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  1. My introduction topic: Female, 26 years old. Drugs I was on: Wellbutrin (Voxra) 300mg and Escitalopram (lexapro/cipralex) 20 mg. Valium 15-20 mg very sporadically, around once a month. Numbered in case someone wants to only read specific parts: 1: Hope 2: Backround 3: Tapering 4: Symptoms 5: Improvement 6: Experiences with doctors, nurses etc etc 7: Recovered, lessons learned Post after this one is about things that helped me. 1. The first thing I want to say, because it seems like such a common feeling for people in withdrawal, is that in my honest opinion it will get better, no matter how much doubt and hopelessness you feel. I think many here have felt that we're the exception because of how much we're suffering and it's hard to believe we can get out of it. The symptoms will lessen with time. So even if the recovery in total can take years, it doesn't mean that you will feel this bad for that whole time. The eighth month is most likely not gonna be just as bad as the first or second month (This is also why it's a good idea to keep some sort of record or journal, because we don't always see the improvement until we look back). Everyone is different, so just because our own recovery doesn't look exactly like others that's not a good reason to give up on hope. It seems like the thinking is extremely skewed for many during withdrawal. It's like we hold on to negative information a lot more than people usually do, and that's also important to remember I think. Just because we think something doesn't mean it's true. 2. Went on Escitalopram 20 mg and Wellbutrin 300 mg at 17 years old. I had severe depression and it was (I thought) my last resort. The first two years they seemed to be helping, later on I noticed I wasn't myself though and strangely numb/careless which led to questionable decisions at times. After a couple of years on them I started to feel very mentally unstable for seemingly no reason at all and read about antidepressants being a potential culprit. Second year on meds I also got benzos (valium (diazepam), 2 mg but I always had to take at least 15 mg for it to help) to calm my very sudden anxiety. I somewhat knew the risk of benzos, so I was careful about not taking them too often and managed to avoid creating a dependence on them. I decided I wanted to start tapering both antidepressants when I realised they might be the issue. My (one and only good) doctor agreed with me and thought it was a good idea to start tapering. Unfortunately this doctor retired. 3. Tapering Wellbutrin: 2015 I quit the wellbutrin completely by tapering from 300 mg straight to 150 mg. Went on 150 mg for around a month, then started taking 150 mg every other day for two weeks as instructed by doctor. From what I can remember tapering wellbutrin went relatively okay for me. Tapering Escitalopram: Started tapering beginning of 2016, 5 mg at a time with 4 weeks in between every taper. So for four weeks I'd be at 15 mg, then four weeks at 10 mg and so on. Tapering this drug gave me issues almost right away, but the more I tapered the worse it got. At 5 mg I started getting the most symptoms which got worse when I quit completely. Very important thing to mention I think, is that most of these issues I had never had in the past. In case someone not in withdrawal reads this I want that to be said because I was being presented as the issue by the doctors I met, rather than the drugs being the issue. I was not a worrying person before, and I barely knew what anxiety was despite being very depressed. Unlike many with depression I did not get anxiety with it, until I started taking the drugs. 4. Here are the symptoms I wrote down when it was happening: Tooth grinding, when awake and asleep. Often lead to headache Very severe anxiety, anger, irritation, sadness, stress, restlessness, self loathing, wanting to die Suicidal thoughts daily Very tired Weight gain Difficulties falling asleep Upset stomach Severe stomach ache from the constant worrying Ache in different parts of the body, mostly legs, stomach, neck and head A lot more timid and shy, couldn't walk out the door most days and waited until it was dark out. Difficulties breathing (anxiety symptom I assume) Heart palpitations and heart flutter Sensitive to noise Very easy to cry, often for no reason Strange yawns that would never be complete. Like feeling the need to yawn and not being able to fully do it, this could go on for long periods during the day. Bad time perception and short term memory Derealisation Severe semi voluntary motor tics, mostly in feet and hands but sometimes in other parts of body. Paranoid (thinking people want to do me harm and so on) Very easily frightened, skittish Strong and impulsive self destructive urges (this was very frightening and new to me) Strong sense of losing my personality and who I am, at times it was as if I was grieving my old self Occasional bed wetting Very depressed Burning feet syndrome Burning/warm sensation in head Later on I also felt manic some days, euphoric and over active for no reason (This would explain why the doctors suspected bipolar despite me not ever showing symptoms in the past) PGAD which went away after about a month more or less, caused pain as well. 5. I would say when it started to noticeably get a little better was in the summer of 2018. In the summer of 2019 several of these symptoms were gone, for example the tooth grinding, restlessness and self loathing, among others. 