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  1. Hello all, After some misplaced reluctance to create an account and my own thread, my anxiety is skyrocketing and this is the only way I can think of calming it. I took Sertraline for a single day (did not like how it made me feel + worsened hyperactivity) back in late August/early September, what followed in the next few weeks was an onslaught of generalised anxiety along with anxiety attacks. This was new for me. A week after returning to University in mid-September I experienced ‘flu-like’ symptoms, an all-consuming fatigue, malaise, brain fog, and depression (of which I assumed was caused by these feelings). Due to the increased anxiety I had been experiencing since that one tablet I took in late August, I decided to try the Sertraline again in hope that I could ride out it’s initial symptoms and find my feet and mind again. The week in Sertraline whilst plagued with poor concentration and short-term memory, was blissful to say the least, I even text my mum exclaiming, ‘I haven’t felt this good since I was ten!’; meaning that I hadn’t a care in the world; I felt free again. Because of my work-load at university, I felt like it was best to stop the Sertraline as it was making it hard for me to spell, think creatively, and empathise with my newly formed girlfriend. After the abrupt stop (I wouldn’t call it a ‘cold-turkey’ as was only a single week, I may be naive however in saying this. Please correct me if I’m wrong) I felt okay, able to work, excitable if not a little too excitable, but the general feeling was that within a week, I’d be me again. Two weeks after stopping the five consecutive doses of sertraline, I noticed that I was gradually feeling more and more spaced out with every day that passed until it morphed into full-blown depersonalisation. I felt disconnected, empty, like I was high in caffeine 24/7, or even flying through a dream would be an accurate tell of its qualities. This continued, while getting better slightly with each day passed for just under a month, it’s hopefully subsided. During this period I had tunnel vision, everything seemed blurry and I felt dizzy when out and about/stressful or anxious places. I had what I believe is called aphasia, understanding was fine, I just couldn’t work or produce literature to save my life. My concentration/attention span had disappeared, I couldn’t read articles let alone absorb any of their information. The blurry vision has gone, but has been replaced with an ever so slight static or I’ve seen it being called a ‘haze’, only really noticeable in the dark. My vision seems darker than it was before and I guess ‘not right’, it does seemed to have improved by a smidgen though. Whilst I wouldn’t say that I’m still depersonalised, I still feel a little detached from my surroundings, this can fluctuate in some circumstances, and almost disappear in some. I have double vision that only comes on in the night (early morning), light trails that become worse the longer I stay up at night for. Street lights also produce a horrible glare, this can return to normal levels when not stressed, but if I’m with someone who provokes this, or start worrying + looking for it everywhere, it can become much worse with even entering a shop becoming a behemoth if a task. I am also plagued with a low-frequency tinnitus, sounds sort of like steam, or a quiet tv static. This condition is all I’ve been able to think about since I’ve had it, the anxiety has ramped up, along with my emotions in the past two weeks and I’ve just been unable to function. This has all been accompanied by a slight brain fog and when stressed, pressure in my eyes and head (the feeling of pressure has got a lot better, almost non-existent now). Is there anyone out there with these symptoms who’ve seen them subside/go away? I’ve read online about visual snow and I’m terrified that this isn’t going to get better. I feel like I’ve ruined my life and feel that I’m stuck, dependent on my mum. I’m even worrying about what will happen to me once she has passed. Im really worried that this is going to be my new baseline. Thank you all for this amazing site, Icip.
  2. Hi folks, Just looking for a bit of advice. I'd been on Prozac, 25mg a day, for 9 months, for depression and wanted to come off them. I was advised by my doctor to take a 25mg tablet on alternating days for 1 month and then stop completely. I did this and have now been off for 4 weeks. Asides from some rather severe depression symptoms my main withdrawal issue has been PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder), something which I suffered with 2 years ago. What I'm wondering is, does this mean I tapered off too quickly? I should also mention I have M.E. and tend to respond strongly to drugs. Is the best plan of action to just ride this out and hope the symptoms go or to go back on the Prozac and taper off again much slower? (my doctor did tell me if I go back on the Prozac I'd have to stay on for 2 years but I really don't want to do that.) Any advice appreciated, Thanks
  3. Seven/eight years ago, due to a peculiar set of circumstances, I ended up closing down the successful business I had founded. The loss of my business and financial resources lead to various problems in my life. About six years ago I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My psychiatrist put me on: Citalopram 10 mg/day. Axal (Alpralozam) 0.5 mg The immediate effect was that the anxiety disappeared. The depression got better (or at least the symptoms did), however I never returned to life of extreme activity like I had lead previously. About two years ago my medications were changed. Citalopram 10 mg twice a day i.e. 20 mg Effexor Xr 75 mg/day Axal 0.5 mg day. In these years I have tried quitting cold at least 4 times. Each time I had to go back on medications. The only success story is that I gave up Axal, a benzo, cold. I had no WD effects from giving up Axal. Today I only take Citalopram 20 mg and Effexor 75 mg. I must add that I also have Epilepsy since I was 13 years old. For the past 37 years I have been taking anti-epileptic drugs. My current drugs for Epilepsy are: Tegral 400 mg. Lumark 750 mg. These I cannot get rid off for obvious reasons. My only wish is to get off Citalopram and Effexor XR. I totally believe these do not help me. My anxiety has gone away, but I have this permanent listlessness. I was once an over-ambitious person and today I am totally flat. I don’t feel much emotions, and the desire to achieve success is gone. Failures and losses don't bother me either. This is not what and who I was. I’ve read many of the subjects here, including the wonderfully detailed Taper section. I do need your advice as to how I should approach my taper. Should I quit Effexor XR first or Citalopram? Any other advice on muti-drug taper would be welcome. PS: My daughter gets married in 3 months. I am planning to start a very low 5-10% taper immediately. Any advice? Thanks again.
  4. 36year old man. Married, no kids. I've been on SSRIs for 15 years now. I've been tapering off them for 5 years. Effexor was what I took for depression, anxiety. From 2004-2014 I gradually took more and more until I got to a point where I couldn't be prescribed a higher dose (can't remember specific, will ask doctor). The plan was to get onto a different ssri, but I had to taper down to a lower dose before I could bridge with prozac. The withdrawal was awful and the more I learned about psychotropic drugs the more I wanted off completely. I have strong feelings of worthlessness and shame. I'm embarrassed to look anyone in the eye. I've exercised, meditated, changed my diet, take supplements, see a therapist, i've established a support network, cbt, affirmations, rigid self care program. Still hate myself. Still get suicidal thoughts. I want to try life with no antidepressants. Maybe that's it. I think it's actually the drugs that are keeping my depression from lifting. I hope. I've been aware of the forum for years and finally decided to post. I feel alone in this withdrawal from time to time. I haven't been to a support group in months. My phone never rings and I like it that way. I want to hide from everyone. I don't know anyone else quitting their meds. Feels like I'm losing my identity and I just don't care enough to build it back.
