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L4peace27: Zoloft escaping hell on earth, Please help!

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L4peace27

Hey there

My name is Tyler I am 27 years old. I have been off zoloft now for almost 8 years and still suffer greatly. I started taking zoloft when I was 19 years old at 25mg every day for exactly 1 year time.

I was prescribed it for night panic attacks aka anxiety disorder. Before zoloft I could only have Panic Attacks at night which started around 7:30pm. My friends would always laugh and say I was cursed and sadly I started to believe them. I want to make it very clear before zoloft I had no depression or chronic fatigue at all. I was the most brilliant ,energy filled person in the world.At the urgent request from my mother she begged me to get help for my attacks as she didn't like to see me suffer and vomit from my panic attacks at night.

Against my better judgement I started taking zoloft when I was 19 at 25 mg. While on the drug it made me feel like a complete zombie and void off all sexual and emotional content.

Out of anger from feeling like a complete zombie I stopped taking zoloft cold turkey one year later. That is when complete hell started and where my life may have started to end from that day forward. After stopping cold turkey I was bed ridden with flu like symptoms and electric shocks in the brain which laster roughly 6 weeks. My parents told me that I turned green and almost looked as if I had a stroke. However being so young it was so unlikely that it could happen the doctor would not help me.

 

The next 2 years I went into what felt like complete withdrawl from life and began to dissociate from reality. It was like I was spinning in my head and nothing seemed real, I would completely freak out because I could not tell if I was awake or asleep. I began to have many suicidal thoughts which never seemed to go away. I began also having impulsive thoughts of anger and violence which never was like me at all.

I got through the worst which took almost 3 years but it still didn't stop there. I began to experience such chronic fatigue that I didn't have the energy to even move it felt like.

I wake up every day feeling dizzy and tired as if I am mentally cut in half with no imagination and huge memory loss problems.

It's been 8 years now and I still have not recovered, I wake up feeling the same thing. I feel like I am asleep standing up with no ability to focus. I feel as if my head is completely numb physcially and mentally. I have suicial thoughts daily which I battle to fight back which I don't know why because I don't have much of a life. One of the main things I notice is neck tightness and muscle twitches as if I am developing a movement disease.

I still find the strength everyday to get up and try to have a life. Even though I feel 50% slower and that any day could be my last.

My question to this community is could going back on zoloft and doing a slow taper give me the recovery I seek? I read a lot about serotonin deficiency and it seems I match 100% of the symptoms of that.

Thanks for the read and taking the time to send any advice, it's greatly appreciated.

Edited by JanCarol
added lines at paragraph breaks and tags

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KarenB

Hi L4peace,

 

Wow, I'm so saddened to read your story, and that you have not had the support you deserved during your life.  So much suffering. 

 

Reinstatement this far out would seem very unlikely to work, but given your on-going suffering and obvious sensitisation, perhaps it is worth a try.  Have you read through this link? http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  It will be interesting to see what the other mods and Alto think.

 

*  Things which can worsen withdrawal symptoms:  over-exercising, alcohol, caffeine, unhealthy diet, b vitamins.

*  Many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful during withdrawal.  

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages etc - so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately.  Thanks.

 

Karen

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powerback

Hi.

Try to understand the suicidal thoughts as the horrible reaction to the drugs.

I also have them the last few months and that's not a coincidence because I've had the most stressful few months of my life so it's going to amplify everything negatively.

 

Try seperate them thoughts from who u are.Take it from me,we are not our thoughts.

I've been dealing with alot of your symptoms myself so I feel your pain.

 

Google serotonin in the gut.Alot happens in our gut that's linked to the brain .

 

I'm trying to eat the best things possible for my body ,I'm realising what we put in our body really affects us .

When I realised all my doctor is doing is masking a situation with poison ,I took the power back and researched loads myself.

Believe what you read here about the positive ways to fight the situation you are dealing with

 

Be strong and never doubt yourself because it's in u .

