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natlondon: introduction

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natlondon

Hi, I thought I would introduce myself. Have joined this forum after experiencing horrendous withdrawals from anti-depressants. I am 34, female. Currently 3 months completely off of Prozac which I took for 6 years at the highest dose I understand is allowed to be prescribed in the UK (60mg daily). I weaned down from 60mg to 0mg over 5 months. Have had 3 months of pure hell since stopping taking Prozac completely - symptoms ranging from suicidal depression, nausea, migraines, loss of appetite, the most debilitating anxiety and panic. Weakness, crying spells, the most excruciating emotional and psychic pain that I have ever had to endure. All the symptoms I have read others have experienced except I haven't had brain zaps - not sure why. Am determined to stay off of Prozac and just go through what I need to. Very grateful to have come across this forum and hopefully to be able to share how I am getting through and to hear how others have managed and hopefully to offer support too. I am aware that there seems to be no other way that through this -  keen to connect with others who are finding a way through. Very keen to connect and speak further to anyone else having to go through this. Very determined to get through although very aware it feels like you just don't know what each day will bring or when you really are finally on solid ground. Very keen to hear others experiences. I am using the idea of windows and waves to navigate through currently. Very keen to connect with others. Natalie 

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Gridley

Hello, natlondon, and welcome to SA.  

 

To start, in order 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.  Please use this link.
 
 

I'm sorry you're having such horrendous withdrawal symptoms.   It is cold comfort, but these are common and completely normal.  I will be supplying you with several links that I hope will be helpful.  It's a lot of information, so take your time reading.

 

 

 

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.
 
 
You wrote that you are determined to stay off Prozac and go through what you have to.  If you find the symptoms to become unbearable you might consider reinstating.  
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.  At three months out, you are just within the time from when reinstatement has a better chance of working.  Whether to reinstate or stick it out is your decision, but I wanted to inform you of that option.  Whatever your decision, we are here to help you.
 

Because the nervous system is so sensitized during withdrawal, we don't recommend a lot of supplements here but two we do recommend are magnesium and omega-3.

 

 

 

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 found the techniques in these link to be helpful in dealing with withdrawal:
 
 
 
The following link is useful in understanding the emotional and psychic pain you wrote about.
 


Here are some other useful links:

 

Anhedonia, Apathy and Demotivation

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

 

Videos

 

Patterns of Recovery

 

The Power of Neuroplasicity

 

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.  It's a good idea to bookmark this topic so it's easy to find.   I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.



 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

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RenewedLife

Welcome to SA!! I just joined about a month ago and have had some of the nicest people giving advice on how to handle things. I'm sorry that you are going through such awful withdrawal. I had the suicidal thoughts when my psychiatrist pulled me off 75mg Zoloft in 6 days. I trialed Lexapro for a month after and thought it was the Lexapro and in hindsight it was definitely from the CT Zoloft. The thoughts have gotten less frequent, and are much easier to dismiss once you tell yourself that it's from the withdrawal.

 

Do you have a support system at home? Having someone supporting you through the process is very beneficial. As Gridley said above the magnesium and fish oil are also great supplements to add in aiding you through the process. Try to have hope and positive thinking through the process as well. It's easier said than done, especially when you're having a wave but it does help.

 

I know that you'll find the guidance and support that you need through this forum!!

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Fightingawar

Welcome!! I’m almost 3 months off of Clomprimine cold turkey, but looking to reinstate I have all the same withdrawal symptoms as you do but I can’t handle it it’s just been to much. I have absolutely no appetite and have lost 40 pounds in 3 months plus the nausea doesn’t help either. But the anxiety and depression is unbearable for me. I hope that you heal quickly!!

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natlondon

Thank you so much for the replies to my post. I am still finding my way around the website and how to comment. Feel so grateful for the existence of this website and people sharing - feel so broken by my experience, so grateful to be here and to hopefully offer support as I find some kind of way through. 

