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Toast: looking for peer support


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Hi everyone,

 

I have been on SSRIs for ~15 years (since I was a child). This summer, I discontinued the medication. I had been feeling very well for several years prior. Upon withdrawal, I experienced severe symptoms including rage, depression, and feelings of horror and agitation. Rage, horror, and agitation were symptoms I had never experienced before, and I thought I had been depressed a few times in the past while on the medication (largely though I went years experiencing no symptoms, yet no doctor suggested I come off the medication), what I experienced upon withdrawal made me realize those prior periods were normal sadness and now I was experiencing true, crippling depression. I will also add this period was coupled with an extremely stressful and traumatic life event occurring; however, I believe my ability to cope with the event was greatly reduced because of the withdrawal; and perhaps my interpretation of the event as extremely stressful and traumatizing was also due to the withdrawal as well.

 

Because of the stressful life event, however, at first I didn't realize what I was experiencing was withdrawal. After all, we are told for years SSRIs are "very safe," "practically harmless," if you need them they will help you, and if you don't need them they at the very least won't hurt you. Before this year, I had always viewed my medication positively, figured it was probably helping me though I couldn't necessarily tell for sure. I had also always placed a lot of trust in doctors. However, months into experiencing severe rage and depression off of the Prozac, all aspects of my life (work, social) suffering, barely functional, and in indescribable emotional agony and pain, I eventually decided to try reinstating the Prozac. Within days of restarting I felt incredibly calm, peaceful, soothed, but in a disconcerting way -- I had spent months being angry about the stressful life event, and all of the sudden I felt almost peaceful apathy about it. Ultimately this didn't sit well with me. Several aspects of the situation directly contradicted things I had been told: Prozac was supposed to take weeks to take effect, but restarting it, I felt better right away. And Prozac was supposed to have mild and self-limiting discontinuation symptoms, yet, unless my symptoms (which again, I had never experienced anything like in my life) were entirely caused by the stressful life event, what I experienced was anything but mild. I began to do research and reading, and my entire perspective on psychiatric medication changed drastically (hence, me being here on this website :)

 

I have my medication and tapering plan under control. I've done a lot of research and I've settled on a plan I feel is best for me.

 

I've joined this website looking for some peer support and to support others. It is abysmal to me the way I have been treated when I describe my experience to my mental health providers. Their interpretation is ALWAYS, "you have chronic depression" and "Prozac doesn't have withdrawal symptoms." The fact that I had severe symptoms coming off of the Prozac is to them evidence that I need to be indefinitely medicated, like (as I've sure we've all heard) how diabetics need their insulin. Nevermind that I had never had those severe symptoms prior to my withdrawal, and nevermind that SSRIs create, rather than fix, an abnormal state in the brain. The fact that I had such a quick response to the Prozac upon reintroduction was again to them a sign of further pathology that could, lucky for me, be fixed with additional medication. Seeking help for my symptoms, I was nearly diagnosed with an additional psychiatric disorder that had *never* been previously floated as a potential diagnosis for me. 

 

In all other types of medication or psychoactive substances in general, medical professionals seem to recognize that tolerance effects can occur, and that oppositional effects can occur during extended periods of medication as the body tries to return to homeostasis. For example, opiates. Why do medical professionals think SSRIs would be exempt from this universal phenomenon? Another example, antipsychotics are well known to produce tardive dyskinesia, especially with long-term use. Tardive dyskinesia is recognized because it produces more visible symptoms - involuntary movements. But tardive dysphoria is not well recognized as an effect from long term SSRI use and withdrawal because it involves believing the patients when they relate their inner suffering. And the patients are "crazy", so probably exaggerating or else had the symptom to start with, why else would they have been medicated in the first place? 

 

Now that my synapses are no longer bathing in as abnormally high amounts of serotonin, besides the depression, which continues to be severe (and has morphed into depersonalization, derealization, and existential depression about the illusion of free will), I have also noticed changes in my personality. Several people I am close to have said I seem like "a different person". My experience of inhabiting my own mind feels different. I feel more assertive and more alert, but also more angry. I'm not necessarily looking to go back to the person I was "before", I feel like that person might have been overly submissive, but I do want to feel better again. Marc Lewis, who writes about addiction (though more in the context of illegal drugs) has said he hates the term "recovery" but instead says what we should aim for is "development", the idea that we are moving forward, not trying to move backwards or only look at it as regaining what we have lost. On my better days this perspective gives me some hope when I sometimes think I might not be able to undo all of the changes psychiatric medication produced in my brain. I hope to develop by eventually experiencing a reduction of the symptoms that cause me to suffer so intensely, but to ultimately maintain my increased assertiveness and knowledge of my own resilience. 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi @Toast and welcome,

