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  1. 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.
  2. 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”
  3. 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.
  4. Hey guys! So here is an abbreviated version of my story. I know you all can relate in some way and I'm looking for a glimmer of hope. I'm so confused. I started Zoloft at age 14 when I was a moody teen with hormonal imbalance due to a lot of my really poor diet habits and extremely negative thinking based on traumas from childhood with an alcoholic father. I had no trouble sleeping just lots of sadness and moodiness around my cycle, and general feelings of hopelessness. So at 14 y/o my doctor put me on 100mg Zoloft and birth control to balance me out. I did well with them! I noticed a "good" feeling that was really strong! I liked it! And I coasted on that for many years while growing and changing into a young adult. When I was 23 in 2011 everything changed. My digestion just stopped working. My guts were a wreck. I was diagnosed with SIBO and food allergies, and Candida, a few years later and completely revamped my diet and whole way of thinking around food! After cutting dairy and gluten my inflammation levels went WAY down. Amazing change. From 2013-15 I added probiotics, enzymes, and lots of nutritional supplements into my regimen. by 2015 I was seeing much better changes in digestive health but was noticing that the "healthier" I got the more fatigued I felt. It took me 3 days to recover from the gym. It was awful. in April 2016 I met my amazing partner, Brian, and my hormones changed again. I came off of BC pills and it threw the metabolism of Zoloft through the roof. I immediately had to start tapering off of Zoloft. I did this with a GP at first and a psychiatrist later that year. I first went from 100mg to 50mg with very little withdrawal in 3 weeks or so. I was a little weepy one or two days but that was it. I felt AMAZING at 50mg. By July or so I did 50 to 25 mg but didn't stay at 25 for more than a few weeks. I stopped cold turkey, crashed HARD, almost committed suicide, but I started working with a psychiatrist whom I love and came back up to 25 and stayed there from August til October. In October I went to 17.5mg which was harder but once I stabilized I had so much more energy. Each taper my digestion improved so much and I just felt BETTER! I've always tapered in 6 week cycles. The first three weeks are light and airy, I almost feel even better than before! And at the 21 day mark I crash and my serotonin levels have to rebuild. The second three weeks I'm an anxious, irritable, moody mess with brain zaps and insomnia. But I always balanced. Each time though the world was a little less rosy. I realized I was having my thoughts follow the medication instead of my thoughts generating the good feelings. Still though, at 17.5 I was having the time of my life. It's the last time I remember being so fulfilled. I stayed at 17.5mg until the New Year and that's when everything fell apart in a way. I tapered to 12mg and I had no more brain zaps but lots of emotional trauma showed up. With tapering its like my senses blew wide open. I could SMELL more, TASTE more, colors were more vivid, sounds were louder, and I had this constant anxiety that just never let up. I used subconscious reprogramming work to help harmonize and shift through old patterns and traumas and I slowly learned how to process emotion in a much different way. Lots of self compassion learned in this time. Even still I felt so anxious all the time. 2017 was full of trauma for me... My Dad was dying of cancer Boyfriend wanted me to move with him to another state and I couldn't do it because I would have to have sacrificed everything I worked so hard to build here. I had no idea if we'd make it and I was put face to face with my abandonment issues. He ended up staying here but I was furious with him for a little over a year because of anger of not being "heard." I had a mild traumatic brain injury in March 2017 that didn't heal for awhile. I was functional by May but not fully recovered in August when I went on a roller coaster and hurt myself a little again. I had a UTI that went off the rails in May 2017, healed in June, developed kidney stones in August and it turned into Interstitial Cystitis. In late November I almost completely healed the cystitis but it came back again once I saw my Dad near death. January 2018 I was with my father as he died and was deeply traumatized by it. I let go of so much during this time. I didn't know if I could ever feel joy ever again. My psychiatrist said the Zoloft was no longer working so we tried switching over to Celexa 7.5mg. I took both together as we weaned off Zoloft but by the end of it I was so fed up with not feeling good or like myself anymore and I decided no more. I stopped both the tiny amount of Zoloft I was on and the 5mg or so of Celexa on April 2018. It was sort of cold turkey but not at the same time. The first 6 weeks of withdrawal were so strange. I simultaneously had the light and airy feeling I always did when coming off Zoloft, but this time it was with the withdrawals of what felt like a junkie. Each system cleared, for two weeks I had pain in my muscles, 2 weeks nerve pain, and 2 weeks joint pain, I can't