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PoetJester

Hey Tyler

 

8 years of wd from Zoloft!!!   that's incredible.  That's hard to believe.  I feel like I am almost about ready for to fall over after 3 years of wd from Zoloft and zyprexa.  I think being young and in good health has allowed you to go this far.  I had the brain zaps and flu like symptoms originally in 2014 for a couple of months when I quit the pills and after  that, chronic insomnia and fatigue and memory problems up to the present.  I could go into detail, but it's about like you said.  Sometimes lately the mental fatigue and emotional  exhaustion is so great that I find myself sort of staring into space blankly, like I am asleep on my feet.  about the exhaustion or fatigue, I found out I had developed iron deficiency anemia from either Zoloft or prevacid which I had also been taking for many years. I have found that a liquid iron supplement called Floradix and megadoses of vitamin C can help with the fatigue of the body, but the mental exhaustion is still bad..     

 

About reinstatement,  I have read another post on here of a woman who was 5 years into wd after many years on an assortment of different meds.  She started up on Seroquel after 5 years of being off the meds, because she was becoming a zombie- starting to fall asleep while doing chores or dropping things due to just pure exhaustion.   She had only posted once and it's was on someone else's thread, and I can't remember where i saw it now, but after reinstating she said she had her life back and was back to normal.    

 

I am also on two facebook pages.  one is made up of members from this site and one is for people taking Zoloft.   On the Zoloft page a couple of days back a 30 year old woman   posted about how she had stopped Zoloft  a year ago after being on it for many years because she just didn't feel like she needed it anymore and went into withdrawal for a year with constant crying,  fatigue and despair and had had to quit her job and hardly ever left her house (all the normal  horrible wd symptoms). Anyways, she reinstated at 50 mg recently and within a few days to a week started feeling like her old self again.  It was quite inspirational to me, knowing how  awful we often feel in wd and how wearying it all gets. 

 

On the facebook page from this website, one of the members, was just miserable after wd, he was having all sorts of problems at work and thought he was going to lose his mind and he decided to reinstate about a month ago and he posted back a couple days ago and said his life had come back to him too.  he is doing fantastic now.  I mean, it's really something.   ( look under "off topic" on the menu page of this site and there is a link to the facebook page if you are interested in reading his post)

 

it just feels that for many of us, once these drugs enter our bodies and interact with our brains, once we pull them away our sense of well being collapses and we need them again to function and be ourselves again.  I know you said you had been a zombie on Zoloft the first year, but maybe at a lower dose of Zoloft or maybe a low dose of a similar type drug might work and get you back feeling like yourself again.  It's weird, because we don't always want these drugs, but it could be kind of like "the hair of the dog that bit you thing"  as far getting us back to normal. 

 

Poetjester

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L4peace27

My biggest fear is that the drugs are designed to keep you on them. I don't mind going back on them to taper properly to fix my problem. However I can't accept that I have to be on these drugs for the rest of my life just to live a half decent life. If that is the case it's a matter of time before the science catches up and these big pharma companies get hit with a huge law suits. I can accept the damage or symtoms are done from not tapering properly but I want off these meds and I didn't have any problems like this before taking them. Thanks for the info and help

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KarenB

Although, whoever got you on the drugs really did have a responsibility to safely get you off them. 

 

I've asked if some other mods will give their opinions on reinstating. 

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JanCarol

Hey L4Peace - wow!

 

Congratulations on surviving an awful cold turkey of Zoloft all by yourself!  Wow.  You have strength that you didn't know you had.

 

You write:

 I read a lot about serotonin deficiency and it seems I match 100% of the symptoms of that.

 

There is a lot of bogus information out there about "neurotransmitter deficiencies" but there is no way to measure how much is in your brain, of any neurotransmitter.  There is no evidence to support a "deficiency" of a thing which we do not know how much is "correct."

 

It sounds like what happened to you is similar to what happened to me.  I will tell your story as if it happened to me, and see if it makes sense to you.