 


I'm sorry that it took a while to respond to your post. Thank you for telling us your story. I am sorry that you had to deal with it all though. I think many, me being one of them, can especially relate to the whole ordeal with the mental health providers. It can be very disappointing I think, to say the least.
I think aiming for development is a great way to look at it. I believe the more negative personality traits that we sometimes get during withdrawal will definitely fade away gradually though, and in that way I think recovery will usually happen. It might just take a long time for some of us, years sometimes. 

 


Maybe you have looked around a bit already, but I thought I'd provide some links in case you'd find them interesting/helpful. 
For example we usually don't recommend many supplements during withdrawal because it can sometimes make symptoms worse, but we often recommend omega-3 and magnesium since many have found them helpful. If so it's usually a good idea to start with one supplement at a time and at a low dose.

 

Omega-3

 

Magnesium

 

 

Do you mind me asking what symptoms you have that you find the most problematic right now? There is a topic where others discuss anger as a symptom of withdrawal, I will link it since you mentioned it, and below it is a collection of many other great topics. Can be used as a reference maybe.

 

Managing anger

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 


I'm glad you found us and hope you will get something positive out of it. Feel free to ask questions, give updates and get support from others in this introduction topic of yours.
If you have more specific dates of your drug history, that's good to put in the signature, but if not it is completely fine too of course. If you take any supplements or other drugs that could be an idea to put in the signature as well.

 

Writing your signature

 


Take care and please keep us updated on how you're doing. And of course feel free to contribute in other parts of the forum if/when you feel comfortable with it.

 

 

Edited by Sunnyday

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

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  • Sunnyday changed the title to Toast: looking for peer support

@Toast  Hello, thank you so much for joining the forum, your post is thoughtful and incisive.   I wish you much luck in your journey going forward.

 

I have often wondered about the person I am and will be after removing these drugs from my body.  It is just not the drugs themselves, but also the trauma and disruption they have caused in my life.  But I've decided to let this go, and accept what comes without judgment.   We all change over time, and recapturing or reinventing some version of "me" I don't think is really possible.  I will just continue to maintain hope that I can return to a productive life where I will try my best to do what is right and just.  And hopefully be in a better position to provide love and support to others, as I have been loved and supported through this hard time.

 

Peace and love to you. ❤

Started .25 mg. clonazapam Oct. 2016

Started 10 mg. Celexa Dec. 2016

Started 10 mg. amitriptyline January 2017

Also took 60 mg. Dexilant Oct. 2016 through April 2017, successfully tapered off

Stopped Celexa successfully Oct. 2017

Fast taper of amitriptyline Dec. 2017, had major WD symptoms and reinstated at 10 mg. Jan. 2018

Slow amitryptyline taper started Mar. 2019, reduced from 10 mg. to 2.1 mg. currently

Also still taking .25 mg. clonazapam daily in late evening

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Hello bijay, welcome to the forum (I am also new).

I can also relate very much to the problems with the mental health system. It just seems completely unbelievable that these drugs are out there causing these incredibly life disrupting symptoms (like nothing else pretty much) and still there is no awareness. These drugs have been around for so long and there is no knowledge on withdrawal, it is so strange. I do think though that the awareness is growing. I know a psychiatrist who does not prescribe Venlafaxine anymore for example, but there is certainly a long road ahead.

Best wishes

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

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@Sunnyday, thank you for the links and for the encouraging words. The best thing about this forum is the feeling of "I am not alone in this," although of course it is so hard to see others suffer as well. Anger and also feelings of uncontrollable horror are my most problematic symptoms right now. I have noticed as the anger fades, it is replaced by the horror and also feelings of despair. 

 

A relative of mine was on Zoloft at a similar age but shorter duration as me, and around the time they went off, they also became extremely angry and horrible to be around. Yelling, screaming, saying completely cruel and cutting things. At the time I took it as proof they needed to be medicated, but now as I find myself yelling and screaming at people I'm close to I'm realizing they were definitely experiencing withdrawal. I asked them recently if they felt depressed at all when they went off, and they said no, so I guess that's perhaps comforting that depression is not necessarily a given. The upsetting thing is this person was angry and awful for 5+ years, at least to the immediate family, so again seems to be more evidence that these medications can take a long time to recover from. However, they seem to be doing very well now (after ~10 years) so that's comforting. 

