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  1. My original post: So, as of right now I am 17 months completely off all medication. I consider myself fully healed and am so happy to be able to write this because I want others to know that full healing IS possible, even in extreme cases. As I spoke about in my original thread, I was put on an SSRI at 5 years old for anxiety. While at first it seemed to 'help', as I got older my psychiatrist kept on raising the dose until I was essentially a zombie from about age 14-18. It caused many problems and I went from being a very social and happy kid to a sullen, antisocial, shell of what I was. I believe it also gave me bouts of depression, as I never had depression before I was on it and my most depressed periods always came after a dosage increase. It was very painful to me to think about how I had my adolescence and happiness taken from me by this drug and the people who kept me on it not seeing what it was doing to me, but I've reached a point in my life now where I can forgive and am too happy about life now and my future to dwell on that. I really want others to know, if you were put on these meds before you were even old enough to consent to being on them, I understand your pain, and assure you that even in a case like this, you CAN heal, and a life without depending on these drugs IS possible. I know there likely aren't many of us but I know others like me do exist and I hope somehow you find this post and my story can help you in some way. The medications I was on during this period were Zoloft and Celexa (I switched to the latter when I was 13), and I was on the highest doses of each (200mg and 40mg, respectively). When I was 18 years old, I had a stressful period and since it was my first time living away from home at college I started to come to some realizations about how crazy the whole thing was that I was taking these medications without even really understanding as to why I was on them still and not feeling like it was in any way my decision to take them. This was in 2014 and because I was young, and felt invincible and naive I essentially just stopped taking it (Celexa 40mg at this point). I'm not sure about how much detail is necessary here about what followed (although I'm more than happy to answer any questions anyone has and am an open book), but basically, I was ok for a couple of months, but then suffered for the next 4 years with intense, excruciating withdrawal symptoms that ranged from extremely painful physical and medical things to hellish mental symptoms. To this day it amazes me what this drug did to my system, as I never imagined that it could affect things that it affected (my blood tests from my first year of withdrawal confounded even the fancy, expensive doctors I went to). I suffered more than any teenager/young adult should ever have to suffer. I spent literally 3 years basically bedridden, in severe physical and mental pain, not knowing what was going on or if it was ever going to end. I felt like my soul was in crisis, and like I had no sense of self or purpose anymore. Growing up on these meds, I had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn't really been myself from age 5 to 18. But instead of starting over, and forming who I really was, I was unable to even do that because of the physical and mental pain I was in and inability to do anything with my life. I could go on and on with more specifics, but I feel it's more important now to explain what I believe really healed me (And I do consider myself healed now-- I went from being bedridden in pain, dysfunction, and chaos, barely even able to stand and walk sometimes, and completely hopeless about life and feeling out of control, to completely healthy, functional, happy, and living my best life). I think all of us who go through this suffer on a level that others can't really comprehend. But some of us may not realize that there is, in fact, an upside to this. When we're immobilized by pain, and crippled with mental symptoms like depression and anxiety, we have no choice but to just sit and be with ourselves. And this is where we find and understand who our true selves are. This might sound strange or "woo woo", but the major catalyst that really jumpstarted my healing was finding the calm within the storm. I highly recommend meditation for everyone going through this because for me it is what helped me access the part of me that was happy and calm independent of all external circumstances. The more I was able to quiet all my thoughts, the quicker I felt my healing process going. I really went through a spiritual journey, especially this past year when my healing really cemented, and I can honestly say that I've emerged not only healed, but a happier and wiser person than before this all started. I