recall if it was in that order. I was also using a product called ASEA which changed my life and made it so much more bearable. The withdrawals weren't as irritable as before and I felt a newer sense of vitality. Something started to happen at 8 weeks though. I felt this mounting, raising, anxiety coming back. I knew something was coming up and it was big. My GI health completely tanked even with all my probiotics, enzymes, and supplements. At 8 weeks off, in May 2018 I was excited because yet again I almost completely healed the cystitis in that airy place I was in. I kept calm and my bladder responded well even though I was having all the pain. But what happened at 8 weeks off everything was I felt this extreme restlessness inside of me and my sleep started to get extremely disturbed. With it my health crashed, cystitis returned, any my lady parts reacted with lots of burning and itching (I was checked and its not a yeast infection) June, July, and August were a blur of night terrors and insomnia. June I woke up contorted and contracted (think t-rex arms) and shaking every night. I felt like I was on another planet and couldn't stay inside my body or grounded. It was hell. July I started to come back more and the sleeping started to level out. By August though, I was having some major spiritual epiphanies and the excitement of it all triggered more waves of severe insomnia. I was up for 36 hours at a time, then slept for 9 hours the next night. I did this over and over for weeks and at that point I really felt like I might actually die. I've always awoken with a lot of adrenaline in the morning, but this was truly explosive. In September I finally started getting some sleep once I started taking an adrenal supplement and changed my diet to eat a huge variety of healthy foods instead of the ones I was limiting myself to. A few sprays per day and some sleep was happening. That and some Valerian root tea broke the insomnia cycle for me in a big way. That and coming to the spiritual place of knowing that I first had to fully believe in my heart that I was in fact a healthy person, and no longer seeing myself through the lens of being a sick person all the time. This took HARD work. That and letting go of the anger at my boyfriend. I was trying to exercise this whole past year from 2017-2018 but after the cystitis exercising became extremely difficult. I lost core strength and even though I was trying to walk regularly, it wasn't helping me sleep as much as I wanted to. I started to go for a run (historically my sport of choice) and promptly herniated my L3 and developed Runner's knee on both knees with psoas and IT band spasms. I'm now working to heal this as well. In a few days I'll be 6 months off Zoloft and my body feels broken. I know that isn't my truth but sometimes I feel huge anxiety and overwhelm. I'm doing my best to heal from the cystitis, GI troubles (which are improving tremendously even with the sleep deprivation), back issues, all while trying to sleep. The sleep has been the worst. Without it I'm so inflamed all the time and my mind feels completely scrambled. I hit levels of surreality and irritability that I never knew to be possible. But I always trusted that somehow I could get back to me. Last week I only had one 36 hour stretch. This week only one as well. My sleep still heavily depends on adrenal supplementation, magnesium, ASEA, prebiotics, probiotics, and CBD balm at night. Now with some sleep I'm aware that my brain crashes the way it did with my concussion. I wake up, function OK and usually around 1pm my brain melts down and I'm a mess for the rest of the day. With more rest it isn't so bad. Yesterday was extremely stressful which is why I'm writing here to you at almost 5AM. I didn't meditate and do my reprogramming work which has been critical for me. Has anyone had experiences with really high adrenaline after coming off Zoloft? That and bladder trouble? Severe insomnia? I'm so hopeful someone will respond to this. I feel so hopeless sometimes still. I do my best to pull myself up but I haven't been able to have sex in over a year because of my bladder trouble. It's hurting me so much, physically and emotionally. I know I can heal all of it. I almost healed the bladder twice! But when it all hits at once I sometimes freak out. Any encouraging words would be so helpful and I would love to get a better idea of a timeline here. I've heard that the first year is the worst. With brain health I get it. It took almost 1 year for my concussion to fully heal. But my god I can't live like this forever. I hope to hear from you soon ❤️
  5. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  6. Jansin

    Jansin: desperate

