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  1. Link to Success Story: aissela-back-to-life Hi, first of all I'm sorry for my english, I'm italian but I'll do my best. I'm 23 and I was put on fluvoxamine in July 2013, to treat my ocd. I took the med Just for 6 months but it was enough to cause me an horrible withdrawal. Exactly a month after my cold turkey I started to experience the following symptoms: nausea, weight loss, 3/4 panic attacks every day, depression, mood swing, nightmares, light sensitivity, confusion, digestive issues, numbness and others... I wasn't able to drive, go out, have a normal conversation or doing anything at all. At that time I didn't know anything about withdrawal and I thought I had a terrible disease. Then I asked my doctors what was going on and He said I was just bipolar. Three months later he put me on Paxil and I felt better for a while. I've been on Paxil for other 6/7 months and then decide to quit because of my ipomanic state. And again, after a month everything restarted. So, I decide this couldn't be a bipolar disorder and did some research on the web and fortunately I found this forum. Now everything is clear for me and I can face my withdrawal knowing what I'm struggling with. I'm on month 6 now and symptoms had lessen a lot, especially after month 4, no more anxiety or mood swing, I can go out, eat properly, drive and do things. Unfortunately I feel like i'm not back to the old me, I have a small pssd, emotional blunting, loss of sense of humor and low intelligence. I'm not able to emphasize with people or animals and to feel romantic love. This is really scary, but I want to stay positive, because things are improving very fastly for me compared with other horror stories I read about. I hope that one day my situation will be one of those succes stories, but until then I want to share my experience and be helpful for others.
  2. Hi All I was a member of Paxilprogress.org several years ago; that site and its wonderful members helped me wean off Paxil in 2009 and I remained a member until the site closed. I have since been managing my anxiety disorder through regular therapy and using CBT tools. I view anxiety and depression as a chronic condition like diabetes; it can't necessarily be "cured" but it can be successfully managed. I've had my ups and downs over the years but I have to say I've had a great life. This past September, my wife and I retired early and decided to move from California to Portugal for a few years so we can explore Europe while we're healthy enough to get around. It's a beautiful country and the people are very gracious, but I do find my anxiety has increased due to cultural changes. I'm hoping to join a group similar to Paxilprogress where I can share my story, lend some support, and just spend some time with folks who understand what its like to live with anxiety. Thanks!
  3. This was from the notes I kept on my Iphone about my progress. Lexapro/ escitalopram -Started taking in beginning of 2017 when got out of bad situation and was trying to get back into things it did help… for a while -Early 2020 Attempted to cut cold turkey was terrible, had brain shocks, severe depression, barely able to function. My doctor told me there would be no withdrawal. -2020 around September attempted 1 month taper from 20 mg to 0 mg according to old data that “doctors” go off of. After attempting this and having similar effects to quitting cold turkey I found a forum Survivingantidepressants.org, when I started reading I realized all these people went through the same **** I did. -August 2021 went to 20mg to 10 mg stabilized in October 2021, no major side effects besides energy levels -December 2021 went from 10 mg to 5 mg, stabilized in February, again mostly just energy levels affected. -May 2022 went from 5 mg to 2.5 mg, feel good and happy, want to cut down to less -June 2022 went from 2.5 mg to nibbling on less everyday. 6/14/22 attempting to stop taking it all together. First week my sleep sucked but my happiness level started to skyrocket. 6/23/22 went to electric forest with a new outlook and positive attitude. July 2022, I’ve never been happier, have felt no negative side effects from quitting, sleep is a little bit harder off the drug but overall I feel alive again. FREE :)))) My Taper off of Klonopin was less severe but still took about 9 months of steady decreasing in dosage until I was able to kick it. Was only on .5 Mg Dropped to .25 MG last year around October Dropped to .125 Mg around Jan 2022 Leading up to June I was nibbling less and less of it until I was almost to nothing June 2022 I quit I love all you beautiful people for sharing your stories and messages. I hope you have success with your journey, sending hope and love to you all.
  4. I have been on Sertraline (Zoloft) over the last 11 years. These were prescribed by a physician in an effort to treat my GAD/panic condition caused from high stress levels in college. Prescribed within a 10 minute appointment. I was 20 years old. And with no information on how long to take it or how to stop taking it. "Take this, it will help." The medication seemed to work OK for a few years. However, my experience over the last 2.5 years on this medication and with the psychiatry system has been a complete mess. My symptoms of anxiety (and the addition of depression) were exacerbated with many new symptoms and side effects: heightened anxiety, suicidal ideations, uncontrollable movements, cognitive impairment, and many others. I continued to speak to my psychiatrist about all these symptoms and my deep sense that we were on the wrong track. In fact I showed up in tears to the office. I was told I needed to increase my dosage, as I had more than likely become tolerant to my current dose. So as a good patient would, I listened to my doctor’s recommendation- increase from 50mg to 100mg. I increased to 75mg, had a follow-up appointment and relayed that I was feeling ‘OK’, but not great. So, I threw out an idea. How about this? Since increasing isn’t making me “better”, I’m going to reduce and taper off. Do the opposite. My psychiatrist was hesitant, but agreed if I wanted to take that journey then she’d support my decision and want me to continue check-ins. Was I given any advice or direction from the psychiatrist on tapering? Not really. I researched myself. I read many testimonials and clinical trials about the challenges of tapering off medications. I was ready for what I thought might be a very bumpy ride and determined I would decrease slowly over many months. I made myself a plan. Make a reduction every 6-8 weeks, so I have time to acclimate in between reductions. So I did just that. I also journaled my symptoms- physical, mental and emotional feelings daily. It wasn’t a fun process (def had some issues), but it wasn’t all that terrible. The added global pandemic definitely did not help the situation (super great time to come off medication). My last dose taken May 31, 2020. Six weeks go by and I’m doing pretty good. THEN, like a freight train, I’m hit with delayed post withdrawal. The most horrendous physical, mental and emotional pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. Nerve shocks, body aches, headaches, cognitive disorientation, tremors, severe insomnia, panic, crying spells, chest pain, no appetite, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Overall I lost 10 pounds. I cried every day. The insomnia got so bad (only slept 2 hrs each night), I was put on Trazodone for a short period. I was in a tailspin. I felt so alone. This lasted a very long 3 weeks. And honestly without my support system, this forum, and my stubborn attitude I don’t think I would have gotten through it. After those 3 weeks, I could feel myself getting closer to the surface again. I still struggled, but each day got a little better. A little more healed. Symptoms still lingered, but things were subsiding slowly. My body working out the kinks. I started feeling real improvements and larger windows at the 6 month mark. Still some bumps in the road, the occasional stress induced anxiety symptoms, but overall better. Every day got a little brighter. I now genuinely know the medication was the culprit in making me ill- inflaming all of my anxieties. Today I have been 1 year 3 months without any medication. Last dose taken on May 31, 2020. I can wholeheartedly tell you it does get better. I feel the best I’ve felt in years. My symptoms have all subsided. I still have general anxiety, but it is very minor in comparison to being on the medication. I have learned so much about myself, my strength and the coping mechanisms/exercises that work for me. And I’m still healing. Everyone’s story and timeline is different, however I hope sharing my experience gives you hope. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You can and will weather the storm and get through this journey. You may not see it now, but there is an end in sight. And it’s beautiful. Keep going. **On a personal note, THANK YOU to those of you that have also shared your experiences on this forum, as this undoubtedly helped me hang on during my journey of tapering and withdrawal.** XX Amber
