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emergingfromhell

emergingfromhell: Tips

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emergingfromhell

Hi. I'm HOPEFULLY coming out of what could be called a 7 month mental breakdown induced by antidepressant roulette ....I've read so many of your stories over the last few months (which have been the worst) and they have helped me...so I feel like I should share my experience in case anything in it can help someone else. First is a short version of what happened to me. Below that is a list of specific things that helped me. And below that, I've shared a longer version in case you'd like more details. I'm truly in awe of how behind psychiatry is. No one should have to suffer like this.

 
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME -
 
I was on Wellbutrin and Prozac for a few years - couldn't quite get the balance right (turns out SR and XL were getting messed up so that didn't help). I was always a little too anxious or a little too depressed. It wasn't bad, but could have been better so I thought I'd try something new. First, I got off Wellbutrin CT. Prozac alone was hell - probably bc of Wellbutrin withdrawal. Then I cross tapered Prozac with Pristiq. Pristiq worked for a month then stopped- I was in hell again - probably delayed Prozac withdrawal. Then I added Ability to the Pristiq - horrible side effects. Then I stopped those CT and I took Viibryd. Pristiq/ Ability withdrawal + Viibryd side effects, and after all I'd already been through, worse than hell. I took Klonopin and 10mg Prozac to wean off of that. I started to feel slightly human again. I got back on Wellbutrin and Prozac and felt more human. Then had to wean off the Klonopin - worse than what's worse than hell. Now I'm just on the Wellbutrin and Prozac like I was originally and I finally feel like a person again. What a nightmare - 5 withdrawals in 7 months. Anyway...I've learned some things....
 
THINGS I'VE LEARNED -
 
Medicine tips:
1. Try to stay consistent with a pharmacy/manufacturer if you're taking generic bc that can make you respond differently to the medicine (I think that was a problem with my wellbutrin originally - also XL is smoother than SR and it's important to stay consistent with that as well)
2. Adding Prozac while weaning off an anti-d can really help with withdrawal 
3. Wellbutrin can increase the concentration of Prozac in the body if taken together which is important to know when tweaking the dosage
4. Don't CT anything even if you're on something else or getting on something else.
5. Changing is a REAL b**** so only do it if you have to.
6. If you have to take a benzo to help with withdrawal, don't take it everyday or for too long bc you'll have another withdrawal and nothing to help with that one.
 
Anxiety:
1. When panicking, holding ice, getting in a really hot bath, running or doing push ups can be good bc your heart is racing due to a threat it doesn't understand...when you give it a real reason to race and then take it away...your heart feels the threat is removed and will slow down a bit. Plus your mind will focus on that pain instead of on the more painful racing negative thoughts. In some messed up way, it's like a less harmful version of cutting.
2. Lavender oil is very calming, and smell is the only sense with a direct pathway to the amygdala which is the part of your brain associated with mood and emotions. Smells that remind you of happy times work as well. 
3. Warm baths helped me more than anything. Increasing body temperature can help regulate mood. Sometimes, putting cold water on for a little helps as well bc that can help circulation and increase oxygen. Switching back and forth can help with the chills/hot flashes that come with withdrawal.
4. After bath, I put towel down on floor and did some stretches to open chest and hips bc that's where we carry a lot of grief. I recommend making it part of a morning routine.
5. Writing affirmations on paper with a  pencil or pen can be therapeutic. Find words that resonate with you - simple sentences. It sounds silly, but it actually helped.
6. If people are pissing you off, but you know you shouldn't be confrontational in this state, write them letters that you don't send.
7. Fresh air really helps, even if you just open a window.
8. The mornings are the worst bc of Cortisol.
9. Google Alternate Nostril Breathing and do that for longer than feels comfortable. Also, when taking deep breaths, the exhale should be longer than the inhale and is more important, but if you do it for a really long time, make them equal so you don't get light-headed.
10. There's a good mediation app called "Insight Timer" and another called "Calm".
11. I read a book called "Love Warrior" that was a good distraction and very relatable. If you have stress relating to a toxic relationship, "Women Who Love Too Much" is also a great book.
12. Binge on a Netflix series to distract your mind. The Moth app is good for that also if watching is too hard.
13. Hugging or cuddling releases oxytocin and can really calm stress. Massages obviously help a ton as well. 
14. Imagine a happy place in detail - the smells, sounds, textures etc...for a proper amount of time. Get lost there.
15. Talk to yourself and tell yourself the things you wish someone would say to you to calm you down. You'll feel crazy at first, but it helps.
16. People who've had easy experiences don't write on message boards, but there are plenty. So don't get discouraged only reading horror stories on here. They're the worst cases.
17. Focus on today. Making big changes to address the underlying issues that caused the original anxiety and depression are things to consider once you're stable. And whatever in your life is getting messed up bc of the state you're in, focus on fixing those later when you're better as well. Be honest with work, family, friends etc and hope for compassion. In the meantime, think of the next right thing to do and the next breath. One thing at a time, one moment at a time. Everything else will be much less daunting and easier to fix when your biochemistry isn't going haywire...so cut yourself some slack.
 
