Jump to content

Recommended Posts

clarknova
Posted (edited)

Hello, SA

 

Hello, everyone. Long time lurker, but this is my first post.

 

First of all I want to thank everyone on this site for educating me and giving me comfort through rough times. I’ve read and re-read posts and found tremendous solace in your stories. At the same time, I’m truly sorry for all your struggles.

 

My story:

 

I’m male, 42 years of age, I work as a TV-editor and I live in Oslo, Norway. In 2004, after touring with a band for a year and a half,  I had severe panic attacks, 2-3 times a day for about 6 months. I finally saw my doctor and he put me on 10 mg of cipralex and referred me to a support group which I participated in for 2.5 years. It helped me tremendously, so I told the doctor in 2007 I was feeling better and he said I could taper down over a few weeks. This went fine and for a few years I was okay. No withdrawal that I can remember.

 

Then, in 2010, following a break-up, I didn’t want to feel heart-broken and so I asked my doctor if I could go back on cipralex. I don’t think I was depressed, I just didn’t want to feel sad (How I wish I could go back, I'd take the natural sadness instead). I went back on 10 mg cipralex and this was fine, no severe side-effects (On the contrary, I actually enjoyed having delayed orgasms as I was often more premature when not on meds).

 

But after a while I noticed subtle changes to my personality. I’m a musician and have made music since the age of 14, but suddenly I wasn’t interested anymore. I stopped writing songs. I also stopped crying completely, even the good cries, like when I saw Good Will Hunting or Finding Neverland. I didn’t feel very much of anything and starting thinking that this was not the way to go through life. So I told the doctor I wanted to get off the meds, and he basically said I knew how it worked now and could regulate my medication use on my own. So I did.

 

In 2015 I tapered pretty quickly, probably over a month, and was fine for a while. A few heavy crying-spells, but nothing major. I started making music again, and sold an apartment so I had enough money to not work since I was sick of my job as a TV-editor anyway.

 

Then, at the end of 2015, a toxic friend I was trying to avoid suddenly had a major life-crisis and was asking a lot from me in terms of help and support. I tried my best, but at the same time; this was a person I didn’t want in my life. I became very upset, not knowing what to do. I had overwhelming anxiety and ended up in the emergency room begging for valium. Having a somewhat avoidant personality, I decided the only thing I could do was to skip town. I went to my mothers and after a few days crashed completely. I felt I was a horrible person for skipping out on someone who needed me even though I wanted to distance myself from this person. I felt I had become like my late father, avoiding responsibility. I became extremely depressed. The massive anxiety made self-harm feel like a dangerous possibility and so I was brought to the emergency room and was told by the psychiatrist there that I should go back on the cipralex since that had worked for me before. I reluctantly did what she said and was back on the meds.

 

Looking back, I realise now that this episode with the toxic friend happened while I had been off meds for about 6 months and my reaction to it could very well have been massive because of a overly sensitive CNS. Anyway, I had never been this sick. I was hanging on for dear life. Awful depression and intense anxiety. I walked and walked, and swam and swam (at the local pool) just to keep everything at bay. Mornings and evenings were worst. I saw Douglas Bloch-videos on youtube over and over again for comfort.

 

I got some follow-up from the local psychiatric hospital and after four months, now 2016, I realised that living with my mother wasn’t doing my self-esteem much good so I moved back to my apartment in Oslo and explained to my old boss that I had had a nervous break-down and asked if I could come back to work - not do anything, not get paid, just come to the office every day. I couldn't manage even the smallest responsibilities. He was very understanding and said of course. Just being around people helped me a lot, and after a while I started helping out with scripts and some minor editing work. After a few months I was given a 50% position working from 9 to 13 every day. Slowly I got better and started working full time through 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

I was still on meds, but again feeling like I was too much of a Zombie I wanted to be free of them. So in early 2018 I decided to taper. I went down to 5mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in april. May and June were just horrible with depression and anxiety so I got back on them again, but then regretted it, so tapered again, same protocol - 5 mg for a month, then 2.5 for a month and then quit in september, deciding to make it stick this time.

 

And I have. It’s been just over a year. I found this site, and of course realised that I had tapered too quickly. But thinking come what may, I trudged on. In March and April of this year I got the weirdest muscle aches. It had all the hallmarks of fibromyalgia and so I was convinced I had that, but then realising it was probably withdrawal. It suddenly went away, and May, June and July were really good, I was thinking “Yeah, I beat it!”.

 

Then, as I started work after the summer, I had 5 weeks on a very stressful project. It must have triggered something, because after it was finished I started crashing. The muscle pain came back, especially in the chest and neck, muscles hard and tight as a rock. Also my health-anxiety has slowly increased since I came off the meds, so now I’ll have weeks were I’m convinced I have a heart conditon or some form of cancer or infection. I go to the doctor a lot and he tells me I’m fine (I don’t even discuss SSRI’s with him anymore, because everytime I’ve tried he has brushed it off like so many of you are probably familiar with).

 

And then, about a week and a half ago suddenly the muscle pain went away, but I became extremely depressed. And really suddenly too, like from one minute to the next. And it’s been fluxuating wildly ever since. Just this god awful suicidal depression. It’ll be horrible for a few hours or half a day, and then I will get a little relief. Like a nightmareish rollercoaster ride. The massive break-down of 2015 fresh in my memory like a trauma, I spiral into terrible anxiety about going back there, having to quit my job, moving back with my mother, going back to hospital, going back on cipralex just because I’ve lost all will to put up a fight against the doctors. But the little man in my head, behind the gruesome thoughts and feelings, is trying to flow with it, and I try to remember what’s really going on here - I’m in protracted withdrawal, I tapered too fast, my CNS is scrambling, I’m healing in waves and windows.

 

As I am writing this tonight, I feel alright, but it’s sure to fluxuate again soon. I wanted to post this to tell my story, as I have found relief in all your stories. I’d like to bring updates when I can, and I’ll try to contribute to others if I feel I can add some value. In short, I hope to be a part of this community. You have all convinced me that this is indeed happening, and occasionally I have hate for my doctor for dealing me these drugs, but at the same time I know he doesn’t know any better. Everyone’s stumbling around in the dark, it seems. In 2004 there was a case for me needing medication, but in 2010 it was all my doing, not wanting to feel the effects of a break-up I took the easy route. I have to take some of the responsibility for that. I just didn’t know how powerful these drugs actually were. I know now.

 

All the best.

Edited by Shep
added username to title

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley

Welcome to SA, clark nova.  Thanks for writing in and telling your story.  Congratulations on being off the drugs. You'll find the moderators and members here very supportive.

 

Antidepressants dull the emotions; that how they do their job.  So your experience was normal.

 

It takes a while to heal and the fact that you're experiencing withdrawal a year out is typical.  Muscle pain and health anxiety are common withdrawal symptoms.  You sound like you're coping very well and have a good understanding of your situation and 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.  
 
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.
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. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
clarknova

Thank you, Gridley. Good to be here. 

 

If I have a good understanding of my situation, it's mostly due to this forum. Thank you again. 

Share this post


Link to post
clarknova

Question:

 

I remember reading somewhere on this site that a lot of people had a heavy crash around the one-year mark. I'm just over one year med-free, and although there were external stress factors triggering this episode, I can't help thinking that this is my anniversary wave. 

 

Does anyone know where I might have read that?

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, clark.

 

While others report various patterns, I've never confirmed this. All we know is that after a short phase of acute withdrawal symptoms, which may last weeks, people can go into a much longer phase of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), typically with symptoms that fluctuate in intensity, transmute into other symptoms, and very gradually go away after months if not years of waves and windows.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...