  5. Hello, I'm new to this forum and I'm working toward tapering off of 225 mg of venlafaxine. I am a 70 year old male, that has been very active and health conscious. My weakness has been depression. I previously had two periods of feeling depressed that involved obtaining an antidepressant from my general practice doctor. I would get to the point of feeling spacey and or lethargic, then do talk therapy to get back off of the drug. These where phase one antidepressants, and I would taper off slow over say 4 to 6 months without noticeable side effects. These events occurred between 2005 to 2008 per notes I still have. I retired from Highway Engineering March 1, 2014. Many emotional events piled upon me during the next five months. The stressors where; retiring and adjustment period, daughter coming home to live with us and get a divorce, a vicious son in law (being divorced), one or two other more minor stressors that I do not recall, and a huge spiritual crisis in which I felt I had not lived as graciously as God would have wanted me to. In July 2014 I became fixated on thinking about all these things. I sat in a stupor for days, lost 15 pounds, thought the devil was speaking and accusing me of my wrongs and tempted me to deny God and just die. My wife asked me If I had thought of suicide and I admitted that I had. She called 911 and got help. They took me to a hospital and put me on suicide watch till they could transfer me to a psych ward for treatment. I was confined for a week and given many medications. I also had a physical problem that they dealt with. I was released to an out-patient psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me he would take me off all the previous medications except for increasing my dose of venlafaxine to 225 mg. I have been on venlafaxine for four (4) years. In May 2018 I stopped drinking all alcohol and also stopped experimenting with legalized cannabis. I quickly felt a bit more energy. I put this energy toward searching the internet for information about venlafaxine and antidepressants. I have learned much, but still want to keep learning. My Psychiatris agreed to allow me to get off Venlafaxine October 4, 2017, after telling him repeatedly about my desire to and why. He reduced my venlafaxine from 225 mg to 150 mg. The short of it is that I did not make it, and went back to the full dose. After learning more about how to decrease slowly, I am ready to try again. I have sought the help of my general practice doctor, who is supportive and has reduced me to 187.5 mg. Since I know that a 10% reduction is better, I cut open a 37.5 mg capsule, counted the beads, and took 40% of those beads, 15, and added them to the 187.5 mg, for a new total of 202.5 mg. I'm also taking daily notes of my physical and mental state, and dosage. I will see my general practice doctor monthly. I will be also talking to my Psychiatrist about my plans. I plan to start talk therapy also. Does anyone have any advise or comments?
  6. I had started this heavy headed ness in December 2018..The feeling was like someone tying strong knot around my head and its getting tighter...with NO relief in site....I ddint knw at that time , it was related to depression. So i kept hoping that it will ultimately subside after diet change, sleep patterns etc.. but nothing worked ....After 6 months of this unbearable pain.I visited psychiatrist.In our society and family , visiting psychitrist is taboo, so visit was late...I feel if I started this early, i would have better by now. He has Started off with amixide-h, SSRI...it helped me ...I got recovered to some extent .But not completely. then my doctor advised me to visit another doc at metropolitan area. so i did... he started with having SSRI and betacap 20 ....and increased dosage gradually... I recovered but new monster arose infront of me 'ANHEDONIA/emotional blunting/numbness' ...It was making me disassociated from everyone i am closer and affecting every relations i have.There was no feeling, no interest in activities which i enjoy, ....There was like no feeling of emotions except anger, rage, hate , frustration etc negative one.. Then i talked this to doctor, he changed tab to Dulexetin , buproprien and betacap for this emotional apathy .....This has really helped me in relieving some symptoms of depression ..Anhedonia but remained ... After 4-5 month of treatment , Now i am recovered to the extent but last problem for me remains. In between i tried supplements like MUCUNA pruriens for dopamine, its very effective for me with libido increase, sexual pleasure, but not helped much with anhedonia. Now i started on with AGOMELATINE for this anhedonia thing...so will update about its effectiveness after 1 -2 months. If anyone has gone through plaese reply and suggest any new thing for anhedonia...LETS beat this.... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pills amixide h , flunil 20- from june 19 to july 19 galop 10 , betacap 20 - from aug 19 to nov 19 with variations dulexetine 20, bupropriion 150 - dec 19 to march 20.
  7. Hi there everyone, Im really hoping to get some perspective on my situation as it feels as though Im a bit of a loss. My story: In May 2016 I suffered a mental break due to high situational stress which resurfaced trauma. I experienced panic attacks, depression, paranoia (induced by an acne medication started in the days prior) instrusive thoughts, etc. Not knowing what was happening I saw an MD that prescribed me Zoloft. After 2 days on it I became desperate and ended up in hospital where I was switched onto Lexapro 15mg and Risperidone 0.5 for my racing thoughts and sleeping pills. I was released after 2 weeks and soon after I quickly gave up the sleeping pills. I underwent psychotherapy and in February 2017 I gave up the dose of Risperidone and reduced my Lexapro to 10 mg. In spring of 2018 I talked to my MD about feeling strong enough to begin my taper as I felt like I'd been functioning well. The side effects of reduced emotions, 30lb weight gain and low libido were nagging me so he said I was approved to go. I did some research and began reducing at what I thought was a slow taper; in retrospect I can see it wasn't. I did my best to cut the pills and did this: -10mg to 7.5mg for 2 weeks - 7.5mg to 6mg for 3 weeks - 6mg to 5mg for 2 weeks And so forth... As I tapered I experienced WD symptoms like anxiety, panic, dizziness, crying spells etc. As a result I started seeing a therapist who was supportive of what I was trying to do. When I got to smaller doses I switched to a liquid form of lexapro and managed to wean myself to 1.2mg and then it was TOO MUCH. I reinstated to 1.3mg and recovered for months as my work life became so complicated and I needed time to help myself. That last taper was in Sept 2018 and here I am nearly 10 months later. I have been changing my lifestyle and working through again resurfaced traumas with a new therapist, and Im feeling more like that mild to moderate depression is lifting. I have been struggling again with a lack in range of emotions and wondering if this is a me problem or a medication issue. The therapist seems to think that my anxiety and mild/moderate depression are back and new meds is the key solution. With all the progress I've made and how I've grown in over 3 years makes me think otherwise, so I feel stuck. Being on such a low dose how should I go about continuing my taper? Is it possible Im experiencing a poop-out that I've read about? Just looking for advice! On the day to day my mood is stable not much anxiety except around my cycle. Just again those flattened emotions which is frustrating. This website has been a guide post for me in educating myself, thank you so much!
