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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. Hello everyone, 36 year old male, suffering from depression since 2010 brought on by a death in the family-someone I was terribly attached to. Since then, lost a lot of interest in the things in life that used to make me happy. Contracted severe OCD as well; would make the sign of the cross and touch table surfaces upto 8 times anytime an intrusive thought came into my head, and would hum prayers under my breath which became (at times) embarassingly noticeable to those around me. In 2012 things got better; I left a depressing, dead-end job and decided to take time off work to do my MBA in Spain (I live in Dubai btw). Didn't have much time to be depressed doing my MBA since it took so much of my time and I felt I was doing something worthwhile, but I had a massive hit in self-esteem when I lived there. I felt pretty alienated and lost in a foreign land with a foreign language and developed social phobia as a result. My sex drive also suffered as a result. At the end of 2013 I moved back to Dubai to find a job. It wasn't until April 2014 that I finally got a job offer, but with a company and a prospective manager I had serious doubts about. As a result, I visited a pyschiatrist and mentioned that I need a coping mechanism for the next one year (the period I assumed I would have my hands cuffed to this job after 2 years of wonderful independence). I was prescribed citalopram (Celexa) for mood stabilisation, and clonazepam for social anxiety. Citalopram worked fairly well for me; I noticed I was a lot calmer, less prone to mood swings, less prone to depressive thoughts and behaviour. However in September 2014, I got this wonderful brainwave to go off Citalopram cold turkey. Yes, I know It was almost close to what I would expect a heroin withdrawal to be like, with the emphasis on mental vs. physical symptoms. For 2 weeks I suffered, and my actions during those weeks came back to bite me 2 months later. In the meantime, the doctor prescribed me to go back on Citalopram. It helped immensely; I was back under my normal, subdued, antidepressant greyish cloud. In November 2014, I visited him again and told him the sexual side effects (yes, we're finally getting to why I am on this board ) were not great. Even to the extent that Cialis couldn't counter it! I had read a lot about Bupropion (Wellbutrin) being able to counter the sexual side effects of anti-depressants, so I asked him to prescribe it for me. He did, but I have only recently started taking them (4 days ago as a matter of fact). Later that same month (November 2014), I was called into a meeting with my bosses, and told that they had decided to terminate my contract. As I suspected back when i first took this job, my direct line manager turned be a boorish, arrogant, bossy tw*t, and our showdowns which intensified during my unfortunate cold turkey phase had led to him plotting to remove me from my position, because he couldn't try and forcefeed me the daily bullsh*t he was giving. I, unfortunately, played into their hands. Nevertheless, not working for that company has been brilliant. However, it's now February 2014 and I am still unemployed. I feel like the situation and the antidepressants have completely robbed me of my sexuality. I have developed OCD in terms of unwanted sexual thoughts. My loving and understanding girlfriend and I haven't made love since November last year. I've started tapering off the Citalopram since December, and have recently added Bupropion to the equation, hoping that I can get my sex drive back, heck even get a solid and firm erection and have a reasonable fantasy about a woman and masturbate. Incidentally, during my cold turkey phase, I did get some of my sex drive back. By the end of this month, I plan to get completely off Citalopram and give Bupropion a real go. But I'm really, really worried about PSSD.....not least because my sex drive was anyway suffering for the past few years, and I have history of using 'disco' stimulants in the past.
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