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  1. Hi i just thought I’d pop in and give an update about how things are now. i was talking with a friend the other day about what all id gone through with Paxil and I realized, I’m so far from where I was and how much I’d relied on this site as well as npanth’s articles during the very worst of everything. i remember reading success stories and wondering if the mental anguish would ever end for me. I can say, it has and it does. Here is my topic: So, basically I was on Paxil for about 14-15 years. I’m 40 now and have been off Paxil for 6 years. While I was on the drug I still had many symptoms of anxiety, gained a ton of weight and also felt like I was living a sort of half life. I wasn’t fully engaged in my life. Every time I tried getting off Paxil over the years, I’d have terrible symptoms and think that it was just me and I needed Paxil to make me “normal”...! My Dr never ever told me I should taper slowly and over time; I was literally given no advice EVER. When I was about 13 years in to taking the drug I was suddenly beset with a whole new host of symptoms and some quite strong and strange to me. I felt terrible on the inside of myself, something I couldn’t hardly explain. I told my Dr. And he said that Paxil might be no longer working as well and so he upped me from 20mgs to 40 msg. I felt a little better for a bit but still NOT good. I decided to stop the drug cold turkey. i had no idea of how dangerous that was or what would lie ahead. If I’d known, I would have tapered slowly. At first I felt really really good, better than I had in a longgg time, but at about 6 weeks off the drug alllll hell broke loose. I had all the usual symptoms, shaking, flu like symptoms , couldn’t sit still, no motivation, exhausted but major insomnia, heart racing and palpitations, so much pain In my legs, throbbing pain. A tight band around my head that felt like someone was tightening it. I had intrusive thoughts, racing thoughts, panic attacks, jolting awake from when I did sleep, bladder problems, and many more that I’m forgetting I’m sure. Oh! Brain zaps! I had lots of those. forgetfulness and not being able to put in to words what I wanted etc- that was also a thing. 😑 i started googling why I felt like this after stopping Paxil and I found a site called Paxil progress. After that shut down I found this site. at the time it was all I could do to lay in bed and read the stories of others and know that what I was going through would eventually get better. I couldn’t figure out how, or when. I prayed a lot. I had three kids to take care of, so I managed to do what I had to do but often felt very irritated and exhausted, I didn’t know how much longer I could deal with it. Symptoms began breaking up in to a pattern that was called windows and waves. Sometimes a window would be super short and I’d wonder how I could feel so normal for a while only to have it all crash back down around me. Sleep was such an escape when I could get it, but for 2-3 years I had terrible insomnia that lasted hours throughout the night. Those were very frustrating times. I saw bigger improvements when I began sleeping better. Slowly the symptoms dropped off one by one. leg pain was probably one of the first to go i still didn’t know much about how to deal with anxiety and was still fighting that battle when I came across Dr. Claire Weekes book, “hope and help for your nerves” That book was awesome and I highly recommend it and anything else you can read by her. I still have occasional bladder flares (acts like a bladder infection but it isn’t actually) but other than that I don’t think I have one problem that I can say is from Paxil anymore (I don’t think??) lol i think I am finally ready to say, I’m recovered from what Paxil put me through. im still learning how best to cope with anxiety, but I’m doing a pretty good job of it with noooo drugs 😁😁😁 BTW when I was in the process of trying to heal from it all, I used high quality fish oil and B12. I also used trace minerals. I wish you all well. Xo 😘
  2. Well, who knew you weren’t supposed to just stop taking this stuff when you felt like it? Back in January 2020, I had gone to the doctor 3 times over a one month period swearing I had kidney problems based on some symptoms I had. After the third appointment and all tests coming back normal, the doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and prescribed 25 mg Sertraline. I started taking it immediately and within a few days I had developed limb pain. I didn’t relate it to the medication and actually thought it was a symptom of anxiety. Another week or so went by and limb pain spread to joint paint and then to this feeling of being bruised or punched in my thighs, stomach, hips and chest, even though bruises never surfaced at that point. I also had an off and on lump in my throat and my voice would randomly go hoarse. By end of March, I had rigid muscles, had gained 30 lbs and clusters of red dots and small bruises were forming all over my body. I thought I was developing a serious blood disorder and since I had seen a hematologist in the past for iron deficiency anemia, I was able to get an appointment without going through my gp. A few weeks before the appointment, around mid-April (so 3 months on Sertraline), I read online that bruising was a rare but possible side effect of the medication. I quit immediately to see what would happen, and within about three weeks the bruises, red dots and some of the pain disappeared. Everything was normal at the hematologists. However, even though the bruises went away, I had started getting these other issues like “restless arm syndrome” (only way to describe it), dizziness, numbness in feet and hands, muscle twitching, panic attacks and other things I can’t remember. After my appointment, since my blood tests were fine, I reinstated the 25 mg Sertraline in early May. I had no clue these were withdrawal and assumed I had developed either a severe neurological disease or Somatic Symptom Disorder. I still can’t believe I went back on the meds, but as soon as I did all hell broke loose. The withdrawal symptoms went away but I developed horrible muscle cramping to the point I couldn’t hold a phone, pain in response to any kind of touch including my pants rubbing against my legs or someone touching my hand softly. I had pain in my ears, eyes and throat. The bruises and red dots came back immediately and with a vengeance. At this point I knew it was the Sertraline. And I was only on 25 mg!! I managed to stay on for around three more weeks then quit cold turkey again. Right away I got a plethora of symptoms: -restless feeling all over -Muscle twitching all over body -muscle weakness -this weird warm feeling that started in the back of my head and spread down my spine (I no longer have this) -loss of coordination -pulling in my thumb, forefinger and cheek on my left side like they were trying to move themselves (This doesn’t happen often anymore) -brain zaps - not really sure if that’s what it is since it feels less like a zap and more like someone holding an electric razor up to my head in different spots. -Numbness/tingling in feet, lower legs, hands (I no longer have this) -Nausea -panic attacks -short of breath -forgetfulness -dizziness -loose feeling in joints like they won’t hold my limbs together -joint pain -cracking joints -muscle pain -buzzing in legs and feet -palpitations -feeling like I would fall down (I no longer have this) -this feeling in my sinuses like they would tighten and then clear up (this is rare these days) -general soreness -lump in throat -insomnia - often only getting 2 or 3 hours of sleep at night -acute fatigue (this feeling of intense fatigue that feels like I spent hours working out in the sun that will last maybe 20 minutes to an hour) -heartburn There were so many more I can’t think of. I’ve been off the medication around 4.5 months now, but not much of this has improved. A few of the scariest symptoms seem to have gone away, probably around the three month mark, and with the remaining symptoms, I have gotten a few windows recently. The body pains used to be constant, but now I get a few days off per month. This encourages me. At the same time, I’ve developed new symptoms recently like intense stomach discomfort, palpitations and the lump in my throat, although I had this when I first started the meds too. Many symptoms have gotten less severe/intense and that helps a lot. The craziest thing about all of this is that my highest dose was 25 mg! Not to mention I was only on it 4 months total. I’m really hoping I’ll be back soon to post a success story. I remember reading a post from a success story poster that basically said whenever a symptom would go away temporarily, even if it came back and hung around for a while, they knew it would be gone eventually because it had shown its weakness. I wish I could remember who it was because it’s completely true and that has really helped me get through the last few months. I'm not sure how to post my timeline in the signature, but it’s pretty short so I’ll leave it here. 25 mg Sertraline from January to mid April. Cold turkey mid April to early May. Re-instated 25 mg Sertraline from early May for next three weeks then cold turkey again. Have been off for 4.5 months and take no meds or supplements at this point.
