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  1. Hello, I’m new and needing assistance. I was on paxil for many years and tapered slowly. I was unable to stay off the meds. I was put on paxil, then 20 mg cymbalta, then 12.5 mg sertraline. All had to be stopped due to side effects. I stopped taking sertraline after a fast taper in April or May this year. It seems like I had every withdrawal symptom listed. August was awful. I had major anxiety, panic attacks, blood pressure spikes and insomnia. I feel unstable. I am having trouble doing things like going to the store due to anxiety. My doctor has prescribed me liquid sertraline and I took 1mg today. It triggered tachycardia. I just don’t know what to do.
  2. 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
  3. Hello community, So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months. Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline. The symptoms I currently have are: rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension) inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance) ears ringing morning depression heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer) intense dreams and nightmares head tremor Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman). Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse). I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper. I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too). Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.
  4. Hi all, I'm at a complete loss regarding my situation so I'll start from the beginning. During the summer of 2016 around july I began taking Sertraline 20mg for what I would now describe as mild anxiety, when struggling with initial sides of increased anxiety and sudden insomnia my doctor prescribed me flupentixol which I then took with the sertraline for around 3 months and then went cold turkey on due to severe drowsiness. I continued the sertraline for around 9 months before going cold turkey. I'm so confused regarding my situation because in order to cope with the insomnia I also smoked weed every night whilst taking it to help me sleep which seemed to work wonders. Even after dropping the sertraline I continued smoking weed in order to help me sleep. I had actually never smoked weed prior to this insomnia (I was 26 BTW) and it was a friend's suggestion. Anyway I attempted to quit smoking several times last year after dropping the ssri but noticed an extreme feeling of anxiety at all times whenever I did and and inability to sleep until early hours of the morning. This pattern went on until early this year where I smoked once again before bed internally praying that I would be able to stop somehow. That night and for the next month I suffered the most extreme anxiety attacks I never thought possible, which definitly helped me to cut the weed permanantly. The strange thing is, ever since then I have experienced various symptoms associated with withdrawal which are, Extreme rage/anxiety/depression constantly alternating. Headaches sometimes unbearable migraines. Horrendous restlessness which after reading some accounts on this site I think is akathisia. Burning and aching throughout my body. Extreme hatred towards family and friends which comes and goes. Blurred vison Awful digestive problems (burping nonstop everyday, diarrhea and constipation and bleeding. Bloating Brain fog feels as though someone has hold of my brain smothering it. Vibrating in my ears. Sometimes I spend the entire day crying uncontrollably with anguish twisting my hands and feet with worry and anxiety. Muscles twitching all day and almost zero appetite. I guess my question is, Can withdrawal sometimes take a year to fully manifest? because the weed aswell as cbd oil seemed to keep the anxiety and insomnia at bay then suddenly almost a year after dropping the sertraline I developed all these mental and physical symptoms. Or is there something else wrong with me because I've had cameras in me, been to three different doctors and various homeopaths and they say everything seems fine when it clearly isn't. I've lost my job my friends three stones and it feels as if I've lost control over my entire body and mind. Someone please help lol. I have many other symptoms to an extreme degree but I've actually lost track of everything I'm going through. Still sane though I think.(hope)
  5. Dear withdrawees ... I hope i find you all well... Or at least amidst a window rather than a wave . I've been scouring SA for some time now, picking up whatever bits of helpful and positive information i can about this horrific ordeal. I now feel its time to introduce myself and my history on AD's to the community with the hope of being provided with additional support and a view helping others in the future when this experience is more of a bad memory rather than a living hell . I have been taking Sertraline on and off for the last 6 years since 2013 after a series of horrific circumstances happened one after another. Despite the drugs having good effect, I've always been uncomfortable with masking what are obviously important emotions using a daily consumption of a drug. This has led me to unwittingly withdraw multiple times across the 6 year period which lead me to believe i was confined to a life of drug taking, this was until June this year when I first found SA and became aware of SSRI withdrawal . Of course I was left somewhat shocked but not surprised after feeling neglected previously on multiple occasions by the medical sector. Despite that though i found a new sense of hope knowing that a life beyond drugs was not only possible, but likely. Recent Drug History OCT 2016 - I quit Sertraline 50 mg CT after a family bereavement had turned my life upside down .. as a result it felt the drug was totally ineffective. MAY 2017- After what had been an appalling 6 months (which i thought was horrific grief but now realise it is likely withdrawal is the more likely culprit) I reinstated Sertraline at 50 mg before raising the dose to 100 mg due to not feeling any effect (again this is something that makes sense now). In time i had started to feel normal again and presumed it was because I had worked my way through my prolonged grief. FEB 2019 - Life was now back on track and decided it was time to try and rid myself of the shameful daily pill pop that is AD's. I quit Sertraline Via a fast taper... but may aswell have been a CT. JUN 2019 - I found SA . .. realised i was withdrawing .. and had inadvertently made multiple mistakes along the way. NOV 2019 - I'm roughly 8-9 months into withdrawal & STRUGGLING MY SYMPTOMS: A thick brain fog Anxiety an inability to feel emotions / make connections with people Loss of communication skills & wit muscle weakness Fatigue As I've said previously.... i am currently at the 9 month mark and I'm coping okay (I Think🤔 ) when i compare my battles to that of others.. but i am beginning to really struggle with the isolation that seems to be a natural part of the process. I have always naturally been an extroverted person who loves talking to people and being at the centre of attention although currently this couldn't be further from the truth and is taking a huge toll on my daily life. Every time I am confronted with some form of social situation my brain draws a blank. Its as if the lights are on but nobody's home. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHARM AND CHARISMA? I wanted to ask for advice from anyone whose been in a similar situation: What can i do right here and now to aid myself when dealing with these symptoms? If you've surpassed the 9 month point of withdrawal with these symptoms still rearing their ugly head, at what stage did you notice a marked improvement? Has anyone any advice on how to work towards improving other areas of my life, such as love or working life and learning new skills whilst withdrawing? If you've made it this far thanks for reading and i look forward to any replies? Cheers
  6. Kernol's benzo topic Hi everyone, I was doing so well on my sertraline tapering over the last few years which i originally took for anxiety 10 years ago. It was only as I quit completely 6 weeks ago after doing my best to measure down from 25 mg to 12.5mg then 7.5mg - i must have gone too quickly as after 2 weeks completely off it I was hit with out of the blue anxiety attacks that seemed off the scale compared to anything I had experienced in my 10 years on it. I am now really struggling with these adrenaline rushes and so the doctor suggested that I go back onto 25mg to see if it was because I did it too fast. I have now been taking the 25mg for 1 week and the anxiety attacks are still very bad and frequent. I feel like I have been plugged into an electric socket. I am now starting to really panic about panicing and my biggest fear is - have I done the right thing going back on it like this? And if this anxiety doesn't settle in a week or so - then what? I am scared stiff after reading forums of people saying these drugs can cause permanent brain issues - what if I never get my anxiety under control again due to this drug. I am scared witless of people talking about months of hell of withdrawals. I just want to be stable like I was for the 10 years I was on it. I am just looking for help, guidance anything that will let me know if this should settle - could it be that this anxiety is the anxiety like when you start the drug originally? I really am scared - please somebody help me.