  5. Introduction topic: ☼-mranxious-3-months-off-effexor-xr-6-years-on Heyyyyyy 😊 I am alive !!!!!! Out there living a life that I am proud of and comfortable with. Pheww I am one of the blessed ones to have breached the other side and lived to talk about and YOU WILL TOO !! That was one hell of a ride. One that is FAR FAR FAR in the rearview mirror 🙃 If you have read my story, you will know that I went through literally the most traumatic event in my life and that was "Effexor Withdrawal". From start to finish I was unsure I would make it through this time, but here I am and let me tell you "Its a process". This will not happen overnight...BUT if you make the right moves, eat healthy and take your vitamins, time will heal, only time BUT everything you do in the mean time will make the difference in the end. Here is what I did : -Increased Omega 3:6:9 daily -Lots of purified water -Maximize sleep if you can and set a goof environment to be able to sleep(No sleeping drugs) -eliminated processed foods and to a whole food plant based lifestyle(THE BIGGEST GAME CHANGER for me and healer I believe* -Cut out all toxic people -light walks/bikes/swims daily(Key word "light". -meditation- daily(Prayer as well daily) -Church -daily mantras "I will heal" "I will get better" "I am getting better" -Reading books, occupying my time -Multivitamin and mineral support tablet I went from being a very anxious person once off Effexor for months and months of withdrawal , to now years later, a fully functional human being again 😎 I fully believe that in order to fully heal, you need to be fully off any pharmatheuticals (Per doctors orders of course, my disclosure) ughh 😋 Oh yes and find a good doctor that will listen to you and meet your needs "YOUR NEEDS". I have found a wonderful doctor and he is all about my plant life and healing and he is all about me living my best life drug free. Whatever you are going through right now, just know it gets so much better. It can takes months to years to recover. Realize this is your journey and a special one. Myself personally believes that god has transformed my old life into my new life and I can't be ever more thankful and grateful. One hell of a adventure but "hey" I love who I am more now and have grown exponentially since this ordeal. I have days where I cry happy tears over the smallest things, butterfly on a flower, old person smiling, to the breeze blowing off the lake , to the food on my plate. I never appreciated it before Effexor and I took it for granted, now it just happens and i love it 😊 I guess it all depends how you look at it, but when things get grim and they will, come back here, read my story and just know you are all in good hands😊 The effort you put out now in the throws of this awful withdrawal, will eventually become the reward you see in your future !!!!! YOU ARE GOING TO RECOVER MY FRIENDS, ALL OF YOU !!!! STAY CALM AND SOLDIER ON, stay safe and always consult your doctor before making any moves and if they don't listen to you : FIND A NEW ONE !!!! But always stay in close touch with them please 😎 This website has been a game changer and so are all the admins* Beautiful hard working volunteers 🧡💛💚💜💖 *Taper, taper, taper your mediction , this is most important, don't rush a taper just because you start feeling good. It will catch up to you, stay the course 😎 or possibly suffer grave setbacks * *Feel free to message me* MR. A
  6. Thought it might be nice to have a community thread for posting about improvements great and small, as we notice them occurring. We mention positive developments in our intro topics and of course there are the success stories; I'd love for this to be a place to pop in for a little snack of something promising, a little pick-me-up for when we want to share a nugget or savor a nibble. * I've been noticing something I think is an improvement (curious to hear what you think): increased muscle efficacy/strength -- the opposite of muscle weakness. In other words, I feel like my muscles are working better! This is remarkable to me because it's been a couple of years since I've been able to exercise properly, and I'm definitely in worse shape, much heavier with more fat and less muscle mass, than I was at the beginning of WD. I haven't been lifting weights or training, I can't do much at all. However I feel like my muscles work better. I've been noticing this on and off for the past few months. I still sometimes get muscle aches and extreme full-body fatigue, but it's like my muscles have more energy, more available resources to do what they need to do. I'm not sure how to describe it but it's pretty cool. This new experience is making me realize that I may have suffered from significant drug-induced muscle weakness for decades without even realizing it. I just thought how it was was normal. Now I'm thinking it probably wasn't normal at all! How else to explain that today I am much older, overweight, out of shape, with inadequate muscle mass, and still things seem to be working better? If it is indeed the case that I had muscle weakness side effects for most of my life, consider me retroactively offended. Does this resonate with anyone?
  7. Branyan's success story: branyan-pssd-successchallenges First posted this today in the Symptoms forum, but since it is my first post I will post it here in hopes i can get some replies Keep in mind, that in addition to the sexual side effects (which in all honesty are the biggest deal to me, considering i lived with all the other symptoms while on the Lexapro itself and maintained a good life) I deal with cognitive difficulty, food and drink sensitivies, etc etc. "Hey all. New here. Since coming off Lexapro (after being on from Mid 2007 to March 2010) I have experience a slow decline in my sexual function which platuead in about Febuary. Generally speaking I feel unaware of my penis and sexual realm. I feel that has something to do with the pudendal nerve. Even when I can achieve an erection it is mostly numb. I cannot get visually aroused 98% of the time, and would be unable to have sex or feel intimacy at this point. This after enjoying 2 very good sexual relationships while on Lexapro. Keep in mind that the sex declined as the years went on on Lexapro. And I am only 23! Interestingly enough, the only facet of my sexual function that is somewhat intact is the actual orgasm which still feels really good. Anyway. I have been over to the YAHOO PSSD group and seen the despair over there. It sounds like this is a permanent deal, although I have had many people try to convince me otherwise. Any success stories out there> "
  8. Squiggle

    ☼ Squiggle

