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  1. Hi all, I have been struggling off and on over the last 14 years with what I thought was anxiety the whole time, but am now realizing it was more likely withdrawal from stopping antidepressants too quickly. The first SSRI I was put on was Paxil. I tapered off after 7 months because I never really liked the idea of being on an antidepressant. I started having anxiety a few months later and was switched to 50 mg of Zoloft. I tried multiple times over the next 13 or so years to stop Zoloft, but the anxiety always returned, so back on I would go. In the fall of 2015 I had a return of anxiety after reducing the Zoloft to 25mg and tried to go back to 50, but it wasn't helping, so ended up going to 150mg before I felt relief. I again tried tapering last summer and got down to 25mg and experienced increased anxiety as well as insomnia. My doctor switched me to Lexapro last October, but it only made me more anxious, so after 10 weeks he switched me to Paxil. I got up to 20mg of Paxil for 3 weeks and wasn't feeling any better, so finally decided I had enough and wanted off the antidepressants. I started tapering at the end of January down to 15mg for 2 weeks, then 10 for 2 weeks, then to 7.5, and after about a week and a half at 7.5 started feeling really anxious again. I found this site and decided to go back up to 10mg of Paxil and stabilized for about 2 weeks and then started tapering 10%. Was doing pretty well for a couple of weeks at 9mg and then started feeling a little anxiety creep in. I talked to my doctor about switching to Prozac to make the tapering hopefully easier, so a week ago this Friday I started taking 4.5 mg each of Paxil and Prozac. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, and am having a particularly difficult time right now. Feeling quite anxious and can't sleep. I took .5mg lorazepam tablet and am feeling a bit better, but not sure what to do now. I was going to switch to just 9mg of the Prozac and eliminate the Paxil tomorrow, but not sure if I should continue with the half and half mixture I have been doing or maybe even just go back to the Paxil alone? This just sucks so bad. I know I have probably screwed up my system so much with all of these changes and can only pray the damage is reversible. I was feeling pretty good earlier today, but then started feeling terrible as the evening went on. Haven't felt this bad in a while. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. This site is a go-to to reassure myself that others are traveling and have traveled this road. The discussions about emotional spirals (check) and anxiety, rumination and dread on waking up (check) and depression even worse than before medication (check) have been helpful. I am being extra mindful now of taking Mag powder in the morning and before bed. I started AA and kundalini yoga in mid-May which have both been helpful. Although I really didn't drink much, it was enough (and mostly alone, not social) and any depressant when you are coming off an antidepressant can't be helpful. Also, I changed from hatha/vinyasa yoga to kundalini yoga which is more focused on the spiritual component of yoga. I won't lie: at 4 months, I still fall daily into waves of depression and loneliness. But I do find that there are glimmers of happier times and I am getting clearer -- I hope -- about how to handle the tough times (for instance, I just now think that my beloved dog has a fever and am trying not to emotionally spiral -- ugh). I will be reading this site like mad just to remind myself that I am not alone. Farm Girl Works Tapered 75mg Sertraline March 2017 in 4weeks after 6 years mostly on with a few unsuccessful WD Stopped Sertraline April 1, 2017
  3. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  4. I would appreciate assistance on tapering. My daughter is taking Zoloft 200 mg, Topiramate 25 mg (mood stabilizer), and Trazadone 50 mg (sleep aid). I have done extensive research trying to find which medication to start the tapering 10% method first, second and then third. I've not discovered any information on which one to start with and the sequence order. Would I start with the Zoloft first, the Topiramate second, and then Trazadone last? Or should I have her start with Topiramate first? What are your thoughts of tapering the Zoloft to 100 mg and then starting the Topiramate taper? Thank you in advance for your assistance.
  5. I have been off Sertraline for over four months now, after having been on it for about 3 and half years. Previous 4 years or so I had been on other medications. Is diffcult to comprehend and explain in words all that is going on, but my whole psyche has been completely overturned in these years, and I do not know to what extent the various medications have caused me this. I suffer from the severest OCD,and anxiety, and now I think depression, and sheer terror at all my subsconscious thoughts which have completely taken over my whole mind. I have been imprisoned and castigated in my own mind. It is beyond explanation what is occuring on a millisecond basis. I seem to have entered some moral vortex, whereby I feel as if I am always doing wrong. Constantly confronted with "Heaven and Hell". Constantly feeling compelled to undo things, which for example I have written like here. Damned if I do or if I don't , this doesnt explain 1% of what is going on. It has brought into the fore the reason for everything and existence. I really have no idea what is going on, terrifies me the idea that no-one can have any idea of what is going on in my head. Yet on the other hand everybody is in my head, I don't know who is in my head and who isn't. Everything I say in my head is being judged. I will not go any further for now as I am terrified of writing, and also it may not be entirely pertinent to the subject. Unfortunately it only comforts me to a certain extent to know that others are experiencing their own hell, and I feel guilty in turn for the fact "that others suffering should comfort me', as I have entered some abstract Universe which seems to have its own laws. the ridiculous thing is that in the end what seems "right and wrong" seems to be determined by feeling and not some sort of formula, and I feel guilty in turn for thinking that, and also "convinced" on the one hand that it should be formulated and on the other "know" that it isn't. One of the main reasons for writing this post was the guilt and fear of punishment, or fear of damning others, especially close ones for benefitting from reading others stories and not contributing my own. To clarify alot of this stuf was going on when I was still on the Sertraline, and perhaps, in a different way when I was on other medication, difference now is that I am that so much more fragile.
  6. Hi, I found this site a couple of weeks ago and have slowly been starting to wonder if what I’ve been going through the past 18 months is related to SSRI withdrawal. I managed to successfully withdraw from Lexapro at the end of 2010, after over 13 years of AD use. I had various fluctuating symptoms for a couple of months, but then apart from constant ringing in my ears and a return of occasional anxiety, I seemed to be ok. I was studying to be a chi-ball instructor, was exercising regularly, was eating healthy and was generally quite happy. After getting off Lexapro, I had been diagnosed with adult ADD and been put on medication for that. It worked well for a couple of weeks and seemed to completely cure what remained of my anxiety, but then I started to get extreme restlessness, OCD like symptoms, irritability and an increase in my sensitivity, to sounds and lights. I assumed it was a bad reaction to the stimulant medication. My life has been a confusing nightmare since the end of 2010 really, but until I found this site a couple of weeks ago, it really didn’t occur to me that my ongoing problems were being caused by a medication I stopped taking over 2 years ago. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life starting from an early age and have always been sensitive and anxious. There has been some violent crime and sexual abuse, but I seemed to be ok until I got myself into a psychologically abusive marriage. That’s when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started on Zoloft. For a couple of years it took the edge off my anxiety, but I never thought I had depression, but the Zoloft just made me feel generally numb, so I endured my marriage, for several more years until it became unbearable, tried to communicate with my ex-husband so that things would improve, but he wasn’t interested in change, he was already in his next relationship and had been for a while, I didn’t know that at the time though. Then I went through about 4 years of extremely frightening separation/divorce and ongoing court proceedings. . There were other extremely stressful things I’ve had to deal with over the last 10 years, but I’m not going to go into details. I have been thinking that what I’m going through is a combination of long term stress, anxiety/depression, a ‘dark night of the soul’, menopause and/or some kind of spiritual transformation like kundalini, because I have engaged in various spiritual practises through my life. At times its felt like my CNS is completely burned out or that I have some kind of serious hormonal imbalance, but I gave up trusting the medical profession, including psychologists after years of not being able to get any help from any of them and only ending up feeling worse and that its all my fault for not trying hard enough. I’ve had lots therapy, counselling and done various support groups over the last 15 years, nothing has been any significant help. I went back to college to study psychology and started a business, but that all fell apart when the marital abuse became