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Chrjackson: Zoloft/Sertraline - in recovery and just hit 18months


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Hi! 
this is my first time writing on here and thought it would be important to start. No idea if anyone still even looks at this website, a lot of the posts seem to be very old. 

I was prescribed sertraline (Zoloft) by a doctor in the UK following a difficult period and PTSD. I was swiftly put up to the legal limit (200mg) for no reason other than my doctor thought it wasn’t working for me. I took this for 18months and then under the guidance of the same doctor came off the prescription in 6 weeks. Now for those people who know what they are talking about when it comes to tapering, that will probably make their hair stand on end. 
 

The withdrawal symptoms were nothing short of psychotic and it will probably shock people to hear that I stuck them out, my doctor left me, a psychiatrist wouldn’t see me and I wanted to be done off prescription meds so much. I had Audio and visual hallucinations, obsessive compulsive thoughts, night terrors, panic attacks, anxiety, Deep depression, irritability the list goes on. I weathered them all. 
 

I have been off sertraline 18months and still have lots of down days, but nothing close to what they used to be. 18months in and I regularly exercise, I can have a beer with my friends (I couldn’t do this until recently) and I can have moments that I enjoy. 
 

I have regular windows and waves now that cycle around 7-8days each. This just shows that my brain is recovering from a dependency on such a high dose of anti-depressant. I still get very angry that I am in this position because of lack of guidance and management from a doctor but at the end of the day it’s in the past so I don’t let that thought manifest. 
 

if I had to put my finger on it I think I have maybe another year or so of recovery to go. The concept of that used to terrify me but what I want to get across to anyone who may be reading this is that it does get better, time does heal and you need to find out the day to day things that work for you. You will get there just hang on. Take everyday one at a time - I believe in you!

Edited by manymoretodays
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manymoretodays

Hi Chrijackson,

Welcome, and thanks for coming around and posting your Success Story.

And congratulations as well, for sticking with it.

 

If you look around here, you'll see the different forums, and sometimes......we even get behind, in getting new folks started, in the Introductions forums.

And apologies, on the delayed approval of your post.  I think the recent holidays, may have set things a bit behind.

In this forum, Success Stories, we do have a fair number of recent posts, of people, now off their medications for a years time.

And, like I said, pretty active recent posts elsewhere.

 

Huge though, that you've continued to improve, now 18 months off.

 

How did you come off the sertraline in 6 weeks?

 

We generally take a harm reduction approach, and suggest:  Why taper by 10% of my dose?

And it does sound like you are aware of better tapering practices than what your doctor suggested.

 

How has it gone, if you recall, with your WD(withdrawal symptoms), as far, as improvements went, at various months since you've come off the sertraline?

 

Fortunately, yet not quick enough, for so many of us.......there is finally, more information being gathered and distributed around WD, better tapering practices, understanding of Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.

 

Just the same, I can understand your anger.  And yes, a long ways to go with tapering and full disclosure around these types of medications, and then all the rest as well.  Things are happening though.  And the founder of this site, Altostrata has been a workhorse in this effort.

 

Regular exercise you stated helped.  Any other non-drug coping that helped, that you would like to share will be much appreciated, I'm sure.

 

And I do take it that you are drug free now and are not on any other medications?

Were you on any before the sertraline?

 

Welcome, welcome.  And thank you for posting here too.

 

Best.  Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

 

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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JesusSavemefromWD

Thank u for posting ur success story. It gives me hope..... if someone on 200mg Zoloft for 18 months can recover , I should be able to recover too (just took this poison for few weeks at 25mg). I am seeing some improvements this week after 2&1/2 months OFF this poison, but still farrr away from functional and normal ... lot of every day suffering . Please keep us posted about ur continued improvement... I am really happy for u

August 15,16 cipralex:went CRAZY

August 28, 2020 sertraline:

25mg -3 1/2weeks/ tapering for 5 1/2 weeks; last dose 4mg Oct 26th

- Depersonalization/ crazy/ brain disconnection/bedridden

- soul despair dead like feeling

- eye floaters/tinnitus/no appetite

- inner terror/anxiety/panic attacks

- mild insomnia 

10 weeks OFF sertraline

- severe constant depersonalization - brain disconnection/going crazy

- soul despair (reduced a lot)

- tinnitus (increased)

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Chrjackson
4 hours ago, manymoretodays said:

Hi Chrijackson,

Welcome, and thanks for coming around and posting your Success Story.

