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Mskb: Problems tapering Venlafaxine, severe anxiety, ruminating, years of antidepressants, please help


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Hello, I think it best to start a history of how I got here. I was also on antidepressants from 1986 to 1989. Was put back on AD’s in 1997. I was functional for years with periods of remission and periods of depression and anxiety. Single mother, worked, raised two girls, etc. I was on sertraline the longest.

 

Over a period of about 4 years I began to slowly lose interest in socializing and doing things and became increasingly anxious and fearful, lost my confidence. Was bumped back and forth from Sert. 100-150mg a few times then stayed at 150. Was able to remain functional.

 

By Fall 2017 my anxiety was constant and severe, panic attacks, increased depression, insomnia, no appetite, and much difficulty functioning, relying on lorazepam to get through the day. In January 2018 the sertraline was increased the max. 200 mg., did nothing. 2 months later was cross tapered over a week to Fluoxetine. Within 3 weeks was non-functional and could not continue working, a huge stressor. Could barely get out of bed or leave the house. Became worse on fluoxetine, horrible symptoms, severe anxiety, panic, irrational fears, depersonalization, racing thoughts, constant jerking, insomnia, panic, speech and word retrieval issues, suicidal ideation, barely able to drive or go out. Constant brain fog, difficulty speaking. 12 weeks later was switched to Paxil, within 2 weeks became even worse, and was switched to venlafaxine.

 

Within 2 days was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 3 weeks. The venlafaxine, mirtazapine and lorazepam were increased and olanzapine added.  In Aug. 2018 my Psych. increased the Ven to 225 mg, in Oct. 2018 to 300 mg and the olanzapine to risperidone. With the risperidone, became very foggy, out of it, suffered from derealization, anxiety worsened again, had panic attacks. Dec. 2018 Ven was reduced to 225 mg and mirt.to 15. Became worse. Feb. 2019 months back to 300 mg. Stimulants added but made things worse those. Stopped Risperidone over 2 months, July 2018. In Aug. 2019 went to 225mg Ven, Sept. back to 300.

 

I continue to be lethargic, emotionally blunted, disinterested, unmotivated, unable to cry, anxious, periods of heightened anxiety, fearful, uneasy, ruminating and worrying, no anticipation, pleasure, joy, the list goes on. I am bored with no motivation, interest or confidence.  I am now 65 years old and had to retire on disability. Now that I am at 178mg I can think more clearly and word retrieval is better.

 

Last year I began researching online. Found SA., read Robert Whitakers book, joined the Effexor withdrawal group. To put it mildly my eyes were opened. Learned about poop out, withdrawal, PAWS. That these drugs can keep you this way and how dangerous they are.

 

I tapered from 15 mg mirtazapine (too fast) by breaking off pieces (off April 24, 2020). Severe insomnia, but do get broken sleep now. Started tapering from 300 mg Ven on April 1, 2020, by weighing beads. The first 5% taper was okay. Thought it would be easy, 10% here we come. I was so wrong.  Starting with the 5/1 taper, began experiencing greatly increased anxiety and worrying, ruminating over and over, waking with anxiety, dread, unease (the intense morning unease does pass after about an hour) nervous stomach, intermittent heart palpitations. This starts around day 4 of the taper and can go 4 weeks without beginning to lessen its grip. I feel blah most of the day, it’s often a struggle to do even little things.

 

I generally feel better in the evening, then by morning it's all back. I hold, but there has not been a day in over 3 years that I haven’t experienced anxiety and blahness. I’m close to 5 weeks into this taper and am just starting to feel it start to lessen.

 

I know my CNS was destabilized and is oversensitive to drops.  I am afraid that I have been kindled.   Does this sound like kindling? Do people successfully taper when kindled? Could I also still be experiencing PAWS from being taken off sertraline, plus withdrawals from going off mirtazapine too fast, and from tapering venlafaxine? The lack of interest, motivation, anticipation scares me, between that and the fear and anxiety, it’s a terrible way to live. I am home all the time unless I go for a walk or out for necessities. Like others I am sure, I am frightened that I will not recover. I am determined to get off of psychiatric meds. It has been hard to wrap my head around how long this is going to take, and it keeps getting longer. I never again want to go through what I went through when I was in poop out and then taken off sertraline and then paroxetine, it was terrifying.   