 

@bijay, thank you and I definitely agree about not only being harmed and changed by the drugs, but by the trauma and disruption associated. I have felt and feel so broken and dysfunctional, like a shell of my former self. I know with time we will both be able to get back to our former productivity, even if it takes longer than we might hope. Peace and love to you as well <3 

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I meant, hey toast 🙃

but also of course hi to @bijay

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

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:) Thanks @Neon. I hope awareness continues to grow and it is heartening to see some psychiatrists beginning to be more aware on these issues.

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Hi, 

Just wanted to post about some thoughts I have been struggling with. My whole life I always felt very in control of my body and mind. I felt proud of this, that I was very self-disciplined, able to set my mind to tasks to complete them, able to put off short-term pleasure for long-term gain, etc. The experience of withdrawal has really upended this perspective for me. I now feel completely helpless - no matter what action I take, positive or negative when it comes to work, personal growth, socially, I feel the same dull horror and complete misery. Things that used to make me feel good don't, and haven't since my withdrawal started. It often feels like there is a person screaming inside my head. Just screaming in horror, sometimes about particular aspects of my life, but sometimes just screaming. I feel like I have given up now and am just trying to endure life, just treading water and pushing myself to do the bare minimum to get through each day. 

 

I thought I had experienced depression in the past (while on the drugs) but nothing I ever experienced was like this. I am worried about how long these symptoms will last because my quality of life is so low right now. I have also experienced traumatic events at work that are feeding into the misery, but I think my resilience was so much less without the drugs that the work events have really incapacitated me in a way they would not have if I were not in withdrawal. 

 

When I first realized I was suffering from withdrawal, I spent a long time reading about the brain and neuroscience to try to figure out how I could "fix" myself. This led to me reading about consciousness, which led to me thinking more and more about how free will is likely an illusion. We are all made up of cells and atoms which follow the laws of physics and interact with our genes and our environment via the deterministic laws of physics. Consciousness is likely to be an emergent phenomenon layered on top of it all. This has made me feel even more helpless in my recovery -- I have started to feel like "I" don't have control over anything I do, like I am living my life in a trance. I think this feeling is reinforced by the complete anhedonia I have been experienced -- as humans we respond to positive and negative reinforcement, and right now no matter what action I take, I am receiving negative emotional reinforcement. I feel like I've reached the point of learned helplessness. 

 

I don't even know what it will mean to "heal". I have lived more than half of my life on this drug. I don't know who I am and I am worried if my symptoms continue I will end up losing my job, needing to go on disability, and never feeling better. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Toast, 

 

Hope you don't mind me giving some of my thoughts around some of the things you wrote. I think a lot of what you're describing is very relatable. Even the feeling of a voice screaming in horror inside your head I remember very clearly, among other things. It's very tough, but it is possible to get through. And when we do it is worth it (if you ask me). Around 3 years back I would have had a hard time believing it if someone told me I'd be reasoning that way now, and feeling the way I do now. It is possible to recover, but our mind and feelings can make it feel unattainable at times because the negative experiences are so intense during withdrawal. 

 

I remember often feeling like the suffering wasn't worth it. I think the problem is that suffering, especially the kind we experience during WD, skews our perspective so much. It's hard to imagine what recovery will look like, even for someone who hasn't been on these drugs for half their life. I felt I had lost who I was, and gained a lot of traits that I strongly disliked. But today I would say I've become a better version of myself, and I think this is the case for many people who go through this. I personally think this is especially true for people like you who naturally seem to be doing a lot of research.

 

I would try to avoid ''giving in'' to the negative thoughts whenever possible. Healing's post about neuro-emotions I think is a very good but quick reminder of this. Another good reminder is Brassmonkey's thread on emotional spirals. He brings it up in relation to relationships in the first post, but I think it applies to many, many situations. Like when we start thinking negatively about our recovery, and we just keep spiraling until we're convinced we won't get better. Mental positive reinforcement was the most important thing for me to get through that. To make it a habit so that whenever a negative thought comes up, we reason around it with a positive thought in a comforting or neutralising way. I found it very difficult at first, but with persistence it almost became a second nature eventually, which was helpful.


