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Christiansp, med free 7months


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Hi all! my name is Christian and I'm a new member to this website however, I have been reading the website for the last couple of months and would just like to give you guys an insight into my experience.


When I was about 19 I had a lot going on and was experiencing what I think most people identify as depression, I could not be bothered to do anything, I worked part time, did recreational drugs and generally wasn't a happy person. My mother decided to take me to the doctors and as you can imagine the doctor said "yep depression" prescribed me 10mg of citalopram and sent me on my way.


After being on the pills for a while I managed to get myself a job and some other great accomplishments but the process was anything but streamline, the citalopram then seemed to stop having any effect I would say after about 6/7 months, so the doctor put me on setraline, the effect was pretty similar but it seems ever since being on antidepressants I have had ups and downs, before being on them I was permanently depressed with the odd ok day.


After months of reading about antidepressants and following my instincts, I decided that due to the anti depressants not working 100% I would come off them, you see, to me what people describe as "waves and Windows" was happening whilst being ON the antidepressants, I would have the odd couple of weeks or days, where I would feel fairly good, I would enjoy music/socializing/old hobbies and feel a little more motivated, but this wouldn't last - From what I've read, some people would say this is an underlying bipolar diagnosis (DSM haha), it's all over the web and hard to escape from! (It's spurious) But the problem is, when I do have these good days and feel absent of distress, I just feel normal, like I did before I even had depression, I just feel like I'm completely healed, I don't understand how that is mania/Hypmania, but I'm sure that's what the doctors would say.


I started my taper sept/October 2015, going from 20mg of setraline down to 5 mg, and then stopped completely February of this year. I had all the withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps/twitching/headaches/mood swings/crying spells/anger) the physical symptoms subsided within 2/3 months.


Deep down I feel like I am making progress, the problem I have though is I don't know what to expect, are these ups and downs a symptom of healing? Because I feel Like they started before the taper, OR am I suffering from what psychiatry describes as an underlying diagnosis of cyclothemia? My gut tells me not the latter but i have anxiety surrounding this very often, these ups and downs I'm having seem More frequent, the depression I had before I went on the antidepressants is to a much lesser degree, but not completely absent, the ups I am having seem to be more frequent but how long they last is completely random.


I know some of you guys at surviving antidepressants have been through a lot and are far more experienced than I am in this whirlpool, any comments would be much appreciated, apologies if this is the wrong place to post!



Edited by Skeeter
Added white space and drug tags (CC) Tapper fix (Skeeter)

1 year citalopram 10/20mg . 2 years 10/20mg Setraline. 6 month taper 20/10/5/2.5 setraline. 7/8 months med free, last pill end of February 2016

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Hi Chris welcome

You might like to do a drug sig and put in the dates started and stopped and  dosages .


Well done on finding sa and yes you have posted in the correct place.


Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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Thanks for the walk welcome Nz, I have now put it it in my signature, have a lovely weekend.


1 year citalopram 10/20mg . 2 years 10/20mg Setraline. 6 month taper 20/10/5/2.5 setraline. 7/8 months med free, last pill end of February 2016

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Chris -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
A request about your signature: Would you edit it to show the month and year of your last bit of sertraline? A year from now "7/8 months med free" will mean something different than it does today. ;)
Some people have difficulty for only the "acute withdrawal period"  -- lucky them; others of us deal with symptoms for longer. Unfortunately reducing sertraline from 20 mg to 2.5 mg over 6 months and then stopping at 2.5 mg increases the risk of being in the second group. :(

The good news is that your symptoms WILL abate, you WILL recover. Here's a topic that has a description about what is happening in your CNS (central nervous system) that I found helpful:
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Many of us find that we need to work on whatever led us to taking these medications and develop new skills.  There's a lot of good research about lifestyle -- sleep, nourishment, exercise -- in managing symptoms classified as "depression." Practices such as mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy -- among many others -- can be helpful. Browse the topics in the Symptoms & self-care forum or search for a specific strategy using google.  Add "survivingantidepressants" as a search term and topics on our forums will appear first.

Some supplements are beneficial; these are the ones that make the most consistent difference in withdrawal:
Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

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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Hi Scallywag, thank you for the welcome, I have read the material you have provided, the brain remapping makes perfect sense, it really is awful the lack of consideration when handing out these pills, and i think a good bunch of the people who took antidepressants never had an issue with serotonin in the first place! What I'm struggling to understand though is why I had what appears to be waves and Windows whilst still being on the ssris (some good days some bad days) I haven't seen anywhere that anybody has had a similar experience?


