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  1. Hi, this will take a while to write down as i’m suffering to remembering things clearly. When I was 16(2013) I got diagnosed with ADD, social anxiety and a learning disability. I was put on Atomoxetin and Sertraline where I refused to take them most of the time as I just didn’t want to be different from the other kids. Didn’t experience any side effects at all and I quit taking the pills CT a year after without any WD. In mid 2018 I was put on citalopram 20mg and seroquel(25mg but told me I could take up to max 75mg a day and switch between doses if I felt like I needed it) for sleep, after I developed an ED and a depression due to a past abusive relationship. had severe side effects at first, but wanted to feel better desperatly so I held out. In 2019 my anxiety got worse and my doctor increased my dose to 40mg of citalopram and lastly to 60mg. In start 2021 I began feeling almost sicker, having severe headaches, extreme irritability, stomach aches, bloating and numbness. decided I didn’t want to live like this, I educated myself on the medications I was taking and I was shocked to say the least. I contacted my doctor and we started started tapering down from 60mg citalopram in 2021 in May to 30mg, with no problems but experienced extreme withdrawal when i tapered down too fast from 30 to 12mg after a month. on a steady dose of 15mg of citalopram from July up to now. Been Tapering down on quetiapine from august 16th 2021 to (75mg, 50mg, 25mg, 12mg and been on 6mg for my last dose in April 2022. I wanna keep updating my progress here since i’ve had horrible withdrawals from the quetiapine tapering for the past 4 months, with very little windows.
  2. hello. i'm going to attempt an introduction. i reserve any possible ambition about a coherent, comprehensive history for a potential future recovery success story. i'll do what i can for now. first and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone here at SA. THANK YOU for starting this website, for contributing, for keeping it going, for sharing, for being here, for fighting the good fight. in regards to tapering safely i did not find you in time; but since i found you it has helped immeasurably. before i found SA i'd been suffering through PW and PAWS for well over 3 years with no clear understanding of what the F was happening to me. although i had a working strategy of how to approach the embodied experience i was living, it took up a lot of energy not having an official explanation. i had a kind of makeshift, workaround idea along the lines of "maybe this is latent C-PTSD that has surfaced in the wake of SSRI cessation" and "clearly my nervous system is hypersensitive and destabilized, and i am intolerant of stress, possibly also as a result of a lifetime of chronic stress and trauma", etc. somewhat luckily these working hypotheses led me to a variety of tools that were entirely applicable to dealing with withdrawal syndrome, and so, ultimately, i was practicing many of the same non-drug coping strategies that i have since seen recommended on this site. for years i was on my own and it was trial and error. the bottom line is, it has been so much better since finding SA and knowing that i'm not alone and finally figuring out, "oh, this is what's going on!" (not that one cannot have C-PTSD / chronic stress / or the like in addition to WS, but WS is certainly also its own thing in addition to whatever underlying vulnerabilities may present) anyway -- THANK YOU to everyone for everything. i am currently in my fifth year of protracted withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome following an incorrect, too-fast taper of lexapro/escitalopram that basically amounted to CT + decades' worth of going on and off dozens of different psych drugs/cocktails, incl. most recently vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine, etc. i don't have energy or access right now to write in more detail about the long and illustrious drug history and the numerous failed attempts to get out of psychiatry (it's clear to me now that i've been in protracted withdrawal with PAWS multiple times before, but at the time i didn't know what it was and when i sought help consistently received a new and more extreme diagnosis every time; it seemed, according to psychiatry, that i was getting sicker and sicker, and would get more heavily drugged each time around -- psychiatry suffers from munchhausen by proxy in its absurd closed-loop system) bottom line -- TODAY I AM DRUG-FREE. i was first committed to a psych ward as a minor (below the age of consent), that's where i was first drugged. i clearly remember being so overmedicated that my hands were shaking non-stop, i couldn't properly hold a fork to eat or a pencil/pen to write. i fainted in the shower. i knew it was the drugs, i knew they were giving me too much, i know i said as much. i have no recollection of being listened to. my first ever "psychotic episodes" also occurred during this first ever hospitalization, subsequent to which my diagnosis was augmented to include my being labeled as "psychotic". i am convinced the sensory hallucinations were caused by the drugs they were giving me. i have spent my entire adult life thus far (approx. 17 y.o. - 42 y.o.) under the influence of psychiatric drugs. WTF. although i am currently drug-free i don't consider myself out of the woods yet as i'm still very much in recovery and reeling from the extensive physiological and psychological/existential harm. i cannot even begin to really truly process that. i don't dwell on it, i try not to think about it, really, although of course the thoughts come occasionally, but for the most part i let them pass bc my thinking is currently rather unreliable and murky, colored as it is by WS (monkey mind chatter which does not allow for proper processing). maybe one day when my cognitive/emotional/spiritual/etc. capacities are healed, if it is still relevant and required, i will mourn any loss as necessary. for now i sometimes touch upon grief (primarily on behalf of our collective loss and the tragedy of psychiatric violence afflicting countless human beings and indeed our global ecosystem as a whole) but my mind is too feeble to truly grasp the staggering atrocity / swirling galaxy of bullsh*t. for the time being i'm mostly just sorta left stunned and reeling; and sometimes in a moment of clarity i feel a call to arms and long to spring into action and up onto the barricades (etc.), but i lack the abilities for any kind of follow-through, which can be distressing as i think, "i'm not doing my part to save my fellow suffererers out there!" in these moments i have to remind myself that first i have to get better, and for now i just gotta hang on to my own life raft, bc that's pretty much all i can do, and most of the time it's a tall order as is, at least for now. i have to tell myself that what i cannot currently comprehend, is not currently my job. i try to do the tasks i am able to do, that is what is for me to do here and now. for example: currently i am able to shower once a week, sometimes twice a week. i am able to do a gentle yoga session about once a week. leaving the house is very difficult, but i manage to get out about twice a week. i am able to do my own grocery shopping (usually once a week), which brings me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. i am able to cook for myself (i've been on a self-designed, tried-and-true nutritional regimen for a couple of years now, which works quite well for me); nourishing myself is a vital part of my day and one of the few ways i'm able to actively engage with life on a daily basis. there are many, many things i'm unable to do and many, many ways in which i'm functionally disabled. i don't feel like getting into that now. in this moment i'd like to focus on markers of progress. for example: here i am, writing an introduction post. i have not posted here before bc writing and verbal communication, esp. disembodied/virtual kind without being in the physical presence of the other person, is something that has been extremely difficult for me in withdrawal and continues to be very, very challenging. so this is really hard and scary right now; and at the same time it is a marker of progress that i am able to be here writing this at all, since for so long i have not been able to and now i'm giving it a try. we'll see how it goes. these days i feel like i'm in my little WS groove. doing my thing, doing the best i can. i tell myself that this too shall pass -- based on the accounts of people on this site and the many success stories, it's possible to recover and heal. i trust that this is true; which means that there's a finite number of WS days/hours/moments (that number is unknown and unknowable, i call it X). and so it follows that every single day/hour/moment of WS-related suffering is 1 down, X to go and brings me that much closer to the conclusion. this is my way of conceptualizing the unpleasantness and discomfort as healing-in-process. instead of thinking of it as "i'm still sick" (which connotates stuck-ness and static state), reminding myself "i'm continously healing" (which conveys movement and development and some notion of constructive progress). it's very, very hard. i do feel like things are getting better ... lately one of the odd things about feeling better is that the WS symptoms have decreased somewhat in intensity, and now that some of the WS symptoms are less extreme, it's as though it's less clear to me that they are indeed WS symptoms. i sometimes find myself thinking, "wait, what if this particular thing is no longer WS and now this is just 'me'?" overall i tell myself that this line of thinking is still WS, as these are "anxiety thoughts" and fear-based, and i pay them as little mind as possible. it's a strange sign of progress that as WS is gradually lessening in intensity the lines between "syndrome" and "self" seem to be blurring more and more. this is, of course, compounded by an underlying all-pervasive tension around the question, "who am i?" at this point i accept that i have no idea who i am. i don't know who i am now, i don't know who i was before, i don't know who i will be after. my sense of identity is flimsy at best, i have difficulty with any sense of continuity or understanding "me", "my life", or anything along those lines. it's okay. i'm not sure my sense of self has ever been that strong to begin with. i don't know where i'll be dumped at the end of this fun-house-mirror-lined chute of WS bizarro-world ... it's kinda funny sometimes, when i think about it. it's all so absurd. all these illusions and so many people out there running around all serious and self-important and convinced of what's "real". maybe i'll feel like that one day, who knows? ... (feel free to skip to the end of the book, eh?) anyway. i don't have much more to say for now. this is the most words i've used in any one sitting in any context possibly in years. i mostly don't like social contact due to conventions/exigencies of verbal communication (i don't mind context of shared social presence as long as there is no speaking/conversation involved) and so i spend most of my time alone. i'm actually surprised this many words have come out of me! and now i'm babbling, i've got the feeling this is all very messy. but the most important part is: ABSTRACT hello. thank you. i'm here. ain't that a trip with love, "me" 1996-2018: various polypharmacy combinations incl. SSRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzodiazepines, stimulants, etc. (approx. 30+ different drugs over the years) 2018 - inadvertently CTed lexapro/escitalopram from 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg (over the course of 6 months, and under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist whom i trusted at the time) July 2018 - 0mg lexapro/escitalopram 2017 - 2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 70mg 2020 - 2021 - tapered off of vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine from 70mg down to 0mg (gradually but unsystematically and probably too quickly) July 2021 - 0mg vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine February 2022 - 0mg - no psychopharmaceuticals - no drugs/medications of any kind supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 2mg melatonin at 9pm
