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  1. Hi, I am surfing this forum for over 2 years now. I took Mirtazapine in septembre 2017 prescribed by psychiatrist 15mg for 5 days and stopped because I felt "off", very dizzy & personality changes. Developed severe problems just after stopping. Could not talk on day 1, words would not come... 3 weeks later sleep was gone... so I sporadically took 7,5mg sometimes. Anyways... in Octobre I got into Psychiatry and Neurology to check out if I got some serious illnesss because I did not understand what was happening & could not connect it with the meds, thought they are totally benign. I got quetiapine & took it with low dose mirtazapine & developed dystonia & akathisia & stopped sleeping but still did not know what was happening so I CTed. After that I had 20 days no sleep, akathisia & all withdrawal/adverse symptoms imaginable. I could not relax or drift of to bed no matter what. This changed after 20 days I slept but it was toxic sleep.. like not the normal one I am used to... it was more like I slept because my brain couldn't manage it any longer. I still woke up with cortisol flashes every morning & akathisia. So I got on klonopin 1mg and life was somewhat ok... i tapered down to 0.5mg 3 months later and thought this will all go away soon, except that it didn't. ---- I complained of worsening vision, hearing, weakened perception of bodily sensations.... I feel like my body is still going through severe adverse/withdrawal reactions 25 months later... I feel like I sleep but I actually don't because since this started I feel like I am on cumulative sleep deprivation even though I sleep.... My body could manage cortisol spikes for a good year but then it got more and more derealized so I upped & upped the dose of klonopin till 8mg... I have no idea what to do now... my problem is that I feel like I haven't slept for a year or so.... even though I sleep because my symptoms are super super weird derealization. I feel like my mental space has gotten less and less for the last 2 years... Like if there is loud noise somewhere I can not talk because it takes over my brain... I have physically difficulty talking because it takes much more mental space to form sentences.... I feel like I am a complete outlier here because I can't idenfity myself with anybody who has symptoms like me. I am 27 and I just feel completely asleep while awake but not in a fun way anymore as I did in the first year. My vision & hearing are so completely off that I have serious difficulty percieving watching at my phone or something.... When I look into a room I literally feel like I am not processing enough... I wonder whether I should take some antipsychotics or antidepressants again because I literally feel completely hopeless, it's been too long already and I fear losing everything.... I can't continue living like this.
  2. Bethechange2020

    Bethechange2020: introduction

    Hello all, I am a 60 y/o woman and after beeing on psych meds since my twenties I decided to get off of them as I have been stable for over a year, and also as a person who is always concerned with the health of my mind/body/spirit, and soul, I had too many concerns about the harm these psychotropic meds could be doing to me. I am currently off all of my medications since 30 days. I was taking Lexapro, Gabapentin, Mirtazapine, Lamitrogine, and occasionally Xanax. Getting off the Lexapro was so positive for me. I started to have more emotions of all kinds, which made me feel more alive and whole. The negative aspects of getting off all of my meds started to kick in once I got off of everything else, with the worst of it beginning, and still going strong, when I got off the Lamitrogene. My current symptoms, in order of horribleness, are insomnia, wailing for 15mins straight, no appetite, exhaustion, rages, panic, and a myriad of sensorial sensitivities to smells, sounds, touch, and sights. If I see a bug in the house it makes me burst into tears. At times I want to rip my skin off or jump out of it, and other times I feel completely dead inside. Basically, it's Hell, and if I thought there was no end to this I wouldn't be able to take it. I am really lucky to have a loving partner, and to live in beautiful North Carolina where I can take a walk in nature alone. I am working with a psychiatrist who is wholistically oriented, and thinks I may have issues with hormone levels, and/or my endocrine system. I also am part of a medical practice that has a yoga teacher who I feel hopeful will be teaching me some restorative excercises. I studied food and healing, and know the importance that it plays my own mental stability. I haven't had sugar, gluten, caffeine, dairy, or refined foods in a month, which I am 100%certain has kept me from being hospitalized! I also stopped using industrialized "heart healthy" oils like canola and sesame, and use only virgin olive oil, ghee, and coconut oils.I briefly tried a Paleo diet because of the leaky gut theory of depression, but felt horrendous, so now I reintroduced around 1 serving daily of a non glutinous grain such as amaranth, quinoa, or millet, and feel better. I want to incorporate daily walks and yoga into my routine, which is a struggle for me as I often veg out for hours watching Netflix, etc. I don't judge myself for it, but I just don't think it helps one bit, and in fact think it makes me feel worse. It's like something that promises to help me to feel better, but actually has the opposite effect. So that's all for now. Thank for letting me join your group.
