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  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Hey all, My name is Kyle and I'm looking for a little advice, I just turned 28 years old and I have been on paxil for 5.5 years. Reading back on my introduction and updates back in January I've had a bit of a slump and a rough ride to date. I decided to try to wein off in Jan of 2018. I was doing pretty well mentally had been seeing a physiologist for awhile, did some emdr therapy and released alot of pent up emotion about previous childhood trauma. I thought i was ready to come off. A Previous attempt had got me researching about withdrawal and i knew to go slow. I went to a Naturopath and was given all the usual suspects, omega 3, vit D, Zinc, B complex, bis Magnesium, adrenal support, and st.john wort. I decided to start the taper late Jan, from 30mg to 27.5mg i survived that dip with a weeks worth of brain zaps and mental fog, then down to 25mg mid Feb. same deal brain fog and zaps and other odd ticks. All while taking the recommended vitamins At 25mg i started the st.john wort, i was feeling weird and spacey but was keeping busy. Went to the Naturopath and he convinced me to drop to 20mg from the 25 mg as i was feeling Okay enough. He thought the st.john wort was helping. Que the absolute exhaustion. It was like being hit by a truck. Couldn't get enough sleep, wake up eyes burning, exhausted, no ambition to get out of bed. Very sore continued on the supliments. I slowly declined into depression and some anxiety attacks. Couldn't shake the low energy and the panic. I hurt my lower back around this time. Was working in our shop and lifted something and my low back right hip side just let go. Spent around a week in Bed hardly moving. Eventually went on work leave because of the injury, physio and all that to get it feeling better. In all of this i was on the 20mg until around mid april I updosed to 22.5 mg because of the sheer exhaustion and depression, anxiety. It helped little and after some time i reinstated the 30mg paxil in June. I felt defeated. Rode the summer out felt a bit better, more energy but the panic and depression was lingering. Coming into winter is always a tough time for me. Less sun and more cold. Now that winter is here I'm finding i have little energy to get out of bed, wake up eyes burning, usually still tired and somehow manage to get out of Bed. This is quite a change from how i have been the last 2 years previous. I went from working 10- 16 hours a day 6 days a week to hardly being able to get out of bed now and through my Tapper. It definitely has not been fun. I gave in and finally got into see a psychiatrist yestersay and he decided i should start on Trintellix 5mg for 2 weeks and up to 10mg thereafter. While still taking my Paxil 30mg. He said it's not a long term solution and ageeed with me that the best pill is No Pill. I was happy to have found some help as i was feeling quite hopeless for awhile now. Wondering if I'd ever get my energy back. I've been reading reviews on trintellix and am not real confident that it's going to work. 1. It's not recommended to be on other SSRI'S while taking it. 2. Some people have had Pancreatitis in the drug trials and that is something I've had before because of a mutation in one of the genes that is associated with cystic fibrosis that i have. If i drink alcohol i get pancreatitis because of this gene. I've spent 1 week in the hospital 3 seprate times when i was 16- 19 years old due to this gene causing pancreatitis from drinking alcohol. 3. I don't want another pharma addiction or a serotonin syndrome case. ( which i experienced a touch of about 3 weeks ago when stupidly deciding to add st.john wort into the mix when i was feeling low. It did boost my mood for a few days but after about a week my skin was crawling, panic, tingling, lots of emotions and crying) Anyone have any advice from where to go from here. Feeling a bit stuck, fairly depressed a bit of anxiety and very tired. Thanks in Advance peoples!
