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BrokenWings: Recovering


BrokenWings

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          Hello fellow sufferers, I have lurked on these forums for a few years and have decided it was time to post my introduction thread. I would like to thank Altostrata and the administrators for all the help they are providing to the millions of people affected by these horrific drugs. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the information and guidance you are providing. Information and guidance that is practically impossible to acquire from the medical field.

    

          I have had depression and anxiety since early childhood. It became all too much for me when I started college and eventually had to drop out at the ripe age of 20 years old. This is the point of my life where I got introduced to the quackery of psychiatry and the evil practices of the pharmaceutical industry. I went to see a psychiatrist and after a mere ten minutes my diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder. He prescribed 50 mg of Zoloft and 0.5 mg of Klonopin as needed. The only thing these drugs ever did was dumb me down, rob me of all my emotions, and turn me into a zombie. I was eventually able to go back to college and get a degree but it was a struggle as my concentration and memory were greatly impaired. I was able to enter the workforce and had a well-paying job for several years until the drugs finally took their toll. I could no longer manage my stress levels and had to leave the workforce. Since then, I have been unable to hold a job due to my inability to manage stress and function. This has gone on for about 21 years.

 

          I only used Klonopin as needed for 1 month and quit cold turkey. It was not helping and I saw no point in taking it anymore. My dosage of Zoloft fluctuated from 50 mg to 150 mg over the years. I tried to quit multiple times before my current attempt. I was also abusing alcohol consumption during this time which was contributing to my problems. On my first attempt, I quit cold turkey.  At the time I had no knowledge of withdrawal or the dangers of quitting cold turkey. Frustrated with how Zoloft turned me into a zombie, I wanted to see if I could manage without it. I was feeling great until I crashed into acute withdrawal after about six months. I returned to my psychiatrist and reinstated to my previous dosage of 75 mg which was eventually bumped to 100 mg. I stayed on this dosage for several years still frustrated with how the drugs made me feel with no improvement to my anxiety or depression. My second attempt to quit was at the advice of my psychiatrist over the course of two weeks cutting the dosage in half each time until I reached 0 mg. I was fine again for three months until I crashed into acute withdrawal again. I went back to the psychiatrist loaded with questions of withdrawal and drug dependency. He said I was relapsing and these drugs were not addictive nor could you become physically dependent. I reinstated to 100 mg for a few weeks and then bumped to 150 mg. My last attempt to rid myself of these poisons resulted in taking matters into my own hands as I no longer trusted my psychiatrist. This is the point where the drugs started producing physical symptoms and signs of my body breaking down. My body could also no longer tolerate alcohol. At 150 mg, I developed mild gastrointestinal symptoms which progressively got worse. I decided enough was enough and began researching while I quit drinking alcohol and started a rapid taper of Zoloft over the course of about one year. I reduced from 150 mg to 100 mg to 75 mg to 50 mg to 25 mg to 12.5 mg to 0 mg with two-month hold periods before reducing. I only wish I had researched and found out how to properly taper at no more than a ten percent reduction. Before I describe the hell that I entered during acute and post-acute withdrawal, I want to make note that my depression and anxiety levels were less intense and immensely easier to manage before taking Zoloft and Klonopin. I was still functioning properly and able to go about my day. It was only after starting and stopping these drugs where my life and inability to function began to progressively deteriorate.

    

          During my rapid taper I was relatively stable until towards the end of the taper. I had my ups and downs but they were manageable. All hell broke loose about two months after my taper completed. These are the symptoms I have had to endure since the start of acute withdrawal: Depression, anxiety, anger & rage outbursts, crying outbursts, anhedonia, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, ruminating thoughts, insomnia, tinnitus, muscle pain, nerve pain, nausea, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, burning skin sensation, night sweats, vertigo, headaches, brain fog, impaired memory, myoclonus, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, lack of appetite. The acute withdrawal was pure hell on earth and probably lasted four months. I have been in a state of post-acute withdrawal accompanied by a never-ending cycle of waves and windows since.

    

          It has been 39 months since I stopped Zoloft and Alcohol and I am still struggling. My waves have been fairly consistent lasting anywhere from seven to ten days. During a wave, my symptoms vary. I am unable to function when in a wave and usually bedridden. Windows last anywhere from two to three weeks and I am functioning and clear-headed most of the time. Over time these symptoms have become less intense and my waves seem to have gotten shorter with extended windows. However, I can still be hit with a wave that appears as if I have hit ground zero and I have to start all over again. This is extremely discouraging and eats away at my hope of healing and functioning like I was before taking these poisons. I am eating as healthy as I can and supplementing with Fish Oil, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B-12 to help support my body and nervous system.

 

          I am furious and outraged with the ignorant medical field and even more outraged at the evil practices of the pharmaceutical industry. I have read a lot of information on these forums and countless success stories to help keep me going. I am reaching out for reassurances and guidance. I hope that one day I can say I have healed and can post my success story.

Edited by arbor

Zoloft (Sertraline) 50 mg to 150 mg
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 1/26/2018

 

Quit cold turkey, Quit multiple times using recommended tapering from a psychiatrist over 2 weeks, Quit using rapid taper over about 1 year 150mg to 100mg to 75mg to 50 mg to 25 mg to 12.5 mg to 0mg.

 

Klonopin (Clonazepam) 0.5 mg as needed
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 3/1/2000

 

Quit cold turkey after one month.

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  • arbor changed the title to BrokenWings: Recovering
  • Moderator

Welcome BrokenWings,

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.  I have to say, I’m “furious and outraged” with you!