 

I’m not sure what to do next once I stabilize from this last drop. It seems even 5% at once is too much. The 4+ weeks of severe (neuro) anxiety and ruminations, morning dread, nervous stomach and heart palpitations are not sustainable. I just can’t tolerate it any more. Being blah and not wanting to do anything and no interest is bad enough. I need to find a taper pace that is tolerable. Maybe at some point in the future I will be able to tolerate larger drops. I was thinking about the Brass Monkey slide method, at 1.25 for 4 weeks plus the hold. Maybe my system would accept that. But maybe not. The thoughts of how may years this could take is so disheartening.

 

I need some help to move forward with a taper rate that I can tolerate. I am trying not to fear that I won’t be able to find a tolerable taper rate. I want to heal from this. Any help, wisdom and encouragement would be very much appreciated. 

Edited by manymoretodays
spacing for readability, tags

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Mskb: Problems tapering Venlafaxine, severe anxiety, ruminating, years of antidepressants, please help
  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Mskb-- welcome to SA. I'm so glad you found us. With all those ups and downs and big reductions I can see why you are having the symptoms you describe. These drugs are very powerful and need to be reduced in a slow and careful manner.  Before we can do that though you need to be in a fairly stable condition. Meaning that the symptoms are at a consistent level day to day and not jumping all over the place. The best way to achieve this is to hold on the the dose you are at and let your body sort things out. Even though it feels pretty bleak at the moment things will get better.

 

We are experiencing a huge influx of new members right now, which is why we have been slow getting back to you. Please bear with us if we seem a bit slow in answering.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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HI brassmonkey,

 

Thank you for the reply and all you do. I have read many of your helpful posts. Congratulations on successfully tapering off. I try to hang on to the hope that things will get better. The hard part is figuring out what constitutes feeling “better”, a good enough lesser state of not good.  I consistently wake up in the am with anxiety and dread, that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, toss and turn try to doze back off, to no avail, and then lie there and don’t want to get up. My mind us off and running. The ruminating exhausts me.  I pretty much stay home unless I go to the therapist, have an appointment or need groceries. I find it hard to be alone. I am fatigued most of the time. I do go for a walk most days. I mainly sit on the couch, find it hard to motivate myself to do much of anything. I have been like this for 3+ years. I did get manage to get out a bit more before the pandemic.

The excessive rumination, anxiety and fears are what really ramp up when I taper. For example, my biggest fears since this all happened (with my income becoming not only fixed but quite reduced) I fear running out of money, not being able to pay bills in the future and having to move. I have become fearful of spending any money except on necessities. I doubt my capacity to handle problems. I fear someday being unable to take care of myself. My mind will loop around and around over scenarios of what ifs and what to do.  Or I go back and regret past mistakes and try to imagine outcomes if I had done things doing things differently. I know rationally you can’t change the past or know the future and I know that these thoughts are unreasonable but it doesn’t help when this happens. I realize the exacerbation has to do with neuro emotions, neuro anxiety, neuro regret. It doesn’t take much to get triggered and set off. I also feel more sadness in the morning, with this physical feeling that I get when I know if would cry if I could. I do get sparks of feeling better here and there sometimes, even in the morning. I get most anxious it seems later in the morning through the afternoon. My nervous system goes on high alert, my heart pounds on and off and my stomach gets that nervous feeling, for hours on end. Then later in the evening my CNS calms down, once in a while I might even feel okay.

 

In terms of holding, I has been 5 weeks since I last tapered. The previous taper, I held 7 weeks, 5.5%. My criteria for tapering has been feeling less intrusive rumination, less anxiety, less activation and stomach issues for about a week. Not long enough it seems. It always returns, this time it came returned with a vengeance. I did however experience a big trigger, which has worsened my fears. So what you are saying is that I should wait until I feel less symptomatic for a longer time? Does that mean that possibly if I hold longer and feel more stable for longer then the tapers will be less difficult? I have pushed on tapering because I have been impatient for progress and healing. It feels good to see that milligram number go down, that I was putting less in my body.  I was originally thinking about trying 1.25% starting next Sunday. Based on your post I am going to continue to hold.  I’m not sure what more stable will feel like or how long it will take. I am so scared by all that has happened and where I’m at. The neuro emotions are so difficult to cope with and so hard to stop in their tracks. I am so scared by that has happened in the last few years. I am frustrated by not being able to taper even 5% without feeling worse for 3 or 4 weeks at minimum. Thank you for the reassurance that it will get better, even for someone who has my history. I need the reassurance.

