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SeasideDiva Is It Always Best To Quit ADs?


SeasideDiva

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I've been reading some of these posts and I'm amazed at the resilience and bravery of so many of you!  

 

I am just wondering if it is always better to try to go off of and stay off ADs. I've been off for 7 months and while I haven't had as rough a time as some of you, I've gone through the physical zaps, dizziness, gastro stuff, and other weirdness.

 

I've been very depressed on and off, sometimes in the same hour, and have felt more hopeless than I can remember feeling while taking the meds. I've searched the internet (as time and mood will allow) and haven't really found an answer. I get that they change one's brain (sometimes a good thing?)

 

But is the so-called "cure" of withdrawal a better place to be? When we withdraw successfully, will we feel better? If it is a chemical thing, or some other physical/mental cause, are there no medications "safe" to take?

 

I was on them for over 20 years. I've been on just about every SSRI: Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Citalopram, and Sertraline. I seem to tolerate a lower dose before noticing side effects ie 20 mg Lexapro for instance. Last I was on was Sertraline 100mg. I remember going in to the pharm in my early 40's for my very first prescription of Prozac and thinking what if I have suffered all these years and all I needed was a pill to feel better??? It brought tears to my eyes.

 

I was getting the script for depression and anxiety, specifically social anxiety that was very crippling. I hid all this quite well from others, and only a few very close eventually knew of (some) of my issues. I also had some horrific childhood experiences, chronic self-esteem issues, etc etc. Nothing has ever remedied the social anxiety.

 

The meds only seemed to keep the depression at a tolerable level and perhaps lessen the generalized anxiety. If I had to get through a job interview etc., I'd have a glass or two of wine, or try to "tough it out" sometimes with disastrous results due to panic attacks.

 

Xanax and other such drugs made me feel totally bizarre, self-conscious and unable to function, and took forever to revive from. I was also chronically fatigued already, and those drugs made me worse. I remember the pharmacist explaining that Prozac was quite a "benign" drug and it was no big deal, or something to that effect.

 

I have always just thought of the drugs as being "no big deal" and never knew they could be toxic! No health professional has ever eluded to that fact. I am truly just learning all of this now that I have been digging into what was going on while I tried to withdraw. And in fairness, I'm not sure I would have responded to anyone telling me the drug was "bad for me". Being half crazy with anxiety and depression was certainly bad for me too! So I go back and forth: Determined to stay off of the evil pharmaca, and wondering what the point is if I felt tolerable on them. 

 

What about all the OCD people? Bi-polar? People on the brink of suicide? Do we all have to just tough it out?  I'm just wondering which way to go to have a halfway decent life and I'm totally confused. I have always taken some supplements for health, and try to exercise as much as possible. I eat a pretty decent diet though I love my carbs and sweets as well (moderation!) I drink wine most every evening as I love the taste and the relaxing effect. I've always loved to sing and discovered Karaoke a couple of years ago...(can only do it with some social lubricant, of course) and I'm trying to go tonight after a few months of being unable to muster up the nerve.

 

I'm 64, divorced 2 years ago after almost 20 years together, and my only daughter and I had a big blowout 8 months ago and haven't spoken since (her choice). My point is other than a couple of friends who don't really get it anyway, my support group is limited. I have had major spine surgery and can only walk any distances comfortably with a cane or other form of support. I think I'm pretty psychologically savvy and do a lot of pep talking/negative thought intervention throughout the day and try to avoid "triggers". I read self-help, positive affirmation type books. Sorry this is so long, but I'm just trying to let you know where I'm coming from so the response will perhaps be more appropriate to my situation.  

 

I hope we all can just find a place of peace.

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  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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Welcome, SeasideDiva.

 

How did you go off sertraline? What is your current symptom pattern?

 

Each person has to decide whether going off the drugs is worth the risk of withdrawal syndrome. As you have discovered, while the drugs may have dulled some of your troubles, they brought their own -- including withdrawal syndrome. They always were a mixed bag, they never were miracle drugs, but doctors didn't know that and to a large extent, still don't know the detriments of the drugs.