  3. Last summer (July 2021), I had issues with renewing my Lexapro. As my signature shows, I’ve been on it since 2008. I naively decided to just stop taking it cold turkey. At the time, I was working extremely long hours, so I thought that my mood swings and crying were due to stress and fatigue. To deal with the stress, I occasionally started taking a second dose of alprazolam (I had been taking 0.25 in the am only until that point). I didn’t give it another thought. I had some depression for a few months, but I’ve struggled with depression since I was 16, so it was nothing new. I carried on. The main things I noticed once off the Lex were that I no longer had a voracious appetite, and that I actually ended up feeling a bit less depressed. I started feeling better, so I stopped taking the second dose of alprazolam unless it was really needed for anxiety. All hell broke lose Dec-Feb. In December, I had a recurring UTI. At the end of January, I developed the following symptoms, that progressively got worse: intense head pressure stiff neck and shoulders fullness in ears occasionall tinnitus occasionall vertigo severe TMJ The head pressure was the worst. It felt like my brain was being squeezed out of my skull. I went to emerg and was told it was a tension headache. I’m also in perimenopause, so my mood swings were attributed to that. Needless to say, I thought something was severely wrong with me and my anxiety ramped up. I once again started taking a second dose of alprazolam. It didn’t do much, but it helped me relax a little bit and not worry so much that I had a brain tumour or something. (I recently had an MRI and it came back normal). I started researching, and my symptoms seemed to align with benzo tolerance. I started to taper the alprazolam on my own. I had a very bad reaction to cutting my pm dose from 0.25 to 0.125, so I was advised to go back to 0.25 twice daily (I never stopped taking 0.25 in the am) in order to “stabilize”. Against my better judgment, I did so. Unfortunately, I had maybe 2 days where I felt almost normal, but then it was like I had hit a wall. The benzo takes the edge off slightly, but I feel sick most of the time. I could barely keep my head upright and needed to lie down constantly. The 2 hours before my second dose were the worst. This is what is known as interdose withdrawal. Because of this, I was advised to follow the Ashton method and crossover to diazepam, as it is longer acting. I am currently doing this. It is extremely difficult and my only peace is the 5 hours of sleep I get a night. It does help with the interdose withdrawal somewhat, but I definitely feel the decrease of the alpraz. Now I’m wondering if my cold turkey from escitalopram (Lexapro) is the root of everything. I didn’t make the connection before. Why, I dont know. Obviously, I still intend to taper off the alprazolam, but is it possible that I foolishly did this to myself? Can it take months for severe withdrawal symptoms to appear? Did I do damage to my brain by this cold turkey? Is it possible that my being on Wellbutrin and alprazolam helped “cushion” the withdrawal? Is my benzo taper going to be more difficult because of it? Would reinstating the Lexapro after all this time help? My Dr has suggested it I have other questions, such as how to taper the Wellbutrin when it’s an XL, but I want to focus on the other stuff first. I’m scared and angry at myself for what I’ve done. I can’t change it, so am looking for insight and support. Thank you for reading.
  4. Hey guys, My past medications: these were most recent, from the age of 15 onward: - Pristiq - 100 mg - Abilify - 15 mg - Fluoxetine - 20 mg - L-methyl folate (supplement) - Adderrall XR (in morning) - forget dosage - Adderrall , 2 throughout day - forget dosage When I was 10, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety due to an unstable home life at my Mom’s. I was diagnosed with anxiety and began taking Fluoxetine after an initial meeting with a psychologist followed by a psychiatrist. At age 15, I attempted suicide and was admitted to a teen unit at a local hospital. There, I was placed on many of the medications that would later be incredibly difficult to discontinue. By age 20, I had erectile dysfunction, weighed ≈285 pounds at 6’, couldn’t concentrate on anything, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, had severely limited vision in both eyes, slept 12 hours per night, had a constant feeling of emptiness, and had an overall feeling of not being present in my life (just kind of floating around). On March 12th, 2020 (yes, at the beginning of the pandemic), I stopped everything Cold Turkey. It probably wasn’t the smartest move, but I’m so glad I did it. I went through about 4 months of what I can only describe as hell. Vomiting, diarrhea, alternating between sleeping for 12 hours and 3 hours per night, and a rollercoaster of emotions I’d never felt before. I’m currently 185 pounds, diabetes free, updated my license yesterday to remove my vision restriction (my vision corrected), have a pretty good running/ weightlifting habit / Nutrition approach going, I just finished 2 years at a local Community College with a 3.2 overall GPA in a transfer program to a B.S. in Chemistry, and life is fantastic. Everything works well, I’m feeling real, genuine emotions for the first time in my life, and I’m thrilled to be alive. The only drawback from this whole discontinuation process is that I now can’t stay in bed for more than 6-7 hours. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, getting the vision restriction from my license removed yesterday prompted me to speak about my story (I guess you could call it a personal milestone). I’m still navigating the whole relationship, being human, and experiencing emotions part of everything but I can say that for once in my life, I’m very happy. Feel free to ask me anything. Thanks everyone, Connor
  5. I guess I'm supposed to introduce myself here. I was put on drugs starting at age 6 or 7, had the drugs changed once or twice, and now am on venlafaxine extended release 150mg, methylphenidate 36mg, and risperidone (.5mg or 1mg I think) at age 22. I've been on them for years and was on lithium at one point, and at age 17, I got into certain teenage behavior (not drugs) which, I didn't realize at the time, didn't mix well with the drugs I'm on. I've had incredibly large amounts of noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin not being reabsorbed the past 5 years. I seem to have reabsorbed a ton, and now, I just seem to have a mild yet problematic amount not being reabsorbed.
  6. Hi SA! I have a rather long and storied history to tell, so I hope you'll bear with me. I'll start from the very beginning, even though I don't think the early stuff matters too much. I suppose it all adds context, since I've been on some sort of psychoactive med or another since before I was 10 years old. I was diagnosed with Tourettes' syndrome as a child, and started on Tofranil around age 7 or 8 to manage the tics. I stayed on this med through most of my primary school years and switched to gabapentin when I was in college, for reasons that I can no longer remember. After a year or two of oversleeping my alarms for morning classes from the gabapentin, I switched again, this time to a combination of sertraline + topamax. I was dealing with a good bit of anxiety and depression as well as tics by this time, so the sertraline handled the psychiatric symptoms while the topamax did the tics. I was on this combination for close to 10 years with pretty good success. I graduated college, moved to the west coast of the US, and started my job as a software developer at a major tech company. Then in the summer of 2011 it all fell apart. I was in a serious car accident that left me with a mild traumatic brain injury, as well as a lot of psychological trauma, as the car that I lost in the accident is one that I'd spent the last 10 years of my life restoring. Shortly after the accident, I remember visiting my neurologist who normally managed the meds for my Tourettes, and telling him that I felt the meds "just weren't working". I was dealing with intense depression and anxiety. He recommended that I find a psychiatrist, as this outside his area of expertise. And this is where things began to go downhill for me. Over the next 10 years I would see half a dozen different psychiatrists, all of whom threw every psychoactive med in the book at me. Including some very heavy-duty stuff like lithium and depakote. One guy was convinced that the accident and head injury had put me into a mood "cycle", not too different from bipolar, even though I never saw true mania and was sleeping just fine at the time. A fairly complete list of what I have tried can be found in my signature, though I'm happy to expound on anything that anyone has questions about. After the first year, I started keeping a spreadsheet of meds, doses, and my notes on why we were changing or trying various things. I am a nerd after all, and I do like data! During this time I developed a severe and persistent brain fog that made it very difficult to continue with my work. I spent a lot of time on mental health disability leave, and was ultimately laid off. The brain fog persists to this day, and has actually gotten worse recently (more on that in a bit). Things got better and worse with different med combinations over the years, and I even had a period from about mid 2018 - mid 2020 where I was actually enjoying life and symptoms seemed to be improving. At the time I was on 100mg sertraline, 5mg olanzapine, and 50mg topamax. Then in October of 2020 it all came crashing down again. I picked up my refill of sertraline from the pharmacy and noticed that the tablets looked different from what I was used to. I compared the bottle to the previous one and confirmed that the supplier had changed. Over the next week or so I began to develop severe, explosive, anger about 1-2 hours after taking my dose. I should mention that sertraline has always given me a bit of a short fuse, but I've generally been able to keep a lid on it. Well, that completely went out the window now. I called my psychiatrist and we met. He decided the solution was to take me off of the sertraline CT. Which, in hindsight, was probably not the best idea for a med that I had been on continuously for close to 20 years. He attempted to "buffer" it with some prozac, but within 1-2 months I was having severe insomnia and panic attacks, and ended up checking myself into a mental hospital because I hadn't slept in close to a month and knew I was close to my limit. The hospital didn't really help, and I checked myself back out a week later. I continued working with my psychiatrist and we settled on a small dose of doxepin (10mg at the time) which seemed to help with the insomnia and gabapentin (started at 900mg, which was WAY too much for me... eventually tapered down to 150mg) to help with panic/anxiety. About this time I moved from the west coast to be near family back in Ohio. Which meant that I got to reset all of my medical providers, and put my mental