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GuillotineDream: Long, Hard Road Out of Hell


GuillotineDream

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I was 15 when this all started.. the drugging that is. My mom had me stay at a psychiatric hospital where they diagnosed me with PTSD and started me up on Depakote. With no noticeable improvements made I was put on Paxil. Still nothing and now I was falling asleep through my classes which I suppose could be classified as my condition getting worse. Back to the doc's office I go. More meds, an increase in dosage, a cocktail of meds.. it all started to become a big blur and I didn't really care any more. That was another thing; I used to like to draw, write, make music as I was teaching myself to play by ear. Create. Now I was doing a whole lot of nothing. Stagnating. 

 

Around 17 or 18 I am now "bipolar"and they put me on Lithium which I must stay on if I want any semblance of a normal life. No improvements. They throw Serequel, Celexa, Risperidol and Effexor in the mix. Still there's more but like I said, "big blur". I remember a brief stint with Welbutrin and something called Buspar. Now I find myself feeling physically ill and not just just mentally. My stomach is upset and I feel like passing out. I see my doc and tell him of my concerns that I'm on too much medication. He looks at me annoyed and tells me I probably have an ulcer from stress and that I shouldn't blame the medication. I leave his office with a new rx for my ulcer.

 

I'm seeing a new doc now who recognizes I've been overdrugged. He wants me off of everything and puts me on Zoloft. Zoloft appears to be working so I end my dead end relationship and move out of state to distance myself and start anew. I'm living on disability and my dad's retirement fund since I was in no shape to work before. I start auditing classes at the community college near by to get a feel for being back in school again since I wasn't able to graduate high school due to a combination of overdrugging and an undiagnosed learning disability. I'm making plans on which direction in life to take next when I get a phone call. Apparently I will not be getting my disability check anymore which means I will be living on $600 a month unless I can find work. Things look grim and I end up having to move back under my mom's roof.

 

To save money I stop taking the Zoloft which appears to not be working anymore. Having not suffered from withdrawals from my previous medications I didn't think it would be a big problem but I quickly realize I made a grave mistake and get back on Zoloft. Refusing to settle for being back at square one I decide I'd rather be homeless back where I was in Oregon rather than stay here.

 

Back in Oregon things are rough but after a year or so things get resolved with my disability check. I feel like a zombie though and find myself sleeping my life away like when I was on the previous medications. I see my peers moving on in life like getting ready to graduate, getting engaged, getting promoted; where as I was standing still. Well more like lying still seeing as I had barely any energy to get out of bed. I begin weaning Zoloft and it seems to be going alright.

 

I meet someone and he falls fast for me. I tell him it's not the wisest decision to get involved and lay all my cards out on the table about my mental illness and how I'm always tired. He tells me I shouldn't hafta do it alone and I realize right then and there that I have been doing all this alone. I've been so alone and so tired.

 

He lights up my life and I wanna be good for him. Things have been going pretty well for close to a year now. I'm writing a book, I go dancing, I'm getting back to drawing again.. He's talking marriage and kids but I tell him I want to make sure I get to a point of stability and where I can take care of myself first. One by one our friends start marrying off and I'm feeling the pressure. Why can't I get my act together and find a career or finish my book? I notice at 26 my energy starts to drop off again. At this point I've been on Zoloft for about 4 years now.. And is this the poop-out people talk about? Having reduced my dosage over the years and now on a supportive supplement regimen prescribed by my naturopath I go off Zoloft.

 

I start experiencing strange brain zap sensations, a feeling of free falling, hypnic jerks, anxiety and panic. I last about a month before I go back on again as I'm afraid this will cost me my relationship.

 

After we come back from his birthday trip he tells me he couldn't enjoy himself because he was worried about me the whole time. He drops me off at my apartment and ends things the next day.

 

Determined to not succumb to debilitating depression where I can't even get out of bed I kept myself busy. I still had a lot of anxiety and was waking up in panic states but I was managing. Kind of. I go back to my hometown for a visit and talk to my old trusted councelor. She's the one who recognized I had a learning disability. I tell her where I'm at in life and about concerns about my medication. She laughs about the "pediatric size dosage" and tells me it can't be doing anything and that I need to increase it. I don't feel good about this especially since I've been on this "pediatric dose" for over a year now and during part of that time it was "doing something" but seeing as how this was situational with the breakup and I didn't wanna rely on the Ativan the doctor prescribed me for the panic attacks, I take her advice. It was bad advice. Terrible. I had the worst panic attack of my life after increasing my dosage. I tried to vomit and nothing would come out. I was howling and hysterical and my grandma was going to call the ambulance. You'd think I would have learned my lesson, but nope I did it again. There was an outburst but this time more contained, still, I knew this wasn't the way to go.

 

When I got back to Oregon I was seeing the doc that prescribed me the Ativan. He was actually one of the better docs and was supportive of me trying alternative methods, but unfortunately pharmaceuticals is what he had to work with. I left with a rx for... I can't recall what it was actually. It was one of the newer drugs.

 

I went to pick up my new rx and refill for Zoloft now Sertraline. There was a problem and they wouldn't be able to get it to me that day. I went back home furious.

