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  1. ADMIN NOTE Also see: How to cope with worry, stress, and anxiety -- and what's the difference? Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms ____________________________________________________________ From: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety-self-help/ see website which includes some self help videos ____________________________________________________________ List of symptoms - more details are provided below: Smothering sensations and Shortness of breath Racing heart, slow heart beat, palpitations Lump in throat & Difficulty swallowing Skin losing colour (blanching) Sweating Shaking or shivering (Visibly or internally) Neck & shoulder pain & numbness in face or head Rapid gastric emptying Sexual Dysfunction Symptoms of urinary tract infection Skin rashes Weakness in arms & tingling in the hands or feet Electric shock feeling anywhere in the body Insomnia Nightmares Fears of going mad or losing control Increased depression & suicidal feelings Aggression Symptoms like 'flu' Distorted vision Disturbed hearing Hormone problems Headaches & feelings of having a tight band around head Sore eyes Agoraphobia Hallucinations Creeping or pins and needles sensations in The skin Hyperactivity Dramatic increase in sexual feelings Pain in the face or jaw that resembles a toothache Derealisation and Depersonalisation Good article Panic & Anxiety disorder www.npadnews.com/anxiety-symptoms.asp Anxiety & Panic Attacks Symptoms It is not important to try and understand the physiology of the human body but it is important to remember that each of the anxiety symptoms you experience can be explained. Do not dwell on what you are feeling, instead, project yourself into more useful subjects, do something constructive, exercise, learn a skill or craft and escape the body trap. The following list of anxiety symptoms includes the most common ones reported by actual anxiety sufferers. Whilst the list is fairly comprehensive, there may be symptoms that you experience that are not listed; this does not mean that you are more ill or suffering from something else, we are all biologically different in many ways and some people simply react differently during anxiety. If you have any symptoms to add to this list, please email them to me with a description of the sensations you experience. .... Smothering sensations and Shortness of breath These sensations are amongst the more distressing anxiety symptoms. Sometimes it feels as if your chest will not expand to accommodate the air your body needs, other times it feels as if someone is pushing a pillow into your face. The one thing to remember should you experience this is that it is only a sensation caused by exaggerated nerve impulses. These symptoms will not and cannot harm you; you will not stop breathing, pass out or suffocate. Racing heart, slow heart beat, palpitations Anxiety releases adrenaline into the blood stream making the heart race and feel as if it is missing beats, (palpitations). This is perfectly natural and will not and cannot harm you in any way. Later I will discuss methods you can use to help stop these feelings. A slow heart beat is also a common feature of anxiety, again it does not mean that your heart will stop beating, it may feel odd and alarming but again do not give it any credibility and it will go away. Chest Pain Caused by muscle tension, chest pains can make you feel very scared. The initial reaction of anyone with anxiety who gets pains in their chest is that they are dying of a heart attack. This is not true. Heart pain is very different to this pain and very often does not start in the chest. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises are a very effective way of diminishing these unpleasant symptoms. If you can get somebody to massage your upper back, shoulders and chest, it will help to relax tired and achy muscles. Lump in throat & Difficulty swallowing Globus Hystericus is the correct term for this symptom. It is caused by the muscles in the throat contracting due to anxiety or stress. Sometimes it feels like you cannot swallow anything and trying to makes it worse. This is another example of a symptom, which will improve if you give it no credibility. It is totally harmless and will not cause you to stop breathing, eating or drinking, it is just very unpleasant. Skin losing colour (blanching) As blood is diverted to the muscles during the 'fight or flight' response, the fine blood vessels in your skin that gives the skin that pink, healthy colour receive reduced blood flow and the skin loses some of its colour. It is not dangerous and will return to normal as the body starts to normalise after an attack. Some people with generalised anxiety can look a little pale most of the time, again this is quite normal and will return to normal. Sweating Sweating is a normal bodily reaction and is designed to reduce the body temperature. As the body heats up sweat is released onto it through sweat glands. As the sweat evaporates it takes heat with it, cooling the body. During periods of anxiety the body is preparing itself for either flight or fight and releases sweat to cool the impending exertions. As the anxiety subsides sweat levels return to normal. Shaking or shivering (Visibly or internally) We all shake or shiver when we are nervous or cold. Shaking is a normal reaction to fear and/or a drop in body temperature. Shaking occurs when the muscles spasmodically contract creating friction between muscles and other body tissues. This friction creates heat which raises body temperature. During anxiety it is quite normal to experience shaking or shivering. It will pass. Neck & shoulder pain & numbness in face or head The blood vessels and nerves, which supply the face and head, originate in the neck and shoulders. Many of these nerves and blood vessels are routed across the head to the face. When the body is under stress these areas of the body are usually the first to become tense. Facial numbness can be very disturbing but is usually nothing to worry about and is usually the result of this tension. Rapid gastric emptying This can be a very unpleasant side effect of both anxiety and tranquilliser use. This condition causes the sufferer to feel full very early on in a meal, sometimes making them feel as if they cannot breathe. Then soon after eating they can experience diarrhea and feel as if their whole digestive system is emptying very quickly indeed. Indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea During periods of anxiety the body diverts blood from various parts of the body to the muscle tissues in order to supply them with the oxygen needed by them during the flight or fight response. One of the main areas where blood is used most is around the digestive tract. Blood is sent there to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. As blood is diverted away from the stomach during anxiety, the digestion slows and the muscles around the stomach can become