health care on hold until I did. I've spent the past 18 months trying to find a good psychiatrist and therapist here, and think I may have finally done so. So, now to address the state that I'm in today. I'm still extremely depressed. I only shower about 1x / week. None of my hobbies bring me joy any more, and so I generally don't engage in them. I have severe brain fog that makes it hard for me to do the type of problem solving/intellectual work that I used to do. I have a good bit of anxiety as well. I go to bed around 9pm and don't get out of bed until 10am. I'm convinced that the meds that I'm still on are at least part of the problem, combined with lasting sensitivity from CT off of the sertraline, and I'm trying to figure out where to go from here. My current psychiatrist would like to see me taper one or more of my current meds, but I'm not sure where to start, as my nervous system seems to be sensitive to even tiny changes right now. For example, I tried tapering doxepin about a month ago using the prescription liquid form, reducing my dose by 10%, and ended up suicidally depressed after 1 week, so I gave up and went back to my full dose. I've been talking with my psychiatrist about attempting to taper the olanzapine, as I think it may be a big cause of my fog and general lethargy, but reading stories on this site have made me wary of just how difficult it is. So I guess I'd like to appeal to those who have been there before... where does it make sense to start? And am I at a place that I should even be attempting this? I feel like I'm living in misery, but that I need to put myself through even more misery in order to get to a better place, if that makes sense. And I'm just not sure that I'm prepared to do it. Well, I've written a lot. Hopefully I haven't scared everybody off. Curious to hear what people have to say. Thanks in advance, and thanks for letting me into your community, SA. Dan
  7. Hello. I am 16 years old. I was prescribed Russian-made Risperidone in order to treat my intrusive thoughts, which were quite concerning to me. I was to start taking Russian-made Risperidone, but I had to start taking Latvian-made Risperidone ("Rispaxol") on 18 May 2022 because the Russian-made one was nowhere to be found. My Rispaxol drug plan was like this: 0.5mg in the morning for 2 days > 0.5mg in the morning + 0.5mg in the afternoon for 3 days > 1mg in the morning + 0.5mg in the afternoon for 2 days > the psychatrist visit (we had to visit him ourselves because he lived in a different city quite far away). I took it for 16 days I took for 8 days, not 16 (see next post providing correction) and it was quite effective - my violent thoughts went away. On 26 May 2022, my parents finally found the Russian-made Risperidone (Rispaxol was nowhere to be found and the pharmacology we used to acquire the drugs was located in the same city as the psychiatrist. After they contacted the psychiatrist, he approved me taking the drug while also upping the dosage to 2mg since I reported that Rispaxol is losing its efficacy. I stopped taking Rispaxol and took the Russian-made Risperidone for 26-27 May 2022. These two days were hell for me - I couldn't sit still and had an irresistible urge to move. My parents contacted the psychiatrist again and he told us to abruptly discontinue the drug, which I did on 28 May 2022. The next six days marked a very rough withdrawal. I felt completely empty and paranoid, I couldn't eat anything and felt like my touch on reality was slipping away (although that might be due to me reading about Risperidone witdrawal symptoms on the Internet and being extremely anxious about them). I was in such a horrible state until 9 June 2022, when we found a Horvatian-made Risperidone ("Risset") and the psychiatrist told me to begin taking it with the same drug plan in an attempt to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. I'm very scared for myself. Am I doing the right thing by starting Risset or should I discontinue Risset and simply wait out the withdrawal? I think I should note that my psychiatrist didn't warn me about the withdrawal at all
  8. Hi all. I’m thankful I came across this group. Wow - where to begin... well, at age 7 I was given Paxil and 20 years later I am still on it. Throughout the 20 years I have tried ever SSRI and SNRI on the planet. I was given Valium and after five years by the grace of God somehow tapered off it myself. In the past 2 years I was put on effexor, pristiq, viibryd, lexapro, celexa, prozac, and landed back on 20mg Paxil. Four months ago I lowered by dosage to 15mg and it has been pure hell. Suicidal thoughts which I have never had, super strange thoughts, terror like I cannot explain. Reading your success stories on here gives me hope. How long should I hold at 15mg before continuing to do a 5-10% taper? How did you all manage to work during this time? With being put on these drugs at such a young age — is it possible to heal, or am I permanently damaged? How do you let go of your anger regarding this situation. I didn’t choose to take these meds. Much love, Sunflower414
  9. Hello everyone. I have spent the past two decades on Effexor and the past year on Nardil. I have now completely stopped all medication and I am having overwhelming anxiety that subsides by the evening. Very consistent intrusive rumination on unreasonable fears that increases the anxiety to unfathomable levels. I started taking the medication very young, but I’ve never experienced anxiety like this. I had steady and debilitating withdrawal while coming off the Nardil, but not anxiety. Is this still withdrawal or is this just my underlying condition? I really do not want to go back on medication, but I can’t hold out indefinitely. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
  10. Hi everyone, My name is Weemie. Nice to meet you all! I hope you'll take the time to read this. I'm in really rough shape right now. a little bit of personal history; I'm 20 years old and have been on and off of sertraline a total of three times since the age of 14. Each discontinuation period has been hellish for me because my tapering instructions were to basically just skip a dose every second day and keep increasing days in between doses until I felt better. I'd usually stop after about two weeks. my most recent taper had started and ended in the month of October 2020. I was pretty seriously depressed in late 2021 which resulted in a full blown insomnia induced breakdown in December. In my desperation for anxiety relief I (regrettably) promised myself I'd start sertraline again. December 9th I took a 25mg dose of sertraline and didn't sleep that entire night which prompted me to take a half a dose of zopiclone that next day as instructed by my doctor. Something went awfully awry in my mind this week of December 9th. I became withdrawn and angry, started having racing thoughts and awful agitation/restlessness; which I now know to be symptoms of akathisia or an akathisia adjacent affliction known as activation syndrome. I ended up taking 4 more doses of sertraline sporadically throughout that month (this was me trying to work up the nerve to take it more regularly, stupid I know). On December 24th I had the most traumatic depersonalization experience of my life, so I took another sertraline that night, followed by one more dose on December 25th. I woke up the 26th feeling totally gone, severed from myself. Seven months after this experience, I do not feel like the same person I was prior to December 9th. I suffer from constant brain chatter that is almost subconscious. Looping and racing at a mile a minute. I can't distinguish my conscious thoughts from the unconscious. Its like an intersection between OCD and ADHD, constantly obsessing over thoughts but cant process them. I'm like a broken record. just an urge to keep thinking. on top of this everything just feels sinister and "off". words, songs and certain consonants are constantly stuck in my head. It makes me agitated, I haven't been able to relax for 7 months. I feel trapped inside of myself. I don't feel depressed or anxious exactly, but another third thing. dysphoric, sick and angry. On top of this I have anhedonia and dp/dr. I've seen very little improvement over these last seven months. these symptoms just scratch the surface of how difficult this adjustment has been for me. I have sort of habituated but recently its been difficult since coming to terms with my symptoms. I'm wondering, where do I go from here? I fear this could be Tardive akathisia, brought on by my attempt to reinstate in December. Or maybe some form of extended withdrawal. Whatever it is, it appears to be chronic. I'm seriously considering reinstating again and eventually doing a micro taper, but I fear this could ruin my recovery progress, if there is any being made. I risk my condition becoming much worse if I reinstate. Should I continue? give it a year? does the longer you wait to reinstate make it more difficult to do so? its just a gamble either way I suppose. To everyone on this website, I'm sending so much love and resilience to you! I would so appreciate any advice or sharing of similar experiences. it would brighten my life so much. Any direction or encouragement would mean the world. Thank you kindly
  11. Hello everyone, My name's Daryl. I was dragged into the mental health system since about the age of 9 or 10 when my OCD and Tourettes Syndrome got so bad I was admitted into collingham gardens a children's mental hospital in London. I was on SSRIs for OCD and Antipsychotics for Tourettes Syndrome. The first ones prescribed were Seroxat and Risperidone. It made me feel drugged, super bottomless pit hungry, crazy emotional, impulsive and addicted to sugar. I don't think it ever had any effect on my conditions but taking them just became a normal part of life I never knew wasn't normal or dangerous. I honestly thought I would be on them for life but getting irreversibly sick and chemically castrated by age 21 or 22 made me stop taking them. I was also given Pregabalin on top of all that by the local mental health outpatient centre when I was about 19 because i was so intensely anxious and it was getting in the way of my failed job hunting expeditions. That definitely didn't help it contributed to getting sick faster I think. Mental health services then tried to diagnose me with fake things to cover up what they have done to me making getting medical treatment for other physical conditions almost impossible. I have now lost my hip joints and tissues and have nerve damage in both arms which I couldnt get taken seriously and get scans and the treatment I needed for to prevent these becoming chronic and disabling me for life in hurrendous pain. I blame myself a lot for everything to be honest even though I know a lot isnt my fault and was done wrong. There is little I can do to avoid it now so blaming myself is the little that's left. I still have irreversible injuries and chemical castration more than 10 years later. I am now 32. I was very suicidal recently when my left arm nerve trapped and damaged like my right arm is and I stupidly let the doctor and a friend convince me again to take gabapentin simialir to Pregabalin for a few weeks again because they said it won't make it worse because I wouldn't be taking it alongside all those other medications. They were wrong I was tricked again and it has made the chemical castration worse recently too. I knew I was very sensitive to these chemicals and feel so stupid and even worse. I feel like I don't deserve to be happy. Life is only for other people. I want to fight these big pharma billionaire criminals while I am still here on this earth suffering. I think that is all I can do left about it now.
