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  1. Hello everyone! I'm a 23 year old male from Finland My story pretty much goes like this. Got really depressed when I was around 17-18, which led me to see a doctor. They made me see a doctor and I scored really high points on their "depression test". At around 18 years old I was quite suicidal. I was almost instantly put on 20 mg of citalopram and with 3-4 months I was doing a lot better. Fast forward 5 years and I have eaten the same medication for around 4 years now (had some breaks when I tried to quit). I think I ate 20 mg for around 2.5 years and 10mg for around 1.5 years. Troughout these years my depression has become a better, however I've had periods in my life where it got quite bad. Right now I'm studying at a business school and around 8 months ago I really decided that it's the right time to get off the meds. I quit my 10mg citalopram cold turkey, which in hindsight wasn't a good idea and I don't reccomend it to anyone. I got really bored of living in a somewhat medicated state of mind and really just wanted to feel like a normal human being. During these 8 months of withdrawal the first 2 months were filled with the basic withdrawal symptoms that almost everyone has. Month 2-5 was a time period where I felt a lot of anxiety and since around month 5-6 to now I've been in a state where I find it hard to get enjoyment out of life. I think it's called anhedonia or something. And also my emotions haven't come back and I feel a little bit weird still. It's also worth pointing out that both of my previous relationships have ended, while I was in wd, which I completely understand now. So I just pretty much briefly explained my situation atm and I've been thinking of doing this for weeks now. The reason is that after getting over my darkest depression I've been left with a feeling of wanting to help other people going trough the same thing. I created this account in order to show everyone else my progess, what I'm doing, to be able to give advice and to motivate others. Right now I'm in a quite sh*tty situation, where my relationship of 1.5 years is going quite ****, I don't feel that much emotions and I feel a little bit depressed sometimes. I will show you how to get trough this!
  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. 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
  4. Success story: trying-to-havehope-off-latuda-october-2015 Hello everyone. First off I want to say that I know this site is largely about antidepressants and my latest experience is about an antipsychotic but I could really use the support, guidance and insight that you might have. I'm going to try to make this as cLear and short at possible. I've always had depression and I've been on and off antidepressants since I was a teenager. The side effects not being worth the lil they did for me was always why I got off. Well I hadn't been on for 4 years and I just got tired of my depression again. I have ptsd and am in therapy and I thought it would help with the stuff it was kicking up. I have pcos and I told my psychiatrist that I had mood swings. And I should also note that I went to see him the year before and he prescribed me lamictal but I got so scared by the side effects I didn't take it. A year later around the same time (winter/spring when my depression gets worse) I went and he diagnosed me as bipolar still and gave me Latuda. I took the Latuda for 5 months. I wanted to get off of it cause I really couldn't cry on it and I felt so blah about everything. Seemed hard to get interested in anything. Well ironically the day I talked to my pdoc about it...with him obviously not supporting me getting off cause he told me I won't live a quality life without meds...I had some anxiety that was triggered by something but it was electrified. I had never experienced anxiety like this. I was so scared. That weekend I had mood swings and horrible anxiety and I started the taper. I was on 60mg of it. He originally told me if I wanted to come off just go down half for a week and stop. WRONNGGGG. This was the beginning of the most horrible time in my life. This happened at the end of august. What happened going off this med...first the horrible electrified anxiety and mood swings. Then...the depression. I have had depression my whole life. This depression has been worse than anything I thought was humanly possible. The mood swings. I don't understand how going off a med could do that. My perception has been off which I can't really explain. I have had nightmares. It seems like this med distorted my memories (can it even ******* do that???). I'm so scared all the time which I guess is anxiety. My concentration is horrible. I'm obsessive. OH YEA. I completely lost my appetite with the anxiety and lost 30 pounds in 2 and a half months... I have been wondering if I will be forced to go back on meds. How could I manage (hard but was still doable) without meds for 4 years and have this experience and feel so ready to end my life. Between him telling me I can't have a quality life on meds and reading so many experiences of people on meds....it's like what's the point? Will I ever be able to go back to my old depressed self? I used to be able to binge watch tv and enjoy food at least. Will that happen again? I know no one can really anwser these questions right. I have lost so much hope. I don't know if I'm coming or going. I feel like I've been traumatized by this experience. I don't mean to sound dramatic but I really do. How can a med randomly do that and the taper cause all this? I feel like it attacked me. And I am obsessed with researching things online which makes things worse. Can you live well without meds with depression? Also, how do you stop hating yourself for going on meds? I keep thinking please turn back the time. Please god. Why did I do this to me? I knew meds sucked. Why would I think this time they would help? How could I be so niave. Now I'm stuck. Oh and by the way. I ended up going to 40mg for 2 weeks then 1 week 20. Probably still too fast but the med was causing so much **** and I thought I would get immediately better off. It's been 2 months being off and I'm still off. My sleep is now normal. The electrified anxiety is gone but now I'm scared a lot with random terror feelings. The depression has improved but still feels worse than before. I cry all day every day. Eating has improved but not 100 back to normal. Any tips. Insights. Support. Oh and I take vitamin c, vitamin d, and I read on here to do magnesium so I do that at a low dose too. Even if all you did was just read this...thank you.
