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Wesofthewest

Wesofthewest: I’m in the thick of it, could use advice

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Wesofthewest

Hi all,

 

I am so glad I found this site. I am dealing with what I now know is ssri withdrawal and this place has given me hope, knowledge, and peace of mind. It’s crazy what these drugs can do. To start, I will give you my story. 

 

Looking back, I grew up with low self esteem and emotional issues that I never faced. Through school and going into college, I still managed to adjust well, make friends, and didn’t have especially bad anxiety or anything. In high school and college I abused alcohol frequently, probably due to emotional distress. I never was addicted, but was a binge drinker. In my 2nd year of college, even drinking became stressful and not fun. I began to have a lot of social anxiety, and couldn’t handle any alcohol. Depression started to set in, and I was in denial for a long time. Because of this, I let it get worse, I let people hurt me, and I ended up in the ER because I realized I couldn’t function and was suicidal. There they decided to send me to an outpatient treatment facility, and there my medication history began.

 

I first was given seetraline, then Effexor, neither for longer than a week. The side effects were too much. So the doc deicided to try Prozac with me. That one seemed to have me feeling better, so I stayed on that for the time being. Started at 20mg around May 2017, 40mg for a few months, then 60mg for a long duration. I was only at this outpatient thing for a couple months, then I started seeing a new doctor. She basically just kept giving me the Prozac, and I’d just say I’m fine. I guess I felt fine, but I was more or less a zombie that just went to work and slept. The thing is though that Prozac is what lifted me out of the horrible depression I was in, and helped my anxiety. I thought of it as miraculous. The one thing that made it a lot less miraculous was that I gained nearly 100 pounds in a year! This prompted my doctor to lower my dose to 40mg, which made me realize how much Prozac dulled me out. I felt so much more awake and clear headed, so I figured I should get off the meds totally! It’ll only be good news, or so I thought. 

 

So I went down to 20mg a couple months later around November 2018. Afterwards is when withdrawal started to hit. I really noticed it while visiting family for Christmas. I just wasn’t myself. The anxiety was back in full force, and that was enough to hinder my social ability. It sucks to think family members see me like that and don’t know what’s going on, that maybe they just think I’m mentally ill. Oh well. I went down to 10mg in February, and jumped clear off in March. 

 

I now know this was far to fast of a taper, but I didn’t know this at the time. My doctor obviously didn’t either, but she probably also thinks Prozac doesn’t give people withdrawals. Once at 10mg I started to have the very sever symptoms. Extreme anxiety, irritability, anger, sensitivity to movement light and sounds, depersonalization, tightness in chest and neck, paranoia, numbness, and headaches (sometimes long lasting). Once I went to 0 they got a little worse for a bit, and it was gradually improved since then. I’ve only been totally off the Prozac for about a month right now. 

 

My god has it improved since a month ago! I still wouldn’t say I’m doing well by any means but I at least feel kind of normal. I felt like everybody was staring at me when I went outside or drove around at first (still kind of do sometimes), so much so that I just felt overwhelmed and crazy. I quit my job, not super important since it was just a silly job to pay rent. All I can really say about the symptoms is that they are still there, and it feels like they’ve been gradually receding ever so slowly. I seem to have the windows and waves, but mine have been short, maybe only hour long windows sometimes. I just pray that I will not only feel normal again but find real happiness and relief.

 

I’m currently taking D3 and fish oil daily, nothing else. Does anyone have any advice about those supplements and others I could try? That would be great. I’m also just wondering if my story sounds familiar to anyone and what to expect. But most of all, it’s just nice to get this all out. Feel free to ask me questions!

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Gridley

Hello, Wesofthewest, and welcome to SA.

 

I'm very happy your symptoms have improved and are gradually receding.  That is a very encouraging sign.

 

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.
 
 
Here is some information to help you understand the withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing.
 
 
 

 

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.  
 
These explain it really well:

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

AND

 

   On 12/3/2015 at 10:41 AM,  apace41 said: 
Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are trying 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 trying to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and trying 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 life 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.  

 

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 a good form of magnesium.  

 

 

 

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.
 
 
If the D3 is agreeing with you, that shouldn't be a problem.  Epsom salt baths can also be very helpful.
 
