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  1. Hello fellow travelers, I am a recovering user of many psychotropic prescriptions (which I at first thought were good for me). After finally being able to taper off and learning much more, I've revised my thinking a bit: about the drugs, about the doctors, about the medical profession in general and about what I can reasonably be certain is healthy. I've got pretty decent working knowledge of psychotropics now, but still have much to learn. I have read the Ashton Manual, a few scholarly articles by people like Guy Chouinard, and have some experience helping people with withdrawal and post-withdrawal. I also have a bit of an interest in general medicine. Drugs taken include: Remeron, Effexor, Clonazepam, Triazolam, Escitalopram, too much Olanzapine and a few other compounds with varying levels of harm. I am now around two years post-withdrawal of Clonazepam, having begun my odyssey taking amitryptaline for sleep, and am still recovering from extreme insomnia, gastro problems and general fatigue. I can't really say it was worth it, but you live and you learn.
  2. Hi all. I was admitted in the psych ward and was given Abilify 15mg for 2 weeks and then a 400mg Abilify Maintena Injection that's good for a month. I wasn't aware that Abilify was an antipsychotic and I was clueless about its brain damaging effects. I thought it was given to me simply for my anxiety and depression and I'm not schizophrenic at all. Now I'm suffering from the damage done to me by Abilify. I'm now 2 months off Abilify. I'm off all medication and just waiting for the side effects to come off. I'm in a state of disbelief that such things are happening to me. I cannot believe my life could get any worse. Now I'm not good at explaining things in english so i'll just list down my symptoms. - Suffering from sexual dysfunction. Almost zero libido. Loss of arousal. I can still get erection but it's very weak then get little from ejaculation. - Insomnia. From the very first pill of Abilify I developed insomnia. Now I can't nap anymore, I don't feel sleepy in the afternoons anymore. I never had sleeping problems before Abilify. At night I only get a poor 2-4 semi-sleep with vivid dreams. Once I wake up I just lay in bed and I close my eyes hoping I'd fall again to sleep. - Anhedonia - Loss of my interests and hobbies - Lack of care about anything. Don't even care about my appearance anymore. - No motivation. Determination, ambitions all gone. I only do things now just to distract myself not because I want to do them or they give me satisfaction or pleasure. I just distract myself now to escape the excruciating boredom. I'm waiting and still hopeful this is just withdrawal and not permanent damage to my brain. I' m giving it about 2 years and if things don't change then it's game over for me. I can't live life like a lifeless zombie without a desire for anything for the rest of my life.
  3. ADMIN NOTE This essay first appeared in Dan998's success story. Also see: Tips to help sleep: so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia What is the sleep cycle? Melatonin for sleep Supplements for sleep * Sleep and withdrawal by Dan998 I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about sleep. Everyone’s symptoms and experiences will be different, but the vast majority of our members suffer terribly from issues surrounding sleep. For me, sleep was probably my biggest struggle. Right from the beginning I had a hard time sleeping and it’s probably only in the last year or two that it has returned to what I would call normal. Sleeplessness closely followed my pattern of windows and waves. Arriving a few days before and improving a few days afterwards. I’m convinced that these two things are closely linked to each other. During the worst of withdrawal I might have been lucky to get an hour of sleep per night. This sometimes went on for months and undoubtedly contributed to the mental confusion and cognitive incapacity that I have previously described. The cortisol mornings were particularly brutal. Fear, dread and panic rising from my core and quickly filling every part of my body as soon as I woke up. Getting a good night's sleep is vital for all humans, not just those in withdrawal. I still occasionally get nights where my sleep is interrupted and I always feel groggy and slow throughout the following day. Thankfully, like everything else on the withdrawal rollercoaster your ability to sleep will improve with the passage of time. Dosage timing - Some psychotropic drugs are activating, some have a sedative effect. You can use this to your advantage. Citalopram used to make me feel slightly drowsy, so I took my dose at night to help me sleep. Try to stay away from sleep meds if you can as most of them are highly addictive and you’ll quickly build up a tolerance to them. Take a nap - Sleep can often be elusive. Get it whenever you can. If you feel tired in the afternoon, then by all means take a nap. Every minute of sleep is valuable. It doesn’t have to be reserved for bedtime. Blue light - Blue light interferes with our natural circadian rhythms. In nature, blue light is only available during the daytime. The blue light emitted by T.Vs, computers and smartphones disrupts these natural rhythms and signals to our brains that we should be awake. Make use of the blue (night) light filters available on most computers and phones. If you’re watching TV, the movie setting often has a warmer colour temperature. I personally wouldn’t go online after about 10pm as I found it far too activating. Instead, I’d watch wildlife documentaries or sports as these provided much gentler viewing. Bedtime stories - Ok, I didn’t have actual bedtime stories. I would listen to talk radio. A soothing voice, quietly whispering in the background would help me drift off. I used to listen to BBC Radio 5 as it didn’t have any annoying adverts. Nowadays, you’ll probably find all sorts of podcasts, audiobooks and background noises to listen to. Make sure it’s nothing too stimulating. Boring is best. Darkness - I found blocking out the light really helped my sleep. The darker the better. I messed about with blackout curtains, but some light always got past, and it only took the tiniest sliver to wake me up. In the end I solved this problem by screwing a sheet of ply board over the window, this also helped block out most of the street noise too. Secret sleep - Sometimes you don’t realise you have been asleep. It seems that you’ve been laying there awake for hours and hours. In fact, there are many different levels of sleep. Just because you didn’t have any dreams, doesn’t mean you haven’t been asleep. So, even if you're not tired, you should go to bed at the same time every night. Lay down, make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. You'll be giving your body a rest and you might even grab an hour or two without even realising. I hope these hints and tips are of some benefit to those of you who are struggling with sleep. Things do get better as time goes on. Hang in there. Better days, and nights, are ahead of you. *
  4. Before describing my situation, I want to start by thanking all those who have posted here, particularly those few who keep it updated and try to organize it. Even though today I'm in at a really low point, the information I've found here has been extremely valuable. I hope that I can not only continue getting good information, but that maybe my story might help somebody else sometime. Apologies in advance if I am too long-winded or detailed. CASE HISTORY AND WD SYMPTOMS: I'll skip the ancient history. In short I started taking citalopram in my twenties for depression., and I'm now 46, so it has been around 20 years. I can't recall dosages, but for the last few years I've been on only 10mg. Finally feeling like I was in a fairly stable place in my life, I thought I'd see if I could go off them. I knew this had to be done "slowly", but what this meant exactly was pretty vague. I dropped down to 5mg, and stayed like that for a long time (6 mo?), with no ill effect. I had the impression that this was the lowest medically effective dose, so I could do no more tapering. I may have done a couple weeks of every-other-day, but in February 2020 I stopped altogether. I thought (wrongly, it seems) that was tapering enough. I recall having a couple of weird initial weeks, but I'd describe the withdrawal symptoms as manageable (no depression, just dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and what I now know to be "brain zaps"). My doctor had given me 0.25mg tablets of Alprazolam (Xanax, "benzo") and I was instructed to take 1/2 a tablet only when feeling sufficiently bad, but I tried to take that as little as possible. These symptoms mostly lifted, and, if I recall correctly, I proceeded to have a couple of quite decent months. It was a lovely spring in spite of Covid, I was focused on my work and quite happy overall. But there were some odd things: I was irrationally irritable and easy to anger. Idiotic things (the sound of food being chewed, etc.) were extremely irritating to me. Then, at the end of April, I had a really horribly depressed day out of nowhere, and my sleep started to fall apart. I would wake up every night at almost exactly the same time, around 5am, and I'd be extremely hot (night sweats). I also started experiencing serious pain in the back of my neck, which I attributed to sleeping funny and a fall I had while skiing several months prior. At this point I had made no connection between these symptoms and coming off the SSRI, as I had never heard of SSRI withdrawal syndrome. But something wasn't right, and even the zopiclone I was given for temporary help sleeping didn't prevent the 5am wake up. I started keeping a journal, charting my sleep, exercise, sleeping-pill intake and so on. My strong feeling was that I didn't have a "mental" problem (not depression, not anxiety), I had a hormone problem causing sleeplessness. My mind might race a bit, but my symptoms all felt more physical than emotional. I recall forcing myself to get exercise (short runs) and eat healthy (lots of smoothies, etc). At this point I googled something about irritability and SSRIs, and made my way to this site. Here I learned (from "Altostrata" - thanks) that my nervous system was likely hypersensitized, and the 5am wake-up was caused by an over-reaction to the hormone cortisol, which is naturally released around dawn to start the wake-up process. This made a lot of sense, and explained my situation perfectly. (Thank you again!) THE IMPORTANT PART FOR ME NOW: I experienced several "windows" (term used on this site and elsewhere to indicate a period of mostly clear, good days, in contrast with "waves" of heavy symptoms), but by the end of July I began to think I needed to go back on something. My goal, then and now, is quality of life, and if that meant I did indeed need some small quantity of drug, so be it. (Just MY point of view, not a judgement of anyone else!). I read on this site about the dangers of going back on at a "normal" dose, like the 5mg recommended by the doctor. My particular situation was at high risk for "kindling", since by this point I'd been off the citalopram for around 6 months, and citalopram has a short half-life. (All this learned from this site!). I tried a 5mg tablet cut in 4 (about 1.25mg), but on day two felt like I was freaking out. After a few days, I tried again, an 1/8th of a pill, smaller than a grain of rice. I ordered a scale to weigh the dose, as suggested. By the second day I was experiencing GREATLY REDUCED WD SYMPTOMS, and felt like I was out of the woods. I wanted to create an account and tell everybody about my success story, to help others. But by a few days later, things started going downhill again. Was that just a window? The hot flashes and brain zaps were gone, but a general lethargy combined somehow with nervousness persisted. I thought perhaps I had adapted to the miniscule dose, and went up to 1/4 tablet. To cut this long story a bit shorter, I slowly progressed over the course of a few weeks up to 1/2 a tablet. I felt I was in the extremely difficult situation (for which I'm seeking the community's help) - Is my situation caused by too much drug (kindling) or not enough?? How to distinguish WD symptoms and symptoms caused by going back on the drug? I saw my doctor, who feels that anything less than 5mg is just not going to help. She suggested taking 5mg and warned me that the first two weeks were likely going to be difficult, so I should take .25mg of xanax as well for the first two weeks. I've tried this for the last few days, and indeed they have been difficult. But I'm not convinced that they'll get better in two weeks! Now, seeing all this in black and white, I think likely I've increased my dosage too quickly, and I'll do better to go back down to maybe 1/4 tab. I'm just so disappointed that there doesn't seem to be an obvious right answer that makes me feel better more quickly! So many other sites say "SSRI withdrawal syndrome can be cured in a couple days by going back on the drug" - but this doesn't seem to be the case. I feel totally lost and unsure of how to proceed. I'm so exhausted by trying to figure this all out, I just want to get checked into some magic rehab hospital where they knock me out and I wake up four months later feeling fine. Looking back I can also see that my symptoms have shifted very much from "purely physical" (like hot flashes) to the emotional. I've had whole days lost in front of the TV, or, like this morning, terrified to get out of bed or check my email. The insomnia is AWFUL - after 4am I can neither wake up nor fall asleep. If I try to wake I'm exhausted, when I try to sleep I can only seem to get to the brink, when some sort of nervous reaction zaps me awake again. Feelings of total despair, a strong sense that there is no way out of this (I seem to be damned if I take the stuff or not), and recently, hints of some very dark thoughts indeed, as I cannot imagine having to face mornings like this one for the rest of my life! On the plus side, I do have a very loving wife who is very supportive and understanding. I'm totally ashamed of all this, of who I am right now, and would give anything, everything to simply go back to that day when I decided to go off. Things were fine, or as fine as can be expected for me. But regret gets one nowhere, and we all have to remember that there ARE good days ahead, somehow. CONCRETE QUESTIONS for anyone who is able to chip in: 1) On the one hand it seems pretty clearly I've tried to reinstate too fast. Likely best to go back down, but not to zero? Try to stay at 1.25mg for at least two weeks? 2) How does the Alprazolam (xanax) fit into this? I read something about how it helps temporarily, but then you can go into a "benzo hangover", which is worse? 3) Am I just bailing out of the full 5mg dose too soon? My doctor said it would be a hard two weeks, maybe I should just try to tough it out? She's lovely, but I don't think this sort of thing is her specialization. 4) Should I find a psychiatrist (even though where I live it will likely be a month or more before I can get in)? Or will they just start saying I'm bipolar and pumping me full of other things? Anyway this is getting pretty rambly now so I'll stop. Thanks to anybody who reads this and has any thoughts. Anyone else going through hard times right now, just keep hanging in there - the only thing that is sure is that things will change.
  5. I am writing this while I can function. It comes and goes. I have been off work since this thing started almost four weeks ago. I am very scared. Please help me. I've been on Prozac since late 2002. Prescribed because I was depressed. Initially at 20mg / day. Later the effect wore off somewhat and within a year or so it was upped to 60mg / day. I stayed on this dose until December 2013. While on it I sometimes reduced the dose to 40mg and sometimes skipped days to see what would happen if I come off it. After at most two or three weeks, I think I felt somewhat flat and took the full dose again. I suspected that the worse that could happen was that if I come off it I would feel depressed. I was led to believe this drug is safe for long term use. But I was in for a nasty, nasty, nasty surprise. In December 2013 I decided to fully come off it. Things went ok for a few weeks. I did notice that my muscles would lose power when exercising during January and early February 2014. By mid February I developed loss of appetite; nausea and brain zaps, muscle and joint pain and tiredness. This was followed within days with what appeared to be the worst flu that I ever had, exhaustion and fever. My blood pressure went down and my heart rate went up. I wondered if it might be related to the Prozac. So I took 40mg and waited. For about 1-2 hours. Symptoms were gone. By the next day I was back to normal. This scared me senseless as I realized for the first time what incredible power this drug has. Little did I know that the acute withdrawal was no big deal compared to what was to follow later. I started tapering in April 2014, reducing by 0.8mg / week over 50 weeks. When I reached zero mg by mid March 2015 it was *not* followed by acute withdrawal. There is one complication at this point. Between February and July 2015 I took about 35 doses of 100mg of Tramadol for chronic lower backpain. I was led to believe it is a mild opioid only. In early July I took it three days in a row. My vision blurred. I looked up Tramadol side effects and what I saw was scary. I learnt that in addition to being a mild opiod, Tramadol also contains two additional unwelcome guests in the form of an SSRI and an SNRI: "Tramadol provides analgesia through 3 mechanisms: mu-opioid binding (through its metabolite O-desmethyltramadol), serotonin reuptake inhibition (through (+)-tramadol) and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition (through (-)-tramadol). O-desmethyltramadol (which is formed from tramadol through O-demethylation catalyzed by CYP2D6) is responsible for theopiate-type effects of tramadol." I dropped the Tramadol there and then. Within a couple of days I was a weeping from sadness and melancholy. This phase lasted about two and a half weeks then improved slowly. Back to main story: Five months free and clear of Prozac and 7 weeks free and clear of Tramadol I slipped into a nightmare that I am still fighting as I type this. One night in late August 2015 I slept only half the normal time. 3.5 to 4 hours (Usually 7.5 hours) for two consecutive nights. This was followed with restlessness and then, akathisia (look it up - it is not bearable). I panicked and took 0.8 mg of Prozac. In about three hours the symptoms gradually faded out and I felt normal. At that point I thought I could just stay on a super low Prozac dose. Woke up around 2am the next morning with severe symptoms again. Took 0.8mg Prozac again, then every 2 hours until eventually I reached 6.4 mg for the day. It did not work like the day before. It might have relieved the symptoms somewhat for a part of the day. By the evening symptoms resumed. It then occurred to me that Tramdol might have something to do with it and not the Prozac. I took 1/6th of the usual Tramadol dose (1/3 of a 50mg capsule). Within an hour I was calm, but it is hard to say at this stage whether it was due to the Tramadol or not based on subsequent experience (I learnt that it comes and goes in waves through the day). At this point I decided not to take any further Prozac or Tramadol. I was now on a rollercoaster. (I am keeping hour-by-hour logs of what is happening and will post here maybe later in a chart or something.) Severe symptoms for hours on end, followed by a respite. Then the symptoms take over again. On some days it went on with almost no respite for two consecutive days. One unusual observation. One night ( a week in) I slept a full 7 hours or so. The next day I was back to normal. My relief was short lived, however, as I woke up with an incredible surge of fear in my chest and the symptoms returned, seemingly stoked on by the fear. After a week of this, I was desperate. I got a prescription for a beta blocker Bisoprolol (2.5mg). I took it and seem to have