worse and the divorce proceedings began. Since finding this site, I’ve stopped taking all psychotropic medication, realizing that anything which effects my brain is having an exaggerated negative effect on my recovery. For a long time I’ve noticed that even small amounts of caffeine, half a glass of wine or even an anti-histamine will have a very bad effect on me, but I was thinking it was my imagination. I can’t even eat chocolate any more without suffering the next day. I’m exhausted all the time, but it’s a weird kind of fatigue, its like a combination mental/emotional tiredness, not like anything I’ve ever felt before. I spend most of my time at home, on the internet on my bed, just doing the things I need to do to take care of myself and my teenage daughter. Its very difficult just getting out to buy a few groceries, but when I do go out, I function perfectly in a kind of dissociated way, like I’m not even in my own body, I’m watching myself like from a distance, wondering who it is that’s behaving so ‘normally’ when I’m feeling so awful. Waves of negative emotions seem to get triggered by almost everything around me and almost every thought, I try not to think about things or do much of anything so I can avoid the emotional pain that thoughts or experiences bring, its like a kind of forced meditation. This symptom was at its worst from November 2011 – August 2012, but its not as bad now, seems to be settling down, I think its improved by about 50%. Please would someone take a look at the details in my signature and give me an opinion if protracted anti-depressant withdrawal might be a factor in my current health problems which include: Waking at 5am with racing thoughts Feeling like I haven’t slept at all Nausea, shaking, dizziness, body pressure, muscle twitches Waves of negative emotion Hot/cold flashes, sweating Constant ringing in my ears Sensitive to sound, light and smells Can’t watch TV or listen to the radio because its too stimulating Most things are too stimulating now, including being around other people too long Loss of appetite and loss of weight Hair falling out Agoraphobia, mostly during the day, I’m able to go out easier late afternoon towards evening Memory problems and mental confusion Loss of confidence. Loss of interest in doing anything or going anywhere Can’t get any pleasure out of things any more Loss of hope I needed to put more detail in my signature, but that’s all that would fit. From about 2006 – 2008 I was also taking duramine (a prescription stimulant weight loss med) to try and lose all the weight I’d put on from being on SSRI meds. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to try and provide a clear picture of my situation. Thank you Petu
  7. Hello! I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Katie and am 38. I was a completely happy, carefree woman until Thanksgiving when my 5 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the deadlist brain cancer. After getting two opinions, Drs said she will probably only live another year. Well, I started to get panic attacks in mid-Dec. I was scared and did not know what was going on with my body. They gave me Xanax and .5mg would calm them down. A few days later my GP put me on Zoloft....12.5mg for a few days and 25mg for a few more. It was the WORST experience and I got heart palpations, my GP took me off cold turkey. So, the day after I was dizzy. The dizziness went on for 4.5 weeks until I got on Prozac because everyone was saying "it must be anxiety causing the dizziness". I know NOW that it was withdrawal, even though I was on for a short time. The reason I know this is because I am going through withdrawal NOW AGAIN! I tried Prozac, Lexapro and Zoloft (again) for about 3-4 weeks.....each one gave me agitation, intense 24/7 anxiety, an angry and depressed heightened state, etc... I ended up in the psych ward for 3 days because I was scared and didn't know what was going on with my body and they took me off Zoloft. They said my body does not metabolize SSRIs right. I KNEW IT!!!! Ugh, so now she took me off COLD TURKEY last week and have been dizzy and feeling seasick every since. The seabands you get in drugstores do wonders for stopping the sick feeling if any of you need this advice! Anyway, so the 1st week off was tolerable and now I am 24/7 wired/agitated with anxiety. Nothing can stop this feeling, it's the same feeling I had while ON the antidepressants. Does withdrawal go through different stages? I was only on 25mg (2.5 weeks) and 50mg (1 week). I don't want ANYTHING to do with SSRIs every again. They are poison!!!!!
  8. David182

    David182: Hello all

    Hello everyone, I’d like to start off by saying thank you. The people of this forum have inspired much hope and understanding in the ways of antidepressant medication. I am grateful. I’ve been on Zoloft since the spring of 2015. Things had been going wonderfully well. I felt like myself but disconnected/ unplugged just enough to cope far better. Better mood, alertness and mental focus were a nice change of pace. Around the end of May 2017 I’d been taking BCAAs for working out for around 2 months. One Sunday, after lifting weights and mowing the yard I took a nap and woke up feeling off. I had low blood sugar issues for about a day, I couldn’t handle warm temperatures, couldn’t sleep well, and suffered hot flashes for the next few days. For a while I though I was sick. I took an lorazepam one evening (3 days later) and an extra zoloft because of horrible anxiety. I countinued to take my now double dose with my doctor’s permission. The next 6 weeks were h*ll. I had no idea Zoloft could do such things since I had no negative effects when I started. I could write a novel (as I’m sure we all could) but I’ll try and hit the main points. About week 6 I stabilized. I hadn’t found this site yet so many mistakes were made. i only stayed at 100mg for a week or so before I jumped to 75mg (I felt too apathetic about things, needed to lower). By this point I realized it was the Zoloft causing my problems. The next few weeks were quite uncomfortable but things went really bad when working out on the 3rd week caused me to crash...hard!! I switched doctors as I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with my other one. My new P.A diagnosed me with serotonin syndrome (a short 3 day stint of trazadone while doubling my dose no doubt contributed, different doctor) she dropped me from 75mg to 25mg of Zoloft. I felt so much better and for the next two weeks got to the point of feeling amazing. Then week three came and some light cardio pushed me over the edge and I crashed again. I also noticed I would have horrible low blood sugar issues for a day or two after crashing. after a week of misery. I bumped my dose to 50mg (I found this site by then). I felt immediate improvement. I began to heal but also began feeing strong sensations of numbness/ pins and needles in my hands and feet, weakness also. I am currently 7 weeks at 50mg. I’ve been struggling with tight & weak calves / ankles since, sporadic internal tremors and fatigue. Had back spasms for a bit about a week ago but not since. I’ve begun to sleep better in the past few weeks (7 hours on a good night but not consistently). I typically wake up around 5-6 hours after falling asleep but I don’t NEED medicine to help me fall asleep anymore (a few months of needing it). I would rather keep this short but I want you all to know my history. I saw a psychiatrist tonight at the recommendation of my PA (she was surprised when my reinstatement actually helped, she was convinced I hadn’t dropped too low too fast. She is a wonderful PA and God worked through her, saved my life when I had serotonin syndrome.) The psychiatrist on the other hand... I have mixed feelings. I flat out refused any other medication. She believes my first incident was serotonin syndrome. Maybe so? BCCA actually inhibit triptophan uptake but then again my workout protein powder did have triptophan in it (I have quit taking all workout supplements months ago). The psychiatrist also thinks I’m suffering from serotonin syndrome now. (Currently weakness in legs, pins and needles in hands and feet, stiff feeling calves and maybe hands, hands and feet more susceptible to being cold) what do do you all think? Do I continue to continue to tough it out at 50mg? Is this a sign my body is too sensitized for this dose? (I was at 25mg for one month before reinstating to 50mg) I will work on my signature as soon as I figure out how to do it. Thank you for your time. I trust you all more than the medical “professionals”
