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  1. Female. Anxious disposition even as child. Did well making friends and enjoying life as a child. Struggled with getting to sleep though, due to worries. Displayed some ocd behaviour in teens ( maybe even before). Took and E aged 16 - big mistake. This exacerbated my anxiety and induced subsequent panic attacks. Age 19 ish ( 2001) was put on seroxat (not sure on dosage -it a strange time; experienced a lot of weird goings on with feeling weird, insomnia, - cant remember if this was before or on starting seroxat). started to feel better while on Seroxat. After a year or two, ( age 21) the doc, due to reports of suicidal behaviour on seroxat, decided to swap me to Citalopram ( 20mg i think). On starting Citalopram, I became very suicidal! Not sure why I wasn't swapped back but I perservered and must have evened out. Took Citalopram for 2 years and I felt good. Met my, now, husbandat 23 and thought life was brill and I did not need Citalopram anymore. Didn't follow any kind of tapering ( didnt know I needed to) and must have stopped cold turkey. Felt very suicidal so went back on Citalopram and evened out again. Must have cut fown to 10 mg and stayed on this for 4 years, functioning well. I did my degree. Am a bit of a perfectionist so worked very hard ( too hard), as well as working 16 hours. End of 4th year at Uni, I was burnt out. Overloaded, overwhelmed, run diwn physically and mentally. A 'nervous breakdown' ensued. I tried to go back to uni to finish the last couple of months but couldn't. I finished my dissertation abd transferred my degree so I still gained a 1st class degree but was very ill. I, nearly straight after became pregnant. I, however, suffered a horrid missed miscarriage at 13 weeks. I had told the docs that I thought something was wrong, 5 weeks earlier, but was dismissed. I took 2 months off work and was a mess. The doctor gave me diazepam and zopiclone which helped me ride the worst. Somehow I survived and became pregnant again not long after. Pregnancy was hard ( pains and bleeding) but I lasted. When my baby was born, it was tricky ( so much new to learn; I developed some ocd habits to help me feel in control but it was ok. Things leveled out. I was still on 10 mg Citalopram ( docs aware of this). I was doing well. I had snother baby a couple of years later, aged 29. Pregnancy was s bit better than the previous one but I still had bleeding, so was nervous but it was ok. I continued on 10 mg of Citalopram and was doing ok. When my son was 1 though, I took on too much. ( Lots of voluntary work with high expectations and serious responsibilities. I juggled trying to be a good mum, with several voluntary roles, housekeeping, got a small part time job too. over this time, for some reason i was slowly tapering Citalopram down ( no guidance really other than from the doc that you can take them every other day (? Is this where things started to go wrong?). I thought I was doing ok, although on reflection I was burning the candle at both ends. At the age of 32 I began to experience sciatica and fatigue. Doc suggested I try coming off the pill. This didn't help. This got worse until I developed severe abdominal pain/ heavy periods/ Nausea/ severe IBS - doc queried cfs but i was not yet referred. I was probably taking 5 mg of citalopram a couple of times a week ( not great I now realise as not steady) but as much as I was feeling physically crap, I was still functioning I stopped the Citalopram and took nothing for 10 months. The voluntary work took on another level; I imploded and had a 'nervous breakdown' ( I had a ridiculous amount of stress which was causing me to struggle with sleep and I was beginning to get suicidal ideation and brain fog before this, on top of the other physical issues, then a stressful voluntary work event sent me into a breakdown ( crying/ anxious/ ocd/ sleeplessness/ some kind of sleep apnea where id wake up gasping for breath.. I was put back onto Citalopram. I quit all voluntary work. I requested to start what i thought was low - 5mg. They pushed me to go to 10, saying 5 was ridiculous. At the same time, it was thought I may have endometriosis, so in 2017, aged 35 I had a laparoscopy operation to check; it was not. I think the operation and anaesthetic helped finish me off. The Citalopram made me increading suicidal to the point where I had suicidal ideation 24/7. i was somehow still getting sleep at this point but obe day was so suidsl, I went to A&E. Saw a psychiatrist for the first time in my life ( aged 35). Was tild to stip Citalopram strainght away. Discussed alternatives ( antipsychotics/ Mirtazipine, other ssris etc). I took nothing fir a week then another team of psychiatrists advised on possible meds. It was decided I would try Sertraline ( another Ssri??? why did i do that) I started it on 12.5 mg ( much to dismay of psychiatrists) but I was not given time to level out; They kept bumping up dose so i would get to the 'theraputic' dose of 50mg. Another level of Hell ensured which I hadn't yet visited. