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Shrike: Like I’m waking up from 12 year autopilot


Shrike

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Moderator note:  Link to Shrike's benzo thread - Shrike: Switching from Clonazepam to Diazepam?

 

Hey Everyone. 

 

3 months ago I finished my taper off of SSRIs. The agony I have gone through is well appreciated by this group. That’s why I’m here. There are still days I wonder if I can make it BUT I am also getting to the point though where it is hard to imagine “going back” (on SSRIs). 

 

I am getting some “glimmers” of hope. I have good days or even multiple days. I smelled a candle last night and couldn’t believe how rich it smelled. A song with sounds you can “feel”. Beautiful. All my senses were dulled on antidepressants. I didn’t even realize it and had just gotten so used to it. Now I feel things again. Sure sometimes that feels like way too much BUT I’m starting to think it’s worth those bad “waves” to get my brain and emotions back. 

 

Having a good day today. Hope you all are too. I’m taking some time off work to get my head back and heal through some of this build up. I’m overwhelmed by my life but am happy to be “back in it”! 

 

Any encouragement or wisdom is welcome. One of the lingering symptoms for me is sleep. I am getting better but still waking up too early and restless and racing. 

Edited by Shep
added new username to title

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to GregoryReboot: Like I’m waking up from 12 year autopilot
  • Moderator

Hello, GregoryReboot and welcome to SA.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

I'm glad your'e getting some glimmers of hope and good days.  That is a very encouraging sign.

 

I want to give you some information about AD withdrawal so you will have a better understanding of what you're going through.

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  Some people have found the information and explanations at these links helpful:
 
To help you deal with withdrawal, I have a few suggestions.  We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 
Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
Many members have benefitted from the non-drug coping skills described in these two posts.  The first is about dealing with anxiety.
 
Here are a few miscellaneous suggestions.  Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Eat a healthy diet.  Mild exercise, such as a 30-minute walk, is beneficial.  Though some members write that they do well with strenuous exercise during withdrawal, we recommend against it because it can be too activating to your sensitized nervous system.  Avoid multiple vitamins (if something goes wrong, you don't know what ingredient caused it) and avoid B vitamins (can be activating--anxiety-causing).
If you're having sleep problems, some members have had success with a low dose .5mg-1mg of melatonin.  The yoga position of lying on the floor with your feet at a 90 degree angle on the wall can be very effective in relieving anxiety.  Try to avoid overthinking-- Why is this happening now?--and try to adopt an attitude of acceptance.  And take a look at SA's Symptoms and Self-Care forum.
 
If you want to research something on SA, use Google and search SurvivingAntidepressants.org plus the topic, e.g., back pain.
 
You have a great attitude and that is a huge plus for you.
 
This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.

 

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.

Link to comment
Thank you Gridley. I appreciate the encouragement and wise words/advice. I sure am grateful I found you guys. 
 
I updated my signature like you suggested. I didn't keep very good records with all my med changes but it will give everyone an idea where I'm coming from. The twist to my story is that, while I have wanted to get off these drugs for as long as I can remember, the final timing was pretty sudden. After my Lexapro "stopped working" about April of 2016, I tried for 18 months to find "something that worked". My Dr. just kept giving me new prescriptions. The side effects were atrocious - the worst was my gut. I got diagnosed with collagenous colitis in 2017 while on Cymbalta. The drug did seem to be doing something but my body was essentially "rejecting" it. I was in the bathroom every 45 minutes. After basically having a psychotic break caused by Fetzima, I tried Trintellenix. I literally couldn't make it to the bathroom. That was it. Incontinence at 44?! that was my last straw. I tapered off a few months ago and here I am. 
 
I was having a good day my last post so thankfully I had some relief from some of my most pronounced struggles. Today I thought I would share those struggles with the group to get your support.
 
Literally everyday includes some level of suffering. It's hard to quantify what is "the worst" at any given time but these seem to be my top issues that keep coming up.
 
Mental confusion - especially around verbal communication. Many times I just don't decode what people are saying. I have to repeat it back to myself slowly to understand them. When I speak many times I cannot find the words. It is like I have aphasia or something. Most times I can’t say something as delicately as I used to, I have to settle for “easier", less sensitive words. Like I lost my vocabulary. It is very unsettling.
 
Discouragement - like many members I wonder will I feel like this forever? The truth is I don't think so but in those low moments it feels like I'm totally stuck. I don't really think I could "go back on" and expect that it would cure all this. I think I basically maxed out what those drugs could do for me. I just have to ride this out...
 