  9. Hi. I'm new here. Here are the basics of my story. I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm working hard to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I don't want to come off the Zoloft, just the Abilify. Maybe I won't be able to, in which case I need to come to terms with that. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Zoloft withdrawal success - my story When I first decided to wean myself off of Zoloft, I searched the internet for stories about people who had successfully gotten off antidepressants and had trouble finding them so I promised myself that if I made it I would post my story. Tomorrow, will mark my "no Zoloft for one year" anniversary. In that time, I haven't used alcohol or any other mood altering substance either, and I'm doing fine. It hasn't been easy, and it took a while, but I made it and I was able to function, to work and to take care of myself throughout. Diagnosed with social anxiety and depression when I was in my mid 40s, I was put on Zoloft and stayed at 200mg per day for around 5 years. The Zoloft helped me. It took the edge off of my anxiety, and since my depression was the result of my anxiety, it helped with that as well. Another pleasant side effect was that I lost a few pounds. So why would I want to stop taking it? The Nurse Practitioner who prescribed the meds was puzzled. It works, why stop taking it? I can't fully answer that question, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I've struggled with addiction my entire life. Drugs, alcohol, food... maybe I felt like by taking the Zoloft I was avoiding dealing with one of the major themes of my life. Whatever the reason, I wanted to stop taking it. I'd tried twice using the NP's tapering recommendation, which was to decrease by 50mg every week for a month. I never made it past the first week because I'd have flashes of disorientation and dizziness (which I didn't mind) and then become anxious and depressed (which I did mind). She told me Zoloft didn't cause withdrawal symptoms, it was my natural state of anxiety and depression returning, so I needed to stay on the Zoloft. I knew I was having withdrawal symptoms, but they were so intense I couldn't function, so went back on the Zoloft. Then my mother told me that she had weaned herself off of Premerin by doing a very slow taper over the course of a year, so I decided to try that. My plan was to decrease the Zoloft by 25mg every month over a period of 8 months. The first month was fine. I'd have rough patches, but they were manageable. After 8 months I was off the Zoloft but a few weeks later, I started having withdrawal symptoms including what people refer to as "brain zaps." I called them "head rushes" because it felt like my brain was being flooded by chemicals. Then I became anxious and depressed again, so I decided to go back up to the lowest dosage where I felt good, which was 50mg. Then instead of tapering at 25mg per month, I reduced it to 10mg a month, and that is how I eventually got off the Zoloft. Whenever the withdrawal symptoms became uncomfortable, I'd go back up to a "comfortable" dosage then begin tapering in smaller increments, a "progressive taper," similar to what is recommended in the book "The Anti-Depressant Solution," and on this website. Eventually I had to buy a milligram scale (available on amazon), because the increments became so small. I was amazed how sensitive my body had become to the tiniest adjustments in dosage. The last month I was down to 5mg, and I stopped taking Zoloft completely February 1, 2014. One year ago tomorrow. I was on 200mg of Zoloft for 5 years and it took 2 ½ years to taper off completely. It took a long time, but I wanted to taper safely, physically and emotionally. And I did. During that time I was able to work and to meet all my social commitments. At the suggestion of the NP, I joined a social anxiety group which used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She warned that I shouldn't go off the meds without addressing the underlying cause, which made sense to me. However, I also believe that much of my anxiety and depression was situational, even though she maintained it was my natural state. When I first came to her, I was going through an extremely stressful period of my life. I was having problems finding work and didn't know how I was going to pay my rent or survive from month to month. I went on one job interview after another and I think social anxiety and depression were my way of trying to protect myself from more rejection and failure. So how do I feel now, one year later? I'm doing okay. I occasionally get a head rush, but it's very mild. I wouldn't today describe myself as either socially anxious or depressed, but I know that this is how I react to stress, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped me develop strategies for dealing with those tendencies. 12 step programs, self help books, spiritual practices like yoga and meditation, healing modalities like Reiki, and individual therapy have all been part of my healing process as well. On this journey, life has given me both challenges and assistance in dealing with social anxiety and depression. For example, as I was tapering I started dating someone for the first time in years, and we had a fun relationship which helped heal a lot of issues relating to social anxiety. Then, after two years we broke up, so that offered its challenges, but I didn't sink into depression, which was kind of amazing. At the time, I also had bed bugs which deprived me of sleep and sent my anxiety through the roof, but I survived that too. (The bed bugs did not.) My ex-boyfriend introduced me to hiking, which I loved, so I started going to hiking meet-ups and found a circle of friends who also love to hike which helped heal a different aspect of my social anxiety. Also, becoming more physically active probably helped with the depression... In other words, life went on. There were challenges and there were opportunities and often the challenges were the opportunities. The Zoloft helped me get through a very difficult period of my life, and I'm grateful for that, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But here I am, 8 ½ years later, and I haven't used Zoloft or any mood altering drugs, alcohol or coffee (all of which affect my anxiety and depression) for a year. Today, I feel optimistic and hopeful. I know life will have it's challenges but also that I have resources and strategies to assist me, and I am grateful to all who have helped me on this journey; therapists, teachers, friends, strangers, nature, and also to life itself, which Eckhart Tolle calls "the greatest guru of all." Do I have moments of fear and anxiety? Yes! Do I have moments of happiness and joy? Yes! Do I have moments of depression and sadness? Yes! Do I have moments of laughter and silliness? Yes! All of it, yes. What I was dreading is that it would be unending anxiety and depression, and that hasn't been my experience. Life is okay, with its highs and lows and all of it. Like Snoop Dogg says, "it's all good."
  11. Hi everyone! Just found this site weeks ago while browsing the net regarding AD withdrawal. Sounds like you all have more insight to AD's then any doctor I've ever seen. It's reassuring there are others like me who have had many years of AD use. I'll be 47 years young next month and have been taking Zoloft/Sertraline since the early 90's. It's been a looooong time! 22 years I believe. Matter of fact, there wasn't even a generic available for Zoloft when I started taking it, it's been so long. I've been on 100mg/day since the beginning. I've tried 50mg/day for a while and been as high as 150mg/day but only for a short period. Currently still on 100mg/day, seems to be my sweet spot. Anyway, like many people out there, I was diagnosed with Dysthymia in my 20's and was promptly put on Zoloft while having a major depressive episode. I sought therapy during that time and they thought Zoloft would be an excellent option for me during that gloomy year. Fast forward 20+ years and I think it was the worst option they could have suggested during that time. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. It is what it is now. I was an excellent responder to Zoloft. After a small adjustment to the med life was really excellent for a long long time. I had probably 15 good years on this AD with very few side effects. Things like emotional blunting, mild anorgasmia, foggy head syndrome were just a few sides that have persisted thoughout the years. As I get older, these side effects have seemed to get worse despite living a very healthy lifestyle. Many of the doctors I've seen over the years all have said that I could expect to be on Zoloft for the rest of my life and that it's ok that I am. Not so sure I agree with that. I've been married for 19 years to the same wonderful supportive woman. I've been at my same job for 25 years, make a decent income and have very few external stressors. I have nothing to complain about in my life. So I keep asking myself why am I still on an AD? I think some of it has been complacency. If zoloft is working so good then why quit taking it, right? It did work wonders for a long long time, so basically for a while I wrote it off as something I would be on forever and just live with the side effects until the day I die. I guess I could live with that and go on with my life. But what happens when the same drug you have been taking for 22 years starts to lose it's effectiveness? That's what seems to be happening over the last few years now. Many years ago I tried to wean of zoloft without any luck. Back then I had no idea what I was doing and neither did the doctor I was seeing. I look back and think about the 50% weaning schedule my doctor had suggested and just shake my head. No wonder it was so horrible. Needless to say I quickly reinstated and went on with my life. From all the reading I've been doing I now know that was the worst thing I could have done. A few months ago I found a really excellent doctor that specializes in integrative health. Although he doesn't specialize in Psychiatry, he really "gets it" compared to other doctors that simply want to push pills on you. He really understands how weaning works and also suggested the 10% weaning schedule you all advocate as well. I think I'm a pivotal point in my life regarding my AD. I don't think it's working very good anymore. I can detect very small withdrawal symptoms while on the same dose I've had for years. I think this tells me it's pooping out on me. My life circumstances are as stable as they will ever be so I feel this is a good time to start my journey. I know it will be really difficult and I'm willing to accept the fact that there is no deadline to finish my taper. I'll take it one day at a time. Hopefully with your support I can some day successfully be free from AD's forever. I Hope to get to know some of you on the forum. My intro was a little long so if you made it to the bottom thanks for listening All the best, Rob
  12. luv2knit

    luv2knit HELP!