 

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Fightingawar

@natlondon what are your worst symptoms right now, I’m 3 months off as well and just feeling really bad 😪

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natlondon

Hi Fightingawar, thanks for your message. At the moment it’s really bad panic and anxiety. I just feel like I’m separate from the world around me and in fear. I just don’t feel right at all. Nothing I do seems to make me feel better. Or I feel ok for a moment and then it’s just like I get sucked into a weird mental space or place in consciousness where I just feel so wrong in every way and. I have tried so, so many things. Going for 10km runs when I physically can, really high amounts of fish oil every day. Feel like it’s relentless whatever it is that keeps bringing me back to this space. What are you experiencing Fightingawar? And what has been your experience so far? Nat 

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Gridley

Sorry you're having such a rough go of it.

 

High-intensity exercise can make WD symptoms worse.  When you exercise, I suggest something milder, like a 30-minute walk in nature.  Also, those of us in WD can be very sensitive to supplements, and they can have a paradoxical effect.  More is not better, even with a recommended supplement like fish oil.  I take about 1200mg a day.

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natlondon

Thank you so much for this. Does the high intensity exercise make it worse because it aggravates or stresses the central nervous system more? - From what understand now coming off Prozac has destabilised my central nervous system? - and the only way forward is basically time for it to heal? Are there any supplements that should be taken at all? I also thought I reduced my dose of Prozac sensibly from 60mg to 0mg over 4 months - maybe this was too fast? - had I have known any of this information about discontinuation I’d probably have gone much, much slower. Assuming to re-instate a small amount of Prozac or another SSRI at this stage to try and easy things may not be a good idea? I’m 3 months into taking nothing and it’s been 3 brutal months of all the withdrawal symptoms. Any one who has any experience or advice or suggestions - would welcome any further light on this. So grateful to know at least what appears to be ‘wrong’. Warmest wishes to everyone on here - so much respect and admiration for anyone having to go through this.

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Gridley

Yes, high-intensity exercise can worsen WD symptoms because it stresses an already destabilized central nervous system.  

 

Regarding 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.  Magnesium glycinate is easier on the digestive 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.  Magnesium can have a laxative effect, so definitely start low--perhaps 100mg and work up from there.
 
While it is often a first response to stress to take a B-Complex, in withdrawal it can be overstimulating.
 
Your taper of Prozac from 60mg to 0 in four months was far too fast.  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.  (Using the 10% taper from 60mg, at four months you would've been at 45mg.) 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. 
 
 
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--as you've been doing--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.  You’re still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to three months after last dose or dose reduction.  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.  If you will let me know the details of your four-month tapering schedule, including dosages, how long you were on each dose, and the dosage at which you jumped to zero, I can make a suggestion about what dosage to reinstate.  Then, after you stabilize on that dosage, you can begin on a safe, slow 10% taper of the reinstated amount.
 
Gridley
 
 
 

 

 

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natlondon

Thank you so, so, so much for this information Gridley - I am so, so grateful. I really didn't think I was tapering too fast. Only now that I know what has happened am I aware that it seems I should have gone much, much slower.  

 

I was on 60mg for 6 years (I had attempt to come off 3.5 years ago but went back on back up to 60mg Prozac when I thought it was the depression that had come back - I didn't know about withdrawals). Then last year I reduced from 60mg to 40mg and was on 40mg for one month, maybe 2 maximum. Then I reduced from 40mg to 20mg and was on 20mg for one month, maybe 6 weeks. Then I reduced from 20mg to 0mg and took a 20mg tablet randomly a few times over a month just because I thought it would take the edge off. I have now been 3 months and 16 days without any tablets whatsover - completely Prozac free.  I just don't think I can take it much longer though. If I was to re-instate would it be best to try a really small dose like maybe 5mg? Or what would you suggest?

 

Thank you so, so much for help with this. Each day is a living hell and I don't want to end my life but the pain and experience has been so, so excruciating it feels like it's the only option to end the pain and suffering. I wonder if re-in-statement could work? Or if I just continue to endure. I guess at least I know what is actually wrong? I just can't believe they can prescribe these drugs to people knowing what it does when you try and come off of them. 

