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Nadia 5 Years Off - I Survived Antidepressants


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I was on antidepressants for 16 years - mostly SSRIs and Wellbutrin. Today I am celebrating being off of them for 5 years. It was a very difficult road, but I am, for all intents and purposes, recovered. My life is normal now. What few symptoms I have are almost nonexistent, brief and passing, bearable. So many times through the dark tunnel to today I thought I was damned forever, but I made it out. My first answers came from this site, and I am thankful.

 

If you are in that horrible dark tunnel, hang on. Know that even if you don't see the light now, it will come. Keep walking.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Thanks so much Nadia for sharing your successful tapering and so happy for you being out of this hell and getting your life back! This is so encouraging! It gives hope to everyone who is still on the road.

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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This is wonderful news! I'm so happy for you, Nadia. It's brilliant to see a new success story on here. Thank you Nadia.

The only way out is through.

 

Aug 2013 - Augmentin leading to akathisia

Sept-Nov 2013 - Citalopram 20mg, severe reaction, off at 5mg. Valium 4mg, prn

Oct 2013 - 5 zopiclone tablets, 7.5mg

End Nov 2013-end Feb 2014, Seroquel, top dose 150mg, off at 25mg

End Nov 2013-early march 2014, Zoloft 100mg top dose, off at 25mg

End Dec-2013-early April 2014, lorazepam 1mg prn

April 3rd 2014 zoloft 5mg for a few days. 18/4/14 - zoloft, 1mg. Came off at 0.35 mg,14th June 2014

29 June 2014 - 1mg lorazepam, last ever

29 June 2014 - med free

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  • Administrator

Great to hear from you, Nadia, thank you for that wonderful news, and for being such a dedicated, helpful member of our community for so long.

 

To follow Nadia's journey, see her Intro topic ☼ Nadia: There is hope!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Nadia,

 

Congratulations on making it to the "other side!"

 

As all who have successfully completed the journey, you are an inspiration for all of us still walking the path.

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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Wow thanks for this update Nadia.

I see we both went drug free at about the same time.

How is the fatigue ?

Did you ever take paxil?

 

Congratulations on being able to post a success thread. Not a small thing.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Congratulations on your healing and new life! 

I suffer from depression, anxiety, pure-o ocd, and panic attacks since 2004. Been on multiple different psychiatric drugs since 2006. Never had a significant WD problem before, only brain zaps for a month and then I'd be fine...............Been on Cipralex (escitalopram) 15 mg and Fluanxol (flupentixol) 1 mg since Sep 2014. Stopped taking the Cipralex after a fast 20-day taper.Took the last 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 5th, 2015. Then took Seroxat (paroxetine) 10 mg for a week, and stopped it too. Severe WD started suddenly on Feb 16th. RI 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 18th, 2015. RI worked and was relatively stable for a while................April 7 - decreased Fluanxol from 1 mg to 0.5 mg and took it at this dose for a week. - BIG MISTAKE; April 13 - WD starts creeping in; April 14 - RI full dose of Fluanxol 1 mg => severe muscle twitching and jerking when trying to relax and fall asleep, overwhelming sense of doom, dread, terror, and horror, insomnia, hoping to stabilize.
Tried doing a 10% cut off Fluanxol in the end of May for a few days, but quickly updosed to full dose because the twitching returned.
Experiencing waves and windows in the following months.
Unsuccessful brief taper attempt of Fluanxol by 5% on November 1st. Symptoms hit the next day. Too scared to continue tapering, reinstate full dose.
Severe crash in November after stupidly trying a barbiturate on November 9th. Grave mistake. Sense of unshakable inescapable internal torture, like my soul is in hell being tortured, terror/horror/dread/doom (probably akathisia?) that gets especially bad when trying to relax and fall asleep, muscles twitch, jerk and move on their own, shaking, insomnia, can't eat, confusion, disorientation, brain not working normally. Never felt so bad in my entire life. Never experiment with other meds while in WD! Praying to God I stabilize and get back to my baseline.
December - things getting even worse.

January - unbearable suffering

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Wow congratulations Nadia on your recovery, you are such an inspiration. I hope I could follow your path one day. Thank you for taking the time to write about your successful recovery.

Celexa 20mg 2008-2012 for Social Anxiety

Failed attempt to stop reinstated

1 year taper skipping doses

Celexa free 12/2013

1/2014-5/2014 took 5 htp every other day

Failed Reinstatement 5mg of Celexa on 12/2014 for 5 days only

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Congratulations Nadia, its wonderful to see your success story here after the long recovery process you have been through. Thank you so much for staying in touch and documenting your progress, it provides hope and encouragement for everyone who follows. After reading through your introduction thread (for the second time), it's reinforced for me that TIME really is the main factor in recovery, followed by taking care of ourselves the best we can.

 

17crwh.jpg.gif

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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 Congratulations, Nadia.

I'm so pleased that you came back to write your story.  As one, who also had many years on and off antidepressants  C/T , it was encouraging to hear how well you are doing now.   I have been reading a little of your intro thread, and it resonated with me to a large degree. I could identify with so much . Some of the experiences you went through were so similar, that I felt I could be writing those exact words myself. Your symptoms were very close  to those I am experiencing. It gave me hope , at a time when I badly need it.

Thank you.

Ali.

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Congratulations Nadia!

Your story brings me hope!

Wishing you all the best!