  3. Hello everyone, This is my first post and I want to apologize for my poor English, I’m a French Canadian. I will try my best! My story started in 2007, when my GP put me on mirtazapine because I was suffering a big bout of insomnia, following a stressful year. I was a young 27 year old woman without any health issue and I was very naive at this time. I trusted my GP a lot. Big mistake! I went to see a psychologist and did some cbt. This allowed me to taper down my mirt, so after 5 months of tapering, I stopped mirtazapine. Of course, no one has told me about withdrawal syndrome, so I thought that the rebound of insomnia (from mirtazapine) was a relapse. This is where my GP decided that I had a general anxiety disorder. I was now labeled. She put me on celexa 20mg (with seroquel 25mg). 4 months later, I got pregnant, so my dear GP asked me to quit Celexa and seroquel asap. I immediately stopped seroquel and I tapered down celexa from feb 2009 and stopped it by July 2009, at 6 months of pregnancy (My GP assured me it was safe for my baby). I already had the intuition that a rapid weaning was not a good idea. I didn’t suffer any w/d symptoms at that time and finished my pregnancy in pretty good shape. Few months later, 2 months after giving birth, I had a relapse of anxiety in the form of my dear insomnia coming back. Of course, my GP wanted to put me back on AD. This is where we started to have trouble finding an AD that was working for me. Celexa wasn’t working anymore. I tried cymbalta and it wasn’t working either. I tried Paxil and it finally worked. I stayed on Paxil for four years and a half. By mid 2014, after some stressful events, I started to feel that it wasn’t working anymore. My GP asked me to quit Paxil fast then switch to mirtazapine. So I quit Paxil within 3 weeks. After the last dose, I had very hard time for the first 3 weeks. Then she put me on mirtazapine 30mg and Pristiq 50mg. I stayed on this cocktail for some years. At some point, I asked my GP if I could stop my AD, but she explained to me condescendingly that I was like a diabetic with insulin, I couldn’t live without those meds. She was destroying my self confidence. In 2018, I decided to stop Pristiq because I wanted to have only one AD to take. I taper down Pristiq , by switching to effexor, relatively slowly (but more than 10%) and stopped it by January 2019. My GP upped my dosage of mirtazapine to 45mg to compensate. This is where problems started. I didn’t feel any w/d symptoms in the beginning, but slowly, during the next months, I started to feel more and more anxiety. By May, I had a big relapse of anxiety related insomnia. I overcame my insomnia with cognitive behavioral therapy, without any meds. This gave me some confidence so I decided to wean myself of any drugs. I started a slow taper of mirtazapine . I decreased my dose by 10% each 2 weeks. In august, I reached 30mg of mirtazapine and decided to make a little break from tapering and stayed on that dose for few weeks. Unfortunately, during that break, I’ve had the biggest relapse of anxiety of ALL my life! Of course, my GP asked me to return at 45mg of mirtazapine. But it didn’t improve my mood. Since then, I’m struggling with a lot of anxiety and I’m not able to get rid of it. I’m experiencing big mood swings. Sometime I see some improvement, then the next week I fall again in a deep hole of anxiety. I don’t understand myself anymore. It’s like I’m a stranger in my own body! Worst of all, 4 weeks ago, I started to have OCD like obsessive thoughts and that’s very unusual to me, because I never had OCD before and I'm 40! I’m actually seeing a good psychologist, but even with that, I’m not able to cope. So I’m here and I really don’t know what to do. I’m very desperate because I don’t understand what’s happening to me. I have the feeling that mirtazapine is pooping out and that it causes some of my problems. Maybe I’m always on the rebound of stopping Pristiq to. Who knows! This is why I would like to stop this drug and heal myself from all this toxic stuff!! Sorry, I had a lot to say... Thank you
  4. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  5. I have been taking Trazadone since January 2014. I started with .75 Traz and have been slowly tapering the past six months. I am now down to .38 Traz after making a cut 2 nights ago from .45 Traz.. I take it at night to sleep along with 7.5 Remeron. I have been doing well with sleeping on the .45 which I have been holding the past 2 months. Last night my sleep was very light and fitful after the cut. I doubt I got that much sleep. Also, this October I will be on year off Ambien 10 mg. I am looking for some encouragement from folks who have been down this road before with Trazadone. Any success stories out there? How did you feel along the way with tapering? How was your sleep? How did you feel one week off Traz, three weeks off, a month off?
  6. Community of healing, hello. my name is dave. in february of 2012, things started going terribly wrong. i have always been a person with some anxiety and depression. in fact my parents began medicating me for this when i was in the first grade, when the nuns at the parochial school i attended informed them i wasn't "living up to expectations." at this time (early 80s), the medications were as heavy as they are today - in fact, many of the drugs that were put into my childhood body are currently considered barbaric in standard medical practice. nice. anyway, in my teen years and early 20s, i tried many different medications. prozac, paxil, zoloft, blah blah blah. i wanted to put out the fire - i wanted to mellow out and not feel the anxiety. i wanted to not feel the sadness. i was taught that those things were not ok to feel - that these human emotions were to be avoided at all costs. the line-up that my doctors settled upon were remeron and ativan. the remeron was 7.5mg daily, the ativan .5mg as needed. for over a decade, i kept the remeron between 3.75 and 7.5 - the ativan, between .25 and .5. i've always been a "little dab will do you" individual. when i still consumed alcoholic beverages, i was a totally cheap date. 1 drink felt good, 2 drinks was a nap on the couch. my system has always been highly sensitive, as so many of ours are. in late 2011, the ativan wasn't working anymore. the doctors threw in some xanax and bumped the ativan dose. it helped a little. in early 2012, i noticed some profound dizziness - like i was walking on a swaying ship. i had actually been noticing this for a year or more, doctors could find no pathology to explain it. but it was getting worse. i suspected it was the remeron. my doctor said, "well, stop taking it." so, i ditched the 7.5mg of remeron cold turkey YAHOOOOO! and