knotted. This can cause indigestion, heartburn and diarrhea or constipation. Sexual Dysfunction Impotency, or failure to achieve or maintain an erection, effects many men for many reasons, sometimes there is a physical reason for this but more often than not there is a psychological element. Symptoms of urinary tract infection Medication can have many and some times quite obscure side effects including the symptoms of a urinary tract infections. It is always advisable to get these things checked out by your doctor but even if you do have an infection it can be easily treated. Drinking plenty of water is always advisable to maintain good, general health but even more so when the body is under stress. Skin rashes Skin rashes, spots or dryness are all very common symptoms of anxiety and stress. It is quite common to get an eczema like rash around the nose, cheeks and forehead. They are nothing to worry about and usually disappear when you start to feel better. Weakness in arms & tingling in the hands or feet The flight or fight response is an intense reaction and causes many systems of the body to react. Circulation, blood oxygen and blood carbon dioxide levels change and muscle tension is altered in preparation for action. All of these bodily changes have a profound effect on bodily sensations, feeling week in the extremities, (arms, hands, legs or feet) is one of these sensations. Tingling is usually caused by the pooling of blood carbon dioxide in the limbs, shaking the hands, arms, legs and feet can help increase circulation to these areas. These symptoms are not harmful and will return to normal. Light exercise is very helpful in reversing these sensations. THEY DO NOT MEAN YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A STROKE OR ANY OTHER NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION! Electric shock feeling anywhere in the body The nervous system is a very complex network of electrically charged nerves which are found in every square centimeter of your body, around every organ, muscle and across your skin, the largest organ in the body. Abnormal nerve impulses due to anxiety can cause a vast array of strange sensations; although quite harmless these can be very disturbing. Dry mouth As fluids are diverted for use in other parts of the body during anxiety, the mouth becomes dry. Sip water or suck sweets to lubricate your mouth. In extreme cases your doctor can prescribe a liquid to do this but it is expensive. It cannot harm you and will go away after the anxiety subsides. Insomnia One of the more distressing effects of anxiety, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep. It is important to regain regular sleep patterns as lack of sleep can lead to disturbing symptoms. Follow this link to The Linden Method cure for insomnia Nightmares Dreams and nightmares tend to mimic what is going on in our daily lives. If we are relaxed and contented we have pleasant dreams and usually do not remember them. If we are disturbed or confused our dreams are more likely to be too. Nightmares are unpleasant but harmless, the more you master good sleep and practice breathing and relaxation exercises the better your dreams will become. Fears of going mad or losing control We all have a fear of going mad or losing control but rest assured you are not going mad. Going mad is not a conscious act; those who are suffering from severe mental illness are unaware of their journey into it. You are not going mad. Confused nervous messages to the brain along tired nerves in a tired body do not constitute madness. Thoughts are an unconscious product of brain activity. If you are anxious, angry, sad or stressed your thoughts are affected, not only by mood, but also by your physical body chemistry. Blood oxygen levels can affect brain activity and the central nervous system, as can many other bodily chemicals like adrenaline, hormones and even vitamins. These un-pleasant thoughts, emotions and totally irrational fears are not harmful to yourself or others. Any thoughts of harming yourself or other people are perceived only. As you body becomes more relaxed and less anxious your thought processes will return to normal. Increased depression & suicidal feelings Depression is a word that is commonly misused to describe a variety of conditions. I hear many people in every day life who say, "I am depressed, I feel terrible, I am so fed up". This is, in most cases, not depression. Depression is a series of chemical imbalances that create a clinical illness that has strong links with anxiety disorders and can be a side effect of them. Anxiety has many features of depression and can mimic it quite strongly. When someone goes to the doctor complaining of feeling run down and fed up, it is all too easy to write a prescription for Prozac, Seroxat or another anti-depressant. I wonder how many people are on anti-depressants who just needed to reassess and restructure their lives. Aggression When you feel tired, ill, fed up and held back by your condition you are bound to feel angry. One of the main causes of true anger is actually sadness. Think back to a situation that has made you feel anger, if you dissect that event you might find that the true reason for feeling so angry was a feeling of sadness. Aggression is a normal reaction to fear also, the fight or flight response prepares us to either run or fight, sometimes to fight may seem to be the best response. Symptoms like 'flu' Influenza causes the body to release anti-bodies into the blood stream to attack the virus. This combination of anti-bodies and infection makes the body feel weak, sweaty and painful. Anxiety can have a similar effect, weakening the muscles, making you clammy and achy. Believe it or not the more you do physically the better this will become. Distorted vision In order to prepare the body for impending danger, adrenaline release causes many physical changes. During the anxiety response the body prepares the eyes to notice any slight movements; it does this by dilating the pupils allowing more light to enter. This is why anxious people become more sensitive to bright light and often wear sunglasses to minimize the eyestrain it causes. Disturbed hearing This is called tinnitus and is usually experienced as whistling or screeching noises in either or both ears. Hormone problems Anxiety can affect various systems of the body, one of which is the endocrine system. This system is responsible for balancing the glands, which secrete hormones in the body. Although these glands secrete the hormones needed by the body, they do not control the levels of these chemicals, this is done by the brain. Disturbed messages in the brain and nervous system can cause slight irregularities in the secretion of these chemicals. When anxiety levels return to normal so will the hormone levels. There are few examples where these hormones cause serious problems and if they do your doctor can correct them. Women may find that their menstrual cycle is temporarily effected and men may find that they