made the decision that I was going to heal, I made the decision that I was going to find happiness and joy and the life I wanted, whatever it took. I feel happier and more excited about life than I ever have (and my body and mind feel amazing). When you let go of stress, worrying, sadness, and negative thoughts, even when the situation outside you really is negative, you will be shocked at how things change. This whole journey is a spiritual journey for all of us. Yes, there are physical effects from this drug, but healing really takes place when we harness the light that exists in us even when things are at their worst. It's a highly personal path, but I really believe it is possible for everyone to overcome this. Supplements can help, but the power of the mind is limitless and infinitely more rewarding. Sparknotes version - meditate daily- quiet your mind. This is so beneficial for mental and physical health. - be aware of your thoughts, and as best you can, limit stressful and negative thoughts. For the first few years of withdrawal, my thinking was constantly "Life is so unfair", "I'm in so much pain", "What if this never ends?", "I am in hell", "Life sucks", etc. If this process has taught me anything, it's that your thoughts do matter, more than you know. Once I started changing my thoughts, my body and mind literally started to change. - journal. Writing down your thoughts can be very cathartic and can even help purge negativity that could be holding you back. Also, as counterintuitive as it may sound, you can even "fake" journal, i.e. write as if you have already healed, write as if you are happy and healthy. - Something I didn't mention in the full post, but VERY important-- when it comes to supplements, start one at a time, and start at a low dose. I know this is mentioned on this site many times, but I didn't take it seriously. I can't tell you how many months I literally lost because my SUPPLEMENTS were giving me symptoms that I thought were just part of the withdrawal, but were actually from the supplements I thought were supposed to help my withdrawal! As Altostrata is always saying, our bodies are very sensitized when in withdrawal and we can have seriously adverse reactions to things that seem super benign. Fish oil, for example, gave me heart palpitations. Ashwagandha, a 'gentle herb' that I had only read good things about, gave me major joint pain and digestive issues. PLEASE start supplements one at a time, at a low dose, wait a couple weeks and see how you're reacting to them. Everyone is different, and only you know what works and doesn't work for you. Keep track of what you're taking and don't fall into the trap of thinking "Oh, it's just a natural supplement, that can't be causing anything". That's how I used to think too and I went through even more pain because of it. There were times that I thought because my brain had developed on these drugs and I was on them so long, I'd never heal. But I did, and I'm in an even better place than I think I would have been if I hadn't gone through this. I am a genuinely happy person, I've formed deep connections with people, I have hope for my life and feel so happy and secure on my path, and I have really learned to appreciate the little things. Most importantly, I learned the importance of my thoughts and how they really affect all aspects of my life. I believe we are all meant to have a happy and healthy life, and it's possible to reclaim that right even when things seem utterly hopeless and bleak. Remember that you have more power than you know. We are a greater and more powerful force than these drugs are!
  2. Hi, I’m new hear, I’m sorry if I have any gramatical errors, my native language isn’t English. I’m 18 years old female, I started sertraline at 14 and was been on and off sertraline (I used it total for about 2-3 years) I started when I was 14 and Stopped at 17. My last dose was about 4 months ago and I was on sertraline for 4 months (50 mg I think). I stopped because I learned about pssd. However I don’t think I tappered correctly. I didn’t knew how to. I’m now battling with pssd, a really severe depression, really severe derealization, brain fog, and I’m really suicidal. I don’t know what to do, I’m really really bad mentally and I’m desperate for help, for someone to bring hope to my life, but I don’t want to go with a psychiatrist, should I go with a therapist/ psychologist? I’m extremely depressed and derealized and can’t stop thinking about killing myself. (I’m not sure if I can talk about this here, but I really need help). I just want some hope about pssd, I’ve read here that pssd is just like any withdrawal symptom, it can take years to get better but it will improve and I really wish this happens, I also really wish to be myself again and not want desperately to die.