    My name is John, I'm 23 years old and I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in 2013 and was given Zoloft (Sertraline) for treatment, I took 100mg every day for about 4 years until recently I made the decision that I want to be drug-free. So one day either late 2017 or early this year around January I stopped cold turkey and also began tapering off of smoking marijuana. Over the course of this year I felt I began reacting less to everyday life, I began enjoying my hobbies and interests less and less, my short-term memory had declined, and became less and less motivated as the year went on. I attributed this to my chronic cannabis use, only recently have I realized I was horribly wrong. Come September, I woke up one day noticing that my vision wasn't quite right, not blurry, not doubled, just clear yet foggy at the same time, almost like a see-through field of static. The most notable effects being that lights and computer screens are glowing much more. This triggered what I believe to be my very first encounter with Anxiety. There had been an Elm Beetle infestation on one of the trees in the backyard of my home at the time, so I had begun to think that one of them crawled into my head and died, and the resulting gases and decomposition affected me. That quickly evolved to believing there were multiple bugs inside my head either eating me or laying eggs. I knew this was very unlikely but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking it, so then I googled my vision change, the bug theory immediately flew out the window as my new irrational fear took its place: I was almost sure I was having either a brain aneurysm, stroke, or a brain tumor, and began to panic about dying in my sleep or dying in general for the next week or so. So I cave, finally I decide to see my Psychiatrist, and after explaining all of my symptoms and fears to him he thought it best to prescribe more Sertraline and also suggested I see a therapist again. I immediately make the earliest possible appointment I could, which happened to be within the next three hours. The way the therapist almost callously dismissed my fears was actually comforting: "I doubt it's an aneurysm, you're more likely to win the lottery." he went on to explain that if I absolutely could not get over these fears that I could simply get my eyes tested, get my head scanned, get my blood tested, etc. and if I continued to worry about an aneurysm or tumor all I needed to do was remind myself: "I'm seeing a professional and we'll figure this out" "I'm eliminating the possibilities." I get my eyes checked: 20/20 vision. I get a physical (including a blood draw): Healthy. I was almost frustrated that it wasn't just a simple health issue, almost disappointed to learn that I don't actually need glasses. I just wanted to go and find a fix for this. All the while I had begun taking sertraline again. Got through the first 25mg week, then upped to 50mg (Breaking it in half, taking one half in the morning and the other half at night). I actually noticed a positive change for a bit, the anxiety being gone within the first week (but that was likely due to the advice given by the therapist), and during the second week I was actually in higher spirits, mostly more calm and was even able to crack dumb jokes and laughing felt a little more real. I knew they would work, they worked before and they seemed to be working now... Which is exactly why I stopped again. At some point you just don't want to live the rest of your life worrying about side effects or long term effects on your brain chemistry, at some point you begin to doubt that getting on this pills was ever a good idea in the first place. In 2013 I was in a long distance relationship that was strenuous and not working out. I couldn't accept that, I loved her so much, I believed she was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, the thought of losing her was making me cry and cry every morning and night to the point where I was just sad for most of my time. I foolishly believed I was clinically depressed and almost immediately sought out treatment with drugs. Only after a few sessions with a talk-therapist I was diagnosed (maybe falsely, maybe not) with Major Depressive Disorder and was soon sent to a Psychiatrist. I really liked these people, they really come off as your friend and someone who wants to know you and help you. But I just wish they talk me "SSRI's are a big commitment, try exercise and more talk therapy" or "If you aren't having thoughts of suicide then you shouldn't take them." I was never suicidal in those years, just a bit upset with my life, I really wish they warned me of the side-effects beforehand or at least tried to make me understand that they are quite possibly a lifelong commitment, but no, they gave them to me practically a month after I asked about them. I try not to blame those people, I shouldn't, and I tell myself that it was a mistake that I myself made, a choice that I could've avoided if I wasn't so ignorant to what I was getting into. I could've easily done the research beforehand, or could have simply made the right decision and ended my relationship for the better of my health, but I chose to believe something was wrong with me, something that could just be fixed with a pill. Now, 4 years later I experience suicidal thoughts for the first time in my life, I wake up every morning with it weighing over me, invasive, unrelenting, just a sheer violent desperation to escape, to put an end to the pain, the nothingness. I barely hold conversation, and almost always pause mid sentence to gather my thoughts, I sometimes forget information even seconds after receiving it. Happiness just feels... unavailable to me, I only ever feel fear, sadness, and pain. I just want to feel how I used to, I just want to be excited about anything again. I remember my world just lighting up whenever my brother would come home from school every day, I remember the time spent