6. During all this time I got no support what so ever from any hospital. I told several different doctors, nurses and therapists what was going on and no one took me seriously. One laughed in my face. Another one asked what I was doing there if I was gonna refuse medication anyway despite me expressing concern about the new symptoms. When I once chose to mention that many people experience the same thing as I did, the first and only response I got was her questioning my credibility before moving on. Later in my medical journals I could read that most of my doctors were convinced I was bipolar and I was the reason for getting sick, not the drugs. It wasn't considered once that the drugs could have caused all of this. I also lost an old close friend because they didn't believe me or supported me, simply because they had never heard of this before. The reason I mention losing friends and not being believed is because it's a huge part of experiencing withdrawal for many, I think. It makes you feel extremely lonely, disappointed and betrayed. This lack of support and not being believed is dangerous when someone is in drug withdrawal and is already often suicidal. 7. Today the only symptom that I still have to deal with is the motor tics. I suspect I will have to live with that but that's okay. It doesn't stop me from being happy and moving forward in life and I can say for the first time in a very long time that I feel genuinely happy. I have my life mostly under control. I still have to work on my social anxiety but being happy and physically healthy makes it a lot easier to work on. I no longer experience mania or depression either. The most important thing to me was that I would someday feel like my old self again, and I do feel like that today. I also felt that all this added more depth to me as a person in a good way. It forced me to improve my ability to cope on my own and finding strategies that worked for me. Life feels more easy to take on after going through withdrawal (which probably isn't worth much to hear when in the midst of it, but so valuable afterwards). I'm so thankful for this site and everyone on it. It has been the only place where people have been willing to help and understand during the worst thing I've experienced. There is more I could say but this is already very long. I'll do a second post under this one where I'll write down specific things that has helped me.
  2. Hi! This is my story: At the age of 23 I was taken with panic disorder. I had no previous experience with mental illness and went through hell experiencing this for the first time - saw myself locked up or not being able to take care of myself or live a "normal" live (whatever that is) ever again. This was during my last year at teacher training college. I was prescribed Anafranil (TCA) and also got Sobril (benzo) to cope with the anxiety during the first weeks of medication. After a couple of months with medication, therapy and breathing technique training I started feeling quite OK and somehow managed to complete my education. But this was only the beginning of many years of experience of mental disorders. Living with panic disorder was a struggle working as a middle school teacher, even though medication and calm breathing helped. Eventually I reduced and quit medicating - only to develop depressions. So I was prescribed some new medicine. And when I tried to quit that medication later, I went straight down into a depression again. During almost 30 years now I've been on antidepressants. I've struggled to cope with the ups and downs of life, along with my mental "illness". I married and got three wonderful children that I love more than life. Then my husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Our first born son started showing signs of not feeling good when he started school. He didn't like school, had a feeling of not belonging and struggled to fit in. We reached out for help from everywhere, but noone seemed to be able to help. In his teens he couldn't cope anymore and got depressed. He couldn't finish high school and we've been trying to get him help ever since. He is now 23... A young man with very little hope and sense of meaning. And still living with his mom and dag. He was just diagnosed with ADHD, but he himself (and we) is pretty sure that's not the whole story. People living with relatives with autism/asperger tend to take for granted that he has that kind of diagnosis - including himself. But not the psychiatrists. Whatever. (Help him with his PROBLEMS maybe? "No - because our tests show that he doesn't have that diagnosis - so he doesn't have those problems!" Hmm...) Our two years younger son was happy, bright and full of joy during his childhood. Growing up, he and his big brother were the best of friends. But they started drifting apart as the older son got increasingly more depressed. And then suddenly, just a couple of months before his fifteenth birthday, he started to feel sad. When we understood that he needed professional help we took him to a psychiatrist specialized in children and teens. Me and my husband both accompanied him. He was very quiet and had a hard time speaking and interacting with other people. And as the psychiatrist struggled to make him talk she suddenly asks him "Do you really think you are so pitiable? I've worked with children who have cancer. THEY are pitiable!" We were shocked by her words and immidiately took our son out of there and explained to him that he should not care about what she said. That is was unprofessional, evil and not fair to say such things! But the damage was already made. The next day we all - family and best friends - got a personal sms from him, telling us how much he loved us... It was the day before his 15:th birthday. We got there in time to save him. And the psychiatrist were denounced - from that one clinic... After this, our youngest son suffered from a bad depression for a long time. And wasn't able to complete high school properly. It took some years. He is now 21 and have just recently been able to take up his studies again. He is a gifted musician and actor and is determined to follow his dreams. Our daughter is the twin-sister of our youngest son. She used to be the happiest little girl in the world. And then she grew up. She started feeling anxious. About everything. To the point that she couldn't eat because of nausea and lack of apetite. So - eventually, when she was 12, we took her to the psychiatrist. To get help with her anxiety. They took a look at her and then immidiately tried to make her "amit" that she was starving herself on purpose...and gave her some more anxiety! (Thanks!) It didn't matter that we assured them that that was not the case. I myself have been "accused" of being anorexic for the first 25 years of my life - which hurt a great deal, since I had a huge complex for being so thin. And so does my daughter. Since then her anxiety has slowly increased. A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with GAD - General Anxiety Disorder - and was prescribed Sertraline. About a year ago we started to suspect that she had developed bipolar disorder. She seemed to be slightly hypomanic to us. My husband followed her to her psychiatrist and told him about these thoughts. But he dismissed it and sait it was only "mood swings". In the beginning of last summer she started to seem slightly euphoric. One day she called me and cried and laughed and spoke jibberish. She posted live videos on facebook where she acted strange, talking about some kind of mission. And here was her first (and hopefully last) psychosis. With help from a doctor, some paramedics and a couple of police officers we managed to make her open the door to her apartment. At the psychiatric hospital they found out that she tested positive for cannabis, that she hadn't been sleeping for 4 days and that she was severly manic and suffered from delusions. She was taken to a psychiatric inpatient care facility, taken off Sertralin (since we told them about her predisposition for bipolar disorder - and Sertralin might cause mania and psychosis to bipolar people..) and put on Olanzapine to deal with the psychosis. This was 3 months ago. She is no longer psycotic, but suffers from a depression. And here we are now. Worrying about and trying to help my children has made it difficult for me to work for the last couple of years. This last summer with my daughters psychosis pushed me further down. I now try to manage to work 25% (10 hours a week), digitalising teaching books. This summer I suddenly got sick of taking antidepressants and started to slowly decrease my dosis of Venlafaxin. But last friday my doctor wanted me to try another medicine, since I have such difficulties coping with even 25% of work. He wanted me to try out Voxra and told me to simply switch from one day of 175 mg Venlafaxin to 150 mg of Voxra the day after. I asked if I really should switch straight off like that, without slowly decreasing the amount of Venlafaxin - and he said yes. I wish I didn't listen... Two days after quitting with Venlafaxin and starting with Voxra I got all the withdrawal symptoms in the book - and I really didn't need this right now. Huge dizziness, nausea, panic anxiety, sleeplessness, night mares, electrical shock feelings in my brain, fast heartbeats. After 3 days of this hell I added Venlafaxin to my Voxra dosis. But - I actually want to get rid of the medicines. Examine who I really am - because I forgot. Sorry about the long story. But this is my life. And I shed some tears writing it all down. Thanks for reading.
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