  3. hello. i'm going to attempt an introduction. i reserve any possible ambition about a coherent, comprehensive history for a potential future recovery success story. i'll do what i can for now. first and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone here at SA. THANK YOU for starting this website, for contributing, for keeping it going, for sharing, for being here, for fighting the good fight. in regards to tapering safely i did not find you in time; but since i found you it has helped immeasurably. before i found SA i'd been suffering through PW and PAWS for well over 3 years with no clear understanding of what the F was happening to me. although i had a working strategy of how to approach the embodied experience i was living, it took up a lot of energy not having an official explanation. i had a kind of makeshift, workaround idea along the lines of "maybe this is latent C-PTSD that has surfaced in the wake of SSRI cessation" and "clearly my nervous system is hypersensitive and destabilized, and i am intolerant of stress, possibly also as a result of a lifetime of chronic stress and trauma", etc. somewhat luckily these working hypotheses led me to a variety of tools that were entirely applicable to dealing with withdrawal syndrome, and so, ultimately, i was practicing many of the same non-drug coping strategies that i have since seen recommended on this site. for years i was on my own and it was trial and error. the bottom line is, it has been so much better since finding SA and knowing that i'm not alone and finally figuring out, "oh, this is what's going on!" (not that one cannot have C-PTSD / chronic stress / or the like in addition to WS, but WS is certainly also its own thing in addition to whatever underlying vulnerabilities may present) anyway -- THANK YOU to everyone for everything. i am currently in my fifth year of protracted withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome following an incorrect, too-fast taper of lexapro/escitalopram that basically amounted to CT + decades' worth of going on and off dozens of different psych drugs/cocktails, incl. most recently vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine, etc. i don't have energy or access right now to write in more detail about the long and illustrious drug history and the numerous failed attempts to get out of psychiatry (it's clear to me now that i've been in protracted withdrawal with PAWS multiple times before, but at the time i didn't know what it was and when i sought help consistently received a new and more extreme diagnosis every time; it seemed, according to psychiatry, that i was getting sicker and sicker, and would get more heavily drugged each time around -- psychiatry suffers from munchhausen by proxy in its absurd closed-loop system) bottom line -- TODAY I AM DRUG-FREE. i was first committed to a psych ward as a minor (below the age of consent), that's where i was first drugged. i clearly remember being so overmedicated that my hands were shaking non-stop, i couldn't properly hold a fork to eat or a pencil/pen to write. i fainted in the shower. i knew it was the drugs, i knew they were giving me too much, i know i said as much. i have no recollection of being listened to. my first ever "psychotic episodes" also occurred during this first ever hospitalization, subsequent to which my diagnosis was augmented to include my being labeled as "psychotic". i am convinced the sensory hallucinations were caused by the drugs they were giving me. i have spent my entire adult life thus far (approx. 17 y.o. - 42 y.o.) under the influence of psychiatric drugs. WTF. although i am currently drug-free i don't consider myself out of the woods yet as i'm still very much in recovery and reeling from the extensive physiological and psychological/existential harm. i cannot even begin to really truly process that. i don't dwell on it, i try not to think about it, really, although of course the thoughts come occasionally, but for the most part i let them pass bc my thinking is currently rather unreliable and murky, colored as it is by WS (monkey mind chatter which does not allow for proper processing). maybe one day when my cognitive/emotional/spiritual/etc. capacities are healed, if it is still relevant and required, i will mourn any loss as necessary. for now i sometimes touch upon grief (primarily on behalf of our collective loss and the tragedy of psychiatric violence afflicting countless human beings and indeed our global ecosystem as a whole) but my mind is too feeble to truly grasp the staggering atrocity / swirling galaxy of bullsh*t. for the time being i'm mostly just sorta left stunned and reeling; and sometimes in a moment of clarity i feel a call to arms and long to spring into action and up onto the barricades (etc.), but i lack the abilities for any kind of follow-through, which can be distressing as i think, "i'm not doing my part to save my fellow suffererers out there!" in these moments i have to remind myself that first i have to get better, and for now i just gotta hang on to my own life raft, bc that's pretty much all i can do, and most of the time it's a tall order as is, at least for now. i have to tell myself that what i cannot currently comprehend, is not currently my job. i try to do the tasks i am able to do, that is what is for me to do here and now. for example: currently i am able to shower once a week, sometimes twice a week. i am able to do a gentle yoga session about once a week. leaving the house is very difficult, but i manage to get out about twice a week. i am able to do my own grocery shopping (usually once a week), which brings me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. i am able to cook for myself (i've been on a self-designed, tried-and-true nutritional regimen for a couple of years now, which works quite well for me); nourishing myself is a vital part of my day and one of the few ways i'm able to actively engage with life on a daily basis. there are many, many things i'm unable to do and many, many ways in which i'm functionally disabled. i don't feel like getting into that now. in this moment i'd like to focus on markers of progress. for example: here i am, writing an introduction post. i have not posted here before bc writing and verbal communication, esp. disembodied/virtual kind without being in the physical presence of the other person, is something that has been extremely difficult for me in withdrawal and continues to be very, very challenging. so this is really hard and scary right now; and at the same time it is a marker of progress that i am able to be here writing this at all, since for so long i have not been able to and now i'm giving it a try. we'll see how it goes. these days i feel like i'm in my little WS groove. doing my thing, doing the best i can. i tell myself that this too shall pass -- based on the accounts of people on this site and the many success stories, it's possible to recover and heal. i trust that this is true; which means that there's a finite number of WS days/hours/moments (that number is unknown and unknowable, i call it X). and so it follows that every single day/hour/moment of WS-related suffering is 1 down, X to go and brings me that much closer to the conclusion. this is my way of conceptualizing the unpleasantness and discomfort as healing-in-process. instead of thinking of it as "i'm still sick" (which connotates stuck-ness and static state), reminding myself "i'm continously healing" (which conveys movement and development and some notion of constructive progress). it's very, very hard. i do feel like things are getting better ... lately one of the odd things about feeling better is that the WS symptoms have decreased somewhat in intensity, and now that some of the WS symptoms are less extreme, it's as though it's less clear to me that they are indeed WS symptoms. i sometimes find myself thinking, "wait, what if this particular thing is no longer WS and now this is just 'me'?" overall i tell myself that this line of thinking is still WS, as these are "anxiety thoughts" and fear-based, and i pay them as little mind as possible. it's a strange sign of progress that as WS is gradually lessening in intensity the lines between "syndrome" and "self" seem to be blurring more and more. this is, of course, compounded by an underlying all-pervasive tension around the question, "who am i?" at this point i accept that i have no idea who i am. i don't know who i am now, i don't know who i was before, i don't know who i will be after. my sense of identity is flimsy at best, i have difficulty with any sense of continuity or understanding "me", "my life", or anything along those lines. it's okay. i'm not sure my sense of self has ever been that strong to begin with. i don't know where i'll be dumped at the end of this fun-house-mirror-lined chute of WS bizarro-world ... it's kinda funny sometimes, when i think about it. it's all so absurd. all these illusions and so many people out there running around all serious and self-important and convinced of what's "real". maybe i'll feel like that one day, who knows? ... (feel free to skip to the end of the book, eh?) anyway. i don't have much more to say for now. this is the most words i've used in any one sitting in any context possibly in years. i mostly don't like social contact due to conventions/exigencies of verbal communication (i don't mind context of shared social presence as long as there is no speaking/conversation involved) and so i spend most of my time alone. i'm actually surprised this many words have come out of me! and now i'm babbling, i've got the feeling this is all very messy. but the most important part is: ABSTRACT hello. thank you. i'm here. ain't that a trip with love, "me" 1996-2018: various polypharmacy combinations incl. SSRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzodiazepines, stimulants, etc. (approx. 