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Nena59: A long wave


Nena59

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Hi All,

I will go by Nena. I'm a 58 year old mother who has been off Prozac and Welbutrin for six months after taking it for almost 20 years. I quit twice and always went back on right about now...at six months. Then I thought I was getting symptoms back, I knew nothing of withdrawal!!!!! I quit this time, six months ago, because I realized that my migraines were getting worse(at least 2 a week) and the medicine I was taking to stop the migraine had too many side effects. A light-bulb went off when I realized that bad headaches and taking Prozac happened at the same time...1996. I've always had headaches, but never so debilitating as those that started in 1996.

 

I am so thankful for this site. It has kept me going through some really bad times. You have given me inspiration and courage.I have been reading it on and off for about five months and thought it was time to introduce myself.

 

I try to do everything right. My diet is great....almost no sugar, wheat, caffeine, dairy. I exercise a lot, daily...mainly walking and occasional yoga, but I've added running and weight training. I have weekly acupuncture and biweekly counseling sessions (although I'm not convinced she believes in withdrawal).  I try to get 8 hours of sleep. I take magnesium, fish oil, vitamin D and B 12. I try to keep stress low, but I have five kids, one still at home and aging parents and in-laws. I have a loving, supportive husband.

 

I get so discouraged sometimes. At times have no desire to do anything. Nothing makes me happy or excited. I have to push myself to take a shower. I find it hard to even talk to people. I don't want to talk to people. My husband is so supportive and agreeable and I get so snippy with him sometimes. I have always been a busy productive person, not now! I know I need to plan to do things and get out, but I'm afraid that I will feel bad and it will be so hard. When I do have things planned I get stressed and upset before they happen. I do have windows, but it has been awhile. I was doing well, I had almost daily windows of a couple hours. About three weeks ago a veil covered me and windows just don't happen. I'm better than I was four months ago, but so much progress is lost! I need to have a window! What do I do now? I am not going back on Prozac! I think that this is still withdrawal...I have brain zaps, tingling in my legs and arms, low energy, anhedonia, weight loss, sleeplessness. What do I do now?

 

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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Hi Nena.  I'm sorry you're going through a wave right now but it sounds like you have had at least some windows in the past 6 months which is a positive sign . This is the pattern in withdrawal and to be expected at this stage. It doesn't make it any easier but at least it may be helpful to know that it's normal in withdrawal.

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

I was like you and always went back on the A/D's at around the 6 - 9 month mark. It was only when I found SA and realized that I was actually in withdrawal all those previous times that I persevered this time through the symptoms of my last and final withdrawal.

 

Could you please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature  - All drugs /dates /dosages so that we can see your situation easily whenever you post. This link will explain how to do that.

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

You seem to be doing well with your diet and lifestyle which is key in the recovery process.This topic may give you some more ideas and may help with some of your ongoing symptoms.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

You are already taking magnesium and fish oil which we recommend and hopefully they are helping you in your recovery.

 

Reinstatement is an option but after 6 months it can be tenuous and may not necessarily be successful. I'm not sure if that is something you are considering but it may pay to at least read through the topic. You can let us know your thoughts on this. 

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Most of the symptoms you are experiencing are common in withdrawal. This link gives a full list :

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

These topics are helpul in understanding the recovery process :

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery/

Brain Remodelling

 

Sleeplessness is unfortunately all too common also. This discussion on the topic has some good ideas and possible solutions.

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have withdrawal insomnia

 

Many find melatonin to be helpful for regulating the sleep cycle.

Melatonin for sleep

 

This thread can be your journal to record your progress and ask more questions. Please have a read through the information and come back with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

Welcome to SA.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thanks Ali,

I've read your information. It is very much appreciated. I know there are people who are so much worse than I am, but I sometimes get so discouraged knowing that I will be hurting for so long. I know that patience is what I need.

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Nena,

 

I'm sorry you are in this situation of needing this kind of support, but so glad you found us. I too was taking antidepressants for a long time, stopped and without realizing, went into protracted withdrawal. This site and the information here was a life saver for me. Not only for helping me learn what was actually happening, but for giving me the support I needed to endure the long recovery process and stay away from the drugs which were actually the cause of my declining health and increasing symptoms.