  3. Hello to every warrior reading this! I must go with the consensus of everyone here that it is life-saving that this website exists. I am currently experiencing one of the most difficult times in my life due to Lexapro withdrawal, and it seems that many others on the site have been going through a similar intensity of experience. I am incredibly grateful for anyone reading this that may be able to provide some guidance. I think you can see this in my signature, but I was prescribed escitalopram (Lexapro) when I was 11 years old (was anyone else this young when they were prescribed??). Because I was so young, I can't quite remember what dose I was started on. What I do know is that eventually, I was on 30mg of escitalopram during most of high school. I slept my way through high school, falling asleep multiple times a day at school and often coming home and taking four hour naps. I don't understand how my prescribing psychiatrist thought any of this this was okay. When I was 19, I dropped escitalopram (as well as buproprion) cold turkey. Two months later, hell ensued that I wouldn't wish on a single living soul. Reinstating 10mg escitalopram, not the full 30mg (and no bupropion), improved my situation quickly. I stayed pretty steady on this dose of 10mg, but I eventually began taking it irregularly, only 3-4 times per week. I have been desperate to come off of escitalopram fully for the sake of spiritual, emotional, mental freedom. In June of 2020 at 21 years old, I started working with a holistic psychiatrist. I began taking 5mg escitalopram every day rather than the sporadic 10mg doses, and noticed no significant change from that for about 5 months. I went down to 4mg and stayed there for about three months, and was fairly stable. Then, I made the tremendous mistake of dropping straight to 3mg. After about three weeks on the 3mg dose, my insomnia kicked in. Started sleeping only 2-4 hours each night. I should have reinstated 4mg as soon as that started happening, but I didn't (because I wasn't on this site at the time!). I was stubborn and thought I could push through for a little while. I became quite desperate around six weeks of this insomnia, and reinstated 4mg at that point. I have now been on the reinstated 4mg for a little over two months now and have experienced almost no improvement. I sometimes go into very dark places when I'm awake for most of the night. I have been working my ass off at sleep hygiene, meditation, yoga, and other strategies. I am desperate for a full and restful night's sleep and I sometimes doubt my ability to keep pushing through this. Am I trapped in this terrifying existence of sleep deprivation? Will my body ever be able to come out of this? At this point, the intense anxiety as a result of sleep deprivation and the sleep dread I'm experiencing don't always feel worth my crusade to be off of the SSRI. I would so appreciate updosing guidance. Should I updose 1mg at a time until I see improvement? How long should I wait for results from each updose? And if updosing doesn't yield relief, am I then just stuck on the higher dose without any improvement? Another concern is that I haven't been able to find any other member on this site who went on an SSRI as young as I did! Obviously there are no studies on this and we all know that the doctors are clueless. Does anyone think that there is hope for someone like me, whose brain was literally formed around an SSRI? One last thing is that I think one of the most important things for getting through this is providing support to each other. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you're in a similar situation to mine and would like to be part of a support network for one another! I am especially inclined towards spiritual (rather than religious) guidance, so if that's also what helps you please reach out! THANK YOU INCREDIBLE HUMANS. I am so inspired by the strength of people's stories here.
  4. Hey there! So I'm now 19 and my life has been hell for over a year now. I have a bit of a history with antidepressants. I started Zoloft at age 12 and ended up quitting after a year or so, no issues (below is my med list after starting Zoloft again at age 14). For 3 years until completely stopping drugs, I was on Lexapro, propranolol, and gabapentin. These drugs were used for depression and migraines. Through things like therapy, I was able to overcome depression and mild-to-moderate anxiety. I was tired of being medicated and wanted off. Unfortunately, my GP took me off of things wayyyy too fast. I went from 20mg of Lexapro to none in the span of 4 weeks (subtracting 5mg per week). I then got off the other two in four weeks each. I experienced intense withdrawals from these but figured it was just part of the process. One of these symptoms was anxiety, panic attacks, and hot flashes/sweating. After a few weeks of WDs, things seemed pretty good. However, I quickly began getting panic attacks and experienced intense anxiety--especially physical symptoms such as hot flashes, pounding heartbeat, etc. Anxiety had always been a mental thing for