    Link to Success Story: squiggle-success-at-4th-attempt Hello, As you can see from my signature line, I have had a bit of a time of it over the last couple of years. At the end of 2009, I had a nervous breakdown precipitated by an unusual and unexpected reaction to a breathing technique that I tried. Lots of horrible drugs followed. After I came off diazepam over two days after a two week period (I knew no better then) I had terrible pain which was diagnosed as acid reflux and treated accordingly with drugs, which did no good. The psychiatrist thought that citalopram might be causing the problem so switched me to mirtazapine, which did nothing for the pain, though seemed to help me to sleep better. To cut a long story short, after months of daily pain (except at night, when I took temazepam) I stumbled across the Ashton manual and with its help and that of the sadly defunct forum Benzo Island, did a successful diazepam taper, coming off in January 2011. The pains incidentally vanished shortly after I crossed to diazepam. I decided not to rush tapering the Mirtazapine but to give myself time to recover from the benzo taper. I began mirtazapine taper in July 2011. I used the liquid to bridge the doses between convenient pill cuts, which is why the pattern is not always absolutely consistent. The taper went pretty well. I had some wobbly times but whether these were w/d or my own anxiety, it is hard to say. I was back at work (worked all through diazepam taper), back with old and new hobbies and generally coping, though sometimes it took some effort. I finally came off a couple of weeks ago, from 2.5mg, where I had been for three weeks. I had a couple of slightly edgy days but thought not much of this. When I had quit diazepam, I had had a difficult, though not terrible, fortnight and from then on, it was pretty much OK. Days three and four off mirt were great. I felt really good and so pleased to be drug free. Then it began to go wrong. My sleep began to fracture and my anxiety levels to rise. It culminated on the ninth night with a night so bad, just like my early nervous breakdown, that I begged for a mirtazapine (my husband looks after these things) and on taking 7.5mg calmed immediately (placebo?). Since then, I have settled again. W/d or old problem? So, one failed attempt and trying to see it as a learning experience. I have just taken on a very responsible part time job and have some big family events coming up in the near future so I can't afford to be flaky at present. I will not attempt to come off completely again until I have clear time to be a basket case, should that happen. I can of course start reducing again as soon as I feel I have my breath back but how to do it,is the question. The liquid is a pest as it only lasts six weeks once open. Cutting tablets would in some ways be a better option but would be more inaccurate. Also, the CITA website recommends a stepped reduction for this drug, something that is supported by some people on the patientUK site, from personal experience, so I don't know whether to give that a go. Probably hold cuts longer too. Any comments and advice on this story and where to go from here would be very welcome. Squiggle
  9. MOD NOTE : Siderale's Success Story is here ---------------------------------------------- Hello everyone. I want to start this off by stating that I'm not a native english speaker so if something is unclear in my wording, please let me know! I'm gonna tell my story a bit because I'm hopeful I'm on the right track, but I need to exchange a bit and maybe be reassured. Medication really did help me on many levels. I have had anxiety problems forever, even as a kid although I wasn't aware it was anxiety at that time. It grew worse with teenagehood, saw diffrent therapists, and the only thing that put me on the "healing track" was in 2017, at 21, when I started seeing another therapist who told me I did not need benzodiazepins but antidepressants - to which I answered "but I'm not depressed!", but turns out I did need those antidepressants for anxiety lol. I have also mild OCD/intrusive thoughts, which I wasn't aware of at the time. Long story short: I took Escitalopram for a bit under 1 year, from 2017 to 2018. It really helped me, and we tapered with 1 month on 5mg per day, then 0mg. I had 0 withdrawal syndrome, but sadly relapsed 6 months later with the obsessive thoughts coming back full force. So I saw another therapist (I had moved cities for my studies) and went back on Escitalopram 10mg + cognitive behavioral therapy, from november 2018 to january 2021, so 1 year and 2 months. It went well, I spent the most stable year despite the pandemic and a lot of isolation (I live very, very far from my closest friends). I learnt to accept anxiety and control it (rather than straight up try to suppress it), to focus my thoughts when I have intrusive thoughts, took healthy habits, fixed my sleep schedule. In january, we reduced to 5mg. In february and to mid-march I only took 5mg of escitalopram one day out of two: I did notice at that time I was weirdly tired when taking 5mg one day out of two although I did not change my sleep schedule, but that was it. I figured it was maybe the change of season or something like this. As for right now: I therefore stopped Escitalopram completely around march 13 (I don't remember when I took the last pill!). Things went fine and after one week of calm began what I figure are the withdrawal symptoms, that I never experienced after my first treatment -although I did stop it way more brutally than this one!-. I had a lot of gastrointestinal symptoms (I thought I ate something bad, maybe it's the case, maybe it was both things mixed together..), nausea and trouble sleeping. 10 days after stopping Escitalopram, I had a VERY weird episode of night tremors that I talked about in this reddit post, at that time I was very confused and a bit scared because I never had anything like this before. Luckily this only happened once. But since this particular night, I have general anxiety again, sometimes in big spikes, bouts of crying (my intrusive thoughts come back although I can control them way better than before), trouble eating (loss of appetite). But I figure it is withdrawal because this is not how I was before, even with my then-anxiety. But I keep going : I'm in the middle of my masters' studies with a thesis I'm invested in, exams are coming in a week, I try to go out for a walk every day, I clean around, I do my stuff despite the pandemic and the lockdown. I still feel in control (which is reassuring and helps me looking forwards) but I am "physically" so, so unwell. Waking up with your stomach heavy and your head heavy with unshed, unexplained tears is tiring and still, those are quite "mild" symptoms compared to what I could read in here It's gonna be one month I completely stopped Escitalopram in 2 days, and I know withdrawal can last for much longer, so I'm trying to prepare for lasting symptoms still - but gosh, it's hard. It's so hard. On april 2nd I finally could see my therapist, who told me withdrawal syndrome shouldn't be *that* bad, and prescribed me amitriptylin (because I can take it in very small doses) BUT I did not take it because things were going a bit better and I wanted to believe I could pull through without it, I had 2-3 good days but fell back into this weird state... It seems like my state "evolves" by waves. I am in a huge "anxiety" wave these past 3 days. I see my therapist again on friday - sadly can't reach him before, I live in a very busy city and you cannot contact therapists outside of appointments. I'm afraid he's gonna tell me I should have taken the amitriptylin but for some reason my stubborn self doesn't want it. It seems more adapted to evening/night anxiety and troubles and it's not my case I reckon (but I'm not a doctor!...). So that is about it. I have no idea if this works as a (long!) introduction post. I hope to read about similar cases that hopefully recovered from this syndrome, especially because I am aware that my symptoms are very mild compared to people trying to taper off way longer, way heavier treatments. I wish to be reassured about the mood swings and bouts of crying, the uneasiness. I wonder if temporary but regular benzos could work since it seems like it's mostly anxiety, but I'd very much like to avoid it. I want to hold on to the idea that it'll get better. I hope you all are doing well in your recovery, and wish you a good day! Thanks for reading me!
