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jbee Nine Years of SSRIs, from middle school


jbee

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I've lurked here for a while but have been encouraged to create an introductory topic. My hope is that I will be able to create a written history of my progress and one day encourage others with it.

 

I belong to a severely understudied cohort, as I took SSRI's during my prime developmental years (middle school through early college). In 2003 I was diagnosed with OCD/GAD and placed on Zoloft. Between then and 2012 I also took Prozac/Buspar, Lexapro, Viibryd and Effexor (the final two for a very short period of time at the end). The side effects caused by the Viibryd and Effexor set me over the edge and I quit CT in the spring of 2012.

 

I suffered from the typical withdrawal symptoms for a few months: brain zaps, hot flashes, fatigue, etc, all of which went away with time. Unfortunately, my GAD came back worse than ever and I have been suffering from daily anxiety and the occasional panic attack ever since (interestingly enough my OCD disappeared altogether). For years I have been planning to tackle these issues through a combination of diet/exercise/sleep/meditation but, as anyone with a mental health issue will tell you, have felt like I am banging my head against a proverbial brick wall.

 

Beyond a doubt, the most unfortunate effects that my years of SSRI use have left me with are a messy libido and confused sense of sexuality. Although my memory is fuzzy I don't recall feeling the same as others throughout middle and high school when it came to relationships and sex. I did masturbate regularly during this time but it was generally to a specific fetish and rarely involved sex/porn. I never had a baseline libido to look back on so I'll never be sure how mine compared to that of my peers. All told though, by the time I went off medication I hadn't been in a relationship or had sex (heck, I hadn't really even been intimate with anyone).

 

Since 2012 my libido has been spotty at best (bad times being more common than good). I do sense that there is some level of correlation between my anxiety levels and sex drive but I have been stressed out for so long at this point that it is hard for me to be sure. Even during windows of slightly higher libido, though, I've found that my total lack of experience leaves me more confused than anything. I do identify as heterosexual and have been on a few dates/fooled around a little but my anxiety always kicks in and I am not able to pursue anything further. Overall, I can't really picture myself in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex and constantly question whether or not I fall somewhere on the asexual and/or aromantic scales.

 

I have friends who have never been on medication and deal with decreased libido/relationship issues due to anxiety/depression. I also have friends who suffer from the same problems yet have raging sex drives. To make matters more complicated, I have a sibling who was on various SSRI's from elementary to high school and suffers from little to no issues with sexuality and libido (at least to my knowledge). So, I'm not really sure if my problem stems purely from PSSD, continuing mental health issues or a combination of both.

 

I have had my hormone levels checked and while on the lower end of the spectrum they were perfectly acceptable. As far as physical symptoms are concerned, I haven't had consistent morning wood in years. During down periods I rarely masturbate and am only able to obtain an erection through vigorous stimulation. Thoughts of sexual topics almost give me an "icky" feeling. In good times I am able to obtain decent erections and orgasms are pleasurable but even then I am usually turning myself on by viewing a specific fetish rather than true sex acts. Numbness has never really been much of an issue for me although it crops up a little when I am feeling fairly stressed/depressed.

 

As of now my plan is to:

 

1) Remove stressors in my life and begin tackling my anxiety disorder

2) Read the book "Coming of Age on Zoloft"

3) Find a sex therapist in my area to discuss some of these issues

 

I am trying to remain hopeful while reminding myself that I have been given many good things in life. I have a great family and many supportive friends. I am also encouraged by recent research into the plasticity of the brain. I have heard a few anecdotal reports from individuals that suffered from PSSD for years but were able to "jump-start" the improvement process by making massive lifestyle changes. Perhaps that is the route that will work for me. I'll keep everyone updated as best as possible.

2003-2012:

Zoloft -> Prozac/Buspar -> Lexapro -> Viibryd -> Effexor

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  • Administrator

Thank you, jbee.

 

Your plan seems a very good one to me. Perhaps you can work with a therapist who will guide you in gradually becoming accustomed to socializing with women and being comfortable getting close to those to whom you are attracted.

 

Are you experiencing any other symptoms related to withdrawal from psychiatric drugs?

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

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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Thank you, jbee.

 

Your plan seems a very good one to me. Perhaps you can work with a therapist who will guide you in gradually becoming accustomed to socializing with women and being comfortable getting close to those to whom you are attracted.

 

Are you experiencing any other symptoms related to withdrawal from psychiatric drugs?

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

Hi Altostrata, thanks for the reply. I think it would be nice to find a therapist that can help me with the things you mentioned. It would be a huge step for me as far as relationships are concerned.

 

Most of my withdrawal symptoms went away within a few months although that time period was very, very tough on my system. I believe I remember feeling brain zaps and hot flashes through the end of that summer but not after that. The toughest thing for me has been determining whether or not the ongoing symptoms that I have attributed to GAD have anything to do with the SSRI's I took. My hunch is that they do not as I was suffering from an anxiety disorder for years before I ever went on medication and had similar symptoms. That being said I am not 100% certain.

 

Thanks for the supplement recommendations. Have you heard of either helping with PSSD? I should have mentioned that the only things I take with regularity are fiber and vitamin D.

2003-2012:

Zoloft -> Prozac/Buspar -> Lexapro -> Viibryd -> Effexor

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  • 1 month later...
  • Moderator

Hey Jbee - I have found great comfort in the AVEN forum - Asexuality. 

 

Basically, they believe that sexuality comes in all forms.  Some people are more sexual than others, and respect where you are and what you like and is pleasurable to you.

 

What astonishes me about the AVEN people is how clear they are about communicating their needs, desires - and the myriads of ways they have of expressing their feelings which may or may not involve sex.  It's about being more flexible with sex, less "conformist", more open to new ideas about intimacy.

 

http://www.asexuality.org/home/

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • 8 months later...

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