30+ different drugs over the years) 2018 - inadvertently CTed lexapro/escitalopram from 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg (over the course of 6 months, and under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist whom i trusted at the time) July 2018 - 0mg lexapro/escitalopram 2017 - 2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 70mg 2020 - 2021 - tapered off of vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine from 70mg down to 0mg (gradually but unsystematically and probably too quickly) July 2021 - 0mg vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine February 2022 - 0mg - no psychopharmaceuticals - no drugs/medications of any kind supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 2mg melatonin at 9pm
  4. Hello everyone Very sorry for everyone struggling here I have been tapering off Zoloft for months and transitioned to natural supplements (l theanine & fish oil) to finish my jump but I did it at WAY too high a dose I also was doing a deep cleanse and think I really exacerbated things with the chlorella and spirulina In any case, I have been having extreme withdrawal (to the point where I thought I was in Serotonin Syndrome as the symptoms nearly mirrored it, but the opinion of two physicians is withdrawal and not serontonin syndrome. I have been having ataxia and extreme mood swings. The nausea have passed and diarrhea, and getting some segments of sleep. Disturbance in gait. All tests normal from ER visits. Swinging between extreme depression and emotional bluntness. I would write more but can't tolerate the screen very well. My question. Would it be better to reinstate and attempt to negate symptoms, stabilize, then restart, or should I just push on and work with where I am at. The extreme anxiety is starting to pass, and I am getting some sleep. But, the facial numbness and muscle ataxia symptoms are disturbing. I was off for about three weeks before the extreme symptoms started. Horrible nausea and diarrhea has negated. Any advice would be greatly appreciated Thank you very much ROse
  5. BestIsYetToCome13

    BestIsYetToCome13: Risperidone

    In mid May I went into the hospital after 5 days of not being able to sleep, eat or drink. I was taking black currant oil and fish oil supplements at the time but my problems didn't start until I added the multivatime Alive Max6 Potency. That's when my insomnia started along with my psychosis. I don't have any prior mental health issues or history of issues in my family. Whatever chemicals were in that supplement disturb my biology to the extreme. I was diagnosed as bipolar with mania although I explained that my issues started after taking the supplement. I was in the ward for 11 days or so, the first few days I wouldn't ear or drink. But once I found out I had to take medicine in order to get out is when I started to comply. Weeks passed and I couldn't tell just how drugged I really was. Six weeks into taking 1mg in the day and 2mg at night is when things shifted for the worse. All of the sudden I had insomnia, my thoughts were gone and my feelings as well.The side effects were so bad that I even contemplated suicide as I laid at night unable to think, unable to feel and unable to sleep. I felt dead just staring at the walls waiting for time to pass by. I quit risperidone cold turkey that day on July 8th. The next day on July 9th I went to the hospital to get help with the insomnia and to talk about how the medicine made me feel numb. Of course I had to Baker Act myself to receive treatment and I was scared to end up in the ward again. My tests came back Covid positive so I was put in ICU instead, which as bad as it sounds I find it a blessing that the test was positive. For if I had gone back to the ward surely they would have put me on more medicines. At the hospital I got seen by a psychiatrist through video chat who then changed my diagnosis to cannabis induced psychosis and changed my 3mg perscription of Risperdone to 5mg of Abilify. I took the pill only once at the hospital and was impressed that I had some thoughts come back. But upon further research I realized just how bad Abilify is as well. It's been 11 days since I quit cold turkey and my symptoms as of now are anhedonia, slow bowels, and at night when I sleep I can't tell that Im sleeping unless I have a dream. I don't know if it's some type of insomnia but I take 5mg Melatonin at night I feel my body relaxed but my mind is awake. I lay with my eyes closed but can't tell that I am sleeping or that I've slept unless I dream of something. What I have is minimal compared to the many threads I've read on this page. I'm patiently waiting for my emotions to come back and I know it's a matter of time. These pills were slowing everything down inside my body and Im glad I came to my senses and said enough is enough. Thanks to the creator of this website and to the many people that have posted their stories. It gives hope that with time and a good diet healing and recovery is possible. My only question is how do you pass time with anhedonia?
  6. Hello, I am French sorry in advance for my English I am with Google translation. I'm happy to have found a forum that finally recognizes how much harm antidepressants can cause in our lives. Here is my story: I took 10mg seroplex for depression 2 years ago. I then switched to Brintellix 5mg for 6 months. While taking the seroplex fat fatigue for 3 weeks then I was better, except that my ejaculation was very delayed or sometimes impossible. I stopped antidepressants for 1 month recently. Result of abrupt weaning premature ejaculation, ejaculation without orgasm or very little. Insomnia, sensitivity to noise and light. My libido is it Do you think premature ejaculation will resolve over time and I will get better? I hope to recover the same for the orgasm during ejaculation that it is more pronounced as before. Before you take this **** everything is fine. I resolved my depression but this disorder when I stopped going back into it. I have another question. Do you think stopping the treatment suddenly changes anything compared to a gradual withdrawal? Apart from the symptoms that can last, does it change anything for the brain and sexuality to better recover? Thank you to everyone who can testify and help me. And courage to everyone, it is good to support this and to move forward. I exercise a lot and feed it well. I feel very tired I have some vertigo too and the insomnia is horrible I sleep during the day and stay up all night luckily I am not working at the moment. I'm 29 years old
  7. My brain going into dream condition but not into sleep condition every night or day when ever I attempt to sleep I have believed the information about remote neural monitoring in all over internet and browsed internet 2 years heavily which resulted heavy thought process ,doubts and suspicion over near and dear. So I went to a psychiatrist and requested to bring me out of heavy thoughts.He made me use lorazepam for 10 days ,risperidone and trihexyphenidyl combination drug for 30 days.After 30 days my thoughts reduced so I did not go to doctor again.What a mistake ,I was ignorant of how psychiatry medicines work and slow tapering nor my doctor warned me while prescribing an anti psychotic.It is happened in july 2016. From then my brain going into dreams when ever I attempt to sleep.In october 2016 again I went to the same doctor and reported about the condition I am in.He prescribed olanzapine silently.I started using olanzapine ignorantly and innocently.When i was experiencing stomach upset that is when I researched in the internet about risperidone and olanzapine. Now this is june 2017 I have tapered risperidone and olanzapine safely and became drug free safely.But the thing is my brain still into dream condition and not allowing me to sleep when ever i attempt.My querry is what risperidone and trihexyphenidyl and lorazapam [10 days]did to my brain?what chemicals they blocked.Now stopping them cold turkey did what on my brain?what chemical i should take to get my sleep pattern back.?If I wait patiently with time will the brain correct its condition naturally?Any brain researcher please help.