 

Natalie

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Extracted response and deleted unnecessary quoted post

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Gridley

Thanks for the information.  I've asked the other moderators for their suggestions about the dosage to reinstate and will get back to you once I've gotten word.

 

Hang in there, nationdon.  I will get better.

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natlondon

Thank you so much Gridley. I am in a pretty bad way. Have been working today and finish in an hour. Don't know how I have got through. Have seriously been thinking about going to the emergency room as I feel like I am loosing my mind and really, really scared. I can see why people commit suicide, it is just unbearable. If I go to the hospital I think they will put me back on anti-depressants - just don't know what the right thing is to do. Natalie 

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Gridley

If you are thinking about suicide, you need to get help personal help locally.  We are online and are not equipped to deal with that type of situation.

 

Going to the emergency room is a decision you have to make for yourself.  They will put you on more drugs.

 

If you are still interested in reinstating and feel you are able to wait a bit for an answer, we will get back to you as soon as possible.  We are an all-volunteer service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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natlondon

Of course, I understand and I am so grateful for this service. I hope to be able to offer support to others once I get through this. I am only so incredibly grateful and thankful to be speaking to people who do seem to understand this. Any further awareness as to what dose to reinstate would be so deeply appreciated - I couldn’t even begin to show my gratitude. I have been researching myself as to what would be best as I’d rather go back to a doctor and state what I would like to do rather than be put on a mix of whatever they think bearing in mind they are unlikely to know about the reality of withdrawals and my fundamental plan to not be on anything. Thank you again for this service. You are exceptional people for volunteering and I hope to be able to repay my gratitude for this forum existing. Natalie 

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Gridley

Thank you for your kind words, Natalie.  As soon as I have information about a reinstatement dosage I will get back to you.

 

 

In the meantime, take a look at some of the techniques in this link.  They can really help you get past some rough spots.

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

Edited by Gridley

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Gridley

I suggest a reinstatement of 2mg Prozac.  This may seem small, but during the time you've been tapering and then off the drug, your brain has already made some adjustments, and we don't want to give your brain more than it can handle.

 

As I wrote earlier, reinstatement is not guaranteed to work but is the best method known to alleviate withdrawal syndrome.

 

It will take about a week for it to get to steady-state in your bloodstream, and the effect should get stronger during that time.  If 2mg is enough, it still may take some weeks for your nervous system to settle down.  You probably will continue to have waves and windows, but symptoms won't be as intense.

 

If you need a higher dose we can very carefully increase it.  
 
This link explains how to make non-standard doses, either by making a liquid or weighing with a scale.
 
 
Please keep us updated on how you're doing.
 
 

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natlondon
17 hours ago, Gridley said:

I suggest a reinstatement of 2mg Prozac.  This may seem small, but during the time you've been tapering and then off the drug, your brain has already made some adjustments, and we don't want to give your brain more than it can handle.

 

As I wrote earlier, reinstatement is not guaranteed to work but is the best method known to alleviate withdrawal syndrome.

 

It will take about a week for it to get to steady-state in your bloodstream, and the effect should get stronger during that time.  If 2mg is enough, it still may take some weeks for your nervous system to settle down.  You probably will continue to have waves and windows, but symptoms won't be as intense.

 

If you need a higher dose we can very carefully increase it.  
 
This link explains how to make non-standard doses, either by making a liquid or weighing with a scale.
 
 
Please keep us updated on how you're doing.
 
 

Thank you so, so much Gridley.

 

I opened up a 20mg Prozac tablet this morning and cut the powder in to ten and took one tenth = 2mg. 

 

I think I do feel a bit better - it has been 4/5 hours since I took it. I don't know if it's putting that tiny amount back in my system that has actually relieved things or if it is a placebo or if I would have just felt a bit better today anyway with being able to be at home for the day? I am planning to see if maybe tomorrow I can take none? Or is that a bad idea? I just feel defeated by this drug and confused. I was so determined to stay off. If I do continue on 2mg daily - would I just assess further down the line when would be the right time to reduce again? 