  5. Success story: mranxious-update-years-later Hello folks, Wow I came across this website and it definitely helped my outlook on this horrid process of withdrawling from Anti- Depressants. Here is my story. Life was good I was 23 years old, sitting in my University Class seminar, participating with my class, when out of nowhere all these feelings came rushing over me, people started to go sideways, couldn't really talk. Long story short I dropped out of University and went home to parents. I Went to an emerg clinic and was diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder(Gad). Immediately I was giving a prescription for Effexor xr 150mg, followed up with my doctor and was up at 225mg for awhile and 150mg for awhile over a 6 year period. I am now 29 years old, about 4 months ago the effexor pooped out, well it may have pooped out a year before that, but we all know how addicting it is. Went through the stigma , perceived personality changes, felt brilliant and ability to talk, got lots of good jobs, was able to be social, felt at times like it was a miracle drug, then slowly over time I lost my jobs, gf's , starting smoking marijuana heavily, took up smoking cigarettes and had anger and frustration issues, never had this before the medication. My doctor just refilled my prescriptions and never really questioned how I was doing on this medication. If I missed a dose one day I would have horrible symptoms. Long story short I feel effexor got me through the first initial espisode I had, but eventually ruined my social life, career life etc. It's been a tough trip. So after this medication pooped out 5 months ago I figured lets try to go off this and tapered off during a two months period.150mg to 75mg to 37.5 then half of 37.5 and then half of that,then off. I quit Effexor on March 22/2012 after being on it since 2005. Wow Lets just say after I came off it I felt so amazing, I saw everything in a fresh new light- like this is what life is like off this? Colors are brighter, Smell is better, everything changed for the positive after coming off it. Rose colored glasses you should say came off. I quit my 2 addictions of Cigs and pot immediately, was so proud of myself, fixed up debts that I wouldn't have touched on effexor. I felt like I had total control of my life, except for how to deal with these raw emotions , felt like a brand new person. Until... The 3 month mark being off Effexor, wow. Anxiety, Insomnia( not sleeping til 730am), not being able to look at somebody and talk to them in a normal light( was never a issue all my life). One week ago I tried Wellbutrin for 5 days and then withdrawled off it 150mg xl. It was just making me more anxious etc. Now the biggest problem I face is feeling like my memory/words have disapeared, can't make sentences or think of what to say and this was never a problem in my life and it's bothering me big time and I don't know what to do, as I feel like my brain has been messed up by 6 years of effexor highest dose 225mg but mostly 150mg. How do I get this back? I need some good responses here because I feel like a complete dummie as my mind has been erased. Thank you for reading this extremely long post, but I didn't want to leave anything important out, and I really want to move on with a life that I can accept and enjoy. Where has my memory gone? Will it comeback? How long if so? My words and ability to talk to people and come up with things to say? Very scared, What can I do? Use to be so smart I am Martin and that is my story, Glad to be a part of this group (29 years old) ^6 years on effexor , now 3months off 2005-2012 , March 22/2012 Off Effexor
  6. Blujay's success story: bluejay-i-survived-you-can-too Hello Everyone, I was pretty much amazed and so thankful when I stumbled upon this website a month ago. I read so many posts from people going through the same challenges as me and I am so grateful to get feedback and support and optimism from those who actually know what it is like to come off anti-depressants. So first off, thanks so much for reading and helping me with your advice. I'll try to make my story quick. In 2009 when I was 28 years old, I suffered a vertigo episode and noticed I was constantly dizzy. I went through many tests, brain MRI's and the physician assistant I saw told me he could 'fix crazy' if none of the tests showed anything. We;; guess what? I was apparently crazy! (sarcasm) Mind you, my boyfriend and I had recently separated, my dog had died, I had moved, my friend co-workers switched to a new job and I had a new position at my job--lots of stress. He never explained therapy, CBT or anything. He said I'd need to be on it for life that I was anxious and it was my nature to need the medicine. So I was prescribed 10 mg of Celexa and .5 mg of Klonopin. I did not take the Klonopin everyday. Around 2011 I was upped to 20 mg of Celexa. In 2016 the meds didn't work and a new doctor wanted me switching. I began to wonder if I could manage life without them since I went 28 years without them in the first place. So I also wanted to get pregnant. A year a a half ago my dr said get off the pills in two weeks. Online, I read about horrifying things if I did that with extreme withdrawls so I made my own taper. Honestly I can't remember exactly, but it took me 6 months to go from 20 to 10 mg then I stayed on 10 mg for 6 months to stabilize and then I weaned from 10 mg to 0 in 6 months. A total of 1.5 year taper. Unfortyuantelu had I known about this site, maybe my taper and experience woyuld be better now but the last month of my taper I was at 2.5 mg and felt great, was looking forward to summer and so I stopped the meds. This same week I had a pelic/back injury to my SI Joint. So I went into a spiral of panic from the injury and I feel like my well planned taper backfired. I spent two months going from several doctors to get a diagnosis on my back and so I was freaking out about my back but all the while this heightened my anxiety and my depression. I've been off the Celeza since mid May 2018. I still have a 15 pill prescription of Klonopin that I only take a 1/2 dose if it is extreme and have only taken about 5 pills total in the past 5 months. I've been having many symptoms and the most hard to deal with currently is the feeling as though I cannot breathe. I looked it up as dypsnea. I feel like the only way to fully breath is to yawn very deeply, but that doesn't always work and I still have such tightness in my chest. This has been going on for about 2 months now and I can't figure out how to get past it. Also my jaw gets so tight and I get a lump in my throat. I also have wobbly shaking legs, jitteryness, some dizziness, shaking hands. My thoughts are very dark, I am constantly thinking about death, not hurting myself, but the sadness of things ending and not seeing those I love. I feel like I cannot be happy. I am crying so much even about silly things like undercooking salmon the other day! I feel hysterical but also, I am going to work, putting on a clam face, driving to my three therapies a week (two PT and one CBT) so I am doing a routine but it is so hard. I wonder if this is my new normal or will I level out and get a grip and feel better. Currently because of my anxiety and my injury I can't possible have a child and at 37 years old I really feel like I don't know what to look forward to in my life. I just don't know how to deal with stress and not let it take a hold of me. I'm the type of person who likes to plan and well, that's a bad thing when you don't know how your future looks. Meaning I guess I realizing how boring life can be at least this is how my outlook is on life right now and I am frustrated by it. I am also thankful to be off the meds, too, though because I feel like I am fully analyzing my life and realizing I need to make more positive changes like eating healthy, doing hobbies and not relying on my boyfriend to make me happy, but this is a slow change and I am someone who wants results so fast. I'm scared, honestly because I really don't want to live on anti-depressants and though I've been off of them completely since mid May 2018, four months, I hope things improve and am here to help others with my story and seek help from you, too. Thank you so much for reading my story and I wish you healing and love. Any suggestions or advice will be so GRATEFULLY appreciated!!