  8. ADMIN NOTE If you abruptly quit your drug without tapering (cold turkey), see I thought I'd write something up for the CT/ADR crew, as those who are tapering are often able to manage their symptoms well through a gradual hyperbolic taper. For those of us cast out to sea, so to speak, and with no choice but to endure suffering, I think the only thing we have control over is our attitudes and our relationship to what we're experiencing. This means that though we have no choice over what we experience, we have the power to decide whether we suffer it. I may only be 30 days into my ADR experience, but I think given the intensity of my symptoms I've done remarkably well. Part of the reason that's the case is that I'm already well versed at managing suffering by virtue of struggling with CPTSD. One of the most helpful resources I found in my trauma recovery has been Pete Walker's 13 Steps for Flashback Management. I feel Pete's strategies could similarly be helpful for those suffering symptoms from Withdrawal/ADR. CPTSD flashbacks often resemble Withdrawal/ADR symptoms in their overwhelming and intense quality, and are similarly difficult to assign meaning to. Pete's steps help people to endure and manage their suffering, and support people to develop a healing attitude towards a complex and often lifelong syndrome. So here I present to you, adapted directly from Pete's steps, Scrountz's 10 Steps for Managing Withdrawal/ADR Symptoms: 1. Say to yourself: "I am experiencing a symptom." Its important when symptoms arise to name them what they are. When in a wave it is easy to lose perspective and believe that what we are experiencing is a sign that we are going crazy, mentally ill, that our brains are broken, or that we are dying. Symptoms are not characterological defects, nor are they signs of a deeper problem. Symptoms are time limited experiences that will gradually resolve. When you name what you are experience as a symptom, you are reinforcing what is real. 2. Remind yourself: "I would not be feeling this way if it was not for the medication." Withdrawal/ADR symptoms are compelling and have a tendency to pull us in to a unique physiological reality characterized by interminable suffering. Neuro-emotions, ruminating thoughts, and unrelenting physical ailments feel so real it is sometimes hard to believe that we are experiencing is drug induced. Falling into this pit can send us into a spiral of googling symptoms, experimenting with remedies and endlessly theorizing about our condition. Reminding ourselves that it is the medication (or for withdrawal, its absence) that is causing this experience grounds us in the appropriate context for recovery. When we remind ourselves it is the medication, we open the door to taking the right action to promote recovery. 3. Own your right and need to have boundaries Remind yourself that you are injured, and have a right to do what is necessary to heal. Respectfully communicate to others when you are distressed/overwhelmed/debilitated and need space or freedom from responsibilities that may burden your already over-sensitized nervous system. Own your right to take care of yourself and put your wellness first. Remove or reduce distressing factors in your environment and focus on finding a space for you that is safe and conducive to healing. Remember you are free to leave overstimulating situations and to protect yourself from the dismissive behaviour of others. 4. Seek reassurance When symptoms arise, they can be incredibly distressing and debilitating. Many people in withdrawal feel as though their lives are ruined and they may never feel better again. Seek reassurance from loved ones and compassionate others to remind you that you will heal in time. Call your parents, talk to your spouse, connect with your counsellor, or phone a friend. Journal in your introductory topic or reach out to other members of this forum. Find whoever you can to reassure you things will get better. Often just hearing that from someone else is enough to provide some strength to keep going. 5. Deconstruct eternity thinking Withdrawal/ADR symptoms are incredibly compelling. Often when a wave of symptoms arises, one feels they will always feel this way forever. I know for me, when a wave of depression hits, I have a hard time believing it won’t last forever. The reality is that symptoms change over time. Recovery follows an unpredictable course, yet no feeling is final. Waves will always end eventually. Remind yourself that symptoms are not forever, and you will feel differently eventually. Symptom journals can be incredibly helpful in this regard, as when eternity thinking sets in, you can revisit past journals to see how your experience has changed over time. 6. Remind yourself of the resources you have While time is the only factor that truly resolves Withdrawal/ADR symptoms, there are numerous resources available to help with coping and reducing symptom severity. When distressing symptoms arise, remind yourself of the resources you have to cope. It can be helpful to make a list of the things you find helpful in managing symptoms (for me it's talking with loved ones, journaling, Qigong, Acknowledge/Accept/Float, CBT exercises). In withdrawal/ADR, you are out of control but you are not powerless. There are ways to increase comfort and help manage your experience. 7. Ease back into your body (this is copied verbatim from Pete’s flashback management as it is just as applicable to us) Gently ask your body to relax: Feel each of your major muscle groups and softly encourage them to relax. (Tight muscles send unnecessary danger signals to the brain.) Breathe deeply and slowly. (Holding the breath also signals danger). Slow down. (Rushing presses the psyche's panic button.) Find a safe place to unwind and soothe yourself. Wrap yourself in a blanket, hold a stuffed animal, lie down in a bath, take a nap Feel the fear in your body without reacting to it. Fear is just an energy in your body that cannot hurt you if you do not run from it or react self-destructively to it. 8. Resist drasticizing and catastrophizing Withdrawal/ADR symptoms throw us into a state of high distress, where it is easy to begin catastrophizing (believing the world is ending) and drasticizing (believing that something needs an immediate and severe response). It’s important to forcefully resist this, as this kind of thinking only serves to increase distress and reinforce the notion that recovery is not possible. Use whatever strength you can to push back against this thinking, reminding yourself that symptoms are not life threatening, and that this is not forever. CBT techniques that challenge catastrophic thinking are particularly helpful in managing this dimension of symptoms. 9. Allow yourself to grieve Withdrawal/ADR can be a debilitating, life altering experience that has robbed some of us years of wellness and prosperity. For many the loss of a sense of safety and trust in the medical system leaves one feeling existentially exposed. The symptoms of withdrawal/ADR can impact our relationships, sense of self and life direction. It is important to leave space to express the healthy feelings that come up as a result of this demoralizing, often traumatic experience. Pain, sadness, anger, despair and anguish all have a place in the recovery process. Give yourself permission to express whatever feelings are present in relation to the inevitable loss that withdrawal. 10. Be patient with a slow recovery process I was sobered when I read on this site that recovery takes longer than you’d like. The truth of iatrogenic injury is that there is no clear timeline for anyone’s recovery process. Everyone experiences a unique healing trajectory, with some going very slowly and others experiencing more rapid progress. Whatever the pace, it is important to be patient. You simply cannot rush your healing. Most of us will be at this for months or years. Raging against this fact only engenders needless suffering. Though in many ways the hardest step, this is the most important, and feeds back positively into the other steps. If you can take things one day at a time, you’re more likely to successfully manage your symptoms as they arise. If you’re fixated on getting well NOW, you’re less likely to do what's actually helpful (see steps 1-9). This list is far from exhaustive. I’d love to hear from the collective wisdom of this forum about other necessary “steps” in coping with hard symptoms.
