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DaBro 2 years, not 2 weeks Pfizer, but finally healed


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It’s time for me to write this. I’ve wanted to write it for a while and have often come close in the last few months, only to be hit with another short 1-2 day long wave.

It’s been 2.5 years since I took my last dose of Sertraline and I am happy to say that after 2 years of horrible insomnia and the plethora of other physical and emotional WD symptoms we have to endure, I’ve slept well for 3 months straight and aside from minor tremors, tingling hands and what I can only describe as moderate nerve pain in my head 1 hour before bed and 1 hour after waking I feel pretty normal. I smile, I laugh, I cry. I enjoy the moment instead of living in an anxious world wondering if I will ever feel normal again.

 

My story starts in early 2016. After a normal and happy life, I had a number of significant life challenges thrown at me in a very short period. I became anxious about my health and issues in work and sleep started to elude me. Eventually I became anxious about my sleep and we all know that makes sleep worse. Somehow I managed to keep going for 6 months on virtually no sleep before I blew a fuse and ended up off work, in bed with a prescription for Zoloft/Sertraline.

 

I still remember my first dose. It made me feel much worse and made me not sleep at all. I was back at the doctor 2 or 3 times saying that this couldn’t be right and wondering if I’d ever sleep again. After about a month, the side effects subsided and sleep resumed, though I still felt very tired all the time and would often need a time out during the day and in the evening I would just curl up in a chair as talking to people, even my family, was too much for me.

 

This went on for 2 years with some, but limited improvement. I was really questioning why I still felt so tired? Was it the Sertraline, was it that I was still in the job which had been part of the cause of my condition or had not sleeping for so long damaged my brain permanently? I had to do something and the smartest place to start seemed to be to stop the Sertraline. I didn’t like feeling reliant on a drug anyway and 2 years had passed and my sleep was good. At the time I was on 25mg and had been for several months.  My GP said at that small of a dose it probably wasn’t doing anything anyway and was just a placebo and that I could just stop taking it. I ended up splitting tablets with my nails ‘roughly’ into quarters and had a couple of weeks at 12.5mg, then went to zero on November 1st 2018, so that I would be over the alleged 2 weeks ‘self limiting’ withdrawal effects well before Christmas.

 

I remember immediately feeling sharper. The emotional numbing effect of the drug had gone and I felt great for a week. Perhaps this was my new beginning. Then about 1 week after stopping I had my first brain zap. I remember it well. I was driving and I felt something building in my head, right in the middle of my brain. The jolt was so strong I remember it to this day. It scared me. I didn’t know at the time but I was to have brain zaps, ripples & electric waves in my head for almost 2 years.

My WD symptoms got worse over the first year. First was the insomnia. I hated that that had returned and considered going back on the Sertraline, but I chose to persevere. Then the nausea and fatigue got worse. I was excusing myself from social events and having tactical timeouts in advance of important events. My work suffered and I started being managed out of my job. What was going on?

 

It was about this time that my wife discovered this website and I started reading stories and realised what was happening. I searched the recovery stories to figure out if I would recover and how long it would take. I’m sure we all have done that. My initial hope was 12-18 months.

 

At 9 months post zero I left my job. For a month I felt reasonably OK but at 10 months I started feeling worse and worse. By month 12 I was bedridden, sweating, nauseous and emotionally very low. I’d get 1-5 day windows but waves lasted weeks. The worst one was around 10 weeks long at around 15 months post zero.

 

I’d say my symptoms changed over time. Initially they were fatigue and nausea, this moved to sweating and tingling, then emotional with many flashbacks and much self-criticism and finally more nervous with tremors, shakes and voice loss. Tinnitus and Insomnia were present throughout, especially waking in the middle of the night for 2-3 hours.

 

At 18 months things started to improve. My wife saw me laugh for the first time in ages, my kids said I was better company, I remember being able to cry again, I stopped being so self-absorbed and started being interested in others and the surroundings.

At 2 years I started working again. That was tough, but over 3 months I got back to being able to work a full week.

At 27 months I stopped taking Sleep aids and I’ve now gone over 100 days with good sleep.

It’s now 30 months and the only thing I get is the odd tremor and head pain an hour before bed and an hour after waking. I can manage that and know it goes in an hour or so, though I suspect it may be a while.