have mood swings whilst testosterone levels are affected. Headaches & feelings of having a tight band around head As discussed earlier, tension in the neck and shoulders can cause immense discomfort, migraine and numbness. The feeling of having a tight band around your head is caused by muscular tension in the sheath of muscles covering the skull. Restricted blood vessels and nerves within this tissue can cause very severe symptoms including pain in the eyes, face and teeth. Sore eyes Reduced lubrication in the eyes when body fluids are diverted elsewhere during anxiety causes the eyes to feel sore, dry and painful. Agoraphobia Agoraphobia is a natural response to anxiety and self-preservation. If we feel threatened we tend to retreat to somewhere safe, like a tortoise into its shell. In anxiety it is important to gain control of this response as soon as you feel it developing. Avoidance of situations is not an effective tool in the fight against agoraphobia. Hallucinations Mostly experienced by people in withdrawal, hallucinations can be very frightening indeed if you do not understand what they are and where they come from. Hallucinations are another example of transient symptoms. If you are in withdrawal they will pass, if you are not in withdrawal consult your doctor, as they may be a side effect of the drugs that you have been prescribed. Creeping or pins and needles sensations in The skin The nerve endings in your skin are alive with electrical impulses, these can feel like creeping sensations, pins and needles or tickling, they are the result of confused nerve impulses and cannot harm you. Increased sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and smell All of these sensitivities are to prepare your senses to see, smell, hear and feel more when in impending danger during the fight or flight response. All of these feeling are unusual but not dangerous, they are temporary and will return to normal as your anxiety levels reduce. Hyperactivity Hyperactivity is a way of describing a range of symptoms that cause you to feel as if you need to talk faster and do things faster. It can make you feel confused and irrational and can make you do things that you would not usually do. This is a common feature of anxiety and drug withdrawal and will pass in time. Dramatic increase in sexual feelings As the brain copes with disturbed and confused messages from all around the body, some of the mind's thought processes can become a little distorted or exaggerated. Sexual thoughts and emotions are typically very strong even when in good health, they are what drive the attraction mechanism when we meet people we find attractive and create the sexual feelings we feel for some people. Pain in the face or jaw that resembles a toothache The term 'face ache' comes from this feature of anxiety. Most of this symptom is caused by tension, not only in the face, neck and shoulders, which can refer pain to the jaw and teeth, but also in the jaw itself. Derealisation and Depersonalisation These are both symptoms, which affect the way you experience yourself. Derealisation is the sensation that you and everything around you is not real or dreamy, as if you are seeing everything through a fog or some kind of filter. It has been noticed that people experience both depersonalisation and derealisation during panic. It seems that some people dissociate first which then causes panic and derealisation. poodlebell
  2. The signature shows how short of a time I was on Sertraline. I only went to the doctor because I was feeling a bit fatigued from life and within 5 minutes I was leaving with a prescription for Sertraline (Zoloft). From the very first pill I took, I could tell that it was doing nothing but damaging my brain and body. The sad part is that everyone, including doctors and the internet, tell you that it gets so much better with time and to just ride it out. I felt spacy and anxious, like I couldn't breath the entire time I was on the "medicine." It got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore and I just tapered off quick. The doctor I went to said that I wasn't on the drug for very long so I could just half the pills for a few days and stop taking it. Its been about 7 weeks off of the drug and I can say the only thing that brings me here is the depersonalization/ derealization that is not going away. I can't even tell if it is getting any better in the slightest. I wouldn't have any anxiety or depression if the dpdr wasn't so debilitating. I haven't been able to work since the day I took my first dose of the poison and am afraid I will never be able to find myself again. Honestly the suicidal thoughts and depression brought about by the thought of having to live like this forever are overwhelming. From what I've read you all are going to try to tell me to reinstate the drug but to be honest, I'd rather eat glass than ever take another ssri or other psych med again. I've talked to a psychiatrist and she prescribed me olanzapine ( I never took it) and then she prescribed me abilify (never took it either). I decided to start talking to a therapist and doing emdr therapy to try to lessen the stress of the whole situation and so far have only done one session. All in all, I'm just trying to get some input from the community about how this might get a little better. From what I've seen very little people on here have stories about recovering from sertraline.... It's almost like it should never be given to anyone. I haven't been able to find anything about how long the dpdr will last or if it will ever get better. I feel like I have lost who I am. My eyes feel like they are permanently damaged from the drug. I have a very hard time focusing on anything and when I do I still feel like what I am seeing isn't real. Do your eyes ever recover from sertraline?
  3. Hi, I’m new hear, I’m sorry if I have any gramatical errors, my native language isn’t English. I’m 18 years old female, I started sertraline at 14 and was been on and off sertraline (I used it total for about 2-3 years) I started when I was 14 and Stopped at 17. My last dose was about 4 months ago and I was on sertraline for 4 months (50 mg I think). I stopped because I learned about pssd. However I don’t think I tappered correctly. I didn’t knew how to. I’m now battling with pssd, a really severe depression, really severe derealization, brain fog, and I’m really suicidal. I don’t know what to do, I’m really really bad mentally and I’m desperate for help, for someone to bring hope to my life, but I don’t want to go with a psychiatrist, should I go with a therapist/ psychologist? I’m extremely depressed and derealized and can’t stop thinking about killing myself. (I’m not sure if I can talk about this here, but I really need help). I just want some hope about pssd, I’ve read here that pssd is just like any withdrawal symptom, it can take years to get better but it will improve and I really wish this happens, I also really wish to be myself again and not want desperately to die.