Nausea:
1. Pepto can help. 
2. Chocolate Boost Plus is good for when you're too nauseous to eat but need to keep weight up. Banana and peanut butter smoothies with chocolate protein powder helped me. Whole foods has a bunch of shots, smoothies etc if you can't make them.
3. Pedialite can help with dehydration.
4. Three fingers from your wrist is the pressure point for nausea. 
5. Ginger helps more than you'd think. Ginger candies to suck on are good. Despite what people say, I found Ginger Ale made me more nauseous.
 
Loved Ones:
1. It's helpful if other people can make many of the daily small decisions for you bc thinking at all can be really overwhelming. 
2. Complicated conversations about politics, business etc should happen in another room. It's important to focus on simple and positive things to help your brain heal
2. Google SSRI withdrawal symptoms and show them to your loved ones so they know what to expect and so they know your behavior is the result of a chemical clusterfuck and is not reflective of a new or old you. 
3. Explain to loved ones that if you sense their anxiety about your anxiety or their fear or impatience, you will feel it magnified and it will slow your recovery massively. You need to be around supportive people who will tell you you're going to be ok and keep you calm. That's crucial.
 
From Me to You:
This is only temporary. You will get through this and be yourself again, no matter how impossible that seems while you're in it. I know my story isn't very encouraging, but I really believed the new me was going to have to live like that forever, and I really didn't think I'd survive if that was the case. But I did survive and I'm here now - feeling like the old me with a new appreciation for everything, and the hope that what I went through will somehow help someone else.
 
 
Here's the more detailed version if you think it might provide some useful information - about what NOT to do :)
 
For a few years, I was on 300 wellbutrin and 40 prozac... I couldn't quite get the balance right for anxiety/depression, and I thought maybe being on just one drug would be a better idea. My doctor suggested I CT the wellbutrin and up my prozac from 40 to 60. I stayed on just Prozac for the month but crashed - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. I still don't know if that was wellbutrin withdrawal but, in hindsight, I suspect it may have been. I went to a new doctor who suggested I try Pristiq bc my mom does well on Effexor (strong proof that members of the same family tend to do well on the same drugs) and it was the improved version. Also bc I had done well on Cymbalta years earlier, except for the intense fatigue, she thought another SNRI might be good for me. I weaned off Prozac in a couple of weeks while taking the Pristiq. It worked really well for about a month on it's own and then I crashed again - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. Again, in hindsight, I wonder if the prozac had a delayed withdrawal bc that can happen even though doctors don't acknowledge it much. I raised the Pristiq by 25 for a couple weeks and it didn't help. Studies have shown that increased levels of Pristiq doesn't increase efficacy of the drug...it's just more to get off of later. So I went back down to 50 and my doctor then added 5mg of Ability. I had awful side effects - restlessness, jumping out of my skin, major depersonalization, etc. She suggested Rexulti which has less side effects but isn't covered by insurance and would have been 1k a month so I tried Geodon instead for three days - same class of med, same problems. So I gave up on Pristiq. Stopped CT and started 10mg of Viibryd. That's when things started to get really really bad. I basically compounded Pristiq withdrawal with Viibryd side effects. I eased up over a month to 40mg - the therapeutic dose. I woke up in a panic attack every morning, I couldn't function at all, I could barely talk or eat. I felt terrified and almost catatonic. I took 20mg at 11am and 20mg at 3/4pm, and you have to take it with food which is hell when you're that nauseous. It got a little better after 5/6 pm everyday which was strange. It also got a little better at 40mg in that my good windows would last a little longer but my bad ones were still awful and still lasted for the majority of my day. I added Valium in the morning but didn't want to get addicted so I'd go three days or so then experience increased depression when I stopped. My doctor kept telling me to be patient, that things would turn around, but after two months of feeling like I was dying everyday, unable to function and having suicidal thoughts, I lost any bit of patience I had left. He had also told me that he thought a lot of this was psychological not chemical and that I should spend more time talking to my therapist. Anyone who has been through awful side effects and/or awful withdrawal very much knows the difference between issues that can be resolved by a therapist and issues that need a good psychiatrist. The only thing I needed to talk to a therapist about at the time was the physical pain I was in due to the medicine. I saw another doctor who told me to wean off the Viibryd - that I should be feeling better by that point. I honestly thought I wouldn't make it through another withdrawal period, but the Viibryd was so bad for me that the withdrawal was actually less miserable than the side effects had been. She also told me to take Klonopin .5mg in the morning and at night. My anxiety was way worse in the morning so I took it then, but fortunately, didn't get addicted to the full 1mg a day bc I didn't take it at night. She also added Prozac - 10 up to 20 while I weaned down on Viibryd. After being off of the Viibryd for a little over a week, I needed to figure out what anti-depressant was next. I honestly felt too scared to try anything else so I added 300xl of Wellbutrin to the 20 Prozac - a little less than I was on originally - before I started all the changes. Still not finished - then I had to withdraw from the .5 Klonopin I'd been taking for a month. I cut in half for a week then half of that for 3 days. I suffered terribly that whole time and then for a few days after my last dose. I am writing you from the other side. So...I basically went through all of the hell to circle back to where I started, and I definitely didn't have it in me to get off altogether bc I know adjusting to life without meds after 16 years on them is going to be a bigger task than I have the energy for right now...but I did learn some things....
 