 

We provide information about going off drugs for those who choose to do so. Many people stay on the drugs for many years because they are convinced that, despite the drawbacks, they cannot live without the drugs. So your question really does not have an answer.

 

Back to you -- now you are off sertraline, how are your withdrawal symptoms?

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

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  • **I'm trying to add this signature to my post, but not sure the correct way to do that.**

Think my signature covers what you wanted to know about my weaning, Alto.

My symptoms are different day to day, but mostly just depression and feeling hopeless, even though I know most things are in fact not hopeless.  I thought I might be catching some sort of virus the last couple of days, spaci-headedness (coining new words left and right!) or is it withdrawal? I also know that what I've been through the last few years/months could be heightening my depression.  But I've had good and bad days while on ADs sometimes too, so that ads to the confusion. I  told myself that I'd try to give withdrawal a year, and if I still feel what I believe to be worse at that time, I will go back on a low as possible maintenance dose of SSRI. I know many of these problems with ADs are multi-faceted and have a crazy amount of variables. I just noticed that a lot of posters I've read about seem to be going off ADs because of problems while taking them and feeling worse for it. My only obvious problem was the loss of libido, which might well have been exacerbated by menopause. The lessening of "sad" emotions  was a benefit as far as I was concerned. So reading the book I mentioned in my signature was the catalyst and the first time I read a professional in the business (and a woman) saying how no one knows what these over-prescribed drugs are doing to us long term, etc. Guess I tend to grab at whatever straws are available and seem to make sense at the time.

 

Things I have found helpful for me:

 

I've taken generic Benedryl for years for sleep at night. Discovered while going thru early WD that also taken during the day helped alleviate some physical symptoms (think I saw this helping someone else on another website).

I have already taken supplements for years; fish oil, magnesium, etc. and believe they help.

Excercise and getting OUTSIDE near nature--even if it's just my own balcony or garden. 

Quickly squelching any negative thinking. I just got a library card for the first time in 50+ years and brought home some positive psycho-babble for diversion. 

 

I am trying not to isolate myself, even though that is where I am most comfortable. I am going out with a friend tonight for the first time in months. We'll see how that goes. I have few close friends nearby, non of whom know the scope of my issues or even that I have any!  It's just less exhausting and scary staying home. 

I'll finish by saying I think you and the other moderators are friggin saints! Going through your own issues and trying to help strangers with theirs. Thanks so much for providing a safe place to look for answers and get encouragement. 

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64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health(??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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Carson City Nv USA

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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Please see these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature

 

Emotional anesthesia is a very common side effect of these drugs -- you might say that is how they work -- and it can last far beyond going off them. You'd been on them for 20 years, that's a lot of nervous system remodeling that has to unwind.

 

You may not have the option of going on a "maintenance dose" or any dose of antidepressants again. From what we see here, going off quickly, as you did, often leaves the nervous system hypersensitive to psychiatric drugs and other drugs, too.

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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Dear SeasideDiva,

 

I am 68 and the title of your thread has really caught my eyes as I have many of your fears and doubts especially as my withdrawal is a very difficult one.  I will try to find and read the book which was the catalyst of your wanting to get rid of the drug, maybe I would be able to find out more about the long-term effects of these psychiatric drugs and understand that if I hadn't stopped (even now, at my age) it would have been very risky for my health.

 

I wish you a very quick recovery,

 

O

- on Paxil for more than 20 years, usual dosage 20 mg, in times of crises 40 or 60 mg (once even 80 for a few months!)