me, but now it's extremely physical. I got back on all the original drugs after 6 months off them. But now, even almost a year later, I'm still experiencing intense physical symptoms (I hate hot flashes). Getting back on the meds helped, but I'm not the confident person I used to be. I've been homebound and an anxious/depressed wreck for the past year. It's almost as if those withdrawals unlocked something in me. Now I don't know what to do. Is it possible for this to happen? Did I just develop anxiety or are these longterm withdrawal effects that are there even with reinstating? I'm sorry it's a lot to read, but I'm feeling very lost right now and don't know what to do or what caused this to happen. Life was so good and it depresses me to see the state that I'm now in. I wasted my entire 18th year of life being anxious beyond belief. Thanks so much. Starting Started Zoloft 100mg October 2014 (age 14), 50mg -> 100mg Switched from Zoloft 100mg to Lexapro 10mg May 2017 (age 15) Bumped up to Lexapro 20mg June 2017 (age 15) Started Gabapentin 1600mg/day October 2017 (age 15) Started Propranolol 40mg/day May 2018 (age 16) Stopping Stopped Lexapro 20mg October 2019 (age 17), tapered down 5mg/week until stopped completely Stopped Propranolol 40mg/day October 2019 (age 17), tapered down 10mg/week until stopped completely Stopped Gabapentin 1600mg/day November 2019 (age 18), tapered 400mg/week until stopped completely Drug free for 6 months Starting Again Started Lexapro 20mg May 2020 (age 18), 10mg -> 20mg Started Propranolol ER 120mg June 2020 (age 18), 60mg -> 80mg -> 120mg Started Gabapentin 1600mg/day July 2020 (age 18) Started Buspirone 60mg/day November 2020 (age 19)
  5. I've spent the last 13 years on various ant-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazapines. I was most recently on 80mg of Latuda and 900mg of Trileptal when the doctor who diagnosed me when i was 14 called to tell me she was wrong. She told me that I didn't need the drugs, and never had. My mom died from side effects of psychotropics and I had already pretty much figured out that the drugs weren't the answer for me. From February to June of this year I titrated myself off of them. I didn't trust psychiatrists to help me and I couldn't find one when I looked who would help. During this time, I finished graduate school taking a double load, started a new job as a consultant for the government where I protect children from bad medical advice, applied for a very high position and interviewed, moved in with my boyfriend full time, and he switched jobs, too. I let go of almost all of my friends during this process. When I came to, I realized that they were all really fake or bad people or just plain weirdos. I have three friends in town that I don't get to see very often, one very good long distance friend, and then my best friend/partner. A few of my family members have been really supportive and that has been really great. I take fish oil and that seems to make a big difference with the withdrawal symptoms. I was doing really great and felt like I was becoming normal again after these 13 years, but then I started having my period again. I stopped having my period on the drugs about 10 years ago. It has been so hard. I feel so weak like I am going to pass out. On top of that, I ended up not getting the big job I applied for. In addition to that, I am a social worker in the mental health/medical field and the secret motivations of others that I'm finally aware enough to pick up on feel so frighteningly devious. The most recent developments with "coming to" as I call it has been finding out that my sister was on and off verbally and emotionally abusive to me when I was on the drugs. I was easily manipulated on them because I couldn't remember things very well or keep my mind coherent. I think she would yell at me, but to be honest I can't really remember what the fights were like. I just remember afterwards feeling a rush when we would make up. She doesn't like me very much anymore the way I am now. She says we fight a lot now. The only difference is that I can remember when we fight and I don't instantly forgive her or give in to her adult tantrums. We grew up basically without parents, so she parented me. She always seemed like a wonderful mother/protector that was my best friend. It has been such a shock to realize who she really is. She was a huge support for me, but now that I understand how she treats me, i can't reach out to her anymore. There was a period of almost two years when I got into an abusive relationship. This was three years ago. I look back on that time and I can't really believe it was real. I know that I tolerated the way he treated me (the yelling, the not working, the financial abuse, the breaking objects) because I was on the drugs. My mind was so hazy I couldn't think straight. I also know that it was because of the way my sister treated me and her relationship with her boyfriend. Their unhealthy model made me think that what he was doing was acceptable. I somehow was able to get myself together and kick him out after he