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Welcome, @Mskb

 

What drugs are you taking now, in milligrams, at what times of day?

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, I am very appreciative of all of you.

 

The Venlafaxine time is always the same, within 5 minutes, the other times may vary some.

 

8:45 am – 178.2 mg Venlafaxine, 1000 mg Omega 3 Fish oil, 1000 mg Vit. D

11:00 am – 300 mg calcium with 400 mg, vitamin D, 125 mg magnesium malate

1:00 pm – 20 mg Atorvastatin (prescription to lower cholesterol), 1000 mg Vitamin D, sometimes 1200 fish oil

(sometimes I take the 1200 mg of fish oil with dinner instead)

4:00 pm – multivitamin for women over 50

6:30 – 7:00 probiotic 10 blend of 25 million – 130 mg, every other night, 1 Acidophilus probiotic 100 million every other night (until I use them up then will go with the probiotic 10 blend every night) 1200 mg fish oil if not taken at lunch.

9:00 – 9:30 pm – magnesium glycinate 100 mg

Sundays, once per week 8:30 am 70 mg alendronate sodium (prescription medicine for osteoporosis

Sometimes I take 500 mg inositol for anxiety, a few times a week, sometimes not at all. Not sure if it really helps.

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Greetings, I have held my last taper of 6% (Venlafaxine) for 8 weeks and would like to start the Brass Monkey Slide Method on Sunday at 1.25% per week, which is about a 2.23 mg reduction.  The severe anxiety and obsessive worrying have lessened in the past few weeks. I have actually some decent days – decent meaning not much anxiety and being able to let the catastrophic worrying/thoughts go more quickly. Less neuro emotions, less neuro regret. Only one 6 am with the severe sick feeling morning anxiety – dread – doom feeling in the last 2 weeks. Some early mornings not at all, others much less, just slight. Unfortunately, I always feel blah, emotionally blunted, unmotivated, lethargic, some level of anxiety, no interest etc., then better later in the evening, my usual side effects of this medication. Do you think the 1.25% amount is a good place to start since 5% all at once has been too much? Am trying not to go down the catastrophic thinking road – the what if’s – what if I can’t do it, what if I can only do a few mg per month? It’s frightening and difficult, feel awful on the med and awful trying to get off. 

Also I don't know if I am doing these posts correctly, I'm using reply, so it's like I'm replying to myself.  AM I doing this correctly?

Thank you.

 

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Mskb-- yes you are doing your posts correctly. This is your personal thread for asking questions, keeping journals and making friends. Each time you want to post something here just use the reply field just like you have been. If you want to talk with other members go to their intro thread and do the same thing and it will enter your post on their thread. Once you make a post you have one hour to make any edits.

 

Starting a Brassmonkey Slide using 1.25% for each reduction is a very good idea. We have a large number of members who are doing it this way. The whole purpose of the Brassmonkey Slide is to reduce the symptom load while maintaining a reasonable rate of reduction. As your taper progresses all the various symptoms you are feeling should start to become less noticeable in general, it is not all suffering the entire way down, but rather gets better the further you go. The symptoms you describe make it sound like you are pretty stable so starting a taper should not be a problem.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Hi brass monkey - It’s rather sad that stable is feeling a little less awful more consistently. It would be wonderful to feel better the further I go, I keep waiting and hoping that less medication translates to less suffering. My stomach is in knots over tapering again, I so want to be able to tolerate this. I will check in again later this week. Thank you.

 

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Unfortunately, that is the definition of stability "feeling a constant level of blah with no big swings in either direction". The one to pay attention to is WDnormal "feeling a constant level of blah, but not feeling as bad as you did several months ago". That is the measure that shows things are improving, albeit slowly. I think you will be pleasantly surprised once the Brassmonkey Slide has a chance to settle in.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Hi @Mskb,

 I read your post and noticed that we have been on similar drugs, that the doctors put us on and off. I can see that we have some similar symptoms.

You can read my posts to see the similarities.

 I’m so sorry that you are suffering so much. 

I push myself really hard to get better, but sometimes it’s almost impossible, because of constant anxiety, rumination and OCD on top of it.

I’m tapering Mirtazapine now and I’m determined  to get off all the psych drugs. It’s not easy, and I can understand you completely, because my suffering has also been very long.

We have to keep pushing though, believing that things will get better.

