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time2wakeup: Quit prozac 5 years ago now...


time2wakeup

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...and still dealing with anhedonia. Is that what you'd call this?

 

It's not nearly as bad as it was back in 2012. The first few years off prozac were a nightmare. I was a total robot, unable to feel present, to empathize, etc. I could barely compose a facebook status, even that required too much focus. (You can tell how much better I'm doing by the fact that I'm FINALLY POSTING IN HERE.) I had a job but didn't do much. The weird thing was, whenever I got my period, I would kind of "come alive" - at least somewhat. It was like a wall went down and I was able to connect with myself again. I could feel my feelings (kind of), feel more present (kind of). Even though the switch wasn't perfect (didn't get all the way back to "normal"), the change was always very drastic. I would feel like this during the first day or two of my period, when I was bleeding heavily. Immediately I would get online and start researching, trying to figure out WHY I felt better on my period... and then the bleeding would end and I'd go back to being a robot...

 

At some point I thought that perhaps my serotonin was too high (isn't your serotonin supposed to be "low" on your period? so maybe my period brought my serotonin down to "normal"?) - like the SSRI had increased my serotonin too much and left my brain kind of stuck that way. The only thing I figured I could try to drastically lower serotonin was to take MDMA - simply for the serotonin crash/reset the next day. I was able to try it in early 2015 and it did exactly what I'd hoped it would do. The CRASH felt like heaven. The wall went down. I was suddenly able to concentrate. I could stand outside and look up at the sky and feel the breeze and watch the birds and just be still and present. That day I curled up and read half a book - something I had been unable to do for years. My therapist noticed a difference in me right away - how I seemed more connected and present. I don't think she believed in my prozac story (I mean, it sounds crazy to me as well - why would I still be messed up YEARS LATER???), but she did agree that I had changed.

 

After this, my life started moving forward much faster... but I still wasn't completely myself. I still felt more myself on my period, which meant I was still somewhat out of it and disconnected the rest of the time... But at this point I had become so used to the anhedonia, or whatever you want to call it, that I just accepted that that was how I was. 

 

And then... last year, I tried a benzo for 2 months, for stress. Obviously a big mistake. I had only taken prozac for 6 months, and I still feel strange 5 years later... Why the hell would I try another psych med??? BUT I did. So anyway. The benzo withdrawal nightmare lasted a good 6 months...and a little longer than that to get all the way back to normal, which I feel like I am now. At least the benzo didn't cause permanent damage. Anyway, what I wanted to say is: twice during benzo withdrawal, when I was on my period, I felt COMPLETELY, 100% NORMAL. The "normal" I had once felt before prozac. Totally emotionally with it. Had totally fluid social interactions. And so on and so forth. Colors were actually BRIGHTER and DEEPER. My vision literally changed!!! My palms were sweaty - random, I know, but usually my skin is SO dry - that was just one of the things I noticed, and I want to document it here. One night I laid in bed and started listening to music and I just cried and cried because I could FEEL AGAIN. And it was so ******* sad because I knew my ability to feel would slip away yet again...

 

So, anyway, a good 4 years later I finally had real genuine windows...pretty depressing, right?

 

I'm sorry to anyone reading this...I'm sure most people don't take this long to recover. My brain is ridiculously fragile, I guess...

 

I had a bit of a window this month on my period, too (not as amplified as the windows from a few months ago, but I still felt way more normal than usual)...

 

I'm not sure what all of this means. Maybe the recovery my brain had to go through after getting off klonopin helped to further heal whatever change happened in my brain from prozac?

 

At this point, at least, I'm convinced that I don't have "brain damage" (which for years I figured I must have, and so I avoided this forum and avoided thinking about it because it was so terrifying). I guess there IS some kind of slow gradual healing going on. Maybe at this point it comes down to a hormonal or mineral imbalance of some kind? I don't know. I'm terrified to go to a doctor and ask for help about this, I assume they'll just laugh. I can never take another medication again after all of this, anyway...I'm scared to even try something like birth control. I don't know.

 

Anyway. It's been many years and I wanted to finally admit to myself that this is actually going on by joining this forum... I have had some hope lately that I can find myself again after all of this. Oh, and another awful thing is prozac made me lose all sense of gender. I think because of that, for these past few years, I have identified as trans... and just in the last few weeks I have had moments where I look at myself in the mirror and feel a strong connection to myself (rare) and I "realize" I am not trans...and it's just that I couldn't feel my gender for a very long time... It's ******* horrifying. But I wanted to write that down here. I need to admit this.

 

My period just ended the other day, which is why I'm thinking about all of this at all. I'm sure these feelings will slip away soon... I'm seeing how long I can hold onto myself this time. I'm hoping I will keep posting here and not give up. Thanks for reading.

 

P.S. I've read about inositol resensitizing serotonin receptors - not sure how true that is, but I have started taking large doses of it. I'm not really sure what else to try at this point. So I guess we'll see how that goes.