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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:)
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Hey all, Looking for some advice and encouragement :(. Just to give you some dates and background. October-November 2016 - suffered sudden hearing loss that was treated with high doses of prednisone. Caused me to have severe anxiety and panic attacks, which I'd never had before. November 2016 - Went to a psychiatrist on encouragement of my doctor since I was having so many side effects from the treatment from my hearing loss. Psych told me to take 50mg Zoloft for 3-6 months. Upon starting Zoloft, I started feeling really depressed, jittery, anxious, fatigued, etc. Felt really terrible. January 2017 - Evened out on Zoloft and started feeling pretty good again. June 2017 - Was told my treatment was over and was told to just stop taking Zoloft. I was told just to quit cold turkey. June-August 2017 - Became very depressed (but was still functional), sensitive, crying spells, obsessive thinking etc. Things I never had before. Didn't know that I was possibly experiencing withdrawal and that I hadn't tapered. September 2017 - Doctor recommended I take 10mg Lexapro. On day 1 of 5mg, all my depressive symptoms went away, but the drug made me feel very anxious. Never went up to 10mg. Stayed on 5 mg for 2 months and then took 2.5 mg for 3 weeks and then got off. November 2017 - Stopped taking Lexapro entirely. Since then it's been a rough journey. Sometimes feel very depressed, sometimes very anxious, and sometimes fine. It makes me very angry because I didn't experience depression at all before I started taking the first anti-depressant. I'm doing what I think I should be doing to manage and let things take their course. I exercise, see friends, am working, etc. But there are some days it's just really tough. I don't want to go back on another drug because I'm 100% convinced that these drugs are the cause of these issues to begin with and I don't want to be on this crazy train for years and years. I know I took substantially lower doses of these drugs than other folks, but I'm generally extremely sensitive to all forms of medication. Is there anything anyone can recommend to help me get through this, so that I can help with my recovery? Is there anything else to do besides "just dealing with it?" Any supplements, herbal remedies, exercises, relaxation techniques anyone can recommend? I'm currently taking vitamin d, magnesium, and tumeric. Doing running, yoga, weighlifting, swimming. And trying to take it easy. Any love, support, and advice would be very much appreciated. All the best, Michael Try
  15. 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
  16. Topic title: exhaustion the day after light gardening or paddleboarding Big Decision to make - I am supposed to go to France for anniversary trip next month. Since March or April not sure when, after I do some exercise or light gardening, I am overly exhausted and have leg pain the day after with low mood. I feel I am stuck on the couch not able to do anything. I'm wondering if there is something I can do to improve my stamina and be able to go on this trip (it is not booked yet) because I really want to go away with hubby but he is concerned of spending alot of money on a holiday and not being able to sight see as he wishes, he does not want to be stuck in a hotel room somewhere. Diagnoses - MDD, cPTSD, Effexor - 225 to 47 mg since March 2018. Been on several antidepressants and anti anxiety pills since 1996. Supplements, Omega 3, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, D-Hist, Estrofactors (hot flashes - menopause), Probiotic, Adrenal PX Balance, Curcumin, Iron twice a week, B12 keeps me awake but I am low according to my naturopath so will try to talk half the dosage. Melatonin and Magnesium Glycinate for night time. Thanks for your suggestions. My first post here.
  17. 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 . . .
  18. I have been here before. I had my first manic episode after a steroid psychosis while withdrawing from Zoloft. After going off meds I had one again about a year later. I was medicated but always following an episode comes a great depression, a great worry about life and a disappearance of personality. Has anyone experienced this? I was manic and had to be medicated. I have a energy healer that works with me and says for now I must be on them. Its the path. I am totally unstable. But I would love some support from others that have gone through this pattern. I feel so alone.
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. I recently discontinued Seroquel 150mg (prescribed for agitated anxiety and insomnia), and now on Trazodone 250mg and Mirtazapine 30mg. I had been on Seroquel since Sept. 2018 . I feel awful - sleeping less, agitated, angry, depressed, don’t want to get out of bed, lack focus and hard to think straight. I feel dumber and want to avoid. Any insights on how long it may last or how to make it easier? I’m concerned that none of the meds have really helped me with anxiety/depression beyond getting some sleep. I am doing therapy, EMDR, exercise and meditation. I feel like a weird version of myself and don’t want to be around people. I get feeling hopeless about feeling better or like myself again.