  7. Success story: cocopuffz-11-years-on-paroxetine-its-nothing-but-a-bad-memory-now-i-am-now-free Hello, I am new here. I really appreciate everyone posting their stories, struggles or successes. It helps me understands what I have been through WAY better. I was on paroxetine(20 mg) for 11 years for social anxiety. I was told by my psychiatrist that it would be "a vitamin I take for the rest of my life". Little did I know it would rob me off all my emotions in life. Over the last 11 years I have had a decent amount of "we dont know why this happens" health conditions. I now look back and blame alot of it on this drug. Since coming off of this drug my health conditions have improved, but some of the withdrawal symptoms kick my butt here and there. Reading the success stories, I know these will get better with time. So I am keeping my nutrition dialed in and my attitude positive. Thanks!
  8. Success story: karenrose-i-successfully-came-off-after-years-of-trying Hi everyone. It is great to have a forum like this. I am so grateful to find qualified help. I was given an antidepressant 13 years ago to help with a deep depression that no psychotherapy or alternative approach would help with. Paxil was a godsent at the time. However, with my first attempt to come off, I learned how destructive these drugs can be and had to go to Cymbalta, then Lexapro. I came off again, this time with aminoacids and was succesful for about 6 months. I got very depressed again and went back on Lexapro. After several traumatic events I learned that I had Hashimoto's and finally understood how to treat this. My depression abated. Over the last two years I have tapered off Lexapro - very difficult, but succesful to the point that I am now on 1mg instead of 45. I am struggling with the last mg and have horrible symptoms when I try to go off. Looking in this forum to try to find ways to taper more slowly off 1mg. Will elaborate on this later. This is my quick intro for now. Thank you so much for this life saving forum.
  9. Brooke Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to finally be posting here. I've been lurking here and there since 2016, when I first found Surviving Antidepressants when I was considering getting off of the Effexor XR and Wellbutrin XL I'd been taking from age 15-30. Like so may of you, withdrawal was hell on Earth. I experienced everything from homicidal visions to extreme noise sensitivity to rage to a bizarre blood vessel disorder called nodular vasculitis. Combined with the tsunami of pain and trauma that came gushing out after I removed my antidepressant band aid, and I was a barely functioning, terrified mess with no psychiatric support. I was lucky, though, to have some resources outside the traditional mental health system that helped me work through my experience, and today I am proud to say that I consider myself cured of chronic depression haven't taken a prescription drug since 2016. It's taken me until now to actually participate in the forum because I needed to know that I was in a solid place. So much of the internet (I'm looking at you Twitter...) can be a triggering environment, and had to make sure that I could mentally handle it. But I trust in the work I've put in, and I'm ready! I say all this not to boast, but to wave from the distance and do my best to act as an example of success. I know that when I was in withdrawal and working through all the trauma, I would have done anything to know that there were people out there who were thriving after spending half their life on antidepressants. Instead, it felt like I was in uncharted waters. I wrote about this for the Washington Post earlier this year, and the flood of support and stories I got in response was overwhelming and heartbreaking. Anyway, happy to answer any questions, and much love to you all. Brooke
  10. JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
  11. Just wanted to introduce before I jumped in and started posting. I was on Effexor at varying doses for roughly 18 years. I did a taper that lasted over two years, and have been completely off for 11 months. Even though I did a slow taper, I ended up developing anxiety, depression, as well as physical health problems. That's the basics, and I can add more later if necessary.
