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  1. ADMIN NOTE: SEE ALSO: Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms Stabilising After a Reduction - What Does That Mean? Withdrawal Normal Description npanth blog on Waves and Windows in SSRI Withdrawal ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Topic Summary by KarenB June 11, 2017: Windows and waves occur in a stair-step pattern, with a general upwards trend. After a year, a little better. Awful Alto: I've experienced waves. I'll have a window when I feel better, then a wave, which feels as bad as ever, except a little different. Over time, the windows have gotten more frequent and longer and the troughs not as deep, and shorter. So, on average, I've gotten slowly better. Kind of like 1 step forward and 5 steps back, then 2 steps forward and 5 steps back, then 3 steps forward and 4 steps back, then 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, then 3 steps forward and 3 steps back....uh, where was I? Waves mean your nervous system is struggling to heal. It moves in the right direction for a bit then falls back a bit. This is normal. You can view the "better" part of the wave as when your nervous system is finding its balance. These periods will get longer and more frequent as time goes on. Rather than damaged receptors, I've found it more accurate to visualize post-acute withdrawal syndrome as autonomic dysregulation. The effects are generalized and when the nervous system is under stress, symptoms can reappear -- and go away again, as is common with autonomic issues. Our nervous systems are so complicated they repair themselves in patches. Some parts recover then the whole thing needs to re-balance again. Rinse and repeat. The windows are part of the pattern of healing. They are when your autonomic (and other) systems are working in harmony. Withdrawal Cycles vs Other Cycles Alto: There are regular biological cycles, daily, monthly, seasonally etc, and there are the waves from withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal syndrome can exacerbate some normal cycles, e.g. early morning cortisol, menstrual symptoms, or seasonal sadness. Waves from withdrawal syndrome can also come out of the blue and have no apparent relationship to any other biological pattern. Fast Tapering and Waves Alto: If you are tapering too fast and get withdrawal symptoms, they may fluctuate in a windows and waves pattern. This leads a lot of people to ignore the warning signs of going too fast. If you continue to taper, withdrawal symptoms probably will get worse. It's the nature of withdrawal symptoms to fluctuate, because the nervous system is trying to correct itself. It's important to treat yourself gently. You may not be able to handle difficult situations that you've always handled before. Focus on stress reduction. Learning how to protect your nervous system from abrasive people is a good skill and will serve you well in the long run. Being pushed to take care of ourselves is, I guess you could say, one of the benefits of this awful condition. The Importance of Flowing with the Waves JanCarol: There was a DIRECT CORRELATION between how hard I worked during my window / hypo-mania, and HOW LONG and DEEP my ensuing depression was. If I got to washing the dog and mowing the lawn, it might be 3 weeks or more before I'd see the light of day. This is a cautionary tale: when in a window, learn to relax and flow. Don't push. I know, things aren't getting done, and you are tired of it - but if you push too hard, the wave will crash deeper. See entire post - Flow with the Waves Video Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery Members' Theories on what Windows and Waves are all about Healing: I have heard of people having long-lasting setbacks even very far out. It's extremely upsetting. In some cases, it seems like the setback is triggered by stressful life events. My theory is that, even after we have healed a lot, we are still very fragile for a time after that. If life happens to be fairly smooth, we can function pretty well, but if life hands us a big stressor or two, we become really autonomically dysregulated. We're still more sensitive to conditions than we will be when we have healed further. Eventually.....eventually.....we heal even more, become more robust, and stressful life events can no longer knock our nervous systems off balance so easily. Jemima: Because antidepressants change brain functioning by destroying serotonin receptors, recovery goes in fits and starts as these receptors regenerate. (From what I've read, this is my understanding of what getting back to health after withdrawal is all about.) Starlitegirlx I have a theory that it's a healing process where our body is adapting and adjusting to not having the meds. Pain or hellish days come into play, then we feel better for a bit until our body finds a new way to heal and recover which triggers the pain/suffering cycle again. The body knows how to heal from just about anything, but often we interfere or things interfere with it (like stress, other meds or other health issues that compound one another). I like the idea of trusting in my body