Another very simple mindset that has been good for me to keep in mind, is that our thoughts are not reality. So just because we think something does not mean it's true, or real. I think this is especially applicable during WD. Even if we many times know this from a logical standpoint, I found it's easy to start trusting our negative feelings and the thoughts that follow.

 

I didn't touch on everything you brought up, but figured I'd mention a few things that I've found helpful. I really hope you will feel a bit better soon. Take care.

 

 

2011-2015: Escitalopram (Cipralex) 20 mg, Voxra 300 mg (quit Voxra in late 2015, no issues)

2016: Started tapering Escitalopram 5 mg at a time, every fourth week

July 24th, 2016: Escitalopram 5 mg

April 2nd, 2017: Quit last dosage (WD worsened a lot)

Ca 6 last months of 2017: Taking Diazepam 15-25 mg irregularly, less than once a month

Ca Dec 2017: Out of Diazepam, i.e free from all prescribed drugs

Now: Still drug free

Supplements: Irregular intake of Omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D.

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Hi @Toast,

just wanna say hi and give some thoughts on your thoughts 🙂 

First of all, I like the reference to the screaming man inside your head, I could completely relate to it, that is what it feels like 😅

 

You mentioned that you used to be a go-getter and a really efficient person (if I understand this right) and right now you feel helpless and that you have given up now. I wanna just say that I think you might feel helpless to change or stop the symptoms, but you have definitely not given up because you are on this truly crazy trip and you are hanging in there. You have decided to stop this medication even though it sends you to all kinds of horrible places. That is a huge difference. Of course we all become more vegetable-like during this, this is simply natural considering what we are going through. 

 

You mentioned that you have lowered resilience right now, that might well be true, but I think this incredibly difficult process will strengthen resilience in the long-term. I have read people describing this in success stories over and over again.

 

Also something to think about is that it might be well for you to learn to accept that there is not always something that can be done. That sometimes we just have to accept the facts and life at it is. Not essentially becoming compliant, but just knowing that not always there needs to be a fight. I dont know if this applies to you, this is an experience I have made and I feel it has helped me a lot in dealing with life situations. I believe there is a certain strength in accepting ones helplessness and continuing regardless. I dont know if I can bring across what I mean, probably others have described it better.

 

I also dont think that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon layered on top of physics. I mean in a way all is physics, so maybe it is. What I am trying to say is, that we are not our bodies, we are not even our minds. I think withdrawal is pretty much the best place to realize this. Our bodies go crazy, our minds become depressed, anxious, panicked in ways we cannot attribute to our "normal" selves, we have crippling symptoms .. and yet at some level we know that this is not right, that this is not us, that eventually this will clear up. I am a very amateur spiritual person, so there is probably many different layers to this, but just some thoughts. You might not be spiritual in any way, I did not use to be, but these thoughts started to intrigue me in withdrawal.

 

About not knowing what healing will be like, I can relate, I have also been medicated from pretty young on. And at some point I was in withdrawal, I was always angry, I thought, am I a really angry, aggressive person and never noticed? When I was on it I just accepted everything and never really stood up for myself much, so I thought I was just not strong. And those are pretty contradictory, so I wondered where I would end up at. I still dont really know but many have written success stories and none I have read so far didnt like the person they had become.

 

I dont know what will happen with your job but you will definitely get better.

 

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

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@Sunnydayand @Neon, Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. I was really struggling yesterday and it meant a lot and helped a lot to hear from you both. @Sunnyday, it is really reassuring to hear it does get better with time and also to hear that you felt like you were becoming someone you didn't like, but those traits eventually ended up going away and you ended up liking the person you became. Also thank you for the reminder that thoughts are not reality, this is both comforting and extremely true. And you are right about positive mental reinforcement. So hard to do, but it is definitely possible. Even if it starts out feeling weak, I should not give up on this (like I have been). 

 

@Neon, thank you as well for your response. You are right about acceptance being a valuable tool as well. This is something I have struggled with since withdrawal. Also you are right about us not being our minds or our bodies, the fact that I can envision and know that I can and will develop into a person who is suffering less and more whole after I heal is a really powerful reminder. And I can also relate so much to feeling now like I was too passive and not ever standing up for myself while on the drugs, but now feeling more angry and aggressive than I ideally want to be. I hope this has gotten better for you! 