 

Part of me is also like is this still the body healing from the drug and withdrawals or is this some kind of state my body is naturally in without any drugs like depression and anxiety exist in me which is why I was put on the drug in the first place? I don't drink alcohol and haven't for 4 years, I meditate, eat healthy, see a therapist once a week. - unless the drug was actually numbing me meaning I was unable to learn how to manage anxiety or work through any for depression? It is just hard to know if the low mood and anxiety are from the withdrawals and my body and brain and nervous system adjusting to no drug or if the anxiety and low mood are my natural state drug free. - ? I am more than certain the past 3.5 months has been withdrawals but it feels hard to know when my natural state is withdrawal free and actually my natural state if this makes any sense?

 

Any suggestions or insights / awareness would be so greatly received. 

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Gridley

It is extremely important for you to take 2mg every day and at approximately the same time.  Do not skip your dose tomorrow or any day.  I  can't stress this strongly enough.  Skipping doses is like playing ping-pong with your brain and is the equivalent of a 50% cut in dose.  Your nervous system craves stability--the same dosage at the same time every day.  Skipping doses is a sure way to destabilize your nervous system even more.

 

Yes, it is possible that you are feeling better this soon due to the 2mg and is a very good sign that reinstatement is working.  

 

Yes, we will reassess farther down the road when it is time to begin a 10% per month taper of the 2mg.  It may be months down the road.  You must be patient and allow your system to stabilize.  Do not let your desire to be off the drug push you into rushing the process.  If you rush the process, you will lengthen, not shorten, the time until you are off the drug.

 

Please try not to overthink the situation.  That is a common symptom of withdrawal.  The important thing right now is to give the reinstatement time to work, then get you stabilized.

 

 

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Gridley

Nationdon,

 

How are you doing?

 

Gridley

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natlondon

Hi Gridley

 

Am on day 4 taking 2mg Prozac at the same time each morning. Hasn’t been good :( Trying not to dwell on it but lots of crying and aggressive depression. Just pray the hell will end. I know I have to be patient either at this dose or if I was on nothing. So hard to navigate knowing what is best to do. It makes me think my natural drug free state must have like a proper disorder like a depressive disorder or something? Just pray for some solid ground. It really is so scary. I’m so grateful for your message. It really feels like I’m feeling my way in the dark. Thank you for helping me. 

 

Natalie

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Gridley

Good attitude, nationdon, about being patient.  Sorry you're feeling so bad.  Are you feeling worse that when you started the reinstatement, are you about the same, or are you a little better?

 

There is so much jargon among professionals about "depressive disorders."  If you can, I wouldn't put that label on yourself.  You can get off this drug and you can learn to use non-drug coping skills to deal with problems instead of having to reach for a pill as all of us were told to do.  

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natlondon

Thanks so much for your message Gridley. I honestly couldn’t say if I felt better or worse - it just feels the same as before I started the re-instatement I think which was characterised by mainly waves although they kind of differed. It just feels like the same like if I hadn’t have re-instated. I’m willing to be patient. Maybe with more time on 2mg I will have more awareness of the effects? And can go from there? I so badly don’t want to increase but guess I have to be open to it. ? Assuming the white knuckling on 0mg would not necessarily have got me out the other side quicker than re-instating and stabilising and then reducing very, very gradually? 

 

I just don’t understand how the drug seems to have caused such hardcore damage, like I really thought 3.5 months off of it I should have just become myself again. 

 

Yeah I know time and patience with this is clearly needed and yeah it’s probably best to avoid labels and conclusions at this stage. I just can’t believe these drugs are allowed to be prescribed without warning people what can happen when you don’t want to take them anymore. It doesn’t seem right in so many ways.

 

Natalie 

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Gridley

Let's wait and see with more time on 2mg.  

 

3.5 months off is a very short time, unfortunately, when we're talking about withdrawal.  It takes the brain a good bit of time to regain homeostasis.