 - 9 November 2015 - quit Paxil practically cold turkey (3 weeks tapering)

- 20 Feb 2016 - after 3.5 months on zero drug reinstated 14 mg paxil because of entering unbearable protracted wd

- reinstatement brought no relief, only worse, terrible akhatisia crises, sleep lost completely till I finally understood that my brain could no longer accept the slightest dose of paxil, so tapering after reinstatement became impossible

6 May - 1 October 2016 - in psychiatric clinic in France where I was given: Quitaxon (doxepine),  a tricyclic  - 50 mg - 6 weeks, no improvement, very bad side effects; doctor tried paxil again at only 5 mg and I became suicidal

- then Lexapro, 15 June - end August, very gradual increasing to 15 mg - zomboid only, released from clinic and had to be reatmitted after only a few days. remeron tried too, rejected violently by the body

- 1 sept 2015 - back in clinic changed directly  for Effexor over 4 weeks rising from 37.5 to 187.5 mgs at discharge on 2nd October; 12 October 2015 - decided tapering effexor as it only made me very sick, every 3 weeks dropped 37.5 mg

- 26 Dec - zero effexor, tried prozac and then clomipramine bridge, both rejected

 

 

 

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This is just my opinion, but at least for me, withdrawing from drugs is only a small part of the battle. Then you have to actively heal from the original problem and whatever ancillary damage has taken place from the drugs, the withdrawal process, and the original problem extending. I think it is possible, but not everyone would want to do it. I think a lot of symptoms we see here are not actually caused by withdrawal but are from other categories of problems. But the brain zaps, etc are definitely withdrawal, and I think there is just a loss of resiliency from the drugging and the coming off that may always have to be managed. I don't believe that withdrawing from drugs "cures" anything but drug adverse effects.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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"You may not have the option of going on a "maintenance dose" or any dose of antidepressants again. From what we see here, going off quickly, as you did, often leaves the nervous system hypersensitive to psychiatric drugs and other drugs, too."


 

Wow, Altostrata.

 

Those words caused me to *blink* *blink* at my computer. I always thought "well, if it gets too bad, I can always go back on them." I've been reading so many stories on here now and realizing that that is not the case. Feeling like I missed my window of opportunity and now my only choice is to keep going on the withdrawal road. Makes me a bit angry in our "just do it" society that we're encouraged to tough things out and quit whining. I feel like I want to warn the world about quitting ADs incorrectly or AT ALL! I think every medical professional who has the power to prescribe such life-changing, powerful drugs should be required to first have a long talk with the patient about what can happen if one decides to quit the drug, and to strongly suggest referring to this and other testimonial sites for serious consideration. I realize that back in the day (and even today to a lesser degree) No one really even knew what these drugs were capable of, but it boggles my mind reading some of your stories that reveal how even psychiatrists, therapists, etc. don't have a clue as to how to help with these issues other than playing mad scientist and adding/changing from drug to drug to drug. I'm very grateful I have always suspected the pharmacist's "benign" evaluation of my first prescription of Prozac wasn't entirely true, and that I've never been comfortable with the thought of adding more psyche drugs to the mix. I'm also grateful that I am now on disability retirement so I don't have to try to negotiate the stress of work to the withdrawal process as many of you do. 

 

**Meimeiquest**

 

"This is just my opinion, but at least for me, withdrawing from drugs is only a small part of the battle. Then you have to actively heal from the original problem and whatever ancillary damage has taken place from the drugs, the withdrawal process, and the original problem extending." 

 

Yes, indeedy. I started the drugs to hopefully "heal from the original problem(S)".  Guess that's the ol' rock and the hard place eh? While the drugs did seem to make some more tolerable, others never relented, and I'll just have to deal with things as they come and try to employ whatever non-drug means I can to endure my own personal hell. 

 

**Odwina**

I loved reading your post and glad someone else could relate to where I was coming from both from an "is it really worth it?" standpoint, to also dealing with old(er) age. The book is a doctor's observations about these drugs and so many other challenges women face, but I doubt she is sure of what the long term effects are either. This site tells us what real people are going through, and I came to it to find encouragement and to see if the symptoms I have are "normal". I was also hoping to find the answer to my own question, and as Altostrata stated: 

 

 "We provide information about going off drugs for those who choose to do so. Many people stay on the drugs for many years because they are convinced that, despite the drawbacks, they cannot live without the drugs. So your question really does not have an answer."