Hopefull.:)

DRUG HISTORY:

 

November 2013- Zoloft, ( Bad reaction).

January 2014 - March 2014 Seroquel.( Quit Cold Turkey).

January2014- Mirtazapine, I was taking 15mg at one stage, reduced to 7.5mg, Pgad reactions to Mirtazapine. Doctor kept increasing it to 37.5mg, until July 2014. No improvement, experiencing panic attacks, on 37.5 mg. I had enough by October 2014. Began tapering.

October 2014- Started tapering Mirtazapine from 37.5mg.

September 2015- Down to 4mg of Mirtazapine. Crashed.

September 16th- Up dosed to 5mg. Held this dose for almost 5 months. Stabilised.

February 2016- Began tapering again. From 5mg to 4.5mg of Mirtazapine. (Rocking the boat, again)! Lol. :(

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Thank you so much nadia. I'm five months into a taper and the worst part is the intrusive ruminating thoughts. Your story enforces the fact I am doing the right thing! Go girl x

<p>Various benzos 4 months for insomnia prior to Effexor 37.5mg may 2014 for two weeks, Mirtazapine 30mg june 2014 - feb 2015.Pristiq 50 mg Feb 2015. six weeks later attempted coming off with a six week taper. ten days off and it got ugly. Tapering now using compounded pristiq with slow release agent. 37.5 mg 3 weeks, 30 mg 6 weeks, 25mg 4.5 weeks, 20mg for 6 weeks, 17.5 mgs 7 weeks, 20 mg 8 weeks, 19 mg 3 weeks, 18 mg 3 weeks, 17 mg 3 weeks, 16 mg 3 weeks, 15mg 2 weeks, 14mg 2 weeks, 13 mgs 2 weeks, 12 mgs 6 weeks, 11mg 3 weeks, 10.5mg 2 weeks, 10 mg 3.5 weeks. 9mg 4 weeks. Jumped at 8mg currently 16 months free

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Thanks for this!  Paying it forward is so pivotal for us. 

Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th . PPI Dexlant  30 mg taper has begun. Cutting 20% currently.  using zantac as needed.  Benzo is currently 0.10mg 

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  • Administrator

Nadia

 

I'm so happy for you that you are able to celebrate being off of these drugs for 5 years and that you can say you have recovered.  You had some challenging times and for you to be able to share this news warms my heart.

 

Thanks for sharing and best wishes for a continued happy life.

 

Love and life,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Nadia, thank you so much for sharing your recovery story!

I'm so happy to know that recovery is possible in spite of ct withdrawal! Thanks a lot!!!! Best wishes for you and your normal life! Enjoy it.

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Really good to hear about your success Nadia.  After 18 months off Paxil I have hit a prolonged wave that won't go away, and haven't slept properly for weeks.   Glad to gain encouragement that these feelings will pass.

Prescribed 20mg a day of Seroxat on 2001

August 2013 decided to taper.

Reduced by 10mg a week (adjusted over the week small amounts)

Stopped completely in April 2014

Brain and body went haywire.  

Didn't realise it was withdrawal at first.

Have not returned to ad's but can't get my life back.

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I'm 2 yrs off and have hit a longer wave....not loving it. (((Hugs)))

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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Congratulations! Reading about your journey today gave me hope and got me through an anxious, depressed withdrawal morning. Bless you. Your generous communication to people on this forum is huge gift- a big chunk of the life raft

I'm clinging to. I wish you health and wellness and happiness.

Found this site for real in 2015. Decided to taper slowly.

** I should mention that anytime I haven't been in a wave, I've felt pretty amazing! I only record the waves to look for patterns : ))**

50 mg Zoloft 6/2015, with intermittent fish oil

6/9/15 alternated 50 mg/37.5 mg - doc's idea (she meant well) 6/17 terrible morning anxiety and rumination, flu symptoms, and prickles in legs. 6/18 up to 45 mg liquid Zoloft. 6/26-29 cortisol mornings and bad anxiety. 6/30 started to take mag 100 mg and fish oil regularly with med 7/4 44 mg. 7/8 42.6 mg. 7/16 40 mg. 7/23 39 mg 8/1 32 mg (bad idea).

8/5 fatigue, anxiety, can't sleep, depressed. 8/7 36 mg resolved to be patient and try to keep to THE THREE KIS's. 8/13-15; 8/17- 23 painful physical and mental wave. Started light therapy 20 m in am. 8/25 34 mg, added 80-100 mg liquid mag during day. great window til 8/29 2 day down stretch 9/8 32.8 mg 9/11-14 wave added acupuncture 9/22 31.5 mg teeny wave 10/6 30 mg small grumpy wave 10/19 28.5, same pattern- small wave at day 5. A few tough weeks. Held around 29 until 11/18 when dropped to 28 mg; 11/22 the usual fluey fatigue. 11/30 27 mg 12/14 25.75ish mg "hold til Xmas club" (in my case New Years) Xmas was tough, kept holding: by 1/15, feeling good again. 1/25/16 Mirena IUD out after nearly six years- I think it was affecting my mood and taper- feeling super great! 2/2 down to 24 mg. symptoms much less severe. One day, not too bad wave on 2/8. 2/15 down to 20 mg from 24. A week later, two restless mornings and one morning of brain fog. 3/2 from 20 to 16 mg! Wish me luck.