 

 

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natlondon

Ok, yeah this all makes sense. Thank you so, so much for helping me - I’m honestly so, so grateful. Thank you.

 

Natalie 

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Madeleine
1 hour ago, natlondon said:

Thanks so much for your message Gridley. I honestly couldn’t say if I felt better or worse - it just feels the same as before I started the re-instatement I think which was characterised by mainly waves although they kind of differed. It just feels like the same like if I hadn’t have re-instated. I’m willing to be patient. Maybe with more time on 2mg I will have more awareness of the effects? And can go from there? I so badly don’t want to increase but guess I have to be open to it. ? Assuming the white knuckling on 0mg would not necessarily have got me out the other side quicker than re-instating and stabilising and then reducing very, very gradually? 

 

I just don’t understand how the drug seems to have caused such hardcore damage, like I really thought 3.5 months off of it I should have just become myself again. 

 

Yeah I know time and patience with this is clearly needed and yeah it’s probably best to avoid labels and conclusions at this stage. I just can’t believe these drugs are allowed to be prescribed without warning people what can happen when you don’t want to take them anymore. It doesn’t seem right in so many ways.

 

Natalie 


Hi Natalie: Just stopping by to say hello and to say hang in there.  I am sorry you are going through this. 

Personally, I don't think white-knuckling would have gotten you to the other side quicker. You tapered off extremely quickly, and people often have delayed withdrawal: in other words,  while tapering, they sometimes feel relatively OK, then they get slammed with symptoms, 2, very often 3 and up to 6 months after they stop taking the ADs. This is a pattern that very many people experience. (Read other stories here and you will see.)  So, that is what you are most likely experiencing  -- delayed withdrawal.  

Do what you need to do to stabilized, even if it means you have to reinstate.   Moderators can advise you here on how much. Don't see reinstatement as a failure, but as a step towards stabilization.   Then, once you stabilize, you can taper again slowly.  Tapering slowly helps to ensure that you are functional during the taper and it minimizes the withdrawal after you are off.  

With very best wishes,

M.


 

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JLex1981

Hi Natlondon! There’s nothing to fear, we’ve all been through this here and you will get through it too, it just takes time. Little by little, one day at a time. 

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natlondon

Hi JLex1981, thank you so, so much for your message and reassurance and encouragement. It means so much. knowing others have got through. That has helped so much - ‘little by little, one day at a time’ - I really, really needed to hear that right now. Thank you.

 

I have accepted I am where I am and that people who haven’t been through this aren’t really going to understand how it does really floor you and you can’t just focus and apply yourself to life because of how it feels physically and mentally. I’ve never felt so powerless like this before but I guess I can just do what I can do each day and keep trying to have a positive attitude and be kind and gentle towards myself when it is uncomfortable and when I don’t feel well. I guess surrender to what it? 

 

I’d really be so keen to hear more about your experience - what you have been through and how you have got through, if you wanted to share about it.

 

Natalie 

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natlondon
11 hours ago, Madeleine said:


Hi Natalie: Just stopping by to say hello and to say hang in there.  I am sorry you are going through this. 

Personally, I don't think white-knuckling would have gotten you to the other side quicker. You tapered off extremely quickly, and people often have delayed withdrawal: in other words,  while tapering, they sometimes feel relatively OK, then they get slammed with symptoms, 2, very often 3 and up to 6 months after they stop taking the ADs. This is a pattern that very many people experience. (Read other stories here and you will see.)  So, that is what you are most likely experiencing  -- delayed withdrawal.  

Do what you need to do to stabilized, even if it means you have to reinstate.   Moderators can advise you here on how much. Don't see reinstatement as a failure, but as a step towards stabilization.   Then, once you stabilize, you can taper again slowly.  Tapering slowly helps to ensure that you are functional during the taper and it minimizes the withdrawal after you are off.  

With very best wishes,

M.


