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cleopatra: SSRI exposure for 5 days

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cleopatra

Hello everyone,¬†I hope you are all safe¬†ūüíü

I have decided to join the community after reading many positive topics on the website, which I found when I was faced with the possibility of having long-lasting symptoms by taking Sertraline (Zoloft) 50 mg.

I definitely wished that I found SA before I took the first pill, which definitely changed after learning that acceptance can help me prepare for different scenarios in these very early stages of quitting an antidepressant. Basically, I made the topic to share a backstory, find people who have a similar experience and receive advice from someone who understands the situation a bit better than I do. 

Backstory:

I am a 20 year old studying pharmacy after two years of mental suffering to get to go to uni, and four years of toxic friendships and family-related trust issues. My growth was really a gradual shift from being someone who was happy and healthy to a warrior battling social isolation, identity issues, a shattered self-image and self doubt.

I was studying to help people, to be transparent and give treatments taken after patients make informed decisions and I was truly convinced that since nothing has helped the recurrent depression I had for years, a doctor and a pharmacist can help me the same way I wanted to change someone's life for the better. I believed a medicine and a doctor would do the trick!

I was always so scared to be exposed to anything from radiations to laser treatments, but the desperate state I was in and the blind trust I had in the medical/scientific community also encouraged by my environment (except for my father who struggled with iatrogenic effects from medications and was dismissed by many) made me wait one day to read leaflets and "medical" websites before I took the first pill of Sertraline.

(Note: My struggle did not start because of lockdown, my depression was debilitating for years and stole the joy I once had.  poor housing conditions and the fact that my mama, who gave me emotional support, was away and couldn't come back because of the pandemic took a toll on me. I was not speaking to the rest of my family, they also seemed depressed and for some reason I felt guilty for it. I couldn't live feeling barely like a human, nothing like my age, with parental responsibilities and with plenty of regrets and an awful lot of guilt).

After taking the first pill, I felt ecstatic! it gave me a high that I never experienced in life (I never did recreational drugs) and gave me a good night sleep, but a day later that changed (and I knew that I might have sleeping disturbance in the first 2 weeks and that it was normal) and after 4 doses I found a website that addressed "PSSD" and read user comments and was beyond devastated. Everything I read was moving in the direction of (the condition can occur after only one dose, it's incurable, it's IRREVERSIBLE, my life is... over).

Traumatized, but took the 5th pill because the advice was "do not stop it abruptly". I did not understand withdrawal, I still don't and the loss of sensation started after taking this 5th pill. Everything was too painful to live through, so I confronted my doctor (on the phone) and got the response "it has only been 5 days, it hasn't had enough time to build up in your system yet, side effects like sexual dysfunction are rare in women...etc.). Finally, he told me that I can stop the treatment NOW if I want to. 

 

Now:
I have been off Zoloft for almost 2 months and I think I am noticing an improvement in the main symptom I had:

  • Loss of sensation in my nipples and genital area.


I mainly still struggle with loss of ability to express sadness or cry or feel intense emotions (really difficult), so please if you experienced this share with me anything that helped you. 
 

Also please share any ideas on how to spread the word so people who have started taking antidepressants during this time can get support or be aware of withdrawal before they start treatment. How can we get this to go MAINSTREAM? were you ever inspired to inform people on a larger scale? 

I am trying to find hope during a time of great uncertainty, since I don't know if anything I am experiencing is permanent, but as a first step to remain positive I decided not to resent my background and made a vow to be the voice of withdrawal sufferers once I get back to school and discuss these issues with the future generation of pharmacists as much as I can.

sorry for this lengthy and robotic post, I hope I can get somethings off my chest and¬†share personal feelings with many of you soon¬†‚ėÄÔłŹ

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Cleopatra.  Thank you for your heartfelt and perceptive post (not at all robotic).  You will find that the staff and members here are a very empathetic and helpful group.  As you read through the site, I encourage you to post on members' threads that you feel drawn to contribute too.

 

You experienced an adverse reaction to the Sertraline, which means the drug was poison to you.  The symptoms you describe--sexual loss of sensation and inability to feel emotions--are common symptoms of an adverse reaction.  It is very encouraging that you are noticing an improvement in the sexual sensation area.  The emotional blunting will also improve in time.

