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MoodtoMatchmyMountains: Looking for direction through withdrawals


MoodtoMatchmyMountains

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First, thank you to this supportive community for existing. I'm not sure where else to turn. 

I was first put on SSRI's in 2001 (when I was 14). I was out on a 72hr hold in a children's psychiatric wing, in result of a cry for help email I wrote to a friend. I was dealing with severe depression, which I had no concept of, and became isolated. I believe the first SSRI I started taking was Wellbutrin (150mg). 

When I entered college I started experiencing severe panic attacks. They were debilitating to the point of returning home for week to recover, and visiting my psychiatrist. I was then put on Zoloft (150mg). I was unaware of the side effects to watch out for, continued to suffer severe panic attacks, and now experienced suicidal idealation on a daily basis. Thinking this was just my sick mind I didn't bring it up to my doctor for two years. When I did, I was placed on Effexor XR. I didn't have any side effects, except for a low sexual drive, that I chose to live with. 

 

In my twenties I decided to start focusing on regular excercise and improving my diet. That's when I first noticed real change. I felt very healthy both mentally and physically from 23-29. I no longer experienced panic attacks and I rarely even felt sad. I found a small, beautiful mountain town that promotes outdoor activity, wellness, and community. I have been living here for 4 years. I am consistently active and take part in a long list of outdoor/extreme activities. I thought this would be the perfect time to taper myself off of my Effexor (150mg/day). 

 

I took my last pill 8 months ago (late October 2016). The withdrawals were physically intense at first, but I recognized the feeling from having missed a day or two in the past. But then came the depression all over again. The lack of focus and concentration. The headaches and constant fatigue. I sleep 8 hours every night (sometimes more) and feel exhausted. The sense of hopelessness has returned and I don't think anything is going to improve (I feel trapped in this beautiful place I live). When I excercise I don't get that same endorphin rush. Worst of all the suicidal idealation has returned. I've been thinking it was time to go back on the Effexor, but in doing research I discovered SSRI withdrawal creates similar, if not worse, symptoms. I want to stay off of them. I'm afraid to go back to a mental health clinic as I assume they'll just try to get me back on these drugs. 

 

I've stopped smoking marijuana, recently stopped drinking alcohol, and am trying to cut coffee and sugar as well. Is there anything else I should be doing?

 

I feel weak and disinterested in life, most of the time. I have a high stress restaurant manager's job that I don't think I can maintain much longer. My anxiety and depression are now being fueled by the fact that I'll lose my job and not be able to afford living if this continues or gets any worse. 

 

Thank you for any help you can provide. 

 

-Matt

Edited by Altostrata
added screen name to title
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  • Administrator

Welcome, Mood.

 

This site exists because people do experience long-term effects from coming off psychiatric drugs too fast and this is not recognized by medicine.

 

As you've guessed, you are experiencing prolonged withdrawal syndrome.

 

Do your symptoms have any particular pattern? Have you noticed hypersensitivity to anything, such as light or sound?

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

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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It's not particularly any one stimuli. I've been experiencing headaches and inability to concentrate lately. This has also been coupled with a general lack of interest in the last few weeks (which is abnormal), with the suicidal idealation. There is no real pattern, it comes and goes, and varies in intensity. 

 

Is there any helpful literature on prolonged withdrawal syndrome?

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MoodtoMatchmyMountains: Looking for direction through withdrawals
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Mood,

 

You might like to start with Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.  It will give you the big picture for the situation you've found yourself in.  

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilisation gives a good overview of how healing happens over time. 

 

Dr. David Healy on prolonged antidepressant withdrawal syndrome (2009)

 

The more you know, the better you can work with what's happening.

 

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Thank you, these additional forums have been very helpful so far.

I'm taking it day by day. After having my first panic attack in years yesterday, I'm feeling back to level today (through focus and meditation). Thank you again for this amazing resource!

 

-Matt

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Nice work using the meditation to get through the panic attack.  Self-care is central to managing one's way through withdrawal.  Sounds like you're off to a good start. 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Mood,

Names Woodhull. I have been a member for two days now. If you don't mind  me asking. How did you taper and roughly how much time did it take you to get off? 

I to was on Effexor 150 mg xr for two years.  

I found a taper plan online and it got me off in a month or two. I thought i was free! I became very paranoid and edgy. I could not control my mental state very well. I felt like ending it all the time. I would get in an intense conversation and my heart rate would skyrocket, i could not control it. Also i lost my ability to speak efficiently. I am kind of weird. I am obsessed with speaking. I am a big fan of Tony Robbins and his ability to speak. 

Anyway, 

My anxiety got so bad, a feeling in the bottom of my throat, awkward to swallow and a weird pressure in the top of my chest. I could not talk to someone without getting very worked up emotionally. 

After a moth of  being off, i decided to take  25 mg ir twice a day to level myself back out (my last hope). I am felling a little better everyday. After a month of getting myself back i will reduce 10% every 4 weeks. It will take quite some time i understand as the increments are minuscule. But i just want to feel like myself again! Mood we can make it. 

Feel free to email me, [deleted email address for privacy reasons]          We will feel great again mood. 

Edited by KarenB
deleted email.

150 mg Effexor xr for 2 years. (2015-2017)

Tapered to zero (04/2017-05/2017)

Was off effexor for about a month then the storm hit.

Reinstated 25 mg effexor (06/2017.

Last micro dose of Effexor on Nov 25 2017.

Been off Effexor for 11 months and still feeling AWEFUL. I feel DEAD.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Woodhull, you could send  PM to Mood with your email address in it - that way it's not available to anyone on the web.

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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