  22. I was put on 20mg of Seroxat in May 1996 (directly after two weeks of Valium). I was 19 years old. Prescription was for Panic Disorder, GAD and Mild Depression (although I had never felt depressed and explained that many times over the years to my doctor(s)). As were many, I was told I had a chemical balance which, just like a diabetic needs insulin, I needed seroxat. Since then, I have tried approximately 5 times to come off the medication (with taper of sorts - usually 10mg for a few weeks and then to zero). Each time, the anxiety came back, always with new symptoms (extreme nausea, vertigo, increased anxiety, obsessive dark thoughts). I also developed irrational fears (fear of driving on highways and over bridges, fear of ski lifts, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of business meetings. In fact, pretty much fear of everything.). Each time I visited a doctor, I was told the same thing: you have a chemical imbalance and need to go back on Seroxat. Sure enough, a single tablet would have me feeling back to “normal” within a matter of hours. I used to joke about it with doctors “wow, what a placebo effect. This should take weeks to work?”. Now I realise I was (probably) in withdrawal. Two years ago, after being in a protracted depression for the best part of 10 years (something I hadn’t realised as it had become my baseline state), I had got myself down to approximately 7mg a day. The reason I was trying to come off was two fold: firstly, my wife and I wanted to start a family and I was concerned about both my fertility and damage to any baby I conceive. Secondly, I had made a huge effort to get fit, was running 40km a week and had dropped from 92kg to 78kg-I’m 178cm. This gave me the confidence that I was in the best physical place to achieve it. Soon after, I suffered what I considered to be a mental breakdown. I was ready to leave my loving wife and had developed a clinical apathy to everything. I became petrified I would commit suicide (I never felt this was realistic but the thought of it gave me panic attacks). Furthermore, I started wondering such thoughts as “will I jump off the balcony whilst sleep walking”. I had been seeing a psychologist for some time but talking about things seemed to make the situation worse. I also started seeing a CBT therapist. I would feel better during a session but on leaving, my mood would severely crash, like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I knew I was in a bad place. The psychologist recommended me to a psychiatrist who was the most uncaring person I have ever met. How she medically practices, I have no idea. She wasn’t interested in my drug history, offered me barely five minutes of her time, and prescribed 50mg Trittico to be taken before bed. I took it for a few nights but decided that it was not right for me. She then offered me several other kinds of SSRIs. I declined them all and went back to 20mg of Seroxat. However, this time felt different. I was sure that seroxat was nothing more than the placebo (how could you explain the fact I got better after taking a single favor each time I had a “relapse”. As suspected, i had lost belief in the drug, and it did not bring the immediate relief like it had every time previously. I was petrified. To me, this confirmed my worse fears. It had been a placebo all this time, and now, because I was sure it wasn’t going to work, it didn’t. I was a lost case. This created severe anxiety and panic. All I could think was that I had been on a placebo for 20 + years and now I had uncovered this fact, ADs would never work for me again. I was destined to suffer dibilitating anxiety and depression for the rest of my life. Things improved slightly after being back on 20mg for a few weeks. But I was still anxious and depressed, and the mood swings were unbareable. During this time, i had had a medical for my work which showed I had very high cholesterol (7.99 in European measures) and the doctor put me on Crestor. At the time, the cardiologist told me “this is not the first time I have seen somebody at the surgery who has unusually high cholesterol following a long period of exposure to SSRIs”. This was the first time I considered what the meds had been doing to me over the years. My dark moods seemed to get worse during this period of being on Crestor. My cholesterol dropped by 50% in this time, but I could now barely function. I did some research into the link between statins and depression and decided to quit the Crestor cold turkey. My moods improved somewhat (at least I could hold a conversation now). I had also started to suffer from eczema on my arms, forehead and legs (first time in my life). Furthermore, I suffered from a bout of Diverticulitis (the doctor told me the main risk factor was constipaiton) and also blood in the urine (which after every test, scan, x-ray known to man, a cause could not be found). Further research made me realise that not only could all of these problems be linked to seroxat, so could my unexplained depression and mood swings. I made the decision to come off seroxat for