  9. Hello everybody, First of al I would like to excuse for my English, since it is not my native language. In august 2020 I started using citalopram (first 2 weeks 10 mg and then raised to 20 mg). I used it until february 2021 and quit cold turkey midst february 2021. One of the side effects of citalopram was intolerable concentration problems. I used to have very sharp cognitive abilities, but almost immediately after starting with citalopram my cognitive abilities declined. My memory was awful and I could not conceptualize and make connections any more. I first thought that it was a temporary phenomenon, but it did not fade away. In february 2021 I started with a new job, which requires high intellectual effort. I kind of got in to panic because of the still present cognitive issues. Midst the month february I decided to quit cold turkey. The first two weeks were really not different to hell on earth. I had awful physical symptoms and enormous brain fog. I expected the problems to fade away within 3 to 4 weeks because that was the official indication. The reality was however very different. the physical symptoms faded away within 3 weeks but the mental ones still are with me. I have been having awful headaches and and indescribable awful form of brain fog. It has been 4 months now since i have quit cold turkey. The first three months were awful, and I thought I would never ever recover. Since this month however I finally have clear moments. The development of the clear moments gives me hope. The length of their presence is getting longer each day now. I expect to get fully recovered. The only sad thing is that it seems that it takes a hell of a long time to get recovered fully. I wanted to share my experience with people who are in the same position. For now my message is: don't loose hope we will get better! One thing I also want to share with you is that I have been in contact with two psychiatrist. I was really shocked by the fact that that they really did not have any knowledge about possible long-term side effect of ssri's. It was really frustrating. Luckily I found other sources on the internet like this website where I could find an explanation and recognition.
  10. Hello everybody. I was referred to this forum after trying to find answers about my problem on other websites for almost a year now. To somewhat quickly sum up my story. I was put on psych meds at 16 after a breakdown related to OCD. I am not sure how long I have been on Lexapro, but probably since around 2013/2014. I first started taking psych meds at 16. I was dealing with a bad APRN (who I saw for years but became worse and worse over time) who had me on 30mg of Lexapro for at least 2 to 3 years. I cannot remember how long I was on 20mg before that, and for how long. I apologize. I couldn't get a refill due to problems with my computer for an online meeting, they didn't give me enough to taper off safely (didn't even tell me to taper off or warn me about withdrawal symptoms), so I ended up having a breakdown about 3 months later, but not any cognitive issues at all. I was very paranoid and anxious, but my memory was fine along with my memory and ability to talk eloquently. I was put back on 10mg of Lexapro about 2ish weeks after the incident. I remember having a dull pain at the very top of my head for a little bit, and since that week, I've had breathing problems, sinus issues such as dryness and pain (watery mucus too, now my sinuses feel very dry recently), memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, dry mouth, chest pains, face/neck pains and a warm/tingling feeling on the left side of my face (sometimes numbness too), vomiting, throbbing headaches, high blood pressure (this has mainly gone away I think, could have been from withdrawal) jaw stiffness (my teeth would clench subconsciously while awake, that's gone away) and ear ringing. I also now have sleep apnea. I had to immediately stop taking it again due to these issues, I lasted about a week on the new dosage. It almost feels like I had a TBI without having a TBI. I don't know if the SSRI caused it or the stress of the breakdown (was put on a psych hold) and personal family problems such as my mom getting sick with cancer that eventually killed her caused it, or both. I've been feeling like this for about 10ish months now and it's not getting any better. I have sexual dysfunction problems, emotionally I feel numb, and when I try to think deeply it feels like my brain is a stalling car. My memory is also as bad as ever, and the neck/face problems are still here, I can feel them as I'm typing this. It also feels like when I speak to people, my mouth is speaking faster than my brain can think. This is something very new, and it causes me to stutter/not talk as eloquently as I used to. I used to be very well spoken and now that's gone. I can recall events in my life/childhood, but now I can no longer remember specifics of the events, such as words said. It's very odd. I've had CT/MRI scans done of my brain and neither showed real problems. I'm seeing my PCP in September because my problems are getting worse, and I'm supposed to see a neurologist in November, and I'm thinking of asking for a qEEG, SPECT, and a nerve conduction study. I'd just like some advice on what to do to feel better. Not sure if my APRN is liable for the damage done to be or not, either, but this isn't a legal forum, so I'm not expecting any advice on that front. My former APRN, who I had gone to for years, slowly became worse and worse, and got angry at my mom at times for scheduling my appointments with my APRN. When I saw my APRN again after my breakdown/psych hold, she didn't seem to care about me going off 30mg cold turkey, her not telling me to taper off of it or warning me about the problems etc. She just put me back on 10mg, and when I had to stop taking it due to my side effects, she refused to help me any further, saying she would only see me if I saw a therapist, and even when I did, she refused to talk to me about my problems because "legally I [The APRN] can't because [The APRN] doesn't see me as a client anymore". She's the one who won't see me anymore, so I don't get it at all. She was very cold and uncaring about my mom getting sick and dying of cancer, only saying "getting a job helps with anxiety" and "Medicaid is hard to get on". It's so horribly depressing to feel like you've lost what made you, you. My memory is awful, my emotions are all over the place, I stutter sometimes now when I never used to, my cognitive thinking is awful. My voice actually sounds different to me. I don't know what's going on. My personality feels so neutered. I just want some help to get a definite answer on what's causing all of this.
  11. Hey Guys, Background: I am a 22 year old male living in Toronto, Canada. I started 50MG of Zoloft to deal with some issues stemming from childhood. Long story short, after picking up physical exercise and extensive therapy/reading/listening to podcasts (still not done), I felt a lot better and felt as though the antidepressants were not contributing much. In fact I was growing really tired of the emotional blunting I was experiencing, so I decided to go off them. Drug History: Started 50MG Zoloft on September 15th 2021. Went down to 25 mg in mid January 2022, then cold turkey'd two weeks after. Was feeling tired for the first week of both reductions in doses but was fine afterwards. Brain zaps after going cold turkey were a lot better after the first week. Question: Around 17 days after I went cold turkey, I decided to have a few drinks with my buddy because I felt fine (very minimal brain zaps etc). I do not usually drink, nor do I have a problem with alcohol, but I was eager to let loose a bit and have fun as I live a pretty hectic life for a 22 year old. The morning after, I felt really bad. Brain zaps came back (not as bad as before however), and I felt an intense level of hopelessness and sadness I never felt before. My question is, is this normal? It is really concerning me. I do however feel better at the time of me posting this (three days after). It's just really concerning because it feels like a setback with all the progress I made. Is this a common occurence? For the time being, I am taking a de-load week with my weight lifting routine to give my nervous system a break. Please excuse me if this question has been answered before in other forums. Thanks, god bless you all.