 

God I feel nuts writing about all of this.

Edited by scallywag
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Welcome, time2wakeup.

 

I'm very sorry you've gone through this. 

 

I don't believe theories about serotonin, most of which are myths, will help in figuring out your situation. Suffice it to say serotonin is a hormone, the all the hormones in your body are synchronized and interdependent, and psychiatric drugs can throw off this hormonal balance.

 

Mostly, women who participate here who have symptoms around their menstrual cycles have worse, not better, withdrawal symptoms. So your particular pattern is unusual.

 

However, what everyone here has in common is their nervous systems and hormonal systems are struggling to return to normal, and yours is, too.

 

Given that we're an online peer support site, and not very enthusiastic about drugs at all, we tend to recommend patience and very gentle techniques to help your nervous system along towards restoration of healthy stability.

 

Many find these two supplements to be helpful: 

 

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how you do with it. You'll probably end up taking 6 fish oil capsules or more each day. This is particularly helpful for rebuilding the nervous system.

 

Almost everybody is deficient in magnesium, it's been leached from our farmland. It's important for many body functions. It can be relaxing.

 

Please post updates in your Intro topic to let us know how you're doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Hey there, thanks for the reply. I've actually gotten very into magnesium lately and have been taking 500mg a day (SRT version by Jigsaw) for the past month or so. I believe it's helped a ton - makes me feel more calm, grounded, etc. I was definitely very mag deficient. I've also been taking fish oil for...I think a month as well. Not sure if it's doing anything. How much fish oil do you recommend? I've been taking 2000mg/day. These are actually pretty much the only supplements I've been taking lately. I also take phosphatidylserine to sleep (to lower cortisol post benzo withdrawal...ugh), and just the past few days have been experimenting with inositol...I read a post on here about inositol bringing someone back to life (like the windows I described - complete with colors getting brighter) so thought it wouldn't hurt to try... I assume I'm deficient in B vitamins anyway and inositol is kind of a B vitamin.

 

Mostly, women who participate here who have symptoms around their menstrual cycles have worse, not better, withdrawal symptoms. So your particular pattern is unusual.

 

Yeah...I really need to figure out what this is about. I'm thinking perhaps I could get my blood tested during my period and again when I'm not on it and see what the differences are hormonally. I'm just dreading trying to explain this to a doctor.

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I feel like this person: http://ask.metafilter.com/169243/Reverse-PMS

 

The week before my period, and the first days of it, I feel GREAT. I don't need as much sleep, I'm in a great mood, I desire healthy food and can handle cravings for sugar and fat just fine. I feel creative and competent. 

 

I've never needed to keep track of my period because I always know - one night I wake up early, like 5am and feel fine, as if i just "snapped" out of a bad phase or something

 

And this person: http://www.psychforums.com/living-with-mental-illness/topic110288.html

 

I have realized over several months of monitoring my moods that while I'm on my period (and just after I stop), I feel extremely happy, confident, and carefree. However, most of the time afterward, I suffer from self-consciousness and anxiety. 

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So here's the beginning of my story:

 

The first med I was put on (well, I guess birth control was first, but this is second), was thyroid meds. In college I stressed myself out so thoroughly mentally and physically (by not eating, overexercising), that at one day I "crashed" - had so little energy I could barely move, the world felt dream-like, the smallest sounds felt like nails on a chalkboard, my gums bled when I brushed. I went to the doctor, they did some tests, and told me I had hypothyroidism, that it was a chronic condition and I'd be on the meds forever. I went with it, thinking maybe I did have a thyroid problem, and that's why I've always had trouble losing weight.

 

As you might imagine, the meds made me very very sick. I don't want to get into it but I will never feel that unwell again. It was a million times worse than benzo withdrawal.

 

Finally, two years later, having given up on doctors, I came across Stop the Thyroid Madness. I read the book and realized instantly that my "medical problem" was actually adrenal fatigue. All at once I quit the thyroid medication & coffee & cigs, and started drinking lots of tea and listening to a lot of Eckhart Tolle. I managed to graduate. My thyroid never crashed again, but my cortisol was still sky high - just a sip of coffee made me totally manic. A few months later, back home and more stressed than ever looking for my first job, I decided to try prozac. I didn't know what else to do. On prozac, I got an internship, then a job. I fell out of love with the person I was with at the time, because prozac took away my ability to feel. I quit taking it, promptly gained 30 lbs (same amount I gained back when I quit klonopin last year), and pretty much stayed a robot...

 

Obviously my thyroid and adrenals have been through a lot. I also wonder about my estrogen/progesterone/testosterone levels. At some point (I think it was when I was on thyroid meds), I quit the birth control, because I figured I should be messing with as few hormones as possible. In high school I had had very heavy, painful periods. I think my periods stopped for a while in college because of how little I was eating. These past several years I have been very healthy eating a high-cal, low-carb diet. During the yrs between prozac and klonopin I eventually got to a very healthy weight, and was strong and full of energy. Because of keto, my periods only really last 2 days usually, but they seem "normal" enough to me. They're pretty heavy, not painful, and then they're gone. And I tend to feel fantastic on them. They never last 5-7 days. Maybe 3 max.