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Petunia

Welcome emergingfromhell,

I moved your post from the success stories forum to start an introduction/update topic of your own. Thank you so much for sharing your story and tips, I'm sorry you have been through such a rough time. But glad to hear you have settled back down now you have stabilized back on your original dose after reinstating. Perhaps if you had found this site earlier you might not have had to go through so much, only to arrive right back at where you started.

 

But you have found us now and when you are feeling stronger, with more energy, we can help you to safely taper off your drugs, if that's what you decide to do. What you have been through would certainly have taken its toll on your energy reserves and confidence, so I can understand your reluctance to making any changes now, and I think that's a wise decision, but please don't rule it out completely. 

 

We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

A slow taper will not only minimize withdrawal symptoms, it will give you the best chance at getting through the post-withdrawal year or two without having to go back on the drug.

 

Here are a few more topics you may find helpful, if you decide to try again in the future:

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin, SR, XR, XL (buproprion)

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. Psychiatric drugs can cause harmful side effects and long term, they can worsen health, increasing the risk of other illnesses. They don't cure anything, but work by creating a chemical imbalance in the brain, which alters natural brain function. For some people, these changes may seem helpful. But evidence is starting to show that long term, they cause more harm than good. From personal experience, my own research, and reading thousands of anecdotal stories, I've come to the conclusion that psychiatric drugs should only be used in the most serious of cases and then for the shortest possible amount of time.

 

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

Petunia.


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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emergingfromhell

Thank you so much for that wonderful response! And yes, I'm sure I will have the strength to try later and will definitely be back!

xx

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emergingfromhell

i realized that my main problem all along was Akathisia! I had been confusing it for anxiety causing doctors to raise my SSRIs which only made it worse! Mind blown. 

 

https://rxisk.org/akathisia/

 

Hope that helps someone!!

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Altostrata

Welcome, emerging.

 

Those are great tips! Thanks for joining our community, you've learned so much.


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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nicolantana

Hey...did you have anhedonia? how was that? did your emotions comeback?


late July...lexapro 10 seroquel 25.....due to mild depression......adverse reaction, suicidal thoughts, hospitalization

August....felt that meds were ripping stomach apart....docs didn't believe me..upped meds to seroquel 125, lexapro 20, mirtazapine 30, olanzapine 20....stayed on these drugs unitl mid november......severe anhedonia all the time...mid novemeber 2016 , began taper.....very small windows of emotion...Christmas....off everything by Christmas day......last six weeks, cried and laughed on a number of occasions for first time since taking initial meds....8 occasions of strong emotion over 6 weeks in ealry 2016.......doubting recovery......

BIG WINDOW IN july 2017, felt incredible, lasted a month or so, felt close to recovered...window left, september to Chrimstas 17 was anhedonic hell.....Turn of the year, January 2018, some very strong days (a window) offering renewed hope

back to hell until late February 2018, strong 10 day window....followed by anhedonic wave for 7 months straight! not a flicker of normalcy

September 2018 ...incredible window...followed by three month wave.January 2019.... a strong window

window subsided, but new baseline was higher.....life since January 2019 ( 9 months and counting) has been far better. Complete anhedonia is gone!! God, I've tears writing that. I am far from recovered, but far from hell...to use a scale, if life is rated out of a hundred, I was about minus 50 for the majority of 2 years..I know feel about 30 per cent of self, experiences intermittent flickers of normal life regularly....My days have more quality and I am optimistic of recovery. 