  10. MOD NOTE : Toulouse's Introduction Topic is here --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello all. I wanted to come here to give my success story. If you go through my first thread called My Paxil Withdrawal Journey, you can see for yourself the misery and pain that I went through, particularly the first 2 years of getting off of Paxil. I had so many symptoms, ones I've never had before. The main issues I had coming off were anxiety and insomnia. I've had dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, intolerance to alcohol, and a new allergy which almost killed me. I used to feel like my brain was 'slipping' out of my skull. It was a strange feeling. and scary too. Numbness in my fingers, hands, legs. Twitching muscles, twitching hands( I thought I had ALS). I thought I was dying. To make things worse I saw a holistic doc who said I had mold illness and put me on these crazy pills and skyrocketed my anxiety and paranoia about mold (it's everywhere btw), it turned out to be false, and I tried to sue the guy, but I wouldn't have made enough to make the lawyer fees worth it. After that, I slowly focused on my own recovery again, trying to be as healthy as I could. I had many windows and waves. Slowly, the windows became bigger and longer. I slowly started feeling like I had a handle on it. Then I'd have a few months of very rough anxiety and panic and insomnia and nearly got back on something. I almost did. But I decided to try to be patient and gave it a few more weeks. I'm glad I did, otherwise, I might have gotten back on another SSRI and still be on it now. But notably, things that helped me were mindfulness meditation and talk therapy. That really helped calm my brain. Now I don't meditate anymore since I don't have anxiety, except for when it's appropriate maybe. I started working out again after that 3 year mark. I started just walking, then I joined the gym and started lifting weights. The old guys were stronger than me, I had grown so weak. But gradually I started getting stronger again, and lifting heavier, doing treadmill work, etc. And eating pretty healthy for the most part (though I still like my cookies and snacks). I'd say after year 3 I was 80-90% recovered. I mean, feeling like my pre-Paxil days. I say today I am 99% recovered. I think there are some residual things, like I still get some ringing in my ears sometimes. I still have an intolerance to alcohol, and the new allergies (but admit, those body changes will likely never go away at this point). but I'm okay with that. Now I cycle almost every day, I go for long rides. I never think of my anxiety, or the pain I went through anymore. It's a distant memory for me and I'm so glad to be here today and able to share my story. Thank you to the moderators for running this site. It was the most helpful tool in my journey out of this nightmare. I wish everyone here the same success I've had, or better, as my journey was pretty brutal for a while there. Peace and love to you all. Toulouse
  11. Hi everyone! I feel now is the time for me to log out and move on. It’s been 16 months since my cold turkey, I’m no longer in dying hell with 100 or more symptoms or completely frightened on getting through the day, but there is still a little more healing to be done, both withdrawal & personal. I was so thankful that the nightmare (acute) period ended, it was the scariest thing I have ever experienced.. I feel more frustrated now rather than sick because once you feel more and more yourself and have done the bulk of the healing, but yet aren’t fully there, with a handful of things in the way. you can see and get glimpses of your life again in the short distance but can’t yet reach out to grab it. It’s tough, I’m hoping that with all that has changed up until now I’ll reach that destination very soon. (The pandemic plays a huge part here) Keep going! You’ll not even know how you’ve survived when things slowly start to lift. You’ll be proud of your strength and ability. This needed to happen for me and shockingly I’m thankful for it, and I have learned so much about myself through it, I’m becoming the absolute best version of myself and can’t wait to have my life back, a step at a time. Now I just have the pain of grieving for all of the lost time, and some of the traumatic moments of this visit to hell.. I wish you all the best, have faith.. if I have any advice.. please if you’ve found this website before discontinuing, take on all of the great help and advice on tapering. I know I so wish I had that and this site before then. I’m going to leave now, thank you for giving me and so many others this space, it’s life saving. this for me is already a success, I’m so much better and it’s time for me to close the chapter♥️
  12. please help, what supplement should i take, how much exercises should i do, i am feeling nothing from the medication at 4mg/day,will i get back to who i am before with all my memories back etc?i am so scared guys, at the same time, i am having memory problems from the medication due to misdiagnose , is cold turkey a better approach?
  13. Hello All, Firstly, I've used this forum before, during and after my journey and it's been very uplifting and informative. I think I would have been lost without it, so thank you. Secondly, I am almost 4 months off Zoloft after 10 years @ 50mg for GAD/panic. I've learned many coping skills and practices that help me manage my anxiety (meditation, cold therapy, wim hof), however I've been experiencing chest tightness fairly regularly lately. It typically lasts all day, but doesn't interrupt my sleep (i finally got the insomnia under control). I exercise regularly, eat decently clean, take supplements (omega3/magnesium), CBD, meditate, but can't kick the feeling of someone sitting on my chest or the feeling of a lump in my throat. I also attend therapy weekly. Last week, I felt great for about 6 days and then it came back on. I typically ignore it and go on with my day, but it lingers on. Any tip/tricks on how I can relieve the tension. Is it possible this is my waves and windows phases?
  14. Hi All, New to the support forums here. Have been in withdrawals for approx 8 months from taking an herbal supplement called St Johns for around 8 years or so. In August of last year I had a health scare and when I was at the hospital I was told to stop taking St. Johns Wort immediately because it would interfere with the medications they placed me on for blood pressure. Not knowing any better I cold turkey quit taking them. I was ok for the first month or so, but as time went on I started having all of the classic withdrawal symptoms that are mentioned here. Anxiety, depression, DP/DR, memory issues, cog fog, digestive issues, heart palpatations, hot flashes and cold chills, intrusive thoughts, confusion, blurry vision and many more. I still experience these symptoms pretty much daily with the exception of a window for a few hours or so maybe 2-3 days a week. Wanting to join the forums to reach out and keep in touch with others who are going through this process to support each other and help keep motivated :) Also, I am constantly reading the success stories and reminding myself that healing is taking place and even though the healing feels like it is taking forever, I hold on to hope that one day I will be healed. I know that God is helping me through this process and I hold on to the hope every day for a positive outcome! Ken
  15. Hello. Here's my story: I have general anxiety disorder (GAD--self diagnosed), though I may also be bi-polar. I had a tough time in my teen years--panic attacks, confusion, fear of people, etc., never happy. My father was an alcoholic; my youngest brother died of alcoholism a year ago. I've had my own battles with alcohol, too, but I never became the two six-packs, plus a bottle of whiskey that my father consumed every day. I quit drinking four years ago. For the past year and a half I have used medical cannabis (in a legal state with a doc's evaluation), which helps with anxiety and worry, and is the best sleep aid I know. In my late thirties (I'm now 57) I started taking Prozac--in 1997 (I think)--using a bottle I got from a friend (his mother had a scrip but she didn't take it). I liked it. It took a lot of my anxiety away, and I ceased having panic attacks. I only had a month's supply so I went to my doc, talked to him about my use and he was happy to write a scrip for me--20 mg. of Paxil (my insurance did not cover Prozac). He said to me then that anti-depressants/SSRI's are to sad/anxious people what insulin is to diabetics. I know now that that line came straight from a drug rep's play book. I know now that it was wrong and, at least from the drug company's perspective, a lie. Paxil agreed with me and I continued taking it daily (20 mg.) until about two years ago. I had tried to quit it several times over the years--both cold turkey and by tapering—mostly because I had gained up to thirty pounds on it and could not, no matter how hard I tried, lose that weight (I have been a frequent aerobic exerciser since long before I started Paxil—I continue to exercise, but not as much as before). Trying to stop Paxil altogether was hell. While doing so I felt a profound depression; I cried a lot, spent time in bed during the day on weekends, was twitchy, anxious, fearful, panicky—just not myself; I even began thinking vague thoughts about suicide. I had never felt these symptoms to such an extreme before beginning anti-depressants. Long ago, before beginning Paxil, I had been sad/depressed, I'd had panic attacks and problems with social anxiety, etc., but none of these symptoms were as debilitating as what I was feeling off Paxil. Shortly after getting down to about 10 mg. of Paxil (I had been using an emory board to taper down--for about six months) I couldn't stand it any more and spoke to my psych doc. She put me on Wellbutrin (which made me too hyper, despite taking it in the morning) along with Prozac (which gave me akathisia [pacing constantly]). I gave up both after about a month or so and went on Celexa, which my wife and daughter had been on successfully. I've been taking 20 mg. of Celexa for the last two and half years. About six months ago (or so--could be less) I started to taper off Celexa, this time using sandpaper. I'd read a book called Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker and it scared me into trying to quit again. About a month and half ago I jumped from about 13 to 14 milligrams of sandpapered Celexa to ten by simply breaking the Celexa tab in half. It was easier than using the sandpaper, etc. I'd been feeling a bit odd before then, though nothing too bad, but then I began feeling the old, horrible symptoms mentioned above. They weren't that intense, really, but I'd been worrying a lot about my son going back to college (smart kid, good school, but he has emotional issues—I'm afraid of him failing), and anticipating my return to work—my job is beyond stressful (I'm a teacher). These and other stressorrs convinced me that I needed to be back on the medication. So, as of last Monday, a week ago, I've been taking my full dose again of Celexa, 20 mg., and I have felt better the last few days. BUT today I've felt horrible--two or three panic attacks, crying, a "buzzing" anxiety, a hollow feeling in my gut. I feel worse today on 20 mg of Celexa than I felt a week ago on 10 mg. of Celexa. I've imagined that I somehow forgot to fill my pill pack with Celexa for Sunday morning (today), but I don't think that was the case. Just an hour ago I took an additional ten mg of Celexa (my wife encouraged me) to get me back up to a therapeutic dose. But it scares me what I've been feeling today. As far as I know I should be feeling my old self, the self I've known for years on Paxil/Celexa. I'm scared that my long-term use of SSRI's have damaged my brain to the point that I can't return to even the me on an SSRI, much less the me pre-SSRI. I hope that this forum can help. I know that many of you are struggling with these issues, too, and I emphathise and wish you well. Perhaps I can help, too. Thank you for reading this. I hope I've been clear; if you have any questions or suggestions, please post.