  12. April 2013 I was originally put on Fluoxetine for social anxiety, at 17 years old, 10mg raising up to 40mg daily. For the first 6 weeks I lay on the sofa feeling worse than ever. It gradually started to have some effect. . Stayed on till May 2014, when I decided to come off. It did lift my mood slightly, but didn't help with anxiety. It was making me lethargic and I wanted to get my energy back. I reduced by half then half again, then stopped. . A few weeks later, after a couple of "big nights out" I woke up with intense mood swings, derealisation, anxiety and light headedness/vertigo. I started to get brain zaps, a sense of impending doom. Doctor put me back on meds - Sertraline, 50mg up to 100mg after a few weeks, then 150mg a few months later. This made me feel a bit better, but coincided with a period of heavy drinking. Late 2015, started to feel unwell again, went to Psychiatrist and was put on 200mg Sertraline, 15mg mirtazapine, 50mg quetiapine. This helped me to feel good, if a little detached and spaced out. Early 2016 I decided I was feeling so good I could stop taking everything. I took no advice, and tapered off extremely quickly. I got very intense withdrawal symptoms - brain zaps, derealisation, impending doom, very intense anxiety, labile mood. I ended up going back on Sertraline but it didn't alleviate the symptoms so I tapered off more slowly, and was off by May 2016. By September 2016 I wasn't coping, and my doctor put me back on Sertraline, which didn't work, so I changed to 45mg Mirtazapine, then added 50mg Quetiapine for sleep.. Life was "bearable" but it didn't make me feel as good as the first time on meds, and certainly didn't feel well or healthy. I was drinking heavily throughout this period. 2017 - stopped drinking Jan - September - this removed my crutch for socialising, so I became isolated and depressed. The meds weren't helping but I was afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. August 2017 I tried TMS, which i don't think really made any difference. I started University October 2017 which made me extremely anxious, and I found it hard to attend seminars and lectures. Around Christmas 2017 my gut problems began, and i have been diagnosed with IBS. 2018, still drinking too much, I started exercising more and managed to get through the first year of Uni. January 2019, I had to defer Uni due to anxiety. Mirtazapine was causing weight gain and I didn't think it was helping, and i believed there must be the "right drug" for me. The psychiatrist advised cross taper from Mirtazapine to Venlafaxine - 150mg raising up to 225mg. I had a bit more energy on this. During 2019 I was drinking heavily again. March 2020 I was returning to Uni and decided to try a strict weight loss diet. I had an intense dream one night which meant I woke up feeling tearful and extremely emotional. Looking for causes, I stopped my diet and returned to normal eating, but the emotional intensity carried on . I took some 5HTP without effect, so went to Psychiatrist. Venlafaxine was increased to 300mg. This is when the akathisia started. My emotions were blunted, and terrible insomnia. My IBS continued to get worse and worse. (nausea, constipation, cramps) I had intense periods of suicidal thoughts, noise sensitivity and brain zaps, (linked - noise led to brain zap and jump, and a peak of anxiety), headaches. I couldn’t concentrate or remember things. I couldn't continue with University and had to defer again. Quetiapine was increased to 125mg to address the akathisia, and Zopiclone for occasional use to help sleep. Several weeks later, no change, so I was cross tapered quickly from Venlafaxine to Vortioxetine 10mg rising to 20mg. This had no positive impact. By early August 2020 i was put back on Mirtazapine 45mg and still on Quetiapine and occasional Zopiclone. This seemed to make me worse, so I wanted to come off everything. I started to taper off Quetiapine quickly, and it seemed to make no difference. I stopped the Zopiclone and went down to 30mg Mirtazapine. I also consulted a private psychiatrist for a second opinion at this time and he put me on Pregabalin for the anxiety, quickly put up to 600mg daily, which he assured me I could stop easily and immediately once my withdrawal symptoms were better. Early September to end of December 2020 I tapered off Mirtazapine and felt awful every time I went down, but i was desperate to get off it. I am now only on Pregab 250mg daily. Current symptoms - insomnia, akathisia, anhedonia, suicidal thoughts, intense feeling of impending doom, general anxiety, digestive problems, brain zaps, noise sensitivity, poor memory, lack of concentration, derealisation. How am I now - most days bad, some tortuously awful, very few are somewhat bearable. Anhedonia and derealisation are constant.
  13. Hi All! I was born March 1997, meaning I began antidepressants at the age of 15, 2 years after my father died suddenly. I now believe I shouldn't have been started on them, as my problems were likely caused by raging hormones and a significant life event and probably better treated with talking therapy. These medications were initially prescribed to treat what presented as daily panic attacks and 'troublesome behaviour' (staying out all night, risky behaviour, drinking excessively, self-harm). I would like to mention that some of my mental health symptoms (rejection sensitivity, oversensitivity to criticism and suicidal ideation) have been present since I can remember. My only other symptom is panic attacks, which begun as soon as my father died suddenly. None of these symptoms have ever disappeared, regardless of being on medications. The only things that seem to help are exercise and a good social support system. I am currently attempting to taper down from Sertraline 150mg (see signature for full dosage history). The smallest possible tablet I can get where I am is 25mg and it is tiny, so I am quite nervous about how to taper when I get to the smaller doses, especially when they become very specific according to the 10% schedule. I have bought a scale which says it can weigh down to 0.001mg, but I couldn't afford a very expensive one so I'm not sure how accurate this will be. I'm also really keen to come off Sertraline probably sooner than 10% every 4 weeks, although I know this isn't recommended. I just have never felt like it has really helped me and due to my recent ADHD diagnosis, I feel that my problems are better dealt with by my newly prescribed ADHD medication. Would welcome any advice on a quicker tapering schedule, as well as how to deal with micro-doses when you are unable to get smaller pills than 25mg.
  14. Hello everybody. I was referred to this forum after trying to find answers about my problem on other websites for almost a year now. To somewhat quickly sum up my story. I was put on psych meds at 16 after a breakdown related to OCD. I am not sure how long I have been on Lexapro, but probably since around 2013/2014. I first started taking psych meds at 16. I was dealing with a bad APRN (who I saw for years but became worse and worse over time) who had me on 30mg of Lexapro for at least 2 to 3 years. I cannot remember how long I was on 20mg before that, and for how long. I apologize. I couldn't get a refill due to problems with my computer for an online meeting, they didn't give me enough to taper off safely (didn't even tell me to taper off or warn me about withdrawal symptoms), so I ended up having a breakdown about 3 months later, but not any cognitive issues at all. I was very paranoid and anxious, but my memory was fine along with my memory and ability to talk eloquently. I was put back on 10mg of Lexapro about 2ish weeks after the incident. I remember having a dull pain at the very top of my head for a little bit, and since that week, I've had breathing problems, sinus issues such as dryness and pain (watery mucus too, now my sinuses feel very dry recently), memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, dry mouth, chest pains, face/neck pains and a warm/tingling feeling on the left side of my face (sometimes numbness too), vomiting, throbbing headaches, high blood pressure (this has mainly gone away I think, could have been from withdrawal) jaw stiffness (my teeth would clench subconsciously while awake, that's gone away) and ear ringing. I also now have sleep apnea. I had to immediately stop taking it again due to these issues, I lasted about a week on the new dosage. It almost feels like I had a TBI without having a TBI. I don't know if the SSRI caused it or the stress of the breakdown (was put on a psych hold) and personal family problems such as my mom getting sick with cancer that eventually killed her caused it, or both. I've been feeling like this for about 10ish months now and it's not getting any better. I have sexual dysfunction problems, emotionally I feel numb, and when I try to think deeply it feels like my brain is a stalling car. My memory is also as bad as ever, and the neck/face problems are still here, I can feel them as I'm typing this. It also feels like when I speak to people, my mouth is speaking faster than my brain can think. This is something very new, and it causes me to stutter/not talk as eloquently as I used to. I used to be very well spoken and now that's gone. I can recall events in my life/childhood, but now I can no longer remember specifics of the events, such as words said. It's very odd. I've had CT/MRI scans done of my brain and neither showed real problems. I'm seeing my PCP in September because my problems are getting worse, and I'm supposed to see a neurologist in November, and I'm thinking of asking for a qEEG, SPECT, and a nerve conduction study. I'd just like some advice on what to do to feel better. Not sure if my APRN is liable for the damage done to be or not, either, but this isn't a legal forum, so I'm not expecting any advice on that front. My former APRN, who I had gone to for years, slowly became worse and worse, and got angry at my mom at times for scheduling my appointments with my APRN. When I saw my APRN again after my breakdown/psych hold, she didn't seem to care about me going off 30mg cold turkey, her not telling me to taper off of it or warning me about the problems etc. She just put me back on 10mg, and when I had to stop taking it due to my side effects, she refused to help me any further, saying she would only see me if I saw a therapist, and even when I did, she refused to talk to me about my problems because "legally I [The APRN] can't because [The APRN] doesn't see me as a client anymore". She's the one who won't see me anymore, so I don't get it at all. She was very cold and uncaring about my mom getting sick and dying of cancer, only saying "getting a job helps with anxiety" and "Medicaid is hard to get on". It's so horribly depressing to feel like you've lost what made you, you. My memory is awful, my emotions are all over the place, I stutter sometimes now when I never used to, my cognitive thinking is awful. My voice actually sounds different to me. I don't know what's going on. My personality feels so neutered. I just want some help to get a definite answer on what's causing all of this.