 

Medicine History:

Currently tapering from 50mg Zoloft. Ten years of SSRI's including Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft, as well as a stretch with Wellbutrin added to the Zoloft. When I started on Zoloft (4 years ago?) I was on 100 but was able to taper down to 50 via 25 mg increments slowly around 2013. Have used light therapy and fish oil intermittently since around 2013. Have tried unsuccessfully to get off the meds since then in what I know now to be too large a taper (for example, jumped from 25 to 12.5 and that did not work). Motivated to do this slowly because that's the only way it will happen.

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  • 2 months later...

I was on antidepressants for 16 years - mostly SSRIs and Wellbutrin. Today I am celebrating being off of them for 5 years. It was a very difficult road, but I am, for all intents and purposes, recovered. My life is normal now. What few symptoms I have are almost nonexistent, brief and passing, bearable. So many times through the dark tunnel to today I thought I was damned forever, but I made it out. My first answers came from this site, and I am thankful.

 

If you are in that horrible dark tunnel, hang on. Know that even if you don't see the light now, it will come. Keep walking.

 

HI Nadia,

 

Did you have bad insomnia for a couple years or so after quitting?

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  • 1 month later...

Nadia,

I am a couple months away from embarking on my second try at stopping zoloft. Thank you for sharing your story, it will be a large part of my "support net" once I hit the long road to ending my ssri use...and I pray one day I will be able to share my story of success and have it help others!

On zoloft since 2000 for OCD/anxiety. Tapered off from 150mg to 100, 50, 25 over Dec/Jan 2015. After month n half off, began depression. Being terrified, as I never had depression before, after a few days, went back to 50mg, then five days later to 100mg. Now stable. I will stop this medication, with time and perseverance...my current taper level and timing are as follows, which includes No other Rx's, No alcohol, NEVER any illicit drugs:

84mg from October 2016

82mg from February 2017

79mg from April 2017

77mg from June 2017

75mg from July 2017

"Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation." - Viktor Frankl

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Looking for some encouraging advice. I'm going through the same thing you did. I was told to maybe reinstate. I see you didn't. At four years are you still doing ok? I can't imagine doing this everyday for 4 years. But I don't want to be on an ad anymore that I was put on for anxiety and panic attacks. Do you think I should stick it out? I function , take care of my girls , somewhat my house lol. I just feel obsessed. Ugh are you still doing good ?

Panic attacks-Prozac 20mg 4 years

Effexor 75mg approx 9 years

Effexor to Zoloft 25 mg approx almost 2 weeks

Also used very low dose of Valium 1 mg sometimes 2x a day for anxiety for a month during medication changes.

Zoloft to Celexa 10 mg approx a week

Celexa to Prozac 10 mg for approx 5 weeks

Weaned off Prozac 10-5-2.5 mg

As of 1-8-2016 off everything

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Hi shelbytrev,   I'm 2 years off Paxil after 12 years on it.   You are in the early stages  and it's a tough call.  I still have insomnia and other WD symptoms,  and when I began I never thought it would take so long. Like you, I didn't want to be on ad for the rest of my life.  Those early times are the worst, but take encouragement from this site, and just try and get through the days.   I don't regret my decision to come off Paxil, but I never thought I could feel so bad coming off it.   But I have some good days now and look to this site for support.

Prescribed 20mg a day of Seroxat on 2001

August 2013 decided to taper.

Reduced by 10mg a week (adjusted over the week small amounts)

Stopped completely in April 2014

Brain and body went haywire.  

Didn't realise it was withdrawal at first.

Have not returned to ad's but can't get my life back.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Shelby, have you tried everything at your disposal to keep the stress and obsessing at bay? That included acupuncture for me, and I recommend it to anyone I can. Community acupuncture is cheaper and I love it. Never had tried it at all before this past fall, and I now consider it one of the biggest tools in my arsenal, that and exercise and sleep. 

Found this site for real in 2015. Decided to taper slowly.

** I should mention that anytime I haven't been in a wave, I've felt pretty amazing! I only record the waves to look for patterns : ))**

50 mg Zoloft 6/2015, with intermittent fish oil

6/9/15 alternated 50 mg/37.5 mg - doc's idea (she meant well) 6/17 terrible morning anxiety and rumination, flu symptoms, and prickles in legs. 6/18 up to 45 mg liquid Zoloft. 6/26-29 cortisol mornings and bad anxiety. 6/30 started to take mag 100 mg and fish oil regularly with med 7/4 44 mg. 7/8 42.6 mg. 7/16 40 mg. 7/23 39 mg 8/1 32 mg (bad idea).

8/5 fatigue, anxiety, can't sleep, depressed. 8/7 36 mg resolved to be patient and try to keep to THE THREE KIS's. 8/13-15; 8/17- 23 painful physical and mental wave. Started light therapy 20 m in am. 8/25 34 mg, added 80-100 mg liquid mag during day. great window til 8/29 2 day down stretch 9/8 32.8 mg 9/11-14 wave added acupuncture 9/22 31.5 mg teeny wave 10/6 30 mg small grumpy wave 10/19 28.5, same pattern- small wave at day 5. A few tough weeks. Held around 29 until 11/18 when dropped to 28 mg; 11/22 the usual fluey fatigue. 11/30 27 mg 12/14 25.75ish mg "hold til Xmas club" (in my case New Years) Xmas was tough, kept holding: by 1/15, feeling good again. 1/25/16 Mirena IUD out after nearly six years- I think it was affecting my mood and taper- feeling super great! 2/2 down to 24 mg. symptoms much less severe. One day, not too bad wave on 2/8. 2/15 down to 20 mg from 24. A week later, two restless mornings and one morning of brain fog. 3/2 from 20 to 16 mg! Wish me luck.