  16. Hey! I was 15 when I was put on Sepram (citalopram) due to depression (what I had that time was an eating disorder and guess I was depressed because of that) Anywho I ate Sepram until I was 24 on various dosages from 10-40mgs. I remember that often times when I was a teenager I'd just crash and get depression from nothing (now I realize that it was because I sometimes forgot to take my meds). I was 22 when I first unsuccesfully quit medication since I was feeling really well. I was going to university in a new town back then. Had a lot of new things going on. Well I survived for three months and then I crashed and burned. I had terrible anxiety and insommia and was tired as hell. I didn't know I was in withdrawal. I had quit my medication from 20mgs to 0 in two months as my pdoc had instructed (waaay too fast, now I know that, and it was really stupid to quit them in a period where a lot of changes happened in my life). I came back home to my parents as I was unable to function. I went to see my psychiatrist and got back on meds. I wonder why she didn't say to me that I was withdrawing and I really really must take things easy, she propably didn't know about SSRI withdrawal. I was in overdrive, I thought I had gone insane, it didn't occur to me that maybe the medication is doing all of this, it was like I had completely forgotten how my mind usually works. I got myself a job cause I thought that I must do something and not just be. I went to work after 4 months of doing nothing but pilates and qi qong and eating avocados. Everything was relatively fine though I had pretty bad anxiety and some racing thoughts and insomnia and my stress tolerance was bad. At some point I got tired and a bit depressed again and pdoc upped my dosage to 40mg. I got in to college again. I began to taper my meds again in a six month period (again way too fast). I was feeling quite low all the time, I had no motivation and everything felt futile and my condidence fell. I was a bit angry for no reason. My studies didn't go as fast I would have liked cause I was bit lethargic. I somehow managed with my low moods and anxiety. By summer 2015 I was energetic and I could FEEL. I hadn't really felt anything but anxiety and depression for years. I was interested with being around my friends. I was working fulltime and doing university exams at the same time. I was genuinenly interested in different things and life in general. I bicycled 20kms everyday and was riding almost everyday. I felt that I was ME after so many years of feeling weird. I had had social anxiety on and off during my medication, and I have gotten stressed easily. Then in the middle of the Summer 2015 i began to go on overdrive. I was hostile towards my parents. I had a met guy I got a crush on and I was mean to him and I wasnt myself. I was erratic but also very stressed and worried about everything. But I was so full of energy that I was unable to listen to me and my body. I had bad insomnia but I could go on and on without sleep. By the end of summer my new fling ended. I couldn't deal with it like normal people do as I was deep in withdrawing. My sense of security vanished. I tried to continue my studies. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat and my body couldn't hold liquid anymore. I was aggressive all the time. As studying proved to be impossible because I was unable to concentrate i tried just working. In October 2015 I started getting paranoid, I had intrusive and obsessive thoughts, I began to hate myself and felt that I'm no good and I don't deserve to live, I didn't sleep at all. I had stopped exercising in September 2015 cause I simply just couldn't do it any longer. My mother tried to get me to stretch my body and do a little pilates but I couldn't do it because I was so tense all the time. My muscles were sore and I was hurting all the time, I saw nothing but black and grey. I saw my psychiatrist few times and explained my symptoms to her but couldn't get any help except Xanax which I ate like candy. I deteriorated more and more as my insomnia grew worse. I was agitated and restless all the time, barely could walk and shivered like a leaf. My parents had no idea what to do with me. Thank god I had come back home to them when I started going nuts. I had arrythmias but I was so messed up that it didn't occur to me to go see a doctor. I had suicidal thoughts all the time. My mother couldn't leave from my side for a second. In January 2016 I could feel something zap in my brain, all of my emotions vanished. In the end my insomnia and mental state went so bad that I tried to kill myself. I was admitted to hospital and stayed there for a couple of days, somehow went back to work for a few days (I had tried to kill myself, who would go to work after that? ME). In march 2016 I tried to kill myself again with 3,8grams of propranolol. My life was hanging by a thread as my heat rate dropped too low. Again to hospital where I was put on Lyrica, Suprium, Tenox, Sepram again and Abilify. I was in the hospital for a month and when I got out I quit all medication. Now I live in a nursing home. They want me to do a bit of work and I have done some stable job few times a week. I get scared and stressed out easily. I have crying spells and sometimes I have dyskinesia and stiff neck and I find it hard to speak. Sometimes I vomit and have diarrhea and I'm fatigued. I have almost constant vertigo and inner emotional turmoil. I tried to eat different vitamins but my body couldn't handle them. Now I eat D vitamin and that is something my body can tolerate. when I exercise I begin to feel really weird and I bloat. I have had brain MRI, everything is fine. My bloodwork is fine. I have always been in good condition and exercised a lot but now I have zero muscle and it feels like my body can't build any muscle. I rarely see any dreams and if I do they are usually nightmares. I feel that my brain isn't working properly. I get this huge pressure in my head when i'm in a situation where I'd usually feel strong emotions but no emotional reaction comes out of me. I can't tolerate too much noise and some days I get irritated very very easily. Sometimes I sweat profusely and my sweat smells really bad. My sexuality is gone and I have no need to see my friends. Sometimes after exercising I get this window of wanting to see my friends and hug my parents and be close to them. I really don't like to be around people because they remind me of what i used to be. I was a talented rider, well I still am but it doesn't feel the same because now I get easily scared as I am riding. I feel very traumatized by all of this. My body triggers from almost nothing. I shiver and shake several times a day. I feel that I'm very very vulnerable and can collapse in any minute if i get too stressed. Sometimes I get an urge to kill someone. When I pet my dog I feel like killing her though I know I love her. I have suicidal thoughts, especially around people. I often want to (self harm - graphic language removed jch). I would really like to go to live at our summer cottage with my parents and just heal and hope some day I'll recover. What is the most devastating thing to me is that I have lost my creativity and I have lost myself, the spark inside of me, the thing that made me me. I have no goals left anymore except to stay alive. I know I have been stupid quitting my medication without tapering long enough and I have been stupid to strain my body as I have clearly been sick beyond measure but still tried to pull through and do my responsibilities. But I do feel that I have been ruined by psychiatry since I was put on meds at such a young age. Me and my parents were told that these meds are safe and won't do any harm and that it's safe to eat them indefinitely. I trusted what the doctor said. It never occurred to me that maybe my anxiety was the product of the meds. I had zero anxiety as a teenager but steadily during my adult years my anxiety has increased. I am very very thankful that I have parents who are willing to take care of me as long as it is needed. They hate to see me suffering, this is very hard on them. And it is very hard for me that they have to go through this with me. I really really hope that maybe after two or three years my body is healed and I can tolerate normal life again.
