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Greetings all,
 
I'm happy to have stumbled across this website.  There's a lot of true knowledge here.  To be honest lots of the information on here is really hard for me to hear ... I'd like to think that getting off meds might entail a few rough weeks or even months ... but from my own recent experience (and reading through some of the forums here) I can tell that it's going to be a much longer road to true health.
 
13 years ago I started graduate school and within a few months of arrival was started on an SSRI for anxiety and depressive symptoms.  At first I was ecstatic!  I thought the drugs were the solution to my emotional pain, introversion, loneliness, and lack of belonging.  I have to say they did allow me to be more functional.  I was able to complete graduate school and work at a very demanding/stressful job for a few years, and a lot of that might not have been possible without the SSRI.  But of course, the dark-side of the meds caught-up with me.  In retrospect I wish I'd never started an SSRI.  What it allowed me to achieve was not worth what it cost me.  
 
On an SSRI I gained weight, experienced sexual side effects, and developed digestive issues (constipation, SIBO).  But actually the worst effects of all have been on my personality and personal relationships.  Instead of allowing me to flourish personally, these drugs only worsened my isolation and loneliness.  For the 12 years that I took an SSRI I was not my authentic self.  I was restless, agitated, disconnected from myself and my feelings, could not feel empathy, could not experience love.  I was better at superficial interactions with others but true connections became so much harder to make.  I distanced myself from my parents and old friends.  I became a lonely zombie.
 
On the bright side, I'm on the slow painful road back to my authentic self.  In the last few weeks there've been glimpses of hope.  I've had moments of clarity.  There've been some moments of empathy and closeness with my parents and with old friends who I've been trying to reconnect with.  It's amazing to me that these aspects of my personality are still buried deep inside me!  I haven't lost them completely.
 
I'm here looking for support.  I really identify with the windows/waves model of post-acute withdrawal symptoms.  It's so hard to accept how fragile I am right now.  Push myself too hard exercising ... and I'm in bed for 36 hours feeling hopeless and beyond exhausted.  Indulge too much in food or alcohol and I spiral into despair for a week's time.  I'm just trying to take one day at-a-time.  I'm not working right now and I'm staying in my parents spare bedroom as I try to put my life back together.
 
Thanks for listening ....

Edited by scallywag
tags added

Rx history:

- Zoloft 100mg 2003-2006 (started for anxiety and depressive symptoms when I got to graduate school)
- Lexapro 20mg to 30mg 2007-2015
- Wellbutrin 450mg 2013-2015

- From 2007-2015 there were probably 3-4 attempts at quitting meds (either CT or tapering) which always resulted in my "depression/anxiety" returning and reinstatement of medication.
- Slow tapered off SSRI and Wellbutrin over a 6 month period (OFF since 11/2015)
- In 3/2016 I went on Cymbalta for 3 weeks

- currently doing a course of TMS therapy to help with "depression" (but I suspect I'm actually suffering from AD withdrawal)

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Hello Graceless and welcome!  A moderator will be by shortly with some great info. for you.  I am sorry you have experienced the horror of psych med withdrawal but you are on a path to healing now so you are headed in the right direction.

 

I see in your signature that you are trying tms...this has been suggested for me to help with my underlying anxiety disorder....can you elaborate on your experience so far...good and bad with regards to this type of treatment?

1995 - 2015 antidepressants and antianxiety medicine
Multiple failed attempts to quit/taper anti d/anti anxiety meds since 2008

June 17, 2016 began prozac bridge to get off of effexor xr, stopped effexor xr on June 24, 2016, could not tolerate prozac due to severe side effects so I had to stop it  Currently...300 mg ER of lithium, 1 mg of estradiol, 60 mg propranolol ER, Fish oil 2 x a day, Magnesium Glycinate,  zinc, vitamin c, vitamin d, NAC

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Graceless -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I'm glad you've found us. Thanks for posting your signature!
 
Recovery from a fast taper can take "it" out of you -- 20 mg Lexapro to 0 in six months while reducing Wellbutrin from 450 mg to 0 is a fast taper in our books!We recommend tapering one medication at a time and then by a maximum of 10% per month.
 
Here are a couple of topics that might help you understand what is going on with your CNS:
"Brain remodeling" during withdrawal and recovery
One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

It sounds as if you've discovered our thread about The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization. You may want to know that some people experience a stronger wave than they've had for a while around 12 months after their last dose.

 

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. Please continue to post and let us know how you're doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi graceless and welcome to SA,

 

You are right that there is a lot of excellent information on this site.  There is also a lot of support.

 

With regards to TMS you might find this topic helpful/interesting:  tms-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation  Another member has recounted their experience:  Posts #10 & 14 & 16

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.328 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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Thank you downtongirl.  Today I had my 21st TMS treatment (my insurance - Anthem - is paying for a total of 36 treatments) ... so I'm a little over halfway there.  I won't dwell on the details of TMS here ... but suffice it to say I definitely think the TMS is helping me.  I know you're particularly concerned with anxiety, while I'm having the TMS done specifically for depression.  However, I'll mention that after the first week or two of treatment I unexpectedly noticed a definite decrease in my social anxiety.  In situations such as at the dogpark with my chihuahua, or on line at the grocery store, or meeting new people in other settings, I distinctly have felt more comfortable interacting with strangers.  That's been a really nice unexpected perk.  So, I'd definitely say the TMS is worth a try, especially if you can get insurance coverage (out-of-pocket a course of TMS can be about 10K!).