  15. Hi - This is my first post. Here's my story - sorry it's so long! My daughter was put on Zoloft at age 10 for OCD. I believe now that her OCD was triggered by an infection (ala PANDAS) but have no proof of this. She did okay on Zoloft and it did help her OCD. However, over time it seemed to have an "activating" affect on her. For example, she started exhibiting ADHD symptoms that she never had before and had a terrible time sleeping. However, she was mostly okay. When puberty and COVID hit at the same time, she started showing signs of instability - cutting, suicidal ideation, terrible impulsive behaviors. I never thought the Zoloft could be behind it and the psychiatrists we saw never mentioned it. They just kept raising her Zoloft dose until eventually she was at the max dose. In retrospect, every time they raised her dose she would get crazier and crazier. She wasn't sleeping at all at one point and was leaving the house in the middle of the night to wander the streets (unbeknownst to us). A psychiatrist eventually added Intuniv which helped her sleep and made her more manageable but didn't really solve her underlying issues. About a year after this kind of crazy behavior started, she was hospitalized for SI and then spent the next seven months in and out of hospitals and RTCs. Psychiatrists kept adding more drugs and raising her dosages - until she was on high doses of Seroquel, Zoloft, Intuniv and Naltrexone. Her outpatient psychiatrist was wanting to raise her Zoloft dose to 250mg (above the max dose) which thankfully he never got a chance to do. During the last hospitalization, she was cheeking meds so they started crushing up her Zoloft and giving it to her in yogurt. She refused to take it that way because it made her mouth burn, so she essentially went off of Zoloft cold turkey. (Note that no one at the hospital told me this or even seemed to think this was a problem). After a week and a half of cold turkeying off of Zoloft, she was discharged - pumped full of anti-pyschotics they had given her as part of daily meds plus as multiple injections per day to keep her calm. Our beautiful girl was a zombie - she couldn't walk, she was incredibly irritable and barely functioning. BUT, she seemed better somehow - like less crazy/impulsive. We let her continue to not take Zoloft and let her cold turkey off of Seroquel and Naltrexone. Her outpatient psychiatrist seemed uncaring and said that once 48 hours passes, the Zoloft will be out of her system and she couldn't possibly be having withdrawal symptoms and didn't see an issue with cold turkeying off of anti-psychotics. Once the Zoloft was more out of her system, she couldn't stay awake so we started tapering her Intuniv which she's now completely off of. (her psychiatrist told us to just stop the Intuniv cold turkey which I fought against because if she missed even a dose she'd have horrible headaches. He grudgingly wrote an RX for her to taper). She's now been off of Zoloft for 8 weeks and all other meds for about 6 weeks. She is mostly relatively happy - going to school, hanging with friends, etc. She's been home 7 weeks which is longer by far than any time she's been home since the whole hospitalization hamster wheel started. She's still not 100% - she can get extremely angry and irritable very quickly, has a very hard time getting up in the morning and still has some weird impulses and I think has occasional SI. She doesn't have much interest in doing anything other than watching TV - although she'll go swimming or do things with friends if that's an option. (She's lost most of her friends at this point due to weird behavior and just being in institutions for so long). I know this story is pretty crazy - I honestly can't believe everything we've been through. I don't trust the psychiatric industry at all at this point and my biggest fear is that she'll be hospitalized again and be forced on meds again. I don't trust her psychiatrist to tell us the truth about what withdrawals are really like and how long we can expect it to last. Unfortunately, she seems to think everything that happened to her was totally okay and she doesn't buy into the idea that the meds were harming her. I guess I don't know for sure if the meds harmed her but I can fairly confidently say that I don't think they helped her at all (after the initial help for the OCD three years ago). What I'm seeking here is just info from anyone who has experienced something similar. Also, just want a place to vent. Question: do you think it's normal for her to still be very irritable 7 weeks later or maybe the irritability is not withdrawal related? Does anyone have experience with this type of withdrawals and how long did it last for you? Thanks.
  16. KittenLePurr, here. Thank you so much for maintaining this site and for welcoming me here❤️ I was put on psych meds as a child, at age 12. I'm still working through a lot of anger around that. My parents did the best they could but, you know, they were traumatized by their parents, who were traumatized by their parents, etc., and they were all taught to blindly trust doctors and to essentially live in fear of their bodies. Thanks, Western medicine. Anyway, so, as a highly sensitive child who felt deeply depressed and uncomfortable in the world, I presented quite a set of challenges to my parents. I had a month-and-a-half-long period at age 11, so my mom took me to an OBGYN who did no tests or anything to see what was up with my hormones; she just wrote me a prescription for birth control. 🙄 My mom was concerned about that but gave it to me. I became even more depressed after that and, when I was 12, told my mom I thought I needed help. She took me to a counselor who suggested I see a psychiatrist, who wrote me a prescription for Zoloft. Oh, and talk therapy. The gold standard of care. Zoloft and therapy didn't seem to help, so I was then put on Prozac...and then, on a whole host of other meds. I took a jumbled handful of different cocktails I can’t even remember, including Effexor, Wellbutrin, Trazadone, Remeron, and a number of mood stabilizers. It was a rollercoaster on top of the hormonal rollercoaster I was already on, being a preteen on birth control. At age 13, things felt increasingly bleak, as I was having issues with my friends at school and felt unloved and completely hopeless, and I decided it was time to end it. I took as many pills from the medicine cabinet as I could without throwing up and lay down in my bed, waiting to die. But it took too long; I got impatient and decided maybe I didn’t really want to die...not if it meant lying there, excruciatingly nauseated. So when my dad got home, I told him I needed to go to the hospital and they pumped my stomach. The pills I'd taken the most of were Effexor leftover from my brief stint on it months prior. I thought I was going to throw up the charcoal until a social worker put a cool washcloth on my forehead, and the nausea passed and I felt this giant wave of relief and joy from still being alive. I told my psychiatrist about that, and she took that to mean Effexor was a good med for me. So I went back on it and stabilized on Remeron, and over the next few years, things did get a little better. Meaning we were sort of managing my depression. But I was still deeply, deeply troubled. I was attracted to drugs and alcohol because I was so depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin and altered states felt better to me. I was on a constant quest to find the best and most complete escape from the pain of normal, everyday life and started partying and skipping school to smoke pot and take drugs. I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, which gave me horrible side effects but also appeased my longing to escape sobriety, so I took more and more of it. Up to 120mg a day. I flunked out of public school and my parents sent me to private school, at which point I finally chilled out on the partying and graduated. I was managing my symptoms a little better. In college, I had a serious boyfriend who pointed out it was not normal for a girl like me to have such severe sexual dysfunction. I’d never been told anything about that by my doctor or even realized it was abnormal, and when I found it was a common side effect of antidepressants, I was outraged and decided to stop taking my antidepressants, cold turkey, between doctor’s visits. I’d never heard of withdrawal symptoms. But I didn’t experience any! Different biology?? I don’t know. When I told my doc I’d stopped taking the meds, she was pretty surprised that I seemed okay. This was the most stable period of my life. I wasn’t “happy” or even well-adjusted but I was managing, even after I got off the meds. I wonder why my more recent experiences have been so different. I’d developed TMJ my senior year and in college, guzzling Adderall and stressing out, my anxiety and jaw pain got much, much worse. I would have flare-ups where it felt like my jaw muscles were being stabbed with an ice pick. I went to the emergency for a particularly bad episode and asked my psychiatrist if there was anything she recommended. She prescribed lorazepam. I started off only taking that here and there for my jaw but eventually, it became a daily habit for anxiety. Life was just better when I took it. It’s what I’d always been searching for: peace. I vowed never to take antidepressants again but benzos were okay in my book because I had no idea they also came with a slew of negative side effects, and they made a much bigger difference in how I felt. For a while, anyway. Eventually I graduated to Klonipin and was taking 1-2 mg a day, every day, sometimes more. I dropped out of college to pursue a music career and my love of getting inebriated spiraled out of control. During a particularly low point in my life, I started taking pain pills to get through work and got addicted to them. I spent the next few years battling opioid addiction which progressed to heroin addiction. I checked myself into rehab in 2012 and during that month, I was put on Lexapro for depression and Seroquil for sleep. Seroquil made me feel frightened, so I talked to the doctor and he put me on Remeron again. I was like a zombie. And I couldn’t stop eating the junk food they had there. I felt AWFUL. So, as soon as I got out, I stopped taking all the meds. Not sure whether I had withdrawals because, unfortunately, I also relapsed. I battled my addiction a while longer until my beloved boyfriend at the time OD’d and died in front of me. I was obviously crushed and blamed myself. I was more depressed than ever but didn’t want to die, so I entered a methadone maintenance program and stopped doing street drugs. I’m so grateful for that methadone clinic...it saved my life. But the doctor there kept urging me to get back on an antidepressant and I didn’t want to. Because I knew it would only be harder this time. But I still had no other coping skills and had these health professionals telling me I had a chemical imbalance and the only way to fix it was with medication, so I relented. I was on 75mg Effexor and 1.5mg Klonipin. My doc lowered my dose of Klonipin a few times over the next few years; he wanted me to get off of it now that the FDA released a black box warning about cognitive effects. In 2017, I switched from Effexor to 20mg Citalopram, which he thought would help with my anxiety. It didn’t. And she tapered me off the Effexor over the span of about a week and a half...it was brutal! I knew better by that point, too, but I chose to just trust her anyway. I barely slept and the anxiety was incapacitating. It took me a couple of years to connect the dots but Citalopram gave me horrendous brain fog. I’m a writer and musician, and I had a health and wellness blog I really took pride in. Once I was