  17. Hi, I have been a long time lurker and didn't think I'd need to post but I am hoping for a bit of reassurance and support. I have so far not involved myself, because I am one of those who didn't take ADs for long and had a reaction. I am generally a happy, healthy and pretty confident, level person. My young son got ill in 2013 and had to have a couple of operations. He’s absolutely fine now but, having held it together all the while I think I started to process it once it was all over and I noticed that I was worrying excessively about him. By February 2014 I was getting concerned that, if left unchecked, my issues could smother his adventures and exclude my daughter so, when it spiked around the time he started school I decided to see someone about it. At this point I had never had a panic attack or anything even close to it, a few intrusive thoughts about my son’s health that I felt were gaining a bit too much traction for a couple of weeks but was generally still enjoying life and getting on with my days. The day before I saw the psych I went to the movies with my girlfriends and had a lovely time. The week before we had friends over and I remember feeling happy, almost to the point smug, thinking 'I love my life. I'm so lucky'. I went, just expecting to talk it through but instead spent 15 minutes with a psychologist who diagnosed me with GAD and did a real number on me about how sick I was and how I would never get better without medication, which I was reluctant to take. She phoned the female GP at my practice (my normal doctor was away) and told her that I needed meds but would resist. The GP scared the crap out of me, telling me the next stage is psychosis and I would be hospitalised if I left it untreated, did I want to be away from my children for a month if that happened, etc, etc. None of it stacked up against my own experience of myself and my husband didn’t get it either but these people were the experts, they should know, right? Anyway, I took pristiq and ativan for three days and everything just fell apart. Within hours of taking it I was being hit by wave after wave of panic attack, then came the hallucinations, suicidal and violent thoughts, agoraphobia, it just kept on giving. I was convinced I couldn’t be trusted around people, let alone my children. It was a living nightmare so I stopped taking them. The withdrawals were terrible; more obsessive suicidal and violent thoughts, vomiting, watery diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and pain behind my left eye, adrenal jolts and just fear like I’d never known. I was determined not to go back on them and in hindsight should have just continued through it. Instead I went to see a naturopath who gave me a fairly hefty dose of St Johns Wort. I was worried about taking it so soon after discontinuing the pristiq but he assured me I would be fine. I wasn’t. It was awful but I stuck with it for several weeks. Worried about another set of withdrawals, my psych dismissing all symptoms as not possibly related to the meds or herbs (which she laughed at) and mistrusting doctors I had totally lost sight of who I normally was. I tapered off it as fast as I could – all the usual, though less pronounced physical withdrawals, increased anxiety, more suicidal thoughts and a very strange dysphoria – like someone else jumped into my mind, thought a load of random, truly awful negative stuff that I would never normal think and then hopped back out again leaving me muddled and anxious. Eventually I went to see my own doctor, who has been treating me and my family for the past ten years. I told him what was going on and he said that he had seen similar in people who are really sensitive to psychotropic drugs and that I had probably suffered serotonin syndrome and to ride it out. He pointed out that worrying about your kids, particularly after times of stress, isn’t a mental illness and that the hand pain I was experiencing (the psych told me these were a symptom of my anxiety, as my heart was pumping blood faster and I didn’t even realise it was happening) was more likely referred pain from a whiplash injury the month before. So fast forward to now, a little over a year later and I have been doing well. I have been having waves but they are manageable and I am back to my normal self during windows, which are lengthy (the last being four months). Until now. I am presently in a wave that has lasted for nearly a month (with the odd window within that time) and as about as bad as during the earlier phases of withdrawal. I am having some serious obsessive and scary thoughts and a whole barrage of physical symptoms; nausea, bloating and a butterflies feeling) headaches, a cold, trickily feeling down my spine, some brain zaps, pain behind my eye and, when there is a reprieve from those, an almost depressive state where the negative self talk takes over - like I am incapable and not good enough to do the job I have been doing perfectly well for years. If it wasn't for the emotional/psychological symptoms, I would think I was really sick (the anxious withdrawal-hypochondriac is chanting that I probably am. Very). Does anyone know of people getting such a pronounced wave after such a long time? I know it can't be a relapse, because I was never even remotely like this before, but it is scary. The further out from taking the pills, the less assured I feel that it is still withdrawal, which I guess is the catch 22. My normal doctor is away again and whilst he is sympathetic, I am frightened he will become sceptical as time draws on. I would appreciate any insights people can offer. Thanks
  18. Hi everyone. I would much prefer to have never known this existed, but here I am and I'm grateful to find others that understand this pain. This will be a long story, but if you could read this it would be appreciated. Let me tell you a bit about my story. I'm currently 23, and was prescribed Lexapro (10mg) when I was 19 for some health anxiety I was having (3.5 years on it). I began the medication and moved away with my partner. I never felt the medication changed much, just masked my emotions a bit. A few months ago I spoke to my doctor and told him I wished to stop lexapro, and I reduced to 5mg for a few weeks, then stopped. Things were going okay for a few weeks but then I was having some severe light sensitivity and shaking a bit, my doctor and I decided I should go back onto lexapro (10mg again), which I did but something felt off. I didn't recognise my own left arm and freaked out, at this stage I had been back on lexapro for 10 days. I told my doctor I didn't want the medication and he told me to wean off for 5 days then stop. I did this, and felt okay, but 3 days later It all spiraled. I walked into my house and sat down to watch a movie, when it felt like a younger version of myself had entered my head, it felt like I was 2 people at the same time, next thing I know my head is spinning, I'm crying, shaking not knowing what was happening. I became depersonalised from my own body, had what sounded like a helicopter in my head. Had ringing in my ears, disassociated from every part of myself and was jolting all over. This was happening for 4 days, and I had no idea what was going on. My partner drove me to the local emergency room and the doctor there stated I was experiencing severe withdrawals from Lexapro, and I had 2 options, either restart lexapro 10mg or wait it out. I let my parnter and mother make the decision for me because I couldn't, and was put back on 10mg. After 3 weeks of being on 10mg again, I could function, but felt really unnatural in my own body, still couldn't Identify my emotions, couldnt cry about it and felt trapped. I knew I needed to get off this drug, and weaned down to 5mg for 3 weeks, once I weaned to 5mg I began having sleep paralysis, crying again, jolting in time, horribly vivid dreams, night sweats, extreme emotions and distorted memory function, I lost 10kg over the 3 weeks, and began having psychosis. Hearing voices in my head saying incoherent things. Having visual disturbances when I was trying to sleep, became fearful of peoples eyes. I had to stop the medication completely because I was terrified of it. I went and spoke to a psychiatrist which didn't believe all of this was happening and said it's a bad case of anxiety. I was really frustrated and distressed. I stopped lexapro completely 5 days ago, and the voices in my head aren't there anymore (I may get one or 2 when trying to sleep) and the visual hallucinations have almost gone also, the fear of eyes is no longer there, but now I'm crying every day, and am fearful of what the day brings. I really struggle to identify who I even am and what is normal in my head and what isn't. I found a great psychologist whom is an ex drug addict and believes what's happening is real, which really helps to have a medical professional on my side. I have a great support team which helps too, but I don't know what to do next. I go walking and wonder why I'm on a walk. My memories don't feel like memories but more flashbacks. Now I need to be honest, for the first time in my life I have contemplated suicide because I don't know how I can get through this, but I do make sure I call someone when I have these thoughts. I've noticed having a bath and listening to motivational speeches about creating your own reality and how your brain can recover from almost anything is helpful, but the slightest insight from anyone who has had even a remotely similar experience would be really appreciated. Thank you for reading this.