  8. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  9. Hi guys, Long time visitor to the site, but just registered to get some answers if possible. I’ll start with my history on Lexapro. I was convinced back in 2010 I was dying from a brain tumor and got very anxious and scared of what I was feeling. I remember getting the fight or flight sensations and it terrified me and I didn’t know what was happening. Doctor prescribed 5mg lexapro and then that went to 10mg. After about 1 - 2 years on it I wanted to get off it so the doctor recommend half the tablet and taper over the course of 4weeks. Followed his instructions and did that. Maybe 6-8 weeks the withdraw set in, brain zaps feeling of doom etc etc. Doc put me on the tablets again 10mg. So I stayed on them for about 5 more years and I think at 1 point went up to 20mg for about 4 months in 2011. Mainly I’ve been on 10mg. So fast forward to 2019. My anxiety was still here and doctor wanted me on 15mg of lexapro. So I did that, April 2019 started 15mg of Lex, and then in August I decided to taper but slowly. By November 24th I was on 5.5mg of Lexapro. I tried to see if I would stabilise one this dose but come January 2020 I didn’t and began to increase to 6.6, then next week 7.7 and then I stuck on 8mg from January 25th till February 15. I started to feel more anxiety and not only that depression came and I never suffered with depression so it was strange, nothing interests me or it’s just blah feeling. I am now 9 days on lexapro 10mg again and feeing like I failed. I must mention that when I went back up to 8mg from 5.5mg dosage I’m not sure if coincidence but my legs are feeling very heavy. I still have the depression symptoms too and I’m wondering if I am still in some type of withdrawal. Any advice regarding my recent increase? Should I stay on the 10mg ? I really want to get off these meds and will follow the 10% taper from this website but I just ask when would be the time to taper? I feel like the meds are now making me depressed and loss of interest in activities and my job too. thanks for reading if you got through all that lol -Jack
  10. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  11. DavidfromTexas

    DavidfromTexas

    Hi, everybody. My name is David. I just discovered these forums a couple days ago as I was searching the internet for answers and hope. I'm in pretty bad shape right now, even as I am typing these first lines I am starting to cry. I feel better about asking other people who have been through the same issues as me, as opposed to a psychiatrist that just wants to put me on medication. Warning: this is going to be a long post, I apologize and thank you in advance for reading. LONG-TERM MEDS HISTORY: I am now 30 years old, and have been on Anti-Depressant medication for 20 years. I was diagnosed with pretty severe OCD/Anxiety around age 10 or 11, and immediately started on Anti-Depressant medication. (It was warranted, I was in such despair and largely unable to function even in everyday activities like school and doing normal kid things, and was never going to be able to get through any kind of Behavioral Therapy at that point in my life). SO we started with Zoloft (Sertraline), and it made a HUGE difference pretty immediately. I was able to be much more of a "normal" kid, though I did have setbacks here and there. After the better part of a decade, when the Zoloft seemed to not be working as well anymore, we switched to Cymbalta (Duloxetine), which I have been on for approximately the last decade. Which brings me to... SHORT-TERM MEDS HISTORY: Sometime in 2017 (I think), I decided I finally wanted to try going without my medication. I began a tapering with my prescribing psychiatrist that lasted 6+ months UNTIL the beginning of 2018 when I dropped COMPLETELY off of the medication. The tapering process was 90mg down to 60mg, then down to 30mg, then eventually down to nothing. I had NO physical withdrawal symptoms when I did this, and I remained off of the Medication for maybe around 3 months. The only REAL reason I decided to go back on the medication after those 3 months was because I had been feeling much more down/sad since being off of them, BUT I was unsure how much of that was normal (my 4-year first-love relationship finally died at the end of 2017) and how much of that was possibly a side-effect of being without the medication. SO, by April of 2018 I had decided to go back on Cymbalta, and I pretty quickly went all the way back up to 90mg. The plan was to be on it for a little while longer to give myself time to heal from the loss of this relationship. By the end of Oct. 2018 I had made it back down to 30mg, where I would stay for the next 5-6 months. (I think I tried dropping off the medication once during this period but went back on pretty quickly because I started feeling some physical withdrawal symptoms that I hadn't before. At this point, my memory is kinda blending it all together.) I tried dropping off again this April and felt the withdrawal effects worse than I did the previous time. So once again, I went right back on it. THEN I started seeing a different Dr (a nurse practitioner) who has experience helping people wean off of meds. Following her suggestions, THIS TIME I weaned from 30mg down to 20mg daily for 2 weeks, then started taking the 20mg ever other day for 2 weeks, then down to half of the 20mg pill every other day for 2 weeks (opening capsule and pouring out approximately half of the beads), and then finally taking half a 20mg pill every 4 days for a couple weeks. Doing it THIS way prevented the physical withdrawal symptoms I had experienced the couple times before. BUT now it's the emotional despair that I am worried about... WHERE I AM NOW: I have now been completely off of the medication since July 2nd. If I can just get through this depression and sadness, I just KNOW that I will be able to handle the issues that originally plagued me 20 years ago. I have lived through it all, and with the experience and memories and knowledge that I have now, I should be able to cope with it much better. I am just worried that it's the worst timing ever. Here we are, over a year and a half since my relationship was fully dead, and I am struggling with it worse than I have at any point since its death. I have only recently decided I need to do whatever I can to get past it because it is CERTAINLY not coming back (talked with her a few days ago). BUT what is now troubling me, is that I'm not sure if my current depression is due to the loss of the relationship OR if it's due to me being completely off of medication now and my brain having to re-wire itself and recover. OR if it's a really bad combination of both. I've never been through heartbreak like this before, but it seems to be getting progressively worse, where in normal circumstances it should be getting progressively better as time wears on. How can I tell the difference between true, natural depression and depression that's an effect of withdrawal? I assumed (maybe naively) that if I didn't have any physical withdrawal symptoms then I probably wouldn't have any emotional symptoms either. Just looking for some thoughts/insight from people with similar experiences. I am scared that I will have to remain on Anti-Depressants for the rest of my life, and who knows how THAT might even damage my health. I have been researching alternate, more natural forms of therapy for someone like me with Serotonin issues, the use of things like magnesium supplementation and whatnot. MY MAIN CONCERN IS BEING ABLE TO BE HAPPIER AGAIN, and I'm just hoping I can do that without Anti-Depressants. (I'm also dealing with other smaller physical issues like PE, which began as soon as I started weaning and gradually got worse the less amount of meds I took. But again, at this point, the more important thing to me is my mental health and mood. I don't want to feel heartbroken and hurt anymore.) Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time. David