 

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, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cleopatra
On 6/5/2020 at 5:43 AM, Gridley said:

Welcome to SA, Cleopatra.  Thank you for your heartfelt and perceptive post (not at all robotic).  You will find that the staff and members here are a very empathetic and helpful group.  As you read through the site, I encourage you to post on members' threads that you feel drawn to contribute too.

 

You experienced an adverse reaction to the Sertraline, which means the drug was poison to you.  The symptoms you describe--sexual loss of sensation and inability to feel emotions--are common symptoms of an adverse reaction.  It is very encouraging that you are noticing an improvement in the sexual sensation area.  The emotional blunting will also improve in time.

 

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, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dear Gridley, 
Thank you very much for the encouragement. I have been having a tough time these days and your reply really did help me stay positive. 

I am currently taking: 

  • Multivitamins (recent).
  • Burber-Pinelle drops 100 mg (2 weeks).
  • MSM-Sulfur 2000 mg¬†(2 weeks).

I don't know if any of these supplements has helped or If I should give it more time. Do you know of anyone who improved taking them?  
I will definitely look into Magnesium and fish oil and report any effects I notice. 

Again, thank you and stay safe.

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Gridley
26 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

Multivitamins (recent).

We don't recommend multivitamins because if there's a problem there's no way to know which ingredient is causing it.  

 

Have you noticed any effect, positive or negative, from the other two supplements?

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cleopatra
14 hours ago, Gridley said:

We don't recommend multivitamins because if there's a problem there's no way to know which ingredient is causing it.  

 

Have you noticed any effect, positive or negative, from the other two supplements?

 

Oh I think I am being restless (wandering around, unable to sleep), having neck stiffness and foot pain (all mild) and I didn't even notice that up until I read your reply, because my sense of things is quite different these days. I will stop the multivitamins then and will take vitamin D for now since I have a deficiency and see if I experience any problems. Thank you for letting me know! 

 

Also, it is very hard to link any benefit to the other 2 supplements but I will continue to take them until they are finished since I haven't experienced any reactions on them and will update on any noticed differences.

 

Have a good day and thank you for being active.

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cleopatra

I am very confused recently since I noticed a problem in memory and I generally feel less intelligent/unable to stay intellectually stimulated. What could be the reason behind this? 

I don't understand why I am gradually being affected by symptoms instead of being hit with them all at once! Is this a bad sign? And do I expect to have other symptoms or can my current symptoms worsen? I am feeling hopeful since recovery is possible in my case, but I can't lose my personality, wit and ability to learn languages. Please share anything that helped with cognitive function with me.

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Gridley
45 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

I noticed a problem in memory and I generally feel less intelligent/unable to stay intellectually stimulated. What could be the reason behind this? 

Memory problems and cognitive difficulties are a common symptom of adverse reaction/withdrawal.  Very typical.

 

45 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

I don't understand why I am gradually being affected by symptoms instead of being hit with them all at once! I

That too is perfectly norma.  Symptoms will come and go and come again.  And new ones will pop up.  With me, some are pretty constant,  some come and go and stay away, some come up out of the blue.  

 

45 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

I expect to have other symptoms or can my current symptoms worsen?

It will be normal if new ones pop up. As far as worsening symptoms come, recovery isn't linear--there will be ups and downs.

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

45 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

but I can't lose my personality, wit and ability to learn languages

You won't.  The damage isn't permanent.

 

46 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

Please share anything that helped with cognitive function

Time is really the only cure.  All your faculties and abilities will return in time.

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Ballardbeer

@cleopatra

great job catching the adverse reaction! i also had an adverse reaction, although quite different from what you are experiencing. it probably happens more often than society realizes, especially the sexual dysfunction part. your brain and nervous system will recover, and in the mean time you're about to develop a lot of tools that will serve you well throughout life. 

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cleopatra
22 hours ago, Ballardbeer said:

@cleopatra

great job catching the adverse reaction! i also had an adverse reaction, although quite different from what you are experiencing. it probably happens more often than society realizes, especially the sexual dysfunction part. your brain and nervous system will recover, and in the mean time you're about to develop a lot of tools that will serve you well throughout life. 

Hi Ballardbeer, 

Thank you and I hope you are doing well¬†ūüíü

How are your symptoms nowadays? Or have you recovered? What will recovery actually feel like? Will I be feeling things like sadness the exact same way I used to do, or will it still be a bit suppressed?