 

When I went back to pick up my prescription, I can't really describe what happened while I was standing in line. Something told me not to pick it up. It was a neutral yet powerful voice coming from inside me, but not really a voice. More like I just knew that I was done and I wouldn't be picking up anymore of these prescriptions. I went back home again empty handed.

 

I went through about a week and a half of violent withdrawals. I felt incredible rage and actually grabbed a hammer with the intent to bash myself in the skull with it. What stopped me is I saw blood running down my arm and I became transfixed. It turned out I had cut myself on my ex's incense burner that I smashed into pieces and hadn't realized it. After I came to I ran myself a hot bath with epsom salt and began sobbing, praying I'd make it through. My prayers must have been answered because not long after that I started to feel more stable. More than that I started to feel more clear headed and as if I had been wearing a veil for most of my life without realizing it until it was lifted. Could this be what *gasp* normal feels like..?

 

I was back in my hometown for Christmas falling asleep on my grandma's couch when all of a sudden it felt like what I can only describe as someone trying to vacuum my brain. I wasn't really scared as it didn't hurt and I was quite used to strange phenomena connected to sleep as I did have some kind of sleeping disorder. I just let it happen and eventually fell to sleep.

 

By New Years I knew something was wrong. I was back in fight or flight mode and I felt like I was going crazy. I was thinking I would calm down when I got back to Oregon but no such luck. I started falling into agoraphobia again and not answering any calls. People started to worry. I was worried. I couldn't keep food in me and I was losing weight again that I couldn't afford to lose because I had just gained back what I had lost due to the breakup. I couldn't sleep. I was sure I had some kind of stomach cancer. I called my mom crying and told her if I can't sleep or eat for much longer I'm going to waste away and die.

 

The next month a friend came by and took me back to his place to try to nurse me back to health. His dad was an alternative doctor and my friend himself was studying to become an acupuncturist.  With a combination of chinese herbs, acupuncture treatments, diet and my friend's TLC I started making some improvements, I was still very unwell though and it seemed a new symptom cropped up every other week or so.

 

After basically living at my friend's house for about 4 months I decided to go back to California as I didn't want him wasting his potential on what I thought may have been a lost cause. At this time I still did not know what was happening to me other than that I had adrenal fatigue and was now hypoglycemic. I ended up regretting going back to California but I stayed anyway. I was broken and if I hadn't already lost everything, I'd inadvertently end up pushing it away.

 

I found a name to my mysterious condition after reading an article about antidepressants chronificating depression. Soon after I joined this forum picking a user name inspired by a violent image and impulse I was having that seemed to come out of no where much like the many other symptoms I was dealing with. I didn't stay long because like a chicken with it's head cut off (there's that imagery again) I couldn't stay put and I was, I'm sad to say, planning on ending things. That was back in 2012 so obviously I'm still here.

 

Since then I've learned ways of coping like using EFT and prayer. I've been forced to look at what really matters in life and I've been shown who my real friends and allies are. As much as relationships have been strained and even lost, I've built better foundations with the one's who have stuck around. Back to prayer... Faith is huge and honestly I didn't really get to that point of having faith until late October of last year when after much improvement I experienced a crisis where I thought I may have had a terminal disease. It was a healing crisis actually and it led me to find someone who does nutritional response testing (muscle testing) in my area. I have been responding positively and quickly to my new program and received a physical confirmation very recently that true healing is occurring.

 

Thanks for letting me share my story. I was resistant in the beginning but this was actually really therapeutic.

 

Please friends, don't give up. And don't beat up on yourselves if you do feel like giving up as we all know how that goes. This too shall pass away.

Zoloft nearly killed me.

 

Depakote at 15 for PTSD

Then Lithium for "bipolar disorder". Then Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Serequel, Buspar and Risperidol

And Effexor

At 21 I'm transitioned to Zoloft only

At 26 in late 2010 desperate to no longer just exist I go off my "pediatric dose" of Zoloft which I had previously weaned towards

Shortly after spend the next few years going through WD Hell

2016 Drug free and trying to reclaim my health with the help of my kinesiologist

 

we're not scare mongering. this is really happening.

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  • Administrator

Hi, GuillotineDream. 

 

I have a very similar story as yours - started on meds as a teenager and was drugged into bipolar disorder. I stayed on various cocktails of drugs for 30 years, but I was finally able to come off and I'm slowly healing. You sound very strong and determined, which will serve you well through this journey.  You're going to be okay, just go slowly and learn as many non-drug coping techniques as you can.

 

Here are a couple links to get you started:

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 

A moderator will be along shortly to give you more detailed information about your meds. Just wanted to welcome you to the forum. It can be a really rough ride to get off these drugs, but it's really worth it. You'll find a lot of advice and support here.

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome back GuillotineDream,

Thank you for deciding to share your story, I'm sorry about everything you have been through, but glad writing it all out has helped. My understanding, from what I read is that you are no longer taking any medications. When did you stop taking the Zoloft, it would be helpful, to clarify your timeline if you would add some dates to your signature.