stable on the Citalopram, I stopped feeling able to write or make music entirely. I could barely think straight. For 3 YEARS. And for the first year and a half of that, I thought I was just tired and lazy because my doctor said it wasn’t related. But in 2017, I discovered holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan on a podcast and learned the truth about antidepressants and learned I was not the only person whose creativity was stunted by them. I learned game-changing lifestyle practices that actually DID help with depression and anxiety--unlike the meds--and I underwent a huge health transformation and had an awakening around the medical system and society at large. And I got to a place where I felt more centered, joyful, and more MYSELF than I’d ever thought possible. I vowed to get off meds for good--this time, not to just “manage my mental illness” without meds, but to live a full, vibrant, healthy life. I was most eager to get off the things that stifle my creativity, so I microtapered off my remaining 0.35mg Klonipin in Spring of 2020. I got through it using my lifestyle practices--clean eating, meditation, intentional movement, grounding, EFT/tapping and emotional regulating practices/shadow work--and had only a few severe panic attacks. The brain fog was INTENSE and I’m so grateful to have been laid off from the lockdown because I could not have worked. I basically lay around all day for months, aside from doing my self-care practices. I tried to move right into tapering Celexa because I want OUT but my body said NOPE just about immediately with severe insomnia, crippling anxiety and even worse brain fog. I’ve been balancing out over the past year and am feeling 9,000,000,000 times better than I was right off of Klonipin. I’m ready to get off of Celexa. I’ve lowered my dose of methadone over the past several years, too, and I’m at half my original dose. I know this isn’t a forum for that but it’s part of my journey...and getting off an opioid is no walk in the park but I’m honestly concerned that this Celexa taper is going to be even harder. That’s why I signed up here. I’m currently at 14.35 mg; my original dose was 20mg. I don’t really know what to expect (aside from anxiety and sleep disturbances) but I know I’m going to need support. Figuring out the math to do each cut feels really difficult. My brain fog is still really thick. I’m honestly disappointed it hasn’t improved more by now, having been off Klonipin for almost a year. I’m taking lion’s mane mushrooms, which definitely help but it’s still a challenge. I’m still unemployed and have been hesitant to cut my dose because I keep expecting to lose my unemployment and have to be able to perform, create, be productive, etc. I don’t feel comfortable going to a workplace with what’s going on out there now, so I started learning copywriting last year during lockdown and was planning to start a freelancing business but kept going back and forth between prioritizing that and my healing. I couldn’t write during Klonipin withdrawal; I don’t know if I’ll be able to during this taper. I have so much fear around this. I’m doing a lot of inner work, a course called Core Wound Healing and lots of shadow work, which I know will help me through this. Still, it’s difficult. So much fear! But since I only have 1 ongoing freelance client and it’s really easy work, I’m back to prioritizing my healing, and I cut my dose by 10% this morning. I’m just telling myself “I got this” over and over. Going to see how I feel in a few days, a week, 2 weeks. And I’ll go from there. Thank you so much if you made it to this point!! I know this was a novel!! (I'm a writer...I edited this about 10 times but brevity isn't one of my strong suits😬)
  17. Hello, I'm new to this forum and I'm very glad to have found you. I am 36 years old and started taking antidepressants in 2003 when I was 17. At that time I had strong emotional outbursts and finally the diagnosis depression was made. At that time, I was prescribed Tavor for use at home in emergencies and have also taken it for a few mails. In the psychosomatic clinic I had Tavor for a week and at the same time was put on an antidepressant, I can't remember which one, I think an SSRI. That didn't interest me at the time. After a few weeks I felt better and after months I was released and was a new person. Happy. I'm almost certain that I stopped taking the medication around 2007. In any case, I went to the psychosomatic clinic again in 2008. I still remember that I had total restlessness and anxiety in bed and great fear of failure. It's possible it was withdrawal symptoms. In the clinic I was put on the SSRI paroxetine. And again I was released and I felt wonderful. I'm not exactly sure if I stopped taking the meds in 2011 or not. Because in 2012 I went to a clinic again. There I was either put back on paroxetine or my dose was increased. I can't remember exactly. Then I took the paroxetine until 2018. In April I tapered off the paroxetine in increments of ten. 40-30-20-10-0. I don't remember exactly how long I wormed it out, I think within four weeks. I discontinued it due to lack of libido. I knew the drug was to blame and assumed that if I stopped taking these side effects, they would go away. Then in September I was put on 150mg of bupropion. I had severe side effects from this. Laughter fits, extreme restlessness. And in March 2019 I switched back to paroxetine. I don't think I've weaned off bupropion as there is only one 150mg pill and nothing smaller. So that was cold turkey. In July 2019 I was in a clinic again, this time as a day clinic. Noticing that paroxetine was not improving my condition, I switched to Cymbalta (increased to 90mg). This was done crosswise. Went off paroxetine and started cymbalta. The paroxetine was withdrawn fairly quickly, within a few weeks. I now know that the PSSD symptoms led to the hospital stay, since depression was of course diagnosed. On December 26th, 2020 I went off Cymbalta and went cold turkey. I was fed up with it, but I didn't know that you should slowly taper it off. I figured maybe I'd have a few days of heavy withdrawal and that would be the end of it. I definitely had gastrointestinal problems for the first 10 days after cold turkey. In the course of the next few weeks/months, severe anxiety and panic attacks were added. I then did some research and came across PSSD. From 2016 I noticed more and more that I was getting worse and worse. Not just loss of libido, that's the most harmless. I noticed more and more how the emotional connection between me and my fellow human beings is missing. Castrated by the world, by the people. No more joy. No joy with my son who was born in 2017. Ever since he was born I don't feel any emotional connection to him. This is such a pain!! I lived more and more behind glass. Can see everything, but I'm no longer there. Terrible condition. These symptoms (and more...) increased drastically when Cymbalta was stopped. I ended up in hell. Everything that used to be fun and brought me joy has become almost irrelevant to me. It doesn't do anything for me anymore. I can plan to do things in everyday life, but somehow it doesn't work anymore. How I'm broken. A connection in me is somehow severed. I then got more and more anxiety attacks, panic attacks and I was researching all the time what scares me. If things come up from childhood. My body becomes stiff with these attacks. I struggled through time. I took sick leave in June. I can no longer "resonate" with people. I'm in a group, and no matter what emotional thing happens there, I can't tune in, how emotionally castrated. That's the horror. I am no longer able to live alone. I want to do things, mentally, but it doesn't work properly anymore. I am no longer able to work through several things in a row. The connection between thought and action no longer seems to be there. And that the PSSD diagnosis is so clear and there is no reliable therapy makes me even more desperate. The nearly complete sexual dysfunction doesn't bother me at all. This emotional isolation, this joylessness, complete loss of my interests, it's not worth living. And what causes my suffering is the PAIN, the emotional PAIN, when I see my son but always notice that I'm actually not there. I am in such pain. And now we move on to medication. In November 2021 I tried again to take paroxetine. After four days I stopped taking it because my body didn't want the stuff anymore. I was shaking and showing severe physical symptoms. That year, in the summer, I also had physical attacks of shaking, attacks of tremors, as if the body were cleansing itself. After I stopped taking the paroxetine, it was even worse than before. The PSSD symptoms, the anxiety, the body stiffness and shaking, brutal restlessness. Up to that point I had looked after my son every two weeks in the greatest agony, and after this attempt with paroxetine that was no longer possible either. In January of this year I went to a good psychosomatic clinic. After three weeks there, I got involved with mirtazapine. Furthermore, on bupropion, because it is said to be the only antidepressant that can have a positive effect on PSSD. I can no longer work, I can no longer look after my son, something in me no longer works. I have to go to assisted living because I realize I can't survive on my own. Does anyone understand me? Dear God, where should I get hope from? And this mental pain, it's so strong whenever I notice that I'm no longer part of life. And that's pretty much permanent. These are now just muted by lithium. And totally restless. How am I ever going to take it if I put that stuff down again? I have such a longing to live again and I don't know how to do it, how to endure it. Best regards!! Dany
  18. I seriously don’t know what to do anymore. I started 20 mg of lexapro at 17. This was prescribed by a dermatologist after taking accutane for 3 years straight which he also prescribed. (Which I believe messed with my head and led to all of this) I discontinued it after an extremely fast taper at 19 after taking it for a little over 2 years. The entire time I was on it I was basically a walking lexapro zombie with complete loss of inhibition, extreme suicidal ideations, cognitive plummet, horrible brain zaps even though I very rarely missed a dose, left my girlfriend and any relationships I had at the time, just completely numb and immune to life, an entirely different person, truly amazing I survived. Around the 2 year mark when I finally realized that the drug was my problem and I wasn’t even recognizable, I knew I had to get off of it if there was any hope of getting my life back. This led to far too fast of a taper over the course of maybe 2 months and I immediately had a massive cognitive decline, full blown aphasia, horrible akathisia, complete sexual dysfunction, complete anhedonia (which started and was the worst while I was still on it, could have seen a family member who I’ve always been extremely close to get hurt or die right in front of me and not have felt anything), nearly seizure like brain zaps, horrible adrenaline surges (alerting system disinhibition), extreme autonomic instability (tried lots of supplements that only made me feel worse), complete despair and disassociation, horrible insomnia, feeling insane, toxic burning sensations through my gut and body, blurry sensitive vision and hearing, (hard to even think or put into words a lot of my symptoms, you guys know the deal and I identify with pretty much all the the awful symptoms others in PAWS describe.) I’ve been doing everything I can to survive and cope through this pure agony for 13 months now. I live through pretty much a constant wave, though there is one memorable window and one other one I believe I had about a month ago as well. I was always an athletic person and I try my best to push through the fatigue and I exercise pretty much daily, I go to acupuncture and therapy weekly, I’ve been completely caffeine free, gluten free, and dairy free for 4 months, I have a pretty good support system although obviously nobody that hasn’t experienced this has no clue what it consists of. I’m so scared and I just don’t want to lose my life, I want to survive so badly. I’m considering trying micro doses of lamictal (less than 2mg as @Altostrata has mentioned) in order to help the insomnia and alerting for the time being although I’m terrified of any psych meds. I know this is a lot to read and my brain fog makes it hard to articulate, but I’m so terrified and alone and unable to interact with anybody and wanted to finally reach out on here to see if anybody has any advice. I know there are many very knowledgeable on this and I would love to hear an opinion from somebody. Thank you all