  4. "I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am in a state a protracted SSRI withdrawal. One of Alto's articles describes me perfectly in terms of a completely dysfunctional nervous system and paradoxical responses to most meds and even some supplements. The exaggerated alerting only allows me to sleep 3-4 hrs a night and my startle reflex is out of control (a bird chirping will send shivers down my spine). The most terrifying and unnerving symptom to me is derealization. It's as if I am in a dream 24/7. It breaks my heart not being able to truly connect with my wife, kids, family, and friends. The derealization has created a secondary self-sustaining anxiety/panic loop which compounds my other withdrawal symptoms. I feel trapped because no medicine seems to help (except for benzos which scare me) and I literally feel like I am dead waiting this out in hopes that I heal. " quoted from another member I could ever be a mother ( since there is no long term evidence on risk to unborn child). This seems laughable now. I live in complete dissociation and I'm unable to function. My depression is so bad I have hardly been able to leave my bed (psychomotor retardation). One psychiatrist said it was a relapse. But it is a different kind of despair.my nerves grated on - and a feeling that I cannot even describe. I only once tried to come off my meds, 2 years ago, my high-functioning partner said I should do without them. I couldn't function and felt constant emotional pain/sadness so went back on. I know it is hard to exctricate what is withdrawal and what is not. I went on them, off the back of mirtazipine and a depressive relapse ( from a traumtic indcident). I was still getting depressed on citalopram. This feels like a very different type of feeling. I feel pretty frightened that there is so little evidence about their long-term use. I have come off ssri's 3 times-- once at 17, once at 22 ( after 3 years) and do not remember symptoms like these. I feel, at 34, if I don't get off them now I never will but how long will this hell go on for? It's such a trap. It makes me think of the documentary of the same name, "The Trap" by Adam Curtis. He talks about antidepressants in it. Different family members of different generations have always been sceptical of the medical profession and especially drugs/pharmaceuticals. I think they had wisely, seen drugs introduced and then eventually recalled from the market and the medical professions role in this. I feel like I willingly went along with being a 20th century guinea pig. It always plagued the back of my mind that the drugs had been on the market for so little time, no-one really knew the long-term implications/behaviours of the drugs. We have no controls, I will never know what I would have been like living through my mid twenties to mid thirties without these drugs. I don't know if this nervous breakdown is due to the "truth" of my emotions repressed under the drugs or if this is withdrawal. It's scary to know that it may become protracted. I can't live like this- it's hell. I can't read up enough on pharmapsychology because I am so dissociated. I have been told that ssri's don't involve structural changes but like Joanna Moncrieff states, "we just don't know". Any help/ideas/comments??????????
  5. Hi! I’m losing hope. I need to hear at least ONE story of someone who has been in my situation and recovered … I can’t locate any. Was bridged from Lexapro to Cymbalta due to poop out. Crashed into withdrawal from Lexapro. One month later, stopped Cymbalta and reinstated full dose Lexapro. Didn’t know of site at time and listened to dr. It has been a year. Do feel some improvement but still bad brain fog and derealization (disassociation to world around me). Tried to cut Lexapro by 1mg and had severe reaction. Feel trapped.
  6. Hello to everyone ! I am a 28 years old male who suffered from anxiety and depression. In 2018 May i was put on Sertraline 100mg and upped untill 200mg in 3 months. i got rid of the anxiety but depression was still there. After 3 months i quit cold turkey did not experienced any withdrawal but depression was still there. after that the GP gave me Citalopram 40 mg which for 4 months experienced mostly side effects such as numbness, heavy brain fog, depersonalisation and lack of concentration i got sick of them so i started Lexapro10mg by myself without tapering or anything like that. I have been on Lexapro 10mg from December 2018 until April 2019 and quit cold turkey deciding to see if i can make it without them. The first month was horrible but at the beggining of May i experienced for the first time in many years a relief of everything i felt normal for about 8 hours, then by mistake when taking my supplements ( Fish Oil and Magnesium Methyfolate ) i took 0.5 mg lexapro by mistake and in about 5 hours i was back to square one. The first month i experienced the most heavy depression i have ever felt absolutely horrible could not come out of the house could not focus on anything or do anything just Dead. Now i feel much better after 2 months no depression no anxiety but i my head is like in a fish bowl i experience brain fog depersonalisation and no brain activity , anhedonia and the worst of all i cant focus to read properly. I apologise if it`s difficult to understand my writing but i find it very difficult to think. Will this ever go away ? i am really scared. I hope and wish nothing but the best to everyone out there in suffering from this. Thank you
  7. 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 :)
  8. LCatherine Hello, I am 25 and sometimes feel that my life is over because of Lexapro that was only taken for just shy of two months. I don't know where else to turn, my family and doctors do not believe me and my friends have never been through this hell, so they don't understand. I was a healthy, happy girl for 24 years. Mild anxiety, mild depression, but no severe mental health issues, especially compared to what I've experienced over the last 9 months. It started in September of 2019 when I decided to go on a hormonal birth control for the first time in years. Horrible mistake, I was immediately hit with crippling anxiety and waves of panic attacks. I could barely leave my home and cried all of the time because I didn't know what was happening. I had to go to work so I saw my primary care doctor and he prescribed me Zoloft. I had taken Zoloft roughly a year and a half prior for mild depression (again, NOTHING compared to what I've experienced recently) and it made me feel okay at the time so I thought I would give it another shot. It heightened my anxiety and made me very suicidal the second time, I believe because my hormones were out of whack so it wasn't really ME that it was treating if that makes sense. I went back to my doctor after only taking it for a week and he prescribed me 5mg Lexapro. This was the beginning of October. The first few days I thought maybe it was working, my anxiety was down and I felt calm. Something was instantly not right though, and I felt extremely off. I wrote in my journal that when I was speaking it felt like it was not really me, like there was a space between my thoughts and my words. My inner dialogue was completely silenced which was terrifying. Brain fog set in, things didn't connect or make sense, I felt nothing. I couldn't eat, I couldn't leave my bed and the next two months were a blur that I still have trouble remembering. My head constantly hurt, my ears rang, my vision was compromised, I was dizzy all of the time, had severe depersonalization/derealization and it felt like I had severe inflammation of the brian. I had adverse side effects and it truly felt like I was in hell. I was bumped up to 10mg despite feeling horrible. On Thanksgiving I was sitting with my mom and childhood best friend and her mother. I didn't care if I died, if they died, I just wanted to disappear and I knew I had to get off of Lexapro. I didn't have proper medical guidance and stopped cold turkey. It's been 5 months since stopping, and I would love to say that everything is back to normal, however that is not the case. The bizarre brian sensations, which I later learned were brain zaps, have subsided, but I still have horrible brain fog, waves of DP/DR, my inner voice is much quieter than it once was, and when I get stressed or anxious I feel like I may pass out. I still have ringing in my ears and eye floaters. I have been to the ER several times, I had an MRI done and multiple tests and everything came back fine. I have seen two different psychiatrists who just pushed more drugs, most of which I did not take. I did take a low dose of Amitriptyline briefly but stopped because it made me feel sort of manic and had other weird side effects. I should mention that I have been very sensitive to medication my entire life. I asked my psychiatrist if Lexapro could still be causing these symptoms and he said no, that when people come off of antidepressants they experienced flu like symptoms for 1-2 weeks and then are fine. I had to do research myself, because I never experienced any of these symptoms until I took Lexapro. I could feel it destroying my brain, and it has not recovered. It feels as if my nervous system is wrecked. I take fish oil, D3 daily and occasionally magnesium. My mom believes that the symptoms I'm experiencing are caused from breast implants that I got when I was 22, although I had them for years with no side effects, or due to vaping which I also had no problems with for a year prior to all of this. My question is, will it get better? Sometimes it feels like I will never be myself again. I have lost all pleasure in things I used to love. The idea of going back to school and starting a career seems impossible, and sometimes I feel like I will just be a vegetable and waste away. I try to stay positive most of the time, I have read success stories that give me hope, but other times I feel very hopeless. I don't want to go the rest of my life feeling brain dead and like I have no purpose because of a pill I was prescribed for two months. Please help.
