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  1. 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 :)
  2. Hey there guys, I'm as desperate as they come and don't know where else to turn now since I've spoken to just about everyone already. I'm 31 years old (male) and made a few really bad / stupid! decisions after being misdagnosed with an illness last year (which actually was REALLY anxiety) which ultimately lead me to becoming really anxious and a little depressed in August last year. I've generally been a worrier and do obsess about things so I sadly dealt with the situation horribly which made me even more anxious by October 2014. I had seen psychologists and so forth and was taking Valium on and off to help with the anxiety for those 2 months, but sadly the psychologist wasn't too good with physical symptoms (which I had plenty of) and didn't really re-assure me enough. I was going to the gym and meditating from time to time but I didn't stick to it religeously, instead focusing on the illness I thought I had and trying to resolve it (which instead just made me really REALLY anxious). At this point, I was desperate for some help, so I saw a doctor who suggested a strict daily exercise and meditation regime (both wise), along with a new psychologist (who was actually really good) and Mirtazapine 15mg each night. He said I should be fine within a month ... After a week or so, I started feeling better, but I was noticeably feeling worse in the mornings and much better in the afternoons. I did mention this to the doctor who didn't think anything of it. However, by end of the second week on Mirtazapine, I started getting ridiculously anxious (bordering on insane). I went back and spoke to the doctor who suggested I double the dose. Naturally, this sounded wrong to me so instead I spoke to a few pharmacists who suggested I stop the medication. I did this (no tapering) after 26 days at 15mg. The next week was particularly bad, brain zaps, burning sensation in the forehead and a few other things but those went away. I also noticed some loss of hearing a few days prior to stopping the drug, although everyone assures me that this is not the drug and more likely that my eustachian tubes have blocked up due to the anxiety. This is still the case months on though and my hearing is still not at all what it used to be which has devastated me. However, months after all of this, I have been left severely depressed and without interest in doing anything, not work, exercise, meditation, my hobbies, watching tv ... nothing. I feel completely hopeless and cry heaps. I have thought about the S word so much more since then and have honestly destroyed my family and friendships. As sad as it sounds, the S word is really the most appealing option right now, it's the only thing that makes me a little happy when I think of it. Everyone in my family is upset, angry .etc themselves now. I struggle to even feel love for those around me who I know that I love with all my heart. The best I can do is play games or go for walks which helps to distract me a little. Going for walks is more of an escape from the household but I don't walk with any sort of pleasure, it's just a way to be alone. There are times that I just blankly stare and just feel numb as hell. There are other times where I'm extremely jumpy and agitated and can't stop pacing. I have not smiled willingly since late October last year, I just can't bring myself to do it, I have no reason to smile. I was once a successful, smart and very happy person and now I'm simply nothing. Anytime I see an old photo or anything that reminds of me of a time prior to August last year, I break down pretty quickly. The fact that this entire experience was self-induced due to me not staying calm and taking advice of those around me (e.g. avoid medical tests, exercise daily .etc) has also left me extremely angry (furious!) at myself which has also increased my anxiety. I chose to see the doctor for the anti-depressants as recommended by a friend who's wife is a psychiatric nurse and that also kills me, because only a quick Google search would have revealed the dangers in taking these drugs! I truly think I would have recovered by now had it now been for those drugs. Almost everyone I've spoken to (psychologist, doctors, pharmacists) insist that there's no way the drug is in my system anymore and that all the things I'm feeling are me and not the remains of the Mirtazapine. Is this true? I feel like the Mirtazapine has permanently damaged my brain and am incredibly paranoid about what it's done to me now. I have done significant research on AD drugs since then and honestly have no desire at all to take anymore of them. Yet, I can't live like this and keep torturing my family who are the most giving, loving and caring people in the world. I'm currently not on any supplements and haven't had a blood test since July last year (before this crap started). In July, the only problem in my blood work was very low Vitamin D (14) which should have been a clear indicator that I was suffering from a seasonal anxiety/depression, but the doctor never connected those dots and neither did I. The only thing I have in mind right now is getting a fresh blood test done and also getting my testosterone levels checked. Perhaps also discussing an omega 3 supplement with my new doctor (who is much more against big pharma than the previous idiot). I'd also be interested in seeing an ENT specialist about my ears, to confirm with certainty what's going on there. However, these hardly seem like the answer to getting past this. I really don't know what anyone can offer me now. I have been through 2 psychologists (one of which was as good as they get) and read just about everything there is about depression and anxiety on the web, but I struggle to get myself up to do anything about it. I just feel completely furious, numb, hopeless and devastated all the time. I wake up in hell every single day and think about who I used to be and how I've destroyed everything great around me, everything that I've worked for, everything that my family has worked to give me! Anyway, thanks heaps for reading and am open to suggestions and advice.
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