 

Also, somehow comforting as well to hear that you both have had the person-in-head-screaming feeling! I had never had it in my life before withdrawal. It's comforting to remember it as a symptom of my brain being messed up by the drugs at the moment, but that other people have gotten through it as well as the other symptoms. Thank you <3 

 

Today was another rough day but right at this moment I am feeling okay and a bit hopeful. Thank you for your supportive words, it helps more than you can know.

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@Toast I had a lightbulb moment at the start of WD. I was running a kids football training session one evening and all was good with me and the world. Halfway through the session all of a sudden the black dog came, I lost all motivation and felt really low. When I got home I realised that nothing changed in the second part of that training session. It was still me and the same kids doing the same thing. It was then I really realised that the dark moments aren’t real. They do fade with time. I remember them being one of the first symptoms to come and go for me. I found meditation (headspace) helped me in those dark moments. 

50 mg Sertraline Nov 2016 to Dec 2016

100 mg Sertraline Jan - March 2017

50 mg Sertraline April - June 2017

25 mg Sertraline July 2017 - Sept 2018

12.5 mg Sertraline Oct 2018

0 mg Nov 1 2018

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@DaBro Thank you for this. I am glad to hear these moments get better with time. It is tough, for me I have felt like they are getting worse with time, but I am also less than a year into the withdrawal process. It has been so incredibly difficult. This gives me some hope though, thank you <3

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Yesyes123

@Toast,

I have been deceived by psychiatry in a very similar way.

It's good, at least, that now you know the truth! 

I know someday you will be free from SSRI's. 

 

What is your taper plan?

 

Cheers

July 2015 - Started Escitalopram 10mg (Lexapro) at age 15. Took it everyday until July 2020 (5 Years)

July 2020 - Turned 21 started tapering off until August (TOO FAST TAPER/ ALMOST SAME AS COLD TURKEY)

August 2020 -  Clear Manic episode (nothing absurd or life threatening)

September 2020 - Start feeling a bit weird

October 2020 - Crashed. The absolute worst time of my life. 

Late October 2020 - Reinstated Escitalopram 10mg. Perscribed Antipsychotics (Lithium, Seroquel) REFUSED

Early November 2020 - Psychiatrist wrongly upped the dosage to 15mg. Still taking 15mg / day as of today. 

 

22 January 2021: 

Beginning to stabilize on 15mg/day Escitalopram (Lexapro) 🧠

Taking 25mg Magnesium Citrate 4x per day / 2000mg Vitamin C Prolonged Release + Kiwis + Fresh Fruit / Salmon everyday for Omega3 Fatty Acids

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Hey @Toast

how are you doing?

 

 

On 1/22/2021 at 2:38 AM, Toast said:

I hope this has gotten better for you! 

 

This has definitely gotten better for me. The anger and aggressiveness is I think very normal in withdrawal, especially at the beginning. This has pretty much faded away. Also as a bonus, I used to be quite hot-headed as a child and teenager (until I was drugged) and going through this has helped me in that aspect a lot, I catch myself a lot earlier having a somewhat exaggerated reaction and just tell myself that is is really only exhausting for myself to get worked up and also for others and that usually calms me. So I am a lot calmer I would say, not always but getting there 😉

 

And about the not standing up for myself thing, I think that is a very tricky thing. For a long time I thought that you had to be type-A-personality kind of person to be taken serious and have a presence etc and that pretty much changed for me. I was lucky to meet some amazing people who were very strong but in a very calm and loving way and had an amazing presence and they had a great impact on the world around them and that was very inspiring for me. So that is what I aim for now. It is not always easy but I think the shift in perspective was very important and gave me something to work towards that I think is worth the work. I think there is probably too many people focusing on themselves and success etc etc and that is why the world is not a very healthy place right now.
 

I started meditating and doing spiritual practices and that has helped me a lot to feel more centered and more myself and I think that for sure makes it easier for me to stand my ground when necessary (and if possible in a calm way ☺️) and also at the same time not feel so wronged and devastated when something happens that doesnt agree with me. So I think I am slowly getting there.

 

Sorry, that was very long 🙃

 

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

Link to post

@Neon, That is very wise and I am glad to hear what you mention about people who make a profound positive impact on the world through kindness and working towards bettering the world rather than bettering their position in it. I think this is ultimately more fulfilling, and something I want to aim for. (Though I typically always have been more of a type A personality.. ) Also glad to hear meditation has helped. I was trying meditation but as my depression worsened, I stopped keeping it up. I need to get back into it. 