  19. Hello all, My therapist recommended a support group for withdrawal and I found this website through Facebook. First time being a part of a forum. Is a bit overwhelming but heres my back story. I got put on Celexa when I was 14 years old after my first broken heart. I was a sensitive gal those days so I can see how I may have been more sad about it than others would have. And my mother was concernd so she to took me to our family doctor who started me on Celexa and that was that. At the follow up appointment I told him how I got a pain in my eyes if I missed my pill and he said that I should keep taking it because it helped that pain!!!! For years I thought I would be cursed with this pain if I ever got off but I eventually realized it was a withdrawl. Obviously he didnt either but this was 1997/1998. I continues to take it until I was about 23 and decided I wanted to wean my self off so I did, by myself over the course of a year. Each time I did, Id get the same straining pain in my eyes and this weird fuzziness there, in my head. And I would feel nervous. Sometimes these feelings were so obvious that it would remind me if I forgot to take my medicine! I got off of the meds for the first time ever after about 10 years and someone close to me dies!! I handled it fine until I had a panic attack which led me unto a depression and the 24/7 nervous feeling and back on Celexa I went, 5 months after getting off. I was 24 years old. At 28, in 2012, I slowly weaned myslef again over a year to get pregnant. Same WD symptoms and after my last dose, the same withdrawl depression came and lasted several months and then faded. I got pregnant, gave birth and had severe post partum anxiety and depression. And back on Celexa at age 29 in 2013, about 13 months after I got off of them. The depression and anxiety let up and once again I started to wean. I was back off the Celexa again in 2015. I had the same symptoms, plus headaches, night sweats and maybe others that I cant remember. And 2016 and 2017 was the happiest of my life. Did I have anxiety? Sure!!! Might be in my nature and I was a new mom. did I get sad? Yes, awful things happened during that time but I delt with it and got through. It didnt take over my life. I never got depressed. And then in March 2018, I go and get some steroid shots in my back. Days later I started feeling nervous. Then I stopped sleeping. The doctor put me back on celexa with Xanax to help me fall asleep. I took it every night and then the first night I ran out, I didnt take it and had a panic attack which let to suicidal feelings that I had never expeirenced. I went to the hospital and they told me I should stay because they would help me sleep and I could get put on some medicine sooner than if I didnt stay. So I did and it was an awful time. I didnt feel like I would kill myself but I felt like i was at the point where suicide happens and it scared me. So they upped my Celexa and sent me home with an antipsychotic to help with sleep. It didnt help but it gave me awful nightmares so I only took it for about 3 times. That was in June 2018. I eventually started sleeping and feeling better. Years later I found out that my issues and insomina could have been a side effect to the Steroid shot. Unfortunately, that fall, because I was feeling better, I started weaning again. In May 2019 I started getting depressed and thinking alot. And oddly, I started feeling that weird fuzzy feeling and pain in my eyes even while taking the Celexa. I stopped taking it all together in June for some blood test I was doing through a natropath. I felt nervous all the time and thought alot. I gave in and got on Lexapro that October 2019 at 10mg. She upped it to 15mg in December because I didnt feel like it was working. In March of 202 I started taking supplements for gut health which included Magnesium and I started feeling better in May. In September after some research I kicked my magnesium up from 600- about 1200mg. And in October I felt great so I decided Magnesium was the ticket!!! In May, by the approval of my pychiatrist, I decided I wanted to get pregnant January 2021. So she told me to go down to 10mg, then in Decemebr to 5mg, and then in January to 0mg. So I did, and guess what? I feel awful. In the beginning of tapering, I felt really good. really happy. And I thought it was the magnesium. But at 0mg, the fuzziness in my head is so strong and worst when I do quick movements. Sleep sucks. The brain zaps at night. I feel like I cant feel joy. I feel scared, like a small child away from her parents for the first time. Thats all I can ever compare this feeling. Like wanting to go home. But I am home! I just cant feel it. And I have felt this feeling before. I even felt it for a week last December not long after going from 10 to 5mg. But after reading some of the post on here, I worry it will last forever. I am so worried being put on medicine at such a young age caused permanent problems for me. I fee like I am going crazy because I feel fear and I am not sure why. Anytime that I have ever been like this, it went away eventually as I forced myself into life and happiness. Everything makes me sad. Last October I felt great, I knew sad things existed but I also didnt feel like they were the majority of life. I was able to focus on the good, the sad came and went. Hell, even at Christmas, after I got over a hump, I was great. I lead a very healthy lifestlye and kicked up my juice plus supplements in hopes that I can help my brain heal. But maybe it wont. ever. Maybe its broken. Shortly after getting on the Lexapro, I started getting body pains. I wanted to get off the Lexapro to see if it was causing it. And I wanted to get pregnant and give my brother a sibling before it was too late. I m 37 years old. But now I just have this empty room with paint buckets that I cant imagine will ever be a nursery and my little man will not have a sibling or even a cousin! And I am fully aware that their are medicines approve for pregnancy but yall, I dont even take aspirin. It feels like I am stuck i a long panic attack, I keep having brain farts all day long. I cant focus or think straight. Even my spelling in this is awful, so no judgment because I dont know how to fix it on this fancy Macbook! Its been a week since I took my tiny little 3mg crumble of Lexapro. The last few days were crumbles. And I clearly learned from this website that I tapered too fast so whats yalls advice? Go back on and start over? Go back on half way, like to 10 or even 5? Cause I felt good at 5mg. And then ask for a liquid form and do 1mg less every 2 months? Or just stick it out to see what happens. I have my follow up with my doctor next week and I dont feel like doctors know how to handle withdrawl. Btw, I stupdily did ecstacy twice as a teen while on antidressants and always worry I did damage. Can anyone relate to my story? Was anyone that yougn when started?I dont think I can hear any bad news right now so please, maybe not drop that here. Thanks for reading all this. Really appriciate it. My friends cant understand, my folks cant, my husband really cant. He is your man's man. Though they try some, I feel so incredibly lonely. Like standing behind a class window, watching my life being lived and I am not apart of it. Peace and love to you all. (im a hippie) Ashleigh
  20. Hello I am based in Central London and have been dealing with the devastating effects of antidepressants for the last 10 to 11 years. I am now 30 years old. I was first put on antidepressants by a GP when I was 19 years old for 'mild/moderate depression'. I was at university at the time and 2 years prior my father died. Looking back I certainly had high anxiety and periods of depression following my father's death but nothing to rival the devastating symptoms I experienced in the first two weeks after taking my first doses of Citalopram and the endless medication cycling that followed. I spent about a year going up and down on various SSRI/SNRI's. I had a few brief periods of stability but spent most of that year dealing with crushing physical and mental side effects. After a year, I was on 100mg Sertraline and decided I was not going to change anything. Side effects remained. I dropped out of university but I was able to work on and off over the next 6 years. At some point during that time I increased my medication to 200mg. However, since 2017 I haven't been able to work at all, my social life has dwindled to nothing and I really haven't had any sort of life for the past 3-4 years. I've spent the vast majority of that time in bed. I finally mustered the courage to come off Sertraline in August 2020., tapering by 50mg every 2-3 weeks per the advice of my psychiatrist. I have now been med free for about 7 weeks. I realise that is a quick taper compared to others I have read about on this site. I continue to feel pretty ill but not significantly more ill than I had been feeling on the medication. Indeed, the last 7 weeks have been better in some ways, despite some more severe symptoms that I wasn't experiencing before such as periods of intense rage. For the past 3 years I have had infrequent appointments with a psychiatrist who I respect and like very much. He is far better than some other psychiatrists I have seen and generally is sceptical about the benefits of drugs. However, he isn't as open to the notion that these drugs can do real damage to people. Although I am very grateful for him, it would mean the world to me to find a professional in London who would say outright that they believe my account of what has happened, that they have seen it before and that they are going to help me through it. I have been searching for 10 years with no luck. Alternatively, some kind of antidepressant withdrawal support group in London would also be a great find. Like many people, I have been bounced around all kinds of services, none of which really recognise the harm done by antidepressants. My main questions are - What should I do now? Might I start to feel a bit better if I went back on a small dose of Sertraline and came down more slowly? (This doesn't seem an obvious route to me because I was feeling just as bad when I was on the medication.) Alternatively, I can just stay off the meds and hope it improves over time? How long might that take? Are there any up to date lists of clinicians in London who have a good grasp of antidepressant withdrawal? I have contacted people over the years who have been mentioned in the media in connection with antidepressant withdrawal, but they don't tend to reply. Are there any antidepressant withdrawal support groups in London? Thanks in advance for any advice. It really is appreciated. Apologies also if the above isn't entirely coherent. My brain isn't what it was. Happy to answer any questions. Thanks.
