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  1. I tapered from 10mg to 5mg in 4 weeks. Was doing ok. 4 weeks later I got hit with 2 weeks of bad anxiety. I got better. 8 weeks after that I got hit again and it hasn’t let up. After 2 weeks of suffering I went up to 7.5mg. That was 8 days again and I’m still suffering badly. My appointment with the psychiatrist is next week. I wish I could talk to her sooner. Not sure if I should stay at 7.5mg or go to 10mg.
  2. Hello! First of all I want to thank all the beautiful heros around here, who share their storys, it helped me a lot to read the success storys again and again to stay focussed and motivated, to keep hope and not give up during the last 2,5 years. I am 35, female. Last friday I hit the 18 months mark after coming off Escitalopram for the third time in April 2020. Most people, especially professionals doubt that the physical and mental symptoms I experience are due to coming off Escitalopram and think it is all in my head. I am very exhausted of the horrible symptoms and having to fight all the time for being supported or even believed. Probably loosing my job and getting no financial support any more at the end of this month, the pressure becomes higher and higher and I am close to giving in and going back in the psychiatric system...and back on meds. I don't know what to do at the moment and hope to get some helpful advise here. Here is my whole history especially of the last about 3 years of struggling: - On holiday in Spain in 2011, while on a city tour, I had a panic attack after feeling faint. After that, I developed agoraphobia with panic attacks – something that has become manageable after psychotherapy. - Having sat the medical exam in 2012, I worked in internal medicine in a hospital setting from 2015 to 2016, with enormous workload and pressures, constant understaffing and a feeling of being out of my depth and overwhelmed while also having incredibly high expectations of myself and my care for the patients. Having reached exhaustion, the panic attacks returned 12 months into the job, and I left. - I restarted psychotherapy, and in September 2016 started taking 15mg Escitalopram (prescribed by a psychiatrist) - I stabilized quickly and took a job as an occupational GP in a very large company in November 2016. I enjoyed that job, felt valued by my colleagues and managers and did’nt feel overwhelmed. It gave me a good work-life balance, and I started volunteering at a charity offering medical support to homeless people, something I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great relationship, supportive family and friends, enjoyed being active and sporty. - In July 2017, after about 9 months, I attempted to come off the drug, having discussed it with the psychiatrist, tapering by 5mg/ per week over 2 weeks. After that, I felt unwell, was restless, anxious and had stomach issues. The psychiatrist said this was a sign I wasn’t stable enough and 15mg Escitalopram was reinstated. I stabilized and felt better. - In summer 2018, I made a second attempt to come off the drug, but tapered much more slowly. Having reached 10mg we celebrated a beautiful wedding in August 2018, and I then reduced further to 8mg before going on honeymoon in September 2018. A couple of days later I began experiencing panic attacks again, along with exhaustion. I reduced further to 6mg, but then went back up to 15mg because I felt too bad, following psychiatrist advice. I stabilized again. - In March 2019, I attempted tapering for a third time, reducing by 5mg/week over 2 weeks, because the psychiatrist thought the slow tapering might be introducing a psychological issue that was making me feel worse. During the tapering process I started experiencing symptoms, and 3 days after I reached 0mg I was completely floored, with massive physical and mental symptoms. I was unable to work for 3 months, having never been off sick in the 2.5 years before. - There was no improvement after 6 weeks, and so after taking advice from 2 psychiatrists, I started taking the medication again – increasing the dosage by 1mg every 2 days. I had to stop that at 6mg because my symptoms became too severe. - I found a psychiatrist in Berlin who is aware of withdrawal issues, and he recommended to reduce to 2.5mg, which I did in July 2019, the aim being for me to stabilize. At that dosage, I was able to work reduced hours (20-24 hours/week), but it was a constant battle and I felt unwell all the time. - I began to think that maybe I had developed an intolerance to the medication, and so after months of no improvement, I began to taper off it again, following the Horowitz-paper, and reaching 0mg in April 2020. The symptoms got continuously worse as I tapered and got more severe when I reached 0mg. I have been unable to return to work since July 2020. This is a list of my symptoms – although their intensity and the range I may be experiencing on any given day varies. While I never