 

I go back and forth between thinking my serotonin/dopamine is messed up from the SSRI, and thinking, maybe my sex hormones are just really f-cked from bad diets and thyroid meds. (Do psych meds mess with sex hormones in any way? Is that possible?) I just don't know why the levels wouldn't have gone back to normal by now as I have gotten so much healthier over the last few years and have so much less stress in my life than I did back then. In one of the posts I linked to above, someone wonders if they have "reverse PMS." Maybe the only time their hormones are at normal levels is when they're on they're period. Your sex hormones and serotonin are supposed to be LOW when you start your period, and then slowly climb back up as you bleed, but I wonder if my hormones are low all month and then normal (higher) when I bleed. I don't know why that would be? Sometimes I wonder if I do have a very slight thyroid problem. Maybe this is a metabolic issue, and if I took a very low dose of thyroid hormone, my body would speed up just enough to make things start leveling out again. I'm terrified of thyroid meds now but I do wonder about this. I also wonder if maybe I just need to get on a birth control that has both estrogen and progesterone in it. I hate both of these "solutions" because I don't want to keep messing with my body, but I don't feel like the problem is correcting itself. I just don't know. I wish I could find more stories online about people with this particular period "issue."

 

Here's another post I relate to: http://www.healthboards.com/boards/womens-health/661572-only-feel-truly-well-day-before-my-period.html

 

I am lethargic, depressed, heavy, dull, very flat all month, cant do house work, cant concentrate on anything and life is a battle everyday and the 1 day before my period...evry month with out fail!, im elevated, enjoy the day, love to have company. My mind runs smoothly i can calculate a sum in seconds up to the days in the month when my mind processing is very slow.


On that one day I am the person again that i remember years ago. ( and who i miss very much)

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Just found something that looks promising: http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/ebook/signs-and-symptoms-and-how-they-made-the-list/premenstrual-syndrome/

 

So there are some people who have PMS after their period or-“Postmenstrual Syndrome.” This can easily be explained within the framework of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. It is well known that a woman’s body temperature will change during her menstrual cycle, commonly spiking (rising sharply) at ovulation and often averaging highest prior to or at the beginning of a woman’s period. The temperature typically will decrease gradually during the menses and may even reach a low point after the period is over.

 

Incidentally, this can explain what one might call “reverse PMS.” There are patients who will feel the symptoms of MED, being tired, depressed, bloated, irritable, etc. for most of the month, but notice that just prior to their menstrual cycle, they may enjoy two days out of the month when they feel much improved before feeling worse again. It may be that the patients’ MED symptoms are resulting from persistently low body temperature patterns that improve briefly just prior to the period as the female hormone system raises the body temperature. This causes the patients’ body temperature patterns to more closely approach normal for a brief period of time, helping them to enjoy improvement in their symptoms of MED. When patient’s symptoms of MED come and go giving them good days and bad days, patients can frequently see that their body temperature patterns are closer to normal on their good days as compared to their bad days.

 

Need to read more about this but it does discuss the relationship between female hormones and thyroid hormones.

 

Hmmm... http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/ebook/what-can-be-done/resetting-the-system/

 

If a patient’s thyroid system is inappropriately stuck in the conservation mode, then the patient may be cycled on proper thyroid hormone treatment to again establish the proper pattern and balance for a period to time. Then when a patient gradually weans off the medicine, the responsibility of normal thyroid system function is returned to the body gradually, and the patient is frequently able to enjoy persistent improvement and normalization of the system even after thyroid medication is weaned.

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Period is totally over. Back to being this shell of a person. I look in the mirror and dead eyes stare back. I feel like I had kind of a window this month (the past couple days)...maybe that's why I felt totally worn out today. Feel like my hormones (like, all of them) must be low. Very cold, weak muscles, brittle nails, just tired and couldn't get going today. Ate a lot, didn't help at all. Perked up a little around 8PM. I know, sounds like weak adrenals. Unfortunately I'm still kind of recovering from the benzo withdrawal...so I can't really say this is the norm for me...not a great time to get thyroid, adrenals, and/or sex hormones tested. But I did just move so waiting to get my new insurance card etc. anyway. Hope I can find a half decent doctor. But, even if I did "discover" that I have low thyroid, sex hormones, and/or messed up cortisol, who's to say that any of those is the root cause? Would I even be treating the right thing? Would I just be messing up my system even more? I don't know...all of this gets so old. I'm sick of having to be my own doctor, but I can't trust them anymore...

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If I were you, I'd research the premenstrual change in hormones. Looking at serotonin/dopamine will get you nowhere, that's mythical and you can't measure it anyway.