 

@Yesyes123, my taper plan has been to wait until I stabilize on 2.5 mg and then reduce 10% every month. However, the waiting to stabilize has been difficult. I feel I have gotten progressively worse. I have no support from my parents (who put me on the drugs in the first place) or from my prescribers. I would almost believe that I was inherently crazy and needed to be medicated, except that my parents also medicated my sister with sertraline from the age of ~13 because she talked back a lot. She never believed she needed the medication though and when she was 18 she stopped taking it without telling anyone. During this time she became nasty and horrible to be around, yelling and screaming like a two-year-old. It was pretty intense and I would say definitely not in the range of normal behavior for even an angry and defiant 18 year old. At the time I thought she just definitely needed to be medicated. She was like this at least to family for 4+ years. By now it's been 10 years since she went off and she seems very normal and happy, has a stable job and boyfriend, etc. My opinion now is that she had been going through withdrawal. I asked her if she felt depressed during that time and she said no, so maybe her only symptom was anger. But she was definitely not normal during that time. She never thought she had a problem during that time though. 

 

My symptoms have been lately largely depression and despair. TBH I think it is hitting me particularly hard because withdrawal coincided with work trauma. I also feel a reduced ability to relate to people, and a constant intense and unbearable emotional pain. I have lost the ability to do either productive or fun tasks. It reminds me of being sick with a stomach flu, when the pain is so bad you can only just lie on your bed and endure it. It feels like that. I have never felt this way before in my life. Previously when I was "depressed", I still was able to get out of bed, do my work, socialize, do fun activities etc. In contrast the experience of withdrawal has been truly crippling and debilitating. I have been considering reinstating but I also feel like if I reinstate I will lose a part of myself that I gained when I went off, which was the ability to stand up for myself and actually feel anger. I feel like I never truly felt anger while I was medicated. I also used to cry a lot in public while I was medicated, and now ironically I feel like I have better control over the emotions I show, but less control over the emotions I feel. I also feel like I am running out of time, I am at the age now when neuroplasticity starts to take a real hit and given that I was on from such a young age, I wonder if I can ever really recover. I think I am realizing now in the process of recovering I will probably lose a lot, potentially my job and more relationships that are important to me. I already lost one relationship that was very important to me from this and it is truly devastating. The emotional pain is unbearable. 

 

I wonder if it is worth coming off at this point. The main reason I wanted to come off is I figured I eventually wanted to have kids, and I don't want to be pregnant while on the drugs. But now I think whatever epigenetic changes happened to me while my brain was cooking for 15 years would probably mess up my kids' genes anyway. I also don't know how long it will take me to stabilize. 

 

Thanks and sorry for the depressing post. I have been suffering at levels I never thought possible. 

--

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Yesyes123

@Toast,

 

33 minutes ago, Toast said:

But now I think whatever epigenetic changes happened to me while my brain was cooking for 15 years would probably mess up my kids' genes anyway.

 

This is not true at all. You definitely can still recover and have perfectly healthy kids. There are stories here of people who only got drug free after their 50s or even 60s - and that are now thriving and loving life, even at an older age.

 

My advice to you is to wait another 6 months on 2.5mg Prozac. 

Since you cold turkey'd it in June and only reinstated 5 months after, it can be that your CNS is still adapting to the Withdrawal shock and current lower dosage.

 

I think in about 6 months max you will be totally stable, and from then you can start very slowly tapering off.

 

I CT'd Escitalopram, and reinstated about 2 months later. It took around 4 months for me to feel stable.

It can take longer for you since you were off Prozac for 5 months.

 

Don't lose hope, ever! You have a ton of life ahead of you.

 

Peace, love and healing

July 2015 - Started Escitalopram 10mg (Lexapro) at age 15. Took it everyday until July 2020 (5 Years)

July 2020 - Turned 21 started tapering off until August (TOO FAST TAPER/ ALMOST SAME AS COLD TURKEY)

August 2020 -  Clear Manic episode (nothing absurd or life threatening)

September 2020 - Start feeling a bit weird

October 2020 - Crashed. The absolute worst time of my life. 

Late October 2020 - Reinstated Escitalopram 10mg. Perscribed Antipsychotics (Lithium, Seroquel) REFUSED

Early November 2020 - Psychiatrist wrongly upped the dosage to 15mg. Still taking 15mg / day as of today. 