  9. Hey all! This is my first post here and I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been feeling desperate for months. My question is about drug-induced derealization. I took the combo of Effexor + Valdoxan and only felt good for a month while being on them. In hindsight I almost seemed manic. Then, suddenly, I got very strong derealization that lasted for weeks. It lifted a bit for a few feeks and then came about again when I had a drink one night. I have now tapered off Effexor, I took my last pill about three weeks ago. Three days ago I also started tapering off Valdoxan. I take Oxazepam to cope with the symptoms. I feel like I broke my brain for good. The only other time I've felt derealization was when I ate a hash brownie and clearly it was too much for me. I used to be a caring and fun person before going on the antidepressants. Right now I feel like I'm just completely empty inside. I do and feel things because I know I have to, but I seriously don't care about anything at all. When I do feel emotion, it's mostly fear or worry. Has anyone else expierienced drug-induced DR? Did it go away when you started to withdraw from the drug? How do you cope with this?
  10. Hello, my name is Jonathan. I’m 21. I started taking Lexapro after being admitted into the hospital for intense panic attacks that resulted in suicidal ideology. The first dose I took of Lexapro I immediately felt this numbing/ quieting effect in my mind, like my internal dialogue was shut off, which then resulted in me feeling so removed from reality I just remember crying and staring at a wall for 2-3 hours before I eventually fell asleep. I feel like I had such adverse effects due to an overall hypersensitivity to medication which was confirmed because I also tried Wellbutrin and switching to Zoloft and both of these medications resulted in me feeling adverse effects immediately. I was on Lexapro 5mg morning 5mg night starting June 2018 and it was miserable the whole time. I felt the emotional numbing, general apathy which I expected. But the worst thing was the dissociation. It was like everything physically was numbed out. Bright light, foggy days, nature in general made me feel like I was stuck in this dream state. I often felt like I had lost all connection to myself, like I was a gathering of vague memories floating through with no meaning. This started bringing lots of panic back and crying spells multiple nights a week. I decided I wanted to come off Lexapro and I stupidly, the spring of 2019, tried cold turkey. Being so sensitive to the drug, after about 3 days I went into a 104 degree fever which lasted 15 days. Luckily my parents came into town and took me home from college. this was the start of an extremely slow taper that lasted until just recently Beginning of April 2020 where I am finally off the drug. I was hopeful for the first time in a while that things might return to normal, like before I was on the drug at all. However, I’ve been feeling a lot of the same feelings I had every time I would taper on Lexapro. Crying spells, the feeling that I am not real. All concepts have lost meaning. Space, time, memory. I wake up in the same familiar bed with the most obvious feeling that it couldn’t be farther from alright. Everything is off. I drive down the same roads I’ve been on my whole life and I can’t help but feel the fog creep in until it has covered my memories, convincing me that my reality has been manipulated and I am no longer able to see things as they truly are, or were. Color is faded. Light is surreal. Overcast days fill me with dread. I’ve lost all connection to the physical world. Those concepts of space and time bring on the most intense feelings of fear and despair. The only sensations I feel anymore, the only ones that remind me that this feels like a nightmare. It honestly feels like hell and I don’t know how to find relief. I’ve started up therapy again but talking about all these feelings make it worse. I’d rather completely numb/ distract myself in my room all day then be forced to relive all these moments. I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to feel like things are ok again. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  11. 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.
  12. Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here, hope that I am doing everything correctly. I am recovering from fluoxetine (Prozac), I took it for about 8 months and I have been off it for about 3 months now. I have searched a lot on the internet and this forum but I was not able to find anyone who suffers from similar issues, so I was hoping for some kind of support from here Every morning, I wake up with horrible anxiety and a feeling of "depersonalization", it is kind of like sitting in the back of your head and having some kind of tunnel vision. Apathy is a big part of it and there is a weird feeling of having to supress a panic attack at any moment. The weird thing about it is that this feeling goes away in the afternoon and I feel completely fine the entire evening until I wake up the next day. I think this might be related to cortisol levels rising in the morning but I am not sure. Does anyone have similar experiences or tips to share with me? Thank you so much
  13. Hi everyone. I've been dealing with severe derealization, panic, insomnia, anxiety, depression, dizziness, vertigo, migraines, agitation, irritably etc. for 3 years now. I'm scared out of my mind. I am on geodon 20 mg 2x a day zoloft (I'm weening. Just went from 25 mg to 12.5 mg) remeon 7.5 mg 2x a day scheduled Ativan (5 mg total per day) i am at at the end of my rope. I believe be chronic insomnia is at the heart of the way I feel. I have recently come to the realization that the derealization could be coming from pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to feel better, I have started weening off Zoloft- under doc approval (had to start somewhere and this medication has never helped me). I have been on Zoloft for 13 years, since the birth of my son when I developed post pardum depression. Is it it possible that going off the Zoloft will help? Or is the derealization likely to get worse? I'm still on 12.5 mg. This is my 2nd day on 12.5 from 25 mg. I believe I went from 50 mg to 37.5 in mid July. Then only went from 37.5 to 25 mg a week ago. And started 12.5 yesterday. Is this too quick? Or should I stay on 12.5 for a couple weeks and see how I do? Sounds like medication withdrawal can certainly cause DP/DR, but is it possible that coming off of them can actually help? Will things ever get bettter? Any adcice woukd be greatly appreciated.