 

In San Francisco, I know a gynecologist who has a specialty in balancing hormones. You might want to look for such expertise near you. Be sure to be very, very conservative with any hormone treatment. Even in a "normal" person, artificially trying to fix hormonal balance has unintended consequences.

 

We recommend taking at least 3,000-4,000mg of EPA + DHA in fish oil each day. Look at the label on your fish oil to figure out how many capsules to take. Often, it's 6 capsules or more per day, in divided doses -- at meals is good.

 

Good to hear you're getting good results from magnesium. It is best taken in divided doses, for absorption.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks. Right before your period/at the start of your period, hormone levels are higher and your metabolism speeds up...this is when I feel better...I even need less sleep. I'm becoming more and convinced that my thyroid is to blame... I was reading posts about depersonalization and hypothyroidism, and found one post where someone said she had "reverse PMS" like I describe...irritable and detached all month and then calms down on her period...her description of how she felt on thyroid meds is also very similar to how I felt the other day on my period when I "snapped out of it."

 

http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypothyroidism-ruined-my-relationship/

 

Because of the mental fog, I have little memories of being unable to connect over the past few months and now that I feel fully conscious, have tons of mental availability and space, and life feels 100% easier, the person I want to connect with most is gone and a large void has been left in its place.

 

That's how I felt...like I snapped out of a years-long bad dream...just absolutely horrifying...

 

The change was so dramatic this month that it makes it easier to see what the problem is...

 

After my period ended and I went back to this detached person that I am, I realized that normally I'm in a terrible mood. Easily bothered, rarely laugh, get stressed out way more easily than I should, require way more alone time than I should. And obviously I gain weight very easily. I think my thyroid has actually healed a lot over the past few years from better diet etc, and that's why I've been able to have windows like this. I'm definitely a lot better than I was a few years ago. I think I probably need at least a low dose of thyroid med, though...

 

Anyway - waiting for health insurance... I ordered some thyroid glandular from amazon to test out a pill or two in the meantime to see if I get any relief at all. Supposed to arrive tomorrow. 

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I'd be careful with anything to stimulate the thyroid, or that might have thyroid hormone in it. Taking it when you don't need it can cause lots of problems.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Yep I know - I was put on thyroids meds years ago (when I really had an adrenal issue, so they made me very sick)...luckily I now know to stop taking meds IMMEDIATELY if I have a bad reaction...sigh. If I start to feel wired I'll stop.  

 

"Raw Thyroid" by Natural Sources came today. I took 2 so we'll see if I feel any different. Felt a little calmer after taking them but I assume that's just placebo.

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Guess I do feel a little bit wired now...headache too...too bad. Could be body adjusting, but I'm guessing that this was not the answer. I don't think I'll take any more. I know I should just wait to get my insurance (card should be coming any day now) so I can get all my hormones just checked out... Just sad. I felt so normal the other day, more normal than I'd felt the past 5 yrs. It was like getting my Hogwarts letter then having it taken away. I know this is hormonal and that it's possible to figure this out...it MUST be possible...I'm just impatient (though can you really call this impatient when this has been going on so long?)...and need to figure out a good story for the doctor that doesn't sound this crazy. 

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Your post really caught my eye because you describe so well what my life is like right now as well. While I am 6 years out from a near cold turkey I also slow tapered from Paxil over the following 5 years and have only been med free for 9 months now. However, I relate to everything you posted, down to the part about feeling better once the period starts ansd feeling like the person you know you once were. Its really hard, and I too am so sick of it. I will be curious to see what youy find out. Im going (once again) to my doctor in a month for another blood test which will likely come back normal like the last one. I almost wish it would show something abnormal so I could fix it!

As for Reverse pms another member here has this situation, she feels worse the week after her period, rather than in the week or two leading up to it, it happens. 

I'm sure your benzo reaction last year is still causing upheaval, I think this whole healing thing takes a lot more time than we realize.

Glad you finally joined the forum though, lots of helpful info and support!

2 Timothy 1-7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Effexor 75mg to 262.5mg 2005-2010 for post partum depression

Started having poop out mid 2010, also switched generic brands, then crashed in Dec 2010 (anxiety/ "terror", intense DR, anhedonia, suicidal ideation, chills, insomnia, horrible intrusive thoughts, disorientation, ect)
Rapid "tapered" from 262.5mg Effexor in 3 months

Tried Celexa,Cipralex, then Paxil to deal with wd(this switching made things worse and added akathesia)

Found online support and started tapering Paxil 7 months after quitting Effexor (at this point was having small windows).

Paxil taper: dropped 10% every 4-8 weeks

Year 1 October 2011 to Nov 2012 20mg to 10mg

Year 2 March 2013 to Feb 2014 10mg to 4mg

Year 3 April 2014 to May 2015 4mg to 1.1mg

Year 4 June 2015 1.1mg , dropping by 10% until .5mg, after then dropped by 0.1mg every 5 weeks until 0.1mg.