  7. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  8. 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.
  9. Hello all, Been reading this forum for the past 3 weeks as I have been struggling from heavy withdrawal post cold turkey'ing off of 2 antipsychotics (Zyprexa & Risperidone) that I have been on for just over a year. I also stopped taking Clonazepam after about 4 to 6 weeks. I realize this was a bad move but I had no real choice as the Psychiatrist I was working with will not renew my prescriptions and has since put me on Rexulti (I am also currently on Sertaline and Buspirone). I knew that I would be experiencing withdrawal, I just didn't know it would be this debilitating both mentally and physically it was going to be. Between the horrible insomnia, to dizziness, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, muscle fatigue, fatigue in general from not sleeping, feeling like I am suffering from a really bad hangover after I wake up, sweating, anxiety, Dissociation, clenching my jaw, and the list can go on. I feel like every single symptom one can mention I am suffering. I truly would not wish this on anyone as it truly has kicked the s**t out of me. I think I am too far into quitting to go back. I am scared as hell some days. I know this was not the optimal way of stopping but there is nothing I can do about that. Looking for anyone to share their story about withdrawal, quitting cold turkey, symptoms, or any sort of advice or success story...just looking for a friend during this extremely difficult time. Thank you.
  10. hei kaikki, aloin syödä sertraliinia annoksella 25 mg-> 50 mg heinäkuussa 2016. Menin ylinopeuteen, olin hypomaninen ja marraskuussa lääke laukaisi manian. Minulla ei ollut lääkitystä tai hoidon seurantaa tänä aikana. Hakein ensiapuun, jossa sanottiin, että lääke on väärä minulle ja annos on liian suuri. Lääkäri neuvoi sinua ottamaan 25 mg sertaliinia. Söin tämän annoksen jopa 2 viikkoa, josta pysähdyin kokonaan. Tätä seurasi voimakas väsymys, uneliaisuus ja flunssankaltaiset oireet. Kolmen viikon kuluttua mielialani alkoi laskea voimakkaasti. Sain paniikkikohtauksia, itkin ja ahdistin. Minulla oli painajaisia ja nukuin huonosti. Tämä tunne kesti toukokuuhun. Sitten ahdistuneisuus ja paniikkioireet hävisivät. Silloin anhedonian oireet alkoivat. Mieli oli tyhjä, ajatukset ja muistot tyhjentyivät, muisti heikkeni. En jäänyt suremaan poikaystäväni kuolemaa. En tuntenut mitään, kun kävin hänen haudallaan. Pystyn itkemään, mutta todella humalassa, mutta nyt olen pystynyt itkemään myös päinvastoin. Voin nauraa, ja muut ihmiset aiheuttavat jonkinlaisia emotionaalisia reaktioita välillä. Musiikki on joskus herättänyt tunteen. Minulla on ollut muutama jakso, jolloin olen tuntenut itseni energisemmäksi ja paremmaksi mielialaksi. Olen ollut vilkas ja koko ajan. Lääkäri epäili, onko kaksisuuntainen kaksisuuntainen a. Keinot lääkkeen aloittamiseksi lamictal 2: lle ja ehdotti. Tämä on jatkunut jo neljä vuotta ja ihmettelen, kuinka kauan tämä voi jatkua? ja mikä voisi auttaa siinä? Olen vasta 27-vuotias ja minusta tuntuu, että koko elämäni on pilalla. kiitos jos jatkat lukemista. mutta todella humalassa, mutta nyt olen voinut itkeä myös päinvastoin. Voin nauraa, ja muut ihmiset aiheuttavat jonkinlaisia emotionaalisia reaktioita välillä. Musiikki on joskus herättänyt tunteen. Minulla on ollut muutama jakso, jolloin olen tuntenut itseni energisemmäksi ja paremmaksi mielialaksi. Olen ollut vilkas ja koko ajan. Lääkäri epäili, onko kaksisuuntainen kaksisuuntainen a. Keinot lääkkeen aloittamiseksi lamictal 2: lle ja ehdotti. Tämä on jatkunut jo neljä vuotta ja ihmettelen, kuinka kauan tämä voi jatkua? ja mikä voisi auttaa siinä? Olen vasta 27-vuotias ja minusta tuntuu, että koko elämäni on pilalla. not all, I started eating sertraline at a dose of 25 mg-> 50 mg in July 2016. I went speeding, was hypomanic and in November the drug triggered mania. I had no medication or follow-up during this time. I sought first aid which said the medicine was wrong for me and the dose was too high. Your doctor has advised you to take 25 mg of sertalin. I ate this dose for up to 2 weeks, from which I stopped completely. This was followed by severe fatigue, drowsiness, and flu-like symptoms. After three weeks, my mood started to drop sharply. I got panic attacks, cried and anxious. I had nightmares and slept poorly. This feeling lasted until May. Then the anxiety and panic symptoms disappeared. That's when the symptoms of anhedonia began. The mind was empty, thoughts and memories emptied, memory weakened. I was not left to mourn the death of my boyfriend. I didn’t feel anything when I visited his grave. I am able to cry, but really drunk, but now I've been able to cry also vice versa. I can laugh, and other people cause some kind of emotional reactions in between. Music has sometimes evoked a feeling. I have had a few period when I have felt myself more energetic and better sector in mind. I've been busy and all the time. The doctor doubted whether two-way two-way a. Ways to start the drug for Lamictal 2 and suggested. This has been going on for four years now and I wonder how long this can go on? and what could help with that? I'm only 27 years old and I feel that my whole life is ruined. thanks if you keep reading. but really drunk, but now I was able to cry also vice versa. I can laugh, and other people cause some kind of emotional reactions in between. Music has sometimes evoked a feeling. I have had a few period when I have felt myself more energetic and better sector in mind. I've been busy and all the time. The doctor doubted whether two-way two-way a. Ways to start the drug for Lamictal 2 and suggested. This has been going on for four years now and I wonder how long this can go on? and what could help with that? I'm only 27 years old and I feel that my whole life is ruined.