  12. Aria's recovery from poly drugs. I had no idea when I walked into a psychiatrist's office 25 yrs ago the horrible labyrinth I'd entered. Slam dunked at a point in my life when I was feeling low and the loss of future possibilities taken away. Being told I was mentally ill, would never function again, needed to be on disability and poly drugged for the rest of my life repeatedly took it's toll. All this impacted my relationships with family, friends and enjoying life. The pdoc constantly added new psych drugs, changed doses and took me off the old drugs at an alarming rate. I became a morbidly obese woman who mumbled or talked rapidly and it was obvious to everyone but the pdoc I was totally messed up on something. I had Seroquel Induced Acute Pancreatitis that landed me in the hospital for quite awhile and my pdoc put in my open med chart I was crazy. I didn't know this till later but ill as I was I did notice some of my physicians were treating me oddly. One good thing about being so ill was I referred to a neurologist for chronic pain and found out my problem was profound drug induced Akathsia. This neurologist actually screamed at me, these psych drugs are killing you, they're killing you. I knew I had to get off these drugs not matter what it took and reclaim my life. At my next appointment I asked my psychiatrist why he was drugging me like this and he looked directly at me (probably for the first time in years he saw "me"). He started sobbing, loudly sobbing, "Oh God what have I done to you", over and over. I'm sitting there thinking oh crap, I don't need this. Our 15 minute med check was up and this guy calmly goes to the front desk to get the next patient and proceeds without any other fanfare. He's robot. A robot. All this in itself was mind boggling. Hell, closure?? No way. I found out I had Tardive Dyskinesia and a few other psych drug induced issues. My face was a road map with twitches and jerking that yelled hey, I'm on massive psychiatric drugs. Will my face be like this forever?? The TD has mostly gone away and I'm so grateful (the pdoc adamantly said I did not have Tardive Dyskinesia from psych drugs). Well, guess what?? The psychiatrist was wrong...horribly wrong. Other doctors, psychiatrist, therapists said you're not mentally ill and never had been. The sad but very scarey part is I'm labeled as profoundly mentally ill and that info is in my medical charts. One pdoc did this...one. I've gone through the gambit of emotions dealing with this. I will probably always be mad at this jerk for what he did to me and for what he still does to others. It affected years of my life and he was wrong. I'm a Success Story because I'm psych drug free and have been for several years. My journey was extremely difficult and I did it on my own hit or miss tapering off numerous psychiatric drugs. I endured drug withdrawals that paralyzed me month after month. Was it worth the hell of tapering? Yes, very much yes. My reward was my clarity of mind, my passions for life returned and I have hopes for my future. I mended fences with family and have made new friends. I strive everyday to be productive. I'm me but a different me because no one could go through all this and not be changed by it. (for more in-depth conversations about my struggles, coping and self awareness with surviving psychiatry please visit my ongoing thread Aria's Psych Journey http://survivinganti...psych-journey/)
  13. Hi everybody. My name is Gus from Australia. I think i may have found the right site here. I've been on effexor 150mg/day (most of the time. 200mg/day at worst times, 100/day at better times)for about 11 years, was on zoloft, aropax and citolopram for short times beforehand. I wish i'd found this site earlier as it has some great advice for tapering. Too late though as i've already done that with a set of ebay scales and a calculator. Tapered over about 4 months(yeah i know, too fast according to this site). Even still, a lot slower than the doctors would have me do it. I'd just got down to 75mg and a dr told me to go on 37.5 for 2 weeks then just stop. I took his precription to avoid an arguement and threw it in the bin once i got home. Once i got down to about 60mg/day i only dropped it by about 5mg/week. I've been on zero for just over 9 weeks. If my wife hadn't suggested i try her magnesium powder(as it may help with stress) i'd be a complete mess. This stuff really helps. Are there many people out there who can please tell me how long it took to get back to where you were before you started effexor? What kind of symptoms, waves and windows you had and how often did you have each and how long did they last each time you had them? Also, i've heard omega 3's are usefull. Can anyone please tell me how so? What do they relieve and how much to take? Any informed/positive replies are very welcome. Regards, Gus.
  14. This site is a go-to to reassure myself that others are traveling and have traveled this road. The discussions about emotional spirals (check) and anxiety, rumination and dread on waking up (check) and depression even worse than before medication (check) have been helpful. I am being extra mindful now of taking Mag powder in the morning and before bed. I started AA and kundalini yoga in mid-May which have both been helpful. Although I really didn't drink much, it was enough (and mostly alone, not social) and any depressant when you are coming off an antidepressant can't be helpful. Also, I changed from hatha/vinyasa yoga to kundalini yoga which is more focused on the spiritual component of yoga. I won't lie: at 4 months, I still fall daily into waves of depression and loneliness. But I do find that there are glimmers of happier times and I am getting clearer -- I hope -- about how to handle the tough times (for instance, I just now think that my beloved dog has a fever and am trying not to emotionally spiral -- ugh). I will be reading this site like mad just to remind myself that I am not alone. Farm Girl Works Tapered 75mg Sertraline March 2017 in 4weeks after 6 years mostly on with a few unsuccessful WD Stopped Sertraline April 1, 2017
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. I'm another refugee from PP....I was so shocked when I logged in and found it gone! Very upsetting. I found a few people whose names I recognized from PP so that was nice. I'm currently in month 14 of my cold turkey WD.....I was too far out when I found out I should have tapered....PP was a wealth of information and support for me and reading the uplifting posts that "This too shall pass" was so encouraging in the thick of things. I am here if anyone needs an ear, wants to ask what my experience has been like, etc. My name is Gina and I am from Canada