Also, you are right! I am currently eager to meet people, go to the park and play football. I want to live and I couldn't be more thankful for this, even if I don't fully feel it.

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Ballardbeer
2 minutes ago, cleopatra said:

Hi Ballardbeer, 

Thank you and I hope you are doing well¬†ūüíü

How are your symptoms nowadays? Or have you recovered? What will recovery actually feel like? Will I be feeling things like sadness the exact same way I used to do, or will it still be a bit suppressed?

Also, you are right! I am currently eager to meet people, go to the park and play football. I want to live and I couldn't be more thankful for this, even if I don't fully feel it.


That’s actually a great question. Sertraline definitely suppresses certain feelings and amplifies others, that much is very real. For me all of my anxiety (good and bad) disappeared. And irritability and rage spiked. Today, I’m more anxious than I have been in a v long time (a good thing), and most days I’m calm as a cucumber, but not every day unfortunately. At this point I don’t even know what symptoms remain. Overall my life and personality has shifted significantly, and for the better. I feel more, I see more, and while I’m not quite the same ball of energy, I take care of myself better. What does recovery feel like? To me it has been taking control And responsibility for my own well being. It hasn’t felt great, but I appreciate the spectrum of emotions and feelings and know that what I’m feeling is real and not exactly natural. My CNS still twitches. My body honestly feels lost sometimes. I have not had a strenuous exercise in almost a year. Some days I barely know myself, but some days I feel more alive than ever. Definitely more alive than my drug-induced hypomania months. And while my sex drive never disappeared, it definitely was muted. It’s definitely no longer muted at all. Recovery ebbs and flows and morphs. Emphasize self care and be kind to yourself and it’s okay to take days and weeks off if that’s what the symptoms dictate. I still don’t show up to work sometimes bc it’s just a bad idea. I still don’t drive really because that’s almost always a bad idea for me.

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cleopatra
On 6/13/2020 at 4:04 AM, Ballardbeer said:


That’s actually a great question. Sertraline definitely suppresses certain feelings and amplifies others, that much is very real. For me all of my anxiety (good and bad) disappeared. And irritability and rage spiked. Today, I’m more anxious than I have been in a v long time (a good thing), and most days I’m calm as a cucumber, but not every day unfortunately. At this point I don’t even know what symptoms remain. Overall my life and personality has shifted significantly, and for the better. I feel more, I see more, and while I’m not quite the same ball of energy, I take care of myself better. What does recovery feel like? To me it has been taking control And responsibility for my own well being. It hasn’t felt great, but I appreciate the spectrum of emotions and feelings and know that what I’m feeling is real and not exactly natural. My CNS still twitches. My body honestly feels lost sometimes. I have not had a strenuous exercise in almost a year. Some days I barely know myself, but some days I feel more alive than ever. Definitely more alive than my drug-induced hypomania months. And while my sex drive never disappeared, it definitely was muted. It’s definitely no longer muted at all. Recovery ebbs and flows and morphs. Emphasize self care and be kind to yourself and it’s okay to take days and weeks off if that’s what the symptoms dictate. I still don’t show up to work sometimes bc it’s just a bad idea. I still don’t drive really because that’s almost always a bad idea for me.


Dear Ballardbeer, 

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions and sorry for my late response. 
Looking at what you've written now makes me very grateful for feeling the same way you do at this stage, which wasn't the case when I first read your post!
I felt like a child, who desperately wanted to feel like they will once again become the exact same person they were in the past! a person who felt everything so intensely and to extremes, who was always overthinking and instead of living was waiting for the right time to start living, when there will never be a right time for that!
Now I accept the pain, I am being gentle with myself and I look at the past and think "She was lovely, worthy of love and peace of mind" and maybe I would have never felt that way about myself unless I experienced this!
I feel very calm in general and anxious when I need to interact with people, which is unlike myself, but I believe that I am the perfect person to go through this! Because I now think of my Diabetic father and how his nervous system must be the reason behind some of his severe symptoms and how I can help him. I now will never become a dismissive and uncompassionate practitioner who never listens to people just because "the leaflet states..." and I will hold into my ambitions firmly and work on my big projects, so that one day I can confidently take this matter to a committee that will support our community and prevent future damage. 
I am very happy that you don't force yourself to do anything that sounds like a bad idea, I always struggled with that and pushed myself too hard when I needed to rest. I will always keep this in mind!

Again, thank you and I hope you get well soon. 

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