Finished! Official last dose of 0.1mg on June 15/16

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Those "natural" thyroid supplements can be quite strong. Also, the amount of hormone they contain may not be standardized.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Ok - so I want to try to post in here every day to stay focused on this.

 

I'm still fascinated by the genuine window I had this month, and at how long it lasted - was it 2 days? 3? It felt like FOREVER compared to the very quick glimpses I've had of my old self over the past few years. I just stared in the mirror and was AMAZED at how I was able to connect to myself. I saw someone from, like, 2007. (I took the prozac in 2011-2012, but things were hard for a few years before that as well...after 2007 things got really bad, I guess, stress-wise.) And it was like the past several years had been a very bad dream... I talked to my reflection, trying to convince my brain that it was safe to stay this way!! I was like, "it's ok! it's safe! you can come out now!!" But of course it all ended. It was traumatic, but I guess it could've been WAY more so...

 

And then after it ended, I CRASHED! I was physically EXHAUSTED!

 

It definitely made me realize that my brain is HEALING! It took a lot of energy to unlock those parts of my brain so my true self could emerge...and now my brain is worn out again! But I think if I really truly give my stressed out brain (and adrenals, and whatever else) the time to heal, it will work up to another true window!!

 

I did a tarot spread about all this and ones of the cards I drew was the Tower ("Blasted Oak" in my deck):

 

What appears to be a random dissolution or destruction of your beliefs and relationships is timely and natural. The sea swallows what was built on shifting sand and you are liberated from being a powerless victim. Now you have a base on which your inner strength can adapt and evolve. This may happen suddenly, with shocking speed. The trauma may leave you stunned and confused, but the fiery blast that sent you falling to Earth has also jolted you from a state of trance that allowed you to avoid dealing with profound and fundamental issues.

 

Um....HOW DEAD ON IS THIS??? "Jolted you from a state of trance"!!!

 

Anyway. I have been learning more about depersonalization. I guess it's good to have a word for this. After watching a bunch of youtube vids about it, it does sound like it's something I can eventually get out of on my own. It tends to linger due to chronic stress, and I have definitely been chronically stressed for the last 5 years. Life has not been easy for me. But I'm in a much better place right now. I have eliminated a lot of stressors from my life. I'm not on any psych meds anymore (and will never take any ever again, obviously), stopped drinking a few months ago, and started magnesium a few weeks ago. I do wonder if the quality of the window the other day was due to the magnesium. It has affected my health very dramatically. I've also been taking phosphatidylserine (for adrenals) and B vitamins. I've got to wonder if my window will be even wider next month, and wider still the month after that. I know it's not a linear process, but I'm starting to feel like I can get out of this on my own, which is truly amazing, as again I used to think I had brain damage. I'm very hopeful...

 

I don't think I'm going to get bloodwork done just yet. I assume *something* would be off, but, like, and then what? I'm not excited about a doctor giving me prescriptions for different hormones. I want my body to heal itself naturally. I think it's definitely started to heal in a big way. I don't want to screw up the healing process with more drugs...of any kind. Not if I don't have to.

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omg! I can't believe how bad I feel now! Achy muscles and exhausted - doesn't matter how much I sleep or eat. Low temp. Taking the day off to sleep!! This is not sickness and I don't think it's even benzo withdrawal anymore. So weird. Please let major healing be happening!!!

 

I think the benzo withdrawal triggered something in my brain... I mean, I don't think I healed from this post-SRRI anhedonia on my own at ALL! MDMA definitely shocked my brain into healing some, and now it seems like the benzo withdrawal recovery has triggered still more healing... I wish I knew what would help and what wouldn't, but I took those 2 things out of desperation and I don't want to risk messing up my brain more...ahh! Anyway - I don't even know if this makes sense - so tired. Back to bed!!

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TTWU.  Has it been approximately 5 yrs ?  What has improved so far ? 

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
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Ali - Yeah, 5 years. When I quit prozac, I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms. My feelings came back (at least somewhat). Ability to cry etc returned quickly. I didn't go back to "normal," but I only felt better after quitting. The emotional blunting has remained...I'm now realizing that it's deeper than emotional blunting and more depersonalization... It has gotten a little better, I guess? It's gone on so long that I stopped thinking about it; at some point I just had to accept that this is how I am now. I just had a very dramatic window last weekend, totally out of the blue, and that's why I finally joined this site - I realized that I'm still actually VERY different from the person that I was before prozac. It's all so scary. I don't know what to do with this.