my system went nuts. i could not eat, i could not sleep. i began losing weight - lots. in hindsight, i realize i was in full benzodiazepine tolerance withdrawal and remeron withdrawal. my doctors said it was "just the anxiety getting worse." they were just about ready to throw some klonopin into the mix when i bailed. i started a rapid taper that essentially amounted to a cold turkey from the ativan and began to suffer intensely. between the months of april 2012 and june 2012, i went from being a solidly built 162lb marathon runner to a 129lb human who could not lift his head off the pillow, barely acknowledged his wife and children, was confused as to who the president was and what month it was, and finally, began having intense violent intrusive thoughts - both suicidal and outwardly motivated. i checked myself into a hospital. i was so scared. i figured that was the thing i needed to do. get fixed. as soon as i got in, they tried to get me to reinstate the benzodiazepines. i refused. in my lucid moments, i had read too much online to do it. they put me on seroquil, which produced serious side effects. they switched me to risperidone and left me with that. i wanted out of the hospital. they became fairly insistent that if i were to do so, i would need to be on another medication. i mentioned reinstating the remeron. they liked that idea. they put me back on 7.5mg. a day later, they bumped me up to 15mg, a day later, they bumped me up to 30mg. my whole body was vibrating. i was having nocturnal emissions nightly in the hospital bed. the intrusive thoughts and all the other withdrawal symptoms skipped along merrily, unaffected by the drugs, but the hospital thought i was "good to go." so off i went. oh, and they handed me a script for valium on the way out "just in case." in the hospital, i mentioned both benzo and antidepressant withdrawal. even offering to show them the ins and outs of the ashton manual, which in the benzo world, is fairly revered. the doctors took a position that what i had to say was of little consequence. they were the doctors after all, they should know best. and any words on my part were greeted as a questioning of their authority. the next 8 to 12 months were essentially hell. i kicked the risperidone to the curb almost immediately. if anything, that anti-psychotic was making things worse. the 30mg of remeron was so damn activating, i wanted to jump out of my skin and climb up trees daily. but i felt stuck on it. when i began experiencing intermittent periods of gradually extending "windows" and "waves," i began to taper the remeron slowly. things were very bad for a very long time. very bad. did i mention that things were VERY VERY BAD? i managed to keep my job. it wasn't easy. when i was at my very worst, i would work from my bed at home. getting up to puke, sitting in a stupor, trying to answer e-mails and phone calls as if my brain were not a bashed-up mess. trying to put together sentences. when i was able to return to work, the intrusive thoughts were so bad, i either stayed glued to my desk, or else went back behind my office building and fought off the daily urge to throw myself into the waters. i wanted to die so bad. those waters were almost calling me into them. i fought back. and i am glad, beyond, that i fought. by the 8 to 9 month mark, things started improving somewhat quickly, the tapering of the remeron was becoming somewhat easier, the benzo symptoms were easing. the windows got longer and longer until the waves became basically a couple hours during a day or two per month. i need to cut this short. i could literally write a book about this whole experience, but i don't want to waste your time and i myself have to boogie. let me just say this. i am still tapering - i am now at 2mg of liquid remeron. i have a pharmacy compound for me. i make 10% cuts, hold for 4 to 6 weeks in between, and go in for another round. when i cut, i feel it the day after i make it - an intensification of the symptoms. things settle for a short while. around the 2 week mark after a cut, it kicks me harder. usually restless legs, nausea, intestinal disturbance, mild insomnia, intensification of anxiety and the desire to cry for no reason at all. the intrusive thoughts are totally gone. i don't experience these anymore. and i am thankful. they were my worst symptom. they plagued me and plagued me and plagued me and they are gone. i try to eat as clean as possible. higher protein, lower carbs, almost no refined sugars. i short-circuit the cortisol response by waking at 0345hrs each morning. i am at the gym very early, i put in a workout, i go to work. i could not exercise at all for the first year after withdrawal. it would activate my central nervous system to much. but now i lift weights and lift heavy and i do only enough cardio to keep that system as optimal as i feel it needs to be. i supplement with whey protein, vitamin d, b vitamin/folic acid, magnesium, and some occasional omegas in the form of either fish oil or hemp protein. i do not drink alcohol. i do not use pot. i consider these substances a colossal waste of time. i do not use any other chemicals that will interfere with my brain chemistry. i'm not sure how much of a hassle these last 2mg will be. i think i will probably be all done with the remeron by the end of 2015, if things keep ticking along. that is my goal at least. after benzo withdrawal, and the remeron withdrawal that followed, i know i can weather whatever storm. i'll own the pain. i'm not a tough guy at all. but withdrawal has showed me two things: that i can live through hell on earth and that the anxiety and depression that underlies my personal psychology is "normal," and manageable without the use of chemical substances. thanks for taking the time to read this. and no matter where you are on your own journey, hang in there. when i was 129lbs and barely able to move, barely cognizant of who i was, i doubted that i would ever heal. i am almost there, community. you will be too. hang in there...
  7. Muddles

    Muddles: desperate

    Hi there! Need a bit of advice. My father passed away Christmas Eve :-( I have been on mirtazapine 15mg for 4 years. Since my father passed I have been experiencing a lot of strange & worrying stuff which I can only explain as withdrawal symptoms from mirtazapine. Depression - severe, insomnia, mind chatter, body buzzing, twitches, jerks of legs/arms, panick attack, anxiety etc. I went to see my doctor as my friends and family are concerned. She wants me to up my dose but am not sure i should do it. Could it make things worse? I feel upping may cause more problems. I felt sooo depressed this morning and slowly withdrawing from everybody...scared! Thanks in advance.