 

You were having evening panic attacks.  These sounded like cortisol spikes, an adrenal malfunction, possibly caused by stress.   These cortisol spikes are often misdiagnosed as "anxiety" and "panic attacks," because they are so scary.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/33-waking-with-panic-or-anxiety-managing-cortisol-spikes/

 

You went on the Zoloft, and that numbed out your attacks - but at the cost of all numbness.  These drugs - if you stop the "bad thing," then you stop everything else along with it.  Tired of being a zombie, you quit the drug.

 

A cold turkey quit is the hardest, steepest route to freedom.  You are bound to get banged up along the way.  We recommend 10% tapering to prevent the hades that you have been through.

 

So - for years, you struggle with brain zaps, emotional waves, energetic slumps.  These extreme symptoms are awfully hard on your endocrine system.  I have a theory that the antidepressants rob the endocrine system in order to get you "functioning," and now the country is awash in an epidemic of autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue/ME, fibromyalgia and endocrine imbalances.  This sounds more like a condition of depletion - of minerals, EFA's and amino acids supporting your endocrine system, than it is a "mental or emotional" condition.

 

Does this sound like you?  It seems to me like your condition is very similar to a chronic fatigue situation.  You are not alone.  There are people still on the drugs who are being treated for fibromyalgia or CFS or thyroid - that there is no connection being made to the drugs.

 

Before you consider reinstatement, I would like you to consider a number of other factors:

 

Until you have addressed those questions, I would not consider a reinstatement.  There is no such thing as "serotonin deficiency."  

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4291-again-chemical-imbalance-is-a-myth-stop-the-lies-please

 

My fear is that if you do reinstate, you will continue to strip the nutrition which is supporting your endocrine system, and make your condition even more serious.  The friends I have who treat their CFS or fibro or Hashimotos with Antidepressants - do not get better.

 

The advantages to a reinstatement is this:  you are wiser now, you can ask for tiny, tiny doses instead of the mind numbing ones you were given before.  Consider a liquid, that you can take by the drop, instead of tablets.   But if it were me, I would exhaust all other possibilities before considering reinstatement.

 

I'm sorry if this sounds overwhelming or difficult.  It is for many of us - finding a supportive practitioner is the hardest part.  (note:  if you go to a natural practitioner, "detox" would not be helpful to you - this sounds more like a condition of depletion, not toxicity).

 

I do have this to offer:  The Spoon Theory by Christine

 

Many of us live day to day in this kind of chronic condition.  You can, too.  Once you educate and understand better how your body works, and how your nutrients and activities all come together to support you - you can begin to have a more positive approach to "what's next."

 

Another time, we'll look at meditation and Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms.  I think you have enough to look at for now!  When you come back with some answers to my questions, I may have more resources to send to you.  I learned all this stuff the hard way - and - I had great teachers here at SA:  GiaK (http://www.beyondmeds.com ), Karma, Petunia, MeiMeiQuest, and, of course, our founder, AltoStrata.

 

I hope you see the sun today!

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L4peace27

I am extremely fit and my cholesterol is low actually perfect. I have had my thyroid checked twice by two different doctors and it all came back normal. I have had my testosterone checked and it was at a high of 758 naturally. I am a body builder and my body is in great shape it's my mind that is failing to correct itself.

My panic attacks started right after I was sexually abused when I was very young so it is physiology connected I believe which is why they only happened at night. My body and mind got attuned to a pattern of fear at a certain time of the night.

 

My diet is very clean as most body builders are, I do take omega 3s every day which helped a lot of the sexual dysfunctional problems. I have only had stiffness in my neck and back after taking Zoloft and abruptly stopping. So literally only had night attacks but my mental clarity was fine 100% intact.