and believing it knows how to find its way back to its wellness. Bad days are awful but if they mean my body is going through some kind of adaption as it heals, I feel they are worth enduring. Like when you are tired and just want to go home but traffic and bad weather slow you down and frustrate you. Those things pass and you will get home eventually. So accepting the traffic/ bad weather as par for the course makes the journey home easier on you emotionally. It’s a simple analogy but it holds the truth of what is happening – there are storms and delays when we just want to be home (well again). Recoveries are rarely as smooth and linear as we would like. I think it has to do with how the body has to adapt to a new status quo. Any healing is change which brings about a new status quo. So maybe this new status quo throws the workings of our systems off balance - and that's why we have waves. The body is saying 'wait, this is different than it was. Adjust! Adjust! Then as it adjusts we have the suffering we call waves. Those adjustments are probably system stressors, and we all know how sensitive we are to stressors. I think it's why windows get longer as we progress and have healed more. The adjustments we need to make are less because we are closing in on our original normal so the healing isn't as dramatic. Like how a cut stings, then the scab forms and it hurts and tends to itch. That's a healing cycle. At the end, the itch is minor - like how some people who are further into recovery have less dramatic and shorter wanes. A clear description of the healing pattern ADMIN NOTE Original post: In other words, when you go through a period of symptoms getting worse, and then that draws to an end, is it followed pretty obviously by a period of new gains? Are you now better than you were before the wave? People have reported this pattern. I have never been able to discern it clearly in myself, but I'm open to the possibility. What is your experience of this yourself? Or observation of others? Or opinion?
  2. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
  3. I am only 3 months into the withdrawal process so I am learning a lot rather quickly. So far my first 2 waves have started with a sudden ballooning sensation in my head. The feeling is brief but after that my anxiety is heightened and balance is off. Weird head sensations continue for a few days and then my skin starts burning or tingles which starts the intense withdrawal. The first balloon sensation was triggered on the second lap of a mile run and the other most recent time was triggered by being on my phone for an extended period of time. I did some brief research and it seems like it could be some sort of nervous system head ache? My symptoms didn’t match up perfectly but it was all I could find. Can anyone relate?
  4. Hello dear fellas! I am in the same boat like you and I was thinking a lot about creating a topic here. I am a male, 30 years old. My story began in 2010 with a depression I had, which faded away by itself, and was caused by my traveling and settling in a new city in order to study law. It was all good until summer 2012 when I went through a panick attack. It happened to me after a very very intense exam session. This threw me off balance and gave a start to a 4 year struggle with panic, anxiety and I guess a depression, which was caused by all that. After that much time I decided to pay a psychiatrist a visit, who is a close family friend. She prescribed me a drug called Atarax, which helps with sleep. After a few weeks, and feeling drained and drowsy as hell I decided to quit. No problems whatsoever. I told myself I don't need that, I am not sick and that I have enough power to beat a condition like this. And it happened. In the time between January 2017 and June 2018 I was happy and enjoyed life. A stressful event - an argument with my parents and girlfriend, all at the same time, plus the stress from my job, I went back to the pit I was in. On 3 June 2018 while I deriving my car to work I suddenly had a flashback, remembering the time I felt anxious and sick. This was the exact moment when I felt anxiety, fear and thinking I am sick in my head. All was back - the panick, anxiety, fear, sleeping troubles sometimes. Then, on 27 August 2018 I went to see another psychiatrist who put me on Parix (Paroxetine) and Fluanxol (Flupentixol) which is allowed to be sold here in Bulgaria. At the begging of taking the drugs I felt agitated, had vivid dreams, sweating at night, but it all went away. I was gradually getting better. The thing that bothered me the most was the feeling of being constantly sleepy and tired. I had problems with memorizing and I felt somehow detached from the world. I wasn't that bad, I was working at the capital city of Sofia by that time and all was good overall. After a year I quit the Fluanxol under my psychiatrist guidance. Another six months after I quit the Parix as well, of which last 3 months were meant for tapering off the drug. I felt some discomfort during that time not knowning it was signs of withdrawal. On January 2019 I went down to 15 mg Parix, 2 or 3 weeks later I was on 10. It was here