  8. Hi folks, First of all I'm new to this site, so feel free to tell me I'm in the wrong area or redirect me.. But here's my story... I currently have what I think is severe anhedonia. Last July, I was a bit depressed (I stress a bit, not majorly).......doctor gave me lexapro 10. After taking this, I vomited on the first night and developed sleep problems. Later in the week, I was given 25 seroquel which apparently would help balance out adverse effects of lexapro.......by the end of the week, I wasn't sleeping and I was suicidal. I subsequently was admitted to hospital. In hospital, I got more and more meds thrown at me and my mid august I was on 125 seroquel, 30 mirtazapine, 20 lexapro, 20 Olanzapine/Zyprexa....My main problem was the medication ripped my stomach apart.....the docs didn't believe me and just gave me more and more meds. I left hospital anyway on the concoction I mentioned.....I spent the following four months on these meds. During those four months, I felt no emotion whatsever, nothing. I felt suicidal, and that I would never recover. I had no desire to do anything. I just stayed in bed until late in the day, even though my sleep did not feel like real sleep. By mid November, i realised that the medication was messing me up, I demanded that I gradually come off everything. On that day, the doctor dropped the mirtazapine, and cut everything else in half. There was a quick taper, maybe too quick, and by christmas eve I was off everything. There were brief windows of emotion during the taper but still 95% anhedonia. Days after I went off everything....I cried for the first time in six months.....days later I laughed for the first time in months... I'm now 6 weeks off everything, I had huge headaches up unitl last week. My stomach started to improve after going off everything and is on the mend. However, I'm still worried about emotions/desires/thoughts etc.....over the last six weeks....I've had maybe 5 occassions where I felt strong positive emotions...and maybe 3 times where I've been sad/angry to the point of proper crying. outside of those 8 occassions, there's still an awful amount of flat feeling, apathy etc... I'm worried and wonder how long or if I will recover at all. Feedback welcome!!
  9. First I want to thank this community for providing such critical support to so many in need of informed guidance. I am here to seek advice for reinstating after having tapered of Lexapro WAY too fast (throwing my brain off a bridge). This was my second time on Lexapro for anxiety/depression with a starting dose of 5 mg for 5 months, increase to 10 mg for 5 months. Though Lexapro worked for me the first time (from 2008-2016 at 10 mg) , this second time around it hasn't worked nearly as well to address my anxiety and associated light insomnia. As a result, I decided to take myself off Lexapro (which I realize I should not have done without guidance.) After my taper, I felt okay for about 5 weeks. But around week 6 I started having anxiety and insomnia like I have never experienced before. I tried to ride it out but when severe depression set it, I decided I needed help. Since we had moved overseas during this time, I had to find a new psychiatrist. She put me on Paxil 10 mg, which significantly increased my anxiety and depression so much she took me off after a week. She then put me back on Lexapro 5 mg, which seemed to kick off severe insomnia - 5 nights with less than 2 hours sleep. Now she wants me to stop Lexapro and start Mirtazapine 15 mg since she says it will help with insomnia and weight loss (I am about 8 pounds underweight.). Having read through several SA threads and guides, I think it might be better if I just try and stabilize with the Lexapro. Though perhaps that window has closed and I should just switch to Mirtazapine and stabilize on that for several months before planning your advised 10% taper. I appreciate any guidance.
  10. Hi there, I'm new to this site but need help! Have had 15 years of AD use, which include a couple of changes due to 'poop outs'. My last change was 9 weeks ago when the 15mg paroxetine that I'd been on for 7 years pooped out. Ended up under crisis team and physchiatrist switched me to 15mg Mirtazapine (straight switch from one day to the next). I had done a similar switch back in 2007 when my lexapro pooped out (tapered down over 2 weeks then switched straight over to the paroxetine). Over the last 6 weeks on Mirtazapine, the physchiatrist titrated me up to 45mg as I was in a bad state. 45mg WAY too high for me and caused akathisia, so he dropped me back to 30mg (after 3 weeks on 45mg). Akathisia better, but still lingering, so he wants to drop me down to 22.5mg. What do I do... I need this akathisia to stop ASAP, so a drawn out taper seems like far too long to wait! But I'm sure my body is in crisis from the med switch and titrating up then quick drop back down. Also used benzos over 4 weeks during switch, and titrated off them. Am I better to put up with the akathisia and do a slow taper? He thinks that drop percentage is fine (25%), but after reading this site combined with the weird experiences I'm having I'm too scared (so I'll need to enlist the help of a chemical compounding pharmacy) . Am I better to do that drop (25%) to stop the akathisia quickly, or just let my body settle down? Do 10% in another 2 weeks time (so that will be 4 weeks after my drop from 45mg to 30mg). I don't know what to do... I have been under the care of the crisis team and been going along with the plan, but can't help but feel these side effects are worse than having no treatment! I'm only 43 with a beautiful husband and son, but I'm scared that I've screwed my poor body up for life. I need advice, and stories of hope (and of easy withdrawls, not just horror stories, to give me hope). P. S Could my akathisia actually be paroxetine withdrawls even though I went straight onto another med?