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PoetJester

Hey Tyler,

 

i am not exactly sure what Jan Carol is talking about.  She is only one year removed from the drugs and many people have delayed onset wd a year or two later and end up back on the meds.  You have been in withdrawal for  8 years with diminished functioning and it doesn't sound like it's getting any better.  i don't know how long Jan Carol would want you to be at 50% capacity and struggling to get through each day , and a lot of the moderators on this site have reinstated as a way of getting their lives back.  Try reading SquirrelyGirl's story.  As far as nutrients go, you can always take supplements if you do reinstate on a med.  .  i just read Vigor's thread on this site and he went from the hole of wd back to the living again even though he hoped to never touch another drug again.  i understand your hesitancy, though.  I feel pretty passionless a lot of days now and shouldn't be giving advice for something i haven't done yet.  I seem to come alive a little on these posts, but i am kind of dragging an exhausted body around nowadays.   i am a bit older 45, and   this is my 3 rd withdrawal, and the meds i have tried for a couple days during this wd didn't seem to work, but then i have heard you have to give it a week or two to kick in sometimes.  anyways. 

 

Derek

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ChessieCat

"i am not exactly sure what Jan Carol is talking about."

 

The mods have been discussing what the other possibilities might be.  l4peace has now provided additional information which wasn't known prior to JC's post.

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JanCarol

Hi L4Peace - 

 

So - trauma.  I'm sorry.  Its always horrible to hear, but there are a large number of us who end up on the drugs that way.

 

First, could you Please put your withdrawal history in signature.  How long were you on the Zoloft, at what dose, and what was the date of your CT (cold turkey)?

 

Actually, from a brain and nervous system perspective, low cholesterol is not always helpful.  Low Cholesterol and Depression: what's the link?

 

90% of doctors only check TSH (thyroid), and this is not enough to tell you whether or not you are struggling with a thyroid condition.  For example, the Hashimotos antibodies show up 3-5 years before the thyroid numbers go down.  Please read the link I gave you (above) about thyroid before you decide your thyroid is "normal."  I am struggling with a family member right now, to get her to get appropriate thyroid treatment, when the doctor says, "it's fine, now, so what?" - when - it's not fine, she's suffering.  And you are suffering.  It may be time to get educated about your thyroid.

 

We got here by trusting doctors.  I have been dissed and blown off by many doctors, and have had to fight to claw my way back to where I am today.  I also fight for friends, family, and SA members.   

 

If you want further information on the thyroid, start here:  https://www.verywell.com/lies-about-thyroid-treatment-3232916

 

Additionally, you may wish to consider:  https://www.verywell.com/do-you-have-autoimmune-disease-symptoms-a-checklist-3232847

 

You wrote:

I am a body builder and my body is in great shape it's my mind that is failing to correct itself....My diet is very clean as most body builders are, I do take omega 3s every day which helped a lot of the sexual dysfunctional problems. I have only had stiffness in my neck and back after taking Zoloft and abruptly stopping. So literally only had night attacks but my mental clarity was fine 100% intact.

 

Yes, and I have more questions. 

 

How long have you been a body builder?

 

What type of body builder are you:  Powerlifter (heavy weights, bulk muscles)?  Body builder (ripped definition)?  Do you compete?

 

A powerlifter must send energy to the muscles, and utilise millions of micro-tears to build bulk, which robs the nervous system of nutrition, steals from the endocrines to keep building.  A bodybuilder must keep a very lean, low-fat diet, because the definition required (especially for competition) requires an extremely restrictive diet.  This diet is generally not conducive to brain support.  Additionally, the longer you maintain this lifestyle, the more it may have stripped your nervous and endocrine system to support it. 

 

Do you take aminos?  BCAAs?  Arganine? Tyrosine? Taurine?  What aminos do you take?  How much, when?

 

How much protein powder do you take?  What kind of protein powder?  What other supplements besides Fish Oil do you take?