1 year citalopram 10/20mg . 2 years 10/20mg Setraline. 6 month taper 20/10/5/2.5 setraline. 7/8 months med free, last pill end of February 2016

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Christian - welcome to SA!


Here's how I describe waves and windows (though our mod Bubble started the discussion) as roadworks:


I really like Bubble's phrase:  "Brain is closed down for repairs."  


I'd like to expand on that a bit - parts of your brain are closed down.  Imagine very complicated road works with about 25 intersections coming together.  This week, the traffic lights are shut down, and you need a cop to manage the intersection.  When that is repaired, well, maybe they need to re-do the shoulders, so they can divert traffic onto them for later when the lanes are being repaired.  Then there's the repairing of the lanes - it doesn't all happen at once.  Sometimes they need to rip up the old tarmac, change all the drainage routes, relocate the services for electricity and plumbing, get down to the foundation, and re-grade it, lay new gravel, then steel rebar, pouring concrete foundation, then laying the asphalt.


 Sometimes you will go for 5 months, and the road is still closed, but you can't see what they are doing to it!  Each phase requires time to set and dry.  Then you can paint the lines on it, and go to another part of the intersection - perhaps one of the other incoming roads needs the same treatment.  Perhaps there are exit ramps and roundabouts and flyover lanes that need repair.  Each of which takes time.


Now imagine the millions of networks in your brain healing - they don't just, "heal" and be done.  It's a construction process, like Bubble was saying.  Road works for the brain. 


Just my way of saying, be patient with yourself.  It might be the tarmac this week - but the lines aren't on the road and you're disoriented.  Maybe the signals are crossed at the intersections, or the signs are removed or there are detours.  Be gentle with yourself, be patient with yourself.  It's a complex process, and the gentler you are, the more easily you will heal.  It does no good to shake your fist and yell at the construction guys while they are doing their work!  So just wave (lol, wave!) at the worker, declare to yourself, "This is yet another symptom of withdrawal," and drive carefully past the obstacle.



I reckon - you said you were depressed all the time before taking antidepressants, and the antidepressants made windows for you, but the windows didn't last.

Intro to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome



You may also like the video version:  Healing from Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery (by Toxic Antidepressants)


It all fits, when you come to understand how it works.  


Your neurotransmitters would adjust to the new drug, then you'd be back in the place you were before.  I'm going to guess that each time you switched, your body would adjust more quickly to the new drug, and sure enough, there you were, back in waves and windows again.  


Here's a description of what happens with a lot of switches:  Limbic Kindling - Hardwiring the Brain for Hypersensitivity


Only in your case, you kept going back to default (depression).  That's a lot like my story.


Is my understanding correct, that you were depressed all the time, you take a drug, you got a window, then the window closed as your body adjusted to the drugs?


My concern for you is similar to what happened to me.  I learned to live with depression for so long, it was my "normal."  After the drugs, I have had to work extra hard to manage my mood.  The good news for me is that I am no longer depressed - but I have a tonne (literally, one tonne, I keep them in the spare room) of coping strategies and tools and tricks to keep my mood on the level.  When I signed up I thought:  I have lived with depression for so long.  I am depressed now, ON the drugs.  I can be depressed OFF the drugs, it's got to be better for my health.


The surprise was, that, as I came here to SA and learned a bunch of Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms, and support myself with acupuncture, massage, yoga, tai chi, karate, painting and colouring, sunshine, daily walks, and social things (I have to have at least one live contact and one phone call with friends per week)  (hubby doesn't count, he's part of the furniture   ;) )  After learning and applying my ton of tools to my life - I realise - for the first time in my life - I am no longer depressed!  I am not a "depressive" or "melancholic" or any of that DSM babblestuff.


It does get better!


So - I refer to an old but great quote from our founder, Alto:  

"If you choose to live a life without psychiatric drugs, you will have to find non-drug ways to cope with any symptoms you have. If you believe you are seriously mentally ill, you will always easily find people who will confirm your opinion, no matter what your condition. One way or the other, you need to take responsibility for yourself."   



I hope I've addressed your question, but feel free to keep asking - curiosity is an excellent tool for healing, too!

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


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


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


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

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

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

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



I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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