  21. Hello everyone, I am very glad to have found this forum. I was suffering with OCD and subsequent depression in my youth, teens and young adult life. Was put on fluvoxamine when I was 15 years old. My OCD has been under control for years and I have been wanting to stop the medication for years. My side effects from the medication grew increasingly worse and I still suffered with chronic stress and anxiety, even with the fluvoxamine use. We figured out a lot is caused by attachment issues from my youth and subsequent unhealthy coping mechanisms ( emotional eating, overworking, seeking distracting from my feelings through gaming and netflixing ). More than a year ago I burnt out from work, but am now at the point of gradually trying to ease back into work again. Because I knew tapering would be time and energy consuming, we decided to start now since I was still at home but feeling better so having the time to take it easy. My GP suggested a fast taper of 2 weeks ( ! ), but I did not feel comfortable with this at all. So my therapist sent me to a new psychiatrist and he suggested tapering. There is only one tapering institution in my country and no liquid pills or capsules exist. The tapering is also rather expensive but I preferred that than a super fast taper. The first 50 mg went surprisingly effortlessly. The 50 mg to 25 mg went okay, but I had a severe stomach flu, then covid, and then a close relative passed away so I paused till I felt completely better and stable again. My main withdrawal symptoms during this time were extreme emotions and crying all the time. When i went below 10 mg I discovered some positive things. I could get angry again ( I have rarely been angry during my time on medication ) and when I went even lower some of my other feelings returned. I was always rather serious and it took a lot for me to laugh, but now I find myself laughing more and more easily and getting more pleasure out of certain activities. These positive emotions seem to help me better in therapy, I feel like I can get deeper to the core of my problems then when I was on medication. Also was crazy bloated at this time, luckily I found out through this forum that bloat is a common thing. I also had a weird auditory hallucination, like a very loud flapping/swooshing sound before falling asleep but that only happened once. From 2.5 mg things got really tricky and though I am crying less, I am experiencing bouts of extreme anxiety, paranoia and agoraphobia ( this was not part of my 'usual' anxiety ). This seems to be aggravated by eating sugar/junk food. I am also having trouble sleeping through the night since I have been on 0 mg. The agoraphobia and general fear of being alone is the most troublesome now. When my husband is home I feel calm, but when I'm alone panic sets in. So far I'm 13 days off the medication. I'm on a good wave now and try doing the vagal exercises to calm my nervous system and taking lots of rest. I am also trying not to run away from my emotions but purposely feeling them. I am very perfectionistic so wanted to have my diet, lifestyle and household on perfect track but I have let go of that, instead trying one or two things at a time now. Luckily I am off work for a month now, and after that slowly reintegrating with tasks with no interpersonal interaction or responsibilities. I work in the medical business and have a job with lots of responsibilities and social contact. This social contact however gives me a lot of stress because of my attachment which makes me bad at setting boundaries, saying no and I want to please everything to avoid conflict/rejection. Also I'm terrified I will break down crying in front of a client... I am getting more and more aware of it and have luckily been given the time to work on it before returning fully to my job. Withdrawal is whispering in my ear that it would be easier to leave and get another job. But I think it's not smart to make any life altering decisions right now. One other question for fellow fluvoxamine people: did you also gain a lot of weight while on the medication and did this weight come off afterwards?
  22. Hi guysI'm new here. I'm a 33 year old female from the UK.I was diagnosed with depression when I was 19, and went through a couple of different anti-depressants, before settling on Venlafaxine. I took 225mg per day. I've quite small (only 5'1) so I was told that was the highest I should go to. I also used to have social anxiety, mild OCD behavior, and was very 'snappy' and moody, but depression was the main problem. I'd had all these problems since about age 12.Around the same time as that diagnosis, I was diagnosed with Reactive Hypoglycaemia, which I now control through diet, but vastly affects my mood when my blood sugar levels get low. It's pretty much under control now through a strict diet and regular eating, except for about one day a month when my hormones affect it.14 years has passed and I started to think that maybe my problem had always mainly been the hypoglycaemia rather than true depression. I've seen a lot of doctors about the hypo and they all have very little knowledge about it - I would end up explaining it to them! - and they don't seem to understand how much it affects my mental state. I'd avoided attempting to come off the meds for a long time as I've heard horror stories, but I tapered them very slowly since the end of November last year, and stopped taking them around the end of May this year.My depression seemed fine, everything seemed fine. I was the same me as ever, and proud of myself.But the last few weeks...stupidly I didn't write down the exact date I stopped them - but maybe a week or two later, I'm not sure, I started feeling anxiety gradually building. It's so hard to know to what extent outside life affects it, but all I know is that I have a knot of anxiety in my stomach, and feeling so on edge is making me snap at my loved ones so much. I'm feeling really fragile, wanting to cry a lot, and this anxiety is driving me mad.So my questions are, is this my brain readjusting to living without chemicals, is this likely to get better?Or is this just how I am... do you think I need to go back on a low dose of the meds?I was so pleased with myself doing so well coming off them, but I'm finding life such a struggle right now. If I know there's an end to this anxiety I can struggle through, but how long do I want until I know if this is just how I am? I'm so tempted to just start them again, but it would be such a shame if this is just a withdrawal symptom.Advice really appreciated. Thanks for reading.
  23. Hello everybody, I'm a girl from Europe and I am having some troubles with withdrawal. I started taking Venlafaxine 75mg 10 years ago when I was still very young because of light depression and was pretty quickly upped to 225mg. 5 years ago I first started tapering. Down to 37,5mg in about 1,5 years and then stopped. It was pretty tough but mostly not completely debilitating until around 8 months of stopping when I started having severe insomnia and a lot of other difficult symptoms like DR, akathisia, anxiety (or maybe I should say terror), aches and a lot of other stuff. I thought I was going crazy. I was put on a few different antidepressants but nothing helped and I ended up with the Venlafaxine again on low dose. I was still feeling pretty bad on it and was not really depressed and could not stand being on it anymore so I tried to get off it several times over the next year but always had immediate insomnia and panic and went back on. Then I finally found this site and stayed on the same dose of 10mg for 8 months. I was feeling very bad for a while but I felt I recovered quickly so I made the decision to just quit it (I tapered the 10mg slowly over 2 months) around 8 months ago. The past months have been very hard but it was bearable, I got quite good at handling all the weird things that were happening to me, avoiding triggers as good as possible. The most persistent and horrible symptom is my insomnia. I never used to have any troubles with insomnia but since it started the first time I went off the medication, it never really went away. There were times when it was better but for 8 months now it takes me hours to fall asleep, often I wake up soon after. It was bearable because I would still get a couple of hours of sleep most nights but for two weeks now I am barely sleeping at all and of course that makes all the symptoms so much more difficult. I am freaking out a little. I try to stay positive but I tried pretty much all the advice on here and nothing seems to help. Before this started two weeks ago I actually felt like I was getting better, now I wonder if it was just a torturous honeymoon phase. I am so scared of my good sleep not coming back. How will I recover then I wonder? What if it isnt even withdrawal? I read other peoples stories but it seems most do not have this problem for so long or so severely and I am worried it wont go away anymore. I know it is part of WD to constantly question whether one will ever get better and I try to tell myself that it will but it is really hard right now. This whole thing is quite exhausting, this has been going on for so long and I am upset with myself for quitting so rapidly when I had finally stabilized a little. But I am trying to stay positive, hopefully someone has some advice. I have been browsing this site for a while now and it has helped me a lot, so thank you to everybody working here to help others through this time.
  24. I've been having horrible symptoms since I came off of all meds 5 months ago , these symptoms are : Emotional Blunting Anhedonia Restless sleep DP/DR Vision issues (possibly from DP/DR Classic PSSD symptoms (except for the genital numbness , its mostly just less sensitive) I've seen no improvements at all in any of these categories and I'm starting to become desperate and suicidal . I also got long covid about 2 weeks after discontinuing the meds but was already feeling side effects before then . I've attempted a various slew of supplements for a couple months now but have seen no progress. I'm also trying TRT as my free testosterone was at the bottom of the range even though my total testosterone was above the range. I'm trying to get ahold of a Ketamine treatment clinic near me to see if that helps at all but its expensive and insurance most likely wont cover it . I have also taken a Sibo test along with a full stool panel to rule out Sibo and gut dysbiosis but the sibo test results have yet to come back and the stool sample test isn't something doctors will base treatment off of (Even though my stool sample indicates high levels of dysbiosis along with fungal growth). I want to give reinstatement a try before I let this go on any further I'm just torn on whether I should try Seroquel , Lamictal , or a different med Wellbutrin . What do you think ?
  25. Hi everyone I'm 22 years old now. I suffered from bulimia, depression and generalized anxiety since the age of 17 and my family got me help when I was 18 after I failed my medical school exams due to my condition. I was put on several medications ( Alprazolam, Valproate, Lamotrigine, Fluoxetine) during the course of treatment. I come from a lower economic class country where psychiatric treatment is still considered a taboo and people hide it from others, the facilities available are not the best but its a work in progress. Most of the drugs I had to take, they helped me immensely and I had not much trouble tapering valproate, lamotrigine and alprazolam within a year since start of treatment. They helped me get through the second-sit of exams and after I passed I quit the first two within 2 weeks using ( 50-25-0%). Since I am in medical school I was well aware of addictive potential of benzodiazepine's, so I decided to taper alprazolam as well even though it helped my anxiety symptoms. I had panic attacks and palpitations again but I started working myself through therapy and regular exercise and sleep to ease my symptoms. For a regular person these things are a luxury of time, but if you suffer from a mental health problem you must consider a good sleep and exercise a necessity for the rest of your life and fit in other parts of your life with it, not the other way around. Around 19, I was only taking fluoxetine (20 mg ) and my symptoms got worse, as I often tried to taper it on my own ( I wanted to be off drugs asap). The doctors upped my dose instead of my concern of getting them off, and told me to take valproate, which I could take if I felt my symptoms weren't manageable as I told him I don't want to be back on meds. For four months I was on 40 mg dosage of fluoxetine and some days were quite bad and 2 years back I would've seen the doctor and he would have most likely upped my dosage again but this time I decided to be patient with myself on bad days, accepting them as part of recovery because on the good days, I didn't need any aid and slowly the ratio of good to bad days was improving. I found this blog and I started the brass monkey taper schedule with 4 weeks hold for fluoxetine, and I was done in 6 months. I had some side effects but with this method they were too mild to be cause a nuisance. I had dizziness, insomnia and weight gain (around 10 kgs) during the process. I am now drug-free for almost a year, and its lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, rest, filling my bucket before I pour from it to others, adequate rest ) that keep me going fresh and happy. I had failed attempts at tapering fluoxetine and every time I tried my symptoms became unbearable till I found this forum. I am incredibly grateful to this community and the stories that gave me strength to continue on my journey. To everyone reading this, be patient with yourself and don't compare your journey to others. Listen to your heart when it tells you NO, trust yourself to get through it and you will only see your strength in the hindsight. Love and Prayers.xx
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