 

Not really what I wanted to hear, but now at least I know which path I have to take since I have apparently waited too long to successfully re-instate.  I can refer to this site and it's members for suggestions and insight. It's seems as though you and I were on these drugs for about the same amount of time and you have found some relief in acupuncture. I have always been intrigued by the concept and have some acquaintances who have used it for other ailments and have found some benefit. Another resource I can look into if my insurance will cover it.

 

I wish you all my heartfelt thanks for your responses, and may we all find the strength to overcome whatever comes next.

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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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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Thanks Altostrata.


I've taken fish oil and magnesium for years, but just upped my fish oil yesterday from one in the am to both one in the am and one in the pm as a result of the positive commentary and helpful references on this site :)

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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  • 2 months later...

I feel so humbled by some of the stories here.

 

I'm 64 years old and took 20+ years of SSRIs, the last of which I took 10 months ago today after a TWO WEEK WEAN from 100 mg Sertraline to 50 to 25.  I only found out what a bad idea that was when the withdrawal became a bit scary and I started searching to see if others had experienced any of the same things, and I found this site for which I am eternally grateful, and as I said, sadly humbled.  I feel relatively unscathed considering all of you who struggle with so much more.

 

My most debilitating symptom so far is the frequent depression which has tears forming right behind my eyes most days for no apparent reason and for many reasons, and many days I wear it like a too big, heavy and soaking wet wool winter coat. I will ride my bicycle down the street and feel a disconnect with everything around me. Like I can't quite break through the diabolical bubble that encircles me and keeps me separate from the life all around. Then the tears burn and sometimes I give in a bit, and other times I try to re-focus on nature, the road whatever will distract me. My heart feels like it's on a short tether and bobs around heavy in my chest.

 

I am reading like never before. Many self-help books and tips on relaxation, etc. Just picked up "Reasons To Stay Alive" by Matt Haig at the library, and I highly recommend it. It's his story about his "triumph" over depression and anxiety and just came out this year. Inspiring. We need some hope! 

 

I originally went on the meds in the first place due to depression and anxiety, both generalized and social phobia. Of course (as in my intro) the pharm guy said the pills were pretty benign and sent me happily on my way.

 

I tried to go off at one point and took a bunch of supplements as recommended by some book or another at the time. My face broke out in a rash, and I went back on. Switched around through the years and tried just about everything at various doses. Found out there were too many side effects on higher doses, so settled in at a lower dose. At the time I was working and the "situational" social phobia became more and more problematic.

 

I couldn't sit through a job interview, review, etc. without having a panic attack unless I had a couple glasses of wine beforehand (of course I didn't drink at work, so I tried to hide the symptoms when I couldn't escape outright.) I tried various prescriptions of Xanax, both regular and time- released, Valium, and maybe some others I don't recall now, but they all made me feel very looped, strange, fatigued and paranoid that everyone could see I was feeling out of it. And then it was hours before I could feel any semblance  of normalcy afterward. I don't understand how people function on them at all.

 

Alcohol was my drug of choice, and still is. I did 4 weeks off of alcohol recently, trying to "re-set" my relationship with it whatever the hell that means. I forced myself to go out to my beloved Karaoke (singing is a passion of mine) without my usual "net". It was unpleasant to say the least. Not sure how I did it being so self-conscious and everything seemed so harsh and threatening. A former relative joy became another chore, and I didn't even want to go anymore. I am now limiting my drinking to mostly social situations, and occasionally at home in the evening. I love my wine. Love the taste and the relaxing effect. Love that I can have a beer or wine and feel semi-normal in public. 

 

I was divorced about 2 years ago after almost 17 years of marriage and 20 together, and though amicable, it was traumatic at my age (or any age) and I believe the anti-depressants dulled the impact of it all, as I feel so alone now and wonder what made me think that was a good idea. My marriage wasn't perfect, but in hindsight, it looks a lot better than this. I miss my husband's emotional support desperately. He is now in a happy relationship, and he deserves it.