  12. I'll try to keep this kind of short. I've finally decided to post an intro today after reading posts on this site for a few years now which has helped a lot with understanding what's going on since most doctors just told me my SSRI discontinuation/withdrawal symptoms-which were unlike anything I'd ever experienced before and physically and emotionally worse than I'd ever felt-were a return of my depression & anxiety or possibly a bipolar disorder according to one doctor. I knew for a fact that it was not my original anxiety & depression, but I had no idea what was happening in the beginning or how to explain it. I had social anxiety, depression, & general anxiety since age 12 and was not allowed to drive/take the bus/go out or do much by myself other than going to school (because everything was too dangerous) by controlling, religious parents with their own high anxiety and agoraphobia. I was never allowed to receive counseling for these issues & when I went off to college, it was an extremely difficult struggle going from not being allowed to do almost anything to suddenly being responsible for figuring everything out on my own. I was also not great with time management skills & knowing how to plan ahead. (I actually relate to a lot of symptoms of ADD & Asperger's, which both greatly affect social skills & ability to get through college and would explain a lot of problems I've had. I have learned more about them in the past year, but can't afford to get diagnosed right now so I've just been looking at support groups for days when my nausea is lessened.) I felt overwhelmed all the time and all my negative thoughts worsened severely. I didn't see the free counselor at college during this time either because I was embarrassed about everything and about asking for help. I finally decided I wanted to try to make a change and try counseling the summer after sophomore year of college at age 20 and was at rock bottom, desperate to not feel depressed. I knew someone who said their antidepressant helped them, so I asked a doctor for medicine and they prescribed sertraline. After taking the first pill, I had a surge of anxiety and racing thoughts that made it impossible to concentrate. Within the first couple days on 25 mg of sertraline, I was gagging and dry heaving over and over for at least 20 minutes as soon as I ate anything. I would also throw up multiple times in a short timespan after one snack or meal. I called my Dr & was told to skip a dose and then change the time I took the dose from morning to night. After a week of this (dry heaving & vomiting all meals) on 25 mg, and another call to the doctor, I was told that digestive issues are a possible starting symptom and to increase to 50 mg. As soon as I increased, the gagging & vomiting increased even more. After 6 days of this, I called the doctor again and was told I could stop taking it altogether since it had been such a short amount of time on it. And to come in for a different medicine Rx after the weekend. The very first day that I didn't take the sertraline, I felt the worst nausea I had ever felt in my entire life. I ended up asking a friend to drive me to the ER because I felt so sick. I told the Dr how I had just stopped sertraline. The doctor said that my pupils were dilated and my reflexes were overactive. Then, he listed off illegal drugs & asked if I had taken those. (No, I've never tried any drug before). He said "You need to tell me what else is going on because the antidepressant couldn't have caused this." And I said "I don't know" and started crying. I do know that people in my family are highly sensitive to medicines and have since found out I have a gene that causes me to metabolize slowly so things build up for longer in my system. Anyway, the Dr left the room and at one point I was given Ativan in an IV by the nurse which did ease the nausea. When the Dr came back, he told me I had SSRI discontinuation syndrome, (he didn't explain what that meant), that I could never try another SSRI, and gave me a Rx for a small bottle of Ativan. My mom said he mentioned something on the phone to her about serotonin syndrome which dilated pupils and overactive reflexes are symptoms of, but I don't remember him saying anything about it directly to me. He also mentioned reinstating a small amount might help but my mom didn't pass this on to me until much later because she didn't want me to take it. After that, I experienced: -more dry heaving which gradually lessened in frequency -random times of vomiting after eating and after exercising when I wasn't sick & the food wasn't bad (or sometimes nothing was left to vomit & only a small amount would come up) -continuing debilitating nausea & dizziness -olfactory hallucination (putrid smell that wouldn't go away, would intensify around strong scents such as soap & car exhaust) -uncontrollable crying at every tiny thing (neuro-emotion, not regular sadness) -uncontrollable rage (neuro-emotion) -intrusive thoughts & floods of bad memories which I "word vomited" in texts to my sisters -didn't want to be around people who I associated with bad memories because it would greatly intensify neuro-anxiety. (I'd guess the feeling is similar to what people mean who talk about experiencing bad drug trips and how it's important to be with people you trust) -nightmares -paranoia/suspicion/distrust (felt like my mom & sister were not really my mom and sister even though logically, I knew it was them. Things feel creepy & sinister -almost like a horror movie sometimes. A post I read here compared the sinister feeling to a bad LSD trip. I have never tried LSD, but I understood what they meant & is the closest way I found to describe it. -cognitive fog (thinking, processing speed, & reaction time is noticeably slower) (I was a slow thinker/processor before, but it feels like I have brain damage now) -memory problems (I was somewhat forgetful before, but am even more so now) -depersonalization ("it feels like the medicine changed who I am & I don't have an identity/sense of self which I still hadn't fully formed before sertraline) -derealization (feel emotionally disconnected & distant from people/atmosphere. I know things are real, but they don't feel real. Sometimes it feels like consequences won't matter or there is no sense of helpful anxiety even in a potentially dangerous situation. Logically, I know they do matter and still want to do the right thing) -anhedonia/apathy/emotionally numb (don't care about things or have the same amount of passion for interests or feel empathy for other people's emotions or feel spiritual even though I had some spiritual beliefs before. Couldn't feel hopeful about anything/future or feel love towards or from anyone. These emotions have slowly returned to a certain degree since then & levels of ability to feel them have changed at different courses of time) -blurred/cloudy vision (when DR was at most intense, vision was different. Hard to explain) -eye floaters ( random black specks & lines) Didn't notice these until a year after DC-ing -constant yawning/air hunger -stomach/digestion issues -burning, tingling, itching, numbness, redness in feet -brain zaps/"crackles" (sometimes annoying, sometimes painful, but my most tolerable symptom) -head pressure/tightness, feels like head is being squeezed -headaches There was also a period of 6 months where I thought certain symptoms were over and after that period, the dizziness returned. Those are most of the symptoms I've experienced in the past approx 3.5 years. They're not in order. I'm 24 now. A few have gone away for the most part (vomiting, olfactory hallucination, yawning) and most are less intense. I have really improved a lot, I don't mean to sound overly negative. But, I still have the issues I went on the SSRI for & I have trouble accepting where I am & worrying about where to go from here & the uncertainty of how long this lasts because it has put lots of areas of my life on hold (I wasn't able to go back to college, I hope to someday) and ended up making things harder to deal with when I was told it would make them easier. (BTW, I am now seeing a counselor). I don't understand why people say SSRI's are not technically drugs when they have this much of an effect on your mind, mood, & perceptions. Sorry if I have over shared, I might need to post a shorter version of this at some point that's easier to read. And I'm still figuring out the layout of the website & where to post about certain questions & topics. I just know that sometimes other people's explanations made me feel better because I had some understanding of what was happening & words to describe feelings I'd never had before and didn't know how to explain. I've also had other stress & health issues and a few (physical health) medicines that have affected my withdrawal progress, but I guess that's a topic for a separate forum. Any advice, similar experiences, recommendations, tips for using the site, or insight into what happened to my brain is appreciated if anyone feels so inclined :)