 

Medicine History:

Currently tapering from 50mg Zoloft. Ten years of SSRI's including Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft, as well as a stretch with Wellbutrin added to the Zoloft. When I started on Zoloft (4 years ago?) I was on 100 but was able to taper down to 50 via 25 mg increments slowly around 2013. Have used light therapy and fish oil intermittently since around 2013. Have tried unsuccessfully to get off the meds since then in what I know now to be too large a taper (for example, jumped from 25 to 12.5 and that did not work). Motivated to do this slowly because that's the only way it will happen.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Nadia . . . what you wrote was exactly what I needed today. THANK YOU!

My suggestions are not medical advice. They are my opinions based on my own experience, strength and hope.

You are in charge of your own medical / healing / recovery choices.

My success story |  My introduction thread

 

ZOLOFT FREE - COMPLETELY DRUG FREE 4/28/2019! - total time on 28+ years

BENZO FREE! 4/7/2018 - total time on 27+ years

REMERON FREE! 12/11/2016 - total time on 15 months

Caffeine & Nicotine Free 2014 / 2015 - smoked for 28 years

Alcohol Free 4/1/2014 - drank for 30 years

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Hi everyone! I'm sorry I "posted and ran" and haven't been back until now to say thanks for the congrats and answer questions! As you can imagine, once you are out of the nightmare, it's still hard to revisit. Looking back I'm still amazed I made it! The only way to do it is one step at a time... just do the best you can and trust time will help. So here are some answers:

  • nz11: "How is the fatigue? Did you ever take Paxil?
    • I have a LOT more energy than I used to, and I think it has a lot to do with getting adequate sleep. I still occasionally over-tire, and have to watch out for that, but I think it could also have something to do with having had chronic mono when I was younger. I also think I'm just naturally someone who needs to "gather and reset"... I get sensory overload easily and need to just find ways to cope with it, like taking 15 minute naps or doing a short session of meditation. Yoga and jogging and walking are extremely helpful with that, too. Physically I have a ton more stamina. I remember the first year I could barely go around the block without feeling like I was going to pass out (also because of the dizziness), and I would often get what felt like the flu if I overexerted myself. My best advice with this is make sure you do something every day, even if it's just a short walk or stretching, and don't panic if you feel worse. It will improve.
    • I did take Paxil but only like a week... it was the first anitdepressant prescribed to me, and I had a bad anxiety/jitteriness reaction to it, so they switched me to Zoloft instead.
  • Petunia - time was what helped most
    • So, so true... and it's important to remember your progress will not be linear. I know it is incredibly discouraging when you think you're doing great and then you plunge into another wave. For a long time after I was much better, there were still many days when I woke up with some anxiety and immediately panicked, thinking I'd hit another wave... but it's been a really long time now since that has happened (I can't even remember when!). I kind of learned to stop worrying so much, and know I will still, like any normal human, wake up with a little anxiety now and then, or have a bad night of sleep, but then it's just that and I'm still out of the nightmare and I feel sooo lucky.
    • Which leads me to my other thing I think helped: believing it could happen, even when I failed at this often. Just coming back to the thought it was possible. And it's not because I believe anything you want will come true or anything... it's just that the nature of a lot of what goes on in withdrawal has to do with a hyperactive and aware nervous system... your cortisol is out of whack, you're having panic attacks, you're barely sleeping, you have all sorts of crazy stuff happening to your body and mind, and of course you are so scared! And it can cycle back into itself. So it's really important to just acknowledge that panic, accept it, but also do your best not to feed into it and know your mind and body are working hard to get you back to stability.
    • Things that I swear by still: EXERCISE, NUTRITION, MEDITATION, FINDING PURPOSE. Keep walking and stretching, to the best of your ability. Eat well. Stay away from sugar. Keep a regular schedule. Stay away from screens late at night. Do a whole wind down routine. Don't worry if you slept horribly or not at all. Just keep at it. Give yourself permission to break down crying. When you are able to, accept it and go on. And try to find meaning in all of it... it can be so hard, but, for example, I started taking art classes. I can't say I enjoyed them even 10% of the time at first. I found them incredibly frustrating. I cried often. And yet, towards the end of the horror, I found a sense of deeper purpose in life and had one of the most creative and awake periods of my life. Probably a little manic, even, ha ha... but then it leveled. Sometimes you just go through the motions, and that way you retrain your nervous system back into a sense of safety and life purpose. Did you know you have the ability to turn genes on and off in as little as minutes if you exercise or socialize or do something that you enjoy? Try to find those moments as much as you can, as small or fleeting as they are.
  • Alua - ruminating thoughts
    • Yes, that is a tough one. Again, for this one, WALK! I remember still going circles and circles around the park and my brain just exploding with thoughts and worries and the most horrible thoughts. It's actually so crazy to think about now... sometimes there is just nothing you can do about it, but walking does help. Sometimes not immediately, but having that practice, in the long run.
  • IrvingKirsch - did I have bad insomnia
    • YES, and it was the WORST... I think so much of the other stuff was related to not sleeping. If you think of it, our body really needs sleep to reset and repair. Even cortisol goes down when you sleep... so it was incredibly frustrating to not be able to do the one thing that could help! I went through an especially bad period where I couldn't even lie down or I'd have a panic attack and had to semi-doze off a few minutes at a time in a sitting position. Magnesium salts baths sometimes helped and were a godsend. Eventually you are so tired you can have a night of sleeping through a few hours, only to be back to the horrible insomnia. I couldn't take naps because I felt such a deep sense of dread. I think it's really hard for people who have not gone through this to understand. Especially if they've had some insomnia, as they THINK they know what it's like, but what you're going through is soooo much worse. I'm not even really sure how I got through this, but I did... and Alto's suggestion to not panic about not sleeping helped a lot. It was like, this really, really sucks, but it is what it is... and eventually I started sleeping better in fits and starts. Now I can take naps and everything. I still wake up often at the crack of dawn, but I take some inositol or some magnesium and go back to sleep. I have also gotten good at deep belly breathing, which stimulates the vagus nerve, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. It turns out that many women in perimenopause have this symptom, too, and it seems to be affected by my cycle. In any case, I am so glad I can sleep normally now... I LOVE sleep! If you are going through the horrible insomnia, just know it will get better. I feel well rested most of the time now... I DO need to stay away from too much sugar, and I do need to exercise regularly, but I think this is the case for most people! In order to get through the worst of not sleeping when you just can't, try meditation.
  • Shelbytrev - did I reinstate and how am I doing now
    • I tried to reinstate but it was horrible. I think I got to a point there was no way my body would take it. I probably would have cowered back to the meds if not. That said, I am SO glad I didn't. Do I still get depressed? Yes! But my god... I feel like my life is SO much better than when I was on meds. I see friends on medication now still struggling... getting doses adjusted, changing from generic to name brand, always looking at the med for the answer, and I remember being that way too... and how impulsive I was and how I didn't change the things that needed changing in my life, and how my life got a lot, lot crazier when I was on meds, and how I spent most of my time feeling sh*tty and depressed anyway! I look back at my journals and see that the meds would only give me a little boost for a bit, and then I'd be back to just blah or bad. There are still things about them that I think were positive, but man, did they come at a horrible price... I DO NO REGRET GOING OFF MEDICATION FOR ONE SECOND. Even when I'm feeling awful. And I've realized I can stay OK if I stick through my bad days. I just have to stay on top of exercise and taking care of myself. I'm just a high-maintenance being, ultra sensitive, incredibly affected by my surroundings... and all of that has a good side, too. Life everything in life, it's a double-edged sword. But I am so much better at managing it. In some way, I am thankful for what I went through (can't believe I'm saying that!), because I am so much stronger and better at accepting and coping. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was you aren't supposed to feel great all the time, and you don't have to feel good to keep working at feeling good. Some days suck. That is just life. You plow through them. Then, magically, the sky clears. Some days I just don't feel like it, but I go to yoga anyway, or go for a run. I do what I have to do, and that keeps me from spiraling down. I took meds because I thought they made me stronger and more able to cope, and I had it in me all along to do it myself!
  • Orangecat - acupuncture
    • Oh wow, yes! I totally forgot. That helped me through the worst of it, as well. I think I probably tried everything in the book and then some. :P