 

22 January 2021: 

Beginning to stabilize on 15mg/day Escitalopram (Lexapro) 🧠

Taking 25mg Magnesium Citrate 4x per day / 2000mg Vitamin C Prolonged Release + Kiwis + Fresh Fruit / Salmon everyday for Omega3 Fatty Acids

Link to post

@Toast  Hey, you do not need to apologize about a post where you are simply expressing your feelings.  

 

It may be helpful to search out success stories on this site.  There are many people here who have healed (sometimes after decades of being polydrugged), who at one point or another thought the situation was hopeless, that they were too broken to heal.  If you find something that resonates with you, bookmark it and come back to it when you feel the need.  There is no one story that will be exactly like yours, but it doesn't matter. 

 

  ❤

 

 

Started .25 mg. clonazapam Oct. 2016

Started 10 mg. Celexa Dec. 2016

Started 10 mg. amitriptyline January 2017

Also took 60 mg. Dexilant Oct. 2016 through April 2017, successfully tapered off

Stopped Celexa successfully Oct. 2017

Fast taper of amitriptyline Dec. 2017, had major WD symptoms and reinstated at 10 mg. Jan. 2018

Slow amitryptyline taper started Mar. 2019, reduced from 10 mg. to 2.1 mg. currently

Also still taking .25 mg. clonazapam daily in late evening

Link to post
Yesyes123

Also maybe upping your dose to 5mg Prozac might help you deal with the symptoms. Let's wait to see what the mods say!

 

Wish you the best always.

July 2015 - Started Escitalopram 10mg (Lexapro) at age 15. Took it everyday until July 2020 (5 Years)

July 2020 - Turned 21 started tapering off until August (TOO FAST TAPER/ ALMOST SAME AS COLD TURKEY)

August 2020 -  Clear Manic episode (nothing absurd or life threatening)

September 2020 - Start feeling a bit weird

October 2020 - Crashed. The absolute worst time of my life. 

Late October 2020 - Reinstated Escitalopram 10mg. Perscribed Antipsychotics (Lithium, Seroquel) REFUSED

Early November 2020 - Psychiatrist wrongly upped the dosage to 15mg. Still taking 15mg / day as of today. 

 

22 January 2021: 

Beginning to stabilize on 15mg/day Escitalopram (Lexapro) 🧠

Taking 25mg Magnesium Citrate 4x per day / 2000mg Vitamin C Prolonged Release + Kiwis + Fresh Fruit / Salmon everyday for Omega3 Fatty Acids

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

@Toast, what are your symptoms now? How have they changed in the last month?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi @Altostrata, thank you so much for your website. My symptoms currently are constant crying (several times a day for ~hour or more) and periods of extreme despair, hopelessness, intense emotional pain, agitation, horror, some anger, extreme anhedonia to the point where nothing feels good, a feeling of unreality, feeling like I have lost control of my mind, difficulty concentrating and jaw clenching. These are mostly the same symptoms I have had over the last month except they have worsened in intensity and duration. A month ago I was still at least able to get in 5 or 6 productive working hours a day, but these days it is down to 1-2 hours if any, and usually at night. The past two nights I took 250 mg magnesium, which seemed to help me a lot so I am planning to continue this. For instance, right now I feel some amazing relief from the horror feelings I felt earlier in the day (but still anhedonia), and I think it's because I took magnesium a few hours ago. 

 

I want to try to hold off on reinstating but if the magnesium stops working I will probably need to because life has been unbearable and my quality of life is so low. I was scared of taking magnesium regularly because I didn't want to get addicted, but it has come to that or reinstatement so now I am planning to take it regularly for a while. I hope the effect doesn't lessen when I take it regularly. Do you have any thoughts on this or how to reinstate if I end up doing so? 

--

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Hey @Toast, 

I am so sorry you are feeling this terrible. I think sometimes it can be helpful to put it into words.

Try to trust that it will eventually get better, I know that is really a difficult thing to do though.
I am glad the Magnesium helps you and I would not worry getting addicted to that.

 

Have you tried exercising? Maybe if you are not hypersensitive it could help you some, anything you enjoy. It used to help me before I got so sensitive.

Or maybe you try some Yoga if that is something you are interested in?

I have some friends who really like Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. 

Also this guy is really great https://eddiestern.com/, he gives free (donation based) yoga classes online. Maybe it is not for you or not the right thing in this state, but I wanted to mention it.

 

Wish you all the best!