 

My only daughter and I had a huge blow up shortly after I weaned off the meds. She had weaned off the meds too, but only took them for a year or two through some rough patches, and seems no worse for the wear, except for the hating me part, of course. I was a teen-aged Mom escaping a traumatic childhood, and made a ton of mistakes. Though she claims she doesn't dwell on the past, she brought up slights through the years that I never knew she even thought about.

 

Months after our blow-up (she told me she never wanted to speak to me again) I emailed trying to make some sort of peace, and told her about this site hoping she might get some insights into what might have contributed to our situation (and help her if she was struggling) besides the lack of sleep and wine when it happened. She ripped into me something fierce, and after a day of crying and trying to survive/remove myself from the effects of it, I wrote back and carefully tried to apologize and hoped someday she would forgive me. We had both said horrible things to each other, but she felt hers were justified while mine of course were beyond the limits of all things decent and acceptable. 

 

I last email she sent told me how well she is doing in her life. How she quit alcohol (again) what excelling at her job, and how she didn't care if people were family or not. She won't be the victim of the flying shrapnel of anyone else's self-destructive life. I ended by saying I was happy for her. that was April 15th. Mother's Day came and I expected nothing, and got what I expected. Even an email saying "hope you have a nice day" would have given me a shred of hope. 

 

Anyway, this is horribly long and drawn out. I know there are others here who feel they have no support in this. How much it hurts to have those closest to us suddenly develop amnesia about all the good and kind things we are, and focus solely on our weaknesses. I stood by my daughter through many of her darkest days, dropping what I was doing to be there for her always. It especially hurts because she too, has experienced depression and anxiety, but can't be compassionate/empathetic about what I have gone through my entire life. 

 

I have had to keep reading/breathing/scratching/clawing try being philosophical about it all. Others will never know/be able to feel our personal pain. 

 

I would never take my own life (not yet, anyway) as I know it would deeply affect so many I would leave behind. I wouldn't want my own daughter to have to live with that, as much as she might think she could. My grown grandkids. My few good friends who have no real idea how bad it gets for me sometime. I have wished I would just die of something or another to end the pain. I read that once. People rarely want to kill themselves, they just want to end the pain. 

 

So here we are. Hiding behind our various aliases from the very world we want so desperately to feel a part of again. 

 

And Zant:

Your struggle is heartbreaking and your resilience nothing short of amazing. You are obviously highly intelligent; the drugs and lack of sleep couldn't take that away from you! I too hope for more advancements in medicine and believe there will be. The medical profession is just starting to show some awareness of these issues with bad medicine, thanks to some champions of the cause. 

Shep:

Your response to Zant brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. It is filled with hope and sound advise and inspired me to write this down and get a bit of the weight off. 

 

I thank you for listening. I thank you for sharing. I see the value and beauty in all of you.

Edited by scallywag
adding a bit more white space

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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PS

 

Forgot to add that I'm also on disability due to a couple of spine surgeries. The first was in to the lower spinal area to correct a lateral scoliosis curve, the second 5 years later to correct the upper spine kyphosis (curving forward) that resulted from the first surgery fusion. I am now fused from the top to just above my sacrum, and have flat back syndrome, aka saggital imbalance not uncommon after fusion surgeries. This causes me to walk leaning forward if I don't have something to lean on. I can't walk any distance comfortably without a cane, shopping cart, etc, and even with a cane it's uncomfortable after awhile or in the afternoon when I've been up all day. This is also a cause of depression, and I would try to get one more surgery to try to correct that if I had the support, and I could afford the patient portion. I plan to revisit my 2 surgeons to get an idea of what the details would be. I haven't seen either one in about 6 years. 

 

THANK GOD I CAN STILL DANCE!! Just need to rest in between...