  18. Hi everyone. I've been browsing this site for a couple of years and thought I'd finally join. I'd love to be able to talk with others about what I'm going through. I'm only 22 but I've pretty much been through every hell imaginable in terms of SSRI use (I started when I was 5--not by choice, obviously). It really frustrates me because I never even chose myself to go on these medications, I had very bad tantrums and anxiety as a small child and a psychiatrist put me on them. As I got older, instead of being told to get therapy and try getting off them, she just kept raising the dosage. By age 12 I was on the maximum dose even though my problems weren't that severe. I remember being in middle school gaining weight, feeling tired CONSTANTLY, just not feeling like a kid at a ll, and at the time no one thought that the medication could be the reason for it. It's so upsetting because I feel as though my entire life up until this point has been taken from me and Ill never experience what it's like to be young and happy. Like I said I never showed depressive symptoms before the medication but as the dose was raised I would occasionally get depression symptoms. When I was 15/16 I was switched to celexa which actually "worked" quite a bit better for me, I lost a lot of weight and felt energetic and motivated, but by the time I was 18 I really wanted off of these drugs that weren't even my choice to go on. However, as I learned the hard way psychiatrists don't have a good understanding of what's required for a successful taper. I was then on 40mg, and she lowered it all the way to 30, and then quickly after that to 20. This all happened right before I went away to university for the first time, so it was just horrible timing. My first month of college I noticed I began to feel severe chest pain. I didn't know what was happening and it was very scary. My entire freshman year I essneitllay spent in severe burning pain all across my chest and upper back. I would be doubled over crying for much of the day because of the pain. I went to see SO many doctors about it but they all said I was perfectly healthy and it must be from anxiety or just 'in my head'. I had to leave college after my first year because of the pain. By this point I was completely off of the celexa because I didn't know what was happening and I thought the pain was being caused solely by the drug itself. But the pain didn't get any better, it got worse. I basically spent the next 3 years (not an exaggeration) bedridden crying in pain. I cannot even describe in words how severe the pain was. And the problem was no one even considered that it was due to withdrawal because every doctor I went to said no, withdrawal wouldn't cause pain like that. So it was just a constant 'search' to figure out why I was having this mysterious pain. Even when I went back on the celexa to see if it would help, it wouldn't get rid of the pain, but I believe that's because (as I later found), the only way to get rid of it is by going on the HIGHEST possible dose because that's the highest dose my body was accustomed to. Finally last year I tried Zoloft out of desperation (I was missing my whole youth...I feel like my situation is a lot different because I spent 18-21 bedridden in pain. I know I could "wait it out" a few more years...but I'm missing my entire youth, a period fo my life I won't get back, and I don't know how much longer my college is going to let me take time off. I should have already graduated by now :(. It's so painful to be in so much pain while other people your age are having the time of your lives.) So even though I hate these medications, I tried Zoloft in a desperate attempt to just be out of pain and be able to move forward with my life. By the time I reached 150mg my pain went away completely (after 4 months on it), but of course I have other side effects on it I do not like like loss of creativity (I want to be a musician, and I love art), not feeling emotions as deeply, and almost feeling like your'e living life in a fog. To be blunt I don't feel "myself" on it. My individual spark is gone. But, I was just so desperate to get rid fo the physical pain. Anyway I made a freaking stupid decision in May to go off of it. At this point me and my doctors still didn't 100% make the connection between the pain and withdrawal, it was just a 'theory'. I thought my pain could have lessened because I had a boyfriend and friends now, was in school, feeling better, was out of pain to the point I was exercising consistently, etc. Well, nope lol. All of my pain returned this month. I'm back to being in bed with pain I'm in a huge dilemma because I know from past experience the pain DOES NOT go away. It's weird because I don't have any mental symptoms from going off the medication. I don't feel any more anxious/depressed/etc. The symptoms are all physical for me. It's just the most severe pain imaginable. I'm sure it's some type of nerve damage because it feels like burning knives stabbing into me..no words can describe the pain. I just want the pain gone as soon as possible, but I know if I go back on the medication I have to say goodbye to who I am as a person and my musical talent. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Like I said, I have already missed so much of my life. I don't want to be bedridden from pain anymore 😞 It just hurts so much. And it's not even my fault because I never chose to go on this medication!! I feel like I'm screwed for life, and will never have a full life devoid of both pain and of the medication. What if I just never adjust to being off of it because I started so young? I just hope some people here can offer me advice on how to eliminate it without having pain like this. I just cannot stand the pain... I'm sorry this is so long but like all of you, my story is long! To make it easier if someone is just skimming, withdrawal symptoms include - severe burning / stabbing pain in upper back, chest, shoulders - occasional hip pain and inability to walk because of it - digestive problems (extreme bloating, heartburn) - lightheadedness when standing up at times - basically feel like all my nerves are on fire - chest tightness 24/7
  19. Zoloft withdrawal success - my story When I first decided to wean myself off of Zoloft, I searched the internet for stories about people who had successfully gotten off antidepressants and had trouble finding them so I promised myself that if I made it I would post my story. Tomorrow, will mark my "no Zoloft for one year" anniversary. In that time, I haven't used alcohol or any other mood altering substance either, and I'm doing fine. It hasn't been easy, and it took a while, but I made it and I was able to function, to work and to take care of myself throughout. Diagnosed with social anxiety and depression when I was in my mid 40s, I was put on Zoloft and stayed at 200mg per day for around 5 years. The Zoloft helped me. It took the edge off of my anxiety, and since my depression was the result of my anxiety, it helped with that as well. Another pleasant side effect was that I lost a few pounds. So why would I want to stop taking it? The Nurse Practitioner who prescribed the meds was puzzled. It works, why stop taking it? I can't fully answer that question, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I've struggled with addiction my entire life. Drugs, alcohol, food... maybe I felt like by taking the Zoloft I was avoiding dealing with one of the major themes of my life. Whatever the reason, I wanted to stop taking it. I'd tried twice using the NP's tapering recommendation, which was to decrease by 50mg every week for a month. I never made it past the first week because I'd have flashes of disorientation and dizziness (which I didn't mind) and then become anxious and depressed (which I did mind). She told me Zoloft didn't cause withdrawal symptoms, it was my natural state of anxiety and depression returning, so I needed to stay on the Zoloft. I knew I was having withdrawal symptoms, but they were so intense I couldn't function, so went back on the Zoloft. Then my mother told me that she had weaned herself off of Premerin by doing a very slow taper over the course of a year, so I decided to try that. My plan was to decrease the Zoloft by 25mg every month over a period of 8 months. The first month was fine. I'd have rough patches, but they were manageable. After 8 months I was off the Zoloft but a few weeks later, I started having