almost punched me. Shortly after that I started working out. Over a period of two years i lost 80 pounds working out and being able to eat health again when I had a med change in early 2016. The med change in early 2016 came when I gained insomnia for the first time in my life. I was in a relationship with a dangerous liar who was using me for sex. My hazy drugged brain couldn't figure it out, but I would become anxious and alert because deep inside of me, I knew what was happening. This turned out to be a great thing for me. We broke up when he was done with me and I got on new drugs. These had a much looser hold on me. I was studying behaviorism in graduate school and the way my "illness" had been defined,diagnosed,and treated did not make sense to me. I started dating a friend and he is really good to me. Somehow he tapped into the part of me that was most me. I got off of "sleeping pills" first, last year. These turned out to have been making me very high and "go go go". I calmed down a lot after that and started sleeping better. I was also able to identify that I was over medicated by talking to him and realized that I couldn't feel my emotions properly. That is when I saw that my psychiatrist would never help me get off of the drugs. She yelled at me when I said I was over medicated and barely agreed to lower me from the max dose (which had been placed by an entirely different doctor). I've been been hospitalized a number of times because of the drugs-three times in a mental hospital and twice in a medical hospital. The top most upsetting thing to find out has been that I never had any illness...at all. Now that I am off the drugs I don't have anxiety, depression, psychosis, or any of the weird ways these would manifest I noticed these symptoms fade away as the drugs left my system. I was and am so proud that I was able to get off of them, especially while doing so much else with my life. I've been through some awful physical side effects, but mentally I have been so clear and myself. I'm not always happy, because along with my lack of mental illness symptoms has come a level of consciousness I have never experienced as an adult. Not only do I suddenly remember all of the traumatic things I went through with my mom and her drugs, my own drugs, and my own life, I'm also painfully aware of other people's emotions, motivations, and actions. Everything came back into focus sharper than it does for most people, I think. I'm having to cope with the realities of materialism and our society-suddenly all at once. I think I get exposed to the evils of the world much more than the average person, too, in my job doing social work. My eyes are open to a lot now that I just couldn't see before. My withdrawal symptoms included getting hot every time I was hungry, food intake fluctuations, heat sensitivity, sudden sleepiness, insomnia, food sensitivity, weakness, tingling in my foot, sensory sensitivity, and general disorientation due to how aware of people's tones and body language I am now. When I came to, though, I realized I had done really good for myself despite the drugs. I have a very high powered career and am the youngest person of my type of position in our agency, but have the highest level of education. I graduated with my masters with a 3.9 gpa and got through my undergrad with a medication induced learning disability and my mother's death with a 3.2 gpa at a top university. I escaped two abusive relationships and am now going to marry a very trust worthy, kind, hardworking man who also happens to be the most handsome man I have ever seen. Somehow we were able to take care of our relationship with everything I was going through and his 70% traveling job for a whole year. We just moved to a huge two bedroom apartment in the nicest part of town and I am completely able to pay my half of the bills and all of my own bills. His trauma from being abused has been healing and we have been living together post-his traveling job for three months and it has been the most amazing life. While I have a much smaller number of friends than I once had, I have four friends I can really trust and rely on. Some are available more often than others, but four seems like a huge blessing to me. I sleep full nights most nights after 13 years of drug induced sleep. This started on day two of no drugs. i didn't get the big job I interviewed for, but my supervisor thinks it was due to administrative errors and my application being allowed to be sent through to too high a position. I was sent through to an above entry level position because of how good I look on paper. She is getting me ready for the entry level position interview in two months. Despite that, I am being recognized as a talented writer and assessor at work. The most anyone ever noticed about my withdrawal symptoms was that I talked fast sometimes and that is over. New withdrawal symptoms have been happening these two weeks I've had my period and that has been a set back in my recovery. Writing all of this down makes me feel proud of myself and know that I can get through this.