  11. Hi Everyone, Well i am 36 years old and my journey with antidepressants started at the age of 16 (in 1999) when i started having panic attacks, i had always been a sensitive person and prone to bouts of anxiety as far back as i can remember. The list of medications went from Aropax, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Fluoxetine etc etc and i had tried numerous times basically since i first got put on them at 16 to stop them, i resented the fact that the doctor was telling me i would need them probably for the rest of my life and that i had a "chemical imbalance" which was determined through an extremely flimsy set of written questions, with no science at all backing it up! But unfortunately i was young and naive and this was back when you trusted what your doctor was telling you, so i reluctantly agreed. Every time i tried to come off this medication i would fail spectacularly and end up in severe distress at which point the doctor would use this as "proof i needed medication" when actually this was a withdrawal symptom all along which unfortunately took a lot of pain and anguish and time for me to come to understand, but i am where i am. I had been on the Fluoxetine for over a decade (can't remember exactly how long) and was tapering off in 2016 (before i knew anything about tapering), anyway i reached a point after a difficult breakup where i had a complete meltdown anxiety wise to the point where it was unbearable and the doctor put me on Mirtazapine where my weight ballooned to the biggest i'd ever been and i am only 155cm tall and since being put on antidepressants have put on close to 30kg! I used to be quite fit and active until this happened. Anyway at the end of 2017 after being on 15mg of Mirtazapine for a year as well as remaining on the reinstated 20mg of Fluoxetine i began tapering the Mirtazapine because the weight gain was making me even more miserable. The taper was going quite well and i had been tapering for 18months and was down to 0.5mg! and found out my mum needed to have some pretty serious surgery and lost my job which sent me into a spiral and unfortunately because i didn't know any better at the time i reinstated the full 15mg of mirtazapine again instead of just pushing it up 1mg or something and holding for 6 weeks (which seems to be the magic number for me). Anyway, after discussing with my doctor we decided to change the 20 mg of Fluoxetine over to 20mg of Vortioxetine after i had done a DNA test which supposedly tells you which medications may work better with your genetic makeup. So now i find myself on a new drug and also still taking the 15mg of Mirtazapine. The medication change was 10 weeks ago now and 5 days after the switch i did have some vomiting, diarrhea, headache and anxiety which passed but have had a steady stream of side effects including - intermittent Anxiety (sometimes panic), mild vertigo, some headaches, nausea, teariness and feelings of DEEP sorrow, irritability, ruminating thoughts the list goes on and on really but they all seem to pass quite quickly at this stage so i am hoping to power through and hoping that these side effects won't get any worse. Once i have had a solid period of time where there are no side effects and i feel physically and mentally ready then i will attempt at weaning from the mirtazapine (I wish i could do it immediately so i could finally fit into my old clothes again but alas the evil antidepressant side effects stop this from being a reality right now). I am being careful to keep a journal of my symptoms and become more aware of what my body is telling me, as well as learning from other people's stories from this website, which are immensely helpful as well as listening to James Moore's youtube channel called "Let's talk withdrawal" which i highly recommend to everyone who needs some encouragement. So glad to have found Surviving Antidepressants and reading all your experiences, it really helps to know I am not alone through this process
  12. Hi everyone Great to have found this website...I have been on SSRI's and more recently SNRI (mirtazapine) for past 17 years and the mirtazapine for past 5 - I have been depression free for past 5 years (previously had between 10 to 12 major breakdowns since age of 21 including whilst on the drugs..I am 38 now)...phew it's been tough but I have made it this far! I decided that, if I could go 5 years without a major depressive episode, that I would try and come off my meds as a I feel I have developed the coping skills and resilience skills to manage my mental health drug free...I reached 5 years and started in August 2019 - I managed to cut down from 30mg to 22.5 and then 22.5 to 15mg over the course of 5 months...I had a period of about one week of WD during both reductions and it was very unpleasant but I just toughed it out and it passed and I felt better again - so I made it to 15mg which I thought to be quite an achievement! With this in mind and also wanting to get off this drug as fast as possible (within reason) I decided to cut the 15mg pills and start on approx 11mg around 9 days ago (with my doctor approval who is, by the way, absolutely clueless)....I have been suffering WD since day 1 including anxiety, foggy head, insomnia, slight ringing ears and generally just feeling low and not myself - I thought that this will pass if I just tough it out again but now, 9 days in and after reading a lot of stuff online I'm not so sure...it seems that with mirtazapine (and possibly other drugs) it gets harder as the doses get lower...which is hard to believe when you see the size of the 11mg in your hand. I have now found this website and it's incredibly helpful and I'm so glad to be here and able to talk to others about this! My first and REALLY important first question to ask for advice is should I go straight back up to the 15mg where I felt ok and stabilise there before thinking about my next approach which could well be the 10% reduction advocated on here? I just want to feel better again so I can cope with stresses in my life...I would appreciate some responses ASAP as I may do this tonight! Could I possibly use a quality weighing scale and go to 13mg or will this just further confuse my nervous system more? I'm sure I'll have lots more questions in time but this will do for now Lovely to meet you all Big love and strength from Malbec37
  13. Hi all. I have been on a combo of Risperdal and Zoloft since 2012. I reached 3mg risperdal and 200mg zoloft in early 2016, tried to taper off both starting in June of that year, and had a bout of insomnia in November, at which time I reinstated along with an additional 15mg remeron. Adding the remeron, I've learned, was a huge mistake and most likely unnecessary. Since then I've slept at most 6 hours instead of my usual 8. For the first 2 months on remeron I avoided caffeine and tobacco. Then, after picking up both again, my sleep suffered, and I eventually had nights with 2-3 hours. I've since learned that caffeine and tobacco induce the enzyme CYP1A2, which metabolizes remeron, explaining this. By abstaining from both, my sleep has returned. I have also tried shaving a sliver off my 15mg pill with no luck...getting a full night without sleep. I would like to be able to drink coffee and smoke again. That leaves me with 2 options, get off the remeron (seemingly impossible) or tolerate the lack of sleep. If I do the latter, will my sleep eventually not recover even when abstinent due to repeated withdrawals? I had been planning to use coffee and cigs only sporadically, letting my sleep return before using them again, or using only on the weekends. If I that is not sustainable, then how do you recommend I get off the remeron, given my sensitivity to even a small dose decrease? My doc has suggested trazodone as a replacement, but that med interacts with my other meds and a post about it here scared me away. Thank you so much for your help.
  14. Hi, I just came across this peer support group and am delighted as I am really nervous about how I will cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Not looking forward to getting more depressive feelings, suicidal thoughts, crying jags, mood swings, energy slumps. At least with support I can hopefully surf the waves. I still get PMS (32 years and counting!) every 3 weeks and feel like the world is too horrible a place to keep going on - and then my period arrives and I go "Aha! So THAT's what it was!"