 

I've been obsessing about it this week. I know now that my true self is in there, I just can't access that person at will. So scary to think about. I guess I should try not to? I start to think, I might as well be dead if I have to continue living this half life forever. But at the same time I *am* glad that I had the window - it made me remember that there's so much more to life. If only I could access it... I don't know - I guess I try to forget about this and just try to get on with my life? I was majorly depressed this week, ate awful stuff, didn't get much work done, obsessively researched DP. But I can see now that thinking about it's not going to help. I almost feel like seeing a therapist about it would also be bad - just more obsessively talking about this. What's the point? It doesn't seem like I have any control over this - if I did I would have gone back to normal by now, right? I guess I will see a therapist anyway, in an attempt to feel less crazy?...dunno if it will work...doctors/therapists never seem to get this stuff - that the brain can be permanently changed by drugs...I feel like I might just feel crazier talking to someone about this...idk. Whatever. I think I'm going to get off this site for a bit. Just get on with life and wait and see what happens on my next period (the only time I get windows). At least I know when I can expect them lol. I'll report back in 3 wks...

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Hey! I totally know what you mean about giving up and just trying to live with the anhedonia. When I get glimpses of "who I was" (and it my case that magical year is 2009, when I last feel I processed life and all of my senses and emotions in a "proper" full way) its a mixed blessing. On one hand it hurts, it shows me all the things that I am incapable of being on a consistent basis, all that I"m missing, a tease, and yet on the other hand it re-affirms my knowledge that i'm not imagining this, I'm not just "getting old" or losing interest in life, or "being lazy". It shows me that there is in fact, something very real going on and I'm not imagining it ect. If I think too much about it I get very down, because I too, feel like something was damaged by prolonged exposure to Effexor and I pray it can be reversed. I have to try not to think of all the good emotions I have missed out on while raising my children bc I can't get those years back.

As for my periods, I find pms heightens the anhedonia (as well as intense irritability) and as soon as I start my period I get a few hours, maybe a day of "awakening" from this state, then the anhedonia returns but minus the irritability. And then around day 14 of my cycle the angries return. I know what you mean about the doctor. I am going back for more testing because I have one physical piece of "evidence" I can show him. My hair. It falls out for months, gets thin, brittle and frizzy, then begins growing back until it passes for normal (extra fine and soft but I think thats because its "new" hairs) and then after some months it all starts again. Year after year. This shows me something is amiss. But if the answer means ingesting something like a pill or hormone, would I ever take anything again? I've lost most of my trust in pharmaceuticals and have a deep fear of ever taking anything again. Will be curious to see how your next month goes! I hope you get a longer stratch of "realness" its like breathing outdoor fresh air after being half suffocated isnt it. Like seeing in colour and smelling things for the first time. Here's to more healing!

2 Timothy 1-7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Effexor 75mg to 262.5mg 2005-2010 for post partum depression

Started having poop out mid 2010, also switched generic brands, then crashed in Dec 2010 (anxiety/ "terror", intense DR, anhedonia, suicidal ideation, chills, insomnia, horrible intrusive thoughts, disorientation, ect)
Rapid "tapered" from 262.5mg Effexor in 3 months

Tried Celexa,Cipralex, then Paxil to deal with wd(this switching made things worse and added akathesia)

Found online support and started tapering Paxil 7 months after quitting Effexor (at this point was having small windows).

Paxil taper: dropped 10% every 4-8 weeks

Year 1 October 2011 to Nov 2012 20mg to 10mg

Year 2 March 2013 to Feb 2014 10mg to 4mg

Year 3 April 2014 to May 2015 4mg to 1.1mg

Year 4 June 2015 1.1mg , dropping by 10% until .5mg, after then dropped by 0.1mg every 5 weeks until 0.1mg.

Finished! Official last dose of 0.1mg on June 15/16

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I think it's totally worth messing with meds/hormones if they find something wrong in your bloodwork. We need to get our lives back. It's worth the risk. I'm so happy (not happy, but, you know - relieved) that you experience the same thing I experience... I feel very alone... I'm scared to tell any kind of doctor about this, but I have nowhere else to turn...I can only hope that something is messed up with my hormones and that the problem is not any deeper than that.

 

Last week was really crazy for me emotionally, as I slowly slipped back into my usual detached state after such a perfect window. I was so depressed...but now I KNOW for SURE that I am not crazy, and I am determined to figure this out. I will find a fix to this this year...I have to. I can't let any more time slip away. I'll see a new doctor every week, whatever... We do NOT have brain damage if our brains are able to get back to that place...there's just something that's out of balance...we can fix it...we have to be able to...

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Hello all. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this ever since I got my last window...and how this all links back to adrenal fatigue.