 

 

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natlondon

Hi Madeline,

 

Thank you so, so much for your message and your words. It all makes a huge amount of sense - thank you. This is all so new to me and learning about coming off and tapering. I just never knew what can happen and honestly thought I was being really sensible tapering over 4/5 months and even Doctors seemed to be like ok, yeah you have done the right thing doing it over that amount of time. Hopefully with my experience I can increase awareness with others who are planning to come off anti-depressants and really share the importance of a really, really slow taper.

 

I agree and it makes sense that white-knuckling wouldn't have got me through quicker. Thank you so much for awareness around this - I didn't see it / hadn't seen it like this previously - it has helped so much though - thank you. Since completely quitting in January this year I had a few weeks where I was great and since then it was 3 months of hell - I don't like to be negative but no other words suffice 😕 Even during the tapering from 60mg to 40mg to 20mg I was getting withdrawal symptoms but not as bad as when I stopped completely. I am just so grateful for this forum as at least I know what is going on and what has been going on. I just never, ever could have imagined.

 

I am on day 5 having re-instated 2mg of Prozac. Hopefully this can stabilise me and I am just rolling with it and will see how things are in a few weeks and then re-assess. I pray the 2mg is enough to stabilise and then maybe in a few months try tapering again but I have learnt that I really have to be open-minded and flexible. I know fundamentally I want to be off of Prozac but that the path may not be as straightforward as I had planned. What you have said has helped so much - I couldn't function and had no quality of life whatsoever and so to stabilise on hopefully 2mg (or whatever it takes, I know I have to be real) - then I can look at reducing - thank you so much as well for awareness that this approach will actually reduce withdrawal symptoms fundamentally.

 

Your post and words has helped me tremendously. Thank you so, so much.

 

Warmest wishes,

 

Natalie 

 

 

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Madeleine

Glad to be of help Natalie.  So many people follow doctor's orders, as one would normally think would be prudent to do, but, unfortunately, the vast majority of doctors do not know how to help people taper properly nor about withdrawal.   However, finally, a few doctors are learning.  Here's a report on CBC radio, the Canadian equivalent of the BBC on this topic:

 I think not everything in this report is 100% sound, e.g. there is an interview with a woman who tapered by skipping days/doses incrementally -- and this might make people conclude that that is a good way to taper, when that type of fluctuation is disrupting to the brain -- and there is no thorough explanation in the report of the 10% or slow gradual tapering.

But, generally this report is going in the right direction as conclusion/thesis is that tapering off ADs is often fraught with difficulties, that doctors don't really know how to direct people in tapering properly, that online groups are helpful and are offering important support to people who are tapering, and that not enough studies have done on withdrawal/tapering, that drug companies have no interest in that aspect of research. 


http://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/i-was-sobbing-uncontrollably-patients-say-antidepressants-difficult-to-quit-1.4658787

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JLex1981

Hi Nat London!