Well, as usual, brevity is not my strong suit, but I wanted to come back and check in... thank you so much to everyone who was there for me before!! This site helped me sooooo much. Just don't get too bogged down in the details... do what you can, try not to worry too much... in some ways you're going to make it out one way or another. I remember another success story where the guy said he did EVERYTHING wrong, and still got better... the important thing is to not to panic. And if you panic, don't panic that you're panicking!

 

Much healing to all of you! See you on the other side....

 

Love,

Nadia

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Hi Nadia, thank you for so much encouragement.  Wanted to ask you, how long you were in protracted withdrawal for? Thanks & Regards

In 2001 - started on Carbamezapine (can't remember dose), Fluoexitine 20mg, Clanozepam (low dose) after a nervous breakdown.

In 2004 - abruptly stopped carbamezapine after falling pregnant.  

In 2009 - changed from Fluoexitine to Citalopram 20mg.

In 2014 - tappered off clanozepam.

In Aug 2015 - cold turkey off Citalopram :o

From Aug - Dec 2015 I had mostly flu-like symptoms and trouble sleeping. From Jan - April 2016 Emotional nightmare ensued, paranoia, excessive anxiety and tormenting thoughts, basically trying to manage these emotions and thoughts which are exhausting.  Lots of intense emotions followed by tears, at times howling when Im alone.In March 2016 I tried Choline & Inisitol, Vit B Complex, Using Aromatherapy, like Lavendar, Clary Sage and others.

In April STOPPED Choline & Inositol as I beleive it was giving me shakes and making me more anxious.  It also made me feel like i'd taken a benzo tablet making me feel sedated.  Reading - The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk (recommended by a member on this group).

Symptoms - extreme low self esteem and insecurity, intense emotions and tearfulness. This is so so hard.  But im going to keep pushing.  Feel bad for my 2 girls and husband.  I don't want to be seen in this way, especially by the girls. Self-help : praying, meditating, breathing exercises and physical exercises.