 

Good luck to you!

Rx history:

- Zoloft 100mg 2003-2006 (started for anxiety and depressive symptoms when I got to graduate school)
- Lexapro 20mg to 30mg 2007-2015
- Wellbutrin 450mg 2013-2015

- From 2007-2015 there were probably 3-4 attempts at quitting meds (either CT or tapering) which always resulted in my "depression/anxiety" returning and reinstatement of medication.
- Slow tapered off SSRI and Wellbutrin over a 6 month period (OFF since 11/2015)
- In 3/2016 I went on Cymbalta for 3 weeks

- currently doing a course of TMS therapy to help with "depression" (but I suspect I'm actually suffering from AD withdrawal)

Link to post

Thank you scallywag and ChessieCat for the messages and additional links ...

 

I'm meeting with my psychiatrist tomorrow (the one giving me TMS) and we'll try to formulate a plan for after the TMS treatment has completed.  I suspect he might recommend going back on a low-dose of SSRI.  I'm going to broach the subject of post-acute AD withdrawal with him and see what he thinks.

 

For someone in my position, being pretty-much 10 months out from daily SSRI (although I did take an SNRI for 3 weeks in March of this year), because I did a fast taper and I'm still having labile energy level and mood, would there be any recommendation to reinstate a low-dose of SSRI and taper more slowly this time?  If anyone can point me to some good info about reinstatement on here that would be really helpful ...

 

thank you!

Rx history:

- Zoloft 100mg 2003-2006 (started for anxiety and depressive symptoms when I got to graduate school)
- Lexapro 20mg to 30mg 2007-2015
- Wellbutrin 450mg 2013-2015

- From 2007-2015 there were probably 3-4 attempts at quitting meds (either CT or tapering) which always resulted in my "depression/anxiety" returning and reinstatement of medication.
- Slow tapered off SSRI and Wellbutrin over a 6 month period (OFF since 11/2015)
- In 3/2016 I went on Cymbalta for 3 weeks

- currently doing a course of TMS therapy to help with "depression" (but I suspect I'm actually suffering from AD withdrawal)

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi graceless,

 

You might find it helpful to read these before seeing you psych:

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

 

Here are some links to check out, including the reinstatement link:

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

This topic has links in Post #1 to most of the ADs and how to get low doses. Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.328 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.328 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Hi Graceless......Just wanted to stop by and say welcome to SA....Sounds like you are well on the road to recovery and have lots of good information

via the links provided. I had no understanding of WD when I tapered Effexor far too quickly. I wish I had come across this site earlier.

 

Very Best Wishes for continued Healing.

 

Bruin

Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.

 

Link to post

Hi G.   Welcome from me too.You are about where I was when I arrived here. I was about 9 months out from a cold turkey and questioned whether to reinstate or not.  It was a dilemma then for me as it is for you now.

 

Most of the advice I got was that it was a gamble that far out, which it is but that ultimately it was my decision as no one can foresee the effects. If you have read the reinstatement link you will already know that it is best done sooner than later, and that after about  2-3 months becomes less likely to be effective. I decided to " tough " it out and decided not to try reinstating.  I was scared of the consequences. 

 

Having said that, if I had it to do over, I would try a small reinstatement of 1 or 2 mg. If that had negative effects, I would stop. I believe now that it might have helped smooth the rough edges of withdrawal a little and made life less debilitating during this time. 

 

Your doctor will probably want to put you on the minimum effective dose , which is a lot higher than we recommend. Many have had success with reinstating  just a few mg's , that has helped soften their symptoms quite a bit.

 

I'm 2yrs off and seeing improvement but it's been quite a ride and one that I wouldn't necessarily wish on anyone else. It is unpredictable and no one can say how it will go.

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
.
         

Link to post

Thank you Bruin!  

Best of luck getting-off the Remeron ... and congratulations for getting-off the Effexor.  I understand that Effexor WD can be severe so kudos to you for remaining off it for the past 1.5 years!

 

Continued strength on your journey ...

Rx history:

- Zoloft 100mg 2003-2006 (started for anxiety and depressive symptoms when I got to graduate school)
- Lexapro 20mg to 30mg 2007-2015
- Wellbutrin 450mg 2013-2015

- From 2007-2015 there were probably 3-4 attempts at quitting meds (either CT or tapering) which always resulted in my "depression/anxiety" returning and reinstatement of medication.
- Slow tapered off SSRI and Wellbutrin over a 6 month period (OFF since 11/2015)
- In 3/2016 I went on Cymbalta for 3 weeks

- currently doing a course of TMS therapy to help with "depression" (but I suspect I'm actually suffering from AD withdrawal)

Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

GL,

Hello to you and welcome! You are in the right place for sure.

 

I have a long haired Chihuahua named Squishy, who helps me a lot. He was a rescue, but not from a pound. He had a bad breeder, then a neglectful owner, and I rescued him at 10 months old- he had never bonded to a person. He is 2 now, and makes me smile. He is Blue Merle in color, but does not have blue eyes (a good thing I hear, as they can have some congenital issues, I guess).

 

What is the name of your little guy (or gal)? GREAT pic!!

 

How did the appt with your psychiatrist go? Any news on the meds?

S

Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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