My story is very similiar to yours. I started allot longer ago though. Probably 2001-2 I started on Zoloft due to panic attacks and depression. Stayed on it for a couple years and then tapered off (probably at about your rate, like 4 months). I thought this was good too but I started getting brain zaps and bad anxiety... there is a difference between regular anxiety and medicine anxiety... the medicine is like a restlessness not caused by anything in particular.... I tried waiting it out back then but it was too much... went back to the Dr and went on Lexapro... all the withdrawal symptoms abated. I stayed on Lexapro from then all the way till now and for some reason started to taper the Lexapro maybe a year or two ago... very slowly.... I would just take a nail clipper or scissor and take a little off here and there... I felt better with a more relaxed feeling in life.... I went from 15MG all the way down to 5MG... then I couldn't taper anymore off the pill really...(or not as slowly as I wanted to) so I asked the Dr. for liquid lexapro..... Now here is where I don't know what went wrong.... I went from 5MG to 4MG on the liquid and it put me on my butt..... I felt alright for a month or so albeit weird,,,, then the withdrawal hit.... dry mouth... restlessness, anxiety, insomnia... the full gammit. I reinstated to 4.4 after a couple of weeks of this, then called that Dr about going to 4.8MG... he said he thought I might be having an effect from switching to the liquid so I went back to 5MG in the pill.... I've been on that for about 3 weeks now and I do have to say I feel 80% better.... restlessness and insomnia have faded... appetite has came back.... ( I lost 15 LBS from this).... I do still work out and running and staying active has been a God send for the anxiety.... I try to remember how this went the first time I came off Zoloft and it is very similiar.... the physical symptoms always improved first then underneath that came the depression for me... this is the last to go... takes some times but it goes so slow you can barley notice it until you think about how you feel from week to week... then you will notice improvement.... I've been able to do all my daily things like work and I even traveled to California during all this... just did some morning runs outside and did the best I could,,, although it was a struggle !!! I'm noticing bigger windows now and even though I do have depression feelings that come and go I notice that it is less often and less severe.... I wonder if it was a snowball effect too from coming down to 5MG from 15MG but I was on 5MG for 4 months or so and felt fine.... that's the thing with these SSRI's.... they're soooooooooo sllllloooooooowwwwwww to react !!!! You can be doing fine then boom !!! Or who knows maybe there is a little underlying illness there too... but I can say that the withdrawal probably amplifies that 10000%..... Anyways I ramble..... reinstatement will get you back to baseline.... you're going to be fine with maybe some tweaks here and there..... the question for me and everyone is to continue to taper or not... and that is a personal choice, one I have yet to make yet 😉

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natlondon
14 minutes ago, JLex1981 said:

Hi Nat London!

My story is very similiar to yours. I started allot longer ago though. Probably 2001-2 I started on Zoloft due to panic attacks and depression. Stayed on it for a couple years and then tapered off (probably at about your rate, like 4 months). I thought this was good too but I started getting brain zaps and bad anxiety... there is a difference between regular anxiety and medicine anxiety... the medicine is like a restlessness not caused by anything in particular.... I tried waiting it out back then but it was too much... went back to the Dr and went on Lexapro... all the withdrawal symptoms abated. I stayed on Lexapro from then all the way till now and for some reason started to taper the Lexapro maybe a year or two ago... very slowly.... I would just take a nail clipper or scissor and take a little off here and there... I felt better with a more relaxed feeling in life.... I went from 15MG all the way down to 5MG... then I couldn't taper anymore off the pill really...(or not as slowly as I wanted to) so I asked the Dr. for liquid lexapro..... Now here is where I don't know what went wrong.... I went from 5MG to 4MG on the liquid and it put me on my butt..... I felt alright for a month or so albeit weird,,,, then the withdrawal hit.... dry mouth... restlessness, anxiety, insomnia... the full gammit. I reinstated to 4.4 after a couple of weeks of this, then called that Dr about going to 4.8MG... he said he thought I might be having an effect from switching to the liquid so I went back to 5MG in the pill.... I've been on that for about 3 weeks now and I do have to say I feel 80% better.... restlessness and insomnia have faded... appetite has came back.... ( I lost 15 LBS from this).... I do still work out and running and staying active has been a God send for the anxiety.... I try to remember how this went the first time I came off Zoloft and it is very similiar.... the physical symptoms always improved first then underneath that came the depression for me... this is the last to go... takes some times but it goes so slow you can barley notice it until you think about how you feel from week to week... then you will notice improvement.... I've been able to do all my daily things like work and I even traveled to California during all this... just did some morning runs outside and did the best I could,,, although it was a struggle !!! I'm noticing bigger windows now and even though I do have depression feelings that come and go I notice that it is less often and less severe.... I wonder if it was a snowball effect too from coming down to 5MG from 15MG but I was on 5MG for 4 months or so and felt fine.... that's the thing with these SSRI's.... they're soooooooooo sllllloooooooowwwwwww to react !!!! You can be doing fine then boom !!! Or who knows maybe there is a little underlying illness there too... but I can say that the withdrawal probably amplifies that 10000%..... Anyways I ramble..... reinstatement will get you back to baseline.... you're going to be fine with maybe some tweaks here and there..... the question for me and everyone is to continue to taper or not... and that is a personal choice, one I have yet to make yet 😉