gotten relief as I was feeling normal later that day. But alas, at about 2am I was up again with the same symptoms. Tried 2mg of Diazepam. Nothing. The next day I switched the prescription to Propranolol. For the next week I tried the beta blockers on their own and together. At this point the Akathisia seemed to be easing off somewhat but in its place there was an absolutely paralyzing fear and anxiety that is hard to describe. "The Scream" by Edvard Munch comes to mind. At the beginning of this week my total sleep seemed to shrink to between zero hours(one night) and 2.5 hours. I took Midazolam sleeping pills a few times to try and get relief and some sleep. On the best day I got 3 hours extra. On the worst I got barely 30 minutes extra on it. Then I had three nights of 5.5 hours or so. That was followed by a 2 hour night. By this time the anxiety/fear was getting unbearable. I was getting exhausted. The fear and anxiety was ramping up in spite of the beta blockers. Throughout this time I had very little if any appetite. But I forced myself to eat because I needed energy to keep moving. The akathisia and anxiety compelled me to keep moving, moving, moving, pacing back and forth back and forth back and forth, sometimes without respite for up to 10 hours, starting between 2am and 4 am. My muscles were starting to indicate that they couldn't take this much longer. I made a rational calculation that I have only a few days left before muscle spasm or something sets in. I wondered if the "normal" day I had at the end of the first week might have been due to the 6.4 mg dose of Prozac I took at the beginning of that week. SO I decided to see if I could reinstate. I did not take this decision lightly. But after weighing it up for another day I took 4mg of Prozac. Symptoms eased off after that (but it could be coincidence as it comes and goes in waves). That was Friday. I took my last dose of beta blockers the day before (Thurs) and decided to stop beta blockers is I was going to re-instate. On Saturday morning I took 4mg and then 2 hours later anther 4mg. On Sunday morning I took 8mg On Monday morning I took 8mg. For the past few days things seem bearable between mid-day until I go to sleep. But early morning until the afternoon I get overwhelmed with panic and fear and I pace relentlessly. I still don't know if it was the right choice and whether I should abort reinstatement. I still cannot see a clear pattern of improvement, I do not know if I should up the dose or wait. I read the reinstatement page and also Eva's story (seem very similar to mine) on the edge of my seat. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5715-eva-struggling-after-20-years-prozac-and-now-without/page-4 But it ends with a cliff hanger. She never reported whether her dose increase stabilized her. I am thinking if I can stabilize then I can regroup and plan the next step. Should I continue to try and reinstate or abort reinstatement? Will I be able to taper again if I can stabilize on this reinstatement? I have not been able to go to work for the past three weeks. I am now in week 4. I am very scared and need help. Please, please help me.
  6. Hi everyone, I started to take AD in Jan 2019 further to what was diagnosed as a burn-out. My symptoms were mostly insomnia ahead of anything which was out of a quiet routine. For instance, planning to see a friend or planning a week end with family or friends. It was just too much and that would stress me out and impossible to go to sleep until the event would go away. Had other symptoms like some pains etc... These insomnias had started back in 2016. After putting my life on order (sold my business , sought divorce which went rather peacefully with ex-wife, and a few years of therapy which still continues) in November 2020 started to reduce escitalopram to 5mg from 10mg and that was fine, did not see much difference at all. Had ups and downs but big up from June to july 2021 still on escitalopram 5mg so from August decided to taper every other day. September I was fine so psychatrist advised to switch to 5mg every 3 days. Then september 2 stressors came up, one of which was a crush which was short-lived but nonetheless disturbing. Rollecoaster emotions for 3 weeks and then felt depressed and anxious and felt like something I had not experienced before. Had to end the relationship. Would be curious on what you guys think and whether this is withdrawal symptoms or too much emotions causing these depressing and anxiety symptoms? I am back not to escitalopram 5mg every other day and might increase more before tapering but much slower. Also I still feel emotionally sensitive and still experience insomnia ahead of some event when there is some kind of commitment. I think burn out is very long to overcome and even though I feel my body has recovered somewhat, I am still very vulnerable to emotions. I can still afford not to work (since nov 2020) and rest more but tend to want to do new things everytime I feel better which bottom line is not helping as impairing the healing. Thank you for reading and your thoughts are welcome!
  7. Hello everyone! Expected a lot in my life, but not that I would sign up on a platform to get off antidepressants / antipsychotics. But here I am. My nightmare started in September 2019 when I dropped out of work with a burn out with the main complaint that I could no longer sleep. Not sleeping actually made me panic and anxious. With these complaints I went to the GP and he gave me Mirtazapine 7.5 mg. prescribed after some brief experiments with sleeping pills. This despite my protests, unfortunately I gave in. This was at the end of September 2019. After 6 weeks of using mirtazapine at 7.5 mg, I started to decrease to 0 on my own initiative for a month. Once I got to 0 I had a totally disrupted sleep rhythm where I slept every other night. Several times I was unable to sleep two nights in a row. Unfortunately, I panicked again so much that the GP sent me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist gave me 7.5 mg Mirtazapine again after 5 weeks of not using it (early December 2019), unfortunately without any effect on my sleep. The mirtazapine is then increased to 15 mg. (mid-December 2019) and then to 30 mg (early February 2020). Olanzapine has also been added to the mix, 5 mg (end of December 2019). After the introduction of olanzapine, all I could do was sit on the couch like a zombie, unable to formulate more than 5 sentences in a row. Hell. From an active and sporty 44-year-old woman to a greenhouse plant. After insistence on my part, the psychiatrist has agreed to stop the medication. At that time I had already reduced the mirtazapine myself in four weeks from 30 mg. to 15 mg. (May 2020) with no adverse effect on my sleep. Much to my horror, the psychiatrist's plan was to use 2.5 mg olanzapine for two weeks and then stop. After that, the mirtazapine could be tapered, 7.5 mg for two weeks and then stop. In the meantime I had already looked around on this site and I already knew this plan was an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, I could not have a good conversation with the psychiatrist: he indicated that my fear of this rapid tapering was related to my OCD symptoms - the diagnosis he had made on the basis of my fear of not being able to sleep. But to be honest at this point, I was over the fear of not being able to sleep, overtaken by a fear of not surviving this tapering experiment. He also indicated that he always let people stop their drugs in this way, without any complaints. However, he did make a comparison with patients who have been hospitalized. My doubts as to whether this was a correct comparison (I can imagine that people who have been admitted to hospital receive even more medication and that there is always a medication that keeps them asleep during the withdrawal of olanzapine) was scorned away. Out of sheer desperation, also because I just really wanted to get rid of the olanzapine, I was able to negotiate the following construction: 5 weeks on 2.5 mg. olanzapine and then tapering off 2.5 mg for 2 months. to 0 with tapering strips that are available in the Netherlands. And no reduction of the Mirtazapine yet. To be honest, I already knew that this was way to fast. During the reduction of the olanzapine I started to suffer from sleeping problems. These were approached by the psychiatrist with unimaginable nonchalance. Body and mind would naturally come together again and I would sleep better. Nothing is less true. After stopping olanzapine on August 1, I sleep dramatically bad: just like stopping mirtazapine, I sleep every other night and regularly not for two nights. A nightmare. I have the feeling that sleeping is going to get even worse, as more people have described on this site I don't seem to get sleepy anymore and during the day I feel exhausted, but at the same time also agitated and alert. I have just returned from an appointment with the psychologist associated with the practice where the psychiatrist was also employed until recently. She more or less admitted that mistakes were made in my case. She doubts the diagnosis of OCD, thinks that such heavy medication should never have been prescribed and that I have not been properly guided with the tapering. Too little too late. The options she suggested were Trazodone (no thanks) or give it time. No re-introduction of olanzapine. My plan for now is to indulge in a state of insomnia and pray to God to keep it up. For now, I am too stubborn to start on Olanzapine again (which is also not suggested) and I don't want any other medication. Unfortunately I have read horror stories on this site about people who suffer for months and even years with severe sleeping problems. And that makes me very sad. I am afraid of losing my job (I still have a year of sick leave to go), I can no longer practice my great passion, running, can no longer do nice things with friends and of course this drama also has a major impact on my loved ones, my husband and parents. What also makes me very sad is that I also have to stop Mirtazapine afterwards. In short, I feel defeated. Onwards….