  11. Hello everyone, I hope you are all safe 💟 I have decided to join the community after reading many positive topics on the website, which I found when I was faced with the possibility of having long-lasting symptoms by taking Sertraline (Zoloft) 50 mg. I definitely wished that I found SA before I took the first pill, which definitely changed after learning that acceptance can help me prepare for different scenarios in these very early stages of quitting an antidepressant. Basically, I made the topic to share a backstory, find people who have a similar experience and receive advice from someone who understands the situation a bit better than I do. Backstory: I am a 20 year old studying pharmacy after two years of mental suffering to get to go to uni, and four years of toxic friendships and family-related trust issues. My growth was really a gradual shift from being someone who was happy and healthy to a warrior battling social isolation, identity issues, a shattered self-image and self doubt. I was studying to help people, to be transparent and give treatments taken after patients make informed decisions and I was truly convinced that since nothing has helped the recurrent depression I had for years, a doctor and a pharmacist can help me the same way I wanted to change someone's life for the better. I believed a medicine and a doctor would do the trick! I was always so scared to be exposed to anything from radiations to laser treatments, but the desperate state I was in and the blind trust I had in the medical/scientific community also encouraged by my environment (except for my father who struggled with iatrogenic effects from medications and was dismissed by many) made me wait one day to read leaflets and "medical" websites before I took the first pill of Sertraline. (Note: My struggle did not start because of lockdown, my depression was debilitating for years and stole the joy I once had. poor housing conditions and the fact that my mama, who gave me emotional support, was away and couldn't come back because of the pandemic took a toll on me. I was not speaking to the rest of my family, they also seemed depressed and for some reason I felt guilty for it. I couldn't live feeling barely like a human, nothing like my age, with parental responsibilities and with plenty of regrets and an awful lot of guilt). After taking the first pill, I felt ecstatic! it gave me a high that I never experienced in life (I never did recreational drugs) and gave me a good night sleep, but a day later that changed (and I knew that I might have sleeping disturbance in the first 2 weeks and that it was normal) and after 4 doses I found a website that addressed "PSSD" and read user comments and was beyond devastated. Everything I read was moving in the direction of (the condition can occur after only one dose, it's incurable, it's IRREVERSIBLE, my life is... over). Traumatized, but took the 5th pill because the advice was "do not stop it abruptly". I did not understand withdrawal, I still don't and the loss of sensation started after taking this 5th pill. Everything was too painful to live through, so I confronted my doctor (on the phone) and got the response "it has only been 5 days, it hasn't had enough time to build up in your system yet, side effects like sexual dysfunction are rare in women...etc.). Finally, he told me that I can stop the treatment NOW if I want to. Now: I have been off Zoloft for almost 2 months and I think I am noticing an improvement in the main symptom I had: Loss of sensation in my nipples and genital area. I mainly still struggle with loss of ability to express sadness or cry or feel intense emotions (really difficult), so please if you experienced this share with me anything that helped you. Also please share any ideas on how to spread the word so people who have started taking antidepressants during this time can get support or be aware of withdrawal before they start treatment. How can we get this to go MAINSTREAM? were you ever inspired to inform people on a larger scale? I am trying to find hope during a time of great uncertainty, since I don't know if anything I am experiencing is permanent, but as a first step to remain positive I decided not to resent my background and made a vow to be the voice of withdrawal sufferers once I get back to school and discuss these issues with the future generation of pharmacists as much as I can. sorry for this lengthy and robotic post, I hope I can get somethings off my chest and share personal feelings with many of you soon ☀️
  12. Hi, I am 31 years old, and been taking Sertraline 50mg since 2005, for generalised anxiety disorder. I attempted to taper several times in the past, all unsuccessful. In January 2018, I thought I was mentally in a good place to try and reduce the dose again. I started tapering by taking 25 mg 1 day a week(50 mg 6 days) for one month, then 25 mg for 2 days a week for another month etc. I have now been on 25mg everyday since June 2018. Initially I had occasional, mild withdrawal symptoms like vertigo and sensory sensitivities. But I had major, unexpected negative life changes and multiple bad news over the summer of 2018, and have been (understandably) more and more emotional. My anxiety has been getting more, and now it has become unbearable for me. I keep randomly crying, and feel extremely worried All. The. Time. I cannot relax or calm down, and feel a shortness of breath most of the time. Random anxiety attacks followed by diarrhea have become a regular thing. I am worried about leaving the house on my own. I am thinking about increasing the dose again, as I just can't cope with the debilitating fear and worry anymore, but then I will have suffered all these months for nothing. I thought I was in a stable point in my life when I started the taper, but now, after having dealt with a very difficult year(unrelated to the taper), I feel like now is actually the worst time for this. I have no support as all my family live abroad(and my parents&close relatives themselves could do with emotional support right now), my kids are very young and they constantly need me(and nursing a toddler is draining as it is...), we are in the process of selling our house and moving (not sure where to yet), I haven't had therapy or counselling in years and don't really have anyone to confide into... Should I just give up, go up to 50mg and try again when my life is stable? Has anybody had life events interfering with their taper like this?
