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KateLynn:the beginning of a long journey


KateLynn

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I have been on some combination of benzodiazepines and antidepressants for most of my life. I’m tired of the medications, I am still very much in the throughs of anxiety and periodic depression. I am on two different antidepressants and benzodiazepines and have been on this  specific regiment for about 4 years. I am a single mom, just went through a very ugly divorce and live in an expensive city. My psychiatrist told me about this site. Sorry if I am using this wrong, but I am starting the scary journey of tapering off. I have tried before and became severely depressed. Had tremors and headaches and insomnia. Also lost a bunch of weight cause stress effects my digestion. I’m scared and excited to get off this crap. It’s changed my brain chemistry, I can only hope not past the point of return. Depression and anxiety have plagued my life as long as I can remember, I need a change. The medications I am on are pristiq 25mg, Wellbutrin 150mg and clonazepam 1mg daily with Xanax 1mg prn. Pristiq has been the game changer for my depression and especially helpful with my stomach issues related to stress. It is also the hardest to kick, not to mention I don’t know how to get off the benzodiazepines. My hands shake without them and I am in the medical field so, that doesn’t work well for me. Just sharing where I am, hope to find and give support here. Thanks! I guess I’m looking for advice for those like me who are just starting the journey.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to KateLynn:the beginning of a long journey

Just starting to taper

 

Hey all! I have been on antidepressants and benzodiazepines for more of my life than not (I am 28 years old). I have tried every class of antidepressants with no real luck. For the past four years I have been on the same four medications. Most doctors have tried to increase the doses, but I have made it clear I want to live my life without medications. I still have a lot of stressors in my life, and recently went through a traumatic divorce. Lately, I have realized that I don’t know if I am really happy or sad anymore, I am whatever dose I took, or forgot to take. If I don’t take my benzodiazepines, then I will be awake all night, if I skip a antidepressant, even for a day I feel like a slug and can tell there is a shift in the way I think. That might sound impossible, but I feel so dependent on medications. It’s like making a deal with the devil, sure I’m alive (as in not suicidal) but I’m not really living.

 

So this is me committing to kicking every one of these medications. I know it is a marathon not a sprint, but I also know I need to not do this alone. I’m thankful this site exist. I am thankful to everyone who shares their story as well.

 

Current regiment: 

11/2020: Pristiq 25mg daily (started in 2017 at 75mg, went to 100mg and tapered all of the last year and a half to 25mg).

11/2020: Wellbutrin ER 150mg daily (started in 2018 to help with getting down on pristiq, changed doctors due to insurance and was put up to 300mg early 2020, (he wanted to just increase all my doses) I noticed no improvement and just went back to the 150mg tabs, now I officially am back with my favorite doctor and am on 150mg.)

11/2020: clonazepam 0.5mg twice a day down from 1mg BID in 2018-2019) 

11/2020: Xanax 1 mg PRN (I get 20 tabs a month, used to take 1-2 mg a day, I would have about 3 panic attacks a week 2019-early 2020, again I was getting out of an abusive marriage, so it was and still is a very stressful year).


I have had  Xanax prescribed to me for over ten years, never gone over 1 mg/dose, during 2019 I took it nearly everyday, now I really try to steer clear, but if I don’t have it nearby I panic.

Clonazepam I have been on for over five years, I would often just use the Xanax because the clonazepam didn’t feel like it was doing anything and I have breakthrough panic attacks even on my long acting Benzo.

without at least one of them I have a hard time functioning, I get angry fast, my hands shake, I get a headache and feel like my heart is beating through my chest. 
Wellbutrin- just sucks but I withdraw without it.

pristiq- I thought was a miracle drug, it has helped with my IBS-C and appetite as well as really helped me not feel depressed, (my anxiety and depression makes me have no appetite, and also I don’t digest whatever I do eat, I get no pleasure from eating, and doctors were desperate to have me gain weight because I was withering away). Turns out the best working medication is also the hardest to kick and I had no idea when I started it. I became very unstable and depressed, had nerve pain in my hands and felt like crap all of last year, I didn’t taper well, so now I have been on the same dose a while it seems I have stabilized to this new dose.

 

before that - God I couldn’t tell you but if you name it I’m sure I have tried it. I have definitely covered every class of antidepressants as well as been prescribed a few antipsychotic medications. None of them lasted long though. The four I am on are the ones I am focused on. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, KateLynn.  You are by no means past the point of no return.  I was on Lexapro for 17 years and just finished tapering to zero. Yes, these drugs change brain chemistry, but when you slowly taper off them your brain chemistry changes back to normal.

 

Please do not start any more Introduction topics.  Only one Introduction topic per person. 


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.  You can copy the information from your second post using the following link.  Please indicate which type of Wellbutrin you're taking (SR, XR, XL).

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

The reason why you had the symptoms you describe, which are typical withdrawal symptoms, is that you tapered too fast.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  The benzos would be tapered, one at a time, at the same rate.  But as explained below, they would come after the antidepressants to be tapered.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 

 
These explain the healing process really well.

 

 

 
We recommend tapering only one drug at a time.  Otherwise, if problems arise, you won't know the cause.  We also recommend tapering the activating drug(s) (which are called accelerators first, leaving the sedating drugs in place to help with sleep and to be tapered later.  Pristiq and Wellbutrin are accelerators and the two benzos are brakes.  
 
 
So the choice would be whether to taper the Pristiq or Wellbutrin first.
 
As you said, there are difficulties associated with tapering Pristiq.  This link explains some possible ways to get around them.  Another possibility is to have your Pristiq compounded as a compounding pharmacy.  ChessieCat, one of our moderators, has used this method and is now down to 0.5mg Pristiq.
 
 
This link is specifically about tapering Wellbutrin.
 
 
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. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

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

 

 
Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

NOTE TO MODS:

 

KateLynn created a 2nd Introduction topic prior to Gridley responding to the original Introduction topic.  They have been merged.

 

Please see this post which may contain information not previously provided.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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