  15. Hi, I just recently found this website and I am hoping to gain support and insight into healing. My journey with medication withdrawal began 2 years ago when out of the blue after getting my prescription for Mirtazapine refilled I began to get extremely sick. At the time I was taking 15 mg of Mirtazapine (had taken this for 20 years) and I was also taking 50 mg of Tramadol twice daily. (Taken for 10 years) For those who don’t know, Tramadol is a synthetic opioid medication that also has SSRI attributes, which at the time I did not realize. For years I felt great on these medication. I have suffered from anxiety my whole life and when I started taking these medications together I felt “normal” for the first time in my life. I was happy and anxiety felt like a thing of the past. So when I went to get my Mirtazapine refilled and began to get sick I couldn’t figure out why. The pharmacist had to have made a mistake. I made several Dr. appointments and kept telling the Dr. I thought I had serotonin syndrome. I was told this condition was so rare that couldn’t be it. So back to the pharmacist I went. I soon discovered that the manufacturer of the Mirtazapine was bought out by another company and that because the medication was generic there can be different fillers and variables. All I new was I was extremely sick, having massive anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and sleeping only 1-3 hours a night. My doctor was retiring so I had to find a new doctor, which was fine because my symptoms were completely being dismissed. Right around this time was when the opioid crisis hit and my new doctor told me she no longer wanted me on Tramadol. I don’t blame her as I told her the only reason I took it was for my anxiety. I began to cut back like I was told to, by breaking my pill in half. You know the story! Well needless to say I became so overwhelmed with depression I became suicidal and was having massive panic attacks. So the doctor put me on 25 mg of Sertraline to help with the depression and Tramadol withdrawal. I was able to somehow stabilize, but still felt sick most of the time. My doctor also wanted me to go off of Mirtazapine because I had been on it for so long. So again I tried cutting the pills in half and again I became massively depressed and suicidal. So after doing research on my own I realized that I was going to have to have the Mirtazapine compounded. So I began a 10 percent taper per month but did not realize it was 10 percent of each last amount. So I just keep cutting 10 percent. I took me about 10 months to taper from the Mirtazapine and I completed it in June of 2020. At the same time I was slowly cutting back on the Sertraline. (I was at 50 mg) in April of this year I began working with a holistic psychiatrist. I couldn’t take it anymore. My body felt like it had aged 20 years. I was exhausted all the time, depressed and anxious, still not sleeping, and just not believing I would ever feel better. I was put a supplement regiment of liquid vitamin and minerals, liposomal glutathione, fish oil, and SeroPlus. I cut gluten and dairy from my diet and eliminated as much sugar as I could After about 6-8 weeks of supplements I was able to regain some of my strength and confidence and began to cut back relatively quickly on the Sertraline. My last dose was August 8th. I felt great for about three weeks and thought I was in the clear and then out of the blue I was hit again with withdrawal. I tried to reinstate a small dose of Sertraline but it didn’t work and so I’ve decided to try to toughen it out. Through this process I have been using energy medicine techniques that have helped a great deal and I have also started meditating twice a day. Ian also working with a therapist. I have feeling of withdrawal that included my skin feeling hot and prickly, headaches, brain fog, brain zaps, and anxiety. I don’t have these symptoms everyday, they seem to come and go. I get very scared reading other peoples stories and hearing how these symptoms can last for years. I am clinging to any hope of healing, and think part of the problem is I want healing right now and I finally realized it isn’t going to happen that way. Is it really possible to heal from anxiety with out meds? How much of my anxiety is life circumstances and how much is withdrawal? Will I ever feel joy again? These are the questions that run through my mind. Any words of encouragement and advice would be greatly appreciated.
  16. Hi all I was prescribed mirtazapine for sleep deprivation and anxiety that developed after I quit smoking (a light 3-4 /day smoker for 25 years) cold turkey in Jun 2017. Sleep anxiety was triggered by my IBS flare up that consistently woke me up every night for a couple if weeks before mirtazapine helped me stay asleep. I am coming off mirtazapine 3.75mg (cold turkey since Feb 2019) after being on it for about 18 months, the first six months at 7.5mg. Been dealing with typical withdrawal symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, fear, adrenaline rushes falling asleep, agitation, leg fatigue, temperature/pressure sensitivity, GI issues. Over the last week, I mostly have had good consistent sleep and most of my other symptoms have been mild and occasional (once in 2-3 days). There is a consistent correlation between gut distrurbance (mainly gas/bloat/burping) and sleep onset, and sometimes it can take until 3-4am before it settles down enough to be able to sleep. Keeping my stomach light at night and avoiding trigger foods (mainly sugars like fructose, fructans) helps stabilize the gut. However, there are a couple of symptoms that are a bit worrying. I have lost 26lbs since I stopped mirtazapine (175 to 149) 3 months ago. I had a similar loss before I started mirtazapine after I had stopped smoking. But this time, I have been eating well and have a good appetite, although I am off sugars, alcohol, and gluten. In addition my heart rate at night is dropping down to mid 50s. I also have had some occasional dizziness when I stand up. Are these changes normal and if not, what additional testing / specialists would you suggest that I check out? Ranga.