  8. Hi all, I am currently 4 months removed from any pharmaceuticals after a lengthy 6-7 month withdrawal from Pristiq, then a relatively quick taper of Buspar/Buspirone (1 month). I spent half of my life (starting at age 22) on anti-depressants such as Lexapro, Zoloft, and most recently (the last 12 years) Pristiq. I was on 100 mg of Pristiq for most of that stretch. Around the end of 2020, my psychiatrist added Buspirone to help with anxiety...which did help. I later discovered that an SNRI, according to my psychiatrist, can cause anxiety in some people. If true, I was certainly one of those people. During this entire 22 year ordeal, my depression and anxiety was fairly under control, but I was absolutely crippled with daily insomnia and unending sexual side-effects. Starting around February of 2021, I started taking a new approach to self-care, my health, and I finally enrolled in proper counseling first time in my life to address to root cause of my depression and anxiety. In addition, the book Breaking the Patterns of Depress by Dr. Michael Yapko was a huge help. I worked with both my psychiatrist and my primary care physician to slowly taper down Pristiq (which wasn't too bad until I hit the lowest possible dose of 25mg). I started the the final taper of Pristiq in October 2021...and it was brutal. What actually carried me through, personally, was a temporary increase in Buspirone (recommended by my primary care doc), which seemed to ease my anxiety and help with some of the discontinuation symptoms of dizziness and brain-zaps. Finally, in November of 2021, I completed my taper of Buspirone. Although I've had peaks and valley's during this recovery, I feel the best mentally...in the history of me! I was never a heavy drinker, but I have completely stopped drinking alcohol to give myself the best chance at this recovery...and I also exercise daily for the first time in my life. Although the sexual side effects are around 50% better (praying this continues to improve) my insomnia continues to be absolutely debilitating. My main question: Even though it's been 4 months since my last dose, could my brain/system still be recovering from the 2 decades of SNRI/SSRI use? I can't seem to find a consistent answer online, nor through my doctors. Thank you!
  9. Hello all, please read and help me, I haven't slept in days. I was suffering from anxiety on and off over the past few months, never taken any medication before (i took xanax once in 2017, it knocked me out and i never took it again. I once took adderall once in 2015 and it made me feel panic-y, also never took it again). I have never done any drug, or drank alocohol; i dont even drink caffeine. I'm currently a first-year law student, and after talking to some trusted friends, I asked to start anxiety medication hoping to improve. I was having small anxiety attacks throughout the last three weeks. Now my life is falling apart. I took one dose, 5mg, of Lexapro on 1/27/22 at night. I felt sleepy, and went to bed. I woke up a few hours later gripped in panic, and barely slept after that. I experienced jaw clenching, lots of back and forth rocking (I think perhaps akathisia). I had sweating, shivering, and chills. It was mainly the constant panic that was debilitating, as well as the extreme chest and head tingling at night when I woke up from sudden jolts of panic (brain zaps ans parathesia, I believe). I also completely lost my appetite, it's better now but I've barely eaten in the last few days. The day of the adr I had diarrhea, but I've had complete constipation since then. I met with my psychiatrist the next day 1/28, who said I could stop taking the lexapro. So I never took it again. It's been three days since then. The extreme panic has subsided, the tingling is almost gone, and the shivering is better. Mentally, when its not night time, I'm doing okay, if a bit foggy. But I haven't slept in three days, except for two hours, max. I feel exhausted. I've been taking benadryl and melatonin. I was using cbd oil the day after, and it seemed to help me sleep, but I was told to stop by my doctor. Curious if you all think I can continue taking it. I am absolutely desperate to get some rest, I want to sleep. I'm glad I found this site because I am realizing more SSRIs would probably be a bad idea. Right now, I'm taking nothing except magnesium supplements which I was taking for over a year, and the benadryl at night to sleep at least 2 hrs. I had a calmer night today but still woke up, and later the jolts came back when I tried to sleep again. I'm still experiencing random leg twitching. I dont want to add medications, but i need to sleep--even if it means tapering off later, please advise what is the safest medication. Should I reinstate lexapro at a smaller dose and try to taper (but i really dont want to handle that intense reaction again)? Should I begin taking a benzo (my doctor prescribed lorazepam) or hydroxizine or Valium to help sleep? I need to take something, because if I don't sleep I will go crazy, and I can't keep taking benadryl forever. I know this recovery might be a long journey, but I need the best advice to avoid making medication mistakes right now, since everything is so new and im scared shitless reading these posts about immediate adrs. My doctor doesn't know anything about this and thinks it will all wear off in two weeks (god, i wish); if you have suggestions for doctors or clinics in the US please tell me, I dont know who to turn to to avoid further CNS damage. Do I get a brain scan? Do I go to the ER? Do I check into rehab? Do I sit here and wait, restless, for months? Please help me. Will I ever sleep again? Will this get better? What is my next step? List of medications: Lexapro, 5mg, first and last dose 1/27/22 5-10 mg Maxalt migraine medication, took it for the first time a month ago, maybe took it 10 times max, last dose around 12/28/21 prior to adr. I suspect this initiated some CNS damage. Benadryl, tool 25 MG on 1/28 per doctor advise. Took 50 MG on 1/29. Helped with sleep for maybe two hours, although heavy head w lots of pressure. 10 MG Claritin for maybe 7 years (not currently taking after adverse reaction since im taking the benadryl, last dose 1/26) Supplements: Cbd/hemp oil, taken for anxiety a week and a half before adr. After adr, took high dose to sleep, last dose on morning of 1/29. Melatonin, took 5 MG on 1/28, tool 10 MG on 1/29. It didn't seem to help. Magnesium, 500 MG, been taking since June 2021 as migraine prevention. Stopped after adr but took it again 1/29. Vitamin B12, vitamin D. I've taken these for almost 2 years. Last dose probably 1/28. I read on here that Vitamin B12 can be bad for this situation, so I've stopped taking it now. Other medical history: I have Gilbert's syndrome. This means it's possible my liver is metabolizing the lexapro very slowly. I had covid recently, and my anxiety episodes began during covid. Wondering if that could've weakened my brain as well.
  10. Hello, I have been on paroxetine for 7 years,have tried many times to go off but unsuccessfully. Finally on 7 th year i lowered my dose from 20 mg to 10 mg. After panic attacked and insomnia appeared on my trip few months later I took 20 mg while I was on a trip and lowered it again on 10 mg.Due to some medical conditions that I suspected that are cause of paroxetine,I lowered the dose to 0 in maybe two months,way too fast. I was okeish for about two months ( I had all of the symptoms of wd but I fought with it ) and I compelety crushed this February . Tinitus and never ending insomnia are the worse. I started to Google and found all the posts about some neurological damage From this drug which made my anxiety worse. Doctor gave me lorazepam to sleep. My question is ,should I go back to 10 mg and taper more slowly? Am I in a risk of neurological damage From tapering too fast ? Is this tinitus permanent? How long wd simptoms approximately last ? I see I am in risk of developing tolerance to lorazepam since I have been using it two weeks for sleep. My doctor's don't know anything since one wants to put me on mirtazapine and other on Prozac. I am so worried and feeling alone in all this.