I’m so happy that I have found SA, as I don’t feel so alone in this. I come here when things get really hard to convince myself that I’m not going crazy and that there is a light at the end. I have read all of the success stories and I have hope that one day I will be able to write mine and to help others surviving. For now I’m trying to take one day at the time and sometimes one hour at the time. 
I can see some improvements already and I’m getting some short windows every now and then, when my symptoms lessen and that gives me hope.

Please stay strong.

1997-1998 Amitriptilin CT

2001-2017 Paxil 20mg 

2017-2018 Prozac 20 mg

2018 Sept - Nov Sertaline 100 mg, Mirtazapine 45, Nov Sertaline CT 

2019 May Sertaline 150, Mirtazapine 45, Loranzapine 0,5 ;Aug  Paxil 30, Oct Sertaline 100

2020 Nov Paxil 30,Feb Paxil 20,Mar Paxil 10 mg, April Paxil CT, Mirt 45

2020 20/4 Mirtazapine 30 mg, 28/4 22,5 mg,30/5 15 mg

2021 13/2 Mirtazapine 13,5mg, 13/3 12mg, 10/4 10,8mg 19/6 9,7mg

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Hi HopeD,  Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for your kind words.  I’m sorry you are suffering so much also. I read your story and you have been through a lot. We feel similarly also. Like you I have been up and down and on and off several medications, never knowing how detrimental it was and trusting that it was the right thing. I was convinced that I would need medication for life. Also like you I have much anxiety and rumination, such a hard time letting the thoughts and the “what if’s” go. Whenever I taper, it gets worse and takes several weeks to lessen I feel like I am a shell of the person I used to be, fearful and without confidence in myself. Plus then you add in the lethargy, lack of motivation and lack of interest in anything. Sadness at what my life has become. Most days I sit on the couch and except for a daily walk, weather permitting, don’t do much of anything. I try and keep up with some housework but even that is a struggle. Some days I am better than others at pushing myself. The Covid pandemic doesn’t help either. I have had some decent days in the past few weeks, which gives me hope.  I am determined to get off psychiatric medication no matter how long it takes, I have not been helped by medication for several years and the only way I see to get better is to get off.  I am hoping the microtaper that I have just started helps lessen the withdrawal effect. We do need to keep pushing through and staying strong. Taking one day at a time and as you wrote sometimes one hour at a time. Keeping going, having that faith that we will get better, we will recover. I am also glad that I reached out on this forum. I read it for quite a while before I posted. I didn’t have what it took to even do the post and describe what I was going through for a long time. It helps to know one is not alone in this and to be reminded that it does get better. Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to me.

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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Hi @Mskb, 

thank you for your response. Keep in touch and keep fighting. We can do this, even if sometimes it feel like we can’t. Keep pushing 

1997-1998 Amitriptilin CT

2001-2017 Paxil 20mg 

2017-2018 Prozac 20 mg

2018 Sept - Nov Sertaline 100 mg, Mirtazapine 45, Nov Sertaline CT 

2019 May Sertaline 150, Mirtazapine 45, Loranzapine 0,5 ;Aug  Paxil 30, Oct Sertaline 100

2020 Nov Paxil 30,Feb Paxil 20,Mar Paxil 10 mg, April Paxil CT, Mirt 45

2020 20/4 Mirtazapine 30 mg, 28/4 22,5 mg,30/5 15 mg

2021 13/2 Mirtazapine 13,5mg, 13/3 12mg, 10/4 10,8mg 19/6 9,7mg

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Hi HopeD,

 

You as well.

 

Mskb

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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Hi brassmonkey,

 