  13. Deblou46

    Deblou46: withdrawal

    So glad I found this page I was on citalopram for 18 years tried to come off 6 years ago and 6 weeks later thought my anxiety had come back now realise it was withdrawal! Fast forward 6 years and it was suggested to me to meet with a psychiatrist to help with my meds as citalopram 40mg had stopped working . She said taper down from 40mg in 2.5 months and start sertraline which I did went into depesssion signed off work for 7 weeks now 11 weeks later and been on 100mg for 8 weeks I am suffering severe withdrawals Bugs crawling in head Tingling on face feel like a cobweb on it Clenching jaw Anxiety Will this ever get better ?
  14. Hello, I took Sertraline 50mg generic in September 2019 due to mild but regular panic attacks. After 6 days I had to stop taking them due to adverse reaction ( hallucinating, breathlessness, teeth grinding, vertigo etc) i had taken Sertraline in 2018 for around 6 month with no problem but this time around the side effects were too severe. I felt unwell for around 2 weeks after discontinuating and then returned to work. During this time i noticed that my arms became really weak. In mid October 2019 i started to feel very unwell. I couldn't describe exactly what it was but it was unsettling. A few days later i was taken to hospital by ambulance due to a rapid heart beat, the paramedic said it was tachyardia and that i needed to be checked out at the hospital. No reason was found and i was discharged. Over the next few days i was in and out of hospital and told it was the start of shingles or flu (neither of which happened). My forearm muscles were spasming and very painful I developed severe vertigo and when in bed felt like i was free falling and would violently jolt. I went to see my gp who said it was depression which i argued it was not. I also had an episode in my local supermarket where i felt asif i was off my head on drugs- i was very excited and couldn't stop gurning like i was on a high (I've never touched drugs so can only imagine this is what a high felt like) after that i was on a complete low and had to go to sleep. My doctors were baffled but i was convinced it was something to do with the sertraline. I developed an intolerance to caffeine and peanut butter something i have been fine with prior to taking the sertaline. My fatigue and muscle cramps, brain fog, dizziness and inner restlesness continued and after just about making it through christmas my hubby took me back to the gp who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and gave me a prescription for duloxetine 30mg and referred me to a pain specialist. I had to stop duloxetine after 4 days due to severe back pain and eyelid swelling. I went to see the pain specialist who disagreed with the gp and did not think i have fibro and agreed that i had an adverse reaction and discontinuation to the sertraline. I am still struggling now but no gp believes me, i constantly feel like i am coming down with the flu. I ache from head to toe and sometimes feel like my brain is mushy. I struggle to go to work although i make myself, i now hate going out to the shops etc i cannot handle being around people. I am only 26 and have 2 young children-this has been the worst experience of my life- although the physical symptoms are not as bad the mental ones are extremely hard and it is taking its toll on my life. I have started fish oil so i am hoping that helps. I feel like i am trapped in a 90 year old body. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions that could help? The worst bit looking back is that i could manage my panic attacks i wish i had never visited the gp. I feel like my nervous system and brain are in a meltdown and i cannot seem to help them. I also get feeling of a trickle of water in my head this has only started when stopping the duloxetine. Thanks for listening ♡
  15. Well, who knew you weren’t supposed to just stop taking this stuff when you felt like it? Back in January 2020, I had gone to the doctor 3 times over a one month period swearing I had kidney problems based on some symptoms I had. After the third appointment and all tests coming back normal, the doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and prescribed 25 mg Sertraline. I started taking it immediately and within a few days I had developed limb pain. I didn’t relate it to the medication and actually thought it was a symptom of anxiety. Another week or so went by and limb pain spread to joint paint and then to this feeling of being bruised or punched in my thighs, stomach, hips and chest, even though bruises never surfaced at that point. I also had an off and on lump in my throat and my voice would randomly go hoarse. By end of March, I had rigid muscles, had gained 30 lbs and clusters of red dots and small bruises were forming all over my body. I thought I was developing a serious blood disorder and since I had seen a hematologist in the past for iron deficiency anemia, I was able to get an appointment without going through my gp. A few weeks before the appointment, around mid-April (so 3 months on Sertraline), I read online that bruising was a rare but possible side effect of the medication. I quit immediately to see what would happen, and within about three weeks the bruises, red dots and some of the pain disappeared. Everything was normal at the hematologists. However, even though the bruises went away, I had started getting these other issues like “restless arm syndrome” (only way to describe it), dizziness, numbness in feet and hands, muscle twitching, panic attacks and other things I can’t remember. After my appointment, since my blood tests were fine, I reinstated the 25 mg Sertraline in early May. I had no clue these were withdrawal and assumed I had developed either a severe neurological disease or Somatic Symptom Disorder. I still can’t believe I went back on the meds, but as soon as I did all hell broke loose. The withdrawal symptoms went away but I developed horrible muscle cramping to the point I couldn’t hold a phone, pain in response to any kind of touch including my pants rubbing against my legs or someone touching my hand softly. I had pain in my ears, eyes and throat. The bruises and red dots came back immediately and with a vengeance. At this point I knew it was the Sertraline. And I was only on 25 mg!! I managed to stay on for around three more weeks then quit cold turkey again. Right away I got a plethora of symptoms: -restless feeling all over -Muscle twitching all over body -muscle weakness -this weird warm feeling that started in the back of my head and spread down my spine (I no longer have this) -loss of coordination -pulling in my thumb, forefinger and cheek on my left side like they were trying to move themselves (This doesn’t happen often anymore) -brain zaps - not really sure if that’s what it is since it feels less like a zap and more like someone holding an electric razor up to my head in different spots. -Numbness/tingling in feet, lower legs, hands (I no longer have this) -Nausea -panic attacks -short of breath -forgetfulness -dizziness -loose feeling in joints like they won’t hold my limbs together -joint pain -cracking joints -muscle pain -buzzing in legs and feet -palpitations -feeling like I would fall down (I no longer have this) -this feeling in my sinuses like they would tighten and then clear up (this is rare these days) -general soreness -lump in throat -insomnia - often only getting 2 or 3 hours of sleep at night -acute fatigue (this feeling of intense fatigue that feels like I spent hours working out in the sun that will last maybe 20 minutes to an hour) -heartburn There were so many more I can’t think of. I’ve been off the medication around 4.5 months now, but not much of this has improved. A few of the scariest symptoms seem to have gone away, probably around the three month mark, and with the remaining symptoms, I have gotten a few windows recently. The body pains used to be constant, but now I get a few days off per month. This encourages me. At the same time, I’ve developed new symptoms recently like intense stomach discomfort, palpitations and the lump in my throat, although I had this when I first started the meds too. Many symptoms have gotten less severe/intense and that helps a lot. The craziest thing about all of this is that my highest dose was 25 mg! Not to mention I was only on it 4 months total. I’m really hoping I’ll be back soon to post a success story. I remember reading a post from a success story poster that basically said whenever a symptom would go away temporarily, even if it came back and hung around for a while, they knew it would be gone eventually because it had shown its weakness. I wish I could remember who it was because it’s completely true and that has really helped me get through the last few months. I'm not sure how to post my timeline in the signature, but it’s pretty short so I’ll leave it here. 25 mg Sertraline from January to mid April. Cold turkey mid April to early May. Re-instated 25 mg Sertraline from early May for next three weeks then cold turkey again. Have been off for 4.5 months and take no meds or supplements at this point.
  16. bubbles

    bubbles

    Hi everyone I'm in my pre-taper phase of going off 20mg of Lexapro, which I've been on for 5 years. I've got an appointment to get Lexapro in liquid form to aid the taper in a couple of weeks. I've tried this before, and not succeeded, but am determined to get off them this time. At the moment I'm spending a few weeks setting myself up to have a good run at this. I'm: * filling up my freezer with home made meals for bad days.. * getting really organized at home. * taking a good multi, folate, magnesium and fish oil. * lining up some distractions, like audio books and a (hobby) evening course. * getting enough sleep. * cutting out caffeine. * doing clinical pilates as a way to transition into some more exercise. * getting some sunshine and fresh air every day. * introducing mindfulness meditations as a daily thing. * might start that tapping EFT thing I've seen at Dr Mercola's website - just can't hurt! At this stage I expect to start my taper at the end of the month. Or so... Bubbles
  17. Hi, I would like to introduce myself as I’m new to the forum. I’m really glad I found this website – some really good information regarding withdrawal and can definitely see some of the characteristic signs of withdrawal in what I’ve experienced since reducing some of my psychiatric medication. So to give you a bit of background about what drove me to investigate adverse effects to psychiatric medication – both being on it and trying to get off it! (Sorry it’s a bit long!). It all started with a psychotic episode that I endured for 3 months before finally getting help. I know that I needed some treatment – I wasn’t getting better on my own and I was struggling to live my life not to mention being scared out of my wits most of the time. I have no problem with the fact that I needed psychiatric medicine to intervene at this time. I was put on mirtazapine as the doctors put my symptoms down to depression. I started sleeping again which I hadn’t been doing for more than 2 – 3 hours a night for over 3 months. Very quickly the worst of the psychotic symptoms – the paranoia, fear of being in the house and the worst of the voices went away and I started living my life again. However, I still had some residual voices which I wanted to get rid of. I saw a psychiatrist and he prescribed aripiprazole and this is where everything started to go downhill. I wish I had just lived with the voices as they weren’t very bad (certainly nothing like when I was first ill.) and I felt good on the mirtazapine. The aripiprazole made me extremely depressed and gave me bad anxiety. The psych tried upping my dose of mirtazapine to 45mg to combat this. This left me extremely agitated and unable to sleep at all for days so I reduced it back down. I decided to taper off the aripiprazole. For a whole month after reducing the aripiprazole I had the worst suicidal depression I have ever had, which took me back to the psychiatrist. He changed my medication completely – taking me off the mirtazapine which had worked initially and putting me on sertraline and olanzapine. This, also has been a disaster. I wish I had just ridden out the depression after the aripiprazole which I expect was withdrawal symptoms. I think the sertraline gave me anxiety, although I would have a few good days here and there, so just thought the dose needed increasing. Ended up on 200mg sertraline and 7.5mg olanzapine for good measure. I was so anxious I was having trouble just talking to people about very mundane things, as well as days of bad depression, punctuated by a few good days here and there. I also still had some voices so the anti-psychotic wasn’t that helpful anyway. Eventually the inability to live my life properly made me suicidal and I told the psychiatrist that we needed to do something. I wanted to go back onto mirtazapine and get off the sertraline. He wouldn’t take me off the sertraline but did agree to add mirtazapine back into the mix so I was on 200mg sertraline, 30mg mirtazapine and 7.5mg olanzapine. I definitely improved with the addition of the mirtazapine but still felt the sertraline was doing more harm than good so set about reducing it once I had stabilised after the addition of the mirtazapine. I reduced from 200 down to 50mg over the course of 6 weeks – back in January 2019. Way too fast. Have been experiencing waves of severe depression and crying spells (although these are getting less intense) and windows where I have felt better. Generally apart from the nasty waves I feel much better than I did when on 200mg sertraline. Have also decreased the olanzapine to 5mg which resulted in 6 weeks of extreme fatigue and severe depression again. Ironically, since the addition of the mirtazapine and in combination with the olanzapine the voices have nearly gone. My aim is to get off the sertraline completely and also get off the olanzapine, which makes me very tired and lacking in motivation. I am holding for the moment as we are due to go on holiday in 5 weeks time and I don’t want to have any nasty withdrawal symptoms to deal with. I would like to do the remainder of the reductions with your support as doing it with people who understand what you are going through will, I reckon, make it a whole lot easier. I look forward to interacting with you all.