with my friends and loved ones being the best moments of my life. Now it all just feels like a distraction. Now the most I can feel around them is a tiny semblance of peace, just a wick of hope. It's madness, it is an actual living nightmare to be around people you love with all your heart and feel NOTHING, JUST NOTHING. Please help me, I'm so ready to be my old self again, I'm so ready to just genuinely smile. I miss my brother, I miss him so much and hes right here in the same house with me, hes always been here for me and without him I might be dead, and yet I miss him. We used to stay up hours after midnight just brainstorming about stories, jokes, or even nothing at all. We used to be able to just talk for hours, and now I barely know what to say, now I barely laugh or have any ideas... I am less of who I am and I feel like I lose more and more of me every day. I've discovered this website just today and have read about brassmonkey's 10% tapering technique. The withdrawal symptoms described here fit all too well with what I'm experiencing. I'm willing to get back 50mg of sertraline if thats the process I need to take on before I can taper off. Someone please make a plan with me, help me save my life, I can't live like this, and I also can't end it. Please. Please help me.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Scotty

    Scotty

    Drug History 2002 - Started Zoloft 100mg. Gradually reduced to 50mg, intending to come right off. 2009 - Went back up to 100mg - no ill effects. 2011 - Began slowly reducing again. 2017- Down to 25mg. October 2017- Dose increased to 50mg. I started taking Sertraline 100mg in 2002 because I’d developed panic disorder after a stressful mature-age college course. The medication worked immediately and continued to help me - I was well for 7 years with no anxiety. I gradually reduced to 50mg, but in 2009 went back up to 100mg with no ill effects during a life crisis. In 2011 I determined to come off again and began reducing very slowly with no ill effects. By October 2017 I was down to 25mg. I went to my GP to get a counselling referral. I was quite well with no anxiety, but she advised me to go back up to 50mg to mop up any underlying depression I might have. So I did - one of the worst decisions of my life! Within 24 hours I developed horrible symptoms... terrifying anxiety/dysphoria, palpitations, severe insomnia. I was certain they were caused by the increased dose of sertraline but my GP denied that this was possible ‘on such a small dose’. She said I woud soon adjust. So I stupidly continued to take it for 2 more weeks before another doctor in the practice told me to go back to my normal dose immediately. I was expecting that I would then return to ‘normal’ but I did not - instead I continued to suffer bouts of toxic anxiety as well as the other symptoms. I consulted other GPs and a psychiatrist - all reluctant to link my symptoms to the increased meds and instead going with the ‘pure anxiety’ diagnosis. Recently I found a GP who was willing to listen and referred me to a psychiatrist who tested me positive for clonus and hyperreflexia. He said that on the basis of these together with my other symptoms I definitely have non-acute sertraline syndrome. Although it is unusual, he thought it was triggered by the increased dose of medication in my system. He told me to titrate down fortnightly in 5mg increments using a solution. However when I got down to 15mg last week I soon developed withdrawal symptoms including ataxia, burning, nausea. But then yesterday I started to feel much better - almost normal! So this is my dilemma. I’m told that serotonin syndrome disappears soon after the medication is withdrawn. If that’s the right diagnosis then I should follow the 5mg taper and get off as soon as possible. But if this quicker rate gives me severe withdrawal then I should stick to the much slower 10% monthly regime - thereby possibly prolonging the agony. What to do? Can’t go forward, can’t go back! I’m so confused. I’d appreciate any help the forum can give me.
  10. I am a 27 years old man. I was on sertraline 100mg for about 8 years. While being on the medication I could not attain penile erection. Tried to have sex with my girlfriend multiple times but failed everytime. My penis felt unresponsive to any sexual stimulus. This was very distressing and hence I stopped taking the medicine by slowly tapering it off. It has been 10 months since I last ingested the medicine but the sexual dysfunction is persistent. I still cannot attain erection and in an addition I have been facing the problem of severe premature ejaculation since I stopped taking the SSRI.Moreover, my memory has been highly affected by the drug. I struggle to remember everyday things. I cannot concentrate. I don't feel emotions. It feels like I am dead from inside. And I almost always feel a burning sensation in my brain. The drug has profoundly impacted my brain functions. I am very helpless right now. My life has become an unbearable tragedy. I don't know what I should do now. I am in a long distance relationship with a girl who wants to marry me. I am desperate to have a family. But I am afraid to go further given my condition. I am completely helpless and somehow surviving the distress caused by PSSD. I am eagerly waiting to hear from my peers in this forum.