    I am at my wits' end. Hoping someone can help. I am a female, 60 years old, and was put on Zoloft 20 years ago for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I know, stupid--no depression or anxiety--just fatigue. I never knew there were issues getting off these drugs. Got my new prescription in June, and the pharmacy said they needed a pre-authorization. I knew this was not going to be quick and easy (I was right), and had wanted to go off anyway, so I made a pretty much spur-of-the-moment decision that it was time. Looking back on it, I was having issues I didn't know were related to the Zoloft--probably for years. I did taper (6 weeks--obviously not long enough), because I knew if I missed a few days, I would get kind of crazy. I had no idea about the withdrawal, though. I have now been completely off about 11 weeks now, and things are just going from bad to worse! At the end of my taper, I just had vertigo for about three weeks, and then basically nothing for another three or four weeks. Then it hit!! In researching symptoms, my main issue(s) seem to be consistent with akathisia. Not sure if this is what it is, but just to give an idea of what symptoms are--restlessness, jitters (tremors), agitation, irritability, just totally "losing it" from time to time--especially under stress. I have also had nausea and today, actually vomiting. No appetite, and went from insomnia to no insomnia, and back to insomnia. I have not been in contact with my doctor, because I do not want to be put on more meds, and I am sure that's what will happen. I did attempt to contact about the only naturopath in our area to see if they could help, but they advised me to contact the doc that prescribed it. (The doc who originally prescribed it has been gone from this area for years and years.) From what I have read so far, reinstating is not really an option this far out, and also seems like it would be risky with the issues I was already having. I know one usual symptom seems to be "brain zaps", and I really have not has these. From what I understand, fish oil is one treatment for them, and I have been taking krill oil now for a couple of years, along with some other supplements for my blood pressure, so I'm thinking this may be the reason why I haven't had these--or maybe just haven't had them yet?! (YIKES!) I've pretty much stayed with the supplements I had been using previously. I have tried it with them and without, and can't really tell much difference. I have added Vitamin C, and have upped (gradually) my magnesium usage (glycinate and topical mag. chloride). I really feel like the REAL side effects are just beginning, and don't know where to go from here!! My husband helped me do research, and based on his research, I have been taking seriphos for the last few days, to hopefully help with the akathisia symptoms. The first day or two it seemed to help, but today--not so much!! I really have no idea what I am doing, other than what I have read, so i am probably completely on the wrong track!!
  13. Hello I recently withdrew from two psychiatric medications, Zoloft (Sertraline)and Zyprexa (Olanzapine) after a 15 year forced dependency which started when I was court-ordered to take them in 1998 for depression. In Feb. 2014, I finally quit the pills for the 4th and final time. The withdrawal symptoms were quite severe, probably similar to those of heroin, only instead of the people who care for you trying to help you get off the drugs, in the case of psych meds., everyone is dead set on you continuing to stay on them. I went about 6 straight days without sleep while trying to get off the pills, constantly throwing up all over my apartment (my parents had to bring over a steam cleaner to clean up all the huge piles of vomit, while at the same time admonishing me to go back on the meds.) I developed extreme lightheadedness. When I would turn my head to look at something it would take a moment or two for my field of vision to catch up. I suffered from those brain shocks which I thought might be some suppressed memories of the many rounds of ECT that were administered to me, against my will, back in the mid 1990's. I nearly died on a couple of occasions during the withdrawal as my blood sugar levels plunged so low that I was forced to crawl to my kitchen and shove wadded-up pieces of white bread soaked in either oyster sauce, fish sauce or salad dressing (for proteins and sugars) into my mouth to avoid collapsing on the floor, but somehow I did it, I got clean. I had kicked the pills cold turkey three times previously (twice in 2004 and again for 10 months in 2005-6) only to be put back on them. The last time in 2005-6, I had been given the choice of either taking the pills and being given a bed in a local group home on a 0° F January evening or else to go rough it in a snowbank (I had been evicted from my apt. after falling a month behind in rent). The pills (Zoloft originally at 200mg that on my own advice I scaled back to 100mg at the time of my withdrawal. Zyprexa originally at 17.5mg that I had reduced to 10mg) basically ruined my health. Within a couple of years of starting on the meds in 1998, I had gone from a lithe and slender 6' tall 160 lbs man to a portly 230 pounder,, with all the weight gain going into my belly and thighs (Blech!). My cholesterol and triglyceride levels tripled. I had copious amounts of diarrhea daily. My blood pressure was absolutely wrecked. When kneeling down or squatting on my haunches, at say a grocery store or maybe a bookstore, to look at something on a low shelf, upon rising I would start to nearly black-out or swoon due to massive head rushes and would have to hold on to shelving for about a minute or so until I regained my vision and sense of balance. And from about 2006 on, I became no more than some sluggish, gorging hibernating animal that slept between 12 and 16 hours a day, sometimes as much as 20 hrs a day (watching T.V. was my only other occupation) where I would hardly more than move from my bed to the couch only to fall asleep 3 hours later for upwards of 4-6 hours, sometimes for as much as 10 hours. I was sleeping so much that when I woke, I often had no idea if it was early morning or late evening. I would have the most awful and depressing nightmares of being strapped into a dentist's chair while doctors would be cramming every conceivable pill down my throat in an attempt to kill me. The sedative-like effects of the drugs, combined with a horrible and untreated case of sleep apnea due to smoking and a severely broken nose as a teenager, left me completely fatigued all the time. I usually only left my apartment once a week to stock up on groceries. Since the harrowing experience of withdrawal, my health and spiritual well-being have greatly improved. I began a 4-6 mile a night brisk walking regiment and starting biking between 10-20 miles a day which resulted in me losing 45 lbs in 3 months. While before on the pills, I could hardly stay awake, now I can barely get to sleep. My insomnia is sometimes so bad (3-4 hrs of sleep a day, often none) that I resemble a real live? zombie (I call my condition, Inzombia) but considering how low my spirits had been on the pills, I'm just happy to live an active life again, even if I do suffer bouts of sleeplessness. I've spent several hundred hours since early last year either volunteering picking up trash from local parks and lakes or else helping out at a local thrift store and my creative spirit has flourished. I have filled something like 15 fifty page notebooks full of my poetry (both of a serious and humorous nature) and have written many short pieces of memoir, one of which is entitled In Servitude to the Devil, and is about my nearly indescribable and entirely hellish experience in 1995-1996, when for six months, I suffered from brain damage and akathisia brought on by the forced administration of Resperdine, Prozac and Paxcil. I thought I might end this piece with two short poems of mine The Psychiatrist His pills amount to fool's gold; his lab-coat: starched and anti-sceptically white He professes to be a doctor, but he's a neuro-nazi in my sight. A Reflection On Our Times So much lust and vanity under the sun Surely God is our pariah as we have our fun.