good. That was in October of last year. I found a new psychiatrist who was supportive of my decision and recognized the importance of taper. However, he didn’t believe that my problems could be caused by seroxat, and thought taper over a month was perfectly acceptable. By this time, I had been on seroxat 22 years. I decided to taper for longer. I immediately dropped to 10mg per day as this is something that I had down many times throughout the years without too many problems. I would get the usual brain zaps but nothing I couldn’t handle. As I started to reduce mg by mg (1mg per week) using liquid, I could actually feel my constant depressive mood lifting somewhat (perhaps only by 10%, but there was something ). This encouraged me to go on. I sped up towards the end to 1mg per week as I just wanted to be off it. I took my last dose in the second week of January. Since then, I have been going through withdrawal. The first couple of weeks were ok (brain zaps I have suffered since 1996 so they don’t scare me). My general depressive level definitely improved. The hardest part for me was (and still is) the rapid onset of change in mood. One minute I am fine, the next my mood crashes. During every crash, I immediately think “the only reason I feel better is the placebo effect. The depression and anxiety is going to come back and get me”. CBT has helped with this catestrophic thinking and the moods seem to only last for a few hours (rather than days or weeks as previously). Every week, as a whole, I am seeing huge improvements. I have cried a lot (and it feels great). I am starting to look forward to things again. The apathy has lifted by 75%. I had a few days of panic and GAD earlier on that would seem to come out of nowhere. I would just wake up and feel down and have fear. I also started to wake during the night in a panic. But I stayed with it. A few weeks ago, I started waking more often during the night. 3 or 4 times. That developed into full blown insomnia for a few days. Last night, I slept without waking once for the first time in a month. The anxiety is now 75% better. Two days ago, I feel I had my best day for years and years. I am generally excited but scared. Since January, I have dropped from 86kg to 78kg. My skin condition has totally cleared up. What if me feeling better is a coincidence? Or the placebo effect? I have read that it can feel you are through the withdrawal, only for it to come back even harder in the future. How will I cope with that!? Now that I’ve felt well, I don’t want to go back where I was. I currently live in Zurich, Switzerland. I can find almost no support here. No doctor, psychologists, psychiatrist or therapist seems to have any idea about withdrawal. They are all desperate to tell me I have relapsed. I so truly want to believe they are wrong, that this whole thing is a drug induced nightmare, and that I will continue to get better. However, the devil on my shoulder is still there. During any period of weakness, he reminds me that the recovery is all in my head and it’s only a matter of time before I relapse. And so here I am. Hoping to be part of a support group that can help me with my withdrawal and keep me believeing. Even more importantly, I want to help others.
  23. Hi, I'm running out of what to read, who to ask and soon what to say. Ready for this? 1. I am consciously normal and functional 2. and only 2 I have a brain and body that is not cooperating. I feel guilty, or fake. When i'm at work and talking well - in my head I'm like "Who are you? You were never smart"... < probably my childhood echos > Once a major mistake occurred 6 years ago - I fell to the ground mentally - not able to let it go, no matter how many angles and closures I sought. 5 years this misery lasted to where I did get a human validation, but quickly was influenced into something else that made me question my "healing" - and now those 5 years of misery was much easier. To add to my pain - just months after ground 0, my Dad went to jail, my mom move in with me, my cat died weeks after that... Symptoms since: Head tension, Tinnitus, Neck tension, Dizziness, Anticipatory Anxiety, Feeling like I have a tumor in my head (pressure), Depersonalization moments / Derealization moments (Rare but terrible). Had a bout of agoraphobia. I think it's rooting in excessive guilt that I'm putting myself in mental prison. Now I lost my job in July and been on unemployment - and fearing getting a new one... not sure if I can mentally handle it. I feel total burnout. Medication History > After years of CBT - it was suggested I get on medication. Prozac - by day 22 I wanted to die (literally) but gladly i'm too afraid to and go off it when the Dr. kept pushing me to "Give it more time" Celexa & Paxil - gave me an intense panick attack. Paxil sent me to the hospital (One Pill did that) Zoloft & Lexapro - These numbed my brain, but I lost all emotions - that was my first de-realization and very scary Anafranil - this felt like someone poured mercury in my head - zips and zaps Buspar - These gave me brown outs of the brain Xanax - I put this last but I was on it for 6 years... it was great! BUT ... in time .25 didn't work, .5 gave me a hangover... 