Ceterizine (antihistamine) - I've been taking this for many years now for itchiness in my palms and feet.  I take them as and when I need them. JULY 2016 Dr Bach homeopathic remedies and 'rescue remedy'

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Hi everyone! I'm sorry I "posted and ran" and haven't been back until now to say thanks for the congrats and answer questions! As you can imagine, once you are out of the nightmare, it's still hard to revisit. Looking back I'm still amazed I made it! The only way to do it is one step at a time... just do the best you can and trust time will help. So here are some answers:

  • nz11: "How is the fatigue? Did you ever take Paxil?
    • I have a LOT more energy than I used to, and I think it has a lot to do with getting adequate sleep. I still occasionally over-tire, and have to watch out for that, but I think it could also have something to do with having had chronic mono when I was younger. I also think I'm just naturally someone who needs to "gather and reset"... I get sensory overload easily and need to just find ways to cope with it, like taking 15 minute naps or doing a short session of meditation. Yoga and jogging and walking are extremely helpful with that, too. Physically I have a ton more stamina. I remember the first year I could barely go around the block without feeling like I was going to pass out (also because of the dizziness), and I would often get what felt like the flu if I overexerted myself. My best advice with this is make sure you do something every day, even if it's just a short walk or stretching, and don't panic if you feel worse. It will improve.
    • I did take Paxil but only like a week... it was the first anitdepressant prescribed to me, and I had a bad anxiety/jitteriness reaction to it, so they switched me to Zoloft instead.
  • Petunia - time was what helped most
    • So, so true... and it's important to remember your progress will not be linear. I know it is incredibly discouraging when you think you're doing great and then you plunge into another wave. For a long time after I was much better, there were still many days when I woke up with some anxiety and immediately panicked, thinking I'd hit another wave... but it's been a really long time now since that has happened (I can't even remember when!). I kind of learned to stop worrying so much, and know I will still, like any normal human, wake up with a little anxiety now and then, or have a bad night of sleep, but then it's just that and I'm still out of the nightmare and I feel sooo lucky.
    • Which leads me to my other thing I think helped: believing it could happen, even when I failed at this often. Just coming back to the thought it was possible. And it's not because I believe anything you want will come true or anything... it's just that the nature of a lot of what goes on in withdrawal has to do with a hyperactive and aware nervous system... your cortisol is out of whack, you're having panic attacks, you're barely sleeping, you have all sorts of crazy stuff happening to your body and mind, and of course you are so scared! And it can cycle back into itself. So it's really important to just acknowledge that panic, accept it, but also do your best not to feed into it and know your mind and body are working hard to get you back to stability.
    • Things that I swear by still: EXERCISE, NUTRITION, MEDITATION, FINDING PURPOSE. Keep walking and stretching, to the best of your ability. Eat well. Stay away from sugar. Keep a regular schedule. Stay away from screens late at night. Do a whole wind down routine. Don't worry if you slept horribly or not at all. Just keep at it. Give yourself permission to break down crying. When you are able to, accept it and go on. And try to find meaning in all of it... it can be so hard, but, for example, I started taking art classes. I can't say I enjoyed them even 10% of the time at first. I found them incredibly frustrating. I cried often. And yet, towards the end of the horror, I found a sense of deeper purpose in life and had one of the most creative and awake periods of my life. Probably a little manic, even, ha ha... but then it leveled. Sometimes you just go through the motions, and that way you retrain your nervous system back into a sense of safety and life purpose. Did you know you have the ability to turn genes on and off in as little as minutes if you exercise or socialize or do something that you enjoy? Try to find those moments as much as you can, as small or fleeting as they are.
  • Alua - ruminating thoughts
    • Yes, that is a tough one. Again, for this one, WALK! I remember still going circles and circles around the park and my brain just exploding with thoughts and worries and the most horrible thoughts. It's actually so crazy to think about now... sometimes there is just nothing you can do about it, but walking does help. Sometimes not immediately, but having that practice, in the long run.
  • IrvingKirsch - did I have bad insomnia
    • YES, and it was the WORST... I think so much of the other stuff was related to not sleeping. If you think of it, our body really needs sleep to reset and repair. Even cortisol goes down when you sleep... so it was incredibly frustrating to not be able to do the one thing that could help! I went through an especially bad period where I couldn't even lie down or I'd have a panic attack and had to semi-doze off a few minutes at a time in a sitting position. Magnesium salts baths sometimes helped and were a godsend. Eventually you are so tired you can have a night of sleeping through a few hours, only to be back to the horrible insomnia. I couldn't take naps because I felt such a deep sense of dread. I think it's really hard for people who have not gone through this to understand. Especially if they've had some insomnia, as they THINK they know what it's like, but what you're going through is soooo much worse. I'm not even really sure how I got through this, but I did... and Alto's suggestion to not panic about not sleeping helped a lot. It was like, this really, really sucks, but it is what it is... and eventually I started sleeping better in fits and starts. Now I can take naps and everything. I still wake up often at the crack of dawn, but I take some inositol or some magnesium and go back to sleep. I have also gotten good at deep belly breathing, which stimulates the vagus nerve, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. It turns out that many women in perimenopause have this symptom, too, and it seems to be affected by my cycle. In any case, I am so glad I can sleep normally now... I LOVE sleep! If you are going through the horrible insomnia, just know it will get better. I feel well rested most of the time now... I DO need to stay away from too much sugar, and I do need to exercise regularly, but I think this is the case for most people! In order to get through the worst of not sleeping when you just can't, try meditation.
  • Shelbytrev - did I reinstate and how am I doing now
    • I tried to reinstate but it was horrible. I think I got to a point there was no way my body would take it. I probably would have cowered back to the meds if not. That said, I am SO glad I didn't. Do I still get depressed? Yes! But my god... I feel like my life is SO much better than when I was on meds. I see friends on medication now still struggling... getting doses adjusted, changing from generic to name brand, always looking at the med for the answer, and I remember being that way too... and how impulsive I was and how I didn't change the things that needed changing in my life, and how my life got a lot, lot crazier when I was on meds, and how I spent most of my time feeling sh*tty and depressed anyway! I look back at my journals and see that the meds would only give me a little boost for a bit, and then I'd be back to just blah or bad. There are still things about them that I think were positive, but man, did they come at a horrible price... I DO NO REGRET GOING OFF MEDICATION FOR ONE SECOND. Even when I'm feeling awful. And I've realized I can stay OK if I stick through my bad days. I just have to stay on top of exercise and taking care of myself. I'm just a high-maintenance being, ultra sensitive, incredibly affected by my surroundings... and all of that has a good side, too. Life everything in life, it's a double-edged sword. But I am so much better at managing it. In some way, I am thankful for what I went through (can't believe I'm saying that!), because I am so much stronger and better at accepting and coping. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was you aren't supposed to feel great all the time, and you don't have to feel good to keep working at feeling good. Some days suck. That is just life. You plow through them. Then, magically, the sky clears. Some days I just don't feel like it, but I go to yoga anyway, or go for a run. I do what I have to do, and that keeps me from spiraling down. I took meds because I thought they made me stronger and more able to cope, and I had it in me all along to do it myself!
  • Orangecat - acupuncture
    • Oh wow, yes! I totally forgot. That helped me through the worst of it, as well. I think I probably tried everything in the book and then some. :P