  12. hi , i"m a single mom and was given celexa 10mg for head aches and brain fog . the side effects where too much for me from day one , so three weeks after starting i was told to just stop taking them and i did... that was feb 28th the first week was fine , 2nd week i had some anxiety feelings and now the 3rd week I'm having insomnia , the sweats , nausea , and anxiety... I can't seem to find any stories on here from people who where short timers taking an ssri , I would really love to read a success story . my question is am i going through withdraws or is this relaps , please any help would be a blessing
  13. Hallo everyone. I am from Germany, so sorry for my "bad" english sometimes.. i am 32 years old and i took lexapro for 9 years. 27 months ago i quit lexapro "cold" from 4 mg to 0 mg. The time before i tapered off my medicament about 6 months from 10 to 4 mg. Later i recognized that it was much too fast. I got a lot of horrible(!) symptoms after quitting, i think the list of the withdrawal symptoms is too long to describe it now. I have accepted my protracted withdrawal now with many waves and a very small amount of little "windows". The strongest symptom now is the extreme fatigue. It is not a common tiredness , it is so heavy and it comes in waves, nearly every day. Most of the time it comes along with headaches and heart racing. , brain fog /and or depersonalisation. Sometimes i feel drunk or i have drunk alcohol the day before. This feeling is so bad and i wanted to know if anyone here has similar problems after lexapro or other antidepressants. It is to despair 😕 Thank you very much for your response!!🙂
  14. I was originally prescribed Mirtazapine (30mg)for my intense anxiety and insomnia after have COVID in August of 2021. Have had little to no side effect (weight gain). Unfortunately when I started to feel better I was told by my Dr to cut my 30mg tablet in half for 3-5 days and then stop. Each time my anxiety and insomnia returned so severely my Dr told me to start taking it again. I have tried a 10% taper from 30mg for 11 days now. Two days ago the insomnia reappeared but not the anxiety. So my Dr now wants to switch me to Cymbalta. I don’t want to take any of these awful meds any longer. Should I go back up to 30mg? Or push through the insomnia at 22.5? Thank-you for this amazing resource!
  15. Hi there. I am female, 41 years old, married with an almost 18 year old. I was diagnosed in 2018 with anxiety, depression and BP2. After my diagnosis I started to see a Therapist and Psychiatrist regularly. I realized I have dealt with these mental health issues my whole life and figured medication would be my saving grace. I was wrong. They made me a zombie and I was constantly sleeping. I had a suicide attempt in late 2017 and that is what started my experience with medication. I was in-patient for 9 days and came home with an abundance of new medication (please see signature for meds). I thought this would be the right step in the right direction for me. I had another close call with suicide in late 2019 and was subsequently hospitalized for that as well. Fluctuating between depression, BP2, hypo mania and anxiety was exhausting. Husband and I decided we wanted to try for another baby so my OBGYN suggested certain drugs be out of my system, hence coming off of them. I had been wanting to stop my meds anyways because I was tired of feeling numb. Psychiatrist took me off of my Depakote cold Turkey on May 19, 2022 and I decided on June 22, 2022 to come off the rest except my Buspar. June 22, 2022 was the day my IUD came out so it was the best time to end my meds as well, against my Psychiatrists wishes. So far the withdrawals have been probably run-of-the-mill (i.e. insomnia, nightmares, headaches, irritability, sweating, dizziness, body aches). I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to rest as much as possible when I’m feeling awful (like right now, while I’m typing this).
  16. I was on 40 mgs Lexapro. started on 20 mgs then increased over 5 years. Have been on various antidepressants for over 20 years. Seeing a Homeopath and trialing remedies. Told by Psychiatrist reduce 20 mgs a week. Frightened by all withdrawal horror stories. Have to work to pay mortgage. Suffering from discontinuation Syndrome. -suicidal thoughts - brain fog - anxiety - panic attacks -stomach upsets - debilitating lack of concentration - constant fear of living My family are supporting me Dont want to go back on meds but scared this may continue for years. Any advice welcome.
  17. Hello, I'm new to this forum and I'm very glad to have found you. I am 36 years old and started taking antidepressants in 2003 when I was 17. At that time I had strong emotional outbursts and finally the diagnosis depression was made. At that time, I was prescribed Tavor for use at home in emergencies and have also taken it for a few mails. In the psychosomatic clinic I had Tavor for a week and at the same time was put on an antidepressant, I can't remember which one, I think an SSRI. That didn't interest me at the time. After a few weeks I felt better and after months I was released and was a new person. Happy. I'm almost certain that I stopped taking the medication around 2007. In any case, I went to the psychosomatic clinic again in 2008. I still remember that I had total restlessness and anxiety in bed and great fear of failure. It's possible it was withdrawal symptoms. In the clinic I was put on the SSRI paroxetine. And again I was released and I felt wonderful. I'm not exactly sure if I stopped taking the meds in 2011 or not. Because in 2012 I went to a clinic again. There I was either put back on paroxetine or my dose was increased. I can't remember exactly. Then I took the paroxetine until 2018. In April I tapered off the paroxetine in increments of ten. 40-30-20-10-0. I don't remember exactly how long I wormed it out, I think within four weeks. I discontinued it due to lack of libido. I knew the drug was to blame and assumed that if I stopped taking these side effects, they would go away. Then in September I was put on 150mg of bupropion. I had severe side effects from this. Laughter fits, extreme restlessness. And in March 2019 I switched back to paroxetine. I don't think I've weaned off bupropion as there is only one 150mg pill and nothing smaller. So that was cold turkey. In July 2019 I was in a clinic again, this time as a day clinic. Noticing that paroxetine was not improving my condition, I switched to Cymbalta (increased to 90mg). This was done crosswise. Went off paroxetine and started cymbalta. The paroxetine was withdrawn fairly quickly, within a few weeks. I now know that the PSSD symptoms led to the hospital stay, since depression was of course diagnosed. On December 26th, 2020 I went off Cymbalta and went cold turkey. I was fed up with it, but I didn't know that you should slowly taper it off. I figured maybe I'd have a few days of heavy withdrawal and that would be the end of it. I definitely had gastrointestinal problems for the first 10 days after cold turkey. In the course of the next few weeks/months, severe anxiety and panic attacks were added. I then did some research and came across PSSD. From 2016 I noticed more and more that I was getting worse and worse. Not just loss of libido, that's the most harmless. I noticed more and more how the emotional connection between me and my fellow human beings is missing. Castrated by the world, by the people. No more joy. No joy with my son who was born in 2017. Ever since he was born I don't feel any emotional connection to him. This is such a pain!! I lived more and more behind glass. Can see everything, but I'm no longer there. Terrible condition. These symptoms (and more...) increased drastically when Cymbalta was stopped. I ended up in hell. Everything that used to be fun and brought me joy has become almost irrelevant to me. It doesn't do anything for me anymore. I can plan to do things in everyday life, but somehow it doesn't work anymore. How I'm broken. A connection in me is somehow severed. I then got more and more anxiety attacks, panic attacks and I was researching all the time what scares me. If things come up from childhood. My body becomes stiff with these attacks. I struggled through time. I took sick leave in June. I can no longer "resonate" with people. I'm in a group, and no matter what emotional thing happens there, I can't tune in, how emotionally castrated. That's the horror. I am no longer able to live alone. I want to do things, mentally, but it doesn't work properly anymore. I am no longer able to work through several things in a row. The connection between thought and action no longer seems to be there. And that the PSSD diagnosis is so clear and there is no reliable therapy makes me even more desperate. The nearly complete sexual dysfunction doesn't bother me at all. This emotional isolation, this joylessness, complete loss of my interests, it's not worth living. And what causes my suffering is the PAIN, the emotional PAIN, when I see my son but always notice that I'm actually not there. I am in such pain. And now we move on to medication. In November 2021 I tried again to take paroxetine. After four days I stopped taking it because my body didn't want the stuff anymore. I was shaking and showing severe physical symptoms. That year, in the summer, I also had physical attacks of shaking, attacks of tremors, as if the body were cleansing itself. After I stopped taking the paroxetine, it was even worse than before. The PSSD symptoms, the anxiety, the body stiffness and shaking, brutal restlessness. Up to that point I had looked after my son every two weeks in the greatest agony, and after this attempt with paroxetine that was no longer possible either. In January of this year I went to a good psychosomatic clinic. After three weeks there, I got involved with mirtazapine. Furthermore, on bupropion, because it is said to be the only antidepressant that can have a positive effect on PSSD. I can no longer work, I can no longer look after my son, something in me no longer works. I have to go to assisted living because I realize I can't survive on my own. Does anyone understand me? Dear God, where should I get hope from? And this mental pain, it's so strong whenever I notice that I'm no longer part of life. And that's pretty much permanent. These are now just muted by lithium. And totally restless. How am I ever going to take it if I put that stuff down again? I have such a longing to live again and I don't know how to do it, how to endure it. Best regards!! Dany
  18. I came off cymbalta 10 months ago after being on them 4 months. Had a bad taper from a prescriber. Bad withdrawals only I didn’t know they were withdrawals. A month later a different prescriber put me on Nortriptylene. That lasted 4 months then I weened off Nortriptylene over four months because it wasn’t helping. I’ve been off the Nortriptylene now for 6 weeks. When getting off the cymbalta my prescriber used Prozac to crossover which didn’t work. The new prescriber kept me on the Prozac while adding Nortriptylene. Im presently on 15mg of Prozac now but having withdrawals from the other two. Prior to this ive have taken Prozac for approximately 13yrs and lexapro for the next 14 years. The last year and a half were the changes to these other drugs. I’ve been on meds for a total of 28 years. I would like to start dropping the Prozac. I’m still feeling depression/anxiety/zaps/fatigue/etc from the withdrawals of the others. I was getting waves and windows pretty equally spaced apart by weeks. 2 weeks on(wave) 2 weeks off (window) After stopping the Nortriptylene it seems the windows are gone and it’s been a rough 6 weeks. Any advise would be great concerning reducing the Prozac? Is there hope after being on meds for 28 yrs to be free of them and healed?