1mg wouldn't work if I was really scared - like going in an MRI Machine. When I tried to come off - my brain EXPLODED in Withdrawl. I tried many courses - as my DR just told me "stop it - it's ok"... That was when the Tinnitus and Pressure started (4/2016) along with the agoraphobia. I suffered through a water taper I came up with and it worked to a point and was too hard. My Dr. humored me giving me Valium to taper. It SORT of Worked but he gave me only 2 weeks and low dose. I pushed through and now I'm 9 weeks off (i did cheat on a 0.125 two weeks ago). Finally I'm trying St. John's Wort I followed an online suggestion ... but I did it wrong... by end of week 2 I got a massive Burnout feeling, brain buzzing and a STOP EVERYTHING cry in my sub-conscious mind... never had this happen. I dropped my cleaning tools and went to bed. I have not felt good since. I cut down to ONE 300 pill per day... but i'm all over the place. I now wonder if I even have a Serotonin issue? How do I know it's not an Acetylcholine issue? Or just a lack of GABA & Dopamine? (I took up a study of Neuro-Science among other medical classes... of course it's all theory) I'm just not happy, I can't play guitar or do anything I love... I don't care to eat. Thank you all for whatever input you have -Rob
  24. Hi All, I am new here, and I hope that the collective experience across the forum is helpful for my situation. I am currently 27 years old and have been on medication since I was 18 years old for depression, OCD, and IBS-Constipation (directly tied to when I feel more depressed). I have mostly been on SSRIs, which have been helpful with depression, OCD, and regulating my peristalsis.. Medication summary below: 2009-2012: Celexa (up to 40 mg) 2012-2013- Lexapro / Abilify 2014 - Clomipramine. Clomipramine + Abilify. Result: Realized higher doses of clomipramine caused too many side effects for me and could not tolerate it, even though it was helpful.Became tachycardic and other anticholinergic effects of combination led me and physician to revert back to SSRIs. 2015: Zoloft; Verdict: Made my IBS symptoms worse; depression and OCD better. However, due to increased diarrhea had to go off Zoloft. 2016: Due to gut that was made worse by Zoloft and doing very short-term trials of other SSRIs which also made my gut worse, I tried EMSAM (MAOI) for three months. Verdict: Did not help at all 2016 - 2017: Went back to Celexa (40 mg). Helped but felt it was not effective as back in 2009, even at maximal dosage. Eventually had relapse of depression in Summer 2017. Summer 2017: Tried course of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation after Celexa stopped working. Verdict: Did not help at all 2017-Present: 200 mg Luvox Verdict: In summer 2018, Luvox also stopped working and had relapse of depression. Summer 2018: I ended up going to homeopath in mid, which has been the most helpful thing to me so far. I have adopted the SCD diet, which has greatly helped my gut, and the remedies she has prescribed actually pulled me out of the depression I was in and made my OCD better, all while still on 200 mg The current situation is that I am still on 200 mg Luvox and with the homeopathy, my symptoms have greatly improved. Back in January 2019, I tried to go down on the Luvox, first to 175 mg (wait 2-3 weeks), then to 162.5 (wait 3 weeks), then to 150 mg (for about 5 weeks). It appears, that although I did not realize it at the time, my symptoms were getting worse, with more mood swings again, and my constipation was becoming more frequent. Most recently, I became completely non-functional and could barely get through one day. Just a few days ago I increased back up to 175 mg to see if I would feel better. So now I am in a predicament, as I really don't think the SSRIs are helping me much because 2 different ones have now pooped out on me in less than a year, but the homeopathy has allowed me to return to normalcy gradually. I am certainly still not far along in the homeopathy (only about a year), but I have definitely felt a difference. I thought I was ready to taper off the Luvox gradually, but clearly, given my relapse of depression and constipation, I maybe went too fast. I have read about the 10% rule, which I largely stuck to, but maybe I will have to go slower. Maybe I will use compounding next time around, maybe weighing out the pills. I do have some questions for the community. -Anybody have any thoughts on my experience or anything they experienced with Luvox? -Over the years of going up and down on SSRIs, I developed muscle twitching and a weird pain in the back left of my head, which I feel especially when my mood gets worse (as was the case recently when I lowered the dose of Luvox). Anyone experienced this / any tips on how to deal with these or what this could be? -I've only been on Luvox for about 16 months. However, I have been on SSRIs for a long time (about 10 years). Does that mean it can still take me forever to get off Luvox?