  11. Hello everyone, I am new on this site and I am not quite sure about how to behave and/or use this site the right way. Please apologize for any mistakes I will do, because I am not a native speaker. I live in Germany. I am at a very bad stage in my life now and I am looking for some community to exchange experiences and give each other support. I took Seroquel for 1,5 months and Paxil for 4,5 months. I am 2 months free of meds now. About two weeks ago I've tried 7,5mg Mirtazapin for about 2-3 nights and felt worse afterwards so I stopped them. What I feel at the moment: Very slow in my thinking process, lowered memory, not being able to feel feelings, problems with sleeping, dizzyness Can somebody relate and give advice on how to deal with that? I can hardly take it. I have suicidal thoughts because of this inner state. I feel not able to solve day to day problems or challenges. I feel lost, without power and don't know what to do and how to help myself. I want to help myself and would do anything to help me.... I wish to find community and peers who went or are going through similar issues. I would wish to meet up on a regular basis online. Where do I need to go/search/look up? Thank you so much in advance. Best wishes to all
  12. I have been suffering from this unique sleeping disorder. I dream whole night continuously and wake up exhausted every morning. Most of the people think it's any kind of psychological disorder even doctors just prescribe antidepressants and sleeping pills. Familly members are supportive but they could only give advice like wake early, do exercise. I nearly browsed the whole internet to get an ultimate cure for this problem but got nothing except "the change your routine"advice. There are many old forums where people discussed the similar problem but now they are closed without any conclusion. I have this problem from 2014 when I was doing my masters. During the final exams and due to other circumstances I felt some anxiety so went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed me 1.Imipramine 2.Diazapam 3.Trifluoperazine 4.Nitrazepam of different brands. After few days my exams over so I stopped taking pills suddenly from a night.From that night till today I didn't get a single dreamless sleep every morning wake up exhausted.there are many nights I did not get sleep at all. Since then I have visited many Allopathic, Homeopathic and Ayurvedic doctors, have tried several of medicines and supplements but nothing helped me. And you guys obviously aware of side effects especially in the case of allopathy like day drowsiness and brain fog.I also got my blood tested nothing significant but a deficiency of Vitamine D so started taking Vitamins. Till now no appeared benefits. It's like living in a hell, could do many things in life but first wanna get rid of this curse.I even tried spiritual ways. If you could help me in any way I will be highly grateful to you.
  13. Hi everyone, Somewhere around 2012, I was put on Lexapro to try and address life-long issues of social anxiety, and newly emerging issues with GAD, including panic attacks. About four years later in mid 2016, I was starting to have more issues with panic attacks again, and decided I'd rather get off the meds than up the dose. So I spoke with my psychiatrist and started tapering. Now, I never heard of the slow taper recommended here, but I had heard that withdrawal could be brutal. So I decided to cut it by 25% every two weeks, putting me at 0 after about 8 weeks. I imagine that provoked a cringe from half of the audience, but... I felt fine. No brain zaps, akathisia, ataxia, or any of the other scary things I read about. My anxiety was a bit higher, but I expected that. I figured that was the end of it, and I could move on. The weeks went on, but my anxiety kept increasing, so I adopted meditation to address it. It wasn't easy, but it was better than nothing. Regardless, I was starting to have panic attacks almost every other day. I figured I could just fight my way through them and they'd eventually go away. Then I had some kind of super panic attack that pulled me out of sleep and racing to the ER. Pretty much ever since that night, my sleep has been an absolute disaster. Back then, I could barely get 3-4 hours a night if I was lucky. Nothing seemed to work either. Supplements? Name one, none worked. OTC sleep aids like Benadryl or Unisom? Paradoxical responder to all of them. Prescription antihistamines like hydroxyzine? Even worse, and somehow made me completely sleepless for the entire half-life. Benzos? Used sparingly, they are/were a relief, but I didn't want to get addicted, so never more than once or twice per week. Z-drugs? Helped slightly falling asleep, but that wasn't my problem. I had developed intractable and aggressive sleep maintenance insomnia. I also started having problems with chronic pain and spasms along my surface muscles mostly in my lower extremities, but also around my chest. All of that has persisted since then, but by far the most disruptive is the insomnia. I've managed to get back up to 5-6 hours according to my Fitbit Alta HR, but I still feel exhausted most of the time. And too often, I won't sleep at all and will end up reading in another room to avoid screwing up my sleep hygiene. At this point, I've gotten that to a science: pink noise, blue blockers 2 hours before bed, 300mcg melatonin 1 hour before bed, bedroom only used for sleeping, no TV or electronic devices late at night, etc. I did CBTI with a sleep psychologist, and he said I was doing everything right. But of course that won't undo neurological damage, nor will it prevent me from waking up at 4:30 AM to use the bathroom, and being unable to fall back asleep afterwards. This has taken a huge toll on my QOL, and I wish I never even heard of SSRIs. I'm not suicidal, but my sense of humor on the subject has gotten considerably darker. I used to be the kind of person who would sleep through an air-raid siren. It always took me longer to fall asleep than most (30+ minutes), but I slept like the dead. Now it feels like I wake up at the slightest provocation, and if my Fitbit is at all accurate, my slow-wave deep sleep is about half what it should be for someone my age. I briefly considered going back on Lexapro, if even just for some relief, but then I remembered it put me here in the first place, and I wouldn't give it to my worst enemy. Then I read that might not work anyway. I can't go back in time and slap the prescription out of my hand, or explain to myself about implementing a much slower taper, so I feel like I'm basically SOL. It's been almost four years, and I'm still fighting this. I've even begun watching for research that we finally discover how to manually trigger various sleep phases, and stumbled across the recent studies on the VLPO region of the brain. I'm desperate and poking at anything I can find. I'm just so tired.
  14. I have been on meds since I was around 18, I am now 33, I have been tapering off all my meds for the last year now, I have managed to get off venlafaxine xr 75mg which I tapered off for around 4 - 6 months, and quetiapine 50mg over the last 12 months, I was on 200mg at one point and also tapered off diazapam 10mg, and also propranolol 10mg, I have been off all meds now for nearly 3 months and have been fine, I have been at the gym most days and eating healthy, I was starting to look good again and becoming myself again, I have not been human while on meds for the last lots of years, I was finally starting to enjoy life and then the last few weeks my sleep has been getting very fractured and I have been waking up very early with extreme brain fog, it feels like my head is going to explode sometimes, now the last 2 nights I have not slept at all and feel like death, I even took 2 melatonin tablets and they did nothing, what on earth is going on? I am worried I have done some serious damage to my brain, I am too worried to go and get checked at the doctors as I could not handle news that I have some brain disease, I have read that meds can cause effects many months after, can anyone give any advice/peace of mind?
  15. Hello Everyone, I was prescribed Trazodone 50mgs in March of 2020 for acute insomnia (i only took 12.5mg to 25mg in the evening before bed because I am a lightweight). I used it for a year because it seemed to work perfectly with my atomoxetine (for ADHD) which I have taken at night for more than 10years. The only odd thing was that it caused a slight bit of brain fog. Suddenly in June of 2021 it stopped working and I started waking after only 3hrs of sleep. I did try increasing the dose but it didn't work. I also starting taking my atomoxetine in the AM to see if that would help. The doctor prescribed me Hydroxyzine and while that worked to get me knocked out it has a really long half life and too many side effects and next day drowsiness. But it seemed to help me wean off of the Trazodone within a few weeks. I was fine off the Trazodone until about 6 weeks after I stopped taking it. The insomnia came back with a vengeance along with obsessive thoughts before bed. Through reddit and this site I discovered Magnesium. I take 200mg of Nature Made Magnesium glycinate taken 1 to 2 hrs before bed and for the past month it has helped me sleep 7-8hrs and I can fall back to sleep if I wake during the night. The sleep is not very deep but I was able to function. The problem is that the benefit of Magnesium Glycinate is starting to fade a bit. I still have nights where I wake after only 2 hrs of sleep and have to take a Trazodone. Unfortunately it doesnt help me get sleep when I wake during the night. It only helps me if I havent fallen asleep yet. The next night after I have taken Trazodone I can usually sleep. I can sometimes go 2 weeks without needing Trazodone. It's a vicious cycle. And to add to it, my atomoxetine which I used to take in the evening to help me sleep, now keeps me awake. I suspect it's because it acts on my NMDA receptor site. Magnesium also acts on that receptor and can cause an excitatory effect or calming effect depending on other variables. My thought is that the supplement and ADHD meds are interacting. Plus taking Trazodone for a year may have changed my brain chemistry. So my question is - Has anyone else had a similar issue? Any advice? I was thinking of re-instating Trazodone and trying to taper. AND maybe experimenting with different combinations of magnesium supplementation to help me sleep. I am desperate for a solution and completely at a loss. I have never had chronic insomnia before. I have only ever had acute bouts. So grateful for this site. Hope you all are well! Not sure how to add my details in signature but here they are 3/27/2020 started on 12.5-25mg of Trazodone for acute insomnia trouble falling asleep 6/4/2021 sudden onset insomnia (waking to early) 6/28/2021 tapered completely off Trazodone (doctor said it's fine to do that) July to Sept - took Trazodone PRN 9/25/2021 another bout of insomnia (trouble falling asleep or waking too early) 9/25/2021 started taking Magnesium glycinate 200mg 1-2 hrs before bed Oct- Nov- Magnesium working well 11/12/2021 - experimented a few nights taking atomoxetine in evening, magnesium closer to bedtime failed 11/19/2021 - 2 hrs of sleep on Magnesium Glyc - took 25mg of Trazodone PRN in middle of night, didnt work
  16. Hi all, I recently tried to taper off on Lexapro by myself because I was feeling like I didn't need it (haven't needed it) for a long time. I have been on it since 2006. I started my taper in November from 5 mg, and took my last 1.25 mg dose on December 31 after going several days without a dose (I know this is not what you advise, I didn't seek out this website until I started having problems with this unsuccessful taper.) About 10 days after that, there was a death in my family from COVID and on 1/18 began a period of intense and persistent insomnia, on several days not being able to fall asleep until 6:30 AM (I have never experienced anything like this evere.) Most days I have taken several hours to fall asleep, I just feel really alert. At the same time, I felt a return of intense anxiety and depression and depersonalization. I restabilized myself at 1.25 mg on Monday and immediately felt an improvement in my mood and reduction in symptoms of depersonalization. My sleep continues to be fitful, however. Last night I fell asleep for the first time fairly quickly, but woke up around 3 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. I'm wondering if I should increase my dose further and if it would improve my sleep? I'm trying to now find a good psychiatrist to partner with on this but have not been able to find one yet and am just interested in trying to stabilize myself further and put off any tapering until I am in a healthier place. Thanks for any thoughts!