Shame/Anger/Regret - anger at being “tricked”. Jealousy/Envy for those who did not use these drugs. Shame for using them. Hard because I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. Yet I’m having to pay the consequences as if I did - like having to regrow a central nervous system and relearn how to live. Paying a high price that I didn’t expect to have to pay. It hurts because I didn’t know I was incurring the debt. 
 
Trauma/obsessive thoughts - over the past few months I had some serious work stress. In a nutshell, I feel betrayed and unvalued. The specific events: a woman giving me the silent treatment for 2 months, another young man yelling at and threatening me, I can’t stop thinking about them. It’s like rumination on meth. I never remember being that obsessive before antidepressants. It’s gotten a little better, but at it’s worst I felt like I was going mad I couldn’t get those events out of my head. 
 
Relearning how to be human - it feels like I am an adolescent again. Like my emotions are completely out of control. It almost feels like any coping mechanisms I did have in place got washed away somehow and I have amnesia. I’m having to relearn how to not let my feelings totally run my life.
 
Clumbiness - I’ve never been super coordinated, but I am noticibly more clumsy
 
Thanks for your support everyone. I appreciate any encouragement or insights. I am in a “window” right now but it is laced with all the things above. 
In terms of positives, I am really loving those “moments” when I feel like I am “back”. THAT to me makes all of this pain worth it. I just try to remember that when I am getting discouraged by the "flood of life". 
 

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Gregory, and welcome from me too.

 

I just wanted to provide the following links.  I am by no means suggesting reinstatement (see Post #1 of the topic) but I do want you to be aware of your options.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment
  • Moderator

I sympathize about your colitis and hope it has resolved itself.  I had a different form (ulcerative colitis).

 

Mental confusion is a common withdrawal symptom.  So are obsessive thoughts.  Discouragement is also very common; I would say universal among those of us in withdrawal.  You will make it.  It will just take time.  

 

Regarding the other feelings you describe, many of them are the result of withdrawal.  Please read this link about neuroemotions.

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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Thank you ChessieCat and Gridley. Especially Gridley! I had never heard of neuro-emotions before. This makes so much sense! It is comforting really to read that explanation. They feel so real that it makes me (us) think that they are the “real us” and that they need to be attended to and in fact, most times they are a distortion. Maybe a grain of truth and maybe even worth looking at that grain, BUT not worth taking a lot of time feeling bad about. 

 

Thanks again! This will help give me strength in this journey. I am so grateful for this group! 

 

ChessieCat - I don’t really see reinstatement as a good option here. I am doubtful it would even “work”. I think my brain is burned out on those ADs. That’s why they stopped working. I do appreciate your help though. It is good for us to remember we have options.

 

I am mostly I am grateful that they did stop working, I just have some more stuff to deal with now but I’d say it’s worth it. I already “feel better” than I did on drugs. One day at a time, my windows seem to be getting longer and better - hopeful!

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment

Another question. 

 

I am on clonazapam .5 mg per night. Been on for years unfortunately. Off and on but mostly on. 

 

I’m about 3 months or so off of my SRNI. The absolute worst symptoms are behind me. I’m getting better. Starting to get more “windows”. Yay! 

 

Here’s the question. Anyone have advice for when to attempt my benzo taper? I’m feeling better should I go for it? Or wait? I know benzos are bad to be on but is it better for me to get off them sooner? OR wait a while til my nervous system recovers more from my SNRI withdrawal? Could my long term benzo use actually be making my AD withdrawals and/or other symptoms worse? 

 

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment

Oh! One other tidbit, I’m on Buspirone 30mg at night. Would love to hear ideas on which one might make sense to go after first. And maybe some timeframes? I’m anxious to get off of all of it but not so anxious I want to go too fast and regret it!

 

Thanks!

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment

Hey Team.