 
While some members report good results from strenuous exercise, we generally advise a gentle walk in nature, perhaps 30 minutes daily.  Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
 
Here is some information about non-drug coping methods and dealing with the anxiety you mentioned.
 

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 
VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)

 

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.

 

 
 
 
 

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Wesofthewest

Gridley, thank you for that. I have added a signature. I may have to try magnesium, I’ve heard lots of people say that’s a good one. 

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Wesofthewest

I feel like I am sort of turning corners, and getting some confidence back. But then I am hit with some kind of external stressor and I start to feel just as bad as before. For example, I had to make a long drive to go work today and driving in traffic just feels overwhelming. I feel crazy and I feel like everybody notices, and even though I know it’s ridiculous I can’t shake the thought. This is tough! 1 and a half months in. At this rate, I bet I won’t feel too capable of anything for a few more months at least. 

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Kronos18

Hi mate.How are you feeling?

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Wesofthewest
On 4/24/2019 at 4:30 PM, Kronos18 said:

Hi mate.How are you feeling?

It’s hard to say man, I’ve been able to be more productive recently, working hard like I used to. But still plagued by strange anxiety and moods all day. I cut out all the sugar in my diet and that made a massive difference though, I would try that if you eat/drink sugar. It seems like it was overstimulating me. Now im only using artificial sweeteners. How are you doing? Are you seeing any improvements?

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Kronos18

I’m glad you are feeling better mate.I have some improvements, right now i’m in a bad wave with severe anxiety, restlessness, tingling in fingers, diziness, weakness, fatigue etc.Hope it will be ok for both of us.We will get there no matter what

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Wesofthewest

youre right. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to live in and for my future self. Eventually I’ll be able to look back on all this, and so will you. 

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Wesofthewest

Started a new job yesterday. Extremely anxious, but I was able to play it cool and get through the first day. I feel like I’m at least capable of working right now, which is good. Still dealing with anxiety but I am still improving. 

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Wesofthewest

Does anyone else get waves of increased anxiety and DP that go away after a few hours? I did today at work

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

Yes, waves can last for a very short time as can windows.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Wesofthewest

Thank you for the reply chessiecat 

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Maca44

Your story does sound familiar to me, its amazing really how we cope with stuff in our younger years but don't always deal with it we just muddle through. I guess things catch up on us but by that time it's all kind of blurred and we get this terrible anxiety & depression which seems out of the blue.

 

Sounds like your doing OK and I hope it keeps improving.  

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Wesofthewest

Update: window/wave cycle getting shorter, hoping this continues.

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Wesofthewest

Been feeling better all the time. Things I notice the most at this point are physical exhaustion and fatigue, and an annoying lack of confidence socially. I still have trouble talking to people, but it has gotten better. So I’m sure I’ll get more confident as time goes on. The physical symptoms suck, I work long days a lot of the time and I ache so bad afterwards. 

 

It truly does get better with time, however, so anyone going through this. Keep your head up

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Wesofthewest

Gotten so much better at dealing with stresses too. Driving especially, and dealing with rude customers at work is much easier. I can kind of keep my head about things now

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Cocopuffz17
55 minutes ago, Wesofthewest said:

Gotten so much better at dealing with stresses too. Driving especially, and dealing with rude customers at work is much easier. I can kind of keep my head about things now

That’s great to hear! I’m feeling the same way. It gets better week by week for me. But the fatigue can be really challenging. 

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Wesofthewest
On 8/17/2019 at 5:13 PM, Cocopuffz17 said:

That’s great to hear! I’m feeling the same way. It gets better week by week for me. But the fatigue can be really challenging. 

The fatigue is the worst. And people don’t understand, they think I’m lazy. I’m like, I’ve been out of shape most of my life but this is something else!

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Cocopuffz17
13 hours ago, Wesofthewest said:

The fatigue is the worst. And people don’t understand, they think I’m lazy. I’m like, I’ve been out of shape most of my life but this is something else!

Yep, I find huge improvements when I go outside in the sun (increasing my vitamin D). I already take a vitamin D supplement daily, but this seems to decrease my fatigue. Being more in shape definitely helps, but ya I know what you mean. It’s uncontrollable and hits hard.  

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