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RealMe's Success Story, Recovery from brain altering chemicals


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MOD NOTE : RealMe's Introduction thread is here

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Because of what I learned here and with the support I found here, I have been completely free of anti-depressants.  I have not taken any mood altering chemicals in over two years, so I finally feel competent to write my success story.  When I got here I was so confused, I'm not even sure what I was taking.  I reported my symptoms to the psychiatrist, primary care doctor and therapist, and all were in total agreement that I "needed medication."  Even in my confused mental state, I finally realized that nothing they recommended was doing anything but making me worse.  When I tried to get support to withdraw from psychiatric medications, I was told I was having a resurgence of my "depression."  No one in the medical field that I came in contact with would support me in my desire to get off meds, and no one would acknowledge the phenomenon of "withdrawal syndrome" from anti-depressants.  To this day, I have a very skeptical attitude toward all doctors and feel that, regardless of how well-meaning they might be, they are nevertheless medicating people into senselessness.  My mantra is to "never snivel or weep in front of anyone with a prescription pad."

 

When I was 19, I went to the clergy for help with nervousness and low self esteem.  From there I was referred to a psychiatrist who gave me Valium.  That was the beginning of the end for me.  Now I had an addiction to sedatives along with increasing nervousness and lower self esteem.  Later I was given Tofranil, Elavil, Desyrel, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Abilify (a real killer in my experience) and some others.  I gained a ton of weight and lost my ability to feel normal feelings at all.  I remember being at my father's funeral and thinking something must be wrong because I didn't cry.  Not only did I not cry, I couldn't feel anything.  And I loved my father.

 

Over the years, I tried on my own many times unsuccessfully to detox from these prescribed medications.  By the time I arrived at this web site, I was trying to withdraw from Abilify, Wellbutrin and Prozac.  I learned about slow and steady until I had decreased my dosage of Prozac to liquid from a dropper.  It was extremely difficult to get my doctor to prescribe the liquid form for my detox because he was still insisting that I could not do without a full dose! He insisted that I see a therapist and agree to go back on medication if I "got worse."  I don't think about that process very much.  I went to the therapist and told him whatever I thought would convince him that I was fine without medication.  Then I would report my true and actual symptoms to the people on this forum and took their suggestions.  Thinking of "puppies and kittens" as a coping strategy makes me smile to this day.  What I do think about often is that I have been drug free for a long time.  I feel happy, sad, anxious, calm, confident, worried, fearful, full of faith.  In other words, I am leading a normal life with a full range of emotions that are appropriate to either what life throws at me or what life offers to me.

 

At first, I feared that I was too old to change after years of being in psychiatry land, but I wasn't.  I believed what I discovered here, and I am extremely grateful to have survived anti-depressant withdrawal.

 

 

Edited by Erell
Added link to introduction thread

Alcohol periodic excessive 1963-1976, Valium sporadic 1964-1973,  Imipramine off & on 1982-1985, Fluoxetine 10mg-80 mg. Oct., 1995-Jan., 2014; Cymbalta, other ADs 1/2014-3/2014; Abilify 5 mg. 3/2014 - 8/8/17; Trintellix 20 mg. 3/2014 - 9/2017; Propranolol 60-80 mg. sporadically Sept-Oct, 2017; Seroquel few days Sept 2017 (c/t); Wellbutrin 150 mg. Sept, 2017 updosed to 300 mg. few days till c/t Oct 8, 2017, fish oil, vitD, vitE Oct 16, 2017-pres. Lipoflavonoid 4/2017-pres.  Fluoxetine 10 mg. Sept-Oct 8, 2017, 20 mg. 10/9- 10/15; 10 mg. 10/16 - 12/29;  9 mg. 12/30 - 2/9; 2 mL liquid (8.1mg) 2/10 - 3/7; 1.8 mL (7.29 mg) 3/8 -3/20; 1.6 mL (6.561mg) 3/20-4/2; 1.4 mL (5.9 mg) 4/3-4/14; 1mL (4 mg.) 4/15-4/22; .9mL (3.6mg) 4/23-5/1; .81mL (3.24 mg) 5/2-5/24; .73mL (2.916mg.) 5/25-6/8; .65mL 6/9-6/23; .6mL 6/24-7/17; .58mL 7/18-7/28; .525mL 7/29-8/13; .5 mL 8/14-21; .45mL 8/22-31; .4mL 9/2-21; .35mL 9/22-10/4; .3mL 10/5-28; .25mL 10/28-11/10; .2mL 11/11-11/24; .18mL 11/25-12/3; .1mL 12/4-12/18. Zero-12/19/18-present.

