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erikanne - introduction


erikanne

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In June 2015 I was diagnosed with "major depressive disorder" after being suicidal for years. I was put on Zoloft in July 2015 after being begged by my mother to take an antidepressant. I was against the idea of taking a pill to feel like a normal person from the beginning.... But my mother had been depressed her entire life and had been taking antidepressants for decades, so I figured that if I wanted to get out of the dark hole I was in, I should should listen to her.

 

Nobody ever told me how hard it was to get off SSRIs. I honestly think that's a crime. If I had known I would have never taken them.

 

I started off with 100mg. At every doctor check-up I would tell him that I felt the same low-ness, and he would put me on seemingly random pills to try and fix that, like risperidone (is that even meant to be prescribed to patients with major depression?). Eventually he decided to up my Zoloft prescription to 150mg, and shortly after to 200mg. I wasn't aware that 200mg was a lot of sertraline; again, something nobody bothered to tell me. After that I was doing pretty well.

 

In December 2016 my mom tried to get off of the antidepressants she had been on so long. With days of taking less drugs she was having delusions. She didn't tell anyone in the family about what she was doing so we had no idea why she was being like that. She believed that her estranged brother had died after reading an e-mail backwards, even though we found out he was completely fine after digging out his home phone number. One time she walked around the neighborhood for hours in negative-degree weather and wouldn't let anyone take her home. She finally came home after I talked to her (we were very close). She also did a lot of speaking in tongues during those two months.

 

In February 2016 my mom died of causes related to her SSRI withdrawal. My younger brother found her on the edge of her bed with clothes on like she was getting ready to go somewhere. We were so close; she was like my twin. This started my total hatred for antidepressants. No drug that could give a healthy, middle-aged woman a psychosis and kill her in 2 months should even be legal. I could be with my mom right now if it weren't for those stupid pills. SSRIs caused the worst thing in my life. Definitely my inspiration for getting and staying off of them and for warning others about the damage they do.

 

Last month I began tapering, and a few days ago I took my last dose. I'm so mad that I even got tricked into consuming them in the first place. My symptoms so far are really awful migraines that happen every day. I can't get anything done. I was going to apply for a job and then the migraines started happening. I have to put the job search on hold because I can't even move. I can't imagine what it would have been like if I started tapering during the school semester; I doubt I would have been able to go to school. Overall I feel very grateful that I'm young and have only been on Zoloft for a year. Still, I would love advice for the migraines. I really want to work.

 

One more thing I'd like to just share: changing the way I thought about life "fixed" me more than Zoloft ever did or could. People tell me all the time that they have no idea how I'm a happy, positive person after what I've been through. The solution was realizing that I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. Life is hard, yeah, and it's also really beautiful. Every day I see people better off than me going through I went through a year ago when I wanted to die every day. I wish people would understand that the solution is within their thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading :)

Edited by scallywag
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began tapering June 2016 after one year of zoloft, took last dose July 6, 2016

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savinggrace

Hi Erikanne,

 

There are no words to describe the horror and sadness I feel for you and your family. I am so sorry.

 

I, like your mother, have taken psychiatric drugs for 35 years and don't feel like I will ever get off them. I will die trying but, like your mother, I fear it is too late. I am just so sorry.

 

If you ever feel like sharing how you think about life, which seems to have helped you while getting off the Zoloft and staying off, I would love to hear it. Maybe it would help me get the courage I need to keep tapering.

 

You're right...these drugs should be tightly-controlled substances or not legal. It infuriates me to think what the drugs have done to me, my family, you and your family, the people who post here, and all who suffer silently, unknowingly and/or alone.

 

I hope the migraines start to lessen as you stabilize from your Zoloft withdrawal. I am so sorry.

 

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T )

2016 Tapered 75 mg. trileptal  first year. 6 month hold.  Resumed micro-tapering trileptal 2-10% every few months

January 2020  12.74 valium, 4 mg. remeron.  128 mg. trileptal 11/28/20;

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Erikanne and welcome to SA,

 

My condolences for the loss of your mother, and thank you for sharing your story with us. 

 

I'm really glad you have been able to reduce from such a high dose.  However I'm a little concerned at how fast it happened.  If I'm reading your post right, you tapered from 200mg Zoloft to 0 in a month, after being on it for a year.  That's pretty close to going cold turkey, and explains the migraines you are having.  Could you describe your tapering schedule in more detail?   

 

Things could go two ways from here.  1)  If you are lucky, the migraines will gradually fade as your Central Nervous System stabilises again.  2)  The migraines might get worse, and you might begin to experience a range of other w/d symptoms.  They could take weeks or months to show up (it differs for everybody). 

 

The troublesome thing with SSRIs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain - http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/

 

Withdrawals can last for months or years, depending on the individual and how they either tapered or CT'd.  I say this not to alarm you but only to be sure you've got all the facts before you make a decision. 

 

The options from this point are to either wait and see, or reinstate a partial dose, stabilise, then gradually taper to 0 by no more than 10% of your current dose each month.  This allows your brain time to adjust as you go, and lessens any withdrawal.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/ 

 

You could also start taking Fish oil and Magnesium, which many people find useful during withdrawal.   

 

Symptom Checklist

 

Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. 

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

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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I'm really glad you have been able to reduce from such a high dose.  However I'm a little concerned at how fast it happened.  If I'm reading your post right, you tapered from 200mg Zoloft to 0 in a month, after being on it for a year.  That's pretty close to going cold turkey, and explains the migraines you are having.  Could you describe your tapering schedule in more detail?   

 

Yeah, looking back I underestimated the time this would take. Whoops. Now that my migraines are still awful I'm thinking of reinstating at a small dose.

 

I didn't even know that 200mg was a lot or that a year was a long time to be on an SSRI until I was almost done tapering so by then I had very little pills left.. Again, wish my doctor told me these things. And he's always very busy since he's one of the few psychiatrists in the area so I'll have to wait a month to see him. Cheers.

began tapering June 2016 after one year of zoloft, took last dose July 6, 2016

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm glad you are considering reinstating.  You are well within the window that would make it more likely to succeed.  Can you tell us in your signature the dates and doses that you went through in your taper?  That will give us an indication of what a good reinstatement amount would be.  You can probably get pills from another doctor - it's just a matter of finding one who will prescribe so you can reinstate and taper in a sensible manner.  The longer you leave it, the less certain things get.

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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