  19. Hello everyone, I'm sorry for my english, it is not my native language. also, I'm very tired these days and I'm having a hard time writing this. I have alot of problams in my life, but I will try to focus on my terrible journey with zyprexa and my current situation: I'm 29 years old. Before zyprexa, I had strong labido and would sleep for 8-9 hours. I did have some trouble falling asleep though. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks on August 2020 and was given 10mg zyprexa, 2mg biperiden and 8mg perphenazine. When I got out, I stopped taking them, and after 7 days I suddenly couldn't sleep. I mean 0 sleep. my mom gave me a sleeping pill (brotizolam, she takes it occasionally), and it did nothing. I didn't understood what was happening to me. We then booked an appointment to a psychiatrist. After 5 days from hell with no sleep at all I had my appointment. The psychiatrist told me to take back zyprexa and up the dosage to 20mg and also take 2mg biperiden. I wanted to sleep so badly that I listened to him. I then slept for 12 hours during the night and 4 more during the day. zyprexa made me tired no matter how much I slept. I wanted to lower the dosage but was too afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep. after 3 month I lowered it to 15mg. then I started to devlope sleep disturbences. I would wake up in the middle of the night (I need to go pee once a night) and had a hard time falling back to sleep. In mid 2021, I started to devlop restless leg. I would walk around my room back and forth from the moment I woke up untill I gone to bed. Sometimes I even ate while walking. Couldn't sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. During 2021, when i tried to lower my zyprexa dosage to 12.5mg , I would wake up in the middle of the night and stayed wide awake. This lasted until january 2022, when my psychiatrist prescribed me sliping pills (brotizolam). the same ones my mother gave me. From that point up until now, I am taking brotizolam * (See bottom of post for more information). I lowered the dosage from 15mg to 12.5mg and was able to go back to sleep after waking up. I then lowerd it by 2.5mg every 2 weeks, and when I got down to 2.5mg, after 7 days I couldn't sleep . So I went back to 5mg and hold it for a month. Only around that time I did my reaserch about zyprexa. I was terrefied from what I have found online. I then tried to taper from 5mg to 4.5 using a gemini scale but the reading was all over the place. It wasn't accurate. I asked for a new one and it was the same thing (I did calibrate it). I then bought expensive scale (bel engineering s303). also wasn't accurate. I used it anyway, and after 2 weeks I beagun to only sleep for a few hours. Knowing I probably wouldn't be able to keep it up for years to come, I decided to quit cold turky and stay only with the brotilzam. I was sure that after 7 days I wouldn't be able to fall asleep but I somehow did. Problem is, my sleep only last 4 hours at best. one night I did get 6 hours. but some nights I barley sleep. Quitting zyprexa was on May 22. It has been 5 weeks since. I also had some teribble nausa for a few days but that has gone away. Restless leg has also gone (most of it) two weeks after stopping zyprexa. I can sit still most of the time now, but I'm having a hard time focusing on anything really. I have high amount of anxity and depression (and I can't seem to meditate). Also, I lost all sexual desire after quitting zyprexa. while on zyprexa, I had very litte desire but it was something. Now it has gone completly. I feel completly impotent. I'm scared it won't come back. I can't see myself living without it. I read about it, and about other people going through the same thing, and it seems hopeless. * Brotizolam is a sedative-hypnotic thienotriazolodiazepine drug which is a benzodiazepine analog. It possesses anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant properties, and is considered to be similar in effect to other short-acting hypnotic benzodiazepines such as triazolam or midazolam.Wikipedia
  20. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  21. Hi All I have been taking SSRI for the last 4 years, last 2 years I tool Sertraline 20mg. I really wanted to stop them ! 3 months ago, I went to a water fasting retreat, and at the advice of the instructor I stopped them cold turkey. Big mistake ! The first 2 months were great ! I felt good, alive, and happy that there are no withdrawal symptoms. But last month the withdrawal started kicking. I had severe insomnia, few days of rage, depression and feeling of anxiety in the solar plexus coming and going. I didn't know what to do, so decided to see if I can handle it without going back to medications. I am quite self aware, went to quite a few body\mind treatments, started doing body exercises, started taking Omega 3, and tried to do good things for myself. These things help, but the symptoms persist, and it is hard. The situation now is that I have: Severe insomnia, quite sensitive emotionally, mild depression sometimes, the anxiety in the solar plexus comes in the evenings, weak memory, and I worry\think a lot about the situation - how long will it persist, and what should I do. My day-to-day functioning is OK for now. and sometimes I also feel happy. My question to you in this amazing forum is what should I do now ? Should I go back to taking Sertraline and start tapering it off very slowly ? to what dosage should I return ? Or, if I already did the stupid cold turkey withdrawal, and am already 1 month into the withdrawal symptoms, maybe I should just hang on the best I can until the finish ?
  22. Hi all, I am quite new here but I think I really need help and support. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 18 years old and I was prescribed sertraline 400mg( yes 400) and fluxetine at the same time. I was using them for couple of years and I was literally sleeping all the time. I could not keep my studies or even a normal everyday life. After a few years my OCD turned into severe depression. For which I had to keep using sertraline. Since then I have been using this medicine in at least 100 mg and I have suffered hypersomnia and cognitive impairment. Back in highschool I was very good studies with some nationwide medals in science. But since i have been taking antidepressants my mind is not able to learn new things or remember stuff. I have decided to stop the medicine but I feel I have lost a lot of time and I am not sure if my mind will be able to be as sharp as it used to be. Also I have heard that there a risk of dementia. Can you please help me if you have gone through a similar process?