  25. In my humble opinion this topic resides at the root of the tree which branches into other fields. I feel that knowledge of this topic - depending on who reads it - can have personal benefits for those with symptoms that might be described as depression, anxiety, and in fact most of the disorders described by the DSM. I've run it by several people with various forms of depression and their feedback - at least insofar as they agree with the concept that it may help - confirms this. (I was initially going to post this as a comment here, but I didn’t feel that atheism - while related - was specifically relevant, and it needn’t influence the benefits of this way of looking at the world. As an atheist - technically-speaking - with reservations about its current application, I think evolutionary study can benefit studies of sociology, anthropology, psychology etc. whatever the belief system of the person reading it). I acknowledge that - as with all tools - I suppose it could work the other way too, perhaps eliciting unforeseen negative emotions and responses, for example a view that "this is the way we are programmed, so there's no hope". In that specific case I would argue that there are plenty of things we are "programmed" for that we actively defy to our benefit. Lastly it could be the case that this is not useful information, and it will have no bearing on a depressed state. But given the effect the "mental illness" labels do have I doubt this. The main possible problem I foresee here is that evolutionary concepts - while not difficult to communicate - can seem a little cold and mundane. Perhaps it just needs rewording or dressing up. A potentially rose-tinted Summary of Potential Benefits When compared with our current model of psychopathology (the one that labels us as disordered), the more impartial overhead view known as evolutionary psychology more accurately - and ultimately more compassionately - explains why distressed states produce certain emotions and behaviour in individuals. But it goes both deeper and further, and covers the causal bases and triggers of these states, including their purpose in a wider social context, and it also explains the corresponding emotions and behaviour in groups (which could be extended to include groups of practitioners who pathologize and over-medicate). This, as opposed to the downright false concepts of “mental illness”, namely locating the entire problem in the individual’s brain regardless of context. Painful as it may seem to the sufferer at the time, the part that exists in a person’s brain is not an individual malfunction, but rather it is a social function (as echoed in the article shared by Clearday in the post I referred to). The backbone of the theory can be summarised in one line taken from this book: “Subordination and Defeat - An Evolutionary Approach To Mood Disorders and Their Therapy” - edited by Leon Sloman and Paul Gilbert (a longer extract is pasted at the end) “The homeostasis of the group is achieved at the expense of mood change in the individual.” Underlying that is the fact that the reasons for most of our underlying drives - both in the individual and the group - are (more often than not) invisible to both parties. Having this knowledge and thereby bringing the dynamic into view is potentially empowering to the individual in distress. With this knowledge on board, questions regarding our responses to our social context can be answered, or at the very least weighed up against our experiences. There can be less self-criticism, which is vital to the process of attaining wellness. This even and especially where it is the case that past trauma is playing a part. According to the book's blurb, another application might be “to distinguish depressions that may have adaptive functions from those that are the result of maladaptive feedback systems”, which is to say in both cases the social context is accounted for. I think that knowing what drives us and others may even allow individuals to achieve a more negotiated agreement with the group, and thereby sidestep some of the anguish that is applied externally by others when we venture too close to edges of acceptability. That said, I would also imagine that the other side of the equation - friends, family, society-at-large, and especially those with vested interests - may potentially resist such notions, which is to say that caution in sharing this knowledge may perhaps be advisable, especially in times of personal distress. There is no conspiracy implied here. As distressing as the experiences are, these are mundane processes in the wider scheme of things. But it’s also worth noting that as mundane as these processes are, with this knowledge on board we remain free to think and feel, and arguably we are now better-equipped to do so. Here is The Basis of the Theory ..bearing in mind it could be any of revelatory, inflammatory, slightly interesting, yesterday's news or downright wrong, I'm open to hearing viewpoints. Also, their reference framework of "rank" needn't be taken to mean actual rank such as lieutenant vs private, or boss vs employee. It could be any hierarchy, such as those that exist in families or even unseen ones between supposed