experienced all of them, I haven’t felt “normal” or really well. - autonomic dysregulation: stomach and gut issues (nausea, reflux, stomach cramps, abdominal tension, gut-hyperperistaltic, flatulence and many more), incontinence (in 2019, I wet myself 3 times during the night), difficulty breathing, orthostatic dysregulation, palpitations/irregular heartbeats, sweating - adrenalin rushes/overstimulation of the autonomic nervous system, even smallest stimuli can lead to a fight and flight response - emotional dysregulation: crying fits, extreme mood swings, overwhelming emotions - extreme anxiety: general, agoraphobic, social, paranoia (can’t stand someone walking behind me, feel observed and judged all the time) - depressive symptoms: feeling extremely down, hopeless, desperate, coming and going randomly - myalgia (legs, back, neck, shoulders, arms, whole body) - neuralgia (toes, fingers, earlobes, shoulders, neck…) - headache, neuropathic face, jaw and toothache - abdominal pain - tingling paresthesia (legs, neck, head) - trouble regulating temperature (very sensitive to heat or cold, feeling very hot, shivering with cold), hot flushes, hot skin and feet - extreme sweats at night - trouble swallowing - extreme sensitivity to light, sound, movement and smells, quickly overwhelmed with sensory input, driving or cycling has become difficult, often impossible - dizziness, vertigo - vivid dreams, horrible nightmares, oversleeping - restlessness, agitation - panic, flush, palpitaions, sweating, muscleache in the morning - eye-issues (trouble focusing, burning, dry feeling) - ear-issues (pain, sore feeling) - issues with perception (flickering lights, colour distortion, static items appear to be moving, the floor goes blurry, sounds where there are none) - depersonalisation, derealisation - extreme exhaustion, lack of energy and strength - brain fog, confusion, desorientation, like being on a drug (not off) - cognitive issues with memory, concentration, finding or writing words, reading, understanding - flu-like symptoms - trouble regulating stress (feel overwhelmed quickly) - trouble calming my thoughts, very intense, ruminating thoughts, interrupting cognition - flashbacks (to all kinds of situations, some totally banale) - travel sickness Trigger that provoke/intensify symptoms: - stimuli of any kind, such as light, sound, movement, noice - multitasking - driving (also being a passenger) - eating - physical activity (exercise almost impossible and has been for months, but even walks or getting dressed can overstimulate the autonimic nervous system and lead to a fight and flight response) - screen time - reading - being on the phone - music - conversation, especially talking myself - being in the sun - period and ovulation - social contact of any kind - napping during the day Of course, there have been issues in my life along the way, if that was not the case I would not have started taking Escitalopram in 2016. I struggle with anxiety, but it is something I am addressing. What I have been living through for the last 2,5 years does not compare to anything I have previously experienced, and most of the symptoms I experience I never experienced before I started to take the SSRI. The anxiety I feel since tapering is extreme, complete terror. It is, to be honest, hell. Since April 2020, it has got worse, and I alternate between days where I can cope and do things like take care of the household, go for walks or go to the supermarket, to days where I have to rest a lot, and days where I am house- and bedbound for most of the day. I have found nothing that eases the symptoms, having tried a whole range of things from homeopathy and acupuncture to food supplements (fish oil, magnesium). I meditate daily, do Yin Yoga a number of times a week, eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or have caffeine, and try to walk out in the fresh air whenever possible. I sleep and rest plenty, but nothing has led to a lasting easing of the symptoms so far. I have had a neurological checkup, including an MRI, have had my bloods and heart checked, all results were great. After all this time, I can’t help but feel huge doubt whether the path I have chosen – accept and hang in there – is the right one. I was convinced I could live without the drug, but 3 years of fighting coming off and the intensity of the symptoms have taken me to the edge of what I can suffer through. My goal to lead a normal life feels a very long way off. I am terrified that I have misjudged this and overestimated my mental health and am questioning myself and my decisions constantly. I am hoping that with your experience, you can give me your objective assessment of whether this indeed is withdrawal, and if I am right in that, if there is anything that might help with the symptoms or move the healing process forward. Thank you in advance from my deep heart for your time and advice. 🙏