I tapered 1.25% starting last Sunday and the anxiety/restlessness/agitation has returned full force.  I think what I have been experiencing is a form of akathisisa, starting later in the morning and peaking during the afternoon hours. I feel anxious, tense, restless, agitation and my stomach is in a knot for several hours – regardless of whether or not I am obsessively worrying or ruminating about something. It’s just there, like my flight or fight response is activated. I have a hard time sitting still, wringing my hands or rubbing my fingers, moving my feet, feeling like I need to get up. Sometimes my heart will pound. As I’ve mentioned before, I generally feel better in the evening, after 7 or so, usually by 8. So I have about 2 decent hours. That is something that’s gotten later, I used to feel better around 5. I have been suspecting this but would tell myself I didn’t have it because I don’t pace or move from one foot to the other. I paced about 2 years ago but I didn’t know what it was then and it eventually passed.  I have been reading that one can have it without those symptoms. I have had this for a while and I do believe it is related to tapering. (Although my doctor keeps saying it’s the part of the original “illness” coming back.  I am upset, not that it does any good, and also discouraged. Did you ever have this? I not sure what to do.  I had my phone appointment with my psychiatrist today who said it was psychomotor agitation not akathisia, that akathisia was only caused by antipsychotics. It was not worth arguing with him. He knows I am tapering and reluctantly supports me in his own way, but at least he does. He called in a prescription for propranolol (10 mg twice a day) but I do not want to take another medication to deal with side effects from taking and tapering from this medication. I can see taking one pill occasionally to help with a bad afternoon, but not on a regular basis. I tried 5 mg today just to see what it would do. It took the edge off for about 2 hours. Not very helpful or worth it, especially with my aversion to adding more meds.

Which brings me to my question of where to go from here.  I doubt that the next 3 days are going to be any much better, although that would be a wonderful miracle. So my 2 thoughts are either wait another week and see, or accept that probably I was not stable enough after holding 8 weeks, that 3 or 4 decent afternoons in a two week period were not enough.  It depresses me to go back to holding, especially not knowing how long it will take, but maybe what I need is to hold until I feel better for a longer period of time and then start again. It makes me feel defeated and scared that I will never get off this stuff.  I have so much further to go, 177.5 mg. On the other side, I am afraid that if I continue to taper right now, slide taper and all, it’s just going to snowball, which is what has probably been happening over the past months. I held the taper that I did prior to the 8 week hold taper for 7 weeks. That is what is so discouraging, the thought of having to hold for months on this awful medication.  But I just can’t take feeling so agitated just about every day and having it snowball more. I can’t function like this. I am determined to be successful and get off this medication.  What are your thoughts?

 

Thank you,

Mskb

 

PS One plus is that with the 1.25% taper this week so far I have not seen an the usual increase in obsessive worrying or a worsening in the morning dread/doom/knotted stomach. It’s only been 4 days but hopefully symptoms won’t ramp up. 

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some days it is difficult to hold on to hope. Three years ago when I crashed from what I now know is sertraline poopout and still believed meds were the answer, as I was being switched and poly drugged and barely functional, I kept waiting to get better, which didn’t happen. As I learned more about the toxicity and damage caused by these drugs and after (too fast) tapers of risperidone in 2019 and mirtazapine (stopped April 2020) I then began to slowly taper venlafaxine (April 2020) I have kept waiting for tapers to get a little easier and they haven’t. The anxiety, fears, worrying and ruminations and nervous stomach have not gotten better and they worsen every time I taper. I wait and now 3+ years has gone by. Can this go on for years? How does one tolerate years of this? Does it get easier? I guess on the positive side there are some things that are better than a year ago. Some of the side effects have lessened, especially the brain fog and derealization.  Not much improvement in motivation or interest, but I think there has been a little. Really little.

On the tapering front I tried 1.25% hoping that I could do the brassmonkey taper, after 8 weeks of holding my previous 6% taper which was very difficult, with close to 7 weeks of increased anxiety, fears, ruminations, neuro emotions, tense stomach, etc.  I had to hold held the 1.25% taper 3 weeks, so no 1.25% each week.  It took about 12 days in for the anxiety etc, to lessen. More waves here and there than constant. I then decided to try and see what % I could try that would allow me to taper again after a month, to try to at least establish that. I am also trying to establish whether or not the feeling less crappy that eventually happens is actually withdrawal normal. It is now 10 days since I tapered 3%, 5 mg. (172.2 mg)  Usually I start to really feel it on day 4. This time the first week was not quite as bad. It has hit in the last few days. I realize it’s only been 10 days and I could feel better in a few days but it so frustrating to feel worse 2-3 weeks out of 4 and then have it start again. Or worse 6 -7 weeks out of 8. I know it’s not a great idea to focus on length of time but at 3% I’m looking at 10 more years and so far it has been almost a year of difficult tapers.  I’m trying hard to hold on to hope that it gets easier and that I can weather this for as long as it takes but I am having a hard time not going down the negative rabbit hole. Could withdrawal from the other drugs still be affecting how I am feeling through these tapers? Or is it hard to know? Should I be doing something differently? I need to know this gets easier, I am trying to hold onto hope that the symptoms eventually don't last as long and lessen with time. Wishing for for some quality of life. Thank you. 