  14. Hi everyone, I wish we wouldn't have to meet under these unfortunate circumstances, but here we are. I want to give a full introduction of myself and my situation in hopes that someone can please shine some light on me or atleast tell me I will be fine again, one day. I am a 24 year old female that has found herself nearly disabled by SSRIs. This is going to be long and i apologize. When i was 17-18 I smoked marijuana almost every day for 1-2 years. When I moved away to college I decided to "get my act together" and focus on school. I quit smoking cold turkey and this set the stage for a very frightening panic disorder leading me to quit school and move home becoming nearly agoraphobic for a few months. Obviously was depressed as well and spent my days sleeping to escape. After 3 months I went to the Doctor and started on Zoloft and within 2 months was back on my feet working full-time. Still had some anxiety but kept living. I stayed on Zoloft for 4 years from ages 18-22 and everything was fine. I felt emotionally cut-off but figured that was the price i had to pay to not have panic attacks. Also, I completely lost my sex drive. Because of these reasons (and my boyfriend calling me a zombie) I slowly tapered down to 25 mg and stayed on that for many months before quitting. For a few weeks after quitting a had annoying 'brain zaps' but nothing major, kept working full time and doing online college. I quit Zoloft in February 2015. Everything was fine until a year later when i started feeling 'not right'. It was during a very stressful time in my life. Working 65 hours a week and keeping good grades in very challenging nursing classes. I started feeling dizzy, off balance, pressure headaches, fatigued and a LOT of derealization (which I didn't even know was a thing at the time so I didn't know how to explain it. All i could say was massive brain fog). Not knowing what the heck was going on with me I went to the doctor after weeks and weeks of my symptoms persisting. I was told I had vertigo and tried motion sickness medicine (didn't help), I did physical therapy on my neck for months to relieve the headaches. They got better but i still felt so 'off'. Like something was missing, it almost felt like when i needed a cigarette after not smoking for 12+ hours but when i smoked it wouldn't help. Like my brain was just stuck in this weird dreamy fog. This feeling after 6 months was giving me anxiety related to my health. I knew something wasn't right but had NO idea. I mean, i thought it could be a brain tumor or something. It really started taking a toll on me. Finally, 6 months after these symptoms started my Doctor told me it was stress and seeing that I had a past history of Panic attacks he told me I needed my zoloft again or it could get out of control. Well, i certainly didn't want to relive my 'breakdown' of 2010 so I listened thinking, what the heck, if this doesn't help, then it isn't stress and its just one thing to cross of the list. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!! This started a HORRIBLE HELLISH experience that I don't know if I can come back from. July 2016- Re-enstated zoloft after being off for 1.5 years. One dose of 25 mg sent me into constant panic within hours. I was pacing the house and out of nowhere I get intrusive mental suicidal images. Scared the pants off me and off to the ER i went the next day. The ER doctor told me to keep taking it. I told him there was NO way in hell I would ever take that pill again, It was that terrifying of an experience. I had to call off work and had major insomnia for a week. My body felt like it was physically vibrating on the inside. So after that experience I go back to my doctor and he puts me on Paxil. August 2016- Took paxil for 19 days. Each day I got worse and worse. I went from working and being a good friend/girlfriend/sister/daughter to feeling no emotions except fear, despair and panic. I became horribly horribly depressed with akathisia. I had to quit my job. The intrusive thoughts were back and i was told to 'hang in there' by my doctor and that sometimes anxiety gets worse in the beginning. I was so confused because my first time on zoloft I had no start up effects that i remember. On paxil i lost my appetite, severe stomach pains, constant diarrhea, insomnia, akathisia, constant panic, intrusive thoughts, derealization, depersonalization, depression, crying, literally could not function. At this point my doctor wanted to UP the dose and I said no way! He then asked me if i wanted to go to a psych ward because my anxiety was getting out of hand. He told me to stop the paxil and gave me 90 pills of xanax. I tried the xanax 1 time. At this point i was so screwed up that 1/4 of a 0.25mg knocked me out and made me feel so depressed and like I didn't have it in me to even talk! Very sensitive. September 2016- got a referral to see a p-doc (symptoms got a little better for 2 weeks off paxil but came back with a vengance) intrusive thoughts and diarrhea went away. but was left with so many debilitating symptoms the worst was the derealization that i still didn't know how to explain. October 2016- Still having horrible symptoms, but now getting some vision changes as well (small sparkles of light in vision) saw p-doc who told me i could be bi-polar type 3. (what is that?! Anxiety runs strong in my family but not bi-polar and i wasn't having mood swings, I was catapulted into severe 24/7 anxiety HELL) November 2016- p-doc decided to start me on a low dose of celexa and buspar. I only made it 11 days on celexa before the akathisia and intrusive thoughts made me literally want to die. I added buspar on the 11th day and had a serotonin syndrome reaction with confusion, shivering, muscle jerking, goosebumps, severe anxiety, severe restlessness, zero sleep and felt like I was going to die at any given second. I have never felt so close to death in my life. My p-doc told me to quit taking everything and gave me Ativan. December 2016- p-doc doesn't know what to diagnose me with but wants to try an anticonvulsant (lamictal). I start lamictal and within 4 days my skin and eyes were burning, i had chills and a low grade fever and I freaked out because this drug can cause a deadly rash. This med also made my intrusive thoughts constant. I quit this drug and cried my eyes out for days not knowing what the hell has happened to me. I go back to the p-doc and she wants to try a liquid medication at a very low dose because I am so sensitive to everything. She said Prozac or Tegretol (another anticonvulsant) I told her i was too scared to start another SSRI, so i got Tegretol. Tegretol can also cause a LOT of deadly side effects such as a deadly skin rash, liver failure, aplastic anemia etc... I have NOT started taking the tegretol even though i was supposed to 2 weeks ago. However, i am STILL very sick from the lamictal. Holy Crap! In july i was a little dizzy with derealization and now i can't function! What i am guessing is that i was going through a protracted withdrawal from Zoloft and putting me back on it (and all these other things) just added to the fire. I feel like i am never going to get better. I just got engaged 2 days ago and cried because of how bad i've become and can't enjoy anything. My p-doc never even diagnosed me. She said i have some bi-polar traits because the SSRIs made me worse but she said it looks like severe anxiety and told me to take up to 4 ativan a day. I stay away from those because i don't need any further damage. I have been off any SSRI for about 6 weeks and the lamictal for 2 weeks. My symptoms are: Intrusive thoughts (never had before restarting zoloft) This is probably my absolute worst symptom. it is like my brain keeps trying to tell me there is danger but rationally i know there isn't any. unbelievable anxiety that isn't connected to anything. It is just here (my panic disorder of 2010 wasn't anywhere near this bad because the anxiety would end after the panic attack, this feels like constant) insomnia (never had before) cant focus on Anything/ poor concentration ( can't watch TV or lose myself in anything to distract myself) no appetite & GI problems that this creates Lost 20 pounds in the past 6 months, I have been drinking ensure plus to get in calories muscle tremors and twitches dizziness feeling disconnected seeing sparkles in vision every now and then derealization loss of pleasure, joy, contentment or any positive emotions depersonalization depression and crying (because of how drastically my life has changed) ruminations about what is happening to me not interested in anything feeling of doom terrible memory sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, commotion etc. my heart rate takes off whenever it feels like it fatigue zero sex drive ringing in ears sweaty & cold hands and feet and last but not least a fear that i am completely losing my mind. I know a lot of you have been through a lot. I don't know where else to turn. The doctors just made everything 1000x worse. I am currently not working and had to quit college. I don't feel like myself, i know i am in there deep down but all my symptoms debilitate me. Does this sound like an adverse reaction or have I all of a sudden developed a worse mental illness? I do not intend to go back to my p-doc or take any medications. I want my body to heal and go back to who i was 6 months ago. Does anyone please have any advice? I feel so alone and scared that i permanently screwed up my brain. If you are reading all of this thank you and bless you. I never even knew someone could feel so bad mentally and physically. I wish i would have never restarted zoloft in july. I don't know what to do. I need hope that this will get better.