  13. Hi, I am a 24 year old female from Montreal, Canada. I keep my childhood close to my heart as it is evidence of life being enjoyable. At age 12, I was diagnosed with O.C.D. and after a year or two of therapy, I was able to rid myself of most of my obsessional behaviours. At age 13, entering high school, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression, and was quickly put on anti-depressants. The following decade of my life consisted of continuous suffering (unwavering depression, hospital stays, self harm, suicidal tendencies, crisis after crisis, chain smoking cigarettes, chronic weed smoker, overweight, risky behaviour, terrible relationship with parents, couldn't work or go to school, ect). I was on anti-depressants /anti-anxiety /anti-psychotic/ sleeping aid medication during puberty and after. In 2016, after a decade of suffering, and realizing the two constants in my life have been meds and suffering, I started questioning the mental health system and what I have been told, and fed. 3 years later, here I am, almost off of my 10-year-long relationship with Cipralex(SSRI) (from ten years of 40mg to now, 5mg). I was lucky enough to find somebody online who is incredibly experienced and knowledgable about weening off of meds, and who has helped me taper safely. I am also very lucky to have parents who would do anything for me and support my journey and healing in every way possible. Since then I have been reducing my dosages every few months very slowly with little withdrawal symptoms, and it has been going really well. I started feeling hope that I never thought would be possible. Up until now. A couple of months ago, I dropped my dosage of Cipralex from 5mg to 4mg and within two weeks started feeling waves of panic that I had not felt in years. One night, I felt the surge of panic, and eventually fell asleep after several hours of struggling. I woke up the next day and I was still in panic. The following 3 or 4 days I was stuck in this panic. There are no words to describe how horrific it feels to be trapped in what I thought could only last an hour maximum. (Disclaimer: I have a deep fear of "going insane". At this point, when I speak of "insanity", I am describing the experience of being pulled away from the normal reality I am ''used'' to. But, if there wasn't a sense of complete terror, I probably would mind it less. Stuck in terror is now how I define my understanding of "insanity".) It has been several months now (3 or 4) that I am experiencing the most horrific episodes of complete terror. The feeling of a nightmare doubled down under the weight of the realization that this is as real as it gets, there is no waking up from this horror, there is no waking up in relief. This is it. It's similar to in a nightmare, I feel the presence of something evil, I'm afraid to look over my shoulder, I'm afraid I'll see it, I am completely on edge. "Derealization" and "depersonalization" happening heavily. How I feel in a storm of terror, my entire understanding of reality is Doom. Something right behind me, the imminent danger, something horribly, horribly dangerous is here. Right here. And something terrible, catastrophic, EVIL, is going to happen, is happening and will get worse. I am going to snap. My personal hell tailored to my exact dread and fears. It is not like a normal sense of panic, or dread. I have had countless panic attacks previously. This... every single fibre of my being is shrieking in terror. There is not a crack of light. The whole entire game is different. My body is spiking with the threat of death, evil, “insanity”. My mind is trapped. I am trapped. It feels like there is a pressure on the back of my head but from the inside, something urging to get out, to escape. Screaming, desperate, shocked. Nightmares end in relief. There is no end to this, there is no waking up in relief. Death is part of the terror, so I cannot end my life. My brain, my mind, my spirit, in danger, threatened by Imminent Doom. Trapped. Panic. Unreal panic. Inconceivable panic. Fire in my stomach. Then ice. Then fire. Dizzy from panic. It feels like I am being sucked away into Hell. My inner voice fades. Vision unable to coordinate with mind, I am sinking into my skull, into darkness. Reality is not safe. No where to hide. NO WHERE TO HIDE. My body cannot handle such terror so it trembles uncontrollably. Knees knocking together. I could release all bodily fluids from how terrified I am. Gagging, I sometimes puke. I can't look at my mom or dad without being sent further into torture, they seem wildly unfamiliar and really, really distant. They cant help. Nobody can save me. Praying to God, any God. My hands gripping my clothing, pulling. Jaw locked, clenching. Can't close my eyes. Can't keep them open. No options. My mind, my Being, terror ripping through Everything. All of this is not accounting for when I wake up from sleep in Terror. In that, my attachment to my 24 years of life, my identity, my name and hands and vision, my beliefs, my parents, my entire concept of what it is to be Me, my inner self and outer self, is unretrievable. The fear has no way of being calmed, effort cannot even be made, my thoughts are out of order, completely, there is a chaotic sense of disorder. Part of me wonders if I am going 'insane', or if my fate is to end up in a state of constant panic. I have a newfound perspective on my own mortality, on the fragility of my own grip on 'reality'. I don't know how to deal with these 'attacks' and something tells me I will live the rest of my life in the shadow of this clear sense of doom. It feels like I am living in a nightmare, surreal yet painfully real. I have some little windows of hope and a sense of being ''grounded''. Sometimes a few days where I am Okay. This is what I hold onto, or try to hold onto, desperately when I start feeling the terror. But when I'm really IN the state of panic, there really is nothing I can do. I feel so alone in this experience. I am currently living back with my parents (I was living on my own for a couple of years). I am back on 5mg, and don't plan to continue tapering, not for a while. Thank you for reading. I am so TERRIFIED.
  14. Anybody had any experience with this controversial therapy, good or bad?
  15. Hi everybody. I just signed up. I know enough about depression to fill a book. I think I'm finally putting everything together after dealing with this monster for over half of my life (I'm 51). It took a whole lot of research and my dad getting diagnosed with cancer to push me into into enough pain that I figured out I needed to talk to my depression to beat it. Once I got that ball rolling, things started making sense. Then, I discovered tardive dysphoria, or oppositional tolerance - which is basically your brain on psych drugs = a pathological syndrome. So, here I am. I felt like a zombie. I couldn't think straight. My memory was shot. My emotions were numb. Now I'm down 75 mg on my mood stabilizer. I feel better. I feel like a slowly waking zombie. I feel more stable than I did before I started tapering down. My moods were totally erratic. I couldn't predict a darn thing. I was blowing up a customers for no dang reason! So, I think I became depressed because I am a perfectionist. It is a family thing. Well, it is kind of a human thing. Problem is, if you have an idea or a plan and it doesn't work out, you get bummed. If you are a "highly sensitive person" you get really, really bummed. I was a really sensitive kid. I cried about everything. My feelings got hurt easily. I was introverted, shy, got bullied, the whole tortured soul thing. I was a really sweet kid who would do anything to make anyone happy. Problem was, I let people take advantage of me. Eventually that catches up with you. I was wondering if anyone had a similar background, who knows how to just..... let go of being perfect? Especially how to get something else, like Mom, to let go? I adore my mom...... but we're having a rough go of it right now. We are both still grieving the loss of my dad. I'm withdrawing, she knows that, and we are having a horrible time communicating. I asked her to go to counseling. On her own, or with me. My brother is actually a psychologist. Nope. She won't go. I'm going, of course. I've been in an out of therapy for the last 25 years. Mostly in therapy. So as usual, I get to figure this out. It took me a really long time to figure my crap out but I'm hoping maybe I finally did.
  16. Where do I go from here? The first week of Nov. I tried to CT .5mg of k. I think I was off 4 days and then reinstated once the withdrawals hit me. I thought I would be able to stabilize so suffered for a month with intense anxiety and nausea with no relief. I thought for sure the V would save me so I crossed over to 10mg the first week of Dec. Unfortunately I was one of the rare, unlucky ones and couldn’t handle it. It caused horrific depression. After giving it 2 weeks I went back on .5mg k. Since then I’ve just been trying to make it day by day. Although the depression lifted a little bit I still cry everyday and the anxiety/nausea has slowly crept back in. I don’t know how or when I’ll be able to start my taper. I’m so scared. Prior to CT off benzo- I gave up my life in Arizona and moved home to live with my parents in Michigan this past Oct. I was on 6 psychiatric medications for depression. I CT the mirtazapine and Abilify I was on and felt amazing until I tried the same thing with the benzo. I also went down to 200mg from 300mg Zoloft and went down from 60mg Adderall to 10mg. I had to increase my dosage of Trazodone from 100 to 200mg. I’m 36 yo, divorced, no friends, no job. I don’t want to live with my parents forever. I don’t know how I am ever going to rebuild a life for myself.