Well, as usual, brevity is not my strong suit, but I wanted to come back and check in... thank you so much to everyone who was there for me before!! This site helped me sooooo much. Just don't get too bogged down in the details... do what you can, try not to worry too much... in some ways you're going to make it out one way or another. I remember another success story where the guy said he did EVERYTHING wrong, and still got better... the important thing is to not to panic. And if you panic, don't panic that you're panicking!

 

Much healing to all of you! See you on the other side....

 

Love,

Nadia

 

Thank you so much for responding Nadia. I'm glad you are doing so much better now!

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Thank you for your post , it is a beacon of hope and something that I can fortunately go back and read when things get tough and will inspire me to continue on and live up to my screen name

08/2014 10 mg 8/28/14 switched to liquid 2.5 timeline-9/6/14 2.30=9.2 ...10/03/14 2.07=8.28 ...11/1/14 1.9=7.611/3014 1.72=6.88 ... 12/26 1.54=6.16... 2/16 1.46=5.84 switch to 5% per 3 wks3/14/15 1.38=5.52 ... 4/4/15 1.30=5.2 ...4/25/15 1.24=4.965/16/15 1.18=4.72 ... 6/6/15 1.12=4.48...6/26/15 1.06=4.24 switch to 5%ish per two weeks7/15/15 1.0=4. 7/30/15 .96=3.84 8/13/15 .91=3.64 or .90=3.60 8/29/15 .86=3.44 9/12/15 .82= 3.28 9/26/15 .78=3.12 10/11/15 .74=2.96 10/25/15 .70=2.8 hit a wall been holding since12/26/15 2.5% decrease .68=2.72 1/9/16 .66=2.64 2/6/16 .63=2.52 3/3/16 ,60=2.4 3/26/16 57=2.28 4/30/16 .54=2.16mg 6/4/16 .52=2.08 8/5/16 updose .75=3.0. 9/6/16 1.00=4.0 5mg 2/10/17 6mg 2/17/17 8 mg 3/17/17 7mg ? 3/18/17 6mg 4/1/17 5mg @4/17 4.5mg=1.12 5/19/17 4 mg=1.00ml 7/15/17 .98=3.96

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Hi Nadia, thank you for so much encouragement.  Wanted to ask you, how long you were in protracted withdrawal for? Thanks & Regards

 

Hi MaryDavid,

 

I went off antidepressants cold turkey in November of 2010. About 3 months later I started having severe anxiety and insomnia. The first couple of years were the worst, and I'd say I was in protracted withdrawal (not sure it should be called that, but we all know what we mean... the long-term nervous system destabilization that results) for another 3 years. There wasn't a clear "now I'm better"... it was a pattern of one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward, one step back, etc. the entire time. I'd say it was five years total until I felt I was well enough to write a success story!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Thanks for the encouragement. I've been off Prozac since 1/3/16 and Wellbutrin since early March. Right now I feel absolutely empty and devoid of feelings. I also am having severe issues with making goals and motivation. It's often difficult to convince myself to get out of bed in the morning. I also have trouble completing normal tasks without pushing myself (no energy to load dishwasher). I can find energy to do things I really like, such as gardening. Has anyone else experienced a similar complete loss of willpower?? How do I get through this?!

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Sunshine and rain- My first comment is YES I have experienced this, and from my reading around this site over the past year, YES it absolutely is normal. It is not your fault. You are not lazy. And it is a temporary situation, so your life is not doomed and you will not have to resign yourself to just sitting miserable for the rest of your life. That is because it is a symptom of withdrawal, and over time lets up. 