 

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natlondon

Hi JLex1981,

 

Thanks so much for what you have shared. It is so interesting that you have said certain things - e.g. going to the liquid form. I literally called my doctor today to get a prescription of Prozac and explained I was on day 4 of taking 2mg by opening a 20mg tablet and cutting the powder (re-instated after 3.5 drug free due to horrendous withdrawals). He was quite bemused and said 2mg will do nothing but said I could try. He prescribed the liquid form of Prozac which I have never taken before. It seemed the liquid was going to be the easier option for taking 2mg. I guess I will have to be aware that the liquid form could have a different effect to the powder. In which case I will go back to cutting the powder from inside the tablets. 

 

I also felt a bit like erm, well, yes it is only 4 days into taking 2mg but this afternoon I have felt normal and back to myself. Whether that would have been the case without having taken the 2mg or not I can't say but I am aware that even though it is such a tiny dose which doctors would say that will do nothing, quite possibly with my body / physiology being what seems super sensitive, this tiny bit of prozac may well be enough to have stabilised me. I am fully aware that this could be a window that I am in whether helped by the 2mg Prozac or if I had have been in a window for a few hours this evening even without the 2mg re-instatment. I guess things will be more apparent with time. The Doctor did also say the 2mg could be acting as a placebo but I don't know, it was so glaring apparent that my withdrawals were impossible to shift - as in it seemed it was all physically out of my control what my brain and body was experiencing, I doubt a placebo would really have done anything. I just guess I have to keep bringing awareness to how I continue to go on 2mg and re-assess after a few weeks, ideally a month trying this 2mg amount.

 

I also hear you about medicine anxiety. It has been so, so apparent to me that so much of what I have experienced has been from the drug or withdrawals from it. I think I probably am predisposed to anxiety or low mood but I could see so clearly more often than not that any depression or anxiety I was having was almost biologically induced from the drug or lack of drug and my bodies response to it.

 

My Doctor also said today, maybe you have to be open to the fact you do have depression and anxiety as you were on Prozac for the past 6 years and then on and off of it the years before that. I think I'd prefer to try and get to the root of any depression and make changes in my life to not feel low rather than numb myself with insanely high doses of Prozac or at least try that approach.

 

That is great that you made it to California. I was supposed to be going to Vancouver to see my friend on 9 June, flight booked and everything but I told her recently I just didn't think I was well enough. Still don't know what is best to do. Just so worried if I have bad waves when I am out there or how I would deal with it.

 

Natalie 

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JLex1981

Hi Natalie,

 

Yes, I know that feeling.. My wife had booked that trip well in advance and everything was paid for so I had to suck it up and go... We'd be out to dinner and hiking and so forth and for the most part I think it did take my mind off things. As long as I was active I was able to keep going... It was rough though and I had moments that were not too nice.... but they passed. 

 

I would take things at your own pace though and don't feel like you have to do anything just yet... This takes so much out of a person... physically and mentally.... I know just from my weight loss and lack of sleep that my body has taken a hit... Over the next few months I am trying to nourish it as much as I can. 

 

I felt that way about numbing my emotions with high dosages of SSRI's too... I felt I had a wider range of emotions the lower I got... that is until I hit withdrawal... I knew it would suck at that point and take a while to get back to baseline as I'd been through this before... unfortunately these things do take time.... but life continues and you'd be surprised how much life you can live even while going through this.... and then little by little you start to feel better. 

 

What are you physical symptoms like ? Are you eating? My appetite was one of the first things to return after reinstatement. 

 

John . 

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Gridley

I'm very glad to hear you're doing better.  Reinstatement seems to be working.   

 

When you switch from tablet to liquid, you should do a crossover as follows to minimize the effects of the change:

 

1/4 liquid, 3/4 tablet - 3 days

1/2 liquid, 1/2 tablet - 3 days

3/4 liquid, 1/4 tablet - 3 days

All liquid thereafter

 

Sometime people react differently to liquid as opposed to tablet form.

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