  15. Hello all! I've been having a troubling time and at last I've found a place where people can listen. For around two months I had been very stressed by university decisions and having a major existential and academic crisis. After taking my exams my mind was working at 1000000 miles per hour and I was constantly stressed and evaluating everything. I'd found my self slowed down and constantly riddled by worry and regret and anxiety. I began taking '5-htp' which I was told would help somewhat. I then discontinued it and went on holiday and when I came back I felt slightly better. However my psychiatrist recommended going on Sertraline and prescribed it for me. I didn't really want to take it as I was feeling better but my family pressured me into it so I took it. That night, I was lying in bed and my brain was racing with worries and regrets and stressing and suddenly I felt something attack those thoughts, resist against them and dull them down. Initially, this frightened me inordinately but then I thought 'this is what this drug is meant to do' and just sort of let it happen. I then felt it attack against my verbal fluency and vocabulary and writing and evaluative skills. This seriously scared me and I felt my whole body fill with immense tension and stress and anxiety and felt as though I had gone into overdrive. My brain went into overdrive and I felt as though I'd never sleep again. I took it the next day and insisted that I stop it and didn't want it in my brain anymore so I went to the doctor and she told me the psychiatrist should never have prescribed it for me in the first place. She told me to stop it. I stopped taking it after only two days. The symptoms persisted and the world felt weird, dull and my perception of it awry. I suddenly developed this intense headache unlike anything ever experienced before - it was as though my whole brain was disintegrating. Like someone'd opened up a door in the sides of my head and it was all disintegrating away. This went away. I then started the 5-htp again, foolishly, unaware that it interacts with sertraline. I then stopped the 5htp after a couple of weeks of feeling strange, slowed down and sick. I hadn't slept at all since the sertraline. I then went away to Cambridge for a week to study English Literature and felt weird, slowed and dulled. Talking to people was hard and I found it difficult to form sentences, opinions and have conversations. Anyway, sitting in the lectures the pain in my head came on 10 fold. IT waslike my whole mind was disintegrating and I couldn't focus or concentrate or anything. I was petrified this and scared that at anymoment I may have a stroke or faint or something serious. I came back from Cambridge and told my parents and they simply thought I was psychotic, anxious and depressed. I insisted something was physically wrong with me and pushed to try and see a doctor. We went to the doctors who told me what I was experiencing wasn't real aand the drugs had no effect on me. They then prescribed my Valium because they said it was anxiety . I didn't want to take it but my parents forced me to. The Valium spaced me out and blunted my thoughts significantly. I then started to feel my brain shake and pump and wobble and light would effect me and I found myself talking strangely and so forth. It felt like my whole brain was sick and trying to be sick, like there's some horrible nocuous chemical eroding my brain and intelligence. I was walking around school confused and now it's like my brain has just shut down. I've discontinued the valium now but everything is wrong. I am completely Depersonalisation, I can't really remember my life and short term memory or process any new information or understand anything. My speech is terrible and I can't talk to people because when I do I frost over and it's like there's no-one inside me. it's like the lights have been turned off inside my own head and every day it is worse. No doctors think there is anything wrong and they just want to put me on Prozac and anti-psych meds now to shut me up. I don't know what to do anymore. My whole life is falling apart. I've gone from being someone who was intimidatingly intellectual, confident, creative, gregarious, sociable, quick witted, eloquent and so on to a bumbling, seemingly half brain dead zombie with no emotions, thoughts, feelings, opinions, memories or anything. Bear in mind I am only 17. What do I do? Every day it gets worse. The headaches are worse, the DP is worse, my cognition is worse, emotion lability is worse and the doctors are having none of it other than wanting to prescribe MORE ADs and APs. It feels like my whole brain is fizzling and wrong. Thanks! Any advice or similar experiences would be welcomed inordinately
  16. Hi there Im currently tapering a benzo and decided to add sertraline for my anxiety disorder, i have been taking it for 3 days at 25mg. I have decided this isnt a good idea and i dont want to be on sertraline or any anti depressant. Is it ok to just stop it since its only been 3 days and 25mgs? Im wary on these things now because of my benzo taper!
  17. Hello all, long time reader first time poster. Firstly I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have such a place to go and receive help for what can only be described as a nightmare that thousands of people seem to go through. So here is my story which I will end with a few questions I have. As you can see from my signature, I was placed on 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) in September 2009. This is when my life was turned upside down. I was originally placed on this drug because I visited my local doctor comlaining about some anxiety that I was getting after I drank alcohol. I must say that for a period of about 8 years I was a heavy binge drinker. I was a typical 18 year old who went out every weekend and got blind drunk with his mates. This was obviously starting to take its toll on me once I hit 25 years of age and that is why I visited my doctor. Well I was in there for a total of about 10 minutes before he prescribed me 50mg of Zoloft telling me this would help with taking the edge off of my anxiety. I did what he suggested and this was the worst mistake of my life. I returned to the doctor within 10 days of starting 50mg complaining of the worst symptoms (severe agitation, anxiety and now depression). Unfortunatley I could not see the original doctor so I saw another doctor there at the time. He said I must need a higher dose and that 100mg was the normal dose he puts his patients on. He also prescribed valium to me (which I took a couple of times). The next 3 months of my life was like a horror film. I became suicidal with severe symptoms that I had never experienced before going on the drug. I seem to settle after about 3 months, but it must be said I never was without symptoms, but they were less severe. Around 12 months after starting the drug, I began to get more severe symtoms. I returned to the doctor and he once again up'd my dosage to 150mg. The next 3 months were a nightmare again, severe agitation etc. For the next 6 years I floated between 100mg and 150mg. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy to treat an apparent panic disorder; although I didn't mind the therapist, the information we went through just didn't seem to apply to me i.e. I wasn't thinking any of the ways he was suggesting was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until I started looking into more natural ways and researching antidepressants that I realised that maybe the drug could be the problem! Lightbulb moment! I have read a lot of books from authors like Peter Breggin, Joseph Glenmullen, etc. which I am sure most of you have read. I also have been doing a lot of work with a nutritionist. I had a 23andme test done and found out a couple of interesting points. I have a COMT gene mutation which means I break down adrenaline and dopamine slower and I also have a mutation in another gene which I can't remember the name of which means I break down serotonin slower. What this actually suggests to me and my nutritionist agrees is that I may have been quite toxic with levels of serotonin which was causing serotonin syndrome. Alot of my symptoms were a mirror image of serotonin syndrome (agitation etc.). So as you can see from my signature, I began tapering in February 2016. My problem now is that I seem to have hit a huge brick wall. I may have tapered a little fast and was hit with severe withdrawal symptoms which have not gone away. I have been holding at my current dose of 60mg for almost 4 months now. This past 4 months has been the worst 4 months of my life. It started with severe symptoms like pounding headaches, vomitting, insomnia, not being able to sit still (severe agitation) as well as some depression. It has progressed from there to now being just severe depression. I am not depressed about anything in particular other than the way I feel. It is like I am completely numb with emotions aside from being really upset. I have no appetite and really struggle to get through each day. I am very fatigued and lack motivation to do the most basic of things. I am pushing through it as best I can still working fulltime and excercising a couple of times a week plus playing golf on the weekend. I must say that I have a great life. I love my job, I have a beautiful wife and young son (8 months) and honestly have everything to live for. It is just these horrendous symptoms are ruining it all. So finally to my questions and looking for advice from some veterans on here. What should I do next? Should I continue to hold at 60mg until things get better, or should I continue at a 10% taper and see if things get worse or perhaps better? From previous drops, I seem to have a period of improvement on symptoms for about 2-4 weeks, and then it begins to decline until I drop again. I am not sure whether that means I should keep reducing or slow down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