where I felt something happening with me but kept going as I was told to. 6 weeks I was on 10 mg, then 2 weeks on 5 mg, and last two weeks 5 mg, skipping a day, plus Magnesium, which was prescribed from my doctor. I felt kind of OK until 25 April 2019, after a cup of coffee. Then suddenly I felt agitated, got scared of what was happening and this marked the begging of my withdrawal. I began shaking, like I was in a hypoglycemia (happend sometimes to me in the past, before drugs). I lost my appetite, fear ran trough my head. In the time before and after that I was feeling detached from the surrounding world but I wasn't aware of that till last few months where I felt more and more alive. The feeling was as if I was living in a cocoon. I felt jittery all the time, my sleep got bad. I was sleeping 5 or 6 hours, with adrenalin waking me up at 5-5:30 am., feeling dreadful. I could feel the fear inside my gut. Which prompted me to go to the toilet immediately. I was having diarrhea. Strange sensations in my head appeared and stayed until May or June. Can't refer to them as brain zaps, but felt pretty similar. I felt that with my head as well as with my body. At different points in the following months it was getting even worst - tinnitus, nausea, consonant anxiety and fear, depersonalisation, total loss of doing activities, including working, despite the fact of doing so.In July I felt pain in my back which was never there before. My head felt in a way you feel that when you were get there flu. I was thinking I had fever but actually never had. At that time stomach acids emerged out of the blue. I wasn't eating something different or I have never eaten for the acids to appear. They stayed for a week, then went away. They got back for a few days in August and then dissappeared. Another thing that hit me difficulty speaking sometimes because my jaw muscles were super stiff. As well as my legs and arms. Crying spells were bad. I even cried once in front of my girlfriend after seeing a scene in a movie. I was having a ball stuck inside my throat. Sometimes I had difficult times reading. It was as my eyes were jumping across a word rather then following it instead. I had no sex drive at all. I had neuro emotions which was very frustrating. I was not able to feel happy, I guess it was anhedonia. I guess I don't remember all symptoms but the feeling was constant misery. At the time September 2019 passed I began feeling a bit better. Nausea, tinnitus, muscle jitters were gone. I slept better. Crying spells faded away with time, as well as the ball inside my throat. But feeling the recovery was slow and definitely in waves and windows. The thing that was there all the time was bad derealisation, the feeling "there is something in my head making it feel like having fever", blurred vision sometimes occurred. In the months after I got better until February 2020. What happened felt like someone smashed me in the ground. I was feeling like relapsing. It was unbelievable that I was feeling kind of OK for being in a withdrawal and then, a day after it was all back - anxiety, bad derealisation, fear, bad sleeping. I was aware of the community here, I have read a lot about withdrawal and this is what was and is still keeping me going. Apparently I skipped the part about the 10 month wave. I was so relieved when I got to know about it that I immediately felt better and reassured myself it is not a relapse. It passed after 2 weeks. I felt better afterwards. In the begging of May 2020 I felt a bit strange feeling in my nose, as if I wasn't able to feel air, you know you kind of feel it when it goes trough your nose. It passed in a few days. After that I got rinnitis out of nothing. Stuffy and runny nose, as if I got allergy from pollens. This kept going for about 10 days and made me feel irritated as i never had it. It was like that until 15th of May when I received a phone call from my dad. He said he is now feeling well, and has fever. He reckoned it may be the coronavirus. I felt bad, really bad. Scared and fearful. The same night was bad, I couldn't sleep. In the morning the anxiety feeling in my head was back. I was very worried about my dad. He passed a test, which was negative. In a few days we already knew he just had inflammation on the bladder. But my constant anxiety stayed. My muscles began getting stiff again. My sleep got disrupted. I am awaking in 5 am every morning. I feel terror after waking up from the adrenalin rush (or cortisol, I am not sure). I am having diarrhea again. Sweaty palms and feet. I am overthinking all the time. I lost appetite, interest in involving into any activity. I feel almost like in the early stages of withdrawal, only without the dereaIisation, which makes it even scarier to me. I was hoping to find support here and help me distinguish whether it is a relapse or a wave , because till now I knew it is a wave, but this time it feels pretty real. I am constantly asking myself whether is it possible to get such a massive set back after going trough waves that were not that bad followed by a nice window. Any advise would be highly appreciated. Thank you! P. S Sorry for the long post!