withdrawal symptoms including what people refer to as "brain zaps." I called them "head rushes" because it felt like my brain was being flooded by chemicals. Then I became anxious and depressed again, so I decided to go back up to the lowest dosage where I felt good, which was 50mg. Then instead of tapering at 25mg per month, I reduced it to 10mg a month, and that is how I eventually got off the Zoloft. Whenever the withdrawal symptoms became uncomfortable, I'd go back up to a "comfortable" dosage then begin tapering in smaller increments, a "progressive taper," similar to what is recommended in the book "The Anti-Depressant Solution," and on this website. Eventually I had to buy a milligram scale (available on amazon), because the increments became so small. I was amazed how sensitive my body had become to the tiniest adjustments in dosage. The last month I was down to 5mg, and I stopped taking Zoloft completely February 1, 2014. One year ago tomorrow. I was on 200mg of Zoloft for 5 years and it took 2 ½ years to taper off completely. It took a long time, but I wanted to taper safely, physically and emotionally. And I did. During that time I was able to work and to meet all my social commitments. At the suggestion of the NP, I joined a social anxiety group which used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She warned that I shouldn't go off the meds without addressing the underlying cause, which made sense to me. However, I also believe that much of my anxiety and depression was situational, even though she maintained it was my natural state. When I first came to her, I was going through an extremely stressful period of my life. I was having problems finding work and didn't know how I was going to pay my rent or survive from month to month. I went on one job interview after another and I think social anxiety and depression were my way of trying to protect myself from more rejection and failure. So how do I feel now, one year later? I'm doing okay. I occasionally get a head rush, but it's very mild. I wouldn't today describe myself as either socially anxious or depressed, but I know that this is how I react to stress, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped me develop strategies for dealing with those tendencies. 12 step programs, self help books, spiritual practices like yoga and meditation, healing modalities like Reiki, and individual therapy have all been part of my healing process as well. On this journey, life has given me both challenges and assistance in dealing with social anxiety and depression. For example, as I was tapering I started dating someone for the first time in years, and we had a fun relationship which helped heal a lot of issues relating to social anxiety. Then, after two years we broke up, so that offered its challenges, but I didn't sink into depression, which was kind of amazing. At the time, I also had bed bugs which deprived me of sleep and sent my anxiety through the roof, but I survived that too. (The bed bugs did not.) My ex-boyfriend introduced me to hiking, which I loved, so I started going to hiking meet-ups and found a circle of friends who also love to hike which helped heal a different aspect of my social anxiety. Also, becoming more physically active probably helped with the depression... In other words, life went on. There were challenges and there were opportunities and often the challenges were the opportunities. The Zoloft helped me get through a very difficult period of my life, and I'm grateful for that, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But here I am, 8 ½ years later, and I haven't used Zoloft or any mood altering drugs, alcohol or coffee (all of which affect my anxiety and depression) for a year. Today, I feel optimistic and hopeful. I know life will have it's challenges but also that I have resources and strategies to assist me, and I am grateful to all who have helped me on this journey; therapists, teachers, friends, strangers, nature, and also to life itself, which Eckhart Tolle calls "the greatest guru of all." Do I have moments of fear and anxiety? Yes! Do I have moments of happiness and joy? Yes! Do I have moments of depression and sadness? Yes! Do I have moments of laughter and silliness? Yes! All of it, yes. What I was dreading is that it would be unending anxiety and depression, and that hasn't been my experience. Life is okay, with its highs and lows and all of it. Like Snoop Dogg says, "it's all good."
  20. Hey there. This is my first post, but I have a success story that I’d like to share. I’d like to preface by saying I had been on 75mg of sertraline (Zoloft) for approximately 7 months. I quit last year and have successfully made it through the withdrawals! I see more horror stories than success stories on SSRI discontinuation. My hypothesis for this discrepancy is that people who successfully quit the drug don’t really have that much of an incentive to post their stories, while people dealing with the terrible side effects are more likely to seek out information. I knew there were millions of people on SSRIs, and I refused to believe that my discontinuation symptoms would be permanent. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I found out quickly how unhealthy it was to hold this mentality of permanence. I tapered off a too quickly (~2 weeks). I believed that since I had only been on the medication for a few months, I could get away with tapering off at that rate. Consequently, I ended up having over 6 weeks of hellish withdrawals. The first 2 weeks had the most powerful physical symptoms: brain zaps, fatigue, nausea, etc. These symptoms seemed to go away around week 3, but then came another wave of symptoms: anxiety, paranoia, depression, and a lot of overthinking. I didn’t realize it till week 5, but these feelings were more powerful than when I had them before starting sertraline. Week 5 was the worst; all these terrible feelings went into overdrive. I remember a few specific days of this week were particularly dreadful. I had been reading up on SSRI discontinuation online and freaking myself out reading people’s horror stories. I was afraid that I permanently removed what it was to be human. I was terrified I’d never feel joy, sexual desire, or ambition in my life ever again. I was angry at myself that my choice to try anti-depressants fucked up the rest of my life. I was broken, and I just wanted to be normal again. These are unhealthy thoughts, and I was wrong. My life did start coming back. I slowly felt what it was like to be “me” again. Small steps every day reminded me. One day something would make me laugh. Another day I’d notice a cute girl. I appreciated and cherished every step throughout the way. And slowly but surely, old joys started coming back to me: I started feeling ambition, I was looking forward to future plans, I was dreaming again (I could sleep well again!), and I was feeling love again, both for myself and others. I believe there is a strong psychosomatic component during these withdrawals. It’s difficult because your brain doesn’t allow you get past these negative thoughts while its readjusting, but you have to keep moving. There isn’t a quick solution, but your brain is powerful and adjusts to your current circumstances. That’s why exercise, a healthy diet, a support network, and a positive outlook are so important; you want your brain to re-adjust in an ideal setting. So, don’t blame yourself or hold a grudge for trying SSRIs; you actively did something to confront your inner demons. From one stranger to another, you will survive this. Good luck.