  11. Hi all, my story is so very long but the short story is i was on zoloft 50 mg for 15 years (only drug i was ever on). I tried multiple times to get off but would get severe discontinuation syndrome each time so i thought i just had to stay on it for life. I will go into those symptoms if you ask. Anyways about 4 years ago i developed benign fasiculations and resting tremor. It took seeing multiple docs and finally a second neurologist and he said this is common with zoloft. So i had to get off it but i was scared to death because of the severe discontinuation that i would compare to heroin withdrawal. So i was so scared i never went back to the doctor and thought maybe i can live with BFS and the tremor. But then my neurological symptoms got worse and led to parkinsons which was drug induced and dyskinesia. The facial grimacing was way more annoying than the fasiculations and it affected my blood pressure too, thats how parkinsons works, it affects the autonomic system so i had bad orthostatic hypotension and that was dibilitating but somehow i pushed through. I had many more issues, if you ask i can write about them. Anyways this time i was ready to get off zoloft so i go to the doctor and he says "wow you've been on it for 15 years" and i thought "WOW you idiot. Your office is the one who has been prescribing this to me all these years". They never once told me to make an appt if i hadnt been there in a few years, they just kept refilling it. They should require patients to have biyearly appts and check them for neurological signs and if the patient doesnt make an appt than they should not get a refill. I am very mad at my poor healthcare and management (total lack thereof) but again my story is so long i can write it if you ask. Anyways my doc said to wean off over like 2 months. That was too fast so i did it on my on and weaned off 50 mg over a 6 month period and for the first time i did not get discontinuation syndrome! I was scared to death but i did it and was shocked i did not get discontinuation. Weaning that slow is the answer. I only had some mild things like some mood swings, swollen lymph nodes which always happens when i wean off for some reason, headaches, i can go into detail if you ask. My neurological disorders are also going away. I am 20 days off zoloft and feel great and i would say my neurological issues are like 80% better and i hope to recover completely with time (i might have permanent damage). Anyways i am posting because i am very angry at the healthcare community for their lack of knowledge on how zoloft, though rare, does cause dyskinesia, BFS, and parkinsonism. Docs do not seem to know to look for these signs and put a stop to it before irreversible damage occurs which is a disability. They are too freely handing out these meds to your average person with basic stress that can actually manage without meds like seeking CBT, meditation, yoga, qigong, etc. i am one of those type of people. Patients are never checked up on on these meds. I know personally from working in gastroenterology for years that almost everyone is on anxiety or antidepressants and that to me is a crime because every single one of them are having unexplained problems with a lot of expensive negative testing and they are frustrated but no one is relaying it is the medication causing it and how imperitive it is to get off it. I am against all these meds (unless the patient has true mental disorder like bipolar or is in a stage of suicidal ideation etc). I am just very angry. For me, to address that, i want and need to raise awareness but i feel no one would believe my story because it is so rare but i think more common than we know because it is being unreported and doctors dont know enough to spot tardive dyskinesia etc so it takes years. Anyone else with a story like mine?
  12. Liamb123456

    Liamb123456: Zoloft 50mg

    Hi my name Liam was on 50 mg cold turkey Zoloft 6 moths still in very bad way was on it for 8 months doctor said it was fine to come off by was I wrong paining for it now
  13. 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
  14. I'm new to this site so please bear with me. Basically I want some advice and info regarding the tapering of Sertraline. I have taken Sertraline 50 mg for about two years now and feel "normal" on this dosage. I've tried to taper unsuccessfully before usually by halfing my dosage. Since last Saturday I've been taking 25mg but I feel like a different person on this dosage. I feel fragile, irritable, I'm hyper stimulated by small sounds and I just don't feel "with it" so to speak. On the lower dosage I feel less confident in public and more easily overwhelmed/upset and I also cry quite a bit. I also don't feel like leaving the house on the lower dose (I force myself most times) but on the 50 mg I leave the house freely. Socialising is a major problem for me. Mornings are a really bad time for me - I can wake up with varying degrees of anxiety mostly mild to moderate but sometimes severe. My only problem is that an hour or two upon rising my mind/brain simply goes DEAD. This is the only word I would use to describe it. I will simultaneously become fatigued/weak/Tearful/, my memory/concentration will plummet and all I will feel like doing is going to bed. I won't have the energy to deal with or be around people or solve any problems. Once the tablet kicks in a few hours later I will generally be ok. I sometimes get this horrible feeling in the evening time about 9- 10 PM but generally the MORNINGS are far more common. These effects are far more pronounced at 25mg than 50mg. Is this horrible feeling down to the withdrawal effects of the dosage reduction or is it down to my depression still being unresolved? Would the effects at 25mg be any different even if I tapered down by 10% from 50mg? I sometimes feel that it doesn't matter what way I taper the dose, I will still return to being depressed once I'm on a lower dose or zero dosage. Is my brain totally dependent on these things to function??? If you function ok with the meds is it worth the hassle/ side effects trying to function without them? I would be really, really grateful for your thoughts and opinions guys.