  3. Hi. New to Surviving Antidepressants. Seeking support as I recently stopped taking Prozac after approx 25-30 years. I Felt it wasn't working, and I was only taking it because I was afraid not to. After telephone consultation with new psychiatrist, I was advised to simply stop the medication. I felt it was not doing anything and was little better than a placebo. This was 22 Feb this year, almost six weeks ago. I was surprised there was no tapering off period. Although I do know 20 mg is lowest dose available, there is a liquid form of fluoxetine (which surely could be used to taper). Since then, I notice episodes of tearfulness where tears are pouring and very difficult to stop. I'm having episodes of rage too. Not just irritability or anger, quite wild and scary feelings of rage. I don't like feeling like this. It's not me. The more I read, the more I am convinced it's due to the abrupt withdrawal of 20mg Prozac. Over the years I have been on various doses. The last time I consulted a doctor regarding mood issues was January 2020. She advised increasing from 20 to 40 mg. I felt no benefit, nothing. A few years ago, I did have a brief spell on Effexor, but switched back to Prozac as I felt no difference or benefit. I do believe there is an element of tolerance in long term use? Also have been told that some people are genetically deficient in serotonin, so simply need antidepressants, just as a diabetic needs insulin. I recently (last week) increased my intake of omega 3 fish oil to 1000mg and also take Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 (for MS - in remission), Vitamin B complex, Magnesium and Zinc. Any advice or support would be gratefully received.
  4. I find the greatest irony in all of this is that I didn't experience clinical depression until I was in medical school. I still have some regret over pushing myself and being so ambitious. I know I've got a victim mentality going on and it'll be apparent in the summary below. I'm trying to change my narrative but it's a process. Fall 2013 - first diagnosed with adjustment disorder, not sure what diagnoses I actually got next but pretty sure it all neatly fit into major depressive disorder successfully treated with therapy, group therapy/support groups, daily exercise, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, meditation, leave of absence from school, spending time with family and friends naively assumed that it was just a one-time thing and that depression does not necessarily have to be "chronic" Fall 2017 - started feeling poorly and knew I didn't have time for self-care when working 12+ hours/day and wanted to keep chugging along in my medical career and at least get a license to practice so only solution seemed to be drugs started on zoloft but experienced bad side effects so switched to lexapro 10mg and started therapy again, even took time off work for an intensive month of therapy Spring 2018 - decided to leave my toxic medical training program and put in my letter stating I'd be resigning after completing this first year of training, felt immensely better but waited a few weeks to make sure it wasn't a temporary relief before approaching my psychiatrist to wean off medication he agreed it seemed like a situational depression and we tapered off somewhat rapidly, had occasional dizziness but mostly when descending stairs in the hospital Fall 2018 - expected to feel so happy after quitting that position but immediately fell into a very deep and the deepest at that point in my life, depression really didn't want to be on medication again, continued therapy, tried to go on runs a doctor I was shadowing and hoping to work with noticed something was off and gave me a sample of the latest antidepressant which he took himself and thought was great; I tried it but had nausea/vomiting each time so only took it for a few days; might have had some dry heaving afterwards too went back to psychiatrist to restart on lexapro and we upped it to 20mg pretty fast since my depression was so severe saw PCP who could manage this as well and wanted to taper but he didn't recommend it; I went against medical advice (yup, docs really do make the worst patients ) and waited for a few months, then planned a really slow taper myself while acquiring healthier habits like exercising again and eating a more plant-based diet; finally off of it completely in February/March 2020 May 2020 - I think that's when I started stressing again and in July/August, I hit what is now my worst level of depression. I've never had so many and such intense suicidal thoughts. This is the first time I've planned and even attempted. Each time, there was still an essence in me that wanted me to live so here I am. I've also been experiencing a high level of anxiety and what felt like a slow long burning panic attack and panic attacks. I've never had any of this before. I started seeing a new therapist who at first suggested and then strongly urged me to go back on lexapro. I luckily had 1 more refill left on the medication so I didn't