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EthanC

EthanC ~2 years without my SSRI, after 9+ years on it.

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EthanC

Hi everyone,

 

It's been awhile. I made a post here back in Dec. 2017 and thought to give everyone an update on my situation.

Really didn't think I'd visit here again and post in this section, but here we are!

 

To give you a brief summary of my situation (linked my post/story for more details), I was on Lexapro/Cipralex/Escitalopram for over 9 years; dose ranging between 5mg-20mg.

At the time of my post, I thought it was a hopeless situation and was never going to recover.

Seeing how few success stories there were, I thought there were little-to-no-chance of me recovering considering how long I was on the medication + marijuana usage.

 

My main issues at the time (7 months into cold-turkey quitting) was the deterioration of my brain functions. I wasn't only feeling "depressed" because of the drug and my environmental situation, but was feeling "chemically broken" from the ground up.

All my bodily functions were seemingly failing. It forgot how to operate; basic functions, thought processes, emotional and stress control seemed impossible to manage.

 

I had couple options to choose from at the time:

1) Give up all hope, rot away, waste my life until I eventually take my own life.

2) Go back on the medication OR go on another medication (like my family doctor recommended)

3) Stick it out, sacrifice these months/years to hopefully recover.

 

I can't tell you how close I was to choosing option 2), I even took ~2 pills of my medication before throwing it out and sticking it out with 3).

 

But there was one post here in THIS section specifically that ultimately gave me the courage to try and beat this thing: the recovery story from pug. (link below as well)

 

After reading his story, I told myself, "Ethan, 2 years, sacrifice 2 years, you might still hate yourself, you might never recover but you never know until you try. Quit and stick it out for 2 years, and see what happens."

 

I did just that and after ~1.5 years of stopping escitalopram, I slowly started feeling human again. I was able to slowly get my life together.

I have more ambition and drive than ever. Maybe due to the fact knowing this drug wasted so many years, and that I HAVE to catch up.
I can actually feel sadness, happiness; not needing marijuana to feel genuine emotions and not needing the SSRI to feel functional again.

It made me realize the source of my marijuana addiction was to counter-act the numbness Cipralex brought on.

 

Long story short, a part of me thought this journey was nonrecoverable; but I was wrong.

I don't think I'm fully healed yet, and honestly don't think I'll ever be (Sorry, always been a cup-half-empty kind of guy).

But there is hope in getting better, and I believe in that.

 

I'll go on to say that quitting cold-turkey might not be the most appropriate way; but I was fortunate enough to have my parents help me out at the time.

I'll even go on to say that maybe the medication short term isn't that bad for you per say; maybe it can save some people from the brink of killing themselves, but I genuinely think these drugs hurt you more the longer you take them.

If I had a choice, I wish to have never touched this drug.

 

I wish all of you on this journey nothing but the best; and hope one day, you will join pug and myself to tell this side of the story.

 

Sincere regards,

Ethan

 

 

 

 

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MRothbard

Thanks for posting this. Especially since my situation is pretty similar—10 years on lexapro and mirtazipine, 13 months off both.

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shawny

U will recover the fact tat u are feeling better after 1.5 years only is a major breakthrough:) 

 

its ra a very tiring process but ul get there :) 

 

may i ask Wat was ur physical symptoms? 

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hussy

Hi Ehtan

 

congrats. Did you also had sexual symptoms?

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FarmGirlWorks

Congratulations, Ethan!!! I too find inspiration in Pug's story as well as anybody who CT'ed and made it anyways.

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Hannahe

Congrats! This makes me happy! 👏🏻😁

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Anubhav

Hey Ethan , M Glad That You're Recovering And Regaining Your Life.....I Hope I Can Too Post My Story Someday Over Here 

All The Very Best :)

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voyteck

Thank you for this post.

Recently it was my 1st anniversary without drug (buspirone) that is main culprit of my new problems.

I generally gave up. I don't even have the energy or motivation to update my topic anymore.
I chose option 2. I mean I don't want any SSRI, I wanted to try something else to alleviate at least one of my symptoms (restlessness/tension/akathisia). But I have also devastated GI functions (I decided to forget about libido for now). I have a feeling that only some miraculous action of some drug will stop that - I know all the docs know nothing, moreover they deny what happened - I can only play lottery with drugs.

My shrink also didn't want to give me SSRI/SNRI yet. I was given mirtazapine and accepted it...

 

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Hannahe
On 5/16/2019 at 7:05 AM, voyteck said:

Thank you for this post.

Recently it was my 1st anniversary without drug (buspirone) that is main culprit of my new problems.