 

I can't improve on the information AliG gave you, but wondered how you stopped taking fluoxetine last September. Did you taper at all? Please would you add this to your signature so we have a clear understanding of your situation.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Nena . How are you going ?  Yes - Petu's questions are very relevant to your situation. Could you perhaps add that to your signature ?  Did you taper Fluoxetine and if so - how ?

 

In answer to your question  - what do I do now ?  You can just keep going- doing the best you can to get through this. There is still the question of reinstating if you are interested . Sometimes it can be successful and other times - not . It's not normally recommended this far out but having said that some have been successful. 

 

The links are above if you want to re- read through them.

 

What are your thoughts in regard to this?

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Hi Ali,

I'm a bit scared to go back on anything. I feel like some progress may be lost. I wish I had known about the really slow taper, although the main reason that I went off prozac and welbutrin was because they were causing debilitating migraines. The sumatriptans  I took to relieve the migraines had increasingly bad side effects. I realized migraines got bad when I started anti-depressants. My headaches are better. Yes, headaches, not migraines! I have to be thankful for that, but it's hard when I feel no joy!

 

I am coming out of a pretty bad wave. The last couple of days I have a bit of a window at the end of the day. Recently, I did some traveling and had dental work that required Novocaine, can that bring waves on? 

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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  • 2 years later...
  • Moderator

Hi Nena-- I see your question on my intro thread "Tao of the Brassmonkey", but really need some more information before I can say too much.  It looks like you haven't updated your intro thread in about two years, Would you please bring us up to date.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

I have been completely off Prozac and bupropion since October 1, 2016 after taking them for 20 years. I have gotten a lot better in many ways.  I don't have body aches or anxiety attacks. I'm not as anxious when my husband leaves for a few days, leaving me alone at home ( I used to love an empty house 😞 ). My brain zaps are milder and less frequent. 

I have a very clean diet, try to get plenty of sleep and exercise daily, mainly walking. I am more fit at 60 than I was in my 20's. I meditate and "pray" almost every morning. I take the important supplements. I really do everything right, except for the gluten free, non-chocolate sweets treats that I allow myself occasionally.

My husband is awesome...very patient...my rock. My children are also supportive, I have a great family.Many of my friends understand and listen to my woes occasionally. I even have a friend that tapered from ad years ago on her own. She suffered for a few years...she is great to talk to. I wish I met her before I went cold-turkey. 

I suffer from migraines a couple times a month so diet, exercise and sleep are very important. The headaches certainly don't help with this withdrawal.

My father passed last year and my mother had successful lung cancer surgery a few months later. These events and my changing role as daughter certainly slowed my healing. I'm still grieving and learning.

 

My biggest concern is that I will never get better. I have little joy. Most days I feel better in the evening. My days of feeling depressed are very long. The good and bad used to be more distinct, it's all a bit dulled now. No strong windows or waves.

I don't work and so a lot of things that I should be doing get put off for lack of desire. I don't want to do the things that I loved to do before wd...really don't want to do anything. I walk instead or read. Then I push myself to finish things that I have started. I have such an awesome life on the outside, but my inside life is painful. People really don't know. I guess they just think of me as quiet and uninteresting.

I had a couple of window days last week...windows in that most of the day I felt good with occasional jabs of sadness. I hiked up a hill for 2.5 miles, quickly. I felt GREAT! My body felt that good pull that you feel with exercise. I realized I hadn't felt that in years! It was one time, now gone. 

 

I used to be more hopeful. I am just so tired of pushing and not just being able to enjoy my life.

 

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Nena59: A long wave
  • Moderator
2 hours ago, Nena59 said:

My biggest concern is that I will never get better.

 

Nena, it sounds as if you're doing very well, all things considered. It takes a long time for many (I would say most) of us to recover, and your improvement in symptoms is very encouraging.  From what you've written, especially about the windows, it seems very clear that your brain is doing what it does so well, healing.  The dullness, depression, apathy and general blah-ness are very normal.  (By the way, just my personal opinion, but I'm not convinced that gluten is bad unless you have celiac disease.  Your call.)

 

The following link deals with how  long it takes to heal.  Some of the information might be upsetting but the overall message contains great hope.  The first link is most germane to your situation but many of the other links may be helpful also..

 

HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO TAKE?

 

Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Oct. 20, 2022: 3.2mg

Taper is 83% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thanks Gridley,

I appreciate your reply. I  know rationally that I am in withdrawal but my dern ruminations and most of the world think this is a condition that could be cured with drugs.