 

I've been away for a few days. Just haven't had a very clear head for this. The last few days have had some pretty heavy "lows" (like super deep "brain weight"). That tends to lead to some anxiety and then of course the spiral of "how terrible everything is".  I try and remind myself that some of this is neuro-emotion and probably even other WD but in the moment it is so hard to remember that! I also know INTELLECTUALLY that this is all part of a process and hopefully even progress? but I've been having jump out of my skin symptoms again which I have not had for a little while... Ug. This is so distressing. It gets so bad that sometimes I even think about "could I go back" (on SSRI)? It is a weird thing. If I knew for sure that it would "work" I might even consider it just to get my head straight but it is kind of unlikely that it would just magically "work" the SSRIs and SRNIs were basically pooping out on me and that is what really helped me pull the trigger on my taper. Even IF it did "work", then I have to go through all this again! So, deep down I guess I want to stay the course but been a little discouraged the last few days. I'm sorry this is kinda rambly. My head is not straight :-(. Guess I'm just venting a little. Could use some encouraging words... Anyone else have that interior battle about wanting to put the genie back in the bottle? The world (my job, family, life) that I was numbing out while I was sleeping looks pretty bleak now. So many things look so broken now I don't know where to begin :(.

 

Thanks all.

 

G

 

 

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed obscenity

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I have seen other members make similar comments to what you have posted.  Unfortunately there is no quick fix.  It is going to take time.  However, what we do and how we think during that time can make a big difference on how we get through it.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

Acceptance
 

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for anxiety, depression


Cognitive Behavior Therapy lessons

 

CBT Course:  An Introductory Self-Help Course in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Team.

 

Wanted to post 2 little updates.

 

Ready to start benzo taper...reminder for me to stay alert for that silver lining
I just found a local psychiatrist who has experience helping people get off of psych meds. Yay! I was looking because my nurse practitioner (my psychiatrist retired...) has starting insisting that I taper off my clonazepam by taking .5mg one day and then .25 the next, etc... I told her I wanted to start a 10% taper (BrassMonkey style) and she said that isn't necessary...she was also insisting on a 2 week drop schedule. I admit it makes me angry (some neuro-emotion there for sure) that she is trying to tell me how to do this. I know my anger isn't really at her though - it is at the system. These health care professionals really do mean well, they just aren't "professionals" at supervising these drug tapers. So the blessing here is that if she would have done what I requested (calling in prescription to a compounding pharmacy), I would never have found this other psychiatrist who I just talked to on the phone and knows our (this group) language! I'm meeting with him later this week. All that to say thank God for this silver lining! 

 

Windows widening yet frantic "scanning" for why I experienced a little dip this morning.

So I'm happy to report that overall I am continuing to get better. On Saturday I had the best "whole day" (window) since before I started coming off my SNRI several months ago. Since then, I have been pretty much in a window for almost 5 days now. By far the best (widest open? :P) in many months. I am SO grateful for these moments/days. I will never take feeling "ok" for granted again!

 

So here's the question...this morning I woke up with a touch of the old cortisol brain (instantly restless, frantic, "itchy"). I realized I instantly jumped to "oh crap, what did I do to cause this?!", "...is this because I had ice cream last night?!" "...was my workout yesterday too intense?", you get the idea... 

 

Does anyone else experience this? If so, any tips for how reframe it/snap out of it? I'm TRYING to remember that this is a PROCESS and there will be these moments that are just a natural part of the healing, but in the moment, I am looking for the "fix" and probably kind of terrified that "...what if I go back into that withdrawal hell?!" After a little exercise and meditation (HeadSpace app) I feel good again but still want to address this frantic grasping I do when something goes a little out of whack. 

 

Anyone relate?

 

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment
50 minutes ago, GregoryReboot said:

Hey Team.

 

Wanted to post 2 little updates.

 

Ready to start benzo taper...reminder for me to stay alert for that silver lining
I just found a local psychiatrist who has experience helping people get off of psych meds. Yay! I was looking because my nurse practitioner (my psychiatrist retired...) has starting insisting that I taper off my clonazepam by taking .5mg one day and then .25 the next, etc... I told her I wanted to start a 10% taper (BrassMonkey style) and she said that isn't necessary...she was also insisting on a 2 week drop schedule. I admit it makes me angry (some neuro-emotion there for sure) that she is trying to tell me how to do this. I know my anger isn't really at her though - it is at the system. These health care professionals really do mean well, they just aren't "professionals" at supervising these drug tapers. So the blessing here is that if she would have done what I requested (calling in prescription to a compounding pharmacy), I would never have found this other psychiatrist who I just talked to on the phone and knows our (this group) language! I'm meeting with him later this week. All that to say thank God for this silver lining! 

 

Windows widening yet frantic "scanning" for why I experienced a little dip this morning.

So I'm happy to report that overall I am continuing to get better. On Saturday I had the best "whole day" (window) since before I started coming off my SNRI several months ago. Since then, I have been pretty much in a window for almost 5 days now. By far the best (widest open? :P) in many months. I am SO grateful for these moments/days. I will never take feeling "ok" for granted again!