 

My tips are the same as everyone else’s:

  • Be kind to yourself
  • Accept your situation, stop looking for answers
  • There’s no magic cure with diet, supplements or re-instatement
  • Walk a lot  
  • Appreciate those who support you

 

Finally a big thank you to all those who have provided help to me through chats on this forum or privately, to the administrators and to Alto for creating this forum back in the day. I wish you all patience and success in your WD journeys.

 


ADMIN NOTE DaBro's Introductions topic is here:

 

 

?> Edited by Altostrata
added admin note

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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  • Altostrata changed the title to DaBro 2 years, not 2 weeks Pfizer, but finally healed
  • Administrator

Very good to hear, @DaBro. Thanks so much for adding your success story here.

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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Thanks for sharing your good news @DaBro success stories are what I’m surviving off of ❤️

 

 

started celexa 10mg feb 2nd 

feb 25th took my last 10g

feb 26th took 5mg

feb 27th took 5mg 

feb 28th cold turkey 

currently taking mag

 

 

 

 

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@DaBro Congrats mate,

 

Cheers for sharing your journey. These success stories keep me going and I’m sure it helps every one who reads them. 

2009 - commenced Paxil 20mg for GAD, OCD. 2010 - switched to lexapro 10mg. 

2017 - straight swap to Prozac, day 4 developed tinnitus, insomnia, OCD, GAD symptoms, Reinstated 10mg lexapro, symptoms improve. 
Jan 2019 - Attempted “slower” taper for 3 months,  med free for 11 weeks and felt ok.

June 2019 - WD symptoms struck. 
July 2019-July 2020 multiple meds from psychiatrist inc:

lexapro up to 40mg for 12 weeks (tinnitus starts) 

Effexor up to 150mg for 7-8 weeks

Zoloft up to 100mg for 12 weeks 

Remeron 6 weeks 

Paxil to 20mg for 12 weeks 

Quick taper CT Paxil in 4 weeks and drug free since July 19, 2020. 

 

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@DaBro

Congratulations 👏 So happy for you. There is no stopping you now after surviving this, you can do anything.

All the best to you 🙏

Prescribed Paxil 20 mg year 2000 for panic attacks.

Many attempts through out the years to quit.

2019 tapered from 20 mg to 10 mg. Got stuck there, decided to bridge with Fluoxetine. 
2020 March off Fluoxetine 

2020 Oct- nov started deteriorating, followed by severe crash. 2021 Reinstated fluoxetine by small amount, until I reach 9 mg (current) and stabilised. Holding 

 

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Congratulations @DaBro,

This is the beginning of a new life free of drugs and withdrawal. I celebrated one year off Lexapro just a few days ago but still in the withdrawal loop but I feel like I'm close to the end of the tunnel as well.

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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Congratulations and thank you for you sharing. Thats interesting I stopped the medication for same reason as you "why the hell I am so tired".
Also, my first week after 0 was great but then the misery begun. I have some of the same smyptoms you had.
E.g. Fatigue, partly extreme and sweating without reason. Recently, I had a severe wave at month 23 after zero and I am now in a window and it feels good, I feel alive and spiritually connected.
I know maybe its just a windows, but it gives me hope.

 

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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Heartfelt congratulations Dabro! I've been following your topic and admire you general attitude and perseverance. 

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

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4 hours ago, Malon said:

Congratulations and thank you for you sharing. Thats interesting I stopped the medication for same reason as you "why the hell I am so tired".
Also, my first week after 0 was great but then the misery begun. I have some of the same smyptoms you had.
E.g. Fatigue, partly extreme and sweating without reason. Recently, I had a severe wave at month 23 after zero and I am now in a window and it feels good, I feel alive and spiritually connected.
I know maybe its just a windows, but it gives me hope.

 

 

My last big wave was month 23-24. After that it was 1 or 2 days week and reduced intensity. I could see light at the end of the tunnel at 24 months. I wish the same for you. 

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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"I didn’t know at the time but I was to have brain zaps, ripples & electric waves in my head for almost 2 years."

 

Wow. I haven't really read about anyone speaking about "brain zaps" lasting this long! I have been battling brain zaps for 7 months... several times a minute sometimes. Definitely on a daily basis and it is maddening. How did you keep going when they were at their worst?? Did you ever have trouble breathing when they were happening? What about headaches?

 

I rang my dr yesterday to tell him about the zaps and told him it has been 7 months... his only reply "that's a long time!"...

 

I have been working the last 7 months (with a few breaks here and there), but really considering taking the next year off work because I am barely managing with the "zap"... I am so glad someone is finally talking about them lasting this long!! I am so sorry you had to go through that. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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On 5/3/2021 at 5:18 AM, DaBro said:

I enjoy the moment instead of living in an anxious world wondering if I will ever feel normal again.