I generally gave up. I don't even have the energy or motivation to update my topic anymore.
I chose option 2. I mean I don't want any SSRI, I wanted to try something else to alleviate at least one of my symptoms (restlessness/tension/akathisia). But I have also devastated GI functions (I decided to forget about libido for now). I have a feeling that only some miraculous action of some drug will stop that - I know all the docs know nothing, moreover they deny what happened - I can only play lottery with drugs.

My shrink also didn't want to give me SSRI/SNRI yet. I was given mirtazapine and accepted it...

 

I’m taking buspar for withdrawals right now. How long were you on it and at what dose? Did you taper? 

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Peachy

@EthanC I have a similar background of medication use, and I'm already 3 years into my taper. 

Can I ask your symptoms, how you spent your time while healing, and how your healing process unfolded?

Thanks!

 

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Sandman

Hi EthanC,

Did you experience any kind of sexual difficulty due to the SSRI drugs? If yes, has it resolved?

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EthanC

Hey guys,

 

Thanks for the questions, I'll try to go through every one.

 

@MRothbard Keep it up, you got this. Don't focus too much on the timeframe and let it happen. Try on improving yourself tangibly (diet and exercise) and it'll get easier I promise.

 

@shawny Hmm it's been so long that it's hard to remember, I must of mentioned some in the link to my old post. Off the top of my head: feeling very dizzy/vertigo, headaches, lack of appetite, muscle aches, physically weak (these symptoms ranged from days/weeks/months). Physical pains was minor compared to the mental pain. Was unable to feel "happy" to the core, it was really terrifying.

 

@hussy Yes I was premature ejaculating very easily for ~1 yr or so? Now I feel back to baseline and a bit hornier compared to when I was on the medication. On the meds, I lasted very long but it also muted the sensation of sex a bit as well.

 

@FarmGirlWorks Thanks! Without his story, I'm 99% sure I would of relapsed. He gave me hope and determination to survive without it.

 

@Hannahe :]

 

@Anubhav Don't give up, I believe in you.

 

@voyteck Hey don't worry, everyone is different. There's no shame in taking medication; if it helps you, it helps you.

 

@Peachy I trapped myself in my basement for ~1 yr, had really bad skin (maybe due to hormonal change without the drug?), the waves were real. Very brief moments of feeling ok with long periods of feeling like crap. Eventually pushed myself to go to the gym 2 times a week. Wouldn't say I'm "depression"-free but I feel a lot better. Without the medication, I just couldn't stand rotting away.

 

@Sandman Refer to my reply to hussy. Yes it has resolved mostly, no erectile dysfunction if that's what you're asking.

 

I want to remind everyone that there isn't a "fixed" schedule for people to heal. It took me ~1.5 yrs, but it might take you more or less since everyone has different circumstances.

Another thing people need to remember is that environmental factors play a big role in how you feel and heal.

If you are in a sh*tty situation (eg: bad financials, lack of family/friends/love, work-related and physical issues, etc.), even if you are ~years into quitting, you are going to feel bad regardless of the medication.

Try to improve on factors you can control like diet and exercise and focus on improving yourself.

Last thing to mention is that there is no right or wrong, maybe these medications do help some of you.

Personally, one major reason I wanted to quit was because I didn't want ANY drug controlling me. A drug so powerful that I would be crippled without it.

But if said-drug helps you and you are willing to take it for the foreseeable future, I can't blame you because there is no right or wrong.

 

Hope this helps.

 

All the best,

Ethan

 

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Madeleine

Hi Ethan: Thank you so much for your update!  Always glad to read a positive story.  Just wondering.... you talked about a "cold turkey" then in your signature it says in 2017 you slowly tapered off.... how did you get off exactly? How slow was your taper? Or did you cold turkey.  It's not clear...

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MRothbard

thanks for the answers dude.

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Mikegs96

Do you think there is any hope of me recovering?

I was on celexa since I was 13 and went cold turkey when I turned 21. Over the course of a year I think it was I ended up going on 9-10 other different psychiatric medications. 

 

So that inturrupted my healing a lot. So my situation feels really hopeless to me. 

I was put on Prozac,Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Rexulti, Trazodone, back on celexa, Buspar, Zoloft, and an MAOI called EMSam for 2-3 weeks. Before I realized that the symptoms I was having had to be withdrawal. Because I didn't have them before medication. I was also on Ritalin, Adderal, and Vyvanse until I was 18 for ADHD. And also smoked weed heavily  in high school. 

 

At this point I feel like my brain is permanently damaged. Considering I can't find a single success story with someone taking EMSam. 

Plus the various other medications I was on. 