  21. Link to Penny's success story: PennyLane26 Success Story- Protracted Paxil Withdrawal Hi all- I am new to this site and would like some advice. Here is the deal; I have been weaning off of 15 mg Paxil slowly since January 2016. Before that I was on it (off once 4 months ) for approximately three years. I had been supplementing with five 5 HTP and it helped me get down to 5 mg. Like an idiot, I took way too much and gave myself serotonin syndrome. I was then instructed by my doctor to stop all supplementation as well as the 5 MG of Paxil . This is when withdrawal hit. I was then prescribed 5 mg of Ambien as I was having severe insomnia. I reinstated 1 mg of Paxil in April to stabilize, and it helped somwhat. I have been doing pretty well up until now as I was getting sleep. Sleep is my biggest issue right now I do feel I cannot cope without it. Now the Ambien seems to not be working as effectively and I am having increased anxiety, severe depression and no motivation. I really want to get off the Ambien and I am contemplating reinstating even more Paxil to stabilize. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!
  22. Link: I had been on the highest dose of celexa before this. my dose was quickly raised from 20mgs to 30mgs to 40 mgs, where it stayed for many years. My insurance balked at the 40mg dose, saying that over 30mgs was not shown to have any additional effect so about 2 yrs ago, my dose was reduced to 30mgs. I don't even know how many times I have tried to go off this drug. I do not believe it is helping me at all. It seems all I have is the side effecs but no benefit whatsoever. I have had several severe depressions in the past couple of years. I am now commited to getting off this stuff for good. For a lot of reasons that I'm too tired to go into now. I am down to taking about 1/8 of a 20mg tablet every couple of days, or whenever the insomnia and/or feelings of rage get to be too much. I am very lucky, this time I have NOT had any of the brain zaps, nor that feeling of losing my balance, etc. Primarily I am dealing with severe insomnia that may or may not be from going off the lexapro- see, I lost my 17 yr old cat on Nov 29th and I have not been able to sleep much at all since. I think it's a really weird grief reaction, but I don't know, maybe it's partly withdrawal too....? the rages are totally out of character for me. Part of me thinks they are due to extreme fatigue but even when I am not feeling too terribly tired, I will have these "episode" of just terrible anger out of nowhere. it scares me. I think of doing awful terrible things, violent things. I screamed at my doctor's nurse. for no reason, really, I just felt out of control and that she was not hearing me about how bad things are. anyway, I did not know a place like this existed, I've been on forums for ppl with mental illness before and they all get totally freaked out when you talk about going off your meds. I hope I can find some support and help for this and mostly I hope to be able to be OFF of this drug for good! thanks for listening to my long rambling post, off to look around the forum
  23. Link to: Santino's success story topic Dear friends. I am right now in a very big of a situation. My second daughter is coming into this world due in two weeks and i am as much as a wreck as evere. I had used xanax for on and off very small doses but after two weeks of continuous 0.25 mg usage it seems i got hooked and started to have a lot of anxiety and panic attack. Before that i have had twice problems but i managed to pass them with personal power and sort of other CBT. This time was a bit harder. I Somehow stabilized at start of April on 6 MG Bromazepam and 20 MG Anmitryptiline. After the stabilization i started tapering and failed the first time. The amount went big again up to 6 MG and after a period of 10 days i developed some kind of depression even though i managed to stay at work. Doctor prescribed Remeron 15 MG and i was a bit reluctant to take but i am in a very difficult position right now as my wife is giving birth to my second kid within two weeks and apart from that i have a loan to pay and could not afford to be off so i agreed with the doc to start it. Psychologicaly in the beginning i felt good because with Remeron help i started to make big jumps on the Benzo (Bromazepam) and within 3 weeks i have gone from 6 MG to 0.75 Mg currently. I am still scared though because i have never been on an antidepressant before and there are horror stories all around web about all types of them as well. This is the fourth week i am taking Remeron and is not helping to much with sleep some nights due to my worry thoughts, some more it has side effects (high cholesterol and triglycerides are a trend in my family, me no exception to that) and i am only 40 Years old. There are days when i really feel very bad and hopeless in this situation but somehow manage to push it forward. I need help whether i am doing the right thing and in case yes after i am done with bromazepam most probably in 3-4 days how long should i wait to start tapering Remeron.... One mor thing friends... i have never been depressed for all of my life. OKKKK... i have had difficult moments or periods here and there... but only mild situations. This time the doctore tried to cure me with the reason of my fears.... and i think she failed miserably. Anyway.... i was scared out of proportion after three weeks of xanax and some drinking sessions and all went berserk. Give me some opinions on what should i do???!! Should i wait some days and try taper fast Remeron??? (i will be on them total 4 weeks this tuesday). Maybe i am one of those persons who by chance do not have withdrawals... All the best and keep it tight.... WE WILL PREVAIL.... 🙂