  17. Hi, (this might be long, triggering, depressing or anxiety provoking, self loathing and more just wanted to give a heads up) I have not been in a good mental place since a young age but has got worse over time. I finished school and started to decline, still trying but eventually I guess I either succumbed or gave up, or maybe it was inevitable, but I pretty much became housebound ever since. It is not agoraphobia in the sense. I can and do leave the house, but it is rare and maybe 10mins a day. Main reason is Social anxiety, depression and just awful self esteem. I don't want to self loathe, I know people have it much worse and still fight day to day. I respect that honestly. So on to medication, I have been on 5 SSRI's, 2 TCA's, 2 SNRI, 2 MAOI. These are the only prescribed drugs I've been on. Without going into each specific one most of them have done little. Some did help. but I was young, came off them and didn't realise till months later they were helping. I have made a mess of my medication history for not sticking to all of them long enough or at high enough doses or taking them for granted when a few may have helped. I had the most success with MAOI, Nardil. I was on it for 6 months, it was not a cure but it has been the best thing I have tried. Motivated, less depressed, slightly less anxiety. Unfortunately it felt like it was becoming less effective (or so I thought) and the GP did blood tests and it raised my live enzymes to dangerous levels, so he said either reduce dose or come off. I did, quite quickly and although my original symptoms returned, I did not have withdrawal symptoms or discontinuation syndrome. I am grateful for that. Decided to try another MAOI Moclobemide. Psych said it is weaker than Nardil and does not reach as broad or deeply on neurotransmitters as Nardil does, so might not be potent enough I but gave it a shot. it is known to be one of the least toxic AD's, decent side effect profile etc despite it being a MAOI. There really is not a lot of bad information to find on it online. Most information you get is that is was like a sugar pill or incredibly weak I begin taking the Moclobemide. Start on the smallest dose. first few days are fine, no sides. A week in I began feeling pretty numb. I'm also not surrounded by people or responsibilities like working, but I'm feeling pretty bad. I just accept its initial feeling and try to power through. It doesn't change and I begin to feel worse, more numb, just bad. Again I told myself I need to give it more time, but it comes to a point that you cannot. Too much. So after thinking a lot, I decide I need off. I stopped the medication cold turkey. I thought its low dose, only been 14 days and its a med that is deemed 'mild' . So that was my reasoning. towards the end and the 7 days its been since stopping (feels like a month) well I don't know, I want to say hell but that could mean anything to anyone its so relative. Lets just say I feel like I'm in a constant bad trip but without the hallucinations. All I can think about is death. Not wanting to die, but how everything is an illusion. Any sense of meaning, joy, love, pain means nothing. Its not even real. Once I die, its all over. All I can think about is this 24/7. I'm crying most hours of the day. I feel like I've opened Pandora's box or been unplugged from the Matrix and the reality is living hell. I want to go back but I cant. I have spoken to the GP . All they said is we can book you in to see your Psych and start therapy in 2 months. That is a long time. I understand resources are finite and I am not priority, but still... I have a small bit of hope that this is not permanent, its just meds, it will go away. I'm not even sure it is, I feel it has unlocked some deep existential depression and I cant put it back. I do not feel suicidal, although if it does get worse and I keep thinking/feeling like this I don't see how it wont end in death. And if it doesn't, everything eventually ends in death anyway so it would just be a delay or temp fix if things got better...this is my way of thinking now. I think about my family and their death, how they will have never existed, how memory ceases to exist, growing old and decaying. All the time. Every hour, when I distract myself it still at the forefront. it is like a demon is my mind and it has decided it wants to stay. I thought my depression was bad before and not leaving the house & having no life was bad. But this seems to be on a whole differently level, like something humans are not meant to even think about or experience. All of this from Moclobemide, low dose, 2 weeks. It just goes to show how everybody reacts differently and how complex the interaction of biology is with chemicals. I went cold turkey on the highest dose Paxil and felt nothing ( and I know many have suffered with Paxil withdrawals, very badly). It is a weird feeling that you are slowly seeping into insanity but being aware of it at the same time but being not able to stop it. I hope to give an update on this in time. I wish everyone well and thank you for taking the time to read this.
  18. First of all thank you for the support you give on this site. I am from Spain, using Google translator. I started with psychiatric medications at age 16 from panic attacks, I'm currently 37. I've been trying to quit the medications for two years. Before starting the last withdrawal I was taking: EFFEXOR XR 150 mg1-0-0; TRANKIMAZIN RETARD 1mg 1-0-1; MIRTAZAPINE 15 mg 0-0-1. In January 2019 I started withdrawing TRANKIMAZIN 0.5 mg every 15 days; at the end of the cone I did not recover from withdrawal symptoms but despite that when the withdrawal of TRANKIMAZIN ends I began with the withdrawal of EFFEXOR. I removed 0.75 mg of EFFEXOR for two months. At this point I was very tired, I had muscular stiffness in my neck and many pains and had gained a lot of weight, I decided to remove MIRTAZAPINE first to see if the symptoms described above were solved. From there I eliminate MIRTAZAPINE in just one week, five months ago. There begins the greatest abstinence hell I've ever lived; panic attacks every thirty minutes, vomiting, diarrhea, sensitivity to light and sound, itching and skin sensitivity, burning eyes, lack of appetite, muscle aches throughout the body, extreme fatigue, anhedonia, depersonalization, dizziness ... As the symptoms were intolerable, reading in this forum that a benzodiazepine can help I start with DIAZEPAM. 2.5 mg - 0 - 2.5. The benzo works and the symptoms become more tolerable. the panic attacks almost disappear and I start eating a little. From this moment I try to hold on to see if the symptoms disappear. Today, sensitivity to light and sound, skin sensitivities have improved, I have no insomnia, no vomiting or diarrhea. However, I have had to abandon all my daily activities because any effort makes me feel very sick (flu symptoms). prolonged anhedonia and depersonalization have led me to a deep depression. My life is to be asleep as long as possible because the reality is too distressing, I have no appetite, I live with demotivation and hopelessness and ideas of death. I do not know if all these symptoms are an accumulation of the different withdrawals or are due exclusively to MIRTAZAPINE. I am afraid of restoring medication because my quality of life with her was very poor, the EFFEXOR caused my personality changes and psychic changes that wreaked havoc on my life. I would like to know what you think and what you would do in these difficult times. It is very difficult in Spain to find medical support that belives my story. Thanks for your support.
  19. Hi, I am 24. I quit my job and moved home last year because of being severely depressed and suicidal. I had another suicidal depressive episode when I was 14, but I have basically always been some degree of depressed. My depression has to do with my isolation and low self esteem. I havent tried meds ever until over the past year. I am currently on 225mg of Effexor and 15mg of remeron, but I also tried wellbutrin and prozac briefly and was on olanzapine for a while. Literally nothing has helped except mess me up even more. I am just making an account to learn more, I am not ready to taper yet because I am still very unstable and I am scared I might hurt myself. I also am not fully educated on whether meds are good or bad, whether I need them, etc. I definitely lean strongly towards them being b******t. But I am not very smart, so I dont understand it well enough to know for sure, and I want to be open minded for now. At this point, I just feel so disconnected from it all, I've lost my desires/goals in life, I feel less emotion, I dont even try to socialize, I have no faith in my abilities, little hope that Ill ever get better, I dont believe love exists, I dont think I can ever be happy, have friends or self esteem or ever be a normal functioning member of society again. I am really scared by it all, I am still unemployed, I was going to go back to college but I've cancelled that now too. I have my older sibling who is a great support and my parents too. I got a dog a month ago, and wow it has helped wayyyy more than anything. I love her so much, I take really good care of her, we go on so many adventures, she forces me to wake in the morning, to have a routine, to get fresh air, to clear my mind, to get exercise, to talk to people, to see new places. I used to constantly feel empty and pointless, especially when alone and idle, I would ruminate. But now, instead of ruminating, I try to spend that time with my dog instead, I also feel significantly less lonely and somehow time with her doesn't feel pointless and meaningless. She is 7 and has never had an owner or a chance to be a dog and play etc. Ive taught her how to swim, I am very patient with her, shes so calm and well behaved, I am teaching her many commands and she learns them fast. I cant even imagine life without her now. Currently, my plan is to look for a job, even a sh*tty part time job because I need money, a routine would be good and it would give me more purpose and fill time and I would talk to more people besides just my parents. So thats a good starting point I think, after that, I want to exercise more and I want to take Spanish lessons (but its expensive). I need a good way to make friends, but its hard and my low self esteem makes it near impossible. I also have the issue of not knowing what my sexuality is, so that prevents dating as well, but low self esteem is the most significant obstacle. Once I am more stable, I am considering getting off these meds but I am scared that I can never get off them now. And its not even like they are helping me at all, maybe the Effexor does some emotional blunting but I don't consider that progress if its just making me less empathetic and less able to be happy. Prior to meds, the emotional pain was very unbearable though. Anyways, nice to meet you. Thank you!
