowing me to be physically active and do things I enjoy and need to do to feel like I’m actually living — i.e. gardinging, socializing. Question: is cannabis seroternergic? Anyone know? PRN MEDS * Valium 5 mg PRN for muscle spasms, and at this point for the anxiety, irritability. Usually take 0-4 each day, depending on how bad things are. I chart it every day. Aware it is addictive. * Bendydryl (two OTC pills) with Promethazine suppository for neurological pain and nausea. Works OK for pain. * Low dose Ketamine nasal spray when the neurological pain is beyond bearing (to stay out of the ER) I’m finding that a single dose really puts the brakes on the discontinuation syndrome and have been using it that way. Previous does for nerve pain were 4-16 depending on the severity of the pain. CURRENT SUPPLEMENTS: Methylated B vitamins (I lack 1 of the genetic pairs for methylation) Vitamin D 5000 iu. for depression Alpha lipoid acid for neurological issues N Acetyl Cystine for neurological issues Reservatrol for neurological issues CoQ10 for neurological issues PAST: 10+ years venlafaxine ER 25 years psych meds. First ten years took almost all of the possibly relevant ones. Side effects and ineffectiveness. Starting 2 years ago I started slowly weaning off meds. I've gone from 14 meds to 7. Diagnoses: PTSD Major Depression Anxiety Sleep disorder "Post Lyme Disease" An auto-immune system problem? Migraines (Serotonin toxicity?) Neuralgia and neuropathy through out the right side of my body Yours truly, UrbanFeral -------------------- Med / discontinuation history. 2002? to 2016 Venlafaxine ER. First antidepressant that worked. Alas due to combination with TMS (transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) I developed chronic serotonin syndrome, extremely ill since January 2016. Tapered over 3 months from 225 to 0. (too fast!) It was easy till I got to the 37.5, and then discontinuation kicked in. As of 6/20/16 going back on 20 mg non-extended release, twice a day and beginning a slower taper. 2012-2016. One at a time, slowly I eliminated medications from 14 to 7. DX Plaquenil which had been treating post Lyme non-specific autoimmune disorder. Safely got off it over a 4 month period. DX Spironolactone for heart arrhythmias and high blood pressure. No issue getting off it. Lunesta for insomnia, tapered off over a 4-5 month period. Ativan - stopped taking it when I started taking Valium this year to control severe muscle spasms. Cannot remember what else I got stopped taking. 1992-2002, over 20 different medications tried alone or in combination that were either ineffective or had bad side effects. I'm going to work on a complete list. It's going to be real piece of work.
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