  5. I have taken citalopram 20mg for 10 years. I had a very damaging childhood and the doctor suggested these to help my mood. A few months ago I went to my gp to try and come off them. He gave me 10mg tablets to gradually decrease my dosage. I began taking 10mg one day and 20mg the next. Then started taking more 10mgs instead of 20mg. I had no side effects at this point. After a few weeks on 10mg I started cutting my tablets in 4 and got the the point I was taking 1/4 of a tablet a day. Then I began missing days. The end of October I ran out of my tablets and decided not to bother getting anymore as I was feeling fine. I then realised I had been cutting up my 20mg tablets instead of 10mg. Anyway for the first week I was fine. 2nd week I had tingling fingers and random dizzy spells. Then came anxiety palpitations and other side effects. The side effects were manageable and didn't affect me much. Until a few days ago I began feeling very dizzy and off balanced. The tingling in my fingers is back, I ache all over and my head and ears feel full. I have no idea what to do now. I'm not sure if I should start taking the citalopram again or what. I'm missing work due to feeling like this and I have 3 young children. Please can anyone help
  6. Today is my birthday and I feel like the best gift ever is finding this forum. I am tapering off of fifteen years of taking Symbyax and bupropion. My psychiatrist seems to have little knowledge about antidepressant withdrawal. I have been on half my usual dose for two months now and I seem to be getting more severe ups and downs. I am so grateful to find other people willing to share their experiences. It gives me strength. I will be monitoring this forum daily as I already feel better knowing you all are here. Thank you.
  7. Hi all. Below is a chart of mood vs energy vs intellect waves I found helpful in understanding what was going on during a previous taper. Many may have seen it before since it is originally intended to explain the various types of depression. I found it helpful in understanding what was going on with my weird moods and cognition that I had never experienced prior to taper, either on or off rx, and were very confusing to me. The way I see it, as we taper these waves can be in various states (even other than those show) from day to day or even hour to hour until they find their, your particular body's own, individual natural state of homeostasis. From months to years. Maybe that state isn't ideal, but we can work on modifying it by safer, more natural means. I hope some of you find this helpful. Would love to hear your thoughts.
  8. Hi! This is my first day on here as a participant and not just an observer. Ive been in Lexapro for around 5 years after having anxiety after some life changes. I found that it wasn’t really working for me so went off to the GP who wanted to taper me off in 2 weeks yo get on to something new. I decided I didn’t want to go into something new after doing further research on AD’s, withdrawal etc. so I decided to slow down my tapering myself. The drop from 20-10 was a bit difficult but eventually I was having more good days than bad so after about 4-5 weeks, I took the plunge and dropped to 5mg. This drop is proving difficult. I have not had many physical symptoms, but emotionally I’m a wreck. I’ve been on 5mg for about 5 weeks and the last 3 weeks have been unbearable. High anxiety daily, crying spells, irrational anger- luckily I can control it around my beautiful husband who is super supportive and keeping me on track. I have constant fear that this is now me normally and I’ll never be my happy chirpy self again. I fear I will ruin my life, scare my husband away, that I’ll need to back on medication, I’ll never be calm/normal again. Just wanted to know- are these typical/normal fears that a lot of people experience during withdrawal? What helps to stop you from going backwards and back onto AD’s? Any thoughts are appreciated. JustCope.
  9. HI to all,Iam [Mukr] from India..I need some help ..i was on etilaam s 10 which has Escitalopram 10mg (SSRI) and Etizolam 0.5mg benzodiazepine as active ingredients.. i stopped it cold turkey and their after iam not like as i was before..i feel like weakness,main symptom i feel like i might fall when i walk..my head explodes,sometime feels like i have problem with every part of the body,spine,brain,ears chest pain etc..sometimes i feel good and suddenly i get this problem...is it withdrawal symptoms...since i was on it 3/4 months how much time will it take for me to recover...tapering i fear to touch those tablets again..whatever happened happened and iam not going to take the..Is their a way how to minimize those symptoms and allow healing it.. My major symptom is when i stand up i feel like internal vibration which outsiders cannot see and i feel it like iam shaking inside like small power supply running inside whole body..is this typical symptom of this drug.. thanks in advance.
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