But your strength is remarkable.  To me it suggests a great capacity for happiness and deepening joy the further away from the effects of the medications and alcohol you become.  Also, I applaud your initiative to pay attention to what was happening and to finally question the doctors.  Bravo(a)!  I wish I had done so sooner.  The symptoms you describe over the course of your withdrawal are so challenging.  I commiserate as they are similar to my own.

 

Since you’ve been following this site, you probably are familiar with many of the topics.  This is your introduction where you can ask questions, keep a record of your progress, and connect with other members.  I encourage you to reach out for support.  It certainly seems that giving and receiving support is an enormous tool in all of our recoveries.

 

Here are some sites for further encouragement:

 

The Power of Neuroplasicity

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

From your description, it sounds as if you are definitely headed in the wave and window pattern toward recovery.   It takes time, but healing can and will happen.   I find reading the Success Stories as you mention, helpful for bolstering my patience.

 

Glad you're here,

Arbor

 

 

 

Many of the symptoms you describe, I too am experiencing. 

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

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  • Moderator

What a truly amazing story. I am in deep and sincere admiration of your strength and courage to go through this.  

 

On 4/30/2021 at 5:15 PM, BrokenWings said:

I went back to the psychiatrist loaded with questions of withdrawal and drug dependency. He said I was relapsing and these drugs were not addictive nor could you become physically dependent. I reinstated to 100 mg for a few weeks and then bumped to 150 mg.

We hear this on the forum repeatedly.  It is amazing the sheer ignorance of these doctors.  

 

On 4/30/2021 at 5:15 PM, BrokenWings said:

Over time these symptoms have become less intense and my waves seem to have gotten shorter with extended windows

This shows that you are recovering.  I feel confident that you will eventually have a full recovery, but it will take time.  For some people it takes years.  I'm in my 4th year of recovering from Lexapro. I do understand how discouraging the waves can be, especially when we feel as bad as we did in early recovery.  You have come so far.  Like you, I no longer trust doctors, and you won't get me within a mile of any psychiatrist.  

 

Hang in there!  I'm glad you found us. 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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Thanks arbor for the kind words of encouragement and additional information. I hope you are getting closer toward the light at the end of the tunnel. How are you doing these days? It looks like you have had to deal with withdrawal from multiple drugs.

Zoloft (Sertraline) 50 mg to 150 mg
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 1/26/2018

 

Quit cold turkey, Quit multiple times using recommended tapering from a psychiatrist over 2 weeks, Quit using rapid taper over about 1 year 150mg to 100mg to 75mg to 50 mg to 25 mg to 12.5 mg to 0mg.

 

Klonopin (Clonazepam) 0.5 mg as needed
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 3/1/2000

 

Quit cold turkey after one month.

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Thanks getofflex! It has been a real struggle and the setbacks are frustrating. I was hoping I would be one of the lucky ones and healed within a year or earlier, but considering my drug history It is likely I will have to endure multiple years. I hope you are improving and heal soon. Hang in there.

Zoloft (Sertraline) 50 mg to 150 mg
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 1/26/2018

 

Quit cold turkey, Quit multiple times using recommended tapering from a psychiatrist over 2 weeks, Quit using rapid taper over about 1 year 150mg to 100mg to 75mg to 50 mg to 25 mg to 12.5 mg to 0mg.

 

Klonopin (Clonazepam) 0.5 mg as needed
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 3/1/2000

 

Quit cold turkey after one month.

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  • Administrator

You've very welcome, @BrokenWings

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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  • Moderator

Hi @BrokenWings  You're kind to ask.  My progress has been uneven--which I've discovered of course, is not unusual.  One of the hard things for me is to remember that the bumps aren't permanent.  That it takes this long to heal surprises the people around me as well.  I know it's hard for them to understand what's going on.  This month marks my one year anniversary of being off Metformin.  It's a diabetic drug which I was able to stop because without the AD's I no longer had diabetes!!  However, I believe it also changes our systems radically.  Not surprisingly, I could find no studies done on discontinuation.  I'm so happy to be off the heart medications as well.   I've developed a deep aversion to doctors--The loss of rapport and faith in their skills and interest has also been a sadness on top of the real horror of w/d.  

Eventually we both "took matters into our own hands" and I'm proud of us for that--

Sending you happiness and freedom from w/d💗

Arbor

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

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@arbor The uneven progress is the most frustrating part of this process. If this were a linear recovery it would be much easier to handle. It is great that you were able to get off diabetic and heart drugs. Bravo!  I now know that Zoloft was contributing to my high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. I was also borderline pre diabetic while on Zoloft. Once I ceased taking the drug my levels dropped back to the normal range. I am sure abstaining from alcohol and changing my diet also had an impact, but I have read studies on how antidepressants have an effect on your cholesterol and sugar levels.  All prescribed drugs can wreck havoc on the body. Unless you have an adverse reaction the changes are usually so subtle you won't notice them until your body can no longer tolerate it. I hope one day the truth comes out and justice is served to the pharmaceutical industry. I wish you well and pray for your freedom from withdrawal hell.☀️

 

-BrokenWings

Zoloft (Sertraline) 50 mg to 150 mg
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 1/26/2018

 

Quit cold turkey, Quit multiple times using recommended tapering from a psychiatrist over 2 weeks, Quit using rapid taper over about 1 year 150mg to 100mg to 75mg to 50 mg to 25 mg to 12.5 mg to 0mg.

 

Klonopin (Clonazepam) 0.5 mg as needed
Start Date: 2/1/2000
End Date: 3/1/2000

 

Quit cold turkey after one month.

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