  14. In 2007 I was put on meds at 19 for depression. Then they decided I was bi-polar, the bi-polar where you are just really depressed. So from 2007 until November 2012 I was on a cocktail of meds. Three meds at a time. I was on abilify, wellbutrin, sequel ( only for two weeks because it made me extremely tired) Lamictal, Depakote, Effexor and so on. So what would happen is my psychiatrist would prescibe meds and I would feel better and didn't want to take them so I would stop or miss a lot of days. When I would go to see him I lied and said I was taking them and they didn't do anything so he would prescribe a different medication. It was always three at a time and I would stop or skip days of taking the medications. So this went on for 5 years. So in I believe July 2012 I was prescribed Effexor and was also on Lamictal and something else. So I was missing days as usual for months and in mid November 2012 I woke up and had this really weird detached feeling like I was in a dream, things weren't real. So I freaked out. I had been trying to get a hold of my psychiatrist and had learned within two weeks he unexpectedly retired and fled the country and no one could communicate with him. A few days later I stop the Effexor, Lamictal and whatever that drug was cold turkey. I didn't know what to do. Oh I forgot to mention, my leg went totally numb in August 2012. In early December 2012 I got double vision. So my family doctor sent me in for a MRI. I had an appointment in Cleveland on December 23rd 2012 and they diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. So I thought "this feeling" I had was caused by my ms. So in January 2013 I was put on zoloft, Lamictal and abilify. Later that summer 2013, I had a breakdown bc of being diagnosed with ms and was hospitalized. They changed my meds to abilify, zoloft and depokote, because I had been on them before. Then from that time to now I have switched meds. Zoloft was a constant and I tried, Topamax, and the invega and abilify shot. So for the past year, I have been on latuda 40mg and zoloft 200mg. I have started weening off. My doctor just started me on 20mg of Latuda to ween off. I am starting with Latuda and then zoloft. So I thought for years this feeling was due to my ms, but I am learning more and more it's most likely due to the on going meds I have been on. Hence why I am finally weening off and stopping! Can someone please give me any advice or info, thank you for any help. I was wondering if you think my derealization/ depersonalization is from the meds?? Will it go away after weening off these meds for good? Do you think it will take years to heal and get rid of this horrible dr/ dp? Is there anything else I can do to help myself go back to normal and get rid of this feeling for good? I will still be taking my ms medication which is Tecfidera. Please and input would be much appreciated, Thank You
  15. Hi, my name's Alexis, I'm a 21 years old male from France, and I made a good amount of mistakes in the past few months as it turns out. Let me start by presenting myself as the "before" me. I was always, always the happy guy. I was bullied during all of high-school (leading me to redo a year because it was to much) but this was all behind me. The bullying led me to have creepling social anxiety but other than that I was really happy with my life, I had learned to live with it and not stoping me to live a full life. I didn't like going clubbing or anything invoving a lot of people at once but going to college led me to meet people who would like the same things as me. I was never alone, I made good friends. I am -or was- the kind of guy who would like all things linked to creativity. Be it video montages about my video game "life" or a lot of writing. In college, I started playing games a lot on my pc, met a lot of great people online and so even when I was going home in my little appartment, I was never alone. I messed up one of my college years and switched from studying physics to studying computer science but that was pretty much it as for desapointments. That and my love life which was bleak at best thanks to me being really really shy (never kissed a girl yay !). I am the romantic kind of guy, and burned myself hard on a middle school crush wish led me being afraid of girls my age and what they could do to my poor heart. But I had come to terms with it. I had all my life to fix this problem after all. And things started to look better on all fronts. I started going out more (movies, friends parties at their appartments). Then came along the possibility of an abroad school in Canada. A school for 3D modeling and design in video games. I always like creating stuff on my computer. Video montages. 3D scenes. Just because I could and it was a way to create from my feelings. Anyway, the school in question required a big dossier to accept postulants so I started working night and day to improve my skills in this set of themes. Digital painting, 3d modelling or even scene creations. If we had my work for my computer science class, all in all I was working 15h a day minimum. I stopped loging online to talk to my online friends as I was always working. I too started missing my college classes to continue working on this stuff. To be honest I was feeling possesed. Always always thinking about ten stuff related to the subject at the same time. Sleeping like a mad man whenever I felt like it. It started at the end of September 2015. Looking back at it I feel like the biggest moron in the universe. It all came down crashing at the start of November. It was a friday and I had a one hour QCM to take in the afternoon. I had weird feeling about a week before. Like my chest was being constrained and my heart was going to burst out. But I didn't make anything of it. I just continued working oblivious to my bodies signals. And so during this test I almost clollapsed. My head started feeling weird, I