  20. RuthS

    ☼ RuthS: Home stretch?

    Hello, I finished my taper in August 2018, fifteen months ago. I have continued to improve and wanted to share some things I learned along the way. I have a snps in many of the genes involved in methylation such as MTHFR that can cause depression and anxiety. I started following the dietary recommendations of Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com and my symptoms have completely vanished. No more agitation, anxiety, or depression. I highly recommend you check out his website for valuable information on methylation and nutrition. Thanks to Dr. Masterjohn, I also discovered the work of Weston A Price and read his fascinating book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It seems that my snps don’t matter if I obey Mother Nature and eat a nutrient dense diet that provides all the nutrients I need to support methylation. I have started eating liver once a week. I don’t enjoy it; I take it like medicine and it works! I also eat eggs almost everyday and supplement with glycine. Since incorporating these foods into my diet, my agitation and anxiety have completely resolved. I am also sleeping great. I also eat a lot of vegetables and take a trace minerals supplement with nutritional doses ( the amounts you would get from diet) as opposed to massive pharmacological doses that I think override you system like drugs. I now believe that if we work with Mother Nature rather than trying to control her, we are better off. Dr. Weston A. Price said: “Life in all its fullness is Mother Nature obeyed.” I wish everyone endeavoring to get off their drugs the best of success. Keep plugging away. It’s hard, but if you persevere, you will make it!
  21. Hi there, I am glad that I found this forum and as I am at a very desperate state in my life right now - I am glad that I can find some people relating to my topic. I have first been prescribed Cipralex 5 mg about 10 years ago, when I was 20. I changed from high school to university and started having panic attacks from time to time and a very weird way of feeling myself (like being in a vacuum). Looking back, it was not THAT horrific but a general practitioner prescribed it to me after having a 10 minute-chat with me. I didn´t have any idea what antidepressants were back then - also he did not tell me anything about it. So I took it. I must say that - whether it was placebo or not - it helped. So I got off them (5mg, very small dose). 2 years later I had a similar phase, already working at an agency where I experienced panic attacks and felt very anxious in general. So I thought to myself: Hey that stuff worked the first time - I´ll take that again. I don´t really know if it did anything for me this time because I also quit my job and took a long vacation - I guess that would have done it as well. After maybe a little less than a year I quit again - this time it seemed harder. I always tapered - even with this little dosage. When I quit- the first time in my life ever, I had sort of depressive phases. But it went away. Then again some years later I had a very stressfull time in my life and a trigger-event that got me really freaked out and depression kicked in ...this time I did not want to start medication again but I could not see another way. thankfully shortly after I found my coaching technique that reeeallyyy helped a lot, did some family constellations and really started to understand the whole reason WHY I was dealing with all those problems. I understand now and I don´t feel crazy anymore for having experienced what I have experienced. But okay. So at the maximum I took 10 mg of Cipralex ( i always refused the neurologists wish of taking more and more) because I did not feel that the antidepressants helped. While taking 10 mg I still had very depressive phases, so I thought: Okay, if I take more, will it get better or will I just be damaging my body more and more? I continued working with my coach, working on myself, getting to know myseld and really digging into the hurtful past and reasons. This helped A LOT and was the only reason I felt better. So soon I reduced again to 5mg ( in steps) Eeeevery time I reduced my dose I got a depressive phase following, about 3 weeks later that would last around a month. Including sweating a lot, feeling like having a feaver, being depressed,feeling anxious, feeling like I can´t go to training, feeling weak, etc. but I always got better again. So I did this really slowly..always allowing my body to adjust to the next step. In late August (2015) i took my last „powder 0,000xx mg“ and boom...after 3 weeks I started feeling HORRIBLE. ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE! I had troubles I never had before (or still have) lik e being totally paranoid, feeling completely deprersonalzed, having terrible brainfog, headaches, ...all that in addition to having all the old **** I am used to when having a down. So for 2 months I felt horrible, then it got a lot better for month, now it is completely terrible again since mid-december. I AM GOING CRAZY! I am very well informed and very convinced that all that is due to withdrawl and that my brain needs time to adjust but OH MY GOD how can one stand this horrible times?I feel so terribly weak! All the time I have to push myself really hard: To get out of bed, to talk to friends, to go outside, to go to work, ...everything is a huge struggle...it is sooooo exhausting. Luckily I do have all the support I could wish for from friends and family and boyfriend! I am very thankful for that! But still I feel alone with all this war inside of me because I feel like they don´t know what I am going through. If I feel really bad for two weeks and then have a window – okay, at least you get a break. But feeling that awful for over a month is draining all my energy. How do you cope? How do you get through this? What do you do when you sit alone at home, feel to weak and terrible to call someone..how do you drag yourself out of this? Ps.: Sorry if my English is not that good:)
  22. Hello - I am about 7 days off of Cymbalta. I was only taking and only able to tolerate 20 mg and I slowly cut myself down to 10mg and then nothing. I get a few head swishes here and there, but nothing really bad expect I am severely up and down mood wise and fear I am going to end up in a psych ward. I was starting to feel like things were going to be ok and then I crashed hard. I've been on various psych meds for the last 30 years of my life and I just turned 47 and I've had enough of it all. I consulted a neuropsych who is an ECT doctor. My regular psych sent a referall to him from another state as I came to stay wtih my mother for a while to get some other health issues sorted out. His suggestion, since when I went there, I was in a better mood and thought my spring to mid-summer severe depressive episode was lifting or was going to lift, was to come off of cymbalta and see if I don't feel better. He said they are finding out these meds do a lot more than they thought and that they might not even be able to call them "seratonin reuptake inhibitors" anymore. He said some people do a lot worse on them over time. Well, I am doing worse yet and yet I don't want to go back on the stuff at all. I am really struggling. I have also been off of Adderall since the begining of July and felt better off due to not taking that, but now this added Cymbalta thing is throwing me for a loop. I am trying to figure out whether I should call the neuropsych back up and request ECT for sure and cancel a vacation with my family in September, or not. I am a 5 x a week yoga practicitioner, I meditate, I eat right, I do all kinds of things - been getting out socially, ect. and STILL I am plagued with severe bone crushing depression episodes that are causing me severe headaches of the type I cannot stand another minute of it. The depression headaches are so bad they don't even respond to migraine medication. They are different. Something is really wrong with my brain and I am scared I am going to not be able to handle it one day and commit suicide. I've had an MRI for the other regular migraines I get and they say it is all clear. Sometimes I feel like I spend all day trying to figure out what will make feel better - yoga, meditation, work, get out with someone, get out in nature - and still by the end of the day I end up in tears feeling suicidal. Is this par for the course? I am hoping someone can relate and let me know it gets better. I am so confused. I don't really think intuitively that my depression is going to get that much better and I should just call that neuropsych back and try to get ECT started. Things have been taking so damn long lately to get the help I need with doctors and that is frustrating too. Thank you.