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, jitters, suicidsl ideation in the extreme, depression, muscle twitching, increased brain fog, intrusive thoughts, rapid weight loss, hellish insomnia. This on top of the fatigue and pain and ibs i was already experiencing. Despite my reaction, I was told to persist; I think they thought it wss my normal behaviour ( never felt this bad even when I wss 18 before starting Seroxat). Things levelled a bit after about 3 1/2 months. I was able to function a bit and go to my part time work and look after the home but it was tough. I developped tinnitus on Sertraline and had increasing brain fog. I also now suffered from depersonalisation and still had IBS and fatigue and body pain. In November last yesr, Another doc suggested i try the fodmap diet. i tried this and after 2 months it was very apparent that I had a gluten intolerance. Stopping gluten cleared up my IBS and most of the body pain. I still however battled with increasing brain fog and fatigue and severe depersonalisation to the point i couldnt go out at times and battled with it on the way to/ at work. Sertraline was not for me. I decided to cut down. the only advice id had about tapering was every other day from my doc but I thought Id do it slower. i cut miniscule amounts off from April 17, no real structure. I did this slowly but without checking i was stabilising, from April to August when i got to about 25mg. July and August, my brain fog became unbearable; unable to do shopping, unable to have a proper conversation, overwhelmed by simple questions, I became hypersensitive to light and sound. I often wore shades even on cloudy days ( looking back, noide and light sensitivity started with sertraline). I wore earplugs to limit noise at home with loud children. I became snappy due to loud noises. July August this got worse and worse but I was still functioning. I began doing sertraline every other day at 25 mg in August I think, maybe before then BAM one night in early September I had severe anxiety and total insomnia. This was relentless. I was desperate. I needed advice. Do i go back? Stop? go down? even dose to take each day. I was severely suicidal and devepped what seemed to be fit type episodes where i would be breathless, painful stomach, weird tingly head, palpitations, neck pain and lower back pain, loss of appetite, feeling flu like, becoming extremely dehydrated to the point i would guzzle water down cup after cup, My body contorted in painand tension, I eould then becime cold snd shiver. these episodes could last a couple of minutes but up to 16 hours at times. i was desperate for advise. over September/ early october, I visited A&E 4 times, desperately suicidal; I spoke to my doctor, I spoke to the nhs 111 line, I paid to dpeak to a psychiatrist but NO ONE would advise me, passing me round like a hot potato, telling me to do CBT and wait fir an appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist in december! I wouldn't live until then! I stayed with my mum as I felt so out of control with these fit type things ( including one where paramedics came and I was growling/ disorientated/ confused/ dehydrated so my eyeballs snd skin were dry- I was agressive ( never been like this in my life). I didnt want to be near my family due to my behaviour so I stayed with my mum for a few days. she lives in another county. I went to A&E there and they listened to me and made me feel worthwhile. they referred me to their home treatment team, who visited me but once again were unwilling to discuss specifics of medication. i was given zopiclone and diazepam. my husband and i didnt know what to do. we saw this website but I was still confused. I 'evened' out the 25 mg every other day dose to 12.5 in September. This may have made things worse, not sure which is why i wanted advice. The home treatment team managed to get my appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist movef to early october. I saw her and she laughed at my idea that it was withdrawal. she suggested I try an snri or mirtazapine. After reading this site, I wad reluctant. I am still referred with that team of psychiatrists but another appointment is in 2 months and they just want to throw more meds at me without showing any understanding of withdrawal. 5 weeks ago at an extreme point, before seeing the psychiatrist, I stopped Sertraline. I have been off it for 5 weeks. The fits seem to have all but stopped. but my anxiety is through the roof. I have severe stomach pain, reactions to shsmpoo, brain buzzy feeling whch zaps at times, particularly with high pitched loud noises. my sensitivity to sound is horrendous, as are my emotions and sensitivity to stress. I am overwhelmed by anxiety and ocd type ruminating thoughts about the situation and about my children's health. I am in sick leave from work since 2 months ago, as is my husband ( to look after me and the children). I have managed to taper off zopiclone and my sleep varies depending on my anxiety at night ( minutes up to 6 hours, broken sleep). I took dome diazepam but the ladt dose in September affected my breathing and I became severely breathless for 4 hours andmy gums bled so i haven't taken it since. I have applied for pip disability living allowance. we are shortly going to have no miney coming in and do t know if and my husband will be able to go back to work or if he will be fired ( I assume i will). I read this site but felt I couldnt reinstate as I never felt good on Sertraline. what now? do I try to ride it out? So suicidal and hopeless at times. Do I reinstate to citalopram instead? Do i try something else? Low dose mood stabiliser/ antipsychotic? Ps, I was referred a month ago to the ME/ Cfs people for diagnosis. Still waiting to hear.
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