  19. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  20. Hello everyone so I am new here but was referred here by paxilprogress. My celexa timeline is: Started Celexa 20mg February 2008 for anxiety Started one month taper in August 2012 Reinstated Celexa 10mg on November 2012 January 2013 5 mg every day for two weeks 5mg every other day for two weeks 5mg every 3 days for one month 5mg every 4 days every 2 months 5mg every 5 days for one month 5 mg every 4 days for one month 2.5mg every 3 days for one month 2.5mg every 2 days for one month 2.5 mg for every to days and a half for one month Celexa free since 12/2013 Last year and this year has been the hardest for me mentally. I have been suffering from extreme debilitating brain fog, head pressure, strange irrational thoughts, I have lost all my social skills, forgetful on finding the right word when conversations, insomnia, withdrawal crippiling anxiety and loud thoughts when falling asleep. I have tried reinstating for 5 days this month but then quit bc it was not recommended after so long being off of it. I work a couple days a week at a store and it is hard for me bc of all the symptoms that I have. I don't know what to do if I just should wait it out or maybe reinstate at 2.5mg then stabilize at 5 or 10 then taper by the 10% methods. Someone please help....
  21. I am new to this forum but not new to depression or antidepressants. Spent 2 months tapering off Lexapro. Finished last October. Have been struggling with terrible irritability, low mood and occasional intense suicidal urges. I am at a loss as to how to muddle thru this time period and feel hopeless about it getting better. My doc never even scheduled any type of followup visit once he gave me the tapering instructions. And I had no idea of the hell I was going to fall into. I am concerned about long term use of Lexapro so I am determined to keep trying life without it. I just hope I can. :/
  22. Hello all, Apologies in advance for the length of this post – it’s essentially a combination of an introduction and a success story – I know that members can only post success stories after a full year off all meds – I’m seven months now off all meds and am feeling far better now than when I was taking pills so I reckon it’s only a matter of five months before I post an actual success story. I was given a diagnosis of bi-polar by a consultant psychiatrist in the autumn of 2011 after years of volatility in my mental health and began taking meds six months later. I started with Lamictal (Lamotrigine) – after a few weeks on a low dose, the dose was increased – the next day I noticed a rash all over my body and stopped taking it. I was then given Abilify – I was on this over for a month or two but stopped taking it since it caused me insomnia and really intense pain in my wrists. Next, it was Olanzapine/Zyprexa (5mg) to deal with my elation – the 5mg worked well but when the dosage was increased to 10mg and 15mg, it caused nothing but depression so I went back to 5mg. I was then given Prozac to deal with the depression side of things – this however, caused me the worst depression I ever experienced. I was on it for a bit over a month until I could take no more and stopped taking it. My psychiatrist then prescribed me Venlafaxin/Effexor in September 2012 – I started at 75mg and eventually made my way up to 300mg. As the dosage increased, my depression did get better but the side affects most certainly got worse – constipation and intense sweating in bed at night. Also, I always felt the medication was causing me brain fog, despite what my psychiatrist was telling me – ‘all these meds do is treat depression’, I was told and basically, how limited intellectually I felt was in fact an actual reflection of the abilities I was born with. I was really getting fed up the side affects and decided to do what a lot of people in my situation do – come of the meds without telling my doctor. I slowly tapered down the anti-depressant but came off the Olanazpine quite abruptly – result, disaster. The depression came back in a big way. Around this time, I remember one sleepless night lying in bed just saying to myself over and over – ‘I just want to die – I wish I had the courage to kill myself’. Went crawling back to the psychiatrist in July 2015 and told him the truth – needless to say, he was quite annoyed but prescribed me Cymbalta/Duloxetine (60mg) and agreed to reduce my dosage of Olanazpine to 2.5mg. The Cymbalta no doubt stabilized my mood at that time – I was pretty down low, as you can imagine. Once again, I felt it was limiting me but after the volatility I had experienced, I was happy for a bit of stability. In the summer of 2017, I began to learn a lot about the affect diet and exercise can have on mental health. Up until that time, I thought I ate and exercised healthily – how wrong I was. Over the course of around a year, I completely changed my diet and exercise regime – I experimented a lot and ended up with my current diet which is essentially a Mediterranean diet – meat, dairy and eggs a few times a week but primarily plant based food – all unprocessed and organic. A lot of my free time now is spent cooking and preparing food. After I started with Cymbalta and before I changed my diet and lifestyle, I felt that my depression/elation cycle was going on in the background but the medication was keeping it in check. As my dietary and lifestyle changes kicked in, I began to feel that the cycle was longer there – I was essentially stable. I got married in July 2018 to the woman who stuck with me through the diagnosis and all the mental volatility over the years. Immediately, we started trying to conceive – I really wasn’t mad about the idea of trying to conceive while I was on medication – I know that women are advised to come off meds before becoming pregnant and I wondered if my own meds could have an affect on any potential child I conceived. Did a bit of research – heard a bit about meds possibly causing fertility problems but nothing about meds causing birth defects etc. For a number of months after the wedding, we tried hard to conceive with no success. Consequently, I made the decision to start tapering. Not surprisingly, my wife was initially reluctant given what happened previously when I tried to come off meds – this shook my confidence a bit but I really believed that I could cope this time round, given the dietary and lifestyle changes I had made. Unlike the previous time, I told my psychiatrist who to my big surprise, did not object in the slightest. He initially suggested that I stop taking the 2.5mg of Olanazpine altogether – he told me that according to the research, 2.5mg has no real anti-elation effect – it only really aids moderate anxiety and sleeping. I genuinely believed that the olanzapine was indeed helping my sleep so I decided to continue taking it and instead drop the Cymbalta from 60mg to 30mg at the beginning of November, 2018. I was on the lower dosage for three months – I didn’t notice any major withdrawal affects during that period. Consequently, when I saw my psychiatrist three months later, I suggested to him that I stop taking the Cymbalta altogether – once again, to my big surprise he was very supportive. I continued to take the Olanzapine for another month – I had planned to stay on the Olanzapine for three months but given what the psychiatrist told me previously about 2.5mg not really having any anti-elation affect and given how I hadn’t experienced any major withdrawal affects up until that point, I decided to come off completely at the end of February 2019. A part of me was worried that my sleep