 

I also did 22 sessions of TMS therapy after and 2 ketamine infusions. Which idk if that further interrupted my healing. 

 

Did the symptoms go away gradually for you or did you just wake up one day feeling normal? Because right now I'm dealing with emotional numbness, anhedonia, Sexual dysfunction, and derealization/depersonalization. I also have terrible short term memory and can't concentrate anymore.

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EthanC

@Madeleine Sorry if I wasn't clear enough. I was dosing between 5mg-10mg daily then decided to quit completely. I'll edit my signature. First month was tolerable other than some physical symptoms , ~6 months in was the hardest for me.

 

@MRothbard Np.

 

@Mikegs96 Hey Mike, your last line was almost EXACTLY what I experienced; and to me, that was the hardest part. Please read my original topic from around ~2 years ago (link above), I went through almost the EXACT symptoms you're going through!! I felt like I was a 3-out-of-10 version of myself. I felt non-human, brain dead (slow and stupid), unhappy to feel happy, couldn't concentrate, insomnia at first then oversleeping, etc. Genuinely thought I was permanently damaged. If I could recover, I sincerely believe you can recover since I was almost 30 when I quit. You're in your early 20s right?? Your mind is still developing (and healing faster) than us!! 

Look I'm no doctor and won't pretend to be one. My family doctor (for a long time) recommended that I SHOULD STAY ON MEDS, he was genuinely a nice guy and trying to help me, BUT HE DOESN'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH. Only you know (and the people who took these meds know). I could explain to him with the utmost details, but he would still recommend anti-depressants because I seemed majorly depressed.

I trusted my gut and pug's success story and told myself to sacrifice ~2 years of my life; using that time to focus solely on healing. Honestly told myself if I felt worse or the same after these 2 years, I'll go back on medication.

But I didn't feel worse! I genuinely felt better ~1.5 years in. Sure I have more anxiety and more stress vs. when I was on meds; But I enjoy this state of mind over that bullsh*t filter these drug put on us any day. I actually LIKE the stress because it's making me get off my butt and accomplish things in life. I can tell you right now I wouldn't be as motivated to type out to you all if I was medicated (in my opinion at least).

Please if you have a chance, give ~2 years of your life and devote it solely to healing, do it! I hope you have family or people supporting you, because it'll make the journey less painful. I have a strong strong feeling I'll see a reply from you feeling way better if you decide to detox from everything for ~2 yrs. (Like no marijuana, no meds, eat a better diet, make yourself go to the gym 1-2 week with cardio).

And tell yourself if you genuinely feel like **** even after those years of trying to heal, there is no shame in taking the meds, OK? But do give this a sincere try.

Don't know why but I have a good feeling about your case, and I'm not just saying that. I don't know too much about "EMSam" but since you took it for less than a month, I believe your body can heal from that easily.

It's going to be a hard journey; but trust me, trust yourself, be patient and YOU GOT THIS!!

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intothewoods

What a story! Congratulations, @EthanC. Thank you for taking the time to chronicle your journey. I am inspired anew. 

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Omarroben

Thanks a lot EthanC hopefully you’ll fully recover soon 

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Leo1983

So pleased for you Ethan you bring hope to all that CT, they wont spend seven years either bad or very bad.

 

I wish you luck and hope you vontinue to live a great life.

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dcrmt
On 5/22/2019 at 8:41 AM, EthanC said:

I trapped myself in my basement for ~1 yr, had really bad skin (maybe due to hormonal change without the drug?), the waves were real. Very brief moments of feeling ok with long periods of feeling like crap. Eventually pushed myself to go to the gym 2 times a week. Wouldn't say I'm "depression"-free but I feel a lot better. Without the medication, I just couldn't stand rotting away.

  

 

 

I had bad skin when I got off SSRI's too. I think it was probably testosterone spiking as hormones ceased being affected by the drugs. I started consistently working out after quitting Lexapro, but while on Cymbalta. I made some progress but I tended to retain a lot of fat even as I got a bit stronger.
Mentally I started improving a bit once I was off lexapro, but after getting off SSRI's completely I had all these acne breakouts on on my back and over a 6 months I significantly dropped body fat without major changes in diet or exercise. 

Anyway just wanna say you're not alone, there are so many things in common with my experience - especilly **** environmental factors making it all the harder to quit.

I was on it for 6 years but at higher doses, up to 40mg, tried to effectively CT it a bunch of times but ended up on Cymbalta then Zoloft before actually quitting finally. I do think actual mental functioning - concentration, memory, etc can fully recover, I haven't written a proper update but that's definitely been the case for me.

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TreeElf

Thank you and thank you again. Enjoy every moment of your new life x

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