 

So here's the question...this morning I woke up with a touch of the old cortisol brain (instantly restless, frantic, "itchy"). I realized I instantly jumped to "oh crap, what did I do to cause this?!", "...is this because I had ice cream last night?!" "...was my workout yesterday too intense?", you get the idea... 

 

Does anyone else experience this? If so, any tips for how reframe it/snap out of it? I'm TRYING to remember that this is a PROCESS and there will be these moments that are just a natural part of the healing, but in the moment, I am looking for the "fix" and probably kind of terrified that "...what if I go back into that withdrawal hell?!" After a little exercise and meditation (HeadSpace app) I feel good again but still want to address this frantic grasping I do when something goes a little out of whack. 

 

Anyone relate?

 

 

Oh boy can I ever relate, I am constantly walking a tightrope of not wanting to do ANYTHING to upset the balance. I have been told that as we become more stable, less things will be able to rock that stability. You are certainly not alone in dissecting every little thing wondering what could have "set off" anxiety waves. When your Lexapro quit working what were you experiencing? Depression? Anxiety? Was it the same when other meds you tried "didn't work?"

2008 - October 28th, 2016: Zoloft 50 - 150 mgs, settled on 50mgs from 2011 - 2016.
January 23rd - March 1st 2017: Zoloft 50mgs, direct switch to Lexapro.
March 1st - May 1st 2017: Lexapro 10 mgs, down to 5mgs for a week, then off.
June 1st - July 31st 2017: Paxil 20mgs, Lyrica 600mgs
August 1st - September 30th 2017: Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
October 1st  - November 12th 2017: Paxil 60mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
November 12th, 2017 - September 4th 2018: Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs 

September 4th - September 27th: Paxil 30mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

September 28th - November 7th: Paxil 20mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs (Also Testosterone Therapy started in June 2018 and ended in November 2018)

November 7th 2018 - February 22nd 2019: Paxil 10mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

February 22nd 2019 - April 17th: Zyprexa 2.5mgs, Klonopin 1mgs

April 17th - Now: Zoloft 25mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs, Klonopin .5mgs

Link to comment
19 hours ago, DaveB said:

have been told that as we become more stable, less things will be able to rock that stability.

Makes sense. I sure hope so! So hard to be patient but I know it’s worth it. When I look back over the past 6 months, I can’t believe I made it this far. So yeah, let’s be encouraged that we ARE getting better, more stable...

 

19 hours ago, DaveB said:

When your Lexapro quit working what were you experiencing? Depression? Anxiety? Was it the same when other meds you tried "didn't work?"

This is a really great question Dave. I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess the primary symptom of my lexapro and other meds pooping out on me was depression (although when I look back now, I wonder if they weren’t causing some of that depression). Also, some of the meds at the end of my drug career were starting to create some very scary obsessive thoughts - usually “hauntings” of people who had hurt me... I never had those that bad before meds so that was at least in part created by the drugs. 

 

I woke up at 4 today with some fairly serious cortisol brain but managed to doze a bit til like 6. I did recently start my benzo taper though so it definitely could be partly that. How are things going for you today? Have you hit any “recovery milestones” lately? (I.e. sleeping more than x hours, etc.) How can you tell you are getting better? 

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, GregoryReboot said:

Makes sense. I sure hope so! So hard to be patient but I know it’s worth it. When I look back over the past 6 months, I can’t believe I made it this far. So yeah, let’s be encouraged that we ARE getting better, more stable...

 

I completely agree, sometimes I look back on my last year and can't believe I got through it. 

 

2 hours ago, GregoryReboot said:

I woke up at 4 today with some fairly serious cortisol brain but managed to doze a bit til like 6. I did recently start my benzo taper though so it definitely could be partly that. How are things going for you today? Have you hit any “recovery milestones” lately? (I.e. sleeping more than x hours, etc.) How can you tell you are getting better? 

I go so up and down it is hard to see progress. Though the last two mornings I have not had cortisol awakenings, that has been a 1st for me and I take it as a very good sign. 