 

 

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MollyN

What a wonderful opening post emergingfromhell - brilliant, thank you for sharing it!


 

Drug history

  • 20mg paxil in 2001 - 4 months use  
  • 20mg paxil in 2003 - 2 months use 
  • 20mg paxil in 2008 - 8 years continuous

Withdrawal history:

  • March 2014 - disastrous alternate day taper
  • Jan 2015 - 15mg to 10mg. Disaster
  • Sept 2015 -  10mg to 5mg. Disaster. Reinstated to 6mg. Relief
  • Oct 2015 - started slow 10% taper 
  • Oct 2016 - at 4mg- stop taking paxil (not recommended)

 

I'm not a medical professional. Seek advice from a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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emergingfromhell
On April 29, 2017 at 2:51 PM, nicolantana said:

Hey...did you have anhedonia? how was that? did your emotions comeback?

I did. And they're only starting to come back now! I ended up going through another round of withdrawal in June as I realized  the Prozac was making my heart race. So it's 7 months after my last withdrawal. I believe I had post acute withdrawal syndrome though.

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emergingfromhell
On May 10, 2017 at 8:59 PM, MollyN said:

What a wonderful opening post emergingfromhell - brilliant, thank you for sharing it!

Thanks! Just dying for some good to come out of that hellish experience!

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emergingfromhell
On March 31, 2017 at 6:56 PM, Petunia said:

Welcome emergingfromhell,

I moved your post from the success stories forum to start an introduction/update topic of your own. Thank you so much for sharing your story and tips, I'm sorry you have been through such a rough time. But glad to hear you have settled back down now you have stabilized back on your original dose after reinstating. Perhaps if you had found this site earlier you might not have had to go through so much, only to arrive right back at where you started.

 

But you have found us now and when you are feeling stronger, with more energy, we can help you to safely taper off your drugs, if that's what you decide to do. What you have been through would certainly have taken its toll on your energy reserves and confidence, so I can understand your reluctance to making any changes now, and I think that's a wise decision, but please don't rule it out completely. 

 

We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

A slow taper will not only minimize withdrawal symptoms, it will give you the best chance at getting through the post-withdrawal year or two without having to go back on the drug.

 

Here are a few more topics you may find helpful, if you decide to try again in the future:

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin, SR, XR, XL (buproprion)

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. Psychiatric drugs can cause harmful side effects and long term, they can worsen health, increasing the risk of other illnesses. They don't cure anything, but work by creating a chemical imbalance in the brain, which alters natural brain function. For some people, these changes may seem helpful. But evidence is starting to show that long term, they cause more harm than good. From personal experience, my own research, and reading thousands of anecdotal stories, I've come to the conclusion that psychiatric drugs should only be used in the most serious of cases and then for the shortest possible amount of time.

 

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

Petunia.

Thank you again for this Petunia. I now have to lower my Wellbutrin bc my Dr thinks it's making my heart race. He thought it was the Prozac before and had me cold turkey it which sent me to the ER. I added back half to shorten the withdrawal misery and have stayed on it. My heart is racing less on less Prozac, so it seems likely to me that if I tapered that, my heart would calm down. Nonetheless, my Dr seems convinced I need to lower my Wellbutrin. I'm on 300xl and he wants me to jump to 200sr. That feels aggressive for a lot of reasons, so I'm back on this site, looking at the links you sent and getting ideas about how to do this! Thank you! R

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emergingfromhell

Addax, I have no idea if you’ll get this but would love to know more. This happened to me but I went from 350 Wellbutrin/40 Prozac to 0 Wellbutrin and 60 Prozac. My dr told me to raise Prozac to 60 and cold turkey Wellbutrin bc he said Prozac would negate the WD effects of Wellbutrin. He was very very wrong. Then getting off my Prozac alone, tapering, gave me a month delayed withdrawal. After a couple years of madness trying other drugs, I got back to 300 Wellbutrin and 10 Prozac. Now I’m tapering again. Two weeks ago, I  dropped down to 250 and now, I’d like to drop to 200. I haven’t really felt WD symptoms but I’m worried maybe they’ll just be delayed? Do you think I’m about to get hit after 2 weeks by a big delayed WD or maybe I’m safe and these small cuts might not cause severe WD for me? Ahhh I’m just so scarred from before, but I also don’t have a month to give each cut bc I have major life things happening this summer. 

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