 

I am all for weightlifting, I love it.  I love the way the endorphins flow after a good session, and the relaxation in my muscles after they've been worked.  But I used to train for competition, and I know a bit about competition, and know that the lifestyle of be a bodybuilder may not be sustainable in the long term.  Carb starving, carb loading, low-fat diet = these are hard on your brain and nervous system.  You might like to read this guy's story, sure, it's only one story - but I can count on 2 hands the number of times I've heard this story before:  http://www.healthrising.org/blog/2014/02/16/carrying-weight-weightlifters-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-story/

 

I know this isn't what you wanted to hear.

 

But you are considering taking a depleting, addictive drug that completely numbed you out before (a different AD would still probably have a similar effect).  Wouldn't it be more responsible to your health, your future, and your well being, to consider all the options before desperately reaching for a pill?

 

Please consider scaling back your workouts.  I'll be happy to work with you on your aminos to the best of my ability, or, if I don't know, refer you on to solid sources for your own research. 

 

If, after a week or a month of no workouts, or very light workouts, you feel better, then you will know we are onto something.  It's a small price to pay.

 

Your mental clarity was intact - 8 years ago.  A lot has happened since then.  I do believe you can get better, but it may require some uncomfortable examination of the choices you are making, in order to find a path out of the fatigue and brain fog.   It is not uncommon for "elite athlete" type training to run into severe depletion - especially around the 5-10 year mark, if the training was at a very high level.  

 

When I said:

  • Do you exercise?  It's not uncommon for crossfit & long distance runners get into a state of severe depletion.

 

I very nearly added bodybuilding or powerlifting into that list.  But I really like weightlifting, and find that circuit training and gentle weight workouts are extremely helpful for mental and physical health.

 

In the meanwhile, you may wish to examine further, our Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms,  As your original issue was trauma based, it will be vital for you to develop a toolkit of coping techniques to get you through.  And they will help you for the rest of your life.

 

I hope you see the sun today.

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L4peace27

​Do most people who taper off these drugs return to a normal state at which they started or is it that they are now stuck on drugs and withdrawal?

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata

Welcome, L4.

 

After 8 years, if I were you, I would not go back on the drugs. It's not a miracle cure.

 

People vary in their ability to go off drugs. Some people are very sensitive and have more problems than others. The nervous system tends to very gradually heal. It sounds like you have experienced some of that but you are stuck at a plateau.

 

As KarenB suggested, fish oil and magnesium could help. Magnesium is calming, taking in divided doses throughout the day, or you could apply magnesium oil to your skin. This could help your neck relax.

 

Have you tried acupuncture or chiropractic, or osteopathic manual treatment for the back and neck symptoms? If your circulation is restricted, that could make you dizzy.

 

Do you still have panic attacks at night? What is your sleep pattern? Are you taking any other drugs or supplements?

 

JanCarol is exploring the possibility of other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Have you had a medical checkup recently to rule out medical problems?

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JanCarol

Hey L- 

 

​Do most people who taper off these drugs return to a normal state at which they started or is it that they are now stuck on drugs and withdrawal?

 

"A normal state"  - yes.

 

"same as where they started" - not really.

 

For me, it's better, because I am now fully responsible for managing my moods, my cortisol spikes (which many would call "anxiety").  

 

In some ways it's harder - because it's up to me to figure it out.  Yes, I still struggle, I still suffer, and I would love to have my youthful body and energy back again.  

 

But it's also more rewarding, because - after withdrawal - after the years of numbness on the drugs - I'm so much more easily pleased.  A breath of air can lighten my spirit, and I can take pride when I can execute a precision move, or sing a note, or put pretty colors on paper, or that I can come closer when I reach for my toes.  Or that I can feel my body - even if it is in pain - when I try.  Or that I can cry over a sappy movie - or take delight in my partner's caring.  The simple things mean so much more, when so much has been lost.

 

So - I'm more myself than I ever was, and I'm nothing like I was before.  I think it is a good thing.