 

I gave myself AF back in college (I was crazy stressed). I also wasn't eating much etc and was very unhappy - looking back, I was TRYING to dissociate by not eating. Anyway - the AF was made worse by then taking thyroid meds for two years (because, idiot doctors and the holy TSH test and their disbelief in the adrenals)... And then made worse still by taking Prozac in an effort to try to suppress my still high and panicky cortisol levels after graduating... So, my adrenals have taken a HUGE beating over the years. I was never able to take the time to properly recover from AF, because it was one thing after another, doctors didn't believe anything I said, etc, and so I took all kinds of different bandaid medications - but in the end, I still had untreated AF. Then last year, some stressful (good stressful, but still stressful) things happened, and my cortisol became very high, like in college - BUT, this time it went from high to low in just a few weeks...it was a very quick crash. When my adrenals crashed in college, I had high cortisol for MONTHS before my body gave out! So, my adrenals must still be VERY weak from all those years ago!! I've read that once you get AF once, it's all too easy to get it again, and you never fully heal...you just kind of always have adrenal problems after that....

 

Ok, so let's say I have had "adrenal fatigue" since, like, 2009...

 

So what happens to the adrenal glands when you have AF? Well...

 

It starts with cholesterol. Cholesterol is converted into pregnenolone, the "grandmother" adrenal hormone. This is converted to either progesterone (which then converts to CORTISOL), OR it's converted to DHEA, which from there is converted into testosterone, estrogen, and more. And when you have AF, your body needs to prioritize producing cortisol, thus producing less DHEA...and I'm guessing in women, it would prioritize converting the DHEA to estrogen over testosterone...

 

And...

 

When do I *sometimes* feel better...a little closer to normal? When I'm on my period. And what do hormone levels look like on your period? Estrogen and progesterone drop dramatically, leaving testosterone as the most "dominant" sex hormone...

 

A lot of people who have depersonalization report having low DHEA, low T... (A LOT of people mention the low T.)

 

So, is low T their "root cause"?

 

No... 

 

But it could be adrenal fatigue...

 

I ordered some DHEA and pregnenolone (because why not)...although I am guessing, after all the musing above, that the P would mostly convert to cortisol (since my AF body needs that more right now) and the DHEA would mostly convert to estrogen!!!! 

 

Meaning...perhaps I would simply need to take testosterone...

 

Anyway - I think I'm onto something here...

 

Ok.

 

Novel over...

 

More later.

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  • 1 month later...

Wanted to give this thing an update. I'm looking into trying some liver detoxes... My thinking is a congested liver is causing my high estrogen (I have sky high anxiety during the times of my cycle when E peaks, and feel the best and least DP'd during my period when E drops), which is causing hypothyroidism, which is causing DP...

 

This makes lots of sense as I think about how I wound up quitting the prozac because I started to get very bad stomach pains...like my body was having trouble breaking down the medication. Also I didn't start to notice this high estrogen issue (high anxiety/ahedonia until I get my period) until after I stopped taking the prozac.

 

Anyway, I ordered a harmless-looking supplement from amazon (mostly milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke) for a 21 day liver cleanse...also ordered some dandelion tea. Not going to take ANY other supplements for those 21 days...I'm so sick of taking so many supps, doesn't get me anywhere...

 

If that helps at ALL (or maybe even if it doesn't), I'll try a more serious liver detox - maybe a simple 3 day detox - one I'm looking at just involves only ingesting apple juice for 2 days (for the malic acid), and on the 3rd day, you drink some olive oil and epsom salt...seems simple and cheap enough. Apparently it might not work (might not get out any gallstones) the first try and you might need to try it a second or third time before you get results.

 

Anyway...so I'm all about DETOXING right now and less about putting more STUFF into my body (like, really not interested in ADDING progesterone to try to bring down the E)...also interested in trying diatomacheous earth at some point...

 

I had the Full Monty Iron Panel done (recommended by MAG - magnesium advocacy group) and everything came back normal...only thing that could be off is perhaps slightly low zinc (but it's still well within range). Mag was excellent (6.0) and ferritin was great too (only 44 - the mag group shoots for zero, but anything under 100 is pretty good). So...yeah... I'm also waiting on my HTMA consult (in another week or two) so maybe some clues will turn up there, but it doesn't really seem like I have issues with mineral deficiency...

 

More later...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok folks, wanted to give this thing an update. 

 

I had a bunch of tests done. As I thought, my testosterone and progesterone are low, making me "estrogen dominant":

 

estrogen: 155 (days 1-10 range: 61-394)
progesterone: .2 (Follicular phase range: 0.1-0.9) 
free testosterone: 1.2 (range of 0.0-4.2 pg/mL)
testosterone, serum: 8 (range of 8-48 ng/dL)

 

Also, my fasting glucose level was 100 (range of 0-99)...and I eat low-carb...

 

As I continue to research, I keep coming back to the liver. A congested liver would explain why I have such extreme reactions to meds and why I'm just all around chemically sensitive, slow to detox, and why I can't really handle eating carbs/sugar, etc etc.

 

I'm going to attempt my first liver flush this weekend, and just go ahead and do them every week until some kind of progress is made. I'll drink apple cider vinegar (more than usual) M-F and then do the olive oil/epsom salt flush on Saturday.