  18. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: in pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  19. I have been on 50mg a day Sertraline for over 3 years. Recently it suddenly stopped working and I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms despite still taking the dose. I increased the dose by 25mg a day, 2 weeks ago. It hasn't helped much but I'll give it time. I am cutting pills in half so concerned about accuracy. I would like to start tapering off slowly to come off altogether. I want to investigate crushing and dissolving in water to taper slowly. Any advice appreciated.
  20. I have been off Sertraline for over four months now, after having been on it for about 3 and half years. Previous 4 years or so I had been on other medications. Is diffcult to comprehend and explain in words all that is going on, but my whole psyche has been completely overturned in these years, and I do not know to what extent the various medications have caused me this. I suffer from the severest OCD,and anxiety, and now I think depression, and sheer terror at all my subsconscious thoughts which have completely taken over my whole mind. I have been imprisoned and castigated in my own mind. It is beyond explanation what is occuring on a millisecond basis. I seem to have entered some moral vortex, whereby I feel as if I am always doing wrong. Constantly confronted with "Heaven and Hell". Constantly feeling compelled to undo things, which for example I have written like here. Damned if I do or if I don't , this doesnt explain 1% of what is going on. It has brought into the fore the reason for everything and existence. I really have no idea what is going on, terrifies me the idea that no-one can have any idea of what is going on in my head. Yet on the other hand everybody is in my head, I don't know who is in my head and who isn't. Everything I say in my head is being judged. I will not go any further for now as I am terrified of writing, and also it may not be entirely pertinent to the subject. Unfortunately it only comforts me to a certain extent to know that others are experiencing their own hell, and I feel guilty in turn for the fact "that others suffering should comfort me', as I have entered some abstract Universe which seems to have its own laws. the ridiculous thing is that in the end what seems "right and wrong" seems to be determined by feeling and not some sort of formula, and I feel guilty in turn for thinking that, and also "convinced" on the one hand that it should be formulated and on the other "know" that it isn't. One of the main reasons for writing this post was the guilt and fear of punishment, or fear of damning others, especially close ones for benefitting from reading others stories and not contributing my own. To clarify alot of this stuf was going on when I was still on the Sertraline, and perhaps, in a different way when I was on other medication, difference now is that I am that so much more fragile.
  21. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  22. I'll try to keep this kind of short. I've finally decided to post an intro today after reading posts on this site for a few years now which has helped a lot with understanding what's going on since most doctors just told me my SSRI discontinuation/withdrawal symptoms-which were unlike anything I'd ever experienced before and physically and emotionally worse than I'd ever felt-were a return of my depression & anxiety or possibly a bipolar disorder according to one doctor. I knew for a fact that it was not my original anxiety & depression, but I had no idea what was happening in the beginning or how to explain it. I had social anxiety, depression, & general anxiety since age 12 and was not allowed to drive/take the bus/go out or do much by myself other than going to school (because everything was too dangerous) by controlling, religious parents with their own high anxiety and agoraphobia. I was never allowed to receive counseling for these issues & when I went off to college, it was an extremely difficult struggle going from not being allowed to do almost anything to suddenly being responsible for figuring everything out on my own. I was also not great with time management skills & knowing how to plan ahead. (I actually relate to a lot of symptoms of ADD & Asperger's, which both greatly affect social skills & ability to get through college and would explain a lot of problems I've had. I have learned more about them in the past year, but can't afford to get diagnosed right now so I've just been looking at support groups for days when my nausea is lessened.) I felt overwhelmed all the time and all my negative thoughts worsened severely. I didn't see the free counselor at college during this time either because I was embarrassed about everything and about asking for help. I finally decided I wanted to try to make a change and try counseling the summer after sophomore year of college at age 20 and was at rock bottom, desperate to not feel depressed. I knew someone who said their antidepressant helped them, so I asked a doctor for medicine and they prescribed sertraline. After taking the first pill, I had a surge of anxiety and racing thoughts that made it impossible to concentrate. Within the first couple days on 25 mg of sertraline, I was gagging and dry heaving over and over for at least 20 minutes as soon as I ate anything. I would also throw up multiple times in a short timespan after one snack or meal. I called my Dr & was told to skip a dose and then change the time I took the dose from morning to night. After a week of this (dry heaving & vomiting all meals) on 25 mg, and another call to the doctor, I was told that digestive issues are a possible starting symptom and to increase to 50 mg. As soon as I increased, the gagging & vomiting increased even more. After 6 days of this, I called the doctor again and was told I could stop taking it altogether since it had been such a short amount of time on it. And to come in for a different medicine Rx after the weekend. The very first day that I didn't take the sertraline, I felt the worst nausea I had ever felt in my entire life. I ended up asking a friend to drive me to the ER because I felt so sick. I told the Dr how I had just stopped sertraline. The doctor said that my