 

Yes, I am rambling. I'm having a rough day. I'm trying to make sense of this life. All these things I handled before seem so impossible now sometimes. Had I known it would get this bad, I would probably have stayed on the meds, but once I wrote to this site, I had passed the ability to re-instate, according to the staff. I realize the book Moody Bit**** by Julie Holland MD I had read that was the catalyst to stop was written by a doc who wasn't fully aware of the ramifications of withdrawal, and I now remember little of why it had such an impact. Still, in some odd way, I feel that quitting is the right thing and I'm almost glad my hand was "forced" in this way. I'm just not sure why.....

 

Yes. the memory thing and cotton ball brain syndrome I also experience now. I don't know all the technical jargon, but even with pretty decent sleep most nights (6-8 hours) I'm often tired and foggy-headed. almost flu-like sometimes. Invasive or repetetive thoughts. 

I intend to keep trying. Keep reading and self-soothing. Learn acceptance. I have literally hugged myself and told myself I love you, and I am so proud of how hard you try.  Keep singing. Keep hoping. I watch my diet and exercise regularly, and I believe that helps. I do 4-7-8 breathing. Just finished Dr Weil's Spontaneous Happiness. I love riding my recumbent bicycle, since my beloved walking is now so hard to enjoy. I feel semi-normal on my bicycle, and downright happy sometimes. I take all the recommended supplements, and believe they help. I am open to finding love. A true companion. I don't think I'm too broken for that some day. Many people struggle with something, and I think most of us just want to be accepted and loved. I can still be ironic, witty, and funny and often am with friends. I don't try to get anyone outside of this group to understand my issues. They won't. They can't.

 

Okay enough already! I'm going on a bike ride and get me some nature on. I'm following a few topics and will stop by now and then to get outside of myself and be moved by my fellow strugglers. We are not alone!

 

I wish you peace....

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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Welcome Seaside,

 

I just read over your thread and wanted to extend my empathy as you discover the situation you are in.  I reckon we go through something very akin to the stages of grief when we realise what we have been put through and into by the drug companies.  Having said that, be kind to yourself, and give yourself space and time to adjust and to find your way from here.  Allow yourself to sit with the emotions that come up, while keeping in mind that you can shape and plan what your path from here will be like.  There are so many options for making that path a well-supported one, with tools and techniques to make the road a little easier - just browse around this site for starting ideas.

 

And overall, wishing you peace,

Karen

x

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Wow Karen.

 

Just read your signature, and some of your continued healing blog. Turns out we had similar issues as children, mine inspiring the writing of a memoir some years back. It was while I was still on the drugs and it just insisted upon being written over about a year's time. I had to end it somewhat abruptly because it just became too much. Writing has always been very cathartic for me, but can also be exhausting. I get weary of my own emotions some times, and long to just be. 

Your kind words made me cry. But to be totally honest, beer commercials can make me cry these days! Seriously though, I'm just stunned by people like you who will take the time from their own problems to share a kindness with a stranger. Especially when I have been rejected by some of those closest to me. It means everything to me, and I thank you so much. I'm trying every day to be as kind as possible to everyone I encounter. A little of "The Four Agreements" put to practice, and a paying it forward thing from all the good will I find here. It's one of the things that makes life worth living. 

The verybest to you too, dear...

S

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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Hi SeasideDiva,

 

I'd never heard of Matt Haig before so i googled him and found this interview. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/22/my-solution-to-depression-was-never-medical-matt-haig

 

Not the most in-depth article ever on the big D but interesting enough. Perhaps more interesting are the comments below the article. Anyway, thought you might like to read it.

 

I'm about 3 months further on than you in the WD after a similar length of time on the meds. I'm defo a lot better than i was 6 months ago, and probably a bit better than 3 months ago. It's very up and down though, with some symptoms fading away only to be replaced by new ones. I've just developed hot flushes for example, never had them before. Be prepared for the patterns of WD to constantly change, and be prepared to ride them out till they pass...which they will.

