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  1. 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
  2. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  3. Hi Everyone - I am 38 year old male and have been on SSRIs for most part of a decade now! I was put on SSRIs to treat generalised zed anxiety disorder an panic attacks. March 2011 - May 2012 Venlafaxine - 75 mg (CTed without any problems) Nov 2013 - Oct 2014 Citalopram 20 mg (not very effective) Oct 2014 - April 2017 Venlafaxine 75 mg (stabilised on this dose. Tried to stop medication with 4 week taper after feeling normal but had to reinstate fully due to WD symptoms) July 2017 - Nov 2018 Zoloft 50 mg (GP puts me on Zoloft after Venlafaxine withdrawal on 3rd attempt to quit. I stop the Zoloft in Nov as I felt I was cured) Hell breaks loose Jan - March 2019 as I experienced pretty much all imaginable withdrawal symptoms. That's when I find this site while googling my symptoms and learn that what I was experiencing was WD. However, based on advice from Psychiatrist I reinstated and eventually stabilised on 50 mg after an initial adverse reaction. Since then I made it very clear to my Psych that I want to withdraw from the Sertraline. However his recommendation was to see the Pandemic through before I start withdrawing as the Pandemic might make matters worse with undue stress. I get my vaccinations (Moderna) and both doses do not cause any major side effects. I had a relatively stable time on the Sertraline till around August 2021 when I felt I was not responding to usual life stressors normally and felt a bit unsettled. I ignored this as a just another Wave. Cut to Dec 2021 - I get my booster dose (Pfizer) on the 19th Dec and within 6 hours start experiencing WD like symptoms as if the vaccine kindled my nervous system. My anxiety was back with palpitations and insomnia. However the symptoms resolved over the next 5 days and I started feeling stable again within a week. I assumed it was just a wave. However, I tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 25th 2022 and have since started developing WD like symptoms (anxiety, restlessness, health anxiety, pins and needles). My Covid symptoms resolved within 6 days but the anxiety is persisting and it seems only getting worse. Here I am wondering - 1. Is this another wave triggered by Covid-19 infection? Shall I wait it out? 2. Or am in a 'Poop out' situation where the AD has stopped being effective? Please advise me on what should be the best approach for me? PS - The only change in medication has been that I now take the Zoloft 50 mg as a solution in preparation for my WD
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