would go to hell without the Olanzpine but once again, I really believed as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle, I would eventually enter into a natural, healthy sleeping pattern – this transpired. Also, around four or five weeks after I ceased the meds completely, I started having definite withdrawal effects – my nervous system seemed to react and consequently, I felt very edgy and jittery and my concentration levels went down significantly – obviously, work was quite difficult during this period. This was quite severe for around five weeks and then gradually started to diminish. I fully expected some withdrawal affects so they did not surprise me one bit when they came. Once again to stress the point, self-belief was hugely important at this stage – I just knew that as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle – essentially, the way I was designed by nature to eat and exercise – the withdrawal affects would pass and I would reach stability. I am now off all meds for seven months and I’m feeling good – still not one hundred percent but a lot better than when I was on medication. The Cymbalta didn’t cause me major side affects but I realised when I completely came off it that it contributed to some minor side affects which I wasn’t really aware of – my skin improved (I’ve always had problems with acne), my gums stopped bleeding when I brushed my teeth and my hands didn’t dry up so easily the way they used to, for example. I still have a bit of brain fog which is a bit frustrating but not unexpected – I started taking meds in mid 2012 and ever since, I haven’t felt as if my brain has been operating at its optimal level. I do believe this will come back with time – I just have to patient and allow my brain to adjust fully to the meds being completely out of my system. I should also mention that for most of my life, my brain has not being operating at its optimal level - for the most part, since my early adolescents I’ve been miserable and it wasn’t because of some chemical balance in my brain which would have been triggered no matter what – I had to deal with some personal problems which were really inhibiting me. Like my medication, those problems have been put to bed – I’ve been married for over a year and if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be a father at the end of November. As I mentioned above, I stopped taking the Cymbalta at the end of January 2019. In mid-April, my wife found out that she was eight weeks pregnant, meaning she conceived around mid-February, two and a half weeks after I stopped taking Cymbalta. Maybe ceasing the Cymbalta didn’t have any effect on my fertility whatsoever – in any event, I’m delighted I don’t have to go down the IVF route! I have no problem saying that I have the bi-polar gene. I experienced all the symptoms and those closest to me can verify that. However, I don’t consider myself mentally ill and do not believe that I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. As long as I live the way I was designed to live, my bi-polar gene will be completely suppressed – it simply won’t be an issue. For the most part, I believe that the symptoms I experienced were in part simply a reaction to all the things I was doing wrong – my diet, my exercise routine, my work environment, my past relationships etc. I plan to keep my bi-polar gene suppressed for the rest of my life and in order to do that, my life is going to be quite mundane – no substance abuse, regular moderate exercise, healthy sleeping patterns and I’m going to have to continue to spend a hell of a lot of time cooking and preparing healthy food. However, I will take ‘mundaneness’ any day of the week over mental volatility and side affects from psychiatric medication I’ve had to endure over the years. Having come through all that, the stability and contentedness I’ve found are all the sweeter – ‘spring would not be so welcome, if we didn’t have to go through winter’. Once again, apologies for the length of this post – I promise my subsequent ones won’t be as long! As I mentioned above, I feel my brain still isn’t operating at one hundred percent after seven months of all the meds so if anyone can provide me with some advice in relation to this issue, it would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks Francisco
  23. Hi my name is Sean and I'm currently coming off of prozac and trifluoperazine. I had taken 10mg of prozac and 5 mg of trifluoperazine for about 3 weeks. The meds made me gain considerable weight (10-15 lbs in 2 to 3 weeks) and I felt numbed out so I stopped them cold turkey not knowing about withdrawal side effects. I started experiencing withdrawal effects about a week into stopping (dizziness, lack of concentration, memory problems) itching, and they have been getting progressively worse, with fluctuation in symptoms. It's been 3 weeks now and at this point I have a fever, (not sure if I have the flu or not but it feels like I have a bad flu), racing strange thoughts (to the point which I've never experienced before) fatigue (sleeping until about noon some days), lack of motivation, and the same concentration/memory issues. Since it's been 3 weeks I'm wondering if I should try to go back on a low dose of anti depressants or if I should just try to ride this out and hope it subsides. Thank you in advance.
  24. I have been on 3 mg of Risperdal for 13 years due to drug induced psychosis for meth. I decided to finally try to get off the med and have been tapering since December. I did 0.25 mg per month for 4 months but when I hit 2 mg insomnia kicked in for a couple weeks so I waited it out for 2 months and this time went down 0.10 mg for this month. It has been 5 weeks since my last taper and my only real symptoms are fatigue, feeling completely brain dead, and occasionally my vision feels all strange kind of like a very mild acid trip. I am sleeping 9 hours a night and everything is calm I just feel completely flat emotionally, brain dead, and tired for the most part. Would it be better to continue the taper or just hold since my symptoms aren't unbearable but they are just frustrating?
  25. Hi! English is not my first language so I apologize if my texts are confusing, same with my signature. I quit the last 5 mg escitalopram/cipralex 3 weeks ago. When I went down from 10 to 5 mg nothing got better so I started reading about tardive dysphoria which made me very eager to quit my medication completely. I also found out about 6 months ago that quitting 5 mg at a time is way too drastic for someone who has been using the medication for years, but I figured i'd just endure this last time. The problem is that I've now found out from reading on this site and on other places that some of the side effects might become permanent. So my question now is, should I go back up to 5-4 mg, and then slowly go down 1 mg at a time from there? Or should I just wait this out when it has already been 3 weeks. I'm willing to wait it out if it gets better. But if there are big risks about doing what i'm doing right now i'm gonna go back up if that's your advice. Ps: I do feel horrible physically and mentally and can practically not be around people, but as I said i'm willing to endure it if it gets better. I can't trust my doctors anymore, they want to make me go back up to max dosage with both voxra and cipralex + start giving me more benzo for no good reason. Which is why I'm asking here, the people here seem to have good knowledge about this. TL;DR: Go back up to 5 mg and go down 1 mg at a time or endure this and wait for it to get better?
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