Thank you for writing this. I know exactly how this feels. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Congratulations!  How did you stave off depression? What sleep aids did you use abs how did you taper those? 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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Congratulations!

Paxil 2001- 2016.  Came off of it on a slow taper.  After 9-12 months, I was put back on Paxil because I was unable to function. Paxil reinstatement triggered a rash.  I was then placed on 20 mg of Cymbalta on 2018.  I chose to take 10 mg.  I then had to be taken off of Cymbalta due to it causing cardiac issues in 2019.  I was placed on Seroquel and it caused a rash.  I was then moved to 12.5 mg of sertraline  where I did a fast taper which ended April/May of 2020.  I had to fast taper because of joint pain and joint redness.  August 2020, I was considered presumptive positive.  Since then, I’ve been prescribed Atenolol and Diazepam for withdrawal symptoms of tachycardia and massive anxiety.  I take these very sporadically and less than 1/4 of a tablet at a time.  I was given metformin in September 2020 for diabetes and it triggered massive anxiety after 1/4 of a pill.  I attempted to reinstate 1 mg of sertraline on 9/20/20.  I am supposed to be taking B12 injections and prescribed vitamin D.  I will stop these for now.  On 9/29/20 I was moved from 75 mcg generic levothyroxine to 88 mcg Synthroid.  This triggered anxiety approximately 2.5 hours later.

10/5/20 less than 1/8 teaspoon of Benadryl 

10/7/20 & 10/8/20 .10ml Benadryl (stopped 10/2020)

10/9/20 3mg Atenolol  (stopped 11/2020)

10/16/20 started taking magnesium citrate during the day (stopped 10/2020 due to it triggering more anxiety)

11/9/20 grain of diazepam @ 2:30 am for muscle spasm pain (stopped 11/2020)

11/10/20 .50mg of metoprolol tartrate (stopped 11/10/20 due to nausea, weakness in arms & legs, anxiety)

11/11/20 using lidocaine patch on neck and chest for pain due to muscle spasms

1/1/21       1 drop of liquid b12 (stopped 1/4/21)

 

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12 hours ago, Madeleine said:

Congratulations!  How did you stave off depression? What sleep aids did you use abs how did you taper those? 

 

Hi @MadeleineFor depression I found the following helpful: This and other FB and SSRI WD websites, remembering who I used to be and will be again, long baths with oils, headspace meditation, tiny Buddha.com, Gynostemma tea and daily walking. 

 

For sleep I have a drawer full of stuff that didn’t work including 5-HTP, Ashagawanda, St Johns wort, Bach’s, GABA, Valerin, CBD oil, melatonin, Vit B. I settled on acceptance, my kindle and cat, Magnesium Glycinate, Lavendar Oil and occasionally Nytol/Tylenol PM. No silver bullet on sleeping I’m afraid. Towards the end, Insomnia came at the end of waves and in fairly predictable blocks of 2-3 days before windows. 

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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On 5/5/2021 at 5:14 PM, VivaLaVida said:

Did you ever have trouble breathing when they were happening? What about headaches?

 

My zaps were a bit random to start with, but after a few months they tended to happen in the evening. They  started with a thick headache/hole in my brain type sensation and tinnitus/whistling which grew in intensity eventually to a sharp zap which normally caused my head to jolt. Then the tinnitus stopped and the headache went away until the next day. 

 

The location of the zaps moved moved from the centre to the top, then the left and finally the front of my brain over the 2 years. 

 

I found drinking sparkling water and eating apples brought the zaps on, so I often did that to get it over with. Go figure?!?

 

They ended up being like an old friend though I don’t miss them. I treated them as bits of brain coming back on line - healing. They were a breeze compared to the Insomnia. 

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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VivaLaVida
3 hours ago, DaBro said:

They  started with a thick headache/hole in my brain type sensation and tinnitus/whistling which grew in intensity eventually to a sharp zap which normally caused my head to jolt.

Oh wow, that sounds strong! I never had a "strong" zap, just mini jolts (which happen every few seconds...) behind my eyes mostly for the first few months, but now they have moved to the top of my head mostly and are more of a "swoosh" than a jolt...so strange. I find them very unnerving because of how frequent they are, and because...well, it's in the brain! 

 

I'm so glad you've over that. I will definitely try looking at them as "healing" as well. Thanks :).

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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