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  1. Hi. I am a married dad of 3 teenagers. I had a difficult upbringing living alone with an alcoholic father after my mother left with my 2 sisters when I was 11. I have had my issues with addictions as a result, I sometimes think. I do not drink anymore, although I sometimes unfortunately relapse. This happens less and less as I find it makes my depression worse and makes me angry at myself and others. I started taking AD's around 2006 after a tragic episode in my life. I was put on SSRI's, Prozac first if I remember well. Unfortunately as well as the usual side effects, they made my anxiety go through the roof. I kept being told to wait at least 6 weeks before stopping and being put on another SSRI that would do exactly the same... This lasted a few years and seriously messed me up. I tried every single SSRI you can think of. It was like constant adrenaline or cortisol being pumped through my body. Eventually I was put on Venlaflaxine. The side effects ( anxiety mostly) although initially even worse than before got better after 4 weeks. I stayed on Venlaflaxine for 4 or 5 years I think. One of the things with AD's is that I find it really hard to remember stuff... I decided to stop Venlaflaxine because I felt it made me a bit manic. Also years of dry mouth were starting to take a toll on my teeth which was starting to concern me. I tapered over a period of 6 months which I thought was plenty. I was wrong. After 4 months off AD's things got really bad in terms of low mood and anxiety so I decided to go privately and see a psychiatrist. I'd only seen my GP for meds until now and paid privately for regular therapy sessions. The cost of seeing the psychiatrist was very prohibitive but out of desperation I finally decided to pay the 300 pounds an hour he charged. He put me on Trazodone after telling me that I should never have been put on more SSRI's after my initial bad reaction to Prozac: different names/same family. They worked quite well in terms of reducing anxiety which was such a relief after years of being crippled by it. After about a year, I decided it might be time to quit. I felt like I was living with a very foggy brain all the time. My memory felt completely shot by then! It became really embarrassing and also quite worrying. I tapered very slowly over a 2 year period using digital scales. It wasn't quite the 10% method because I had never heard of it at the time but it was quite similar really. I try and run regularly but sometimes find it hard to discipline myself- usually when I need it the most! I meditate 20 minutes a day Monday til Friday. I get a bit lazy at weekends although I do sometimes meditate if I feel it might help. I try and eat healthily. It helps that I have 3 kids and I do most of the cooking. I want them to eat healthily so end up eating healthy myself. I take turmeric and ginger capsules, a bit of fish oil and a B complex as vitamins/supplements. I have started eating a really healthy breakfast consisting of all sorts of nuts/oats/seeds soaked overnight. I had never eaten a breakfast since I was 12. It has helped me a lot in terms of energy that doesn't feel "manic" like the one you get via coffee or sugars. I find it has also helped me with my focus which was really bad. I finally quit for good a few months ago. It hasn't been easy. My sleep has been terribly affected. Tinnitus ( the humming type) started pretty much half way through my tapering and is still there. I have been urinating about 20 times a day. It has been investigated but they cannot seem to find a reason why. The doctors have come to the conclusion that it might be linked to quitting AD's. On that front, things have started getting better over the past month but I am still going at leat 12 times a day of which 4 or 5 times a night. I have all sorts of mood swings but some days feel like the best I have felt in my life which never used to happen before. Not a euphoric feeling more of a feeling of contentment.. This is one of the things that keep me going. Those small moments when I feel "normal"... But then a lot of the time I question my choice! I am not easy to live with since I started tapering 2.5 years ago. My temper is quite short and I feel it is not fair on my wife and kids. It makes me feel guilty and selfish. If AD's had really worked and my memory hadn't felt so affected, I would have been happy to stay on AD's all my life but I never found them to help. I also feel the SSRI nightmare did serious damage to my nervous system. MY self confidence was never the same after those years of chemically induced constant anxiety.I don't think the mood swings I am getting are to do with my depression coming back but more to do with things taking a while to settle in my head... The most important thing for me is to stick to what I call "the recipe": exercising, meditating, healthy eating, no alcohol. If I don't I really start to feel it in terms of low mood and anxiety. Sounds simple on paper but it's not easy. It's strange that when you need it the most is when you find it the hardest to stick to the recipe! I've got better at sticking to it though which makes me think that eventually I will come out of this nightmare I've been in for 15 years... Thanks for reading. Peace to all.
  2. Hi to everyone, First time I write in S.A. (I'm from Barcelona, so please forgive my poor English skills). I've been on and off antidepressants (Celexa, Lexapro, recently Zoloft) for the past 10 years. Combined with benzodiazepines, they were initially prescribed to me in order to control insomnia, which my former doctor thought was brought on by anxiety issues (sounds familiar?). At that time, I never had had a real bout of depression. Only then, when I decided to withdraw and quit Celexa for the first time, I knew what the word depression truly means. Had to reinstate, of course, and... well, you know the story. Now I've been 6 months free from 50 mg. Zoloft, and still having issues --mainly psychological ones, and above all insomnia. I don't know you, but in my case the ADs worked pretty well at managing the anxiety I felt at night. So the question is: why on earth did I decide, again and again, to quit them? In my personal experience (I'm a highschool teacher and a freelance writer), besides the very known sexual side effects, I found that SSRIs numbed my ability to read and to write creatively. I mean, I still could read a good novel, of course, and enjoy it, but in a way I couldn't get deeply into it. Nor could I write anything with the freedom, depth and verbal fluency that I once had. So the process is always the same: I start taking the AD, feel emotionally better (and important: I need to take less benzos), but then I begin to sense that my creativity and writing skills are impaired, and I want badly to withdraw. Since I understand not everyone is here for the same reasons, my question is, why did you decide to quit? Since many people benefit from the effects of ADs, and quitting them is so awful, what were the reasons that took you to take the plunge?
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