  17. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  18. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  19. Hello: I am here after a person on another forum (BenzoBuddies) alerted me to the existence of this one when I queried if anyone there had experience with tapering/eliminating Aripiprazole (Abilify). I am currently working on titrating down from the Clonazepam I have been taking. I have hopes of eliminating all the medications listed in my signature, in time. Once I have eliminated the Clonazepam, I would next like to work on the aripiprazole, then the Mirtazapine. I have only very occasionally used the alprazolam. So, I do not see that as a real hurdle. There is an erroneous date listed in my signature. It should be 2012. If someone could guide me in editing it, I would sure appreciate it. It was kind of a mystery just to create it. I hope to find some useful information and encouragement here. I did a big drop of the Clonazepam (50%) on September 19, as instructed by my doctor. Withdrawal symptoms were uncomfortable, but not terrible. Days 1-3 met me with needing a bit more time falling asleep. Days 15-21 met me with some irritability, headache (most days), one night of insomnia, a few days of mild depression and some free-floating anxiety. Day 22 and onward, the aforementioned symptoms were gone and I was feeling better than what was my normal self. I am glad for this. After reading a lot of information (Professor Ashton's manual & on the BenzoBuddies forum), I decided to continue with reducing the Clonazepam at a rate of 25% every 14 days. Yes, I know it is more than recommended (5-10%), but I believe I am capable of proceeding at this rate and take comfort in the fact that I can always adjust my dosing, if needed. My dose tonight will be ~.4700. When I began taking the medications (in 2001), I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (without psychotic symptoms). I did spend some time in a psychiatric hospital (~3.5 weeks), during which time several different medications were tried/thrown at me. I don't remember all of them (prozac & paxil, are two that were tried...). I did not take any but the Clonazepam longer than a few days/weeks. Oh, except lamictal. I took that for about 6 months (in 2001). Almost forgot about that one. A couple other antidepressants were tried just before I began taking the Mirtazapine in 2010: Effexor, Celexa and Trazadone. They all made me feel loopy, so I rejected them. Sleep is what I needed and the Mirtazapine helped to deliver that. The Abilify was a depression add-on which did seem to give me an overall improved affect/mood. Since 2001, I have remained steadfastly committed to and deeply engaged in an in-depth therapeutic relationship (with a couple practitioners). As a result, I have achieved a complete psychological, emotional and spiritual make-over. Over the course of the past couple years, I have questioned if I really have a need to continue taking the medications, for I simply am not the same person I was 17 years, 10 years, 5 years or even 1 year ago. It is my deep hope and desire that I will eliminate the medications. It will be very nice to see who I am today, without the medications. That's my history, in a nutshell. Cleerity
  20. 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….
  21. Hello. I am wanting some advice on withdrawing from the drugs I am currently on. I am taking 60 mg cymbalta, 5 mg zyprexa and 7.5 mg mirtazapine. I would like to withdraw from all 3 at the same time. Is this possible
  22. Hello all, i had found this site on google before and have some questions. I took 15 mg Mirtazapine 6 months and stopped 5 months ago, now i'm in big trouble. After stopping i slowly started losing my emotions and feelings but now i'm complete dead inside, it feels like my soul has gone, there is only silence in me, no matter what i'm doing i can't enjoy things anymore because i'm not connected to it in any way like emotions, thinking about it etc.. and it's almost impossible to sleep, because i simply don't feel anything and don't even know when i'm tired, when i read my name or see some old pictures of myself, i don't feel connected to it in any way, same thing if i look in the mirror, it simply is like there is nothing inside me anymore. I don't have panic attacks or feel sad, i can't say how i'm feeling because feelings are no longer there. If i remember some things i can't get some emotions or feel deep about something that was very important to me, i lost interest in everything that i loved, its hard to concentrate without feeling anything, or know what todo, what is important or not, what is right or wrong..... it's also almost imposible for me to go out or visit some friends, but i know that i'm in reality and never had hallucinations, some time after stopping mirtazapine i was manic My question now is what could this be? Is it permanent braindamage or is it some sort of DP? I had DR before but i had feelings and panic attacks, now i simply don't feel anything. I had depression for years but this for sure is no depression anymore. Please let me know anyone what i can do about this because im very suicidal the last time, but i don't want to give up and die in this condition, i had many plans for my life, i can't belive all that could happen to me and i don't wish such condition to anyone, well maybe to the doc only that gave me that pills... Regards, helpless.
  23. Hi Guys. I have been on every SSRI over the past 2 years, apart from Paroxetine. This all started from some situational anxiety at work. Each time i took a medication i was on them for about 3 month without any benefit at all. I would loose time at work, cold turkey and return back to work. Each time i did this i was getting worse and worse. I would then return back to the doctor and ve started on something else. This has basically gone on for 2 years. All this time i have got worse. I have now come to understand withdrawal and the fact i could have well been prescribed numerous medications due to an illness been mistaken for withdrawal. 8 weeks ago after stopping my second attempt of Escitalopram for 3 months i decided to stop for good with a fast taper. I feel anxious, dizzy, fatigued, poor cognition and inability to focus. I know if i take a dose of SSRI that this will improve however i will return to the Zombie state of meds. I am finished with medication!!! On reflection my problems i encountered prior to any medication was far easier than the problems i have had the past 2 years on medications. I think i have been a victim of Psychiatry! I dont think i ever needed medication! My chemical imbalance was created by meds! If i had no knowledge of this i would be stuck in Psychiatry! I just want to know ppls experiences and can i still be in withdrawal at 8 weeks after 2 years of messing about with meds. Thanks Lee
  24. savinggrace

    savinggrace