  17. Burt


    Help. Tapering after 6 years on sertraline. Lots of problems. Insomnia. Tired all day till about 6- 7pm. Feel really unwell at times. Dizzy. Hallucinations. Waves of fear and anxiety. Frightened. Get odd days where l feel itching all over, swollen places on face - like the reaction l get in the sun - no sun. Dry nose and eyes. Reduced very very slowly over years .Going down to 25mg on day a week for 3 weeks the 2 day's a week for 4 weeks. Hell legs burning at night in bed. My body damages by 3 years of steriods- misdiagnosed by local A e in weston s mare. Hell. My body hates medication. Any help support welcome. Have PTSD. I hate this . Burt-
  18. Hi been battling with depression since my early 20's and now 45. Initially I would get what I consider now minor bouts of SAD which I regret starting meds for. If I could go back in time like so many here I'd totally never start. Anyways throughout my 20's depression and anxiety were mild until my mid thirties. In 2011 I started to get panic attack at works and thing got worse until I could barely leave my house. I was ok though alll things considered as I could work from home and get food delivered to my nyc apt. Instead of trying to let it pass I decided to go on mirtazapine which after a couple days gave me total insomnia. My psychiatrist swore to me it was my illness and not the mirtazapine as its supposed to help sleep. Until that moment in life I never experienced insomnia at all nor did I have suicidal ideation. However after 3 months of almost no sleep with heavy benzo/z-drug usage included I was ready to take my life and to this day I have PTSD over the whole episode. Thankfully I stopped seeing that doc and stopped taking my mirtazapine. In 10 days I could sleep very well but i was still on paxil and slowly tapered the benzos till I was off. From that point I was told it wasn't worth it for me to come off SSRIs anymore so I didn't for years until 2017 when I just felt I could do without so i did. Everything seemed fine for many months but then I went to mexico and got a stomach bug. I should have just let it be but I took flagyl and ver the next couple months I was alright but i kept waking up earlier than usual etc (i believe the flagyl did it). 2018 I decided fine lets do the paxil again but this time it gives total insomnia. I stop it but its too late I can't sleep and I need to work. My PTSD from not sleeping in 2011 comes back and i'm taking a bit of kloopin to drift off at night. In a couple weeks i'm hooked. Doctor gives me trazadone which helps and i'm back on paxil with klonopin until the paxil hopefully helps. It does six months later once I reach a high dose and i taper of klonopin and trazodone. Sorry for dragging this out but I'm not sure what else to put here. 2021 now on lexapro because paxil raises my liver enzymes. Feel fine and sleep fine. April go in for first covid shot moderna. A few weeks later I can't sleep without trazadone and lexapro seems to be causing anxiety all of a sudden (this is the first time I had problems with sleep while on an SSRI). Please understand I am not anti-vax and in fact am very for it however I believe it is what triggered the episode I am in which has taken over nine month now. Anyways I switched to paxil until last month when it began making anxiety worse and now on 100mg luvox + 150-200mg trazodone. Sleeping but lightly with lots of dreams and having bouts of anxiety during the day with lots of suicidal ideation as I feel SSRIS can't help me anymore. This makes feel like I'm at a crossroads in my life. Do I start taking benzos again knowing that if th SSRIs don't work I will never come off and eventually kill myself once tolerance set in which it always does (I know I would, I want to do it now and I'm not going through benzo withdrawal). Or I dunno just stop taking luvox and trazodone and brace myself for hell now? Will I ever sleep again? I know my PTSD about not sleeping will kick in and everything will be so much worse. Will I come out on the other side or will I have anxiety and insomnia for life? (which would pretty much cause me to go back to scenario one above and inevitably lead to suicide. ) I know lots of catastrophizing here and other cognitive distortions but thats alI I feel right now. I didn't take my luvox today and don't know if I'll be able to skip my trazodone tonight. Words of encouragement would be appreciated. Feel like these are the last few weeks of my life. 1998: 4 months paxil for SAD1999: 4 months paxil for SAD2000: 3 months paxil for SAD2001-2010: On and off PAXIL, Lexapro for depression flareups but very inconsistent use.2011: Went on mirtazapine, 80 mg paxil, 2 mg klonopin.2012: tapered off mitazapine and klonopin once paxil helped.2013-2017: 10-20mg paxil or 10mg lexapromid 2017:off lexapro2018: reinstated 20mg Paxil, .75 klonopin, 150 trazodone2019: tapered off klonopin and trazodone, switched to 50mg luvox2020: switched to 10 mg lexapro2021: switched to 40 mg paxil, added 150mg trazodone
  19. I need some advice, and reassurance. I have been on Zoloft (Setraline) for about 5 years and I have never really had any problems going on it from what I remember, I was on 50mg and never went up any higher occasionally if I forgot a dose I would be reminded with brain zaps, I occasionally got dilated pupils which may have been the zoloft and thats really the only issues I got. Then one day I went to my Dr about some issue and she then decided to up my dose to 100mg. Faithfully like a good patient I took it and about a month later I had horrible insomnia and racing heart so I was put back on 50mg. The side effects subsided within a week and that all was fine until, 2 months being back on the 50mg I got the same symptoms again, racing heart and insomnia, so I decided to quit them. After about a week my heart is back to normal but 3 weeks later i'm still suffering really bad insomnia.... Will this go away... I have never had any issues falling asleep before but now I can lay awake trying to sleep for hours! Sometimes I will try all night and sleep won't come, its given me really bad anxiety about bed time, I also seem to never feel tired.. I will have to force sleep even after a day without it, This is horrible and giving me real anxiety over it. The Dr gave me Quitapine 25mg for sleep but I just want my normal sleep back. Is this the Zoloft? Will this fade?