And congratulations as well, for sticking with it.

 

If you look around here, you'll see the different forums, and sometimes......we even get behind, in getting new folks started, in the Introductions forums.

And apologies, on the delayed approval of your post.  I think the recent holidays, may have set things a bit behind.

In this forum, Success Stories, we do have a fair number of recent posts, of people, now off their medications for a years time.

And, like I said, pretty active recent posts elsewhere.

 

Huge though, that you've continued to improve, now 18 months off.

 

How did you come off the sertraline in 6 weeks?

 

We generally take a harm reduction approach, and suggest:  Why taper by 10% of my dose?

And it does sound like you are aware of better tapering practices than what your doctor suggested.

 

How has it gone, if you recall, with your WD(withdrawal symptoms), as far, as improvements went, at various months since you've come off the sertraline?

 

Fortunately, yet not quick enough, for so many of us.......there is finally, more information being gathered and distributed around WD, better tapering practices, understanding of Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.

 

Just the same, I can understand your anger.  And yes, a long ways to go with tapering and full disclosure around these types of medications, and then all the rest as well.  Things are happening though.  And the founder of this site, Altostrata has been a workhorse in this effort.

 

Regular exercise you stated helped.  Any other non-drug coping that helped, that you would like to share will be much appreciated, I'm sure.

 

And I do take it that you are drug free now and are not on any other medications?

Were you on any before the sertraline?

 

Welcome, welcome.  And thank you for posting here too.

 

Best.  Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

 


Thanks for your response. In answer to some of your questions;

 

I came off sertraline in 6 weeks from 200mg which was pretty much 25mg a week for 5-6 weeks, and I had discontinuation/withdrawal affects after every change, but I was reducing at such a pace because my doctor gave me that guidance and I just wanted to be off them. At the time I was not aware of better tapering practices, I hadn’t researched it and I trusted the doctor and psychiatrists guidance (why wouldn’t I as they are trained professionals). I now know that was a huge mistake. I have read the book the antidepressant solution by Joseph Glenmullen and this helped me massively. 
 

As for the various stages of withdrawal. I would say 0-4 months it was deep depression, dizzy head constantly, tinitus, pounding headaches, restlessness, fatigue, exhaustion, obsessive thoughts and irritability - almost constantly. I thought I was going insane. From 4-8 months I had windows and waves, windows last 1-2 days and the waves felt never ending, they had all the symptoms above but more sickness, disassociation, headaches (I can’t stress these enough it’s like my head was screaming) dizziness, loss of balance, irritability, obsessive thoughts. 8-18 months I have had windows and waves whereby my recovery has been so slow it has almost been unrecognisable. I tend to measure things in 3-6 month blocks because only then will you see a visible improvement. All I can say is that the peaks and troughs of my windows and waves have got shallower and longer. My windows are relatively normal now, I still get dizzy and sleepless nights but my brain is just so calm compared to before. My waves are filled with obsessive thoughts, anxiety and dizziness but they are manageable. 
 

There are so many things that helped me through this period. Exercise has saved my life - without a shadow of a doubt. In any form, walking running, weight training, skipping. It has kept me alive and I start off everyday with it. I journal most days - writing in it how I’m feeling so I can use this material to look back on. I also keep a diary traffic light system, red for bed, amber for okayish, green for good. I have done this every single day for nearly a year, and was how I first identified windows and waves. It has been instrumental to me understanding my own patterns of behaviour and recovery. I also want to point out that because recovery is so slow - by keeping a journal that is sometimes how you realise you’ve made progress, because you read something from 7 months ago and think, wow I never feel like that anymore. 
I also have talk therapy 2-3 times a month, where I talk to a therapist about what’s going on. My family and friends don’t really understand but my girlfriend does, she has been the bedrock for my recovery - so find someone who you can talk to about it because when the going gets tough they are the people who help you through. 
 