  6. Hi! English is not my first language so I apologize if my texts are confusing, same with my signature. I quit the last 5 mg escitalopram/cipralex 3 weeks ago. When I went down from 10 to 5 mg nothing got better so I started reading about tardive dysphoria which made me very eager to quit my medication completely. I also found out about 6 months ago that quitting 5 mg at a time is way too drastic for someone who has been using the medication for years, but I figured i'd just endure this last time. The problem is that I've now found out from reading on this site and on other places that some of the side effects might become permanent. So my question now is, should I go back up to 5-4 mg, and then slowly go down 1 mg at a time from there? Or should I just wait this out when it has already been 3 weeks. I'm willing to wait it out if it gets better. But if there are big risks about doing what i'm doing right now i'm gonna go back up if that's your advice. Ps: I do feel horrible physically and mentally and can practically not be around people, but as I said i'm willing to endure it if it gets better. I can't trust my doctors anymore, they want to make me go back up to max dosage with both voxra and cipralex + start giving me more benzo for no good reason. Which is why I'm asking here, the people here seem to have good knowledge about this. TL;DR: Go back up to 5 mg and go down 1 mg at a time or endure this and wait for it to get better?
  7. Hey everyone, Just thought i'd post this topic on this board.... I've heard talk from various people assuming that adverse reactions from SSRIs whilst still a teenager, or being put on SSRIs as a teen (or even child) puts them in a worse position than if their brain was fully developed. This was my first instinct when i joined these forums last year, however everyone everywhere kept talking about how young people always heal better, faster, etc that being young is an advantage. People always say "don't do drugs kids" because "your brain is still developing"... Well what does that even mean? What are the potential consequences of doing said drugs when your brain is "still developing" ? Are these consequences more persistent or brain-altering? I was always lead to believe that you can't permanently change your brain, especially when you're a kid because its so plastic and malleable. So what's the deal? if one has been prescribed an SSRI under the age of 18, and they had an adverse reaction from going on or had protracted withdrawal after coming off (all before turning 18) - do they have the same chances of recovering than someone who went on at an older age. I've heard that teens have a higher chance of adverse reaction - and we all hear about the school shootings/suicides, etc - but if these kids were to get off the drugs - would they all recover back to normal? This is kind of bothering me since i went on celexa at 14 and a half... Although i haven't been the same since (just turned 18 now, 3 and a half years later) i initially didn't notice much of a difference until like 2 years later when i got off zoloft (thats when everything came crashing down - at 16). I'm wondering will i ever "feel" the way i used too... emotionally, physically, etc... I'm so sick of this PSSD and anhedonia and all the other symptoms. I'm 19 months out still waiting to see some significant improvements.. I dont care how long it takes ... I just really need to know i will recover at least 50% I know no one will have the perfect answer since nobody knows for sure... But if anyone can share positive stories or experiences or even positive information in general that would be great.
  8. Recently stopped other medications under doctors supervision. Complicating factors are long shifts at work, for half the week, 11.5 hours. As long as I get sleep, the other medications, which included antidepressants and antipsychotics, dont seem to be needed. Just having a routine and being awake during my days off feeling "new" is kind of disconcerting, but I don't know how much my depakote is holding me back, vs holding me together. What are the right questions to ask myself and my doctor? I got this far, but it is like, working in reverse from the hospital which breaks me in one way, and I get better and better until I have no help and don't realize I broke my mind again in a different fashion.
  9. Hello everyone, I am 18 years old and from Alabama. I started taking lexapro about 5 months ago due to extreme anxiety, OCD, and slight depression. Ever since I have been taking lexapro my anxiety has gotten worse, I am extremely emotional, I freak out over everything, and am in the last straw of my relationship with someone who has been there for me and loved me through all of this simply because he is frustrated with the person I have become (as am I). So i recently (as in two days ago) decided to talk to my doctor about weaning off of Lexapro. I took 10mg for the first 3 months and have been on 20mg for about 2 months. I currently take 20mg and was advised to cut by 50% so for the past two days I have taken 10mg daily. I currently feel like I am in a fog and have zero emotions. While also dealing with my relationship crisis, him and I have decided to take a break for 3 weeks until I can hopefully be back to normal (so says my doctor). So currently I am dealing with the sadness of that as well as symptoms as well as being away from home at college dealing with stress. I am so scared for the upcoming symptoms because I have read things such as brain zaps (which I have had), nausea, hallucinations, and worse. Please give me advice or someone please just be there to talk to me. I am desperate on all aspects. Please and thank you in advance
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