  20. Servadai's Introduction topic Hey guys! Long time no hear - my signature says I'm 3 years off but this year, on 10th of July I 'celebrated' my 5 years off of AD's. I would change my signature but I don't know how - that being said I'm loving what you did with the site. I'm going to try to write this with a bit of humour, because that is my style, so if you find it a bit 'aggressive' please know this was not my intent, and the sole purpose for writing this is because I care about all of you and empathise deeply with all of you. I know how it feels when your brain feels like it's been replaced with a piece of fried chicken (even though I'm afraid that even a fried chicken is an euphemism). My story short - I cold turkeyed 10 mgs of escitalopram (some of you may know it as Lexapro). My life completely changes shortly after and I entered what was an absolute hell for me (seriously, I'm catholic and that's what my version of hell would look like). Thankfully, I am doing a lot better now and I wanted to share a couple of things I learned along the way. I still suffer from anxiety, as I did before WD, it is worse than it was but it's nowhere near WD nightmare. I am not on any kind of medication and the only supplement I use is Omega3. Here are some of the things, and if I remember something later I will edit or write in the comments. DON'T GOOGLE STUFF. For the love of God, don't do it. If you're new here, there is plenty of sound advice in topic named 'Read this first' and in my opinion that is enough. Now when I say don't google stuff I mean don't google every symptom, every emotion, every fear and thought and overanalyse it. I promise you 99.99999 % of everything you feel and experience in WD is COMPLETELY NORMAL. Imagine your brain as a very stressed person trying to find best solutions and having to run the household (your body)... of course it's going to act wacky. It's not worth stressing it out further by reading into stuff and imagining even worse case scenarios. If you want to google kittens, puppies, babies, watch pretty youtube videos or just listen to calming music be my guest. But DON'T👏 GOOGLE 👏 YOUR 👏 SYMPTOMS 👏 TAKE IT SLOW. Your brain is working so fast your body might try to mimic that. I know my body did, and I still do it sometimes, if I'm not aware. I don't know if this happens to you but when I get stressed I breathe fast, brush my teeth fast, eat fast, comb my hair fast... as if someone put a ticking bomb on all of those things. Try to be more aware and when you notice that, take a deep breath, and start over - gently, slowly. Do everything with great care and gentleness. Your body and brain need it. When you show your brain you're not in a rush, brain will take it slowly too. I know it's a problem in WD - it feels like you have an neverending supply of adrenaline - but hey, baby steps. Try do it for 5 minutes a day. INSOMNIA. This bastard made me really mad. Sleep was the only way I could escape the WD nightmare, but it rarely came. I remember trying to fall asleep for hours, just to wake up at 4 or 5 am. not being able to fall asleep again. When I couldn't sleep, naturally, I thought about how I can't sleep. I worried and worried instead of trying to utilise that time. The best advice given to me was - if you can't fall asleep just chill. Your body will find a way to get energy from that too. Imagine you're on a beach, the sound of waves, the hot sand on your feet, warm sun, smell of salt and pine... you get it. Imagine happy (well..happyish) scenarios - I imagined what will I do after the WD is over and how I'll be able to help and understand someone. Try to occupy your thoughts as much as you can as not to fall in to the 'Oh God why can't I sleep' rabbit hole. NEURO-EMOTIONS. Don't run away from them. Don't be afraid of them. Embrace them. Cry. Scream in your pillow. Jump in utter rage. Aggressively punch the mattress. Write it down and rip the paper. Welcome your fears with open arms. Neuro emotions scared me but now I see them as a way of brain restarting itself. Like pushing random buttons to see what works and you just have to deal with it. It opened a very strong traumas for me again that antidepressants and teenage way of life buried so I had to actually face them and go through them. It was horrible, but maybe necessary? WORK OUT. Aggressive workout in the middle of WD hell? Only if you're absolutely comfortable. Otherwise, I don't recommend it. On the other hand, if you want to stay in bed all day, try to fight that urge. Try to walk at least 5 minutes (even in your small apartment, you don't have to go out), do a half a squat, lift your hands, whatever, just try to be at least little bit active. There's tons of studies that show how exercising improves mental health - there's not much to say here. CREATIVITY. At my worst I really couldn't do anything. TV was too stimulating and loud, my biggest achievement was playing Mahjong on my smartphone for 2 minutes. Everything above that and I would get extremely tired. I didn't smile, sleep, eat, I just wanted to die. Luckily, as soon as I got a bit better I've decided to do anything to not think about what I'm going through even if the bliss lasted for a second. I was baking, gardening, drawing, writing... notice how all of this is with hands. Put everything you got into feeling what you're doing with your hands. Even now when I get stressed I look around me for objects and imagine what kind of texture would they be like if I touched them. DP/DR. There are no words in human language to express how much I hated those feelings. I still do. But I've come a long way. Let's say they were at 100%. Now they're at about 50% when I'm really stressed. 20-30% in normal situations, because I still have an anxiety, and it's just a poopy symptom I have to accept. DR is actually what I'm feeling, DP was problematic, but now I can't remember when I truly had it. They don't occupy my life anymore, and I'm not so afraid of them as I was. My best advice about them would be: Don't be afraid. It feels like the world is falling apart but they're just symptoms of mental disorders and WD. They are absolutely harmless. The best you can do for yourself and your brain is to accept those feelings. Say it out loud: DP/DR I accept you. I know you're just symptoms of my brain working overtime and that's okay. I know my brain is trying its best to protect me and I am grateful for that. I accept you. If this post gives just a bit of hope or brings a bit of comfort to anyone - I'm so glad. I remember rereading the same success stories here over and over again when I was at my worst. They were literally ropes I hold on to. I know what you're going to is hard, but please, please, hold on. Living with this honestly means you're the bravest of the brave. Seriously, everyone here on this forum is one heck of a soldier. You don't even know how strong you are. I was pooping my pants when I was getting into college, I was still in WD... and next year I'm going to finish it. So please, hold on, and live day by day. There are probably more things I would write about, my faith being one of the most important things that helped me (and still does). I might write about it if anyone is interested, but I'm sorry I can only write from my religion's (catholic) perspective. So if anyone is interested let me know. I also run an IG page for catholics dealing with anxiety so if you're interested shoot me a message (I don't want to put it here because I think it would be considered a self-promo). I wanted to open that page for a year now - if you read my post, what was a comforting for me was imagining I could help someone some day who is going through the same stuff as I do. So I finally did it and honestly, it is a nice creative outlet. I have no doubt there will be some future gems from this page that were molded by suffering - Gold is purified by fire. **english is not my first language, so please excuse any errors.
  21. Dears, I'm desperately writing you as I feel noone on this Earth is understanding me now. I was a cheerful, social, active girl. Last year in August I gave life to my boy. When he turned 3.5 month, I started to have sleep issues out of the sudden. I got super scared as it continued day after day. Then after 5 days I got my first postpartum period. That day I KNEW, oh my God this must be it. This whole thing is just hormonal. Since then I lived with this problem for 6 months. Peak troubled nights were always around ny periods and ovulation, but I also had sleep issues beyond them. Over time it got much better, meaning 2/3 of my nights were without any problem, 10 days were troubled. Deep in me I always thought I don't have depression, but I suffered a lot due to the quite many nights with poor sleep. Because of the pressure of family members I visited a psychiatrist, who convinced me that I have post-partum depression with insomnia as pure symptom of it and this needs to be cured. I got Zoloft prescribed. That day the real nightmare really just started. I tool 25 mg for 1.5 weeks and 50 mg for additional 1 week. I had terrible reaction already 1 hour after start - digestion issues, restlessness, unbelievable heartbeat, thinking of suicide, sweatening and complete inability to sleep. For 2.5 weeks.. Everyone said it is normal and will settle with time. But even 3 Xanax did not help me to sleep during nights. After 2.5 weeks I could not handle anymore and even though my doctor and my relatives kept telling me to continue and take Tegretol on top, I just couldn't. I stopped. Since then I sleep at least on some nights. Badly with long time to fall asleep, many night wakenings and early wake ups, but on some nights I at least have some rest. I strongly believe Zoloft caused very bad reactions for me and that my sleep still suffers due to the fact I took so many pills. Please help me - can this get better? Can such "short" of time on AD change my brain and sleep forever? Will I be able to return o pre-medicine level? I feel I completely lost control over my thoughts and life since I took the first pill. Thank you so much for helping me.