felt like ants on my hands but most of all my chest was constrained, i couldn't breathe and I was sure my heart was going to stop. I managed to hold until the end of the test and went home. Things calmed a bit but I started getting really afraid of what was happening to me (little did I know I had a panic attack like the sleep deprived mal nourished idiot that I was). The thing is I'm kind of an hypochondriac with obsessive tendencies. When something is wrong I focus on it like my life is depending on it. So during the week end I started having panic attakcs. I was having chest pain and everything. The monday, still having my chest pain and feeling like my heart was going to stop I went back to my mom's. Took 3mg of Bromazepam and my blood pressure was still through the roof. After that, I started taking benzo daily in the form of 6mg of Bromazepam throughout the day. But then I started taking more and more, eveytime I tried not taking it, a feeling of dread and iminent doom was taking me away in panic attack land. A month went by and I couldn't live without my daily benzos doses so I decided to start seeing a psy. After discussing, she prescribed me 10mg of Lexapro to take every morning. She also said to keep taking benzos while trying to slowly limit them. It was the start of December 2015. 15 days later I had cut my benzo intake to 3mg a day and I was feeling like myself again. My first thought was to stop taking benzos. So the 18th I stopped benzos all together. I was back at my mom's, my week of exams was over and I was feeling nearly normal again. Took me 3 days being on the edge but the withdrawal from benzo was over. I then fixed my eyes on my next objective : stopping meds all together. See, I'm a real proud kind of guy. I really don't like the idea of having to take meds to "survive". Even before, when I had a headache I was really reluctent to take anything to make it stop. I prefered powering through it. So taking pills was like a failure mark. I had to get rid of that. So I said to myself, you go back in classes the 4th of january. You take one week taking your Lexapro 10mg pills every two days for a week or so and then you stop. And so I did. I started going every two days somewhere around the 10th of january, stopping all together one week after that. For the next part, the timeline start getting fuzzy so bear with me for a little longer. One week after stopping everything I started feeling weird. Feelings that I would later call derealization. the world wasn't making sense anymore. Reality had become a question. But a 5 days in, as soon as it had started it stoped. I hadn't even have the time to understand what it was. Even now I can't remember what I felt like. One or two weeks later on the other hand, since got really really bad. I was hit by the worst things I ever felt all at once. Things like a massive derealization spree, emotional anhedonia and bad anxiety. At the worst of it, I had to get rid of all the sleeping pills in my appartment afraid to make a mistake. What made me survive it was me calling my mom every nigh and talking for an hour or so. She couldn't understand half of the things I felt but she helped me just survive it. Told me to start making my life a habit. Making plans for the next day and stick to them. Like going to classes or jogging for a little while. Eating better. That sort of stuff. So I did all of these. Not because I wanted but for her. One week and a half after the start of tha episode it was over. I remember one day my derealization being bad with occasionnal moments of calm and the next it feels like it was over. I can't for the life of me figure out what changed. All I know was that I was back. Then two weeks went by. My school year was already unretrievable and I couldn't go to sleep before 4am in the morning, and get up before noon was an impossible exploit. All in all my class attendance wasn't the best, but I was still able to think about the future. I am supposed to start a 4 month internship at the start of april and the timeline looks bleak at best. I am talking to you from the middle of another wave of derealization I guess. I feel bad now, but less bad than the last wave. I "only" have to face derealization now. Not a strong one but a snicky derealization. During the past two weeks I have been plagued with unanswerable questions like : what the point of life at the end ? What's the point of reality ? This kind of stuff. But no anhedonia. And a lot less of the need to be alone then last time. The problem is the fact that it is way longer than last time. It's the end of the second week and it has been three days now that I feel like life is a trap. I'm tired of thinking and living this crapshow of a life. My latest derealisation is that. A few time an hour I will be hit in the face by this weird thought that life is a ******* trap. And that's is weirdly not that real or something like that. Yeah I don't feel as excited as before about stuff but I guess it's not a strong anhedonia as before. And time perception is less distorted than before. Since this wave is hitting me with less strength I don't feel the small good moments inside the wave as such. The line between normal and bad is a all lot blurrier. And I'm not sure this one wave is going to end, ever. I'm afraid because I'm not sure it's normal to have waves being longer and longer (while hitting with less strength each time maybe). I'm afraid that i's not normal, nearly two month after having stopped taking lexapro for ONLY a month and a half having still these kind of symptom. But most of all I'm afraid not to be afraid of death anymore. I long the days where death was that dreadfull thing that I could be afraid of. It was my freedom to run from it. And it's my hell not to fear it that much anymore. In the hope that you can maybe reassure me. Thank you to everyone taking the time to read my too long text and my bad english.
