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tarutaru: hello


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Hi everyone,


I've been reading this site for a while now because this is the only site where I can make sense of what happens to me when I stop taking antidepressants.  I have tried to go off my medication many times without success, and I have pretty much come to accept that I am not strong enough to go off them (like one of my colleagues who is "too afraid to stop taking it".)  You see, I am not a strong person.  I grew up sensitive to life's pains and become suicidal in my late teens.  Antidepressants took the edge off and allowed me to function, but I have finally learned the truth of withdrawal because every time I withdraw the symptoms are so much worse, it pales in comparison to my original condition, and I get so many new symptoms I've never had before (read "insomnia").  I have been wanting to quit but I don't know how.  I just know I don't want to keep taking something that is so harmful down the track.  For me it is coming off them that I realise how harmful they are, because I never really had a problem while taking them, and that was a huge trap.


Recently I came across several sources that gave me hope that I may be able to withdraw without suffering too much by taking certain supplements.  I followed a regime of tapering while using the supplements and finally got off the AD without too much trouble.  Unfortunately, I am two months in and getting a lot more anxiety and insomnia and the supplements are not helping as much as they used to (but still helping).  Although this is not surprising because in the past the really difficult symptoms wouldn't surface until maybe 3 months in for me.  My original plan was to see how far I could go with these supplements and that if things became intolerable I would go back on AD, but really, I don't want to go back.  I am not strong but I think my life circumstances have changed because I have a steady job and a loving partner and I'm not as lonely, and have outgrown issues with sexuality.  I don't think I am the same depressed self I once was.  But I don't know and won't know until I get off these addictive substances and recover from them.


So here I am, hoping to ride it out...again.  Two months is such early days in the scheme of things but maybe with the correct views and support I can make it?  That is a big dream of mine.  It's such a pity that my life dream has been reduced to this mission, and it will be the biggest mission I've ever undertaken if I ever make it through.  This is why I'm here.


At the moment my biggest issue is - surprise! - sleep.  I get myoclonic jerks (twitching) while trying to fall asleep.  This is always the breaking point for me, when it is happening so intensely that I don't get any sleep.  It started happening majorly when I withdrew from Clomipramine, but I think it had started before that with the previous ADs also.  I don't want to take benzos for it and develop another withdrawal.


Still experimenting with more supplements and I know it's risky but so far they have helped me.  Want to find the one that really helps but I guess no-one has discovered one yet.  I am just afraid to go the hard way (ie wait it out) but that may be the only way.


Thanks for reading my post and looking forward to meeting you all.  I know it will be a long road ahead (1-2 years if I'm lucky?), but today I am willing to give it another go.


Became depressed/suicidal when I was 18.  Diagnosed with major depression around 2000.

2000-2010 — Prozac and Effexor on and off (go off without too much difficulty)

2010-2012 — No meds, things were acceptable but then got really bad stomach pain in 2012, got put on Clomipramine.

2012-2016 — Clomipramine 125mg .  Tried to c/t at one stage and had to go back on it.  Then weaned off in 6 months and had to go back on it.  Switched to Pristiq in the hope that it would not be as hard to come off of.

2016-2018 — Pristiq 50mg, tapered from 50mg to 0mg in 7 months, last dose February 2018

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  • Moderator

Hello, tarutaru, and welcome to SA.


Thanks for posting your signature.  Could you please go back and make the typeface a little larger, as it is difficult to read?  Could you also include the supplements you are taking and the dosages.  Also include the rate at which you tapered Pristiq (X% per month) and the dosage at which you jumped off.


Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


Your seven month taper of Pristiq was faster than we recommend, which would account for the withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing.


At Surviving Antidepressants, it is recommended that a person taper by no more than 10% of their current dose with at least a four week hold in-between decreases.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at a more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.
To help you understand what you are experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal:


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.  
Please be aware that sometime withdrawal symptoms don't appear immediately after a too-fast taper.
Healing isn't linear.  There will be ups and downs.

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


You mentioned reinstatement if things get too rough. Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  Please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
Reinstatement isn’t a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone, but it’s the best tactic available.  It's best to reinstate as soon as withdrawal symptoms appear.  You’re still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to three months after last dose or dose reduction.  Do not reinstate the full 50mg dosage of Pristiq, as your brain has already adapted somewhat to not having the drug,  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when updosing/reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase of symptoms remain unbearable.  If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.  Sometimes it can be hard to regain stability after this happens.

After you have given us your tapering schedule and jumping-off dosage, we can suggest a reinstatement dosage.  Then, after you have stabilized (which can take several months) you can begin a safe 10% taper of the reinstated amount.  This would give you a much better chance at succeeding this time. You will need to give it at least a week on the new dose.  It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain. Ultimately the decision is yours, but thought I should bring this to your attention so that you can make the best decision regarding your health and well-being.  


I'm glad you had good results from your supplements.  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.
While it is often a first response to stress to take a B-Complex, in withdrawal it can be overstimulating.
Many members have found the techniques in the following two links helpful in coping with withdrawal.  
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.


Edited by ChessieCat
removed white space

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 of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Sept. 22, 2023 1.4mg

Taper is 92% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg 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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to tarutaru: hello

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