 

I've also ordered the humaworm cleanse, so I'll start doing that as soon as it arrives, only skipping the pill on days I do the liver flush. I just keep coming back to detoxing, whether it's stones, parasites, whatever...I really need to stop buying all these weird $upplement$ and just focus on cleansing.

 

Should hopefully have my HTMA results in a week or so, but at this point I'm not sure if it matters what the results are, because the treatment will probably be the same: gut & liver & lymph health and so on...it's very possible I'm copper toxic or something, but I certainly don't see that as my "root cause."

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  • 1 year later...

How are you doing now?

Zoloft 50 mg from April 23, 2015 to August 28th, 2016 (1 year, 4 months).

4 week taper. Last dose on August 28, 2016

 

Mianserin 30 mg in an attempt to reverse PSSD from September 6th, 2017–around mid November 2017 after a few week taper. Did not fix PSSD

 

Currently taking: Melatonin and magnesium every night.

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  • 10 months later...

Hi @time2wakeup, how are you doing now? Any success with the hormonal angle?

- 2003 to 2015: celexa, 20 mg, ~12 years

- 2015: easy switch off celexa and onto cymbalta, 30mg

     (over a decade of fantastic years in here, with one anxiety/depressive episode brought on by a breakup, which I got through with therapy, tools, etc)

- 2017: Nov/December: tapered off cymbalta, 20mg --> 0, over 1.5 mo. in conjunction with my (former) psychiatrist. Zero date: 12/15/17

     (I was just sort of curious to try being off meds after so many (great) years. I wondered the degree to which meds may have been affecting my sex drive/orgasm/access to deeper emotions. After going off was ok for about 3 mo... then: horrible anxiety, panic attacks (first time in 14 years and way stronger than I ever had before), agitation, suicidal depression, crushing physical sensation, anhedonia, dp/dr, emotional numbness. Horrible.)

- 2018, July 21: Tried going back on celexa, 5mg

    (HORRIBLE adverse reaction, discontinued after 10 days, stopped 7/31/18, thought I would need to be hospitalized)

- 2018, Aug 3: Tried remeron, got up to 15mg for 14 days, then tapered back down to 3.5 mg/d (super sedating, couldn't think and could feel even less)

- 2018, Sept 7 - Oct: Restarted Cymbalta, ~4mg (sept 9, stopped the 3.5 mg of remeron). Went up to 13 mg Cymbalta, then right back down to 4.5mg.

    (Now see it as withdrawal and am wanting to get off and heal.)

 

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On 2/27/2017 at 10:26 PM, Altostrata said:

 

In San Francisco, I know a gynecologist who has a specialty in balancing hormones. 

Hi! Can you share this doctor with me? I’m in SF, amd my hormones are a mess now. Major PMDD for the first time ever. Need some extra support. Thank you! 

med history: 17 years total

Concerta: 2 yrs - cold turkey, brought on first "depression" 

Short trials of Zoloft and Effexor: 1-3 years - multiple cold turkey's brought on OCD intrusive thoughts for the first time

Lexapro 15-20 mg (16 yrs)  - tried to quit once, cold turkey, worst WD ever, had to go on to 20mg to stop WD

Welbutrin 150mg (8-ish yrs) NO w/d symptoms from CT

Adderall 5-7.5mg (8-10-ish yrs) quit CT, brought on many WD symptoms, but manageable. 

 

Begin taper March 2018 Currently on 4.4 mg lexapro - down from 20mg

 

Symptoms depression, horrible intrusive thoughts and urges, new onset PMS/PMDD, constant extreme irritation and anger, visual hallucinations, irrational thinking patterns, panic, nausea, dizzy, intolerance to working out, chemical sensitivities, noise sensitivities, memory issues, heart palps, etc. 

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On 2/27/2017 at 10:26 PM, Altostrata said:

 

In San Francisco, I know a gynecologist who has a specialty in balancing hormones. 

Hi! Can you share this doctor with me? I’m in SF, amd my hormones are a mess now. Major PMDD for the first time ever. Need some extra support. Thank you! 

med history: 17 years total

Concerta: 2 yrs - cold turkey, brought on first "depression" 

Short trials of Zoloft and Effexor: 1-3 years - multiple cold turkey's brought on OCD intrusive thoughts for the first time

Lexapro 15-20 mg (16 yrs)  - tried to quit once, cold turkey, worst WD ever, had to go on to 20mg to stop WD

Welbutrin 150mg (8-ish yrs) NO w/d symptoms from CT

Adderall 5-7.5mg (8-10-ish yrs) quit CT, brought on many WD symptoms, but manageable. 

 

Begin taper March 2018 Currently on 4.4 mg lexapro - down from 20mg

 

Symptoms depression, horrible intrusive thoughts and urges, new onset PMS/PMDD, constant extreme irritation and anger, visual hallucinations, irrational thinking patterns, panic, nausea, dizzy, intolerance to working out, chemical sensitivities, noise sensitivities, memory issues, heart palps, etc. 

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