  24. Ok, so here goes again, I had the unfortunate luck of being thrown into this horror for actually no reason at all. Back in September 2003 got sick and was given an antibiotic never had any problems before with them so i took em. Well, two weeks later not putting 2+2 together I went to the. Doc because I literally couldn't walk and had severe insomnia , like not a wink of sleep for a week also, couldn't hold onto power tools because the vibration was EXTREEM muscles stiff and sore all over and urinated almost black one night. They did tests and found nothing MRI blood. He said it was anxiety and I needed paxil, I was in horrific shape and said ok. Never had anxiety before though. Five years go by and I tapered off in March 08 things are great until I get chest infection in August. I get another antibiotic and after a few weeks, INSOMNIA, HORRIBLE PAIN, CANT WALK, TERRIBLE NIGHT SWEATS, I realize this is what happened 5 years prior and called my doc to find out what he gave me the first time I went nuts. LEVAQUIN!!! the same crap I had just finished. I begged for paxil again to straighten me out because I thought that is what fixed me the first time. Oh, he also said antibiotics can't do that, yeah right, a normal one doesn't but the atomic bomb of antibiotics can and its called a flouroquinolone. I had been FLOXED. Well, after miserable startup effects the paxil worked again and now I knew it was not me that went nuts the first time and thought paxil was harmless and made me more mellow. I read all the horror stories on paxilprogress back in 2003 when I was looking this stuff up and thought these were just weak people and the stuff is fine. I decided in 2011 to come off in one months time from 10mg. And this time weird stuff happened to me , I was reliving my teen life (which was awesome) like a tape playing over and over and songs repeating over and over and hyper excited constantly with huge adrenaline rushes. I had no idea what it was and I just pushed on. Until I found my father dead in his yard a day after he drove my mom to airport for vacation at my sisters. He was in 98F full sun all day and I found him after he failed to pick up his best buddy, my son for tae kwon do . It was not pretty there were bugs and sunken blackened eyes and just not the way you would want to remember someone. Well, in my weakness I figured I'll go back on my 10 mg. again and after lousy startup it went ok but not the same, then I noticed I was not doing all my favorite things and realized that over ten years MANY of my passions left me. So in February 13 one month taper again and 1.5 months later all hell breaks loose with insomnia terrible foot sensations and many other things like anhedonia and no libido , fog and all the usual things people get. Reinstated again and figured I would do it right. Come November 2013'i got stress fracture in foot and was taking huge amounts of NSAIDs and all of a sudden I went into withdrawal with extreme sound sensitivity and everything else. In December I kicked a table so hard it triggered an autoimmune disease which no one in my family has called psoriatic arthritis and I am sure it is withdrawal related and painfull as hell and 1 year later my foot is still swollen and now I have minor psoriasis too that my dermatologist says is rare to start at 46 years old. In January 2014 I began my 10% taper and was ok until sept. When severe withdrawal hit and the great people from PP talked me through not reinstating, I was at about 2.35. I got better but I still have daily or weekly window wave patterns but never feel normal yet. I usually only get 4 hours of sleep per night and twitch all over and no more night sweats in like 8 months. I do. Notice my sensation on fingers and feet are greatly exaggerated and I have become ticklish again ( I used to have to fake it when my little ones tickled me now it really happens). I work full time in construction and I fell exhausted every day but can't sleep, although last night I made six hours which has been extremely rare. The doctors want me on humira for my arthritis but I am holding out hope that my immune system may change when I'm off for good in a few weeks. I am currently on .8 mg and I am very scared of dropping off soon. Sorry for the long post but there it is.... Oh and my taper was lost with the closing of PP but it was generally 10% every 4 weeks or so unless I felt good I went quicker but was at nine almost a year goo and now .8 so I think it was ok.
  25. Link to BrassMonkey's success story Hi All--I go by Brassmonkey, but you can also call me Tom. I new to this group but mnot new to WD. I started on 20mg of Paxil 19 years ago and over the years built up to 40mg. Aboth three years ago it stafted causing mre problems than it helped. I was constently in a fog, couldn't remember anything more than a few seconds, had balance problems and very heavy night sweets. My drinking was also out of control. After some serious "discussions" with my wife I decided I had better do something. My Dr said "if you want off, then just quit." I knew better from when I had to change from 30 CR to 30 regular and there was a problem with the Rx. Some web research lead me to a forum that suggested tapering at 10% a month. Sounded good to me, not being one to leave a good thnig alone, I decided to sneek up on the 10% by dropping 2.5% a week for 4 weeks and then holding for an additional 2 weeks. In the past 14 months I have dropped from the 40mg to 13.7mg and have to say that I have had very little trouble with the WD symptoms. They are there, but are fairly easy to handle. A few weeks after starting my taper I joined AA and CTed the 15 oz a night vodka habit I had developed. I'm technically not sober 'cause I still enjoy 2 beers on most nights, but it's nothing like I was drinking. I recently switched from AA to DDA (dual diagnosced anon) and find that they tend to understand the AD problems a lot better. Oh yes, and my wife is very happy with the positive changes I have made. That's the basics, I'll blither on more as the topics arise.
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