equal friends. Extract from: Subordination and Defeat An Evolutionary Approach To Mood Disorders and Their Therapy Edited by Leon Sloman , Paul Gilbert Self-Esteem and Depression There is a two-way recursive interaction between self- esteem and depression. Part of the depressive response consists of a lowering of self-esteem. Yet lowering of self- esteem can trigger an episode of depression. Moreover, people with low (and labile) self-esteem are more vulnerable to depression (Brown, Andrews, Harris, Adler, & Bridge, 1986). Mood change can be seen as a self-esteem management mechanism, moderating self-esteem to fit with current social circumstances. If times are adverse, depression lowers self-esteem, and the individual takes a less prominent role in social interaction; but if things are going well, elation helps the individual to cope with the increased social demands of high rank. In fact mood change is the only rapid method of changing self- esteem after adolescence is completed. Self-esteem can be changed by prolonged intensive therapy or by life experience, but often one sees patients who lead very successful lives but are still encumbered with low self- esteem consolidated in childhood and adolescence. Change by life experience is like going up the stairs of a skyscraper, whereas mood change is like using the elevator. Self-Esteem and Subordination In egalitarian societies like that of the Kalahari Bushmen, the value of global self-esteem and wide variation in self- esteem is less than in hierarchical societies. As James pointed out, self-esteem depends on successes, but this only applies in societies in which success is admired. When conspicuous success is treated with disapprobation, as with the Bushmen, there are likely to be less people who think themselves better than everyone else. A culture of counterdominance prevails, and anyone who rises too high is brought down a peg by group response (Boehm, 1993). The atmosphere of counterdominance is vividly portrayed in the first act of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. It is in hierarchical societies that low self-esteem and depression come into their own. Some people are doomed to eternal subordination, and they can adapt to this at more than one level of the triune mind and brain (MacLean, 1990). They can become humble, and have genuine admiration for those fortunate enough to be at the top of the pecking order, or they can become depressed, dysthymic personalities, whose depression takes away their power to alter their situation. In dysthymic personality it is assertive (competitive) and sexual initiative that is inhibited, whereas the ability to carry out instructions is relatively unimpaired (Akiskal, 1990). Regardless of the lifelong strategy of high or low self- esteem, social circumstances may change, and there may be a need for a formerly high-ranking individual to adapt to low rank. This is where an episode of major depression is adaptive. Depression lowers self-esteem so that the individual falling in rank is accommodated to his or her reduced circumstances. Depression also lowers resource value or the importance one attaches to things, so that the loss of the trappings of former high rank will give less incentive to regain them. Depression lowers the sense of ownership, so that the loss of resources and territory will not arouse indignation. In particular, severe depression alters thinking about former status in such a way that high former wealth or position is denied, even to a delusional degree, so that the motivation to regain former rank is reduced. All these changes help to alter and readjust the individual who is accustomed to command, and to accommodate him or her to a subordinate role in which he or she has to obey orders (Gardner & Price, 1999). Thus, the individual avoids group ostracism and helps to ensure group cohesion (Leary & Downs, 1995). The homeostasis of the group is achieved at the expense of mood change in the individual. In the case of the individual who rises in rank, these changes occur in the reverse direction. If his or her rise in rank is not sanctioned by the social group, he or she is likely to be regarded as suffering from hypomania (Gardner & Price, 1999). Non affiliated link to the entry on Amazon.com Further Reading There seems to have been some fairly thorough work done in this, and related areas, which I’m sure is underfunded. At the heart of the matter, this paper covers the evolutionary theory (ie. not just in humans) as is applies to rank, and hence depression. Territory, Rank and Mental Health: The History of an Idea Most interestingly they point out that the +600 studies of depression done on rodents which heavily influence psychiatric thinking may be flawed. This is because rodents hibernate which affects the escalation/de-escalation in mania and depression. Apparently us primates are closer to reptiles when it comes to these primal responses, and they propose studying depression in reptiles instead. If this sound far-fetched or off the mark - and I agree it does on the surface - then check out the paper and see if it convinces you. (Clue: it has nothing to do with David Icke).
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