In response to your final question - I have never taken any medication before sertraline and I never took any medication alongside sertraline. Before all this I was a young, confident 27 year old guy who had a job at one of the top businesses in London. I thought taking this medication ruined my life, but I now know I will beat the withdrawal effects and I will get back to where I was - nothing will stop me and everyone on here will be happy again and get back to where they want to - an even better version than before :) 

 

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Chrjackson
6 hours ago, JesusSavemefromWD said:

Thank u for posting ur success story. It gives me hope..... if someone on 200mg Zoloft for 18 months can recover , I should be able to recover too (just took this poison for few weeks at 25mg). I am seeing some improvements this week after 2&1/2 months OFF this poison, but still farrr away from functional and normal ... lot of every day suffering . Please keep us posted about ur continued improvement... I am really happy for u

Time heals everything - that is one thing that is true and can never be taken away. Especially when it comes to withdrawal. 
 

SSRIs are potent and can really throw your brain chemistry. Sounds like you are already making progress and starting to recover - I wish you a speedy recovery and you should feel excited for life on the other side of withdrawal :) 

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batty123

I came off 3 weeks & suffer extreme cases like yours & was suicidal & had severe memory problems 

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Chrjackson: Zoloft/Sertraline - in recovery and just hit 18months
JesusSavemefromWD

Thank you for the encouragement. I do see improvements but I am still into a lots of suffering.....sometimes I am worried the brain damage for few weeks of Zoloft might be permanent but I think it’s because changes are so slow that you are not even sure if there is an overall improvement. Just wondering, did u ever experience depersonalization/derealizationduring your withdrawal, and if yes for how long? 

August 15,16 cipralex:went CRAZY

August 28, 2020 sertraline:

25mg -3 1/2weeks/ tapering for 5 1/2 weeks; last dose 4mg Oct 26th

- Depersonalization/ crazy/ brain disconnection/bedridden

- soul despair dead like feeling

- eye floaters/tinnitus/no appetite

- inner terror/anxiety/panic attacks

- mild insomnia 

10 weeks OFF sertraline

- severe constant depersonalization - brain disconnection/going crazy

- soul despair (reduced a lot)

- tinnitus (increased)

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JesusSavemefromWD

@batty123 a bit more specific please? You have had it for a year and a half and it’s gone or you are still experiencing it? Has it lighten up at all? Thanks and I am sorry to hear u have experience with this horrific symptom. Did I ever had it before psychiatric drugs? I didn’t ...

August 15,16 cipralex:went CRAZY

August 28, 2020 sertraline:

25mg -3 1/2weeks/ tapering for 5 1/2 weeks; last dose 4mg Oct 26th

- Depersonalization/ crazy/ brain disconnection/bedridden

- soul despair dead like feeling

- eye floaters/tinnitus/no appetite

- inner terror/anxiety/panic attacks

- mild insomnia 

10 weeks OFF sertraline

- severe constant depersonalization - brain disconnection/going crazy

- soul despair (reduced a lot)

- tinnitus (increased)

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Meaning spent 1yr suffering withdrawals side effects in 2019 & 2020 6months relapse in depression still able to work but keeping hush it's the drugs made ya do this & that & nobody believes you!

Ya can dm me!

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Chrjackson

@JesusSavemefromWDi have experienced both of these for a prolonged period but I want to reassure you that these symptoms ease and that they go. You won’t have done permanent damage to your brain, I felt like that for a long time and it’s something I used to speak to my therapist about, the recovery process is just very very slow and one that takes time. The heal is notoriously very slow to heal itself, but the amazing thing is that it does :) 

if you never experienced symptoms before psychiatric drugs and now you do - that is a clear indication it is withdrawal causing them. I never experienced 90% of the symptoms I have had from withdrawal. 

 

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manymoretodays

Hey Chr,

And thank you so much for answering my questions, and sharing your coping.  And love this below!!!

On 1/8/2021 at 4:47 AM, Chrjackson said:

SSRIs are potent and can really throw your brain chemistry. Sounds like you are already making progress and starting to recover - I wish you a speedy recovery and you should feel excited for life on the other side of withdrawal :) 

 

Yep, yip, yes!!!

 

Also,

Please summarize your withdrawal history in your signature

this will be helpful too, when others come by, or if you do want to visit and support other members.  It's what you see below others posts.  Just follow the instructions and links in that link to do the signature.

 

Thanks again.  And so glad you joined us here.  ❤️

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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