 

I personally decided to withdraw from ssri's after ten years plus because I felt a strange creative block that I attributed to the medicine. When I went a bit lower on them medicines at various times, it seemed, the block let up somewhat. Now after nearly a year of successful slow tapering I definitely feel that creative block has lifted a lot. Anxiety and the usual life questions remain, but I have more energy and imagination/emotion I can use to cope with them. However, in the process of withdrawing, particularly in the beginning (I was on hormonal birth control at the start which I now think made my withdrawal much more difficult) I absolutely felt a lack of motivation to do anything. I would get up, see my husband off to work and then come back home to lie on the couch or nap. I began taking light therapy seriously as it got darker, and used acupuncture, also got very routine about fish oil and magnesium. I think these things helped. But time helped the most. The days of lying on the couch seem so far away to me now. I have much more energy, and I even have begun to exercise regularly. I am less all or nothing about my career goals and have settled into a healthy if imperfect routine of making art, which is my long term profession. So IT GETS BETTER! Don't get too upset over a temporary situation if you can help it. In the meantime try to enjoy the things you love in a small, mediated, halfway type of way. If you can't garden, maybe ask a friend or hire someone to help keep the garden up so you don't get distressed it is failing. Sit in the garden instead, for fifteen or ten minutes, and get some light and be near the plants. Be satisfied if you can do just that, and can't actually garden. That's okay for now. 

 

Long walks in the sun and if you are interested, acupuncture are very productive and not too difficult things to do even if you don't have much motivation for the normal activities. These activities are healing and will help you relax and progress in rebuilding your body's functions without the drugs. That's what needs to happen. We all have been on powerful drugs for a long time, and it just takes time to undo the ways in which our brains and bodies were adapted to the drugs. Unfortunately for some it takes more time than for others. Hang in there, go slow, and good luck. 

Found this site for real in 2015. Decided to taper slowly.

** I should mention that anytime I haven't been in a wave, I've felt pretty amazing! I only record the waves to look for patterns : ))**

50 mg Zoloft 6/2015, with intermittent fish oil

6/9/15 alternated 50 mg/37.5 mg - doc's idea (she meant well) 6/17 terrible morning anxiety and rumination, flu symptoms, and prickles in legs. 6/18 up to 45 mg liquid Zoloft. 6/26-29 cortisol mornings and bad anxiety. 6/30 started to take mag 100 mg and fish oil regularly with med 7/4 44 mg. 7/8 42.6 mg. 7/16 40 mg. 7/23 39 mg 8/1 32 mg (bad idea).

8/5 fatigue, anxiety, can't sleep, depressed. 8/7 36 mg resolved to be patient and try to keep to THE THREE KIS's. 8/13-15; 8/17- 23 painful physical and mental wave. Started light therapy 20 m in am. 8/25 34 mg, added 80-100 mg liquid mag during day. great window til 8/29 2 day down stretch 9/8 32.8 mg 9/11-14 wave added acupuncture 9/22 31.5 mg teeny wave 10/6 30 mg small grumpy wave 10/19 28.5, same pattern- small wave at day 5. A few tough weeks. Held around 29 until 11/18 when dropped to 28 mg; 11/22 the usual fluey fatigue. 11/30 27 mg 12/14 25.75ish mg "hold til Xmas club" (in my case New Years) Xmas was tough, kept holding: by 1/15, feeling good again. 1/25/16 Mirena IUD out after nearly six years- I think it was affecting my mood and taper- feeling super great! 2/2 down to 24 mg. symptoms much less severe. One day, not too bad wave on 2/8. 2/15 down to 20 mg from 24. A week later, two restless mornings and one morning of brain fog. 3/2 from 20 to 16 mg! Wish me luck.

 

Medicine History:

Currently tapering from 50mg Zoloft. Ten years of SSRI's including Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft, as well as a stretch with Wellbutrin added to the Zoloft. When I started on Zoloft (4 years ago?) I was on 100 but was able to taper down to 50 via 25 mg increments slowly around 2013. Have used light therapy and fish oil intermittently since around 2013. Have tried unsuccessfully to get off the meds since then in what I know now to be too large a taper (for example, jumped from 25 to 12.5 and that did not work). Motivated to do this slowly because that's the only way it will happen.

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Thank you so much for your supportive reply, Orange Cat. I'm just trying to make it through each day...

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I come read your story to find encouragement in my protracted withdrawal. 28 months and it is exactly as you say...1 step forward and a few back and continue. You give me hope. :)

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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Thanks for coming back and sharing your story! It's encouraging to read! 

1997-1999 Citalopram 20 mg

1999-2014 Sertraline 50 mg

2012 Sertraline very quick taper due to side effects. Switched to Wellbutrin 150 mg-300 mg. Reinstated Sertraline 25 mg-50 mg.

2013 Exhaustion. Wellbutrin 150 mg. Sertraline 75 mg-100 mg.

Sept 2014 Found this site. Started tapering. Sertraline 87,5 mg + Wellbutrin 150 mg 

Aug 2015 No more Wellbutrin!! Sertraline 50 mg

2016 Sertraline 35 mg (January) - 33 mg (March 21st) - 32,5 mg (July 11) - 32 mg (July 27)

2017 March 28,2 mg and holding

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nadia, thank you for coming back and sharing with us. I am still tapering bupropion. 11 months in and had to do a small reinstatement 36 days ago. I think I am coming along and stabilizing but it is hard. The waves are hard. It is so encouraging to here your story as I had followed it some before. Nadia, it is so good to hear you say that it gets better with time. I continue to ride the tide of time and I am so hopeful it will really all come back to steady. I am encouraged to hear you say it does!!!'

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