  23. Hello everyone, It has been hard to be able to look at the screen, so I will write briefly: I was on several different psychiatric drugs from ages 7-17 because of my mother. I can't remember all of them but have listed the ones I remember in my drug history. In 2020 I took Prozac because I was having depressive symptoms, it was for many months but hard to remember exactly how many. In 2021 I took 25mg of Setraline for 2-3 weeks because of trauma resulting from seeing a family member commit suicide in front of me and then my mother in law died. After taking Setraline for 2-3 weeks, I started to experience depersonalization/derealization. I quit Sertraline cold-turkey because I did not like how I felt. Withdrawal symptoms started 2 days later. I tried to smoke weed to alleviate it and it made my symptoms worse. Morning cortisol kicked in and more and more symptoms are appearing or changing. I don’t want to reinstate, but I am considering it. I am suffering badly and hope this ends soon. Are there any recommendations on what I should do?
  24. Hello everyone, i am in need of dire help, my life is on a razor's edge at the moment. I have had depression for the majority of my life but as of today im on the cusp of my depression leading me to the worst situation i have ever been in. I am 34 years old and this post is about my most recent experience on the ssri escitalopram. I had suffered from a delibating traumatic experience which lead me from one hellish experience to another. It started with me experiencing a concussion march 2019 which spiraled me into post concussion syndrome and consequently worstening depression poor concdntration etc i avoided ssris and fast forward 8 months later nov 2019 i lost my 5 month old puppy who was my support dog for my post concussion syndrome to a deadly virus called parvo. I was in a strong depression afterward and my mother who is a psychiatrist prescribed me escitalopram 2.5 and ativan.5 . After my puppy died i could not even leave my room i was crying everyday. I could not function and i felt at that point that even though i was against any ssris i would take the escitalopram. Against my better judgement i took it the first couple weeks i had increased anxiety but slowly i began to function better and my crying spells and s thoughts diminished. I had began to regain my confidence a month in and met new friends. I had upped the doseage to 10mg and was on 10 mg until sept 2020 where i began to wean off until Nov 2020 because i felt like the escitalopram was just making me feel nothing and i was becomimg more arrogant and egotistical almost maniacal which wasnt myself I weaned off completely by Nov 2020 with little to no withdrawal symptoms. I felt like i wasnt very happy but i also wasnt very sad more like in the middle with slight ups and downs. Fast forward to March 2021 i was in a rocky relationship which was making my moods and emotions unstable i began to feel more irritable i wasnt enjoying life as much i was when on the escitalopram. I started having more insomnia, began to feel a little more depressed by april 2021 i had contemplated reinstating escitalopram this was the worst decision of my life i looked down at the bottle and instead of contacting my mom i simply decided to take 10 mg from the beginning for 5 days then upped the dose to 20mg what followed is a nightmare im still living in today. When i felt the escitalopram was making me feel sad uneasy i contacted my mother she told me i could not start from 10 then go to 20mg and that i should stop now. After i stopped cold turkey i began having the withdrawals within 2 days of stopping everyday for 4 months. Started with the flu like symptoms for 2 days then the massive headaches, short term memory loss, dizziness,inability to concentrate, massive insomnia,rage anger, derealization, for 2 months after the headaches,dizziness went away came the massive emotional instability,crying everyday,s thoughts and attempts, waking up with complete terror, very deep dark thoughts in the random times of the day, body aches felt like my body was itching for a drug burning like fire ants all over it. Fast forward now its been 4 + months my previous withdrawals like headaches,dizziness,rage,insomnia have went away now i have extreme depression s thoughts everyday, ocd, dysphoria,dont want to do anything but stay in my room, im like a child who needs babysitting just to keep me from doing something stupid like the s thoughts and urges. I have read on here that reinstating can be an option. I feel like my brain chemistry has been altered to a point where im now dependent on psychiatric drugs. Before this i never had such strong urges and thoughts for self harm. I had depression but i wasnt this unstable now i feel like im very close to the end. I read that reinstating at >1mg of the original ssri taken can provide relief i have done this before during the withdrawal symptom stage at 2.5mg and it made my brain feel "numb" and my symptoms even worst so i quit about 4 days in. Im now trying 1mg this has been my second day trying. I believe im now in the stage where im post withdrawal and depression has returned to worst levels than before due to stopping cold turkey. Im taking daily video diaries to see how im doing. 1st day i took it at night and noticed a slight improvement in mood, dreams were extremely vivid and strange woke up in the middle of the night went back to sleep hour later after taking unisom sleep pills. Woke up with body anxiety took 750mg of gaba was relieved of anxiety. Then first half of the day i noticed colors were brighter and mood was slightly increased. Then a couple hours i had a hard crash bad deep dark thoughts, traumatic memories, s thoughts and urges same sadness. Took another >1mg followed by .5 klonopin fell asleep 2 hours woke up heavy drowsy still feeling sad. Then hour in i noticed improvement most likely klonopin its the only thing i used before that helps but i never take a half pill a week because im terrified of benzo dependence/withdrawal. Today is my second day on >1mg of escitalopram i woke up with diminished s thoughts. My question is this me restarting the escitalopram a good idea and how long should i stay on it lets say if this does actually work and will my s thoughts be there forever because they are so strong i want to admit myself to the psych ward but am afraid they will put me on more drugs. I feel so hopeless at this point. Ive been taking every supplement i could find throughout the withdrawals. If i had just known to retake the the 10mg of escitalopram during the first few days of withdrawals i believe i would have never gotten to this point.
  25. Hi and thanks for letting me in. I would like to hear from others, who suffers a lot from physical pain in withdrawal - possibly also from anybody who did a cold turkey from both antidepressants and benzos. My story short. I got sertraline two times. First for 1.5 year, then 8 months break, and then I got it for half a year, before I stopped cold turkey. Among all that, I also took zopiclone for 5 years (benzo-like sleeping pills). These I also cold turkied 4 months after sertraline. It's now been 14 months since I stopped sertraline and 10 months since I stopped zopiclone. I stopped because, I functioned very poorly. It became harder and harder to take care of work and my three kids (I'm alone with them every second week). I realized that maybe I functioned poorly because of the drugs, and that's why I stopped. I couldn’t find any other explanations. Since then, I still suffer from fatigue, burning pain in my brain and body (like someone poured acid in my brain/body), muscle and joint ashes (especially in arms, legs, hands and feet), head aches, brain pressure, chest pain, stomach issues. In the morning it is so bad that it takes me an hour or two to get out of bed. I really try to be active, but it is soo hard to do anything with all the pain and fatigue. I had a doctor saying I got Fibromyalgia, but I think my self that it is protracted withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms are just similar, I guess. I really don't have so much windows and waves pattern. It's awful most of the time, and then - maybe - there is a very seldom window lasting a few hours, before next day, It's awful again. It has been like this since I withdrawed from sertraline the first time, and got much worse when I reinstated and did a vold turkey Can anybody relate to all this? Thank you so much for any support.
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