 

Like you,  I also struggle with thoughts of going back on the meds (long-standing depressive illness) but for now am prepared to stick it out. I think ultimately it wouldn't be worth the risk of debilitating WD's returning, and the subsequent loss of more months/years from my life.  

 

Anyway, I hope you manage to get some peace of mind through all this and that you can eventually move forward to a place that finds you happy again. You sound like you're doing ok.

 

Best Wishes

Seroxat 30mg (January 1998 > till started taper April 2013 > off completely July 2013) this was about my fourth attempt.

 

Prozac 40mg ( July 2013 - Feb 2014) 

 

Sertraline 75mg (Feb 2014- started taper Feb 2015 - off May 2015)

 

Mirtazapine - 7.5mg for 2 weeks - 3.75mg one week - 2mg one week (December'15 - Jan 16)

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Hi Sertramean (clever)

 

Yes, the commentary below the article was very interesting and ran the gamut, with some testifying about how ADs greatly improved their lives. Always makes me bristle, both with thoughts of  "Was choosing to quit ADs the right thing?" And wanting to scream into the computer "If you decide to wean, please go to survivingantidepressants.org and get some ammo first!!"

 

But as Alto stated earlier in my query "We provide information about going off drugs for those who choose to do so. Many people stay on the drugs for many years because they are convinced that, despite the drawbacks, they cannot live without the drugs. So your question really does not have an answer."

So many of us desperately want concrete answers where there simply are none. It would be much easier if we knew that in X amount of time we would be back to some sort of "neutral" where we could use our newfound knowledge and tools to build a better defense against our on going issues, wouldn't it?

 

And as you said:

 

I'm about 3 months further on than you in the WD after a similar length of time on the meds. I'm defo a lot better than i was 6 months ago, and probably a bit better than 3 months ago. It's very up and down though, with some symptoms fading away only to be replaced by new ones. I've just developed hot flushes for example, never had them before. Be prepared for the patterns of WD to constantly change, and be prepared to ride them out till they pass...which they will.

 

Thank-you. I need to be reminded of this continually. I see the proof of it over and over in other posts, and there is so much frustration in regards to it. I went to bed the other night feeling like I had gained some incredible insight, and it felt like a strange high I hadn't felt since I had been in WD. I thought "This could be it! I may be crossing over into full recovery, and am now tapping into some new positive resource that was never available to me before!"      And then I woke up....

 

I'm with you...for now. The thought of having to go through the worst of WD again isn't worth the sometimes better "neutral"  feel of being on the meds. I'm also hopeful about the "coming out" of all this new info in the medical field, and that there might be some more breakthroughs in the future that can help us all regain some equilibrium.

 

Take good care,

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

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I think much of our healing comes through our connection with others.  And writing is one way of getting those connections.  All of the time I spend on SA is returns to me in the form of connection, support, and in gaining these concrete examples of goodness existing in the world. 

 

Karen

x

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Yes Karen.

 

I was reluctant to come here and continue to participate. I tend to isolate myself and have always had self-worth/esteem issues. I love what you said about "gaining these concrete examples of goodness existing in the world". I need these every day to counter some of the negativity that can creep in when I am at my lowest. There can never be too many positive affirmations.

 

S

  • 64 years old. A/Ds over 20(?) years for depression, anxiety/social anxiety, last of which was Sertraline 100mg. Decided to wean off, the catalyst being the book "Moody *******" Julie Holland MD, hoping to improve my overall health (??) and dead libido (single again and re-entering the dreaded dating world) reduced to 50mg 8-6-15, 25mg 8-13-15, then stopped entirely on 8-21-16. Withdrawals with zaps, digestive issues, dizzy etc for a couple of months a week or two after stopping Now 3-24-16 still quite depressed with occasional irrational anger, and want to stay off, but wonder if it's worth it since I was at least not AS depressed (the social anxiety was never helped by the meds). Is the "cure" worse than continuing SSRIs?

  • Gender

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