    Moderator note: link to members-only benzo thread - Savinggrace: missed dose Hello, I have been following Surviving Antidepressants, off and on, for a few years but feel I must join now, as I could use some feedback. I have been poly-drugged for 15 years and on anti-depressants for 35 years. I am not sure how much I should write about how/why all this happened, but surely in the first decades, I just let it happen because I trusted my doctors and had no idea what I was setting myself up for. Since the internet made information so much easier to get, I have spent a lot of time learning about what these drugs have done to my brain, my body and and my life. I am joining this forum for two reasons...I am a person who has to taper extremely slowly. In fact, I just read a post of a man (2012) who planned to take 12 years to taper 25 mg. valium and I thought, "well, that sounds about right for me." On other forums, I have been almost laughed at when I admit how slow I have been, and must continue to taper. The other reason I like this forum is that it addresses the poly-drugging situation that so many of us have gotten ourselves into. This poly-drugging, in my opinion, has made everything so much more difficult. I guess there is a third reason, and that is that I have followed Rhiannon on BenzoBuddies and before that on a Yahoo group for years. She seems so rational, calm, and non-judgmental about all this. I have read many posts about not tapering from a place of feeling w/d symptoms. What if I said I have been in tolerance w/d (if that term is used here) for at least 14 years? I have not felt well, and in fact, have been quite sick all that time. About 6-7 years ago I got the courage, after tons of reading to start tapering. After making a 1 mg. cut (less than 10%) of valium, and suffering a near-seizure on the 5th day (that's what my doctor told me was happening and I believe him because 1 mg. valium relieved everything), I started tapering .5 mg/ month. (my signature will explain what happened before that) I did that for a few a year or so, but "hit the wall" so to speak, and tried .25 cuts (cut and suffer method). Very long story as short as possible, I only went from 17mg. down to 13 mg. before I was not able to cut any more and remain even remotely functional. A year or so ago, I decided if I couldn't cut valium, I would try another of my drugs. I have managed to taper 25% with small cuts and holds over a year, but again feel totally dysfunctional and unable to proceed. I think, at this point, up-dosing any of my drugs would require too big of an up-dose, and likely an unsuccessful one at that. I am holding now, but the reality is, I have many co-exisitng medical conditions, some caused by these drugs I suspect, and some not, that I really can't treat w/ meds as they interact with my psych meds and de-stabilize me immediately. I suffer a lot. I have no quality of life. I am 61. I can't go back; only forward. I am currently holding my trileptal cut to give my brain a rest. There is a lot more to share about myself but this was way too long already. How long should I hold? I feel like it will take quite some time before I feel like my brain has adjusted to this 25% cut. (done in 5-10 mg. increments, holding about a month w/ each cut) Here is my signature because I am not sure where to post it: Amitriptyline for 20 years and then remeron, 4 mg currently , ambien 10-15 mg. for 5 years and then updosed klonopin to get off ambien in 2011; klonopin 2 mg. for 10 years and then crossed over to valium 17.5 mg in 2010. 300 mg. trileptal for 13 years; tapered down to 225 in the last year. Holding on everything right now.
  25. Aka Remeron, Remeronsoltab, Avanza, Axit, Mirtabene, Mirtaz, Mirtazon, Norset, Promyrtil, Remergil, Remergon, Remeron SolTab As with other psychiatric drugs, we recommend trying a 10% taper of mirtazapine per month, based on the last dosage you took. If you get withdrawal symptoms from a 10% taper, go down by smaller amounts. See Important topics in the Tapering forum, particularly why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage A very common withdrawal problem with mirtazapine is rebound insomnia, which reinforces the need for very gradual tapering. From FDA information at http://www.drugs.com/pro/mirtazapine-tablets.html From Malhi, et al 2003 Dual-Action Antidepressants: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Use Per http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00370, Half-life is 20-40 hours. Mirtazapine tablet dosages are 7.5mg, 15mg, 30mg, and 45mg. The "orally disintegrating" version melts in the mouth and is widely available as a generic or brand-name Remeron SolTabs. Reduce by splitting tablets Request that your prescription be filled with the lowest dosage tablets or combination that includes the lowest dosage and split them into quarters for the smallest decrements. (A quarter of a 7.5mg tablet would be 1.875mg.) If you are very sensitive to dosage reductions, you may wish to weigh tablet fragments, see Using a digital scale to measure doses Reduce by titrating a liquid A liquid is easier to measure in order to taper by small amounts using an oral syringe. Unfortunately, mirtazapine liquid is not widely available. In the UK, mirtazapine liquid is available from Rosemont Pharmaceuticals in Leeds. Ingredients of the liquid are here: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/31587. Shelf-life after being opened is 6 weeks. Ordering information is here. To taper, many people make mirtazapine liquids themselves. While water solubility of mirtazapine is "slight" according to http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00370 you can make a suspension of it yourself with a tablet and water or a pharmaceutical liquid such as Ora-Plus. See How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules Refrigerate the DIY suspension for up to 5 days, then discard. Have a compounding pharmacy make a liquid for tapering Compounding pharmacies can make a liquid from the tablets. You will need a prescription written for the customized drug preparation. The only drawback is this can be quite expensive. While your pharmacy may say the liquid is good for a month, people have noticed potency decreases over that time: Please note the do-it-yourself liquids are kept for less than a week. Reduce by making a liquid with the "orally disintegrating" tablets You may be able to dissolve the orally disintegrating tablets ("Soltabs") in water and use an oral syringe to take a measured dosage. I couldn't find any reports of doing this but, since the orally disintegrating tablet is designed to dissolve in saliva, it seems likely to work. After making the liquid, I would take the dose immediately and discard the rest -- do not count on it keeping for any length of time. For instructions on how to make a liquid, see how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules If you do this and it works, please let us know in this topic. Using a combination of tablets or capsules and liquid Rather than switch directly to an all-liquid dose, you may wish to take part of your dose in liquid and part in lower-dose tablets or capsules, gradually converting to all liquid as you get to lower dosages. This can be very convenient and reduce any problems switching from one form of the drug to another. If your doctor prescribes liquid and tablets or capsules at the same time, most likely, he or she will have to indicate "divided doses" in the prescriptions to get the drugs covered by insurance. Tapering mirtazapine and venlafaxine or "California rocket fuel" This is a combination of mirtazapine and venlafaxine (Effexor) that has some popularity among psychiatrists, but also can have dangerous side effects. If you are taking this combination, you probably will want to taper the Effexor first with the hope that the remaining mirtazapine will maintain sleep. See About going off mirtazapine plus venlafaxine (Effexor) aka "California rocket fuel"
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