 

How are you feeling now? Do you consider yourself fully recovered from the effects of the drugs and withdrawal?

 

I'm so glad you came back to let us know how you are and to share some of what you have learned, your story will provide hope for many of us.

 

Petunia.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome GD , thank you for such a detailed history. That's quite a journey so far!

 

"Now on Zoloft which works until it doesn't"

What dose of zoloft are you currently taking , how long have you been on it for?

 

Could you please add ALL other drugs you're taking to your signature. The links that Shep provided explain why

we recommend a slow safe taper off.

Have a read of them and come back with any questions you have.

If you click FOLLOW at the top right , you'll receive an email each time someone posts.

 

Best wishes , Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Shep, I'm no longer on any of the drugs. I'm currently working with a kinesiologist to help me reclaim my health. This was more of an update as I wanted to let others' know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but thanks for the welcome and and well wishes. Also I'm glad you've been able to find some healing and are able to retain some positivity throughout!

Zoloft nearly killed me.

 

Depakote at 15 for PTSD

Then Lithium for "bipolar disorder". Then Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Serequel, Buspar and Risperidol

And Effexor

At 21 I'm transitioned to Zoloft only

At 26 in late 2010 desperate to no longer just exist I go off my "pediatric dose" of Zoloft which I had previously weaned towards

Shortly after spend the next few years going through WD Hell

2016 Drug free and trying to reclaim my health with the help of my kinesiologist

 

we're not scare mongering. this is really happening.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Please could you update your signature GD.

 

Thank you

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

Link to comment

Welcome back GuillotineDream,

Thank you for deciding to share your story, I'm sorry about everything you have been through, but glad writing it all out has helped. My understanding, from what I read is that you are no longer taking any medications. When did you stop taking the Zoloft, it would be helpful, to clarify your timeline if you would add some dates to your signature.

 

How are you feeling now? Do you consider yourself fully recovered from the effects of the drugs and withdrawal?

 

I'm so glad you came back to let us know how you are and to share some of what you have learned, your story will provide hope for many of us.

 

Petunia.

Thanks Petunia, and yes I am drug free! I see now that my signature is a little misleading so I'll fix that. I can't recall the dates well, but I'm better at recalling the age range so I'll amend that. I do remember stopping Zoloft around late 2010 though.

 

Not yet fully recovered as I'm still managing a chronic cystitis condition, skin rash, bloating and gut discomfort and lack of motivation along with some mood stuff; but notice I said "managing" and not struggling. Since I see the finish line I wanted to come back and let others know there is one to work towards. 

Zoloft nearly killed me.

 

Depakote at 15 for PTSD

Then Lithium for "bipolar disorder". Then Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Serequel, Buspar and Risperidol

And Effexor

At 21 I'm transitioned to Zoloft only

At 26 in late 2010 desperate to no longer just exist I go off my "pediatric dose" of Zoloft which I had previously weaned towards

Shortly after spend the next few years going through WD Hell

2016 Drug free and trying to reclaim my health with the help of my kinesiologist

 

we're not scare mongering. this is really happening.

Link to comment

Thanks, Fresh. I'm on it!

Zoloft nearly killed me.

 

Depakote at 15 for PTSD

Then Lithium for "bipolar disorder". Then Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Serequel, Buspar and Risperidol

And Effexor

At 21 I'm transitioned to Zoloft only

At 26 in late 2010 desperate to no longer just exist I go off my "pediatric dose" of Zoloft which I had previously weaned towards

Shortly after spend the next few years going through WD Hell

2016 Drug free and trying to reclaim my health with the help of my kinesiologist

 

we're not scare mongering. this is really happening.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Shep, I'm no longer on any of the drugs. I'm currently working with a kinesiologist to help me reclaim my health. This was more of an update as I wanted to let others' know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but thanks for the welcome and and well wishes. Also I'm glad you've been able to find some healing and are able to retain some positivity throughout!

 

This is wonderful news, GD! After all you've been through, I'm so happy to read you were able to come off your meds and are finding your way to that light. 

 

Thanks for sharing your story. You bring a lot of hope. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

Link to comment

 

Shep, I'm no longer on any of the drugs. I'm currently working with a kinesiologist to help me reclaim my health. This was more of an update as I wanted to let others' know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but thanks for the welcome and and well wishes. Also I'm glad you've been able to find some healing and are able to retain some positivity throughout!

 

This is wonderful news, GD! After all you've been through, I'm so happy to read you were able to come off your meds and are finding your way to that light. 

 

Thanks for sharing your story. You bring a lot of hope. 

 

This warms my heart. Thank you, Shep!  : )

Zoloft nearly killed me.

 

Depakote at 15 for PTSD

Then Lithium for "bipolar disorder". Then Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa, Serequel, Buspar and Risperidol

And Effexor

At 21 I'm transitioned to Zoloft only

At 26 in late 2010 desperate to no longer just exist I go off my "pediatric dose" of Zoloft which I had previously weaned towards

Shortly after spend the next few years going through WD Hell

2016 Drug free and trying to reclaim my health with the help of my kinesiologist

 

we're not scare mongering. this is really happening.

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