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  • Moderator

Hello @RealMe

 

Wow, thank you for taking the time to share your Success story with our community, you truly are a great inspiration.

 

And Congratulations  : I'm so happy to know you are now "leading a normal life", enjoy ☀️

2006 : 20mg Paroxetine + Bromazepam(no specific dose) 2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Deroxat + Bromazepam

2013: Switch from Bromazepam To Prazepam

2014-June2017 : Prazepam taper

2018 to August 2019 : Paroxetine 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22nd August updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paroxetine. 

April 2020 : Paxil to Prozac bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :  7mg Fluoxetine (since 20 Aug 2020)

+ 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

(Toothpick Paroxetine from September 2020 to 17th March 2021)

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PerAsperaAdAstra

Congratulations RealMe!

 

Happy to see you made it!

Antidepressant history

2001 - 2018: Paxil / seroxat (20 mgs), several failed c/t and taper attempts.

2018-September: last failed c/t attempt.

2018-October: reinstated Paxil (30 mgs)

2018-October thru 2019-January: Short-term Oxazepam & Diazepam use. Tapered off very slowly. Jumped 10Jan2019.

 

Brassmonkey Slide Method stats

Started taper in 2020-03-28. Currently in week 2 of slide 10. Down to 11,0415 mgai / 0,1314 mgpw. 63,20% done.

 

Supplements: C, D, Magnesium, NMN, PQQ+CoQ10

Miscellaneous: low on alcohol (1/2 times/year). No substance abuse. Lower carb diet with cheat days. Wim Hof Method. Buteyko. Calisthenics. Hiking.

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wantrelief

Dearest @RealMe:  I am so happy you have written your success story!  You have always been such an inspiration to me.  I am so impressed with all you have accomplished.  Thank you for sharing your journey here and as your were tapering.  The very best of wishes to you, WR.

-1/06 - 3/07 Cymbalta. Fast taper; withdrawal symptoms after 4 mos (didn't realize was WD)

-10/07: 100 mg Zoloft; 1 mg Klonopin - tapered off Klonopin
-Tried several times to slowly taper Zoloft by 10%, then 5% every 4-6 weeks; could never get below approx. 40 mg - spring 2012 experienced major WD symptoms due to stress; tried to updose but no relief, back on Klonopin 1 mg.
-Switched over 5-6 mos from Zoloft to Citalopram. Finished Zoloft 1/13; Citalopram 35 mg and 1 mg Klonopin.
-8/13: 27 mg Citalopram; 1 mg Klonopin

-11/14: 12.6 Citalopram - began to have bad withdrawal symptoms; out of desperation increased to 1.25 mg Klonopin at the beginning of December.  12/13/14 16 mg Citalopram - going to stay here to try to stabilize; stabilized on 16 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

-7/15 - 3/16: reduced to 15 mg; ~ 2 months later w/d hit hard (probably r/t stress); 6/16 updosed to 20 mg Citalopram and trying to stabilize. Updosed to 1.5 Klonopin as well. Stabilized on 20 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

8/17-9/17: feeling withdrawal symptoms at 20 mg Citalopram (due to stress) - slowly increased to 25 mg. No change in symptoms after 6 months (? tolerance ?)  - decided to start citalopram taper February 2018 (still on Klonopin 1.5 mg).

Supplements: fish oil; magnesium; vitamin D3; curcumin

Citalopram taper:  2/2018 - 12/2019: 25 mg - 11.03 mg I 2020: 10.89 mg - 7.9 mg

2021: 1/3/21: 7.8 mg (1.27% drop); 1/24/21: 7.7 mg (1.29%); 1/31/21: 7.6 mg (1.17%); 2/7/21: 7.5 mg (1.19%); 2/14/21: 7.4 mg (1.34%); 2/28/21: 7.3 mg (1.25%); 3/7/21: 7.2 mg (1.25%); 3/21/21: 7.1 mg (1.25%); 3/28/21: 7.0 (1.25%); 4/25/21 - : generic clonazepam switch

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Cocopuffz17

Great read :) I am glad to read your success story and even more impressed by your age and that you were able to get off of those medications, well done :) I wish you all the best in the future! Enjoy life!!! 

I follow The Plant Paradox lifestyle by Dr.Gundry. This lifestyle has given me my life back and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. It has enabled me to finally get off of this medication and truly live my life. Nutrition is the key to health!!!!! 