  15. Hello, I’m new and I’m drowning. My husband of nearly 20 years told me a month ago that his love for me has faded away and he wants to separate (still loves and respects me but doesn’t love me ‘like that’). It was a huge huge shock. I didn’t see it coming (and neither did any of our friends or our 2 beautiful daughters, 18 and 20). I feel shattered into a million pieces and more heartbroken than I thought it was possible to be. I’ve thought of nothing else for the past month. He’s been on 100mg Sertraline for general anxiety for about 3 years and it was only after he told me that I went looking for answers and discovered the insidious relationship/attachment destroying nature of SSRIs. I’m now clinging to this as it ticks all the boxes for being the major cause of his loss of feelings. He definitely suffered from the sexual side effects (loss of desire/libido, inability to ejaculate) and it was this that both started my search and lead me down the rabbit hole of discovery about the other effects, and also convinced him that it was worth considering and tapering to see if that made a difference to his feelings. He’s not convinced it will. But he’s not convinced it won’t either (as evidenced by his easy willingness to taper). I showed him him all the evidence and he’s agreed to taper off the medication. Unfortunately before we found the detailed information on this site about tapering very very slowly (and the reasons why this is so important) he self-tapered from 100 to 75mg about 3 weeks ago. He says he hasn’t had any WD symptoms so far but also doesn’t feel any different. Our situation is complicated because a week or two before he told me he wanted out he met another woman. So far he tells me this is just an emotional connection because they’ve agreed they can’t ‘do anything’ until he’s sorted his marriage out. Even though he’s agreed to taper and see if that makes a difference to his feelings for me, he refuses to stop talking to and seeing her on the weekends he comes ‘home’ (he works and stays 3 hours away during the week and is usually ‘home’ most weekends). This is very odd behaviour and especially odd for him. He genuinely doesn’t see anything inappropriate about seeing her because in his mind ‘we’re separated’... even though our finances are still combined, his toothbrush is still in our bathroom, his clothes are still in our wardrobe etc etc and he has still slept in our bed when he returns. This is incredibly out of character for him and another reason I think the medication is effecting his ability to think rationally. So, I am here to seek support. I feel like I’m in a small boat in huge seas and my only course of action is to batten down the hatches and ride out this storm. It is truly truly terrifying. But I truly love this man. We have a GOOD marriage and I know he loves me (he still says so). I just want my husband and my marriage and my life back. Not sure that’s possible. And I know it will be different. But I must fight for it. No other option for me.
  16. Hello all, my name is Alicia. I'm a mother to a small child with autism. My whole mess with these medications happened before she was even born, and I am ashamed to say that I was even on celexa during my whole pregnancy with my daughter and of course I was told that celexa was perfectly safe during pregnancy, but now I wonder if her autism is related to the stupid ad. I only wish I knew the dangers of these meds long before now. Anyways I first took celexa back in 2011 after I developed panic attacks, they also gave me clonazepam. I quit the clonazepam a little before I got pregnant with my daughter, but continued the celexa until October of 2016. In October of 2016 I was switched to Zoloft and given Ativan from a new psychiatrist. I continued to take the meds until November 23 of 2017. I just one day decided I'm sick and tired of going to psychiatrists it was becoming an inconvenience for me. So I just threw the rest of the meds down the toilet and been med free for 10 months now. I was unaware that these meds were not like other meds that you can just completely quit anytime you want, and I was flooded with weird symptoms. I have just been toughing it out for the past 10 months because I refuse to talk to doctors about anything anymore, I know they are just going to tell me to start the meds again.I know nothing will get better if I go back on them again, so instead I have turned to supplements to help with my symptoms. Insomnia and sensitivity to light and sounds are the most prevelant of my symptoms, I also been having a ton of fasciculations in my legs, something I never experienced until this withdrawal. At first I thought I was developing some motor neuron disease but now I'm just chalking it up to this withdrawal because after reading forums on this website I see just how crazy your body can get after these meds, and I wish I never started them.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Curious to know if anyone can give me their thoughts on my situation. My GP gave me Celexa at the beginning of February for general anxiety...very mild. I took the Celexa for 2 days and it made me few worse. She switched me to Paxil (took 5 days) and it did the same. I had panic attacks, felt like I was coming out of my skin, etc. I then went to see a psychiatrist, hoping he would give me advice on going the natural route. He said he thought SSRIs were not compatible with me, but suggested I try Zoloft. I really didn't want to, but he promised me it would be worth the shot. I took it for 11 days and on the 10th day, began having unwanted, depressive thoughts. He asked me to immediately stop the medicine, so I did. I had taken 12.5 mg for 5 days, 25 mg for 5 days and 36.5 for 1 day when I stopped cold turkey. The unwanted thoughts and anxiety increased for about 2 weeks and last week, began to taper some. I'm 3 weeks into being off them meds, but the depressive thoughts have not diminished. I was never depressed or experienced anything to do with mood swings or depression before SSRIs. I know what I am dealing with has to be my chemistry trying to balance out, but it's miserable. The doctor says I should be back to normal by week 4, but I'm struggling to have confidence in that...especially since he didn't think the Zoloft would mess me up in the 1st place. I feel like I've really messed myself up. I just want to be back to my normal self like I was before all of this. I don't like having thoughts of hurting myself or others...it's not me and I want it to go away. I would love advice or thoughts from anyone with similar situations.