  16. Hello everyone. I am glad this place exists. I am currently trying to get off antidepressants and have read many posts on this forum. I would appreciate any advice on my current situation. Here are the basics: March 2001 At age 18, tried marijuana and a high dose of coricidan cough & cold (dextromethorphan) along with alcohol on spring break. Experienced a 'bad trip', freaking out and thinking I was going to die. For the next couple weeks I felt 'off': experienced dissociative feelings, derealization and anxiety (feared I would never feel back to normal) April 2001 Returned to "normal"June 2001 Developed a cold, and upon taking cough medicine, the dissociative feelings returned and I had a panic attack, fearing I had brain damage from taking the drugs which was causing the feelings, along with heart palpitations, minor chest pain and shortness of breath. Went to the ER and they gave me Valium to calm down. The next day the dissociative feelings were still strong. Went to my PCP and he prescribed Paxil 20mg to anxiety. I was also given Xanax to use when the panic feelings were too strong. Along with anxiety symptoms, noticed ringing in the ears after starting Paxil. July 2001 After 6-8 weeks, the dissociative feelings lifted. I felt more normal.August 2001 Although feeling better, still had problems with anxiety and depression at night, so PCP increased Paxil dose to 30mg. After increasing dose, noticed ringing in the ears again, along with mild dizziness/vertigo and dissociative feelings. PCP assured me that these symptoms would subside in a few weeks, and that every negative feeling was a result of the anxiety disorder, while the medicine was making them go away. January 2002 Felt better and under doctor's advice, began tapering from Paxil.February 2002, Ringing in ears got worse after stopping Paxil, as did dissociative feelings and anxiety. Doc prescribed Xanax as needed. (can't remember if I went back on Paxil) December 2002 Overwhelming anxiety, dissociative feelings, depression and panic attacks return. PCP placed me on Prozac 20mg January 2003 Experiencing chest pain and tightness, panic attacks, and extremely high heart rates when exercising. Higher than normal. Anxiety still bad. Doc reassured me I would be fine and this is normal. Taking xanax almost daily to control anxiety Panic attacks became intense, and anxiety was 24/7. No relief. Had to drop out of college and come home. A few weeks later, went to PCP and he took me off Prozac and put me back on Paxil. April 2003 Anxiety, dissociative feelings and panic attacks have gotten better, but still 'on and off'. Feel okay for a week then feel bad for a week. Doc puts me on Paxil CR 50mg. August 2003 Things have improved. Feeling more 'normal.' Able to enjoy things. Went to the doc wanting to lower dose of Paxil. He put me on 12.5mg. October 2003 Switched to Zoloft 200mg because symptoms were returning Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks and able to enjoy things again. January 2005 Lowered dosage to 200mg Zoloft because of weight gain and feelings of fatigueOctober 2005 Dissociative symptoms, anxiety and depression returning. Doc takes me off Zoloft and puts me on Wellbutrin XL 300mg May 2006 Diagnosed with sleep apneaOctober 2006 Symptoms return. Doc places me on Effexor XR 150mg. After a few weeks feel back to "normal". Able to enjoy things again. September 2008 Wanted to get off medication for good. After getting my wisdom teeth out and being on Vicodin, I thought that would be a good time to do it. 2 weeks later, I freaked out and things were AWFUL. Went to the psychiatric ER and immediately restarted Effexor XR. Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks. July 2012 Begin having "episodes" where i feel lightheaded, and a "wave" feeling comes over me. This is accompanied by a significant raise in pulse and blood pressure, extreme panic and anxiety, and dissociative feelings. The episodes last about 10-15 minutes. Often times I vomit. They seem to happen after a lack of sleep, drinking lots of caffeine, or smoking too many cigarettes. Attack becomes so severe I head to the ER. They do tests, all come back negative. Over the next few months, these episodes become more frequent, and anxiety in between these episodes goes up. November 2012 Wake up in the middle night. Extreme fear and panic. Heart RACING. I call 911 and an ambulance has to come pick me up. At ER, all tests are negative and they give me xanax. Go to a psychiatrist who takes me off Effexor XR and puts me on Lexapro. Anxiety gets worse over the next two months. January 2013 Anxiety is worse than it has ever been. It is absolutely unbearable. Like a 24/7 panic attack from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. Psychiatrist puts me back on Effexor XR 150mg, and Klonopin 25mg 3x daily to keep me from freaking out. Things are AWFUL. Like a mental pain and anguish as iff someone is constantly shaking my head. I can't even describe how awful it is. March 2013 Things have not improved. Pdoc raises my dosage to 225mg of EffexorXR. After a few days, things get even WORSE. They are so bad I have to go to the ER and we decide to put me in an inpatient facility. After a couple days in there, I realize there is nothing they can do for me other than mess with medications. I got out of there after a couple days.May 2013 Things have not improved. I decide to enter a partial hospitalization program where I go in for half the day. They do all sorts of classes about mood and attitude and stuff but this is a physical feeling of mental anguish and pain, not a state of mind. They try to convince me it is a state of mind and I can talk my way out of it. Pdoc tries to increase Effexor XR dosage again. Symptoms get even WORSE. My heart rate races up to 150bpm just walking down the street. BP is up to 140/100. (normally 120/80) June 2013 We finally decide to taper me off Effexor XR and back on to Zoloft. It takes about 2 months, but I finally get off Effexor and onto Zoloft. The transfer was HELL. I would have episodes of extreme anxiety and mental pain, and moments where it felt like my brain was being electrically 'charged up.' Every night I went to bed thinking I was going to die in my sleep. I wish there was a way to describe my anguish. Now taking 200mg Zoloft and 25mg Klonopin 3x daily August 2013 Not getting better. Discover benzobuddies.org. Decide I need to get off the Klonopin. It is making me feel drugged and fatigued and unable to live life. And makes me feel like my legs are tingling and asleep all day. Begin my slow taper from Klonopin. Every time I make a cut it SUCKS... November 2013 Finally get off the Klonopin It's rough for a while, but SLOWLY gets better February 2013 At this point I am able to have moments where I'm not thinking about the anxiety/mental pain. This is a step forward. I still have dissociation and derealization, no 'clarity', mental fog, confusion, unable to organize thoughts, feeling ADHD all the time... but slowly improvingApril 2014 Feeling better. No 'painful' anxiety. Only taking 200mg Zoloft daily. Still have dissociation and derealization and anxiety and depression. Can't feel excitement, love, passion, sex drive, etc. I want to get off all medications. I have felt better since getting off effexor and Klonopin, although it has taken so long. I want to get off Zoloft, but I'm not sure when to begin. Because I am not completely better, I am afraid I will get worse if I try to taper now. But I am ALSO afraid that if I do not taper soon, I will get worse and need more medications to help. Advice??? Thank you :-) Edit: I have always been told that all these symptoms are from my anxiety disorder. After years of research, I'm wondering if the original anxiety was from the imbalance, but all these other problems are from the medications. Do I need medications to get better? Or do I need to taper off them to get better. That is my fear :-(
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