pupils were dilated and my reflexes were overactive. Then, he listed off illegal drugs & asked if I had taken those. (No, I've never tried any drug before). He said "You need to tell me what else is going on because the antidepressant couldn't have caused this." And I said "I don't know" and started crying. I do know that people in my family are highly sensitive to medicines and have since found out I have a gene that causes me to metabolize slowly so things build up for longer in my system. Anyway, the Dr left the room and at one point I was given Ativan in an IV by the nurse which did ease the nausea. When the Dr came back, he told me I had SSRI discontinuation syndrome, (he didn't explain what that meant), that I could never try another SSRI, and gave me a Rx for a small bottle of Ativan. My mom said he mentioned something on the phone to her about serotonin syndrome which dilated pupils and overactive reflexes are symptoms of, but I don't remember him saying anything about it directly to me. He also mentioned reinstating a small amount might help but my mom didn't pass this on to me until much later because she didn't want me to take it. After that, I experienced: -more dry heaving which gradually lessened in frequency -random times of vomiting after eating and after exercising when I wasn't sick & the food wasn't bad (or sometimes nothing was left to vomit & only a small amount would come up) -continuing debilitating nausea & dizziness -olfactory hallucination (putrid smell that wouldn't go away, would intensify around strong scents such as soap & car exhaust) -uncontrollable crying at every tiny thing (neuro-emotion, not regular sadness) -uncontrollable rage (neuro-emotion) -intrusive thoughts & floods of bad memories which I "word vomited" in texts to my sisters -didn't want to be around people who I associated with bad memories because it would greatly intensify neuro-anxiety. (I'd guess the feeling is similar to what people mean who talk about experiencing bad drug trips and how it's important to be with people you trust) -nightmares -paranoia/suspicion/distrust (felt like my mom & sister were not really my mom and sister even though logically, I knew it was them. Things feel creepy & sinister -almost like a horror movie sometimes. A post I read here compared the sinister feeling to a bad LSD trip. I have never tried LSD, but I understood what they meant & is the closest way I found to describe it. -cognitive fog (thinking, processing speed, & reaction time is noticeably slower) (I was a slow thinker/processor before, but it feels like I have brain damage now) -memory problems (I was somewhat forgetful before, but am even more so now) -depersonalization ("it feels like the medicine changed who I am & I don't have an identity/sense of self which I still hadn't fully formed before sertraline) -derealization (feel emotionally disconnected & distant from people/atmosphere. I know things are real, but they don't feel real. Sometimes it feels like consequences won't matter or there is no sense of helpful anxiety even in a potentially dangerous situation. Logically, I know they do matter and still want to do the right thing) -anhedonia/apathy/emotionally numb (don't care about things or have the same amount of passion for interests or feel empathy for other people's emotions or feel spiritual even though I had some spiritual beliefs before. Couldn't feel hopeful about anything/future or feel love towards or from anyone. These emotions have slowly returned to a certain degree since then & levels of ability to feel them have changed at different courses of time) -blurred/cloudy vision (when DR was at most intense, vision was different. Hard to explain) -eye floaters ( random black specks & lines) Didn't notice these until a year after DC-ing -constant yawning/air hunger -stomach/digestion issues -burning, tingling, itching, numbness, redness in feet -brain zaps/"crackles" (sometimes annoying, sometimes painful, but my most tolerable symptom) -head pressure/tightness, feels like head is being squeezed -headaches There was also a period of 6 months where I thought certain symptoms were over and after that period, the dizziness returned. Those are most of the symptoms I've experienced in the past approx 3.5 years. They're not in order. I'm 24 now. A few have gone away for the most part (vomiting, olfactory hallucination, yawning) and most are less intense. I have really improved a lot, I don't mean to sound overly negative. But, I still have the issues I went on the SSRI for & I have trouble accepting where I am & worrying about where to go from here & the uncertainty of how long this lasts because it has put lots of areas of my life on hold (I wasn't able to go back to college, I hope to someday) and ended up making things harder to deal with when I was told it would make them easier. (BTW, I am now seeing a counselor). I don't understand why people say SSRI's are not technically drugs when they have this much of an effect on your mind, mood, & perceptions. Sorry if I have over shared, I might need to post a shorter version of this at some point that's easier to read. And I'm still figuring out the layout of the website & where to post about certain questions & topics. I just know that sometimes other people's explanations made me feel better because I had some understanding of what was happening & words to describe feelings I'd never had before and didn't know how to explain. I've also had other stress & health issues and a few (physical health) medicines that have affected my withdrawal progress, but I guess that's a topic for a separate forum. Any advice, similar experiences, recommendations, tips for using the site, or insight into what happened to my brain is appreciated if anyone feels so inclined :)
  23. Hello, My name is Tomasz and I'm 30 man from Poland. I took sertraline for 3 months almost two years ago and lost all sexuall funcions. No libido, severe ed, pleasureless orgasms, total genital numbness and also emotional numbness. I do not have any wave and windows - just constant emptyness and disconnection from my sexuallity. Pre-ssri it was very strong part of my personality. I do not believe in any recovery story - its been two years and not a single sign of progress..cant event get it up to porn...