  18. Hi all, I am currently suffering from zoloft and concerta withdrawal (at least I think I am). My symptoms are as follows: Emotional numbness, apathy, anhedonia and severe depersonalization Worsening OCD, severe mood swings Tremors and shakiness that occur in bouts Loss of focus, attention span, ability to think or reflect, plan Generally feeling like I have lost my soul and my will, my personality, my thoughts and my sense of attachment to my favorite fishing gear (fishing was my main reason for life and that is gone now, I swear I an live with all the other stuff if I could get the passion for that back) Muscle soreness Crying spells, often random but often tied to a sense of being irreparably broken Exercise intolerance Waking up confused, almost delirious Loss of sense of smell, taste, hearing tinnitus that occurs in bouts (like a flashbang went off near me) Visual problems, sensitivity to light Unable to feel anxiety, fear response. feel frozen in nothingness in a sense "Blank mind" in the sense that I do not think about day to day activities, my interests, or what I need to accomplish in a given day, etc. Physical numbing--face, arms and legs seem to lack sensation Severe PSSD--genital anethesia, anorgasmia, ED (noticing improvements with concentration), PE (also improving, can last longer than 30 seconds now), lack of arousal with visual or emotional stimuli; no libido (I was drugged so young I don't even think I know what a libido is or what it feels like, while on the drugs I was never realy interested in sex but I had my functioning in tact except for libido (hope this is not offensive or too graphic) Frequent intrusive thoughts about death but also about my life, my past, my symptoms etc. Auditory hallucinations when trying to sleep or when laying in bed, also, strange visuals at rest when eyes are closed, feels like I am being transplanted int another persons life, like I can see someone else's story laying in my mind when my eyes are closed and it feels like I am there, it is highly disturbing Memories lacking in emotional charge Ability to laugh, cry, joke around, but not find any pleasure or enjoyment in doing these things I can literally feel the weight of my brain in my head, sometimes it feels like it is being squeezed Bouts of anger and rage that can't calm myself from, though it doesn't feel like anger or rage because it doesn't seem to be precipitated by anything, and I do not have the physiological effects of it (heart racing, flushed skin, tightness in chest, weight in body, etc.) I started zoloft and concerta when I was young (11) and have been on 200 mg of zoloft for 8 or so year before my "doctor" recommended a fast taper and to be put on viibryd after I told her I was feeling blah. I am 26 now and am drug free for 4 months, alcohol and marijuana free for almost a year. Little did I know that blah feeling was probably the drug and not me. The more I think back, the more I seem t think the reason I started drinking in excess, and smoking pot, was due to the fact that I was being blunted by the medications. I was on these drugs since youth and don't really recall being put on them or how I felt before, though I do have memories that arise now of what emotions felt like and what I felt like as a kid, a teenager etc., and from these memories it seems my brain health had gone drastically down hill since I started taking these medications. I cannot blame them entirely for my current state, as I assume chronic stress, anxiety and depression all have a role to play in levels of anhedonia, brain fog, lack of interest in life, etc. I was not a healthy thinker while on these drugs, but despite that, I still enjoyed being in the company of my friends, fishing (my passion before all of this--I still do it despite this crap), watching entertaining tv etc. I also felt I was more connected to myself and my life/surroundings, though there was always a bit of a disconnect due to my underlying anxiety, depression, OCD, low self esteem. My questions for you all are as follows, as have had thoughts about all these the last few days: Do my symptoms align with those of someone in withdrawal, or am I just in a "deep depression" as my doctors claim? Does having past emotional trauma in your life, and having a history of mental health issues, coupled with chronic low self esteem, get in the way of healing from the SSRI damage? Is the nervous system an integral part in the "self" which leads to the feelings of depersonalization during all of this? Is healing even possible for someone who was drugged as a kid and in the long term and is still struggling with the same issues he was drugged for? I have been reading a lot of your stories and it seems that many of you struggle with worsened anxiety and fear. My case is the opposite--an inability to feel anxiety or fear in my body. Anyone struggle with this, and does this get better? I miss anxiety, it kept me moving. I also felt more alive when I was anxious. Not so much now. I dealt with many of the issues listed above while on the medications, made worse coming off. Does this mean healing for me will take even longer since the issues weren't only withdrawal related? Does having obsessive intrusive thoughts almost all day about my symptoms keep me from healing? I can't control these thoughts from happening, and since I am so numb it is quite easy to just accept them and watch them float by but I question if they will get in the way of my body's repair process. I just feel like you can't heal if your mind is too focused on symptoms and the healing process itself. Has anyone felt like they lost their soul and has that come back for you at all? Has anyone gotten their cognition and memory back? I was an economics major at Boston College, graduated four years ago with a 3.5 GPA, now I can barely hold down my job in insurance. My mind beats me up over not feeling good, though I try to accept these thoughts and not let them affect me as I know I am not these symptoms and they are not my fault. But I have always been a perfectionist, so this makes acceptance hard. Will this compound my withdrawal related problems and lead to slower healing? How important is acceptance in the healing process? Has anyone been able to find purpose throughout all of this? Has anyone been able to get interest in their passions back? Am I hurting myself by trying to engage in favorite activities, since my mind is so focused on my inability to enjoy them? Anyone deal with existential thoughts all the time due to the emotional numbness, anhedonia, etc.? Like, what is purpose? Who am I? WHAT AM I? I am sorry for the barrage of questions. Just a lot of things going through my mind right now. I have been praying for myself every night before bed. I think tonight I will start praying for you all as well. PS-I am set to embark on a wilderness program in November. I do not think this will help with my withdrawals, but I am hoping it can help me reconnect with life, nature, and maybe, myself and my purpose. At least a little bit.
  19. Moderator's note: link to Musk's members-only benzo thread - Musk: how to taper 5 mg diazepam every two days Hello, this is my first post. So grateful to find this forum. I am in Spain, not able to comunicate properly in english, I use googletraslator. My history: since spring 2015, postnatal depression with anxiety and somatization due to extreme fear of diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. Sertraline 100 mg & diazepam 5 mg from June 2016 to August 2017. Right after appendicitis with surgery (28 august 2017) and chronic hip and lumbar pain since 4 months. In consultation of rheumatology I discover that I have a hlab27 gene related to ankylosing spondylitis, which conditions me mentally more and more. But pain has not an inflammatory pattern and there is no sign of inflammation in blood. Now progressively more and more depressed with new symptom really the most disabling: severe insomnia. Medical proposal: return to sertraline. Big temptation, but I refuse. I continue with diazepam 5 mg (ocasionaly). Is this a possible case of withdrawal sindrome? Opinions welcome. In psycotherapy, I had some little epyphany (childhood trauma, obsesive negative thoughts...) Many many thanks.
  20. Hi, I will try to keep it brief, but I am in desperate need of advice. I am a 34YO Male, my 1st bout of anxiety happened 10 years ago when I experienced a very stressful time in my life. I had my 1st child, started MBA school, and opened my own business all within a 3 month span. Had a panic attack one night, and what followed was a year of high general anxiety, with some intrusive OCDish thoughts sprinkled in. After a year I decided I would give meds a try. Tried Buspar...did nothing except make me dizzy. Tried Zoloft, and this was the magic bullet for me. Felt my anxiety lesson (after a brief increase) after about 3-4 weeks and after a few months I was back to myself. During this time I would have blips (one to two week periods when my anxiety would resurface, usually requiring a dose tweak and then would go back to normal. These would usually happen when I was eating bad, not exercising ect). At the start of my Zoloft experience I at one point got up to 150mgs, but in the last 4-5 years was on the minimum dose of 50mgs after I got generally healthier and added a multivitamin and fish oil supplement. Because of these blips, and the fact I was afraid to go back to the year of anxiety, I stayed on the Zoloft probably longer than I should have. It was 8 years later (October 2016) when I finally said, "heck I don't need these anymore". My prescription ran out and I just decided not to refill it. I went through most of the withdrawl symptoms, some brain-zaps, lots of light-headedness and dizziness, ect. That went away after about 3 weeks and for 3 months I felt great, totally off meds and totally back to normal. At the end of January this year, I started to have another "blip." I wasn't eating healthy and not exercising as much and decided I would be "proactive" and resume the Zoloft at my previous dose of 50mgs to nip it in the bud. This sent my anxiety through the roof but thought my body would adjust so I continued taking them. I was so scared of the increased anxiety though I didn't give it a fair shot and kept increasing and decreasing the dosage from 25 to 50mgs every week or so. Finally got into a p-doc and he gave me Lexapro, 5mgs for the 1st week and 10mgs after that...long story short, it did the same thing as the Zoloft and wasn't much better after 7 weeks. At this point I figured, "wow I wasn't this bad before, I will just go off of these!" Well unfortunately my month of no meds did not return me to my January self, in fact it was probably worse than on the meds! So then the doctor gave me pregabalin, which helped a little, but is crazy expensive and not covered by insurance. So on June 1st I started Paxil, 10 mgs for the 1st week and 20mgs after that, hoping the pregabalin can help me to get on them. I really want to be off meds, but don't think I am mentally able to at this point. It seems quitting the Zoloft cold turkey, then reinstating, I am much more sensitive to these drugs, does that make any sense? So I am hopeful I can eventually give a med (Paxil) enough time that my body will desensitize to it, and I can be on it for a bit to get stable again, then get off. Anybody experienced anything like this? Will my body desensitize? I am so desperate to feel normal again, I am a father of 3 (10YO Boy, 7YO Boy, 3YO Girl), a husband to an amazing wife, and they need their Dad and Husband back! What should I do? Give Paxil the time to desensitize, then get off after a few months? Is the fish-oil supplement that I still take that helped me reduce my dose of Zoloft causing me to be more sensitive? Quit everything and see what happens? Thanks in advance for reading my story and giving any advice or encouragement.