2008 - October 28th, 2016: Zoloft 50 - 150 mgs, settled on 50mgs from 2011 - 2016.
January 23rd - March 1st 2017: Zoloft 50mgs, direct switch to Lexapro.
March 1st - May 1st 2017: Lexapro 10 mgs, down to 5mgs for a week, then off.
June 1st - July 31st 2017: Paxil 20mgs, Lyrica 600mgs
August 1st - September 30th 2017: Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
October 1st  - November 12th 2017: Paxil 60mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
November 12th, 2017 - September 4th 2018: Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs 

September 4th - September 27th: Paxil 30mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

September 28th - November 7th: Paxil 20mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs (Also Testosterone Therapy started in June 2018 and ended in November 2018)

November 7th 2018 - February 22nd 2019: Paxil 10mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

February 22nd 2019 - April 17th: Zyprexa 2.5mgs, Klonopin 1mgs

April 17th - Now: Zoloft 25mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs, Klonopin .5mgs

Link to comment
21 hours ago, DaveB said:

I have not had cortisol awakenings, that has been a 1st for me and I take it as a very good sign. 

Yes!!! This is awesome Dave. It’s funny timing. We were just talking about this and THIS morning was the first morning in as long as I can remember that I didn’t have some shade of cortisol wake up. Such a wonderful relief. Yes, good signs indeed...

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
On 08/03/2018 at 4:15 AM, GregoryReboot said:

any tips for how reframe it/snap out of it?

 

When something has happened and you are worried that it will happen again is call anticipatory anxiety.

 

I'm a visual person and I keep in mind the process of solving a Rubik's cube.  I've only managed to solve a Rubik's cube with the help of instructions and YouTube.  What I noticed was that there are times that you are sure you have messed it up.  But if you keep following the instructions suddenly there is another block of colour in the correct place.  But to do the next step you have to move blocks that are already where they belong.

 

I've also found this helpful:

 

From What is Happening in Your Brain:

 

"Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are [...] to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were [...] to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and [...] to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while [...] is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made. 
And just like the Twin Towers- it's possible - but the building is a major effort -and it takes a good year or more sometimes."

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • 2 months later...

Hey Everyone.

 

It has been awhile since I've been online. I basically was getting to obsessed with my symptoms/recovery/wd so I took a break from this site.

 

I could use some help. Having a pretty hard time since going back to work about a month ago. Lots of things happening - return of all of life's stressors, my initial brain "malfunctions" that led me down the psych drug path (I have some sort of processing disorder that was never diagnosed among other things), intense internal and external pressure (I am the sole source of income for my family and have teenagers which is it's own thing 🙂).

 

Here's the point. It has been 6 months for me since stopping my last SSRI. My most acute symptoms have died down or disappeared which is great. But now, things are so heavy in terms of pressure of work and family, and the anxiety, panic and obsessive thoughts so powerful, that I honestly wonder if I am going to make it. Like do I NEED to go back on SSRIs in order to even *live* through this? I just feel totally overwhelmed and not sure how to dig out of this hole. Would something like prosaic even help? My initial taper was initiated by "poop-out". Am I crazy for even considering this?!

 

I know my writing is kind of scattered but I think you get the idea. I would love some encouragement, thoughts or prayers...

 

Thanks all.

 

G

4 year journey off of ADs, finally antidepressant free since July 2021! Still in protracted withdrawal but getting better (still 'injured' and impatient but so grateful to be getting my 'self' back...slowly...)

 

12 years total of SSRIs and SRNI use then 7 month break, then Mirtazapine for sleep

  • Lexapro - 2005 - 2009
  • Effexor - 2009 - 2012 (tried to get off, tapered down, quit for a few weeks)
  • Pristiq - 2012 - 2014
  • Lexapro - 2013 - 2016
  • Buspirone - 2013 - 2018 (30-60 mg)
  • Klonopin - 2013 - 2018 (1-3 mg)
  • Abilify - 2016 
  • Remeron - 2016 
  • Cymbalta - 2016 (seemed to start working but GI side effects were horrible)
  • Celexa - 2017 
  • Pristiq - 2017 (few months, made me switch to generic - didn't "work")
  • Fetzima - 2017 (few months - kinda worked but anxiety literally drove me crazy - obsessive thoughts)
  • Trintellenix - 2017  (felt like a psychotic break, fast taper [too fast] ended November 15, 2017)
  • No ADs - 7 months free of antidepressants (very glad I did it, but no sleep was agony - so desperate I surrendered to Mirtazapine prescription)
  • Slow methodical taper off of Clonazepam (~2017 - 2018)
  • Mirtazapine - June 2018 to July 2021
  • Antidepressant free since July 2021!

 

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