have to find a new doctor as I just moved to a new area. Placebo effect or perhaps being back on an SSRI which the body was so used to must be strong because I felt better the first day after I took my first pill. It's still been hard but a lot better too. I've created and been able to stick to a system of getting out of bed and exercising. This time, I've kept more detailed track of my medication and tonight should be day 20 of taking it. I have a pretty immediate question though. I read through the post on whether now is a good time to taper or not and I'm undecided on where I fit. While I am going through a tough transition right now, underemployed and currently interviewing for a better job that will certainly bring back some small level of PTSD since there will be some medical practice involved, I also am "young" in starting this new trial of lexapro so I want to quit while I'm "ahead." I am hopeful I will get this new job and even if I don't, either way will be stressful because I'll either have to learn a new position or I'll have to apply for more jobs (each job search and application leads me to panic attacks and shutting down completely). Perhaps it's better I stay on the medication so I don't even have to worry about withdrawing/relapsing again. Ugh, I'm so confused and lost. I hate this and I feel like ever since I started on medications, I've lost my previous ability level to cope. It's like my emotional pain threshold is lower. Perhaps it's because I have a diagnosis to fall back on and instead of seeing things as just another life stressor or bump in the road, I'm conditioned to see it as another relapse. I don't know. Frustrated and annoyed and hate meds.
  5. Hi everyone, thanks for letting me join this group. I was so determined to never take an antidepressant in my life so can’t believe I’m living in this reality. I had an incident at the start of the pandemic when I had some kind of flu bug ( maybe Covid?) and was taking antibiotics and nausea medicine. I developed a bad case of acute akathisia and was put on Klonopin and Mirtazapine to combat it, as well as ambien, propranolol and benztropine. I slowly stabilized and was able to stop the Klonopin at about 6 weeks, the propranolol and benztropine after about 4 months. I started tapering the Mirtazapine in August of 2020 and it has taken me until now to slowly reduce from 7.5 mg to 1.5 mg. I have my liquid made at a compounding pharmacy and have to shake my bottle vigorously to mix the oil and medicine. Well in March I let my bottle get too close to empty and too concentrated. When I switched to a new bottle I started having extreme withdrawal symptoms - shaking, facial twitching, numbness and tingling. I tried switching between the new and old bottles for a few weeks so probably was getting varied dosing . When I went to the Dr. I was told to updose to 1.7 mg to try to stop the withdrawal symptoms. I did that about a month ago. Some problems improved, like the tingling, twitching and tinnitus but I had intense burning in my arms and feet after updosing as well as intense internal Akathisia. The burning has now improved substantially but the akathisia is still present and some days feels almost unbearable. I realize it’s the medicine, and isn’t deadly but I get so desperate for some relief from it. I’ve tried so many herbal things to help but none seems to help much - milk peptides, hops, California poppy, chamomile. I’ve had varying success in decreased symptoms with propranolol 10-35 mg but don’t like the insomnia and stomach pain it gives me. I’ve taken Ativan 0.25 mg twice out of desperation in the last month which did help, but I know isn’t recommended. About once or twice a week I’ve taken a dose of 0.125 mg Klonopin when I’m shaking uncontrollably or feel I can’t stand it. The best relief I get is for an hour or two each night after I take my nightly dose of 2.5 mg Ambien. I’m really a newbie to psychoactive medicines, except for ambien so I could use everyone’s advice who’ve been on this journey longer than me. I’ve been trying acceptance, massage, walks in nature, prayers, deep breathing and music but when my Akathisia gets too intense I feel I need some relief. So questions: Can updosing like I did cause akathisia? Should I stay at my dose until the akathisia goes away? When I get desperate what would be the least dangerous option for my cns: herbal remedies, Cbd oil, homeopathic remedies, propranolol, benztropine, or Small dose of Klonopin 0.125 mg? Have I totaled screwed my cns by taking the Klonopin and Ativan a few times? I have some Cbd gummies here I can try and some skull cap tincture but I’m a bit nervous to try something new. Also, I bought a whey protein isolate from the Point of Return website before I read your warnings about that group. Has anyone tried that and know if it helps with akathisia symptoms? Curious to know what others have used when they felt overwhelmed with akathisia. Sorry to ramble on so long.