 

I chose to taper, and I think that made my lot easier than people who have gone off quickly.  I'm a bit of a "poster child" for the SA 10% taper plan.  I was able to control my symptoms all the way down, until the drugs were just gone.  I knew that CT did not work, and "cutting it in half" didn't work - because I'd tried that before, when I was younger.

 

We have a whole block of recovery success stories, if you like:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/28-success-stories-recovery-from-withdrawal/

 

I hope to add mine there any day now.

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PoetJester

Hey L4peace,

 

the user name of  the woman who had reinstated after 5 years of wd is Revenge on this site if you want to read her post.   

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PoetJester

L4Peace

 

you might try reading both Vigor and UncomfortablyNumb's threads, they are a couple of guys who were miserable and housebound in wd for upwards of a year or more.  they both reinstated and got their lives back and are now back working and even working out.  UncomfortablyNumb may have not posted his reinstatement recovery story in his thread, but he mentioned it in a personal message to me back in March of 2016.  I think he was taking Remeron and a bunch of different supplements and was back running and working out and had gone back to work.  I can cut and paste it and send it to you if you want.  He had just sat in a room for over a year in wd without the ability to sleep much and was totally depressed.  these guys once they get better and feel like themselves again hardly show up again on this forum.   people who just stick around in wd for a long time taking supplements and all the other stuff usually don't work because they don't have the energy and just sort of take sit around there houses taking care of their daily living skills.  If you haven't started healing yet after 8 years, I am not sure how much longer you are supposed to wait. 

 

Derek

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KarenB

Those are helpful thoughts, but perhaps more suitable for discussion once other considerations have been ruled out.   

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JanCarol

PoetJester, just because someone temporarily relieves their pain by reinstating, does not mean that it is a long term solution.

 

Vigor is not even on the same class of drugs as L4Peace was on.

 

As Karen said, yes, reinstatements can help.  Being on the minimum possible dose is a strategy for those who cannot find alternatives to the drugs.  That may be where L4Peace decides to go. 

 

My job is to give him as many alternatives as possible, so that he has options, choices, and the potential to be free of the pill treadmill.

 

I'm trying to eliminate as many possibilities I can think of - hopefully finding some non-drug solutions.  It's what we do here.  We don't recommend drugs, we recommend techniques and alternatives.  If someone wants drug solutions, there are many other websites where they can get support for that.  Please do not recommend drugs.  

 

L4Peace, have you been able to get any talk or mindfulness therapy for your trauma?  Or do you feel like you've worked that out?  (sometimes horrendous withdrawals have the side effect of "sweeping clean" a lot of pain, baggage, unnecessary rumination and patterns - because while in withdrawal, there is no energy left for these other things)

 

Mindfulness and Acceptance

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Altostrata

L4Peace

 

you might try reading both Vigor and UncomfortablyNumb's threads, they are a couple of guys who were miserable and housebound in wd for upwards of a year or more.  they both reinstated and got their lives back and are now back working and even working out.  UncomfortablyNumb may have not posted his reinstatement recovery story in his thread, but he mentioned it in a personal message to me back in March of 2016.  I think he was taking Remeron and a bunch of different supplements and was back running and working out and had gone back to work.  I can cut and paste it and send it to you if you want.  He had just sat in a room for over a year in wd without the ability to sleep much and was totally depressed.  these guys once they get better and feel like themselves again hardly show up again on this forum.   people who just stick around in wd for a long time taking supplements and all the other stuff usually don't work because they don't have the energy and just sort of take sit around there houses taking care of their daily living skills.  If you haven't started healing yet after 8 years, I am not sure how much longer you are supposed to wait. 

 

Derek

 

PoetJester, please ask UncomfortablyNumb to come back and update his Intro topic.

 

L4Peace, we need more information about your current symptom pattern to give any informed guesses.

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ZayKayWill

I can't believe you've been going through that for 8 years.  I am so sorry.  Are you sure that's the Zoloft, though?  That just doesn't sound right.  Don't let me tell you otherwise, but ...I just can't imagine that.

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