2008 to 2019  - 20 mg Paroxetine

Attempted 2 CT's around the 5-6 year mark. Were absolutely terrible and reinstated. Was never explained by the doctor the seriousness of the short half life of this drug. 

2017 - Attempted a tapered discontinuation of this drug and reinstated after being unsuccessful.

2019 - Feb. 12 - After a three month taper I am off of paroxetine. The 3 months were terrible, awful withdrawal feelings. I followed the doctors guidelines for the reduction of this drug and now know it was way too fast. 
2019 - Oct. 12 - 8 months off paroxetine. 75% improvement since coming off the drug. Definitely have had tons of challenges along the way. Let’s go!!!! 

2021 - Feb. 12 - 24 months off paroxetine. I have minor challenges now. Tinnitus/Headaches are still around but are reduced by a massive amount. 

 

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Thank you for sharing and sorry that you had to go through this! I am 31 years old and it feels like my life is over. Its hard.

AD since 2006 (16 years old). Prescribed on Citalopram, Fluoxetin(2x), Opipramol, Paroxetin. All with CT except Paroxetin (fast taper).
Last medication was Paroxetin for 3 years. Tapered fast:
- October 2018: 10mg -> 5mg
- December 2018: 5mg -> 2,5mg
- February 2019: 2,5mg -> 1,25mg
- March 2019: 1,25mg -> 1 mg
Since May 2019: 0 mg

Supplements:
- Omega 3 (2200mg EPA + DHA )                  - Vitamin D 2000 i.u. and Vitamin K2 50 mcg            - Vitamin B12 (100mcg)
- Zinc (4 mg)                                                    - Magnesium-Bisglycinat (100mg elemantal Mg)      - Folat (50mcg)
23 months off and improvements but still setbacks. Major symptom now is fatigue.  Link to my introduction: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/21876-malon-14-years-of-ssri-since-youth-last-was-paroxetin/?tab=comments#comment-486450

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gentlehermione

@RealMe 

 

Hello and thank you for posting your success story - it has given me a well-needed emotional lift!

 

In our darkest moments, so many of us long haulers wonder whether recovery is at all possible. Your story is proof that it is!

 

Hats off to you for your determination and perseverance - well done!

Effexor XR 75mg 1997-2012 

Effexor XR 37.5mg 2012-2017 (tapered off over six months - finished taper July 2017)

SCA Aug 12th, 2017

Cymbalta 30mg Aug 2017 - Nov 2017 (CT Nov. 17th for medical reasons)

Metoprolol 50mg Aug 2017 - Feb 2019 tapered down to 25mg June 2019 then tapered down to zero. Off Metoprolol as of Jan 2020        

Amiodarone (anti-arrhythmic med) 200mg Nov 2017- May 2018

 

Supplements: Omega 3, vitamin D3, magnesium

What helps me: Manual lymphatic drainage massage, acupressure, meditation, homeopathy (my psychiatrist is also a certified homeopath), a healthy diet when possible organic, yoga, walking my dogs every day and gardening.

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Mutfael

Thank you for giving us a strong drive to fight this alleged drug

2005-2006 Efexor 75mg
  2006-2007 Tryptizole 25mg
  2008-2019 Seroxat 20 mg
  2020-2021 Cipralex 15 mg

  Since March 2021, it has started decreasing from 15 mg to 10 mg

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waves12

So good to read your success story and thank you. I had a long time of different meds from aged 28 to 52 and as of now been off cold turkey from antidepressents since June 2016 and yet still suffering with crippling anxiety and depression so very interested to read that after 2 years off your med you are feeling good. Almost 5 years off meds for me and yet still feeling bad. How did you conquer the depression and any anxiety if it was intense for you? 

 

Thanks so much if you can spare the time to reply. 

Waves 

Various antipressants from 1991 to 2016, Sertraline and many switches over the years.

Last AD's taken:

Citalopram for two weeks only May 2016  to June 2016, last AD taken and CT'd.

2012 to May 2016 Duloxitine 60mg. Doctor switched to Citalopram 20mg May 2016.

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JustBella

@RealMe

Thank you for your success story.  I am in my 70’s so it was very encouraging to me.  
 

Mid and late 1990s various antidepressants including Prozac, Pamelor, Zoloft, Trazadone for brief periods of time  Usually one month or less with no taper.