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

Link to post

@NeonThanks for the recommendations and supportive words ❤️ . The rough days continue. Am trying to maintain hope! Hope you are doing well in your journey. 

--

Link to post
Gardenlife

Hey, I am 37 and have been on and off again Celexa since I was 14 years old!! Lexapro the last 2 years. Currently I am off and going through withdrawls. They arent terrible even though i tapered way to fast at the direction of a psychiatrist who doesnt know crap!!! Anyways, I lead a super healthy lifestlye and I am hoping that it will help my body heal. I have a 7 year old boy. I got off of the Celexa to get pregnant 8 years ago. I recommend getting off much early than I did; just 4 months before pregnancy. Anyways, my boy is so freaking awesome. We have so much fun together and being a mom has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. If you want to be a mom one day, do it!! Also, take care of your body. It needs lots of nutrients to heal and recover! You can totally do this 

Age 14-24 Celexa.    Stopped Celexa in May age 24, after a 1 year long taper done by myself

Age 24-28 Back on Celexa in September Age 24 until Age 28, May, stopped Celexa after another 1 year long taper by myself.

Age 29.  November- started Celexa 1 month after giving birth

Age 31   May- stopped Celexa after 1 year long taper. 

Age 34  April- started Celexa after shots of steroids in my back. 

Age 35  June- stopped Celexa semi cold turkey

Age 35   September- started Lexapro 15mg

Age 36   November 5th- went down to 12.5mg for a week, then 10mg.

 Age 37  December 5th- went down to 7.5mg for a week, then 5mg. January 22nd- 0mg

I am taking around 800mg of Magnesium Glycinate, 500mg of Magnesium L-Threonate, Vitamin D 2,000, Tumeric, Vital Biome Gut Microbiome Support, 99mg Potassium, 1,333mcg Methylfolate, ProBio 5. I also take Juice Plus supplements. Green tea every AM

Rarely gluten, dairy, added sugars. No alcohol or drug use.  Organic, whole foods, active lifestyle

 

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@Gardenlife, thank you for your post! It is good to hear from you and I hope to be a mom one day too!! It will probably still be a few years yet for me just because of my life situation so I am taking that time to get off prozac while I can. It's good to hear from another person who started these drugs at a young age, too, sometimes I feel super alone about it but it has been nice to meet so many people on here in a similar situation. I hope things are going okay for you (as okay as withdrawal can be, which is generally not great, but you know what I mean!). <3 <3 I have been trying to stay healthy like you mention but while I was in my most depressed state I slipped on this a bit. Luckily, this week has been a lot better for me -- a lot less crying! -- so I'm back focusing on that too. I think you are right that we can definitely help ourselves heal by taking care of our bodies. Best wishes to you and your son!

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  • 3 weeks later...

hey, how are you holding up?

Venlafaxine:

2010-2016: Venlafaxine 75mg-->150mg-->225mg

2016-2017: Venlafaxin 225 mg -->150mg-->75mg-->37,5mg-->0

April 2018-Sept 2018: Amitriptylin-->Wellbutrin-->Deanxit-->Venlafaxine 37,5mg

Sept 2018-June 2019: up and down inbetween 37,5mg and 10mg Venlafaxine

June 2019-March 2020: Venlafaxine 10mg

March-May 2020: tapering Venlafaxine to 0 (taking out single beads)

May-2020-now: 0

Trittico:

2014-2016: Trittico 50mg, 2016-->CT (no problems)

2019-now: Trittico 25mg

+Magnesiumcitrate 500mg, Lionsmane daily (tried fish oil once but felt I did not tolerate it)

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

@Neon, Thanks for asking! Things were better for me for a while and I did disappear for a while to take advantage of it. For me my work situation has been stressful which has compounded my symptoms a lot. The past couple months I've been a lot more functional than I was in January, but still with some really bad days interspersed. Today is one of those bad days, difficulty sleeping last night, then just felt horribly agitated and could not do anything today except just basically lie in bed and feel the worst horrible feelings imaginable. I know I have overall felt somewhat better since January, but I can't tell if that's because of external events in my life which have improved since then, or because of my actual symptoms improving. 

 

My symptoms include: anger (has improved though), crying almost every day, horror, sadness, despair, agitation, difficulty concentrating (still really bad for me, hard for me to focus to read anything as my eyes just jump around the page and my mind wanders), constant rumination about past conflicts. Still in Hell but trying to keep hope for the future. 

--

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