  24. Mihail

    Mihail: my story

    Hello, I want to tell my story and ask for help or advice - now I really need it. I apologize in advance if the text looks crooked in some places - English is not my native language, and I use a translator. It all started in mid-September 2019, when I was prescribed sertraline at a dose of 50 mg for OCD and the depressive-anxiety states that I had been experiencing for several years. I took it for three days when I had a severe panic attack, muscle cramps, tremors and sexual problems. Frightened, I decided to stop taking the drug, but just in case, so as not to quit too abruptly, I took another 25 mg on the fourth day (now I understand that it was very naive, and in any case it is CT). On this day, my obsessions worsened, suicidal thoughts and tachycardia appeared. The next day, when I was not taking anything, it all went away, but there was a feeling of emptiness in my head and tension in my muscles, and over the next few days my sexual function deteriorated again. The next week I went to the doctor again and told her everything. She stopped the antidepressant and prescribed Atarax to calm me down, which I took for about two weeks. For the next two months, everything was generally good (except for sexual function, which was not at the same level). However, in the third month, OCD made itself felt again, and it all started against the backdrop of that stress. Panic attacks, extreme anxiety, great difficulty falling asleep, depression — it was terrible. After a while, the situation began to stabilize, waves and windows began. The windows were nice but short, but the waves weren't as bad as the first. Yes, I was often under stress, but I could function normally. By the end of the summer, I could say that I was generally feeling normally, although I still had some problems with feelings, satisfaction, motivation, and sexual function. But at the beginning of this September, a dermatologist prescribed me five intravenous droppers with dexamethasone (4 mg), calcium gluconate and suprastin for incomprehensible skin rashes that covered my body at the beginning of the year and did not disappear since that time (now I suspect that this is also a consequence of an antidepressant). I was very wary of this but ended up making them. After the first time I had to give up Suprastin, since he plunged me into a semi-vegetable state for the rest of the day. But the remaining four with dexamethasone were done. The first few days, in which the droppers were made, everything was normal, but then there was excitement and restlessness. A few days later, a severe headache began, which did not go away for three days and did not allow me to sleep (on the third night I even had to take Atarax to fall asleep). The next day it passed, but after a few days there was a strong anxiety, fear of loss of control, neuromuscular tension throughout the body, difficulty concentrating and sleeping. The day before yesterday I cried most of the day, and last night the anxiety was so strong that I had a hysterical fit. Again, a terrible state. Was it due to dexamethasone? What to do now? The situation is further complicated by the fact that I fell ill for the fourth day already with fever, cough and runny nose. I need to take an antibiotic, the doctor prescribed clarithromycin, but after reading here about antibiotics and clarithromycin in particular, I don't want to risk it. However, I need to recover from cold, and sitting within four walls is simply unbearable. Are there more safe antibiotics instead of clarithromycin?
  25. Dear all, I took Sertraline 50 (French name for Zoloft). for only a month and I have developped PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder) following a too fast withdrawal. I read the story of some of your members who had PGAD when they withdrew from an antidepressant and their stories looked like mine and gave me hope and I hope they can confort me and assist me because I am in a very dark place. I read the stories of Hopefull anf Broken. Are they still on the forum ? How are they doing ? Until December 2016, I had never taken any antidepressant or a benzo in my entire life. I was leading an happy life with my husband and son in the West of France. We had a chemical accident in december. I mixed 2 products while cleaning my house, bleach and a cleaning product with acid and stupidly burnt my lungs and got a toxic choc on the 27th of december. My doctor thought I was anxious afer the accident and put me on Xanax 0.25, half a pill at night. I took it for a month in January 2017 and was sent to a psychiatrist who put me on Lisanxia 10, a pill a day. I felt suicidal because i didnt understand I was suffering from the Xanax withdrawal the doctors kept changing the pill without any tappering, I stayed on Lysanxia 10, a pill a day the whole February , then another psychiatrist decided to put me on Bromazepan 6 (4 quarter a day). I stayed on Bromazepan the entire March and he put me back on Xanax, all of that cold turkey. And that how I met my worse nightmare, the Sertraline AD: I was feeling very agitated on benzos, my lungs and entire skin were burning and everybody told me it was in my head. I didn't agree so I was hospitalised againt my wish in a psychiatrist hospital. There, they made me stop my Xanax 0.25 cold turkey and put me on Sertraline 50. This happened on Easter monday 2017 (April 17 th). After 2 weeks, I was sent home and started feeling very ill, I had tremors, agitation, fatigue, shakes, flu like symptoms and suicidal thoughts. I went to see a GP who told me I could drop the Sertraline to 25 because I had only been on it for 2 weeks and I could slowly stop it. I went on the 25 pill and then I started having violent withdrawal side effects (I don't know which ones came from Xanax or from Sertraline) : My symptoms : Sensitivity to light and smells, burning skin, hyperacusis, agitation, akathisia, tinnitus and when I thought it couldn't get worse, I started peeing every 10 minutes, got a hyperactive bladder, terrible pains in my genitalias, bladder and pelvic area and the worse of it permanent arousal. Since I have kept the tinnitus in my left ear, the akatisia and PGAD. I was sent to another mental hospital at the beginning of June because I thought they could help me with PGAD. They put me on Risperidone for a week while they made me stop the Sertraline very fast (they made me take it every 2 days for a week then they replaced it with Anafranil 25 that I kept for a week. My tinnitus got worse and my PGAD stayed the same. I was getting sicker and sicker so the psychiatrist stopped the Anafranil and the Risperidone and I was put back on Xanax. I am now back at home, my PGAD symptoms are terrible and I am considered manic and hypocondriac. My doctor wants to put me back in a mental hospital. I can't look after my family and Iam in a very dark place with suicidal thoughts My 3 main withdrawal symptoms : high pitched tinnitus, agitation and PGAD. Pins and needles in my lower back, legs and arms when the PGAD crisis start. . MY PGAD symptoms : Overactive bladder, ongoing arousal sensations in and around the genitals, having to go to the toilets every 10 minutes, pelvic pains, Pins and needle, shaking. It is atrocious and it makes me suicidal. I take 3 Xanax 0.25 a day and a Zopiclone 7 to sleep. I cannot sit because the symptoms get worse and I can barely walk because my bladder hurts. I spend my days crying on my bed with an ice pack on my lower parts. At night I cannot sleep well because of the tinnitus. I went to see an urologist, I had a cystoscopy done and they told me it is not an interstitial cysticis and gave me Lyrica (I am scared of taking it because I fear it will make my tinnitus worse). Nobody knows this symptom in France and people think i am crazy. Thank you for reading my story. Please can you reassure me ? I am terrified and I am suffering greatly. Would it go away ? Is it a withdrawal symptom ? Thank you so much for having this site on the internet. It gave me a lot of confort. Cathyfrench (I am french so I hope my English is not too bad, my apologies for my grammatical errors)
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