  23. Hi Everyone, My intro will be brief and I will add to it later . I am 37 and have been on antidepressants since age 19. I have tried to quit them before, multiple times. I have been on Cymbalta for over 5 years, and during the last four months or so I have tapered from 60mg to 30mg. I am working with an ND during this process. Four days ago I went down from 35mg to 30mg, and I have been feeling depressed and an increase of negative /intrusivethoughts, but this is also the beginning of PMS time for me, and these are the symptoms that also worsen during PMS in my case. I hope to find support and ideas here. I am a drug and alcohol counselor and I know I have to reach out for help just like I instruct my patients to do. Back to work now, talk to you all soon!
  24. clarknova

    Clarknova: Hello, SA!

    Hello, SA Hello, everyone. Long time lurker, but this is my first post. First of all I want to thank everyone on this site for educating me and giving me comfort through rough times. I’ve read and re-read posts and found tremendous solace in your stories. At the same time, I’m truly sorry for all your struggles. My story: I’m male, 42 years of age, I work as a TV-editor and I live in Oslo, Norway. In 2004, after touring with a band for a year and a half, I had severe panic attacks, 2-3 times a day for about 6 months. I finally saw my doctor and he put me on 10 mg of cipralex and referred me to a support group which I participated in for 2.5 years. It helped me tremendously, so I told the doctor in 2007 I was feeling better and he said I could taper down over a few weeks. This went fine and for a few years I was okay. No withdrawal that I can remember. Then, in 2010, following a break-up, I didn’t want to feel heart-broken and so I asked my doctor if I could go back on cipralex. I don’t think I was depressed, I just didn’t want to feel sad (How I wish I could go back, I'd take the natural sadness instead). I went back on 10 mg cipralex and this was fine, no severe side-effects (On the contrary, I actually enjoyed having delayed orgasms as I was often more premature when not on meds). But after a while I noticed subtle changes to my personality. I’m a musician and have made music since the age of 14, but suddenly I wasn’t interested anymore. I stopped writing songs. I also stopped crying completely, even the good cries, like when I saw Good Will Hunting or Finding Neverland. I didn’t feel very much of anything and starting thinking that this was not the way to go through life. So I told the doctor I wanted to get off the meds, and he basically said I knew how it worked now and could regulate my medication use on my own. So I did. In 2015 I tapered pretty quickly, probably over a month, and was fine for a while. A few heavy crying-spells, but nothing major. I started making music again, and sold an apartment so I had enough money to not work since I was sick of my job as a TV-editor anyway. Then, at the end of 2015, a toxic friend I was trying to avoid suddenly had a major life-crisis and was asking a lot from me in terms of help and support. I tried my best, but at the same time; this was a person I didn’t want in my life. I became very upset, not knowing what to do. I had overwhelming anxiety and ended up in the emergency room begging for valium. Having a somewhat avoidant personality, I decided the only thing I could do was to skip town. I went to my mothers and after a few days crashed completely. I felt I was a horrible person for skipping out on someone who needed me even though I wanted to distance myself from this person. I felt I had become like my late father, avoiding responsibility. I became extremely depressed. The massive anxiety made self-harm feel like a dangerous possibility and so I was brought to the emergency room and was told by the psychiatrist there that I should go back on the cipralex since that had worked for me before. I reluctantly did what she said and was back on the meds. Looking back, I realise now that this episode with the toxic friend happened while I had been off meds for about 6 months and my reaction to it could very well have been massive because of a overly sensitive CNS. Anyway, I had never been this sick. I was hanging on for dear life. Awful depression and intense anxiety. I walked and walked, and swam and swam (at the local pool) just to keep everything at bay. Mornings and evenings were worst. I saw Douglas Bloch-videos on youtube over and over again for comfort. I got some follow-up from the local psychiatric hospital and after four months, now 2016, I realised that living with my mother wasn’t doing my self-esteem much good so I moved back to my apartment in Oslo and explained to my old boss that I had had a nervous break-down and asked if I could come back to work - not do anything, not get paid, just come to the office every day. I couldn't manage even the smallest responsibilities. He was very understanding and said of course. Just being around people helped me a lot, and after a while I started helping out with scripts and some minor editing work. After a few months I was given a 50% position working from 9 to 13 every day. Slowly I got better and started working full time through 2016, 2017 and 2018. I was still on meds, but again feeling like I was too much of a Zombie I wanted to be free of them. So in early 2018 I decided to taper. I went down to 5mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in april. May and June were just horrible with depression and anxiety so I got back on them again, but then regretted it, so tapered again, same protocol - 5 mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in september, deciding to make it stick this time. And I have. It’s been just over a year. I found this site, and of course realised that I had tapered too quickly. But thinking come what may, I trudged on. In March and April of this year I got the weirdest muscle aches. It had all the hallmarks of fibromyalgia and so I was convinced I had that, but then realising it was probably withdrawal. It suddenly went away, and May, June and July were really good, I was thinking “Yeah, I beat it!”. Then, as I started work after the summer, I had 5 weeks on a very stressful project. It must have triggered something, because after it was finished I started crashing. The muscle pain came back, especially in the chest and neck, muscles hard and tight as a rock. Also my health-anxiety has slowly increased since I came off the meds, so now I’ll have weeks were I’m convinced I have a heart conditon or some form of cancer or infection. I go to the doctor a lot and he tells me I’m fine (I don’t even discuss SSRI’s with him anymore, because everytime I’ve tried he has brushed it off like so many of you are probably familiar with). And then, about a week and a half ago suddenly the muscle pain went away, but I became extremely depressed. And really suddenly too, like from one minute to the next. And it’s been fluxuating wildly ever since. Just this god awful suicidal depression. It’ll be horrible for a few hours or half a day, and then I will get a little relief. Like a nightmareish rollercoaster ride. The massive break-down of 2015 fresh in my memory like a trauma, I spiral into terrible anxiety about going back there, having to quit my job, moving back with my mother, going back to hospital, going back on cipralex just because I’ve lost all will to put up a fight against the doctors. But the little man in my head, behind the gruesome thoughts and feelings, is trying to flow with it, and I try to remember what’s really going on here - I’m in protracted withdrawal, I tapered too fast, my CNS is scrambling, I’m healing in waves and windows. As I am writing this tonight, I feel alright, but it’s sure to fluxuate again soon. I wanted to post this to tell my story, as I have found relief in all your stories. I’d like to bring updates when I can, and I’ll try to contribute to others if I feel I can add some value. In short, I hope to be a part of this community. You have all convinced me that this is indeed happening, and occasionally I have hate for my doctor for dealing me these drugs, but at the same time I know he doesn’t know any better. Everyone’s stumbling around in the dark, it seems. In 2004 there was a case for me needing medication, but in 2010 it was all my doing, not wanting to feel the effects of a break-up I took the easy route. I have to take some of the responsibility for that. I just didn’t know how powerful these drugs actually were. I know now. All the best.
  25. Hello- I am new here. I've been on psychiatric drugs for almost two decades now. I currently take Zoloft 300mg, Adderall 60mg, Abilify 15mg, Mirtazapine 45mg, Trazodone 100mg and Klonopin .5mg. I've only ever been diagnosed with depression which started in 2002. I don't have ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia or any other known disorder. After suffering for many years and wanting to get off these medications I am finally going to do it. I am wondering if anyone has used the tapering strips from Dr. Groot? I am highly sensitive to these medications and from the withdrawal effects I've had briefly in the past- they were excruciating. I currently reside in Arizona but will be moving home to Michigan to start the withdrawal process very soon. Thank you and God bless us all. If you'd like to learn more about my story and experience or if I can be of help to anyone please let me know.
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