  6. I don't know......I am practice posting. At present I am about 5 days off Adderal, 2.5 mg. It feels alot like when I finally came off Lexapro......I was down to 3 mg. and they took me off of it completely in October while I was in the hospital........meanwhile started up on the Adderal and still am on Trileptal 150mg. x2/day. Anyway mostly upper back achiness now.......total demotivation as anything is stressful and am just working for staying calm, fluids, eating, sleep. A conversation by phone once in awhile. Pay the bills. Accept help when I can. So maybe I am somewhat on topic. Not sure I could list all the meds. that I have withdrawn from yet........someday soon. I just wanted to be around people that get it..........and find the hope and strength again. You know.......I believe in God(although a God that accepts my anger sometimes), but even more so in a universal strength to be found in others. Anyway.......thankful for my journey in a way.......especially in those windows I get of clarity and calm.
  7. I am a new member and a retired RN. In January 2019 I took my last dose of Clonazepam 0.5 mg during a medically supervised taper/ withdrawal. It was successful. This March I moved to NM from MO with my husband. It was stressful. Unknown to me my TSH was 0.089 probably for many months. I got suicidal and hopeless in thinking. I contacted the suicide hotline then my PCP. Got short term therapy my prozac dosage went from 40 mg to 60mg and my levothyroxine dosage was adjusted. I was also taking melatonin 20 to 30 mg nightly. The symptomology I began to experience was dizziness. As the delta variant came- I am vaccinated and never stopped wearing a mask- shopping activities of daily living and and just problem solving became more stressful. I was also exhausted. I researched serotonin syndrome/ toxicity and immediately stopped the prozac on Aug. 12. I have a seizure risk in remission but I still take a small dose of topiramate. I feel better. I have a past history of being over medicated by psychiatry and doing well without so many drugs. Control by toxic family members is part of my past too. Any insight input is welcomed. My husband and I are now changing our shopping needs to online and curbside pickup.
  8. Hello, this is my first post, it’s nice not to just float out in space with this very difficult experience. My story is that I had been on 250 mg of Seroquel in combination with Lithium for about 8 years which kept my bipolar II in pretty good control since 2012. I then had a hypomanic episode in November 2019 (after one of the toughest years of my life, finally cutting contact with my abusive family of origin and the related trauma) that lead to my psychiatrist raising my Seroquel from 250 to 350 mg to help me sleep as I was not sleeping for 3 nights (not to control the hypomania itself). It’s an understatement to say that turned out to be a terrible misjudgment as after about 2 weeks on the significantly higher dose, I started to have severe vertigo as an adverse reaction. This same psychiatrist would not believe my adverse reaction/toxicity was due to the sudden jump in Seroquel, so I ended up switching psychiatrists after feeling talked down to and essentially abandoned. The new psychiatrist believed me and is a reasonable, compassionate person. He and I agreed I must come off Seroquel and quickly due to the vertigo toxicity which had me basically immobilized. In 3 days, I came down from 250 mg to 50 mg. The vertigo disappeared but within days after, I started to have insomnia (I am now sleeping with sleep meds), nausea and acid reflux, headaches and now about 6 weeks in to the withdrawal, the headaches are replaced by terrible dizziness and even more severe nausea, reflux has abated with help of meds. It’s really frightening and painful going through this to say the least, especially not knowing when it will improve. I work full time and have a family to take care of and my husband and I are frozen in a state of perpetual anxiety and a deep sense of crisis. Anyone experienced anything like this with Seroquel/Quetiapine or other atypical antipsychotics? Psychiatrists seem to know next to nothing about this issue. As a side note, I feel unable to raise the Seroquel level due to the severe vertigo issues I had while on it at the higher dose. Thanks in advance for pretty much any guidance or rays of hope, this is hell and I feel I’m on my own.
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