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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inextinguishableconfidence

I can tell you are very motivated to remove these harmful drugs from your system. I can also tell that you are very smart to be trying all these different things, researching and posting new ideas for the style of taper that will work for you the most. Keep this up, I know it’s not easy but for me I know I feel and think a lot better than I did one year ago. 

Risperidone 2mg 2006-2013

Aripiprazole 10mg 2013-2017

Multiple Rx's 2017-2019

Loxapine 100mg, trazadone 100mg, atomoxetine 40mg, lorazepam 1mg 2019-2020 

CT trazadone May 2020

CT atomoxetine May 2020

CT lorazepam May 2020

Currently: Loxapine 18.75mg

 

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Hi @inextinguishableconfidence

 

Thank you for your post and encouragement.  As we know, it is such a difficult struggle. I have been tapering for close to a year now and still feel the almost relentless anxiety and all that goes with it, little motivation, nothing interests me, the list goes on. I felt that way before tapering too, although the anxiety was more numbed out. I have been trying to find a taper rate that doesn’t increase the anxiety and irrational worrying so much or that it lessens to less than a few weeks so I can at least taper again after 4 weeks and is not a tiny percentage decrease. Even trying to do 3% this month I am struggling. But I am more clear headed and like you can think better. I just hope and pray this gets better. I try to hold on to the hope that it will eventually get easier.  I am glad you are better than a year ago.  

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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  • 2 months later...

Looking for help plus update,  question about kindling, continue to have trouble tapering, scared

 

The last 3 months I have slowed my taper to 3-3.75% per month and continue to have problems, anxiety, stomach in knots and feeling anxiety in my body, rumination, fearful, worsening insomnia and early morning bad anxiety. Plus I remain the usual blah, with little to no motivation or interest or enjoyment and emotionally blunted, which I have had since even before crashing in early 2018. Maybe 3 weeks after tapering I might have a few days (not in a row) that I feel a little better. It usually lessens most evenings, only to come back during the many night time wake ups. it’s really bad the first few weeks. I feel terrible every time I taper, and I don’t feel well on the medication. I need to keep tapering.  I tried the brass monkey method twice but was not able to taper again the second week, even trying 1.25%.

 

I don’t know what else to do, besides holding longer. I’ve been at this 14 months and can’t seem to get away from 3+ weeks of worse symptoms. I keep going in circles about what to do and I am scared that the tapers continue being difficult with small drops and sometimes 6-8 week holds. The quality of life is not good.  Can this tapering be a result of kindling? My signature shows the med changes and also then the dose drops and reinstatements back to the higher dose. Is it possible that was kindled, does it affect tapering too? Does kindling eventually start to heal?

 

Thank you

 

Mskb

1997- July 2002 Paroxetine, Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Lexapro, also Lorazepam .50 as needed

2002 – 2008 Sertraline 100 -150 mg. 2008-2012 Pristique 100 mg, then 1 week cross taper

2012– 2018 back to Sertraline 100 mg- 150 mg. up and down, January 2018 200 mg.

March 29, 2018–June 2018 1 week cross taper Fluoxetine to 20-60 mg, switched June 2018-July 15, 2018 Parox.30mg. plus 15 mg. Mirtazapine, switched to Venlafaxine 37.5 to 187.5 over 3 weeks, Mirt. 30 mg, & Olanzapine 2.5 mg., August-Oct. 2018 225–300 mg. Ven. Dec. 2019–225 mg. Ven., 15 mg. Mirt, Risperidone 1mg to .50 to .25. Stopped Olanzapine. Feb. 2019 300 mg Ven. May-July 2019 tapered off Risp, went to 7.5 mg Mirt. Aug. 2019 225 Ven., Sept. 2019 300mg Ven. 15 Mirt. March–April 24, 2020 tapered Mirt.25% each drop. Began Ven. taper Apr 1, 2020 from 300mg 5%, May1 10%, May31 10%, July4 5%, Sept8 2.5%, Sept 22 2.5%, Oct18 5%, Nov17 5.5%, Dec27 6%, Feb21 1.25%, Mar14 3%, Apr11 3.5%, May9 3.75% 160.8 mg

Omega 3, Magnesium Glycinate, Probiotic, Vit. D, Mag Malate, Multivitamin and Calcium 

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