My mom just started an antidepressant with my sister's insistence. My dad, her husband of 63 years just died last year! That fact, not to mention all I have been through makes my head spin. I guess we all know what they think of all my suffering😬.

I wish I could find a decent counselor, but I have really just given up, they make me feel worse. The last two, after quizzing me on what I do to help myself, suggested Trans cranial magnetic stimulation. When you have done all that you can, won't take drugs...zap your head! I guess that answered my question about what they think about PAWS.

Anyway, I guess I just need reassurance sometimes. Your reply made me feel better. I read all the extra information you sent and it helped a bunch. I get stuck on the fact that my waves and windows aren't very distinct. I need to focus more on my changing baseline. That was a great insight. Someday I will be reassuring somebody, I just have to relax about it until then.

On 5/24/2019 at 4:59 PM, Gridley said:

(By the way, just my personal opinion, but I'm not convinced that gluten is bad unless you have celiac disease.  Your call.)

I do gluten free for my migraines. I will sometime soon experiment a bit with it, I'm just hesitant because it just might bring on a migraine which really hurts! 

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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Hi Nena. 

Sorry for your continued suffering after 3 years.

I was on prozac for over 20 years and am 58.

Did your hair fall out like mine is? 

Has it stopped?

I am just past the one year point. 

Do you have any wisdom or advice to share?

Thanks

 

This is the best of my recollection.

20 mg Prozac 3-4 days per week from 1994 until May 2018.

Beginning May 15 I began to drop doses. 

I dropped 1 dose per week for the next 4 weeks.

It was not systematic at all. I don't have which days I took what.

so the week of May 13 I took 4 doses, which was pretty normal for me.

Then the week of May 20 I took 3 doses 20 mg.

The week of May 27 I took 3 doses 20 mg.

The 1st week in June l took 2 doses 20 mg.

The week of June 10, 2018 was my last dose 20 mg.

I had been on Prozac only for over 20 years.  No other medications.

 

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Hi Tweet,

I did not have any hair loss. I have been getting better very slowly. I guess my best advice is to just hang in there. Relax and give in to the symptoms. I try to distract myself as much as possible because I tend to dwell on bad thoughts about how I feel. I walk a lot and listen to books on tape or pod casts. I read success stories. I try to remember that all this pain is okay because the whole time my brain is healing. I've given up on a trying to force myself to do things that I used to love...it will wait! I will get better!

I'm so sorry for your pain, but you are not alone and we will get better!

Oct 2016. 20 years fluoxetine (20 mg) and bupropion (400 mg). Ceased fluoxetine without taper and bupropion after 4 wk taper. Initial extreme fatigue resolved into moderate fatigue and depression with occasional brain zaps and tingling skin.
Oct 2017. Anhedonia, 90% of my day. Occasional anxiety. Milder brain zaps. In past two weeks, 3 window days and 11 wave days.
May 2019. Anhedonia, infrequent anxiety, mild brain zaps. Sleeping 6 hours nightly after lifetime of 8 hours. Typical daily pattern is wave until late afternoon, window until bedtime. Occasional full day windows.
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  • 3 years later...

Hi @Nena59

 

how are You doing lately?

Please let us know if everything is going fine in Your life!

 

Wishing You a lifelong window!

V.

Duloxetine 2016/17 - 30/60mg/30mg, c/t, light WD.

Sertraline June 2019 50mg ADR

Clorazepate June 2019 20-15-10mg for 3 weeks then sparsely until 2022, 2 times per month max and very low dose (5mg)

Clorazepate Jan2022 10mg 5 days 2,5mg 2 days then off

Venlafaxine June 2019 75mg ADR, 17,5mg, titrated to 37,5mg

Venlafaxine Jan 2022 Covid, hard ADR on 37,5mg, reduced to 20mg ADR, tried ct, crash,

Venlafaxine 22Jan22 reinstated 9,4mg, too low/ 01Feb22- 12mg/ 12Feb- 11,25mg/ 16Feb- 11mg/ 20Feb- 10,8mg/ 24Feb22-10,575mg/ 16Mar22- 10,46mg/ 26Mar22- 10,35mg/ 26Apr22- 10mg/ 01Oct- 9,9mg/ 13Nov- 9,7mg

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