  20. Fair warning: my journey revolves around PMDD (my menstruation cycle). If this is not your cup of tea, turn back now. Hi! I'm so happy to be here! Here's the short version of my story... I was misdiagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when in fact I had PMDD. At first, the symptoms were bearable, but after my last child, everything changed. Suddenly, I was not able to make myself or my children food, not showering, not able to pick my kids up from school. Not only that but my self-esteem was shot and anxiety soaring, and I had about one week a month where I could gather myself back up and try to heal before everything started all over again. This went on for over three years. I was completely broken. During all of this, my Psych started throwing meds at me to see what would stick. Unfortunately, nothing would work, and I ended up on 6 meds for depression and anxiety. Finally, I had had enough and approached my Psych and my Gyn about a full hysterectomy and BSO (ovary removal) to stop the fluctuation in my hormones. By this time I had tried all methods of care ranging from DBT to exercise, birth control to relaxation techniques, and so much more. Anyway, I had the surgery, and I felt (and feel) amazing. Like I had been missing out on living. Unfortunately, I was still stuck on all six meds. And so began the titration. I began titrating risperidone at the beginning of 2015. It is important to me to get off this med because I believe it to be the most dangerous. I started at 1 mg, and currently, I am at 0.18 mg. I am taking a break on my titration but intend to jump after my summer vacation and be done with this demon of a drug once and for all. Here is a list of my other meds: Morning: Zoloft 200 mg Wellbutrin XL 300 mg Lorazepam 0.5 mg and 0.375 mg ( also take around 3 pm) Night: Clonazepam 1 mg Trazadone 50 mg Risperidone 0.18 mg (liquid) StuckOnMeds
  21. 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.
  22. bromor

    ☼ bromor

    Hello all. I'm a 45 year woman who has spent the last 10 years on Zoloft due to GAD & panic attacks. I had several years of "bliss" in that as long as I took my 50 mg of Zoloft, I was anxiety free. That all stopped when my husband begged me to get off of it due to all the side effects ~ and honestly, I feel like it's been a downhill slope from there. I'm off of Zoloft now but due to a really bad 2 weeks of panic and insomnia, I'm on Buspar to help with the physical symptoms. After reading so many posts on here, I feel that because I've been on Zoloft for so long, I was suffering from withdrawal even after a so called "successful" taper. Anyway, I want totally off of this stuff. I'm supplementing with lots of minerals, amino acids ~ have done cortisol and neurotransmitter testing. Also dealing with hormone issues and peri menopausal fun. Just so very glad to know that I'm not alone in this!
  23. 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.
  24. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - SeptGirl: Weaning Off Alprazolam And Stopped Zoloft I’ve been on Zoloft (Sertaline) 50mg since the first week of June. It’s now mid August. I’ve never felt well on this drug and the doc has finally approved a weaning schedule. He said alternate 50mg one day, 25mg the next. That’s where he left it for now. Does this seem reasonable? I’m thinking this will be for two weeks then go to 25mg daily for two weeks. Would it be likely to stop after that or continue on with 12.5mg dosing for two weeks. I’m sure my doc will let me know what the continuing process will be but just trying to get thoughts on this. I want OFF this drug
  25. 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.
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