  22. Hello fellow withdrawers (if that's a word), I'm Bokart and I'm here on a journey to quit my medication of Olanzapine. Down to 7,5 mg at the moment (see my signature). My story short: back in February 2015 I got admitted in psych ward due to psychosis (due to my destroyed sleep because of my night-shift work). There began my involuntary medication of Olanzapine, which pulled me out of a psychosis, so at least it did some good. I was released from the hospital after two weeks of being there. Now, after jojoing with my olanzapine dose (see signature), I'm finally set to quit it for good. I found this community after searching for succesfull withdrawal stories on the internet and found this community to be great, people being helpful and supportive and giving good advice... I know it can get rough when I approach smaller doses so I do know I will need support. And hopefully I can give support too and offer people hope after and during my taper. I know lots of people are in the same boat as me. Why I want to quit? I got no sexuality anymore, my motivation lacks big time, even personal hygiene is suffering because of that. I can't memorize things like before - learning is difficult. I have very little emotions left in me, basically I'm a dumbed down version of myself nowadays with this drug. I have little social skills - which I would badly need because I plan on working with children in school so some situational awareness is needed (I might have to quit my studies due to me making no progress in my studies... due to this drug). No happines, no enjoying things, lethargy and demotivation... About my psychosis, after it was gone I haven't had any symptoms of it returning (like delusions, paranoia, hallucinations), even after trying to quit my drug cold turkey once, which I see as a good sign. Now I don't want to slip into psychosis again so I need to be extra careful with my taper. After I hit 5,625 mg I will go on tapering by feeling, so no reductions until I feel stable enough. My main concern is sleep. I have a prescribed medication of temazepam (a benzodiazepine), which I can use when my insomnia has hit a threshold of needing immediate attention. I'm trying to limit my use of it to every three days to prevent tolerance and dependence (I know benzodiazepine withdrawals can be bad). But the thing is, lack of sleep led me to psychosis once, so it is a big deal to me. I need at least one night on a while to hit at least 4 hours of uniterrupted sleep, which 40 mg of temazepam does. I've tried many other sleep aids such as low to medium dose of quietiapine (no effect), low to medium dose of levomepromazine (didn't help), low dose of doxepine (no effect), even melatonine and l-tryptophan and 5-htp and none of those helped. One thing that helped me though was phenibut combined with temazepam - I slept 13 hours with that combination! So I know I have an emergency brakes on my train now (assuming that combination works again, haven't taken phenibut in 2 months to avoid tolerance and dependency), but I'm planning on limiting the use of this combination to once a month. On this dose of 7,5mg I'm currently having 2-3 hours of good uninterrupted sleep plus 3-4 hours of bad, constantly waking up kind of sleep So, thank you all for being here! And I wish a speedy recovery to those who are withdrawing from their drugs, we are all here together.
  23. This is my first post and I am so glad to be among you. Your stories are so close to mine that it feels like we are good friends already. I totally did not know about the 10% weaning schedule, and neither did the psychiatrist that I was working with. Two months was the longest I have taken to wean which is probably why I was never successful. I have a new psychiatrist that I will meet the beginning of March and I want to start the 10% program at that time to wean off of Zoloft. Though I am a researcher about problems that I have, for some reason I missed the info that has been out for years about these drugs with new issues popping up all the time. No one in my behavior health clinic seems aware of it either. I am about to cause a stir! In the past when trying to wean off of celexa or Lexapro my first real problem was insomnia. Exhaustion and stress start to build quickly and then comes everything else. My psychiatrist recommended melatonin to use when I can't sleep even on a SSRI. (which is not regularly) It works really well and I would like to continue using it as I wean, but I have reservations because I have heard some vague criticisms of it. My doc likes it (tho this does not give me much confidence) and it works great now. No idea how it will work as I wean. Any information on melatonin or other sleeping meds or techniques that you can share with me? I do not want to just go into a new set of problems with another drug - but sleep is essential. Medication History: 2007 to 2010 20 mg of celexa, Tried to wean off about 4 times during that time. 2010 tried Wellbutrin which did not work, back to celexa. 2010 to 2013 On lexapro but it had the same side effects that I had with celexa. Tried Wellbutrin again and mirtazapine, Back to Lexapro 2014 mostly on Lexapro Sept of 2015 stopped Lexapro and started Zoloft 50 mg - now have been on it for 6 months
  24. Emart


    Good morning, wanted to introduce myself and reach out for some ideas/feedback. Been combing through the information here and it’s a lot to digest! My story with ADs begins when I was 15, and diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I was prescribed sertraline by my family doctor and despite a few on & offs at the beginning have essentially been on 100mg of sertraline for the last decade. I tried briefly to wean off in 2016 and quickly went back on with the onset/return of anxiety/panic. Since that time I have been stable, feel “normal”, and experience basically no side effects from the sertraline. It has been very comfortable. Back in October I spoke with my doctor about getting off the meds and he agreed he thought it would be a stable time. On oct. 20 I cut my dosage to 50 mg with the docs instructions to sit at 50mg for 6 weeks and go to 25mg. After 8 weeks at 50mg (on December 19),I very quickly developed some bad insomnia, and had a panic attack (it had been years since I’ve had one). The severe insomnia (2-3 hours of broken sleep a night) persisted for a few days and I immediately reinstated 100 mg of sertraline on 12/22 (after 2 months of lowered Dosage) It has been about a week since reinstating at full dosage, anxiety and psychological symptoms have been basically manageable with some slight improvement but my fatigue and insomnia rages on. After discovering this website, I’ve learned a few things 1. I tapered way too fast 2. The timing and symptoms are consistent with withdrawal symptoms, 3. Reinstating at full dosage would likely not have been recommended by this group. My questions: 1. I’ve been reinstated at 100mg of sertraline for a week (a dosage that has historically been good to me), though not consistent with what would probably be recommended, I feel like stabilizing my body at this dosage for the next month or so would probably be the best, thoughts? 2. I saw my doc yesterday and he prescribed me Ativan to help with sleep til my body stabilizes back on 100mg, given everything I’ve read, I’m scared to take it and would rather muddle through with a few hours of sleep than add another pill to the mix. Thoughts? 3. Sleep has been one of the most frustrating parts of this experience. I used to be a heavy sleeper and get 10 hours a night. Now I’m down to 5-6 on the best nights. I’m able to get very comfy and drowsy most nights but as I’m drifting off to sleep my body “jolts” me awake. It’s like the normal twitches that happen when someone falls asleep but my brain has them amplified and it startles me awake, does anyone else have this specific issue with sleep? if only I had researched coming off Zoloft a little earlier I think a lot of this could have been avoided/minimized. thanks, Evan
  25. Hi everyone, I'm trying to get off Trazodone (now on 12.5mg) and it's not going well. I'm really sensitive to pills and it seems this pill has made me even more sensitive to taking other pills like valerian root and even ibuprofen. I'm feeling pretty desperate and hopeless and thinking upping my dose again. I'm about to start a new job this week and wondering if I should just quit and move back to Europe from China with my cat in this sh*tty condition of panic and crying and muscle pain. The doctors here are no help and can't speak English and just keep giving me strong sleeping pills or say up the dose and then tell me to go home if I don't cooperate because of side effects. I want to go home but it's a huge decision to be making in this state. I was put on Trazodone 25mg for chronic insomnia about 2 months ago (30 mins of sleep a night due to stress) and it worked okay for a while but gave me anxiety and very unpredictable sleep (sometimes 6-7 hours, sometimes 2-4) and nightmares. The doctors wanted to increase and said the inconsistent sleep was due to a low dose. Every time I tried to increase by a tiny bit, I'd actually sleep less for a few nights so I always went back on a slightly lower dose and again and it would be good for a few nights. Did this back and forth a lot. It only seemed to be effective when I was going lower. I took only 12.5mg before that and didn't want to increase for a month because of the side effects (which Xanax and Ambien and not sleeping were giving me too) of vein inflammation and swelling and pain. Does this happen to anyone else? The inflammation never went away (4 months now). I decided to taper off two weeks ago when my sleep went from 7 ours a night to 6 for a week with no change in dose and increased anxiety and decreased sleep when I tried to up the dose. But did it too fast (25% instead of 10%). Took 17mg for a week and now I've been on 12.5 mg for 5 days and I'm not sleeping. I had 2 nights of 30 mins-1h again. Before I was also relying on herbal medications like valerian root for sleep when Trazodone failed but now I have violent reactions to the same pills (no sleep, extreme anxiety, jitteriness, restlessness, feeling very hot and like my hands and feet are burning, heart pounding). I even had this reaction to ibuprofen at night. I'm not taking any other drugs. Is this part of withdrawal? This sudden interaction with herbal meds? I'm not sure how I'm supposed to sleep with nothing. Thanks for reading.
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