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  1. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
  2. I came across this forum in the recent New Yorker article and I’m excited to connect with others going through similar experiences. I’ve been dealing with this in isolation for far too long. JAN 2019 Over the years, I’ve been put on an increasingly complex regime - see signature. At the start of the year as I understand it, the mainstays were Wellbutrin + Pristiq, augmented by Latuda. Plus Adderall to combat daytime lethargy. I wasn’t satisfied: 1) I don’t like being on so many meds. I felt a personal stigma, plus I’m scientifically trained. Surely this was too many variables in terms of optimizing further. 2) I was still suffering from evening lethargy, basically crashing out around 8-9pm which was impacting my relationship and family. 5mg Adderall and a coffee at 7pm, and I could still pass out an hour later. WHERE I AM NOW: STREAMLINING MY REGIME This year, I’m working to simplify the regime with my psych. Immediate goals - taper Pristiq, stop Latuda. 2019 goal - reduce to two or three meds. To taper the Pristiq, we added 10mg Prozac. We also added Abilify to replace the Latuda, which I hope to discontinue soon. So I went from 4 meds to 6, hoping this makes sense. The Pristiq tapering has been a real journey - The hardest phase was when I was taking 50mg every 2 days, then every 3 days. - Thanks to this forum, I read that that was a bad idea (the rollercoaster certainly felt like one), and we switched to 25mg daily. Thats where I am now. - The switch from 50 mg every 3 days -> 25mg daily surprised me by being the hardest transition in terms of depressive symptoms. This was combined with a foot injury which meant I couldn’t exercise much. When it rains, it pours! Would love to hear your thoughts on any of the above. Stay strong.
  3. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Bandboy: Tapering benzos and latuda Hi all. Began taking antidepressants around 2000. Tried them all, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Prestiq, and more I can't remember. A few years ago I was put on Abilify, but it caused too much weight gain. I was then placed on Latuda, which was effective. I believe I have developed a tolerance to Latuda, and I suspect it has caused higher glucose levels and at rare times difficulty swallowing. I tried a fast taper, 50, 25, 0 percent and about 3 days later started withdrawals--sniffling, claminess, irritatabilty. Went back up to 50% and the symptoms quickly subsided. Have initiated the 10 percent tapering and while I feel uncomfortable with the first drop, I can tolerate it so far. When I feel comfortable or in 4 weeks, whichever is first, I'll try another 10%. I intend to treat the depression with ketamine, which I have found to be effective for me.
  4. kwdeer

    kwdeer: My story

    Hey there everyone. You can call me Fawn or Deer. I would like to share my journey with you all in this introduction. I'm hoping I can get some helpful feedback and advice on how to approach tapering off the medications I currently take. So, to start, I am 21 y/o and currently taking 40mg of Celexa, and 5mg of Abilify I also take vitamins and supplements which are listed in my signature. I think it's important to address my background briefly. I come from a very difficult background, I have been emotionally/psychologically abused by parental figures nearly since infancy up until the last few years, and had countless traumatic experiences both inside and outside of the abuse going on at home. I struggle with mental illness symptoms and physical pain, and I have since about 7 or 8 years of age. There's a lot to say, and I'm unsure of how much is relevant... I will just go into the medication aspect now. At 16, I asked my mom for help. I was experiencing severe depression and anxiety symptoms. I also suffered from an eating disorder and was severely underweight. On top of that, I was having audio and visual hallucinations. I suspect most of this was a result of complex trauma and malnourishment. I went to a hospital first, because I was suicidal. They put me on a medication for hallucinations (I can't remember the name) but it was making my symptoms worse so I didn't take it. My mom took me to see a psychiatrist, who said I was bipolar and anorexic and put me on Celexa and Topamax. The timeline is fuzzy but I think I was on these meds for a year or so before I saw a new psychiatrist through an intervention program for acute symptoms of psychosis. The new psychiatrist suspected that I had a personality disorder, and could possibly end up psychotic, so he started me on Abilify in addition to the Celexa and Topamax. I was 17. Of course, my symptoms became more manageable, and I started gaining weight (without changing my eating habits all that much, mind you). About 2 years went by. I went through periods where I felt like the medications weren't really helping me, so I would stop taking them cold turkey for a month or two. Not surprisingly, I would feel much worse and start taking them again. I was constantly pressured by my doctors, mother, and grandmother to continue taking these medications, but I couldn't help but feel like something wasn't right. I couldn't put my finger on it, though. When I was 19, the program I was in got a new psychiatrist. Around that time I had been taking my medications inconsistently, and when I told that to the new psychiatrist she said that if I wasn't taking them, they must not be working. She suggested something different. She decided to stop the Abilify, Topamax, and Celexa, saying if I wasn't taking them consistently for the last couple months it should be fine to stop them. Instead, she put me on Latuda and another medication (I can't remember the name). The next 3 months were utter chaos. I was more depressed than I had been in my life. I couldn't get out of bed, and I started eating more. A lot more. Especially sweets. I kept insisting that the new medications were making me this way. I was told repeatedly for weeks that I had to wait it out and it would get better. After 3 months I ended up in a psychiatric hosptial for 5 days. The psychiatrist at the hospital took me off the new meds and put me back on celexa and abilify. I have been on them consistently for the last 2 years. And in that time, my health has declined in many aspects. I have gained so much weight that I've gone from severely underweight to overweight in a few years. I crave sugar and caffeine all the time. I sleep a lot, sometimes 12+ hours, and I am fatigued almost 24/7. My anxiety and depression are not managed all that well, either. In doing research, I started seeing that many people taking these types of meds have experienced the same thing... and I've tried 3 times to taper off the Abilify without success. Every time, I go through severe withdrawal symptoms. I'm sick of this. I don't feel good, I don't feel healthy and I am almost certain my psychiatric meds are making it worse. I have a new therapist who is very supportive of holistic approaches to mental health and I have decided to talk to her about tapering off these meds. I want to get off Abilify first because I think that is the worst medication that I'm on. Then the Celexa. I'm really angry at the irresponsibility of the health professionals who put me on these meds and persuaded me, a vulnerable young person, to stay on them despite feeling like it wasn't in my best interest. I'm really angry at what's happened to my body and mind being on these medications. I'm angry at the system that allows this to happen. So... enough of my rambling... What does everyone think? I am open to questions, advice, anything really... help is very much appreciated. -Fawn
  5. Hey so I got aka from latuda.i was on 20 mg for 2 weeks then 40 for another week and a half.Stopped it because of aka and it's been almost 3 weeks and the aka is killing me not letting up.Please give me hope this will go.I don't understand why it's still here when I stopped the meds 3 weeks ago it isn't in my body anymore and I wasn't on the med long.When will this end I can't see a light at the end of my tunnel.This is like inner restless torture.
  6. Hi all. This is Gemini. I about seven months into Zoloft withdrawal, currently taking a teeny tiny amount of latuda for withdrawal symptoms. I am majorly depressed and confused and would like to know the difference between withdraw al symptoms as opposed to uh underlying condition symptoms. Currently my almost psychotic depression has alleviated but don't know if that's from latuda intervention or a window in recovery. I can no longer work so moving in with family. I've lost everything but getting off Zoloft is worth it!
  7. 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
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