  21. Hi guys, This question has to do with SSRI's and supplements. I was diagnosed with Chronic OCD in January 2015. I have been on and off medication between 2009-2015. Since 2015 I was prescribed 200mg (Sertraline/Zoloft) Daytime and 2mg Clonazepam for night time sleep. At the back-end-of 2016 I felt that I was well enough to come of all medications as I just felt able enough to cope on 100mg after a while. I did Cold Turkey for most of it before admittingly and slowly going on the lower dose of 100mg Sertraline. I was afterward sent to a Dr who specialised in withdrawing people from medications. She prescribed: - L-Carneitine (300 mg) - CoQ10 (200 mg) - N-Acetylcysteine - Vitamin C - Selenium - Magnesium. - A Gluten Free Diet. With Gluten diet, I did not stick to this religiously as some of the books advocated here on this forum. Mainly Elaine Gotschall's Breaking the Viscious Cycle. (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and the GAPS Diet advocated by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. I am very skeptical when i read over these diets but since my Dad was on the diet, whatever was in the Pantry, I ate. I wasn't religious about it though if I ordered takeout. Back on topic, I reduced the supplements to L-Carneteine and CoQ10 in combination with SSRI Zoloft/Sertraline (100mg). I found that during the time taken them, I had trouble with Cognition and motor skills, driving, runnng and excercise. I also noticed that I couldn't stop feeling dizzy although they are supposed to aide mitochondria in the brain which the Zoloft dulls down. I also noticed real bad insomnia during the time taken these aided supplements. Has anyone else had success with L-Carneteine and CoQ10 prescribed with Zoloft? It seems that people are having great success with these two supplements to rave review, I am just wondering if Carneteine or CoQ10 has worked for anyone to either reduce withdrawal symptoms off SSRIs & Zoloft or taper off completely. **Note. I have looked through the other posts here, but most vary in opinion, so I just want this question answered. Many thanks. Ryder.
  22. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: In pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  23. Doc. said reduce Celexa by 1/2 due to QT prolongation risks. Went from 20 to 10 mg. 1 month ago. Feeling pretty crappy as indicated all over this forum. At 72 I'm not sure I want to start a multi-year withdrawal process. Might just switch to Wellbutrin?? Any comments certainly welcome! 2000 - 2008 Zoloft 2008 - 2014 Paxil 2014 - Present Celexa
  24. Hi everyone. I've been browsing this site for a couple of years and thought I'd finally join. I'd love to be able to talk with others about what I'm going through. I'm only 22 but I've pretty much been through every hell imaginable in terms of SSRI use (I started when I was 5--not by choice, obviously). It really frustrates me because I never even chose myself to go on these medications, I had very bad tantrums and anxiety as a small child and a psychiatrist put me on them. As I got older, instead of being told to get therapy and try getting off them, she just kept raising the dosage. By age 12 I was on the maximum dose even though my problems weren't that severe. I remember being in middle school gaining weight, feeling tired CONSTANTLY, just not feeling like a kid at a ll, and at the time no one thought that the medication could be the reason for it. It's so upsetting because I feel as though my entire life up until this point has been taken from me and Ill never experience what it's like to be young and happy. Like I said I never showed depressive symptoms before the medication but as the dose was raised I would occasionally get depression symptoms. When I was 15/16 I was switched to celexa which actually "worked" quite a bit better for me, I lost a lot of weight and felt energetic and motivated, but by the time I was 18 I really wanted off of these drugs that weren't even my choice to go on. However, as I learned the hard way psychiatrists don't have a good understanding of what's required for a successful taper. I was then on 40mg, and she lowered it all the way to 30, and then quickly after that to 20. This all happened right before I went away to university for the first time, so it was just horrible timing. My first month of college I noticed I began to feel severe chest pain. I didn't know what was happening and it was very scary. My entire freshman year I essneitllay spent in severe burning pain all across my chest and upper back. I would be doubled over crying for much of the day because of the pain. I went to see SO many doctors about it but they all said I was perfectly healthy and it must be from anxiety or just 'in my head'. I had to leave college after my first year because of the pain. By this point I was completely off of the celexa because I didn't know what was happening and I thought the pain was being caused solely by the drug itself. But the pain didn't get any better, it got worse. I basically spent the next 3 years (not an exaggeration) bedridden crying in pain. I cannot even describe in words how severe the pain was. And the problem was no one even considered that it was due to withdrawal because every doctor I went to said no, withdrawal wouldn't cause pain like that. So it was just a constant 'search' to figure out why I was having this mysterious pain. Even when I went back on the celexa to see if it would help, it wouldn't get rid of the pain, but I believe that's because (as I later found), the only way to get rid of it is by going on the HIGHEST possible dose because that's the highest dose my body was accustomed to. Finally last year I tried Zoloft out of desperation (I was missing my whole youth...I feel like my situation is a lot different because I spent 18-21 bedridden in pain. I know I could "wait it out" a few more years...but I'm missing my entire youth, a period fo my life I won't get back, and I don't know how much longer my college is going to let me take time off. I should have already graduated by now :(. It's so painful to be in so much pain while other people your age are having the time of your lives.) So even though I hate these medications, I tried Zoloft in a desperate attempt to just be out of pain and be able to move forward with my life. By the time I reached 150mg my pain went away completely (after 4 months on it), but of course I have other side effects on it I do not like like loss of creativity (I want to be a musician, and I love art), not feeling emotions as deeply, and almost feeling like your'e living life in a fog. To be blunt I don't feel "myself" on it. My individual spark is gone. But, I was just so desperate to get rid fo the physical pain. Anyway I made a freaking stupid decision in May to go off of it. At this point me and my doctors still didn't 100% make the connection between the pain and withdrawal, it was just a 'theory'. I thought my pain could have lessened because I had a boyfriend and friends now, was in school, feeling better, was out of pain to the point I was exercising consistently, etc. Well, nope lol. All of my pain returned this month. I'm back to being in bed with pain I'm in a huge dilemma because I know from past experience the pain DOES NOT go away. It's weird because I don't have any mental symptoms from going off the medication. I don't feel any more anxious/depressed/etc. The symptoms are all physical for me. It's just the most severe pain imaginable. I'm sure it's some type of nerve damage because it feels like burning knives stabbing into me..no words can describe the pain. I just want the pain gone as soon as possible, but I know if I go back on the medication I have to say goodbye to who I am as a person and my musical talent. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Like I said, I have already missed so much of my life. I don't want to be bedridden from pain anymore 😞 It just hurts so much. And it's not even my fault because I never chose to go on this medication!! I feel like I'm screwed for life, and will never have a full life devoid of both pain and of the medication. What if I just never adjust to being off of it because I started so young? I just hope some people here can offer me advice on how to eliminate it without having pain like this. I just cannot stand the pain... I'm sorry this is so long but like all of you, my story is long! To make it easier if someone is just skimming, withdrawal symptoms include - severe burning / stabbing pain in upper back, chest, shoulders - occasional hip pain and inability to walk because of it - digestive problems (extreme bloating, heartburn) - lightheadedness when standing up at times - basically feel like all my nerves are on fire - chest tightness 24/7
  25. Hello community, So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months. Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline. The symptoms I currently have are: rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension) inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance) ears ringing morning depression heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer) intense dreams and nightmares head tremor Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman). Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse). I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper. I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too). Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.
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