1998 to August 2020   .5 mg lorazepam, first PRN then daily. CTed Jan 2015 RI March 2015 (6 wks): CTed October 2016 RI Nov 2016 (3 wks (October 2016). 10 month taper begin Oct 2019 finished Aug 10, 2020. 2000 to Sept 2015 periodic use Escitalopram 10 mg.  Brief periods, 3-6 months, with rapid tapers or cold turkeys.Oct 2016 Cymbalta and Remeron for a period of about 2 weeks. Stopped cold turkey.Nov 2016 to October 2017 10 mg escitalopram.  One month taper

Last 2 ½ years:

Ongoing daily .5 lorazepam originally began in 1998 PRN, then daily 2008.  March 2019 to August 2019 10 mg escitalopram; rapid taper about 3 weeks. Sept 2019 to Sept 2019 Pristiq 25mg, taken 2 weeks then a every other day taper for one week.  25 mg trazadone for one week, no taper.  Zoloft 25 mg for 5 days, no taper. October 2019 -August 2020 10 month taper from .5 lorazepam.

Currently taking Valsartan 40 mg daily and Preservision AREDS2 one capsule daily.

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On 4/9/2021 at 1:24 PM, waves12 said:

So good to read your success story and thank you. I had a long time of different meds from aged 28 to 52 and as of now been off cold turkey from antidepressents since June 2016 and yet still suffering with crippling anxiety and depression so very interested to read that after 2 years off your med you are feeling good. Almost 5 years off meds for me and yet still feeling bad. How did you conquer the depression and any anxiety if it was intense for you? 

 

Thanks so much if you can spare the time to reply. 

Waves 

Hi Waves!  All I can say is that almost any symptom I experience is better than changing the chemistry of my brain, and I got to a point where I would try anything but medication to help myself.  That is why I try so many of the ideas I learn here from other survivors of "antidepressants."  Walking in the sunshine every day even in freezing weather, talking to positive people, saying prayers and following religious traditions of my childhood without debating what I used to feel was an assault on my reason, staying busy, trying to help friends and especially family without complaining, eating clean but allowing myself treats once in a while, crocheting granny square afghans, cooking recipes from Martha Stewart, reading Chernov's Hamilton, turning off tv shows that upset me, meditating, binge watching old seasons of Survivor, quitting social media, so many things.  Whatever sounds like a good idea for living comfortably is something I might try.  Most of all, I refuse to identify as a depressed or anxious person.  Just because I learned those terms when I was young and naive doesn't mean I have to take them on now that I'm a grown woman, an elderly one at that with physical aging issues!  :)  I  watch my vocabulary.  I may be more intense than a lot of people I admire, but I feel normal emotions like sad or worried or happy or relieved or hopeful or bored, and I'm glad I have feelings instead of numbness.  I don't judge anyone else for how they cope.  I can be happy or wretchedly miserable.  I'm ok with it.  I wish you the best, Waves.

xo RM

Alcohol periodic excessive 1963-1976, Valium sporadic 1964-1973,  Imipramine off & on 1982-1985, Fluoxetine 10mg-80 mg. Oct., 1995-Jan., 2014; Cymbalta, other ADs 1/2014-3/2014; Abilify 5 mg. 3/2014 - 8/8/17; Trintellix 20 mg. 3/2014 - 9/2017; Propranolol 60-80 mg. sporadically Sept-Oct, 2017; Seroquel few days Sept 2017 (c/t); Wellbutrin 150 mg. Sept, 2017 updosed to 300 mg. few days till c/t Oct 8, 2017, fish oil, vitD, vitE Oct 16, 2017-pres. Lipoflavonoid 4/2017-pres.  Fluoxetine 10 mg. Sept-Oct 8, 2017, 20 mg. 10/9- 10/15; 10 mg. 10/16 - 12/29;  9 mg. 12/30 - 2/9; 2 mL liquid (8.1mg) 2/10 - 3/7; 1.8 mL (7.29 mg) 3/8 -3/20; 1.6 mL (6.561mg) 3/20-4/2; 1.4 mL (5.9 mg) 4/3-4/14; 1mL (4 mg.) 4/15-4/22; .9mL (3.6mg) 4/23-5/1; .81mL (3.24 mg) 5/2-5/24; .73mL (2.916mg.) 5/25-6/8; .65mL 6/9-6/23; .6mL 6/24-7/17; .58mL 7/18-7/28; .525mL 7/29-8/13; .5 mL 8/14-21; .45mL 8/22-31; .4mL 9/2-21; .35mL 9/22-10/4; .3mL 10/5-28; .25mL 10/28-11/10; .2mL 11/11-11/24; .18mL 11/25-12/3; .1mL 12/4-12/18. Zero-12/19/18-present.

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